Please join me in welcoming Gunnery Sergeant Guillermo “TJ” Tejada to the DVNF Board of Directors!
GySgt Tejada has been a Marine since 1998. He served a tour in Iraq in 2003, and was later deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. On Veterans Day, 2010, TJ lost both of his legs in an IED explosion. Today, he continues his treatment in the Wounded Warrior Detachment in San Antonio, TX.
He will bring a fresh perspective to the direction of DVNF, and will help us better address the needs of veterans we help. We are thrilled to have him aboard and are grateful for his tremendous sacrifices for our country!
Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret)
Biography, GySgt Guillermo Tejada
GySgt Tejada (left) with SgtMaj VanFonda
GySgt Tejada is currently assigned to the United States Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment Detachment at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.
GySgt Tejada was born in El Salvador on 20 April 1980. At age four he came to the United States and completed grade school in Los Angeles, CA. At fifteen years of age his family moved to North Hollywood, California were he graduated from Jack London High School in June of 1998. After graduation GySgt Tejada enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He attended MCRD training in March of 1999. After graduation he reported to the School of Infantry where he began his MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) training as a Basic Rifleman.
Following Basic School and the Infantry Course, he was assigned to 3rd Battalion 5th Marines. In August of 2000 his unit was deployed to the state of Idaho to assist in Operation Wildfire. The Marines of 3/5 assisted in fighting the wildfires that were burning out of control near the city of Salmon Challis. In January of 2002 his unit once again deployed to Okinawa, Japan on the 31st MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit). In January of 2003 he deployed to Kuwait to await orders in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). On March 19th his unit crossed the Iraqi border where they engaged in combat operations. He returned from Iraq on 22 July 2003. In March of 2004 he successfully completed Sergeants Course at the Marine Corps University in Camp Pendleton, California.
In February 2005 GySgt Tejada was selected for recruiting school. He attended Recruiting School West in April of 2005. Upon graduation he reported to Recruiting Station Phoenix where he served a successful 3 year tour as canvassing recruiter in West Phoenix.
In April of 2008 GySgt Tejada was reassigned to 3/5 where he served as Platoon Sergeant for 1st platoon of India Company. In August 2008 he attended Infantry Unit Leaders Course formerly known as Platoon Sergeants Course. In January of 2009 GySgt Tejada deployed with 3/5 to Okinawa Japan to again be part of the 31st MEU. He returned from Japan in August of 2009. Once back 3/5 began training for a deployment to Afghanistan.
In September of 2010 GySgt Tejada deployed to Afghanistan in Support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His unit’s area of operation was the city of Sangin Valley in the Helmand Province where Taliban fighters and sympathizers were rampant. GySgt Tejada’s platoon was assigned to work both southern and northern green zones; the southern area was known to have a large amount of IEDs and heavily populated with Taliban fighters.
On 11 November 2010 GySgt Tejada was on a recon patrol in the southern green zone in order to find possible landing zones to extract any casualties sustained in that area. Once GySgt Tejada had identified the possible landing zone the patrol began to head back to the Forward Operating Base. While returning back to base GySgt Tejada was seriously injured by an Improvised Explosive Device.
He sustained very serious injuries to include loss of both legs, grade 3 concussion, ruptured eardrum, major trauma below the waist area, and injuries to his left arm and hand. The Corpsman on sight applied tourniquets to both legs, and the Marines immediately began evacuating him to the possible Landing Zone. GySgt Tejada’s patrol came under heavy enemy fire preventing an Air extract. The Marines returned fire and began calling for fire and air support. After a brief moment the patrol was then reinforced by the reactionary force that quickly made its way to Marines under fire. The tenacity of the Marines of 1st platoon eventually destroyed and repelled the enemy allowing the Marines to conduct a foot evacuation back to the Forward Operating Base 1 kilometer away. Even though the evacuation took more than an hour, GySgt Tejada critically wounded stayed conscious and kept fighting for his life. He finally lost consciousness as he was being flown to the surgical unit in Afghanistan.
GySgt Tejada was stabilized at the surgical unit in Afghanistan and then flown to Landstuhl, Germany where he received critical care. On 16 November 2010 he was transferred to Bethesda Medical Center where he underwent multiple surgeries. After recovering from his surgeries, GySgt Tejada was transferred to Naval Medical Center San Diego California where he continued rehabilitation. GySgt Tejada is currently part of the San Antonio Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Detachment and continues to get his care at the San Antonio Military Medical Center.
GySgt Tejada Decorations and Awards include:
Combat Action Ribbon (2)
Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Navy Unit Commendation (3)
Bronze Star Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (4)
Presidential Unit Citation-Navy
Certificate of Commendation (2)
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (3)
National Defense Service MedalNavy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Marine Corps Recruiting Ribbon
GySgt Tejeda is married to Veronica; they have 4 children. Desiree the oldest is16 years old; Guillermo Jr. is 10 years old; Aracely is 6 years old; and their niece Marisol is 16 years old.