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'I never thought I'd hear gunfire again' — Iraq War veteran recounts moment he rushed synagogue shooter
Oscar Stewart, a 51-year-old Iraq War veteran, was standing at the back of the room when shots rang out during a Torah reading service at the Chabad of Poway on Saturday. His actions, described by San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore as an "act of courage," resulted in the shooter fleeing the scene before more damage was done.
At about 11:20 a.m., a 19-year-old man armed with an AR-15-style rifle entered the synagogue where worshipers had gathered for the end of Passover. He started shooting.
Before it was over, four people had been injured — one fatally — in what authorities are investigating as a hate crime.
According to Stewart, when the shooting began, most of the congregation got up and started to run to safety. But, for reasons he could not explain, Stewart ran the other way — toward the gunfire.
"I don't know why I did it," Stewart said Sunday. "I really wasn't thinking. I knew I had to do something. That situation, you're not really thinking — you're just reacting."
Stewart said he ran into the foyer of the building and came face-to-face with the gunman. He recalled thinking the man with the gun looked "young" and "innocent."
"I knew I had to close the distance between myself and him," Stewart said. "In my subconscious, I knew what I had to do."
When he was about five steps away from the shooter, Stewart screamed as loud as he could. He said that seemed to startle the gunman, who had been looking down at his rifle.
The young man looked up, let go of his weapon, turned and ran through the exit, Stewart said, the weapon dangling from the shooter's sling as he fled.
"He turned and I chased him out of the synagogue," Stewart said.
The gunman made it to his car, with Stewart right behind him. Stewart said he was punching the outside of the vehicle when he heard another voice, a Border Patrol agent who was at the synagogue, tell Stewart to move out of the way.
"He said, 'Clear back, I have a gun,'" Stewart said. "He fired five rounds or so into the car."
The suspect drove off and was apprehended a short time later.
Stewart said he couldn't explain why he did what he did, but said his military experience guided his actions. He once worked as a bomb disposal tech in the Navy, he said. He got out, then joined the Army after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I served in Iraq," he said. "I never thought I'd hear gunfire again."
Steward said he was in Iraq from March 2003 to April 2004.
Gore commented on Stewart's actions in a statement Sunday.
"Mr. Stewart risked his life to stop the shooter and saved lives in the process," the sheriff said.
Stewart said he didn't sleep well Saturday night because he can't stop thinking about the situation.
"I hope people understand that if we understand each other, things like this won't happen," Stewart said. "We gotta work on that, I think."
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Army study recommends more sleep for recruits at basic, which drill sergeants will absolutely not disregard or anything
(Reuters Health) - Soldiers who experience sleep problems during basic combat training may be more likely to struggle with psychological distress, attention difficulties, and anger issues during their entry into the military, a recent study suggests.
"These results show that it would probably be useful to check in with new soldiers over time because sleep problems can be a signal that a soldier is encountering difficulties," said Amanda Adrian, lead author of the study and a research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"Addressing sleep problems early on should help set soldiers up for success as they transition into their next unit of assignment," she said by email.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
The US military now has to ask the Iraqis for permission before giving close air support to troops in combat
U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.
However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.