Jay Wilkerson is a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Army, a veteran of the
war in Iraq, and a poet of increasing repute. A career military man,
Jay served ten years in the U.S. Navy before joining the Army
Reserves. When his unit was called to active duty, he deployed to
Iraq, where he completed more than 800 missions as part of a convoy
group called the ‘Ruff Riders.’
On the morning of March 28, 2006, while traveling on a
heavily-contested stretch of road outside Fallujah, Jay’s convoy was
ambushed by insurgents. Jay’s humvee was rocked by an explosion, but
he was able to maneuver the up-armored vehicle through the blast to
safety. On the return leg of that same mission, his convoy was
attacked again. Two rocket-propelled grenades slammed into Jay’s
humvee, demolishing the vehicle, killing the Soldier next to him, and
leaving Jay with severe brain trauma, a C-5 spinal fracture and
numerous injuries to the left side of his face and body.
Jay’s path toward recovery has been long and arduous, and it continues
to this day as he struggles to reclaim and redefine his life in the
wake of his injuries. Jay was awarded 2 Purple Heart medals in April of
2006 for the injuries he sustained and on September 6, 2007, he was
awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Iraq. His story and
the tale of his physical and emotional ordeal have been featured on
national television news programs and several documentaries, including
James Gandolfini’s HBO special, ‘Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq.’
Jay was something of a poet before that fateful day outside Fallujah.
In his search for healing, his poetry became his first and best tool
for understanding. It has become the lens through which he sees the
world, and the bridge that leads him toward the future.
Jay Wilkerson is a warrior, and he is a poet. But beyond both, he is a man in search of meaning. This is his journey?
*Point of contact for SSG Jay Wilkerson is Maria Edwards.
Contact info is as follows: