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Story ID:5713
Written by:Frederick William Wickert (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Randolph Air Force Base Texas USA
Person:Israel Del Toro
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Israel Del Toro is a hero. He is a JTAC (Joint terminal attack controller). A JTAC is one of the most dangerous jobs in the military and one of the most important during combat. They go into enemy territory and pinpoint the location for jet aircraft to drop their ordinance to be the most effective. They first determine the precise location and often the exact type of ordinance needed. Then they relay the information to the aircraft pilots by radio, and guide them into the exact spot of the targets.

I wrote about Israel Del Toro in “The Trials of Israel Del Toro” (Ourecho ID# 2250) and posted it on ourecho.com on June 7, 2007. I wrote an update about him again and posted it on April 26th, 2008. (See “The Trials of Israel Del Toro Update, Ourecho ID# 3763.)
Israel had served a tour in Iraq, and then later went to Afghanistan where he was blown up and horribly burned from an IED. He lost his face, his fingers, damage to his right leg, and inhalation burns to his lungs. It was a miracle that he lived.

Since his ordeal he has been fighting to remain in the United States Air Force. To an old retired Air Force veteran like me, it was a no brainer but officialdom has other ideas. The Air Force has used Del Toro all this time to make public appearances for troop motivation, for public relations, and for recruiting of JTACS. He has wanted to remain in the Air Force to continue his career and as a JTAC instructor, for which he is highly qualified.

Del Toro has had over 115 surgeries as a part of his recovery from his wounds. He has dumfounded all the doctors and experts with how well he has recovered. In the beginning they said he could never walk again. He does walk, unassisted. He drives a car with no modifications and he uses a computer and kicks a soccer ball around the yard with his son, as well as keeping a vegetable garden for the family kitchen.

All this time, the Air Force has been extending his enlistment but holding back on letting him reenlist for another full tour of duty. He has been an invaluable motivational speaker for the Air Force.

Israel Del Toro, I am happy to say, has finally won his battle to reenlist. He is scheduled to be sworn in on February 8, 2010 at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, with Lt. General Richard Newton, Deputy Chief of Staff for manpower and personnel, presiding over the ceremony.

Not bad for a man the doctors said had to be on a respirator for the rest of his life. Del Toro is going to have his wish for assignment. He will be an instructor for JTAC personnel. The Air Force wants him to continue also as a motivational speaker. I’m sure Del Toro, the long-time advocate for wounded warriors and their families, will agree to that assignment as an additional duty.

Congratulations and best wishes TSgt Israel Del Toro.


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