SPC Jurado was stationed with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks Hawaii in June of 2005. He served as a 240-ammo carrier for some time then began training in Army Combative. His brigade transitioned from a light infantry unit to a mobilized Stryker brigade. During that time he became a Gimlet clan member, which is an honored position in the unit and not to mention the Army. Those who graduate get special privileges offered by the brigade and unit. In December 2007, his unit deployed to Iraq and his company was stationed in a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Albu Alwan near Baghdad.
On February 08, 2008 a close friend of SPC Jurado, who he served under and became a member of the family, was killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion while SPC Jurado was eating chow. That night before SPC Jurado's platoon had traveled the same route, the weather that night made the route unable to travel so command decided to wait until the sun dried the mud on the route and send another platoon forward. SGT Gary Willett was a great friend of SPC Jurado's and was in the gunner’s seat that day during an IED explosion. SPC Jurado had to see the Stryker (vehicle that his friend SGT Willett gave his life in) everyday for a month until it was towed away. The next morning SPC Jurado's company captured four combatants believed to be in charge of the IED explosion that killed SGT Willet. In Apri 2008, SPC Jurado's platoon was instructed to pack for three days to contain an operating FOB near Sadar City, Iraq. SPC Jurado and his platoon stayed for nearly a month with little contact with their families and a lot of contact with combatants. Within the first 12 hours every member in my platoon earned the Combat Infantry Badge, and experienced daily contact with combatants, not to mentioned being mortared at least once a day. SPC Jurado had a mortar round come in one evening and land on the other side of the T- Wall (temporary barrier) he was using as a pillow because they did not have huts to sleep in at this particular FOB. SPC Jurado spent a 15-month stint and came home in February 2009. He was honorably discharged in April 2009 and sent home since he was on stop-loss (not able to leave the US Army).
Willett (dog) was found by the Greenville County Animal Shelter with his brother abandoned on the side of a road. No one had adopted him and the county animal shelter is a kill shelter. The Greenville Humane Society took him and placed him for adoption. SPC Jurado's family adopted him two days later. However, SPC Jurado had to foster Willett since he had a cold but SPC Jurado and his family knew that Willett was the one for them. SPC Jurado's wife trained Willett in one day how to relieve himself outside and Willett has since understood his responsibility, and learning commands at a very fast rate. Of note, Willett's loving and looking after SPC Jurado's three-year old son.
Willett is truly becoming a resource for me to control my temper, anxiety, and panic attacks in public places and home as well.