Written by Sgt. Joe Padula
2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO
Fort Campbell, KY – Brazilian Army Maj. Gen. Carlos Cesar Araujo Lima, commander of the 12th Air Assault Brigade in Cacapava-Sao Paulo, visited Fort Campbell’s Hangar 10, October 13th, where the Screamin’ Eagle’s helicopters were on display for a walk-through with Araujo Lima. Greeting the commander was Strike’s Sgt. Felipe Pereira, who has a pending Distinguished Service Cross and was born and raised in South America’s largest country.
“The Brazilian army is the greatest fighting force in South America and what a great honor meeting one of the leaders of that fighting force,” said Sgt. Felipe Pereira, a squad leader with Co. A, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “Today was a proud day for me.”Their ten minute greeting began after Araujo Lima was given a tour of the flight line and Pereira said in his native tongue of Portuguese, “Hello sir, it is a pleasure to meet you.”
Araujo Lima’s eyes lit up in excitement followed by a large smile, as he was surprised to hear his language being spoken from a Soldier wearing the Army Combat Uniform.
“Where are you from originally,” asked Araujo Lima in Portuguese while shaking Pereira’s hand.
Pereira is from Brazil’s capital city of Brasilia and his family lives in Rio. Pereira came to the United States in 2001 to learn English then to attend Union College in Nebraska. He told Araujo Lima when he joined the Army in 2008 and that is when the general was informed by one of the brigade’s staff of Pereira’s DSC award.
“I had no idea a Brazilian had been awarded such a medal,” said Araujo Lima. “I want to tell Brazil about this and post all of the information on our websites.”
Pereira was awarded the military’s second highest honor for his actions during Operation Enduring Freedom 10-11 on November 1st, 2010, when his unit was attacked with a suicide motorcycle-borne explosive device and small arms fire in southern Afghanistan outside of Combat Outpost Senjary; two Combined Task Force Strike Soldiers were fatally wounded and four others were severely hurt. Pereira, with shrapnel wounds to his spleen, liver and left lung, grabbed a John Deere Gator from the base, fired upon the enemy and evacuated two casualties to the base and went back out for his other battle buddies, while the gunfight continued.
“Hearing this and meeting you is an honor and the honor is all ours,” said Araujo Lima.
Pereira told the general his feelings on being a part of the Strike Brigade and the famous 101st Airborne Division.
“I want you to know sir, what an honor it is to be in this division and everyone knows I’m from Brazil and respects that incredibly,” said Pereira. “I always try to represent Brazil as best as I can.”
Their discussion ended and they posed for pictures on the flight line. They shook each other’s hand once again and with his arm on Pereira’s shoulder, Araujo Lima thanked the Brazilian Strike Soldier.
“Thank you for the honor and stay in contact so Brazil can see all the good you have done,” said Araujo Lima.
Pereira was given the generals contact information and smiled at the business card. The Brazilians connecting at Fort Campbell left a strong impression with the DSC Soldier.
“My family and my cousins in the Brazil army will be so excited to hear about my meeting Maj. Gen. Araujo Lima,” said Pereira. “I know I will not forget this day.”