Jim Migletz, whose father fought with the Army in World War II and Korea, and whose grandfather fought in World War I as a member of the Army, died on July 27, 2002, at the VA Medical Center in Kansas City.
After donating the kidney and graduating from Cal State Northridge in 1998, Migletz knew what he needed to do. Already turned down by the Marines because of the transplant and automobile accident, he needed a Plan B.
“It’s not like the Marines wanted me to pound sand,” he said of his attempts to reenlist. “They wanted nothing to do with me.”
So he took a run at the Army.
“When I looked at the paperwork, it was all there,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Allen, his recruiter. “I made some calls and said, ‘There is no reason you can reject him. Everything is there that you need.’
“I’m very persistent. And I needed to know that Wes was willing to put up with the stop-and-goes.”
Well into his 30s, Migletz stood 5-feet-9 and weighed 205 pounds. But the fire, rekindled by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and later after he lost a good buddy on the first day of ground war in Iraq, burned strong.
He began a vigorous exercise routine — eventually getting in 20 miles a week of running sprinkled with push-ups and sit-ups — in preparation for a possible physical fitness test. The brother of a longtime Marine, Maj. James Migletz, Wes decided to shoot for officer’s school. But he kept getting denied.
It would take four years and a series of physicals, tests and interviews before his waiver went through in January.
“I can’t say I did anything different,” Allen said. “We were persistent. And that’s what it took.”
CHANGE IN LIFESTYLE