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Senior Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro: A Patriot's Promise

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
The Truth Network Radio
July 8, 2023 12:00 am

Senior Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro: A Patriot's Promise

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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July 8, 2023 12:00 am

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This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. So Senior Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro Jr., retired, is now un-retired, back in action. He's the author of Patriot's Promise, Protecting My Brothers, Fighting For My Life, and Keeping My Word. Sergeant Del Toro, welcome back. Welcome to Brian Kilmeade Show. Thank you, sir. Thank you for having me on. It's a pleasure and honor. Well, I mean, to put your life story together is unbelievable.

It's going to be a great movie if anyone has any brain in their head that is a producer with some financing. But maybe first off, with the amount of what you've already done and experienced in the military, what really pushed you to break precedent, 100% disabled, to go back in? Well, you know, people kept asking me, when I was during my recovery, you know, when I woke up, they said my military career was over. And they're like, what do you want to do? They want to continue serving. They're like, why? Because I started to do public speaking, and they will say, well, public speakers make good money.

And they do, you know, some speakers, you know, can make up to six figures for a 45 minute to an hour speech. And I would just tell them, it's like, there's thousands of people out there make great money and they hate their job. So why am I going to give up a job that I love? I love serving my country. I love being in the Air Force. I love being an operator, you know, a tactee.

So why am I going to give that up for a couple bucks? And that's what I did. You know, when they came back and gave me the option of staying in, to re-enlist, I jumped on the opportunity and was like, yes, I want to stay in. So let's tell your story. You had a horrific upbringing. First, your dad died suddenly, right?

Yes, sir. How old were you at the time? I was 12 years old when my dad passed away. What did it do to your family?

Well, you know, it crushed us. It really crushed me, but I think it affected my mom the most. In the book, I talk about how she lost her way and how I try to bring her back to focus on us and try to continue honoring that promise I made to my dad the night before he passed. You know, take care of your family. And, you know, unfortunately, one time, you know, she really gave it to me and threatened me, saying, if you continue the way you're doing, I'll send you to boarding school and you'll never see your brothers and sisters again.

And, you know, that's when I realized, well, I'll focus on my brothers and sisters and I'll try once in a while to try and bring my mom back. But, you know, it just didn't work because a year and a half later after my dad passed, you know, she was killed by a drunk driver. Everybody handles grief differently for her.

It was to find another guy, dated all her friends, and finally with an 18-year-old, they're riding on a motorcycle. She's not wearing a helmet. He does. He goes into a coma. She goes into a coma, horrifically injured. The last thing she says to you is ask for M&Ms. You couldn't give it to her. That's the last thing you've ever heard her say.

And she passes away. You find yourself the oldest in your family and they didn't even want to tell you your mom was in an accident, right? I mean, you weren't old enough for them to tell you. They had to call another adult. Cops had to come into your house and call another adult to tell them to tell you. Yeah, that was tough, you know, when they came knocking on the door.

I want to say it was about 3 o'clock in the morning, 2 o'clock in the morning. And an officer asked him, he said, hey, your mom, is this Maria del Toro's home? I was like, yes, sir. Is she home? I was like, I think so.

Can you check? You know, I go check and like, no. I was like, well, do you have someone you can call? And, you know, I'm asking what's going on, you know, you know, I had just, you know, I was about to graduate eighth grade.

And, you know, so I was 14. And they're like, well, we need to talk to an adult. And they made me call. I think it was my aunt I called. And they told her and they wouldn't tell us anything until my aunt and my grandparents came to the house.

That's what they told us. And when she gets buried, you stay at the grave and you're furious at her because now you were mad. And I don't blame you. You know, like, you know, I try to get you to to rein your mom. You know, you tried to rein in.

Now I'm stuck. I'm going to have to raise a family. But in comes your great her father to raise you guys. Right. And he's extremely strict. Yeah. You know, like my grandpa was very old fashioned. You know, he's two generations behind. He was that generation that believed, you know, the boys were outside doing the work and the girls did not do sports.

They stayed home and cooking clean. And it was tough for especially my sister that followed me because she wasn't sports. She was a volleyball player and and trying to be the mediator between that. It was tough, you know. So there's only one way. So meanwhile, you have this tension at home.

You're trying to be the leader. We also try to get your life together. You determine you're going to go to college. University of Illinois. Your teacher tell your counselor says you're not going to go there. Go to a community school. Not only do you go there, you get it.

You get a full scholarship and you're going and you go in there and you put that that acceptance and that scholarship in front of them. And you said, and you use an expletive and you got suspended, but it was worth it, right? I got a month's worth of attention. Yeah. Most people don't realize that, you know, I went to a Catholic school. So my counselor was a priest.

Oh, I didn't know that. It was so worth it. Yeah. It was so worth it. It was so worth it.

Much, much longer just to put a mark. I never accepted what people say my life is going to be. I choose what my life's going to be.

You know, and nothing's wrong with a junior college, but I always wanted to go to Illinois. And to prove them wrong, it was worth that month long detention. But you're not able to go. In the end, you had to take care of your family. Your father, your grandfather has a stroke. And you pretty much got to take care of the family.

And you give up that college education and start working and supporting the family. And you must be like, what is going on with my life? Am I star-crossed or what? Am I cursed? Yeah, for a long time, you know, I thought I was cursed because any time I was on a high, Brian, I just got knocked back down.

And I did. I was like, why is this happening? Why are you challenging me? You know, asking God, why are you challenging me? I'm only at the time, you know, I was 20 years old and I was like, and I'm going through all this and like, what's going on? And, you know, maybe he had a plan.

He was getting me ready for the day I got hurt and prepare me. So you're watching the Air Force. You're watching an Air Force commercial. You have a one rare moment where you sit and watch television. You see it and you I'm joining.

You know, my the youngest is 15. They can handle it. I'm going to join. And you join the Air Force. You talk about how tough it was, but you loved it, correct? I did.

I really love being operated. You know, I grew up we grew up in the generation of Rambo. You know, who didn't want to be, you know, Rambo, you know, had the long hair, chiseled body, you know. Of course, now I don't have that long hair.

And my son likes to say I have more of a dad bod than chiseled body. But, you know, that's why I wanted to be that guy. And that's why I joined, you know, my career field, because you were that guy. You were making, calling in those airstrikes, you know, for special operations, you know, for scout teams.

You know, that was who I wanted to be. But what happened in 2005? So 2005, you know, December 4th, I was out on a mission with the scouts and we had a high value target.

We had to capture, kill and supply route that the Taliban was using that we had to destroy. And, you know, I've been out there a couple of days and we're coming back to pick up the other half of our scout team. And no more than 20 meters after crossing the creek do I feel this intense heat blast on my left side. And that's when I realized, holy crap, I just got hit by an IED. And it's funny people talk about how your life flashes in front of you, and I never really believed that. But when I got hit, it was like a movie reel, you know, the old-time movie reels where you see images little by little. But for me, three distinct images were things that hadn't happened that were supposed to happen. Like me and my wife finally getting married by the Catholic Church after our third attempt, because every time we tried, I had down range.

Second one was honeymoon in Greece, because that's where she always wanted to go, which I still haven't done, so please don't remind her on that. And lastly was, most importantly, was me teaching my son how to play baseball, because I was a ballplayer. And that was something I wanted to do. And then something clicked in my head. I said, you got to get out of this truck. But when I got out of the truck, I was on fire. You were on fire. The whole body.

The whole body. You couldn't get to the creek, right? I couldn't. I ran, but the flames overtook me and I collapsed and I'm laying there thinking this is it. I broke my promise to my family that I always come back. I broke my promise to my son that I'll never let him grow up without his dad like I did.

But most importantly, I'm breaking my promise to my dad that I always take care of my family. And that's when one of my teammates tells me, I was like, DT, you're not dying here. And we both jumped in a creek. And the sound that I heard was the same sound you hear when you put a hot pan in cold water. But instead of a pan, it was my body.

Wow. The pain must have been overwhelming. What do you remember next?

Well, you know, it's funny. The only thing I really hurt was like my legs. But, you know, as soon as I got hit, the second half of my team that we're going to pick up, they get hit in a crossfire. And now they're calling back asking for help. It's like, where's Gunslinger, which was my call sign at the time.

We need CAS, Close Air Support. So I had to figure out what to do. Again, honoring that promise to my dad. You know, these are my brothers.

You know, I got to take care of them. So my radio that I had were destroyed. My backup radios were also in the truck that got destroyed.

So luckily, one of my other teammates had a radio called an embedder. And I just told him, hey, get out this frequency and repeat everything I say so we can get help in here. So just to reframe this, by the way, I'm talking to Senior Master Sergeant Israel Del Toro. You've been burned from head to toe. You've jumped in a creek to put out the fire on your body and you're still giving out commands.

This is crazy. Yeah, you know, at the time, you know, I was just I was just trying to take care of my guys. That's all, you know, honored that promise.

I didn't think nothing of it. You know, I remember the medic trying to take care of me. And I was like, no, I'm OK. OK. Yeah, my leg hurts. But take care of Bailey, who was a gunner who got blown out of the truck and the truck had rolled over his legs.

As I focus on him so we can get help for our guy. And and, you know, I tried to do that. And I'm not I'll never be one to say that, you know, I had no fear. You know, once that last transmission went out, I guess the adrenaline started going down and I started having a hard time breathing. And I started getting scared. I was saying, hey, where's this medevac?

Where's it at? And luckily, the medic, you know, found my spark. I like to say we all have a spark that drives us. It's kind of funny saying the burn guy now saying, do we all have a spark?

But we do. And he knew my son was my spark. And he used that to keep me up until the helicopter medevac landed. Now, remember, they wanted to carry me.

And I was like, oh, hell no. It's like I walked into this fight. You walked out. So you walk into the fight and they put you in.

Because I don't want to cut you off, but we've got a couple of minutes left when they put you in a coma. And then you find out President Bush came to your side at Walter Reed. Yeah.

Yeah. You know, they put me in a coma. I was at MAMC Book Army Medical Center. I never got to go to Walter Reed.

But yeah. You know, well, I didn't know I was in a coma until I saw one of the guys getting a Purple Heart. And I was like, hey, did I ever get my Purple Heart? And they're like, you did. I'm like, well, when did that happen? I was like, well, it happened around, you know, January timeframe. I was like, well, who gave it to me? It's like President Bush. I'm like, man, I wish I could have remembered that.

But it was cool. You know, my wife told me he stood in my room for 20 minutes talking to me, even though I don't remember any of it. That's amazing. So when you come out of your coma, your next big worry, they say you're going to be there for years. You're only there for what?

How long? So when I get out of a coma, they tell me, you know, you're never going to breathe again. You'll need a respirator for us to live life. I may not walk again. And I'll still be there for another year and a half.

And my military crew was over. Well, two months after they told me that, I left that hospital walking and breathing on my own. And then you worried you worried about when your son sees you and you're burned and you look different now.

What are you worried about? You know, it was I call it my darkest hour because I never wished to die until that day. And when I saw my face, because when you're burned, they cover up the mirrors. And the day I saw myself, my wife was helping me and my physical therapist helped me.

And I slipped and went and put off the tower off the mirror and I broke down. And it wasn't a vanity thing that I didn't look like myself anymore. It was more that at the time I was 30 years old, you know, a 30-year-old man thinks that he's a monster. What's a three-year-old son going to think? You know, he was my spark. He was my everything. And it took like 45 minutes until, you know, Gary, my therapist says, D.T., all your son wants is his dad back.

That's all he cares about. And it calmed me down, but it was still in the back of my mind until the day I will see him. And what happened? When I finally saw him, you know, I walk in and my wife says, Guero, which is, you know, his nickname. They're like, hey, Bobby's here. And he comes running out.

And he ran like a little penguin. And he comes out and sees me and stops. And all of a sudden, all this fear comes rushing back. It's like, oh, my God, he's terrified of me. And all he does is tilt his head to the side, looks at me, says, Bobby, like, yeah, buddy, and comes up and gives me the most amazing hug I've ever had in my life.

The most amazing moment besides seeing him being born. I remember my wife's like, don't hurt your dad. I'm like, quiet, Bobby, let me hold my boy. Because I hadn't seen him since August of 2005. And Gary was right. All he wanted was his dad. He didn't care what a dad looked like.

He just wanted his dad. So how that to me, that's the culmination. And where are you at today? Well, you know, now I'm here, you know, I returned to 2019, you know, living out here in Colorado Springs and enjoying my ranch.

You know, I'm on 35 acres. Yesterday, people asked me, BT, how are you celebrating the reasons of your book? I was like, well, and my phone just kept blowing up. And I was like, and I finally made a video. Like, this is what I'm doing, how to celebrate.

I'm out here on my tractor cutting the grass. And that's just enjoying life right now, you know, hanging with my family, watching my son grow up and go out and do speaking engagements. Because I feel, you know, sometimes people need to find their spark and they need it by hearing a story. And they can get it in your book, A Patriot's Promise. He's the recipient of Purple Heart Bronze Star, the Pat Tillman Award for Service, and he's still serving.

You have no excuses after you read the story of Israel Del Toro Jr. It's an honor to talk to Israel. Thanks so much for your time. Congratulations on the book. Thank you, Brian.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 03:10:11 / 2023-07-08 03:18:23 / 8

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