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 A Tribute to the Troops

We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us. Without our troops and veterans, we wouldn’t have one of the greatest gifts in life-freedom! I think the real soldiers out there are those making it to the top of their dreams, despite the obstacles being faced. Thanks for your bravery and sacrifices. Anyone who puts their life at risk to support our freedom, is a hero in my book!

It takes a strong person to be a soldier. It takes a stronger person to love a soldier. My dad served in the United States Air Force for close to 20 years, and served in South Korea for a period of time in defense of freedom. He also served in the United Kingdom and Germany for several years. To him I say thankyou. To all the soldiers serving today---you stood up for the nation to protect and save all of us citizens of this country and abroad. You are ready to sacrifice your life for us all and I am ready to stand by you until the very end! 

A Prayer for our troops at home and abroad:

 To Our Higher Power ,creator of mankind and author of peace, as we are ever mindful of the cost paid for the liberty we possess, we ask you to bless the members of our armed forces. Give them courage, hope and strength. May they ever experience your firm support, gentle love and compassionate healing. Be their power and protector, leading them from darkness to light. To you be all glory, honor and praise, now and forever.

A Tribute to the Troops

Major Edward Pulido ( ret US Army )

Major Ed’s story is about a real American hero who overcame a devastating injury in Iraq in 2004 to become an inspirational leader and advocate for all wounded veterans. I thank Maj. Ed for his courage and dedication – and all our wounded Patriots who served.

On the 17th of August, 2004, Major Pulido hit an Improvised Explosive Device (I.E.D) or roadside bomb while serving with the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team under the command of General David Petraeus. Due to the extensive injuries to his left knee, doctors had to amputate his left leg on October 1, 2004. For his heroism and valor on that August day, the President of the United States along with General David Petraeus awarded him the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and Joint Service Commendation and Achievement Medals.

Major Ed began service from an inspiration of his father, who was a Vietnam Army vet, whose quote was that “service is an important element to the country”. He’s toured in such countries as Germany and Afghanistan


Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.) is the Sr. VP of the Folds of Honor Foundation a Veteran’s charity which provides the spouses and children of the fallen and wounded educational scholarships. Additionally, he is a Founding member of Warriors for Freedom Foundation a leadership institute focused on the mental, physical and wellness support of our wounded Veterans and their families.

Major Pulido’s story of courage and sacrifice has been featured in Time Magazine, PGA Magazine, Fox News, CNN and many national and local Oklahoma City television stations and print media. Since, his amputation, Major Pulido has been a staunch advocate for veterans with disabilities. 

Former Naval Reserve T.Davis

T. Davis, who supports the Interfaith Veterans Workgroup website, located at is a former military member of the Naval Reserves, during the time of the Vietnam war in 1970. He graduated college during the time that the draft came along, so he enlisted as a commissioned officer. He was also inspired to join the military, from the example of his father, who served during World War 2.

Davis served about a reserve ship in the Chesapeake Bay, and was also an advisor to the S. Vietnamese Navy. 

He enjoyed the service as his skills were broadened, and he worked with people who he may not have met otherwise.  His greatest accomplishment was to stay alive. He got to know many Vietnamese friends during his service.


His words to the young generation is to be careful about their thoughts regarding video games versus real combat . He mentioned that during his interactions with youth, when asked about their views of video games and war, the many youth have commented that their characters die many times during play, and they can restart the game at any time or hit the pause button; when in reality, we only have one life

US Army Veteran  Earl M

Earl M is a wonderful person, and a testament to service to the country by participating in organizations such as the Lions Club, where he volunteered his time operating the children’s rides at a park during the hot summer days; and the DAV ( Disabled American Veterans ), where he volunteered by driving American veterans to the VA Medical Center. During his service with the DAV, he drove 50,000 miles, transporting 3,000 vets! In both of these organizations, he has touched many live and had the opportunity to make countless friends and hear many stories, that he gained insight from. He heard many stories from veterans about World Wars 1 and 2. Here is his military story…

Earl joined the US Army in 1968, during the Vietnam War; inspired by other people who had joined the military. He attended boot camp at Ft. Knox Kentucky, in the same location as the American gold supply. He successfully completed boot camp and moved to Ft. Leonard Wood Missouri- also known as Fort. Lost in the Woods; where he completed AIT as a tank driver.

During his military service, he was sent to Vietnam, where he worked on tanks. He felt bad for the many kids who were killed as they were forced to wear explosives and run at camps. He returned from the war, as many return from war, with symptoms of PTSD; that included being startled by loud sound such as fireworks or a car backfiring. He still has flashbacks of his experience in war. His greatest accomplishment was staying alive and protecting the people in the US, both accomplishments that are shared by a majority of service men and women.

His words to todays younger generation is that the military is a good place to learn and grow, and to take pride in knowing that you served.

Today he is a hard worker in delivering pizzas in a good sized Oklahoma town, and carrys on the tradition of meeting new people and transforming lives with his smile. Thankyou Earl, for your service


M.J.Ariano ( Retired Army )

M. J. Ariano was born in  the Bronx NY, and went to St. Joseph Regional High School, and went to college at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ in Daytona Beach, Florida. He became interested in becoming an airline pilot at the time of the university, was was always interested in the "ground pounding" that the Army does, so he persued an aviation degree but also got linked up with the Army ROTC. He got his pilots license ( commercial ), and entered the infanty officer basic course at Fort Benning GA in 2004. He entered Ranger school in June 2004, and shortly after that reported to Ft Drum with thr 1st Brigade 10th Mountain DIvision of New York. 

He spent 4 and half years ar Ft Drum, and he liked it as he was used to the cold weather environment, but he also got alot of training as it is one of the most deployed units since the end of the First Gulf War, so not including Operation Desert Storm, that unit went to Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, and then deployed to Hurricane Andrew in 1992. 

He was first deployed overseas in 2005 to Baghdad ( August 2005 ), and came back a year later (July 2006 ) with the 1st Brigade 10th Mountain unit. At the time, his job was comapny executive officer of the headquarters company of the brigade. He would track maintenance, making sure all the classes of supply were there, plan ranages once in a while. Little jobs that didnt have a whole lot of work, he would make sure those would happen. And also quickly for a short time, he was the acting PSD  ( personal security detail ) platoon leader.  

He spent some time on the wire, going out on 25-30 patrols. The only contact he had with the enemy was on the evening of February 11, 2006, as they were coming back from range. Their headquarters was on Camp Liberty in Baghdad, the main camp there.  They were coming  from a place called Camp Justice. Suddenly someone shot at them on a bicycle. As they were detaining the kid on the bicycle, they took on enemy fire.

He did two deployments, the second one in 2008. The second time was 15 months. He went on over 150 patrols with the Iraqis during his second deployment, and the Iraqis were in the lead-they did alot of the missions and work. He says the fact that they were patrolling with the Iraqis and had more security really helped out with what they were doing.

Sgt First Class D. Patrick Benamati

He enlisted into the Army on August 5, 1983, after chosing the AF, but being declined because he was married and had a small child-they said the rank he would be coming in at wouldnt be able to support his family-but the Army said "sure we'll take you!" He realized with an associates degree, he wasnt getting far,and didnt have the money to go bac to college, and that the Army was offering money for college at the time. He thought he would get familiar with computers because it was a big thing at the time in the 80's. He went to training at Ft.Leonard Wood MO. Basic was the same, but in combat engineer he learned to build bridges and learned some infantry tactics. 

His associates helped him calculate the amount of C4 and formulas when working with explosives . He was at "Fort Lost in the Woods" for 6 months and graduated from AIT in Junhe 1984, and was assigned to Ft Sill Oklahoma. He was in Oklahoma for 15 months. He worked in the motor pool room, and recieved an achievement medal for the work he had done in cleaning up the job after the worker before him had left. 

From there he was deployed to Germany for three years at the Johnson Barracks. There they had a mission to defend the eastern part of west Germany from the soviet troops. In Germany he was with six engineers at a place nicknamed "The Academy" which was a much regimented environment-where he did alot of field duty, and worked on engineering tactics

They did have down time, which they toured locally. Being married and having three kids, h e didnt have much money, so they didnt do much travelling, but every once in a while got away. The older generation of locals were more accepting and open. A man at a stop sign he sayts tipped his hat at them as a sign of appreciation as they passed by the Northen part of Germany. 

After three years, he got out of DTS, and joined the Army Guard. He wanted to be part of the military,but stay home as well. He joined the Gaurd as a engineering supervisor in the engineering section. He said it was a cultural shock for him as the Guard was more laid back at the time. 

He got his alert notice for Iraq in 2005, and got his order. He was shorthanded in equipment. In September of 2005, he was mobilized to Ft Dix. He left in November and headed to Iraq. He trained on being more focused on the streets and buildings and cars. All the bases in Iraq were referred to as FOB ( Forward Operation Base )and the FOB at Fort Dix he said did not compare to the one in Iraq. He spent 6 months in the nothern part of Irsq. He had contact wit his family alot by email regularly twice a day, and he had a cell phone, but they were hard to get because they had to be bought by the locals and everyone wanted one. He got back in October 2006.

He thinks that Iraq needs to get to the point that they can defend themselves and not rely on us. He says he thinks the Iraqis think that we are going to be there for them for a long time, but we wont be there for long, so they have to learn to sustain themselves. 

Major D.P. Dicheria

He enlisted in the Army, in August 1985. His motives for enlisting were just something he had wanted to do for a long time. He had the opportunity of getting appointed to West Point, but decided against that because he was only 18 at the time and wasnt sure if he wanted to put back a whole lot of time after he got done with school, no realizing that here he was 20 years later. He went to basic training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  He says that basic training was basically familiarization to the military, the wear and care of the uniform, protocols, weapons familiarization and alot of basic stuff. 

He became a major through alot of schools, officers basic course, officers advanced course, and just a progression of military courses. Currently he's enrolled in Command and General Staff School. The first unit he was assigned to was 331st General Hospital out of Utica NY. The types of jobs he says were entailed with that were a junior officer, first lieutenant, physcial therapist, and over time became the Officer in Charge of the physical therapy section.

His duty during Operation Desert Storm  was being activated to Walter Reed Medical Center with a group of other therapists. He said he volunteered to go overseas if needed and was given the option of either the Pentagon PT ( physical therapy ) department, or Fort Myers. It was a relatively short war, so the amount of injuries coming back was better than expected; so he was working in the outpatient area, seeing injured soldiers, their family members, and retirees. 

He was in the Dominican Republic in 2000 with the duties as a Preventative Medicine Officer, and assisted with some security stuff which he says really wasnt an issue because the host nation provided more of the security than was needed.

He was sent over to Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and deployed to Camp Doha, Kuwait in July 2003, which was his primary site. He worked at battalion aid stations, which is like a small triage area. He says the hospital itself, the 865th combat support hospital , had modern equipment. 

There was alot of comradery. The soldiers who he saw at the unit wanted their problems taken care of so they could return to their stations. He says eveyone was pretty close knit. The special people he saw come throuh his clinic included one who had to have a leg amputated, but was more concerned about his fellow soldiers and family than he was about his leg. 

He says the food supply was catered meals at a dining facility, although he says when  Iraqi Freedom initially kicked off they were on MRE's ( Meals-Ready-to-Eat ), with no side effects from the food. He says that some special guests came in occasionally with the USO; he got to meet Roger Clemens, got a picture with Richard Myers ( Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff ). 

Veteran B.J.Hennessey

He was born July 24, 1973 in Troy New York, and graduated from high school in  Watervliet in 1991. He went into the service 3-4 months afte graduating. He chose the Marine Corps for no particular reason. His grandfather was in the Army, but he was more interested in the Marines. He went to basic training at Paris Island.

He says that basic training was his first time away from home, and that is was like a culture shock. He was there for three months, which is how long basic training lasts for. After basic training, he went to schooling in Fort Lee, Virginina. He says the schooling was Boat Fueling and Refueling School; he says that he was able to pick three schools that he wanted to go to, and that was one of them. He says that the training was good, because it was at an Army base and had a mixture of Marine Corps and Army standards. He said that he had more freedom thatn at basic training. The schooling was 8 weeks long. He saysa typical day was to wake up, do physical training, and go to school until 3 or 4. Then they would go to the barracks and would be released from there. From there, they could go to the gym, the mall...they had alot more freedom.

After training, his first assignment was Okinawa Japan, around March 1992, in the spring when it wasnt humid but warm. The daily routine was to get up, do our physical training, then they would get dressed and go over to the "hot pits"( refueling pits ) and wait for the aircraft to come in. He said that kept them busy, and if they werent busy, they would be doing classes, or they could play a little football. He said they had contact with the Japanese only if they went off base,and he was only over there for a year.

After his year there, he was shipped to Pendleton for 5 and half years, where he worked with the 5 tons, the Hum-Vees, any vehicles that had wheels and would move were brought over to them. He went TDY to the Persian Gulf, U.A.E, Somailia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel. 

He was involved with Desert Storm and Desert Shield while he was in Japan. He volunteered to go to those places. While there, he saw some combat, he had some shots come near him, but that was about it. 

At the time of his discharge, he was a Corporal, E-4. He spent 8 years in the Marines. He didnt make a career out of it, and explains tht he didnt make the grade. After his service, he worked as a tow truck driver, a mechanic, anything he possibly could. He says that the service has affected him in the way that he was more disciplined. He was able to think more in depth about what he wanted to do, what he was doing, and how he was going about doing it.