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It’s no surprise that we at Navy Federal take great pride in serving servicemembers, veterans and their families. We also take immense pride in employing them. It’s our honor and pleasure to call veterans our teammates and leaders, and we’re grateful for the perspective and experience they bring to help us serve our members better.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Larry Perino is one of those veterans. After a remarkable military career, we were lucky enough to have him join our ranks. Currently the manager of program development for Navy Federal Business Solutions, he brings leadership, tenacity and strategy to his role. He also brings some serious valor that we’re proud to celebrate today.

Honoring Courage

Last month , the U.S. Army awarded 60 Army special operators with upgraded valorous awards for their heroic actions during Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu, Somalia. Our own Larry Perino was one of those honored, receiving the Silver Star for his actions during the 15-hour firefight.

“I’m both humbled and grateful for all the support I have received from Navy Federal during this whole process,” said Larry. “Navy Federal’s leadership presence at the awards ceremony speaks volumes on how this company values its members and employees.”

As the third-highest military combat award, the Silver Star Medal is awarded in recognition of a courageous act performed during combat operations while under fire from enemy forces. While serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment as a rifle platoon leader, Larry deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger. His unit’s actions and valor during a raid on October 3, 1993 were portrayed in the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War and movie Black Hawk Down.

“I’ve had the honor to serve in some fantastic military organizations led by incredible leaders,” said Larry. “Along the way, I’ve made lifelong friendships that were forged in times of extreme stress and hardship. I discovered you really know how competent your leaders are, who your true friends are and who you can depend on during times of adversity.”

A Remarkable Career

Larry’s military career spanned 25 years. He served in key positions with multiple operational assignments at all levels from tactical to strategic to conventional to special operations commands. These positions took him across six different continents for deployments or trainings.

His assignments included Operations Officer of a Stryker Infantry Battalion in Iraq; Special Operations Planner at U.S. Northern Command; Commander, 6th Ranger Training Battalion; Chief of Staff, Asymmetric Warfare Group; Director, Force Management, ISAF Joint Command (Afghanistan); and Strategy/Leadership Instructor, Air War College.

From Servicemember to Civilian

When it came time to leave the military, it wasn’t easy figuring out a second career. Just like for many of the roughly 250,000 servicemembers who transition to civilian life every year, lots of questions ran through his head. He wondered if he’d be able to find an equally fulfilling job outside of the Army, and how he could translate decades of military service into valuable and marketable skills.

“I realized that the leadership and organizational skills taught to me by the greatest leaders anywhere in the world are transferrable in any industry,” added Larry. “So, I focused my job search on finding an organization with a mission I could support. I wanted to find a job that valued their employees and invested in them. I honestly think that I found it where I am right now.”

Congratulations to Larry on this incredible honor!

In honor of Veterans Day, Navy Federal Credit Union is celebrating their growing base of 1.7 million veteran members. Every transaction, every member and the unique lives of those in the military are what drives and inspires us to serve. Follow along with #GratitudeMission on social and learn more about special veteran events and offers.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.