‘This is not the way she was going to go'
Sunday, November 08, 2009
By Michael A. Fuoco and Kaitlynn Riely
Courtesy of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
When Philip Warman learned of the shooting rampage Thursday at Fort Hood, Texas, his thoughts — and fears — naturally turned to his wife, Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman.
Lieutenant Colonel Warman, 55, had been at Fort Hood for only 24 hours to be processed for duty in Iraq, a deployment for which she had volunteered.
Mr. Warman, a lawyer who lives in Havre de Grace, Maryland, was particularly worried because the attack, in which 13 people were killed and 30 wounded, occurred in Fort Hood's Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where medical and dental care is provided to those about to deploy overseas.
“Naturally, I was trying to track her down,” Mr. Warman said in a telephone interview yesterday from his home, where family and friends had gathered to grieve and support each other. “I kept thinking, ‘She can't be in the processing center.' She had just gotten there, she had more training to undergo. She was not due to leave until the end of November. The base hot line didn't have her on the initial list of casualties.
“I thought, ‘Good, she's probably OK. She just can't get through to me.' “
A half-hour later, his doorbell rang.
“There were two [soldiers] in Class A uniforms. I knew what that was all about.”
Indeed, Lieutenant Colonel Warman was among those killed.
“I knew she was going in harm's way in Iraq. [But at Fort Hood], this is not the way she was going to go,” he said, choking up.
His wife's military career spanned 25 years in active duty and Army reserves.
A certified psychiatric nurse practitioner originally from Pittsburgh and whose relatives still live in area, she had undergone training in California in preparation for her mission and was due for more training at Fort Hood.
Mr. Warman and his wife were both graduates of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a master's degree in nursing.
The couple, who married in the late 1990s, had moved to Maryland in 2005 where Lieutenant Colonel Warman accepted a job at a Veterans Administration facility in Perryville, Maryland. Prior to the move, the couple lived in Pittsburgh and she had a civilian practice at UPMC. She was an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
“She was excellent at her practice,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Warman served a year overseas at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, the Army facility where those injured in Afghanistan and Iraq are treated before being sent stateside for further medical care. She regularly volunteered for round-trip flights to Iraq to care for soldiers being sent to Landstuhl, her husband said.
She received an Army Commendation Medal in 2006 for meritorious service at Landstuhl.
“She was indeed an extraordinary woman,” said Mr. Warman. “I can't remember when we weren't together. We met at a social event at the University Club in 1986. We've been together since. She was my best friend. She was an excellent soldier.”
Lieutenant Colonel Warman's stepson, Philip, 38, said the family was “deeply saddened. We're going through the grieving process.
“She was a good soldier. She loved her family, her job, her colleagues and her friends and she will be deeply missed.”
In Crafton last night, family and friends gathered to mourn. Eva Waddle, Lieutenant Colonel Warman's mother, said her daughter couldn't wait to deploy. Other family members agreed.
“She was looking forward to help her country by helping the soldiers who needed her professional help,” her sister, Tammy J. Harper of Pittsburgh, said. “She didn't want them to wait to get home to get help.”
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Lieutenant Colonel Warman's commitment to the armed services grew, her relatives said.
“She really donated her life to serving her country,” her daughter, Melissa Papst-Czemerda, 29, of Peters, said. “She loved helping people and making a difference. She was a heroine and gave her life serving her country.”
On October 29, 2009, Lieutenant Colonel Warman made her final Facebook posting. Ms. Harper said the family had been reading and re-reading the note since her death. The note mentions how her sister was missing her daughters and grandchildren, and kept track of their lives through the photographs they posted.
“I am so excited to be leaving the country again soon,” Lieutenant Colonel Warman said in her posting. “Just now got a few minutes. So much to do, so many lives to touch. Just wish it didn't take me away from home so much.”
Lieutenant Colonel Warman is survived by her husband, two daughters, three stepchildren and eight grandchildren, her mother and six siblings. The family expects Lieutenant Colcolonel Warman to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
8 November 2009:
“I just now got a few minutes. … There's so much to do. So many lives to touch,” Juanita Warman wrote in a final message to her two children.
Within days, the Army nurse was one of those fatally wounded in a burst of gunfire at Fort Hood, Texas, that killed 13 people and wounded 30.
On Saturday, her mother, Eva Waddle, other family members and friends gathered at the mother's Crafton apartment as Army officials came to officially deliver the terrible news.
Warman, 55, had arrived at Fort Hood just two days before the shooting.
Family friend Danielle Judd said Warman's family was “exhausted and overcome with emotion.”
A Lieutenant Colonel, Warman was the highest ranking soldier to die in the gunfire. She grew up in Sheraden and graduated from Langley High School in 1972.
By the end of the month, the decorated psychiatric nurse was to have left for Iraq, once again to administer to the mental and physical needs of her military colleagues.
“I'm excited to be leaving,” Warman wrote in that final message October 29, sent just days before her death.
She added that it was so nice to see her children grown up, even if it was only in photos.
Warman, who received a master's degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000, served previously in Operation Enduring Freedom, family and friends said last night.
She made multiple trips accompanying wounded soldiers on trips from Iraq to Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center in Germany and on to Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington.
She was awarded a badge for meritorious service for her efforts in 2005 and 2006, Judd said.
In addition to her two daughters, Tawnya Patillo of Alabama and Melissa Papst of McMurray, and her mother, she leaves her husband, Philip, and four sisters and a brother.
The news of Warman's death came as a shock to those who knew her.
Robert Papst, Juanita's ex-husband, said he had not been in touch with her recently. Papst said Juanita was in the Reserves when they were married but had not been called to active duty.
“We kept a good relationship,” he said, adding that he lost contact with her when their daughter, Melissa, became emancipated.
He said he knew that she had relocated to Maryland.
Pennsylvania licensing records show Warman was a registered nurse practitioner in addition to being a registered nurse.
“I just wish my job didn't keep me away from home so much,” Warman wrote in that final message to her family. “I will keep checking in, so keep adding new photos.”
NOTE: Colonel Warman will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on 23 November 2009.
The highest-ranking person killed in the shootings at Fort Hood, Texas was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday.
Lt. Colonel Juanita Warman lived in Havre de Grace, Maryland, and specialized in helping soldiers adjust to the psychological effects of war. But Lt. Col Warman lost her life as she was preparing to put her life's work into action in Iraq.
A cold rain fell as the U.S. Army's caisson platoon brought the casket of Lt. Col. Warman to its final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery. The full military honors, the U.S. Army Band, and the firing party are consistent with other burials there, but this death was different.
Lt. Col. Warman did not lose her life to enemy fire. Instead, she was one of 13 people murdered at Fort Hood, allegedly at the hands of fellow U.S. Army Officer Major Nidal Hassan. Lt. Col. Warman was 55 years old. Her husband Phillip, daughters Tawnya and Melissa accepted flags on her behalf.
Lt. Col. Warman was a physician's assistant whose life's work had been helping soldiers deal with the psychological stress of war. In fact, Lt. Col. Warman had already served one tour of duty in Iraq, and was preparing to deploy for a second. While friends say she was not looking forward to leaving her family behind, she was encouraged about continuing her work in helping soldiers prepare for life inside and outside of a war zone.
“Her last facebook posting said, ‘There are so many lives left to touch,' and while she'd miss her family, she didn't want to wait 'til the soldiers came back home to help,” said Sherri Stern, a friend who worked with Lt. Col. Warman in the veterans' administration.
Others say eyewitness reports that Lt. Col. Warman had forced an Army sergeant to the ground, saving the sergeant's life before being killed herself was not out of character.
“No absolutely not– I don't think she would have thought anything else would have happened other than helping someone else before she tried to help herself,” said Lt. Col. Michael Gaffney of the U.S. Army.
Arlington National Cemetery held 32 funerals on Monday. The hallowed grounds now will bear the name of an Army officer from Maryland who lost her life not on a battlefield, but as she stood on U.S. soil and prepared to go to war.
‘So much to do. So many lives to touch.'
Highest-ranking soldier killed at Fort Hood is buried at Arlington
By Yamiche Alcindor
Courtesy of The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman had been at Fort Hood only 24 hours, preparing for deployment to Iraq, when she and 12 others were gunned down there this month. She was the highest-ranking soldier killed in the Texas attack.
“I kept thinking, ‘She can't be in the processing center.' She had just gotten there, she had more training to undergo. She was not due to leave until the end of November,” her husband, Philip Warman, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I knew she was going in harm's way in Iraq. [But at Fort Hood] this is not the way she was going to go.”
Friends and family gathered Monday in the cold rain at Arlington National Cemetery to say goodbye to the beloved wife, mother, and soldier. The ceremony began with the deep drums of the U.S. Army Band. Dark horses pulled the caisson that carried Warman's oak-colored casket to her grave site. The frigid wind blew leaves from the nearly bare branches of the large trees surrounding Warman's final resting place.
“She was indeed an extraordinary woman,” Philip Warman told the Post-Gazette. “I can't remember when we weren't together. We met at a social event at the University Club in 1986. We've been together since. She was my best friend. She was an excellent soldier.”
Warman, 55, worked her way through the University of Pittsburgh, became a nurse and joined the military, where she worked as a physician assistant, said her sister, Margaret Yaggie of Roaring Branch, Pennsylvania. She had also spent time in Washington state and Maryland.
Brig. Gen. James Adkins, adjutant general for Maryland, told the Austin American-Statesman that Warman was instrumental in setting up the post-traumatic stress disorder program for the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, which helps soldiers and their families reacclimate to civilian life.
“She was especially interested in helping female veterans,” Lieutenant Colonel Mike Gafney of the Maryland National Guard told the Texas news paper. It was a mission “that was very dear to her heart,” he said.
“She loved meeting with and helping women soldiers through the long and many times lonely path they had to face after coming back from the war,” Gafney said.
Yaggie said her sister was excited to go the Middle East, but her thoughts were of her two daughters and six grandchildren.
Each leg of the funeral seemed more precise and more heartfelt than the last. The servicemen slowly carried out the honors as each motion seemed to intensify with the cold. The drums seemed to get deeper, the commands seemed to be given louder, the steps more precise — all as if to say, not on our soil, not within our ranks.
The servicemen folded the flag that had draped Warman's coffin, and Major General Robert J. Kasulke, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Command, presented it to Philip Warman.
Three men held three other flags, and one by one, each was gently touched to Warman's casket before Kasulke handed them to Warman's daughters, Tawnya Pattillo and Melissa Czemerda, and her mother, Eva Waddle.
Czemerda also spoke to the Pittsburgh newspaper. “She really donated her life to serving her country,” she said. “She loved helping people and making a difference. She was a heroine and gave her life serving her country.”
Secretary of the Army John McHugh offered his condolences, and Brenda Koch, on behalf of Arlington Cemetery, offered hers.
In the last moments before walking away, family members bent down to kiss Warman's casket. She was laid to rest in Section 59, just north of Section 60, where most casualties of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are buried.
Family members said they have been rereading Warman's last Facebook entry, written October 29: “I miss my girls and their beautiful children. It's so nice to come to Facebook to see them grow up even if it's just in photographs.” Warman added, “So much to do. So many lives to touch. Just wish it didn't take me away from home so much.”
The casket of Army Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman is transported by a horse drawn
caisson at her burial services at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The honor guard carries the casket of Army Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman at her
burial services at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Widower Philip Warman attends the burial services of his wife Army Lieutenant Colonel
Juanita Warman at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, November 24, 2009.
Unidentified relatives of Army Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman grieve at her
burial services at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Eva Waddle, the mother of Army Lieutenant Colonel Juanita Warman, grieves at her
burial services at Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, November 24, 2009
WARMAN, JUANITA LEE
- LTC US ARMY
- DATE OF BIRTH: 09/09/1954
- DATE OF DEATH: 11/05/2009
- BURIED AT: SECTION 59 SITE 92
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard