They protect and save us.

We admire them and aspire to be like them. In uniform, in our communities, in every branch of the military, our heroes give their all —and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice.

These are their stories. On the eleventh of every month, we celebrate these selfless men and women with profiles of their service. Reflecting on their accomplishments and respecting each challenge overcome. Take note. Take pride. Please join us in honoring them here.


Pride Of Service And Love Of Country

“I would say the day that ended hostilities in a formal way was really exciting for the people who were there.” Robert Stromberg served as a Medic with the US Army’s 14th Armoured Division during World War II. He was part of the force that liberated a concentration camp and was deep within Germany when hostilities officially ended on VE Day. He remembers his service with pride and a love of this country.

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A Family‘s Tradition Of Service And Sacrifice

“The wars may end but the war and the wounds, it’s their family that feels it. So, for us, this war doesn’t end.” SPC Jay Briseno proudly served his country as a US Army Reservist. When he was wounded, his family‘s tradition of service and sacrifice was exemplified in their dedicated care of their hero.

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If He’s In Your Heart He’ll Never Be Forgotten.

“I just pray and ask you to keep Eric in your heart. Because if he’s in your heart he’ll never be forgotten.” Sgt. Eric Houck lived for his family and gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Now, his family is committed to sharing his story so his bravery is forever remembered and his memory will live on in the hearts of everyone who thinks of him.

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“These are your soldiers. You take care of each other.”

Fred Cherry was raised as a sharecropper's son and grew up to be a fighter pilot and military officer. After his aircraft was shot down over North Vietnam, He spent more than seven years as a POW and created a lifelong bond with his cellmate. Through it all he remained dedicated to serving his country and his fellow soldiers.

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Storytelling is What Leads to the Healing.

Richard Casper is a Marine who went from protecting the President of the United States at Camp David to fighting for Our Country in Iraq. Today, he continues to serve his fellow veterans. He is helping them heal by telling their stories through art and music.

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"They Gave Themselves Totally For Our Country."

Jerry Taillon is a Korean War Veteran who served 13 months in active combat. His sons planned a trip to Washington, DC so he could honor his brothers and the fallen at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. This trip is something that he says he will cherish for the rest of his life.

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Privileged To Serve.

As Executive Director of the Army Heritage Center Foundation, Mike Perry serves the public and the Army proudly. "It's a facility dedicated to preserve the memories of soldiers and their families, honoring their service and really educating both the public and the army on what soldiers have done across time.”

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A Man Of Integrity.

"I had no idea that when I kissed him at the Watertown little airport, it would be the last time," says Katherine Turner, wife of Sergeant Major Wardell Turner. Serving Our Country in Afghanistan, SGM Turner was killed by a bomb attack, his family giving the ultimate sacrifice.

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I Don't Know How To Walk Away.

The work that Patti Brady does to improve the lives of Our Veterans is "just enormous and incalculable." From housing the homeless to helping connect Our Heroes with vital services, "I was trying to be the person that could bring a bridge," she says "or be in the gap of services that fell apart to make sure that we don't lose some." We're honored to share her Story of Service.

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"You realize the size & scope of it"

"There's a lot more to the picture on the wall that you should know about," says Greg Lange, Captain of the Fairfax County Fire Department during 9/11. As part of the team asked to share a message of hope to America on that tragic day, he was struck by "the size and scope of it." So were we, and proud to share his Story of Service.

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"Let's Do Our Best"

"The most defining event in my life was when I was ordered to lead Marines into combat," says retired WWII Veteran Lou Schott. His wise advice at age 100: "Let's do our best to keep Our Country the land of the free and the home of the brave."

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Forever In Their Debt

Honor Flight Network has taken 244,000 Veterans to visit their memorials in Washington, DC. "Our whole purpose in an Honor Flight Day is to thank the Veterans for their service, to give them a thank you that perhaps they never got when they came back."


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"There Was One Hell of an Explosion."

50 kamikaze aircraft “came winging in under the darkening skies.” Veteran Russ Miller was there, along with his brother during WWII. His family continues to serve Our Country, which makes him genuinely proud. So are we.


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From the Bottom of Our Hearts

From Florida, Michigan, Maryland, and beyond, the stories of selfless people helping others during this pandemic are inspiring to us all. Watch this collection of personal Thank You's for those who went above and beyond to serve.

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Thank You, Now More Than Ever

From Philadelphia to North Myrtle Beach, Delaware to Maryland and all across America, the stories of selfless people helping others during this pandemic are inspiring to us all. Watch this collection of personal Thank You's for those who went above and beyond to serve.

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"The More You Help, The Better You’ll Be"

“When the battle starts and somebody gets wounded it’s my job to fix ‘em and hopefully bring ‘em back alive.” That’s Corpsman Jerry Pedrin describing his mission in Vietnam. Even after earning 5 Purple Hearts, enduring multiple shrapnel wounds, hand-to-hand combat scars and a gunshot to the chest, he’s still committed to helping. We’re proud to share his Story of Service.

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"We Don't Know If You're Going To Survive."

That was the warning Nurse Mary Damon received after volunteering to land on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasions. Her bravery is what inspired granddaughter Brett Johnson, now a Captain at the largest volunteer rescue squad organization in the country. Together they share a legacy of service to Our Country and Our Communities.

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He Gave All. For All Of Us.

“He was a hero, a protector, a Fayetteville son, and one who truly cared about his community.” Today there is a park in his honor plus annual tributes and candlelight vigils. Yet, there remains a hole in our hearts, especially among loved ones and colleagues left behind. Share the memory of Roy Turner’s memory with us here.

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It Transforms You

Staff Sergeant Shilo Harris went through hell and back after his humvee hit an IED. 48 days in a coma, he woke to a whole new way of life and an indomitable spirit. “No matter what hell is going on in your life,” he says, “if you can get through it, and get on the other side of it, it’s going to transform you into a better person in some way.”

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Still Serving Others

When war broke out in the Middle East, Stephen Deguire transferred immediately from the Navy Reserve to Air Force Reserve so he could serve as a Navigator. Yet on one mission as his jet spiraled over Baghdad Airport to avoid handheld missile launches, he knew something was wrong. Diagnosed with a reaction to Anthrax vaccination, he dedicated his Veteran life to protecting the rights of other Heroes in the military.

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"This is About Service and Sacrifice”

The Shield 23 Foundation is based on Russell Constantino’s badge. In her husband’s honor, Shenan Constantino raises funds and awareness about the increased risk of cancer for firefighters. “Everything that I think we’re doing now is to create meaning out of a loss,” she says. “His dying of cancer due to the job should not be in vain. We raise funds and gift funds to firefighters who are battling cancer and to support their families who are standing beside them.”

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The Final Carry, With Honor

Colonel Dawn Lancaster, Commander of Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, believes every fallen Hero deserves dignity, honor and respect. And so do their families who’ve given us the greatest sacrifice. “Part of my honoring them and caring for them,” she adds, “is caring for their family. Part of caring for that family is honoring their service. Families serve. They all serve. Whether they are in uniform or they’re a spouse at home or kids in grade school.”

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“Molly was my Northern Star.”

Her sister, LCDR Jennette Greene, proudly followed in Commander Molly Water’s footsteps serving in U.S. Coast Guard. She was there to say good-bye during Molly’s final moments after a tragic accident. She was on the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw as Our hero was laid to rest in Lake Huron. And she helped make it possible for Molly’s legacy to live on, literally, as an organ donor for the family of a fellow Coastie. This is the story of many serving all, for the greater good.

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"I Don’t Regret It For One Bit”

As a Korean War POW, Tom Caroland went 13 months without a bath or change of clothes. He ate “stuff you feed your cattle… sorghum tops, millet, anything like that, cracked corn, you were hungry.” They’d lay there, day after day “picking the lice off each other and trying to stay alive.” And he’d do it all over again for the privilege of serving his country.

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Still serving. In their Nineties

Russell Scott is 99, a WWII Army Air Corps Veteran and former POW. Earl Tatum is 94, and “still a Marine.” Together they’re truly inspiring, and we are honored to “tell all who enjoy freedom of the deeds and sacrifices required for freedom to flourish.”

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Angels Serving All

"Don't tell me what I think you're going to tell me,” Deanie Dempsey said to her deployed husband. Gone for a year already, his war zone tour was about to be extended. And it was Deanie’s job as wife of the U.S. Army General to tell other spouses first. Together, they serve for us all.

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Service is Sharing Your Gifts

Gina Hawkins is the first female Chief of Police in Fayetteville, NC — but the last to admit she takes any of it for granted. “I’ve had individuals pushing for me and probably didn’t know it. So my Service is finding the gifts in others because you never know how it will impact someone.”

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A Tribute To Their Dedication

After 4 long years as a Vietnam POW, Gail Kerns got off the aircraft on American soil “and kissed the ground,” says Army Major Don Androsky. “He was the only one who did it.” Like so many who served together for Our Country then, they were and always will be proud Americans. Watch their “homecoming” at our Rockville, MD location.

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“They Push Through And They Persevere.”

Military spouses and families serve Our Country while their husbands, wives, dads and moms are serving too. Separated by a year-long tour of duty and thousands of miles, Veteran Danielle Rodriguez held the fort down while her husband was deployed in Korea. "There's absolutely nothing I could have done without her support,” says Army Sgt. First Class Francisco Rodriguez. Watch their surprise homecoming at our Waugh Chapel, MD MISSION BBQ.

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The Deed Is All. Not The Glory.

Serving his country for over 30 years, retired Navy SEAL Jimmy Hintzke now runs his own business dedicated to assisting our nation's active military and their families. His team's handcrafted plaque at our Virginia Beach MISSION BBQ includes historical artifacts from the World Trade Center, the Berlin Wall and treasured mementos from fallen Heroes. "These walls are like a museum," Hintzke says, "with each one telling us a story about service.”

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A Man of Principle.

Fight for what you believe in. Never forget those that were killed. Give something back to society." You'll find these and more admirable principles of Major Doug Zembiec at our MISSION BBQ location near the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. There you'll also find the unwavering respect of all who served with him, and Americans who appreciate his selfless service.

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In Valor There Is Hope

Which is exactly what Kim Weigand tries to give other families of fallen Heroes like her son, Sgt Mike Weigand of the Latimore PA Police Department. “These were not just Police Officers we lost,” she notes. “They were husbands, wives, sons, daughters and friends who will never be forgotten.”

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From the Battlefield to the Playing Field

He led platoons during three tours of Afghanistan, earning numerous commendations and a Bronze Star. Now he’s an offensive Lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers, representing his team in last year’s Pro Bowl. Yet Alejandro Villanueva is still humbled to be featured with other heroes on the walls of MISSION BBQ.

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“Become a Firefighter or Die Trying.”

“Turned down because he was injured, Trey Small never quit on his goal to become a firefighter making a difference in his community. For 11 years, he's been a vital part of ​America's oldest all-volunteer fire department protecting a state capital. "For me, this is something I'll never give up."

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Enlisted at 17. Still a Hero at 91.

When his brother was wounded in WWII, Earl Daff was just a young teen eager to go help. At 17, he had his parents sign waivers to finally let him serve. Which he did proudly and again in Korea, where he met up with another brother also fighting for his country. You can see his tribute — and maybe meet Earl himself — at our Waugh Chapel, MD location.

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From Army Vet to Police Artist

Motivated by his will to serve after the September 11 attacks, Jonny Castro left art school to join the Army, serving a year in Iraq. Back home, he joined the Philadelphia Police Department and now works as a Forensic Composite Sketch Artist. What he paints off duty pays true tributes to heroes killed on duty.

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“A Knock on the Door”

The American Gold Star Mothers in Southwest Florida connect on a level few others can know or share. Their bond was born from the tragic deaths of military sons who served Our Country proudly. Today, they’re honoring that selfless sacrifice by helping each other “get through this together.”

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"Serving Something Greater"

There was a sense of duty to his fellow human beings. He is remembered for his dedication and a life of service. On his final run rescuing a stranded motorist, a tragic accident killed them both. “Sander Cohen was a hero who makes us want to help more.”

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"It's About Time"

He was a gunner providing cover for medivac transports. His squadron was last to leave Vietnam. “You functioned as a team and you survived as a team,” he remembers. Yet when they returned to their own country, there was no homecoming. In his own way, Veteran Slick Katz is changing that every day.

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Football Was His Way Out

“He was a hero, a protector, a Fayetteville son, and one who truly cared about his community.” NFL Head Coach Bill Belichick talks of his father’s humble beginnings, from the Depression and living in a closet at college, to his WWII service and lifelong commitment coaching future military leaders. “Other than family, his love was the US Naval Academy.”

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A Wall Of Heroes

“This job can be life or death,” says veteran Firefighter John McMahon of Fort Myers, FL. “The people you work with are family, all working together to protect families and community. It’s an honor.”

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Ask Us Their Name

"His name is Sgt Thomas J. IV," his mom says proudly. After losing him to an attack in Afghanistan, Leslie Butler became a Gold Star Mom. "Ask us who we are and we’ll tell you our child’s name. We don’t want them to be forgotten."

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“Over the years, those words have been a beacon,” says Retired Colonel Gary Richard Steele. “No matter what lays before us, everything we do revolves around them.”

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Speaking Up To Save Lives

“If just one person sees this video, if just one person will reach out to someone for help, if one person will say something and it saves their life, it’s worth it."

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The Nation Comes Together

16 years after 9/11, Rex Strickland of the Chantilly, VA Fire Department admires “the same level of selfless service" we all shared then as he does today in Texas, Florida and beyond. “I see everything good about America.” We do too.

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He Gave All. For All Of Us.

“He was a hero, a protector, a Fayetteville son, and one who truly cared about his community.” Today there is a park in his honor plus annual tributes and candlelight vigils. Yet, there remains a hole in our hearts, especially among loved ones and colleagues left behind. Share the memory of Roy Turner’s memory with us here.

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Heroism - Defined

Two Soldiers were killed instantly. Four others were severely wounded. With shrapnel torn through his spleen, liver and left lung, Pereira struggled to breathe. Yet with little regard to his own safety or care, he refused treatment and commandeered an all-terrain vehicle back into the crossfire to evacuate his wounded comrades.

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The Definition of Service

“Being loyal to the country and finding something worthwhile to do.” That’s how retired Vice Admiral Joseph Mulloy defines it. Which is what his family has been doing since 1908, and still counting. Through every World War and foreign conflict, including 9/11, they’ve served our nation. With honor.

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Serving Gold Star Families, Just Like Hers.

EMT. Paramedic. Nurse. Mom. Giving back to the community is simply what Suzanne Scheafer does. After the loss of a son in service, her efforts to help others took on a new meaning. “I get this,” she says. “I know how to hug. I know how to listen. And I know how to understand.”

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Serving Is Believing.

K. Madison Carter has always believed in doing his part to protect and serve. When asked to become an active duty, U.S. Naval Chaplain, his answer was clear: “I had no choice but to say yes.” Watch his inspiring story here.

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We Can Do It.

Nearly 19 million women in the wartime workforce stepped forward during WWII to make a difference, producing munitions and supplies. Wilma Foster was just 16, and never hesitated to serve her country. Hear her riveting story here.

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Resilience, Grace and Grit

"After two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marjorie K. Eastman wrote a compelling book about "The Frontline Generation" who served with her. “The leadership lessons learned in combat apply at home too,” she says. “Take care of the people to your left and to your right. You are the frontlines—no matter where or how you serve.”

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Make it Matter

"How can I find the inspiration to know what to say to these young men and women?” asked Retired Army General Martin Dempsey. “Then there was this phrase echoing in my head.”

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Remember. Honor. Teach.

Remembering our fallen U.S. Veterans. Honoring those who serve. Teaching children the value of freedom. That’s the mission of Wreaths Across America, and we’re proud to share their story here.

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These walls really do talk

Patches torn from sleeves of active duty military … helmets worn by men and women who braved all to serve.  Every day, Mission BBQ is proud to display the courage, commitment and selfless sacrifice of our Veterans. Hear and see how their powerful stories affect us all.

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“Many don't know about us…”

Since the Revolutionary War, black men have served in America’s Armed Forces. Many saw combat but most were relegated to supporting roles. World War II changed all that. 97-year-old William Decatur Jr. shares his personal pride as a “Buffalo Soldier.”

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All Give Some, Some Gave All

Rescue 1 responded on that fateful day, 15 years ago. They lost nearly half their company, making it one of the most affected companies in the FDNY during the September 11 attacks.

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A Tight Knit Community

“We’re a brotherhood and sisterhood of public service, standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. It’s not just those behind that badge. It’s the family behind them.”

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High Impact Inspiration

Whether reconstructing roads and airways in Iraq, helping to track down high-value terrorists with Ranger Units, or building an economic partnership sourcing the world’s most coveted spice, Emily Miller inspires us.

See video

It's All About Them

“To say that any of us can feel the pain of the mother, the father, or the widow would not be true. So we’ve made a promise to be there for them — including a 90% graduation college rate for their children.” Learn more about the remarkable commitment and accomplishments of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

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Building a Better Way Back.

The trauma of explosions. Firefights. IEDs. Marine 2nd Lieutenant Roy Fish experienced it all while providing convoy security in Afghanistan. Yet he knows firsthand how our veterans are leaving one battle and coming home to another. Hear how he’s helping to combat PTSD in our own communities.

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Utah Beach, France: Our Hero Was There.

70 years later, Retired Army Sgt. Claude Phelps received the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in active ground combat against the enemy. Serving under General George Patton, Phelps admits he’s proud of what was done and “grateful to the almighty that I did get back.” We gratefully share his story here.

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No Ordinary Life

Herman Zeitchik was there for the bravest deeds and most climactic moments that made history in World War II. He stormed the beaches on D-Day and fought during the Battle of the Bulge. Helped to liberate Paris and was one of the first to arrive at Dachau. We’re honored to share his story.

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Multi-Talented. Multiply Respected.

Light armored vehicle crewman. Able to assemble an M240Bushmaster. At MISSION BBQ and wherever the Marines deploy her in June, we admire Ashleigh McKee's service.

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Over 7 Decades of Doing for Others

“I’m so glad we had a chance to meet.” So said President Barack Obama to Vivian "Millie" Bailey, age 97. And so are we, after her lifetime of service in the U.S. Army as well as volunteering for veterans and local schools. Originally commissioned as an officer in 1942 and still helping others to this day, her timeless story inspires and humbles us. Watch it here now.

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Army Vs. Navy. Brothers Forever.

“I want an Officer for a secret and dangerous mission. I want a West Point football player.”

So said General George C. Marshall during World War II and truer respect was never said. Just as “Strength and Honor: The Brotherhood" speaks truth about the Naval Academy’s preparation for battle on all fields—here at home during the traditional Army-Navy Game and around the world defending freedom.

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A Guy Who Gave His All

Navy Lt. Seal Brendan Looney always gave all, including his life for our country while bravely serving in Afghanistan. As a "great leader and teammate," he believed in service before self—on the Naval Academy lacrosse field and on the battlefield, motivating others always to be their best. We're proud to share his Story of Service and commemorate him at our Annapolis, MD MISSION BBQ.

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A Legacy Of Service

Retired Marine and Purple Heart recipient Chip Shields, one of just a few survivors from the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing, believes he was spared "to do something good." As a Tampa firefighter and EMT still braving danger and saving lives, he represents those lost in the line of duty overseas and on 9-11. As well as the best of the best serving country and community today.

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9-11, We Will Never Forget

They were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, innocents and the bravest Americans we know. Among their ranks were heroic Firefighters, Police and First Responders who rushed in to save others and selflessly gave their own lives. Those lost on 9-11 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, PA are still with us today, remembered here reverently.

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A Courageous Tale of 2 American Heroes

When an IED flipped a combat vehicle on top of him, Afghanistan War Veteran Justin Lansford lost a leg, but not his will to survive. With the help of a highly trained partner always at his side, “I’ve returned to a normal independent life,” he beams. Watch this uplifting story of the wounded warrior and his personal hero, Gabe.

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"Black Hawk Down"

Millions saw the movie. Only a few have experienced its courageous mission first hand. Ranger Matt Eversmann was there on October 3, 1993 during one of the bravest missions in US military history. Here, he shares the story of those heroic warriors who risked or gave all defending their own men. Matt’s photo tribute to his fellow soldiers can be seen at the Canton location of MISSION BBQ. Relive their valor here.

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Iraq Veteran. Policeman. Pro boxer. Hero.

Jerry Pellegrini's story will not be forgotten for his service and ultimate sacrifice. As a Corporal in the PA National Guard, legacy policeman bearing the same badge number as his Dad, and aspiring boxer who realized his dream to go pro, here is his inspiring story, shared by his sister Dana Shearon from our York, PA Mission BBQ.

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Honored Navy Lieutenant, Olympic Gold Medalist, Our Hero

From the embattled Middle East to the top of an Olympic podium, Brad Snyder's brave outlook inspires us all. As a wounded warrior, losing his sight while rescuing others, he faced a life of darkness but soldiered on to shed light on the indomitable spirit of America. His unselfish contribution to the community can be seen on our walls and in this heroic account. Thanks For Your Service, Lieutenant Snyder.

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Aiming Higher

Watch the first in the STORIES OF SERVICE series honoring LT Valerie Cappelaere Delaney—a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Navy Pilot, and #6 on the U.S. Naval Academy's Women's Lacrosse team. Val's jersey is proudly displayed in our Annapolis restaurant.