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Jesse Iwuji Leads A Double Life As A Naval Officer And A NASCAR Driver
Jesse Iwuji is a badass, but you’d never guess it just by talking to him. During the week, the humble Naval lieutenant spends his nine to five as a surface warfare officer, but on the weekends, he moonlights at a second job. But it’s not like some low-key side gig waiting tables or cashiering. Instead, he’s out kicking ass as a driver for NASCAR.
Iwuji grew up in Dallas, Texas, born to Nigerian immigrant parents who pushed him to excel at everything he does.
“I’ve liked cars since I was little,” he told Task & Purpose. “As a kid I used to watch Knight Rider. There’s the car, Kit, and he talks and does all this crazy stuff, so that’s really what got me into cars.”
As he got older, Iwuji got into the Fast & Furious movies, and he kept up with racing and cars. But his athleticism in high school led him in a different direction than the racetrack — to the U.S. Naval Academy as a safety for its football team.
But racing was always on his radar. And while he was still a Midshipman he took his Chrysler 300 out to a drag race in Crofton, Maryland, just for fun. But once he graduated and got his commission in 2010, he bought a Dodge Challenger SRT8.
For a year, he practiced, worked on the car, and served as a football coach at the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. Then, he get orders to go to California.
In 2014, Iwuji participated in the Mojave Mile speed trial in Southern California. In preparing, he upgraded the Challenger's engine to 1,100 horsepower and got the car to run up to 200.9 miles per hour during the race. It was after becoming only the fifth motor parts driver to do it in the race’s history that NASCAR approached him.
“NASCAR was the first door that opened up for me, and I ran with it,” he said. “I haven’t looked back since.”
Now, he races stock cars in its K & N series, which is essentially NASCAR’s version of a minor league. But Iwuji is still active duty and has served to deployments to the Arabian Gulf since commission in 2010.
“I basically have no life outside of this,” he joked. “It’s hard to balance. Every once in awhile I have to take some leave, [but] I like doing the whole military-racecar-driver thing.”
For Iwuji, being in the Navy and racing on the weekends isn’t easy, but he takes it in stride.
“There’s a lot of correlation between the military and racing,” he said. “The biggest thing is both of them can pretty much be looked at as team sports.”
And his Navy superiors are very supportive of his racing career. As a result, though a rookie mostly racing on weekends in 2016, Iwuji managed to finish in the top 10 overall in points for the season out of 59 drivers in the NASCAR K&N; Pro Series West.
In 2017, his active duty career will come to an end, and he will be putting his full efforts into become a world-class driver.
“My big thing now is to continue to train, get better, get faster, get more experience, and bring on board more sponsors,” he said.
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.