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Thanks Americans from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Horn of Africa

June 10, 2014, Horn of Africa - Dear Generous Americans,  On behalf of the Troops, I want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your generosity. Your care packages mean so much to so many. Every act of kindness is magnified for us when we are so far from home. The simplest gesture brings us joy, and inspires us to persevere and reminds us that what we do here is truly appreciated by our fellow citizens. When we are deployed so far from home it is gifts like yours that help to make the days more pleasant and the time pass quickly. While packages are filled with tangible items, they are valued more because they are a reminder that while we are far from home, we are not forgotten. Once again, on behalf of all of us, I assure you of our prayers, best wishes, and heartfelt gratitude. ~ Chaplain John ____

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Staff Sgt. Matthew Ammerman, killed December 3rd, 2014

support our troops staff sgt ammermanAmmerman, killed December 3rd, 2014Afghanistan, December 5, 2014: We honor Staff Sgt. Matthew Ammerman, killed December 3rd, 2014. Ammerman was a member of 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) when he was killed in combat operations in Afghanistan.  Good Americans will never forget their fallen heroes. "Staff Sgt. Matthew Ammerman was an exceptional Soldier in all regards.

He showed himself to be a standout shortly after arrival in the unit and his efforts have made an impact on his unit and our mission. We, as a nation, are fortunate to have men like Matt," said Lt. Col. Tommy Stoner, Commander of the 7th SFG(A)'s 3rd Battalion. "He not only represented what we should all aspire to be, but he lived it. His loss is a great blow and he will be missed and mourned by this unit. Our focus will be supporting his family in any way possible and ensuring that they are taken care of during this difficult process." Our prayers are with his family, friends and fellow soldiers.  

Army Biochemist Serves in Afghanistan

support our troops us army biochemistPHOTO: Army Capt. David Kingery, senior researcher with the Joint Combat Casualty Research Team, smiles for the camera April 4, 2014, at the Role 3 NATO Multi-National Medical Unit Hospital, Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Kingery’s role is to capture medical lessons learned during Operation Enduring Freedom and use the research to help further military medicine. U.S. Army photo by Cpl. Clay BeyersdorferKANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Army Capt. David Kingery was faced with a tough choice a few years ago. “Originally I wanted to be a doctor, but I just wanted to do something more with science. I enjoyed it more than the ‘business’ aspect of it,” he said. “I wanted to make a difference. So after doing some research, I found a place where I could do that -- the Army.” After getting his Ph.D. in biochemistry from Yale University, Kingery received a direct commission as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Department in 2010.

Shortly after his commissioning, he began his first assignment as a biodefense researcher at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., where he conducted laboratory research with the goal of increasing soldier effectiveness. Kingery, whose father and grandfathers also served in the military, said the combination of science and being able to serve as a commissioned officer and leader was the perfect mix.

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Meet Your Military: Marine Connects Using Sign Language

support our troops us marine connectsAir Force Staff Sgt. Jon Espinoza reads aloud at the Stella Maris School Belize Academy for the Deaf in Belize City, Belize, April 4, 2014. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kali L.BELIZE CITY, Belize – Hands wave through the air in an organized fashion, and children follow the movements as they enjoy the children's story "A Day at the Farm." PHOTO: Marine Corps Cpl. Parnell Sararana, standing left, signs to students while  Gradishar Marine Corps Cpl. Parnell Sararana put his Universal Sign Language skills to use here April 4 as he translated while Air Force Staff Sgt. Jon Espinoza read aloud at the Stella Maris School Belize Academy for the Deaf.

Sararana is deployed from the 1st Civil Affairs Group at Camp Pendleton, Calif., in support of New Horizons Belize 2014, an exercise in which U.S. service members train with Belizean professionals in engineering and medical care. The civil affairs role in the exercise is to engage with the local population, as well as government and nongovernment organizations, to facilitate the best possible environment to build educational and health facilities and provide medical, dental and veterinarian care throughout the country.

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Meet Your Military: Marine Runs Marathon on Treadmill at Sea

support our troops us marine runs marathon PHOTO: Marine Corps 1st Lt. Thomas Heemer, the logistics officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, poses with his Marine Corps Marathon bib on “Broadway,” a passageway aboard the USS New York, Oct. 26, 2014. Due to pre-deployment training with the 24th MEU, Heemer ran the Marine Corps Marathon on a treadmill aboard the New York, finishing under the four-hour mark. The 24th MEU is conducting its final pre-deployment training exercise before a deployment at the end of the year. Courtesy photo Marine Corps ABOARD USS NEW YORK AT SEA – He was perhaps the very first finisher of the 39th Marine Corps Marathon, but he didn’t finish anywhere near Arlington, Virginia. Instead, he finished at sea aboard the USS New York -- on a treadmill.1st Lt. Thomas Heemer, the logistics officer for Combat Logistics Battalion 24, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, finished the 2014 edition of the Marine Corps Marathon at 12:30 a.m. Oct. 26, hours ahead of the official beginning of the annual run.

Instead of running alongside tens of thousands of fellow Marines, service members and competitors on a cool Virginia morning, he ran mostly alone, on a treadmill crammed into an out-of-the-way corner just off one of the New York’s passageways, cleverly named and affectionately known as “Broadway.” Although this was Heemer’s first marathon on a ship or on a treadmill, it wasn’t his first Marine Corps Marathon. His first was in 2009, and the 25-year-old Penn State graduate has run the annual event every year since.

“I knew I might be embarked on ship this year, but I signed up anyway just in case,” he said. “I thought it would be silly to let the Marine Corps break my Marine Corps Marathon streak, so I decided I would run it aboard the ship.”

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Meet Your Military: Chicago Soldier Trains in Indonesia

support our troops chicago soldier trains PHOTO: Army Pvt. Juan Gonzalez, a rifleman assigned to 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, performs security duties during patrol base operations for the Garuda Shield field training exercise, Sept. 8, 2014, in East Java, Indonesia. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brooks Fletcher WASHINGTON – A 19-year-old Army private stands over a smoldering fire, cooking snake meat in the middle of a mango grove during a jungle survival training class in East Java, Indonesia. In his short time in the Army, Pvt. Juan Gonzalez, a native of Chicago and an infantryman assigned to Blackwatch Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-Mchord, Washington, has transformed from a high school athlete to a squad automatic weapon gunner.

The “Legion” battalion is participating in exercise Garuda Shield and is partnered with the 411th Raider Infantry Battalion from the Tentara Nasional Indonesia, the Indonesian armed forces. Garuda Shield is also part of the training pathway for the 2nd Stryker Brigade, linking home station training to a series of military-to-military exercises in the Pacific region.

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