Wounded Warrior Cheri Arnold’s Unexpected Injury During Desert Storm

Support Wounded Warrior events in your hometown!

Support Wounded Warrior events in your hometown!

Editor’s Note: I was recently invited to a Wounded Warrior event held in northern Alabama. Twelve veterans from several parts of the U.S. were invited to go fishing, hunting and spend a week outdoors as a part of the Camp OuTAmongEM. I was invited by my good friend J. Wayne Fears and Roger Graves and attended the deer hunt.

I met Cheri Arnold and the other veterans at the chuck wagon where Fears and Graves were preparing food on a campfire – traditional frontier cooking over an open fire using reflector ovens, dutch ovens and cast iron pots. Two deer were taken, so venison stew was the main entrée for the Wounded Warriors’ meal, along with navy beans cold cooked over an open fire, potatoes and onions cooked in a self basting dutch oven, homemade biscuits, and a peach cobbler pie. Part 1 of a 4- part series.

Cheri Arnold loves being outdoors despite her back injury.

Cheri Arnold loves being outdoors despite her back injury.

“The chuck wagon cookout was a thank you for the service of the Wounded Warriors,” Fears explains.” The freedoms we enjoy today and great advantages we have in the United States are the results of their service. We should never forget the men and women who haven’t returned from defending freedom in all points of the world. We always want to honor and at least try to give back to the warriors who’ve returned home from their military service as well. Each year, Steve Statler, founder and president of CampOuTAmongEM, and many of his friends in the outdoors world host this event to let Wounded Warriors know that Americans appreciate their service and want to honor them for the freedom they’ve fought for and protected. Rodger Graves and I feel extremely honored to be called on to prepare a chuck wagon lunch for these veterans.”

One of the Wounded Warriors I met was Cheri Arnold from Wood, Arkansas, a Desert Storm veteran. She served as an Air Force Medical Technician and was injured when a gurney malfunctioned and collapsed. We often think of wounded warriors as young men, 19 to 25 years old, who have fought in combat and been injured in battles. However, many wounded warriors have never fought, but risked their lives to serve their comrades in arms.

Cheri Arnold was at Travis Airfield Base in Fairfield,California when she was recruited to participate in Desert Storm. Her assignment was to go to a field hospital in England that had been closed since WWII. Arnold and her team cared for the wounded warriors at the hospital. She dealt with patients with traumatic amputations, gunshot and shrapnel wounds, back injuries and chronic allergies. One day, Arnold had to transfer a patient from the ward to the operating room for surgery. Suddenly, the gurney the patient was laying on collapsed. Arnold put herself in harm’s way to protect her patient and injured her back very badly.

“When my accident happened, it hurt like hell,”Arnold recalls today. Even though she was in excruciating pain, Arnold placed her patient back on the gurney and took him to the operating room before she went to the emergency room to be treated. While she was there, she heard, “Cheri, you should have come in immediately rather than carrying on to take your patient to the operating room.” She was conscious of her responsibilities. Arnold stayed in the hospital for only a week and then returned to her station. That injury caused her to get arthritis in her spine, but her struggle with chronic back pain had just begun.

Learn more about the Chuck Wagon cookout for Wounded Warriors here:

Next: Cheri Arnold Becomes an Incomplete Paraplegic But Learns to Live Life to the Fullest

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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