As a former Green Beret in the United States Army and combat veteran of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, Major Mario Soto faced the realities of war. During the initial invasion of Iraq, Mario earned a Bronze Star medal for Valor for repelling an enemy ambush and successfully evacuating a young soldier shot in the chest by enemy fire.
While in Afghanistan, Mario’s Special Forces “A” Team operated deep within the Taliban controlled Helmand Province and was instrumental in thwarting the enemy’s summer offensive. During one mission, Mario and his team assisted in the recovery of a helicopter shot down by enemy fire despite suffering multiple casualties from an overwhelming enemy force. Over the course of one rotation in Afghanistan, Mario’s twelve man detachment earned three Silver Star medals, three Bronze Star medals for Valor, three Army Commendation Medals for Valor and eight Purple Hearts for their bravery in combat.
It is these experiences, along with the care he received from the military medical services when wounded, that have led Mario to find a strong desire to help wounded veterans and soldiers. Initially trained as an engineer, Mario has shifted his focus to pursue a medical degree in emergency medicine from the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University.
Mario’s quiet demeanor and genial attitude conceal his fierce determination in achieving his goals, but through hard work and perseverance he successfully accomplished some of the toughest combat missions and military schools in the Armed Forces. It is with this same attitude that he plans to become a successful Army doctor. After completing medical school, Mario plans to recommission as an officer in the Medical Corps and strives to return to the Special Forces Regiment as a battalion surgeon.