View Full Version : Cancer stricken boy becomes Honorary Army Ranger

Tom Perroni
February 13th, 2010, 10:31 PM
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Cancer stricken boy becomes Honorary Army Ranger


Cancer-stricken boy becomes honorary Ranger

Dec 4, 2009

By Brenda Donnell, MCOE Public Affairs Office

CAMP FRANK B. MERRILL, Ga. - His pale face and the scar on the back of his head are indications that Kenny Stewart is seriously ill.

A year ago, the 8-year-old was diagnosed with cancerous brain tumors. One was surgically removed, but two others remain.

Kenny will turn 9 Monday, the same day he will have an MRI to find out if the tumors have become smaller. The chemotherapy to shrink the tumors leaves him weak and depressed, said his mother, Anna Miles.

Kenny was definitely not depressed Tuesday when he visited Rangers from the 5th Ranger Training Battalion, she said.

The battalion, located near Dahlonega, Ga., conducts the mountain phase of the U.S. Army Ranger School.

"It was a dream-come-true for him," Miles said as tears filled her eyes. "It has been over and beyond what Kenny was expecting and what part he would play in it."

Kenny was made an honorary Ranger and promoted to his present rank of sergeant first class during his visit with the Rangers.

Known as "The Soldier" in his hometown of Dawsonville, Ga., where an Army Reserve unit made him an honorary Soldier with the rank of specialist, Kenny is a big fan of the Army and of guns. His mother said Kenny has wanted to be a Soldier since he was about 2.

Wayne Watkins, president of the Georgia Council of Vietnam Veterans of America, heard about Kenny's illness and talked to Dee Rawlston, whose husband, SFC James Rawlston, is assigned to 5th RTB.

When the Rangers at 5th RTB heard about Kenny, they decided to give him a "day in the life" of an Army Ranger.

"He wants to grow up and be a Soldier, so hopefully when he has the opportunity to make that decision he will sign up to be a Ranger," said MAJ Wayne Pare, 5th RTB operations officer.

"His heart is in the right place, and he knows what being a Soldier means. His strength as a young man who wants to do something like this is impressive, and he has a lot of people supporting him and wishing him well on his recovery."

Kenny's day included rappelling and riding in a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, but the activity he said he was most looking forward to was shooting a machine gun.

"It didn't even kick," Kenny said, smiling, as he finished firing the M-240B machine gun, which was mounted on a Humvee. "I liked shooting the machine gun best, but I liked shooting them all."

SSG Matthew Johnson, 5th RTB Ranger Support Element squad leader, demonstrated and assisted Kenny as he shot an M-4 carbine, an M-249 and looked at other equipment Rangers use. He also tried on a parachute and a helmet with night-vision goggles.

"He's an amazing kid," Johnson said. "He already knew how to load the weapons and how to fire them. He was a natural."

Despite his illness, Kenny's huge smile and shining eyes were testament to a day that he won't soon forget, his mother said.

"He has been speechless, but he has a look on his face that is definitely not a look that says I have been on chemo for a week and shouldn't be talking or smiling right now, because he was doing nothing but smiling," Anna said.

February 13th, 2010, 10:37 PM
wow that is awesome :thumbsup:

February 13th, 2010, 11:18 PM
Very cool, and awesome for the kid! Here's hoping he gets to live out his dream!

February 13th, 2010, 11:46 PM

February 14th, 2010, 12:12 AM
Good stuff man!