Wounded Warrior To Lead Medical Battalion
May 27, 2008
When he was injured in Iraq in September 2007, Army Command Sgt. Major Mark Cornejo was reluctant about being medivaced back to the United States for medical treatment, because that meant he would be leaving his comrades and his mission behind. Throughout his recovery, he never lost his desire to continue to serve his country. On May 13th, he assumed responsibility for the 187th Medical Battalion at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
“Giving up never entered my thought process,” Cornejo said, speaking of his recovery. “It wasn’t ‘if,’ it was ‘when’ I was going to get back. I just wanted to know how fast I could get fixed so I could get back.”
Cornejo was deployed with III Corps out of Fort Hood, Texas in November 2006, as the chief medical NCO for the corps staff. He and 10 fellow Soldiers were injured in a mortar attack on their FOB, September 11, 2007. After returning to the United States for treatment at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, he underwent 3 months of in-patient treatment and over 5 months of rehabilitation. He’s still working on building the strength in his shoulder.
“I suffered shrapnel wounds on the left side of my body and left shoulder,” he said.
Last fall, I had the pleasure of meeting CSM Cornejo while he was still a patient at BAMC. I had went to BAMC with 1st Cavalry Division rear detachment personnel on one of their trips to visit the Wounded Warriors at BAMC. CSM Cornejo had just undergone another surgery that day, and was in great spirits when we visited, laughing and joking with us, especially after we presented him various 1st Cavalry Division memorabilia. During his time spent recovering at BAMC, Cornejo found out that his next assignment would keep him there at BAMC. I was quite impressed with his positive attitude, despite the pain he had to have been feeling that day.
“I was very happy. Since I’m a medic, I’ve come full circle. I’m back where I was trained 20 yeras ago,” he said.
CSM Cornejo is now the battalion CSM of the 187th Medical Battalion. He has responsibility for over 450 instructors and nearly 6,000 Soldiers who will be trained at BAMC throughout the year. His battalion is responsible for the logistics and training of 8 military occupational specialties, 8 officer cources and 9 additional skills identifiers. With his experience in Iraq and then as a patient at BAMC, he will be able to bring valuable lessons to the Soldiers that he’s in charge of.
“My hope is to shed some light on past experiences to magnify the importance of basic warrior tasks each Soldier needs to know,” he said. “My goal is to provide realistic, but safe, training for our Soldiers.
This is a great move for CSM Cornejo and I’m sure that he’ll perform his new duties will the pride and dedication that we so often see in the military. He’ll definitely be able to share first-hand experience with his Soldiers, from the perspective of a medic, as well as from the perspective of a patient. I’m sure his leadership will be sorely missed at III Corps.