Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: February, 2016 (22) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 22

February 2, 2016 at 9:48am

Earbuds with PT uniform?

Army Times is reporting that the Army's top enlisted advisor is proposing that earbuds should be an authorized part of the PT uniform.  Click here for the story.

February 4, 2016 at 10:45am

Future of the Army?

Soldiers from A Company, 101st Division Special Troop Battalion, air assault into a village inside Jowlzak valley, Parwan province, Afghanistan. Photo credit: Spc. Scott Davis

The National Commission on the Future of the Army, or NCFA, made its recommendations public last week at the Hall of States in Washington, D.C. Chief among those recommendations, one of 63 in total, is that the Army National Guard should retain some of the AH-64 Apache helicopters it currently has.

The NCFA was tasked by Congress to examine the structure of the Army and policies related to size and mix of the force.

ARI ANALYSIS

Within the commission's report was an evaluation of the Army's Aviation Restructure Initiative, or ARI, which directs movement of all Apache aircraft out of the Guard and into Regular Army units as a readiness and cost-saving measure. The Guard, which disagreed with that initiative, championed its own solution, which involves keeping six battalions of Apache aircraft in place.

"The task to evaluate the Apache transfer was perhaps the most polarizing of the issues we had to look at," said retired Gen. Carter F. Ham, former commander of U.S. Africa Command, and one of the eight commissioners on the NCFA.

Ham said the ARI is a "well-crafted program; it saves costs, while retaining a good level of operational capability. But it does take all the Apaches out of the National Guard."

The NCFA looked at both plans, conducted their own studies, and concluded that the total Army should keep 24 Apache battalions. Of those battalions, 20 would be located in the Regular Army, with 24 aircraft each. The Guard would retain four battalions of Apaches, each with 18 aircraft.

DRAWDOWN TOO DEEP

The Regular Army expects to draw down to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2018. The NCFA has said that level of manning must be the bottom floor. Ham said the commission found that number to be enough, though barely enough, for the Army to accomplish the missions it will inevitably be asked to do in the future.

In all, the commission recommends that the total Army not dip below 980,000 soldiers. The breakdown by component is 450,000 in the Regular Army, 335,000 in the Guard, and 195,000 in the Army Reserve.

"We identified some specific capabilities, including aviation; air and missile defense; military police; chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response teams - some capabilities that still have significant shortfalls even in that Army of 980K," Ham said.

Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks, former principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, and one of the eight commissioners on the NCFA, said the commission supports Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark A. Milley's prioritization of readiness within the Army.

Hicks said the commission identified two potential areas where the Army might have its readiness tested: Europe and Korea.

THREATS IN EUROPE

In Europe, she said, looms the specter of an increasingly aggressive Russia.

"What the commission looked at quite carefully is the threat that could be posed by Russia going forward," she said. "Russia has annexed Crimea. The neighbors to the west are quite concerned about it. And so are several NATO allies."

Europe also serves as a logical staging and launch area for crisis in the Middle East as well, she said. The Army needs a strong and ready presence there.

"As a consequence, one of the recommendations we had was to place permanently into Europe an armored brigade combat team," she said. The ABCT would replace the rotational ABCT the Army has already assigned in Europe.

NORTH KOREA

She said in the case of a North Korea attack on the south, or a collapse of North Korea, it is "highly likely" the Army would need to engage in long-term stabilization operations there.

The commission, she said, recommends against the Army's idea to replace a permanent combat aviation brigade now in Korea with a rotational one.

"We felt that the decision the Army was prepared to take in 2019 to move to a rotational combat aviation brigade in South Korea is a wrong decision," she said. "We argue instead the Army should retain the permanently stationed combat aviation brigade it has in South Korea now."

RISK MITIGATION

Hicks also said the commission identified readiness and capability gaps within the Army, including things like Army artillery, air defense; and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives, or CBRNE, capability. Those gaps might be hard to fill with just 980,000 soldiers. Hicks said the commission sees other current Army capabilities as less at risk, and said if need be those units could be reduced to provide the capabilities the commission believes the Army has in short supply.

"We tried to point to different areas of potential risk mitigation inside the current Army," she said. "An example we pulled forward is that the (infantry brigade combat teams) are at less risk than other parts of the force."

The commission recommended that if end strength cannot be increased above 980,000, the Army should consider reducing two infantry brigade combat teams in the Regular Army to get the manning it needs for those shortfalls in capability.

TOTAL FORCE

In the future, the Army will need to make do with a force that is barely big enough for its many missions. To make that happen, it will need to become more adept at taking full advantage of all three of its components: the Regular Army - often mistakenly referred to as "active-duty" - the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve. Together, the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve are referred to as the "Reserve Component."

The commission recommended, for example, that the Army create a pilot program to test multi-component approaches in aviation, and it even identified some approaches that could be considered in designing such a program.

Now retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler, III, served as one of the eight commissioners on the NCFA. He, along with other commissioners, participated in some 320 engagements across the United States, during which they met with all 54 adjutant generals from across the United States and its territories.

Coming away from meetings with soldiers in Guard units, he said he was left with the understanding that Guardsmen want to be a part of the Army's activities - they don't want to be left behind, he said.

EQUITABLE DWELL AND BOG

One recommendation of the commission, Chandler said, is for the Army to take a harder look at dwell time and "boots on the ground," or BOG time, for soldiers across all components of the Army, to find a way to make them more similar.

"Currently, soldiers in the reserve components have a BOG time of about nine months for their deployment," Chandler said. "And some portions of the Regular Army are up to twelve months. You want a fair and equitable process that everybody is there for the same amount of time. It helps with unit effectiveness."

The commission recommended that the Secretary of Defense allow flexible involuntary mobilization periods to achieve common deployed periods for all components.

Chandler also said that for the Army to take full advantage of all three of its components, it will have to make greater strides toward bridging the cultural divide that exists between them.

COOPERATIVE RECRUITMENT

To create a strong Total Force for the Army, the commission recommended common recruiting and marketing efforts across all three components, Chandler said.

"One of the many challenges we have noticed is ... we are all competing for the same person, regardless of the component you are serving in. As the pool of potential recruits continues to diminish in the country, we have to have a process where we are all after the same thing: to ensure as a Total Force the Army has the people it needs, that we can recruit into the service, regardless of component."

The commission noted that in 2014 the Army recruited 115,000 soldiers across all three components, using some 11,000 recruiters. But those recruiters were all competing for the same recruits.

Chandler said what's needed is a "consolidated effort that helps each one of our recruiters focus on the mission of manning the Army, and not manning the Army Reserve, the Army National Guard, or the Regular Army. We believe that will help to ensure we are not in a food fight over the same person.

The commission recommended centralized marketing for all three components, as well as integrated recruiting. They also recommended Congress authorize a pilot program that would allow recruiters across all three components to receive credit for any soldier they put into the Army, regardless of what component they end up enlisting into.

ONE ARMY SCHOOL SYSTEM

"A National Guardsman who might be an engineer in Florida, flies over Fort Leonard Wood on his way to a school in South Dakota that teaches his engineer military occupational specialty. That's a very ineffective way to deliver education," Chandler said.

The Army, he noted, has an engineering schoolhouse at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and the National Guard soldier could have gone there to school instead.

Implementation of the Army's "One Army School System," or OASS, is already underway, and is designed to make more efficient use of all schools across the Total Force.

"We have made recommendations for the Army to move out on this and accelerate the process of this change," Chandler said.

The recommendations of the NCFA are not binding on the Army. Instead, the recommendations, and the entire report, will be given to Congress, the President and the U.S. Army. The U.S. Army and Congress will work together to decide what of the recommendations to implement, and how to fund those changes.

February 5, 2016 at 10:13am

Madigan opens substance abuse facility

Col. Michael Place, commander of Madigan Army Medical Center, speaks at the opening of the Madigan Residential Treatment Facility Jan. 21. Photo credit: John Wayne Liston

Madigan Army Medical Center opened a new substance abuse residential treatment facility here Jan. 21.

The 28-day voluntary program provides inpatient drug and alcohol substance abuse treatment to active-duty servicemembers from the west coast of the United States, Hawaii, Korea and Japan.

"This facility hopefully is going to change lives; it's going to give people an opportunity to make themselves all over again," said Col. Michael Place, the Madigan commander.

A recent Army-wide Health of the Force survey revealed that two percent of active-duty soldiers are diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder. Another "healthy percentage" of soldiers who aren't diagnosed also struggle with addiction, said Maj. Gen. William Fuller, I Corps deputy commanding general.

"If you don't treat this, it can ruin people's lives, wreck their careers, and it's also a real risk for the health and safety of our whole force," said Fuller, noting that the RTF will increase soldiers' readiness.

Prior to the opening of the Madigan RTF, servicemembers who needed residential substance abuse treatment were referred to civilian facilities. While the centers provided quality care, the separation from families and chains of command was detrimental to servicemembers, said Fuller.

"We're going to bring all of those folks back into the fold, and then incorporate as we often do the families of those servicemembers that are oftentimes the critical linchpin to their success," said Place.

Madigan was referring nine servicemembers a month to civilian facilities, said Place. The Madigan RTF can now treat 12 patients at a time, and will increase its capability to 18 patients by 2017.

The RTF program focuses on evidence-based interventions for reducing substance use, using a team approach to develop each patient's recovery plan. Patients receive a full spectrum of services, to include medication treatments, motivational enhancement therapy, relapse prevention services, spiritual counseling, and physical, occupational and recreational therapy.

Active-duty servicemembers who would like to participate in the Madigan RTF program must first get referred through service-specific programs for alcohol and drug treatment, such as the Army Substance Abuse Program. 

February 5, 2016 at 10:26am

Medical made easy

There is a wealth of information about your medical benefits available online through TRICARE. U.S. Army photo

The Army medical system offers some easy to use tools to help manage your healthcare needs from home or while on the go.

"The Military Health System has developed several programs over the last few years that can assist you and your family obtain the medical care they need," said Army Maj. Renee Zmijski, chief of the Clinical Operations Division at Brooke Army Medical Center.

TRICARE Online is a useful tool that is available 24/7 from your computer or other internet capable device. Beneficiaries can find a doctor, refill a prescription, or transfer enrollment to another military treatment facility.

"TRICARE Online is easy to use," Zmijski said. "You can make, change or cancel a primary care appointment on the site within a few minutes.

"TRICARE Online has a prescription refill option," she said. "All you do is type your prescription numbers in the box, hit enter, and wait to receive the date your prescription will be ready for pick-up."

TOL also will send appointment reminders via text message or email.

To learn more about TOL, visit http://tricareonline.com for simple step-by-step instructions.

Using the Army's Secure Messaging Service allows TRICARE beneficiaries to directly contact their healthcare team via the Internet.

"Secure Messaging is a great way to stay in touch with your primary health are provider," Zmijski said. "I use it to request medication refills from my provider and to ask follow-up questions after an appointment."

The Secure Messaging website also has an extensive patient education library people can easily access from the comfort of their home.

To learn more about Secure Messaging visit https://app.relayhealth.com.

A third innovative tool for TRICARE beneficiaries is the Nurse Advice Line. This allows people to speak to a nurse anytime, day or night.

"The Nurse Advice Line is a great resource for getting general health questions answered or to get advice about your symptoms and what treatment options will work for you," said Zmijski. "It's simple and quick, and you can also get information about caring for your child if they are ill."

If the nurse recommends that the caller see a provider, then appointment services will be offered. To use the NAL, call 1.800.874.2273 and select option 1.

"These three tools can save people time and help them manage their military healthcare easily and conveniently," Zmijski said. 

February 5, 2016 at 10:34am

91B hit the road

ANAD mechanic Rusty Phillips, right, guides Staff Sgt. Todd Wilken in aligning the remote weapons system of a Stryker vehicle.

Eight soldiers with the 7th Infantry Division from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, are training at Anniston Army Depot for two weeks this month.

"In JBLM, the 7th ID plans to stand up a full-up powerpack shop, so this training gives us a hand up in understanding the maintenance mission we will perform," said Sgt. Almont Ashley, one of the soldiers here.

Each of the soldiers will spend time with the depot's Stryker engine mechanics, learning to dismate the Stryker's engine from its transmission, perform basic troubleshooting, and mate the engine and transmission back together.

While the engine components are the main reason the soldiers are here for training, they are learning other areas of Stryker maintenance as well because, as Ashley says, "As 91Bs, we often step outside our military occupational specialty to help other MOSs."

Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Parm said the soldiers training here would return to JBLM as trainers themselves, teaching their fellow mechanics to work on the Stryker vehicles.

"With the knowledge we receive here, we'll be able to train our fellow soldiers. We'll be able to teach them to take apart the suspension and dismate and troubleshoot the powerpack," said Parm. 

February 5, 2016 at 10:37am

Natick scientists collaborating to create 'second-skin' protection

Collaboration has long been second nature for researchers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, and now a partnership is developing "second-skin," chemical-biological protection.

NSRDEC is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California at Santa Barbara, the Air Force Civil Engineering Center, and the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center to develop second skin, the next generation of chemical-biological protection for the warfighter. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency sponsors the project, which is a high-priority effort.

"The second skin will be a protective ‘skin' engineered with textile materials as a substrate that will adapt to the environment that the soldier is in," said Dr. Paola D'Angelo, an NSRDEC research bioengineer. "The idea is that the skin will be lightweight, it will not retain heat, and it will be air and moisture permeable."

"The material design is based on the use of responsive polymer gels, including organohydrogels and functional chemical species such as catalysts," said Dr. Ramanathan "Nagu" Nagarajan, senior research scientist for Soldier Nanomaterials at NSRDEC. "The second skin will be able to sense chemical and biological agents, which will trigger a response within the gels.

"The response will close the pores of the textile, keeping the chemical or biological agent from entering. During this protection state, the threats will also be inactivated, allowing the second skin to return to its normal state."

"Anthrax, for instance, is one of the biggest threats," D'Angelo said. "So we need to find a way to detect it and kill it onsite. So the second skin not only senses the chemical or biological agent but it also has a response. It has a protection component as well as a deactivation component to it."

The technology will enhance soldier safety by addressing multiple threats, and it will allow a soldier to continue doing his or her job without interruption. The technology will be incorporated into one thin layer, which will reduce a soldier's logistical burden. It is designed to act autonomously without any soldier intervention.

"The Air Force Civil Engineering Center collaborators are developing the catalyst particles to counter mustard agents at the surface of the second skin,' said Nagarajan. "The MIT collaborators are developing novel polymers to sense and inactivate anthrax spores at the second-skin surface.

"The MIT and UCSB collaborators are developing hydrogels and organohydrogels that will go into the second-skin interior to protect against nerve agents and blister agents while also sensing and inactivating them. NSRDEC researchers are integrating the components to create the second skin material and, along with ECBC collaborators, are testing the performance of the second skin against chemical and biological threat agents."

February 5, 2016 at 11:40am

Two become one

Col. Christopher Gruber, deputy chief of staff, and Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha Gavia, chief clinical NCO, conduct the casing of the Western Regional Medical Command colors at the French Theater on JBLM, Jan. 29. Photo credit: Sgt. Jasmine Higgins

Customs and traditions in the military play a large role in showing thanks to the past. From change of command ceremonies to pinning a fellow servicemember when he or she advances to the next rank, these events, although part of Army tradition, often symbolize something more within the unit performing these actions.

On Jan. 29, soldiers and civilians gathered together to bear witness to one of the Army's many traditions, the casing of the colors of the Western Regional Medical Command at the French Theater on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"We conducted a casing ceremony with the Western Regional Medical Command because the Army Medicine Department is doing a medical transformation and rebalance to the Pacific," said Brig. Gen. Patrick D. Sargent, commanding general of the Regional Health Command-Pacific. "We are merging the Western Regional Medical Command and the Regional Heath Command-Pacific into one medical enterprise."

The WRMC officially merged with the Regional Health Command-Pacific Jan. 8, 2016, and was renamed RHC-P (JBLM).

"Today was about paying tribute and honoring all the hard work and the huge phenomenal legacy that the Western Regional Medical Command had in providing support to JBLM and its subordinate organizations," said Sargent.

After the colors were cased and packed away, the ceremony concluded by taking a moment to welcome Col. Ronald T. Stephens, deputy commanding officer, Regional Health Command-Pacific, to JBLM.

"I'm extremely excited to have the opportunity to serve here on JBLM," said Stephens. "It's a great opportunity for my family, and I'm looking forward to integrating into the community and working with the team here - both the JBLM team, as well as the region team."

The merger between WRMC and RHC-P is a part of the U.S. Army Medical Department's reorganization that began last year, and many, including Brig. Gen. Sargent, are already predicting positive results.

"Our ability to be able to go out and help in multilateral and multinational engagements across the regions from a medical perspective is going to be huge," said Sargent.

February 11, 2016 at 10:33am

Tased and other fun

Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Kuhl, a military police investigator, receives a jolt of electricity from Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph Serrano, a security forces specialist with the 627th Security Forces Squadron. Photo credit: Sgt. Cody Quinn

Since 2002, military police, like many specialties across the Army, had to adapt to serve the mission on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Investigations and community relations took a backseat to foot patrols and base security. The wide range of abilities military police are capable of narrowed so they could face the challenges at hand.

Soldiers and airmen from Joint Base Lewis-McChord had an opportunity to get back to basics during civil disturbance training on the installation Jan. 25 to Feb. 4 to face those shifting challenges.

"Our MPs could be called out on a variety of situations," said Sgt. 1st Class Steven Ketchum, an instructor with the 14th Military Police Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. "National Guard MPs got called out in Ferguson and during other civil disturbances. Units don't train civil-stability operations as much as they could."

The Missouri National Guard mobilized 2,200 Guardsmen to keep the peace during rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, in the fall of 2014. Likewise, 3,000 Guardsmen were mobilized to assist Baltimore police during the spring of 2015.

The Army took note and learned from the situation on the ground as it unfolded.

"We're conducting civil-stability training," said 1st Lt. James Loxsom, a military police officer with the 571st Military Police Company, 504th MP Battalion, 42nd MP Brigade, JBLM. "If there's a riot, we need to establish a cause and deter rioters from causing further damage."

One of the largest takeaways from recent civil disturbances was the importance of communication and perception.

"We are deliberately constraining mobilization timelines to the last couple days to minimize backlash from calling up the National Guard early," Col. David Boyle, Army chief of staff at the Missouri National Guard, informed his officers in a Nov. 18, 2014, email obtained by CNN. "We have coordinated for lower profile, less confrontation likely mission sets to emphasize support roles and minimize public militarization perception."

When the people you are trying to protect may be the same people you need to subdue, communication is everything. MPs have to keep friends from turning into foes.

"We learn how to communicate and defuse a situation every single day. Our goal is to be non-lethal," Loxsom said.

An MP in action is a constant stream of verbal direction. Whether apprehending a suspect, preparing to use a stun gun, or forming a wall of riot shields, MPs constantly state what is happening, what is about to happen, and other important information needed to keep those around them safe.

The goal is to stop a situation from escalating, Ketchum said. It is preferable for an MP to use non-lethal means before using lethal ones, and if a situation can be deterred by letting a suspect know what an MP is capable of, that is the best outcome of all.

For a long time, soldiers were trained to see the battlefield in stark terms: Friendlies and enemies. Recent civil disturbances have exposed the limitations of that philosophy.

While preparing for Ferguson, National Guard briefings referred to citizens on the ground as "enemy forces" and "adversaries." The Missouri National Guard corrected course, but they struggled to overcome the perception of being hostile occupiers as opposed to peacekeepers.

"We are helping to keep everyone safe, whether they're rioting or not," said Loxsom.

MPs learned many lessons from combat deployments around the world. Staying strong in the face of adversity, operating in difficult environments, and remaining flexible to meet the mission are hard-won traits that have become part of their DNA.

As the Army's focus adapts to a changing security environment, MPs are changing with it. They are finding their future by getting back to basics.

February 11, 2016 at 2:41pm

Troops say raise small but helpful

A servicemember pays for merchandise at the Exchange at Fort Belvoir, Va. The Defense Department is proposing a 1.6 percent pay raise for servicemembers in 2017, a slight increase over this year’s 1.3-percent hike. Antwan Williams/Defense Department photo

The Defense Department is proposing a 1.6 percent pay raise for servicemembers in 2017, a slight increase over this year's 1.3 percent hike.

The increase will take effect next January if approved by Congress, according to the budget that the Pentagon proposed Tuesday.

That's a far cry from the raises troops saw in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as the Nation beefed up its military for conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Wages increased by almost seven percent in 2002.

"Something's better than nothing," said Army Spc. James Murphy, summing up the prevailing attitude among servicemembers in these post-recession, cost-cutting days.

Murphy's outlook was shared by a number of soldiers at Fort Shafter Exchange.

"I do appreciate it - and I know my wife will - but it's not going to completely change our way of life," Sgt. Charlie Talania said. "But it's definitely of help."

The Defense Department's chief financial officer expressed a weary satisfaction with the proposed pay hike.

"It's the highest pay raise in four years, and we are happy with that," Michael McCord said in a statement.

Officials make an effort to tie military pay increases with the rate of wage growth in the private sector, a measure called employment cost index, he said. That went up 2.1 percent, he said, so the 2017 increase would not keep up with inflation. But any military wage increase has to be balanced with other considerations, he said.

Even though the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., wanted to offer a pay raise that kept up with the rate of inflation, the Defense Department had to trim $17 billion off previously planned levels, McCord said.

"Compensation costs are something you balance against the size of the force you can afford, how much you can modernize and how you keep it ready," he said. "If you put on blinders and only look at the pay raise, then of course you want the highest pay raise you can get. But since we have to balance, we think this is a good pay raise."

Capt. Kenneth Keith, at Fort Shafter, agreed.

Pay increases - as compared with pensions and medical benefits - are relatively easy to change up or down each year, McCord said.

February 12, 2016 at 9:59am

Saving a life

Spc. Labeisha Ingram poses with Lakewood Chief of Police Michael Zaro, after receiving the Chief’s Commendation Feb. 1, 2016. Photo credit: Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Porch

When on the battlefield, soldiers are expected to be able to react to any situation, which range from engaging enemies with their assigned weapon to applying medical care to an injured comrade.

For two soldiers assigned to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, their Army training kicked in but this time it was right outside JBLM on the morning of Nov. 7, 2015, and it resulted in a shooting victim's life being saved.

Because of those actions, Spc. Jonah Atkinson and Spc. Labeisha Ingram, received recognition from the Police Department of Lakewood, in the form of the Police Chief's Commendation, during a city counsel meeting, Feb. 1.

Atkinson, an intelligence analyst assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, I Corps, was first to notice that someone had been in some sort of an accident, and says he acted as soon as he walked up to the vehicle and saw someone in danger.

"I had to unlock (the car) from the inside," said Atkinson, a native of Parker, Colorado. "You know that right there, that was kind of scary to do that because he was a big dude and I didn't want him to wake up and think I had attacked him."

While doing a quick evaluation on the victim, the other soldier arrived to help provide additional support.

"My Army training kicked in automatically," said Ingram, a field artillery firefinder radar operator assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, 7th Infantry Division. "I wasn't going to stand there, so I ran around the other side of the truck to find out why this man was breathing like that, to help and determine what the problem was."

With the assessment done and unable to identify the cause of the bleeding, the soldiers cut off the victim's shirt to find three bullet wounds in his shoulder where they then applied pressure.

"They worked on him until the fire department got there and, soon after, the fire department took him to the hospital where he survived his wounds, but (the hospital) had to revive him," said Chief of Police Michael Zaro, Lakewood Police. "(The soldiers') actions were incredible. Just the act or the decision to act or to step in when a lot of people might not have. A lot of people would have been scared or not had known what to do. These two jumped in and that is commendable and that should be recognized."

One thing that sticks out to both soldiers is how their Army training played such a huge role throughout the entire incident.

"Before the Army, I didn't know anything or would be able to tell you the first thing to do if I came up on that situation," said Atkinson. "With the (Combat Life Saver) course, the first thing they tell you to do is check for alertness and assess the situation, just like I did. I then figured out what was going on, saw the bullet holes and applied pressure."

For Ingram, there was not time to think, just react.

"There was no time wasted," said Ingram, a native of Queens, New York. "My (body armor with medical pack) were in my car, so I knew I was going to do something to help him. I feel like the Army definitely taught me that."

With the ability to act selflessly and not remain caught up in the moment, these JBLM soldiers emulate exactly what the Army stands for.

"What that does is just solidify the opinion that everybody has of the character of the soldiers that are in this community," said Zaro. "These two showed what it is really about and they, without hesitation, jumped in to help. It proved what everyone already knows about the character of the soldiers in the Army."

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