SGT (Ret.) Dennis Leonard, USA
Dennis grew up in a large family in Central Pennsylvania where he played baseball, football, wrested, and hunted & fished. He knew at age 12 that it was his duty as an American to serve his country.
In the heritage of his grandfathers, who served in the Army and the Navy, and cousins in the Marines, Coast Guard, & Army, he enlisted at 17 and left for basic training in September 2000. He was an equipment operator and cross-trained as a combat engineer with the 1st Engineering Battalion.
His first deployment to Iraq was from September 2003 to September 2004 performing dismounted patrols, base security, and other needed missions. On his second deployment in September 2006, he was tasked with route clearance patrol in Baqubah. On January 13, 2007, while on route clearance patrol, an IED detonated on his vehicle killing his troop commander and taking both of Dennis’ legs.
After several surgeries and physical/occupational therapy at Brooke Army, Dennis medically retired from the Army in February 2009. Dennis and his son moved back to Central Pennsylvania where Dennis will go back to school and has a dream to open his own gunsmith shop.