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February 4th, 2013
09:44 AM ET

Friend: Sniper Kyle was 'a guardian of Marines,' worked to help veterans with PTSD

On "Early Start" this morning, Pat Kilbane, co-writer & producer of SOFREP.com's "Inside The Team Room," on the legacy of sniper Chris Kyle, who was one of two men shot dead at a Texas gun range, allegedly at the hands of a fellow military veteran.

"When he was in Iraq, a lot of the work he did was called overwatch," Kilbane says. "As a sniper, he had the high ground, and he had a whole view of the battlefield so he could protect the Marines, who were moving below. I feel like a guardian is a good way to describe Chris. He was a guardian of the Marines, when he was deployed. And when he came home, he remained a guardian. He was very concerned about the way that veterans and service members were portrayed in the media. He felt like they need a fair shake."

"When we put people in a situation where they have to see and experience really horrible things, it's very difficult to know what part that had in their behavior. And I think too that Chris encouraged that we recognize the depth of sacrifice that going into combat represents, and that we have - that we give help at the other end of the agreement when they get out of the service that is commensurate with the depth of that sacrifice," he adds.

Filed under: PTSD • Uncategorized • Veterans
December 24th, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Wounded veterans' holiday message; Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr reports

While many in the country are celebrating the holiday season, our armed forces are hard at work protecting us overseas. Many wounded Veterans are also working through Christmas as they recover from terrible injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but their thoughts are with those who aren’t home for the holidays. “Sending their holiday wishes to their buddies,” Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr has that touching story. “Wounded troops in rehab at the holiday time…all Christmas miracles.”

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Filed under: Christmas • Holiday • Veterans
September 7th, 2012
06:32 AM ET

Amputee veteran Ryan McIntosh inspires as ball assistant at US Open

The U.S. Open is coming to a close this weekend. With it has already come the close of American tennis player Andy Roddick’s career. The grand slam winner retired this past week with a memorable farewell after his final match.

But another truly inspirational story comes from the sidelines of the court. Ball assistant Ryan McIntosh is a 23-year-old amputee and ball assistant at the Open this year. McIntosh tells Zoraida Sambolin his story at the U.S. Open on “Early Start” this morning.

McIntosh, who lost his leg in while serving in Afghanistan, says his motivation for getting better was his son Kaden, born just five months after the injury. “And so, that was probably the biggest thing running through my head that I was going to be a dad and it wasn’t going to be the same for me,” McIntosh says. His father helped him cope, especially after one of his painful final surgeries. “My dad held my hand and dealt with that with me,” he says.

The highly athletic Purple Heart recipient was then back into sports only two months afterward. At the advice of an army commander, he tried out to become a U.S. Open ball person. At the tryouts, he was asked if he can throw a tennis ball. He says he responded with, “‘I’ve thrown a hand grenade, so I think I can handle a tennis ball,””

When McIntosh isn’t handling tennis balls for tennis stars like James Blake and Serena Williams, he’s helping wounded veterans become active again as an adaptive sports coordinator. His goal is to teach them they can overcome their injuries and “still do a lot of things.” “That’s what life’s about,” he says, “getting through the hard times and getting to the better times.”

Filed under: Veterans
March 7th, 2012
10:39 AM ET

John Pike on finding jobs for vets

America Wants You CEO John Pike on his new initiative to help employ troops returning home from war.

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Filed under: Veterans
March 1st, 2012
06:51 AM ET

Iraq vets on dining with President Obama, say Americans should do more to support vets when they return

U.S. Army vet Jason Hansman and U.S. Marine Maj Jennifer Parker talk with Zoraida Sambolin on "Early Start" on dining with President Obama to mark end of Iraq combat. Zoraida also asks them about the challenges some vets face after serving their country. Maj. Parker says "all Americans have an obligation to support veterans once they come home."

Filed under: Military • Veterans