Marine Rescues Elderly Vet Stranded On A Seattle Mountain

Community

What started out as a day of mountain climbing at the Boston Basin Trailhead a few hours northeast of Seattle, Washington, turned into a rescue mission on a winding trail in the dark.


On Sept. 10, Marine Capt. Nick Anthony and his friends Colin Ayers, Melanie Stam, and Ben Stilin set off in the early morning to summit the 8,500-foot high Sahale mountain, according to a Marine Corps news release. Anthony currently serves as the executive officer at Marine Corps Recruiting Station Seattle, Washington.

After reaching 7,900 feet in elevation, poor visibility forced the climbers to find an alternate route, so they backtracked 1,000 feet down, then 600 feet back up over the course of four hours to another trail.

Colin Ayers (right), Melanie Stam (center) and Ben Stilin escape whiteout conditions on the Quien Sabe Glacier in North Cascades National Park, Washington, Sept. 10, 2016.Photo courtesy of Capt. Nick Anthony

That’s where they came across Catherine Mitchell, a content project manager for Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, who flagged the hikers down. Mitchell was on a 7.4-mile trek through nearby Cascade Pass with two others, Norman Petty and his wife Barbara, when Petty’s breathing became labored and his legs began to give out.

Already 12 hours into their climb, Anthony and the others were exhausted, but they quickly followed Mitchell and after talking with Petty, a 77-year old Army veteran, they found out that he has Parkinson’s disease and had forgotten to take his medication that morning.

Fortunately, Anthony was both an experienced climber and had just returned from wilderness survival training. He quickly took stock of the group’s supplies and made sure Petty had a chance to eat and rest, but they had to move quickly — it was beginning to get dark.

Related: These Marines In Their Dress Blues Chased Down 3 Suspected Thieves »

Stilin went ahead to find a park ranger as Anthony and Ayers worked together to build a support system using trekking poles, jackets and gloves.

“Their ingenuity, creativity and perseverance was incredible,” said Petty of Anthony and Ayers. “I was worried I might fall off the cliff, but they took hold of the available materials and prevented that.”

Petty was able to take some of the pressure off his legs by draping his arms over the poles as they began to make their way down, but it was slow-going. Every 50 meters Petty would need to stop and catch his breath. After three miles of switchbacks over three hours, it was nearing 9 p.m. and getting cold.

The pass was becoming too narrow and their progress too slow, so the group stopped and set about building a makeshift litter to carry Petty. Fortunately, a larger group of hikers came down the trail, and together fashioned a litter from a hammock and a mix of climbing gear. Emboldened and with reinforcements, they continued on their way and by 10 p.m. reached the trailhead.

Petty was evaluated and treated, then released to his wife and headed home, thanks to the efforts of Anthony and his fellow climbers.

“This was a life-changing event,” Petty said. “We were so fortunate to encounter Washingtonians who, without any hesitation, decided to help us get down the mountain. They were giving, caring people and weren’t looking for accolades. Their reward was in successfully working together to bring all of us back safely.”

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Reece Lodder
(Photo: CNN/screenshot)

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — A Navy SEAL sniper on Wednesday contradicted earlier testimony of fellow SEALs who claimed he had fired warning shots to scare away civilian non-combatants before Chief Eddie Gallagher shot them during their 2017 deployment to Mosul, and said he would not want to deploy again with one of the prosecution's star witnesses.

Special Operator 1st Class Joshua Graffam originally invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege before Navy Judge Capt. Aaron Rugh gave him immunity in order to compel his testimony.

Graffam testified that Gallagher was essentially justified in the shooting of a man he is accused of unlawfully targeting, stating that "based off everything i had seen so far ... in my opinion, they were two shitheads moving from one side of the road to the other."

Spotting for Gallagher in the tower that day, Graffam said, he called out the target to him and he fired. He said the man was hit in the upper torso and ran away.

Graffam, who joined the Navy in 2010 and has been assigned to SEAL Team 7's Alpha Platoon since September 2015, deployed alongside Gallagher to Mosul in 2017, occasionally acting as a spotter for Gallagher when the SEALs were tasked with providing sniper support for Iraqi forces from two towers east of the Tigris River.

Another SEAL, Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Dalton Tolbert, had previously testified under direct examination by prosecutors that, while stationed in the south tower of a bombed-out building in June 2017, he had observed Gallagher shoot and kill an elderly civilian.

"He ran north to south across the road," Tolbert testified on Friday. "That's when I saw the red mark on his back and I saw him fall for the first time. Blood started to pool and I knew it was a square hit in the back." Over the radio, he said he heard Gallagher tell the other snipers, "you guys missed him but I got him."

Former SO1 Dylan Dille, who was also in the south tower that day, testified last week that he watched an old man die from a sniper shot on Father's Day. He said the date stuck out in his mind because he thought the man was probably a father.

Later that day, after the mission, Graffam said he spoke with Dille about the shooting and they disagreed about the circumstances. Dille, he said, believed the man was a noncombatant.

"I, on the other hand, was confident that the right shot was taken," Graffam said, although he said later under cross-examination that the man was unarmed. Dille previously testified that the SEALs were authorized to shoot unarmed personnel if they first received signals intelligence or other targeting information.

Photo: Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

Graffam described the man as a male between 40 and 50 years old wearing black clothing, giving him the impression of an ISIS fighter who was moving in a "tactical" manner. He testified that he did not see anything like Dille had described.

Graffam further testified that he didn't see Gallagher take any shots that he shouldn't have on that day or any other.

Although Graffam said he did not hear of allegations that Gallagher had stabbed a wounded ISIS fighter on deployment, he testified that he started to hear rumblings in early 2018. Chief Craig Miller, he said, asked him at one point whether he would "cooperate" with others in reporting him.

When asked whether he would like to serve with Miller again in a SEAL platoon, Graffam said, "I don't feel as confident about it." A member of the jury later asked him why he'd feel uncomfortable deploying with Miller and he responded, "I just wouldn't."

Graffam said he would serve with Gallagher again if given the chance.

Under cross examination by prosecutors, Graffam said he couldn't say whether there were warning shots fired that day, though Dille and Tolbert both said happened. "There were multiple shots throughout the day," Graffam said.

Prosecutors also asked him about his previous statements to NCIS, in which Graffam said of Miller that "he has good character" and was "a good guy." Graffam confirmed he said just that.

Defense attorney Tim Parlatore, however, said those statements were back in January and "a lot had happened since then." Parlatore said Graffam had also said at the time that Gallagher was a good leader.

"That part remains unchanged, correct?" Parlatore asked.

"Yes," Graffam said.

The defense is expected to call more witnesses in the case, which continues on Thursday.

(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexi Myrick)

The U.S. military is seeing an increase in sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in part due to dating apps, according to the Military Health System.

"There appears to be an increase in high-risk behaviors among service members; that is, having sex without a condom or having more than one sexual partner," Air Force physician Maj. Dianne Frankel said in a news release.

Read More Show Less

Three Marines killed in a December plane crash are finally coming home.

Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Hercules and one Marine on an F/A-18 Hornet were killed when both planes went down about 200 miles off the Japanese coast.

A recent salvage operation of the KC-130J crash site recovered the remains of three of the Marines, who were later identified, Corps officials said.

Read More Show Less
(YouTube via Air Force Times)

Editor's Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Air Force is investigating an airman after he posted a video on YouTube rife with homophobic slurs and insults.

A man in an Air Force uniform, identified only by the YouTube username "Baptist Dave 1611" ranted in a recent video, calling gay people "sodomites," "vermin scum," and "roaches" among other slurs, according to Air Force Times, which first reported the story Wednesday.

"The specifics of the situation are being reviewed by the airman's command team," said service spokesman Maj Nick Mercurio, confirming the incident. Mercurio did not provide any identifying details about the airman.

Read More Show Less

Two U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, defense officials have announced.

Operation Resolute Support issued a terse news release announcing the latest casualties that did not include any information about the circumstances of their deaths.

Read More Show Less