Hug a Soldier – They are why you are free, America

May 23rd, 2011 Permalink

Memorial Day is a U.S. federal holiday celebrated on the last Monday in May, originally meant to honor soldiers. Americans often visit cemeteries and memorials on that day, while others remember U.S. soliders who fought and died in wars throughout our history. After perusing through some of the Department of Defense pictures, we wanted to remember the soldiers of all military branches who are living and who are putting their lives on the line by serving our country. Thank you! These photos certainly don’t include everyone, but we liked them. They made us proud of our soldiers and of the USA. We love our soldiers and their dedication as well as appreciating the time they are away from their family and loved ones. We want to suggest you should hug a soldier for they are why we are free, America. [26 Photos]

U.S. Naval Academy plebes navigate the low crawl obstacle during Sea Trials, the capstone training exercise for Naval Academy freshmen in Annapolis

U.S. Naval Academy plebes navigate the low crawl obstacle during Sea Trials, the capstone training exercise for Naval Academy freshmen in Annapolis, Md., on May 17, 2011. The plebes navigate physical and mental challenges, ranging from obstacle courses, long-distance group runs, damage control scenarios and water training to challenge them individually and as a team. DoD Photo #1 by Midshipman 3rd Class Dominic Montez, U.S. Navy

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Antwone Dunlap, left, a sniper team spotter, and Airman 1st Class Ricky Smith, a sniper team shooter, both assigned to the 822nd Base Defense Squadron, prepare to provide cover fire for Airman during an urban operations training demonstration at Moody Air   Force Base

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Antwone Dunlap, left, a sniper team spotter, and Airman 1st Class Ricky Smith, a sniper team shooter, both assigned to the 822nd Base Defense Squadron, prepare to provide cover fire for Airman during an urban operations training demonstration at Moody Air Force Base, GA. DoD Photo #2 by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth, U.S. Air Force


Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU), embarked aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan

Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (22nd MEU), embarked aboard the multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), operate a combat rubber raiding craft as part of routine amphibious proficiency training. Bataan is the command ship of the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. MEDITERRANEAN SEA (May 7, 2011) U.S. Navy Photo #3 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Julio Rivera

U.S. Army paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division

U.S. Army paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division sit in an Air Force C-17A Globemaster III before an airdrop during a joint operational access exercise (JOAX) at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., Feb. 9, 2011. JOAX is a joint Army and Air Force training exercise held to practice large-scale personnel and equipment airdrop missions. DoD Photo #4 by Staff Sgt. Greg C. Biondo, U.S. Air Force

Sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) practice for the San Diego Padres' opening day flag ceremony

Sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) practice for the San Diego Padres’ opening day flag ceremony. The ship sent nearly 300 volunteers to unfurl an 800-pound flag that covered the entire field. Bonhomme Richard is in dry-dock for maintenance and upgrades through April. U.S. Navy Photo #5 by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane

assault demonstration of Air Force Materiel Command's "Brave Defender"

Staff Sgt. Geovanii Pacheco leads his team out of a building as part of an assault demonstration for Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., on May 6, 2011. Roy received a hands-on tour of Air Force Materiel Command’s “Brave Defender” training area. Pacheco is assigned to the 96th Ground Combat Training Squadron. DoD Photo #6 by Samuel King Jr., U.S. Air Force

U.S. Soldiers conduct squad training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska

U.S. Soldiers conduct squad training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Jan. 26, 2011. The Soldiers are assigned to 164th Military Police Company, 793rd Military Police Battalion, 3rd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and were preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan. Photo #7 by Staff Sgt. Jason Epperson, U.S. Army

U.S. Marines attached to a security cooperation task force return an assault amphibian vehicle to USS Gunston Hall

U.S. Marines attached to a security cooperation task force return an assault amphibian vehicle to USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), Feb. 20, 2011, while en route to Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, to support Amphibious Southern Partnership Station 2011. A-SPS is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command’s area of responsibility in the Caribbean and Latin America. The exercise involves information sharing with navies, coast guards and civilian services throughout the region. DoD Photo #8 by Sgt. Kevin L. Pruitt, U.S. Army

an aerial delivery field service

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Hector Hoyas (right), an aerial delivery field service department instructor, and Air Force Senior Airman Matthew Phillips, an airborne pavements and equipment operator from the 820th Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) Squadron, turn away from the rotor wash as a Nevada National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter takes off with a Humvee at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., during sling-load training on April 15, 2011. DoD Photo #9 by Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth, U.S. Air Force

U.S. Marine assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit rappels onto the aircraft elevator of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex

A Marine assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (31st MEU) fast ropes onto the port aircraft elevator of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2). Essex, commanded by Capt. David Fluker, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is on patrol in the Western Pacific. U.S. Navy Photo #10 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Casey H. Kyhl

A shell casing flies out with a trail of smoke as U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Freise fires an M-4 rifle during a reflex firing exercise at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Republic of Korea

A shell casing flies out with a trail of smoke as U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Freise fires an M-4 rifle during a reflex firing exercise at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex, Republic of Korea. DoD Photo #11 by Staff Sgt. Suzanne M. Day, U.S. Air Force

U.S. Navy aircraft director signals as aviation ordnancemen unload ordnance from an Super Hornet aircraft aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

A U.S. Navy aircraft director signals as aviation ordnancemen unload ordnance from an F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft aboard the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) while under way in the Bay of Bengal Jan. 28, 2011. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are on a routine deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. DoD Photo #12 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans, U.S. Navy

A harbor security boat escorts the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760) as the ship departs Souda Bay, Crete

A harbor security boat escorts the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760) as the ship departs Souda Bay, Crete, March 20, 2010, following a routine port visit. DoD Photo #13 by Paul Farley, U.S. Navy

U.S. Coast Guardsman fast-ropes from an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter onto the flight deck of the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher

A U.S. Coast Guardsman fast-ropes from an HH-60H Seahawk helicopter onto the flight deck of the guided missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) during an exercise in the Atlantic Ocean Feb. 22, 2011. Mitscher is under way to conduct training operations as part of the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, which is preparing for an upcoming deployment. DoD Photo #14 by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Deven B. King, U.S. Navy

U.S. Sailors assigned to the guided missile frigate USS Boone

U.S. Sailors assigned to the guided missile frigate USS Boone (FFG 28) fire the saluting battery to greet the port city of Salvador, Brazil, April 15, 2010. Boone deployed in support of Southern Seas 2011. Southern Seas is a U.S. Southern Command-directed operation designed to strengthen relationships with regional partner nations and improve operational readiness for all assigned units. U.S. Navy Photo #15 by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Stuart Phillips

self portrait in an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 18th Aggressor Squadron

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr., from 1st Combat Camera Squadron, takes a self portrait in an F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 18th Aggressor Squadron June 24, 2010, during exercise Red Flag-Alaska. U.S. Air Force Photo #16 by Tech. Sgt. James L. Harper Jr.

U.S. Navy Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Bowen Derik, right, attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 watches the amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland

U.S. Navy Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Bowen Derik, right, attached to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 watches the amphibious transport dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7) as it pulls out of Tonga into the Pacific Ocean after completing the first mission of Pacific Partnership 2011 April 23, 2011. Pacific Partnership is an annual deployment of forces designed to strengthen maritime and humanitarian partnerships during disaster relief operations, while providing humanitarian, medical, dental, and engineering assistance to nations of the Pacific U.S. Navy Photo #17 by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman John Grandin

U.S. Navy sonar technicians aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) monitor sonar equipment for marine mammals or submarine activity during the Southeastern Anti-Submarine Warfare Integrated Training Initiative in the Atlantic Ocean

U.S. Navy sonar technicians aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) monitor sonar equipment for marine mammals or submarine activity during the Southeastern Anti-Submarine Warfare Integrated Training Initiative in the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. Navy Photo #18 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sunday Williams, U.S. Navy

submarine USS Scranton

The submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756) pulls into Augusta Bay, Sicily, Italy, to receive supplies and personnel March 6, 2011. Scranton was under way supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. DoD Photo #20 by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Cameron Bramham, U.S. Navy

U.S. Soldiers from the 97th Engineering Company

U.S. Soldiers from the 97th Engineering Company react to a simulated attack during convoy training at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., May 16, 2011. The soldiers are participating in Global Medic 2011 and Warrior 91 11-01, a joint field training exercise for theater aeromedical evacuation system and ground medical components designed to replicate all aspects of combat medical service support. DoD Photo #22 by Staff Sgt. Donald R. Allen, U.S. Air Force

U.S. Navy UH-1N Huey helicopter assigned to the amphibious transport  dock ship USS Mesa Verde provides cover for U.S. Marines

A U.S. Navy UH-1N Huey helicopter assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) provides cover while U.S. Marines on a rigid hull inflatable boat approach the guided missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) during a visit, board, search and seizure exercise under way in the Mediterranean Sea May 14, 2011. Barry was on a deployment conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation missions in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility. DoD Photo #23 by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Sunderman, U.S. Navy

U.S. Army soldiers with Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group fast-rope from a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft during exercise Emerald Warrior 2011

U.S. Army soldiers with Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group fast-rope from a CV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft during exercise Emerald Warrior 2011 at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., on March 1, 2011. Emerald Warrior is an annual two-week joint/combined tactical exercise sponsored by U.S. Special Operations Command designed to leverage lessons learned from operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom to provide trained and ready forces to combatant commanders. DoD Photo #24 by Tech. Sgt. DeNoris Mickle, U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Loren Coulter exits an A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan

U.S. Air Force Maj. Loren Coulter exits an A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Jan. 11, 2011. The 75th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron moved their assets to the other side of the flight line, marking the first of many moves toward consolidating the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing’s missions. DoD Photo #25 by Senior Airman Willard E. Grande II, U.S. Air Force

Hornet aircraft launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson

An F/A-18C Hornet aircraft launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) under way in the Pacific Ocean Jan. 6, 2011. Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are on a deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. DOD Photo #26 by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Evans, U.S

USA opening day flag ceremony

Sailors assigned to amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) practice for the San Diego Padres’ opening day flag ceremony. The ship sent nearly 300 volunteers to unfurl an 800-pound flag that covered the entire field. Bonhomme Richard was in dry-dock for maintenance and upgrades through April. U.S. Navy Photo #26 by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joe Kane


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