Missouri family hopes for best as soldier recovers from war injuries

John Hacker

It's a phone call no military family wants to get – a loved one has been injured in combat.

A Carthage family got that call, and now Kale Wilson is in Washington, D.C., trying to help his 21-year-old son recover from devastating injuries.

Cpl. Kody Kyle Wilson, 22, a member of the 101st Airborne Division, was seriously injured on May 17 in Samarra, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device exploded under the truck he was riding in.

"It's a phone call you never want to get when you have a loved one in the military," said Krystal Wilson, Kody Wilson's aunt. "We just happened to be the family that got it this time."

Kody Wilson's grandmother, Leah Wilson, of Carthage, said his left foot and part of his left leg had to be amputated, his right leg was shattered in several places, his elbow was broken and he had hairline fractures in more than one place in his spine.

Kale Wilson, who works at the Carthage Underground, has spent much of the past two weeks at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington to be with his son as he recovers.

Kody Wilson grew up in southeast Kansas, graduating from high school in Erie, Kan.

"He's a golfer, and he loves to hunt and fish," Kale Wilson said of his son in a telephone interview from Washington. "We're supposed to go on a fishing trip. He wanted to do some off-shore fishing so when he recovers, you'll find us on a boat trying to catch a shark or something."

Kale Wilson said this was his son's second combat tour in Iraq. He had been sent to Iraq three years ago, and then came home for a year before he was sent back to Iraq in September 2007.

Kale Wilson said his son had decided that he was done with the U.S. Army at the end of his enlistment this December. Kyle Wilson joined the Army shortly after graduation four years ago.

Kale Wilson said his son had improved over the past couple of days after visits from a number of dignitaries and treatments with acupuncture.

Kale Wilson said Army Gen. David Petreaus, the commander of American forces in Iraq, visited his son last Thursday, followed later that day with a visit from the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain.

"General Petreaus gave Kody a coin that said "Well Done" on it," Kale Wilson said.

"That really put a smile on his face, the first smile we had seen since he came back to the U.S. Those Army guys have a way of talking to each other."

On Sunday, Country Music Singer Tricia Yearwood was visiting the hospital and stopped at Kody's bed.

Then on Monday, the National Champion Kansas Jayhawk men's basketball team stopped by and signed Kody's 101st Airborne flag.

Kale Wilson said other soldiers who have lost limbs in combat have been visiting Kody to prepare him for the long recovery he faces as he adjusts to life with prosthesis instead of a right foot.

Kale Wilson said he doesn't know how long he and his son will have to wait before they can take that fishing trip.

"We just don't know how long he'll be in the hospital," Kale Wilson said. "We had some of those guys with the prosthesis visit and some of them have been in the hospital for five months or more. All we know is he faces a long recovery."

Carthage Press