We’re here to make sure Iraq and Afghanistan veterans know they aren’t alone and they aren’t forgotten.

Originally founded in October 2001 to help the families of 9/11 victims, we’ve grown into an organization dedicated to caring for the veterans of the long wars that followed the attack. We’re small and local, reaching more and more of the wounded warriors in Southern California, home to so many of the nation’s veterans.

Our job is to connect wounded (OIF) Iraq and (OEF) Afghanistan veterans with the resources needed to help them re-enter and adjust to civilian life. We want to focus on their proven commitment to serve and their specialized abilities honed in the service. We rely on community support to fulfill our mission. We hope you’ll take a moment to find out what we do and how your donation is not only a thank you to those who have served and sacrificed so much, but an investment in our country’s future.

We’re here to make sure Iraq and Afghanistan veterans know they aren’t alone and they aren’t forgotten.

Originally founded in October 2001 to help the families of 9/11 victims, we’ve grown into an organization dedicated to caring for the veterans of the long wars that followed the attack. We’re small and local, reaching more and more of the wounded warriors in Southern California, home to so many of the nation’s veterans.

Our job is to connect wounded (OIF) Iraq and (OEF) Afghanistan veterans with the resources needed to help them re-enter and adjust to civilian life. We want to focus on their proven commitment to serve and their specialized abilities honed in the service. We rely on community support to fulfill our mission. We hope you’ll take a moment to find out what we do and how your donation is not only a thank you to those who have served and sacrificed so much, but an investment in our country’s future.

About

HOW WE HELP

financial

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

Since 2004 we have provided funding to many wounded Veterans, and spouses of Fallen Warriors.

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building

BUILDING THE FELLOWSHIP

We foster a sense of community much like these Vets knew on the battlefield.

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03

COMMUNITY ADVOCACY

Every year, WHOA participates in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC).

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about class

CLASSES & WORKSHOPS

We engages business and community leaders to speak at our workshops and mentor these Veterans.

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WORDS FROM OUR WOUNDED HEROES

  • IMG_2424September 29, 2015

    My name is Ronald Javier Enequesalazar. I was born in Lima, Peru. Country located in South America.  In the year 1991 I was brought to the United States of great America by my parents for a better life. I was 8 years old when I arrived to this country.  I started 4th grade and went on to high school where I graduated in the year 2001. In the beginning of the following year I swore in and became a US Naturalized citizen.

    I attended Rio Hondo Community College right after high school and held a part time job at Disneyland and participated in the Bell Gardens Police Explorer Program.  Throughout my life in the early 90s I recalled watching the war in Kuwait on TV.  I remember seeing warriors with gas masks and they looked scary but tough at the same time.  I always kept it in my head and as time went by came across posters of Marines in camouflage uniform coming out of the water. I told myself one day the Marine recruiter did not talk to me during my senior year in high school.  So I figured it was time to go pay him a visit.  Looked up my nearest recruiter located in Whittier, CA and proceeded on to joining the US Marines.

    On December 30, 2002 I arrived to MCRD San Diego for Marine Corps boot camp.  No clue of what I got myself into but I made it out in 13 weeks.  I graduated boot camp March 28, 2003.  Eleven days after the invasion to Iraq.  I knew where I was going because I had initially pointed out I wanted to be in the infantry.  To this day I thank God my MOS was never changed.  During School of Infantry I suffered torn tendons on my ankle which backtracked me from graduating on time and my orders went from going to 3rd Marine Regiment in Hawaii to 7th Marine Regiment in 29 Palms. I couldn’t be happier I was staying in California.

    I arrived to 29 Palms, CA on August 29, 2003.  My unit 3rd Bn, 4th Marines, I was assigned to India Co, 2nd plt.  My time in the fleet started and I fit in with the guys being that I was the only Hispanic in the platoon.  I paid as much attention to my senior Marines who had been part of the initial invasion of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I had a great amount of respect for them and learned as much as I could during our training operations and put in all my efforts during range training. This was the unit that was known for bringing down the Saddam Hussein Statute in Baghdad. I was proud of being part of them. On December 2003 couple of weeks before Christmas we left to Okinawa, Japan for some Jungle Warfare Training; however that immediately changed when the battalion was ordered back to Operation Iraqi Freedom II. The time had come to finally experience what a war was like.  It was a tense moment but as well as a moment of the most adrenaline I have ever experienced.

    We arrived to Kuwait in the month of February 2004 to Kuwait. Immediately after made our way on convoy to Iraq, it will take us approximately 2 ½ days to cross the border. Our area of operations was assigned to Rawa. Iraq.  We had only experience a few motorcycle drive bys and a few pop shots but nothing where we would engage.  We had built our Battle Position from scratch. It was endless days of filling sandbags. In April 2004 our battalion was ordered to Fallujah, Iraq for Operation Vigilant Resolve. It was considered one of the deadliest operations with the most American troop casualties. We returned back to country on July 12, 2004.

     

    On January 3, 2005 we were back in Fallujah, Iraq for OIF III for Iraqi election time. This time we were dealing with strapped woman with explosives, ieds, and bvieds.  We operated in and out of the city and into various cities nearby. Enemy contact was at a minimum during my 2nd tour. On August 1, 2005 we were back in country.

    Now my 3rd tour I didn’t really see it coming but I was prepared for anything.  On January 4, 2006 my then girlfriend found out she was pregnant. On January 6, 2006 after returning to base I was informed of a list of senior Marines going over to 1st Bn, 7th Marines, another unit for a 3rd OIF deployment. I was part of that list. I married my now ex wife on February 14, 2006 and boarded the plane on February 28.  Our unit arrived to Al Qaim, Iraq beginning of March.  We were not too far from the Syrian border.  This was one of my toughest tours I will say because I lost one of my Marines in my fire team. During my first two tours I lost brothers as well but from different companies and battalions the feeling sucked but I think what was worse was the fact that I had trained this Marine and the fact that the fire team was a closer camaraderie.

    I was brought back from my 3rd tour two weeks earlier before the battalion. Arrived in country September 6, 2006 and following my son’s birth on September 9. I extended my contract 4 more months but was unable to reenlist. I was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps on April 29, 2007. I attempted again in 2008 but I still couldn’t pass any of the hearing tests. I joined the reserves from 2008 to 2010 nothing interesting happened there but a visit to Estonia for annual training.

    My marriage ended in October 2010, approximately one year later I crossed paths with my now ex girlfriend and mother of my two beautiful daughters. We lived together for about 2 years but didn’t seem to get along always having problems.  I am now a father of 3 children, ages 9, 3 and 1 which I see every other weekend. I would complain about the rough paths of my life but you don’t get anything out of it. I do everything in my power to make my kids happy and I can say I am thankful to them that I still keep on going.

    I am a very proud Marine I am glad and happy I made the choice I made to join. I am thankful to this country for giving me an opportunity to stay here. I am a Patriot and I will do it all over again. The PTSD I look at it as something everyone goes through after a war environment. Maybe I was just slow with asking for help in the beginning but it is never too late and now I am here telling you about myself in this letter. Thankful to the day I got a hold of Mike Talleda from Wounded Heroes and who has not disappointed me unlike most VA personnel.

    Ronald Javier Enequesalazar

    Javier
  • John Stapleton

    Dear Fellow Veteran,

     

    My name is John and I’m a 21yrs retired Veteran with many different types of deployments over those years.

    First and fourth most I want to thank you for serving our country. You know what the taste of freedom is, and why we stand by each other!

    When I first retired I had a very hard time adapting to the civil life and I was almost living at the Long Beach VA due to all the TBI, PTSD etc. appointments. By Faith not luck, I ran into one of the Wounded Heroes of America and he told me about the foundation in which I attended the very next meeting. That meeting was the best therapy that I have received since being out!

    You see, the people who started this foundation have not forgotten the very key that makes this country free and the foundation supports all that serve now and have severed in the past. I compel you to try the foundation, meet all the warriors and members that make this foundation work, you will not regret showing up to any of the many meetings and or fund raiser we do to help the foundation and are battle buddies.

    Wounded Heroes of America understands the meaning of,

    “All gave some; some gave all”

    SFC John Stapleton (retired)

    John
  • In April 2003-2004 I was deployed to Iraq to support OIF and returned again 2005-2006. I had been blown up by IEDs, been shot  at, mortared I felt like I was invincible until the enemy blew up my truck with a pressure plate IED at which I sustained head trauma, I  have TBI, PTSD and am deaf in my left ear. The physical war maybe over for us from Iraq or Afghanistan, but the mental one inside us is a long difficult road to face. Thank goodness we do not have to do it alone. With the Wounded Heroes of America to bring us  together we can support each other.

    Ron Ramirez
  • In April 2003-2004 I was deployed to Iraq to support OIF and returned again 2005-2006. I had been blown up by IEDs, been shot  at, mortared I felt like I was invincible until the enemy blew up my truck with a pressure plate IED at which I sustained head trauma, I  have TBI, PTSD and am deaf in my left ear. The physical war maybe over for us from Iraq or Afghanistan, but the mental one inside us is a long difficult road to face. Thank goodness we do not have to do it alone. With the Wounded Heroes of America to bring us  together we can support each other.

    Ron Ramirez
  • In April 2003-2004 I was deployed to Iraq to support OIF and returned again 2005-2006. I had been blown up by IEDs, been shot  at, mortared I felt like I was invincible until the enemy blew up my truck with a pressure plate IED at which I sustained head trauma, I  have TBI, PTSD and am deaf in my left ear. The physical war maybe over for us from Iraq or Afghanistan, but the mental one inside us is a long difficult road to face. Thank goodness we do not have to do it alone. With the Wounded Heroes of America to bring us  together we can support each other.

    Ron Ramirez
  • In April 2003-2004 I was deployed to Iraq to support OIF and returned again 2005-2006. I had been blown up by IEDs, been shot  at, mortared I felt like I was invincible until the enemy blew up my truck with a pressure plate IED at which I sustained head trauma, I  have TBI, PTSD and am deaf in my left ear. The physical war maybe over for us from Iraq or Afghanistan, but the mental one inside us is a long difficult road to face. Thank goodness we do not have to do it alone. With the Wounded Heroes of America to bring us  together we can support each other.

    Ron Ramirez

WHY SUPPORT WOUNDED HEROES?

Over 48,000 servicemen and women have been physically injured in the recent military conflicts. In addition to the physical wounds, it is estimated as many as 400,000 service members live with the invisible wounds of war including combat-related stress, major depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Another 320,000 are believed to have experienced a traumatic brain injury while on deployment.

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