First Sergeant Peter Lara was the leader for his 45-man Infantry Stryker Platoon when he was wounded in action on November 19, 2005, in a suspected Abu Musab al-Zarqawi safe house that was well fortified with seven armed insurgents. He suffered injuries to his jaw, nose, neck, shoulder, scapula, hip, knees and feet.
Having had more than 45 surgeries the last six years, First Sergeant Lara is still recovering from combat wounds. He is medically retired with nearly 20 years of service to his country, and his many awards include the Army Times Soldier of the Year and the Purple Heart. He is retiring in Columbia, South Carolina with his fiancée, Erica, and they will be married in May 2013. First Sergeant Lara continues to try to balance his medical appointments and procedures while attending college full-time.