Luis Montalván: Former Army Captain
Luis Montalván is a former soldier who served for the U.S. Army for 17 years from 1990-2007. Before he entered the officer corps in 2003, he worked for over a decade as a military policeman, infantryman, and communications specialist. He has dedicated his entire adult life to serving in the Army and helping those who also have served. He has most recently gained notoriety as a spokesperson for those injured in war both physically and mentally. This individual has received commendation for his service and is considered a true American hero by many of his colleagues, friends and acquaintances.
Luis Montalván attended Georgetown University and the University of Maryland, College Park where he took classes to complete the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program. He also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He graduated college in 2003 and went on to complete the Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox in Kentucky. Throughout his life, education was a forefront priority.
As part of his military education, he engaged in a number of different courses such as Armor Officer Basic, Sapper, Airborne, Pathfinder, and Air Assault. He also holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Columbia University in New York City.
Luis Montalván was deployed to Iraq for the first time in 2003 and completed his first tour there as a Tank and Scout Platoon Leader. He was part of the team responsible for securing and developing a port-of-entry in Al Waleed. He also patrolled the Iraqi desert. Throughout his time in Iraq, he recognized the importance of serving with honor and dignity.
Upon his return from his first tour of duty, he found the adjustment back to regular life difficult and re-enlisted for a second tour. Since the extent of his physical and psychological injuries was not yet fully diagnosed, he was deployed to Iraq for the second time in 2005 and remained for another year. He worked on a variety of special assignments and was later promoted to Captain. Later that same year, he returned to the U.S. and was responsible for training and mentoring new Army officers in Fort Benning, Georgia.
Luis has trained countless officers and worked on policy development teams. He witnessed firsthand the attack of September 11, 2001 from the Pentagon and it was there he started volunteering for security missions throughout the area. He also helped by adding to the development of national strategic policy through his participation in the American Enterprise Institute’s Iraq Planning Group.
Although he was dedicated to the Army and devoted to doing a good job, his physical and psychological health continued to deteriorate until he could no longer perform at such a high level every day. He needed to get out Iraq in order to save himself. He was honorably discharged in 2007 after serving his entire adult life thus far in the Army.
After his tours of duty, he returned home and began tending to his injuries. Since PTSD is an umbrella term that covers many symptoms and is based on reactions that each person has the tendency to handle differently, many of his injuries are referred to as invisible disabilities. Plagued by chronic pain, anger, isolation, and depression, to name a few, he looked for relief. He dedicated himself to finding help and poured himself into his writing. He quickly discovered this medium was a viable form of expression.
After the successful completion of two tours in Iraq he was awarded a two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Badge, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and the Combat Action Badge. He has also received the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
His writing has also earned him a number of honors and awards including the honor of penning a New York Times Best Seller.
Luis Montalván has done interviews with Abu Dhabi television, The New York Times, and The Denver Post. He has also appeared on CBS, NPR, BBC, C-SPAN, ANP, and CNN. He has had his work published in The Military Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Baltimore Sun and others.
Luis Montalván: His Life Today
After he was honorably discharged from the Army in 2007, Luis Montalván struggled with his re-entry into “civilian life.” Seventeen years in the Army had taught him to expect certain things from life and unfortunately, he also came to the realization that life outside the Army was not as regimented and he needed to adjust.
After dealing with substance abuse and the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, his life was essentially saved through a service dog named Tuesday. He wrote a book about his experiences both before and after Tuesday entitled Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him. This book, coupled with his other publications and public appearances, have made him an advocate for soldiers struggling with physical and mental disabilities following their time served.
A Bright Future
Luis Montalván, thanks to the help of his dog, is re-entering the world and is dealing with his disabilities in a way he never could before. He is presently attending Columbia University in NYC in pursuit of his second Master of Science Degree in Strategic Communications. He is a current member of the Council for Emerging National Security Affairs and is co-founder of the Iraq Veterans’ Refugee Aid Association. He continues to act as a beacon of hope for deserving vets so that they may find peace within themselves again.
Luis Montalván continues to write for numerous publications and is known for his writing about issues that pertain to service members, their families, and people with disabilities everywhere. As an advocate for wounded soldiers, former Captain Montalván works tirelessly with a number of reputable organizations. Some of the organizations Luis Montalván supports include The Soldiers Project, the Invisible Disabilities Association, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities, and the All Glory Project.
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