The Story Behind the Photo, CPL Kendra Coleman

By Tania Meireles, WTC Stratcom

AW2 Soldier CPL Kendra Coleman is featured on several AW2 outreach materials.

“I want to give back to the Soldiers who fight for my freedom and sacrifice their life for me,” said AW2 Soldier CPL Kendra Coleman about her future.

At 20-years-old, she knew she wanted to fight in the war on terrorism and joined the Army on July 25, 2007. She served with the 173D Special Troops Battalion, part of the 173D Airborne Brigade Combat Team as a military police (MP) officer and paratrooper. She deployed to Afghanistan on November 19, 2009, and her job was to train Afghan police and keep the local village of Charkh safe.

On May 11, 2010, she was clearing a village, she recalled, “I was hugging a wall to clear a corner, and after I cleared the corner I looked down. That’s when I saw a randomly placed pile of tires. I could feel the evil in the air.”

An improvised explosive device (IED) immediately exploded and she was knocked to the ground. “I knew I was hit,” she said. “I reached down to my left leg pocket to grab my tourniquet. My pocket wasn’t there, just the remaining pieces of what was my left leg.”

She is currently assigned to a Warrior Transition Unit and receives care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) and Brooke Army Medical Center. “WRAMC has given me my life back,” she said. “The medical care I have received here at WRAMC has been phenomenal.” Now using a prosthetic leg, she said, “I almost feel like me again.”

One of the highlights of her recovery was participating in a snowboarding program. “I never thought I would snowboard again, but I did it,” she said. “I got back up on my board—it was an amazing feeling of achievement.”

With the assistance of AW2 Community Support Network member Sentinels of Freedom, she plans to attend college. “They provided me a four-year scholarship to the school of my choice, all expenses paid including living expenses,” she said.

Coleman wants to attend Georgia Institute of Technology to earn a master’s in prosthetics and work with other wounded warriors at an Army Military Treatment Facility. She hopes to motivate other wounded warriors to never give up, stating, “Don’t let the enemy determine your future—improvise and overcome.”

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  • Kaila Anderson

    CPL Coleman is my little sister. CPL Coleman is a very brave and courageous soldier. She still has a long road ahead, but since May 2010, with the love and support of family, friends, and everyone all over the world she has came a long way. I want other soldiers and families to know that it is not the end for them. I know what it is like to hear my little sister, ” I will never be normal and do the things I use too.” I still here that over and over, but then a smile comes over my face, she is living her life to the fullest and doing everything she did before and more. He biggest fear was that she would never walk in high heels again, when I got the pictures of her learning to walk in heels again, I just cried.
    I want other wounded and injured soldiers to know, NEVER GIVE UP, no matter how hard or mad you get because this has happened to you and you think you cannot do it and just want to give up, DON’T, YES YOU CAN! Its hard and I know. For family and friends, keep as positive as you can, do not let them see your weak side, do not let them give up. Tell them we will get through this. As CPL Kendra Coleman said, “Don’t let the enemy determine your future—improvise and overcome.” GOD BLESS EVERY SOLDIER AND THEIR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Remember, Life is not over. Everything will be ok, soon one day, take your time and overcome day by day.

  • alanmorales1

    @Kaila Anderson, Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about your sister. Your words are powerful and speak to others who read the blog. Thanks! Best, Alan Morales, WTC Stratcom.

  • SSG Jonathan Looney

    CPL Coleman, I commend you for not giving up and continuing to move forward. It is always motivational to hear other Wounded Warrriors stories and how they have adapted to and overcame their injuries. I to am a wounded soldier with a Spinal Cord Injury, and like you I didn’t want to give up either. It’s Soldiers like you that want me and I know many other Soldiers to continue serving either as a servicemember, or in some capacity of the government taking care of Soldiers. I want to personally thank you for all that you are doing and have done for our great nation. I know you have been an inspiration to people all over the world.

    @Kaila Anderson, I’m thankful that your sister has someone as special as you are. To understand what she is going through, and providing that continued support, as well as your family to help your sister get through this. Just like you said to other Wounded Soldiers “Don’t ever give up”, I would say the same thing for you. I know that you have seen your sister during her good and bad days, and I know it takes everything in you not to breakdown. I would tell you that, because I’m a wounded soldier, I understand fully what you are having to go through as my family is still going through good and bad times with me. I was injured in 2007, but I nver gave up. I hope to one day meet your sister and thank her for the sacrifices she has made each and everyday to continue her healing process. Thank you Kaila for being such as awesome sister.

  • Teddy Lockett

    wow I JUST READ THE ARTICLE I AM SO IMPRESSED WITH THIS YOUNG LADY SHE IS A PERSON THAT HAS GUTS AND KEEPS DRIVING ON WE NEED MORE AMERICANS THAT HAVE
    WILL POWER SUCH AS THAT IM PROUD OF HER. ” KEEP MOVING GIRL” HOOOAH

    SFC (RET) TEDDY LOCKETT

  • Mike Conklin

    We are very proud to provide a Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship to Cpl. Kendra Coleman .
    We honor her service and sacrifice to our Nation by doing so, but the reality is that we do not look at our support as a charity but rather and investment.
    Kendra has demonstrated to us that she is determined, motivated and possess a high level of positive attitude. With these character traits and the goodness in her sole she will succeed. Yes the hurdles will be higher for her , yes there will be times she will feel the burdens of her wounds as sometimes overwhelming.
    But with good people in her life accepting the mission to walk at her side she will have the ability to succeed.
    Booker T. Washington wrote something that I think is very appropriate as I think of Kendra.
    “ Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he or she has overcome while trying to succeed”

    Your positive support of Kendra by walking at her side is and will continue to be a huge force multiplier in her life and her future.

    Thank you, Mike Conklin
    Mike Conklin
    Chairman and CEO
    Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation
    Quietly and Professionally Assisting Severely Wounded Members of our Armed Forces to Maximize their Potential

    PO Box 1316 San Ramon CA 94583
    Off: 925-353-7100 Fax 925-867-1078
    Cell: 925-216-8583

    Fed. TAX ID 20-8139201

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