International Delight Kicks Off Military Appreciation Month By Announcing Partnership With Pets for Vets

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Pets for Vets logo

Broomfield, Colo. – [May 1, 2019] – In honor of Military Appreciation Month, International Delight has committed $150,000 to support the national organization Pets for Vets. The creamer brand also launched S’mores, a new limited-edition flavor, which features the Pets for Vets pawprint logo on every bottle.

This debuts as part of the brand’s limited-edition, Americana-themed summer collection. International Delight developed this summer collection to encourage its fans to support this cause dedicated to hugs and companionship.

International Delight values Pets for Vets’ mission to help shelter animals find loving forever homes with veterans. This contribution is anticipated to cover the cost of a number of initiatives, including:

  • 30 veteran and pet matches
  • Continued education for Pets for Vets trainers
  • Medicine and preventative supplies for matches

“The opportunity to match veterans with a new companion and give pets in need loving homes struck a chord with us and we knew from our first conversation that we had to get involved,” said Jessica Strouse, senior associate brand manager for International Delight. “We are proud to support the Pets for Vets team with a contribution, and also to have the opportunity to use our beloved brand to raise awareness for their efforts with the addition of their symbol to our latest launch — International Delight S’mores Creamer.”

More than 6 million pets enter shelters in the United States each year, and 20% of returning military veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pets for Vets uses the powerful bond between humans and animals to help both by pairing them together.

“We’re incredibly thankful for this support that will help us reach more veterans and shelter animals than ever before, and we’re thrilled this partnership goes beyond just a contribution thanks to International Delight’s dedication to raising awareness of our efforts,” said Clarissa Black, founder of Pets for Vets. “Since we began in 2009, we’ve been fortunate to do a lot of great work and working with International Delight will help us do even more.”

Celebrating summertime, the contributions of veterans and love for pets, the full Americana-themed collection features red, white and blue packaging across the brand’s French Vanilla and Cold Stone® Sweet Cream varieties, as well as the new S’mores variety. Bringing a campfire to your coffee cup, International Delight S’mores Creamer combines the chocolate, graham cracker and marshmallow flavors of the nostalgic summertime treat.

The full Americana-themed collection is available in grocery and mass-market retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.79. For more information on Pets for Vets, including how to get involved in a nearby chapter, head to petsforvets.com.

About International Delight®

International Delight® was launched in 1987 and was the first flavored, liquid, non-dairy creamer on the market. There’s an art to the perfect cup, and we celebrate a masterpiece of flavor fantasy every single time. We’re flavor crazy and black coffee just does not exist in our universe. Never has, never will. International Delight® Iced Coffee and creamers are available at grocery, convenience stores, mass merchandisers and food service outlets across the country. For more information, visit InternationalDelight.com.

About Danone North America

International Delight® is made by Danone North America, a Certified B Corporation® business unit of Danone that operates in the U.S. from headquarter offices in White Plains, NY and Broomfield, CO. Danone North America was formed as a Public Benefit Corporation in 2017 to nourish people, communities and the world through its diverse portfolio of healthful dairy- and plant-based products, coffee creamers and beverages. Its portfolio of brands includes: Activia®, DanActive®, Danimals®, Dannon®, Danonino®, Horizon Organic®, International Delight®, Light & Fit®, Oikos®, Silk®, So Delicious Dairy Free®, STōK®, Two Good™, Vega®, Wallaby Organic® and YoCrunch®. The mission of Danone North America and that of Danone worldwide is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. For more information, please visit DanoneNorthAmerica.com. To find more information on Danone North America’s B Corp™ status, visit: bcorporation.net/directory/danone-north-america.

About Pets for Vets

Headquartered in Wilmington, North Carolina, Pets for Vets, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation with chapters in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. Pets for Vets® helps heal the emotional wounds of military Veterans by using the power of the human-animal bond to provide a second chance for shelter animals that are rescued, trained and paired with American Veterans who could benefit from a companion animal. To learn more go to petsforvets.com.

MY BROTHER’S KEEPER—Available on DVD and VOD May 11!

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My Brother's Keeper movie poster with actor and director credits

After an incredible theatrical launch as venues re-opened throughout the US, the feature-length drama MY BROTHER’S KEEPER is preparing to release to home entertainment. The film shares a powerful story of faith and forgiveness in the wake of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

In a partnership between Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Collide Distribution, MY BROTHER’S KEEPER will release on DVD and all major VOD platforms on May 11, 2021.

MY BROTHER’S KEEPER was directed by Kevan Otto (A QUESTION OF FAITH, FORGIVEN) and written by US Army Veteran Ty Manns (A QUESTION OF FAITH, THE 5TH QUARTER). The film stars TC Stallings (WAR ROOM, A QUESTION OF FAITH), Joey Lawrence (Melissa & Joey, Blossom, Hawaii Five-0), Robert Ri’chard (COACH CARTER, Empire), and Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show).

“It was so encouraging that many theaters across the US re-opened their theaters with MY BROTHER’S KEEPER, a desperately needed story of hope,” shares Manns. “It is also an incredible honor that the film was able to play on military bases and at the National Infantry Museum. We pray that, as the film becomes available to larger audiences through home entertainment, the story continues to give encouragement to those struggling with issues of PTSD, forgiveness, and loss. A reminder that, no matter what the situation, there is always hope.”

FILM SYNOPSIS:
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER shares the story of returning war veteran SFC Travis Fox (TC Stallings) who has one more battle to fight – PTSD. Fox and his best friend SFC Ron “Preach” Pearcy (Joey Lawrence) are in their 6th combat deployment when Preach and his entire Ranger platoon are killed in a deadly improvised explosive device attack. Travis returns to his hometown to settle the affairs of his parents who had passed away years before. In searching for answers about his parents, he also discovers a new obstacle in PTSD. He finds support from church counselor, Tiffany Robertson (Keshia Knight-Pulliam) and slowly begins to rediscover his faith in God, until he discovers a secret. Travis uncovers a secret hidden by his best friend Donnie Berry (Robert Ri’chard) that threatens his new-found faith, restores his guilt, and causes him to consider the unthinkable.

About Manns Mackie Studios:
Manns Mackie Studios is a concept-to-consumer feature- film production company that specializes in family and faith-based films.

About Collide Distribution:
Collide Distribution, a division of Collide Media Group, specializes in downstreaming home entertainment distribution through UPHE Content Group. Collide Media Group was formed in 2016 by veteran Christian entertainment marketing executive Bob Elder with a mission dedicated to “elevating media that inspires a deeper relationship with Christ.” The Collide team has worked on over 50 Faith-Based films, creating and executing marketing campaigns that have generated billions of impressions and resulted in hundreds of millions of ticket transactions. The Group is officed in historic downtown Franklin Tennessee.

About Universal Pictures Content Group:
Headquartered in London, Universal Pictures Content Group is a repertoire centre acquiring and producing multi-genre entertainment for distribution across theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital platforms on a worldwide basis. Universal Pictures Content Group a unit of Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG). UFEG produces, acquires, markets and distributes filmed entertainment worldwide in various media formats for theatrical, home entertainment, television and other distribution platforms, as well as consumer products, interactive gaming and live entertainment. The global division includes Universal Pictures, Focus Features, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Brand Development, Fandango and DreamWorks Animation Film and Television. UFEG is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

A U.S. Marine will wrestle in the Olympics for the first time in decades

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The MArine who will wrestle in the Olympics is pictured with a side by side image of him in uniform and his wrestling gear

For the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. Marine will be wrestling at the Olympics. “It’s amazing … I never in a million years thought I’d wake up one day and say I’m an Olympian,” Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz said after three consecutive wins at Olympic Team Trials in Fort Worth, Texas over the weekend.

The 29-year-old member of the All-Marine Wrestling Team is now the best 87 kg (181-pound) class Greco-Roman wrestler in the country, according to The Jacksonville Daily News, which described Stefanowicz as feeling “unstoppable” and ready to bring home a gold medal. He’ll be one of 15 American athletes competing at the 2020 Tokyo games this summer, which were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every time I step out on the mat and I wear USA on the back, that means something greater than just myself and my last name,” Stefanowicz told Task & Purpose.

“What it means is to truly show the world what we’re about and what my brothers here do day in and day out,” Stefanowicz said of his Olympic dream. There has not been a U.S. Marine wrestler at the Olympics since 1992.

“I fight for everything that I believe in and what the Marine Corps stands for,” Stefanowicz said in 2019, describing his style in training and on the mat as “high intensity, high impact, no forgiveness.” He’s made a name for himself as a top athlete, despite his age and untraditional path into the sport.

Stefanowicz also has a black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program — though it’s unclear if any of his Marine ninja skills have ever come into play during an official wrestling bout.

Read the full article on Task and Purpose.

Charles Coolidge, Oldest Medal of Honor Recipient, Dies at 99

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Charles Coolidge looking left in suit and tie with an american flag in the background

By Richard Goldstein, New York Times

When Charles Coolidge was growing up outside Chattanooga, his grammar school class received a visit from Sgt. Alvin York, the Tennessean famed for World War I exploits that brought him the Medal of Honor.

In the aftermath of World War II, it was Sergeant Coolidge making the rounds of his home state, telling of another harrowing firefight in France, this one bringing him the nation’s highest decoration for valor in his own right.

Celebrated in Chattanooga with a park and a highway and at the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, Mr. Coolidge died there on Tuesday.

He was 99 and the oldest living recipient of the nation’s highest award for valor. The heritage center announced his death.

Photo Credit: NY Times

Mr. Coolidge’s death leaves Hershel W. Williams, 97, as the oldest surviving recipient of the medal. Mr. Williams received it for his exploits fighting with the Marines on Iwo Jima in World War II.

“We both have been blessed by God with a long, long life,” Mr. Williams, who had last been in touch with Mr. Coolidge about five years ago, said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

In the last week of October 1944, Sergeant Coolidge and some 30 outnumbered soldiers in his rifle and machine-gun section faced annihilation by German troops with tanks during a major battle in the Vosges Mountains of eastern France, near the German border.

Sergeant Coolidge had fought with the 36th Infantry Division in Italy before it moved into France, and most of the troops under his command in the fall of 1944 were replacements for those who had been killed or wounded in the division’s long slog. They had little if any combat experience.

His unit was nevertheless ordered to hold off the German forces threatening to attack the right flank of the division’s Third Battalion, 141st Infantry, which was massing with two other battalions outside the tiny town of Belmont-sur-Buttant.

Through the first day of his unit’s confrontation with the Germans and over the next three days, Sergeant Coolidge’s men fought for control of what was known as Hill 623 in the face of repeated attempts by the Germans to overrun them. All the while, Sergeant Coolidge sought to calm them and direct their fire.

At one point, two German tanks came within 25 yards of him. A tank commander shouted, “in perfect English, ‘Do you guys wanna give up?’” Mr. Coolidge recalled in a 2014 interview with the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media. His reply: “I’m sorry, Mac, you’ve gotta come and get me.”

After that, he said, the Germans “fired five times at me.”

“When a shot went one way, I went the other way,” he added, recalling how he had dodged the fire by moving from tree trunk to tree trunk.

“Then I found a bazooka,” he went on. “But it didn’t work. Someone had taken the batteries out. You use what you do have. I started lobbing grenades.”

On the fifth day of the standoff, Sergeant Coolidge orchestrated an orderly retreat, enabling his men to rejoin the Third Battalion a few hundred yards away.

But the First Battalion, surrounded by Germans for a week, appeared on the verge of being wiped out.

Then came a long-remembered feat. The Japanese-American soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, having already incurred heavy casualties in Italy and France, broke the siege of what became known as the Lost Battalion, rescuing more than 200 men.

Sergeant Coolidge received the Medal of Honor on June 18, 1945, in a ceremony near Dornstadt, Germany.

Read the full article on the New York Times.

Soldier Becomes Angel to Injured and Abused Cat, Wants Him to be Her Companion Animal

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Bubba the cat poses with soldier standing behind her

While she didn’t set out to be, Army Sergeant Rode became an angel to a cat while serving in the Middle East. She’s on a mission to help Paws of War with the costs of rescuing her cat, which she named Bubba, back to the states with her since she has received new orders.

It’s a mission that Paws of War can help her pull off, but only with the support of the community. This type of effort takes a village, and the organization is asking people to support Sgt. Rode, who is serving her country.

“This is a story you can’t help but to love and want to get behind,” explains Dereck Cartright, a disabled veteran who is the stateside logistics coordinator at Paws of War. “Sgt. Rode saved Bubba, but there’s only so much she can do on her own”.

When Sgt. Rode first saw Bubba, he had given up. Bloody, frail, and injured, the cat ran from everyone. It was clear that he had been fighting for his life for a long time. Sgt. Rode knew she had to help. For days, she left food, waiting nearby to make sure he ate. Initially, he cried and backed away when he saw her, but eventually, he grew to trust her and allowed her to sit within just a few feet while he frantically ate the food she left.

Slowly but surely, Bubba allowed her to get a little closer until, finally, Sgt. Rode was able to touch him. However, what she discovered horrified her. Old scars mixed in with new wounds that covered Bubba’s body. He had been through a lot and was timid, but once he felt the kind touch of Sgt. Rode, he immediately began purring, showing her the love and affection he had never been shown. She became Bubba’s angel, and he became her greatest joy while serving overseas, and they were essentially inseparable.

Worry came back to her when she received new orders to head home, and it was clear that she would not be able to take Bubba with her. She couldn’t stand the thought of leaving him behind to fend for himself or to try to find someone else to provide him with the love and care that he has grown accustomed to with her. When she heard about the work that Paws of War does, helping soldiers to get their pets back to the U.S., and she turned to it for assistance.

“Bubba is such a wonderful cat, and he greets me every time he sees me and purrs loudly whenever I pet him,” says Sgt. Rode. “I have formed such a great bond with him, it took me so long to gain his trust, and I can’t fathom the thought of leaving him behind once I get deployed back to the U.S. He has been a wonderful companion and provides me so much comfort when I need it most. I could not leave this cat behind to suffer and die. He trusts me, and I won’t let him down.”

Paws of War is seeking the support of the community to cover the costs in order to bring Bubba back to the states to live out his life with Sgt. Rode. While the organization has helped many soldiers bring their rescued animals back, it’s a mission that is costly. Soldiers tend to rescue stray dogs and cats, and they form bonds with them that help them to find comfort during their time of deployment. With the help of donations from the community, they are able to cover the expenses that are involved in such a mission.

The organization has helped so many soldiers with this type of mission that it has created a strong network of support. It’s that network that helps them to navigate through the challenges and logistics of relocating a pet overseas, and to pay for the care, paperwork, and flight that is involved in the mission.

To learn more about Sgt. Rode and Bubba or to make a donation to help with the rescue mission, visit the site at: https://pawsofwar.networkforgood.com/projects/127816-help-save-bubba.

In addition to helping soldiers relocate their pets, Paws of War also rescues dogs, provides them with proper training, and then pairs them with veterans who need service animals, all free of charge. It also helps soldiers bring dogs and cats they rescued while serving overseas to safety in the U.S. Those who would like to learn more about supporting Paws of War and its mission can go online to: http://pawsofwar.org.

About Paws of War
Paws of War is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides assistance and a wide range of programs to active, retired and disabled military members. To learn more about Paws of War and the programs provided or to make a donation, visit its site at: http://pawsofwar.org.

Jake Gyllenhaal cast in ‘Combat Control’ as Medal of Honor recipient John Chapman

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Jake Gyllenhaal headshot

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal has been confirmed for the role of Air Force Sgt. John Chapman in the upcoming film “Combat Control,” Deadline first reported.

Chapman, a combat control technician who was killed in action in Afghanistan during 2002′s deadly Operation Anaconda, was first recognized with the Air Force Cross prior to the award’s 2018 upgrade to the Medal of Honor.

The reformed recognition followed an exhaustive investigation led by Air Force Capt. Cora Alexander, whose examination into the heroic firefight that claimed Chapman’s life, coupled with the best-selling book “Alone at Dawn” by Dan Schilling and Lori Longfritz, is forming the basis of the film’s script.

Image: Gyllenhaal at the premiere of ‘End of Watch’ (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

In March 2002, Chapman was flying with a team of Navy SEALs when the helicopter transporting them came under heavy fire from al-Qaida fighters below. When a member of the assault force was thrown from the helicopter amidst the turmoil, Chapman and other SEALs volunteered to go out on foot and retrieve their teammate.

Chapman was “the first to charge up the mountain toward the enemy,” former President Donald Trump said at the 2018 Medal of Honor presentation. The airman had just cleared a bunker of its enemy occupants when he decided to launch into a sprint toward additional al-Qaida fighters. That’s when Chapman was hit by multiple enemy rounds, knocking him unconscious.

Minutes transpired before Chapman regained consciousness and resumed fighting. After engaging the enemy for nearly an hour, another helicopter carrying Army Rangers and airmen approached. Rather than remain covered, Chapman emerged from his concealed position to fire at the assailants who were sighting in on the helicopter.

In the open, the airman was struck by two machine gun rounds that delivered the fatal blow, but his last-ditch efforts were lauded as saving numerous lives of those onboard the arriving helo. The husband and father of two daughters, then ages 3 and 5, was 36 years old.

For years, the exact circumstances surrounding Chapman’s death remained a mystery. A 2016 report from The New York Times revealed that former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, after seeing enhanced drone footage of the engagement, was the first to recommend Chapman’s Air Force Cross be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

James argued that early after-action reports were inaccurate and that Chapman had not been killed when he was first knocked unconscious, as initial reports indicated.

After cross-referencing a video feed from an MQ-1 Predator drone and testimony by troops on the ground and in the air — an AC-130 air crew was overhead — a 17-person investigative team was able to pinpoint actions taken by Chapman on that frigid mountainside where he took his last breath.

“John survived that initial wounding that he got, and continued to fight on for an hour,” Chapman’s squadron commander Col. Ken Rodriguez said. “And then at a crucial moment, right at the end of his life, he sacrificed his life for the incoming quick reaction force, when he could have hunkered down and said, ‘Finally, the guys are coming in to get me.’ But instead he said, ‘If I don’t do something, others are going to die.’ He’s clearly a Medal of Honor-worthy warrior.”

Read the full article on Military Times.

Vietnam Veterans Day

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Vietnam war veterans day march 29 poster

Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and their families and is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago.

The Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act, signed into law in 2017, designates March 29 of each year as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Most states celebrate “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” on March 29 or 30 of each year. Though there is some debate, March 29 is generally viewed as a more appropriate date.

On that day in 1973, the last combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam and the last prisoners of war held in North Vietnam arrived on American soil. It is also the date President Nixon chose for the first Vietnam Veterans Day in 1974.

Read the full article including legislation and resolutions on ncsi.org

Celebrating Women’s History Month and the First Woman to enlist in the Military

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woman smiling waving hand wearing a large brimmed black hat and Navy Uniform circa 1917

The U.S. Naval Reserve Act of 1916 permitted the enlistment of qualified “persons” for service in the Navy.  When the Secretary of the Navy asked whether this applied only to males and was told that it did not, the Navy began enlisting women less than a month later.

Historical records reflect that on March 17, 1917, the first woman to enlist in the Navy was Loretta Perfectus Walsh.

She was born on April 22, 1896, in Philadelphia and thus had the distinction of being the first woman to service in any of the U.S. armed forces in other than a nursing assignment.  Until Walsh’s enlistment, women had served as Navy nurses but were civilian employees with few benefits.

Walsh, aged 20, was enlisted on March 17, 1917, as a Yeoman(F), all of whom were popularly referred to as “Yeomanettes.”  During World War I a reported 11,274 female Yeoman(F) served in the Navy.  The Yeoman(F) women primarily served in clerical positions.  They received the same benefits and responsibilities as men, including identical pay ($28.75 per month) and were treated as veterans after the war.

On March 21, 1917, Walsh was sworn in as Chief Yeoman, becoming the first woman Chief Petty Officer in the Navy.  She served her active duty at the Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia and when World War I ended, Walsh and all the Yeoman(F) personnel were released from active duty.  As Walsh had enlisted in the Naval Reserve for a 4-year enlistment she continued on inactive reserve status, receiving a modest retainer pay, until the end of her enlistment on March 17, 1921.

Walsh fell victim to influenza in the fall of 1918 and later contracted tuberculosis.  She died on August 6, 1925, at the age of 29 in Olyphant, Pennsylvania.

Image Credit: The United States Navy Memorial

Read the full article at Navylog.org

99-year-old World War II veteran finally gets his medals

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Veteran Sgt. 1st Class Marvin Cornett sits tall in wheelchair on sidewalk in his military uniform

Shaky but sturdy, retired Sgt. 1st Class Marvin Cornett stood tall in a uniform he hadn’t worn in more than half a century to receive an overlooked award he’d been due since 1944.

Donning his “Eisenhower jacket,” a green, waist-length jacket worn by the famous general in the later stages of World War II, a garrison cap and matching trousers, Cornett was the center of attention at American Legion Post 84, in Auburn, California, Monday for an outdoor ceremony in which he finally received his Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.

Photo: WWII veteran Jimmie H. Royer attends the ceremony where he was awarded France’s Legion of Honor at VFW Post 346 in Terre Haute, Ind., Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. Image Credit: Austen Leake/The Tribune-Star via AP

Cornett, 99, came in not an inch shorter or a pound heavier than in his fighting shape of three-quarters of a century past, when he stood 5-foot-2-inches tall and carried 110 pounds on his frame.

More than 77 years ago, after having helped capture Sicily, completing a nighttime combat jump in the rain and seeing heavy combat during the Allied invasion of Italy, Cornett was wounded during a combat assault at Amzio on Jan. 31, 1944, which pulled him from the front lines.

His wounds, severe enough to send him home, were listed in unit paperwork. But in the blur of wartime bureaucracy, they were lost.

Members of the 82nd Airborne, along with other active duty and retired military members, were on hand to see Cornett get the awards he was due at the outdoor ceremony in California. Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, spoke with Cornett on a remote video call during the ceremony.

Recounting Cornett’s wartime and post-war service — along with the anecdote that until a few years ago, the man still regularly did 100 pushups a day — Donahue made an offer.

“If you want to come back, come on back,” Donahue said. “We need men like you.”

Cornett served in Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne.

“You represent everything that is great with this country. You represent everything that is great with paratroopers,” Donahue said. “You are the 82nd Airborne Division.”

Read the full article at Army Times.

Wounded Marine Makes it His Mission to Get Others the Help They Need

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Wounded Marine Makes it His Mission to Getclose up image of James Crosby in his Marine uniform looking over shoulder smiling

By Kellie Speed

When U.S. Marine veteran James “Shrapnel” Crosby was just 19 years old, he was hit in the back with shrapnel from a rocket attack at Al Asad Airbase in Iraq, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

As a result, the combat warrior became one of the nation’s most severely wounded soldiers at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Since then, the Purple Heart recipient has made it his personal mission to help veterans returning to Massachusetts receive the comprehensive services they need. He was instrumental in passing the Crosby-Puller Combat Wounds Compensation Act created, “to require that a member of the uniformed services who is wounded or otherwise injured while serving in a combat zone continue to be paid monthly military pay and allowances, while the member recovers from the wound or injury, at least equal to the monthly military pay and allowances the member received immediately before receiving the wound or injury, to continue the combat zone tax exclusion for the member during the recovery period, and for other purposes.”

Crosby says his goal is simple: “I want to get the truth out about what is happening in the veteran’s community and also in communities in general. I hate differentiating between the two because I don’t believe that we’re two separate communities. I believe that we are just the warriors that signed up to go, but we are all part of the same community. When people say the veteran’s community and then everyone else, it hurts everybody.”

Crosby continued, “Reintegration back into the community as a whole is really important, and not isolating yourself. Unfortunately, veterans can start to become self-loathing because you are not operating at the level that you know you can, so you start to isolate and a lot of times people can’t make it out of that. And that’s where you’ve got guys and girls who commit suicide.”

As a result, the Massachusetts native founded a suicide prevention program known as SAVE (Statewide Advocacy for Veterans’ Empowerment) where, through case management, peer outreach workers visit with veterans, identify their issues and provide them with access to the resources needed to help them get back on track. The SAVE team acts on behalf of the veterans as a liaison between federal and state agencies to proactively assist in transitioning them into civilian life.

“If you start to eliminate problems one by one at a time or maybe three at a time, you start picking people’s problems away, so they might not think that their only option to gain control of their life when they’ve lost control of everything is suicide,” Crosby said. “That’s the mission behind SAVE.”

Last year, Crosby participated in an adaptive training program to help with his paralysis, but he believes his most life altering experience came with the assistance of the Warrior Angels Foundation, a non-profit that provides a personalized treatment protocol that pinpoints and treats the underlying condition for service members and veterans who have sustained a TBI while in the line of duty.

“I was having all these hormone imbalances in my brain,” he said. “They analyze what is out of balance and begin treatment. This needs to be the way that we’re treating traumatic brain injuries now because it’s not only saving people’s lives, but it’s enriching their lives. For me, I couldn’t stay awake because I couldn’t sleep (if that makes any sense) and it was just really bad, but this changed my life. I could think clearer and started getting some of my confidence back. My body started returning to its normal shape. This is what turned my life around. I’ve been on this path of self-betterment lately and just really concentrating on myself and while doing that, everything seems to be falling into place.”

General Lloyd Austin Chosen as Biden’s Secretary of Defense

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Headshot of Army General Lloyd Austin III, commander of the US Central Command

By Natalie Rodgers

Retired General Lloyd Austin has been chosen as the United States’ Secretary of Defense under President Joe Biden, making him the first black person to hold the position.

Before earning his four-star general rank and officially retiring in 2016, General Austin led the command on various historical events. He served in the U.S. Army for almost 41 years, spending much of his time as a General and commanding officer. After working for the Pentagon as the Chief Joint Operations Division for two years, Austin oversaw issues in Iraq; overseeing Operation Iraqi Freedom and the combat aspects of Operation New Dawn.

Photo Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

In 2010, Austin became the Commanding General of the United States Forces in Iraq and played an integral part in handling negotiations between the United States and Iraq governments.

In 2011, Austin was nominated to be the Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Army (VCSA), where handled the organization’s budget and improved upon issues concerning suicide, mental health, and disability. From there, he took on the commanding position of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) under President Barack Obama’s nomination, making him the first black man to ever serve in the role.

Upon his retirement in 2016, Austin worked on the boards of large name companies such as Raytheon Technologies, Nucor, and Tenet Healthcare. He also runs his own operating firm.

Outside of his professional and official positions, Austin has been known to care for Gold Star Families, the loved ones of military personnel who passed away in service. It is highly believed that Austin’s extensive experience in the field and his understanding of the cost of life are two of the main reasons why he was nominated for the position by President Biden. Austin, much like previous Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, will need be waived from a law calling for a seven-year gap between service and the position.

Source: Washington Post and Wikipedia

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