Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
'He's the definition of a hero' — Army captain receives Soldier's Medal for saving man from burning car
It was almost midnight when Army Capt. Travis Johnson was driving home from Fort Bragg last February, and came upon an overturned sedan smoldering on an embankment.
Johnson, a physician assistant assigned to the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, at the time, immediately stopped his car and rushed towards the vehicle, yelling out in case anyone was still inside the ticking time bomb.
There was: an injured man was trapped in the driver's seat, and none of the vehicle's doors would open.
Luckily, Johnson had supplies in his car, including a glass breaking tool and trauma shears. Currently assigned to the 60th Medical Detachment of the North Carolina National Guard, Johnson said in an Army press release that items he keeps the items with him at all times "for any contingency ... the Army trained me that way."
That training paid off. On Wednesday, Johnson was awarded the Soldier's Medal — the Army's highest award for heroism outside of combat — during a ceremony at Fort Bragg's Hall of Heroes for his actions that February night.
Capt. Travis A. Johnson, a native of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and a physician assistant assigned to the 60th Medical Detachment, North Carolina National Guard, received the Soldier's Medal during an awards ceremony at the Hall of Heroes on Fort Bragg, Oct. 9, 2019 (U.S. Army/Spc. Justin W. Stafford)
According to the Army release, Johnson "wailed on the windshield with the tool, but it only cracked the glass," so he began kicking the windshield instead, only to be knocked back by "small explosions" from the damaged vehicle.
When another driver pulled over, and Johnson told her to call for help as he continued to attempt to rescue the man from inside the car.
Finally, Johnson kicked through the windshield and was able to pass the driver the trauma shears to cut himself free while Johnson used the jacket from his fire-retardant uniform to cover his hands and pull the windshield off the vehicle.
Once the man was cut free and the windshield was gone, Johnson pulled him out and away from the car — which, by the time the authorities arrived on the scene, was completely enveloped in flames.
The driver was stable and able to walk, and Johnson told the first responders that he had no serious injuries: "I told them I was fine and I just want to go home and take a nap."
During Johnson's awards ceremony on Wednesday, Maj. Gen. James Mingus, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne, commended Johnson for his bravery and selflessness, saying that he "saved another man's life at his own risk and expected nothing in return."
"He's the definition of a hero," Mingus said.
U.S. Army aviation officials have launched an effort to restore full air assault capability to the 101st Airborne Division — a capability the Screaming Eagles have been without since 2015.
The U.S. military's withdrawal from northeast Syria is looking more like Dunkirk every day.
On Wednesday, the U.S. military had to call in an airstrike on one of its own ammunition dumps in northern Syria because the cargo trucks required to safely remove the ammo are needed elsewhere to support the withdrawal, Task & Purpose has learned.
President Donald Trump belittled his former defense secretary, James Mattis, by characterizing him as the "world's most overrated general," according to a Washington Post report published Wednesday.
The account from numerous officials came during an afternoon closed door meeting with congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Wednesday. In the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer reportedly brought up dissenting views towards the president's decision to withdraw the vast majority of roughly 1,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria.
Retired two-star Navy. Adm. Joe Sestak is the highest ranking — and perhaps, least known — veteran who is trying to clinch the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
Sestak has decades of military experience, but he is not getting nearly as much media attention as fellow veterans Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii). Another veteran, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) has dropped out of the race.
After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.
The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.
But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.