Someone You Should Know

Betrayal - Special Air Service Soldier Jailed for having "war trophy"

UPDATE 11-29-12:  Sgt Nightingale's sentence has been suspended. Go here for more information!  Sally Nightingale brought the petition to free Danny with 106,000 signatures for the judge.  Thanks to everyone for their support, thoughts, prayers, $, and time in working on behalf of the Nightingales!

UPDATE 11-28-12:  Thanks to everyone for signing the petition and sending cards and letters of support to Sergeant Nightingale.  I hope the petitions land on the desk of the judge tomorrow...which brings me to this point...  The hearing for Sergeant Nightingale is tomorrow, Thursday, November 19th.  Since tomorrow is already happening in England, your thoughts and prayers would be appreciated. 

See the end of this post for a note from Sally Nightingale and sign the petition!!!

-------------------

This one's for Tiny...

It is no secret that we support our friends, allies and family over in Britain.  They have stood by us in the darkest of times.  It's no secret that we are admirers of the SAS and the work that they do.  We've focused on a few of them here over the years.  Which brings us to this travesty of justice happening right now. 

The Brat over at Assoluta Tranquillita alerted us (please read) to this story in the Telegraph:

...In 2007, Sgt Nightingale was serving in Iraq as a member of Task Force Black, a covert counter-terrorist unit that conducted operations under orders to capture and kill members of al-Qaeda.

He also helped train members of a secret counter-terrorist force called the Apostles. At the end of the training he was presented with the Glock, which he planned to donate to his regiment as a war trophy...

But two of his mates were killed and he escorted their remains back to Britain.  His quick departure left behind, not only all of his gear, but also the pistol in Iraq.  The pistol was packed up in box and sent home - not opened for years.  In the meantime, Sgt Nightingale served honorably and ably; however, in the 30th mile of a 200 mile trek across Brazil, he collapsed and was in a coma for 72 hours suffering memory loss.  Then...

...In May, 2010, Sgt Nightingale was living in a house with another soldier close to the regiment’s headquarters when he was posted to Afghanistan at short notice.

During the tour, his housemate’s estranged wife claimed her husband had assaulted her and kept a stash of ammunition in the house. West Mercia Police raided the house and found the Glock, still in its container...

Legends in the SAS community have rallied round Sgt Nightingale including Richard Williams, Tim Collins, Andy McNab and Chris Ryan. They have sent a letter of protest to the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/campaigns/our_boys/4642941/Open-letter-to-David-Cameron-over-jailing-of-SAS-sergeant.html#ixzz2CD15RNPB

There's a petition you can sign to show support of Sgt Nightingale here.  Yes, I don't expect the British judge to respond to a petition from a bunch of Americans and Canadians, but it might send a signal to the good sergeant and his family that A LOT of people around the world have his back.

And, to the judge in this case, as they say across the pond, "sort this out, or we'll sort you out."

Links:

Telegraph UK
Assoluta Tranquillita
BBC

Below is a note from Sally Nightingale:

38 Degrees is forwarding this email on from Sally Nightingale, the wife of Sergeant Danny Nightingale. So far, more than 90,000 38 Degrees members have signed the petition calling for Danny to be released (http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/danny-nightingale). Read her message below:

I can’t thank you enough for the support you’ve shown my husband, Sergeant Danny Nightingale. It means more than I can tell you that tens of thousands of people are standing with us to fight for his freedom. From the bottom of my heart - thank you.

Tomorrow, I’ll be taking the petition we’ve all signed into court for Danny’s appeal. A crucial issue will be whether keeping Danny in jail is in the public interest - so our petition calling for his freedom, signed by so many thousands of people, will be vital for Danny’s case.

If we’re going to show the court that the public don’t want Danny in jail, we need as many signatures as possible on that petition by tomorrow. It really could be what decides whether or not Danny comes home with me and our children in just a few hours' time. Every single signature counts.

Can you forward this email to your friends and family now and help grow the petition? You can also share this link on Facebook or Twitter (where we know lots of people are seeing it):
http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/danny-nightingale

This could be our last chance to help Danny. Right now, more than 90,000 of us have signed the petition - but Danny’s lawyers have said they think it will be a huge boost to his case if we can get it up to 100,000 signatures by the time they take it into court.

Please forward this email now - and here’s the link to share on Facebook or Twitter:
http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/danny-nightingale


Thank you so much for everything you’re doing to help Danny.

Sally Nightingale, Sergeant Danny Nightingale’s wife


Headline News to feature "108 Hours" on Veterans Day

DSCF3501

If you are not familiar with Robert Stokely and 108 Hours, please read these links.

RE: 108 Hours
RE: 108 Hours - A Thank You and Mission Complete
RE: 108 Hours - Interview
RE: Robert Stokely Remembers
RE: Father's Day for a Gold Star Dad
RE: Duty, Honor, Country in an Aircraft Hanger Five Years Ago
RE: Metamorphosis

Robin Meade and her team at HLN have done a lot of high-quality and meaningful stories about our veterans, military troops, the Fallen, and their families.  On Veterans Day at 8pm EST, Robin and HLN will debut "108 Hours - An Original HLN Documentary":

How far would a father go to honor his son?

After Army Sgt. Michael Stokely was killed in action, his father Robert set out on a journey like no other. He wanted to go to Iraq -- half a world away -- to visit the site of his son's last moments on earth. It is an unforgettable pilgrimage of danger, determination, unbroken promises and undying love.

Tune in to a very special hour on November 11, Veteran's Day, at 8 p.m. on HLN for the premiere of the original documentary event, "108 Hours."

The Stokelys are an amazing American family, none better.  Please tune in on Sunday night, Veterans' Day, at 8pm EST.  It will be worth your time.  Please share and speard the word.


Victoria Cross Awarded to Aussie Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran

The Victoria Cross is the highest military honor in order of precedence of the Commonwealth's awards.  It is akin to our Medal of Honor.  There have 99 awards of the VC (or equivalent) to Australians with only 3 of those awards since 1991.

AussieCross
Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran VC has been invested as the recipient of Australia’s 99th Victoria Cross by Governor-General Quentin Bryce during a ceremony at Government House, Canberra.

His citation reads: “For the most conspicuous acts of gallantry and extreme devotion to duty in action in circumstances of great peril at Derapet, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, as part of the Mentoring Task Force One on Operation SLIPPER” on 24 August 2010.

At the time, Corporal Keighran was a member of the 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment which was deployed to Afghanistan with Mentoring Task Force One.

Corporal Keighran is only the third recipient of the Victoria Cross for Australia, which in 1991 replaced the British or Imperial Victoria Cross awarded to 96 Australians. He is the first member of the Royal Australian Regiment to receive the country’s highest military honour.

Corporal Keighran said he was surprised and honoured to receive the award.

“This is a very unexpected and humbling experience and I don’t think it has really sunk in yet,” Corporal Keighran said.

“I am very proud of the boys from Delta Company, 6 RAR and how they performed that day. This award is as much for their efforts as it is for mine.

“I would also like to acknowledge my family, friends and especially my wife Kathryn. They have been very supportive throughout my service and deployments and I would like to recognise and thank them.”

The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, congratulated Corporal Daniel Keighran, VC on being awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia.

“Corporal Keighran acted with exceptional clarity and composure that spread to those soldiers around him, giving them confidence to operate effectively in an extremely stressful and dangerous situation,” General Hurley said.

“His actions identified and suppressed enemy firing points and turned the fight in our favour.

“Corporal Keighran joins an esteemed group of Australians revered for their courage in combat. The official citation will show that “his valour is in keeping with the finest traditions of the Australian Army and the Australian Defence Force,” but perhaps the greatest honour comes from one of his comrades who said ‘I would fight to serve with Corporal Dan Keighran in the future’.”

The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, commented on the enduring humility, dedication and mateship demonstrated by Corporal Keighran.

“Corporal Keighran has shown tremendous humility and has continually recognised that his actions were undertaken as part of a team,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

“His dedication to his mates and to the operation saw him repeatedly put himself in harm’s way that day. He epitomises ‘Duty First’, the motto of the Royal Australian Regiment.

“The valour of his actions and those of the other members of his patrol, are exemplars of the very best in Australian soldiering,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

Corporal Keighran had several combat tours and is now a reservist. He has been awarded the following honors and awards:

  • Victoria Cross for Australia
  • Australian Active Service Medal with Clasp Iraq and Clasp ICAT
  • Iraq Campaign Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal
  • Australian Service Medal with Clasp East Timor
  • Australian Defence Medal
  • United Nations Mission in Support of East Timor Medal
  • NATO Non Article 5 Medal with Clasp ISAF
  • Meritorious Unit Citation for 1-MTF
  • Infantry Combat Badge

The full citation for the Victoria Cross is posted after the jump.

Continue reading "Victoria Cross Awarded to Aussie Corporal Daniel Alan Keighran" »


A Medevac Crew that you should know - The men and women of Charlie 3-25

We send our strongest flight medics out here because of injuries we see.  This area is the worst, so we need soldiers that can handle it.” - Captain Margaret Larson, Medevac Pilot and XO, C/3-25.

764377The flight crews of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, pose in front of a UH-60 Black Hawk located in Pasab, Afghanistan, in late September. (Photo by Sgt. Randy Ojeda/25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

This is a great story about a Medevac station in Afghanistan:

Medevac central: A glimpse at one of the busiest medevac locations in Afghanistan
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
Story by Capt. Richard Barker
Sunday, October 10, 2012
#####
PASAB, Afghanistan – When I was asked to meet and capture the lives of the medevac crews of Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, located at Pasab, a small outpost in a highly-active and dangerous region of Afghanistan located west of Kandahar Airfield, I was slightly concerned.

I expected to meet a rag-tag group of medevac crews. It would have to make sense, I thought. Pasab has the most challenging medevac missions in Regional Command-South due to the high frequency of missions and traumatic nature of the injuries common in the area.

Pasab averages 30 percent of all Category Alpha medevac missions in RC-South. The medevac crews at Pasab also see the worst injuries as they only respond to urgent medical calls, known as CAT-A missions. These are calls with injuries, such as a multiple amputee patients, that require a response from mission start to medical facility delivery of less than one hour - known as the golden hour.

When I arrived to meet the medevac crews, I was greeted by a very energetic Capt. Margaret Larson, a pilot and the executive officer for C/ 3-25. She gave me a two-minute tour of their footprint. There were two sleep tents and a third tent that served as an operations center and crew rest area.

As Larson introduced me to the Pasab flight crews, I noticed my expected vision of them was way off. These were professional soldiers with overall impressive statures.

“We send our strongest flight medics out here because of injuries we see,” explained Larson. “This area is the worst, so we need soldiers that can handle it.”

I sat down with many of the crew members who were eager to share their experiences.

The soldiers explained some of the challenges of life in Pasab.

First was the secret behind their high levels of energy and calm. Due to the nature of the Pasab mission, no single medevac crew is allowed to stay in Pasab for more than two weeks at a time. Instead they rotate out to Pasab from Kandahar Airfield, on an either weekly or bi-weekly basis depending on the mission tempo.

The one to two weeks they are at Pasab, though, are rough, as the crews cannot leave the small area they operate in. There are two full crews at Pasab which rotate every 24 hours from being first responder to second responder. As a result, if there are two missions, everyone is flying.

Members of the crew explained this can mean long times without showers, and that they find the time to sleep and eat when they can. Sleeping sometimes comes in spurts while food comes from piles of care packages stacked in the corner of their operations tent.

Regardless, they all expressed a love for what they do.

“I like doing what I do,” said Spc. Arnell James, a flight medic for C/3-25, from Savannah, Ga., who has been on the Pasab rotation five times. “I like the mission tempo and being able to do our job, to be able to use the skills we trained for.”

I was informed that some of the medics on the crews were not flight medics, rather medics who served as a second hand to the flight medics. While this is not a common practice, it is deemed necessary in Pasab.

Spc. John Hill, a medic with 209th Headquarters and Headquarters Support Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, 25th CAB, and a native of Austin, Texas, is one of the selected “second-hand” flight medics at Pasab.

“I signed up to be a medic to help other people,” said Hill, who is on his second rotation to Pasab. “That’s the kind of person missions like this need; someone who wants to help but doesn’t expect anything in return.”

The crews began to share their lighter and humorous stories. One involved a miscommunication where a call over the radio to request a replacement crew chief due to losing one from “intestinal distress” was wrongly heard as “emotional distress.” To make a long story short, the poor crew chief, who was simply trying to relieve his “intestinal distress” in a nearby portable bathroom, was surprised to find an army of leadership was outside trying to talk him out before he hurt himself from “emotional distress.”

Wow.

The humorous stories continued when a loud, alerting sound came from the operations desk where all medevac missions and updates are monitored. Everyone was on their feet in an instant, many gone with amazing haste. Others stood ready to take action as they waited for the official call.

“It’s just a weather update,” yelled the operations sergeant. The soldier standing closest to me took a deep breath, placed one hand on his heart and another on my shoulder as he told me the adrenaline was always pumping around there.

The crews slowly returned to sit around and share some more. For some reason, the false alarm caused the crews to start sharing their sadder stories.

“The harder days are when we have to go pick up kids,” said James, as he stared down at his feet. “It hits close to home. I picked up a girl once who looked just like my daughter.”

The crews started to discuss other challenges at Pasab, ranging from extreme, dusty environments to the threat of land mines on landing zones and common instances of random gun fire.

The discussion turned to treating Afghan National Army soldiers.

“Treating local nationals can be a challenge,” said James explaining they sometimes resist treatment. “Some have never seen a helicopter and they get scared, and on top of that we have the language barrier. But we push through it, we do our job and we are successful.”

The Pasab medevac crews have a 98-percent success rate of retrieving, treating and transporting their patients to a medical facility within the golden hour.

The conversations continued into the night as I chuckled to myself about how wrong I had been about this group.

No medevac calls came through while I was there, but, sometimes that’s just how it is.


VOTE FOR DANIEL RODRIGUEZ - the 2012 USAA Athletic Inspiration Award for Courage in Sports

RE:  Daniel Rodriguez - from COP Keating to NCAA Football - Someone You Should Know (January 2012)
RE:  This Ain't Hell:  Combat Vet to Play at Clemson (August 2012)

Over at This Ain't Hell, Jonn posts a request that we should all get on with and, for those of you on Facebook, vote for Daniel as the 2012 USAA Athletic Inspiration Award for Courage in Sports here.

 

 

 


Matthew Lancelot Ryan - Someone You Should Know

This is annual re-post honoring Matty Ryan:

299611
2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.

Battalion 1 Chief Matthew "Matty" Lancelot Ryan was not assigned to me in due course of the project. There were two reasons I requested to cover Chief Ryan for the project: [1] As I researched the fire chief, I discovered that we have a lot of similiarities (reading newspapers, hockey, and classic rock) and [2] someone that was originally assigned to cover Chief Ryan would have tried to hurt the Ryan family and tarnish the Chief's memory.

Matthew “Matty” Ryan, an Irish New Yorker, was born in 1947, married Margaret in 1969, and became a Firefighter in 1973. Ryan was known in the New York Fire Department as one of the calmest and under control fire fighters. He also was known for his love of hockey which he played at a seminary in Pennsylvania  And, as I mentioned previously, while he listened to all forms of music (including Jazz and Irish music), he most loved classic rock.

From Newsday:

“Often as the battle against a major fire was being waged, it was said, Ryan could be found whispering instructions and calming words of assurance in the ears of less seasoned firefighters…”

Matthew Ryan was recognized as always being the team's rock in the storm of a fire.  And because of his unflappable nature, he rose through the ranks in the Fire Department first as a fire fighter in Engine 280 in Brooklyn before becoming a lieutenant in Engine 43 in the Bronx among other assignments before becoming chief of Battalion 1 in Manhattan.

On Sunday, September 9th, 2001, the Ryans had just returned from a family vacation on Cape Cod.

On September 11th, terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center towers.  The FDNY responded to the attack.  We all know the story.  While people escaped the flames, other men and women ran into the towers.  Police and Firefighters saved who they could instead of saving themselves.  Their chiefs were on the ground and in the towers giving orders.

Based on all I've found, I'm certain that Chief Ryan was their anchor that day, even as the towers fell.

There is a scholarship set up in honor of Matthew Lancelot Ryan.

The BC Matthew Ryan Memorial Scholarship benefits children of active, retired and deceased members of the FDNY that played hockey (FDNY, Firehouse, Town , local or league teams).  The scholarship is available for use in HS, Trade, Vocational, or College/University purposes. You inquire how to help the fund via Mrs. Ryan:

    Margaret Ryan
    PO Box 1096
    Massapequa, NY 11758

Please visit the other bloggers of the 2,996 project.

Update: NBC's Bryan Williams had a recent piece about the sons of the fallen firefighters becoming firefighters themselves.  Chief Ryan's son, Matthew, is now a FDNY Firefighter and wears his father's recovered claddagh ring.


HLN's Salute to Troops on Independence Day

An FYI for our readers that our friends at HLN are planning a night of incredible, moving accounts from the front lines.

Be sure to tune in on July 4th at 7pm and 9pm EST for their special "Salute to Troops: Stories of Courage" hosted by Robin Meade. The program will feature the real struggles and triumphs of wounded veterans and soldiers.

Robin and the HLN staff have been very dedicated to telling these stories.  You can see many of them right here at HLN.  Here's one example of their stories - and you should know pretty well - Israel del Toro:

What better way to celebrate the end of our Independence Day...?


Green Berets overcome adversity of amputation - back in the fight in Afghanistan

Great story from CJSOTF-A:

WARRIORS STAND TALL IN COMBAT ONCE AGAIN
Story by Gunnery Sgt. Ryan O'Hare
Photos by Army Sgt. Devin James

BAGRAM, Afghanistan – Becoming a part of the U.S. Army’s elite fighting force takes total dedication and an unwavering fortitude to persevere in the toughest environments. These grueling conditions not only test an individual’s physical limits, but the mental capacity to forge forward in the face of adversity when most other men would falter. The few left standing at the end of this arduous gauntlet are known by two words - Green Berets.

For Maj. Kent Solheim, the Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group Company commander and Maj. Robert Eldridge, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group executive officer, their personal courage, coupled with their desire to continue to serve alongside their Special Forces brothers, was stronger than any challenge that confronted them, including the amputation of their limbs.

Solheim2 578869_q75Maj. Kent Solheim (Right), Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group Company commander, describes his team's recent mission to General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at Camp Morehead, Afghanistan, April 23, 2012.

Solheim was injured July 27, 2007 in Karbala, Iraq, while conducting a raid to capture an insurgent commander. During the firefight that ensued, Solheim was shot four times. The barrage of bullets struck both legs and also hit his left shoulder.

His road to recovery was long, taking two years and involving 29 surgeries. This included one year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as both an inpatient and outpatient.

Solheim did not initially lose his leg. It was only after he lost function of his lower left leg that doctors felt there was a slim chance of making a full recovery. Solheim continued to fight the diagnosis a long time before eventually electing to amputate his leg below the knee.

“I had dealt with my injury at its worst for 18 months, so it was a relief to have the surgery. It marked an opportunity for me to get a new start and end a long and hard chapter of my life,” said Solheim. “I was uncertain, but I saw many other amputees being more capable than I was, so I was confident that it would improve things for me.”

For Solheim, the road to recovery was tough, but overcoming challenges was nothing new to him.

“I did not want to be defeated by my injury and felt that I could still contribute regardless of the fact that I am an amputee.”

Solheim not only felt his quality of life would improve, he also knew others who continued to serve on active duty with a prosthetic. For this warrior, the decision to once again stand tall and fight alongside his brethren was made.

Solheim 578868_q75Maj. Kent Solheim, Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group Company commander, defends his position from insurgent small arms fire during a fire fight in Kunar province, Afghanistan, Mar. 7, 2012. Solheim was injured July 27, 2007 in Karbala, Iraq, while conducting a raid to capture an insurgent commander. During the firefight that ensued, Solheim was shot four times. Solheim did not initially lose his leg. It was only after he lost function of his lower left leg that doctor’s felt there was a slim chance of making a full recovery. Solheim eventually elected to amputate his leg below the knee. Solheim was motivated by others he knew who continued to serve on active duty with a prosthetic.

“I still deal daily with the challenges of being an amputee, and with chronic pain,” said Solheim. “But the alternative was certainly worse.”

Although both officers spent time recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center, their paths to recovery were different.

Eldridge was injured while on a combat patrol in Shkin, Patika province, Afghanistan, Dec 17, 2004. He was in the lead vehicle when it was struck by an anti-tank mine. In the aftermath of the horrific blast, Eldridge knew he was critically wounded.

“I have a medical background, so I knew I was seriously injured,” said Eldridge. “Our team medic was driving and was able to get to me quickly.”

Eldridge injuries included his severe damage to his left leg, multiple fractures in his right leg, a shattered ankle and damage to his left eye. At one point, a large piece of his leg bone was lying on the floorboard of the vehicle. Upon arriving at Forward Operating Base Salerno, his left leg was immediately amputated in order to save his life.

Within three days of the explosion, Eldridge was stateside beginning his recovery process. Eldridge didn’t waste any time, and quickly began exercising on his bed’s support bars.

“I knew my arms worked, so I just started doing pull-ups,” said Eldridge.

In less than a week, he was in physical therapy working out several hours a day.

Growing up with his Green Beret father, Bob Eldridge, and his brother Eddie, who’s currently serving in Special Forces, Eldridge understood that quitting, either mentally or physically, was never an option.

Much like Solheim, Eldridge saw other Special Forces members around him recovering from their own injuries and getting back to the fight. He knew with hard work, anything was possible.

Eldridge2 578871_q75U.S. Army Major Robert Eldridge, 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group executive officer, prepares before mounting a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, May 7. Eldridge was injured while on a combat patrol in Shkin, Patika province, Afghanistan, Dec 17, 2004. He was in the lead vehicle when it was struck by an anti-tank mine. Upon arriving at Forward Operating Base Salerno, his left leg was amputated in order to save his life.

“You can get angry and upset, but you can’t get angry and upset if you don’t do anything about it,” said Eldridge. “These guys make it through the (Special Forces) qualification course for a reason. They have the mental capacity to overcome something like this. You see them in the hospital and they’re the guys figuring out what they need to do to get better, not waiting around for someone to do it for them."

For both these men, having their family and friends surrounding them through rehabilitation made the difference in not only improving their physical capability, but also their spirit and outlook on life.

“There have been many people who have helped me along the way since my injury. Most of these people also had difficult experiences in their lives, but have persevered,” said Solheim. “Every day when I put on my prosthetic leg, it is a sobering reminder of July 27, 2007, but that event has allowed me to connect with people in life that I otherwise would not have been able to connect with. I hope my experience might help someone else overcome a trial they are facing like the people that were able to help me.”

Now back in uniform, and once again serving in a combat zone for the second time since their surgeries, both Solheim and Eldridge are appreciative of the support to return to duty and pass on their knowledge and leadership to others.

“I appreciate being afforded the opportunity to continue my service in the military,” said Eldridge. “Including the trust showed to me by allowing me to continue to lead our nation’s sons and daughters.”

Although Solheim and Eldridge are not the first service members to be severely injured in battle, their experiences and resolve may inspire others in the future, like those who have motivated them.

“Last year I sat at the bedside of a friend who had just lost both legs in Afghanistan,” said Solheim. “He told me this was the hand he’s been dealt, so he should make the best of it. I took those words to heart and would like to think this is my mantra also. This is the hand I’ve been dealt, but life goes on and I will make best of it.”

Both men continue to serve their nation to the best of their ability, and hope they may be viewed as positive role models for other injured warriors looking to get back in the fight.

“The most important advice I could give someone is to make an honest assessment and determine if their personal injuries are such that they still have the capability to contribute,” said Solheim.

“At the end of the day, what we do is bigger than any one person, and continued service needs to be for the benefit of both the individual and the organization.”


Sergeant Josh Laughery - Someone You Should Know

Today, SGT Laughery will be awarded the Silver Star for his valor during a fight in Afghanistan.  With his leadership hit and five of his squard wounded in an ambush, SGT Laughery took charge, set up firing positions, began medical treatment of the wounded and set off with another soldier to end the fight quickly and decisively...

...Laughery engaged the insurgents and held them at bay until relief arrived, the statement said. His actions resulted in the survival and rescue of every soldier on his patrol, including five who had been wounded.

The pitched battle lasted about 25 minutes, Laughery said. Twice, he and another soldier, Spc. John Penilton, ran into a pitch-black cellar to root out insurgents hiding there...

Read the whole story over at the Houston Chronicle.