November 11th, 2017. Veterans Day. American's across the country take this day to recognize those men & women who wore the uniform, bravely serving our country across the globe.
Ron Salvato of West Des Moines, Iowa is just one of thousands of veterans from around the metro area.
January 13th, 1987, at the young age of 21, Salvato enlisted in the United States Army. Just over thirty years ago, he started his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, located in the Ozarks.
"I grew up in San Jose, California and after high school graduation, I took a bit of time to find myself, before ultimately coming to the realization that I, as an American had a patriotic duty to serve my country," Salvato said.
After completing basic training, he started AIT school (Advanced Individual Training) as a 12B, or known to civilians as a combat engineer. 12B's become trained in explosives, mine detection, surveying routes, and many other mobility and survivability skills.
In May of 1987, Salvato shipped off to Germany. He spent the next four and half years at Cambrai-Fritsch-Kaserne, the then US Army base in Darmstadt, Germany. Of the course of his nearly half-a-decade time spent in Germany, Salvato and his unit trained IRRs (Inactive Ready Reservists).
While in Germany, Salvato saw first hand a country divided and then reunited as the "Iron Curtain" came down on November 9th, 1989.
When communism died in Germany, the demeanor changed. There was this fresh sigh of relief. A flood of Easterners coming west, because they were genuinely afraid this opportunity wouldn't last," Salvato recalled. "I saw with my own eye families becoming whole again when the wall came down."
His time in Germany came to an end, as he retuned to his home state of California to continue serving at Fort Ord. This base in Monterey Bay closed and Salvato found himself again traveling. His next stop was at Fort Lewis, in Washington state.
"My move to Fort Lewis in Washington was the most important move of my life," Salvato stated. "There was this cute manager that worked at the Lakewood Mall in Tacoma that I had my eye on. I remember sending my friend Shawn at the time to strike up a conversation, knowing he'd bore her so much with his endless talks about nothing, and I could swoop in and save 'my damsel in distress,' in this case, future wife."
Salvato married his Washington sweetheart in 1994. Just a year later, he was shipped off to the 38th parallel in Korea. As a new husband, and a rank of E5-Sergeant in the Army, Salvato found himself on a one-year unaccompanied tour at Camp Casey, Dongducheon, Korea.
Reunited with his wife, Maureen in 1996, Salvato finished his nearly decade of service to the US Army at Fort Hood, in Texas.
"Veterans Day to me is just that, another day," Salvato said. Most people who served have the attitude to protect those around us, we'd jump in a firefight to save anyone in need."
"I do special things for my husband everyday because he's an amazing man and veteran. I don't wait around for November 11th," Maureen, Salvato's wife remarked.
"Memorial Day is more special to me," Salvato interjected. It is a day that we honor those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrafice while serving this country."
When the ceiling comes crashing down...
January 3, 2017
College & Social Media Go Together like College & Beer
September 1, 2014
“The first thing we should do, is we should listen. Listen to what everyday Iowans are facing,” he said.