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UNSUNG HEROES: The Navy Corpsman Who Killed The Shooter In An Afghan Insider Attack
When an Afghan commando turned on his American and Italian allies, Petty Officer 2nd Class Alejandro Salabarria, a hospital corpsman, leapt into action, treating his wounded comrades and killing their attacker, Marine Corps Times reports.
On Sept. 15, 2014, in Herat province, Afghanistan, Salabarria and his team members with 2nd Marine Raider Battalion were waiting for inbound CH-47 Chinooks to take them out on a pre-dawn mission when all hell broke loose.
One of the Afghan special operations commandos attached to their unit turned his M4 and M203 grenade launcher on his allies, launching a 40mm explosive round, followed by bursts of fire, into the closely grouped troops, sowing chaos and disorder among them.
Normally Salabarria was assigned to the main element, which would have put him directly in the kill zone, but this time his position was further back.
“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Salabarria told Marine Corps Times, adding the initial burst of fire caught everyone off guard. “At first we were stunned; we weren’t outside the wire. … It took a couple seconds to realize what was going on.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t a mistake.
Hearing screaming, followed by a muzzle flash, Salabarria began piecing together what was happening. Not wanting to risk a shot for fear of hitting the wrong person, he began assessing the situation, seeking out the wounded.
When he learned that the senior medic had been hit, Salabarria dashed 100 yards to the kill zone and began treating his fellow corpsman who was wounded.
Just then, he noticed the shooter closing in on him,
“He wasn’t running, he was walking real slow,” Salabarria said. “The dude’s shooting at me, at my patient.”
Reacting instantly, Salabarria threw himself between his patient and the attacker, while simultaneously raising his M4 and putting several rounds into the rogue commando. Once he confirmed the gunman was down, Salabarria returned to treating the injured.
Shortly after, a combat lifesaver-trained Marine arrived to help Salabarria treat the wounded, as the incoming CH-47s — now rerouted and tasked for casualty evacuation — made their way to the landing zone, which had to be cleared first.
Salabarria stayed with the injured, treating them on the flight until they arrived at the closest medical facility. Tragically, one of the Marines, Sgt. Charles Strong, succumbed to his wounds.
For his heroism under fire, Salabarria was awarded the Silver Star, the third highest medal for valor, on Feb. 5 aboard Marine Corps Base Lejeune, North Carolina.
“(This medal) is more for Capt. Shaw and Sgt. Strong than anything,” said Salabarria at the ceremony, referring to Stanford Shaw, one of the seven special operations Marines lost in a March 2015 helicopter crash. “It’s all for them.”
Every once in a while, we run across a photo in The Times-Picayune archives that's so striking that it begs a simple question: "What in the name of Momus Alexander Morgus is going on in this New Orleans photograph?" When we do, we've decided, we're going to share it — and to attempt to answer that question.
MUSCAT (Reuters) - The United States should keep arming and aiding the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) following the planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria, provided the group keeps up the pressure on Islamic State, a senior U.S. general told Reuters on Friday.
Trump: $6.1 billion in DoD money going to border wall wasn’t for anything that seemed ‘too important to me’
President Donald Trump claims the $6.1 billion from the Defense Department's budget that he will now spend on his border wall was not going to be used for anything "important."
Trump announced on Friday that he was declaring a national emergency, allowing him to tap into military funding to help pay for barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Long before Tony Stark took a load of shrapnel to the chest in a distant war zone, science fiction legend Robert Heinlein gave America the most visceral description of powered armor for the warfighter of the future. Forget the spines of extra-lethal weaponry, the heads-up display, and even the augmented strength of an Iron Man suit — the real genius, Heinlein wrote in Starship Troopers, "is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it, like your clothes, like skin."
"Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new full set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking," explains Johnny Rico. "Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians. But a suit, you just wear."
First introduced in 2013, U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) purported to offer this capability as America's first stab at militarized powered armor. And while SOCOM initially promised a veritable Iron Man-style tactical armor by 2018, a Navy spokesman told Task & Purpose the much-hyped exoskeleton will likely never get off the launch pad.
"The prototype itself is not currently suitable for operation in a close combat environment," SOCOM spokesman Navy Lt. Phillip Chitty told Task & Purpose, adding that JATF-TALOS has no plans for an external demonstration this year. "There is still no intent to field the TALOS Mk 5 combat suit prototype."
D-Day veteran James McCue died a hero. About 500 strangers made sure of it.
"It's beautiful," Army Sgt. Pete Rooney said of the crowd that gathered in the cold and stood on the snow Thursday during McCue's burial. "I wish it happened for every veteran's funeral."