combat infantryman's badge

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Captain Andrew Michael Pedersen-Keel, 28, of Madison, Conn., died Mar. 11, of wounds received from small-arms fire in Wardak Province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., and was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.Pedersen-Keel was commissioned as an Infantry Officer after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy in 2006. After graduation he attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course and the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Ga. Following his training, he was assigned to the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Light) at Fort Hood, Texas. In June 2008, Pedersen-Keel deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months with the 3rd BCT where he served as a company executive officer and platoon leader. Upon completion of the deployment, he volunteered for the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course. After completing the Special Forces Qualification Course and language training, he was assigned to the 1st Bn., 3rd SFG (A) as a detachment commander in August 2012. He deployed with the unit to Afghanistan later that year.

His military education includes U.S. Army Airborne School, U.S. Army Ranger School, Combat Lifesaver Course, Combatives Level I Course, Sniper Employment Leaders Course, Pathfinder Course, Maneuver Captain’s Career Course, the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course, and the Special Forces Detachment Officer Qualification Course.

Pedersen-Keel’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2), the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal,the Air Assault Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Pathfinder Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Special Forces Tab.

Interview:
As someone who has fought for this country as you are an indigenous person, what does it say to you that the country that you fought for, right now seems more interested in protecting an oil company than protecting it’s people?

ZHOONIYA OGITCHIDA (Ojibwe tribe and Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran):

When I first went out to the front lines, I went all by myself because I wanted to. I walked out there in my uniform, with my sergeant rank, my name tape, my CIB (Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is a military award), my Unit Patches and my Deployment Patches.

I walked up there by myself and I looked at all those sheriffs and all those policemen and everyone up there with those MRAPs and FULL BATTLE RATTLE.

They were pointing their guns at me, taking their positions. And it was just me alone walking across that bridge. They came and greeted me.

I looked at them in their eyes and I said, “I wanted to see this for myself.” I felt ashamed as a soldier. And then I looked at them, and through my own eyes, they ARE NOT SOLDIERS. I don’t know what they are to me right now.

I told them that I am a 10-year, 2 time WAR VETERAN and I wanted to see this for myself. I told them that I saw the attack dogs, I have seen the gas. I have seen the temperature and the people freezing when they shot them with the water cannons.

I have seen it and I felt like I had to take action. I felt like I am needed here. All the other warriors are coming right now. I told them that I am the first of many more WARRIORS to come.

And they looked at me and I looked behind me and there were over a thousand Water Protectors behind me who were walking up.

I stood on top of that concrete barrier with that Concertina Razor Wire in front of me and the ashes and the abandoned wet clothes on that bridge. I stood on top as the Water Protectors were all behind me and I looked at all those sheriffs and those military-style policemen and I said, “If you are going to shoot those bullets, shoot them at me. Shoot them at this uniform.”

I earned this rank. I earned everything on this uniform while protecting this country and protecting the Constitution from foreign and domestic terrorism.

And they looked at me and they said, “I appreciate your service.”

I looked at them with a heavy heart and I said, “I wish that I could say the same”.

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JORDAN CHARITON:

I just wanted to ask you, “In war, you are NOT SUPPOSED to USE CHEMICAL WEAPONS. And here the POLICE are USING TEAR GAS and PEPPER SPRAY. Freezing Water can kill you if the conditions are cold enough. Compression grenades were being launched. As a soldier, can you explain how these things are ILLEGAL and what we are seeing here at Standing Rock are WAR CRIMES?”

ZHOONIYA OGITCHIDA:

It is exactly what you are saying. Here right now, these are all WAR CRIMES. These are Acts of Terrorism. I am sure that the world has seen the authorities shooting grenades and rubber bullets. The list goes on.

It is so emotional when you come up here. I am a U.S. soldier. I have been out for 3 years now. I look at the authorities out there and I told them, “It is bizarre that I am on the other side of this wire now.” I would have been with them but there is no way I would be with them now because what they are doing is wrong.

I asked them, “Do you see us as humans?” They said, “Yes”. So I asked, “Why are you doing this? This is not morally right.” I said, “This is definitely TERRORISM at it’s finest point right now.”

I can’t speak for them. I can only speak about their actions. And the way that they are acting shows that they DO NOT CARE about what is going on here and the SIGNIFICANCE of all of this.

They are just out there to GET A PAYCHECK and to HAVE SOME FUN.

My friend said she got hit in her kneecaps with the Rubber Bullets and the officer that shot her just started laughing.

Is that morally right? Are their hearts in the right places?

You can take a camera and see that the people here are not being violent. This is a peaceful protest and we are trying to keep it that way.

I am going to speak for myself. Just because I am peaceful does not mean that I don’t know violence. I do know violence. I am a Warrior and I am very confident in saying that.

And even though I can, I WILL NOT. I WILL NOT start anything that could end in a very bloody way because that could happen especially if the armed police and security forces try to come here on December 5th since they know that all the veterans are coming on December 4th.

We have heard that the Police and Security forces are planning to come on December 2nd now because they know that we are going to get so much help from all the veterans that are coming here to uphold their OATH and to DEFEND the CONSTITUTION for our rights and our humanity.

We have been doing this for 500 years or so. We have been defending this land.

It is just nice to finally see so much support

Photo credit: @adamedmera
Adam Alexander Johansson/AdaMedia Med Mera.

#NoDAPL #ocetisakowin #TYT
#VeteranStandingRock
#VeteransForStandingRock

Linda Bray was a Captain in the US Military Police who became the first woman to lead US troops in battle.

Bray commanded a unit of 45 soldiers in the 988th Military Police Company during the US invasion of Panama in 1989. During this time a routine mission went awry when her unit encountered a unit of Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF) stationed at a dog kennel. The 40-odd PDF troops refused to surrender their position, leading to a firefight that lasted 3 hours.

Eventually Bray’s unit took the kennel and forced the PDF into retreat, having killed 3 PDF soldiers and taken 1 prisoner while suffering no casualties of their own. Judging by the money, uniforms and arsenal of weapons discovered within the kennels, it is assumed that it was in fact a Special Ops base for the PDF.

Instead of being praised for her actions, Bray came under serious criticism by her superiors as military police are supposed to be non-combative. “The responses of my superior officers were very degrading, like, `What were you doing there?’” Bray later said. “A lot of people couldn’t believe what I had done, or did not want to believe it." 

Disenchanted by her experiences, Bray requested to be discharged from the army. She received the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, an award for non-combative service, but the Army refused to grant the Combat Infantryman Badge to her and other female soldiers who fought in Panama.

Her actions sparked a controversial proposal in US congress that women should be able to perform all roles within the US army, which was ultimately defeated. When similar legislation was successfully passed more recently in 2013, Bray stated that she was "thrilled”.

Just to put this out there for other Cap fans, this week (8/16/2017) Marvel is re-releasing the first ever Captain America comic and the Cap story from Tales of Suspense #63 in honor of what would have been Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday this year…

As we all know Jack Kirby, aka the King of Comics, was Cap’s co-creator and also a real-life Captain America who fought in WW2 in the Army in Company F of the 11th Infantry Regiment and served as a scout, it was while scouting that he found and helped to liberate a concentration camp. During his service he, unfortunately, came down with severe frostbite and almost lost both legs. Afterwards he was honorably discharged as a Private First Class and was awarded a Combat Infantryman Badge and a Bronze Star Medal.

The price of this comic honoring Kirby and one of his greatest creations is $1.00 for anyone interested in acquiring it.

This is a Bad Ass Grunt

A 94-year-old World War II veteran received his overdue military medals more than 70 years after surviving a prisoner-of-war camp and the Bataan Death March, the 65-mile Philippines trek that killed 11,000 people.
Philip Coon received a Prisoner of War Medal, a Combat Infantryman Badge and a Bronze star during a ceremony at Tulsa International Airport, surrounded by friends and family.

“I’ve been blessed to come this far in life,” he said, a tear streaming down one cheek. “I thank the Lord for watching over me.”