EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., May 5, 2016 — A Special Forces noncommissioned officer has returned to full active duty service two and a half years after his hand was amputated to free him from underneath a vehicle before a suicide bomber could strike a deadly blow against him and his team. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ivan Morera, a Miami native and a Special Forces medic, continues to serve with the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), despite being severely wounded in a vehicle rollover in Afghanistan.
CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines, May 2, 2016 — Asian-Pacific Americans have fought and served with the U.S. military for more than a century. That legacy continues today with three Filipino-American airmen deployed with U.S. Pacific Command’s Air Contingent here, where they fulfill a number of roles, ranging from medical support to aircrew flight equipment and aircraft maintenance.“Knowing I am supporting the mission while working alongside the Philippine military makes me so proud of where I'm from and what I'm doing,” said Air Force Staff Sgt. Jay Perocho Acasio, an aircrew flight equipment journeyman with the 51st Operations Support Squadron, Osan Air Base, South Korea. Acasio hails from from Ozamiz City in the Misamis Occidental, the Philippines. “I've had the opportunity to talk with the Philippine pilots and show them what I do. Seeing how excited and interested they were really made me glad I'm here,” he said.
Similarly, Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kathlyn Hidalgo, an independent-duty medical technician with the 25th Fighter Squadron at Osan and a Guiguinto, Bulacan, Philippines, native, explained how she draws strength from her heritage while serving at home as a U.S. airman.
MERIDIAN, Miss., April 27, 2016 — The alarm goes off at a disquieting volume at five in the morning. Groggily, the sergeant rolls over and quiets his wake-up call. He rubs his eyes, walks to the bathroom, and takes a look at himself. Thoughts begin to fill his head about the day ahead and he begins to calculate how much time he has to do his job and still be home for dinner.
This is the life of a station commander at a recruiting substation, and the story of Marine Corps Sgt. Austin Brasington.
Brasington, a station commander with RSS Meridian, Mississippi, and a native of Montgomery, Alabama, enlisted in 2008 as an aviation ordnance systems technician.
He said that he liked the history of the Marine Corps and the fact that it was the toughest challenge out of all of the service branches.
MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont., April 26, 2016 — Air Force Staff Sgt. Grace Hoyt is the noncommissioned officer in charge of program support for the 341st Missile Wing’s chapel here.She joined the Air Force in 2009 originally as a space systems operator stationed in Colorado Springs, Colorado."It was amazing to see how much the Air Force impacted the world," Hoyt said. "I loved my job."Hoyt later moved to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, to work at the Joint Space Operations Center, and later did a second tour as a space systems operator technical school instructor.
"When I became an instructor it was different; the rules and regulations were so strenuous," Hoyt said. "I had to retrain my brain to realize I could only help and be involved in the lives of the [airmen] to a certain extent."She said the Air Force wanted to protect the students and the instructors from developing unprofessional relationships, but in so doing she felt they created a lot of walls where she couldn't properly mentor anymore.
OKINAWA, Japan, April 25, 2016 — After hearing he had been assigned to the position of chief instructor at the III Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group corporals’ course, Marine Corps Sgt. Doudoubite Korabou said his initial thought was, “The shop doesn’t want me; they’re trying to get rid of me.”Only later did he learn that his senior enlisted leaders had selected him as the most qualified Marine to represent the 7th Communication Battalion during the course.Korabou emigrated from Africa to the United States in July 2006. He said his life was not easy once he got to America because he had no knowledge of the culture and only spoke French. He had studied three years of pharmacy before emigrating, and he finished a four-year degree in public health after he arrived in the U.S.In January 2008, with limited knowledge of the Marine Corps, Korabou enlisted as an automotive maintenance technician. Since then, his language skills have improved dramatically, he said.
FORT LEE, Va., April 8, 2016 — The moment paratroopers leave the relatively safe confines of an aircraft, they relinquish control of their lives to the scales of fate that teeter between life and death.
Army Sgt. Maj. Tonika Scott-Morris, a self-proclaimed thrill-seeker and the top enlisted rigger at the Quartermaster School’s Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department here, is familiar with that prospect of danger. She has lived with it and helped other airborne-qualified soldiers cope with it for many years.
Scott-Morris, a 48-year-old wife and mother of four, will shortly end a 28-year career as a rigger, logging well over 150 jumps out of an assortment of aircraft without ever feeling the unsettling discomfort of fear.
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