The Marines famously have the reputation of being “first to fight.” But one Marine has earned another, lesser-known, distinction: first woman to complete 27 chest-to-ground burpees in one minute.
Sgt. Nahla Beard, an air traffic control supervisor at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, smashed the Guinness World Record in burpees on Aug. 14, 2021, the service announced last month.
Because of coronavirus restrictions, a Guinness judge could not be in attendance to verify the Marine’s burpees in person. That meant Beard had to record herself and submit a video of her achievement. Base command turned out to watch, and even brought along friends and family, Beard said in a DVIDS story.
Onlookers were not disappointed: Beard broke the record by two burpees, completing an average of one burpee every 2.2 seconds. And she did it more than once.
“I ended up attempting five times on the same day because I wasn’t sure if I did it,” Beard said in the release.
Deshauna Barber’s father is a retired special forces Master Sergeant that instilled “leadership, discipline and integrity” in all his children, said Barber in an interview with U.S. Veterans Magazine.
Her late mother also served in the U.S. Army and inspired Barber and her siblings to join the military.
Growing up in North Carolina, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia and Washington, D.C., Barber learned foundational principles from her parents that she carried into her military career.
Self-discipline. Teamwork. Endurance.
But she had to learn other principles and skills that hadn’t crossed her mind on her way to winning the 2016 Miss USA title.
Army Captain and Miss USA don’t seem to add up until you hear Barber, a veteran, CEO and motivational speaker, tell audiences, “The most important thing is to move.” And: “Be terrified of regret.”
Rewind to 2007, when Barber, 17, committed to a U.S. Army scholarship and joined the ROTC program at her university.
She then earned her master’s degree in management information systems and services from the University of Maryland University College and worked as an IT analyst for the United States Department of
Barber went on to become president and chief executive officer of Service Women’s Action Network, the nation’s leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization advocating on behalf of service women and women veterans in the country.
Barber was commissioned in 2011 as an Army Quartermaster Officer. During her service, she held many positions including a logistics commander of a petroleum detachment company. After reaching the rank of Captain, she decided to leave service to focus on her motivational speaking career and was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army Reserve after 11 years of service.
“The Army Reserve taught me how to balance, plan, multi-task and prioritize,” she said. “Not to mention, being in the Army can be somewhat intimidating, depending on who is in the room with you… It was scary, but I think I’ve been in scarier situations.”
She has spent much of her career focused on supporting Soldiers suffering from PTSD and women who’ve faced sexual harassment in the military. She said one in four women will experience sexual trauma while serving.
“We try to break the stigma attached to it,” she said. “It’s really about catching that stigma and making sure they don’t go to that darker place.
“It’s important to get help and get therapy,” she added. “I am still in therapy at 33. These types of trauma can manifest in subtle ways.
“You may not get the sorry you deserve, but it does not mean you have to lock yourself into the sadness and sorrow.”
She said it was a pivotal move when “President Joe Biden signed into law that sexual harassment is against the law as far as military justice.”
When Barber was crowned Miss USA 2016, she became the first member of the military to win the honor and the first African-American woman to wear the crown since Crystle Stewart in 2008. Her platform: promote veterans’ issues.
Barber is diligent about fitness, and she’s a polished speaker, two qualities that were honed in the military (as a Captain, she gave presentations to companies and battalions). But she wasn’t prepared for one thing.
“I got to tap into my femininity, my girly side,” she said. “But the military doesn’t prepare you for six-inch stiletto heels.” Her parents and siblings supported her throughout her pageantry endeavors, but it wasn’t easy for her father.
Seven years after being crowned, Barber is on the move, per usual. She’s a speaker- preacher T.D. Jakes and TV host Steve Harvey have influenced her style-and an activist.
For her, the two go hand-in-hand. A survivor of sexual abuse, she frequently talks about dealing with trauma and loss.
Her Apple podcast will launch in late spring or early summer of this year-the title: Sour Loss, Sweet Lessons.
Barber suffered a profound loss when her mother died. There’s no getting over it, but there is the matter of getting on, so she’s taken her own advice, advice she’s doled out to audiences for years in her work as a motivational speaker.
“Sometimes, when people are dealing with sorrow, they allow themselves to drown in it,” she said. “I tell people to swim through it and ask them what direction they’re headed.”
These days, when Barber speaks to the media, corporations, universities, the military and even the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, you can see the Army Captain, the pageant queen, the corporate executive, the survivor.
She walks upright, like a Soldier, paces the stage with the confidence and charisma of a Miss USA, and issues words that have been polished through many rewrites.
“People connect to the beauty of words, and that’s what preachers have mastered,” she said.
Most recently, at the Life Vantage Global Convention 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona, she talked about overcoming doubt, be it internal, external or both. Her words excited the crowd in front of her but were meant for everyone- women, men, survivors of abuse, those struggling with mental health issues, active military personnel and veterans.
“You have been promoted for a reason. You’ve been placed in your role for a reason,” she said. “Put on your bulletproof vest and allow the doubts of others to bounce off you.”
In addition to offering an everyday 10% discount with no annual limit, this Memorial Day Lowe’s will show extra appreciation for the military community:
Stores nationwide will hold a Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day (May 29), where taps will be played over the PA as well as a message from Joe McFarland, Lowe’s Executive Vice President of Stores and Gulf War and Desert Storm Veteran.
Each store will also reserve oneveteran’s parking space in remembrance of those who have lost their lives serving in the United States Armed Forces.
“At Lowe’s, the entire military community is at the front of our hearts and minds, from our customers to our own military associates, which is something I personally value, as a veteran myself,” says Joe McFarland. “It’s important to support this community every day, because they dedicate themselves to protect our nation’s freedom every day.”
Lowe’s has a longstanding commitment to honoring the military community, including:
Employing 26,000+ veterans, active, guard, reserve and military spouse associates
Prioritizing military-owned businesses as product suppliers
Providing workforce training and scholarships to military store employees
Partnering with military non-profits including Building Homes for Heroes, AMVETS and the USO
Being in the Navy is a family affair for the Sutton siblings, Ayrion, Andrea, and Adrion. The 20-year-olds from Virginia recently enlisted together, making history as the first Black triplets to do so, according to the Navy Recruitment Office.
The siblings were inspired by their parents Andre Sutton and Tiffany Sutton, who met while serving on the USS Arctic in 1999. The triplets have in turn inspired their father, who recently reenlisted.
The idea to enlist originated with Adrion Sutton, the youngest of the triplets, who has wanted to join the Navy since the beginning of high school.
“What motivated me to join was hearing my parents talk about how good the Navy was when we was growing up and seeing my dad come home from long months, not being at home and taking care of the family,” Adrion Sutton told “GMA3.”
When they were young, the siblings often inquired about the time their parents spent serving in the military, according to Tiffany Sutton, who said she always spoke highly of the experience.
“I couldn’t find a better job,” she said in an interview with “GMA3.”
Andre Sutton, who is from the projects in Allentown, Pennsylvania, said he originally joined the Navy for the opportunities it afforded.
“I love the people [in Allentown]. I love the town. You know, I’m grateful,” he told “GMA3.” “But that environment is not where I wanted to be in life, so I decided to go forward.”
A week before they left for deployment, Tiffany Sutton said she was going down to the mess decks when she saw Andre Sutton for the first time.
“I walked past him, and I thought I saw sunshine,” she said. “I even called my mom and told her I found my husband.”
Continue to read more of the article on Good Morning America.
The journey will mark the first crewed lunar mission for the space agency since the Apollo program ended in 1972.
(NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman is selected to lead the upcoming Artemis II mission around the moon.
(Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center via NASA)
Wiseman is set to be joined by Navy Capt. Victor Glover, who will serve as the flight crew’s pilot, as well as NASA astronaut Christina Koch and Canadian astronaut JeremyHansen, a colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces.
“Together, we are ushering in a new era of exploration for a new generation of star sailors and dreamers — the Artemis generation,” NASA administrator Bill Nelson said at a news conference at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Ellington Field in Houston, Texas.
On their roughly 10-day mission, the crew will orbit the moon aboard an Orion spacecraft using a Space Launch System rocket. NASA test launched the space capsule back in November 2022.
The Artemis program looks to build toward further moon missions later this decade, which NASA says will include landing the first woman and person of color on the lunar surface. The space agency is targeting a 2025 launch date for that mission, known as Artemis III.
Before being selected as an astronaut in 2009, Wiseman commissioned to the sea service through the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in 1997, according to his NASA biography. The Baltimore, Maryland, native deployed twice to the Middle East and later served as a Navy test pilot. More recently, he held the most senior position among NASA’s astronaut corps.
This will be Wiseman’s second trip to space after serving aboard the International Space Station in 2014. It will also be his fellow naval aviator Glover’s second space flight, having previously piloted NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1.
French Emperor and military conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte is getting the silver screen treatment at the hands of famed director Ridley Scott (“Gladiator,” “Black Hawk Down”).
The movie, titled after its namesake, stars Joaquin Phoenix (“The Joker”) as the controversial lead.
“The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby,” according to an Apple TV+ press release. “[It] captures Napoleon’s famous battles, relentless ambition and astounding strategic mind as an extraordinary military leader and war visionary.”
An unremitting military commander during the French Revolution, Bonaparte was elected to the role of French Emperor after the dissolution of the country’s monarchy. However, he abdicated in 1814 after an unsuccessful invasion of Russia turned the European continent against him.
Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba but regained power after waging his infamous Hundred Days campaign in 1815. His loss at the Battle of Waterloo, however, forced a second abdication and exile on the island of Saint Helena. Bonaparte died at the relatively young age of 51.
The phrase “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever” has been attributed to Bonaparte. And although he did die in relative obscurity, his notorious legacy remains.
Produced by Apple Studios in partnership with Sony Pictures, “Napoleon” debuts in theaters on Nov. 22 before appearing on Apple TV+.
U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Andrew Hairston never could have imagined he would lose his left leg here in the States after returning home from being deployed. While the accident certainly changed his life, his impressive outlook has him proving nothing is impossible.
“After I got back from deployment, we were moving into a new house when I was loading a mattress onto the truck and it fell off,” he told U.S. Veterans Magazine in a recent phone interview. “Just as I was picking it back up, someone hit me. When I was hit, I thought the vehicle hit my funny bone which was why my leg was numb.
When they got me into the back of the ambulance, they gave me some meds for the pain. I was upset and hangry at the time because I had just ordered Domino’s. When I heard someone say, ‘left leg amputation,’ that’s when it hit me.”
Despite his injury, the U.S. Virgin Islands native has not only found many reasons to be grateful, but also push himself to incredible limits.
“As a Marine, we go from being active and physical specimens and being the best at everything to being reduced to having a caretaker,” Hairston said. “I had to fight to get back to my old self. When I was injured, I had another reason to be glad I joined the Marine Corps. I had a phone call with my Colonel at the time and I was sent to Walter Reed. They have the best adaptive program in the Department of Defense. When I was there, I told them I wanted to go to the Paralympics.”
Now holding the title of the first para-cyclist in Virgin Islands history and being the only hand cyclist in the Marine Corps to win at the 2022 Warrior Games was “the greatest feeling in my entire Marine Corps career,” he said. “Hearing guys in other branches saying ‘there’s a guy killing it in cycling’ or ‘watch out for that Marine’ was incredible. When I was injured, my physical and occupational therapists told me that even though I lost a leg, they kept reinforcing that I can still do what I did before; I just needed to figure out how to do it now. I was able to prove to myself that I can still be active and take a walk with my wife (a Marine helicopter pilot) or play with my dogs and being able to compete really helped me with my recovery.”
Hairston first competed in a four-mile race in Central Park. “It was the first time that I felt like myself,” he said. “As a Marine, we have to win everything, but I came in third place. That gave me the Paralympics bug. I have done a few marathons now in hand cycling and am getting ready to do three more.”
With two gold medals for cycling, a silver medal in archery and silver and bronze awards for track to his credit, Hairston’s continued determination to succeed has reinforced he is still the same specimen he was when he joined the military — just a little bit different now.
Hairston created a nonprofit called Salvage Life with the goal of inspiring others to lead a healthy and active lifestyle with a focus on veteran and disabled communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“Knowing that people back home are disabled and not able to get the same support that I had here in the states was the reason I started the nonprofit,” he said. “As I continue in my recovery, I was able to host the first adaptive sports clinic in the Virgin Islands just before Warrior Games. I showed guys how to shoot archery and wanted to show people that you can make things work for someone with a disability. After my injury, I said if I can help just one person, it would be a success. I got to help eight people; that’s the best part of it.”
“Women veterans are a strong group of people. They worked hard, deployed, raised families and sacrificed their time, energy and selves to earn their ranks, titles and places in history books that have not yet been written.
Women have great instincts and deserve a seat at every table, in every boardroom, at every town hall meeting and at any discussion where decisions need to be made. Women have always been an integral part of society and [the] future of the world. It’s time that women are put out front to receive the recognition of all the decades of hard work that has been put in to establish a legacy in the armed forces.” -retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez, USMC
Let’s meet one of these esteemed women, 28-year USMC veteran retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carla Perez. MGySgt Perez began her career in the Marines on May 17, 1993, and retired on December 31, 2021. Her service included three deployments: Bosnia in 1996, Iraq in 2008-2009 and Afghanistan in 2010-2011. She was stationed in many places around the globe, including 29 Palms, California; Iwakuni, Japan; Camp Pendleton, California; Vancouver, Washington; Marine Corps Air Station, Mira Mar in San Diego and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Although Perez was raised in a family of veterans, the military was not initially in her plans. She graduated high school and went on to college at the University of Montana but returned home to Oregon when she didn’t have the funds to continue her studies. There, she worked a few odd jobs until a recruiter found her and offered her the opportunity to join the Marine Corps. You can say the rest is history!
While serving in the Marines, Perez found that women progressed in the Marine Corps in both rank and job opportunities at a fair rate. She never felt as though being a woman held her back. Previously closed jobs in the combat arms MOS had opened, and women were assigned to traditionally male units. Early in that transition, women were doing combat supporting jobs, admin, supply
In 2008 for one year as their Logistics/Supply Chief. The unit was assigned a Civil Affairs mission. There were only a handful of women assigned to that battalion for the duration of that deployment.
Transitions can be difficult. Moving from a career in the military to civilian life is one of those challenging transitions. I asked Perez how she prepared for her retirement. She had been thinking about the transition for a few years before submitting papers to retire and felt as prepared as she could be. Perez is a few college courses shy of a BS in Criminal Justice and initially thought about returning to school at the beginning of her transition. Throughout her time in the Marine Corps, she worked in the Supply/Logistics field and felt that her resume would make her a strong candidate in either of those fields. She knew she had more to give beyond the last 29 years of her life as a Marine, and she was excited to see what opportunities awaited her.
Initially, she took a few months off to spend time with her family and relax. Everyone should take time off from the rigorous schedule the military requires of its service members to just exhale. She highly recommends this approach! In February 2022, she was given the opportunity to work for Liberty Military Housing. She currently holds the position of Director of Military Affairs, Southwest Marines, Housing. Her region encompasses Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Yuma, Colville and Kansas City — a few locations where she was stationed during her career.
I asked her how her military career prepared her for her current role in her civilian career. She responded, “Being a Marine and being a person of service was something I am very good at. I am flexible yet mission-oriented. I like to get things done and take care of people. This job is the perfect fit for me. My job responsibilities are very closely tied to the military and taking care of military families. I bridge the gap between our government housing partner and Liberty Military Housing. I am honored to be able to continue to be so closely connected to Marines and military families that live aboard our installations.”
I inquired about the advice she would give someone considering a career in the military or someone preparing to transition to the civilian sector. Perez replied, “Choosing a career in the USMC is like no other job in the world. Hard work will always be rewarded and not go unnoticed. Being a Marine is a tough job that comes with a lot of responsibility. Upholding and honoring traditions of all the men and women that have gone before us is something that sets Marines apart. There are very few Marines and even fewer female Marines — expect to work just as hard as all of those around you, if not harder, both men and women. There are so many intangible traits and feelings that make Marines who they are that cannot be explained — experiences and a sense of pride that cannot be compared to anything else. Being a good leader takes time and work. More energy and personal time spent away from your daily duties are what it takes to go the distance in the USMC. Working hard and staying focused is the best advice I can give.
”Perez continues, “Think ahead about your transition out of the USMC. A few years in advance, have a mental picture of what you want your life after to look like. Take the necessary steps to prepare to depart. It will have to be a fluid plan until you make your final decision. Be flexible and keep an open mind. You will have so much to offer the world, more than you can just write on a paper or summarize on a resume. You will have all the tools you need to make the move, don’t be afraid; just have a plan with a few options.
”And that, my friends, is proof that the long-standing slogan, “Once a Marine, Always a Marine,” is as true today as it was when Marine Corps Master Sergeant Paul Woyshner first shouted it. I enjoyed my time with MGySgt Perez and appreciated her insight into navigating the transition after a career in service to our country.
Celeb Elvis Presley was far from the only person of fame to have served in the U.S. military. In fact, several people who are known for their accomplishments in other fields got their start in the armed forces. Meet some of the other well-known veterans throughout history that you may not be aware of:
The Apollo 11 Team
Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins comprised the historic Apollo 11 Team that successfully landed and walked on the moon in 1969. While they will always be remembered as the first men to go to the moon, all three of them served in the military. Armstrong served as a Navy pilot and saw action in the Korean War, Aldrin was among the top of his class at West Point before serving in Korea with the Air Force and Collins was a member of some of the most prestigious flight programs as a fighter pilot for the Air Force. All three men used their experiences from the military to eventually become astronauts with NASA, leading to the first-ever moon mission that marked their names in history.
At the ripe age of 18, before his musical career took off, Johnny Cash was a staff sergeant for the U.S. Air Force. Serving from 1950-1954, Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, West Germany where he worked as a morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions. In fact, Cash was officially the first American to know about Stalin’s death when he decoded a message while monitoring Soviet Morse Code chatter in 1953. Cash was then tasked to tell the critical information to his superiors. Cash began his musical journey during his time in the military, having formed his first band during service: The Landsberg Barbarians. After his service and into his thriving musical legacy, Cash continued to show his appreciation for his roots by participating in concerts and events designed to support our nation’s troops.
Bea Arthur and Betty White
Long before they were your favorite Golden Girls, Bea Arthur and Betty White served in the U.S. military. At just 20 years old, Bea Arthur enlisted with the Marine Corps’ Women’s Reservists, becoming one of the first people to do so. She served as a typist at Marine Headquarters
in Washington, D.C. and later transferred to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to become a driver and dispatcher. Arthur was honorably discharged at the end of the war in 1945 with the title of staff sergeant. White served with the American Women’s Voluntary Services; an organization dedicated to providing support to the war effort. She also worked as a PX truck driver delivering military supplies to the barracks in the Hollywood Hills and regularly attended farewell dances for departing troops hosted to boost troop morale.
One of the most beloved figures in the veteran community, Chuck Norris wouldn’t be who he is today if it wasn’t for his service in the Air Force. In 1958, after graduating high school, Norris became an Air Policeman and was stationed at Osan Air Base in South Korea. It was there that Norris began studying martial arts and earned his first black belt in Tang Soo Do. Once Norris was discharged from service in 1962, he went on to participate in martial arts competitions, became the World Middleweight Karate Champion from 1968 to 1974 and launched his acting career. Though it’s been 60 years since Norris was discharged from the Air Force, he still dedicates his projects, time and money to veterans’ efforts. He has worked with organizations such as the USO and the Veterans Administration National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans and was the spokesperson for the U.S. Veterans Administration. He received the Veteran of the Year award from the Air Force in 2001 and was even made an honorary Marine in 2007.
Everyone knows Harriet Tubman and her brilliant work with the Underground Railroad, but many people often forget her military history. After escaping slavery and rescuing over 70 other slaves working for the Underground Railroad, Tubman worked with Colonel James Montgomery and the Union Army as a nurse and spy. Her work consisted of tending to the wounds of soldiers and escaped slaves, but mostly entailed gaining intel on the Confederate soldiers for the Union Army. Tubman created a spy ring in South Carolina, paid informants for intel that would be useful to the Union Army and was one of the leaders that helped to plan and execute the Combahee Ferry Raid. The raid successfully caught Confederate soldiers off guard, allowing a group of Black Union Army soldiers to free more than 700 slaves. Her contributions made her the first woman in American history to lead a military assault.
Before her career as a senator for the state of Illinois, Tammy Duckworth was a combat veteran of the Iraq War. Joining the Army Reserves in 1990 and transferring to the National Guard in 1996, Duckworth served as a helicopter pilot while stationed in Iraq. In 2004, her helicopter was hit by a rocketpropelled grenade resulting in the loss of both of her legs and limited mobility in her right arm. Despite being the first female double amputee of that particular war, Duckworth obtained a medical waiver that allowed her to continue her service in the National Guard for another 10 years. She retired in 2014 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Duckworth has worked relentlessly to advocate for the needs and wellbeing of the veteran community. With her high ranking position with the Department of Veterans Affairs and her status as a U.S. senator, Duckworth has created government-sponsored programs to help veterans with PTSD, advocated for the needs of women and Native American veterans, created initiatives to bring an end to veteran homelessness and helped pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Before Clint Eastwood was an actor, musician, director and your favorite gun-slinging cowboy, he served in the U.S. Army. In fact, without Eastwood’s Army service, he may have never become the iconic figure he is today. Before he got the chance to enroll in college, Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served as a lifeguard and swim instructor at Fort Ord in California where he met future co-stars Martin Milner and David Janssen. Upon discharge from the Army, Eastwood used his GI Bill benefits to study drama at L.A. City College and soon after landed his contract with Universal Studios. The rest is history.
James Earl Jones
An iconic actor with a distinctive voice, James Earl Jones is best known for his work throughout Hollywood and as the voice of one of Hollywood’s most notorious sci-fi villains, Darth Vader. But before he ventured into the world of Hollywood, Jones served with the Army during the Korean War. A member of the University of Michigan’s Reserve Officer Training Corps, Jones was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and assigned to Headquarters Company, 38th Regimental Combat Team. Jones served his first and only assignment at the former Camp Hale, where he helped establish a cold weather training command. His battalion became a training unit and Jones was promoted to first lieutenant before being discharged soon after. He went on to begin his acting career straight out of the service at the Ramsdell Theater in Michigan and has since made significant contributions to the world of the arts.
Quickly identifying and treating serious wounds is an age-old problem that’s killed countless soldiers, but it could see a solution in new technology that uses embedded sensors to detect, alert and one day treat injuries.
The Smart Shirt for Wound Detection has been tested by soldiers, airmen and special operations forces recently and could be ready for fielding in the next year, Legionarius chief operating officer and co-founder Dr. Alexander Gruentzig told Army Times.
The shirt was on display at the annual Association of the U.S. Army Meeting and Exposition Monday as one of the recent xTechSearch competition winners.
The government program solicits technology solutions to solve big Army problems and winners receive small business innovation grants to further their research.
“They can detect any kind of wound. The garment detects any type of penetration, anything that can cause massive hemorrhaging,” Gruentzig explained Monday. “We’re trying to decrease the time from injury to point of treatment.”
But the truth is, no one keeps detailed data on what’s stopping America’s youth from signing up. Experts and senior military leaders point to the perennial factors of competition from the private sector and a dwindling number of young Americans both qualified and interested in military service. But what they don’t have much information on is why that propensity is going down, and whether the country is undergoing an ideological shift in attitude toward military service.