Trading Army fatigues for dove field camo; Wounded warrior shoots first dove

ptsdSpecialist Brian Kenney, a cavalry scout from El Paso who completed his army training in Fort Benning, Ga., had times in Baghdad where even eating a meal could be difficult.

“Every time we’d go to eat we’d get mortared,” he said. “Food would be flying everywhere.”

But Spc. Kenney, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, was looking for something different to be flying on Friday, as he was one of eight soldiers participating in a Wounded Warrior hunt put together by friend of LSON Jon Stolee. There was one experience that five years in the army had not provided Spc. Kenney with; shooting a dove.

After a few groups of birds flirted tauntingly at the edge of shotgun range, a lone dove finally came from seemingly nowhere and presented a passing shot.

One shot and the dove’s horizontal flight path took a vertical turn. Spc. Kenney and Stolee walked quickly over to the bird, but they didn’t need to worry — it was down, and Spc. Kenney had officially taken his first dove.

The rest of the morning saw sporadic opportunities, but the soldier didn’t need quick limits of shooting to be satisfied.

“I love it,” he said. “Anytime I get to shoot a gun I’m happy. It’s perfect weather and we have good company.”

During a slow spell, Spc. Kenney was asked if he received a Purple Heart for his service.

“That’s one of those things you don’t want, and I never got one of those,” he said. “When people ask if I got any medals, I say yeah, I got five; two legs, two arms, and my head.”

He was then asked if he thought he would be a life-long dove hunter from then on out.

“Oh, yeah,” he said. “It’s been a phenomenal experience.”

With his shooting skills, being a successful dove hunter should be no problem.