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Meet Your Military: Soldier Translates During U.S.-Japan Exercise

support our troops us japan soldiers PHOTO: Army Spc. Joshua Williams translates between a U.S. soldier and Japanese troops during an impromptu lunch-break lesson on special artillery during Operation Rising Thunder 2014 at Yakima Training Center, Wash., Sept. 8, 2014.YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. – The ability to speak more than one language is a difficult skill to master, and learning a new language in adulthood is not something many people accomplish. Williams, a linguist in the Washington National Guard, worked as an interpreter for U.S. and Japanese forces during the operation, which began Sept. 2 and runs to Sept. 24. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Deja Borden Army Spc. Joshua Williams, a Washington National Guardsman with Company A, 341st Military Intelligence Battalion, learned two languages at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey in California. In 2005, Williams decided to join the Army National Guard and become a linguist. Coming from a family of service members and always having an interest in other languages, he said, it seemed only natural to choose that career path. Before enlisting into the National Guard, Williams said, he studied several languages, including French, Spanish and German. He was introduced to the idea of becoming a linguist in the military by one his high school teachers, he added. When he first attended DLI, he learned Mandarin Chinese. Though completing the training was no easy task, Williams said, he used his love of languages to finish successfully. “It’s very fast-paced and very demanding,” he said. “I really enjoyed the language itself. Getting acclimated to the pace, it’s certainly no cakewalk.”

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Meet Your Military: Amputee Airman Returns to Duty

support our troops air force amputee PHOTO: Air Force Staff Sgt. Rey Edenfield poses with his wife, Amy, and their two sons, Grayson, left, and Dawson on the front porch of their home, Aug. 28, 2014.MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala., Sept. 18, 2014 – His sons say he has a robot leg. The doctors and nurses call it a prosthetic. But to Air Force Staff Sgt. Rey Edenfield, it's what has allowed him to overcome the odds and continue doing what he loves. The picture was taken almost a year after Edenfield was involved in a motorcycle accident that resulted in his left leg being amputated six inches below the knee. Edenfield is an air traffic controller at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Picariello Edenfield was enjoying a typical day off in October when a fateful decision took his leg and threatened the course of his career. The air traffic controller decided earlier that morning to spend his day relaxing outside while slow-cooking dinner for his wife and two elementary school-aged boys at their off-base home.

But he underestimated how much charcoal he'd need to finish cooking the meat the way he preferred. "I ran out of charcoal," Edenfield said. "I needed that and a couple of things. I live about a half a mile from [the store], so I hopped on my motorcycle and went to get the things that I needed." The crisp fall air and blue skies made for a suitable day for Edenfield’s ride to the store. He was wearing his motorcycle helmet. "There was a truck turning into the neighborhood," Edenfield said. "I looked behind him and didn't see any traffic. I started creeping out of my neighborhood, and as soon as I got into the center lane, I realized a car was kind of catty-corner to that truck. I had just gotten into that center lane enough to where that left bumper clipped me and smashed my left foot into my motorcycle." The impact shot him into the air and sent his bike skidding on its side across the pavement. "I sat straight up, took my helmet off and threw it out of anger,” he recalled. “I went to get up and looked down and realized that something was wrong." The impact severed the heel from his foot.

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Meet Your Military: Soldier Pursues Passion for Motocross

support our troops us soldier motocrossPHOTO: Army Sgt. Jeremy Hazard rides his dirt bike during the 7th Annual Alaska Supercross Challenge at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, Alaska, Aug. 23, 2014.ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Sept. 15, 2014 – Crowds cheering, dirt and rocks flying as tires spin and sharp, high-speed turns can make a huge impact on a 7 year old.  U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sheila deVera For Army Sgt. Jeremy Hazard, an 84th Engineer Support Company (Airborne) wheeled vehicle mechanic, it ignited a passion that nothing else ever did. Thirteen years after witnessing dirt bike racing for the first time, he finally got his chance. “I watched my first supercross during the Alaska State Fair in 2012,” Hazard said, “so I decided to join the Anchorage Racing Lions.” Seeing the off-road terrain and aerial jumps, Hazard said, he wanted to experience what the bikers were experiencing.
Desire to experience motocross But a few obstacles prevented Hazard from taking to the track in 2012. His commitment to the military and preparing for an upcoming deployment halted his dream to try out in the motocross race. “I wanted to participate in the summer series when I first heard about it, but was always in training,” he said. “I was deployed from February to October of last year.” But in the back of his mind, Hazard said, he was on the lookout for the next opportunity to join the summer series. After six months of waiting, he finally was able to join the club this year. Hazard started in the "big bike novice" class, and out of the 25 participants, he ended up taking first place in the overall category in the summer series.

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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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