Global War on Terror

Restless Hearts by Dennis Baker

Restless Hearts by Dennis Baker

Dennis Baker fictional novel takes the reader into a highly detailed, realistic setting that is invaded by something that breaks the rules of our real-world - five fallen warriors get a chance to return home as they search for closure to their unfinished lives. Using the names of real live heroes who once fought for our country beginning with WWI to the current day, Baker's story takes us to the depths of our emotion of sorrow for those who are gone and joy for the outcome of the choices in their journeys to their past lives. The main character is Pete Baker, a Navy SEAL, and his teammate Lt. Frankie Leonardo, who is killed in Afghanistan. Escorting Frankie's body back to the United States, the plane runs into extremely turbulent weather, causing Pete to get knocked out for the entire 10-hour trip. That's when Frankie reappears and takes Pete on an adventure to Arlington Cemetery, where they meet warriors killed in all of America's wars. From the hundreds gather there, Pete chooses...

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Cpl Valieria Lara, U.S. Marine Corps  (2017-2021)

Cpl Valieria Lara, U.S. Marine Corps (2017-2021)

Who or what influenced your decision to join the military? Which service branch did you select, and what do you remember most about joining up?:

I guess you could say the American Dream is what influenced me to join the military. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants, I experienced my parents building a dream for themselves that came true. They came to the United States with really nothing but hunger to better their lives for themselves and their children. I saw all these opportunities that were granted to my family to achieve this dream solely because they were on American soil.

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Sgt Ramon Aguilar, U.S. Army (1999-2007)

Sgt Ramon Aguilar, U.S. Army (1999-2007)

Who or what influenced your decision to join the military? Which service branch did you select, and what do you remember most about joining up?:

What influenced me to enlist in the active army was the overwhelming urge to escape the abusive and toxic home environment I was in. I figured that there was nothing worse than the physical abuse I was receiving from my dad and constantly being called worthless, a loser, or a piece of sh* by my mother. Due to the constant physical and psychological abuse, I had a very low self-esteem, and self-worth and no clear sense of self-identity.”

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HM2 Neath Williams, U.S. Navy (1999-2022)

HM2 Neath Williams, U.S. Navy (1999-2022)

Who or what influenced your decision to join the military? Which service branch did you select, and what do you remember most about joining up?:

You did what? Why?” That’s the question I got from my family and friends. I don’t think I had a simple answer for them at the time. I don’t think anyone who knew me in high school expected me to join the military. I don’t remember considering it an option; then again, I swam competitively 4 days a week at the local university and never considered going to college there. I just wasn’t a kid with a lot of foresight, especially in high school. I was coming up on graduation in 1999, and I knew I was expected to do something, but what that was, I wasn’t sure. I’ll never forget the day the recruiters started showing up in our cafeteria. Their uniforms pressed perfectly, their size, posture, tattoos, and overall confidence. They would always hand out stress balls or little nylon backpacks, and if you stopped and chatted with them for a bit, you might score a t-shirt or ball cap emblazoned with “Let the Journey begin,” GO NAVY or USMC or ARMY. Now, I can’t speak for the other kids in my class, but I didn’t have ties to the military. I had no idea about the differences between the Navy and the Marine Corps, let alone any of the other branches. With over 20 years of military service on my resume, now, I’d like to tell you that I did some research or deep soul-searching to make a decision about which branch to join. Still, if I’m being honest, the Navy recruiter was the coolest and most persistent out of them all, so I chose to let the journey begin and begin it did!

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MSgt Kevin Nichols, U.S. Air Force (1996-2017)

MSgt Kevin Nichols, U.S. Air Force (1996-2017)

Who or what influenced your decision to join the military? Which service branch did you select, and what do you remember most about joining up?:

It wasn’t that my oldest brother was a Marine or that another brother was a Sailor. It wasn’t that my Dad always talked about his DOD sanctioned school as a child during the Manhattan Project days.

That’s not why I joined; that actually influenced me NOT to join. After several calls from Marine recruiters who knew “Gunny Nichols,” I’d tell them I was going to college to make something of myself…so I did.”

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Iraq War – The Siege of Sadr City

Iraq War – The Siege of Sadr City

On Mar. 28, 2004, Paul Bremer, administrator of the American-led Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq, ordered the closure of al-Hawza, an Arabic-language newspaper that was a sounding board for the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.  Bremer shut down the weekly paper because he believed it encouraged violence against U.S. troops in Iraq. It was only supposed to last 60 days, but the action would spark a series of events that led to a four-year siege and a series of battles between Coalition forces and al-Sadr's Mahdi Army. On April 3, 2004, Bremer ordered the arrest of Mustafa Yaqoubi, one of al-Sadr's senior advisors. An estimated 15,000 Iraqis took to the streets to demand his release. Demonstrators claimed that Spanish and El Salvadoran troops opened fire on them as they gathered, and the protest took a violent turn.  In response, al-Sadr ordered his Shia militia, the Mahdi Army, to take control of the Iraqi police stations in Najaf, Kufa, and Karbala but especially in...

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Baghdad Underground Railroad by Steve Miska

Baghdad Underground Railroad by Steve Miska

In 2007, Iraq was mired in a nearly country-wide civil war. The United States military needed Iraqis to help them quell the violence between Sunni and Shia militias who were tearing the country apart and ambushing American troops.  Bodies were turning up in the streets overnight, IEDs were a constant threat to U.S. forces, and innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire. Thousands of Iraqis, most with no military training, risked their lives to be interpreters for American military units throughout the country.  Their services proved invaluable in the years to come, and they became part of the “family” of the American men and women with whom they served. At home, however, they and their close relatives faced violence, death threats, and other reprisals for aiding the United States. Death Squads roamed the streets and raided homes to find, intimidate and kill Iraqi interpreters.  To incentivize Iraqis to continue their service, Congress authorized special visas for...

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Famous Military Unit: American Forces Network (AFRTS)

Famous Military Unit: American Forces Network (AFRTS)

In 1984, the first commercially available DynaTAC audio-only cell phone cost just short of $4,000, with each call billed at 45 cents per minute. Forty years later, anyone in uniform accesses audio-visual news from thousands of sources using a personal cell phone throughout the world, wherever a signal and transmission tower can reach. Yet, for eighty years, the most reliable military broadcast remains the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). AFN Was Founded in 1942 as the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) In 1942 the War Department established the ARMED FORCES RADIO SERVICE (AFRS), followed in 1954 by its first television detachment at Limestone AFB, Maine. American Forces Network global operations are now headquartered at Fort Meade, MD, and emanate from AFN BROADCAST/DEFENSE MEDIA CENTER in Riverside, CA. The modern network was founded in London and later moved to France. Always tying us together has been news from home whether we are assigned to a Tender at sea or an...

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“Let’s Roll” Todd Beamer – Hero of UA Flight 93

“Let’s Roll” Todd Beamer – Hero of UA Flight 93

The years since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have seen a lot of changes in the cultural fabric of the United States and in the armed forces. With the 20-year anniversary of that tragic day, it’s important for us to look back and remember some of the heroes that emerged from the ashes of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93. One of those heroes was a civilian named Todd Beamer. Beamer died when United 93 crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. But his memory carried on, giving the U.S. military, American police officers, and firefighters around the world a new battle cry: "Let’s Roll." In many ways, 32-year-old Todd Beamer was the quintessential American. He was born in Michigan to middle-class parents who moved around the country wherever their work took the family. He was a Christian and an athlete who studied business in college. When he graduated, he got a good job with a major corporation and taught Sunday school in his spare time.  On Sept. 11,...

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