Tag Archives: IED

Triple-amputee Marine needs your help!!!

Do you live in or near Tampa, Florida?

If you do, please help Sgt. Michael Nicholson, a triple-amputee U.S. Marine, by buying a ticket to a benefit concert, the proceeds of which will help build a “smart home” designed to fit his needs.

Sgt Michael Nicholson

Ryan Raiche reports for ABC Action News:

Organizers of a benefit concert for the bay area Marine who became a triple amputee, are making a final plea to the community.

Ticket sales are slower than expected for the May 10 fundraiser that will help build a specially designed home for Sgt. Michael Nicholson of Tampa.

He lost both legs and his left arm from an IED in Afghanistan in July of 2011.

“We’re really surprised because we thought Tampa was going to come out in full force, and we know you still can,” said Chris Kuban, with the Tunnels to Towers group that started in New York City after 9/11.

The group partnered with Gary Sinise’s foundation to get Sgt. Nicholson what’s called a smart home.

The roughly half-million-dollar home is designed to fit all of his needs. Counters and cabinets adjust to his height, and the entire home is controlled through easy-to-use, and reach, touch screens.

So far, the foundations have only sold about 400 of the 4,000 tickets to the benefit concert at Curtis Hixon Park.

The man famous for playing a double amputee in Forrest Gump is performing with his Lt. Dan Band.

Retired Marine Steve Emerson is trying to spread the word in every way he knows how. “If we can buy back some of the independence this kid sacrificed, I think we should do it,” he said.

Emerson was with Nicholson last month when he threw out the first pitch at a Rays game to a rousing standing ovation.

To purchase tickets for the May 10 concert, visit www.supportmikenicholson.com. The cost is $35  for general admission or $75 for VIP tickets.

H/t FOTM’s Stephanie O.

I just bought a ticket even though I don’t live in Florida. Please help spread the word via email, Twitter, and by linking this post to your Facebook page!



Why does Dept of Homeland Security need thousands of mine-resistant armored vehicles?

DHS armored vehicle

See the behemoth above?

It’s a 19-ton armored vehicle, specifically a MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle manufactured by Navistar Defense.

19 tons = 41,887lb 13.331oz !!!

Wikipedia describes MRAP as “a family of armored fighting vehicles used by the US armed forces, among others. The purpose of the design is surviving improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and ambushes.”

Here’s Navistar Defense’s description of the MaxxPro MRAP:

The International® MaxxPro® is Navistar Defense’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and incorporates the latest design in armoring technology. Extensively tested by the military and used in theater today, the MaxxPro features a V-shaped hull and other design features that greatly improve survivability.

MaxxPro® MRAP specifications:

Length: 254″ (21.2 feet)
Width: 102″ (8.5 feet)
Height: 120″ (10 feet)
Wheel base: 153″ (12.8 feet)
Curb weight: 37,850 lbs. (18.9 tons)
Engine: MaxxForce® 9.3

The MaxxPro MRAP is built to withstand ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, IEDs, and other emerging threats. Its V-shaped hull helps deflect blasts out and away from the crew and its armoring can be customized to meet any mission requirement.

MaxxPro means “Maximum Protection.”

Ken Jorgustin of Modern Survival Blog writes on Sept. 6, 2012, that Navistar Defense delivered 9,000 of the MaxxPro MRAP vehicles to the U.S. military, but that 2,717 of those armored vehicles were “retrofitted” for service on the streets of the United States and acquired by Obama’s Department of Homeland Security.

Those 2,717 Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected armored vehicles are in addition to the DHS’ recent purchase of an additional purchase of 21.6 million rounds of ammunition, to add to the 1.6 billion hollow-point bullets, high explosives, and high-powered battle rifles that DHS already obtained in the course of the past year.

Already, DHS and US military armored vehicles have been seen on the streets of residential America:

Military Police armored vehicles St. Louis

The title of this post asks:

Why does Dept of Homeland Security need thousands of mine-resistant armored vehicles?

These MaxxPro MRAPs are designed for war, for maximum protection against ballistic arms fire, mine blasts, and IED explosives. Where’s the war?

A better question is:

What does DHS intend to do with thousands of mine-resistant armored vehicles on the streets of America?


Quadruple amputee veteran recovers with love of his HS sweetheart

Taylor Morris

Taylor Morris, 23, from Cedar Falls, Iowa, was a Navy explosive ordinance device technician. In January of 2012, Morris was deployed on his first tour to Afghanistan, set to return August 2012.

On May 3, 2012, Morris stepped on an IED: “I remember landing on the ground and looking over my body and I knew exactly what had happened.” He had lost both of his legs, his left arm and his right hand.

Incredibly, Morris maintained consciousness, and was able to warn his team of the danger. For that, the quadruple amputee hero was awarded the Bronze Star.

With the love of his high school sweetheart Danielle Kelly, Morris is making an amazing recovery.

Here is their love story, chronicled in the following photos taken by Tim Dodd. (Have a tissue or hankie on hand. You will need it.)

Donate to help Taylor here.

Taylor’s Facebook Page.

H/t FOTM’s Tina


Hometown gives Afghan-war quadruple-amputee a hero’s welcome

Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills (pic above) was his high school’s football star in the town of Vassar, Michigan. After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served two deployments to Afghanistan without suffering anything close to a major injury. But during his third tour, an IED tore through his athletic frame, leaving him a quadruple amputee.

In this video, he adamantly insists he’s not a hero:

But his hometown folk in Vassar think otherwise.

As Elaine Quijano reports for CBS News, Oct. 11, 2012, Vassar used their annual homecoming game to give their favorite son a hero’s welcome.

“This is awesome,” he told a crowd who cheered.

Mills was on his third tour in Afghanistan. In April, a bomb exploded beneath him. He recalls, “About 5-6 seconds later I woke up on the ground.” Mills’ six-foot-three, 250-pound body bore the brunt of the blast. Two other men were wounded.

“My medic came running up,” he said, “and I looked at him and I said, ‘You get away from me, you go save my men, leave me alone, let me go.’ He told me, ‘With all due respect, Sgt. Mills, shut up let me do my job.’ He put tourniquets on me within 20 seconds on all four limbs.”

Mills woke up at a military hospital in Germany four days later. He turned 25 on April 14 and was told he didn’t have any arms or legs.

“By that time, my soldiers –”how are they doing’?” Mills recalled on what was going through his mind then. “And then I guess I was ducking my wife’s phone calls because I felt embarrassed–I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I knew the possibility of getting hit was zero, but when you get hit, I guess I just felt like I was a horrible person or something I did wrong in life, and I was getting paid back for it. But that’s not it.”

He’s been recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for six months. He’s learning to use four prosthetic limbs and to do things once routine, like feeding his daughter Chloe.

As far as what it’s like to be back to his hometown, Mills said: “Oh it’s great, I drove into town and I couldn’t believe the yellow ribbons, the signs — ‘Welcome home Staff Sgt. Travis Mills.'”

More than 6,000 people lined Main Street to honor Mills and his wife Kelsey. (That’s more than twice as many people as the total population of Vassar of 2,697 at the 2010 census.)

“‘Everything I was going through and all that,” he told the crowd, “my beautiful wife stood by my side the whole time. So I want to thank her real quick.”

Mills heard plenty of cheers when he played on this football field in high school. But never like this.

He’s still on active duty and hopes to one day train soldiers at Fort Bragg.

“This is not the end of my life, especially having my one-year-old there,” he said. “She’ll never see me give up or fail you know. I mean, she’ll see me fall down, but I’ll get back up and I’m just going to keep going.”

This isn’t how Staff Sgt. Travis Mills imagined his life. But it’s a life he is grateful to have.

Watch the news video of his homecoming here.