The Wyakin Warrior program, a comprehensive professional development curriculum for severely wounded and injured veterans, will double in size today as six more veterans will be inducted on the steps of the Idaho State Capitol building. Lieutenant Governor Brad Little will be the presiding official, welcoming the five men and one woman into the prestigious program.
Each will be presented with a Wyakin Warrior leather jacket by the Lt. Governor and another Wyakin Warrior. It is the first step in a journey that will position the veteran for a successful career after graduation. Each Wyakin Warrior was selected for his/her character and motivation to move forward.
The 2012 Wyakin Warriors are:
Alexander Crown: A native of League City, Texas, Alexander Crown joined Army JROTC and because of his participation in this program, he was able to enlist in the U.S. Army as a Private First Class. Alexander attended One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, in July of 2004. He also completed Airborne School and was stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and finally Fort Richardson, Alaska, with the 3rd Battalion 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment 4th Brigade Combat Team 25th Infantry Division. Prior to his deployment, Alexander was promoted to Specialist, joined the scout/sniper platoon and earned an Army Achievement Medal. He also met his wife Casey while stationed in Alaska. Alexander deployed in October of 2006 to Iraq. While in Iraq, his platoon performed operations in the vicinity of Fallujah. After eleven and a half months of continuous reconnaissance and sniping operations, Alexander was hit by an IED on September 1, 2007. Alexander is studying zoology and is interested in working in one of Idaho’s vast wildlife or agricultural organizations after he graduates in 2013.
James Donaldson: A 2003 graduate of Mountain Home High School, James Donaldson joined the Army on June 27, 2003. After completing basic training in 2004, he was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He turned 20 the day he crossed into Iraq. On at 7:30am on July 15, 2005, he was hit by an Explosive Formed Penetrator (or EFP), an armor piercing IED. James graduated from CWI in May 2012 with an Associate’s Degree in Information Security and Digital Forensics, and will begin classes at Boise State in August. He is expected to graduate from BSU in May 2014.
Christian Emry: Born in Idaho, Christian Emry enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after graduating from Kuna High School in 1993. He received his basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, California, his infantry training at Camp Pendleton, California, and his heavy artillery training at Fort Still, Oklahoma. For his first duty station, Emry was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Emry’s military career was interrupted by a devastating knee injury received while training with the 12th Marines. After two years of rehabilitative therapy, he was given a medical discharge. Emry’s military career resumed when he received a medical waiver to reenter service. Due to a lack of options with the Marine Corps, he enlisted with the Navy as an air traffic controller. He served in Maine, California, and Texas before honorably separating as a decorated first class petty officer in 2005. With the help of the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, Christian Emry is pursuing his degree in Exercise Science Physiology at Boise State University.
George Nickel: Originally from Youngstown, Ohio, George Nickel enlisted in the Army one month after graduating from high school and attended basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. He began his career as a mortar crew member assigned to the 4th Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 25th Light Infantry Division. Over a decade of service, he went on to serve as an Army parachute rigger, as a reservist with the Idaho Air National Guard, and as a participant in Operations Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.
Nickel separated from the military in 2003 to focus on his corrections career. However, Nickel later volunteered as a reserve Combat Engineer in 2005 to support the 321st Engineer Battalion’s deployment to Iraq. It was while clearing explosives in Ramadi and Fallujah that Nickel was injured. With the assistance of vocational rehabilitation benefits and the Wyakin Warrior Foundation, Nickel plans to graduate with his degree in social work from Boise State University. Nickel is pursuing his degree out of a desire to assist future veterans adjust to post-combat life, and also because of the influence of professionals who helped him in his own road to recovery.
Kyle Trausch: A native of Edgerton, Ohio, Kyley Trausch knew early on she wanted to serve her country. Trausch’es father served in the Army during Vietnam and all three of her brothers are currently serving in the Air Force. After she completed basic and technical training at Lackland AFB and Sheppard AFB, respectively, she was stationed at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho. She received her training as a dental assistant/hygienist and began to support the mission as part of the 366th Dental Squadron. After arriving to her current duty station, Trausch was diagnosed with a heart condition that was worsened by military service. Trausch is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in social work at Boise State University and plans to graduate in 2014. In addition to receiving her Bachelor’s degree, she would like to get her master’s degree in social work and become a licensed clinical social worker, where she would provide counseling services to veterans, children and families.
Rodney White: A native of Billings, Montana, Rodney White enlisted in the Navy in 1992. After the attacks of September 11, 2001, White volunteered to be a Navy field corpsman. He has deployed to the Gulf Coast in support of humanitarian assistance for Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, to Iraq in support of the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion, and to Afghanistan. It was during this last deployment that White was wounded in action by a mortar. White attends Boise State University and is pursuing a degree in nursing.
Congratulations to the new class of Wyakin Warriors!
To apply for a Wyakin Warrior scholarship or find out how you can help, you can visit www.wyakin.org.