Derek enlisted in the army in 2005 and finished medic training in 2006. He and another Arizona medic from his class, David Crombie, were assigned to 1st Armored Division out of Baumholder, Germany. They were assigned gear and sent straight to Kuwait. Both volunteered for any mission put to them but in June, David was picked for a mission, his Humvee hit an IED and he was killed. Derek said they had a pact to get through that 1st deployment together, he has worn a bracelet with Davidís name ever since. Derek continued to volunteer for every mission. He attached to a Cav Scout unit and was very proud of the work they did with the community to rid Ramadi of insurgents. Derekís second tour was 18 months in Sadr City, 08/09. He spent the first 3-4 months in a tank. His unit invaded Sadr City and helped establish peace for the residents there. After the invasion, he was part of the dismounted task force during the building of the wall in Sadr. He spent the remainder of his tour, at a small Sadr police station turned home to his small task force. Derek finished his 4 year commitment and left the army in 2009 to come home and go to college. Within 6 months, he started working toward re-enlistment. His explanation: ďAt the end of the day, I donít feel like Iíve accomplished anything. In the Army, I know I make a differenceĒ. Derek decided to return as straight infantry, medic qualified. He is currently stationed on a mountaintop in northeastern Afghanistan with the 25th ID out of Hawaii. A few months ago, he had to pull out his medic skills when saving the life of one of his fellow infantrymen. Both Derek and the young man were thrown back in a blast; his friend was hit in the carotid artery with shrapnel. Derek was able to stem the bleeding until the young man could be flown out. To me, Derek is a hero. At the end of the day, he has accomplished more than most of us will in a lifetime.