Tulsa Police Department Sgt. Mike Parsons and the challenge coin that saved his life. (Photos courtesy of Mike Parsons)

Sgt. Mike Parsons should have died that day.

On the morning of July 3, 2018, the Tulsa, Oklahoma police officer was among a group of officers who stopped John Terry Chatman Jr. at a QuikTrip gas pump after noticing a discrepancy between the van Chatman was driving and his license plates.

Chatman was irate. The 34-year-old felon "challenged the officers' jurisdiction several times and asked the police officers to contact their superiors" until Parsons, a 25-year veteran of the department, arrived to support his fellow officers with a non-lethal pepper-ball gun, according to a timeline of the encounter compiled by The Tulsa World and video footage from the scene.

"Less than 10 seconds" after Parsons loosed off a pepper ball, Chatman opened fire. As captured on video by Tulsa police body cameras, Parsons was shot in the leg, and two fellow officers dragged him out of the kill zone.

Somehow, Parsons was fine.

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Marines drag casualty from street fighting for control of southern bridge, head across street to an ambulance in Hue, Vietnam, Feb. 4, 1968. (Associated Press)

At the end of January in 1968, the Viet Cong launched an offensive that turned the tide of the Vietnam War.

The Tet Offensive began on January 30 as the North Vietnamese occupied the city of Hue. U.S. Marines spent nearly a month fighting a brutal urban battle to retake the city — which was 80% destroyed by the battle's end, according to H.D.S. Greenway, a photographer embedded with the Marines during the war.

An estimated 1,800 Americans lost their lives during the battle.

But in the midst of the chaos, five men who faced harrowing circumstances risked their lives to save those of their comrades — and earned the nation's highest award for courage in combat, the Medal of Honor.

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Task & Purpose photo illustration by Aaron Provost/Wikimedia Commons/Richard Stayskal

Army Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal felt like he was falling apart.

A physically fit Green Beret, Stayskal first noticed something wrong with his body in March 2017 while training at the Army's Special Forces Dive School in Key West, Florida. Unable to keep up with his elite training — a red flag for the athletic 37-year-old combat veteran — he was sent home to Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

By April, Stayskal began to wheeze and had difficulty breathing when lying on his back; other times, his body would go numb, and his vision blurry. In May, he visited the emergency room twice, once on base at Womack Army Medical Center and a week later out in town. Then, in early June, he began coughing up blood — a teaspoon at first, but it was more by the day.

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AP Photo

The Education Center at the Wall, set to open its doors in 2020, would be the latest historical showpiece on the National Mall, 25,000 square feet of exhibition space dedicated to the memory of the Vietnam War, clad in Italian glass and jutting steel, occupying five acres of coveted Washington real estate. Mandated by Congress to be visible only from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — and just enough to “satisfy its purpose” without “disrupting the landscape” — the center would be accessible by a flight of stairs guiding visitors into a warren of galleries replete with an array of museum exhibits and multimedia installations examining our troubled involvement in Southeast Asia. Those exhibits would tell the story of the war as it was experienced both at home and on the battlefield, from myriad perspectives.

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U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Victoria Ross

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, small teams of Marines are using a suite of advanced sensors and remote monitors to assist the U.S. Border Patrol in scanning the most vulnerable sections of the untamed border. These Marines belong to specialized units called Ground Sensor Platoons, and for over a decade have been quietly partnering with the Border Patrol to help agents catch drug traffickers and migrants who cross illegally into the United States from Central and South America.

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Photo by Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

Between November 2016 and May 2017, Jonathan Fruchter, a 37-year-old Navy veteran, was receiving care at a post-traumatic stress disorder inpatient clinic with the Lyons New Jersey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. His days started with a check-in meeting every morning at 8 a.m., then a brief break before group therapy sessions at 9 and 10 a.m. and again at 1 and 2 p.m.

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