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Unsung Heroes: The Army Ranger Who Beat Down A Suicide Bomber With His Fists
On the night of April 26, 2008, UH-60 Black Hawks delivered U.S. Army Rangers to a grassy field in rural Iraq. As the soldiers took up their positions beneath the ascending helicopters, a heavy barrage of small-arms fire began whipping in through the tall grass. The men of Company A, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment had arrived on a mission to find and eliminate an al Qaeda cell. Now they were being ambushed by a group of insurgents less than 50 meters away.
Two of the Rangers went down almost immediately, one with a life-threatening gunshot wound.
“The guy that got hit was a real good friend of mine, and he called out to me,” Spc. Joe Gibson later told the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in a report published by the military blog Blackfive. “Me and another guy moved to him. I had the medical equipment, so I started getting that prepped while other people started taking care of him. We got him ready for [evacuation], patched him up, and started moving him out.”
With the casualty evacuated, Gibson returned to his squad and the Rangers continued their mission. The gunfire had died down.
As he moved through the chest-high grass, Gibson stepped on something that he thought was garbage. After taking a few more steps, he turned to make sure. It wasn’t garbage — at least not in the literal sense. It was an al Qaeda fighter armed with an AK-47. “He didn’t say anything other than giving his war cry,” Gibson recalled. “He had an advantage on me. I didn’t have a chance to get my weapon ready and I knew he was gonna shoot me, so I dived on him.”
The insurgent’s rifle was raised, but Gibson managed to knock the muzzle to the side just as it went off. Unable to raise his own weapon, Gibson tackled the man to the ground and began pounding him with his fists. “[He] ripped off my helmet and all my optics, so I couldn’t see all that well,” Gibson said.
As the two men fought in almost total darkness, Gibson felt the insurgent reaching down for something on his belt. Gibson figured it was a knife, but when the man yelled, “Bomb!” he realized it was the detonator for a suicide vest. While Gibson lunged for the detonator, the insurgent maneuvered around and began choking him. Fearing he was about to pass out, Gibson reared back and delivered one more blow that connected at the temple and knocked the insurgent out.
Gibson leapt back and raised his M4. “I got my weapon into his stomach and fired,” he told the US Army Special Operations Command public affairs office. “He came back to consciousness after that, [but] I knew I got him. I stood up and neutralized him.”
There’s no telling how many Rangers would have lost their lives had he not neutralized the insurgent.
Gibson was awarded the Silver Star for his actions that night. “Rangers are proven over and over again in battle,” said Adm. Eric Olson, then-commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, during the award ceremony. “Rangers are glorified in Hollywood movies, but you aren’t actors. You are real men who make real sacrifices.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
The Pentagon has identified a Green Beret who was killed on Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale.
Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He was killed during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
Coast Guard Commandant Blasts Government Shutdown That's Forced Service Members 'To Rely On Food Pantries And Donations'
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.
by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.
YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.
His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.
But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.
Nearly 50 years later, Kettles received the Medal of Honor on July 18, 2016.