Romulo "Romy" Camargo
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3
Romulo "Romy" Camargo grew up in Crystal River, Florida and spent his summers visiting distant relatives in Venezuela where his mother had been raised. His father, Dr. Romulo Camargo, was the local pediatrician in town and who, like his wife, was raised outside the United States in Columbia. The tight-knit family was fond of traveling and encouraged their son to partake in sports and enjoy the outdoors. Romy was an avid athlete who during high school participated in wrestling, swimming, track and field, and weight lifting teams. When deciding his next chapter after high school, Romy was inspired by his brother Jorge, who graduated from Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia.
At 19 years old, Romy entered the U.S. Army. After basic training, he was stationed at Hunter Army Airfield and assigned to Headquarters Company 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. In 1999, he attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course where he was selected to become a Special Forces Communications NCO. Romy graduated from the mentally and physically rigorous Special Forces Qualification Course in March 2001, which opened the doors to overseas deployments to Central and South America, as well as Africa. From November 2004 to July 2005 Romy deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. His continued distinguished service and leadership enabled him to rise up the ranks. Romy was selected to attend the Warrant Officer Candidate Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and graduated in February 2006, as a Warrant Officer One.
During his deployments as a Warrant Officer, he was second in command of his Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) and conducted combat operations in both Western and Eastern Afghanistan. In September 2008, as part of a humanitarian mission in Meydan Kalay, north of Chalakor Valley, Romy's detachment was viciously ambushed. He was severely wounded after sustaining a gunshot wound to the back of the neck, paralyzing him from the neck down. Romy was medically airlifted to Bagram Airfield and once stabilized, moved to Landstuhl, Germany before coming back home and placed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. While at Walter Reed, doctors determined that his C3 vertebrae had been shattered and needed to be extracted. His breathing was tied to a respirator, and he was paralyzed from the shoulders down.
In June 2015, Romy and his wife Gaby, founded Stay in Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center based in Tampa, Florida. Stay in Step serves returning service members and veterans who not only have endured spinal cord injuries but also those with neurological disorders causing paralysis. Romy and Gaby aspire to build a new pilot center complete with an underwater treadmill, basketball court, cafeteria, kids room, and family room. The center will also address healing the mind and soul.