Joe Heller (Legacy.com)

Per his final demands, Joe Heller was laid in his casket Thursday in a T-shirt featuring the Disney dwarf Grumpy and the middle finger of his right hand extended. He also told his daughters to make sure and place a remote control fart machine in the coffin with him.

"My father always wanted the last laugh," daughter Monique Heller said.

The Essex volunteer firefighter and self-described local "dawg kecher" died on Sept. 8 at age 82, and the off-color obituary written by his youngest daughter has become a nationwide sensation — a lead item on cable news sites, a top story on The Courant's website and a post shared far and wide on social media.

Laced with bawdy humor, the irreverent but loving obit captured Heller's highly inappropriate nature and his golden heart, friends who filled the fire station for a celebration of his life on Thursday evening said.

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(U.S. Army/Capt. Adan Cazarez)

In early 2001, Ryan McCarthy was on his way out of the Army.

The Army Ranger had been in the infantry since September 1997 and his service obligation had ended. He had the option to get out, and was planning on taking it.

But that, along with everything else, changed on September 11th. His unit was called to Afghanistan, and he decided to stay. Though his former battle buddy Dan Ferris, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who served alongside him in the 75th Ranger Regiment, said it wasn't even a question.

"Ryan was like, 'There's no way in heck that I'm leaving. I'm staying and I'm going with you guys.' He was just completely dedicated to getting out there and defending our country with all of us," Ferris told Task & Purpose.

McCarthy was among the first boots on the ground during the invasion of Afghanistan. After graduating from the Virginia Military Institute, McCarthy went on to serve for five years, deploying to Afghanistan from October 2001-February 2002, and earning three Army Achievement Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, and Parachutist Badge, among others.

On Monday, the 45-year-old Army Under Secretary was nominated by President Donald Trump to be the top civilian in charge of the U.S. Army, replacing Mark Esper as Army Secretary, who was confirmed as Secretary of Defense in July.

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U.S. Army Master Sgt. Luis Deleon-Figueroa (DoD photo)

The 9-year-old daughter of a Green Beret killed in combat in Afghanistan read a touching letter to her father during a memorial service in Massachusetts on Tuesday.

"Dear papi, I miss you a lot. I wish you were still alive," Angie, the daughter of U.S. Army Master Sgt. Luis Deleon-Figueroa said during the service. "It doesn't feel right without you. I want to thank you for being a great hero and a great daddy."

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Retired Lt. Col. Wallace Ward, USMA Class of 1958, marches back with the Class of 2023. (U.S. Army/Brandon O'Connor)

Wallace Ward graduated from West Point in 1958. More than 60 years later, at age 87, he's still kicking ass and joining new academy plebes for the annual March Back.

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U.S. military snipers have to be able to make the hard shots, the seemingly impossible shots. They have to be able to push themselves and their weapons.

Staff Sgt. Hunter Bernius, a veteran Marine Corps scout sniper who runs an advanced urban sniper training course, walked INSIDER through his most technically difficult shot — he fired a bullet into a target roughly 2.3 kilometers (1.4 miles) away with a .50 caliber sniper rifle.

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Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, then the commanding officer of the Blue Ridge-class amphibious command ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) carries a bouquet of flowers for his wife following the ship's arrival at its forward-deployed port of Gaeta, Italy Oct. 27, 2017. (U.S. Navy/ Interior Communications Electrician 3rd Class Rebeca Gibson)

NORFOLK, Va. -- The new skipper of one of America's aircraft carriers fled Iran as a child.

Now, he's preparing for a deployment that could take him back to the region at a time of heightened tensions between the two nations that helped mold him into who he is today.

Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh took command of the USS Harry S. Truman in July, achieving a goal he set for himself 30 years ago after he first laid eyes on an aircraft carrier in Norfolk. Back then, he was a young sailor who'd joined the Navy straight out of high school to serve a country he had only lived in for about a decade.

His journey from Tehran to enlisted sailor to an officer in command of the ultimate symbol of American seapower is a story that he believes serves as a testament to the opportunities the United States provides.

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