2017 Tillman Scholar

Jerad Eldred

University of New Mexico

“Honorable service is caring for people in their moment of need without regard for recognition.”

Jerad was born the middle of five children in a rural town in New Mexico where his father was a blue-collar refinery worker and his mother served as a nurse. As a teenager, he struggled greatly with academics, but he found purpose serving as a volunteer firefighter and working with a search and rescue organization. In 1999 at the age of 17, Jerad decided to join the U.S. Army. Feeling that the Infantry was the best place to truly serve, he enlisted and was stationed in the 101st Airborne. He participated in the Afghanistan invasion after 9/11, but was severely injured in a helicopter crash. After his recovery, seeing firsthand how the war was being fought, he decided Special Forces was the place to be to make the biggest impact on the war effort.

After selection, Jerad was assigned to be a Special Forces Medical Sergeant and fell in love with medicine. With the 3rd Special Forces Group, he served four additional combat tours ranging from direct action mission sets to special project missions. In time, he became the Senior Enlisted Medical Advisor to the Group Command Team and the founder/manager of the Group’s Wounded Warrior Program. For Jerad, along with being the proud father of two beautiful children, serving in 3rd Special Forces Group has been the single greatest honor of his life and has inspired him to become a doctor to continue serving others.