Boy's Wish Comes True at Fort Sam Houston
(April 2, 2008)
Army Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw,
Fort Sam Houston, Texas, installation commander,
teaches 5-year-old Gavin Cox how to shoot an M-9
pistol at the ES 2000 weapons training facility.
Gavin also trained on an M-16 rifle and walked
away with a marksmanship badge. Photo by Ed
||FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, March 27, 2008
Gavin Cox could
have traveled to any exotic locale or tried any profession
in the world, but this 5-year-old with leukemia had just one
wish: to be a soldier.
His wish was granted March 18 when he became a soldier for
the day here.
“He could have chosen any activity during this break in his
treatments, to include Disney World,” said Gavin's father,
Troy Heminger. “He wanted to be a soldier.”
During a solemn ceremony in the Army Medical
Department Center and School command conference
room, the little boy stood proudly on the
conference room table surrounded by soldiers of
all ranks. Dressed in an Army combat uniform,
Gavin was promoted to the honorary rank of
the Army Medical Department by the installation
commander, Army Maj. Gen. Russell Czerw.
Contacted by the
Make-A-Wish Foundation, Czerw agreed to
honor the boy's request, planning a day for him to train
with the Army's medics. |
After reciting the Army's enlistment oath with him, Czerw
pinned the rank of sergeant on his uniform and emphasized to
the young man standing at attention, “This is a great day.
Thank you for making this day special for us.” He then
inducted Gavin as an honorary member of the AMEDD Regiment.
Army Master Sgt. Maurice Sims, command retention
noncommissioned officer, presented the Cox family members,
including sister Jade and brothers Chandler and Zane, with
Warrior Ethos packs, recognizing their role in helping their
father, Troy, and mother, Melissa, during Gavin's
The training day for Sergeant Cox began with a trip in a
tactical vehicle to the ES 2000 weapons training facility,
where he earned his marksmanship badge. He then took a break
from training to join soldiers at the Rocco Dining Facility.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Joey Wrinkle stood outside with a
platoon of soldiers assigned to 187th Medical Battalion
representing all the medical specialties trained by the
battalion. Assigned to the platoon for lunch, Sergeant Cox
led the guidon bearer and the formation into the dining
“I presented him with my airborne wings. He is strong and
brave like an airborne soldier, and he deserves to be
recognized. This is about what we do as soldiers,” Wrinkle
During lunch, soldiers stopped by to wish Gavin well and
present their own badges to him. He left the dining facility
with air assault and expert medic badges added to his
At his next stop on the training schedule, he visited the
Department of Combat Medic Training and watched
soldier-medics training with a human patient simulator. He
completed the day learning how patients are loaded on a
Stryker ambulance and transferred to hospital units.
During the day, Gavin's parents watched their son talking to
soldiers and enjoying his day with them. Troy Heminger
served on active duty for nine years with 1110th Support
Battalion and 58th Signal Battalion as a microwave systems
operations and maintenance specialist. “He is having fun,”
he said, watching the boy interact with soldiers. “He is
forgetting about his illness for a while.”
After spending the day with Army medics, Gavin and his
family left San Antonio the next day for Fort Hood, Texas,
where honorary Sergeant Cox would spend another day in the
Army as a soldier with the Army's combat units.
Following his week as a soldier, Gavin was scheduled for
intensified chemotherapy at Dallas Children's Hospital.
By Phil Reidinger
Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs Office
American Forces Press Service
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