On February 14, 2011, Joseph L. Bowser, Staff Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, spoke at IWP on "The Trials, Tribulations, and Testimony of an American Wounded Warrior" as part of IWP's Military Speaker Series, organized by Reginald Bostick, IWP Army Senior Fellow and Linda Strating, IWP Director of Professional Affiliations.
Mr. Bowser told how he rejoined the Army Reserves after the September 11 attacks, and how he was injured by a major explosion on April 12, 2004 while deployed to Iraq. He was touched by the selfless action of Army medics who were tending to him and covered him with their own bodies when there was a second explosion immediately following the first.
By April 19, he was at Walter Reed hospital in Bethesda, MD, and had his leg amputated on April 26. Due to multiple infections, he underwent fourteen surgeries in 2004.
He slowly recovered and was able to visit his family. He even joined a wounded warrior ice hockey team, which won a silver medal. He eventually was asked to return to service as a civilian in the Secretary's office from which he could share his experiences with Army personnel as they relate to policy and procedure.
Questions from the visiting audience included inquires about whether government bureaucrats who make decisions about war and peace are aware of the sacrifices of wounded warriors; how to share the message of those who have been wounded in service of our nation; what the hardest part of Mr. Bowser's recovery journey was; and how the US is making inroads to make the transition more smooth for wounded warriors.