Military Appreciation Honoree - SSG Will Rice

Military Appreciation Honoree - SSG Will Rice

SSG Will Rice
U.S. Army, Veteran

I joined the Illinois Army National Guard while still in high school in October 2000. After attending basic training at Fort Benning, I went straight to Advanced Individual Training and graduated in March 2002. I earned a second MOS during my pre-mobilization to Iraq for OIF 3. I re-classed yet again in May 2007 and volunteered for a deployment to Farah, Afghanistan for OEF 8. Some memorable moments during my service included working with different people and experiencing many cultures.

One memory that sticks out in my mind was when we were out on mission on a particularly rainy afternoon… Afghanistan doesn’t really have many hard surface roads. A lot of times you are just driving in the middle of nowhere, making your own road. There were several times we would have to cross rivers, and two or three of those times I found myself getting the truck stuck in the river. You’d think you’d be able to cross, even after someone walked it, but the truck would get stuck in a hole. The holes were made by the locals who would dig out the creek bed to use on their homes when there was no water. One time I filled up half the cab getting stuck. Our interpreter was in the backseat of the truck spidermanning himself into the corner of the ceiling to stay dry and cussing me out the whole time. I had actually swapped with the driver from gunning so I could dry off from the rain, and of course it stopped raining while we got stuck so he ended up staying dry the whole time!

Aside from my deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, I flew through Kuwait, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan and Europe during my time in the Army. My military experience also allowed me to be a security contractor in Baghdad, and I traveled through Dubai, Jordan and Europe for that. Now out of the Army, I work as a Partnership Account Manager at Grunt Style, "makers of the finest in military-inspired casual wear."

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