Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Leave No One on the Battlefield

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Leave No One on the Battlefield

Article excerpt

Manuel Pulido wanted to be a United States citizen.

Pulido was Colombian, and back in those days the express route to becoming an American was to enlist. The Army took him, sent him on a combat tour in Vietnam and kept him for 30 years as a chief warrant officer.

Like a lot of boys, Ed Pulido looked up to his father. The senior Pulido was a patriot, a hero, a man who was proud to wear a United States Army uniform, a man who so loved America he voluntarily risked his life to call it home.

It wasn't too surprising when Ed Pulido decided to follow in his father's boot steps. He talked to a recruiter in 1987, his final year at Lawton's MacArthur High School, and started basic training.

Enlisted life wasn't enough for the young soldier. He enrolled in the Army's Green to Gold program and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1990. His father was proud, and shared some advice with the young officer who was about to be deployed in the Middle East as part of Operation Desert Storm: Remember, Manuel told his son, it's mission first, but people always. You must never leave anyone on the field of battle, he said. And that includes the families of the soldiers lost to war.

Ed Pulido served full time until 1994, then entered the Army Reserve, where he worked training troops in preparation for deployment. During the week he did counseling and community work in Oklahoma City.

After Sept. 11, 2001, Ed Pullido began preparing troops for deployment in Iraq. It was Jan. 27, 2003, two months before the United States invaded Iraq, that he was called up. In Iraq he was charged with training soldiers in the new Iraqi army.

It was just four minutes past noon on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2004, when the truck Ed Pulido was driving triggered a roadside bomb. They call them IEDs: improvised explosive devices. In the language of civilians, homemade bombs. …

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