By: Angela Sienko, Senior Editor, Alumni Communications
Captain Wendy Sue Kosek, a 2004 University of Notre Dame graduate and a 2007 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, has been honored with The Rev. William Corby, C.S.C., Award for distinguished military service to her country. Capt. Kosek was presented with the award during halftime of the Notre Dame–Michigan football game Saturday, September 11.
After graduating magna cum laude from the University with a bachelor’s degree in English and computer applications, Capt. Kosek was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force Reserve. She accepted an education delay to attend the Notre Dame Law School, from which she graduated cum laude.
After graduation, Capt. Kosek joined the Little Rock Air Force Base legal office as an assistant staff judge advocate before being deployed in June 2009 to Baghdad, Iraq. Just two months into her deployment to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, Capt. Kosek’s convoy was struck by an improvised explosive projectile that is formed to penetrate armor and release shrapnel in all directions. Capt. Kosek sustained significant injuries to her face, hands, and calf. A larger piece of shrapnel shattered the top of her right tibia and lodged behind her knee.
Following numerous surgical procedures to repair her wounds, Capt. Kosek tackled her rehabilitation with the same tenacity she dedicates to her service. Relying on her “go-getter” approach to life, she refused to let her injuries keep her down. For her drive and dedication, Capt. Kosek was awarded the Purple Heart, an Air Force Combat Action Medal, and a Joint Service Commendation Medal for her service.
Today, Capt. Kosek is an assistant staff judge advocate at the 316th Wing, Joint Base Andrews, Md. Previously, at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., she served as chief of adverse actions, labor law, medical law, and operations law.
Capt. Kosek’s response:
Being injured in Iraq by an IED blast in August 2009 was one of the most difficult times in my life. Thankfully, my best friends immediately came to my aid. In addition to my best friends, my family and I were surrounded by the tremendous support of the Notre Dame family. Through cards, letters, phone calls, and
gifts, I truly understood what it meant to be part of the Notre Dame family—to be cared for, loved, and prayed for by so many others who share a common bond—a connection to Notre Dame. I am extraordinarily grateful to have experienced firsthand the Notre Dame family in action, and to know, without a doubt, that there is no place else like Notre Dame.
The Rev. William Corby, C.S.C., Award
Established in 1985, this award is conferred on an alumnus/alumna (living or deceased) who has distinguished himself or herself in military service. The award is presented in honor of Notre Dame’s third president, who was a celebrated Civil War chaplain of the Union Army’s Irish Brigade.