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Meet Your Military: Soldier Gets Honor for Car Crash Heroics

support our troops us soldier recieves honorPHOTO: Army Staff Sgt. Jose Garcia helped stabilize an injured man’s neck after he witnessed a fiery car crash Dec. 16, 2013, on Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord in the state of Washington. Garcia, an infantryman, attributes his quick reaction during the accident to this combat training. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin A. Naylor JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., Sept. 12, 2014 – The memory of the fiery accident that occurred near here on Interstate 5 last December is still fresh for Army Staff Sgt. Jose Garcia. His actions that day -- disregarding his own well-being as he rushed into the crash zone to help rescue the injured -- are hard to forget. For his heroic conduct, Garcia was honored Sept. 10 at the American Red Cross Heroes Breakfast held in Tacoma, along with other community heroes. Garcia was driving home from a 24-hour shift on Dec. 16, 2013, when he saw a truck towing a trailer heading northbound suddenly cross the center meridian and hit a box truck, both of which burst into flames.

Without thought, Garcia pulled his car over and rushed into the flaming crash where he started to help the injured. Before long, he found himself in the back seat of a truck stabilizing the neck of a man suffering from a concussion. He stayed in the truck with the injured man until the fire department arrived and removed the roof of the vehicle. Now, almost a year later and in the midst of a busy training schedule, Garcia, who hails from New York City, was surprised to learn that he was receiving an award for his actions. “Actually, I never even thought about it,” said Garcia, an infantryman assigned to 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team here. “Once I got contacted the first time it was a shock,” Garcia said. “I didn’t know people even saw the crash. It means the world to think that someone out there put me in for this award.” For those who honored Garcia and the other community heroes during the breakfast, the awards were a chance to give back. “When Staff Sgt. Jose Garcia came upon an accident situation, he knew what to do and he didn’t hesitate to act,” said Barbara Hostetler, the director of regional clinical services for UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans, formerly known as the TRICARE West Region.

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Meet Your Military: Soldier Encourages Healthy Eating

support our troops us soldier healthy eatingPHOTO: Army Spc. Katarus Moore picks ripe tomatoes from the Warrior Center greenhouse at Smith Barracks, Baumholder, Germany, Sept. 4, 2014. BAUMHOLDER, Germany – When it comes to healthy food, not everyone enjoys eating it, but we know it is good for us. Moore started an organic fruit and vegetable cooking course that focuses on cooking healthy with limited space and utilities. DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball And as many military dorm and barracks residents know, it can be difficult to eat healthy, maintain fitness standards and still fulfill day-to-day military obligations. Limited kitchen space, minimal access to fresh foods and a lack of cooking knowledge are just a few of the setbacks that most first-term dorm residents face. Army Spc. Katarus Moore, a petroleum specialist here, knows what it is like to face this issue and has developed a way to teach others how to “cook fresh with less.”

support our troops us soldier encourages healthMoore grew up in Dallas, learning his culinary arts from his great-grandmother and attending cooking classes in high school. He has spent his entire Army career living in the barracks, perfecting his cooking methods with minimal kitchen space and limited items. This summer, Moore and other members of the Baumholder Warrior Zone have harvested a fully organic garden full of fresh fruits and vegetables for military members to use in a cooking class he teaches that focuses on cooking enjoyable, healthy meals with limited kitchen utilities. “I have been wanting to help teach dorm residents healthy eating habits, as well as how to cook with their small dorm kitchen spaces,” he said. “Also, people kept coming to me with cooking questions, and our garden had just ripened with fully organic fruits and vegetables, so I thought, ‘Now it’s my chance to teach.’”

Written Sept. 11, 2014 By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball DoD News Specials and Features, Defense Media Activity

Republished and redistributed by permission of DoD. ***SOT***

Meet Your Military: Soldier Rescues Woman From Alligator-infested Pond

support our troops us soldier rescues womenPHOTO: Army Pfc. Nathan Currie, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with the 756th Explosive Ordnance Detachment, recently helped save a woman's life after her car went into an alligator- and snake-infested pond on Fort Stewart, Ga. Courtesy photo Army Pfc. FORT STEWART, Ga. – A U.S. Army explosive ordnance disposal technician recently rescued a woman from alligator-infested waters here. Nathan Currie from the 756th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company was fishing on the south dock of Fort Stewart's Holbrook Pond when he heard a splash from a sedan driving into the pond. The soldier dropped his fishing rod and sprang into action. Currie drove his car around the pond to where the submerged sedan was flipped over with only the driver's side tires visible above the murky water.

Dives into the pond Currie, who hails from Oklahoma City, dove into the water to see if someone was in the car. He felt a body in the back seat and came back up for air. He then swam back into the car and pulled the woman from the vehicle. The woman had been under the water about five minutes and was turning blue. Currie revived her with cardiopulmonary resuscitation and stayed with her until paramedics arrived on the scene. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Wylie Hutchison, the senior enlisted leader for the Fort Stewart-based 188th Infantry Brigade, joined Currie at the scene and took part in the rescue. While Currie was performing CPR on the woman, Hutchison jumped in the pond and checked the vehicle three more times to ensure no one else was inside.

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Meet Your Military: Mother, Daughter Strengthen Bond in Kuwait

support our troops mother daughter us soldiersPHOTO: Army Spc. Lydia Boll, left, and Army Capt. Andrea Boll receive Army Commendation Medals for their service with the 452nd Combat Support Hospital at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Sept. 5, 2014. CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait – Many have heard U.S. soldiers calling their comrades family, only a relatively small number of soldiers have served overseas with a member of their immediate family. The mother and daughter pair deployed together and work in the U.S. military hospital. U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Isra Pananon In November 2013, Army Capt. Andrea Boll and Army Spc. Lydia Boll of the 452nd Combat Support Hospital were mobilized to prepare for their deployment to Kuwait.

Mother-and-daughter duo This mother-and-daughter duo has served in the same Army Reserve medical unit since April 2010, when Andrea joined the military. Andrea said she never would expect her children to do something she would not do, so she joined the Army Nurse Corps as a medical surgical nurse to give back to her country. “She followed me into the military, and I followed her into the medical field,” Lydia said. Lydia joined the military in 2009, after being inspired by her grandfather, who served in the Army as a saxophonist in the Army Band. Back home, Lydia resides in Wisconsin with her mother and father and Lydia’s four younger siblings. The experience of being deployed with her daughter has forced her two youngest children to grow up fast, Andrea said. Her husband, Jim Boll, has embraced this experience with open arms, and is bonding with their other kids at home, she added. The Bolls’ middle child, Emerson, also is in the Army, and will be in Afghanistan when Andrea and Lydia return home. When they first heard of the mission to Kuwait, all three wanted to deploy together and get Emerson on the roster as a combat medic. But it was not to be, and Emerson is serving in Afghanistan on a forward surgical team.

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Meet Your Military: Airman's Service Helps to Unite His Family

support our troops us airmans family reunitesPHOTO: Air Force Airman 1st Class Nana Sefa is deployed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Following this deployment, Sefa, a native of Ghana, will see his wife after two years apart. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Being away from family is nothing new to Air Force Airman 1st Class Nana Sefa. The 455th Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management analysis craftsman deployed here for six months from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, said he understands that being away from family is difficult, as he has experienced separation his entire life. Sefa grew up in Ghana. When he was 4 years old, his father left to go to America. After his father was gone, Sefa said, he constantly moved around Ghana, taking turns living with his mother and his grandparents and at boarding schools. “It was tough not having my mom around sometimes, especially when I was a kid,” he said. “I remember wanting to leave with her when I lived with my grandparents. I would not want to fall asleep, afraid that she would leave when I did. The next day when I woke up, I would always ask my grandparents for her.”

Although it was difficult moving around, Sefa said, he learned to overcome being away from his mother, sister and father. At 19, after graduating from boarding school, he learned that his father was hoping Sefa and his sister would come to live with him in California. Back with family “After boarding school, I was finally able to be home with my mom,” Sefa said. “We were having the opportunity to get to know each other more. Then, after graduation, my father filed for my sister and me to move with him to the U.S.

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Meet Your Military: Army Amputee Keeps Innate Optimism

support our troops us army amputeePHOTO: Army Staff Sgt. Michael Smith prepares to cycle in the Warrior Games Trials at West Point, N.Y., in June 2014. Smith qualified for cycling, but opted to compete in swimming and track and field at the Warrior Games in Colorado next month. Courtesy photo support our troops us army amputee competesJOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – A hit-and-run driver robbed Staff Sgt. Michael Smith of his arm and nearly his life, but failed to impact his single-minded determination. “My commitment was to staying in the Army for 20 [years],” Smith said. “There was no way I was going to be shortchanged due to someone else’s negligence.” After two years of intense rehabilitation and training at Brooke Army Medical Center, Smith’s persistence paid off. An above-the-elbow amputee, Smith met every standard and was approved earlier this month to return to duty as a career soldier. “I’m very excited about what the future holds,” the 15-year veteran said. “With or without my injury, I want my daughter to know what true commitment looks like.”

Commitment never wavered In the years since his accident, Smith’s commitment has never wavered. A recruiter in Nashville, Tennessee, at the time, Smith was riding his motorcycle when a texting driver slammed into him from behind. He flew over the guardrail and was then hit midair by a driver coming from the opposite direction. “I was knocked unconscious on impact, and when I woke up I was lying on the highway,” Smith recalled. “My boots and helmet had come off, and my arm was hanging on by the skin inside my jacket sleeve.” Smith tried to move off the road but was unable. The texting driver had driven off but the second driver, a Navy corpsman, rushed over and tended to his wounds until the ambulance arrived. In the coming months, Smith underwent six surgeries due to infection, which eventually claimed most of his right arm.

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