46 Medal of Honor recipients came together for a hockey game, and this badass photo was the result

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VIDEO: Meet Staff Sgt. David Bellavia, the only living Iraq War veteran to receive the Medal of Honor

Nothing will make your heart soar like hearing the "The Star-Spangled Banner" ring out at a sporting event, so when 46 living Medal of Honor recipients descended upon the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida for a puck drop at a recent hockey game, we're guessing it probably felt a million bald eagles screaming "America!" all at once.


On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning hosted 46 of the nation's 70 living Medal of Honor recipients at the team's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The attendees included nine veterans from the Global War on Terrorism, 34 from Vietnam, two from the Korean War, and WWII veteran, Cpl. Hershel "Woody" Williams, one of the oldest living recipients of the country's highest award for valor. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, Williams repeatedly assaulted Japanese bunkers and fighting positions armed with a flamethrower and demolition charges in order to clear the way for Marines who remained pinned down under brutal enemy fire.

To mark the start of the game, Williams — joined by his fellow recipients, sporting matching Lightning jerseys — conducted the ceremonial puck drop:

"What these gentlemen have accomplished and what they've given to our country is unbelievable," Lightning's owner Jeff Vinik told the Tampa Bay Times. "This isn't just the Lightning and Amalie Arena hosting these heroes here. This is the entire community who's made them feel at home."

In a previous interview with Task & Purpose, Williams recounted how he fought the enemy at point-blank range as a 21-year-old Marine corporal, facing bayonet charges from Japanese soldiers and machine gun fire from enemy pillboxes.

Despite his heroism, Williams said that he'd make one change to his award citation: That he "went forward alone."

"Number one, I was not alone," Williams said. "Number two, if it hadn't been for the Marines supporting me, shooting at the Japanese in order to keep them from being able to shoot me, and killing some of the Japanese that were shooting at me, I have no assurance that I would be here."

"This medal does not belong to me. I wear it in honor of those Marines who gave their life protecting mine," he added. "I do it for them. Without them I could not have achieved what I did. I don't do it for me."

It didn't take long for a central theme to emerge at the funeral of U.S. Marine Pfc. Joseph Livermore, an event attended by hundreds of area residents Friday at Union Cemetery in Bakersfield.

It's a theme that stems from a widespread local belief that the men and women who have served in the nation's armed forces are held in particularly high esteem here in the southern valley.

"In Bakersfield and Kern County, we celebrate our veterans like no place else on Earth," Bakersfield Chief of Police Lyle Martin told the gathering of mourners.

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An Air Force Special Tactics combat controller that "delivered thousands of pounds of munition" during a close-range 2007 firefight in Afghanistan was awarded the Silver Star on Friday.

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ROCKFORD — Delta Force sniper Sgt. First Class James P. McMahon's face was so badly battered and cut, "he looked like he was wearing a fright mask" as he stood atop a downed Black Hawk helicopter and pulled free the body of a fellow soldier from the wreckage.

That's the first description of McMahon in the book by journalist Mark Bowden called "Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War." It is a detailed account of the horrific Battle of the Black Sea fought in the streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993. It claimed the lives of 18 elite American soldiers.

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The July arrests of 16 Camp Pendleton Marines in front of their 800-person battalion was unlawful and a violation of their rights, a Marine Corps judge ruled Friday.

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Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.

"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.

"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."

The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.

On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.

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