I wanted to write about this particular warrior for two reasons, 1) for the amazing accomplishments he has achieved in his life, and 2) I met him and worked with his team on a deployment in 2004 in which he made a huge impression on me.

Ivica Jerak, whose nickname in his unit was “Pizza,” was born in Debeljak, Croatia (at the time it was the Republic of Yugoslavia) on October 12th, 1962. In former Yugoslavia, conscription was in practice, and all men at the age of seventeen would register for service and be inducted in the military at the age of nineteen. Ivica was no different. He served in the Yugoslav military before emmigrating to the United States in his early twenties, and in January of 1988 he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a medic.

After basic training at Fort Knox, he was assigned to the 690th Medical Company out of Fort Benning, Georgia. Two years later, he was deployed with the 690th to the Persian Gulf War. After coming back from the war, Ivica was serving as a platoon sergeant in his unit before attending the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course. Following SFAS and the successful completion of the 18D Special Forces Medic course, he was assigned to the 10th Special Forces Group, where he served with the 1st and 3rd Battalions.

Ivica Jerak
Ivica Jerak

A few years later, Ivica volunteered and successfully completed Delta selection and the Operator Training Course. He was assigned to the unit in the late 1990s. One of his first deployments with Delta was to Bosnia on a mission to capture a PIFWC (Persons Indicted for War Crimes). Bosnia, like Croatia, was once part of Yugoslavia, and Ivica, being a fluent speaker in Serbo-Croatian, was utilized in a human intelligence capacity gathering information from the indigenous populations.