Slide background
America's Military Charity® 501(c)(3)
2021 Goods and Services Delivered $38,000,000 (est.)
2021 Overhead: Less than 5%
Donate Today

The bridge between you and America’s troops

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS®

Slide background
America's Military Charity® 501(c)(3)
2021 Goods and Services Delivered $38,000,000 (est.)
2021 Overhead: Less than 5%
Donate Today

Providing assistance to and promoting support
for America’s troops and their families

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS®
Slide background
America's Military Charity® 501(c)(3)
2021 Goods and Services Delivered $38,000,000 (est.)
2021 Overhead: Less than 5%
Donate Today

Serving Those Who Serve

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS®
Slide background
Donate Today
America's Military Charity® 501(c)(3)
2021 Goods and Services Delivered $38,000,000 (est.)
2021 Overhead: Less than 5%

If they’re there, we’re with them

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS®
[caption id="attachment_3851" align="alignleft" width="280"]BuddysConcernSaves Army Cpl. Joe Sanders and Spc. Albert Godding pose April 27, 2010, after Godding received a Meritorious Service Medal for preventing Sanders' suicide in Iraq in 2008. U.S. Army photo by Zach Morgan[/caption] FORT POLK, La.,– Aug. 7, 2008, was a hot day in Iraq, and it seemed as if the walls were closing in on Army Spc. Joe Sanders.
Sanders had deployed to Iraq with the 10th Mountain Division’s 5th Battalion, 25th Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. Sander’s wife was leaving him, and he had several months left to serve in Iraq when he attempted suicide by turning his weapon on himself.His battle buddy, Army Spc. Albert Godding, had seen the signs of Sanders' stress, and removed the firing pin from his friend’s rifle earlier that day. The weapon misfired and Godding confronted his friend about the attempt. Sanders sought counseling and made it home alive. On April 27 here, Godding received the Meritorious Service Medal for his actions. He is now with the 4th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team at Fort Carson, Colo., and was at Fort Polk for a pre-deployment rotation with his unit when he received the award. Sanders is thankful his friend had intervened in Iraq. "Every day I wake up, I have to thank Godding," he said. "If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have gotten to experience my fiancée. I wouldn't have gotten to lead troops, or attend schools and learn. Those are things I love to do." Since redeploying in 2009, Sanders has attended the Warrior Leaders Course, been promoted to corporal and was selected for marksmanship school. He is with the same battery, is leading troops, and he’ll deploy this year to Afghanistan. He also is engaged to be married this month. Helping others, Godding said, is something everyone should do. "A lot of people crack jokes and call me hero, but if I ever see anybody who looks like they're feeling down, I talk to them just to make sure everything's OK," he said. "I'm not just trying to stop people from committing suicide. I'm trying to help them any way I can." Though he appreciates the recognition, Gooding said, the important thing is that his friend is alive and thriving. "It's been a long time since the event, and I didn't think I was going to get an award this big," he said. "I didn't need an award; I thought what I did was reward enough." The officer who commanded 5th Battalion, 25th Artillery, at the time of the incident noted that one person can make a huge difference. "Godding is circumspect about his role,â€Â said Army Lt. Col. Dennis Yates, now the senior fire support trainer and mentor at the Joint Readiness Training Center here. “He says it was just the right thing to do, but it is an illustration of the power that one person can have in another's life.â€Â Yates sees “unlimited potentialâ€Â for Sanders and Godding. "They're both great soldiers,â€Â he said. “Sanders has big plans - no matter what he sets his mind to, he'll do well. This experience is going to help form both of them long-term. The taste of success will be that much sweeter for Sanders from here on out because of what his friend did for him." Despite his low-key manner, Godding realizes the seriousness of suicide and Sanders' actions. "It made me realize that suicide is real," he said. "Sanders is not the type of soldier who would do that. It could happen to anybody." Friends and supervisors who notice changes in behavior should address it, Sanders said. "It doesn't hurt to ask how a person is feeling," he said. And, he added, soldiers shouldn’t be timid about seeking help. "Don't be afraid to get help, even if you have to take a battle buddy with you," Sanders said. "It made me feel a thousand times better when I was able to talk to someone about my trouble. Don't be afraid about what people will think about you, either. I did not hear any negativity in my unit about being a weak soldier. If anything, I was a lot stronger for going to get help." Yates said a unit’s climate is a big factor when it comes to soldiers looking out for one another, and that climate starts with leadership. "Commanders have to constantly ask themselves, 'Am I creating the type of environment that encourages leaders and soldiers to take care of each other?'" he said. "Not only did Sanders have a battle buddy who was on the ball, but he had a platoon leader and platoon sergeant who understood what was going on in their soldiers' lives." Sanders happened to be on the forward operating base with Godding because his platoon leadership saw him struggling and sent him back for counseling. "It was a stroke of luck that Godding happened to be on the [base] at the same time," Yates said. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about it. It was that significant." Yates pointed out that Army culture has shifted from the old model, in which soldiers were expected to 'tough it out' and seeking help was a sign of weakness. "As we become more experienced, we get a more mature view of what it means to be tough and temper it with compassion," he said. "There is still a stigma among family members that they can't let their units know about their problems. That's nonsense. No one will look down on you for coming forward. It was a big challenge for me to convince the spouses that they don't have to suffer in silence." Godding addressed the other difficulty of dealing with potential suicide. "It's hard sometimes to ask your friend about how they feel, because you don't want to intrude," he said. "When you spend time with your battle buddies during field training or [readiness training] rotations, you know when something's off and they're not acting right. It doesn't hurt to ask if they are OK and invite them to talk about it." Sanders said the kinds of issues that resulted in his suicide attempt have become more common, so talking about them no longer creates a potentially negative spotlight. "Because we deploy so often, soldiers are losing their friends and wives," he explained. "It's not uncommon to feel the way I did. Because more people are experiencing this, it's not such a taboo subject." As he prepares for his deployment, Sanders said he hopes to pass along the help he received to the soldiers he now leads. "I have more experience now," he said. "I know what to expect and talked to my fiancée about it. She's from a military family, so she knows about deployments. I got lucky in that respect." Sanders said being away from family and friends often is the hardest part of a deployment. "Fighting doesn't bother soldiers,â€Â he said. “We do that all day long. What gets to us is being away from our loved ones. It will be tough, but I'm ready. I know what my soldiers are going through. I will be able to help them cope." Many resources are available for soldiers and family members who are dealing with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems, officials here noted. The chain of command, unit chaplains and Army Community Service can provide help, and Military OneSource is a free service available by phone at 800- 342-9647 or online at http://www.militaryonesource.com. May 18, 2010: By Zach Morgan- Fort Polk Guardian
 

 

[caption id="attachment_3847" align="alignleft" width="300"]GlewkeepsCompany Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jason Glew, left, poses with Marine Corps 1st Sgt. Edwin Mota in front of the India Company "Mustang" sign in Marja, Afghanistan, April 23, 2010. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde[/caption] MARJA, Afghanistan,– Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Jason Glew is a workhorse.
He serves as the company gunnery sergeant for India Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, and thrives at juggling multiple tasks at once as India Company fights the Taliban insurgency here. As the company's logistician Glew is responsible for delivering all supplies, including food, water and clothing, to India's Marines out on the front lines. The 34-year-old noncommissioned officer also mentors India Company's platoon sergeants. "It's hard to explain all the different roles and things [Glew] does to make the entire company successful," said Marine Corps Capt. Bill Hefty, India Company's commanding officer. "He gets less sleep than anybody while on deployment." Glew has deployed often in his career. His current journey to Afghanistan marks the seventh time he has gone overseas since joining the Marine Corps. He has traveled to several different countries with the Marines, including Japan, Norway and Iraq. Deploying, Glew said, is satisfying -- especially being “outside the wireâ€Â of a base. "Just going out there and doing everything that you've learned while you've been in [the Marine Corps], it's the culminating point," Glew said. "It's like the Super Bowl for football players. Being outside the wire is the Marines' Super Bowl. You get to put everything you know to the test -- all your skills." Glew is no stranger to combat either, having fought in Iraq in the battle of Fallujah in 2004. "That was the first time I was ever scared while I've been in the Marine Corps," he said. "I definitely thought many of us weren't going to make it out of that one, myself included." Glew recalled that Fallujah was a constant fight from the get-go, with the Marines having to battle for every square inch of the city. He said that his platoon was attacked with machine-gun fire upon entering Fallujah's first half-block. "The whole platoon was pinned down for about 30 minutes, until one of the squad leaders single-handedly ran up and fragged two of the machine-gun bunkers, which enabled us to roll," the Pittsburgh native said. "Being stuck in a two-foot-deep canal with machine-gun rounds hitting right next to you is pretty scary." Glew's experience in Fallujah has given him the knowledge needed to serve as company gunnery sergeant and lead his Marines here. "Falling back on experiences in Fallujah helped me know what [our Marines] needed to be both mentally and physically prepared for [Operation Moshtarak]," Glew said. “I was able to look back to when I was a platoon sergeant in the kinetic fight and remember what [supplies] I needed and how important it was to me that the company pushed those needs quickly. “I [drew] from that experience,â€Â he added, “and was able to forecast what equipment the Marines needed and how much of it." Glew also used knowledge gained from Fallujah to ensure that the senior Marines in the company's line platoons were ready to deal with the stress of a combat deployment. "I was able to mentor the platoon leadership we currently have and give them a mental picture of how intense it could get," he said. "I talked with them and showed them how to put the intensity of the fight aside." Glew's Marines have responded to his leadership. "Gunny Glew has so much wisdom to pass," said Marine Corps Pfc. Anthony Cotto, a rifleman who works with Glew on a daily basis. "He's the jack-of-all-trades for the company." Hefty said Glew’s work has made other Marines' jobs much easier and has played a major part in the company's success during Operation Moshtarak. "We're lucky Gunny Glew can change roles on a dime and take care of any number of issues before it's one more thing that clutters up my to-do list," Hefty said. "He's completely pro-active, all the time." "He does it all," Cotto agreed. "The guy is awesome." May 17, 2010: By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Tommy Bellegarde- 1st Marine Division
 

 

[caption id="attachment_3894" align="alignleft" width="300"]MarinePublishesBook Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Laura Stanislaw has been writing poetry for five years. Her first book of poetry, titled “One Heart, True Wordsâ€Â will be published by the end of May 2010. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Brian Adam Jones[/caption] MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C., – Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Laura Stanislaw looked down at her desert camouflage uniform through big, piercing blue eyes. Her slender fingers and well-manicured fingernails played with the pen on her desk as she considered a question from a visitor who wanted to know what motivates her to get out of bed every morning.
“I’m just happy,â€Â Stanislaw finally said with a shrug and a smile. The family readiness officer for Marine Aircraft Group 40 described her job as the most rewarding work she has done in the Marine Corps.Stanislaw’s work, and every other piece of her day-to-day life, has inspired her to publish a book of poetry. “One Heart, True Wordsâ€Â is slated to be published by the end of May and will feature 18 poems she has written since 2005.It all started with the poem “Passion,â€Â Stanislaw said. She was dating a man and spontaneously decided to write a poem about the relationship. She then easily transitioned into writing about everything in her life, she explained, good or bad. “I’ve been through a lot in my life,â€Â she said. “Over the years, I’ve learned to turn every negative into a positive. I’ve been sad and unhappy before. That’s no place to be. It’s unhealthy.â€Â Stanislaw’s poetry probes every aspect of her life without preference or prejudice, a feature she described as being important to the therapy the poems provide. “She is an ambitious and energetic person,â€Â said Dawn Rae, the family readiness officer for 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. “She seems to get great satisfaction from helping people.â€Â Stanislaw said when she was participating in an advanced course in Quantico, Va., a gunnery sergeant stood up and told a story about a friend of his who was killed by a roadside bomb. As he told his story, Stanislaw said, she could see the shrapnel wounds from the event on the Marine’s face. That event was the driving inspiration behind the poem “Sacrifice,â€Â one of her favorite poems from her book. “Life is not as perfect as a bed of roses,â€Â Stanislaw said. “There are ups and downs, positives and negatives. In the end, stick it out and turn into the person you want to be.â€Â Rae said she is a big fan of Stanislaw’s poetry and finds it absolutely inspiring. “Through her words, feelings and emotions come alive,â€Â Rae said. May 12, 2010: By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Brian Adam Jones- Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point
 

 

[caption id="attachment_3841" align="alignleft" width="300"]SoldierBecomesUS Army Spc. Carlos Baptista of the Rhode Island Army National Guard’s 115th Military Police Battalion takes the U.S. oath of allegiance during his naturalization ceremony at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, April 19, 2010. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shane Arrington[/caption] GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba,- Army Spc. Carlos Baptista of the Rhode Island Army National Guard’s 115th Military Police Company had dreamed of becoming an American citizen since he left the island country of Cape Verde off the African coast when he was just 4 years old.
Twenty years later, that dream became a reality when he took the oath of allegiance while deployed here with Joint Task Force Guantanamo.Completing the process makes Baptista proud – and his parents, as well, he said.“I know this brings a big smile to my parents’ faces,â€Â Baptista said with a smile of his own, shortly after taking the oath that officially made him a citizen of the country he’d already sworn to support and defend almost four years ago. Along with Baptista, Army Sgt. Ardicio Galvao and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jo Kurosu received their citizenship during the naturalization ceremony. Baptista joined the Rhode Island Army National Guard on Sept. 11, 2006, and he made it clear it was no coincidence he joined on that date. But while getting his citizenship has always been a goal, he said, it was easier said than done. “I’ve always been very busy, but I needed to start working on my citizenship,â€Â Baptista said. “[I had to] get it while in Cuba to come on this deployment. I was really lucky to have so many people help me. My command gave me the time I needed to study and prepare.â€Â Army Capt. Nicolas Pacheco, 115th Military Police Company commander, said he’s glad to see his soldier’s hard work pay off. “He was very passionate and dedicated,â€Â Pacheco said. “We were all proud to see him raise his hand in the first recorded naturalization ceremony in Guantanamo Bay.â€Â Baptista mentioned two of his former officers who he said were instrumental in encouraging him to pursue his dream of citizenship. Army Maj. Samuel Maldonado and Army Capt. Alex Arroyo “gave a lot of their spare time to help me get everything done properly,â€Â Baptista said. “They didn’t have to help,â€Â he added, “but I’m glad they did.â€Â Baptista was given an American flag during the ceremony. The flag, he said, will be safely sent home and respected. Now that he’s an American citizen, Baptista said, he’s glad he can do things he couldn’t before, such as applying for a security clearance and an American passport and apply to bring more of his family to the country he has called home for most of his life. “I always felt like something was missing,â€Â Baptista said. “But now that I’m an American citizen, I feel complete.â€ÂMay 13, 2010: By Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Shane Arrington- Joint Task Force Guantanamo
 

 

[caption id="attachment_3889" align="alignleft" width="300"]SoldierEscapesDeath Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, congratulates Army Sgt. Brandon Bougades, after Bougades re-enlisted for six more years at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, May 7, 2010. Bougades escaped death when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb on the same day as his re-enlistment appointment, his 28th birthday. U.S. Army photo by Maj. S. Justin Platt[/caption] KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan, – When Army Sgt. Brandon Bougades told his re-enlistment noncommissioned officer, “Let’s get this done before something happensâ€Â during a May 6 conversation, he had no way of knowing how prophetic his statement would be.
The White Sulfur, W.Va., native -- assigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 33rd Cavalry Regiment -- had spoken with Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Waller of Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, about adding another six years to his time in the Army.To make the event special, he scheduled his re-enlistment ceremony for May 7, his 28th birthday.Just hours prior to the appointed time for the ceremony, something did happen. “I told you so,â€Â Bougades would later say as Waller, from Jeffersonville, Ind., walked into a combat support hospital room on Forward Operating Base Salerno, where Bougades lay in a bed receiving treatment for his wounds. While he was on a patrol east of Camp Clark, Bougades’ vehicle struck a roadside bomb that wounded his lower extremities. He was rushed by helicopter to the Salerno hospital by helicopter. This was the third time Bougades had been wounded in combat –- something he seems to take in stride. His first comment to medical personnel wasn’t about pain, but rather was about the re-enlistment appointment he might miss. “You can ask the medics,â€Â Bougades said. “From the second I came in, I told them, ‘I got to re-enlist. I’m supposed to do that today. I still want to.’â€Â The leaders at Salerno rushed to make it happen, with Army Col. Viet Luong, commander of the 101st Airborne Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, taking the lead at the bedside ceremony. “Being here to do this is the ultimate honor for me,â€Â Luong told Bougades during the ceremony. “You know what I think of you. I’ve got 6,000 soldiers, and I could have picked you up out of a line-up because of my admiration for your leadership, and I’ve told you that before.â€Â “I love this job,â€Â Bougades said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I don’t want to be doing anything else.â€Â May 11, 2010: From a Task Force Rakkasan News Release

GET INSPIRING TROOP NEWS AND AMAZING PICTURES DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX