The Story Behind The Double-Amputee Veteran Who ‘Stood’ For The National Anthem

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Marine veterans Christian Brown and Nick DelCampo have been close friends since they joined the Marines in 2009. They stepped on the yellow footprints at Parris Island, South Carolina, were in the same platoon when they went through infantry training, and later, were assigned to Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.


Then Lance Cpl. Christian Brown and Lance Cpl. Nick DelCampo pose for a photo during their second deployment to Helmand province, Afghanistan.Photo courtesy of Nick DelCampo

On Dec. 13, 2012, during their second deployment, Brown stepped on an improvised explosive device while leading his squad on foot in Helmand province, Afghanistan. The blast took one leg above the knee, and the other, below the hip. He also lost part of his right index finger.

After Brown’s injury, and throughout his recovery, the two stayed in touch, and in late October of this year, they met up for a wounded veterans deer-hunting trip in Pennsylvania.

Marine veteran Christian Brown during a wounded veteran's deer-hunting trip October of this year.Photo courtesy of Nick DelCampo

While in the area, the two Marine vets were offered tickets to a Steelers and Patriots football game on Oct. 23. When they arrived, they both received signed jersey’s belonging to the Steelers’ offensive tackle Alejandro "Ali" Villanueva, himself a former Army Ranger.

Related: People Doubted This Army Amputee In A Bodybuilding Competition, Until He Took His Shirt Off »

When the national anthem began playing, Brown stood up in his wheelchair, and DelCampo took the photo, which went viral after he posted it to Facebook on Oct. 28.

“When I was standing for the pledge, to me, that was a respectful thing to do today with the defiance in the government, toward police officers, and pretty much toward everything that’s good,” Brown told Task & Purpose, referring to 49ers player Colin Kaepernick, whose decision to sit during the national anthem drew both criticism and praise earlier this season.

“The players, I think their cause and what they want to do is good, but I think the way they do it is completely disrespectful and has nothing to do with the flag.”

When asked how he felt about the photo’s popularity, Brown’s response was self-assured and frank: “I feel good about it,” said Brown, who received the Silver Star in May 2013 for helping carry an injured Marine under fire to a casualty evacuation helicopter during his second tour.

“It doesn’t bother me to share my story or to do the right thing when nobody’s looking, that’s just integrity,”  said Brown. “We’re missing a lot of that in today’s society and the millennial generation and the way they act. Somebody’s got to be an example, whether it’s favorable and people like it or not, I’m going to stand for what I think is right and that’s just the way it is.”

Photo courtesy of Nick DelCampo
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — The prosecution rested its case against Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher on Tuesday after a week of testimony from members of SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon, medical and forensic experts, and NCIS agents.

The focus of Tuesday was on the investigative steps taken by the lead agent, Joseph Warpinski, 34, in addition to jurors being shown text messages sent by Gallagher to fellow SEALs with photos of a dead ISIS fighter that prosecutors characterized as "trophy shots."

Gallagher, 40, is accused of stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter and firing a sniper rifle at civilians in Iraq. He has pleaded not guilty.

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(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."

"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.

"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."

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(Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse)

Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.

Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.

No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

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Taran Tactical Innovations

John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.

With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.

Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.

And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.

But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.

As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.

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The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.

That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.

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