After he retired from active service, 58-year-old Staten Island man Luciano Yulfo got the surprise of his life. The injured veteran was attending a New York Knicks basketball game in late 2016 when he suddenly found himself the center of attention. And what happened next left him lost for words.
Luciano had bravely served in the U.S. Army for 36 years and reached the rank of Sergeant First Class. He saw plenty of combat during that time, playing his part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which eventually took out that country’s dictator, Saddam Hussein. In addition, Luciano did his duty in the fight against global terrorism, also known as Operation Enduring Freedom.
Unfortunately, it would be this conflict which saw disaster strike Luciano and effectively end his military career. In July 2014 the sergeant was stationed in Afghanistan when he was severely wounded by an enemy mortar bomb. And his subsequent extensive injuries meant that he was no longer fit for active duty. Indeed, soon after the mortar hit, Luciano was repatriated to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Due to the severity of his injuries, the soldier was stationed there for another two years. Then, in April 2016, Yulfo retired and rejoined his family in New York City.