If you put a weapon of any caliber in the hands of this feisty redhead, you’d better hope she’s on your side. A deadly accurate shooter, US Army Sergeant Kisha Makerney served her first tour of duty in Iraq right out of high school. Deployed with her Oklahoma National Guard unit, 120th Combat Engineers, she left for Al Taqqadum, Iraq in February 2004.

As a part of the Asphalt Section Equipment Platoon, Kisha and her "battle buddies" filled IED (Improvised Explosive Device) holes so they couldn’t be used again and patched mortar holes on helicopter landing pads. Kisha’s unit also up-armored vehicles to better withstand attacks, and mounted guns to the roofs. In addition her role in the 120th Battalion Security Team, Kisha’s usual perch was between the two ‘SAW’s’, M249 Squad Automatic Weapons,  blasting targets at 1000 meters. Even though they were fired upon or heard gunfire every day, Kisha returned to Oklahoma in one piece, craving fast food and adrenaline rushes.

Sgt. Makerney

That’s when she bought the motorcycle, a Suzuki SV 650S. On June 24, 2005, she made a quick trip to rent a movie while her family was cooking dinner. The front tire blew out, and Kisha veered in-between two road signs as the motorcycle went off into the woods. Her first emotion was fury that she had wrecked her new bike. Her second thought, as she examined herself, was that she was never going to be able to serve her country again. She was hurt, and hurt badly.

The lower part of her left leg was hanging by a tendon. Crawling on her elbows, Kisha managed to get to the side of the road and flag down a passing motorist. She was taken to the hospital and then life-flighted to Dallas. Before she even regained consciousness, the members of her unit were lining the hallways, making calls to every influential military and civilian contact they knew. Knowing Kisha’s character and integrity, they had no doubt she would fight to return to service — even as an amputee.

After several surgeries, ill-fitting prostheses, and instructions not to push herself as hard as she did, Kisha did rejoin her unit. She had taught herself how to walk and run, how to handle any type of terrain or obstacle. She overcame depression and defeat. And she became just the tenth soldier — and the first woman — to return to a combat zone with a prosthesis. This time around, she was a Correctional Instructor for the Iraqis.

Presently, Kisha is Warrior at the Center for the Intrepid at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, undergoing training with other wounded veterans. She’s also awaiting either deployment orders or acceptance to flight school to operate Apache helicopters. Nothing seems to faze or even slow down this dedicated soldier.

In the meantime, Kisha was selected to appear as a guest on Veteran Outdoors, a television show that surprises wounded veterans with their dream adventures, which currently airs every Saturday morning nationwide on Fox Sports Net. In this particular episode, which will air in the Fall of 2010, the surprise is for the viewer as two women — Kisha, and guest host (and first-time hunter) René Banglesdorf — head out to Sterling City, Texas for a guided whitetail hunt on a ranch operating under a Managed Lands Deer Permit.

The first evening the girls, the cameraman and two guides watched several young bucks and nearly a dozen does come and go, grazing in the clearing near the blinds where the hunters were sitting. None were trophy candidates, so they returned to camp empty-handed but excited for the next day. Around the campfire, Kisha enthralled the guys with her tales of shooting every kind of weapon known to man.

She proved her mettle the next morning as she put a perfect shot through a "spike," a young buck with no potential of growing a trophy set of antlers. The buck jumped, took three leaps, smacked right into a tree and dropped ten yards from where she hit him at 140 yards using her Winchester bolt-action .30-06, model 70.

Later that night, in an elevated blind on the other side of the property, Kisha was talking about her experiences in the Army when a big, mature ten-point buck walked into the clearing and began munching his dinner. She watched him for a couple of minutes through the RedHead Epic 3x9x40 scope mounted to her rifle, chambered a Winchester 165 grain round and fired as soon as he quartered away from her.

Instead of jumping up in excitement, she kept her head lowered and eyes focused on the buck through her scope, waiting to see if she needed to fire another round. Hit from 130 yards, the 10-pointer dropped right where she hit him. She climbed down the ladder from the blind and sauntered to her kill with a barely discernable limp. Kisha beamed as she examined the antlers and body of her trophy. It was a successful hunt.

From the Editor: 
Our author René Banglesdorf comes back next week to Guns & Patriots with the story of her first deer — and it’s a nice buck.