John Gallina and Dale Beatty were best friends.
They joined the North Carolina National Guard while they were still in high school. They served in Iraq together, and they nearly died together on Nov. 15, 2004, when their humvee was blown up by an antitank mine. Beatty, a staff sergeant, was riding shotgun; Gallina, a specialist, was driving. The humvee flew 200 ft. (60 km) through the air and landed upside down. Beatty realized he was trapped, crushed, the only one still inside. Gallina had been thrown from the vehicle and was out cold.