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Meet Your Military: Army Nurse Sails High Seas on USNS Comfort

support our troops us army nurse moves patientOperating room nurse Army Capt. Rory Walton, left, and nurse anesthetist Navy Lt. Cmdr. William Rolfes prepare to move a Salvadoran patient after surgery aboard the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort in Acajutla, El Salvador, during Continuing Promise, June 18, 2015. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer @nd class Derek Paumen BETHESDA, Md., – “Even in the middle of the ocean, the ‘spirit of jointness’ is alive,” Army Capt. Rory Walton wrote from the high seas of the Caribbean. The operating room nurse assigned to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is one of 43 Walter Reed staffers aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort, deployed for the Continuing Promise 2015 humanitarian mission to Central America, the Caribbean and South America. The mission is a U.S. Southern Command-sponsored and U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet-conducted deployment focused on civil-military operations. It includes providing medical, dental, veterinary and engineering support, along with disaster response preparation, to partner nations. Walton joined the ship April 1 in Norfolk, Virginia, for a six-month deployment. She called it a “unique opportunity” to continue developing Walter Reed’s interoperability with sailors, airmen and Public Health Service members.

Sharing Best Practices and Ideas “Having the opportunity to work together with our friends and partners in this mission setting allows for the sharing of best practices and ideas,” she said. “It further enables all of us to build partner capacity and promote collaboration [and] partnerships in order to meet challenges together and prepare for future missions, contingencies and response efforts.”

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Meet Your Military: Army Civilian Finds Passion in Engineering Project Management

support our troops us army landscape architectRhonda Brown, a landscape architect, for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston district, has managed projects around the world during her 21-year USACE career. U.S. Army photoGALVESTON, Texas, Sifting through artifacts dating back to the Roman era -- discovered while excavating a roadway for a $200 million Army housing project in Wiesbaden, Germany -- is the most interesting job assignment Rhonda Brown has overseen during her 21 years with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

"We came across Roman coins, tile roof and pottery pieces,” said Brown. “I thought for sure this would require the project to be relocated. However, Roman sites are found all over Europe so the German government simply collected some items, documented the location and the project continued with construction over the Roman site.” Brown's career has provided her with other memorable experiences around the world, including a visit to ground zero of the World Trade Center during a disaster clean-up mission. The landscape architect now serves as a project manager for the USACE Galveston District, directing each stage in the life of a project, from programming and planning to design and construction.

Broad Responsibilities “I am currently managing the design of eight U.S. Customs and Border Protection command-and-control facilities in Texas and am the project manager for the Corpus Christi Border Patrol Station, Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station vehicle maintenance facility, and the Freeport Harbor Channel Improvement Project,” Brown said. She said the USACE Galveston District provides planning, design and construction services to local, state and federal agencies, such as the USCBP, that either do not have in-house capabilities or are interested in combining their resources with the Corps’ to support construction projects that serve our nation and our armed forces.

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Meet Your Military: Airman Pursues Passion for Bowling

support our troops us air force airman pursues passionA U.S. Airman Pursues his PassionNELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev., July 1, 2015 – He slowly walks to the foul line as his arm swings. He unleashes the ball, and it swiftly rolls toward the pins. With a noise that sounds like 10 champagne bottles being uncorked, the ball sends the pins flying, and he is rewarded with a strike.

Air Force Staff Sgt. Joshua Cramer, a 57th Maintenance Squadron munitions systems technician here, has had a passion for bowling since he was a boy. "My dad got me into it when I was 6 years old," he said. "It was something that the two of us could do together." Some people take years to develop a high skill level for a sport, but Cramer said he enjoyed early success at bowling. "I've always enjoyed bowling and I performed really well at competitions when I was younger," he said. Cramer continued bowling, and he eventually applied to join the 2015 Air Force bowling team. Competing against other applicants at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, he made the team. In May, he bowled in the Armed Forces Championships. The Air Force women's team placed second, while the men's team took first place. Cramer and his men's doubles partner finished first in that category, and Cramer placed fourth overall individually.

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Red Robin supports America's troops

support our troops red robin box for donationsSometimes people hear about our organization, do some research, and then get right to work for the troops.

This happened recently with Nicole Jones, a Regional Operations Director at Red Robin. She heard about Support Our Troops®, decided the organization was to her liking, and wanted to get involved. What happened next, however, was truly surprising. support our troops donation box nicoleA Red Robin employee poses with donations collected at a Red Robin."Our division really wanted to help make a difference in our community," Nicole said. "We are such a large organization and we thought we could get all of our restaurants involved in something that was important to many." Nicole got 42 restaurants involved with collecting donations.

"We had each restaurant get a large box that they decked out with fun decorations (i.e. camouflage paper, Armed Force medallions, American flags etc). They put out the large boxes for both guest and team members to donate," she said. "We added a list of items needed that we found on the website.

 After that we just talked to people about what we were doing and why. It took little effort and brought back so much more."

So how much was collected? Stay tuned to our blog to find out!

Meet Your Military: Soldier Finds New Ways to Take Flight

support our troops us army chief warrant officer trains for defense warrior gamesArmy Chief Warrant Officer 3 Timothy Sifuentes talks with Army Staff Sgt. Monica Martinez at Fort Belvoir, Va., before cycling training for the 2015 Department Of Defense Warrior Games, June 14, 2015. Sifuentes and Martinez are two of more than 40 active duty and veteran athletes training at Fort Belvoir. Sifuentes will represent Team Army in the field, swimming and cycling competitions, and Martinez will compete in the cycling, field ,sitting volleyball, swimming ,track and archery competitions during the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Va., June 19-28, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christophe PaulFORT BELVOIR, Virginia: Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Timothy Sifuentes has flown more than 2,300 hours and completed nearly 1,000 combat missions in an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter. Flying is a part of who he is. So when injuries to his back and knee and a tear in his right glute forced him out of the cockpit, he had to find a new way to soar.

Sifuentes is preparing to compete in the Department of Defense Warrior Games at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, June 19-28. “What do I think I’ll get out of the Warrior Games experience? A new challenge -- a new me, if you will,” said Sifuentes, a Glendive, Montana, native, and a former Fort Riley Warrior Transition Battalion soldier, now with the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. “Yeah, I know I’ll never be 100 percent where I was prior to my injuries,” he added, “but I can establish a new baseline.”

Sifuentes, a former runner, was able to use cycling to recover from injuries, thanks to the adaptive reconditioning program offered through the Warrior Transition Battalion. He will compete in cycling, swimming and field events at the Warrior Games. Different, But Therapeutic “Once I couldn’t compete in [running] any more and I started the recovery process, I thought, ‘Let me give cycling a chance,’” he said.

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Cutting "Troopons" for the troops

Special needs adults cutting troopons. Photo courtesy of center.Special needs adults cutting troopons. Photo courtesy of center.There are a multitude of ways to help the troops, and one of the easiest is by sending them troopons. Recently, a group of special needs adults at Building Blocks Ministries did just that.

As part of a health and wellness class at the center, the adults learned about cutting coupons and saving money on the various items they needed to purchase. They noticed a surplus of coupons, and came up with an idea: troopons!

The adults loved the idea of helping others and decided to use some of their time in class to cut and sort extra coupons and send them to us! We're happy to receive the hard work of these classmates and share them with the troops.

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