KABUL, Afghanistan – A hospital is never a fun place to be, especially for soldiers suffering traumatic injuries at the hands of local forces they trained. That’s why 10th Brigade Support Battalion Sgt. Maj. Renaldo Crispin makes it a point to visit these heroes and cheer them up with daily uniform inspections.
Crispin takes time every evening after his duty day is complete, hospital workers say, to spend time with soldiers who may never get to shine their boots to a high gloss or stand in formations ever again.
“Some good order and discipline is just what the doctor ordered!” said Crispin while measuring the sideburns of a soldier who will never walk again. “Just because they are injured doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.”
When he isn’t reminding soldiers to take their stumps out of their pockets or removing Purple Hearts improperly displayed on Army Combat Uniforms (ACUs), his superiors say he can be found conducting equal opportunity training, nuclear, biological, and chemical classes, or conducting random urinalyses on soldiers’ colostomy bags.
“He really cares,” said his commander, Lt. Col. Jeff McCready, while writing Crispin’s Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) citation. “Crispin’s upbeat attitude and attention to detail have been a boon to everyone, including hospital staff, who have noticed unexpected benefits of his visits.”
According to McCready, nurses and physical therapists tell him that they are seeing increased recovery time and improved mobility in all of their patients.
“Return to duty times are at an all-time low and soldiers who were previously immobile are suddenly eager to leave whatever room the sergeant major is in,” said McCready. “Or, in some cases, they selflessly want to return to the front lines!”
“God bless these heroes!”
Army psychologist Maj. Kathleen Gallagher agrees that Crispin’s presence is motivational for the troops, who long for a sense of normalcy given their condition.
“These warriors have a long road ahead of them, and the best way to help them cope psychologically is to treat them just like every other soldier.”
“Like garbage,” she added.