Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wednesday Heroes: Inspiring and Death Defying

This Weeks Hero Was Suggested By Malinda

69-year-old Bert Brady has never stepped foot in Iraq or Afghanistan, yet many soldiers who have know who he is and appreciate what he's done for them. You see, for the past year Mr. Brady has made a trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport nearly every morning to welcome home returning American troops. Bert Brady, along with fellow veterans, is a member of the Welcome Home a Hero program. They make sure that every soldier who steps off a plane in Dallas gets a special homecoming.

Brady shows up each day with the goal of making soldiers feel appreciated and proud of their service. He's often joined by veterans of the Vietnam and Korean wars who did not get a warm reception when they returned from battle.

"We are not going to forget them like a lot of Vietnam soldiers have been forgotten," Brady said. "We are not going to forget the soldiers of today."

To read more about Bert Brady, you can go to

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. To find out more about Wednesday Hero, you can go here.

Tactical air controller receives Silver Star, for actions during firefight

For a special-forces team in the heat of battle, air cover can be the difference between life and death. Staff Sgt. Covel was assigned in Iraq to work with an elite team of 8 Army special-forces soldiers and 10 “peshmerga” – indigenous Kurdish guerilla fighters. In June 2004, part of the team headed from its safe house in the city center back to base to re-supply. While they were gone, they received a call that an attack on the safe house had begun. Based on previous engagements, however, the team assumed it would be a quick skirmish – even though some intelligence had warned of a massive offensive that was in the works. By the time the team returned to the house, they realized they were under an extremely fierce attack – an attack that would last 36 hours and involve an estimated 200 insurgents.

As the tactical air controller, Covel quickly made his way to his battle positions on the roof of an adjacent building so he could locate the enemy positions and direct air support. Insurgents were ready, and accurately fired on him as he crossed the short open space. As he described it later, “It felt for a moment like I was in some sort of movie, running as the dirt kicked up around me.”

Army Reservist volunteers to train Iraqi National Police

For many, it may be hard to believe that people volunteer specifically to go to Iraq , given the known dangers and hardship. For Maj. Bonaldo, it was a question of duty and service: “I volunteered to go in part because I had never deployed before . . . I felt that I needed to step up . . . [and] I felt I could make a difference.” For the fledgling Iraqi police force he helped, his contributions were invaluable.

Heroes and Angels of All Walks of Life

LeAnne Rimes Gives Wounded Iraq Vet Special Van

PALM BAY, Fla. - Iraq veteran Peter Reid has gotten a boost from LeAnn Rimes.

A 2004 mortar attack in Iraq's Anbar province left Reid, a Navy Seabee, partially paralyzed, blind in one eye and dependent on a motorized wheelchair. He also suffered a brain injury, and bits of shrapnel remain in his head and body.

Reid hadn't left his Palm Bay house for months because it took two people to lift him into and out of his van.

Now he's looking forward to shopping trips with his wife, Michele, because of a gift from Rimes.

Cincinnati Soldier Thwarts Bomber with 4 tons of Explosives in Dump Truck

Soldiers of a 10th Mountain Division battalion, deep in the heart of Iraq’s bloodiest region, are alive and well today because one young soldier from Norwood was on lookout Sunday afternoon.

Spc. Brandon Rork, a 24-year-old 2002 graduate of Norwood High School, was on guard atop Patrol Base Warrior Keep on Sunday, manning a 240 Bravo machine gun and keeping a lookout for danger.

What he found could have reduced Patrol Base Warrior Keep to rubble and left dozens, possibly hundreds, of his fellow soldiers in the 2-14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, dead on the ground.

Apache Troop Makes Friends with the Littlest

Soldiers' Angels Roger Godskesen

Geneva resident Roger Godskesen is an Angel, but he doesn’t have wings or dance on the head of a pin.

Godskesen, 57, is the tactical medical support director for Soldiers’ Angels, a nonprofit volunteer group helping members of the armed forces and their families.

Since it formed in 2003, the group has sent thousands of care packages and supply backpacks, helped people “adopt” soldiers, sent letters from home, and helped the families of the deployed.

“There are well over 100,000 members, and it’s all through the Internet,” said Godskesen, who served as a medic at Walter Reed military hospital during the Vietnam War.

For Godskesen, finding a way to help has taken on a larger life than he ever imagined.

Walter Reed Prosthetic Technician 'Pulls' for Troops

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2007 – For prosthetic technician Jared Scott McClure, it's all about the "pull."

Walter Reed Army Medical Center prosthetic technician Jared Scott McClure works to remove the test socket from the plaster cast of a patient's residual limb. How well he does his job determines the fit and function of the permanent socket, and, ultimately, how well the servicemember performs with their prosthetic. Defense Dept. photo by Fred W. Baker III
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

He's referring to the process in which he pulls a hot sheet of plastic over the plaster mold of an amputee's residual limb to make a test socket for the patient's prosthetic leg.

"The pull is everything," he said, admiring his latest work, a test socket for a female patient who is an amputee at the ankle.

McClure said the goal is to get the plastic consistent, but heavier in specific pressure points. How well he does his job determines the fit and function of the permanent socket and, ultimately, how well servicemembers perform with their prostheses.

This is his second attempt at this test socket. The first was not good enough, he said.

A Navy veteran, McClure said he always wanted to work in the medical field but didn't care for hospitals. "I like to get my hands dirty. I like working with hammers and tools and stuff," he said.

As a prosthetic technician, his job is part science, part art, and a lot of muscle.

McClure said he was struggling in college after leaving the Navy, and wasn't sure what he wanted to do. He learned about the school from his Veterans Affairs counselor. McClure said he was hesitant at first, but was sold after talking to the staff there.

"Within five minutes of talking to the instructor, I knew. I was like 'Wow, this is it. Where do I sign up?' And here it is, three years later, I'm in D.C. working at Walter Reed fitting legs on guys who went to war," he said.

Alex Becker was injured in a Iraq town called Karma.

The 21-year-old, who was shot and wounded during a mission near Fallujah with the U.S. Marines on New Year’s Day, knows how surprising that is.

“It’s pretty weird,” he said. “I guess it happened for a reason.”

Becker, a lance corporal who was deployed to Iraq last July, served as a machine gunner for his convoy. When it was attacked, his fellow Marines automatically demonstrated their extensive training, he recalls.

“It didn’t register that I had been shot for 30 seconds, because I was focused on my job and making sure everyone was safe,” he said. “Everyone did their job very well. … Everything happened real fast. I stayed calm and did what I could.”

Becker was taken to an area hospital before being transported to a German hospital, and later, back to the United States.

Perhaps karma followed him as he astonished doctors with the rapid improvements to his left arm, wrist and hand, which were severely injured in the fighting.

What’s more is that after months of recovering in military hospitals and undergoing eight surgeries, Alex arrived in Aberdeen last week in time for two very important events.

On Friday, he was baptized at the Aberdeen First Presbyterian Church with his two 6-year-old brothers, Sam Becker and Dominic Becker-Brown. His mother, Stephanie, works as a secretary at the church.

Continuing story of Maj. David Rozelle who lost his right foot in Iraq (famous as seen jogging with President Bush)

WASHINGTON, June 8, 2007 – Army Maj. David Rozelle walked with difficultly up the steep dirt path that cuts through the grass and away from a concrete sidewalk running along the north side of Walter Reed Army Medical Center here.

He apologized for his awkwardness.

"I’m trying on a new foot today," he said. "I like it. But any time you get a new foot, you’ve got to get used to it."

As an armored cavalry troop commander, Rozelle lost his right foot to an anti-tank mine in Iraq in 2003.

Since then, he has been cutting new paths for amputees in the Army. Rozelle is an expert skier, a tri-athlete, and one of the first Iraq war amputees to be deemed fit to return to active duty. Only a little more than a year after losing his foot, Rozelle stepped back in front of an armored cavalry formation as commander and led his troops back to the same battlefield that claimed his foot, almost cost him his Army career, and nearly took his life.

And, as fate would have it, Rozelle later returned to the very medical center that gave him back his foot, his Army career and, for the most part, his life as he enjoyed it before his injury.

Heroic Pilots Land Helicopter After Being Shot

The story details are via Major Juanita Chang, as told by the pilots:

Two veteran pilots, Chief Warrant Officers Leif Neely and Jason Anderson, were sitting in a Command Post (CP) in Iraq one evening in May.

“We were in our command post when we heard that some local Iraqis were reporting that there was a [car bomb] attack. We found it was odd that there was no chatter on the radio, as there usually is when something like this is happening,” recounts Anderson.

The pilots immediately left the CP.

“So, we fly out to check things out and everything appears calm from our view,” Anderson continues. “Then our tactical command center radios us and tells us to go check out two other locations and we do that”

“Then we heard that there were reports that the Iraqi army and Iraqi police were being attacked,” Anderson says unfolding the events as he remembers them.

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