For United States military veterans, the call of duty and code of honor that powers them on the frontlines of armed combat also extends to life off battlefield — where it’s not quite always peacetime. Just check out these six examples of valiant vets who, when confronted with violence and potential tragedy, defused each situation through demonstrations of noble strength.
1. WWII Vet, 95, Thrashes Pickpocket With Cane
MANCHESTER, MA — Back during World War II, Arthur Kamberis, who’s now 95, successfully faced down firestorms of enemy weaponry when he landed in Okinawa. As a result, he didn’t feel terribly threatened by the fool who attempted to lift his wallet during a morning walk.
The would-be thief approached Kamberis and mumbled something before reaching for the vet’s pocket. Kamberis immediately used his walking came to throttle the thug.
The crook fled and Kamberis said, “I hit him three or four times on the arm, and then, you know, what the cop told me, ‘You should have hit him on the head.’” [CrimeFeed]
2. World War II Vet, 89, Disarms and Dispatches Jewelry Store Gunman
NORTH PALM BEACH, FL — One hot August afternoon, Lennard Patrick Jervis ran into The Jewelry Exchange store owned and operated by 89-year-old Arthur M. Lewis, pulled out a gun, and fired at the decorated World War II veteran of the Pacific conflict. Big mistake.
Lewis promptly grabbed the thief’s weapon and pulled out his own .38-caliber pistol. The pair wrestled and exchanged fire. Lewis suffered a bullet graze to his arm; Jervis took four shots to the chest and one each to the wrist and leg. He survived and was charged with felony attempted murder.
Vivien Bresnahan, Lewis’s girlfriend, told the press, “People think because he’s 89, he’s frail. That irritates me because he’s anything but!” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
3. Navy Vet Saves Woman, 76, From Purse Snatcher
ORLANDO, FL — Even though he was just casually heading to the gym, when Navy veteran Kendrick Taylor heard a call of distress, he immediately flew into action.
In the parking lot of a Winn-Dixie grocery store, street creep John Zachary DesJardin, 23, pedaled up on a bicycle next to a 76-year-old exiting customer, pushed her over, and attempted to speed off with her purse. Noticing the commotion, Taylor said he thought, “What if that was my grandmother? She was screaming for help. That’s when I ran over to help her.”
After making sure the victim was okay, Taylor led nine other Good Samaritans in a mad dash after DesJardin. They caught him. Taylor then held the mugger on the ground until police arrived. Cops charged DesJardin with attempted robbery and battery on a person 65 or older. [NY Daily News]
4. Army Dad Takes Down Bank Robber Who Threatened His Kids
SARASOTA, FL — Iraq War veteran Army Staff Sgt. Eddie Peoples kept cool when an armed robber Matthew Rogers, 34, suddenly raided the bank he was in with this two sons, Ikai, 6, and Kioni, 4.
On his way out, Rogers reportedly pointed his gun at Peoples’ six-year-old boy and said, “Don’t movie or the kiddies will get it.” Rogers also told Peoples point-blank, “You, the big Black guy, don’t try anything!”
Peoples instincts as both a father and a vet kicked in and, as he put it, “I took him to war, basically.” Now on a mission, Peoples chased Rogers into the parking lot, blocking the thief’s vehicle with his own. Rogers burst out of his car and jammed his gun against Peoples’ forehead.
Later, Peoples noted, with some understatement, “At this point, it’s get the bullet trajectory out of my forehead because that could be detrimental.”
In a flash, Peoples put Rogers in a wrist lock, realized the gun was a toy, and held the thief until the cops arrived.
Afterward, six-year-old Ikai told the press, “I knew [I would be OK], because [Dad’s] in the Army, so he would beat his butt, because the bad guy’s not in the Army, he’s just a normal guy.” [CBS News]
5. Army Paratrooper Gets the Drop on Would-Be Home Invader, Sets Video to Music
SEATTLE, WA — On Veteran’s Day 2014, somebody broke into the home of 82nd Airborne paratrooper Andrew Myers and spent the night shooting heroin.
After Myers noticed the debris, he installed a surveillance camera on his property and, two nights later, the suspect got wasted in an entirely different manner. As captured on tape, a drifter is seen prowling around Myers’ house. The vet comes out and asks the stranger what’s up. The drifter responds by throwing an uppercut and missing. Myers, then, definitely does not miss; he takes the invader to the ground and wails on him until officers arrive.
Afterward, Myers set the video to a catchy reggae beat and it went viral. He used the clip’s popularity to promote Paws and Stripes, a charity that pairs returning combat veterans with service dogs to treat PTSD. [KIRO-TV]
6. Army Vet & MMA Fighter Foils the Plans of Party Store Robber
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — When Brandon Slanger, 38, attempted to stick up Spike and Mike’s Party Store, his results proved decidedly nonfestive. There was only one customer in the shop at the time, but it turned out to be Army veteran and MMA grappler Zack Thome.
After detecting something amiss between the cashier and the man on the other side of the counter, Thome said:
“I look at the cashier — I kind of know him, I come in there every day — I whispered to him, I mouthed to him, ‘Are you getting robbed right now?’ He said, ‘Yeah,’ like really scared.”
Slanger told the worker he had a gun. Regardless, Thome jumped the thief from behind, slapped a choke-hold on him, and kept him still until the authorities got there.
Afterward, Thome said of the incident, “It’s kind of my hometown. I live right next to the place, you know, I’m in there everyday. I think if it was the other way around, if I worked there and the guy at the register was there, he would have done the same thing.” [Huffington Post]
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Main photo: Eddie People/CBS YouTube video [screenshot]