Global War on Terror

Service Reflections of SMSGT Arnold Guiao, U.S. Air Force (1991-2014)

Service Reflections of SMSGT Arnold Guiao, U.S. Air Force (1991-2014)

PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS The following Reflections represents SMSGT Arnold Guiao's legacy of his military service from 1991 to 2014. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life. Start recording your own Military Memories HERE. Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Air Force. 3703 BMTS FLT 006 OUTSTANDING FLIGHT LACKLAND AFB When I was young, I had a chance to attend UC Davis, but my brother requested if I could go to a college near San Francisco. The reason for that was my brother needed me to help in babysitting my two nieces. Eventually, I lost...

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The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost is the heartbreaking and inspiring story of one of America's deadliest battles during the war in Afghanistan, acclaimed by critics everywhere as a classic. At 5:58 AM on October 3rd, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating, located in frighteningly vulnerable terrain in Afghanistan just 14 miles from the Pakistani border, was viciously attacked. Though the 53 Americans there prevailed against 40 Taliban fighters, their casualties made it the deadliest fight of the war for the fight for the U.S. that year.  Four months after the battle, a Pentagon review revealed that there was no reason for the troops at Keating to have been there in the first place. In The Outpost, Jake Taber gives us the powerful saga of COP Keating, from its establishment to eventual destructions, introducing us to an unforgettable cast of soldiers and their families and to a place and war that has remained profoundly distant to most Americans. Reviews of The Outpost "The Outpost is a mind-boggling,...

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Service Reflections of MAJ James C Camel, U.S. Army (1987-2006)

Service Reflections of MAJ James C Camel, U.S. Army (1987-2006)

PRESERVING A MILITARY LEGACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS The following Reflections represents MAJ James C Camel's legacy of his military service from 1987 to 2006. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The following Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life. Start recording your own Military Memories HERE. Please describe who or what influenced your decision to join the Army. Photo before Officer Candidate School Board Early in life, I was always drawn to superheroes and men wearing military uniforms. One of my favorite television shows growing up was the G.I. Joe cartoon. My imagination grew from watching soldiers in action. It was the best...

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Service Reflections of SSG Wasim Khan, U.S. Army (1998-2010)

Service Reflections of SSG Wasim Khan, U.S. Army (1998-2010)

As a kid, I always liked the military. As a young kid, I wanted to join the Navy. When I got to high school, we had Army JROTC, and my interest changed to Army or Marines. My dad, who was in the Army, convinced me that the Army was the way to go because it was bigger and promoted faster. He was a tanker and tried to steer me to armor. I wanted to be an airborne ranger, and my dad said whatever you do, ensure you get what you want in your contract. When I went to the recruiter, I scored very high on the ASVAB. The career counselor told me that he didn’t have airborne infantry available. He said the only thing with airborne was the 31C Radio Operator, probably because of the high GT. I believed him and felt good about getting guaranteed airborne. It first took me to the 82nd, and as soon as I got there, I started applying for a Ranger assignment because I got put in the Engineer Battalion, and it wasn’t what I wanted. After a year and a half, I got my wish and orders for Ranger Indoctrination and the 2nd Ranger Battalion.

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HM3 Johnathan Loper, U.S. Navy (2010-2016)

HM3 Johnathan Loper, U.S. Navy (2010-2016)

What was the biggest personal challenge that you encountered during your military service? How did you approach and overcome this?:

As a Navy Ceremonial Guard Casket Bearer, we did 6 funerals daily, 5 days a week in Arlington National Cemetery. However, one funeral in particular was very tough. Everything seemed normal. The car pulled up to the chapel; I removed the urn from the back seat and carried it past the seated family to the front of the chapel. I placed the urn on the small table and made my way out and down to the basement, where we usually waited for the family to speak and pay their final respects upstairs.

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1SG Randy Taylor, U.S. Army (2002-2023)

1SG Randy Taylor, U.S. Army (2002-2023)

What was the biggest personal challenge that you encountered during your military service? How did you approach and overcome this?:

In 2006, I deployed to Iraq for my second 12-month tour, this time to Baghdad. I had previously been deployed to this theater in 2003 during the Initial Invasion but in Kirkuk. This time, my deployment experience has drastically changed with the counterinsurgency agenda, operating during the surge within a Sunni and Shia Faultline, as well as pinned up against the developing/ evolving use of IEDs and ambush techniques. Every patrol, either mounted or dismounted, would prove to be a gamble of committed forward movement within the muhallahs. Every Platoon operating within the Area of Operations was in tune with each other and shared in the concern and worry for elements leaving and entering FOB Falcon. Platoons and Sections on a mission would be met and sent off at the gates with supportive encouragement, and a couple of cigarettes as final pre-combat checks were being completed. I was a squad leader during this deployment and shouldered the safety and leadership of my M1114 truck crew, which included 1 gunner, 1 driver, and 2 dismounts.

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Service Reflections of 1SG Sean Hayes, U.S. Army (1984-2010)

Service Reflections of 1SG Sean Hayes, U.S. Army (1984-2010)

As a kid, I always liked the military. As a young kid, I wanted to join the Navy. When I got to high school, we had Army JROTC, and my interest changed to Army or Marines. My dad, who was in the Army, convinced me that the Army was the way to go because it was bigger and promoted faster. He was a tanker and tried to steer me to armor. I wanted to be an airborne ranger, and my dad said whatever you do, ensure you get what you want in your contract. When I went to the recruiter, I scored very high on the ASVAB. The career counselor told me that he didn’t have airborne infantry available. He said the only thing with airborne was the 31C Radio Operator, probably because of the high GT. I believed him and felt good about getting guaranteed airborne. It first took me to the 82nd, and as soon as I got there, I started applying for a Ranger assignment because I got put in the Engineer Battalion, and it wasn’t what I wanted. After a year and a half, I got my wish and orders for Ranger Indoctrination and the 2nd Ranger Battalion.

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Service Reflections of CPL Dan Olson,  U.S. Marine Corps (2009-2013)

Service Reflections of CPL Dan Olson, U.S. Marine Corps (2009-2013)

As a child, I always wanted to be a Marine and spent many hours watching movies and playing “war” with friends in the backyard wearing surplus WWII, Korea, and Vietnam apparel and gear given to me by my “uncle” Jr. The late 90s, while I was in high school, was a relative time of peace, and the few people I did see joining the military were doing it for college money, which, while making sense to me, also kind of soured the idea for me. In my senior year in 2000, the Army National Guard ran a recruiting event in the quad area at lunch, and a friend and I added our names to a list to get more information; my mother always told me that the military would brainwash me and that I was flat-footed and wouldn’t be accepted anyway (I’m not flat-footed) and when that Army Sgt called the house I heard my mother quickly give him a piece of her mind and then abruptly hang up on him, and that was the end of that, I wasn’t fully committed to the idea myself and had apprehensions and concerns about whether I’d be up to military life and honestly was unsure that I even had what it takes to make it through boot camp. After high school, I worked for my family, got engaged, and took out a loan for my first home. Then September 11th happened. I was angry, and silly as it may sound, I was filled with guilt as I saw on the news the brave men and women my age who answered the call to service both before and during this unprecedented time in our country. Still, I had obligations here at home and continued on my current course at the time. Years passed, and I grew older and feared that my youth would quickly pass me by. Then, the economic recession of 2008 hit.

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Service Reflections of CAPT Gary Bruce, U.S. Coast Guard (1979-2015)

Service Reflections of CAPT Gary Bruce, U.S. Coast Guard (1979-2015)

I was 18, having just finished a semester of junior college, and just had no clue where I wanted to go in life. My girlfriend broke up with me, so I thought I would join the Marines. But my cousin, who was already a USMC Captain, aviator, and Vietnam veteran, talked to me. He said, “If you join the Marine Corps, I’ll kick your a@#.” Then he laughed and said, “Look, you’d be a fine Marine, but join the Coast Guard or Air Force. They treat their people better.” Having grown up in Florida, being around water and boats all my life, I went to the CG recruiting office in Orlando, FL, where SS1 Gravett signed me up.

PS That girl that broke up with me married me four years later. We’ve been married for over 40 years now. Blessed.

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Four-Legged Military Hero – MWD Lucca

Four-Legged Military Hero – MWD Lucca

During the long war in Iraq and Afghanistan, coalition forces relied on thousands of military working dogs to help keep them safe by detecting explosives, finding illegal drugs, searching for missing comrades, or targeting enemy combatants. Dozen died in the line of duty. Others struggle with wounds and post-traumatic stress. Many have earned recognition for heroism. Among the heroes is Lucca, a highly skilled German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix trained to sniff out explosives and protect the combat Marines and Special Forces she served.  Lucca is the Most Legendary Military Working Dogs Lucca and her military dog handler Marine Staff Sgt. Chris Willingham were together on two combat tours in Iraq. Later Lucca would have an Afghanistan tour with her new dog handler, Marine Corporal Juan Rodriguez.  According to the Military Working Dog Team Support Association, Inc. Lucca is among the most legendary military working dogs. Through almost six years of military service, Lucca...

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SGT Zach Pierce, U.S. Army (2002-2008)

SGT Zach Pierce, U.S. Army (2002-2008)

List the names of old friends you served with, at which locations, and recount what you remember most about them?:

Sgt Forrest Dane Cauthorn: 2/27 Wolfhounds, 25th Infantry; 2004-2007. KIA Iraq 4 Apr 2007. Dane was a lovable teddy bear whose enthusiasm for life was betrayed by his stoic nature. He never yelled; he always related to his soldiers. He was an awesome infantryman but never tried to be a hero or be the most tactically sound person. But he was so good at his job. Dane was never willfully the center of attention, but his presence was always top of mind, and he was always heard. Dane was generally quiet but always had some relatable insight or zinger to send home. He was what kept his father sane and grounded and will be sorely missed until the end of time.

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SrA Diarra McCormick, U.S. Air Force (2011-2015)

SrA Diarra McCormick, U.S. Air Force (2011-2015)

List the names of old friends you served with, at which locations, and recount what you remember most about them?:

Unbreakable Bonds From Basic Military Training. It amazes me how basic training, hair, food, and running sparked friendships and a long-lasting sisterhood in arms, like the Energizer bunny. I served with Trainee Earleen Aranda and Trainee Sheri Lee Edwards at Lackland Air Force Base for Basic Military Training in 2011. These women had my back no matter what obstacles we faced. I have fond memories of them both.

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