When former U.S. Army soldier J.T. Ibanez returned home from Iraq in 2004, just going to the grocery store was a challenge. He’d intentionally do his shopping in the morning or early afternoon when there were fewer people around.
“The more people I was around, the more anxious I’d get. I became hyper-aware I guess you could say. So I’d avoid situations that might trigger any negative thoughts or emotions,” said Ibanez. “I’d tend to stay at home as much as possible.”
In 2000, the St. Louis native enlisted in the U.S. Army, spending four years in the 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Then, in 2003, he was deployed to Iraq for a year. When Ibanez returned, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
In order to help cope with his PTSD, Ibanez began researching how other veterans handle their mental health issues. He discovered a lot of veterans would get out and explore the national parks. After learning about the National Parks Service’s 100th anniversary, he decided to grab his camera, get out of the house, and embark on a 25-day, 7,200-mile adventure from coast to coast with a friend. “I put myself in the situation of getting out of my comfort zone and hopefully challenge myself along the way,” said Ibanez.
Starting in Virginia and ending in California, the Army vet visited and filmed 12 national parks including Shenandoah National Park, Lincoln Memorial, Yellowstone, Redwood National Park and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, where he overcame his biggest challenge: a 1.2-mile downhill hike into a cold, massive cave. Although there is an elevator, Ibanez decided to push himself and walk the whole way back through the steep cave.
Check out more on his short documentary, "A Veteran and his Camera," below.
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.
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.
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 M160 Robotic Mine Flail at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Photo: Maj. Dan Marchik/U.S. Army
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.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor July 18, 2016, for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to the 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967. (U.S. Army/Spc. Tammy Nooner)
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.