Jun 272005

Kathy (HM2 Kathryn Van Hooser) is a Corpsman with the Navy Reserves out of the Reserve Center in Springfield, MO for approximately 15 years. She initially went into the service as Active Duty Army then, Army Reserves and finally, the Navy Reserves. Kathy was the 2nd oldest member of her Basic Training class so they called her “Mom” instead of Grandma (a nickname given to the oldest member of the class).

Kathy was in her early-mid 30s when she joined the Army. Even though she loved her Army unit at the Reserve Center, Kathy is always hungry for knowledge and the Navy offers substantially more training and diversification than the Army so, she moved to the Navy Reserves. She has been on AT to several different bases including Camp LeJeune and Camp Pendleton and a few others. I believe her MOS is still out of Pendleton where she passed her 8404 School. This is the training that qualifies a Corpsman to be attached to the Marines. A Corpsman that can’t do what a Marine can do is a liability to that Marine unit. There were a number of men that ‘rang the bell’ and dropped out of this intense, physically and psychologically, challenging course. She sustained her own injuries going through it and still completed the class successfully.

“Devil Docs” are sent to places that are much higher risks to personal survival to take care of the medical needs of the Marines that are in harm’s way.

Kathy ‘raised her hand’ when they called for volunteers to go to Iraq both times. She was part of the initial invasion’s second wave and was one week from being moved into Baghdad to replace the Alpha Company (she was part of Bravo Company) when the war was declared over. It just happened that her father passed away that same week. She went on her current tour with the Navy Mach Team that is in Al Asad, Iraq to support the Air Cargo branch of the Marines and Air Force of that airfield. They manage distribution of nearly all of the components of supply to the war.

Kathy is very proud to serve our country and, since she isn’t one to sit around waiting for someone in her unit to need medical care, she operates a number of heavy equipment units such as, a 10,000 pound fork lift, a ‘heavy’ truck to unload cargo planes of equipment that includes items like jet engines, helicopter parts, etc.

Kathy’s son, Justin, is Active Duty Navy. He is a MA (Master-at-Arms – the Navy’s version of a MP) and is currently stationed in New Orleans. Justin is scheduled to go to Iraq or GITMO in August. Kathy lost her 26 year old daughter 4 days before she was to ship out to Iraq this tour. She had to stay behind for the services and then shipped out to catch up with her unit 10 days after Jennifer’s death.

When Kathy isn’t in the Big Sandbox, she is a Deputy Sheriff for Greene County and has served as a Med Tech in the County Justice Center, a Bailiff for the Probate Court and is currently assigned to protect Criminal Judge Tom Mountjoy of the Greene County Courts. She has also served on the DWI Task Force and appreciates the effects of their service for taking drunk drivers off of the streets.

Kathy graduated with her BS Degree in Psychology right after returning from Iraq the first time and had just completed her 1st semester in the Master’s Degree Program when she was called to duty this time. She left the end of January ’05 with orders that state she will be deactivated the end of January of 2006. There is reason to believe that her unit will be coming home sooner – possibly October of this year.

Kathy’s children at home are our 3 cats. They are all rescues and all three are Tuxedo Cats (black with the white chests). She gets to hear their purrs over the phone sometimes and it brings a sense of home to her.

We bought our bikes the year Kathy got back from her first tour of duty (2003). She originally didn’t want us to have a ‘big bike’ when I wanted one. I had waited until my kids were out of home before getting my dream ride. Well, after months o
Kathy is now a member of the Blue Knights (an International Law Enforcement rider’s group), Women on Wheels, Lady Cruisers and enjoys riding whenever possible. In fact, she enjoys riding her bike so much that I really miss her on the back of mine. I am also a man that enjoys his bride’s arms around him when riding. What can I say? I am very proud to be her partner in life and of her determination to do anything she sets her mind to do.f trying to convince her (along with several of our friends working on her), she relented and I had my VTX 1800 Retro in the driveway a few days later. After only a couple of months of riding with me, meeting the nice people that also ride, and enjoying this new freedom of spirit, she went out (without EVER letting a clutch out before) and bought a Yamaha Roadstar Silverado 1600cc. Within less than 200 miles of training on a Shadow 600cc, I had to sell it because she was already riding the Roadstar. Part of this accelerated process is due to her taking the Rider Course that our friends, Gregg and Donna Routh provide with their SW MO Motorcycle Training Center. They gave her the training and confidence to ride. The other part of her success is if she determines she wants to accomplish something, regardless of the level of challenge, she will not only succeed, she will excel.

We ride a number of rides to benefit many organizations. We also do long distance bicycling for causes including the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks ride and the MS 150 Bike Tour. Kathy will miss out on riding on a Toy Run to the Shriner Children’s Hospital (in St. Louis) this year. I founded a new motorcycle unit at our local Shrine (Abou Ben Adhem Cruisers) hence, the Lady Cruiser membership.

Read more about this amazing Diva

Submitted By: Buck Van Hooser