Skip to comments.Face of Defense: Company Commander Exemplifies Warrior Ethos
Posted on 10/30/2008 4:39:08 PM PDT by SandRat
| FORT DETRICK, Md., Oct. 30, 2008 In most ways, Army Capt. Alex Houston is like any other Army commander.
And he does this all as a wounded warrior. As a platoon leader in Iraq, Houston lost his left hand when his convoy was attacked during a night mission.
The electricity was going on and off while his 1st Cavalry Division unit was on patrol, Houston recalled. It was so dark -- the kind of dark that you cant even see your hand in front of your face, he said.
As the lights flickered off, the units battalion commander came under fire from enemy forces. Although others were in the area, Houston said, he was trained to step up as the ranking officer on the mission, and he headed into the battle to support his commander. He took charge, and while on the radio, he also took a hit.
There was melted metal all around my hand, and shrapnel went through my arm, he said, but I was still on the radio giving information to headquarters.
His duty came before the pain, he said, and his faith in God allowed him to remain calm and accomplish the mission of getting the convoy through the area.
After everyone came over to see how I was, I kept saying, Im OK. And I was, he said.
He was rushed to the combat support hospital, and doctors later told him they couldnt save his hand. The division commander presented his Purple Heart while he was still sedated in the combat hospital.
I just said Hooah, said Houston, and they saw the soldier in me.
Houston was given the choice of going back to Fort Hood, Texas, or to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Having heard the Armys best care was at Walter Reed, he said, he spent about a year recovering there.
While at Walter Reed, he had access to many programs that helped wounded warriors transition into the civilian job market, but he said when the Army asked him if he wanted to stay in, he knew his answer was yes. Houston, who started out as an enlisted soldier, already had made a commitment to a career in the Army. I made a decision a long time ago that Im going to give 100 percent, he said.
Before he deployed to Iraq and before he attended Officer Candidate School, Houston was a chaplains assistant for the 21st Signal Brigade.
Army Col. Theresa Coles, the brigade commander, said Houston was an easy choice to take command of the headquarters company, since he desired to lead and already had strong connections to the unit and Fort Detrick.
I thought he was a committed officer and soldier committed to his profession, she said. He went to OCS, became an officer and hadnt gotten a chance to fulfill his goals. He wants to be a leader and is not letting the injury stop him.
Coles said she couldnt be happier with her decision, as Houston has been an outstanding company commander.
He walks the walk, and talks the talk, she said. He and his family are committed to the unit and soldiers. His injury has not been an impediment at all. Hes a true testament to the Warrior Ethos a testament to what the folks at Walter Reed and he have done.
(Sarah Maxwell works at Fort Detrick Public Affairs.)
CO of HHC of a Signal Bn., I can relate to that, as you already know. ;o) I hope he has a decent HQ Staff to deal with, they can drive you crazy.
Hooaah to a true American hero.