After nine months of military service in the Middle East, Pratt USD 382 Assistant Superintendent David Schmidt came home. He was welcomed back to the community during a special ceremony at Pratt High School earlier this month.
Schmidt served as the Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Hospital in Kuwait where he managed medical care for over 10,000 soldiers in Kuwait and 27 other countries in the Middle East.
Though it was a tough nine months, Schmidt enjoyed his duties there.
"Providing medical care to America's best and brightest was the high point of my tour," Schmidt said. "Knowing that we were able to provide the best medical care in the world to our warriors truly made the tour of duty tolerable."
The United States’ soldiers rely on units like Schmidt’s to provide medical care for them so they can do their own jobs in hostile areas.
"Knowing that medical care is available on short notice provides them with the courage they need to do the job that they do," Schmidt said.
The most difficult part of his tour was being away from home, he said, but his strong network of family and friends provided the peace of mind he needed to get the job done.
"The amazing support that I received during my time in Kuwait was phenomenal," Schmidt said. "The care packages and letters received made a huge impact not only on my morale but the morale of my soldiers."
Schmidt believes that the United States is in good hands because of today’s military forces.
"Our country is blessed to have a solid volunteer force of young men and women who are willing to serve," Schmidt explained. "I met hundreds of young men and women during my tour and I saw first hand the dedication they have to our nation."
Schmidt was glad to return home to his community and to the people he missed, but he also learned some important lessons during his time overseas.
"Serving in austere environments really makes you enjoy the finer things of life and causes you to really slow down and enjoy the ride, stop and smell the roses, and really show appreciation for your family, friends, and co-workers," Schmidt said.
He is thankful to be able to come home to Pratt.
"Pratt is a great community and I cannot thank my family, Pratt USD 382, Pratt Community College, and my Church of Christ family enough for the outpouring of support that was provided not only to me but to my family as well in my absence," he said.