Showing 1190 posts tagged US Army

Military Field Manual For the Transport and Care of Abominable Snowmen.

California Army National Guard’s Bravo Company 1-126th Aviation Regiment, Delta Schooners, based out of Stockton, flew two of their CH-47 Chinooks to the Marines Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Calif., high in the Sierra mountains to support Hawaiian-based 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines conducting high elevation training. More than 600 snow-clad Marines armed to the teeth and packed for an extended stay in snow conditions were airlifted to their landing zones in multiple insertions. During the operation Utah Army National Guard’s 1-211th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion AH-64 Apache helicopters circled above providing protection to the Marines who were made up of weapon and mortar platoons, to name a few.

(U.S. Army National Guard photos by Master Sgt. Paul Wade, 28 MAR 2014.)

SOLDIER STORIES: Iraq did not create the Fort Hood shooter.
First Lieutenant Donald Maloy, 1st Platoon leader, Co. D, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment from Fort Carson, Colorado, communicates via radio while a Bradley Armored Personnel Carrier provides cordon security during a joint Iraqi Army and coalition forces clearing operation in the al-Sinaa neighborhood of Mosul.
(Photo by Sergeant John Crosby, 1 APR 2008. Blogpost by Joseph Miller via PTSD: A Soldier’s Perspective. Source.)
There is an increasingly troubling narrative that essentially argues that service in Iraq and Afghanistan explains the criminal behavior at Fort Hood. This is an over-simplification of most veterans with [Survivor Syndrome] who will never commit a crime, but moreover a profound misunderstanding of the nature of counterinsurgency in Iraq. By doctrine we were de-escalators of violence not perpetrators and we most often recognized that our best weapons “did not shoot.” Any Iraq or Afghanistan veteran will tell you, if you take a couple of minutes to talk to them from time to time, that most tense situations in combat were dangerous situations caused by unidentified enemies and US forces refrained engagement because of a lack of positive identification. Units that departed from this course committed crimes, and were the exception.The most tense moment for me occurred in just this way, and I have been hesitant to publicly discuss the night of my worst concussion because the situation got heated and there was some understandable personal tensions going on, though only momentary, and that I may seem like I am criticizing other people. That is not the case, I am going to describe an awful situation when everyone had the right intentions, and calmer heads prevailed. This will emphasize my roll because of the limits of my own memory, but I will assure that just as many or more times other soldiers, non commissioned officers of superiors played similar roles. You might assume the situation to be exceptional, but I think that day gets to the marrow of the US Army’s, at company level, propensity to deescalate violence rather than perpetuate it in Iraq. The argument that we are more violent is a profound misunderstanding of what we did in Iraq, and more often we chose non violence. Anyone using our war as an excuse is exploiting a popular idea base on very little material evidence.My worst moment of Iraq was after a suicide bombing, but the second worse occurred after an IED blew up a convoy of Bradley’s while my platoon was set in over-watch to prevent just such an attack. I have not now, nor will I ever, feel like a greater failure than watching a piece of dirt that I had personally been observing for six hours, with multiple soldiers pulling rotations, blow up right in front of me. In the moment I could not even see it. The force of the blast was faster than my brain’s ability to process the image and I was thrown down a stairwell by over pressure. I fell face down and I came to face up, as if it were glitch in the matrix. It could not have been a second but I lost some consciousness. I was dizzy, very confused, but a Lieutenant with eyes on IED. The platoon of Bradley’s was from another battalion passing through our area so they had no idea that Americans were occupying our building and mechanized and airborne units use different night optics. Concussed or not we could all die if we did not immediately mark our position in every way possible. Their fire discipline saved our lives, but we we would be tested the same way very quickly.Local Iraqi Army or Policemen ran to to occupy a road block to the north of the attack, but their winter cloths made them hard to identify. Balaclavas and no helmets made friendly force identification nearly impossible, and created very tense moment with a few of my soldiers fearing an insurgent attack. Simultaneously on my radio, my company commander was very unhappy that bomb blew up right in may face. Why wouldn’t he be. I certainly was not happy about it and to this day I second guess myself about that night. So while dealing with dizziness, disorientation and terrible situation I was simultaneously getting my ass chewed and preventing soldiers who wanted to fire on what they thought was a very legitimate threat to our security. These soldier were woken from sleep by bomb less that 50 meters away, so anger was par for the course, but the enemy did not usually sit in the middle of the street and gaggle up like Iraq soldiers so I wanted to take the time for confirmation. Everyone was angry from the lowest private to the battalion commander and tempers were hotter than they should have been on the radio, mine included. Not hotter than human beings woken up by a bomb at 4 AM though. However, despite all of anger and frustration everyone’s actions were exemplary. My soldiers wanted to fire, but headed orders, I kept command and control until my platoon sergeant got on top of things and until a my commander was on the ground. After they were on top of it I actually put microphone up because I was getting really loopy and having trouble grasping the basic geographic layout. People say that no one trains you for days like that, but the truth is I was trained precisely for days like that. My service in Iraq was more often events when I was attacked and had no clear enemy to engage so I waited for better opportunity rather than risking the lives of innocent people. So I cannot by any stretch of the imagination understand how Iraq, and the war I fought could be a source of anything, but level headed others centered decision making under the most adverse, frustrating and enraging situations. Frankly I am sick and tired of being compared to criminals because I have [Survivor Syndrome] from all the days that I made the emotionally draining, but the ultimately least violent decisions only to be characterized as some non-thinking killer with no human agency or power over my situation in Iraq and its aftermath. I was then and I am now, like the vast majority of other veterans, making the best of a far from ideal situation, and I am beyond frustrated that every time another mass murder happens all people with mental illnesses are lumped together with an incredible minority of violent criminals. Especially in the wake of war of occupation and counterinsurgency that stressed nonviolent outcomes whenever they could be attained. High-res

SOLDIER STORIES: Iraq did not create the Fort Hood shooter.

First Lieutenant Donald Maloy, 1st Platoon leader, Co. D, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment from Fort Carson, Colorado, communicates via radio while a Bradley Armored Personnel Carrier provides cordon security during a joint Iraqi Army and coalition forces clearing operation in the al-Sinaa neighborhood of Mosul.

(Photo by Sergeant John Crosby, 1 APR 2008. Blogpost by Joseph Miller via PTSD: A Soldier’s Perspective. Source.)

There is an increasingly troubling narrative that essentially argues that service in Iraq and Afghanistan explains the criminal behavior at Fort Hood. This is an over-simplification of most veterans with [Survivor Syndrome] who will never commit a crime, but moreover a profound misunderstanding of the nature of counterinsurgency in Iraq. By doctrine we were de-escalators of violence not perpetrators and we most often recognized that our best weapons “did not shoot.” Any Iraq or Afghanistan veteran will tell you, if you take a couple of minutes to talk to them from time to time, that most tense situations in combat were dangerous situations caused by unidentified enemies and US forces refrained engagement because of a lack of positive identification. Units that departed from this course committed crimes, and were the exception.

The most tense moment for me occurred in just this way, and I have been hesitant to publicly discuss the night of my worst concussion because the situation got heated and there was some understandable personal tensions going on, though only momentary, and that I may seem like I am criticizing other people. That is not the case, I am going to describe an awful situation when everyone had the right intentions, and calmer heads prevailed. This will emphasize my roll because of the limits of my own memory, but I will assure that just as many or more times other soldiers, non commissioned officers of superiors played similar roles. You might assume the situation to be exceptional, but I think that day gets to the marrow of the US Army’s, at company level, propensity to deescalate violence rather than perpetuate it in Iraq. The argument that we are more violent is a profound misunderstanding of what we did in Iraq, and more often we chose non violence. Anyone using our war as an excuse is exploiting a popular idea base on very little material evidence.

My worst moment of Iraq was after a suicide bombing, but the second worse occurred after an IED blew up a convoy of Bradley’s while my platoon was set in over-watch to prevent just such an attack. I have not now, nor will I ever, feel like a greater failure than watching a piece of dirt that I had personally been observing for six hours, with multiple soldiers pulling rotations, blow up right in front of me. In the moment I could not even see it. The force of the blast was faster than my brain’s ability to process the image and I was thrown down a stairwell by over pressure. I fell face down and I came to face up, as if it were glitch in the matrix. It could not have been a second but I lost some consciousness. I was dizzy, very confused, but a Lieutenant with eyes on IED. The platoon of Bradley’s was from another battalion passing through our area so they had no idea that Americans were occupying our building and mechanized and airborne units use different night optics. Concussed or not we could all die if we did not immediately mark our position in every way possible. Their fire discipline saved our lives, but we we would be tested the same way very quickly.

Local Iraqi Army or Policemen ran to to occupy a road block to the north of the attack, but their winter cloths made them hard to identify. Balaclavas and no helmets made friendly force identification nearly impossible, and created very tense moment with a few of my soldiers fearing an insurgent attack. Simultaneously on my radio, my company commander was very unhappy that bomb blew up right in may face. Why wouldn’t he be. I certainly was not happy about it and to this day I second guess myself about that night. So while dealing with dizziness, disorientation and terrible situation I was simultaneously getting my ass chewed and preventing soldiers who wanted to fire on what they thought was a very legitimate threat to our security. These soldier were woken from sleep by bomb less that 50 meters away, so anger was par for the course, but the enemy did not usually sit in the middle of the street and gaggle up like Iraq soldiers so I wanted to take the time for confirmation. Everyone was angry from the lowest private to the battalion commander and tempers were hotter than they should have been on the radio, mine included. Not hotter than human beings woken up by a bomb at 4 AM though. However, despite all of anger and frustration everyone’s actions were exemplary. My soldiers wanted to fire, but headed orders, I kept command and control until my platoon sergeant got on top of things and until a my commander was on the ground. After they were on top of it I actually put microphone up because I was getting really loopy and having trouble grasping the basic geographic layout. 

People say that no one trains you for days like that, but the truth is I was trained precisely for days like that. My service in Iraq was more often events when I was attacked and had no clear enemy to engage so I waited for better opportunity rather than risking the lives of innocent people. So I cannot by any stretch of the imagination understand how Iraq, and the war I fought could be a source of anything, but level headed others centered decision making under the most adverse, frustrating and enraging situations. Frankly I am sick and tired of being compared to criminals because I have [Survivor Syndrome] from all the days that I made the emotionally draining, but the ultimately least violent decisions only to be characterized as some non-thinking killer with no human agency or power over my situation in Iraq and its aftermath. I was then and I am now, like the vast majority of other veterans, making the best of a far from ideal situation, and I am beyond frustrated that every time another mass murder happens all people with mental illnesses are lumped together with an incredible minority of violent criminals. Especially in the wake of war of occupation and counterinsurgency that stressed nonviolent outcomes whenever they could be attained.

US Army Specialist Kerry M. G. Danyluk. 15 APR 2014.

Died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, of injuries sustained 12 APR during small arms fire attack in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, Afghanistan. Danyluk was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, New York.

MOH recipient embodies Warrior Ethos.
(Article by Gregg Zoroya, USA Today, 15 APR 2014. Source.)
The voice from a distant mountain ambush in Afghanistan left U.S. commanders glued to their radios in 2007. A 20-year-old paratrooper, dead and dying Americans all around him, was telling the world what was happening and calling for help.
Kyle White, who the White House announced Tuesday will receive the Medal of Honor in a ceremony May 13, was a key lifeline for those in his patrol still alive, scattered along a cliffside trail snaking along a river near the border with Pakistan.
White will be only the seventh living recipient of the Medal of Honor from either the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars. His will be the 14th awarded from the conflicts to those living or dead.
Six Americans were killed in the ambush Nov. 9, 2007, along with three Afghan National Army soldiers. All of the other eight U.S. soldiers were wounded.
"I was 100% certain I was going to die that day," says White, who suffered a mild concussion from two nearby explosions.
More than six years passed before the decision to give him the vaunted award — a long period even by the measured pace the Pentagon normally takes.
White says he always knew that receiving a Medal of Honor could change his life. The thought of it brought mixed feelings — humbled by the recognition but sorrowful over the terrible cost it represents.
The only child of a couple employed by the Boeing aircraft manufacturer, Kyle White grew up in Bonney Lake, Wash., in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from high school.
He left the Army in 2011, and last year, he obtained a bachelor of science degree with a major in finance from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Now 27, he was hired in January by the Royal Bank of Canada in Charlotte as an investment analyst.
The battle for which White is being honored was a textbook ambush by an enemy that vastly outnumbered the Americans and their Afghan comrades. Between firing his rifle, scrambling to retrieve wounded comrades and having his thoughts scrambled by two close explosions, White told commanders what was happening, according to an Army account.
"All of Afghanistan was listening to his call sign, Charlie One Six Romeo," says Col. William Ostlund, then-commander of the battalion in which White served as a specialist.
"So when his platoon leader was killed, Charlie One Six Romeo was instrumental in controlling every single thing, from the fixed-wing bombers to the helicopter attack to the indirect (mortar and artillery) fire to treating casualties," Ostlund says.
Fourteen Americans and a squad of Afghan National Army soldiers were attacked while strung out single file along a narrow trail devoid of cover. Scores of Taliban fighters crouched on the opposite side of the valley or were concealed ahead down the trail or on the ridge above. They opened fire at 3:30 p.m. as the setting sun was in the soldiers’ eyes. Many of the attackers were in shadows, all but invisible to the Americans.
The Taliban even videoed the action so they could turn it into a propaganda film. But the battle all but escaped notice in American media.
The battle became known as the Bella Ambush, named after the outpost where the soldiers were headed that afternoon.
Events leading to the ambush actually began months earlier. White was with the 1st Platoon, Chosen Company of 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry.
During the summer of 2007, the platoon was based at a distant outpost near the village of Aranas, high in the Hindu Kush mountains. In August, the paratroopers of 1st Platoon came under attack at their base by about 100 Taliban fighters who overran nearly half the fort.
Half the 22 Americans were wounded. The platoon commander, 1st Lt. Matthew Ferrara, earned a Silver Star after calling in an airstrike on top of his position, killing the Taliban commander leading the attack.
That outpost near Aranas was abandoned in October, but Ferrara wanted to reconnect with the elders in Aranas and led a patrol up from Bella the night of Nov. 8.
He met with them Nov. 9 but grew suspicious that a Taliban attack might be forming and ordered his patrol to hike back toward Bella that afternoon. They were en route when the ambush occurred.
Ferrara, 24, a West Point graduate from Torrance, Calif., died carrying a list of what the elders wanted for the winter — fuel and blankets — tucked in his pocket, Ostlund says. Ferrara was posthumously promoted to captain.
White was his radio man.
"The whole valley erupted," White remembers. "They had us in this perfect spot."
Paratroopers who weren’t killed outright charged into enemy fire or tumbled off the path down the steep mountainside to reach the valley 50 to 100 yards below. Some were blown off the cliff by rocket-propelled grenades, Ostlund says.
When the shooting started, White was near a gnarled, juniper-like tree that offered concealment but no protection from enemy fire. White huddled there, working feverishly to stem the blood gushing from a shoulder wound to Spc. Kain Schilling.
Thirty feet behind them on the trail, Marine Sgt. Phillip Bocks, 28, of Troy, Mich., who was training the Afghan soldiers, was sitting upright on the ground, shot through the leg and chest, blood coming out of his mouth.
He tried crawling to reach White and Schilling but couldn’t manage it.
"The air was really hot and hostile," Schilling recalls. "There are a lot of different sounds, you get your cracks, and the whips, the real close-like zingers when they’re dialing in on you."
White came to Bocks.
"I remember thinking to myself, all right, I’m not going to make it through this," White recalls. "So I’m going to at least try to help somebody until that happens."
Schilling, who lay beneath the tree canopy, recalls how White ran to Bocks as bullets ricocheted off broken shale at White’s feet creating an aura of sparks.
"It would almost be a cool sight if it wasn’t so deadly," Schilling says. "I was absolutely sure that he was going to die."
Each time White made his way toward Bocks, Taliban fighters concentrated their fire on him. Fearing that Bocks would be wounded again, White pulled back to the tree but returned again and again to finally drag Bocks to the canopy of leaves.
"Everywhere around my feet, through my uniform, it was just rounds coming in everywhere," White says. "You could feel it, the pressure of the round going by."
Bocks was wounded in the chest and right leg. Though White placed a tourniquet above the leg wound, he could tell there was serious internal damage from the chest wound.
"I don’t think I’m going to make it through this one," the Marine said. He died shortly thereafter.
Schilling was hit a second time, this time through his left leg. White pulled his belt off to use as a second tourniquet, yanking it tight.
Then the radio man crawled back out into the open to reach Ferrara, who had collapsed several feet up the trail. He found his platoon commander dead.
He said he needed to notify the world about what had gone wrong.
White’s own radio was shot up by gunfire. Schilling’s radio also was also out of action. White retrieved Bocks’ radio.
"I was bringing it to my ear. A bullet went right though the hand mike and just blew it out of my hand," he recalls.
But he managed to activate it and establish radio contact with commanders, summoning artillery support, aircraft and rescue personnel.
Air evacuations that required hoisting dead and wounded up to hovering medevac helicopters were not possible until after dark.
Other heroism that day included the actions of then-Staff Sgt. James Takes. He ordered his men down the mountainside while providing covering fire, then followed them, pausing to help a wounded soldier despite being shot through both arms, according to an award citation. Takes received a Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest valor award. Conrad Begaye, , another staff sergeant in the patrol, received the Silver Star for heroism after establishing radio contact and assisting with directing support fire and rescue.
White suffered a mild traumatic brain injury from the close blast of an RPG and then, minutes later, the explosion of an incoming, 120mm mortar round from U.S. forces trying to suppress the enemy attack.
He was diagnosed later with post-traumatic stress disorder but says he copes with the symptoms through exercise.
He still carries in his face bullet fragments from an AK-47 round that shattered on a rock in front of him.
Besides Ferrara and Bocks, other American dead were Sgt Jeffrey Mersman, 23, of Parker Kan.; Cpl. Lester Roque, 23, of Torrance, Calif.; Spc. Joseph Lancour, 21, of Swartz Creek, Mich.; and White’s best friend in the platoon, Cpl. Sean K.A. Langevin, 23, of Walnut Creek, Calif.
The battle lasted more than 20 hours, from the opening volley until the last dead American was recovered. High-res

MOH recipient embodies Warrior Ethos.

(Article by Gregg Zoroya, USA Today, 15 APR 2014. Source.)

The voice from a distant mountain ambush in Afghanistan left U.S. commanders glued to their radios in 2007. A 20-year-old paratrooper, dead and dying Americans all around him, was telling the world what was happening and calling for help.

Kyle White, who the White House announced Tuesday will receive the Medal of Honor in a ceremony May 13, was a key lifeline for those in his patrol still alive, scattered along a cliffside trail snaking along a river near the border with Pakistan.

White will be only the seventh living recipient of the Medal of Honor from either the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars. His will be the 14th awarded from the conflicts to those living or dead.

Six Americans were killed in the ambush Nov. 9, 2007, along with three Afghan National Army soldiers. All of the other eight U.S. soldiers were wounded.

"I was 100% certain I was going to die that day," says White, who suffered a mild concussion from two nearby explosions.

More than six years passed before the decision to give him the vaunted award — a long period even by the measured pace the Pentagon normally takes.

White says he always knew that receiving a Medal of Honor could change his life. The thought of it brought mixed feelings — humbled by the recognition but sorrowful over the terrible cost it represents.

The only child of a couple employed by the Boeing aircraft manufacturer, Kyle White grew up in Bonney Lake, Wash., in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and enlisted in the Army shortly after graduating from high school.

He left the Army in 2011, and last year, he obtained a bachelor of science degree with a major in finance from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. Now 27, he was hired in January by the Royal Bank of Canada in Charlotte as an investment analyst.

The battle for which White is being honored was a textbook ambush by an enemy that vastly outnumbered the Americans and their Afghan comrades. Between firing his rifle, scrambling to retrieve wounded comrades and having his thoughts scrambled by two close explosions, White told commanders what was happening, according to an Army account.

"All of Afghanistan was listening to his call sign, Charlie One Six Romeo," says Col. William Ostlund, then-commander of the battalion in which White served as a specialist.

"So when his platoon leader was killed, Charlie One Six Romeo was instrumental in controlling every single thing, from the fixed-wing bombers to the helicopter attack to the indirect (mortar and artillery) fire to treating casualties," Ostlund says.

Fourteen Americans and a squad of Afghan National Army soldiers were attacked while strung out single file along a narrow trail devoid of cover. Scores of Taliban fighters crouched on the opposite side of the valley or were concealed ahead down the trail or on the ridge above. They opened fire at 3:30 p.m. as the setting sun was in the soldiers’ eyes. Many of the attackers were in shadows, all but invisible to the Americans.

The Taliban even videoed the action so they could turn it into a propaganda film. But the battle all but escaped notice in American media.

The battle became known as the Bella Ambush, named after the outpost where the soldiers were headed that afternoon.

Events leading to the ambush actually began months earlier. White was with the 1st Platoon, Chosen Company of 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry.

During the summer of 2007, the platoon was based at a distant outpost near the village of Aranas, high in the Hindu Kush mountains. In August, the paratroopers of 1st Platoon came under attack at their base by about 100 Taliban fighters who overran nearly half the fort.

Half the 22 Americans were wounded. The platoon commander, 1st Lt. Matthew Ferrara, earned a Silver Star after calling in an airstrike on top of his position, killing the Taliban commander leading the attack.

That outpost near Aranas was abandoned in October, but Ferrara wanted to reconnect with the elders in Aranas and led a patrol up from Bella the night of Nov. 8.

He met with them Nov. 9 but grew suspicious that a Taliban attack might be forming and ordered his patrol to hike back toward Bella that afternoon. They were en route when the ambush occurred.

Ferrara, 24, a West Point graduate from Torrance, Calif., died carrying a list of what the elders wanted for the winter — fuel and blankets — tucked in his pocket, Ostlund says. Ferrara was posthumously promoted to captain.

White was his radio man.

"The whole valley erupted," White remembers. "They had us in this perfect spot."

Paratroopers who weren’t killed outright charged into enemy fire or tumbled off the path down the steep mountainside to reach the valley 50 to 100 yards below. Some were blown off the cliff by rocket-propelled grenades, Ostlund says.

When the shooting started, White was near a gnarled, juniper-like tree that offered concealment but no protection from enemy fire. White huddled there, working feverishly to stem the blood gushing from a shoulder wound to Spc. Kain Schilling.

Thirty feet behind them on the trail, Marine Sgt. Phillip Bocks, 28, of Troy, Mich., who was training the Afghan soldiers, was sitting upright on the ground, shot through the leg and chest, blood coming out of his mouth.

He tried crawling to reach White and Schilling but couldn’t manage it.

"The air was really hot and hostile," Schilling recalls. "There are a lot of different sounds, you get your cracks, and the whips, the real close-like zingers when they’re dialing in on you."

White came to Bocks.

"I remember thinking to myself, all right, I’m not going to make it through this," White recalls. "So I’m going to at least try to help somebody until that happens."

Schilling, who lay beneath the tree canopy, recalls how White ran to Bocks as bullets ricocheted off broken shale at White’s feet creating an aura of sparks.

"It would almost be a cool sight if it wasn’t so deadly," Schilling says. "I was absolutely sure that he was going to die."

Each time White made his way toward Bocks, Taliban fighters concentrated their fire on him. Fearing that Bocks would be wounded again, White pulled back to the tree but returned again and again to finally drag Bocks to the canopy of leaves.

"Everywhere around my feet, through my uniform, it was just rounds coming in everywhere," White says. "You could feel it, the pressure of the round going by."

Bocks was wounded in the chest and right leg. Though White placed a tourniquet above the leg wound, he could tell there was serious internal damage from the chest wound.

"I don’t think I’m going to make it through this one," the Marine said. He died shortly thereafter.

Schilling was hit a second time, this time through his left leg. White pulled his belt off to use as a second tourniquet, yanking it tight.

Then the radio man crawled back out into the open to reach Ferrara, who had collapsed several feet up the trail. He found his platoon commander dead.

He said he needed to notify the world about what had gone wrong.

White’s own radio was shot up by gunfire. Schilling’s radio also was also out of action. White retrieved Bocks’ radio.

"I was bringing it to my ear. A bullet went right though the hand mike and just blew it out of my hand," he recalls.

But he managed to activate it and establish radio contact with commanders, summoning artillery support, aircraft and rescue personnel.

Air evacuations that required hoisting dead and wounded up to hovering medevac helicopters were not possible until after dark.

Other heroism that day included the actions of then-Staff Sgt. James Takes. He ordered his men down the mountainside while providing covering fire, then followed them, pausing to help a wounded soldier despite being shot through both arms, according to an award citation. Takes received a Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest valor award. Conrad Begaye, , another staff sergeant in the patrol, received the Silver Star for heroism after establishing radio contact and assisting with directing support fire and rescue.

White suffered a mild traumatic brain injury from the close blast of an RPG and then, minutes later, the explosion of an incoming, 120mm mortar round from U.S. forces trying to suppress the enemy attack.

He was diagnosed later with post-traumatic stress disorder but says he copes with the symptoms through exercise.

He still carries in his face bullet fragments from an AK-47 round that shattered on a rock in front of him.

Besides Ferrara and Bocks, other American dead were Sgt Jeffrey Mersman, 23, of Parker Kan.; Cpl. Lester Roque, 23, of Torrance, Calif.; Spc. Joseph Lancour, 21, of Swartz Creek, Mich.; and White’s best friend in the platoon, Cpl. Sean K.A. Langevin, 23, of Walnut Creek, Calif.

The battle lasted more than 20 hours, from the opening volley until the last dead American was recovered.

Curator’s Choice: OCT 2011.
His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
—from the speech “Citizenship in a Republic” by Theodore Roosevelt, at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on 23 April 1910.
High-res

Curator’s Choice: OCT 2011.

His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

—from the speech “Citizenship in a Republic” by Theodore Roosevelt, at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on 23 April 1910.

(via soldierporn)

What you see is what you expect to see.

Commandos from the Afghan National Army Special Forces, 3rd Company, 3rd Special Operations Kandak and U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers assigned to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, conducted clearance of Sorbaghal village in Maiwand district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan. After making contact with villagers in the local bazaar, the team came under small arms fire and withdrew their wounded to meet the medevac before continuing their mission.

3rd SOK and the USSF teamed together in order to disrupt insurgent networks in the area and make Sorbaghal village a safer place for its residents.

(U.S. Army photos by Spc. Sara Wakai, 10 APR 2014.)

[Curator’s Challenge: can you tell which personnel are 3rd SOK Commandos, and which are Special Forces? -R]

the-pink-mist:

militiamedic:

sexecutive-outcums:

thearmedgentleman:

grottywanker:

logicd:

heritage-and-tradition:

southern-conservatism:

imminentdeathsyndrome:

Did I just fucking hear them say that one of her tests was to pull 105 lbs simulating an injured soldier out of a tank hatch? This is just insanely stupid because an injured solider is going to be dead weight and by no means weighs 105 lbs plus the weight of their gear. Hey, why don’t we just cut corners and lower the requirements to a child’s ability while we’re at it? 
The average weight of a man in the United States is 189 lbs. A soldier’s body armor weighs 30 lbs and their load out is generally around 87 to 127 lbs. Well you might say to just leave the gear behind but you can’t just do that. Try telling your squad leader you left another soldier’s shit behind because you were too weak to carry it. I’m sure they’ll totally understand. 
Doesn’t anybody remember the lies they told about Jessica Lynch being a fucking hero when she wasn’t just so they could paint her up like G.I. Jane? She didn’t even fire one round. Female recruits in the Marines can’t even do 3 pull-ups and they’re lowering the standards for what, some false sense of equality? 

its my personal opinion that women should not be in combat situations. to me thats a mans job. women can serve the military in other ways. my grandmother was in the womens army corps in WW2 she served her country but she left the combat position to my grandfather as it should be. 

I agree. Women in the military should be in supportive roles, not combat.

Women in combat or in jobs requiring some form of force projection and authority or physical requirements, like police or firefighters etc, is a fucking joke. It just screams they have something to prove.
No amount of lib twisting equality mental back flipping bullshit is going to change that. At the very least keep the requirements uniform across the board instead of lowering down the standards. At that point you may as well admit women aint shit and need the special treatment to compete with men. Having some small frame women barely dealing with her shit through equipment load or her fucking period and so on, puts peoples lives at risk.
Would hate to see a women try and drag a full grown ass man out of a burning building a few floors up because MUH DISCRIMINATION MUH EQUALITY
The same goes for different races. All this lowered standards shit because you are black or something, instead of on your merit and grades. Or the FDNY making tests for minorities easier because the harder tests were “too hard” and therefore “too racist”
Get the fuck out of here with your diversity standards.

Women have every right to be in combat roles provided we do what the KSK did and they have to pass all the same tests men do without exception.

LOOK AT ALL THIS RACISM AND SEXISM, FOLKS.
The Canadian Forces has employed women in combat roles since the 1980s. To my knowledge, they are required to pass the same tests that men are. Women in the CF have been deployed overseas, to the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and a good number of other peacekeeping and combat operations. Yet, the Canadian Forces maintain combat effectiveness, often moreso than their American counterparts. Canadian women serving in Afghanistan have been killed, the same as men.
Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, and Ireland all allow women to serve in front-line combat arms roles. A good number of these countries are NATO members. Others have seen recent combat.
Just because you believe women aren’t fit for combat doesn’t make it so. Female bodybuilders exist. Female target shooters exist. Female truck drivers, construction workers, heavy equipment operators, and engineers exist. These are all jobs that require physical strength likely beyond what you sexists are capable of yourselves.
Oh, and before you try to claim that women shouldn’t be in combat roles because of what the enemy would do to them if they were captured, perhaps you should read about what the Iraqi military did to male Coalition POWs during the first and second Gulf Wars.

What Austin said.
Is how the US military integrating women into combat wrong? Yeah. Women in combat should be expected to preform the same exact tasks as men- anything less is going to get men killed, missions abandoned, and shit fucked up.
That doesn’t mean women are incapable of doing the same jobs- far from it. The CF’s been using women for years, and their biggest problem in recruiting right now is obesity. Numerous nations have had women serve in their ranks with distinction, most notably Germany. 
Shut the fuck up, sit down, and stop being a racist, sexist asshole and learn a thing or two before running your mouth on shit you don’t know about.

^ That. No problem whatsoever with women in combat, they just need to be held to the exact same standards as the men.

It was never the physical strength part that worried me (jesus christ, I’m pretty sure every active duty infantry guy on here knows at least one person in his unit that can’t pass a PT test). 
There is no doubt that there are women who are incredibly capable trigger pullers, and there are others who have no place in combat. During my last deployment from 2007-08 in Iraq, we had two women from Civil Affairs attached to us. Prior to this deployment, they had deployed several times with ODAs to Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, and Uganda. Needless to say, not only could the keep up with us, but they could shoot too. 
There was a flipside to this. Again, on my last deployment, we shared our Joint Security Station with Military Police from our brigade. There were females with them. The women with them were incredibly manipulative using gender/sex to get out of work details, patrols, and guard duty. There was a lot of whining, and male soldiers going out of their to insure that the females were well taken care of and comfortable. Things that are generally not afforded while working in a forward area. 
Behavior modification due to gender is what concerns me. Even with the Civil Affairs soldiers and their qualifications, we found ourselves going out of our way to make sure that they were doing ok while on a patrol or raid, something that would have never been done had they been male. Can it be done successfully? Absolutely. Look at the Female Engagement Teams within the Army and the Marines. 
With all of that in mind, I don’t think we should be examining the physical strength of women, but rather the psychological evaluation of both genders before integrating women into units that are restricted to males only. 
#to be even more fair and honest#there are a lot of males not cut out for infantry either#also all of the sex we have with each other is consensual#there is a lot of dude humping that happens
High-res

the-pink-mist:

militiamedic:

sexecutive-outcums:

thearmedgentleman:

grottywanker:

logicd:

heritage-and-tradition:

southern-conservatism:

imminentdeathsyndrome:

Did I just fucking hear them say that one of her tests was to pull 105 lbs simulating an injured soldier out of a tank hatch? This is just insanely stupid because an injured solider is going to be dead weight and by no means weighs 105 lbs plus the weight of their gear. Hey, why don’t we just cut corners and lower the requirements to a child’s ability while we’re at it? 

The average weight of a man in the United States is 189 lbs. A soldier’s body armor weighs 30 lbs and their load out is generally around 87 to 127 lbs. Well you might say to just leave the gear behind but you can’t just do that. Try telling your squad leader you left another soldier’s shit behind because you were too weak to carry it. I’m sure they’ll totally understand. 

Doesn’t anybody remember the lies they told about Jessica Lynch being a fucking hero when she wasn’t just so they could paint her up like G.I. Jane? She didn’t even fire one round. Female recruits in the Marines can’t even do 3 pull-ups and they’re lowering the standards for what, some false sense of equality? 

its my personal opinion that women should not be in combat situations. to me thats a mans job. women can serve the military in other ways. my grandmother was in the womens army corps in WW2 she served her country but she left the combat position to my grandfather as it should be. 

I agree. Women in the military should be in supportive roles, not combat.

Women in combat or in jobs requiring some form of force projection and authority or physical requirements, like police or firefighters etc, is a fucking joke. It just screams they have something to prove.

No amount of lib twisting equality mental back flipping bullshit is going to change that. At the very least keep the requirements uniform across the board instead of lowering down the standards. At that point you may as well admit women aint shit and need the special treatment to compete with men. Having some small frame women barely dealing with her shit through equipment load or her fucking period and so on, puts peoples lives at risk.

Would hate to see a women try and drag a full grown ass man out of a burning building a few floors up because MUH DISCRIMINATION MUH EQUALITY

The same goes for different races. All this lowered standards shit because you are black or something, instead of on your merit and grades. Or the FDNY making tests for minorities easier because the harder tests were “too hard” and therefore “too racist”

Get the fuck out of here with your diversity standards.

Women have every right to be in combat roles provided we do what the KSK did and they have to pass all the same tests men do without exception.

LOOK AT ALL THIS RACISM AND SEXISM, FOLKS.

The Canadian Forces has employed women in combat roles since the 1980s. To my knowledge, they are required to pass the same tests that men are. Women in the CF have been deployed overseas, to the former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and a good number of other peacekeeping and combat operations. Yet, the Canadian Forces maintain combat effectiveness, often moreso than their American counterparts. Canadian women serving in Afghanistan have been killed, the same as men.

Israel, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany, and Ireland all allow women to serve in front-line combat arms roles. A good number of these countries are NATO members. Others have seen recent combat.

Just because you believe women aren’t fit for combat doesn’t make it so. Female bodybuilders exist. Female target shooters exist. Female truck drivers, construction workers, heavy equipment operators, and engineers exist. These are all jobs that require physical strength likely beyond what you sexists are capable of yourselves.

Oh, and before you try to claim that women shouldn’t be in combat roles because of what the enemy would do to them if they were captured, perhaps you should read about what the Iraqi military did to male Coalition POWs during the first and second Gulf Wars.

What Austin said.

Is how the US military integrating women into combat wrong? Yeah. Women in combat should be expected to preform the same exact tasks as men- anything less is going to get men killed, missions abandoned, and shit fucked up.

That doesn’t mean women are incapable of doing the same jobs- far from it. The CF’s been using women for years, and their biggest problem in recruiting right now is obesity. Numerous nations have had women serve in their ranks with distinction, most notably Germany. 

Shut the fuck up, sit down, and stop being a racist, sexist asshole and learn a thing or two before running your mouth on shit you don’t know about.

^ That.

No problem whatsoever with women in combat, they just need to be held to the exact same standards as the men.

It was never the physical strength part that worried me (jesus christ, I’m pretty sure every active duty infantry guy on here knows at least one person in his unit that can’t pass a PT test). 

There is no doubt that there are women who are incredibly capable trigger pullers, and there are others who have no place in combat. During my last deployment from 2007-08 in Iraq, we had two women from Civil Affairs attached to us. Prior to this deployment, they had deployed several times with ODAs to Iraq, Afghanistan, Philippines, and Uganda. Needless to say, not only could the keep up with us, but they could shoot too. 

There was a flipside to this. Again, on my last deployment, we shared our Joint Security Station with Military Police from our brigade. There were females with them. The women with them were incredibly manipulative using gender/sex to get out of work details, patrols, and guard duty. There was a lot of whining, and male soldiers going out of their to insure that the females were well taken care of and comfortable. Things that are generally not afforded while working in a forward area. 

Behavior modification due to gender is what concerns me. Even with the Civil Affairs soldiers and their qualifications, we found ourselves going out of our way to make sure that they were doing ok while on a patrol or raid, something that would have never been done had they been male. Can it be done successfully? Absolutely. Look at the Female Engagement Teams within the Army and the Marines. 

With all of that in mind, I don’t think we should be examining the physical strength of women, but rather the psychological evaluation of both genders before integrating women into units that are restricted to males only. 

Medal of Honor recipient returns to service.
Medal of Honor recipients Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, Capt. William Swenson and Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry attend a ceremony to unveil the addition of their names to the Washington State Medal of Honor Monument, in Olympia, Washington.
(Photo by Staff Sergeant Mark Miranda, 2 APR 2014. Article by Adam Ashton, The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington, 10 APR 2014. Source.)

Medal of Honor recipient Capt. William Swenson has rejoined the Army and been assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps, the corps spokesman said Wednesday.
Swenson’s appointment to the corps plans office means that three of the six living military service members who’ve received the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan are now assigned to Lewis-McChord.
Swenson, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry and Staff Sgt. Ty Carter are the only Medal of Honor recipients still currently active duty.
The three of them were recognized last week at a ceremony in Olympia in which their names were added to the state’s Medal of Honor monument. Petry and Carter wore dress uniforms to the event while Swenson wore a civilian suit.
I Corps spokesman Col. Dave Johson said Swenson joined the Lewis-McChord headquarters on March 14 as a captain.
Swenson of Seattle left the Army in 2011, two years after he repeatedly risked his life to recover the bodies of ambushed Marines and Afghan soldiers in Kunar Province. Five U.S. military service members and nine of their Afghan partners lost their lives in the battle.
During the battle, Swenson coordinated combat aviation and helicopter assets. He fought to rescue a wounded comrade, and delivered first aid under enemy fire.
He received the nation’s highest military honor in an October ceremony at the White House, two years after Marine Dakota Meyer received a Medal of Honor for his role in the same battle.
A McClatchy investigation by reporter Jonathan Landay, who was embedded with the troops during the ambush, showed that Swenson’s nomination for the medal was delayed because the Army lost his paperwork.
Carter serves in Lewis-McChord’s 7th Infantry Division. Petry soon is expected to retire from his 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.
High-res

Medal of Honor recipient returns to service.

Medal of Honor recipients Staff Sgt. Ty Carter, Capt. William Swenson and Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry attend a ceremony to unveil the addition of their names to the Washington State Medal of Honor Monument, in Olympia, Washington.

The News Tribune, Tacoma, Washington, 10 APR 2014. Source.)

Medal of Honor recipient Capt. William Swenson has rejoined the Army and been assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s I Corps, the corps spokesman said Wednesday.

Swenson’s appointment to the corps plans office means that three of the six living military service members who’ve received the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan are now assigned to Lewis-McChord.

Swenson, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry and Staff Sgt. Ty Carter are the only Medal of Honor recipients still currently active duty.

The three of them were recognized last week at a ceremony in Olympia in which their names were added to the state’s Medal of Honor monument. Petry and Carter wore dress uniforms to the event while Swenson wore a civilian suit.

I Corps spokesman Col. Dave Johson said Swenson joined the Lewis-McChord headquarters on March 14 as a captain.

Swenson of Seattle left the Army in 2011, two years after he repeatedly risked his life to recover the bodies of ambushed Marines and Afghan soldiers in Kunar Province. Five U.S. military service members and nine of their Afghan partners lost their lives in the battle.

During the battle, Swenson coordinated combat aviation and helicopter assets. He fought to rescue a wounded comrade, and delivered first aid under enemy fire.

He received the nation’s highest military honor in an October ceremony at the White House, two years after Marine Dakota Meyer received a Medal of Honor for his role in the same battle.

A McClatchy investigation by reporter Jonathan Landay, who was embedded with the troops during the ambush, showed that Swenson’s nomination for the medal was delayed because the Army lost his paperwork.

Carter serves in Lewis-McChord’s 7th Infantry Division. Petry soon is expected to retire from his 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

SOLDIER STORIES: Carry on.
Capt. Justin Fitch of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Mass., has used ruck marches to help raise tens of thousands of dollars for Soldiers, veterans and their families suffering from post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts, while waging his own battle against Stage IV colon cancer.
(Photo by David Kamm, NSRDEC photographer, 4 APR 2014. Article by Bob Reinert, USAG-Natick Public Affairs, 8 APR 2014. Source. [Modifications to article content by R. Etzweiler.])
NATICK, Mass. (April 4, 2014) — It has become a familiar, symbolic sight — Capt. Justin Fitch walking along local roads, carrying his rucksack.Fitch, the Headquarters Research Development Detachment commander at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, does this to raise awareness — and money — for Soldiers, veterans and their families suffering from [Survivor Syndrome] and suicidal thoughts."We’re raising awareness, and that’s very important," Fitch said. "Part of fixing a problem is knowing that a problem exists. (Suicide is) a very taboo topic with a lot of stigma. It’s just not talked about."Twenty-two veterans commit suicide each day, which adds up to more than 8,000 a year, or, as Fitch pointed out, more than have died in the entire Global War on Terrorism since 2001."Twenty-two a day?" Fitch said. "We want to make that number zero. One veteran’s suicide is too many."Toward that end, Fitch and his Team Minuteman alone have raised more than $75,000 since November through “Carry the Fallen,” a series of 12-hour team ruck marches. There are 50 such teams nationally, according to Fitch.Funds from those events go to the “Active Heroes” organization, which is developing a $5 million, 144-acre military family retreat in Shepherdsville, Ky."This event is growing," Fitch said. "We definitely raised awareness on a large scale. This cause has gone viral."Fitch has remained steadfast in his support of the cause despite carrying his own heavy burden: The 31-year-old Hayward, Wis., native has Stage IV colon cancer, and he has become the public face of this effort."I absolutely don’t mind putting myself out there as long as it strengthens this cause," said Fitch, quick to add that, "It’s about so many more people than me."Fitch pointed to the Carry the Fallen event March 29, along the Boston Marathon course, in which dozens of participants rucked. Among them was Jason Wheeler, a veteran who lost the use of both legs, is partially blind, and suffers from post-traumatic stress, known as PTS, and a traumatic brain injury. Despite recent foot surgery, Wheeler used his wheelchair to carry his ruck along the course."It’s just inspirational," Fitch said. "There’s a reason why this event means so much to him."Then there was Denise Florio, a disabled veteran with [Survivor Syndrome] who is also coping with thyroid cancer. Duncan McNaughton, a teenage son of a retired Army Ranger, completed both the November and March events that took place on the marathon course.Natick employees Darren Bean, Raul Lopez and Sarah Welch supported the event. Bean reached into his own pocket to rent a recreational vehicle so that participants would have a mobile latrine and water source. Welch, a former Army medic, provided medical support out of the RV. Lopez helped them and did some rucking for Fitch when the chronic pain from his cancer flared up."There’s so many inspiring people, so many inspiring stories, so many heroes, in my mind, out there," Fitch said. "That alone just makes it a great event."We had a lot of Gold Star Families show there, too. It was such a big deal to these families that people were standing up to keep this from happening to other people."Five miles into the ruck march, pain forced Fitch into the RV. He continued to jump out onto the course for a mile or two at a time to walk with others. He latched onto a group of five, covered the last four miles and crossed the finish line."I was extremely happy with the whole event, overall," said Fitch, adding that participation had more than doubled from November’s ruck march.Fitch pointed out that participants included some who had experienced [Survivor Syndrome] and suicidal thoughts firsthand."They find great purpose in (the event)," said Fitch, "because they’re tied to it and they’ve lost friends, brothers and sisters in arms, even family members, because of suicide that’s service connected. Just the event itself, participating in it, has (helped) people."Fitch counts himself among them, because there was a time in his own life when thoughts of suicide nearly consumed him."It’s OK to seek help," Fitch said. "You can get help. Look at me. I’m a captain, I’m about to be a major, and I sought help."The next Boston ruck march will be held May 31, on the marathon course. Fitch said he is already looking forward to it, but he is also realistic."I want to keep rucking," Fitch said. "I want to be on the ground with everyone else rucking, defying my condition, but I also may need to take a step back."The cause is just too important for him not to be involved, either as a participant or supporting others, however."If all we do is just save one life, one that wouldn’t have been saved otherwise," said Fitch, "I say that’s mission success." High-res

SOLDIER STORIES: Carry on.

Capt. Justin Fitch of the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, Mass., has used ruck marches to help raise tens of thousands of dollars for Soldiers, veterans and their families suffering from post-traumatic stress and suicidal thoughts, while waging his own battle against Stage IV colon cancer.

(Photo by David Kamm, NSRDEC photographer, 4 APR 2014. Article by Bob Reinert, USAG-Natick Public Affairs, 8 APR 2014. Source. [Modifications to article content by R. Etzweiler.])

NATICK, Mass. (April 4, 2014) — It has become a familiar, symbolic sight — Capt. Justin Fitch walking along local roads, carrying his rucksack.

Fitch, the Headquarters Research Development Detachment commander at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, does this to raise awareness — and money — for Soldiers, veterans and their families suffering from [Survivor Syndrome] and suicidal thoughts.

"We’re raising awareness, and that’s very important," Fitch said. "Part of fixing a problem is knowing that a problem exists. (Suicide is) a very taboo topic with a lot of stigma. It’s just not talked about."

Twenty-two veterans commit suicide each day, which adds up to more than 8,000 a year, or, as Fitch pointed out, more than have died in the entire Global War on Terrorism since 2001.

"Twenty-two a day?" Fitch said. "We want to make that number zero. One veteran’s suicide is too many."

Toward that end, Fitch and his Team Minuteman alone have raised more than $75,000 since November through “Carry the Fallen,” a series of 12-hour team ruck marches. There are 50 such teams nationally, according to Fitch.

Funds from those events go to the “Active Heroes” organization, which is developing a $5 million, 144-acre military family retreat in Shepherdsville, Ky.

"This event is growing," Fitch said. "We definitely raised awareness on a large scale. This cause has gone viral."

Fitch has remained steadfast in his support of the cause despite carrying his own heavy burden: The 31-year-old Hayward, Wis., native has Stage IV colon cancer, and he has become the public face of this effort.

"I absolutely don’t mind putting myself out there as long as it strengthens this cause," said Fitch, quick to add that, "It’s about so many more people than me."

Fitch pointed to the Carry the Fallen event March 29, along the Boston Marathon course, in which dozens of participants rucked. Among them was Jason Wheeler, a veteran who lost the use of both legs, is partially blind, and suffers from post-traumatic stress, known as PTS, and a traumatic brain injury. Despite recent foot surgery, Wheeler used his wheelchair to carry his ruck along the course.

"It’s just inspirational," Fitch said. "There’s a reason why this event means so much to him."

Then there was Denise Florio, a disabled veteran with [Survivor Syndrome] who is also coping with thyroid cancer. Duncan McNaughton, a teenage son of a retired Army Ranger, completed both the November and March events that took place on the marathon course.

Natick employees Darren Bean, Raul Lopez and Sarah Welch supported the event. Bean reached into his own pocket to rent a recreational vehicle so that participants would have a mobile latrine and water source. Welch, a former Army medic, provided medical support out of the RV. Lopez helped them and did some rucking for Fitch when the chronic pain from his cancer flared up.

"There’s so many inspiring people, so many inspiring stories, so many heroes, in my mind, out there," Fitch said. "That alone just makes it a great event.

"We had a lot of Gold Star Families show there, too. It was such a big deal to these families that people were standing up to keep this from happening to other people."

Five miles into the ruck march, pain forced Fitch into the RV. He continued to jump out onto the course for a mile or two at a time to walk with others. He latched onto a group of five, covered the last four miles and crossed the finish line.

"I was extremely happy with the whole event, overall," said Fitch, adding that participation had more than doubled from November’s ruck march.

Fitch pointed out that participants included some who had experienced [Survivor Syndrome] and suicidal thoughts firsthand.

"They find great purpose in (the event)," said Fitch, "because they’re tied to it and they’ve lost friends, brothers and sisters in arms, even family members, because of suicide that’s service connected. Just the event itself, participating in it, has (helped) people."

Fitch counts himself among them, because there was a time in his own life when thoughts of suicide nearly consumed him.

"It’s OK to seek help," Fitch said. "You can get help. Look at me. I’m a captain, I’m about to be a major, and I sought help."

The next Boston ruck march will be held May 31, on the marathon course. Fitch said he is already looking forward to it, but he is also realistic.

"I want to keep rucking," Fitch said. "I want to be on the ground with everyone else rucking, defying my condition, but I also may need to take a step back."

The cause is just too important for him not to be involved, either as a participant or supporting others, however.

"If all we do is just save one life, one that wouldn’t have been saved otherwise," said Fitch, "I say that’s mission success."