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U.S. Army Spc. Derrick Winchell joined the military on January 20, 2005. Following his basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, Winchell reported to his first duty station in September 2005 at Fort Hood, Texas as a member of the 2-8 Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 4th ID unit.
In November 2005, he was sent to Forward Operating Base (FOB) Kalsu in Iraq for his first tour as an assistant welder. Winchell returned to Fort Hood in November 2006 and was assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado in 2007 following disassembly and reassembly of his unit. In August 2008, Winchell went on his second deployment to Iraq at FOB Echo as a logistics and heavy equipment operator, returning back to Fort Carson in September 2009.
Winchell was honorably discharged from the military on January 14, 2010. As a result of his service, he has been honored with numerous awards including two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement medals and a National Defense Service Medal.
His time and experiences while in the service left him with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as injuries in his left knee, left shoulder and back. After a brief time in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Winchell moved back to California where he met some influential advisors who led him to make positive changes in this life. Winchell currently lives in Elk Grove, California with his service dog, a two-year-old Doberman Pinscher. Thanks to PulteGroup and their Built to Honor program, Derrick Winchell moved into a home to call his own in December, 2014.