Military Member of the Month Troy Musser
Troy Musser joined the Iowa Army National Guard in 1999 when he was 17 and two weeks after his twin brother joined. He completed Basic Training, at Fort Knox, KY, and between his junior and senior years of high school. After high school, he completed my advanced training at Fort Gordon, GA.
Troy in his own words;
In Feb. 2003, my unit was activated in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I was promoted to Sergent when we received our orders. I was in charge of three soldiers. After over three months of training, we headed to Kuwait for final preparations and to get acclimated to the heat. In June in Kuwait, the average daytime temperature was plus 120 degrees. For the next ten months, we were in Tikrit, Iraq. Our mission was to provide base-to-base data communications; phone and internet. We returned home May 2004.
In the time after the deployment to Iraq, I received the nickname ‘The Machine’. I earned it by being what we called a PT (physical training) Stud. Every year we take the Army Physical Fitness Test and every test from 2004 to my last in May 2011 I scored the maximum amount of points available, 300.
In August 2010, I deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to Afghanistan. My job was Communication Security (COMSEC) Account Manager for the Brigade. I was one of three individuals, in the brigade (2,000+ soldiers), who could run the account. We returned home in July 2011 after 11 months.
Midway through the Afghan. deployment I had pulled a muscle in my calf, which after several months didn’t seem to heal. Shortly after the muscle injury, I began experiencing muscle twitching in my right upper arm. At first, it was intermittent then it became constant. After returning home I went to the VA for tests, because things just weren’t feeling right. After a few weeks, I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
In May 2013 I was medically retired from the Army after 14 years of service. Life with ALS has been a neverending battle, not only with your body but your mind. In hindsight, I learned I needed to grieve over the loss of my body. It took about two years to finish grieving and somewhat be okay with my illness and new life. In the last couple of years, I have strived to be an advocate for myself and others living with ALS.
In May of this year, I went to Washington D.c for ALS Advocacy Days. We meet with all of Iowa’s members of Congress to ask for their support on bills that continued the governments funding for ALS research and quality of life. My team, Team Machine, and I are doing what we can to raise awareness and funding for ALS in Eastern Iowa and social media. We will keep fighting until there is a cure.