Wounded Soldier Now In Mentoring Role
(April 1, 2011)
|FORT HOOD, Texas (3/29/2011) - When Sgt. 1st Class Brent
Boodoo's brain was scrambled one too many times by an
improvised explosive device, along with a kicker of an
injury to his left arm and neck, the food service specialist
turned IED hunter landed in the Fort Hood Warrior Transition
Every afternoon, Sgt.
1st Class Brent Boodoo meets with his platoon
squad leaders and WTs to resolve unfinished
business and answer questions. Photo by Gloria
Montgomery, Jan. 4, 2011
With a stellar career past the 15-year mark,
Boodoo was determined not to let his injuries
end his dream of being a career soldier. That
was back in 2007 and today, after a three-year
recovery and healing stint with the WTB, he is
sharing his personal experiences and knowledge
of the “process” with incoming Warriors in
Transition as a platoon sergeant with the WTB
Headquarters, Headquarters Company.
something, Boodoo, said, he wanted to do as a
way of giving back to those who helped him
through his personal pains and challenges.
"So many people and programs helped me," the
37-year old married father of three said. "I
wanted to mentor future WTs and show them that
there is life after an injury, and that there
are programs available to help them."
It's that experience and knowledge of the
process that is making his services invaluable
to the HHC said 1st Battalion Command Sgt. Maj.
Renee Myers who was instrumental in hiring
Boodoo as a member of the WTB cadre, a group of
senior non-commissioned officers who are
handpicked to serve as platoon and squad
"I think I made a great decision when I pushed for Boodoo
because he is probably one of the most outstanding platoon
leaders in the unit," said Myers. "I was very impressed with
his leadership skills even when he was a Warrior in
Transition, especially because he never took on the role of
being a patient. It was always about what he could do to
make himself better."|
Boodoo's HHC first sergeant
"Sgt. 1st Class Boodoo has been there and has
experienced the same pain and has had some of the same
issues our WTs have such as PTSD and TBI," 1st. Sgt. Steven
Byrd said. "He knows firsthand what they have to go through
and the mentality they need to have to get through the
As HHC cadre, Boodoo helps process WTs
during the 30-day intake process, as well as oversees the
medical evacuation operations. Though the grunt of "taking
care of the soldiers" is branched out to his squad leaders,
Boodoo briefs the new WTs on available resources during the
weekly newcomers' briefings and serves as the lifeline of
communication between the command and the Soldiers and their
While Byrd praises Boodoo's
leadership qualities, it's his initiative and integrity that
fuels his admiration for the senior NCO.
initiative is phenomenal, and his integrity is beyond
reproach," Byrd said. "If he calls a high-risk soldier and
there's no answer, Boodoo is on his way over there to find
out why. And if a soldier has an issue or if there's a
family situation that needs resolving, he's on the phone
making appointments, finding out the resources, getting fuel
vouchers, etc.. He's an exceptional asset to HHC and to our
Boodoo, who joined the Army in 1992
shortly after high school graduation, turned down a college
soccer scholarship for the opportunity to become a soldier.
It was something he said he had always wanted to do, plus it
would get him away from one of the most crime-ridden
boroughs of New York City: Brooklyn.
"It was a rough
city," Boodoo said on growing up in Brooklyn, where gangs,
drugs, and violence populated his neighborhood.
Raised by his mom, aunts and grandparents, Boodoo said when
he told his family he had enlisted in the Army, no one
believed him until he left for boot camp. Mad at first, he
said his family now agrees that making the Army a career has
probably been the best thing for him.
A recipient of
a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, four Army Commendation
Medals, seven Army Achievement Medals and a slew of campaign
medals, including humanitarian missions to Guatemala and
Bosnia, Boodoo was on his second deployment to Iraq when he
was injured. Assigned to an EOD unit with 2/5 CAV, Boodoo
and his platoon spent their days digging up the enemy's
Thinking he was on a suicide
mission at first, Boodoo said the more he got involved in
IED hunting the more fun he had, plus it was far different
from his previous environment: Army kitchens. Although his
designated Army occupation was chef and baker, Boodoo
volunteered for the EOD team to broaden his Army career.
While a good many of the IEDs did explode, Boodoo said the
platoon's success rate in finding and disarming them
numbered in the hundreds.
In August 2007, while
trying to disarm an IED, his unit was ambushed and got into
a firefight. Along with Boodoo, who says the blast rattled
his brain "one too many times," several members of Boodoo's
platoon also were injured.
Boodoo said the explosion
haunted him for the longest time, because he felt so guilty
about leaving the rest of his platoon on the battlefield.
"I battled with my doctors in Germany about that and
wanted to go back," he said. "I'm here, and they're still in
the fight. It's a horrible feeling."
He also found
himself continually second guessing his decision making on
that day, asking himself over and over what he could have
done differently. It wasn't until he enrolled in Carl R.
Darnall Army Medical Center's Warrior Combat Stress Reset
Program that he came to terms with his guilt and began
tackling the source of his depression.
"Reset is the
best program out there," he said, "because you're finding
out other soldiers are going through exactly what you're
going through. It has helped me tremendously get over my
anger issues and to adapt with coming back on active duty."
During his time at the WTB, Boodoo enrolled in Central
Texas College classes, earning 36 hours toward an
associate's degree in food service management that he hopes
to complete by fall of 2011. Although Boodoo had always
planned on going to college, he said it was nearly
impossible taking classes when he was in a line unit.
"One of the great things about being in the WTB is
you're encouraged to take college courses," he said, adding
that there's a tremendous amount of resources available to
the WT who wants to transition back into the Army or into
the civilian community.
Educating other WTs on those
resources is another reason why he wanted to stay in the WTB
"Unlike the soldiers returning from the
Vietnam War, soldiers today have a wealth of resources and
information available to them – the job fairs, the
internships, time to take college classes, the counseling,"
Boodoo said. "There are so many benefits to being a Warrior
in Transition, and soldiers can't ask for anything better.
I'm very grateful for that and that I now have an
opportunity to share what I know and my experiences with my
By Gloria Montgomery|
Fort Hood Warrior Transition Brigade
Comment on this article