Salute the Troops

Honoring those who fought, fight, and will fight for all of us

Published in the July 2018 Issue July 2019 Feature DT Staff

Some might tell you that war has changed, and in some ways it has, but ultimately, war never changes. Good men and women leave the comfort and safety of their homes to go off to fight for and defend their nation against evil and the enemies of their homeland. Many times they return to the loving arms of their family, but some come back wounded, traumatized, or not at all. Because of their willingness to pay the ultimate price for our homes and our families, members of the armed services and veterans of every war have earned and deserve our utmost respect. The desire to serve comes from many different places. For some, it’s a sense of duty. For others, it’s what they were born to do. Regardless of the reason, they fight and die to keep us safe. Everyone who has served shares in a fraternal bond that can’t be broken and that is rarely found in any other place. 

Military men and women spend a lot of time in some pretty serious machinery, and for some, they never lose that taste, that thrill of revving an engine hard, pulling some heavy weight, and just getting down to business. In this issue, we want to highlight some former (and current) soldiers who have a taste for diesel. It’s our small way of saying thanks to those who are willing to put their lives on the line every day.

As an aside, normally we receive these stories over the phone or in an email and we edit them into what you read. Part of that process includes changing the stories from a first-person perspective to a third-person one. Well, we thought that this year we would leave them alone and let the people tell the story. The entries have been lightly edited for grammar and such, but otherwise these stories are straight from the horse’s mouth.

Master Gunnery Sergeant Frank Ortiz

My Marine Corps career began May 1994 with an estimated retirement date of May 2024. I've done multiple deployments to the Gulf post-Desert Storm, along with multiple deployments post-9/11 to Afghanistan and Iraq in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Inherent Resolve. I'm currently stationed at Marine Corps Air station (MCAS) Yuma, Arizona with Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1).

Bull is a 2014 RAM 3500 Dually that is fully stock. At the present time, Bull is used to haul groceries, but we are both waiting ‘til my retirement day to go see this great nation we call America. Before that day comes, Bull will get a little upgrade with a Stryker Duration Module by TS Performance and a Pressure Control Kit (Protect68) for the 68RFE transmission by BD Diesel. 

Freedom isn't free, enjoy it! SEMPER FI

Aaron Day

I have a 2009 Dodge 2500 that just rolled over 80K miles that kind of has a baby lift on it. It’s not really a daily driver, but it could be if my car ever craps out. I use it mostly on the weekends to haul dirt bikes to the trailhead. I have also been known to rescue friends when they break down. It has wheels, and I’m running RaceME Ultra Tuner w/ EGT Sensor, a Sinister Diesel EGR and Throttle Valve Delete, a Flo-Pro 5-inch turbo-back exhaust, a Banks Ram-Air Cold-Air Intake, a Mag-Hytec Transmission Pan and a steering box stabilizer. 

I joined the US Air Force in July 2006 and did Basic Training at Lackland AFB, San Antonio,TX. Then I did Tech School at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS (Computer Networking and Cryptographic Systems). My first duty station was at Fairchild AFB, outside of Spokane, WA. I got deployed to Qatar for 6 months, then my second duty station was at Mountain Home AFB, in Mountain Home, ID. All in all, I did 6 years of service. 

I have continued with the skills the Air Force taught me in computer networking. I have numerous industry certifications in the networking field. I currently work at an Idaho-based insurance company doing this work.  

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