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U of U Veterans Medallion



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Branch: Army
Theatre: Iraq

Growing up in a family that carries on the family name, Choice Kinchen IV knew deep inside he would be the one to make a difference. This started when he was taken to airshows and learning about the military. He set his mind early that he wanted to be on the frontline and in the action. In 2000 after graduation and one year before the 9/11 attack, Kinchen joined the Army where he found himself attached to Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.

In 2003 Kinchen was deployed to Iraq with his unit and appointed Team leader. Upon their arrival, they waited for the inevitable to occur. March of that year the world learned of Operation Iraqi Freedom while Kinchen lead his team as the first U.S. Soldiers to cross the border into Iraq.

During a clearing operation, and unbeknown to Alpha Company, they entered an anti- armor ambush. As they continued to clear the objective, they were engaging the enemy at the distance of just a few feet. As the team mounted the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, someone noticed an enemy soldier in the water attempting to throw grenades at the vehicle. Kinchen and other members of the squad, jumped out to take care of the situation.

It is now April in Iraq and the war continues on, but Kinchen is about to have the most unique experience of his life. Most people celebrate their 21st birthdays in various ways, having their first drink or simply having a slice of cake. On his 21st birthday, Kinchen experienced a pivotal moment in history as he watched from around a street corner, the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down.

As the invasion raged on, Kinchen and two other soldiers were part of a mission that, with no doubt, shows the heroic side of soldiers. An Iraqi woman was sitting exposed on a bridge severely wounded from small-arms fire. As the crossfire continued, the three worked together to cover each other, rescue the stranded woman, and get her to safety.

In 2007, Kinchen returned home and was honorably discharged from the Army. Each day, as so many do, he lives through internal and external scars of war. An excerpt of a poem written by Kinchen, “A Moment That Belongs”, he shares thoughts on moving forward:

The past is but a yesterday of the tomorrow we create
Only I can control my present, the one who ultimately controls my own fate

The gift of today with no end along the horizon.
I have a life I intend to live for me now, what I make of it will bring to light my
Inner self, a positive uprising

Honor A Veteran

Selections are only based on the nominee's military service
Nominees do not have to be alumni or associated with the university in any way. Each year, the committee selects eleven honorees based on noteworthy honor, courage, commitment, and sacrifice during their military service to our nation, but decorations for valor are not required. Selections are only based on the nominee's military service.