- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2006

Nobles: Laurie-Ann Fuca, for deciding to follow her soldier son into battle by enlisting in the Army.

Before getting to Mrs. Fuca, a moment of sympathy for her son, Pvt. Thomas Labrador, who will have to endure the endless stream of jokes from his buddies. “Hey, Tom,” they might say, as Pvt. Labrador heads out on patrol in Baghdad, “your mother said don’t forget your coat.”

All kidding aside, Mrs. Fuca, 41, was serious when she approached an Army recruiter in Tucson wanting to enlist. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the call to serve had always been with her, “but I never had the opportunity because I was a full-time mom,” the mother of four said.

Her friends and family of course laughed when she told them. “I said, ‘Honey, you can’t even watch a war movie on TV. What are you going to do in the Army?’ ” recalled her husband.

Mrs. Fuca intends to become an Army paramedic, helping the troops wounded in battle, the Daily Star reported. Since medics are in high demand, Mrs. Fuca could easily find herself overseas, perhaps serving alongside her son, who was deployed to Baghdad three weeks before she entered basic training on Monday.

As the oldest Arizona woman ever to enlist, Mrs. Fuca is now among more than 1,000 new soldiers who have signed up since the Army raised its age restriction to 42.

So here’s to all the new recruits, young and old, and to Mrs. Fuca, this week’s Noble.

Knaves: The scoundrels who mugged a disabled Iraq war veteran and his wife in Bethesda.

According to the Associated Press, Lance Cpl. Mark Beyers and his wife were just leaving a restaurant in Bethesda when five men approached them and asked for a cigarette. Were Lance Cpl. Beyers not a double amputee, having lost an arm and a leg to a roadside bomb, surely the cowards would have looked for easier prey.

As it was, Denise Beyers said they gave the men a cigarette, at which point the thieves grabbed her purse and kicked and knocked the couple to the ground, reports the AP. The punks then fled with about $500.

What the rats didn’t know — indeed, what people like that will never understand — is that Lance Cpl. Beyers had offered them much more than $500 when he joined the Marines. He offered them his life, which he willingly put in danger to protect all Americans — even the ones who don’t deserve it.

Which means there, on that sidewalk, one finds the best and worst of America: A Marine and his wife mugged by five shameless Knaves.

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