A San Diego native was honored Sunday for his decades of service to the Army and the U.S. Marine Corps.
Command Sergeant Major William "Bud" Mcleroy was working as a full-time firefighter when he lost his leg in a traffic collision in 1993.
In 2000, he made history by becoming the first amputee to serve in the Iraq War.
“I was there at the beginning of the war,” he said. “We led the way and I just happened to bring a couple spare legs with me to lead the way.”
He is also is a Purple Heart recipient, having been injured while rescuing wounded civilians in Iraq. He suffered injuries in that incident that led to spinal cord surgery.
After serving almost 33 years in the U.S. military, Mcleroy must retire because of medical issues.
"I never thought it would end. You always know it will, but I never thought it would," Mcleroy said.
Even in retirement, Command Sergeant Major Mcleroy plans to stay busy. He says he'll run for a school board seat in the Sweetwater School District.
“He does like to serve,” said his good friend LtCmdr Manny Sanchez. “Every bone in his body is urgent. He never likes to be idle.”
Mcleroy was a native of San Diego and joined the Marine Corps at MCRD. He served in the USMC Engineer Corps for six years before. Then in 1987 he joined the U.S. Army Reserves.
He said he feels fortunate to serve in almost every continent