Entries in Soldier (28)


WATCH: Soldier Surprises Kids with Reunion at Hockey Game

Courtesy Fawn Gallardo(CINCINNATI) -- Siblings Karisma and Phillip Gallardo of Covington, Ky., knew they were in for a treat when they got to attend a local hockey game with their whole family last Saturday night.

What they didn't know is that the one member of their family missing -- their father, Army Sgt. First Class Phillip Gallardo -- would be there too.

Karisma, 12, and Phillip, 11, were brought down to the ice at the Cincinnati Cyclops game by a member of the team’s marketing department.  They thought they had been selected from the crowd to drop the ceremonial puck at the start of their game.  Instead, their father, whom they had not seen in over one year, dropped a surprise on them by walking out onto the ice.

“It was outstanding,” Sgt. First Class Gallardo, just back from an approximately one-year deployment in Afghanistan, told ABC News.  “They were very excited.”

While he and his children shone in the spotlight on Saturday night, it was actually the other woman on the ice, the sergeant's ex-wife and the kids’ mother, Fawn, who put the surprise reunion together.

She got the idea after Karisma let it be known that she wanted a big surprise when her father returned, just like the other soldiers’ families she saw featured on TV and online.

“I’d planned on getting tickets to the [Cyclones] game on Saturday,” said Fawn Gallardo.  “When I found out that he was flying in on Saturday, I thought, ‘It doesn’t get any better than that.'”

Fawn turned to Google to search for a contact at the Cyclones.  She found one in the team’s marketing department who was more than game to pull off the surprise.

“It happened so fast,” she said.  “Let’s just say I called on Monday and it happened on Saturday.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


WATCH: Soldier Surprises Wife, Son During Rose Parade

Visions of America/Joe Sohm/Thinkstock (file photo)(PASADENA, Calif.) -- While many families attended the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on New Year’s Day, military wife Miriam Pazz wished her husband could join her and their 4-year-old son in the stands.

What Pazz didn’t know was that her husband, Army Sgt. First Class Eric Pazz, was hidden on a nearby parade float and was about to give them the best possible start to the New Year.

Miriam had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade and did not know her husband, who is deployed in Afghanistan, would be there.

“My husband just entered his name, I guess.  I just got a call letting me know that we won,” Miriam said moments before the surprise reunion.

Spectators rose to a standing ovation when Eric, who was riding on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float along with other service members, got off the float and walked over to his surprised wife and son, Eric Jr.

The family immediately lunged out of the stands and embraced the 32-year-old soldier, who was away from his family for seven months.  Eric handed his wife a red rose.

“It was a really great experience,” said Eric.  “First thing I thought was, ‘I hope she’s not going to slap me for lying to her.’  After that, seeing our son’s face, how he reacted, I was really caught up into the moment.”

Eric is a highly decorated soldier who has also served in Iraq.  The family, who currently lives in Germany, climbed aboard the float for the rest of the five-mile parade route.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Soldier’s Surprise Homecoming at Christmas Parade Shocks Family

Shelby Police(SHELBY, N.C.) -- An unexpected event stole the show during the annual Christmas parade in Shelby, N.C.

Specialist Walter Smith, 26, returned home early from Afghanistan to surprise his family along the parade route by popping out of the backseat of an antique Shelby police patrol car that was part of the celebration.

“I was the lucky one that got to carry him,” Shelby Police Chief Jeff Ledford told ABC News.  "It was well worth it. That was a highlight of the parade. They had no idea.”

One of Smith’s cousins, Gloria Philbeck, works as a telecommunicator for the police department and asked Ledford if the department could help organize the surprise. He obliged, and was excited to take part in the family’s special moment.

“She came to me about a week ago and said he was coming home. They wanted to make it special and make sure that nobody would know. So we just started arranging,” Ledford said. “How do we pull this off and make it really cool? So we lay him in the backseat and cover him up with a raincoat.”

Once the patrol car reached the point where Smith’s family was located on the sidewalk, Ledford stopped the car, walked over to Smith’s grandmother and told her Santa had an early Christmas present for her.

“We had our Honor Guard keyed in so they knew. They spun around to salute him,” Ledford explained. “It was one of the coolest moments, other than the grandmother’s face when I told her Santa was bringing them a present a little early. The look on her face was priceless."

“He goes halfway to the family and he heard the Honor Guard salute him. And he turned around and saluted them back. That’s when the crowd erupted. They heard his grandmother screaming, and that’s when they knew they were witnessing something amazing. You almost didn’t want to go back and finish the parade. You just wanted to stay there and celebrate.”

Smith, who had been deployed to Afghanistan for seven and a half months, originally wasn’t scheduled to return home until April 2013. But the second he learned of his early homecoming, he started planning the surprise.

“I was planning it as soon as I knew I was coming home,” Smith said. “I knew the Christmas parade was the week after I came home, and I knew they’d all be there. They all went crazy when I showed my face. I think my grandma and my mom were the most excited.”

But they weren’t the only women he rushed home to surprise. His baby daughter, Serena, was born two and a half months ago.

“I got to see her for the first time. It meant the world to me,” said Smith.

Smith is home for good now and is keeping busy Christmas shopping and playing with his little girl.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Soldier Dead After Friend Waves Gun to Scare Away Hiccups

Killeen Police Department(KILLEEN, Texas) -- A Texas soldier has been charged with manslaughter after he allegedly killed his friend while reportedly waving around his gun to scare him and rid the friend of the hiccups.

Pfc. Isaace Lawrence Young, 22, was killed Sunday evening while watching football and drinking with two of his friends, including fellow soldier Pfc. Patrick Edward Myers, according to Killeen, Texas, police.

Myers told police that he pointed a gun at Young to scare him and cure him of the hiccups, believing that there were dummy bullets in the gun, according to the Killeen Daily Herald.

The gun accidentally fired, hitting Young in the face, according to the Bell County prosecutor's office.

Young was taken by ambulance to an airfield to be transported by helicopter to a hospital, but died in the ambulance, according to police.  He had been in the Army since 2011 and was deployed to Fort Hood.

On Tuesday, the Bell County prosecutor's office charged Myers, 27, with manslaughter.  He is being held on $1 million bond.

The incident did not happen on the Fort Hood base, according to a spokesman there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fallen Soldier’s Picture Used in Craigslist Scam

KATU/ABC News(PENSACOLA, Fla.) -- An Oregon father was angered to find an image of his son, a fallen soldier, posted on Craigslist as part of a scam to collect money for a fictitious wounded soldier.

“It’s disheartening. This just seems to be really low to take someone’s reputation and memory and tarnish it to make money,” said Dr. Craig Fennerty.

His son, Sgt. Sean Fennerty, died in Iraq in 2007 after being hit by a roadside bomb. A photo from Fennerty’s obituary was lifted and used in the posting on the Pensacola, Fla., Craigslist website.

The ad, which Fennerty said was removed Monday, claimed the man pictured smiling in a helmet and fatigues was Chris Fennery, a soldier who had lost both legs and needed help paying his medical bills. A link was provided to a donation site and readers were encouraged to share the posting on Facebook and Twitter.

Fennerty said he was made aware of the photograph after a local newspaper investigated the scam and someone who knew his son recognized the picture.

He said he contacted Craigslist but received no response or apology.

“It sure took a curiously long time [to take it down],” Fennerty said. “I want [Sean] remembered for what he did, which was honorable and patriotic. Now his memory is somewhat attached to a financial scam and there’s an element of anger.”

Craigslist confirmed to ABC News the post had been removed.

No arrests have been made and it could not be immediately determined how much money was collected by the fraudulent site.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Military Breastfeeding Spokeswoman Fired from Civilian Job

George Doyle/Thinkstock(SPOKANE, Wash.) -- Crystal Scott, spokeswoman for the organization behind the controversial photographs of military mothers’ breast-feeding in uniform, was fired from her first civilian job as an x-ray technician because of media attention, said her lawyer, Pat Bucannen.

Bucannen said Scott’s supervisor from Schryver Medical, a mobile medical services company in Spokane, Wash., knocked on her door on June 1 and asked her turn over her keys and company computer.

When Scott asked why, “the gentleman told her it was ‘due to the media,’” Bucannen said.

Scott said after he left, she cried.

“I believe that media was used as an excuse because I was advocating for gender equality as well,” said Scott, of her termination. “I was shocked after knowing that. I didn’t really know what to say. I was definitely not expecting it.”

Scott had been working at Schryver for 16 months. She received her x-ray technician certification in January 2011. Prior to that, she was a medic and served in the military for six years, and completed a tour in Iraq from 2004-2005.

Bucannen contacted Schryver Medical following Scott’s termination, but said she received no immediate response.

“[Later] they called back alleging she had all this misconduct in her file, and write-ups for rule violating,” she said.  Schryver sent Bucannen Scott’s personal file, but she said “there was not a scintilla of evidence.”

A week after Scott’s termination, Bucannen said Schryver wrote up a document and sent it to her.

“They came up with the excuse that she violated rules and made all kinds of outrageous accusations,” she said. “I said [to Schryver], ‘You make those public -- we’ll add defamation to the lawsuit.’”

Bucannen said no lawsuit has been filed yet, but if they decided to pursue legal action, they would be “suing [Schryver] for gender discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination.”

Schryver Medical could not be reached for comment.

When asked if she thought Scott was discharged based on the association with breast-feeding in uniform, she was unsure.

“That’s one thing we may never know. That’s something you’ll need to get in the head of the man who fired her to know.”

Scott said that everyone at the Fairchild Air Force Base encourages Mom2Mom’s advocacy.

“They have always been very supportive of us, the women and men all across base. They were telling us how much of an inspiration we were.”

Scott hopes to continue her work as an x-ray technician elsewhere.

“I really am so passionate about helping patients, I can’t describe to how much I love my career,” said Scott. “It was what I wanted to do. I’m hoping I can get employment with a company where I can showcase my skills.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wife Skyping Soldier in Afghanistan Saw Bullet Hole After He Died

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A woman who watched her husband, an Army nurse in Afghanistan, die during a Skype video chat, says she saw a bullet hole in the closet behind him after he collapsed suddenly.

In a statement released on Sunday by Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark’s family, his wife, Susan Orellana-Clark, described what she saw from the Skype video.

“During the Skype conversation on April 30th 2012, there was no sign that CPT Clark was in any discomfort, nor did he indicate any alarm.  Then CPT Clark was suddenly knocked forward.  The closet behind him had a bullet hole in it,” the statement read.

The Skype video link continued for about two hours as Clark’s family tried to get help, according to the statement.

“After two hours and many frantic phone calls by Mrs. Clark, two military personnel arrived in the room and appeared to check his pulse, but provided no details about his condition to his wife,” the statement continued.

The cause of Clark's death is still under investigation.  He is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 3 and 9.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Soldier Killed in Afghanistan During Skype Chat with Wife

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(EL PASO, Texas) -- A Michigan native serving as an Army medic in Afghanistan was killed during a Skype video chat with his Texas-based wife earlier this week, The Detroit Free Press reports.

Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark, a 43-year-old Army chief nurse, had been assigned to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso and deployed to Afghanistan in March. He was killed on Monday as his wife watched helplessly on a Skype video-chat. Clark's body was returned to Dover Air Force Base on Thursday.

A funeral is planned in Spencerport, N.Y., his wife's hometown where they formerly lived. A memorial service is also planned for Addison, Mich. where Clark graduated from high school, according to the paper.

Clark is survived by his wife and two daughters, aged 3 and 9.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missing Soldier: Police Release Photo Taken Night of Disappearance

Fayetteville Police Department(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- Investigators searching for Kelli Bordeaux have released a new photo of the missing Fort Bragg soldier, which was taken by Bordeaux herself using her iPhone just before heading out to the Fayetteville, N.C., bar the night she disappeared.

Bordeaux, 23, who has been missing for nearly two weeks, was last seen leaving Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville around 1:20 a.m. on April 14.  The marine was reported missing on Monday when she failed to report to duty.  Police won't say how they got the cellphone picture.

Her husband Michael Bordeaux is now speaking about his wife for the first time, confirming that she was committed to her job and their marriage, which he says was not on the rocks.

"She was a dedicated soldier, a dedicated wife.  Me and her loved each other very much," Michael Bordeaux said.

While Michael Bordeaux says that the couple was not having marital problems, he admits he last saw his wife on April 3 -- 10 days before she went missing.  Contrary to reports he had moved out, he denies they were estranged, saying he was just visiting his father in Florida.

"We were married.  We weren't getting a divorce," he says.  "We were together.  We love each other a lot."

Nicholas Holbert, 25, says he was with Bordeaux at the bar on April 13, and dropped her off on a street near her apartment.  He says when he asked her if she was married she said "it's complicated."

Holbert surrendered after it was revealed he failed to register as a sex offender at his new address.  Although he has been questioned twice, investigators said Holbert is not a person of interest.  He maintained he had nothing to do with her disappearance.

Police on Thursday renewed their search for Bordeaux, showing more than 500 volunteers the newly released photo of the marine and asking them to scour the heavily wooded area between the bar where she was last seen and the cellphone tower she last pinged early on April 14.

"All the evidence …has led us right back to this area as an area of concentration," Det. Jeff Locklear of the Fayetteville Police Department said Thursday.

Bordeaux's family and fellow soldiers are holding out hope she is still alive.

"Your family loves you, your friends love you, your battle buddies love you," Jason Bardow, the woman's uncle and a fellow soldier said. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Police Search Pond for Clues in Missing Fort Bragg Soldier Case

Fayetteville Police Dept(FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.) -- Police in Fayetteville, N.C., turned up no new leads Thursday after searching a pond for signs of the missing soldier Kelli Bordeaux.

Pfc. Bordeaux, who is stationed at Fort Bragg, was last seen leaving Froggy Bottoms bar in Fayetteville around 1:20 a.m Saturday.

Detectives issued a public plea for anyone who was at the bar that night to call a hotline that was set up to collect leads.

Nicholas Holbert, a 25-year-old bar hand who is a registered sex offender, has been questioned twice, but police said on Thursday at a news conference that he is not a person of interest in the case.

Holbert told ABC News affiliate WTVD exclusively that he gave Bordeaux, 23, a ride home from the bar, where he works, but denied having anything to do with her disappearance and said he dropped her off at the entrance of her neighborhood at her request.

"As soon as you drive into the entrance to Meadowbrook, she said, 'Stop right here,'" Holbert said.  "So I stopped and she said, 'I'll walk home.'  I said, 'Are you sure?'  She said, 'Yeah.'  I said I figured she didn't want me to know where she lived, or somebody was there and she didn't want to be seen together."

Officials on Thursday also released Bordeaux's missing persons report, which was filed by John Neighbors, who is a member of the soldier's unit at Fort Bragg.

Bordeaux joined the military in April 2011 and worked as a health service specialist.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio