So Many Unsung Heroes in the MIlitary That we Need to Honor

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I wasn’t able to post on Friday. I had surgery on that day. It was to replace a battery in my defibrillator. Still slowly recovering today.

I can see you weren’t too excited about my post last Wednesday. It was a report about sexual harassment and rape. Sorry if it offended you, but we have to face it and follow through in helping those afflicted.

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Times are not exactly fun right now. Our country is in turmoil. Lots of verbal fighting. Seems there a division right down the middle of our country as to beliefs.

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There are many reports of heroic feats by the military. That tells me that people in the military are special people. Here is a story about another hero:

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Marine awarded for saving drowning couple from rough waters in California.

When Cpl. Jordan Perez heard a couple calling for help, he ripped off his boots and sprang into action. The Marine saw two civilian kayakers, their vessel capsized in the waters of 21 Area Boat Basin, a training section for amphibious vehicles at Camp Pendleton, California that opens up onto the Pacific Ocean.

It was around 1 p.m. on Feb. 15, and large, sharp boulders in the basin had caused strong waves that flipped the kayak, leaving the kayakers struggling in the water.

“That’s when I took action,” said Perez in a recent press release. A combat engineer with 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, Perez was working at a nearby construction project when another Marine noticed the drowning couple. “I took my boots off and just started swimming.”

The Marine swam 250 meters through the choppy waves to reach the kayakers. He grabbed the woman’s hand, pulled her back on the kayak and started pushing the boat back to the rocks. The woman’s husband could swim, but he started panicking halfway to the shore. Perez swam back to the man, put a life jacket on him, and continued pushing the woman to safety.

Perez was in the right spot at the right time: while other Marines also noticed the drowning couple, he happened to be training with a retired reconnaissance Marine to prepare for assessment and selection with the Marine Raiders. Part of that training includes swimming two hours every day.

“That [training] takes away any hesitation that comes with putting your own life at risk,” Perez said. “Since I had been training, I was confident that I could get myself out there and get those people back.”

Perez was awarded a challenge coin from Brig. Gen. Dan Conley, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations West, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, on Feb. 19th. Though Perez technically does not fall under Conley’s command, the general wanted to personally thank him for what he did. A challenge coin is presented to Marines who go above and beyond, and any further awards will be processed by his chain of command, the press release explained.

“I’d like to believe a lot of people would do what you did, but I know they wouldn’t,” Conley told him. “So, to hear it actually happen is just amazing. That was really gutsy of you.”

But it’s just par for the Corps, as far as Perez is concerned.

“It’s what Marines are expected to do,” he said.

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His instinct saved lives, and left yet another reminder how special our military is.

Do you have a story about a hero? Share it in the comments below. I would love to post it.

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Time to talk about you. How are you doing? Is everything going in the right direction, or has your path been altered?

You are not alone. There are over 11,550 fellow veterans here who have your back.

Of course if your struggling is too hard for you right now, GET HELP!

Here is a toll free number to cal 24/7 There are highly qualified counselors to to help you. They will not hang up until they know you are OK.

Never take on this crazy world alone!

1-800-273-8255 Option # 1

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know about it.

Sexual Harassment and Rape Are Far Too Common in the Military

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know about it.

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In two days this site will look very different. On February 1st I will be having a different format. It is still all about the military, but I will be inserting some thoughts meant just for you, to help you to have hope.

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Here is some Military news:

The Marine Corps is on the hunt for a next-generation fire-resistant combat utility uniform.

The Air Force is developing spray-on tech to make you heal like Wolverine
Though it is still in development, the spray has the potential to reprogram human cells to heal wounds five times faster than usual.
Biden drops Trump-era ban on transgender troops.
The Army is officially buying the sniper rifle the entire US military wants
The Army has announced its intent to buy several thousand of the much-hyped Multi-Role Adaptive Rifle from firearms maker Barrett.
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What I am sharing now is an article talking about sexual harassment and rape. I will be sharing these true stories and much more starting on February 1st.

An airman who said her complaints of sexual harassment were ignored for months by Misawa Air Base command has finally secured a transfer to another duty station, Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs said in a statement.

“In accordance with her request, Airman First Class Sarah Figueroa was transferred to another duty location,” the statement said. PACAF did not disclose the new location to protect Figueroa’s personal information. PACAF wrote that it had also investigated the male airman who was harassing Airman 1st Class Figueroa, and that the commander took “appropriate action” after consulting with the legal office.

“The Air Force takes all allegation of interpersonal violence, to include bullying and sexual harassment, very seriously,” it added.

That did not appear to be the case in October when Airman 1st Class Figueroa took to Instagram to express her frustration with her command for disregarding complaints that a male airman had been stalking and harassing her for months.  

“Last week, I was followed by the airman who sexually harassed and I feared for my life,” she said in her Oct. 13 post. “I thought I was going to die and I prayed over and over again while I was driving.”

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne Bass commented on the post, asking the airman to send her an email. Figueroa’s mother also spoke about her daughter’s desperate situation in a video interview posted to YouTube on Oct. 21.

Fatima Figueroa said the male airman was issued a no-contact order earlier this year (which is similar to a civilian restraining order), Figueroa said he has ignored the order and continued to follow Figueroa, making her feel scared for her life. 

The chain of command, military police, Equal Opportunity Office, and other authorities had not been helpful in resolving the situation, punishing the male airman, or helping Airman 1st Class Figueroa secure a transfer out of Misawa, Figueroa said at the time.

“This is a nightmare, this is a horror movie,” she said on YouTube in an interview with Kayla Rivera TV. “We shouldn’t be going through this. The only thing we’re asking is to transfer her out. That’s the only thing we want.”

Airman 1st Class Figueroa reported the initial harassment to military police and her chain of command. According to her mother, the Air Force investigated the case, decided it was a case of sexual harassment, and issued a no-contact order to the male airman.

However, since then, the male airman has parked next to Airman 1st Class Figueroa’s car, followed her, made more inappropriate comments towards her, and said hello to her “like nothing has happened,” her mother said.

Airman 1st Class Figueroa and her mother expressed frustration with base leadership. They said the commander claimed it was just a coincidence that the male airmen was following her ‘because it’s such a small base,’ they recalled him saying.

“She needs help. She needs to get out of there,” Fatima Figueroa said about her daughter in the YouTube interview. “Sarah should never have been placed in this predicament. Action should have been taken from the beginning.”

Now their request has finally been granted. On Oct. 29, Airman 1st Class Figueroa wrote on Instagram that she was given emergency orders to be transferred within 24 hours. She said her command expressed remorse for what happened.

“I just can’t believe it took this extreme of a measure for my chain of command to believe me,” she wrote. “On the way to the airport, my leadership shed tears in telling me they couldn’t believe it was true and that everyone felt horrible for thinking I was exaggerating.”

When asked if the Equal Opportunity Office, chain of command or military police at Misawa were being investigated for allegedly disregarding Airman 1st Class Figueroa’s complaints, PACAF wrote that there were no ongoing investigations on the matter.

“The Air Force’s investigative processes thoroughly address all persons and parties involved in incidents to ensure alleged victims and alleged perpetrators are protected under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” PACAF said. “In this case, helping agencies and the chain-of-command worked diligently to provide a solution for Airman First Class Figueroa.”

On Instagram on Oct. 29, Airman 1st Class Figueroa wrote that her leadership issued her a no-contact order detailing the places the male airman could not walk by, drive by, or be seen in unless he called leadership. The order also said he would have to call leadership any time he came across her and that he could not park his car next to any v “When I got this Order, I was angry and disappointed … I just kept looking at it in disbelief and wondering why this wasn’t given to me earlier,” Airman 1st Class Figueroa said. “I had just been notified that I was going to be transferred so it felt like too little too late until I was told this could last my entire military career to keep me safe.”

Still, she wrote that she saw the male airman’s car in her dormitory’s parking lot that night. She fled and said her leadership picked her up and drove her to the police station.

In one of her Instagram posts on Oct. 29, Airman First Class Figueroa wrote that she was “somewhere safe now,” but there are plenty of women in the military who are not. In her earlier posts, she compared her situation to that of Spc. Vanessa Guillén, a soldier who was sexually harassed and murdered by a fellow soldier in April.

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I think we can all agree that this is very wrong, and yet it is still happening. In my next post on February 1st. I will share an interview from my upcoming book. Signs of hope for the military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life, I had with a VA nurse. It is very graphic about two women who were rapped, and how it destroyed their lives.

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Where is your thoughts going these days? Do you have good thoughts, or your still haunted by the past. Do not worry my friend there are over 11, 153 fellow veterans who follow this site, and they all have your back.

However, if it is just getting too overwhelming for you, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number you can call 24/7. There are highly qualified counselors there to help you. They will not hang up until they know you are OK. All of this is free.

Do not take on the not so friendly world alone!!

1-800-273-8255 Option # 1

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!!

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know about it.

Sexual Harassment, and Rape Are too Common in the Military

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit for the site, please let them know about it.

Things are heating up now that President elect Biden is choosing his cabinet. The following example shows you what I mean:

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Once again, lawmakers must decide whether to allow a retired general officer to serve as defense secretary even though he has been out of uniform for less time than the seven years required by law.

Retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin left active-duty in 2016 after 41 years of service. He is a Silver Star recipient and has had extensive command experience. If confirmed by the Senate, he would also be the first Black man to lead the Defense Department.

Slotkin, a former CIA analyst who worked with Austin when he was on active-duty, said she has deep respect for the retired general. 

However, the defense secretary’s job is to ensure civilian control over the military, added Slotkin, who served as acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 2015 to 2017.

“That is why it requires a waiver from the House and Senate to put a recently retired military officer in the job,” Slotkin said in the statement. “And after the last four years, civil-military relations at the Pentagon definitely need to be rebalanced. General Austin has had an incredible career — but I’ll need to understand what he and the Biden Administration plan to do to address these concerns before I can vote for his waiver.”

Biden added that he understands and respects the reason why officers are legally required to be out of uniform for a certain period of time before assuming the mantle of defense secretary.

“I would not be asking for this exception if I did not believe this moment in our history didn’t call for it – it does call for it – and if I didn’t have the faith I have in Lloyd Austin to ask for it,” Biden said.

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Sexual harassment, or even rape, has been going on for far too long in the military. I have a whole chapter in my new book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In an Out of the Trenches of Life, on rape, and an interview with a nurse who took care of two women who had been raped. Heart breaking stories.

The Supreme Court on Thursday delivered a big win for survivors of sexual assault in the military by closing a loophole that allowed three convicted rapists to walk free.

“I fought so hard to get the justice to have him put away for what he did,” Air Force veteran Harmony Allen told CNN about her rapist, Master Sgt. Richard Collins, in an article last year.

Collins raped Allen in August 2000, but he was not convicted until 2017. But a year later, a 2018 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) instituted a five-year statute of limitations on military rape cases between 1986 and 2006, and Collins walked free.

“To have that ripped away after finally getting it is so hurtful and crushing and it just questions my belief in the justice system,” Allen said.

CAAF’s 2018 ruling reversed decades of precedent. Under Article 120(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, rape is one of several crimes that is punishable by death in the military, and thus has no statute of limitations. But in 2018, CAAF pointed out the Supreme Court’s 1977 ruling in Coker v. Georgia that the Eighth Amendment forbids a death sentence for the rape of an adult women. 

So if rape cannot be punished by a death sentence under the Constitution, CAAF reasoned, then military rape is not a capital offense and thus is subject to statutes of limitations. But the Supreme Court disagreed.

“Respondents argue that the logic of the decision in Coker applies equally to civilian and military prosecutions, but the Government contends that the military context dictates a different outcome,” wrote Justice Samuel Alito in his opinion. “Among other things, the Government argues that a rape committed by a service member may cause special damage by critically undermining unit cohesion and discipline and that, in some circumstances, the crime may have serious international implications.”

Further, while Coker led to Congress changing the maximum penalty for rape in civilian cases from death to life imprisonment, Congress made no such change in the UCMJ, the justice wrote.

“On the contrary, in 2006 Congress noted that death would remain an available punishment for rape,” he added.

Alito pointed out that the “trauma inflicted by such crimes may impede the gather of the evidence needed to bring charges. Victims may be hesitant for some time after the offense about agreeing to testify. Thus, under current federal law, many such offenses are subject to no statute of limitations.”

A former Chief Prosecutor of the Air Force celebrated the decision.

“The unanimous nature of this opinion is a testament of just how wrong the lower court’s opinion was,” said Col. Don Christensen (ret.), president of the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders, in a press release. “Justice has been restored for three survivors and hope has been restored for countless others.”

Justice Amy Coney Barrett did not vote in the decision because the case was argued in October, before her confirmation.

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The Christmas rush is, hard at best, to handle. Then there is the ugly pandemic raising up even more.

How are you holding up, my friend? Is the rush and the world too fast for you?

You are not alone! There are over 10,350 other veterans on this site who have your back.

BUT! If it is just too overwhelming for you, Get Help!

Here is a toll free number to call 24/7. There are highly qualified counselors there to help you. They will not hang up until they know you are OK.

Don’t live in this world alone!

1-800-273-8255 Option # 1

_____________________________________

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

_______________________________________

+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit for the site, please let them know about it.