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.
ST. PAUL PARK, Minn., April 6, 2016 — Army Sgt. 1st Class John Thompson sits by his phone, ready to respond at a moment’s notice to assist people who’ve been victimized and are at one of the lowest points in their lives. He’s not a police officer or firefighter, but he often finds himself responding at all hours of the night.
Thompson’s experience as a victim advocate in the Minnesota National Guard and as a volunteer in his community has opened his eyes to a problem that persists not only in the military, but also in the civilian world.
“There are a lot of nights that it doesn’t ring, which is a good thing, but there are too many nights that it does. Sometimes it rings more than once and you go out on multiple calls,” he said.
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar, April 5, 2016 — Twin brothers often share similar experiences from birth to high school graduation, but only a few can claim to have deployed together while serving in the same unit.
Air Force Senior Airman Emmanuel Taveras, an electrical and environmental journeyman, and his twin brother, Senior Airman Carlos Taveras, an aircraft structural maintenance apprentice, are assigned to the 379th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron and work in the same building. They arrived here in January, only six days apart.Emmanuel said serving in a deployed location with his brother is a dream come true. “We always wanted this, to be assigned to the same base,” Emmanuel said. “It’s unique to have that happen, especially at a deployed location; we’re so thankful.”
Carlos said there are benefits to being deployed with his brother. “Having him here makes the experience so much easier to deal with,” he said. “It can be stressful at times, but having my brother around makes things better.”
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, April 1, 2016 — Joyce Earnest sat in the waiting area anxiously awaiting an update on her husband, who was undergoing bypass surgery at San Antonio Military Medical Center here.
The first person who came out to reassure her was not the doctor or nurse, she recalled, but a volunteer.“I was so grateful for all of the care, especially from that volunteer … I decided that day to come back after I retired and give back,” she said.
Twelve years later, in 2012, Earnest became the first volunteer clerk in the intensive care unit. “I love helping people -- whether it’s a patient or family member or the staff -- using my knowledge and experience to be there for them, even if it’s just holding someone’s hand or providing a shoulder to cry on,” she said.
BETHESDA, Md., March 30, 2016 — About 18 percent of active-duty sailors are women, and serving in the even more male-dominated field of master-at-arms, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Colleen Dibble knows about being the only woman in the room.
For 11 months, she was the only female master-at-arms during her first assignment to Misawa Air Base, Japan, and has been one of the few women to work in Naval Support Activity Bethesda’s security department since she came to the installation in 2013.
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