TUCKAHOE, N.Y. -- U.S. Army A1C Salvatore Guerriero, a standout four-year football player for Tuckahoe High School and a member of the Tigers 2006 Class C state champions, is currently stationed at Dyess Air Force Base in Texas playing defense for his country.
Guerriero followed the 2010-2011 Tigers as the team won both the New York State football and baseball championships, tasting a little bit of home with each touchdown and home run relayed to him by family and former coaches.
"Since I joined the military a lot has changed," Guerriero said. "I remember having not much responsibility while in high school, now I have a lot of responsibility. Life has changed because it's the real deal now."
During his service, Guerriero has been deployed in Afghanistan for eight months, attached to two Army units, the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky and the 173rd out of Vincenza, Italy, and at a small combat outpost in the Kunar province. He has also made stops in Turkey, Germany and Afghanistan.
Guerriero said he has enjoyed being back home in the U.S. after supporting army infantry soldiers on a day-to-day basis, where there were frequent incoming mortar attacks and small arms fire.
"The experience of just being in and serving is just something you do because you like doing it and not because you have to. That's the mentality you have to have serving,Guerriero said. Now I am on my own. I joined young and I have to make all my decisions on my own and see how it plays out.
Living an experience that many would avoid at any cost, Guerriero has had time to reflect on the road that took him from teenager in tiny Tuckahoe to a mature and hardened soldier in the Middle East.
"Being a high school football player definitely played a key factor helped me in a way to progress the past two years I've been in. I was a four-year player at Tuckahoe, proudly winning the state championship in 2006, my junior year, which was all teamwork and dedication, just like in the military, he said. Also my senior year I was elected team captain. Being captain meant a lot to me because it was me who lead the team and set an example for the freshman coming up. That dedication and hard work will pay off in the long run."
Guerriero said he is planning a trip back home in early September.
"I'm going to be at the first Tuckahoe football game this year," Guerriero said.
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