THE FIFTH OF SIX VETERANS HONORED AT THE HONOR FLIGHT BREAKFAST ON MAY 14, 2016
“My Heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place — police, firefighters, and members of our armed forces.”
~ Sidney Sheldon
Josh Weddell is an Iraq War Veteran from Selkirk, New York. He wouldn’t trade his military experience for anything.
His grandfather William E. Weddell was a veteran of WWII. He was part of the United States Army Band and actively played in the band during WWII. Josh’s other grandfather Richard Bergeron was a veteran of the Korean War. He was assigned to the United States Navy and attached to a carrier group during the war. Grandpa Bergeron encouraged Josh to join the military.
Josh enlisted to the join the United States Navy as a Seabee. But due to a foot injury he was unable to proceed with that enlistment. He later joined the United States Air Force, New York Air National Guard as a heavy equipment operator.
He chose the Air National Guard due to the great things he had heard. Most importantly the Air Guard had a great equipment operator’s school. The strict and regimented guidelines and the attention to detail led Josh to become a mature adult. In the Air National Guard he was able to travel throughout the country and become very diverse. He communicated with people from all walks of life.
Josh is a veteran of Operation Resolve (9/11) NYC. He was deployed for the devastation on 9/11 and spent two months in the ground zero area. He saw things that he prefers not to describe during his 9/11 deployment. The pictures of 9/11 do it no justice. Josh recalled how amazing that so much destruction was done to our country in a matter of minutes and that it was a horrific tragedy.
He is also a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom (state side). He backfilled at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington DC, with the 11th Wing.
His special training as a Combat Life Saver provided him the ability to supply emergency medicine in a critical wartime situation. He is also a graduate of the United States Air Force Non Commissioned Officers Academy.
He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was deployed for four months to Talil Air Base AKA Ali Air Base. Josh witnessed destruction and the military changed him. While in Iraq Josh experienced numerous rocket attacks. He recalled his first night in Iraq and while driving down a road in the base, their vehicle started shaking. They thought something had broken on the vehicle. Upon exiting they heard the “Wushing” sound of a rocket and a loud explosion. They were littered with small rocks and debris. It is an event he will never forget.
The worst part for Josh is living with the aftermath of war for the rest of his life. Although, he is a functioning and contributing member of society, the memories will always stay with him. But those memories have made him who he has become today and he wouldn’t trade them for anything.
Josh feels great when thanked for his service, but says that he did his job and protected his country.
Josh is currently a member of the VFW and works full time as a police officer. He is also in the publishing phase for his new book, THE THIN BLUE LINE about transitioning from the military to law enforcement.
~ Jenny La Sala
Author, Contributor and Editor