Soldier endures 5 year fight to fight for his country - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Soldier endures 5 year fight to fight for his country

For one Pennsylvania family, this holiday season has special meaning because the family patriarch will be shipping out for duty in Iraq early next year.

But he's only going because he won a long fight to be able to enlist in the military.

"I feel like, I can do anything," said Jerry Giordano.

His military buddies call him Father Time and Ole Man River.

"I am the oldest in my unit," said Giordano.

But even at age 44, they really can't knock Army Specialist Jerry Giordano.

"Where the kids may be a little bit physically faster, I know where the shortcuts are," said Giordano. 

The Vineland native and father of 3 was given a sendoff party Wednesday night, before next month's start of a year long deployment to Iraq.

It's a mission he embraces, that follows a personal battle just to get there.

"It's been a struggle," said Giordano.

You see, when Giordano tried to enlist in the Army following 9-11, he was told at 35 he was too old.  

"They said 'no'," said Giordano.

But G-I Gio refused to give up.

"If you're persistent and you keep going after it, it's attainable," said Giordano. 

It took nearly 5 years, lots of phone calls and emails to federal lawmakers, and a couple of law changes, before Giordano was finally allowed to join the military at the age of 41.

"It's a vindication cause there were so many people that said never in a million years," said Giordano. 

As a combat medic, Giordano will tend to the wounded in Iraq.

He admits he's nervous.

His wife is too, but also says she's excited for him.

"I know there are a lot of people that probably think, 'Why would you want him to go? Why would you let him do this?' But, I stand behind him whatever he wants to do," said Cyndi Giordano.

The Giordanos will soon leave their loved ones in Cumberland County and return to Jerry's base at Fort Benning, Georgia.  

"I think that me doing this may help some other people who may think they can't do anything," said Giordano. 

He expects to be promoted to Sergeant once on Iraqi soil.

A rise in rank for a guy who wouldn't let his age keep him down.

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