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Meet Your Military: All-Army Triathlete on the Road to Pro

support our troops us army 1st lt triathlon competitionArmy 1st Lt. Marcus Farris, quality assurance representative for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Alaska District, participates in a local triathlon in Fairbanks, Alaska, May 13, 2015. Farris is trying to earn his pro card, so much of his off-duty life consists of athletics and racing individually and for groups such as the All-Army Triathlon team and U.S. Military All-Endurance Sports teamJOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, July 14, 2015 – Underneath his quiet and cool demeanor, Army 1st Lt. Marcus Farris is ready to be unleashed on race days. A disciplined athlete, he has trained for many hours to represent and compete as a member of the All-Army Triathlon team.

Farris, a quality assurance representative in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Alaska District’s construction division, said he realized his passion for running in high school in Huntsville, Alabama. As a cadet in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, he did lots of running to prepare for physical training tests. It wasn't long before he was attending Auburn University and, in his free time, participating in ultramarathons –- distances longer than the standard 26.2 miles. Now, Farris said, his lifestyle consists of athletics and racing individually and for groups such as the All-Army Triathlon team and U.S. Military All-Endurance Sports team. “There are some days that feel like workouts and some that feel like I am playing outside,” Farris, 25, described. “It is good to see that your training pays off now and again.”

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Meet Your Military: Marine Serves His New Country

support our troops us marine corps sgt edwin maldonadoU.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Edwin Maldonado, warehouse chief with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response- Central Command, facilitates logistics in Southwest Asia, July 11, 2015. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Garrett WhiteSOUTHWEST ASIA: Although some families can trace their heritage back to the days of the founding fathers, more recent arrivals often hear the call of duty just as keenly. U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Edwin Maldonado emigrated from Honduras to Miami as a child, and now he continues a recently founded family tradition of service in the U.S. military.

“For the first five years of my childhood I didn’t know my mother or father because they had already moved to the United States,” said Maldonado. “In 1993, when I was about six years old, the rest of my family began to get their visas and we all moved to the U.S.” Maldonado said his cousins were the first members of his family to join the U.S. military.

“I always knew growing up I wanted to join the military, I just didn’t know what branch I wanted to join,” he said. “I had cousins that were already in the Navy and Army, but I wanted to do more than that, be better than them.”

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Meet Your Military: Soldier Puts the Count in Accountability

support our troops us army spc imua dawn japanArmy Spc. Donna C. Moya, a human resources specialist for the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, instructs a junior soldier during Exercise Imua Dawn at Sagami Depot, Japan, July 4, 2015. Imua Dawn is the culminating training event for the 303rd MEB to achieve full operational capability status in phase 3 operations. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Melissa McGaugheySAGAMI DEPOT, Japan: It is 15:07. Army Spc. Donna C. Moya stands up. "Sir, the number of personnel on the ground is 4,721. In the last 24 hours we received enemy contact at two locations within Task Force Bayonet. Seventy-nine soldiers are being treated, 14 have been medically evacuated. Currently we are still operating at full strength. There are no additional issues. For the next 24 hours, we will continue to monitor any developing situations. Pending any questions, this concludes my brief."

There are no further questions. Moya sits down. While the words may sound simple, a vast amount of work goes on behind the scenes in order to create that accurate picture of the battlefield. In the U.S. Army, that work is done by human resource soldiers in the S-1 -- the personnel section. Moya is one of those soldiers, serving in the 303rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade during annual training here as part of Exercise Imua Dawn. Imua Dawn is a command post exercise created specifically for maneuver enhancement brigades. The exercise covers the fictional island of Tembago, and is designed to replicate the Pacific Command area of responsibility and exercise the brigade-level staff. Within the exercise, the S-1 must maintain accountability of almost 5,000 troops operating on a simulated battlefield of more than 236 square miles. Moya’s job is to make sure the numbers add up.

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Meet Your Military: Reserve Airman Saves Child

support our troops us air force medical technician first to respondAir Force Tech. Sgt. Jude Joseph, 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron medical technician and eight-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, poses in front of the 944th ASTS building July 8, 2015. Joseph, an Air Force Reservist, was the first police officer to respond when two children were found at a bottom of a swimming pool July 2. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Lausanne KinderLUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz., July 9, 2015 – Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jude Joseph, a medical technician with the 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron here, saved the life of a child who was found at the bottom of a swimming pool July 2.

Joseph is a member of the Air Force Reserve and also an eight-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department. In that capacity, he responded to a 911 call and was the first to arrive at a residential backyard to find two children lying on the poolside patio. "My immediate thought was that I have two babies who need help,” Joseph said. “I needed to triage the worst-injured, but still provide some care to the other baby and update [the] Phoenix Fire [Department] with information." Quickly assessing the situation, he instructed a man who was with the children to monitor the child who was vomiting, and he administered CPR and rescue breathing to the unresponsive child until Phoenix Fire arrived.

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Meet Your Military: Coast Guardsman Draws Artistic Inspiration from Service

support our troops us coast guard chart artCoast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Lacy, a boatswain's mate, works on chart art for Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, N.J., ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., – A patriot’s palette comprises more colors than red, white and blue. A vast array of tones is a testament to true devotion to country. One Coast Guardsman in South Jersey shows his true colors and patriotism through the gift of art, a talent he considers a hobby. Petty Officer 1st Class Justin Lacy, a boatswain’s mate at Coast Guard Station Atlantic City, New Jersey, has created a work of art that will adorn that boat station’s walls for generations to come. He calls it chart art.

Chart Art “It’s a pretty traditional practice amongst units to have an artist do chart art,” Lacy said. “It’s typically done by a painter. They’ll take the area of responsibility chart for a unit and use it as a canvas, painting the unit, assets or any kind of prominent landmark that would represent that particular unit.” Lacy’s chart art shows the station, boats, crewmembers and the Atlantic City skyline, including the Absecon Lighthouse -- the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey. He even included the unit’s old mascot, Nucky the Newfoundland, sitting by the front door. “It was a good opportunity for me to take advantage of because I hadn’t done any of my art for years, so it was nice to dust off the cobwebs a little bit,” Lacy said. “The chart art has been a long process for me -- just getting back into it -- but I’m thrilled to do something like this,” he said. “It’s my way of giving back. The idea that it’ll hang on the walls indefinitely makes me feel good. I’m leaving my mark on the unit.”

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Meet Your Military: 'Map Geek' Finds Way to New Geospatial Unit

support our troops us army master sgt geospatial analystArmy Master Sgt. Steven Lotz, a geospatial analyst for the 416th Theater Engineer Command, is the first member of DARIEN, Ill., – A self-proclaimed “map geek” is the first soldier to join the newest geospatial cell at an Illinois engineer command, and he wants to find more soldiers like him to join the team.

Army Master Sgt. Steve Lotz began his career 27 years ago as a field artilleryman, but he fits right in at the new geospatial cell established this year as part of a broader redesign and revalidation for the Army Reserve’s 416th Theater Engineer Command headquarters. Lotz said he developed his appreciation for mapping through his father, a land surveyor who came to the United States from Germany in the 1950s. “So when I was a boy, I would actually go out on jobs with him and help him out with elevations and measuring,” he said. Even as a boy, Lotz said, he would collect highway maps given away at gas stations. And when his father died, he added, he inherited beautiful mountain-climbing maps made in the 1930s, all hand-drawn and incredibly detailed. “I was always fascinated by that -- looking at a map and knowing [where to go]. … When I was younger, I went to Europe. I could just look at a map and put it down, and I’d know where I’m going. I always wanted to know where I was going,” he said.

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