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American Heroes

How a soldier’s tattoo came true

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sacrifice 1 - How a soldier's tattoo came true
Laura Rauch / © Stars and Stripes

Tattoos are as old as war. Lots of soldiers get them, with military motifs, girlfriend’s names, or various guns, skulls or dragons adorning their skin. Some get something less ornate. Private First Class Kyle Hockenberry had For those I love I will sacrifice stitched into his flesh. He had no idea how prescient he was.

A member of the 1st Infantry Division, Hockenberry’s world changed June 15, 2011. He was on a foot patrol just outside Haji Ramuddin, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated nearby. In this photograph, by Laura Rauch for the military’s Stars and Stripes newspaper, flight medic Corporal Amanda Mosher is tending to Hockenberry’s wounds aboard a medevac helicopter minutes after the explosion.

Kyle Hockenberry, 19, lost both legs and his left arm in the blast.

He joined the service October 2010 only four months after graduating from Frontier High School outside Marietta, Ohio. A member of the National Honor Society, he loves motorcycles and hunting. After completing basic training, he returned home and spoke to local schoolchildren about the military. He shipped out to Afghanistan in February for a year-long tour with the 4th Squadron, 4th Cavalry Infantry Regiment, 1st Heavy Combat Brigade, from Fort Riley, Kansas.

After the blast, Hockenberry traveled from Afghanistan to Germany to San Antonio in nine days, where he is undergoing additional surgeries and rehabilitation. “Kyle is doing very well,” his mother, Kathy, told Battleland on Thursday. “He continues to do rehab. Hopefully soon will start working for his prosthetics. He is still in the hospital, not sure for how long.” She praises the “truly amazing” staff at the Brooke Army Medical Center. The family keeps relatives, friends and strangers apprised of Kyle’s progress on the Praying for Kyle Hockenberry Facebook page. “He can not wait to get out of the hospital,” Kathy posted Monday. “He is eating everything that don’t eat him first. Haha. Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers. Just keep them coming.”

Hockenberry’s uncle, Jim Hall, told the Marietta Times last month that doctors have sought to preserve Hockenberry’s tattoo as they conduct multiple surgeries and skin grafts around it. “His tattoo really sums it all up,” Hall said. “He really doesn’t like the word ‘hero.’ So we call him – he’s our miracle.”

Source: TIME

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American Heroes

Robert J. Reeves

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robert j reeves - Robert J. Reeves

Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves died on August 6, 2011 in helicopter crash. He served during Operation Enduring Freedom. He became a SEAL in December, 1999 and December of 1999 and immediately serve with SEAL Team 3. Later, the path led him to the SEAL Team 6. His death was later become publicly known as part of “Extortion 17”.

“Extortion 17” is a name etched in our minds as one of the worst losses our military has ever experienced. Thirty Americans perished in the blink of an eye, half of which comprised an entire ‘troop’ from SEAL Team 6’s Gold Squadron. Senior Chief Robert James Reeves was one of those Americans.

He would go on to cheat death on numerous occasions, both in combat and in peacetime. One of those occasions took place while on a six-month training deployment to the island of Guam in 2003. Rob and a few other SEALs were out celebrating Christmas at a local bar when they got into an altercation with two men. After leaving, the two men followed the SEALs and opened fire at their taxi from their own vehicle. Rob was struck in the back of the neck and a second SEAL was shot in the head. He would go on to make a full recovery.

A couple of months after being shot, Rob would go to Virginia to attend selection and training (S&T) for entrance into the famed counter-terrorism unit, SEAL Team 6/DEVGRU. He successfully completed the selection process in late 2004 and was subsequently assigned to Gold Squadron where he would serve honorably for the next seven years as an assaulter and later, sniper.

Died with childhood friend in helo crash

Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves and Lt. Cmdr. Jonas Kelsall had been childhood friends in Shreveport, La., where they played soccer together and graduated from Caddo Magnet High School, Kelsall’s father, John, told The Times of Shreveport and KLSA-TV.

Both joined the military after graduation, though the 32-year-old Reeves spent a year at Louisiana State University first, his father, Jim Reeves, told The Times.

Decorations

In his 13 years of service, eleven of which were spent as an active-duty SEAL, Rob would deploy over a dozen times, earn the rank of E-8, and earn countless achievement medal.

His decorations include include four Bronze Star Medals with ‘V’ device for valor, Joint Service Commendation Medal with ‘V’ device for valor, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with ‘V’ device for valor, Combat Action Ribbon, two Presidential Unit Citations, three Navy Good Conduct Medals, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy Expert Rifleman Medal and Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal.

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American Heroes

Green Beret Medic received Medal of Honor

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ronald j shurer II - Green Beret Medic received Medal of Honor

An Army Special Forces soldier will receive the Medal of Honor for fighting through an enemy ambush and saving his teammates’ lives 10 years ago in Afghanistan, the White House announced in late September.

Former Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II, who had already received a Silver Star for his actions, was honored with the nation’s highest award for valor by President Donald Trump during an Oct. 1 ceremony at the White House. Shurer served as a Special Forces medic with 3rd Special Forces Group.

Ronald J. Shurer II was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Dec. 7, 1978. The son of airmen, Shurer lived in Illinois and Idaho before his family was stationed at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. Shurer attended Rogers High School in Puyallup, Washington, where he was a member of the swim team and participated in triathlons and cycling.

Following his high school graduation in 1997, Shurer attended Washington State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics. Later that year, he enrolled in a master’s degree program at Washington State.

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Shurer was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, grandfather and parents by serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Shurer entered the U.S. Army in 2002 and was assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Area Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Command, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In January 2004, he entered Special Forces selection and reported to the Special Forces Qualification Course in June. After donning his green beret, Shurer was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group in June 2006. Shurer deployed to Afghanistan from August 2006 to March 2007, and again from October 2007 to May 2008.

On April 6, 2008, Shurer and his team were assigned to take out high-value targets of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in Shok Valley, according to the Army.

In a moment of the above-mentioned action, he was a Senior Medical Sergeant, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Then-Staff Sergeant Shurer and his team were engaged by enemy machine gun, sniper, and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The lead portion of the assault element sustained several casualties and became pinned down on the mountainside. Then-Staff Sergeant Shurer braved enemy fire to treat an injured Soldier. After stabilizing the Soldier, he fought his way across a barrage of bullets and up the mountain to the lead element.

Once there, he treated and stabilized four more Soldiers. After treating the wounded, then-Staff Sergeant Shurer began evacuating them, carrying and lowering the casualties down the mountainside, using his body to shield them from enemy fire and debris. After he loaded the wounded in the evacuation helicopter, he retook control of his commando squad and rejoined the fight. Then-Staff Sergeant Shurer’s heroic actions saved the lives of his teammates.

Today, he lives in Burke, Virginia, with his wife and two sons. After Army career, he went on to serve with the Secret Service, working as a special agent assigned to the Phoenix Field Office before being selected for the agency’s Counter Assault Team and assigned to its Special Operations Division.

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