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U.S. Army Sergeant Major Jose Luis Barreiro
U.S. Army SGM Jose Barreiro spent the first 13 years of his life in central Florida, where his mother raised him until her untimely death from breast cancer when he was 13 years old. Following his mother’s death, Jose moved to Murphy, North Carolina, to live with his grandparents. Jose never knew his father because he was incarcerated most of Jose’s life.
Following his high school graduation in 1999, Jose enlisted in the U.S. Army to pursue a better life. After completing basic training, he was initially stationed at Hunter Army Airfield. During his military career, Jose completed nine combat deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom — one of those missions included rescuing POW Jessica Lynch.
Jose’s years serving his country have taken a toll on his body. While stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, he was injured and temporarily paralyzed from the waist down due to vertebra shifting out of place. Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Jose was deployed and shot during an ambush. He also suffered a broken leg, shattered his elbow, dislocated his shoulders, and further injured his back.
In 2008, Jose was assigned to the 6th Ranger Training Brigade, where he served as a ranger instructor for Florida Phase of Ranger School. Due to his mother’s breast cancer, Jose has a preventative mastectomy in addition to several knee surgeries.
He and his family moved to Hawaii in 2012, where he was assigned to the 25th ID at Schofield Barracks. While there, Jose began to experience nerve damage and uncontrollable pain.
In 2015, he was assigned to The Old Guard at Fort Myer (Virginia). He requested an assignment at Arlington National Cemetery conducting services and honoring the nation’s fallen. He and his family would visit soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital who were either injured or terminally ill. This is where he became part of organizations that provided him guidance and helped with his own health issues, including an extensive TBI study.
During his final deployment in 2017, Jose began experiencing chest pain and swelling in his legs. When doctors were unable to pinpoint the cause of his symptoms, Jose returned home and began having severe nerve issues in his limbs, neck and back. He underwent various physical therapies and had his first neck surgery, which led to his medical retirement from the Army. Due to injuries during his military career, Jose has undergone 17 surgeries to date, with more on the horizon. He also suffers from migraine headaches and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), along with other ailments.
Jose has been honored with a number of awards during his almost 22 years of service, including a Purple Heart. Other recognitions and commendations include three Bronze Stars (one with a valorous act), Meritorious Service Medal and two Army Medals, National Defense Service Medal, two Global War on Terrorism Medals, a NATO Medal and many more.
Following his retirement, Jose and his family moved back to Murphy, North Carolina, where he started a local outreach program for local veterans and at-risk youth. He and his wife, Andrea, have been married for 22 years. They are the parents to four daughters: the older is becoming an RN; the second oldest is in the national guard and will be enlisting as an active duty officer after she completes college; the third is in high school and the fourth in elementary school. Andrea is currently an administrative assistant but has recently completed the Caregiver certification in preparation to take care of Jose. The family hopes to move to Florida, where they will be closer to friends and family as well as healthcare facilities.
In his free time, Jose enjoys helping and supporting military groups, cooking, gardening, and outdoor activities.
Operation Finally Home is honored to partner with Lennar and HR Baxter and Sons Enterprises LLC in providing U.S. Army SGM Jose Barreiro and his family with a mortgage-free home located at Liberty Ridge in Bartow, Florida.