When I was a Detachment Commander in Afghanistan I had a guy in my Det named Reinaldo. He was a Brazilian immigrant who had grown up in a monastery and then decided that the monastic life wasn’t for him (he liked girls too much) and joined the Brazilian Special Forces. Apparently that wasn’t hardcore enough for him so he came to America, became a citizen and joined the U.S. Army and became a member of our own Special Operations. Reinaldo, or “Ray Ray” as we called him, was 43 years old- 10 years older than the next oldest guy in my Detachment- but could outrun anyone in the unit. The guy was a beast. He was, and still is, an amazing Soldier. This is one of my favorite pictures from that deployment: it’s of me re-enlisting Ray Ray during a lull in a firefight. People like Reinaldo come from all over the world to contribute their incredible skills to America because we offer opportunities here for them to go above and beyond what they thought possible. We close ourselves off to them at our peril. Immigrants truly help make America great.
Gabe is a retired Army Major with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was injured in combat and now wants to continue to serve his country and community by representing Colorado’s 5th House District as a Democrat. He lives in the Valverde neighborhood and has a lovely wife, Mary Katherine and a goofy dog, Lucy.