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Proud to welcome Staff Sergeant William J. Rice to Open Conversations at a special time, this Thursday from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Pacific time, on KKNW Alternation Talk 1150 AM. Remember you can also stream the show live online at 1150kknw.com. As an Army Ranger and Combat Medic Staff Sergeant Rice will be sharing how he has lived his passion and purpose through the military.
Staff Sergeant William J Rice was born to a U.S. Navy Serviceman father, Chief Petty Officer (Ret.) Anthony Rice, and a Filipino mother, Elizabeth Ross Rice, on the U.S. Navy Base Subic Bay, Philippines, while his father was serving abroad with the U.S. Navy. His Grandfather, Richard Ross, served in the U.S. Marines during WWII where one of Corporal Ross’s tours took him to the Philippines where he met Teodora Olivas, who is Staff Sergeant Rice’s grandmother in the Philippines.
As the son and grandson of military men, Staff Sergeant Rice and his family lived all over the world, stationed in places such as Hawaii, Japan, California and the Philippines, to name just a few. Staff Sergeant Rice grew up daydreaming about being a combat soldier in the military. He used to play “Army” with his cousin, Jamie Rice, who later joined the U.S. Marines to add to the Rice family military traditions.
On Staff Sergeant Rice’s 20th birthday in 1996, the same year his father retired from the U.S. Navy, he joined the Air National Guard which was soon followed by his active duty enlistment in the U.S. Army. His Military training started in the U.S. Air Force, where his military specialty was as an aircrew member in the world-renowned work horse of the U.S. military air fleet, the C-130 Hercules. While in the Air Force, Staff Sergeant Rice’s training consisted of Loadmaster course, Aircrew Level C Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape course and U.S. Paratrooper Airborne schools.
While in the Air Force, Rice served in Bosnia flying U.S. Special Forces and Army Rangers to a small war torn village called Tuzla in Bosnia where the NATO Stabilization Force’s took control to begin its campaign for peace in that region of Bosnia. He realized that while being a Loadmaster fulfilled his patriotic duty, he was not fulfilling his dream of being a combat soldier.
It was Staff Sergeant Rice’s 51st flight mission with the U.S. Air Force from Germany to Bosnia, when he realized his life’s work was not to stay in the air and drop off the soldiers to fight but to follow the troops off the plane into combat. In late 1997 Staff Sergeant Rice requested a conditional honorable discharge out of the U.S. Air Force to Join the U.S. Army and that was granted.
While in the Active Duty U.S. Army, Staff Sergeant Rice was placed in the Transportation Corps under the XVIII Airborne Brigade, Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. There he was on the ground with the Infantryman where his heart wanted him. Staff Sergeant Rice (then Private First Class Rice) was deployed in 1998-1999 to The Republic of Nicaragua in Central America for a humanitarian crisis. While in Nicaragua Private First Class Rice dealt with medical trauma emergencies throughout this tour.
Not knowing how to treat seriously injured victims and soldiers, as his military training only gave him basic knowledge of first aid, and watching people die in his arms, at that time he recognized another calling and added U.S. Army Combat Medic to his credentials.
In November 2001 Staff Sergeant Rice reenlisted to be a U.S. Army Combat Medic. During his reenlistment contract preparations Staff Sergeant Rice made sure his enlistment contract demanded that he attend not only the Combat Medic school but also attend the prestigious U.S. Army Ranger School in Ft. Benning, Georgia. This is an intense 61-day combat leadership course oriented toward small-unit tactics. It has been called “the most physically and mentally demanding leadership school the Army has to offer.” He was then sent to more advanced schools the Army needed him to attend. The U.S. Army Expert Field Medical Course, Combat Team Medical Trauma Course Trauma AIMS Course (specializing in Advance Airway, IV Therapy) and Medical Trauma Simulation Courses, to name a few.
In all of his career, Staff Sergeant Rice was able to continue his civilian education and obtain a Bachelors of Sciences Degree in Environmental Sciences using the Montgomery GI Bill and support of his Commanding Officers and fellow soldiers.
In becoming a Combat Medic and a Ranger, in his 20 plus years with the Army, Staff Sergeant Rice has served all over the world, including going back to Bosnia for a second tour which gave him a completion of his Air Force Tour, two tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he served as senior medic at Camp VI, the highest level detainee prison, and in Kuwait. He received numerous decorations including the Army Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Unit Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal 3rd award, Humanitarian Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal 3rd award, Presidential Unit Citation 2nd award and the Army Superior Unit 2nd award, just to name a few of his decorations.
Experiencing firsthand the humanitarian efforts of the US military, Staff Sergeant Rice has a unique perspective of the great good that can come of military service. Injured in one deployment and Critically Injured in another, Staff Sergeant Rice has been transitioned into the Wounded Warrior Transition Program where he is preparing for his retirement from his years of faithful service not only for his country but for his families military tradition. He says now it’s time to start his new career, whichever path that may take him.
Staff Sergeant Rice believes in finding that path. He will be going back to college in a career not yet determined in addition to his Bachelors of Sciences Degree. In his free time Sergeant Rice is an Alumnist with Wounded Warrior Project and mentor to the younger Army Soldiers, Airman, Marines and Navy Corpsmen during his volunteer time with the Wounded Warrior Project and other VA organizations.
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Holly Holmquist is a Day Minister, Spiritual Mentor and host of the radio show Open Conversations on KKNW 1150am. Holly offers private mentoring sessions, classes and workshops. Listen to past Open Conversations shows, see blogs and read about Holly’s ministry at holmquistholly.com.