Military Connection: VA Nurse’s Deed Disproves Media Stereotype

VA Nurse

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has had a lot of negative press lately, and bad news seem to spread like wildfire. Stories about long wait times, corruption and rude and unsympathetic VA employees are commonplace. That’s why it is important when a story like this one comes along, it should be given the same coverage.

In November 2014, Nurse Chuck Maulden was working a shift in the Emergency Department of the Salisbury VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina. A homeless Veteran came in, seeking treatment for large, painful blisters on his feet.

Maulden took the Veteran out of the waiting room into the examination area to triage his complaintMaulden couldn’t help but notice that the Veteran was wearing dirty compression stockings that clung to the wounds.

A VA physician examined the Veteran and instructed Maulden to give him a fresh pair of compression stockings.

Maulden could have just handed the homeless man a new pair of socks and sent him on his way. But instead, this VA nurse went above and beyond to provide care for the Veteran.

Maulden washed the man’s feet with soap and water and then treated them with non-stick dressing so that the man would have a better chance of having his feet heal. Then Maulden obtained a few extra pairs of compression stockings for the Veteran to take with him.

Again, Maulden could have stopped there and sent the man on his way; after all, he had already gone above and beyond to care for this Veteran.

But as the man prepared to leave, Maulden saw that the Veteran’s shoes were worn out and in no shape to provide for proper protection. Maulden asked the Veteran what size shoes he wore. The man answered with the exact same size that Maulden wears. Without a word, Maulden took his shoes off and placed them on the Veteran’s feetMaulden wore medical shoe covers over his socks for the remainder of his shift.

This story is not intended to suggest that every VA employee needs to give away their possessions to the Veterans that they treat. But with all of the negative publicity about the VA and its employees, Mr. Maulden’s tremendous act of humanity and attentiveness to a patient’s needs are at the core of the VA’s purpose and values.

We at MilitaryConnection.com applaud Mr. Maulden and his noble deed. Thank you and all of the employees at the VA for the work you do, for caring for our nation’s Veterans.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Nurse’s Deed Disproves Media Stereotype: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: GI’s Internet Intervention: By Debbie Gregory

1SG Moerk

Army 1st Sgt. Katrina Moerk recently reminded service members about their code of conduct, and how their actions reflect on them and the military, even when they are on the internet.

Moerk has set the standard for all members of the U.S. military as to how they should behave, both in and out of uniform. For her standards and leadership, Moerk received a special thank you from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

For those who serve their country, there is a level of pride in their service. The degrees of pride may vary, but it’s always there. Many will use military-centric images for their avatars on internet sites and their social media accounts. Some will use pictures of themselves in uniform.

Moerk, the senior enlisted for Charlie Company, 741st Military Intelligence Battalion, recently came across material on a social media network that she found sexist and offensive. When Moerk commented on the inappropriateness of the video, she was bombarded with insults from fellow commenters. When Moerk noticed that some of those launching insults in defense of the inappropriate material were wearing military uniforms, she contacted them directly.

Specifically, Moerk sent messages to the individuals, explaining who she was and why they were wrong. Some of the commenters that Moerk contacted were not happy with her tactic, responding that the internet is the wrong place to “pull rank” on someone. But these mostly junior enlisted members need to remember that while they are part of the U.S. military, they are held to a high standard of conduct on base, in the field, and in public settings. This includes the internet, especially if their military affiliation is made known by their actions.

Moerk reminded the commenters that if they were all in uniform, they would not attempt to speak in that manner to an E-8. So why should they be able to act inappropriately online?

“If you don’t know who you’re talking to, be careful what you say in an open public forum on the Internet,” Moerk told the commenters.

Moerk also copied Dr. Christine Altendorf, director of the Army’s Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program in the message, in attempt to help focus future SHARP trainings for their units. Altendorf brought Moerk’s email to the attention of Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, who was the Army’s deputy chief of staff for personnel at the time.

Gen. Bromberg launched three administrative investigations, because soldiers from three separate major commands were involved in the incident, either through producing the video or making inappropriate comments. Ultimately, SHARP training has been changed for the better. For leading by example and defending Army values, 1st Sgt. Moerk was awarded the Army Commendation Medal during a December 15th  ceremony at the Pentagon.

Military Connection would also like to applaud 1st Sgt. Moerk for her willingness to stand up and reproach inappropriate behavior in public. Perhaps other service members will think twice before making remarks online that could discredit to their branch of service. Moerk’s actions were in line with keeping to the highest standards of the Army, and epitomized the role of the non-commissioned officer, the backbone of the U.S. military.  

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: GI’s Internet Intervention: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Air Force Looks to Bolster Drone Pilot Pool

Drone Pilots

The United States Air Force has been finding it difficult to secure candidates for their unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilot program. Now, Air Force leadership is taking aggressive steps to fill the much needed drone pilot positions from their pool of National Guard and Reservist pilots.

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James is laying out plans to increase incentive pay in order to bring more National Guard and Reserve pilots onto active duty, and find volunteers to fill needed slots to fly drones. James has told the media that the Air Force may seek large retention bonuses for drone pilots, close to the maximum $25,000 stipend that manned aircraft pilots receive.

The Air Force has struggled with manning drone operators. The demands of ongoing operations around the world, including persistent airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, have only made the problem worse. And according to General Mark Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff,  plans to reduce the number of combat air patrols by drones have instead  increased, mostly due to the airstrike missions in Iraq and Syria.

There are currently 988 active-duty pilots for the Predator and Reaper drones – the two most lethal unmanned aircraft commonly used for surveillance and strikes. More than 1,200 pilots are needed.

Gen. Welsh says that the Air Force can only train approximately 180 drone pilots a year.  But the annual need for drone pilots is closer to 300. And the Air Force loses about 240 drone pilots a year, as drone operators move to other jobs, or leave the military for higher paying jobs operating drones for the drone manufacturers that sell them to the military.

In an attempt to combat the issue, James said that she will more than double the monthly incentive pay for some drone operators, from $600 to $1,500, in order to persuade them to stay in the Air Force. The incentive would be targeted towards those who have finished their initial six-year service commitment. All drone pilots now get the $600 monthly stipend, but current policies do not allow for any retention bonuses, unlike the up to $25,000 given to manned aircraft pilots to encourage them to stay in the service.

Ms. James also said that she will shift funds in order to bring some National Guard and Reserve drone pilots onto active duty, and will ask other trained drone operators to volunteer to deploy for six months to some of the more strained units. It is expected that 33 current drone pilots will be asked to voluntarily stay in their jobs, rather than going back to their original aircraft, as planned, later this summer.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Air Force Looks to Bolster Drone Pilot Pool: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Top Military Leader on Cyber Attacks

DEFENSE SEC PANETTA AND JOINT CHIEF OF STAF CHAIRMAN GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY TESTIFY BEFORE THE SENATE ARMED SERVICE COMMITTEE

In the wake of the recent cyberattacks, Washington is all abuzz about preventing future attacks.

The November, 2014 “Sony Pictures Entertainment Hack” caused a media frenzy. Whether your news source is T.V/radio, internet sites or printed publications, regardless of your level of interest in politics, foreign policy, entertainment or gossip, you were aware of the Sony hack.

The attacks revolved around the release of the Seth Rogan/James Franco comedy “The Interview” whose story revolved around a fictional assassination attempt against North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un. Hackers released private and sensitive personal information about Sony executives, including contract negotiationsand also launched viruses that erased data from Sony’s computers. Hackers informed Sony executives that they would continue their cyberattacks and release more sensitive information if the company released the comedy through any medium.

U.S. government officials publicly stated their beliefs that the government of North Korea was “centrally involved,” if not completely behind the cyberattack. Evidence obtained by the FBI linked the hack to malware and internet protocol (IP) addresses associated with previous encounters with known North Korean hackers.

On January 12, 2015, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) had their official Twitter and Youtube accounts hacked and hijacked by a group sympathetic to the Islamic State. The hackers posted pro-ISIS tweets and threats to American soldiers on the Twitter account, and two ISIS propaganda videos on the Youtube account. Both accounts were closed, corrected and re-opened within hours.

While neither of these highly publicized and highly embarrassing cyberattacks contained any breach of national security, they do remind us that we may not be as safe as we think we are in our cyber security.

On the day before CENTCOM had its social media hacked, General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, commented in an interview with Fox News about how the Sony attack demonstrates that the U.S. military’s superiority on the battlefield is not as lopsided in the cyber world.

Gen. Dempsey, whose position makes him the chief military advisor to the president, has long called for upgrades in cyber warfare and security. In a June, 2013 speech, the nation’s senior military leader told attendees at a Brookings Institution forum about the increased frequency of cyberattacks, and the need to equip the military against such threats.

“This is the new normal in cyberspace,” Dempsey said. “Disruptive and destructive cyberattacks are becoming a part of conflict between states, within states, and among non-state actors. The borderless nature of cyberspace means anyone, anywhere in the world, can use cyber to affect someone else.”

Gen. Dempsey concluded his speech by saying:

“The rise of cyber is the most striking development in the post-9/11 national security landscape. We are doing everything we can inside the military to be ready to operate in cyberspace. I call on our elected officials and the private sector to match the urgency. Together, we must place this nation on surer footing against the cyber threat.”

A year and a half later, and the general’s words are still ringing true. Currently, the U.S. military and the federal government are in the process of expanding education and military programs to make the playing field in the cyber world as one-sided as it currently is in real-world combat for the U.S. military.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Top Military Leader on Cyber Attacks: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: New Funding for Medical Marijuana PTSD Study

medical marijuana

On December 17, 2014, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment approved a $7.6 million measure to provide for eight medical marijuana studies.

Included in the eight studies is a $2 million grant to research the effectiveness of marijuana to treat Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which was co-sponsored by the California-based nonprofit, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

The founder/executive director of MAPS, Rick Doblin, called the award a “big step forward for cannabis science and medicine.”

The research for a PTSD marijuana treatment study initially received approval last March from the federal Health and Human Services Department. The study was scheduled to get underway at the University of Arizona and other locations within a year. But the program was delayed after the school terminated the contract of the primary researcher, Dr. Sue Sisley, in July. Sisley and MAPS have worked for over four years to develop and win federal approval for the study.

The funding provided by the state of Colorado will help support the study, consisting of 76 Veteran volunteers, at two different sites. One site will be in Arizona with Dr. Sisley, although the exact location has not yet been determined. The other will take place at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, under the direction of Ryan Vandrey. The coordination and scientific integrity of the study will be managed by Dr. Paula Riggs from the  University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Marcel Bonn-Miller from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

The protocol for the study calls for Veterans with PTSD to be divided into groups, and receive the equivalent of two joints a day to either smoke or inhale by vaporization. Each participant will then submit weekly observations, and confirm that he or she had followed protocols.

As part of the federal government’s requirements for the study, MAPS must buy Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)-licensed marijuana, which is controlled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and that the marijuanais of the correct potency of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol needed for the research. Also, MAPS will need DEA approval, once it receives a delivery date for the marijuana.

The approval of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use has been a staple of political debates for decades. There have been strong opinions and points made for both sides of the argument. But the use of marijuana as a treatment for PTSD could sway those who were previously opposed to its use, as the alternative, use of opioids, have done little to nothing to combat the disorder. Much like drinking whiskey for a toothache, the opioids just numb the pain temporarily and don’t fix the problem. Medical marijuana may, or may not, be the answer. But Veterans who suffer from the service-connected disorder deserve the chance to determine whether it is or not.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Funding for Medical Marijuana PTSD Study: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Submariners Face Steep Charges for Shower Video

USS Wyoming

Twelve submariners are facing serious penalties as the investigation continues looking into the alleged use of a cell phone to secretly capture video of female officers in the shower.

Submarines are among the last of the Navy’s commands to be integrated.  All other types of sea-going vessels have already mixed genders. But because of the privacy concerns due to tight quarters aboard submarines, which can remain submerged for months at a time, these naval vessels only began gender integration in 2011. For now, only temporary assigned Supply Corps and nuclear trained female officers have embarked on submarines.

The privacy concerns that Navy officials were worried about do hold some weight after the actions of a dozen petty officers on the USS Wyoming (SSBN-742).

Four females were temporarily assigned to the sub for the Wyoming’s deployments in the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014. They had separate berthing quarters, but shared the same bathroom facilities as male officers. Policy advised the women to post signs outside the door to indicate when the showers were being used by female officers.

Only one sailor is alleged to have used a cell phone to secretly record videos of three of four female officers while they were in the changing area of the shower room. The others are suspected of distributing the videos to each other via cell phone text messages. It is not believed that the videos were ever posted on the internet.

It is a serious violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to film/record someone in the shower. The victims, and other females, Navy-wide, may have a hard time trusting their male shipmates again. Trust, and the ability to work together as a team, are essential on a naval warship.

Despite the setback caused by these twelve petty officers, Navy officials intend to continue full speed ahead with the integration of women aboard U.S. Navy submarines.

The first female officer reported for duty as part of regular crew on submarine for the first time this year, onboard the U.S.S. Minnesota (SSN-783). Two more women are expected to report on the Minnesota by the end of January, 2015, and three female officers are expected to join the crew of the U.S.S. Virginia (SSN-774) this spring.

As for the twelve petty officers, the investigation of their case by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) has been completed, and military lawyers are reviewing how to proceed with prosecution.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Submariners Face Steep Charges for Shower Video: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Paid Sick Days for Federally Employed Vets?

Bill for Paid sick days

Newly proposed legislation will make it possible for wounded Veterans, newly hired by the federal governmentto start their jobs with multiple weeks of paid sick leave.

On January 13, 2015, Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch introduced H.R. 313. The bill would amend Title 5, United States Code, providing paid leave to any new federal employee who is a servicedisabled Veteran, rated at a minimum of 30% disabled by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The measure, if passed, would give service-disabled Veterans 104 hours of paid sick time after they enter the federal workforce. New federal employees who are not service-disabled Veterans begin their federal careers with zero hours of sick time, and accrue hours over time. The bill would also allow the Veterans to carry over any of the 104 hours they do not use in a given year.

“It is unacceptable that our wounded warrior federal employees, who are just starting out in the federal workforce, are often faced with the difficult choice of having to take unpaid leave to attend their VA appointments or miss their medical visits,” said Rep. Lynch.

Along with Lynch, six additional members of the House have signed on as co-sponsors: Representatives G.K. Butterfield (NC), Gerry Connolly (VA), Elijah Cummings (MD), Blake Farenthold (TX), Walter Jones (NC), and Delegate Eleanor Norton (DC).

“These men and women have made incredible sacrifices to defend our freedom and have been wounded as a result,” Rep. Jones said in a statement. “They deserve an adequate amount of time to tend to their wounds while beginning a new chapter in their careers after they leave the military.”

The proposed legislation has also been backed by the Federal Managers Association. Representative from the group have admitted to seeing first-hand the struggle that service-disabled Veterans have when trying to juggle the job with their necessary medical appointments. Compounding the problem is the narrow scheduling windows at VA medical facilities. The group feels that supporting this bill is the right thing to do.

Senators Jon Tester (MT) and Jerry Moran (TX) also plan to introduce similar legislation in the Senate soon.

You can keep track of H.R. 313 and other Veteran legislation at www.congress.gov or www.Govtrack.usYou are encouraged to contact your elected officials and let them know how you want them to vote on your behalf.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Paid Sick Days for Federally Employed Vets? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: What Veterans Can Expect For 2015

2015 Predictions

Current and former members of the U.S. military belong to a fraternal demographic unmatched by any other American society. No other group of former coworkers, schoolmates or teammates share the bond that service members and Veterans share with one another. At the same time, Veterans and current service members, numbering 24 million-strong, enjoy tremendous support from the government and the American public. As we begin 2015, there are a few predictions that we may see realized for our nation’s military/veteran community.

Veteran Employment As Standard Business Practice–  Thousands of employers across the country have experienced the value of hiring and retaining Veterans, so much so that they implemented larger-scale operating practices to recruit, hire and retain Veterans. While the strong push to hire Veterans will slow eventually, it is believed that the initiatives and programs created for Post-9/11 Veterans will continue on.

Increases in Veteran Owned Business– Economists predict that amassing resources to bolster Veteran employment will also generate a focus facilitating more Veteran-owned businesses. This new focus makes sense because of job creation and the fact that Veteran-owned businesses are 30% more likely to hire Veterans than other businesses.

Fewer Initiatives Enacted– For almost a decade, the government and the public has showered the Veteran community with goodwill and new benefits. With the wars officially at a close, the need to include new Veteran-friendly initiatives and legislation will begin to decline. We will likely see the beginning of this decline in the coming months.

Veterans Catching On– Most Veterans have investigated at least one “employment opportunity,” or “Veterans Discount” only to realize that they were being targeted for some sort of scam. It’s sad, but true. And most Veterans have to learn the hard way about these less than honest offerings. But with the rise of social media and the reach of Veteran-friendly government agencies and private organizations, many newly separated Veterans will be made aware of the scams without exposing themselves to the risks.

More Military Discounts– With a large population of war time Veterans carrying clout in the economic market, many retailers are beginning to devise mutually beneficial discounts in order to get these Veterans to their physical and online stores.  Additionally, advances in technology enable online verification of military statusand many states are now issuing Veteran ID cards which make it easy for retailers to verify military/Veteran status in-store.

Increased Targeting of Veterans in Advertising– Companies are recognizing that the 24 million service members and Veterans, as well as their immediate and extended families have massive spending power.  Advertisers believe that the impact of the military/Veteran community’s consumer market is near $1 trillion. This will lead to increases in military-centric advertising, special discounts, and tailored products and services.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: What Veterans Can Expect For 2015: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: No-Cost Tax Services for Military

Military taxes

The beginning of the new year also signals the start of tax season. There are many stresses that accompany this time of year; compiling your tax information and documents is a difficult task for anyone. But for military families, this experience can be compounded by tax events such as out of state relocations and other confusing pay and residence issues.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), through Military OneSource, is providing military families with  a means to ease their burden this tax season. Military OneSource is once again teaming up with H&R Block to offer a service that will save military families hundreds of dollars in tax preparation alone.

Tax preparation and filing costs are estimated to average $147 per household, for one federal and one state return. These costs can be much higher, depending on the type of filing and the number of states you are filing for. Many service members live or are stationed in one state, and still claim residence in another state. Depending on the laws for their respective states, they will most likely have to file multiple state returns. This can make the $147 average go well over $200.

Military OneSource an H&R Block are offering no-cost tax consultation and no-cost tax preparation and filing to service members and military family members, as well as to Reservists, regardless of activation status. The offer is also extended to surviving spouses and newly separated service members (up to 180 days after their separation).

This service is being offered online, so that eligible tax-filers will have access to no-cost tax filing, regardless of where they are in the world. Eligible service members, Veterans and family members can file one federal tax return and up to three state returns at no cost.

Those who utilized the service last year will notice a few added features this year, designed to accommodate those with special tax-filing needs, including rental property, charitable deductions and mortgage interest. This year, tax experts will also be available by phone at no cost for anyone who may have questions before they begin to use the online tax preparation software.

The 2015 tax service being offered by Military OneSource was activated on January 13thThose who are eligible should take advantage of the online, no-cost tax preparation and filing services offered by Military OneSource and H&R Block.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: No-Cost Tax Services for Military: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Soldier’s Medal Awarded to Six Guard Members

Soldiers Medal

On June 8, 2013, six members from Delta Company 1-110th Infantry were conducting training in Fort Pickett, Virginia. Following Tropical Storm Andrea, which made landfall along the Florida coast and moved north in the previous days, the soldiers were tasked with checking routes to assess whether or not they had been effected by the storm.

The soldiers observed a vehicle parked along the side of one road, with its doors open. When they stopped to investigate, they heard cries for help, which led them to ten members of the Virginia Army National Guard who were stranded in a river, standing on top of a vehicle and trailer.

Heavy rains from the storm created fast moving currents to form in the streams and rivers, causing the stranded soldiers to misjudge the depth of the water when they attempted to cross it.

At great risk of personal injury to themselves, the six Delta Company soldiers rescued the National Guard soldiers. On January 10, 2015, the six, 2nd Lt. Ryan Norris, Sgt. 1st Class Sean Cartright, Sgt. Jon Dunham, Sgt. Paul Johnson, Spc. Sean Capets, and Spc. John Kerr were awarded the rare Soldier’s Medal.

Initially, Lt. Norris and Sgt. Dunham jumped into the water and helped pull soldiers from the river. The other four used cargo straps from their vehicle and formed a human chain to rescue the remaining soldiers. At one point during the rescue, the straps were washed away by the fast moving current. So the soldiers improvised and used their belts and uniform shirts to help get the rest of their stranded comrades out of the river.

The Soldier’s Medal, which in precedence is located between the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star Medal, is the highest non-combat medal awarded to members of the Army.

According to Army Regulation 600-8-22: “The Soldier’s Medal, 10 USC 3750 is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States, including reserve component Soldiers not serving in a duty status, as defined in 10 USC 101(d), at the time of the heroic act, who distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. The same degree of heroism is required as that of the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life.”

Last week, five of the awardees were presented their medals by adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard, Maj. Gen. Wesley Craig, at a medal pinning ceremony at the Masonic Lodge in Hempfield, Pennsylvania. Second Lt. Norris was unable to attend the ceremony.

MilitaryConnection.com would like to congratulate the members of Delta Company 1-110th Infantry for their honorable and heroic actions. Job Well Done!

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Soldier’s Medal Awarded to Six Guard Members: By Debbie Gregory