Meet Your Military
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Oct. 7, 2016 —
Illinois Army National Guard Sgt. Wesley Todd of La Porte, Indiana, invented a device that improves soldier safety and equipment longevity while working on a light-towed howitzer.
Todd’s idea is being adopted by the entire U.S. Army later this year, and is projected to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps more.
“I am shocked that the Army is going to adopt something I designed myself,” said Todd, a noncommissioned officer with the 333rd Military Police Company in Freeport, Illinois, and a military technician with the Combined Support Maintenance Shop at North Riverside Armory in North Riverside, Illinois.
“It’s an honor to know I improved the Army in a small way,” Todd said.
Army Maj. Gen. Richard J. Hayes, the Adjutant General of the Illinois National Guard, said Todd’s invention will affect the Army in more than a small way.
Invention Provides Savings, Safety Benefits
“This soldier’s invention will increase safety and save the entire Army hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment parts and repair time,” Hayes said. “These are resources that will now be able to be devoted to other U.S. Army priorities. Sgt. Todd and his leadership have set a great example.”
Hayes added,“Sgt. Todd has shown how a single Illinois Army National Guard soldier can improve a process for the entire Army, and his leadership has shown us a great example of how to listen to your soldiers’ ideas and help them implement positive changes. I’m proud to have these soldiers under my command.”
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MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT SAN DIEGO, June 09, 2016 — Joining the military is a life changing experience, and reaching the end of a contract can sometimes lead to an emptiness that can only be filled by joining the ranks once again.
Marine Corps Private First Class Sean F. Evans, Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion here, felt that emptiness since leaving the Army almost six years ago, and believed the Marine Corps was the best way to fill the void.
Evans says he was always interested in the infantry. In 2004, at age 18, he enlisted in the Army to become an infantryman. After infantry school, he attended airborne school and then reported to his first unit -- the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, at Fort Richardson, Alaska.
Less than two years later, Evans was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he spent a year conducting patrols, executing missions involving high-value targets and cross-training with Iraqi forces. During his tour, he received several individual awards, including the Combat Action Badge. Additionally, his unit received three Valorous Unit Awards, which is the second-highest unit award and is considered the unit equivalent of the Silver Star. It is awarded to units that show extraordinary heroism against armed enemies.
A Second Deployment
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EXETER, Calif., June 06, 2016 — In the Kaweah Oaks Preserve here, a soldier stands near his Humvee. He’s about 6 feet tall, and he’s dressed in a brown undershirt, a hardhat and safety goggles.
Army Pvt. Rhoen Barnes, a native of Jamaica, is a former soldier in the Jamaican army. Now, he’s a wheeled-vehicle mechanic with the U.S. Army Reserve’s 801st Engineer Company.
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AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, June 07, 2016 — A 5-year-old boy stood in front of his kneeling father in a hotel room, the boy weighed down with 50 pounds of tactical body armor. The gear weighed more than the boy.
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kelly Badger, an explosive ordnance disposal craftsman with the 379th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron here, placed his hand on his encumbered son’s shoulder and looked him in the eyes. It was a powerful moment between father and son.
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NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BETHESDA, Md., May 18, 2016 — A soldier going through the Warrior Transition Brigade asked Army Staff Sgt. Loriann DeMelis, an inpatient squad leader here, if she had done her pull-ups.
“No, once you start doing them I’ll start doing them,” DeMelis said.
The soldier rolled his wheelchair into DeMelis’ doorway, raised himself up to the pull-up bar that hung in her doorway, put his prosthetic arm and then his other arm on the bar and started doing pull-ups right out of his wheelchair.