Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Stephen David Cellucci, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and later as a Junior ROTC instructor.
Stephen David Cellucci was born in 1952 in Massachusetts to a military family. His military career began as a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating top of his class, Cellucci accepted a commission as an armor officer in 1974 and completed his armor training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He then deployed to Gelnhausen, Germany, as part of V Corps to guard against a potential Soviet invasion into West Germany.
After returning from Germany, Cellucci became an armor company commander in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Though Cellucci later reminisced that his time in Fort Stewart was what made him fall in love with the military, he became an admissions officer at West Point. A longtime gymnast, Cellucci later became a physical education instructor at West Point.
Cellucci served as the Army’s spokesman on health and fitness at Fort Benning, Georgia. While stationed at Fort Benning, he oversaw the Army’s marksmanship team, many of whom were part of the U.S. Olympic shooting team. Cellucci accompanied the team to the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he remembered his orders were to, “Come back with a medal.” Cellucci and the team returned with two, one gold and one silver.
He held three commands: first in Fort Stewart, then at Fort Dix, New Jersey, and finally in central Germany. Cellucci said, “I was blessed, I got to command not once, but three times!” On the completion of his third command, Cellucci promoted to colonel and served at the Joint NATO Command in Brussels to coordinate operations with American allies.
Cellucci’s also oversaw the 2002 Macedonian elections before deploying to Kuwait in the lead up to Operation Iraqi Freedom. During the Invasion of Iraq, Cellucci served as an incident commander and reported directly to Gen. Tommy Franks, the commander of American forces in the region. Cellucci was instrumental in the planning for the high-profile rescue of Jessica Lynch in Baghdad and oversaw the recovery of the remains of American servicemen after the invasion had concluded. Cellucci retired at the rank of colonel in 2004 and later became the head of the St. James High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Program.
Thank you for your service!
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Veterans History Project
This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.
Fact checker: Carl Wesseln