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Meet Your Military: Marine Recruiter Saves Troubled Man's Life

support our troops us marine corps sgt rescues man hanging from treeMarine Corps Sgt. Cody Leifheit, a recruiter based in Lewiston, Idaho, responded to a 19-year-old man hanging himself from a tree outside his house June 7, 2015. Leifheit, 28, climbed 25 feet up the tree to assist the man, who survived. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Reece LodderLEWISTON, Idaho: Screaming startled him awake. Marine Corps Sgt. Cody Leifheit checked the time: 2 a.m. Sunday, June 7, 2015. Probably people filtering in from the bars, he thought. After moving into an apartment here only a week earlier, Leifheit wasn’t yet familiar with the neighborhood. But the hysterical, incoherent screaming continued. Was it a cry for help?

Running down the street, the 28-year-old recruiter found a cluster of silhouettes milling beneath a tree, desperate and terrified. Their friend, 19-year-old Travis Kent, was hanging from a branch 25 feet above them. No one had a knife to cut Kent down, so Leifheit ran home for one and sprinted back to the tree. The stocky Marine jumped up, grabbed a branch and strong-armed his way upward, recounted Austin Tow, Kent’s roommate. Tow had scaled the tree in an attempt to save him.

‘Like Hercules Climbing the Tree’ “Sergeant Leifheit was like Hercules climbing the tree,” recalled Tow, adding that Leifheit reacted without hesitation and ascended the tree “as easily as if he were climbing stairs.” Tow said he and Kent’s 14-year-old brother, Dartanian, “saw warning signs.” Kent’s life hadn’t been easy. When Kent was a child, his father committed suicide after losing a son to cancer. His mother was a drug addict. At 19 years old, Kent had a legal dependent in his brother Dartanian. Kent had talked about killing himself, Tow said, but they didn’t think he would actually do it. Perched on a branch above his friend, Tow panicked. Worried that Kent had a spinal injury, Tow didn’t want to cut him loose and send him falling to the ground. As Tow wrestled with his options, a “completely calm” Leifheit climbed up to him. “I’m sure it was just another day for him,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Jeff Decker, who served under Leifheit from 2012-2015. He described Leifheit as a respected leader devoted to caring for and training his Marines. “If we gave 100 percent, he gave us 110 percent back,” Decker said of Leifheit. Leifheit’s proficiency in combat lifesaver training enabled his men to build confidence with casualty care, Decker said. He described Leifheit as “the guy for the job.”

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Meet Your Military: Navy Chief Fights PTSD With Family's Help

support our troops us navy training camp navy chief stretchesIda Malone helps her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, stretch before cycling during the Navy’s training camp for the 2015 DoD Warrior Games at Ventura County Naval Station Port Hueneme in Oxnard, Calif., June 3, 2015. DoD photo by EJ HersomVENTURA, California: As the nightmares took control of him, the sailor’s wife wrapped her arms around him and told him he was safe, comforting him until he calmed down and went back to sleep.

Navy Chief Petty Officer Averill Malone, a logistics specialist, has been married to his wife, Ida, for eight years, and he said the support he receives from his wife as a spouse and caregiver helps him with his post-traumatic stress symptoms. “She tells me I’m safe, especially on those nights when I’m waking up screaming and jumping from nightmares,” he said. “When I get depressed or the anxiety starts kicking in, she says, ‘Baby, you’re safe.’ I love her for loving me through this.”

Military Service Malone joined the Navy right out of high school and loved being in logistics during his 22 years of service, making sure equipment and mail got to and from the ships. While he was deployed to Camp Victory in Iraq from 2007 to 2008, he was on a night patrol when he heard bombs, rockets and mortars land all around him. “I was really scared for my life,” Malone said. “I thought to myself, ‘If it’s my time, it’s my time.’ I just walked and prayed and sang songs.”

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Meet Your Military: Army Chaplain Meets 'Monster Island' Challenge

support our troops us army animal planet bow huntArmy Capt. Stacy Beasley, a chaplain for the 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, appeared on a recent Animal Planet docudrama, titled, “Monster Island.” Beasley and his team used their bow hunting skills in an attempt to cull an invasive colony of boars infected by a highly contagious and deadly microbe on Mona Island, Puerto Rico. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mark PattonFORT LEONARD WOOD, Montana: A white cross memorial juts from the rugged terrain as a group of bow hunters start their trek into the heart of a 7-by-4-mile island surrounded by some of the Caribbean’s roughest waters.

“It’s a reality check that this island has taken people’s lives,” recalled Army Capt. Stacy Beasley, the chaplain for the Fort Leonard Wood-based 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division. Beasley was speaking about Mona Island, Puerto Rico, an area billed as one of the most hostile environments known to man. It’s an island that, except for seasonal rangers, remains uninhabited by humans. What the island does offer is scorching heat, venomous centipedes, poisonous plants, sinkholes, razor sharp coral and a disorienting cactus maze.

Avid Outdoorsman For Beasley, a native of Carthage, Missouri, this island became his temporary home late last year. It also became the site of the avid outdoorsman’s television debut. Three other bow hunters joined Beasley on Mona Island as their efforts to cull an invasive colony of boars infected by the highly contagious and deadly Brucellosis microbe were documented for an “Animal Planet” television show. By hunting the feral hogs, the team hoped to reduce the spread of disease on the island and prevent it from being carried to the mainland by illegal migrants. Mona Island is also home to endangered animals, including an endemic iguana subspecies, and Beasley said their hunt aimed to reduce the disturbance of the ecosystem.

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Meet Your Military: Archaeologist Preserves Base Histories

support our troops us air force artifactsKish La Pierre, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron archaeologist, sorts through artifacts found by 99th CES archaeologists at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 2, 2015. La Pierre’s work ensures Nellis AFB remains a good steward of the local environment. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada: Unlike a base or wing historian, who specializes in records and documents of people’s lives, Kish La Pierre, 99th Civil Engineer Squadron archaeologist, studies the lives people may have led through what they left behind, such as fossils, buildings, markings or human remains.

“I manage Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases, and the Nevada Test and Training Range’s cultural resources,” La Pierre said. “The goal here is to protect and document these resources as U.S. Air Force projects arise.” Typical resources include World War II or Cold War era buildings and infrastructure, mining sites, and prehistoric archaeological sites -- which includes rock art, stone tool quarries, sacred Native American sites, rock shelters and caves.

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Meet Your Military: Soldier Finds a Family in the Army

support our troops us army sgt command group driverus army sgt command group driverCAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea: The U.S. Army is about being a team member, leading soldiers to complete the mission and at the Soldiers can find a family inside their unit that can help push them and motivate them to become better and provide support and resiliency.

The Toughest Talon is a competition that soldiers in the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade here participate in each year. It is the ultimate physical and military skills challenge. The event includes an Army Physical Fitness Test, rope climbing, cross fit, tire flipping, litter carrying, road marching, stress shooting and a nine-line medevac radio transmission. Only a handful of selected soldiers participate in the competition from each battalion. During his assignment to South Korea, Army Sgt. Timothy K. Han, a command group driver assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, participated in three Toughest Talon competitions and two Best Warrior Competitions sponsored by the 2nd Division. Why would Han participate in all of these competitions?

Setting an Example “I want to set an example to other soldiers that you can do competitions even after the daily tasks that we all have to do,” Han explained. Army Sgt. Ken Chambers, a senior signal support specialist who have been working with Han over the past 7 months said Han “is competent and motivates his fellow soldiers to work harder.” Han also is the remedial physical training instructor for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company here. Every evening, he wears a tactical vest and instructs PT for the soldiers who need help. Han said he wears the vest “to understand the difficulty that the overweight soldiers face when they do pushups and other exercises.”

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Meet Your Military: 'Captain America' Rescues Motorists From Fiery Crash

support our troops us army captain americaArmy Capt. Steve Voglezon, also known as “Captain America,” can only laugh when asked how he feels about the nickname he received when he risked his personal safety to help three badly injured motorists from a terrifying car crash and fire on May 17, 2015. Courtesy photoFORT BRAGG, North Carolina: Army Capt. Steve Voglezon can only laugh when asked how he feels about the nickname that he received when he risked his personal safety on May 17 to help rescue three badly injured motorists from a terrifying car crash and fire.

Given that Voglezon was wearing a Captain America T-shirt in the course of his heroics, his new nickname, “Captain America,” was bound to happen after video of the accident and rescue scene were broadcast on a national morning news program. The video went viral online within minutes of the broadcast. Voglezon, a missile defense officer assigned to the 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, was traveling north on his way from the Fort Bragg area for a day of shopping when he drove up to the scene of two badly mangled vehicles on a rural road.

Approaching the Accident Wreckage Voglezon approached a damaged silver sport utility vehicle and found the driver to be alert, but injured. “As we were pulling him out we saw that he had an open fracture on his right ankle. I grabbed his torso and two others grabbed one leg, then the other leg, and we took him about one hundred yards from the crash and the fire,” Voglezon recalled. “I talked to him and said, ‘Hey, what’s your name?’ He said it was Marc and I asked him, ‘Where are you from?’ and he said, ‘Cary (North Carolina).’ I said, ‘Hey, I’m Steve, nice to meet you.’” Voglezon said he then put a tourniquet below the man’s knee. “I heard an explosion afterwards, and I looked up and saw Sgt. Green from the Chatham County Sheriff Department over by the red car, by himself, trying to get in the car,” Voglezon added.

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