Pushing Yourself to the Limit

By MaryTherese Griffin | Army Warrior Care and Transition | June 12, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va. —

You probably never realize how much you need your thumb until you can’t use it. Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Simper of the Utah Army National Guard now faces that notion every day. In November 2018, while on his third deployment – this time to Camp Arifjan Kuwait – he sustained an injury while helping with a flood. 

“Our group was assisting in filling and placing sandbags. I was operating machinery and my right hand was caught. This partially amputated my right thumb and fractured the bone. Three other fingers were caught, but suffered only lacerations from the compression,” Simper said.

Due to bone exposure and risk of infection, he was flown to Germany and shortly back to the United States. “I still suffer from nerve damage in my right thumb, and being right hand dominant can make accomplishing simple tasks difficult,” Simper said.

The Senior Construction Supervisor, who has a civilian career in law enforcement, was familiar with the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson, Colorado from fellow Soldiers he met along the way.

“I knew the WTU assisted Soldiers who had been injured and could not return to Active Duty or their civilian careers, but did not know the depth of the program. During my recovery I was given many opportunities through the adaptive reconditioning program to still live an active life style while recovering.” 

Simper, who says he’s an avid outdoorsman, also learned there was a path to return to duty which he is now on.

“My care plan was simple at first with waiting for the wound to heal. I was given an opinion that I should be returned to duty in January, but found this problematic as I was still unable to use my hand. I requested a second opinion and was able to see an orthopedic hand surgeon at the Air Force Academy. I was diagnosed with severe neuropathy and sent directly to occupational therapy which I have been utilizing since. 

His goal is to return to duty. His adaptive reconditioning has shown him how to adjust where the thumb is concerned. He tried his luck at rock climbing last month, and while he says he fell several times, he did eventually make it to the top! “I tried all of the adaptive equipment and found that even when my injury was limiting me, I could still do it. I would definitely say, don't let your injuries limit your mental outlook and willingness to try.”

Simper hopes other wounded, ill and injured Soldiers will give it their best try. “My greatest bit of advice to a Soldier entering the WTU is get involved. We are all injured, but can still live our lives.”

 

 

 

Members of the Utah National Guard's 640th Regiment, Regional Training Institute went head-to-head at a Best Warrior Competition held January 4-5, 2020, at Camp Williams, Utah, for a chance to claim the RTI's titles of NCO of the Year and Senior NCO of the Year. Staff Sgt. Sams ruck marches 8.5 kilometers through undulating terrain.
The Best Warriors of Fire and Sword
By Master Sgt. Clint Markland | Jan. 8, 2020
The 640th Regiment, Regional Training Institute, conducted a robust Best Warrior Competition on

A new suicide prevention and awareness app is set to go live Dec. 6, 2019, designed to support Utah National Guard service members and families in crisis.
 
The SafeUTNG app will be free to download from the Android and Apple app stores and provides service members and their families with a safe, confidential platform to communicate with a crisis counselor 24/7.
In Safe Hands
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Dec. 4, 2019
A new suicide prevention and awareness app is set to go live Dec. 6, 2019, designed to support Utah

BYU professor Dave Wood Wood also serves as a behavioral health officer in the Utah Army National Guard.
BYU photo by Madeline Mortensen
Stronger for Having Served
By news.byu.edu | Nov. 11, 2019
More than one million American men and women are veterans of the War on Terror—that is, veterans who

The annual period for part-time Utah National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to enroll in or change their TRICARE health insurance plan began on Monday, November 11th and ends on Monday, December 9th.
Are You Covered? What You Need to Know About TRICARE Open Season
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Nov. 11, 2019
The annual period for part-time Utah National Guard Soldiers and Airmen to enroll in or change their

The Utah National Guard hosted a change-of-command and retirement ceremony for its top general officer and commander, the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Nov. 7, 2019.

The Governor of Utah, the Honorable Gary R. Herbert, provided remarks and oversaw the event. The ceremony was closed to the general public due to time and space restrictions. On Oct. 17, 2019, Herbert announced the selection of Brig. Gen. Michael J. Turley to serve as the adjutant general of the UTNG. Turley  took over for Burton effective Nov. 7, 2019.
Retirement of Maj. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Nov. 7, 2019
The Utah National Guard hosted a retirement ceremony for its top general officer and commander, the

The Utah National Guard hosted a change-of-command and retirement ceremony for its top general officer and commander, the Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton, at Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base, Nov. 7, 2019.

The Governor of Utah, the Honorable Gary R. Herbert, provided remarks and oversaw the event. The ceremony was closed to the general public due to time and space restrictions. On Oct. 17, 2019, Herbert announced the selection of Brig. Gen. Michael J. Turley to serve as the adjutant general of the UTNG. Turley  took over for Burton effective Nov. 7, 2019.
Brig. Gen. Michael J. Turley Assumes Command of the Utah National Guard
By Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Nov. 7, 2019
On Oct. 17, 2019, the Honorable Gary R. Herbert, Governor of Utah, announced the selection of Brig.

A Czech Republic soldier prepares to present awards during a during a ceremony in Prostejov, Oct. 25, 2019, marking a successful six-month tour to Western Afghanistan. During the ceremony, Special Forces Soldiers from the Czech Republic and Texas Army National Guard received awards, distinctions and badges of honor as an appreciation for their successful service abroad and excellent representation of their homeland. The Texas Military Department and the Czech Republic have participated in the U.S. Department of State’s Partnership Program cooperation since 1993 with the Nebraska National Guard, in support of the U.S. European Command Theater Security Cooperation Strategy. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Pena)
19th Special Forces Soldiers Honored by the Czech Republic
By Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Pena | Oct. 25, 2019
Soldiers assigned to 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces, Texas Army National Guard, were awarded the

2nd Lt. Carter briefs adjustments to the plan at the Objective Rally Point (ORP) in preparation for field interrogations, during a training exercise in Cache Valley National Forest, August 11, 2019.
Military Intelligence Soldiers Conduct Training in Northern Utah
By Sgt. First Class Dustin Waite | Sept. 30, 2019
Soldiers from B Company, and IC Detachment of the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion

Members of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) participate in a change of command and retirement ceremony on Camp Williams, Utah 14 September 2019. The unit received a new commanding officer and a new command sergeant major. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by, PFC. Jacob Jesperson)
19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) welcomes new leadership
By Sgt. James Bunn | Sept. 19, 2019
The 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) said farewell to two of senior leaders and welcomed two new

West Valley City receives Freedom Award
West Valley City receives Freedom Award
By Ileen Kennedy | Sept. 18, 2019
West Valley City was awarded the 2019 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award and held a