Army Reserve Maj. Derek P. Bonaldo
...For Maj. Bonaldo, it was a question of duty and service: “I volunteered to go in part because I had never deployed before . . . I felt that I needed to step up . . . [and] I felt I could make a difference.” For the fledgling Iraqi police force he helped, his contributions were invaluable. [Continue reading.]It was on May 1, 2006, that Maj. Bonaldo found himself in first fire fight. He had been training Iraqi Police officers when the fit hit the shan. (He's fine.)
He is a 14 year veteran. He did not have to go to Iraq. It was not required of him, but he has a sense of duty that is admirable. He went to train the Iraqi Police to stand on their own so our men may come home.
[...]In the U.S., even before a soldier gets to his first unit, they still have much more experience, he said. Our boot camps are much more strenuous and they get a lot more done than in the Iraqi boot camps. A lot of times, (national police recruits) are not moving at the pace that a U.S. commander is used to.Once home, Maj. Bonaldo took off some time to be with his wife and children. Bonaldo and his unit returned to the U.S. last month as decorated veterans. God was watching over them, because all of the people with him and under him came home alive.
But American troops efforts are slowly paying off, Bonaldo said.
Were they making progress? Yeah, he said. But you know how the American people are. They want results quickly. Its a slow process ... too slow for most people. The guys I was working with need at least one year. [Continue reading.]
At least 11 were awarded Bronze Stars for acts of merit or bravery, while six of them received Army Commendation Medals with the Valor attachment. There was one hero who received a Purple Heart. "Nobody died and we did what we were supposed to do, he said."
Yes, you did, and I personally thank you. Welcome home, and congratulations!