Michael Kacer is a 31-year-old veteran hailing from Throop. He joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard on February 3, 1999, at the age of 17, and served for over 11 years until turning 28. Completing basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia, he was then assigned to his home station in New Milford, Pennsylvania.
While serving in the 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company 1/109th Infantry (M), 55th Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, he reached the military rank of Staff Sergeant. He was sent to active duty in Iraq, serving there from January 2004 through April 2005, and also served in Afghanistan from November 2007 through June 2008. He received medical treatment and served at the Walter Reed Medical Center from June 2008 through May 2010.
Kacer’s medals and honors are extensive and very impressive for such a young man. They include: the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Ribbon, three Army Commendation Medals, three Army Achievement Medals, the Navy/Marine Achievement Medal, the Army Overseas Ribbon, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the Army National Guard Components Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Army NCO Medal.
This is a recounting of Kacer’s time in the military, in his own words:
Bar none, there are way too many great memories to define the comradery of the brother/sisterhood of uniform and service. But I do have three most favorite memories. Number one is my parents and sister pinning my blue cord on my uniform the day I graduated. My second favorite moment in my military career was on the last march, the 25-mile ruck march, the last 200 meters. It was around five am. We crested the last knoll, to see tiki torches and a cauldron. We marched into the circle and took the oath of Infantrymen, and the Drill deemed us Infantry. My third greatest moment was me losing my arm, despite the hardships that came with it. The tolls of survivor guilt, PTSD, TBI, and amputation. But it has still given me many opportunities, especially once I was taught the tools of how to embrace and cope with the difficulties. It’s a long process and I’m still dealing, but I wouldn’t change it for anything because of the many opportunities it’s given me to pay it forward.