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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The 79th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Bombing is this weekend. Dec 7th, 1941

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Time to come out of our bunkers.

This coming weekend is the 79th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl harbor December 7th, 1941. I was only 2 years old at that time so I had no idea what really was going on.

Here is a story by a man who was there that day, and is still alive:

Sterling R. Cale realized something wasn’t right on that fateful morning. He was just 20 years old that day. He was a Navy hospital pharmacists mate stationed there at Pearl Harbor.

He had just finished breakfast when he noticed something happening at Battleship Row. He thought, How come they are bombing the battle wagons? “We don’t train on Sunday!”

While he was watching a plane came by with the Rising Sun on the fuselage. He said, “My God, those are Japanese planes!”

He ran and walked into the shallow harbor waters, to retrieve wounded and dead bodies over the next two hours. He said, “I only picked up 49 people.” He went on to say, “Some of those people were gone already. Some others were so badly burnt the skin would come off of their hands when I tried to help them.

There were others that were tired because they had been blown off a ship, or had jumped and had to get to shore.”

Cale, who is 98, is the last surviving military person from the attack on the Hawaiian Islands. His home is just a few miles from where the attack occurred.

He said, ” It is always on my mind. I know what happened, how it happened, but not whay it happened.”

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I had three uncles who fought in WWII.

One was a Sea Bee. Another was an infantry soldier, and the third was a tanker.

All three had vital things they contributed to the war during their enlistment.

The uncle who was in the See Bees, put in very important bridges and roadways to help our men and women fight the war.

The second uncle was wounded in France. His company was overwhelmed by German forces. He had to play dead, while the Germans came through to check for survivors. If they were still alive they shot them. He was a very lucky hero.

The last uncle was the driver of a tank fighting against the Japanese. He had two other crew members in the tank with him.

One day he had stopped to rest and get some fresh air in his tank. That turned out to be dangerous. A Japanese soldier was near, and dropped a grenade into their tank. The blast instantly killed his best friend next to him, and everyone else was wounded.

He never wanted to talk about it, because he felt he caused the problem by opening his tank up.

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Are you being strong?

Have you had some bad times? Does everything seem to be closing in on you?

You are not alone, my friend. There are over 10,180 veterans in this site who have your back. They care for you and want the best for you.

However, if you are overwhelmed, and frustrated, GET HELP!!

Here is a toll free number for you to call 24/7. When they talk to you it is all free.

There are highly qualified counselors there to help you. They will not hang up until they know you are OK

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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A Man is Shot by a Sniper and Survives

I have a full post today. It will be long, but I think you will find lots of interesting information.

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This story is about a soldier who was shot by a sniper. It is an amazing story of survival.

On January 18, 2008, a bullet pierced Russell “Russ” Kaufmann’s neck while he was on patrol in Iraq. It was the only place on this body not covered by a helmet or armor.

“I wasn’t scared. I was thinking, ‘This is it, I’m going to die.’”

While the bullet tore his flesh, it was the massive blood loss that did the most damage. It caused two strokes. Russ credits his survival to the excellent care he received in Germany and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He also credits his determination to live. But his life changed forever.

After multiple surgeries and strokes, he is a man unable to talk and has several physical limitations. Those limitations include aphasia, weakness on the right side of his body and difficulty with his vision. Aphasia is an impairment of language, affecting the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read and write.

Suddenly, Russ became a man who can see and understand the world, but no longer fully engage with it.

Finding alternative ways of communicating

Russ receives treatment at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital Speech Language clinic in Tampa. Russ is working with a VHA speech language pathologist to restore as much speech and language as possible. He also is finding alternative ways to communicate.

“Oh… he’s amazing for sure. He has a memory like a steel trap. He also has knowledge for days and phenomenal mental flexibility and use of communication strategies,” said Karyn Pingel, his speech pathologist.

“If I don’t understand what he’s trying to convey, he immediately uses his smart phone to communicate through pictures or draws his own picture,” Pingel said. “Russ will also gesture or pantomime to get his message across. I have been blessed with his presence in Tampa. I love every opportunity to work with him.” Learning and using different nonverbal ways to communicate has enabled Russ to continue his path to recovery. He now lives independently and volunteers

What an amazing hero!

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White House, VA launch REACH — a call to action to engage the nation in preventing suicide

WASHINGTON – The White House and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today launched the REACH national public health campaign aimed at empowering all Americans to play a critical role in preventing suicide. 

The goal of REACH, which was established by the President’s Roadmap to Empower Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS), is to change the conversation around suicide by urging people to recognize their own risk and protective factors — as well as the risk and protective factors of their loved ones. 

“REACH will empower our nation’s Veterans to seek and receive help and it will encourage them to reach out to their brothers and sisters in need who may be vulnerable,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The power of this campaign will change how we talk about mental health and suicide in our nation. It will ensure that those in need, especially the men and women who have served our great nation, will receive the care and support they deserve.” 

“The REACH campaign will inspire and educate all Americans — encouraging them to share their own struggles and to reach out to those who are hurting. It will engage our Veterans to help lead the way as we change how we think about, talk about and address suicide,” said PREVENTS Executive Director Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen. “I urge everyone to go to wearewithinreach.net and take the PREVENTS Pledge to REACH and be part of the solution. Together, we will prevent suicide.” 

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I am now switching gears to share some endorsements for my new upcoming book called, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

These aren’t friends or family endorsements. These are from powerful military leaders who have looked at the book:

Although ‘Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life wasn’t written for men only, it brings honesty and openness to veterans, and military personnel about feeling ok to express fears and emotional challenges in a difficult world.  US Army Retired Veteran, Mr. Douglas Bolton brings his personal stories to life in a way we all can relate to and gives a big “you’re ok” for revealing our shortcomings and encourages us to open up and talk.  A must read for those seeking healing and forgiveness from ourselves and those wanting a fresh look on life. 

Steve Durgin, Founder & CEO with Victory For Veterans Foundation. 

Huntington, Beach California

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Most of us are fortunate not to have experienced the stress of combat.  Words cannot adequately define the grinding daily pressure of knowing that every time you step outside the gate the enemy will try to kill you and your buddies.  You are constantly alert, on point; but how can you protect your team from the instantaneous blast of the IED?  You are part of a highly-trained team poised to execute, but what has prepared you for the mental toll of being on edge every moment.  The skills that helped you survive….have taken a toll and are now working against you when you return home.  What do you do now; where do you turn?  Whether you are dealing with PTSD, TBI, depression, homelessness, or recovering from wounds; Doug Bolton has answers…..this book has answers!

Jim Jaeger

Brigadier General, USAF, ret

San Antonio, TX

Member of the Board, Victory for Veterans

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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 for the site, please let them know about it. You may be saving a life. Your comments will not be seen by other people, just me, and I will connect with you to see if you are OK to share it.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all….never, ever, give up!