As hard core as they come



Meet Lt. John Pucillo. This EOD leader lost his left leg above the knee when an IED exploded outside his vehicle in May 2006, in Baghdad. But he didn’t let that hold him back.

Pucillo endured nine grueling months of rehab at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, then returned to active EOD service. He made the U.S. Paralympics Sailing National Team and earned his master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Now, the Bronze Star recipient has added another decoration to crown his fruit salad: Jump wings.

“The fact that the Navy allowed me to go to jump school with my amputated leg and then continue on to get this final parachutist qualification is amazing,” Pucillo said in this Navy release. “I hope that other Sailors and other military members take this to heart…you can come back from an injury.”

The newly-minted naval parachutist wouldn’t let them give him a free pass at the three-week Army Airborne School in Fort Benning, Ga., or during the 10 static line jumps he had to nail. “They didn’t cut anything out of the school, I made sure of that,” Pucillo said. “I told them if I don’t pass, you don’t pass me.”
“I am a firm believer that you lead from the front,” Pucillo said in the release. “If I’m going to be a real XO, a real CO, this shouldn’t stop me. I’m proud that I was able to do it and go to my next mobile unit and lead from the front.”

Scoop Deck has no doubt you will make it … and hopes your example will be one other wounded warriors will follow.


About Author

A Navy brat who spent eight years in the Marines (two years aboard the carrier Independence). Worked in journalism in Eastern North Carolina through the latter part of the 90s, then became editor of Air Force Times in 2000. Stayed there five years, then took a break to finish some school. Now back in the game with Navy Times.


  1. Dave Broadwell on

    It’s guys like you that continue to inspire me to push myself physically and mentally in everything I do…Good luck and God Bless LT!

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