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Finding My New Unit

Army Veteran Dennis Wisner reflects on making new connections and memories with Team Rubicon and his service dog, Thor.

I joined Team Rubicon because I really wanted to go back into the Army. I was medically retired in 2007 and no doctor would sign off on the paperwork to reenlist. Joining Team Rubicon is as close as I could get to reenlisting.

I work with Wounded Warrior Project and Team Rubicon is a household name. I’ve known about it for about a year. I did a lot of research, watched the organization and two months ago I decided that, even though it’s not the military, there’d be people on the operation who’re in my shoes. Military guys who don’t have a unit to belong to anymore.

I signed up and figured I wouldn’t get deployed right away but I was wrong and now I’m here. I thought we’d be in tents, eating MREs. That’s fine; I love MREs. I didn’t think we’d have electricity.  The whole deployment feels luxurious. Honestly? Even as I drove to the airport, I wondered if the whole thing was a hoax, if I’d get to Texas and nothing would be here.

The moment I got off the plane, though, it was real. Even before that – I was slow getting off the plane and they called me to see if I was ok. When I finally made it down to baggage, everyone was waiting for me. Two drivers greeted me with a hug, a thank you, and a “Welcome to Team Rubicon.” That moment will stay with me forever, and I’ll stay with Team Rubicon, forever.

One of the most important pieces of it, for me, is how receptive everyone is to Thor. If they didn’t love Thor as much as they do, this would be harder for me. They flock to him when they come back to the FOB, and I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

I was an Army Military Police Officer; I worked in drugs and apprehension. Thor and I served two 15 month tours together in Iraq; one in Baghdad, and one in Fallujah.

Thor was critically injured the same day I was. I don’t remember the date unless I watch the video, but it was November. He received his second Purple Heart that day; I received my third.

He’s a miracle dog. He broke his hip, he broke his leg and he’s missing four complete ribs. I’ve got metal in my body from my neck down. I’m a bit slower and so is he. He is my life. I truly believe we saved each other’s life. After this deployment to Texas, I’m convinced Team Rubicon is the unit I was looking for. Thor and I are home.

William Rosche

William is a Marine Corps veteran from Region 3.