View Full Version : Sailor home for a little R&R

11-02-06, 06:42 PM
Sailor home for a little R&R

November 2, 2006

Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alexander S. Kazenko recently came home for a little well-deserved "R&R" after a six-month deployment in Iraq.

During his deployment Kazenko assisted in saving the life of one of his fellow soldiers, Lance Cpl. Patrick Howard. Howard was hurt when a mortar landed between the blast wall and the post where he was stationed. Howard sustained injuries from shrapnel in his back, arm and legs. Kazenko helped bandage Howard, keeping him alive until he could be medivaced to the hospital for further treatment.

"From the time we got there, we received contact everyday, whether it was by sniper fire, mortars, machine guns or anti-aircraft weapons installed in the back of SUVs," he said. Still, he wasn't too worried.

"With all the prayers, I felt safe, and you could definitely feel them. It was a lot of situations that I've walked away from and I know without prayers, I probably wouldn't have made it, and I'm thankful for that."

During his deployment, his unit lost one Navy corpsman who was killed by an IED and 17 Marines, who were killed in action.

Kazenko has a lot of respect for the Marines. He says if you took care of them, they'd take care of you.

Kazenko said he's gained an "appreciation of life, discipline and maturity" from his military experience.

"I believe that everyone should be willing to give back a little something and build a perspective about themselves," he said.

Kazenko has served three years of active duty in the U.S. Navy and is currently stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland, where he is a surgical technologist in the main operating room. He will be stationed there for nine more months before being transferred somewhere else.

Medical work has been his lifelong dream.

"I always wanted to be in the medical field, I thought about it when I was child. I grew up hearing stories from my grandfather Peter Kazenko about the Navy, so I decided, I might as well join the Navy myself," he said.

Kazenko also served during Hurricane Katrina on a hospital ship to provide medical care for the region. He says his unit originally was sent to Pascagoula, Miss.

After Hurricane Rita hit, the ship was sent to Louisiana, where they were docked at New Orleans for 45 days.

Kazenko is undecided at this time on whether he will make a career out of serving in the Navy.

"One thing, I can say that the military has shown me was the value of education, and the more knowledgeable a person is, and the more I further my education, the better I will be," he said.

Kazenko recently was recognized by the Joliet City Council with a proclamation acknowledging his service.

Iraqi school collection

U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Matthew Davisis asking the community to send school supplies to Iraqi children.

Specific supplies needed are pens, pencils, notebooks, erasers, children's clothing, soccer balls and stuffed animals (small Beanie Baby-type toys would be great).

These items will be passed out to children along the streets or on routine visits to schools and the children's section of the hospitals, said Davis.

"These things will help paint a positive image of the United States of America, as well as our military to the local Iraqis," he said.

Davis is serving as a civil military operations officer in the Tal Afar region, in the farthest northwest portion of Iraq. He is responsible for overseeing and planning reconstruction projects to assist the government in providing basic services to the people of Iraq. This includes everything from rebuilding schools and starting adult literacy programs, to delivering water and repairing hospitals.

"Ongoing through all of this are the gestures to win the minds of the people of which these small gifts are one method we use," said Davis.

Donations may be sent to: Matthew D. Davis, HHT, 3-4 CAV, FOB Sykes, APO AE 09351.

For more information, call (815) 744-5236.


The Plainfield Public Library is sponsoring Unit 70087 in Afghanistan this holiday season.

The library will be collecting letters and supplies to send to these soldiers through Dec. 10.

If you would like to donate supplies, pick up a list of suggested items at either the information desk or the adult reference desk. Items can be dropped off in the collection box in the elevator vestibule on the upper level. If you are interested in making a monetary donation towards supplies or shipping, call Lisa Pappas at (815) 436-6639. A list of supplies is also available on the library's Web site at www.plainfield.lib.il.us.