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screens to evade being caught by government agents. These agents subsequently recruited him and asked him to refine his technique for military use. Because of Patterson’s advanced chemical formulas, the new smoke screen system was the best to date for controlled, large area coverage. Angi frequently used diesel fuel to create smokescreens from her truck and states, “One of my favorite things was blowing thick clouds of smoke. It was the coolest thing ever! We stunk to high heaven when we got done though.” As the years went by she found herself moving from recon/reconnaissance to decon/ decontamination. In this role her duty was to teach soldiers how to use their protective chemical warfare suits and gas masks. She had timed drills where participants were in a simulated gas chamber or critical situation. If they were too slow in using their gear, the effects of the gas would be felt physically. Symptoms include burning or prickling sensations on the skin, severe eye/nose irritation, and respiratory system. She was taught how to utilize decontamination tents in field, and triage care for those injured by dirty bombs or chemicals. She is very proud that her 323rd. company was Homeland certified, which is no small achievement. One of Angi’s favorite aspects of the military was the people with whom she met and worked. She smiles broadly, as she recounts how she acquired the nickname “Big Dipper” by her comrades. “The guys all had chewing tobacco and gave me some to try. It was spearmint Skoal. Well, I just kept it in my mouth and would swallow all the extra saliva. The guys said, why aren’t you spitting? You’re not supposed to swallow it!” It didn’t take long for Angi’s stomach to feel what can happen if you swallow chew juice. A hard lesson she can now look at humorously. The next morning when she went out to her Army truck, she noticed someone had inscribed “Big Dipper” on the door, and the name stuck long after. In 2001 Angi had her oldest daughter, Jaicia, and in 2002 she was deployed for the first time. While the rest of her unit was stationed for a year and a half overseas in Qatar, which is north of Saudi Arabia, Angi and two others were sent to Fort Lewis, Washington. This is where they spent the majority of their time training fellow soldiers in the use of chemical warfare gear. While Angi was away, her mother, Susan Lathrop, had temporary legal custody of Jaicia. This was before the common use of Skype or FaceTime, vSERVICE continued on page 18 Willcockson Eye Associates, P .C. Quality Eye Care, Close To Home • Quality medical and surgical eye care for you and your family • State of the art cataract surgery • Expert treatment of diseases such as glaucoma, eye complications from diabetes, and macular degeneration • Extensive selection of frames, styles and lens options at The Spectacle Shop, LLC. The Spectacle Shop, L.L.C. 415 W. 3rd, Yankton • Call 605-665-9638 Karen E Dickes, D.O. Board Certified Ophthalmologist Medical and Surgical Eye Care Gregory A Kouri, O.D. Optometrist Medical Eye Care HERVOICEvSEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018v5

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