A few weeks ago our nation was rocked by the unprecedented mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas. Following the tragedy media reported on the casualties, the suspect, and of course stories of bravery, which are the stories that make us all proud to be Americans in time of great national sadness. Stories of strangers helping strangers all bonded together in fear and chaos. Several of the heroes from that tragic night were American Veterans, because once a soldier, always a soldier.
Iraq marine veteran Taylor Winston jumped into action, stole a truck, and transported dozens of wounded fellow spectators to the hospital. Winston, 29, told CNN that he does not like being called a hero. To Winston he was just doing what came naturally. His story has without a doubt been one of the most covered by the media, but there were other veterans present that fateful night that too can be considered heroes.
When Marine veteran Scott Yarmer heard gunfire he didn’t panic in the chaos like the civilians around him. He knew what he had to do; all his training and experience came back to him. He led people to a safe area, waited for a break in the gunfire and then went back for more people.
John Tampien, a former Army Ranger heard the shots and pushed his wife under some bleachers with other members of his party. When he saw the bodies piling up all around where they had just been standing, he knew he was unable to go out into the rain of bullets to rescue those on the ground. He spent the next several hours treating those around him the best he could with first aid and tourniquets.
While the experience was certainly different from war, that training to not just stand there and to move quickly certainly came in handy to these brave men and the people around them on that fateful night. Army vet John Tampien described the experience to KHQ news ”I’ve done a lot of deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and it’s kind of different because there was no way to really protect yourself. It’s a whole new feeling for me.”
Unfortunately one of our veteran brothers perished in the attack, along with 58 other victims. Just this past July, Navy veteran Christopher Roybal reflected about his experience in Afghanistan, “What’s it like to be shot at? It’s a nightmare no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape,” he wrote. “Cheers boys.”
Rest in peace Christopher Roybal and thank you to all of the veterans who acted bravely and selflessly on that fateful night on the Las Vegas strip.
Once a soldier, always a soldier.