CPT Kelly Elminger, U.S. Army, Iraq, Afghanistan, Paralympian

CPT Kelly Elminger, U.S. Army, Iraq, Afghanistan, Paralympian
27 mar 2024 · 48 min. 40 sec.

Kelly Elmlinger was a three-sport athlete in high school. She excelled in cross country, basketball, and track. After considering military service, she decided to keep playing sports at the next...

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Kelly Elmlinger was a three-sport athlete in high school. She excelled in cross country, basketball, and track. After considering military service, she decided to keep playing sports at the next level, but she quickly decided college was not for her. That's when she joined the Army and became a combat medic, eventually with the 82nd Airborne Division, serving in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Later, she became a nurse and then a cancer patient herself. Yet even after losing a leg, Elmlinger persevered and represented the U.S. at the Paralympic Games just a few years later.

In this edition of "Veterans Chronicles," Elmlinger shares how the 9/11 attacks changed the trajectory of her military service and how her combat medic training suddenly became much more real. She also describes her service in Afghanistan, meeting and connecting with the Afghan women, and what the Afghan men thought about her.

Then she explains how different and how much harder the same job was in Iraq, why there was often little combat medics could do to help, and the painstaking efforts she and her teammates took to to find some personal effect to present to the families of every fallen service member.

Elmlinger then recounts her decision to become a nurse and work with wounded veterans in San Antonio and how that work helped to prepare her to be a patient there as she battled cancer in her leg. And finally, she updates us on how she became an elite adaptive sports athlete - representing the U.S. at the 2021 Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo. And she'll do it again this summer in Paris!
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