GRAPEVINE, Texas – A Texas Army National Guard soldier saved his roommate's life after the accidental discharge of a weapon in July. Ledford, of Grapevine, Texas, is a newly trained combat medic in the 36th Infantry Division of the Texas Army National Guard. U.S. Army photo by Capt. Mike Perry Pfc. Wil Ledford, 19, of Grapevine, used skills and techniques he had learned just two months earlier while attending the Combat Medic School at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Ledford, a 2013 graduate of Southlake Carroll High School and a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3-124th Cavalry Regiment in Wylie, said he was in his apartment when he heard a gunshot. He went into the next room, saw his roommate looking down at his leg, and asked, "Did you shoot yourself?" The matter-of-fact response was a somewhat casual, "Yeah."
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., – An explosive ordnance disposal soldier removed a grenade from a man's leg in an ambulance outside of the University of Alabama Hospital here Oct. 11.
Army Staff Sgt. David Mensink from the 789th EOD Company, based at Fort Benning, Georgia, received a call from the Birmingham Police Department bomb squad around 1 a.m. The police sought Mensink's advice to determine what kind of explosive item was stuck in the man's leg. "From the initial X-ray, it looked like a 40mm grenade," said Mensink, a 27-year-old Iraq and Afghanistan veteran from Seale, Alabama.
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait– A behavioral health officer serving here with 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, has given more than 10 years of service as an enlisted soldier and as an Army officer. The El Salvador native immigrated to the United States with her family in 1980 and has served in the military for more than 10 years. U.S. Army photo by Maj. Fredrick Williams The desire to serve the country that gave her family a better chance in life was one of the main reasons Capt. Susana Guerrero said she enlisted in the Army. Guerrero and her family fled El Salvador in 1980 during the Salvadoran civil war and settled in the Washington, D.C., area. Her mother had immigrated to the United States in 1977 and left Guerrero, then 3 months old, with her grandmother until the family could be reunited. Guerrero’s grandmother died in 2008. “My grandmother was the most influential person in my life. She was the matriarch of our family,” Guerrero said. “She kept our family together and our values strong, always being there to listen and give life lessons through parables or stories.”
LOBELVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 16, 2014 – Army Staff Sgt. Pamela Pugh, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and 14-year member of the Tennessee National Guard, was contacted during the late summer by two of her fellow soldiers who found themselves homeless and in dire need of aid. Pugh guided them to resources and various support programs that aid current military personnel, veterans and their families. Courtesy photo A platoon sergeant for her unit here, Pugh immediately took the initiative to help her comrades in arms, not only by her own actions, but also with help of numerous resources now available to military personnel, veterans and their families.
“These are my soldiers. I take care of them every month, and they know I care about them whether on or off duty,” Pugh said. “They know they can call me any time, especially when they are having difficult moments in their life. I take extreme pride in helping these soldiers. They are like my family, like my kids, and I feel an obligation to assist them as best I can.” Study shows extent of veteran homelessness Battling homelessness among service members and veterans has become a priority in the United States.
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., Oct. 14, 2014 – Army Sgt. 1st Class Jose Flores locked his rifle’s bolt to the rear, placed the butt of the weapon firmly against his shoulder, took aim and fired over the bow of an aircraft carrier in New York Harbor. Volunteering to go the extra mile in his military career is something Flores credits to his background as a Hispanic-American and combat-arms soldier. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris It was Memorial Day at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Manhattan, and Flores and his fellow honor guard soldiers were firing the first volley of blank rounds in a 21-gun salute to their fallen brethren. Going the extra mile This wasn’t the first time Flores -- a native of Nicaragua and a 16-year Army veteran -- participated in such a ceremony.
Volunteering to go that extra mile is something he credits to his background as a Hispanic-American and as a combat-arms soldier. “With a Spanish upbringing, especially if you’re coming from another country, you’ve got to be able to go above and beyond, such as learning the culture, learning the language,” said Flores, who came to the United States when he was 4 years old. “Once you do that, you also have to remember your roots.” Each year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens with ancestors from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The theme of this year’s observance is, “Hispanics: A Legacy of History, a Present of Action and a Future of Success.” Striving to do better “‘You must try to be better’ is drilled down in our culture,” Flores said, recounting a bit of his own history. “Growing up, they always tried to push you, push you, push you to try to be better.
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – A pair of brothers serving together with the 606th Air Control Squadron here is preparing to deploy together. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Gese Air Force Senior Airman Edward Lomelin and Air Force Airman 1st Class Chris Lomelin grew up in Austin, Texas, and struggled early in their childhood after their parents’ divorce. The children moved in with their mother, and Edward stepped in as the role model for his younger siblings.
This new responsibility forced him to grow up quickly to help his family through their struggles, he said. Years later, Edward enlisted in the Air Force, and he serves as a radio frequencies transmissions systems technician with the 606th ACS. His mother said she was honored he made the decision to serve his country, and that she knew he would excel in his career.
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