30 March 2012

Go rest high on that mountain

Go rest high on that mountain
Son your work on earth is done
Go to heaven a-shoutin'
Look for the Father and the Son

Rest in peace, Jamie.

Triple Amputee Makes Final Airborne Jump

After being injured in an improvised explosive device attack in July 2010, Cpl. Adam Keys of the 618th ESC (C)(A) "The Nasty", Fort Bragg, N.C. makes his final jump in the Airborne with the help of the Golden Knights. Includes soundbites from Capt. Justin Roy, commander, Sgt. Cody Cruse, section sergeant and Cpl. Adam Keys, all of 618th ESC(C)(A).

Read more about Cpl Keys and the jump at the US Army Golden Knights web site.

29 March 2012

Photo of the Day

A Veteran hits the slopes at the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colorado. Photo: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

26 March 2012

Because that's who we are

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Merino, senior medic for Bravo Company, Task Force 3-66, 172nd Infantry Brigade; Capt. Giles Wright, commander for Bravo Co., TF 3-66, 172nd Inf. Brig., pose for a picture on Combat Outpost Kushamond, Paktika province, Afghanistan, with Matten, an 8-year-old Afghan boy whose face was severely damaged and blinded by an improvised explosive device. Merino saved Matten’s life and he is now being cared for by officials of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. David Barnes, Task Force Blackhawk Public Affairs)

US soldiers save boy’s life in Kushamond district

Courtesy Story
By U.S. Army Maj. Joseph Buccino, RC-East PAO

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan — Once in a while, an event occurs that develops the human perspective of warfare into the mission in Afghanistan. The soldiers of Blackjack, or Company Bravo, Task Force 3-66, 172nd Infantry Brigade, Task Force Blackhawk, participated in such a life-changing set of events from March 14 through March 25.

On the afternoon of March 14, soldiers from Blackjack responded to a blast in Kushamond district in the qalat of Saduzi. An improvised explosive device, stored for a planned attack on Coalition Forces and Afghan National Security Forces operating within the district, detonated prematurely.

Upon arriving at the scene, the soldiers realized that the detonation killed four children who appeared to be playing in the area and may have unwittingly engaged the trigger device.

They did not know it, but one child, Saduzi’s 8-year-old son, Matten, survived the blast.

Within minutes, a man named Sultan who lives in a neighboring qalat, carried the severely injured Matten to Combat Outpost Kushamond.

U.S. Army Sgt. Anthony Merino from Basstrop, Texas, senior medic for the company, reacted immediately, treating the surviving child at the entry control point.

“I assessed and stabilized the patient while we called in a medical evacuation,” said Merino. “He was losing his airway. Had we not been able to treat him when we did, his wounds would certainly have been fatal.”

The boy was prepared for movement on an aircraft. Sgt. Michael Torres from Amarillo, Texas, and Pfc. Cody Sandstrom, along with Sultan, escorted the boy from Kushamond to the Sharana Medical Treatment Facility and then to the Craig Joint-Theater Hospital at Bagram Air Field.

Torres, Sandstrom, and Sultan remained with Matten in Bagram for 10 days while surgery was performed on his multiple facial lacerations.

According to Maj. Bradley S. Putty, CJTH deputy-commander for clinical services, a complex procedure was performed to remove a ball bearing from the boy’s eye socket. Additional surgeries were performed on both sets of eyelids.

Finally, according to Putty, “The boy’s eyes were injured beyond repair and a follow-up surgery was performed to implant prosthetic eyes.”

Craig hospital staff noticed the boy’s clothes and shoes were destroyed by the blast, so they donated new clothes, sneakers and toys.

This action was a stark contrast to the reports of recent events in Kandahar.

“This was a deliberate outreach effort,” Putty said. “This child was a victim of this war.”

On March 24, the boy was released from the hospital and flown to Forward Operating Base Sharana and on March 25, he was flown back onto COP Kushamond with Torres, Sandstrom, and Sultan.

He was greeted on the COP by Adam Khan, a representative from the office of the Kushamond district sub-governor, and Capt. Giles Wright, the commander of Company B.

“Matten was stable and in excellent spirits and even offered a few jokes,” Wright said. “It was evident; he was a child willing to live for the future of Afghanistan.”

Although blind for life and severely scarred, Matten is grateful for his life. Matten has since been escorted to his village by Adam Khan, who has accepted guardianship and responsibility for the boy on behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Afghan Uniform Police intend to maintain persistent watch over him and the villagers have vowed to protect the boy. Matten’s father, Sudazi, is believed to be hiding outside of Paktika province and is currently a wanted individual.

All those involved were greatly moved by the boy’s spirit and the humanity of the event.

“It demonstrated the human side of this conflict,” Torres said. “The compassion of the American soldiers here and [at] Bagram and of the local villagers really showed the pain of all of this.”

25 March 2012

National Medal of Honor Day

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. It was first presented by President Abraham Lincoln on March 25, 1863. 
March 25, 2007 was the first official National Medal of Honor Day observed in the United States.

Recipients - Afghanistan

Army Specialist Salvatore Giunta
Marine Corporal Dakota Meyer
Army Staff Sergeant Robert James Miller
Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti
Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy
Army Staff Sergeant Leroy Petry

Recipients - Iraq

Marine Corporal Jason Dunham
Army Specialist Ross A. McGinnis
Navy Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor
Army Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith

24 March 2012

One last look

Airman 1st Class Jeremy Quesada glances back to family and friends seeing him off at Hancock field in Syracuse N.Y., March 21, 2012. Quesada, assigned to the 174th Fighter Wing Security Forces, and 30 other airman from his unit are deploying to Afghanistan for six months. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ricky Best.

22 March 2012

Soldier Survives Miracle Head Wound

Although this happens from time to time, it's always just amazing - and, a miracle.

Read "Miracle Soldier Survives Bullet to the Head" at Blackfive.

21 March 2012

Godspeed Sergeant Jamie Jarboe

"...our broken brothers let us bring to the Mansions of the Lord."

After an 11-month battle, Jamie has gone to the Mansions of the Lord.

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
- John 14:1-3

You may leave a message of condolence at Jamie and Melissa's Facebook page.

Prayers for Sgt Jamie Jarboe
By His Side

By His Side

Image courtesy: Melissa Jarboe

Just read.

"There are no words that can describe what this last week has been like knowing that my husband and I would never have a life we always dreamed of," Melissa wrote. "Last Thursday Jamie was placed in a comfort care or hospice setting."

Wounded almost one year ago in Afghanistan, Jamie is now in hospice care. Our prayers continue and our hearts are breaking, even as we are grateful for the eleven months the Jarboe family has had together.

You may leave a message of support at Jamie and Melissa's Facebook page.

Update: Godspeed Sergeant Jamie Jarboe

Previous: Prayers for Sgt Jamie Jarboe

18 March 2012

10 Silver Stars, 16 Purple Hearts awarded to First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment

Photo: The 75th Ranger Regiment.

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Scores of U.S. Army Rangers were recognized for extraordinary acts of courage Friday at Hunter Army Airfield.

10 Silver Stars, one of the highest awards for valor, and 16 Purple Hearts, honoring those wounded in action, were among the medals earned by almost 80 Rangers with the First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. In a deployment last year, they conducted 900 missions and killed or captured more than 2,000, yet none of the Rangers seek singular recognition.

"It's for individual valorous achievement, but I think it is more of a collective achievement because we have had so many across the whole Battalion," said 1SG Michael Eiermann, 1/75 Ranger Battalion, Silver Star recipient.

Two Silver Stars were awarded posthumously to families of fallen Rangers.

Photo: The 75th Ranger Regiment.

Homecoming for a wounded combat medic

Ashley Jones walked part of the route, to the delight of the home crowd. Photo: NewsOn6.com.

Crowds Cheer As Cleveland War Hero, Amputee Walks Parade Route

By Brandi Ball, NewsOn6.com

CLEVELAND, Oklahoma -- Cleveland welcomed home a favorite daughter Saturday. U.S. Army Specialist Ashley Jones returned to a hero's welcome, including a parade in her honor.

The young Purple Heart recipient served in the Oklahoma National Guard's 45th Infantry Brigade in Afghanistan. She was in a convoy on December 18, 2011, when it was hit by an IED.

The parade began at 10 a.m. with Patriot Guard bikers, the Cleveland High School Band and military veterans escorting Jones down Broadway Street from Caddo to Pawnee Streets.

With a block to go in the parade route, the vehicle transporting Jones stopped in the street, and she walked on a prosthetic leg in front of the car and waved to supporters.

Amid loud cheers and a lot of tears, Jones walked the rest of the way, to where folks gathered to shake the hero's hand.

As Cleveland Mayor Ron Shipman presented Jones with a proclamation declaring it "Ashley Jones Day," he got a little choked up.

"When she came walking down Main Street it was a beautiful sight," he said. "It was just beautiful."

Saturday was also Jones' 21st birthday, so after the crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance and the "Star Spangled Banner," it serenaded her with a chorus of "Happy Birthday."

In the IED explosion, Jones broke her back and pelvis, and her right leg was amputated at the knee. She has been recovering in a San Antonio military hospital.

Previous: Injured Medic rejoins Soldier she treated

07 March 2012

Fair Winds, Lex

We have lost another one of our own.

Retired Top Gun pilot US Navy Captain Carroll LeFon was killed yesterday when his F-21 Kfir jet crashed at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada. To those of us in the milblog community, Captain LeFon was better known as Lex of the blog Neptunus Lex.

Lex loved his family, he loved writing, and he loved flying. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life "in a cube". He died passing on that love of flying to the next generation of pilots. He was a beloved husband, father, and son. He was a Patriot. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May God hold and comfort them in their pain.

Godspeed, Lex. Our hearts are broken.

Others writing about Lex:
Pinch at Blackfive
The Sniper
LCDR Benjamin “BJ” Armstrong
Navy Times
JC at Tailhook
Soldiers' Angels

02 March 2012

Wounded warriors conquer the surf

One of the San Diego Naval Medical Center's most successful therapy programs is their Warrior Athlete Surf Clinic. Watch Marine Carlos Garcia and Corpsman Stuart Fuke catch the waves.