Green Beret Rewarded for Heroism on Highway

Brave sgt

By Debbie Gregory.

There was no time to wait for emergency personnel or to see if others on the highway would stop.

“We were the first there,” he said. “It was my responsibility.”

While his wife called 9-1-1, he ran to the wreckage and went to work.

“I just did all I could do,” he said.

Thus unfolded the events of October 10, 2016 when a single vehicle accident west of Asheboro, NC claimed two lives. But due to the actions of a brave Fort Bragg Green Beret, two lives were saved.

Staff Sergeant Adams, a member of 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group sprang into action without regard for his personal safety. To protect Adams’ identity, only his last name has been used.

Adams pulled Lillie Mingin, 33, and her surviving son, 7-year-old Eric, from the wreckage. Army officials said the pair likely would not have lived were it not for Adams, who rescued them from the vehicle and provided lifesaving medical care.

The Special Forces soldier has now been awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest award for heroism outside of combat. The Soldier’s Medal requires that a soldier do more than save a life. The soldier also must voluntarily risk his own life to save others.

During the ceremony at Fort Bragg, Adams’ heroism was celebrated by more than 100 Special Forces soldiers and members of his family.

Front passenger seat, Brittany Goodman, 26, was ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. Mingin’s 12-year-old son, Colby Springle, died shortly after the crash. The accident report quoted witnesses as saying Mingin was not speeding at the time of the accident, thus speeding is not suspected as being a factor.

“It takes a special person to do what he did,” said Army Maj. Crocker, acting commander of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group.

“Staff Sgt. Adams saw four of his fellow human beings in desperate need of help,” Crocker said. “And in trying to save them, proved that the Army’s “capacity to do good in this world is not limited to the battlefield.”

And that is what a hero does.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Purple Heart Faker Got VA Benefits & House


By Debbie Gregory.

An attack of appendicitis while serving in the military doesn’t earn you any benefits or accolades. So, in a case of stolen valor, former Marine Brandon Blackstone used another Marine’s combat story to get years of disability benefits and a free house.

In 2004, Blackstone served with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment out of Twentynine Palms, CA. So did Casey Owens. Both men deployed to Iraq.

Casey was critically injured and lost his legs when his Humvee hit an anti-tank mine. He committed suicide in 2014 after a decade of suffering from numerous surgeries, brain injury and severe pain.

Although he may have actually witnessed the event, Blackstone wasn’t ever injured in Iraq. But he was evacuated with appendicitis. Owens’ Marine buddies say they believe Blackstone took key details of Owens’ combat injury and made them his own so he could bilk the government and charities out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a rare prosecution, Blackstone has been handed a 21-month federal sentence for faking a Purple Heart and he will also have to pay back more than $300,000 to the U.S. government and a Texas charity.

Blackstone claimed he had a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder after “his” Humvee hit a mine in Iraq.

After receiving a 100% disability rating, Blackstone began receiving disability benefits from the VA, which he received for nine years. Claiming to have a Purple Heart, Blackstone was also awarded free house from the Military Warriors Support Foundation.

Blackstone immersed himself in the veteran community. But that proved to be his undoing when other 7/1 Marines exposed him as a fraud.

Blackstone pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of fraudulent representation about the receipt of a military decoration for financial gain.

Justin Sparks, Blackstone’s defense lawyer, disagreed that Blackstone was stealing Casey Owens’ story, and claimed that his client was diagnosed with PTSD and suffered a head injury in Iraq, just not in combat. He also said that a higher-ranking Marine “informally” awarded Blackstone a Purple Heart medal, but it wasn’t an official award.

“Brandon never claimed his lost his legs,” Sparks said. “The only common elements in the two stories are PTSD, the Purple Heart and head injuries. There must be at least 1,000-plus soldiers who have those three things.”

At the end of the day, what Blackstone did was disgraceful.