Norfolk State University alumnus Capt. Rafael Chico-Lugo ’09 visited campus last month to speak with cadets in the NSU ROTC program. Capt. Chico-Lugo was commissioned from the NSU ROTC program in 2009 into the field artillery branch. After the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC), he was stationed at Fort Riley as a company fire support officer. Mid-way through his deployment to Afghanistan, he stepped on a pressure plate explosive device which blew off his leg below the knee. After surgery and a two-day stay in a Kandahar hospital, he was evacuated to Fort Sam Houston, where he completed 18 months of physical therapy and counseling. At the same time, he held positions as a Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) executive officer and an assistant political military analyst for the United States Army – South (USARSO) while completing a program through the Center for the Intrepid. He also enrolled in and completed his master’s degree early as a way to push himself through a difficult time and to make a case to remain on active duty.
Through blood, sweat, tears and sheer determination, Capt. Chico-Lugo was approved on January 2013 to remain on active duty. During his rehabilitation, Norfolk State University’s ROTC program reached out to him with gifts such as a Spartan helmet and a jersey. After recovery, Capt. Chico-Lugo relocated to Fort Sill where he was a cannon platoon leader and executive officer for a firing battery. He was later promoted to captain and selected to be a platoon leader instructor and common core officer in charge. Capt. Chico-Lugo is due to change command this summer and move on to broadening assignments.