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Nate Jackson / Jan. 7, 2019

What Patriotic Service Looks Like

Reps. Jim Baird, Brian Mast, and Dan Crenshaw know the cost of the oaths "to support and defend."

In the above photo, Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) (center) welcomes new “All American” wounded combat veterans — Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN) (left) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) (right) — on their first day in the 116th U.S. Congress. “5 eyes. 5 arms. 4 legs. All American,” Mast said. Unlike most members of Congress, these men know the cost of their oaths “to support and defend” our Constitution and the price of serving our country.

Mast enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in May 2000, and he later served as an explosive ordnance disposal technician in Afghanistan. In September 2010, he was clearing a path for Army Rangers in Kandahar when he was severely wounded by an IED, leading to the amputation of a finger and both of his legs.

Baird served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. In March 1971, he was part of the 523rd Transportation Company, which was caught in a deadly ambush that cost him his left arm.

And Crenshaw, who’s already made a splash on the political scene with his winsome personality and capable rebuttal of leftist nonsense, served for a decade as a Navy SEAL, including three tours of duty. In 2012 in Afghanistan, Crenshaw was wounded by an IED that took his right eye and nearly the vision in his left. He deployed twice more after recovering.

All three men are recipients of Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts, and other medals for their service. “I look at them and I do think they embody the American spirit,” Mast said of his new congressional friends. “I’m proud to be serving with the both of them.” Congress could use a few hundred more men and women like them.

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