Tag Archives: Marine

Iraq veteran is valedictorian at York College


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

York College Commencement 2012.

While leading a patrol on a well-known supply route in Iraq from Fallujah to Ramadi, Marine Tony Wan spotted a slight disturbance on the path.

Following his training to question his suspicions, he drove closer.

When he realized it was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) it was too late, and before he could turn back and finish yelling “I-E-D” to his comrades, his Humvee exploded.

Wan, now a 25-year-old resident of Fresh Meadows, survived the explosion with a minor concussion. In fact, it was the second explosion he’d survive while on tour in 2006.

“Going in I felt we were ready and well trained, but it was different than we expected,” Wan said of his tours.

During a later expedition Wan’s company lost two men, one his best friend, and today he wears a bracelet to commemorate them.

“It reminds me of the sacrifice that Marines like them make,” he said of the memento.

The veteran returned home after a second tour and enrolled at York College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), in 2009.

Fast forward three years, and when York College hosted its 42nd commencement exercise for its largest graduating class on June 1, Wan was the valedictorian with a 3.99 GPA, standing out among the sea of 1,000 caps and gowns.

He was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

For Wan, who majored in chemistry, the graduation marked a turnaround in his life.

Years earlier, he was struggling to graduate from Benjamin Cardozo High School. Ironically, he “failed chemistry three times,” and had to make up classes.

He voluntarily enlisted in the Marine Corps, because he realized his parents couldn’t afford to send both him and his brother to college.

However, he said the military was a positive experience, which enhanced his personality.

“Through the military I learned discipline and perseverance,” he said, which were the driving forces behind his return to the classroom.

With certificate in hand, he aims for a new goal — to go to medical school so he can help other veterans.

 

Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD officers save man from oncoming train after he faints on subway tracks

A Manhattan man felt the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day when a trio of NYPD’s finest saved him from an on-coming train after he fainted onto the tracks at Grand Central Station, police said. Surrounded by dozens of straphangers awaiting the next train, William Soto, 46, fell onto the southbound 6 tracks around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, police said. A good Samaritan who saw Soto collapse ran up the station stairs to summon help. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Identify Suspect In Fatal Staten Island Stabbing

Police have zeroed in on a suspect in connection with a deadly stabbing outside a Staten Island restaurant over the weekend. Sources say investigators have identified the man as Redinel Dervishaj, 35. Authorities say he has a prior record of violent crime. Antonio Lacertosa, 27, was stabbed in the torso early Saturday morning outside the Espana Restaurant in Annadale. Investigators say he was celebrating his engagement to his high school sweetheart at the restaurant. Read More: NY1

 

Workers Prep City Ballfields For Opening Day

As New Yorkers mark the first day of spring, the city’s Parks Department is busy prepping its fields for the upcoming little league season. Before the plates are laid out in city parks, crews are making sure the diamonds, bleachers, fences and fields are all in good shape. Parks workers in Queens are preparing 174 fields for the upcoming season. Much of their work includes inspecting fields and fence lines, painting benches, removing leafs and leveling the dirt on the infield. Read More: NY1

 

Peyton, Broncos agree to five-year, $96 million deal

Peyton Manning agreed to a five-year, $96 million deal Tuesday with the Denver Broncos, the NFL Network reported. The four-time MVP will be introduced as the team’s new starting quarterback at a 3:00pm ET press conference. The sides are reportedly still finalizing the details of the contract, but the soon-to-be 36-year-old is likely to make an annual salary of about $19 million. Read More: New York Post

 

Ex-Marine busted at Empire State Building with gun makes plea deal, gets no jail

The ex-Marine busted for trying to check his Indiana-registered gun at the Empire State Building got a no-jail, misdemeanor deal today. “I definitely did not know it was illegal to bring a gun into New York City,” Ryan Jerome, 29, of West Bend, said after pleading guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court. Read More: New York Post

 

Researchers mount new mission to solve Amelia Earhart mystery

Scientists on Tuesday announced a new phase in the search to resolve the disappearance of Amelia Earhart, saying fresh evidence from a remote Pacific island may hold clues to the fate of the renowned U.S. pilot who vanished in 1937 while attempting to circle the globe. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined scientists and aviation archaeologists to unveil the expedition, which will set out from Honolulu in July to probe underwater areas around the Phoenix Islands in Kiribati where they believe Earhart may have crashed 75 years ago. Read More: New York Post

 

Reading, writing & Rikers! City Education Department staffers arrested 14 times in 2012

A disturbing number of city teachers has moved from the schoolhouse to the courthouse this year. City Education Department staffers have been arrested at least 14 times in 2012, alarming parents and leading to changes in policy. The bevy of teachers, substitutes and aides has been busted this year for crimes ranging from sex abuse and assault to stealing subway art and keying a car. And the year is just three months old. Read More: Daily News

Marine thwarts rape in Whitestone


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

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While dropping off his daughter at his babysitter’s house in Whitestone at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 27, Bryan Teichman – a former marine and current engineering student at Nassau Community College – heard something that sounded like a muffled scream. Upon looking out a window facing the Cross Island Parkway near 148th Street, he saw a panicked woman being thrown over a guardrail.

“That’s when I said to the babysitter, ‘Something’s wrong, call the police. I’m going out there,’ Teichman, 31, told The Courier.

According to Teichman, he jogged over to the struggle and saw the suspect on top of the woman with his hand over her mouth pushing her head into the dirt while tearing at her clothes.

“At that point, I took a second to think,” said Teichman, who has done tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I came up with the deepest yell I could and basically told him to get off her. He took a look at me, looked pretty scared and took off.”

After the suspect fled the scene, Teichman helped the victim – who seemed to be in a state of shock – to her feet and waited with her until police arrived on the scene.

“Within two minutes, the first police car was there. Within 12 minutes, there were five emergency service vehicles, a K-19 unit, and the lieutenant was orchestrating a search. It was impressive to see what the NYPD does,” said Teichman.

After an investigation helped by Teichman – who was able to describe the man – police say they have made an arrest in the attempted rape case.

Kenneth King, 41, was charged with attempted rape and attempted sex abuse on Friday, September 30.

Teichman, a Fresh Meadows resident with a wife and daughter, says that he hopes others would do the same when faced with that sort of extraordinary situation.

“Honestly, there wasn’t much thought. All I did was react to the situation.”