First Sergeant Lara’s military service began on February 11, 1992. First Sergeant Lara started his career at Fort Benning, Georgia C. co 1-19th INF BN where he attended Basic Training, Advanced Individual Training (11B), Mechanized Infantry Training (11M), and Dragon Gunner Training (C2). In July 1992, First Sergeant Lara was assigned to C.co 4-12th INF Regt in Baumholder, Germany. While in Germany, 1SG Lara served in many duty positions to include M249 Gunner, M60 Gunner, and Team Leader. In March 1995, he was assigned to C.co 1-12th INF Regt, where 1SG Lara served as Bradley Gunner, Squad Leader, and Bradley Commander. First Sergeant Lara deployed with C.co 1-12th INF Regt twice, once in Task Force Freedom and Task Force Intrinsic Action. 1SG Lara was then assigned to A. co 1/9th INF Regt Camp Hovey South Korea, where he was a Section Sergeant, Bradley Commander and Platoon Sergeant. After his one year tour in Korea 1SG Lara returned to the states and was assigned to A. co 1/23rd INF Regt, Fort Lewis WA. His job included Assistant Operations Sergeant, HQ’s Platoon Sergeant, and was attached to Post Boxing Team. 1SG Lara was then assigned to C.co 1/79th Field Artillery Basic Combat Training where he served a 3yr tour as a Platoon Sergeant and Senior Drill Sergeant for over 720 Initial Entry Soldiers and Senior Drill Sergeant, while assigned there he was selected as Drill Sergeant of the Cycle by his chain of command 2 times and won Distinguish Honor Platoon 5 times in a row.
In June 2004 1SG Lara was assigned to the 172nd SBCT in Ft Wainwright Alaska where he served as a Platoon Sergeant C.co 2-1 INF for 6 months and Platoon Leader for 18 months, and Rear Detachment 1SG for 12 months after being wounded in Combat OIF IV where he was in charge of the Wounded Warriors from his brigade, making sure they were conducting physical therapy and being taken care of medically after leaving Walter Reed medical facility. His Platoon was deployed to Mosul Iraq, FOB Courage. His Platoon was acknowledge as one of the best platoons in the BDE and BN winning multiple squad and platoon Live Fire Evals and Exercises, BDE Olympics Competitions, and Combative Tournaments. His forty two man Infantry Stryker Platoon in Combat received 1 Distinguished Service Cross, 6 Silver Stars, 9 Bronze Star V’s, 6 ARCOM V’s and 16 Purple Hearts in 16 months of Combat. July 2007 1SG Lara reported to Ft. Jackson SC, to perform duties as C.co 3-13th INF Regt BCT where he is still the 1SG while continuing his surgeries and rehab from wounds suffered in combat. 1SG Lara has committed his self to Soldiers and his country after having over 40 operations on his Jaw, Neck, Shoulder, scapula, Hip, both Feet, Nose, and Knees.
First Sergeant Lara was wounded in action on Nov 19th 2005, in a suspected Abu Musab al-Zarqawi safe house that was well fortified with 7 armed insurgents. 1SG Lara was the Platoon leader during this time for his 45 Man Infantry Stryker Platoon from June 2004- June 2006.
His Awards include the Army Times 2009 Soldier of the Year, The order of Saint Maurice Award, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service medal (4), Army Commendation Medal (3), Army Achievement Medal (5), Good Conduct medal (6), Armed Force Expeditionary medal, National Defense with Bronze Star, South West Asia Service medal with Bronze Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and NCO Professional Development Ribbon 4, Over Seas medal 3, Valorous Unit Award, Unit Combat Patch, Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Drill Sergeant Badge, French Commando Badge, and Schutzenschnur Bronze.
First Sergeant Lara’s schools include; Basic Training Infantry Course and Advanced Individual Training, Drill Sergeant school, Primary Leader Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officers Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course, First Sergeants Course, IET Commanders & 1SG’s Course, Combat life savor course, Equal Opportunity Course, Field Sanitation Course, Combative level I Course, Infantry Carrier Operator NET Stryker Course, Mechanized Bradley Course, Dragon Gunner School, and French Commando school. 1SG Lara also has an Associate’s degree in Technology from Pierce College and is pursuing his BA in criminal justice.
First Sergeant Lara has been at Fort Jackson SC, in Charlie Company 3-13th Inf. Regt. BCT since July 2007- August 2009 as the Company 1SG. 1SG Lara has been in the WTU the last 18 months, still recovering from combat wounds and extensive surgeries. He has had over 18 surgeries in the last year and a half and over 45 surgeries the last six years. First Sergeant Lara is medically retired now from the Infantry world and the US Army Sept, 22, 2011 with 19 years and 7 months in of service to his country. 1SG Lara continues to try and balance his medical appointment and procedures with college full time at the South University. He is retiring in Columbia SC, with his fiancée Erica Nelson who is the Life Skills Coordinator at The University of South Carolina and they are on getting married in May 2013.