This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man's life - We Are The Mighty
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This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

Screaming startled him awake.


After moving into an apartment here only a week earlier, Leifheit wasn’t yet familiar with the neighborhood. Marine Corps Sgt. Cody Leifheit checked the time: 2 a.m. Sunday, June 7, 2015. Probably people filtering in from the bars, he thought.

But the hysterical, incoherent screaming continued. Was it a cry for help?

Running down the street, the 28-year-old recruiter found a cluster of silhouettes milling beneath a tree, desperate and terrified. Their friend, 19-year-old Travis Kent, was hanging from a branch 25 feet above them.

No one had a knife to cut Kent down, so Leifheit ran home for one and sprinted back to the tree. The stocky Marine jumped up, grabbed a branch and strong-armed his way upward, recounted Austin Tow, Kent’s roommate. Tow had scaled the tree in an attempt to save him.

‘Like Hercules climbing the tree’

“Sergeant Leifheit was like Hercules climbing the tree,” recalled Tow, adding that Leifheit reacted without hesitation and ascended the tree “as easily as if he were climbing stairs.”

Tow said he and Kent’s 14-year-old brother, Dartanian, “saw warning signs.” Kent’s life hadn’t been easy. When Kent was a child, his father committed suicide after losing a son to cancer. His mother was a drug addict. At 19 years old, Kent had a legal dependent in his brother Dartanian.

Kent had talked about killing himself, Tow said, but they didn’t think he would actually do it.

Perched on a branch above his friend, Tow panicked. Worried that Kent had a spinal injury, Tow didn’t want to cut him loose and send him falling to the ground. As Tow wrestled with his options, a “completely calm” Leifheit climbed up to him.

“I’m sure it was just another day for him,” said Marine Corps Cpl. Jeff Decker, who served under Leifheit from 2012-2015. He described Leifheit as a respected leader devoted to caring for and training his Marines.

“If we gave 100 percent, he gave us 110 percent back,” Decker said of Leifheit.

Leifheit’s proficiency in combat lifesaver training enabled his men to build confidence with casualty care, Decker said. He described Leifheit as “the guy for the job.”

Help arrives

Tow recalled: “Once Sergeant Leifheit climbed up to where I was in the tree, he said, ‘Hey, I’m a Marine and I’m here to help your friend.’ I instantly felt at ease.”

This was the first time Leifheit met Tow, Kent and their friends.

Leifheit — once a football and wrestling star at Ferndale High School in his hometown of Ferndale, Washington — took action. He hugged the tree with his right arm and wrapped his left arm around Kent, relieving pressure on the rope so Tow could cut it and release the noose. Leifheit checked Kent’s pulse and found nothing. Kent wasn’t breathing.

Leifheit yelled for onlookers to call 911.

Using the tree as a makeshift backboard, Leifheit began performing chest compressions on Kent from 25 feet off the ground. A few compressions in, Kent began breathing. Twice more he lost and regained his heartbeat as Leifheit worked to bring him back.

First responders arrived. An emergency medical technician used a ladder to climb up to them. He checked Kent’s pulse and presumed he was dead, but Leifheit disagreed.

“No, he just had a heartbeat!” Leifheit exclaimed, as he resumed chest compressions. As Kent’s heartbeat and breathing were restored, Leifheit rubbed his sternum to check responsiveness.

A firefighter assisted Leifheit in safely moving Kent down the ladder. Amid a flurry of first responders, Kent was rushed to the hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.

Life-saving skills played a paramount role

Marine Corps Maj. Sung Kim, Leifheit’s commanding officer at Marine Corps Recruiting Station Seattle, said Leifheit’s actions personified traits instilled in all Marines, “from his initiative to take charge of the situation to his knowledge of basic life-saving skills.”

Leifheit spoke briefly with the gathered crowd before returning home to sleep. While they were in awe of what he had done, he was quick to downplay his response. Eight years of training and experience as a Marine brought him into the situation with only one option, he said.

“We can mess up a lot of things in life where there are no immediate consequences,” Leifheit said. “One thing you can never fail at twice is saving a person’s life.”

Kent spent 48 hours in a coma before waking up. On June 11, he walked out of the hospital, lifting a tremendous weight off his brother Dartanian’s shoulders.

“My brother is the closest thing I’ll ever have to a dad,” Dartanian said. “By saving his life, Sergeant Leifheit practically saved mine.”

(Editor’s Note: The name of the individual who attempted suicide has been changed to protect his privacy.)

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Intel

11 Photos Showing Jordan’s King Abdullah Being A Total Badass

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Jordan’s King Abdullah II (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/ Instagram)


Jordanian F-16s launched 20 airstrikes on Islamic State targets in 2015 following King Abdullah II’s declaration to wage a “harsh” war against militants from the group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or ISIS, after the brutal execution of captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbe.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram

Abdullah participating in a military special operations training exercises as Jump-Master.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
The Royal Hashemite Court/YouTube

King Abdullah II, a former commander of Jordan’s special forces, pledged to hit the militants “hard in the very center of their strongholds,” AP reports.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Abdullah with military officials during an exercise. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

The Jordanian government has denied the king’s physical involvement in any aerial attacks.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Abdullah observing a military exercise in November 2013. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Dubbed the “warrior king,” Jordan’s 53-year-old leader has clocked in 35 years of military service.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Abdullah at a military ceremony in Jordan. (Photo: The Royal Court/Instagram)

According to the king‘s bio, he enrolled in the UK’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in 1980 and went on to become an elite Cobra attack helicopter pilot.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
King Abdullah II pilots his helicopter while visiting different areas in his kingdom. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

In November 1993, then-Prince Abdullah became commander of Jordan’s special forces.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Abdullah laughing with troop after a meal in the field. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Three years later he turned Jordan’s small special forces unit into today’s elite Special Operations Command (SOCOM), arguably the best operatives in the Middle East.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Abdullah speaking with soldiers after sharing a meal. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Frequently training alongside US special forces, Jordan’s units are approximately 14,000 strong and may further contribute to the fight against ISIS beyond Jordan’s airstrikes.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Abdullah observing a military exercise. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

As the head of a constitutional monarchy, the career soldier holds substantial power.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces, at a military exercise. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

Members of Congress have asked for an increase in military assistance to the kingdom, AP reports. The US is providing Jordan with $1 billion annually in military assistance.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
King Abdullah II starts his day participating in a military special operations training exercises as Jump Master. (Photo: The Royal Hashemite Court/Instagram)

The fight against ISIS lost a crucial partner, the United Arab Emirates, in December after the Jordanian pilot was captured, The New York Times reported.

The UAE demands that the Pentagon improve its search-and-rescue efforts in northern Iraq before it rejoins the coalition, The Times said, quoting unidentified US officials.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

Intel

This pilot earned his dream shot by tweaking a general

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: US Air Force Staff Sgt. Aaron Allmon II


Air Force Capt. Roger Moseley was a test pilot who got on the bad side of base’s vice commander when he told a group of pilots that — in a world of unmanned aircraft and precision guided munitions — only dinosaurs cared about things like flying faster and higher. He was told he’d never test fly again, but the next morning he was called into the middle of the Nevada desert and offered a top-secret job that he had to agree to on the spot. Moseley did and became one of the first pilot to fly the F-117, the stealth fighter that carried the day in the skies over Iraq during Desert Storm.

Hear the full story at NPR.

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Articles

These Afghan moms are taking up arms to fight the Taliban and ISIS

As radical terrorist groups continue to wreak havoc around Afghanistan, a group of women are taking up arms against them.


The Afghan National Police have resorted to arming and training local women to fight the Taliban and Islamic State militants. In many cases, the women had lost their sons, husbands, and other loved ones to the ongoing violence.

“If we fear [ISIS] and the Taliban today, our future will be ruined tomorrow,” one unnamed woman told Al Jazeera.

Female members of the Afghan National Police train the local women in small arms and basic tactics, specifically in the northern reaches of Afghanistan.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Army photo by Sgt. Chloé Barnes.

“Every week, around 40 or 50 people join,” said Najiba, a female police officer.

Some Afghans do not approve of women fighting in the army or police, but the increasingly desperate situation has forced the security forces to take desperate measures. Afghan forces only control or influence approximately 60 percent of the country’s districts, according to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

ISIS’s Afghan branch, known as Islamic State-Khorasan province, holds significantly less territory, but the group has been able to engage in several deadly terrorist attacks across the country.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Army photo by Sgt. Chloé Barnes.

“It’s been forced on us,” Gen. Rahmat of the Jowzjan province police told Al Jazeera in an interview. “It’s not a woman’s job to fight. But that’s the situation now. Women have joined the police and army, too.”

Fighting the Taliban and ISIS is a risky proposition for the women, but many see it as their duty. Sara Khala, one of the women training to fight the militants, lost her son to the Taliban, forcing her to care for his orphaned children.

“I have to take revenge for him,” she told Al-Jazeera. “I’ll cook dinner and give it to them. Then I’ll go wherever the Taliban and Daesh are. I’ll take my gun and fight them.”

Articles

25 photos showing why The Warrior Games is the world’s most inspiring competition

Since 2010, The Warrior Games has allowed wounded warriors from each military branch to compete in Olympic style games each year. This year’s games are being held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. from June 19-28. By utilizing the therapeutic power of sports, the games enable wounded, ill, and injured service members to showcase their athletic abilities.


Here are 25 photos that show why this event is one of the most inspiring in the world.

1. The Warrior Games are attended by senior government and military leadership such as former Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta (center) and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno. 

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Army Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade

2. There is an elaborate opening ceremony complete with the lighting of the cauldron to mark the beginning of the games.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Air Force Tech. Sgt. Heather Kelly

3. Warrior athletes make up 6 teams including Army …

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Army

4. Air Force,

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Air Force

5. Marine Corps,

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

6. Navy / Coast Guard,

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Katherine Hofman

7. Special Operations Command (SOCOM),

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Devon Suits

8. And British Armed Forces.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan K. Reitzel

9. The crowd is packed with family, friends, and caregivers of the competitors.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Marine Corps Cpl. Jonathan K. Reitzel

10. You are literally watching the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded warriors taking place.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

11. It’s also chance to see the long standing rivalry between military services.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Marine Corps

12. Events include archery …

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Carson Gramley

13. Wheelchair Basketball,

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Tiffany DeNault

14. And Cycling.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: US Army

15. Then there are Field events such as seated shot put, standing shot put, seated discus, and standing discus.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman

16. There’s track and field …

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Jennifer Spradlin

17. Shooting,

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Navy Lt. Michael Fallon

18. Sitting Volleyball,

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Marine Corps

19. Swimming,

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Kaily Brown

20. And Wheelchair Rugby.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Joshua Sheppard

21. There’s even exhibition games that dignitaries and Olympic champions will play in, like Prince Harry of Wales and 3 time Olympic gold medalist Misty May Treanor.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Tyler Main

22. Beautiful medals are awarded to competitors.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

23. Individual competitors can rack up medals.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

24. And the team with the overall best performance is awarded the ‘Chairman’s Cup.’

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp

25. No matter what the result, there is a powerful spirit of camaraderie.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Justyn M. Freeman

To learn more about the games, visit the Warrior Games website here.

Now: Everyone should see these powerful images of wounded vets

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Articles

Video: JR Martinez and Noah Galloway talk ‘Dancing with the Stars’

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
(Photo: ABC)


Former “Dancing with the Stars” winner JR Martinez sits down with fellow wounded warrior and current season contestant Noah Galloway for an in-depth conversation about military service, the nature of war, and dealing with a life-changing injury. This WATM exclusive — a must-watch for DWTS fans — brings out a side of Galloway that only a fellow vet like Martinez can.

Watch it below:

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Articles

These 7 American legends were pilots for the Flying Tigers

The “Flying Tigers” (formally known as the American Volunteer Group or AVG) were famous for being in the fight very early in World War II. They were recruited to fly for the Republic of China — with the quiet approval of the United States government.


Despite the fact many had no flight experience in fighters like the P-40s made famous by the AVG, they were able to inflict heavy casualties on the Japanese — even as they had to fall back due to being badly outnumbered.

So it’s not surprising that some of the Flying Tiger pilots became legends later in the war and beyond.

1. Gregory Boyington

Probably the best-known Flying Tigers alum (due to the TV series “Baa Baa Black Sheep” or “Black Sheep Squadron”), Boyington claimed six kills while with the Tigers — although CAMCO gave him credit for only 3.5.

Some historians dispute that total, but what is beyond any doubt is the fact that Boyington would later become the top Marine ace of all time with 28 kills. He would also receive the Medal of Honor for his service.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

2. James H. Howard

Howard was recruited for the Flying Tigers from the Navy. His kill total with the Flying Tigers was six and a third, per CAMCO bonus records (pilots received a $500 bonus for every confirmed kill).

Not bad, but his real moment of glory came when the son of American missionaries in China was all that stood between 30 German fighters and a group of B-17 Flying Fortresses on Jan. 11, 1944.

At least three of the Nazi fighters were shot down in that incident, and Howard probably put lead in more. He would receive the Medal of Honor for his actions.

He modestly said, “I seen my duty and I done it.”

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
James H. Howard, after returning from combat duty in Europe. (USAAF photo)

3. Robert L. Scott

The Georgia native unofficially flew with the Flying Tigers before he took command of their successors, the 23rd Fighter Group, and was known as a “one-man air force.” Scott ultimately scored 13 kills with the 23rd Fighter Group, but was better known for writing the book “God is My Co-Pilot,” which later became a movie.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

4. Robert W. Prescott

A 5.5-kill ace with the Flying Tigers, Prescott was best known for being among those who founded the Flying Tigers Line. While that aviation firm is now part of Federal Express, it did gain a measure of immortality in an episode of the 1960s iteration of Dragnet.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
A 747 with the Flying Tigers airline founded by Robert Prescott, an AVG veteran. The airline was later bought by FedEx. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

5. Robert Neale

Neale scored at least 15 kills with the Flying Tigers, per AVG records. Had he accepted a commission from the United States Army Air Force, he could have racked up a much higher total.

Instead, he stayed on, and was the first commander of the 23rd Fighter Group — while still a civilian — until Robert Scott officially took command. Neale then became a civilian ferry pilot for the duration of the war.

6. David “Tex” Hill

Hill was born in Korea — like Howard, the son of missionaries.

Prior to joining the AVG he served in the Navy, where he flew two planes that were notable during the Battle of Midway: The TBD Devastator torpedo bomber (notable for the losses suffered by torpedo squadrons) and the SB2U Vindicator (the plane flown by Richard Fleming, the only Medal of Honor recipient for the Battle of Midway).

Hill scored 10.25 kills with the AVG, then stayed on afterwards with the Air Force.

Hill ended the war with 18.25 kills, and not only commanded the 23rd Fighter Group, but later commanded an Air National Guard fighter group during the Korean War.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life

7. Charles Older

Older wasn’t only a double ace with the Flying Tigers, he scored eight more later in World War II.

Then he flew a night intruder bomber in the Korean War before graduating from law school and becoming a judge, presiding over the Manson trial.

Manson took a swing at the former Flying Tiger, but bailiffs restrained him. Probably lucky for Manson…with his experience of fighting against long odds, Older probably could have taken the punk down.

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
A Flying Tiger in front of Charles Older’s P-40. Older had 10 kills with the Flying Tigers, and added eight more later. (AVG photo via Wikimedia Commons)

Mighty Moments

A former Cambodian soldier has dedicated his life to clearing landmines

In the 20th century, Cambodia saw more than its fair share of war and conflict. In the United States, we may be familiar with U.S. incursions into the country from neighboring Vietnam during the Vietnam War, but the conflict didn’t end with the U.S. withdrawal. 

The years that followed brought the rise of the brutal dictatorial regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, along with an invasion by neighboring Vietnam. All of them laid landmines as a means of defending their wartime gains. 

Over the course of several decades, the estimated four to six million mines laid in the country have been all but forgotten – except by the people who still live there. 

An estimated 4,320 people were killed or wounded by landmines in 1996. Around 20 years later, that figure fell to just 77. International efforts from the United Nations and Japan work to reduce minefields along the country’s borders, mines remain a threat to those local in remote areas, area where living off the land is part of their daily lives.

Cambodia has set a goal of being free from mines by 2025, and one former child soldier is determined to do everything he can do personally to free his country from the terror of the mines. 

man carrying landmines
Matteis Saet, assigned to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center Dragon team, carries simulated landmines on March 22, 2021 at the Hohenfels Training Area. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Julian Padua)

Aki Ra was born in the early 1970s (he doesn’t know exactly when) to parents who were murdered by soldiers of the Khmer Rouge. Almost as soon as he was strong enough to carry equipment and weapons, he was trained by the armed forces of Cambodia as a soldier. 

When neighboring Vietnam invaded Cambodia, it not only ended the Khmer Rouge’s genocide against its own people, it toppled the government. Aki Ra was captured by the Vietnamese and forced to fight against the dictator’s forces. When the new government was formed, he enlisted as a soldier in the Royal Cambodian Army.

“I had [bad] feelings, because sometimes we were fighting against our friends and relatives,” Aki Ra told the Journal of Conventional Weapons Destruction. “I felt sad when I saw a lot of people were killed. A lot of people were suffering from landmines. [But] I did not know what to do, [because] we were under orders.”

He was trained to place landmines along the Cambodia-Thailand border. More than a decade later, Aki Ra found himself attending school for the first time in his life. Now, he was learning to remove mines. When a UN peacekeeping force arrived in the country in 1991, he helped clear as many as he could. 

After they left, he no longer had the specialized equipment they used to clear minefields, but he still had the skills of a minelaying soldier. Using his bare hands, a stick and a knife, he began his work of making the country safe for his people. 

Using these hazardous methods for more than a decade, he finally worked to get accredited international demining training and explosive ordnance disposal certification at the

International School for Security and Explosives. Once he had that, he could establish his own organization, which he did in 2008.

Aki Ra had cleared an estimated 50,000 land mines by 2000, long before founding Cambodia Self-Help Demining. 

The Cambodia Self-Help Demining organization he founded not only works to help remove the mines, it also trains others to go out into greater Cambodia to do more work to that effect. Eventually, he started collecting the detonated and harmless landmines he and his workers have dug up over the years. 

landmines
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician 2nd Class Vasya Mstislavski, right, assigned to Task Force 50, sets an improvised explosive device during a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device operation as part of Neon Response 18 at the Bahrain Defense Force.

That collection is now the foundation of Aki Ra’s Cambodia Landmine Museum and Relief Facility in Siem Reap, Cambodia. There, visitors learn about how the mines got there, how they are removed, and for a small fee for entry, help pay for the removal of even more mines. 

“We must all do what we can to educate our children and make Cambodia a safe country again so that Amatak (his son) and all children can really live forever,” he says. 

Intel

This ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ actor went to Syria to fight ISIS

A former “Pirates of the Caribbean” actor has left Hollywood to battle the Islamic State in Syria, despite having no previous military experience.


English-born Michael Enright, 51, said in a filmed interview with the Gulf-based AlAlan TV network that the extremist organization is “a stain on humanity,” and one that he personally hopes to destroy.

The actor has also stated that his decision to serve was triggered by a desire to right what he considers a national wrong, referring to the execution of American journalist James Foley by a member of ISIS who is believed to be British.

Enright fights alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has become a pivotal player in the American led alliance against ISIS.

The Telegraph writes:

Mr. Enright is one of dozens of foreign fighters have travelled to the self-styled Kurdish enclave of Rojava to join the fight. Most have a military background. Many have been recruited via Facebook, and some have funded their airfare on crowd funding websites.

Check out the AlAlan TV video below for the full interview:

Articles

This Marine veteran creates beautiful artwork to overcome PTSD

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life


Art can be an important outlet for people struggling with post-traumatic stress, and one Marine veteran in Oregon is proving it with his paintings.

“I was never creative and didn’t really have an interest in art,” Shane Kohfield, a Marine infantry machine-gunner who deployed twice to Iraq, told KGW-Portland. “I started doing this for something to do and then I felt the raw emotion.”

Kohfield, now a student at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany, Ore., returned from war with post-traumatic stress and a traumatic brain injury. But he has maintained an incredibly positive attitude: “My head injury didn’t make me weak; it made me stronger than I could have ever imagined and has given me courage in the face of overwhelming adversity,” he wrote.

Kohfield uses an interesting method to create his abstract paintings: He spray paints across his canvas and then uses a spatula to blend the colors. His technique developed out of necessity, since his trembling hand prevented him from using a normal paint brush, according to KGW-Portland.

Fox 12-Oregon has more:

Before too long, Kohfield’s work got noticed. Pegasus Art Gallery in Corvallis now displays several of his paintings. Kohfield has sold three so far, for anywhere from $500 to $2,500, but he also gives many of his pieces away.

“People may have trouble getting to know me, but they have no problem connecting with my paintings. So in a sense, it’s them connecting with me.”  Kohfield said.

Watch the video:

Articles

This crucial 1942 naval battle was captured on film by a Hollywood director

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life


On June 4, 1942, the Battle of Midway kicked off between the U.S. and Japan. When it was all over on June 7, it was hailed as a decisive American victory — and much of it was captured on film.

That’s all because the Navy sent director John Ford to Midway atoll just days before it was attacked by the Japanese. Ford, already famous in Hollywood for such films as “Stage Coach” and “The Grapes of Wrath,” was commissioned a Navy commander with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and thought he was just going to document a quaint island in the South Pacific.

“The next morning – that night we got back and evidently something was about to pop, great preparations were made,” Ford told Navy historians after the battle. “I was called into Captain Semard’s office, they were making up plans, and he said ‘Well, now Ford, you are pretty senior here, and how about you getting up top of the power house, the power station, where the phones are?’ He said, ‘Do you mind?” I said ‘No, it’s a good place to take pictures.’

He said, ‘Well, forget the pictures as much as you can, but I want a good accurate account of the bombing,” he said, “We expect to be attacked tomorrow.'”

From History.com:

A thousand miles northwest of Honolulu, the strategic island of Midway became the focus of his scheme to smash U.S. resistance to Japan’s imperial designs. Yamamoto’s plan consisted of a feint toward Alaska followed by an invasion of Midway by a Japanese strike force. When the U.S. Pacific Fleet arrived at Midway to respond to the invasion, it would be destroyed by the superior Japanese fleet waiting unseen to the west. If successful, the plan would eliminate the U.S. Pacific Fleet and provide a forward outpost from which the Japanese could eliminate any future American threat in the Central Pacific. U.S. intelligence broke the Japanese naval code, however, and the Americans anticipated the surprise attack.

The three-day battle resulted in the loss of two U.S. ships and more than 300 men. The Japanese fared much worse, losing four carriers, three destroyers, 275 planes, and nearly 5,000 men.

Ford was wounded in the initial attack, but he continued to document the battle using his handheld 16mm camera. Here’s how he described it:

“By this time the attack had started in earnest. There was some dive bombing at objectives like water towers, [they] got the hangar right away. I was close to the hangar and I was lined up on it with my camera, figuring it would be one of the first things they got. It wasn’t any of the dive bombers [that got it]. A Zero flew about 50 feet over it and dropped a bomb and hit it, the whole thing went up. I was knocked unconscious. Just knocked me goofy for a bit, and I pulled myself out of it. I did manage to get the picture. You may have seen it in [the movie] “The Battle of Midway.” It’s where the plane flies over the hangar and everything goes up in smoke and debris, you can see one big chunk coming for the camera.

Everybody, of course, nearly everybody except the gun crews were under ground. The Marines did a great job. There was not much shooting but when they did it was evidently the first time these boys had been under fire but they were really well trained. Our bluejackets and our Marine gun crews seemed to me to be excellent. There was no spasmodic firing, there was no firing at nothing. They just waited until they got a shot and it usually counted.”

Now see his 1942 film “The Battle of Midway,” which won the Academy Award for best documentary:

SEE ALSO: Everyone should see these powerful images of wounded vets

Articles

5 ways ‘San Andreas’ highlights the best of military families

This Marine recruiter scaled a tree at 2 a.m. to save a man’s life
Photo: Warner Bros.


“San Andreas” is a disaster movie that is true to what you think it should be based on the trailer. There are some great effects, a lot of danger, and some thrills.

Ray, a helicopter pilot played by Dwayne Johnson, moves around southern California on different vehicles and on foot, trying to save his wife and daughter.

But “San Andreas” rises above its genre in a surprising way: Ray isn’t the only action hero in the movie. His wife and daughter, instead of being damsels in distress, save the day a few times themselves.

Since Ray is a combat veteran, his family was a military family that endured multiple deployments and prepared to face emergencies on their own. While trying to avoid spoilers, here are some great military family traits the film highlights:

1. Calm leadership

Emma, the wife of Ray played by Carla Gugino, is near the top of a tower when the first main quake hits California. Ray is nearby and tells her she can get him. Emma immediately begins trying to move other survivors with her to the roof. Emma has to fight through the crumbling building to reach her rendezvous. Due to the destruction, Ray’s original plan clearly won’t work, and it’s Emma who directs Ray on where to go to complete the pickup.

The daughter, named Blake (played by Alexandra Daddario), faces her own challenges when the quake strikes. Though she at first must be saved by a boy and his little brother, she quickly takes over leading the male pair. She directs them on the safest places to go as they face crisis after crisis and she figures out Plan B when the main plan becomes impossible.

2. Resourcefulness

Emma displays resourcefulness a few times, but this category mainly belongs to Blake. She breaks into an electronics store to establish communications with her father. She finds a way to listen in on the emergency channels to stay in touch with what’s happening in the city. After another survivor is injured, she even improvises bandages and renders aid.

These are skills that the military demands of its members, and many members pass them on to their families.

3. Bravery

This is a category we don’t want to talk about in too much detail because it will spoil the movie. But, both Emma and Blake fight through terrifying moments and tackle their fears. Between the two of them, they muster their courage to keep fighting while falling through buildings, being trapped, crashing, and facing other dangers.

4. Selflessness

Again, this is a category that, if we gave you all the details, it would ruin key parts of the movie. But, Emma puts herself in danger a few times to save Blake. And Blake really shines as she sends away rescuers multiple times when she thinks it’s too risky for them to save her. Emma, Blake, and Ray make many sacrifices for each other after everything goes to hell. Surprisingly, the film also shows the family making healthy sacrifices for each other before the quakes, balancing their own needs against each others. This even includes Ray and Emma, who are going through a divorce.

5. Training

Of course, some of the things Blake and Emma are doing require knowledge and physical strength, which implies they prepared to be on their own during an emergency. Preparing for natural disasters is something all families should do, but few actually accomplish. Blake and Emma, like many military families, knew they would face crises on their own and clearly prepared well.

To see what Ray, Emma, and Blake overcome in the movie and who makes it out alive, check out “San Andreas” in theaters May 29.

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