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Army recruiter awarded Distinguished Service Cross for dragging fellow soldiers to safety under enemy fire in Afghanistan
An Army recruiter who previously served as a medic in Afghanistan had his Silver Star upgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross after he saved the lives of three of his fellow soldiers while under enemy fire in Afghanistan in 2008.
Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Waters was injured on July 30, 2008, after an IED "caused massive damage" to the vehicle he and other members of his platoon were occupying at the tim.
According to the Army, then-Spc. Waters "ignored his own injuries and engaged the enemy while dragging three injured soldiers from the vehicle to safety."
While under enemy fire, Waters stabilized the injured soldiers, provided cover for the rest of his platoon, and "continued to engage the enemy while directing the medical evacuation."
"I was a medic, and I did my job taking care of wounded soldiers," he said, per the Army's press release. "I would not have changed anything. Someone had to be in that seat; if it wasn't me, I would be putting someone else in harm's way."
Then-Spc. Gregory Waters with his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan(U.S. Army/Sgt. 1st Class Greg Waters)
Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, the head of Army Recruiting Command, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to Waters on June 5th, saying he was in "the right place at the right time."
"His decision to join the Ary ensured he was right where he needed to be when he was needed," Muth said. "His skills and training enabled him to maintain his composure and get his fellow soldiers to safety that day, saving their lives."
Waters was raised by two Air Force veteran parents, and originally did not plan on joining the service. He ended up enlisting in the Army Reserve in 2003 after needing financial assistance for art school, per the Army. He became an Army recruiter in 2013.
"My dad always told me that if you're going to do something, do it right, and if you tell someone you're going to do something, do it," Waters said. "I told him that I was going to be a good medic, so I did it, and I just applied that to the rest of my life."
SEE ALSO: Soldier Awarded Distinguished Service Cross For Picking Up Live Grenade And Throwing It Back At The Enemy
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The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.
The Air Force is investigating whether an airman smoked weed at a missile alert facility for nuclear Minuteman ICBMs
The Air Force is investigating reports that an airman consumed marijuana while assigned to one of the highly-sensitive missile alert facility (MAF) responsible for overseeing Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.