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Meet The Navy Reservist Going The Distance At NASCAR In Daytona
The skills that Navy Reserve Lt. Jesse E. Iwuji learned during his time at the U.S. Naval Academy and on active duty in became critical when he decided to pursue his true passion: becoming a professional NASCAR driver.
“When it comes to focus, teamwork, also just being able to make big decisions in high-stress environments, I think that’s where it really helps and comes to play,” Iwuji, a training officer at Naval Base Ventura County in California, told Task & Purpose. “When it comes to g-forces and aerodynamics and thermodynamics, you can actually apply a lot of [Naval Academy courses] to racing.”
Just like New England Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona, Iwuji has been allowed to reschedule his drill weekends so that he could race since he joined the Navy Reserve in June 2017. Most recently, he was able to postpone his drill weekend for February – which was later canceled due to the government shutdown – so that he could race Saturday at Daytona International Speedway and then Sunday at New Smyrna Speedway.
Navy Reserve Lt. Jesse E. Iwuji was recruited to play football for the U.S. Naval Academy in 2004.Photo courtesy of Jesse E. Iwuji.
For Iwuji, racing is the culmination of a lifelong dream. While he has always loved cars and racing, Iwuji growing up without the money to pursue his passion for the sport. Instead, the native Texan embraced football — the state’s unofficial religion — and was recruited to play at the Naval Academy in 2004. Once he graduated in 2010, he devoted his energies to his next passion of motor sports
“I started drag racing at different drag strips with my Dodge Challenger,” said Iwuji, who currently lives in Ventura, California. “I had bought a Corvette and from there I took the Corvette to different road-course tracks and ran that for a little bit and learned how to go fast around corners. That’s what led me to wanting to pursue a professional driving career. NASCAR was the first door that opened up for me to pursue that.”
He began racing in 2015 when he was sent to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he would work on weekdays, fly to the racetrack on Friday evenings, return on Sundays and be at work on Monday mornings. Since there is no formal training to become a NASCAR driver, Iwuji started out in lower level series of racing, but he quickly learned the finger points of race-craft.
Iwuji credits his commanders, both active-duty and reserve, for allowing him to take time when needed to race. “They were always really supportive of me just because they knew I was chasing my dream,” he said. “They knew what my end goal was and where I wanted to go.”
Although the Navy does not sponsor him, Iwuji said the publicity he gets from taking part in races benefits the service.
“Too many times, the only thing you hear about the military is suicides rates and veterans not being able to get this and that,” Iwuji said. “It seems like it’s a bunch of negative stuff, but this is actually something positive. It’s somebody who’s been in the military, who’s served, who’s been on deployments, who’s still in, and still going out and chasing their dreams.”
'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.