Air Force illustration by Staff Sgt. Regina Edwards
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Overcoming Adversity

From cotton fields to airfields

Posted December 2, 2016 by Staff Sgt. Regina Edwards

Retired Air Force Master Sgt. Leroy Mazell Smith, has lived a life few could imagine. 

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(Courtesy photo by Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland)
Overcoming Adversity

Face of Defense: Ranger School graduate inspires candidates

Posted October 21, 2015 by Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland

FORT BENNING, Ga. — Speaking to a room-full of infantry lieutenants at the 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment Headquarters here Oct. 2, Army 2nd Lt. Michael Janowski sought to motivate recent Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course graduates with his story of resilience as they prepared to begin the Ranger course in a couple of days….

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Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Elora J. McCutcheon
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Overcoming Adversity

Airman, leaders battle cancer together

Posted April 12, 2017 by Airman 1st Class Elora J. McCutcheon

Airman 1st Class Celeste Black, a crew chief with the 69th Maintenance Squadron, walked gracefully past the wing of an RQ-4 Global Hawk with her arm stretched out to touch the huge remotely piloted aircraft. From an outside perspective, it’s not evident that Black battled ovarian cancer less than a year ago.

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Overcoming Adversity

Paralyzed vet goes from wheelchair to mountain bike

Posted September 23, 2016 by Shannon Collins

Despite being partially paralyzed after a mortar hit his team during a road-clearing mission in Iraq, Carlos Labarca helped his badly injured captain move out of the kill zone. The Army staff sergeant had to be forced by his base commander to board the helicopter home. He didn't want to leave his troops behind.

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Air Force photograph by Susan A. Romano
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Overcoming Adversity

Through tragedy, loss and amputation, Airman learns ‘new norm’

Posted June 23, 2017 by Susan A. Romano

In July 2011, August O’Niell was on a rescue mission in Afghanistan when his helicopter came under fire from enemy insurgents. Several rounds pierced the chopper, with one tearing through O’Niell’s lower limbs.

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Air Force photograph by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson
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Overcoming Adversity

‘Don’t stop, won’t stop, keep fighting’

Posted December 12, 2016 by Tech. Sgt. Courtney Richardson

The 47th Fighter Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., hosted a local Tucson child as part of the "Pilot for a Day" program, Dec. 4.

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(U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw)
Overcoming Adversity

Overcoming, looking past disabilities

Posted October 27, 2015 by Richard W. Essary

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — A series of wrong choices one night – driving too fast without a seat belt – resulted in an automobile accident that would leave 17-year-old Todd Henrie with a lifelong disability. Accident investigators estimated Henrie entered a 25 mph corner doing nearly 100 mph before he hit a telephone pole that…

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Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Cierra Presentado
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Overcoming Adversity

The road to recovery; Airman defines true meaning of resilience

Posted April 24, 2017 by Senior Airman Cierra Presentado

Second Lt. Ryan Novack, the 36th Munitions Squadron flight leader, always wanted to race dirt bikes. After learning about a track here in Guam, it was only a matter of time before he hopped on a bike and pursued his hobby.

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Army photograph by Paul Lara
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Overcoming Adversity

Survivor shares harrowing acount of his attempted suicide

Posted September 28, 2016 by

Kevin Hines jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge 16 years ago and survived. He described it as "one of the most violent and scary ways imaginable" to die.

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Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Jared Trimarchi
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Overcoming Adversity

Rescue Airman amputee wins battle to serve in AFRC

Posted August 28, 2017 by Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice

For most, an amputation would be the greatest challenge they have ever faced in life, but for one Reserve Airman, the real struggle came when he fought to keep serving.

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