Brian Mast likes to use the Israeli slang word achi. The Hebrew equivalent of “bro,” an endearment among young men, it’s not something one would expect to hear in conversation with a United States Congressional candidate.

Mast, however, is not your usual aspiring American politician. A Republican running in Florida’s 18th Congressional District, Mast picked up achi and a few other popular Israeli expressions while volunteering with the Israel Defense Forces in January 2015. He was stationed that month at a base at Tel Hashomer outside Tel Aviv, where he packed medical kits and moved supplies around, including some heavy lifting.

While Israel was new to him, pulling his weight in a military environment wasn’t. Only two and a half years earlier, Mast was medically retired from the US Army following 12 years of service. During his military career, he earned the the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, the Purple Heart Medal, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

He also lost both his legs and a finger when, as a bomb disposal technician carrying out his duty in Afghanistan, he stepped on a hidden improvised explosive devise (IED).

Read More- Times of Israel

Image courtesy of Times of Israel