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Tag: FAST

DEA Agent Never Gave Up After Losing his Eyesight from a Gunshot Wound in Afghanistan

Joseph Piersante’s FAST squad, via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

When DEA Agent Joseph Piersante was shot in the head in Afghanistan in 2011, he lost his eyesight but not his mission to combat drugs.

At the time, Piersante was serving on the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), a commando-style squad that battled drug cartels and smugglers.

“I had a frontal lobe brain injury because the bullet went to the front of my brain,” he told WDIV in Detroit. “I had two ruptured eye globes and two detached retinas, in which resulted in the brain injury, resulting in the craniotomy.”

Piersante, who became the first-ever member of the DEA to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, didn’t let the injury stop him from fighting drugs.

“In life we can’t always determine what happens to us, but what we can do is we can make the best out of our situation as we can,” Piersante said.

Unable to do his past job, Piersante began educating people about the dangers of drugs and helping addicts with treatment strategies.

After more than 20 years with the DEA, Piersante is retiring this week.

In retirement, he hopes to write a screenplay or book.

DEA Agent Killed in Afghanistan Helicopter Crash Honored at His Old High School

Chad L. Michael/dea photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Last week, after the students had left a rural Pennsylvania school about 70 miles west of Scranton, DEA administrators and colleagues gathered there to remember a fallen agent, an alma mater of Hughesville High School, according to the Sun Gazette.

Chad Michael, 30, assigned to the DEA Miami Division,  was one of three DEA agents killed in a helicopter crash in October 2009 in Afghanistan along with seven service men. The other DEA two agents were Michael Weston and Forrest N. Leamon. The men were targeting opium production in western Afghanistan.

Michael served in the DEA’s Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team, or FAST. In addition to Michael’s parents-mother Debra Hartz and stepfather Dr. Leo Hartz-also attending were the DEA’s Richard Crock and Richard Michael, the local school board president of whose district Michael graduated from high school.

The celebration came during the DEA’s “Red Ribbon Week” which calls upon organizations, parents, and educators to reinforce the dangers of drug abuse with children.

The school district created the Chad Michael Memorial Scholarship after his passing in service, which has gone to a graduate now attending the University of Pittsburgh and studying criminal justice. The scholarship, ranging from $500 to $1,000, is reserved for students intending to study criminal justice, as Michael had. Prior to Micheal’s DEA service he was a deputy Sheriff in Tampa Bay, Fla.

To read more click here.