Showing posts with label Somalia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Somalia. Show all posts

Saturday, May 23, 2020

MOH MSG Gary Gordon's grave vandalized in Maine

“American Hero” veteran’s grave vandalized. Police need our help in finding out who did it.

Law Enforcement Today
by: Kyle S. Reyes
May 23, 2020

LINCOLN, MAINE – It’s exactly the kind of story we don’t want to be reporting on Memorial Day Weekend.
Police are looking for help in finding whoever is responsible for desecrating the grave of an “American hero”.

They put up a Facebook post about the damage this week:

“MSG Gary Gordon is not only a hometown hero for Lincoln, he’s an American Hero!!” they said.

The vandalism to his gravestone is believed to have occurred sometime within the last 2 weeks.

“There has been talk that this may have been done as an additional honor, where Medal of Honor recipients have gold, inlaid to the engravings and that this is still a work in progress,” they said.

But if that’s the case, they said the family was never notified that this was happening.
read it here

Medal of Honor Monday: Army Master Sgt. Gary Gordon

Department of Defense
JULY 1, 2019

If you've ever seen the movie "Black Hawk Down," then you know the story of Army Master Sgt. Gary Gordon. Gordon and his comrade, Army Sgt. 1st Class Randall Shughart, made the most difficult decision service members could ever make — to give their lives for their brothers in arms. This Medal of Honor Monday, we honor Gordon's life and sacrifice during a 1993 humanitarian crisis in Somalia.
Gary Gordon was born Aug. 30, 1960, and grew up in Lincoln, Maine. At the age of 18, he joined the Army and was a combat engineer for many years before being selected for the elite Special Forces group known as Delta Force.
read it here

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Veterans and Youth Hunt Pythons in Florida

War vets, inner city youth join to trap Florida pythons
Yahoo News
Leila MACOR Agence France-Presse
June 30, 2017

Boynton Beach (United States) (AFP) - US war veteran Chad Brown suffers from PTSD after serving in Iraq and Somalia, has been homeless and classified as mentally disabled, sold his blood for $20 a pop and tried to kill himself.

The NGO Soul River, founded by war veteran Chad Brown, bring together veterans dealing with PTSD and disadvantaged inner city youth for outdoor excursions to help find healing through nature (AFP Photo/Javier GALEANO)

Now he has found some semblance of redemption in the swamps of Florida, mucking around with disadvantaged inner city youths to catch snakes and get a taste of nature as he works to connect with other people.
The project is the brain child of a Portland-based NGO called Soul River. The kids find adult mentors while the vets gain some perspective on life, says Brown, a decorated Navy veteran who founded the organization.
On this particular day Brown is with another vet and five youths in the Loxahatchee nature reserve, on Florida's east coast, when a Burmese python slithers out of a sack that a forestry official had been holding it in.
Later, the group troops off into a swamp with muck up to their hips infested with mosquitos and alligators. But a Florida Everglades guide assures them that the big-toothed critters do not like human flesh. All the humans get are bug bites.
Brown founded Soul River in 2011 after concluding that a simple sport -- fly fishing -- was the only thing that helped him battle his PTSD. 
- Natural medicine - 
Brown left the Navy in 1994 and bottomed out in 2000 when he was admitted to a psychiatric ward and thought he had lost everything. But life changed when he ventured out into nature. He went more here

Friday, May 5, 2017

Navy SEAL Killed Somalia

Navy SEAL killed in fight against al-Shabab militants in Somalia 
Published: May 5, 2017

WASHINGTON — A Navy SEAL was killed Thursday in Somalia while accompanying Somali National Army soldiers on a raid targeting a remote al-Shabab compound just outside Mogadishu, U.S. defense officials said Friday.
The SEAL is the first American servicemember killed in action in Somalia in decades, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, likely since the notorious 1993 Battle of Mogadishu – known as the “Black Hawk Down” incident – during which 18 U.S. military members were killed.
Two other SEALs were injured Thursday in the firefight with the al-Qaida-linked militants during the operation near Barii, about 40 miles west of the Somalian capital, a defense official said. The official was not authorized to identify the service branch to which the U.S. troops belonged and spoke on condition of anonymity.
read more here

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Black Hawk Down Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Wayne Bray Passed Away

Air Force veteran whose story was told in 'Black Hawk Down' dies
The Courier-Tribune (Tribune News Service)
By Judi Brinegar
Published: October 29, 2016
S/Sgt. Jeffrey Wayne Bray's actions in Somalia in 1993 earned him a Silver Star and were later portrayed in the movie, “Black Hawk Down.” He died Oct. 24 at the age of 49. COURTESY BRAY FAMILY
ASHEBORO — A recognized hero, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Wayne Bray, 49, a Randolph County, N.C. native, died Oct. 24 at Columbus Regional Healthcare.

You might not know his name, but his actions in Somalia in 1993 earned him a Silver Star —and those actions were later portrayed in the movie, “Black Hawk Down.”

Bray was born in Randolph County in 1966, the son of Martha Woodell Lindsey of Asheboro and the late John Franklin Bray.

Bray was a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force, a Senior Airman who served with a Combat Control Team.
read more here

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Australia "Overwatch" Tracking Social Media to Save Veterans

'Overwatch' group prevents veteran suicides by monitoring social media, sending in the troops
ABC Australia
By Louise Merrillees
Posted Fri April 29, 2016

"I've had my bad moments when I've been pretty low, and they've sent vets to come and find me. From what I can see, they've prevented an awful lot of suicides from happening."

PHOTO: Ex-serviceman Trevor Dineen receives support from veterans at his local RSL. (ABC News: Louise Merrillees)
Trevor Dineen, a 31-year-old ex-serviceman, is talking about Overwatch Australia, a national organisation that intervenes when defence force veterans show mental health warning signs.

Overwatch, a military term that means one unit providing cover or support to another unit, has more than 4,500 volunteers Australia-wide, who have served with the Australia Defence Force.

The organisation describes itself as a "peer-to-peer, boots-on-the-ground, rapid-response organisation formed to assist former ADF members who are at risk or in crisis".

Robert Harris is the national president of Overwatch, while Marc Kirwin is the national coordinator. Both of them served in the Army.

Mr Harris said Overwatch was all about a quick response when warning signs became obvious.

"Once we have someone's address, we can put boots on the ground in 30 minutes," he said.

Overwatch focusing on Rwandan and Somali vets

Mr Kwinan said Overwatch was focusing on veterans from the Rwandan and Somali peacekeeping and humanitarian missions.

"Those guys are wracked with guilt. The rules of engagement were totally different - they couldn't engage unless they were in direct harm's way or fired upon.

"They saw women and children slaughtered in front of them. And the militia are standing there looking at them smiling and knowing they couldn't do anything about it.
read more here

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Hero’s Welcome Group Honors Those Who Served

Father-and-son veterans from Marple saluted for service 
Delaware County Daily Times
By Leslie Krowchenko, Times Correspondent
POSTED: 10/17/15
“I decided that no veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would come home to the same treatment our Vietnam veterans came home to,” wrote Hyland. “It was then that A Hero’s Welcome was born.”

Tina Crognale, a volunteer with A Hero’s Welcome, presented a certificate to
Mike Carroll Sr. in recognition of his service. LESLIE KROWCHENKO — DAILY TIMES
Mike Carroll Sr. wondered what all the fuss was about Saturday morning when he heard sirens and horns on his street.

Little did he know the celebration was for him.

A paratrooper with the 509th Army infantry regiment, Carroll was congratulated for his service in a short ceremony on the front lawn of his house. More than 100 family members, friends and neighbors, some arriving by township police and Delaware County Sheriff’s Department escort, joined in a surprise thank him for his dedication to his country.

“He was one of many people who stepped up and signed on the dotted line,” said Brenda Hecklin, Pennsylvania chapter director of A Hero’s Welcome. “We want to show veterans that they are not forgotten, but are supported and appreciated.”

Founded by Montgomery County resident Sharon Hyland, A Hero’s Welcome was created to provide all veterans with the ticker tape parade-type reception lavished on troops returning from World War II.
The celebration was a “twofer,” said Hecklin, as the group also applauded Carroll’s son, Mike Jr., an Army sergeant who served in Mogadishu, Somalia. He was involved in the overall operation of Black Hawk Down and was awarded the Purple Heart.
read more here

Sunday, November 16, 2014

PTSD: Marine's Story of Seeking Peace After War

A retired Marine's struggle to find some peace on homefront
Chicago Tribune
By Bonnie Miller Rubin
November 11, 2014
Pause Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune
Don Larson pauses for a long moment during a meeting of Tribute to the Troops at the Brunch Cafe in Fox River Grove. He and his wife, Terri, are active members and are working on an event to bring awareness to mental health issues.

Don Larson's bucolic Crystal Lake subdivision is a long way from Somalia, Iraq or any of the other war-torn locales where he served during his 23 years as a Marine.

But in his mind, Larson must remain hypervigilant. He can't enter his home without first sweeping the property to make sure it has not been compromised. He has devised strategies — such as leaving a coin on a dresser — to make sure nothing has been moved by an intruder.

Still, home feels safer to him than any public place — a shopping mall, a movie theater, even a church pew — where he's constantly scanning the crowd for suspicious characters and searching for exits, just in case he needs a quick getaway.

"Time and distance is always your friend," said the 55-year-old. "That's why when we enter the house, I like (my wife) Terri to always be behind me — so if we run into anything, she has time and distance to get away."

Larson's wife of 35 years, Terri, patiently waited outside on a recent weekday afternoon while her husband performed his security check. She is the one who nearly three years ago persuaded this reluctant, stoic Marine to get help.

Don Larson is being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder at Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates. He credits the combination of medication and counseling, including a tool called virtual reality exposure therapy, with saving his marriage and his life. Despite his mood swings, crippling anxiety and fear of crowds that fuel obsessive surveillance rituals, clinicians say he is making progress.

As the nation observes Veterans Day, Larson allowed the Tribune to sit in on his sessions, sharing intimate details in the hope that it might erase stigma and encourage others grappling with mental illness.

"I knew that I was destroying myself, my wife, our relationship," Larson said. "I came close to losing the very thing that was most important to me."
read more here

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Black Hawk Down CSM Robert Gallagher Died at 52

Decorated soldier from 'Black Hawk Down' battle in Somalia dies at 52
Published October 23, 2014
Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher was in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 and in Baghdad for the U.S. invasion in 2003. When he retired, he worked to serve soldiers. He died on Oct. 13 at age 52.
(3rd Infantry Division/Facebook)

A decorated soldier who participated in the Somalia battle immortalized by Hollywood blockbuster “Black Hawk Down” was reportedly found dead in his Georgia home earlier this month.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Gallagher, 52, died of natural causes as a result of a heart condition, the Army Times reports. He served as the command sergeant major for the Army’s Wounded Warrior Program, but had extensive experience in major combat operations, including Operation Just Cause in Panama and with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia, which was later made famous by the 2001 film.

“You know, I don’t say this lightly, but Bob is probably one of, probably the best soldier I ever served with, retired Col. Greg Gadson told the newspaper. “That man really cared about soldiers.”

Born in Bayonne, N.J., Gallagher joined the Army in 1981 and later earned several awards and decorations, including a Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars. He earned the Silver Star in 2002 during Operation Iraqi Freedom as troops advanced from Kuwait to Baghdad, when he suffered a leg wound but continued to direct his men.
read more here

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

PTSD Army Veteran Caught in New York Police Gun Fight

Army Vet and Family in Town for Funeral Get Caught in Police Shooting
DNA Info New York
By Eddie Small
October 1, 2014
Mercado Jr., 48, a contracting specialist at the VA Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, said he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in the Army from April 1985 through May 2005, a time period that included stints in Somalia and Kosovo.

MOTT HAVEN — A South Carolina family's trip to New York City for a funeral turned into chaos Monday afternoon when they got caught in a police-involved shooting and narrowly missed getting struck by the gunfire.

The fusillade left them with a gaping bullet hole in the hood of the car they were driving and left one of the family members, an Army vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, "in a state of panic" because of how close the gunfire came to him, they explained.

Around 5:45 p.m., officers on patrol by East 145th Street and College Avenue started chasing a 20-year-old man who they saw shooting a gun a block away, but the suspect then started running toward and pointing his gun at them, police said.
read more here

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Gandhi doesn't care about PTSD service dog for veteran tenant

Basically this Gandhi is saying veterans and disabled not welcomed there.
Landlord of veteran with service dog defends no-dog policy
K.J. Gandhi defends his policy, saying it draws people to move into apartment building
CBC News
May 16, 2014
David Peavey, an 18-year military veteran with PTSD, faces eviction from his apartment unless he gets rid of his service dog. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia landlord who gave an eviction notice to a military veteran, who has acquired a service dog to help deal with his post-traumatic stress disorder, is speaking out in defence of his building's no-dog policy.

David Peavey was medically released from the military nine years ago after being diagnosed with PTSD. He served for 18 years, spending time in Somalia, among other places.

His service dog Norm, which he just got this week, helps him to complete daily tasks and live a more normal life.

K.J. Gandhi, Peavey's landlord, recently gave the veteran a 15-day eviction notice — but that's been put on hold while the province's Human Rights Commission looks into the case.

Gandhi said two-thirds of residents in the Riviera apartment building in Dartmouth told him they didn't want the dog in the building. He said the no-dog policy is one of the attractions of the building and it wouldn't matter even if Norm was a seeing eye dog.
read more here

Friday, May 2, 2014

Soldier shot by sniper while talking to wife

Love-sick soldier who phoned wife from the frontline killed by sniper seconds later who saw his mobile light up
Edward Juma Okoyo was in trenches in Somalia at night when he made call
Kenyan made daily calls to Doreen Magak who he married a month earlier
Sniper saw flickering of mobile screen and opened fire killing solider and other members of unit
His wife reveals the moment loving phone call ended and line 'suddenly went silent'
Daily Mail
1 May 2014

A Kenyan soldier who called his wife while he was on the frontline was killed seconds later after a sniper saw the flicker of his mobile phone.

The marksman opened fire after seeing the screen from Edward Juma Okoyo’s phone light up at night as he was talking to Doreen Magak, the woman he had married just a month earlier.

Mr Okoyo was stationed in trenches with a number of other members of the Kenyan Defence Force in neighbouring Somalia when he decided to make a night time call home.

But the platoon commander was unaware that his actions had put him squarely in the crosshairs of a sniper who then shot him dead along with other members of the unit.

Now his 29-year-old wife has relived the devastating moment the line went silent as she was talking to her loved one.
read more here

Monday, December 23, 2013

Marine veteran teaches fellow homeless survival skills

Marine veteran teaches fellow homeless survival skills
December 21, 2013

Homeless Marine veteran Michael Coughlin heads for his living quarters at a homeless encampment near Lake Mead Boulevard and North Simmons Street in Las Vegas Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. Coughlin, who's a fill-in deacon at the Westminster Presbyterian Church, says it's his mission to help the homeless. Part of that outreach includes teaching them what he calls urban camping skills.
(Bill Hughes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“Anybody home?” hollers Marine veteran Michael Coughlin as he strides across the chalky soil making his daily rounds through a homeless camp.

For two years, with help from the Westminster Presbyterian Church’s food pantry, he has been playing the role of guardian angel for fellow homeless people living in hidden hooches on the shrub-dotted desert next to the North Las Vegas Airport.

“It’s been the hardest two years of my life and the best two years of my life,” Coughlin, 53, said on a mid-December tour of the camp he calls “No Man’s Land.”

A survival expert who was raised on his family’s homestead land in Alaska, Coughlin routinely checks on his throng of homeless friends and teaches them outdoor skills for enduring harsh, chilly winters and sweltering summers.

He draws on his 10-year experience as an infantry Marine serving in such places as Nicaragua, Panama and Somalia. He was honorably discharged in 1987.

“I call it urban camping,” he said. “I teach them how to hide and stay warm. The last two years have been absolute dedication to make sure they’re fed and clothed.

The hardest part is to get them to know they’re loved by Jesus Christ and fellow man.”

Coughlin, a divorced man whose parents are deceased, became homeless when he was laid off from his last job in the gaming industry after the recession hit bottom in 2009. He said he had worked in several downtown casinos, rising from dealer to pit boss.

“When my unemployment was running out, I knew I had to do something good with my life,” he said, recalling the promise he made at the time. “What have you done for anybody other than yourself? I’m not going to self-medicate myself. I’m going to do the right thing.”

And “the right thing” turned out to become a homeless person and help others by living with them in their own element. With that came pitfalls to overcome such as having his bicycle stolen three times in two years. He’s now riding his fourth bike to reach odd jobs such as lawn work and moving assistance to earn a few bucks.

“The church is the hub of the wheel I work out of,” he said.
read more here

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Navy SEAL Team raids Somalia town

U.S. Navy SEAL Team Raids Somalia Town In Nairobi Attack Response
Posted: 10/05/2013

WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy SEAL team is believed to have killed a senior leader of the al Shabaab militant group in a raid on his seaside villa in Somalia on Saturday in response to a deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping mall last month, the New York Times reported.
read more here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

US Spec-ops raid in Somalia frees American, Dane

Spec-ops raid in Somalia frees American, Dane
By Abdi Guled and Katharine Houreld - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Jan 25, 2012 6:02:34 EST

MOGADISHU, Somalia — U.S. military forces flew into Somalia in a nighttime helicopter raid Wednesday, freed an American and a Danish hostage, and killed nine pirates in a mission President Obama appeared to reference before his State of the Union speech, officials and a pirate source said.

The Danish Refugee Council confirmed that the two aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, were freed "during an operation in Somalia." Buchanan, 32, and Thisted, 60, had been working with a de-mining unit of the Danish Refugee Council when they were kidnapped in October.

Obama seemed to refer to the mission before his State of the Union address in Washington on Tuesday night. As he entered the House chamber in the U.S. Capitol, he pointed at Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in the crowd and said, "Good job tonight."
read more here

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trinity Jubilee Center comforting Somali PTSD refugees

Exeter's Christ Church recently completed a mission trip to Lewiston, Maine to help our Somoli refugees at the Jubilee Center. Pictured is the church's mission group with a mural they completed at the center. Courtesy photo

Exeter's Christ Church spreads the wealth during summer mission trip

By Peg Gaillard
August 12, 2008 6:00 AM
EXETER — In July, 25 members of the Christ Church community headed two hours north to Lewiston, Maine, to volunteer at Trinity Jubilee Center for a week.

After several months of planning and organizing, this multi-generational group of parishioners, age 11 to 77, was eager to get to work. The tasks for the week were repainting the large, badly deteriorated mural outside the center, serving in the soup kitchen and helping distribute food at the weekly delivery from the Good Shepard Food Bank Food Mobile, repainting a teen crisis center near the Jubilee Center and playing and working with the large population of Somali refugee children.

Helping refugees

There are currently upwards of 7,000 Somalis living in Lewiston and more seem to be arriving almost daily. There were a couple of children we met during the week who had only just arrived in Lewiston. As we read in the news, the situation in Somalia and in the refugee camps in Kenya (which is where most of these Somalis have come from) is volatile and brutal. One of the staff members at the Jubilee Center stated that virtually every Somali that was not born here has full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder because of what they have seen and survived in Somalia and/or Kenya, In other words more than 90 percent of the population of Somalis in Lewiston has PTSD.
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