Amputee Soldier Returns to Battlefield
Feb 22, 2013
by Sgt. Luke Rollins
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - It's clear from the way Staff Sgt. Brandon Vilt moves around the maintenance bay of Delta Troop, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, Task Force Lighthorse, that he has his mission in mind. An OH-58 "Kiowa" helicopter crew chief responsible for the maintenance of the troop's fleet, he and his soldiers keep the "moshshe"-Pashtu for mosquito because of its bite and illusiveness, and the nickname for the Kiowa-flying to bring the fight to the enemy.
"I just want to make sure my guys put out a good, quality product," said Vilt, a Cameron Park, Calif., native.
Not only is he responsible for the soldiers on the maintenance bay floor, but he's also a platoon sergeant. If he's not overseeing the maintenance of Kiowas, he's up in the office loft doing administrative work for his soldiers.
Vilt moves up the stairs to his office. The motivation in each upward step ignites a spark of inspiration among his coworkers, but he's too humble to show his discomfort if he had any.
"Stairs are the worst," he says, collapsing into his office chair. A prosthetic leg hangs on the rear wall. Vilt rolls up his left pant leg to reveal the prosthesis helping him accomplish the mission at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
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