Fort CAMPBELL, Ky. (April 4, 2012) -- Sgt. Felipe Pereira was born in Brasilia, Brazil , June 27th, 1983. He attended high school at a private Christian school where he graduated top of his class, was soccer team captain, and graduation speaker for the class of 2000. Pereira moved to the U.S. when he was 17 years old to attend the English as a Second Language program at Union College in Lincoln, Neb. After graduating the program in only one semester, Pereira continued his college education by earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology in 2006.
To be able to pay for his college education, Pereira worked full time as a certified lifeguard, a swimming instructor, and a Krav Maga self-defense instructor. Pereira also worked as a volunteer soccer coach for The YMCA girls' junior soccer league, and participated in charity events to help the needy in the community as a part of Union College's "Project Impact."
Upon graduation, he explored the possibility of pursuing a Master's degree while working as a laboratory technician for the Entomology Department at the University of Nebraska. After deciding not to pursue a Master's degree, Pereira worked as a self-defense instructor and manager for a martial arts academy. He also worked as a personal banker and mortgage loan processor for a small family owned bank in Nebraska.
In March 2009, Pereira enlisted into the United States Army. He completed One Station Unit Training at Fort Benning, Ga., and after graduation from Charlie Company, 2-19th Infantry, in late June 2009, he was sent to Fort Campbell, Ky. In July 2009, Pereira was assigned to 3rd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1-502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He was assigned to Weapons Squad as a Gunner for an M240B machine gun and the Platoon Armorer.
While assigned to A/1-502D, Pereira participated in pre-deployment training at Fort Campbell and a rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La. In February, 2010, Pereira became a dual citizen of Brazil and the United States of America.
In May 2010, Pereira deployed to Zhari District, Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was moved to 2nd Squad as the Alpha Team Leader. While there, Pereira earned two Purple Hearts. Upon re-deployment to Fort Campbell, Pereira was promoted and assigned as Alpha Company, 3rd Platoon, 2nd Squad Leader. He was nominated as a Distinguished Member of the 502nd Infantry Regiment and represented 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) in public affairs functions such as: Time Magazine 9/11 Special Edition, BBC interviews, and the 101st Airborne Association 66th Annual meeting.
Pereira is a graduate of the Warrior Leaders Course and the instructor certification for Eagle Tactical Athlete Program. He currently holds a Squad Leader position in Alpha Company, 1-502nd Infantry Regiment.
The schools Pereira has attended include: Infantry Basic Training, Air Assault School, the Warrior Leader Course, the Machine Gun Leader course, the Eagle Tactical Athlete Program, the Eagle First Responder course, Dari Language Training, FBCB2 Unit Level Maintenance, Army Combatives Level 1, AN/PSS-14 Mine Detector and PRC152 Radio Operation and Maintenance.
His awards include: Purple Heart (one oak leaf cluster), the Army Achievement Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (one star), the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Overseas Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal (ISAF), the Global War on Terror Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Air Assault Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Expert Marksmanship Badge.