Military News

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Face of Defense: Marine Instructor Shapes Bright Future



By Marine Corps Cpl. Michael McHale Marine Corps Recruiting Command

QUANTICO, Va., Sept. 26, 2017 — The Marine Corps prides itself on its strides toward diversity, with nearly 16 percent of all enlisted Marines being Hispanic.

Every year, the Corps acknowledges the contributions of its Hispanic and Latino service members by recognizing their culture and heritage Sept. 15-Oct. 15, National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Marine Corps Cpl. Saul Huerta-Magdaleno embodies this year's theme of "Shaping the Bright Future of America." He was born and raised in Mexico and moved to the United States in 2011 at age 16.

Huerta joined the Corps April 21, 2014, in Chicago, where he had lived since his family came to the United States.

"Ever since I was little, I always told myself that if I ever joined the military, I was going to join the best of the best," he said. "The Marine Corps is the best of the best." Huerta is now an artillery cannoneer and instructor at The Basic School at Camp Barrett here, and he coaches newly commissioned officers on firing howitzers during field training.

First to Volunteer

"He is always one of the first to volunteer for any task that comes up," said Marine Corps Cpl. Joseph Eisman, a fellow artillery cannoneer and instructor. "Each day, he strives for the best and pushes his body to the limit to accomplish his goals, whether they be in his personal life or within the Marine Corps."

Huerta comes from a large family of businessmen, doctors, engineers and pharmacists, and he credits his accomplishments to their example. "I was raised with great values," he said. "They taught me well. They taught me what to do to become a successful man."

Attending school full-time to study software engineering, Huerta said he hopes to add a minor in cybersecurity. Meanwhile, he added, he's networking so he is ready when he transitions out of the service, including working with a major information technology company.

Post-Marine Corps Opportunity

"They have a program for cybersecurity, networking and software engineering that I'll be starting in October," he said. "Once I graduate, they said they'd offer me a job [after the Marine Corps], which will give me the opportunity to go to school and finish my degree while I'm working for them full time."

Huerta said his successes can be attributed to his family and the Marine Corps, solidifying his dedication to the United States, enhancing his job proficiency and furthering his education to shape a bright future for himself and the nation.

"I'd say what defines Huerta the best is a quote by Winston Churchill," Eisman said. "'If you're going through hell, keep going.' Corporal Huerta is the epitome of this -- a dedicated and strong-willed Marine."

Roegge Succeeds Padilla as National Defense University President



By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 25, 2017 — Presiding at the change of presidency ceremony at the National Defense University on Fort Lesley J. McNair here today, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said professional military education is a priority for the American military and its allies.

Dunford watched as Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Frederick M. Padilla handed the NDU flag to Navy Vice Adm. Frederick J. Roegge.

The chairman thanked Padilla for his persistence and example, saying he epitomized “the servant leader” to the NDU faculty, staff and students Padilla arrived at a time of staff turbulence and financial uncertainty at the university, he noted, putting new curricula in place and fighting to ensure the university received the proper funding to accomplish its important mission. Dunford said the United States military will "double down" on professional military education.

As he looked across the audience, he noted a number of officers from allied militaries and said the source of the U.S. military's strength is the network of allies and partners built up since World War II. Padilla has paid particular attention to reaching out to this network to increase the international flavor of the school, he added.

Dunford said he chose Roegge – a career submariner – to take the university to the next level because he combines a hard science education with a liberal arts degree. This, the chairman said, is a perfect combination for the leader of an institution such as NDU.

The National Defense University is the pinnacle of officer professional military education. It consists of the National War College, the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, the College of International Security Affairs and the Joint Forces Staff College. The university also hosts the Pinnacle course for senior government leaders.

The institution is designed to foster development of joint security leaders and has students from all the military services, many civilian agencies and international allies and partners. The military established the university in 1976.

Captain Excited to Lead U.S. Team at Invictus Games



TORONTO, Sept. 25, 2017 — A pilot who returned to active duty after losing her leg to an accident said she's honored to lead the U.S. team this week at the Invictus Games here.
Runner sprints to finish line

"It's a complete honor," Air Force Capt. Christy Wise said. "Sometimes I feel like I don't deserve it, but all of the other amputees and wounded warriors did so much for me when I was initially injured. I'm a little further in my recovery, and anything I can do to help and inspire others, I feel that's my job to do. I love it."

Wise, who's served for 11 years as an HC-130 Hercules pilot, had her right knee amputated above the knee after an April 2015 boating accident. She competed in the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games nine weeks after her injury. She has earned 11 medals at the DoD Warrior Games and Invictus Games in wheelchair race, swimming, hand cycle, shot put and discus.

Wise said she's excited to see her teammates compete throughout the week. "I'm excited to see the team events -- that's where it gets really intense, the volleyball and rugby. It will be fun to watch those," she said. "We're always really good at rugby and basketball. We've got one or two Paralympic athletes on those teams, so those are my favorites to watch. And in rugby, they're just bashing each other, flipping chairs over. It's exciting to watch. It's really cool."

Making Friends

Making friends and sharing techniques is the theme among all of the competitors here, she said. "It's amazing. Everywhere we go, we're always making friends," she said. "What events are you doing? How do you manage sweat? How do you keep from blisters? We're all helping each other out. We're still competitive, but we're all here for each other."

The Canadians have been great hosts, Wise said. One of the Canadian team's captains is an above-the-knee amputee, she noted. "He's back to duty, I'm back to duty, so we have that camaraderie as well," she said. "So it's cool that he's doing all of the running events too, so it's been awesome to hang out with him."

Wise said she recommends adaptive sports to anyone with a disability. "I just want everyone to know that you're really capable of everything," she said. "None of us wanted to be here. No one wanted to lose legs or be in a wheelchair, but this is what life gave us. Just keep living your life. Keep competing. You're capable of more than you think."

More than 550 wounded, ill and injured service members from 17 nations compete in 12 sporting events including archery, track and field, cycling, golf, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball at the Invictus Games, which run through Sept. 30.