Our nation's military men and women are returning home from deployments on a regular basis now more than any other time in recent history. Many bring a variety of life skills, as well as newly acquired abilities and knowledge, which can prove helpful when called on to analyze situations and circumstances and then develop real-world solutions to reduce or eliminate those situations.
Among those who have returned home after deployments are our veterans, men and women, who have been injured, and according to strict military standards, are not to be returned to those same responsibilities they held prior to the injury.
When injury prevents a military person from continuing to follow the career path they had accessed before becoming injured, their return to a civilian life's pathway can connect them to opportunities, both broad sweeping and niche specific skill opportunities.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
Pictured from left are Dinero Cidarelli, START in Mingo Junction; retired US Navy SEAL Senior Chief Frank Hoagland; Buckeye Local School District Superintendent Mark Miller; and other administrative team members: Jason Kovalski, junior high school principal; Coy Sudvary, high school principal; and Scott Celestine.
START owner Hoagland discusses real world scenarios as a mock scenario assailant is pictured behind him.
Cidarelli poses with Buckeye South Elementary school principal Kim Leonard.
START?team members hosted a special event for Wounded Warriors, organized by the Fort Pitt Chapter Association of the United States Army. The large family-style event was held at the?START?range in?Mingo Junction.
Such is the case for two very experienced military men who saw their respective career paths take drastic and irreversible turns, leading in directions away from the traditions of the jobs they each had and excelled - southern Jefferson County resident service retired U.S. Navy SEAL Senior Chief Frank Hoagland and Bellaire native service retired U. S. Marine Corps Platoon Sergeant E-5 Dinero Ciardelli.
Ciardelli, has been working directly with Hoagland since the two first met early in 2013.
When Ciardelli graduated from Bellaire High School in 2004, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life. "I wanted to be a combat Marine since I was a kid," reflected Ciardelli.
Much of his military career involved seeing to the education and training levels of each Marine in his platoon, regardless the information or skills to they needed to develop.
Ciardelli, who had served multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, served previously with the USMC 1st Intelligence Battalion during several earlier deployments to Fallujah, Iraq. He was serving as Security Commander and Navigator with the USMC Combat Logistics Battalion 3 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, when he was seriously injured. He was at the front of his platoon as they were moving through a section of Helmand Province - then considered one of the most dangerous locations to be serving in - when an explosion occurred.
Ciardelli described the situation at the time of his injury as one in which he had sought the OK to serve with this group of 65 Marines he had been working with on pre-deployment training. His length of service on previous deployments and lack of less intensive assignments in that time period had merited him an assignment in Hawaii.
He asked for the assignment he knew would return him to an area of intense combat considered more volatile than many other areas for the troops on the ground even before they set foot there.
As dangerous as that was to do on its face, he had felt compelled to establish that personal and professional line in the sand, and routinely put himself in lead positions where the possibility of injury was generally higher, he offered.
He had promised himself he would do everything in his power to be able to bring all his Marines home safely.
It was a goal which he was able to meet.
This leadership move was not wasted on Hoagland, who was and still is considered to have exceptional abilities to analyze risks levels and to guide and educate others so there is only one effort getting put forward, one in which all participants are completely educated about details, processes and goals all coming together to support a safer process and improving odds for success.
Hoagland's career assignments put him on several different teams over the course of his career, and he was often tasked by higher ups to analyze complex or highly delicate and detailed situations, formulate options, to educate his team and other military personnel on all aspects of a particular task, and then personally see it through in some capacity to completion.
Among one of the few public aspects of his work was the task of developing, implementing and training those in the fledgling program he had developed to ultimately be certified as Air Marshals.
Some months ago, Hoagland welcomed Ciardelli to his team at the Mingo Junction headquarters of his more widely known company START, Special Tactics and Rescue Training.
They now also work together in START projects and another related business interest headquartered there called 360 Safe Solutions, through which is offered a customizable educational interactive program referred to as CAST, Counter Active Shooter Training.
The adults on staff at all the schools in Buckeye Local are increasingly stepping up to the invitation to take part in Hoagland's in-school training and demonstrations which include real-world scenarios unfolding and analyzing details of vulnerability with input from all staff who care to share their unique insights. All of this is filtering down to the students, and the staff are pleased to have had these situational training opportunities - the kind of opportunities and experiences unheard of in most school districts statewide, much less nationwide.
When Frank Hoagland graduated from Buckeye North High School in Brilliant, he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He was heading straight to the U.S. Navy and, he hoped, a career among its ultra elite SEAL Teams.
It would not be long until that dream became a reality, providing him opportunities to continue growing his "warfighter" skills or vital ability to be an exceptional student and to excel as an analyst, communicator, teacher and more.
By the mid 1980s, Hoagland had more than realized that goal as he had quickly proven himself worthy of membership in our country's top tier of exceptionally knowledgeable and highly skilled Navy SEAL warfighters.
Even within that elite group, he continued to pursue and achieve increasing leadership assignments within the SEAL Team's structure. Never losing sight of his personal goal to earn his way into the SEAL Teams, Hoagland would realize his childhood dream and then some.
For their unwavering willingness to be resources to help improve safety in and around our local school system; and in recognition of the faith in the elite quality of the interactive education they are sharing with school personnel and are now wanting to share with surrounding community based first-responders, Hoagland and Ciardelli were selected for highlighting in the February "Hey! That's My Neighbor" feature.