Medals and Awards: National Defense Service Medal (2 awards), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal W/M Device, NATO Metal, Army Achievement Medal with double Bronze Oakleaf Cluster, Combat Action Badge, Iraq Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4 times). Received on Dec. 4, 2010, "The Meritorious Service Medal"
Achievements - 1987 won NCO of the Year Award, (497th Field Artillery Brigade)
Joseph Charles Gullo III, U.S. Army
Operations - Nobel Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Anaconda, Mountain Lion, Iraqi Freedom.
United served with - 542 Force Provider, 10th Mtn. Div., XVIII Airborne Corps, ISAF - International Security Assisting Forces, 82nd Abn. Div., 3rd ID, AMC - Army Material Command, 1st Coscom
Married August 6, 2005, to Susan Marie (Lanski) Gullo
Children: Jeremy Jon, David James
Sister: Mary Anne (Thuman) Gullo
Joseph C. Gullo III was born on July 3, 1955, in Dunkirk's Brooks Memorial Hospital to Joseph A. Gullo and Virginia (Marczynski). They resided at 130 W. Fifth St. in Dunkirk. Where Dunkirk High School is now, was the playground where Joe played the kids game they called army. Sometimes they called it guns. He played with his younger brother, John and friends Jeff and Charles Powlski; Don and Larry Jaggie; Dave Fijal; Dan Tramuta; Patty Powlski; and Bev Colica. They would form two teams; one American and the other German. Joe would always be on the American team. They had simulated toy machine guns, cap guns and plastic toy guns. Every now and then they would play with sticks. They would run in the playground, hide in the nearby fields and in the neighbors bushes. These games lasted hours almost every day in the summer.
Gullo attended Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Grade School from kindergarten to eighth grade. Even during free time at school he seemed to end up in convent garage still playing war games. High school came and he attended Dunkirk. He enjoyed the BOCES building when he learned the "heavy equipment" trade. Still in high school and loving auto and heavy equipment he hung out at Ernie's Wreckers on Zebra Street. Now and then he would help Ernie when he went on an emergency service call. Every year Gullo loved participating in the demolition derby at the county fair. His trademark was always ending his feats with a smoke bomb in his car.
Gullo's brother John was stricken with muscular dystrophy. This a degenerative disease that attacks the muscles. There are 43 different types, the worst being Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Along with his brother who passed away on Jan. 10, 1984, he also lost three uncles to this terrible disease. He recalls that his father in 1948, started a door to door campaign to collect money for this terrible disease.
In 1974 Joe graduated and started his first job with Niagara Therapy as an inspector. He later went to Plymouth Tube from 1975-1977 in the steel tube department. He then took employment with Al Tech Steel Corp. in the furnace and shipping department. In 1982 he lost his job due to the layoff and joined the Army.
Gullo always knew he wanted his life to be in the military. Always in his mind was the thought that when he did pass away he wanted the American flag on his coffin and to be eligible to receive a military grave marker. He joined the army reserve in Erie, Pa. He was assigned to the 4th/92nd field artillery, 8-inch self propelled howitzers. The 8-inch howitzer required 14 men to operate:
1. Driver - follows gun with ammo
2. Powder men - powder stays 30 feet away
3. Ammo loader - off 548 tray
4. Stake man - ran aiming stakes
5. Collimeter man - sites
6. Gunner - look in panoramic telescope (pantel)
7. Assistant gunner - right side traversing
8. Chief - totally in charge
9. 50 caliber man - mans .50 caliber machine gun
10. 60 caliber man - mans .60 caliber machine gun
11. M203 man - grenade launcher
12. RTO - radio operator
13. RTO - communication
14. Back gunner
Joe, while in the military, performed the duty of all on the list. He now joined the 1st/127th armor in Dunkirk. This consisted of A company, located in Dunkirk; B Company, located in Jamestown; and the Det, located in Olean. Gullo was assigned to the A Co. as a 19E crewman at first. He ended up doing duties as powderman loader and he actually fired rounds down range while training at Fort Drum. While attached to the 127th he would report to any area where he was needed. He did this for five years.
Joe's next assignment was with the 4th/92nd located in Erie, Pa. He switched from the self-propelled to the 198, which was a toad gun. His unit later became the 542nd force provider. This meant his specialty was building pre-built tent cities, mess halls, living quarters and even morgues. These buildings were pre built, and could be sent to a combat area and erected in hours. They also built chapels. Most units came in containers about 1/3 the size of a semi. He was then assigned to a cadre unit, which was everyone in the unit holding a rank of E-5 or higher. It was a new concept for the army. Being in this unit gave Joe Gullo III the honor of being in the very first reserve unit to be deployed to Afghanistan. His new station was Bagram, Afghanistan. This deployment came at noon on the date of the tragedy of Sept. 11. This was a nine month tour. While in Afghanistan, the days brought erecting these new buildings and by being attached to the XVIII airborne corps/ 530th LTF. The nights demanded guard duty, which brought walking the perimeter with the M16-A2, a few grenades and a 9mm pistol.
Gullo went back to reserve status. He was assigned to a unit in Pennsylvania, the 542nd Force Provider. The area covered parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He provided services to seven platoons, in which he and his son Jeremy Jon were the only New Yorkers in the outfit.
After coming home, Joe did his two week summer obligations at Camp Dowson and Fort Pickett in Natick, Mass. In 2006, he received orders to report to Kabul and Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was still assigned to the 542nd, who was in direct combat support of 82nd airbourne and the 10th mountain support. New orders came again and Gullo was off to Afghanistan with the TA50 supply, where he ended up in Al Asleam, Kuwait. He was there one week, and was then reassigned to Baghdad, Iraq. Later he traveled to Iraq in a C-130, sitting in a web seat with supplies being flown to Butler Range Complex, which was 30 miles from the Iranian border. This area was a home base for the black hawk helicopters. Other bases in the area took Joe to Fire Base Sledgehammer, which was the former home of the famed Republican guard. While there, he got to tour Saddam Hussein's Palace, which was as big as Brooks Memorial Hospital. He noticed photos of U.S. icons being demolished, one being the Empire State Building in New York City. This was near the Tigris River. In April of 2001 the 542nd was deployed to Guatemala for 8 weeks on a humanitarian mission.
Joe Gullo is very active in the community. He helps anybody with any military function, or assisting in any military event. His heart is open to all veterans. He is an active member of the VFW in Mayville; a director of the Dunkirk Historical Lighthouse and Veterans Park Museum; the American Legion in Fredonia; Dom Polski's in Dunkirk; and Military Vehicle Preservation.
Today he is employed with Carriage House Companies of Fredonia. He is a union official for Local Unit 266 Fireman & Oilers Union.
Every year Joe Gullo's dedication to that deadly disease that took so many loved family members is now Joe's war at home. Joe needs to be war ready at home 24/7. He is always there to help any veteran or person in need. He has put himself in a position that he his only one phone call away from being in some third world country by tomorrow afternoon. He is never sure what his eyes will see when they open the next morning. The Joe Gullo's are our now soldiers. When the phone rings and the person on the other end says pack your bags, Joe goes, no questions asked. No brochures, no pre-boarding, no car rental. He knows his job, it's just that he may not know where he is going to complete his next assignment.
This is the life of the reservist. They are numbers, they are qualified, and mainly they are dedicated. They leave their families. They leave their jobs. They leave their lifestyles to keep our country free. Joe Gullo is our reservist. After interviewing Joe I know without a doubt he would give his life for our country if that situation would ever arise.
Back in the day when Joe was playing on the playgrounds in the early 1960's. A skinny little boy named Joe playing war games with his little brother Johnny. That later in life this little boy grew up and became the first veteran from Chautauqua County to have his boots on ground in a country called Afghanistan during the fight against the war on terrorism. That word terrorism back in the early 1960s probably wouldn't even turn an eye.
We are in a war now and looking at our nation's history it seems that we participate in five wars in every 100-year period. Reservists like Joe Gullo III will be guarding our country every day and night. They will be in harms way this Thanksgiving, Christmas and even New Year's Eve. They will be deployed with no return date stamped on their new orders. They will fight for their country while in harms way and for every benefit due to them when they return home. That's just the way it works. Put your life on the line while in combat then come home and have to fight to receive some of the benefits you had earned. Yet, while in the waiting battle for benefits they usually get recalled again and report as ordered. Returning back; giving our country 100 percent.
The next time while in an airport, a store, or a restaurant when you see one of our finest in uniform, go up to them and thank them. Thank them for serving and thank them for keeping your family free. Thank you Joe Gullo III for serving. Joe Gullo III is our hero of the week.