Posted By Laughing_Wolf • [February 12, 2013]
Nine-year-old Houston native Neil Sawh (right) takes the oath of enlistment given by San Francisco native Lt. Col. Jay Miseli (left), the commander of 1st Squadron, 7th "Garryowen" Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division -- U.S. Army Photo
Given all that is going on, I thought we might enjoy something different -- something good. This can make things a bit dusty, but huge kudos to Garryowen for making a difference.
'Garryowen' helps boy become Cavalry Soldier for a day
By Capt. Angel Jackson-Gillepsie, FORSCOM
FORT HOOD, Texas (Feb. 11, 2013) -- Deciding on a career can be a
difficult decision some make very late in life, but for 9-year-old Neil
Sawh of Houston, there's nothing he wants more than to be a Soldier.
The 1st Squadron, 7th "Garryowen" Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat
Team, 1st Cavalry Division, gave Neil Sawh, a fourth grader from
Houston, the chance to be a Cavalry Soldier for a day, Feb. 8, here.
Neil was diagnosed with a rare strain of Muscular Dystrophy at the age
of 7 and he received the opportunity of a lifetime when his parents
surprised him with a visit to Fort Hood.
"I told him, 'you're (going to) have to look out,'" said Nelini Sawh,
Neil's mother. "'They're going to be clues along the way. Let's see if
you can figure out where we're going.'"
Nelini said as soon as Neil saw the sign for Fort Hood; he was excited and spoke at the top of his voice.
Neil said, "Fort Hood! We're going to the Army base!"
San Francisco native Lt. Col. Jay Miseli, commander of Garryowen, said
there was no better way to get Neil involved than to incorporate him
into the already scheduled Garryowen Games.
"The bottom line is, we saw this as the perfect opportunity for Neil to
see what Soldiers do and experience it firsthand," Miseli said.
Neil appeared to be very shy and quiet, but opened up while on the obstacle course.
"Let's go Apache," Neil shouted.
Assisted by Miseli, Neil went alongside the Soldiers of Garryowen's
Troop A, and cheered them on as the troop completed the course with the
fastest time of 16 minutes, 57 seconds.
During a ceremony to recognize the winners of Garryowen Games, Miseli
enlisted Neil into the military as an honorary member of Garryowen. Neil
also received spurs, a Stetson, an Army Combat Uniform and was named
deputy squadron commander for the day, where he was allowed to help
Miseli make decisions.
"The thing I enjoyed most was watching him have this experience," Nelini
said. "I really enjoyed how everyone was just so friendly they came up
to his level and shook his hand. They treated him like one of their
Neil's day as a Soldier didn't end with the Garryowen Games ceremony.
He was also given the opportunity to explore the U.S. Army Mission
Support Battalion's Special Operations Semi, a rolling exhibit depicting
Army Special Forces Soldiers at work around the globe.
Inside the semi, Neil flew a simulated helicopter. He also tested the
Immersa Dome display where he watched a video which submerged him in the
sights, sounds and smells of Army Special Operations Soldiers' various
types of training.
Neil and his father, Nevin Sawh, tested the ground mobility vehicle, a
team simulator where the driver uses monitors to maneuver through a city
while avoiding obstacles and the gunner wears a helmet with a display
screen to identify and engage enemy targets.
Nelini said Soldiers are Neil's idols and he's always wanted to join the Army.
"He has no other dream," said Nelini. "That's it -- to be a Soldier."
Nelini said she hopes there's a cure for the disease in Neil's lifetime
that will allow him to join the military. She describes Neil as caring,
thoughtful, compassionate and patriotic.
"'If I'm not a Soldier, I'm not (going) to do anything else with my
life,'" Nelini stated that Neil said about possible careers other than
the military. "'I'm just going to stay home.'"
Nelini explained she doesn't know why Neil has such a fascination with
the military and she said she thought he might grow out of it.
"I really haven't been able to pinpoint why he's so interested in the
military," Nelini explained. "He's just very proud and wants to be able
to serve in the military and be able to defend his country."
Nelini said she teaches Neil to work hard and never give up and she
hopes being a Soldier for a day gives him motivation and determination.
Being in a wheelchair and losing his ability to walk hasn't stopped Neil, Nelini explained.
"He always tells me on his 18th birthday he's not going to have a party,
he's going to go down and he's (going to) enlist himself," Nelini said.
When asked why he wants to be a Soldier, Neil stated, "I just always wanted to be one."
Nelini said the one thing she always wants Neil to remember is, no matter how hard things get to never give up.
"I think the Army and the military is just a good symbol of that because
you guys work so hard and do so much for our country and you never give
up," Nelini explained. "So I'm glad that he has the military and the
Army as an idol."