Honoring those who have and continue to serve in the United States Military. Thank you.
Also, we would like to open this for you to share stories about veterans or causes that support the armed services.
Honoring those who have and continue to serve in the United States Military. Thank you.
Also, we would like to open this for you to share stories about veterans or causes that support the armed services.
This soldier spotlight is not dedicated to just one of America’s elites, but rather one of the extensions of the military.
Today is the birthday for THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, which was founded in 1775. And, ever since its inception, they have been doing good throughout the lands.
Please take some time today to wish them a happy birthday.
The Marines’ Hymn
From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea.
First to fight for right and freedom, and to keep our honor clean;
We are proud to claim the title of United States Marine.
Our Flag’s unfurled to every breeze from dawn to setting sun.
We have fought in every clime and place, where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far off northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes, You will find us always on the job, the United States Marines.
Here’s health to you and to our Corps, which we are proud to serve.
In many a strife we’ve fought for life and never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy ever look on heaven’s scenes,
they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.
The Marines’ Prayer
Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose in deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family. Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Make me considerate of those committed to my leadership. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold. If I am inclined to doubt; steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again. Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer. Amen.
FORT RUCKER, Ala. — Fort Rucker named its Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum Sept. 15.
Sgt. Keely Misemer, C Company, 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment, and Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Beauchamp, NCO Academy Senior Leader Course small group leader, were named Soldier and NCO of the year, respectively, during a short induction ceremony.
Both said they felt honored to be given such a prestigious award, and they hope to pass on the knowledge and skills they have attained to fellow Soldiers and NCOs.
“This is really a great event for me,” Misemer said. “I think every Soldier should try to become Soldier of the Year. It takes a lot of studying and a little effort, but it’s worth it.”
Misemer plans to continue moving forward in her military career and hopes to compete for another high honor in the near future.
“My immediate goal is to pass on what I’ve learned and help other Soldiers achieve their goals,” she said. “I also really want to (be inducted into the Sgt. Audie Murphy club).”
Beauchamp said he doesn’t plan to work toward getting any more awards for now, but he does plan to motivate his Soldiers to pursue their own goals.
“I accomplished my goal of leading by example,” he said. “From here, I plan to continue representing my unit to the best of my ability.”
He echoed Misemer in encouraging other Soldiers and NCOs to work hard when attempting to gain high honors.
“Study hard and prepare because it takes a lot of work to get there,” he said. “Everyone should make the most of the opportunities they’re given.”
Guest speaker retired Sgt. Maj. Bufford Thomas, former installation command sergeant major, congratulated the Soldiers, but reminded them of the responsibility they have after receiving the honor.
“The NCO and Soldier of the Year program is a mentorship program for enlisted servicemembers,” he said. “A senior leader recognized the demonstrated potential in these Soldiers. These Soldiers are prepared to lead and accomplish any mission at any time. It is required and expected that these Soldiers become leaders and mentors of their peers to make sure they’re trained to the best of their abilities.”
The official statement from the White House:
ACTION FROM WHICH THE MEDAL OF HONOR WAS EARNED:
Then-Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta distinguished himself by acts of gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifle team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan on October 25, 2007.
When an insurgent force ambush split Specialist Giunta’s squad into two groups, he exposed himself to enemy fire to pull a comrade back to cover. Later, while engaging the enemy and attempting to link up with the rest of his squad, Specialist Giunta noticed two insurgents carrying away a fellow soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other, and provided medical aid to his wounded comrade while the rest of his squad caught up and provided security. His courage and leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American paratrooper from enemy hands.
By Sgt. Darron Salzer, National Guard Bureau
ARLINGTON, Va., (Army News Service, Aug. 19, 2010) — “An angel in disguise” is how Army Maj. Nathlon Jackson was described by Air Force Gen. Craig McKinley at a ceremony at the Army National Guard Readiness Center Wednesday.
McKinley, who is the chief of the National Guard Bureau, presented the Soldier’s Medal to Jackson, adding that “Soldiers like Jackson are what the National Guard is all about, people helping those in need.”
The Soldier’s Medal is the highest non-combat medal awarded for heroism.
On Jan. 11, Jackson, who is section chief for the Army Guard’s enlisted policy branch, was walking from the readiness center to her car for lunch, when she saw smoke pouring from a house.
“As I walked over to the house, I could smell that something was burning, rather than it being smoke from a pot burning in the kitchen,” she said. “I opened the mail slot with my hand and started to yell inside ‘hello, hello’ to see if anyone was home.”
A neighbor from across the street came outside during the commotion and told Jackson that someone was inside the burning house. She also provided Jackson with a key to the residence.
Jackson entered the home and proceeded up to the bedroom, where she found Shirley Rollins, who was overcome by smoke.
Rollins, who attended the award ceremony and who has lived in the neighborhood next to the readiness center for 62 years, said that she remembers nothing from that day.
“I remember going to bed the night before, but I don’t remember waking up to smoke,” she said. “Since I live by myself, nobody else was there, and the cat was gone, but neighbors … came to rescue me.”
During the ceremony, Rollins thanked an emotional Jackson for being such a wonderful person and thanked Jackson’s mother for bringing such a wonderful daughter into the world.
Humbled by the experience and all of the attention she has received since January, Jackson said, “You should help who you can.”
“It was a natural instinct for me to help Miss Shirley … you need to help someone in need and not pass them by,” said Jackson. “As Soldiers, that’s what we do and that is why I joined the Army National Guard.”
Congratualtions to Staff Sgt. David Vogt who was named the 2010 Marine of the Year.
Congratulations to Staff Sgt. Zackary Filip who has been named the Military Times Soldier of the Year.
The award came as a surprise to Filip, who received it earlier this month.
“I found out and I was so surprised,” he said. “Everyone in my chain-of-command was in on it.”
Filip’s unit got a phone call from the Army Times editor-and-chief asking to set up a phone conference with the brigade’s leadership so he could announce the news that Filip had been chosen. Filip, however, was not made aware of the news until he walked into the conference and heard from the Army Times firsthand.
After receiving the news, Filip and his wife traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend a ceremony with the Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman of the year.
Following the ceremony, the Filips were invited to visit the Pentagon by the Army of Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr., where they received a tour of the building and both the Chief of Staff and Sergeant Major of the Army’s offices.
“We had a blast,” he said. “Being named the Army Times Soldier of the Year was just amazing.”
Continue reading . . .
MARSOC corpsman receives Silver Star Medal for heroics in Afghanistan | Marines.mil
By Cpl. Richard Blumenstein, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — “You hear your buddies go down …You close your eyes… You think about everything … You hear you’re the only other corpsman. What would you do?”
Chief Petty Officer Jeremy K. Torrisi, a hospital corpsman with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, faced that question June 26, 2008 in the mountains of Afghanistan during the fiercest firefight of his life.
Torrisi saved the lives of four of his comrades and received the Silver Star Medal at the Courthouse Bay Gymnasium on Jan 21.
So far, one Navy Cross, two Silver Star Medals, and two Bronze Star Medals with combat distinguishing devices have been awarded in the battle’s aftermath.
“I’m the one getting recognized today, but everybody knows, I hope, the story that went down that day; it wasn’t one person, it wasn’t two, it wasn’t three, it was everybody,” Torrisi said during the award ceremony. “Everybody doing their part. We have a lot of guys around today walking, talking, and breathing because of that. I was just part of the well-oiled machine that we were.”
Read about the battle HERE
by Patrick Buffett | Army.mil
FORT MONROE, Va. (Army News Service, July 26, 2010) — A Virginia Army National Guard Soldier serving an active-duty tour with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command was awarded the Soldier’s Medal at Fort Monroe July 23 for his actions that resulted in saving the lives of three men following a boating accident in the Chesapeake Bay.
Lt. Gen. John E. Sterling, deputy chief of staff for U.S. Army TRADOC, presented Chief Warrant Officer Clifford Bauman the medal during a presentation ceremony attended by Bauman’s wife, father, and friends and coworkers at Morelli Auditorium on the Hampton base.
“This is a very auspicious occasion. This is my first-ever opportunity to participate in an award ceremony for the Soldier’s Medal,” Sterling said. “It’s a big event. It’s a very significant event, and we need to take notice of it.”
The Army has many awards and medals it bestows upon Soldiers for heroism during battle and many recognizing Soldiers for outstanding work performed in the field and in garrison, but the Soldier’s Medal is the highest award a Soldier can receive for heroism not directly related to combat.
“We have lots of awards for and recognitions that we do for valor in the face of the enemy, but from time-to-time there is an opportunity for a Soldier to use the skills that he has … in a life-saving event that doesn’t necessarily involve actions in front of the enemy,” Sterling said.
Bauman was heralded for his swift actions that saved three men Oct. 3, 2009. Although one man died at the scene, Bauman’s quick action and years of Army training gave him the tools he needed to save the other three men.
FORT CARSON, Colo. (June 28, 2010) — The Fourth of July is especially significant to Capt. Fred Babauta, commander of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program.
This Independence Day marks the fifth anniversary of Babauta awakening from an 11-day coma after encountering an improvised explosive device in Ramadi, Iraq, that twice cut his jugular and left him blind in the right eye.
Babauta was rushed to Balad Air Base in Iraq and transported via Landstuhl, Germany, to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, before he realized that he was alive.
Army officials ensured that his wife arrived from Guam, and his parents from the state of Washington, in time to see their Soldier awaken.
“They all met me in San Antonio when I arrived,” Babauta recalled. “Of course, I didn’t know they were there because I was in a coma, but the Army took care of my family.”
Babauta remembers his last battle mission like it was yesterday.
“In June of 2005, I was deployed to Ramadi, Iraq, with the 1st of the 503rd. We were the brigade of 2ID that deployed from Korea to Iraq,” he said. “About two weeks out from us leaving country, I was walking by an IED and it went off. I was probably about 10 feet away.”
Babauta had served in Iraq for nearly a year before taking the one step that burned his entire face, stole half his vision and nearly took his life.
“After the explosion went off, they got me into a courtyard and called quick reaction force to come pick us up,” Babauta said. “I was out with a sniper team and there were only five of us. QRF picked us up. They started out with five vehicles to pick us up and they ended up only with two.”
The other three encountered more IEDs.
“The two vehicles finally picked us up,” Babauta said. “We piled in the back and they drove us back to our outpost. The doctor gave me a shot of morphine, packaged me up, the bird landed right outside our outpost, and they loaded me up.”
At that point, Babauta thought he was headed to Al Taqaddum Airbase. The severity of his injuries, however, called for treatment at Balad Air Base.
“I remember them unloading me off the helicopter in Balad,” he said. “It sounded like they pulled me into a hangar. I was on a stretcher and they put me on a bed. Doc said, ‘Hey, I’m Doc so-and-so, I’m going to put this over your face,’ which I guess was an oxygen mask, ‘and you’re going to feel a real quick pinch in your arm.’ I guess he gave me a shot, sort of put me under, and I woke up 11 days later in Brooke Army Medical Center in Fort Sam Houston.
“Eleven days later was July 4th of 2005.”
The rest of the trip is a blur to Babauta.
“I think they repaired my jugular in Balad,” he said. “From what I understand, it didn’t rupture until I got to Balad. I guess it was just probably hanging on by a string, but luckily the timing was great.”
An avid Detroit Pistons fan, Babauta went on patrol earlier that day with visions of watching a replay of his beloved team taking on the San Antonio Spurs in Game seven of the NBA Finals upon return to camp.
“This is what I was thinking,” he recalled. “I was going to go out for 24 hours. Game seven was going to already happen. Someone was going to record it so I could come back and watch the game. I don’t know if you remember that series, but the Pistons were killing the Spurs and the Spurs came back and it was tied up, 3-3. So I was thinking I was going to come back and watch Game seven. It was in San Antonio. So the Pistons ended up losing, and guess where I wake up? San Antonio.”
“That was the worst.”
At first, Babauta thought he had awakened from a nightmare.
“I remember the nurse when I was first waking up and barely coherent, she was talking to me, ‘Yeah, you’re in San Antonio. You know the Spurs just won the series?’ That was the last thing I wanted to hear. I didn’t believe it until the nurse brought in a newspaper showing Tim Duncan hugging the trophy.”
The hometown celebration got worse before it got better for Babauta.
“What really got to me was when I got out of the hospital and started going around,” he said. “The first place I went was the PX on Fort Sam, in all my bandages and everything, and all I saw was Spurs memorabilia – championship gear, hats and everything. That just really ticked me off.”
In the long run, however, Babauta counts his lucky stars to be alive. On the night he came around, folks were launching rockets not only in Texas but across the nation.
“It was amazing,” he said. “The nurse asked me if I saw the fireworks outside my window. I didn’t see any fireworks, but I guess there was a fireworks celebration that night when I woke up.”
Born in Okinawa, Japan, Babauta was an Army brat who spent most of his childhood in Guam. He also lived on Fort Lewis, Wash., Fort Davis, Panama, and Fort Stewart, Ga. At age 22, he left the University of Guam, got married and reported to the 1st Ranger Battalion in Savannah, Ga.
All of the men in Babauta’s family served in the Army. His younger brother, Danny, 32, is deployed. His two older brothers both served four years before becoming policemen.
Babauta, 38, is the proud father of three daughters. “In my house, my girls, they have to play a sport,” he said. “They’ve got to do something. My oldest grew up playing soccer and she’s actually on a soccer scholarship to Winthrop University. She just finished her freshman year. The other two play volleyball.”
The Army took care of them again when Kylene was a rising high school senior in Colorado Springs. Babauta’s boss said he would see what he could do about keeping the family at Fort Carson.
“Hey, I’ve got a job for you,” Babauta recalled of the next phone call. “I’m going to throw your name in the hat and I’ll call you back.”
“And he hung up on me,” Babauta said. “Didn’t tell me what it was. Didn’t tell me what I would be doing – just I’m going to keep you on Carson with a job. He called me back like 15 minutes later and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be the commander of the World Class Athlete Program.’ And I had no clue what it was.”
“He gave me the telephone number to this office right here and I called up [then WCAP commander] Captain Dominic Black. I said, ‘Hey, this is Fred Babauta and they’re telling me that I’m going to be replacing you.’ I asked him what building number, and he said 1662. And I was like, ‘1662? I’m in 1667.'”
“I was in the next building – just right down the sidewalk. So I came up here and met Dominic Black for the first time.”
That was in September of 2008, Babauta’s last day as rear detachment commander for the 1/9 Infantry.
“It was very excited about the job,” he said. “Not only excited about the job, but also about being able to keep my daughter here for her senior year as opposed to moving her somewhere else.”
“I’m a big sports fan. Some of the sports I wasn’t really familiar with, but you ask me now and I can brief you on everything that’s going on with taekwondo, fencing and wrestling. I love getting out there and supporting the guys.”
Babauta has even grasped the concept of team handball, which he suspected was something akin to racquetball doubles without the rackets.
Instead of leading troops on the battlefield, Babauta now leads Soldiers to international and national-level athletic events. His role, however, is pretty much the same.
“I don’t think there’s any difference,” Babauta said. “These guys are just like Soldiers getting ready to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. There’s a train-up period to get where they need to be and all the mandatory training that Soldiers go through to get ready to deploy. Right now, our wrestlers are training for their battle, to get deployed to Council Bluffs, Iowa, to go to World Team Trials.
“It might be in a different context, but I think the principle is the same, as far as getting ready to go. They’re going to war. They’re going to meet someone on the mat that wants to beat them. So they’ve got to do everything now to be ready for that match in Council Bluffs. I would imagine everyone here can use that comparison. It’s not as life-threatening as deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq, but I think there are a lot of similarities.”
As far as Babauta is concerned, the WCAP mission is essential to Soldier morale and retention.
“The Army has asked them to do a job here,” he said. “When they stop doing their job, that’s when they’ll go out and do what the Army enlisted them to do, whatever their MOS is.”
“I can’t tell you how to be a boxer. I can’t tell you how to be a wrestler. I can’t tell you how to fence. I can’t tell you any of that stuff, but I can tell you how to be a Soldier. When they stop being a Soldier, that’s probably the time they need to leave here.”
“Not only is it hard to get here, I think it’s harder to stay here.”
Babauta and 1st Sgt. Chris Button are responsible for ensuring the Soldier-athletes meet all their military obligations, such as mandatory training and completing courses required for promotions.
“We take care of the Soldier side of the house,” Babauta said. “Being able to support these guys, and for some of them, their lifelong dream of getting a medal and of being on the Olympic team. It’s almost like the proud father moment. You want everything best for your kids. You don’t want any of the credit. You just want to make sure that you’re able to see them accomplish what they want to do.”
“Even the coaches, they don’t want any of the credit. They want all of the credit to go to that Soldier, to that athlete who is competing.”
Babauta finds it hard to fathom that he was unaware of what was taking place one building away from his previous office.
“Since I just came from down the sidewalk here, I was amazed at what this program was and what it did,” he said. “That is one of the conscious efforts I have been trying to do is get more awareness of the program. We’ve identified that and I think we’ve made a couple of good strides in that direction. We just need to continue to put it out there.”
“Everyone knows Special Forces. Everyone knows a Ranger. We’re trying to push hard so that everyone knows the World Class Athlete Program.
“We’re making good strides. We just need to continue.”
Airman scales Mount Everest
by 1st Lt. Jonathan Simmons
Air Force Space Command Public Affairs
6/21/2010 – PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. (AFNS) — Colorado Springs’ Pikes Peak towers 14,115 feet above sea level, but one member of Air Force Space Command had his sights set higher, about 15,000 feet higher.
Lt. Col. Peter Solie, the 43-year-old chief of the AFSPC Space Safety Division, reached the summit of Mount Everest May 17 at 7 a.m. on his ancestral Norwegian Independence Day, after nearly two months of climbing with a team of 15 other clients.
“I was anxious and excited,” said Colonel Solie as he began his climb after a seven-day trek to Everest Base Camp. “The first time I saw the mountain was jaw dropping.”
Colonel Solie arrived at EBC April 7. Base camp for this climb stands at about 17,600 feet above sea level in Nepal. He had climbed 53 of Colorado’s 54 peaks that are 14,000 feet and above the “14ers,” and South America’s tallest mountain, Aconcagua, in preparation. Even with this experience, Colonel Solie described the trek up to the world’s highest peak as an epic challenge.
“At roughly five and a half miles high, it was like climbing four 14ers consecutively stacked on top of each other with a bag over your head as you climbed the last one,” Colonel Solie said.
He said the more dangerous part of the climb was near the beginning between EBC and Camp I traversing through the Khumbu Icefall.
The icefall is a massive flowing glacier with shifting blocks of ice called seracs, that crack, fall and crush unpredictably. This made situational awareness critical.
“Saving energy to descend safely was also of vital concern,” he said. “Approximately 80 percent of the over 200 fatalities on (Mount) Everest occurred during descent.”
For Colonel Solie, climbing Mount Everest has been a dream he’s had from childhood.
“I grew up hiking and climbing in Montana,” he said. “It’s been a goal of mine since high school. I’ve wanted to go to space and climb (Mount) Everest and have been saving for the trip since college.”
Both the expense and the physical rigor of the trek called for extensive preparations, but for Colonel Solie the physical preparations were just a bit of a surge from his regular physical training routine. The surge included running the Air Force Marathon along with a mid-winter trip across the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Colonel Solie also tried to gain some body fat to be spent during the expedition, pounds well used during the climb.
“I was only able to put on about five pounds as I continued to exercise,” said Colonel Solie who lost a total of 10 pounds during the expedition.
Colonel Solie feels accomplished, but humble about his expedition to the highest point on Earth.
“People shouldn’t say ‘Wow’,” he said. “What I did is within most people’s potential. It’s a matter of not resigning yourself to weaknesses and not self-imposing limits.”
As a member of the AFSPC safety staff, Colonel Solie’s mindset was trained to evaluate, mitigate and take calculated risk.
“My expedition mates and I made our climb safe by being physically and mentally prepared, using the proper gear, and studying the weather forecasts,” he said. “Knowing what the jet stream was doing was critical when deciding when to push for the summit.”
For some, conquering Mount Everest is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but Colonel Solie plans to climb it again when he’s 77 years old to beat the record of oldest person to climb the mountain, currently held by Mr. Min Bahadur Sherchan of Nepal, who was 76 when he climbed. “I gained tremendous confidence and zeal for life from this experience.”
The two-month Mount Everest trek was Colonel Solie’s last act on active duty, as he entered terminal leave just prior to his grand adventure. He has nothing but gratitude for his 25 years with the Air Force and his advice to Airmen, “Be fit, help save the planet and be happy.”