How’s your day going? Here you see a US Army paratrooper with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, firing his M4 carbine at enemy forces that had ambushed his patrol in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, June 30, 2012. These guys are fighting for their lives on our behalf. (071912)
Hang on Sloopy! SSgt. Patrick Rogers, USA, (Black helmet), Valkyrie medevac rescue man, was hoisted down by a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at the side of a steep cliff to rescue two soldiers with the 4th BCT, 25th Infantry Division. These two, Pfc. Michael Halberg and SSgt. Ryan Stumpf, had fallen down this cliff while escaping an enemy ambush. They landed on a narrow ledge above a 50-foot drop below. Stumpf had been shot in the head and was wounded. The medevac flight brought an USAF doctor with it who treated him aboard the Black Hawk on their way out. The Valkyrie medevac team was from the Texas and Mississippi National Guard. Throughout the rescue, Black Hawk crew had to stay alert for enemy and be prepared to engage if required. It looks like everyone is a-ok. (071312)
It’s about what you can do. Colonel Gregory D. Gadson, USA, took command of Fort Belvoir, Virginia on June 25, 2012. The garrison is 47,000 strong. He is an Iraqi War veteran who lost both legs above the knees and injured his right arm badly when his vehicle was hit by an IED in 2007. He was one of the first amputees to receive the next-generation powered prosthetic knee and is the first double amputee to take command of a major installation in the Army. He is a West Point graduate and former Army football player, a starting line backer. In 2008, he spoke to the New York Giants football team prior to the Super Bowl, talking to them about service, duty, perseverance, and adversity. He told them, “You have to fight for every yard, every inch.” Gadson was named “Honorary Captain” of the team. The Giants won. (062712)
This is an American Airman. Meet Capt Barry Crawford, USAF. He is a Combat Control team officer photographed here in Afghanistan, where he coordinated air support for ground forces to which he was attached. In May 2010, ninety US and Afghan Army troops were ambushed in a town by enemy forces. Crawford was with them and said they were exposed to enemy fire no matter where they were. During the course of a 10 hour battle, he brought in helicopter attack and medevac aircraft, the former laying down intense gatling gun and Hellfire missile fire while fighter aircraft pounded the enemy with bombs. He set up a makeshift landing zone for the medevac helicopters to remove the wounded to safety and help. He brought in a Black Hawk under intense fire and coordinated air support to give him cover while the Blackhawk picked up badly wounded troops. An Air Force Academy graduate wearing 50 lbs. of gear, and standing exposed, covered only by a few rocks, he coordinated an air war against the enemy that finally forced them to retreat. He will receive the Air Force Cross. If you lived in Springfield Township, Pennsylvania, outside Philly, this airman was your neighbor. (062512)
America lost a brave soldier today. Sgt. Jamie Jarboe, injured critically by an enemy sniper’s bullet in Kandahar, Afghanistan in April 2011, died on the morning of March 21, 2012 after a valiant fight to stay alive. This photo shows him with his wife, Melissa. The sniper’s bullet paralyzed him from the waist down, and he finally succumbed to numerous complications and infections. Doctors thought he would not make it more than a few days after coming to the US, but he fought and fought, not wanting to die. Melissa said, “The last 11 months, they were priceless.” She said, "It was breathtaking and refreshing. Jamie said he didn't understand why people thought he was a hero. He was just Sergeant Jamie Jarboe. He did what thousands of other soldiers did." After learning that he was not going to make it much longer, Melissa brought him home to Kansas. Patriot Riders escorted him from the airport to his home. God’s speed Sergeant Jarboe. You are one of America’s sons. (032312)
End of a day long patrol in Sangin, Afghan. Lance Cpl. Anthony Espinoza, Bravo Co. 1/5, wipes the salt and sweat out of his eyes which drips down out of his helmet at the end of a day long patrol out of Patrol Base Fires in Sangin District, Helmand province, Afghanistan on May 4, 2011. The 100 plus degree temperatures combined with the humidity of the flooded farm fields make walking and patrolling in the area a daily battle tough indeed. (Photo and text courtesy of NPR)
Marines still in the fight. The Marine Corp, like all services, offer their people military professionalization courses to help advance up the ranks. This is the first graduating class from the Wounded Warriors Corporals Course at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, January 17, 2012. The course is designed to help them continue with their professional development. One among them said, “The course challenged me to get back in the mindset of being an NCO.” (012312)
Standing tall and proud. Note the Marine front and center in the red shirt: right leg perhaps below the knee gone, right arm below the elbow gone, standing at a brace in honor of Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, who visited the 1st Marine Logistics Group’s explosive ordnance disposal unit to meet with troops and their families during a trip to Camp Pendleton, California. You simply cannot put a good man down. January 20, 2012. (012312)
“I’m still here.” Senior Airman Mike Malarsie, USAF, is a tactical air control party (TACP) specialist. He was hit by a roadside bomb while he, one other TACP and 11 Army soldiers were on foot patrol near Kandahar, Afghanistan, January 3, 2010. The blast shattered his jaw, broke his nose, caused multiple lacerations to his face and neck, and caused the eventual loss of his eyesight. Nonetheless, he wants to remain in the Air Force and intends to test fir promotion, which will include a physical training test. He has said, “Yeah, I’m blind, but I’m still here. I’m not going to let this wound hold me back … I don’t want to take off the uniform. It’s always been a dream of mine to be in the military, and I want to be competitive.” (122811)
Semper Fi. This US Marine lost his right leg below the knee in battle. He now has a prosthetic, and remains on active duty. He has detached his prosthetic leg, tied it to his sniper rifle, and balances his rifle on it for target practice. Even his colleague to his left his in awe. (101711)
Meet Nicholas Warita, Basic Trainee, USAF. So you’re a tough guy heh? Join with young Nicholas Warita or other military trainees in the other services as they go through basic training. Here Warita is crawling through an obstacle course in sunny Lackland ADFB, San Antonio in the middle of July. If you feel you’re a big shot toughie, c’mon over and let’s see what you’re made of. (082911)
So, you wanna be a Marine, hey recruit? Staff Sgt. Michael Saldana, 1st Battalion's drill master, corrects a recruit during a senior drill instructor inspection. Saldana was nominated as 1st Battalion's Drill Instructor of the Year for the entire Marine Corps and was awarded by the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego Museum Historical Society April 26, 2011
Meet Pfc. Aaron R. Will, who is at this moment under fierce enemy fire: This is Pfc. Aaron R. Will, USA, a gunner with the 2nd Platoon, C/1-327 Infantry, Task Force Bulldog. He is in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, and he is in the process of reloading his automatic grenade launcher. This not an exercise. An enemy IED has already exploded in front of his vehicle, and his unit is receiving multiple rocket propelled grenade and small arms fire as he busily works to reload. Because of the excellence of his training, and that of his unit, once our lads pulled the trigger against the enemy, the enemy decided to break off the attack and leave. No US forces were killed or injured. Much of his face is covered, but in his lips you can see determined resolve, a high level of confidence, and complete self-control. You gotta love and admire these guys. (072310)
Veterans Day --- November 11, 2009
"This is Dustoff 30, I have three heroes aboard." I watched a video today of a Dustoff medevac mission to rescue three soldiers on the edge of a steep cliff in Afghanistan, with not much maneuvering room for anyone, including the Dustoff medevac helicopter. The medevac's callsign was "Dustoff 30." He carefully hovered around, sent down one crewmember to help get the injured on stretchers, and up they came and out the skipper took them. My spine tingled when I heard the pilot's transmission to home base --- it went, "This is Dustoff 30, I have three heroes aboard." The skipper and his crew weren't picking up mere soldiers --- they picked up three heroes. God what men, what great Americans. Some video grabs.
There were three soldiers on the ledge of a steep cliff, at least one injured. Fortunately, one of the three was a combat medic. The Dustoff medevac helicopter pilot was surprised to see how they ever got to this ledge. He hovered above.
These are helicopter video grabs, tough to read. But the arrow points to an injured soldier lying down on a medevac hoist stretcher. The medic sat in the stretcher with him to care for him on the way up. I thought I heard in the garbled voice transmissions that the medic wanted to keep a close check on his buddy's pulse. If so, I imagine that was to prepare mentally for what they might have to do as soon as they got him aboard.
The pilot has completed his rescue and heads out of there --- there was some debate as to whether there was a fourth, but they decided they had all their wounded so it was "RTB," Return to Base. As an aside, there was a second helicopter above from which the video was taken. (110509)
So how's the jungle treatin' ya Marine? A Marine splashes as he makes his way through an obstacle course at the Jungle Warfare Training Center on Camp Gonsalves, Okinawa, Japan, August 21, 2009. Look closely, you'll see his glasses have fallen off, there is some kind of green tie to the strap on his helmet, probably for safety reasons, it looks like he just came out from being submerged, and in the lower right you'll see a hand guiding him, the hand of a trainer. (082809)
This is arguably among the most memorable photos I have seen, one that reminds me of some I've seen from the wars in Korea, Vietnam and WWII. This is a Canadian soldier serving in Afghanistan. Photo credit: Stephen Thorne, Canadian Press. Presented by "Afghanistan: A Glimpse of War, the Battle for Afghanistan, 2005 to present," the War Museum of Canada.
Another save. Greensboro firefighters Derick Brown, Chris Harr and Curtis Wyrick rescue Phillip Thomas from his van stranded in floodwater in North Carolina. Flash floods ripped through several streets in downtown Greensboro, trapping people inside cars and buildings. Photo and text credit: H. Scott Hoffman, AP/News and Record. (061009)
Son, I thought you joined the Air Force? Master Sgt. Kenneth Huhman, USAF, is a combat controller assigned to 23rd Special Tactics Squadron, and served in Afghanistan in 2007. He worked with ground forces to bring in air forces to destroy targets the ground force and he would spot on the ground. He received two Bronze Stars with "V" device for valor during a ceremony held at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He now recruits people to join the USAF special forces --- go see Ken and, if you're tough enough, sign up and help our pilots destroy more enemy. (052
This Army officer can march again with any Long Gray Line! Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, USA, a former West Point football player, Nr, 98, who lost both legs as the result of a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq in May 2007, tries out a prosthetic device called Power Knee at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He was returning from a memorial service for two soldiers when he was hit. He was with the 2nd Bn, 32nd Field Artillery. He was the Honorary Captain of the New York Giants NFL Team for their game against the Green Bay Packers on September 23, 2008, The Giants asked him to speak to the team the night before the game. He did so and spoke a great deal about "team," the bond, the commitment of each for the other. The Giants beat the Redskins for their first win of the season. Photo credit: Rick Vasquez, Stars & Stripes
Leaving the family ain't easy, an unquantifiable sacrifice. HM3 Class Ricardo Perez, assigned to USS Boxer (LHD 4), says goodbye to his son before boarding the ship to leave San Diego. Boxer is conducting maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden area against priacy. Seeing the pain on the face of young Perez is heartbreaking --- being without the old man is hard for a young lad. God bless, and thank the all such families for their service and sacrifice. Photo courtesy of the Navy magazine, All Hands, April 2009 edition.
So you think you're pretty tough buddy? Be a SEAL! Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDS) students lift "Old Misery," a significantly larger log than other logs used in this evolution, during log physical training at the Naval Special Warfare Center at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. Photo credit: MCS3 Blake R. Midnight, USN. (020409)
It don't get much better than this! Welcome home son. Spc. Floyd Burk, 101 Airborne, hugs the old man, Walter, at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky homecoming. Burk's outfit came home six weeks early in part because they got the job done in Iraq. Thanks you for your service Floyd! Credit: Stars and Stripes.
Home Sweet Home. Arguably one of the great photos of all time! “The return. I took this photo at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina as a group of U.S. marines were returning home from the war in Iraq. As soon as they arrived, it began to downpour. I was lucky enough to capture the joy they were all feeling as they were getting drenched in the rain (which most of them hadn't seen in months), coupled with finally getting to see their families again. The two people walking and embracing are brother and sister. This was such a wonderful moment for everyone and I'm so happy I was able to capture it for them"! Text and photo credit: Unknown. Presented by kodakgallery.com
Welcome to the US Marine Corps, recruit. Staff Sgt. Justin Seas, a recruiting drill instructor, instructs a recruit on the proper way to stand at attention. "Ears?" "Open sir!" Photo credit: LCpl. Michael S. Darnell, USMC.
So you say you had a tough day? Firefighters monitor a burning redwood tree along Highway 1 in Big Sur, Calif., July 5, 2008. Cooler temperatures and marine fog allowed firefighters here to gain some ground early Saturday on an obstinate wildfire that wiped out this world-famous coastal retreat's holiday tourist trade. Photo credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP
Serving on the home front. Marines and sailors of Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) move a hose through the water from the White River June 9, in Elnora, Indiana. Local authorities in Elnora requested the 26th MEU to provide support to reinforce the levees from flooding of the White River. Photo credit: Lance Cpl. Patrick M. Johnson-Campbell
So, you think you're pretty tough do you? This American Marine is in a firefight in Afghanistan. He ducked just in time as an enemy bullet hit the rock wall behind which he was seeking protection, just inches from his face. He hit the deck, gathered his thoughts, and must have said something like, "Holy shit," followed by "Praise the Lord." No doubt, he jumped back up and got back in the fight. The photos are credited to Reuters. God bless our war fighters. God did bless this one. Thank you dear Lord. (051908)
I can't let my Hornet go! Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate Crystal Crawford, assigned to the "Blue Blasters" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 34, holds on to the nose of her F/A-18C Hornet on the flight deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) in the Persian Gulf as the pilot prepares for a mission. Quite often, people like Crawford will tell the pilot something like, "Don't you dare break my airplane." Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James Evans
Thumbs up baby! Hit but not out. A U.S. soldier wounded by a roadside explosion is rushed to a helicopter at the military base in Shi'ite-dominated Chercook neighbourhood, in Baghdad's Khadamiya district, May 11, 2008. Photo credit: Oleg Popov, AP
Goodnight, Camp McCool. The sun is setting at Camp McCool on Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, with Old Glory standing tall in the wind. Photo credit: Lt. Rebecca Hagemann, USN.
Music to my eyes. One Navy F/A-18 Hornet off the deck of the USS Harry S. Truman in the Persian Gulf, the flight deck crew readies to launch another, and as many more as the skipper wants off the deck to destroy enemy. These sailors will launch as many as you want, any time, any place, to do whatever is needed. Ain't it great! (040208)
Dig in, Tropic Lightning! U.S. Army soldiers assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry "Tropic Lightning" Division train for combat at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, February 4, 2008. Photo credit: Spc. David House.
Right this way skipper. A flight deck crew member, an aviation boatswain's mate, gives his Super Hornet crew the launch signal and the F/A-18 screams down the catapault off the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Persian Gulf, January 10, 2008. This aircraft was no doubt on its way to participate in Operation Phantom Phoenix, destroying targets and enemy in a major ground and air operation occurring at present throughout Iraq. Photo credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes, USN
I ain't gonna drop the son uva bitch. Aviation Ordnancemen attached to the "Raging Bulls" of Strike Fighter Squadron 37, unload ordnance off one of the squadron's aircraft during flight operations aboard the USS Harry S. Truman, December 28, 2007. Photo credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class Ricardo J. Reyes, USN
"An incredible journey" Once a Marine, always a Marine. No such thing as a former Marine. Lt. Andrew K. Kinard, USMC, waits on the tarmac for the arrival of President Bush at Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, S.C., November 2, 2007. In 2006, he and three other Marines assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, were hit by a roadside bomb explosion. At the scene, under the caring hands of a medical corpsman, he suffered multiple cardiac arrests, lost most of his blood (took 67 pints later), but survived. At hospital, he lost his right leg above the knee, his left leg at his pelvis, and had to have considerable internal damage repaired. He has emerged damaged, but not destroyed. GoUpstate.com has made multiple stories about his progress available. Photo credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP
Provide the enemy no quarter. Soldiers from the 20th Infantry Regiment fire at insurgents in Al Doura, Iraq, March 7, 2005. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Sean A. Foley, USA
Hot winds, low humidity, fast moving brush fire, bold firefighters, the last defense for residents: Firefighters work at the scene of a 1,000-acre brush fire in Anaheim Hills, California, March 11, 2007. The fast moving fire sent flames leaping into backyards and forced some 700 Southern California residents out of their hillside homes on a sweltering Sunday of gusty winds after months of drought. Photo credit: Gene Blevins, Reuters
For all armchair quarterbacks: what now? Meet Staff Sergeant ElCana C. Williams, USMC. He is on patrol in Haditha, August 8, 2006. The door to a home that he must inspect is open. He's clutching his radio, his M-16 pointed down to respect innocents inside. What now all you smarty pants? Anyone home? Does he go in? What should he do if someone jumps out at him? Go ahead, see if you can fill his boots, and remember this: This home is only one of many, many SSgt Williams must inspect in beautiful downtown Haditha, many times each week. Photo credit: Cpl. Brian M. Henner, USMC.
Determined. Vigilent. Duty. Honor. Country. U.S. Army Spc. Enriquillo Hernandez provides security as his platoon leader gathers intelligence along the Syria/Iraq border near Forward Operating Base Nimur, August 13. Hernandez is with 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika, USA, 133rd MPAD. (090506)
"Tension, fatigue, frustration, but finally, victory." This is a soldier from B Troop, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, the "Blackhorse Regiment," somewhere in the Republic of Vietnam or Cambodia. It's for you to contemplate what's on this brave warrior's mind. What we do know is, he served. He sacrificed. He deserves our thanks at the very least. Photo credit: Tom Rosini. Presented by B Troop 11 ACR.
Saluting his country, smartly. Sgt. James Wright, USMC, who received the Bronze Star Medal with valor device from Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, salutes during the national anthem at the June 1, 2004 presentation ceremony in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Wright lost both of his arms during combat operations in Iraq April 7, 2004. Photo credit: Sgt. Richard Stephens.
Walk smartly Marine. And indeed he is. A US Marine, wearing an artificial leg, walks at his base near al-Qaim in western Iraq. Photo credit: Patrick Baz, AFP
A swig before gettin' back to it. Our firefighters had their hands full last year out west, literally walking into a raging inferno trying against all odds to beat it back and save resources and homes.
Here in America, we stand by our brothers... Photo credit: Laura Rauch, AP. April 3, 2003 ...
And our sisters, at all costs. Video credit: Department of Defense and Reuters. Anytime. Anywhere. Count on it.
The need for speed. When it's your heart crushing against your breast plate, or you've been in a bad traffic accident, there is a real need for speed, providing care from the time they pick you up until they have you back running the Marathon.