As a student at BSU in 2003, Chris Pereira, ’05, enlisted in the Army National Guard, propelled by a desire to help his country at a time of war in Iraq and in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Mr. Pereira has never deviated from that resolve in a 15-year career as an Army, and later, Air National Guardsmen, that most recently included a six-month deployment in Afghanistan and Qatar last year, which earned him some recognition from the military.
A logistical planner attached to the 102d Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base, Mr. Pereira was awarded two “coins of excellence,” one from Maj. Gen. Jeffrey B. Taliaferro, commander of the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Force for Afghanistan, the other from the Force’s Command Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Arnold.
Later in December, Mr. Pereira, a technical sergeant, was also awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for distinctive meritorious service and achievement during his deployment.
“It’s a really nice moment to be recognized, to be thought of like that,” Mr. Pereira said of the separate ceremonies during which he received the honors. “They were proud moments for me.” He added, though, that earning a potential commendation was not on his mind during his deployment. “You try to work strongly as a team and focus on your mission,” he said.
During his tour, Mr. Pereira was attached to the 955th Air Expeditionary Squadron, part of a staff that coordinated transportation, food, equipment, and other logistics for about 350 airmen assigned to other military branches throughout Afghanistan.
“It was exciting since it was an opportunity to serve my country in the place where the 9/11 attacks originated,” he said. “It was also a chance to help the Afghani people in a small way and hopefully give them a little taste of freedom and security.”
Mr. Pereira, who works as a senior sales executive for a computer training company, has also served his home community of Dartmouth as a former two-term school committee member, a town meeting representative, and a member of the town’s Veterans Advisory Board.
He said his experience at BSU, where he majored in political science and played football and rugby, helped set the stage for his military and civilian careers.
“I think my time at Bridgewater State helped me to grow as a young man,” he said. (Story by John Laidler for University News)