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Meet Your Military: Air Force Officer Earns Army Ranger Tab

support our troops us airforce earns army ranger tabPHOTO: Air Force 1st Lt. Casey Garner, left, before graduation from U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga., Oct. 17, 2014. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ryan CallaghanFORT BENNING, Ga. – On average, more than 4,000 soldiers go through the U.S. Army Ranger School here each year. Just more than 300 Air Force airmen have completed the course since its inception in 1950.  Of these 300 Ranger-qualified airmen, 1st Lt. Casey Garner is the first of his kind. Garner, an air liaison officer with the 7th Air Support Operations Squadron at Fort Bliss, Texas, became the first ALO to graduate from Ranger School, completing the rigorous 61-day course.

Wearing the Ranger tab on his shoulder will give Garner an unprecedented advantage among ALOs while working to supply air support to the Army units he will be attached to, he said.

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Meet Your Military: Two Generations of Dark Horse Marines, 60 Years Apart

support our troops 2nd gen darkhorse PHOTO: Lance Cpl. Benjamin Ferry and his grandfather, Richard T. Ferry, have each served with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines -- more than 60 years apart. U.S. Marine Corps photo illustration USS PELELIU – Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Benjamin J. Ferry joined the Corps because of his grandfather. “My grandpa always said I could go in any branch, and die in any branch, but if I joined the Army he would shoot me tomorrow,” said Ferry, a 23-year-old from Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. “I always wanted to be a Marine, so that’s the way I chose to go.” Richard Ferry, Benjamin’s grandfather, is a Marine combat veteran who served with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in the Korean War, fighting in Inchon and at the Chosin Reservoir. “I encouraged [Ben] to join the reserves and stay in college so he would have a good shot for a commission,” said Richard. “Like me, he didn't pay any attention!” Benjamin, who was working toward a criminal justice degree after high school, temporarily set his books aside to enlist in 2013. “Infantry was the only option,” said Benjamin, an automatic rifleman currently deployed with Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. “I wanted to be a trigger puller.”

A family’s service history His 83-year old grandfather, a Boston native, had different reasons for joining the Marines, but it would ultimately set a path for Benjamin to follow. In April 1949, Richard was spending time with a high school classmate who was the son of Boston Red Sox chief scout Neal Mahoney. Neal would often take his son, Neal Jr., and Richard on scouting trips during the summer break. One day at Fenway Park, Richard and Neal Jr. met Ted Williams, the famous Major League Baseball player who served as a Marine Corps pilot in World War II. Neal Jr. was a pitcher in high school at the time, and Williams challenged him to throw some pitches from the mound. “Neal took the mound and Ted belted a few balls out of the park and teased the hell out of Neal,” said Richard. “Afterwards, he asked what we were doing in town. Neal admitted that we had caught the ride with his father because we wanted to go to the Federal Building to join the Naval Reserve, [mainly] so we could get an ID card and alter the date of birth [so] we could drink.”

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Meet Your Military: Airmen Support Ebola Operations

support our troops airman support ebola helpPHOTO: An airman takes a passenger’s temperature at a temporary holding facility at Ramstein Air Base. RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany– As service members travel to Africa in support of Operation United Assistance, Ramstein Air Base continues to establish itself as a power projection platform for Europe and Africa. Germany, Oct. 19, 2014, after the passenger returned from West Africa. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sara Keller Medical professionals from the 86th Medical Group recently implemented plans to ensure safety precautions are taken to protect the air crews, passengers and the 54,000 members of the Kaiserslautern Military Community from possible exposure to the Ebola virus.

Exposure assessments All personnel are screened before departing from Ebola-affected areas, and those categorized as “no known exposure” or “low risk of exposure” are allowed to board Air Force aircraft bound for Ramstein. “Transient aircrew members who are on the ground for only a few hours are actually below the lowest Center for Disease Control exposure category,” said Air Force Capt. Michael D’Amore, a flight surgeon assigned to the 86th Aerospace Medical Squadron. “Additionally, airmen from the 86th Airlift Wing that are located in the areas of the Ebola outbreak are kept within secure Department of Defense areas,” D’Amore said.

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Meet Your Military: Texas Guard Soldier Saves Roommate's Life

support our troops texas soldier saves a lifePHOTO: Army Pfc. Wil Ledford is credited with saving the life of his roommate after an accident in their apartmentGRAPEVINE, 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."

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Meet Your Military: Soldier Pulls Grenade From Man's Leg

support our troops us soldier pulls grenade from mans legPHOTO: Army Staff Sgt. David Mensink removed a grenade from a man's leg in an ambulance outside of the University of Alabama Hospital in Birmingham, Ala., Oct. 11, 2014. Courtesy photo 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.

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Meet Your Military: Captain Serves Nation Her Family Chose

support our troops us soldiers family flees salvadoran civil warPHOTO: Army Capt. Susana Guerrero, a behavioral health officer, listens intently as one of her soldiers discusses the day’s cases at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Oct. 3, 2014.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.”

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