Pete Estrada

Pedro (Pete) Estrada was born in San Antonio Texas on May 26,1939. His Mother came to Texas from Caro, Michigan and returned there after Pete's birth. Pete attended school just outside Caro with 22 students in one room. At that time, one teacher taught grades one through eight. Of the 22 students there, five were Estradas.

In the early 1950s, the family moved back to San Antonio, Texas, just after the Defense Plant, where Pete's dad worked, closed. His father then worked for Civil Service at Kelly AFB until his Retirement.

Pete attended Edgewood High School but Dropped out in 1955, and in May of 1956, joined the US Air Force. After completing Radar School at Keesler AFB MS, he was sent to Japan for duty with the first Shoran Loran Beacon Squadron at Wakkanai, Japanís northern most city. He remained there until 1958, and then transferred to a Radar site at Red Bluff, California, where he was discharged in May 1960. He had grown tired of duty on a Radar site, and when offered the opportunity to reenlist for an assignment to one of three places, Labrador-Greenland, or the Aleutian Islands, he took his discharge. He was released from active duty in Grade E3, having gone up and down in grade a few times.

Pete was glad to get out, he had decided the Air Force was not for him. He returned to Texas, but 45 days later, decided to join the US Army. He volunteered for an airborne assignment, and served the next three years with Division Artillery, 82nd Airborne Division. As a Red Leg, he worked one year in the Communications and Liaison section, and then as the Battery Commander's driver. When his Expiration Term of Service came up, he again got out as an E4. This time he stayed out a year, and worked at Kelly AFB. Pete soon discovered civilian life was just not for him, so he re-enlisted again, this time taking and assignment to Germany.

After spending four month at Grafenweir with the 3d Armored Division, Pete transferred to 5/81st Airborne Artillery in Wiesbaden Germany. He served as Supply Sergeant there and was promoted to E4, E5, and E6 in the next 15 months, and finished his assignment as S4 NCOIC.

Pete returned to the XVIII Abn Corps at Fort Bragg, and 5 months later, joined Special Forces. While there, he served with Co A, 7th SFGA, and later, transferred to Vietnam. In January 1969, Pete was promoted to SFC E7 while on leave.

In Vietnam he was assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group and placed on TDY to Recondo School for training and further assignment. At the Delta Gate, he called old buddies, MSG Robinette, and SFC Elliot, whom he had known on previous assignments. They talked to Crash Whalen and he was assigned to Project Delta. Pete simply walked away from Recondo School. It pissed them off, but Pete got his own assignment, and 20 days later, when MSG Robinette left, Pete was assigned as Project Deltaís S4 NCOIC. He remained in that position until the arrival, in June, of an E8 Supply Sergeant. In Aug, Pete transferred to Detachment A-502, after getting Team Sgt Tom Kemmer to accept him.

After his Vietnam tour, Pete was assigned to Co B, 8th Special Forces Group, Ft Gulick, Canal Zone. While there, he served on a Team that went to El Salvador to Teach field communications at San Salvador and out lying sites.

In Sept 1971, Pete returned to Vietnam for duty with Training Support Headquarters located at the old B-55 compound in Nha Trang. After six months, he again transferred, this time to MACV-SOG as a Logistic Advisor, AE68. MACV-SOG later reverted to STDAT 159. Pete remained there until the end in January 1973, and returned to the states in February that year.

Back on the Hill, he was assigned to company C, 5th SFGA for a year, and them transferred, as Supply Sgt, to Co A, 3d Bn, 7th SFGA, Ft Gulick Canal Zone.

In Jan 1975, Pete returned to Ft Bragg and was promoted to E8. He was assigned as 1SGT to the 259th Field Service Company, 530th S&S Battalion, Corps Support Command, at Ft Bragg. After a year there, he was assigned as acting Group Sgt Major.

Later, Pete obtained a Single Parent Compassionate reassignment to Ft Sam Houston, Texas. While at Ft Sam, He received orders for the 10th SFGA in Germany. Before his departure, he came out on the E9 list, and his orders were changed. He was re-assigned to Wurzburg Army Hospital in Germany. Pete refused this assignment, and requested retirement. He retired from active duty as a Master Sergeant on 1 Aug 1979.

During his military service, Pete received numerous awards to include, The Master Parachutist Badge, Combat Infantry Badge, Vietnamese Parachutist Badge, Vietnamese Army Staff Honor Medal 2d Class, and three divorces.

After military service, Pete worked as a Service Contract Representative for the US Navy at Corpus Christi Naval Air Station in Texas. After a year there, he transferred to the Defense Contract Management Agency (Serving a three-year internship and attending numerous Defense schools nationwide). Upon completing his apprenticeship, he was assigned as a Defense Contract Representative to Alamo Aircraft in San Antonio Texas.

In March 1995, Pete joined a Contingency Contract Administration Team assigned to accompany military forces into Haiti. It was here he received one of the best complements, related to Special Forces, he'd ever heard. When getting out of a UN Vehicle in St Mark, Pete recognized a Canadian who had worked as a contractor in Saigon when he was there. When the contractor recognized Pete, He said, "Don't You Special Forces Mother Fuckers Ever Quit?"

After Haiti, Pete was assigned to Numerous Defense Contractor Facilities to include, Pratt and Whitney, Lockheed Martin, and Standard Aero which was located at Kelly AFB, Texas.

Pete retired from Federal Service on Jan 4, 2005. He and his wife Julie (Married 25 years) live in Bandera, Texas, in the Texas Hill Country. Pete plans to kick back in between fishing trips to the Texas Gulf Coast and Medina Lake, where they reside.
 

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