Chrysler Group and the Ram Truck brand have a long history of supporting the U.S. Military. You can see numerous examples here, as well as read about the Lyrics for Letters effort by Ram Truck and the Zac Brown Band.
Sunday, before the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACMA) show, Ram Truck gave a special surprise to Sgt. 1st Class James Dettloff -- honoring him for his U.S. Military service and as a representative of all of America's unsung heroes in the military.
Dettloff, his wife, Jennifer, twin 11 month-old children, Gunnar and Kiera, and his mother-in-law, Pamela Copland, made a special appearance on the ACMA Ram Red Carpet and received a plaque in honor of Dettloff’s service and sacrifices to his country.
Dettloff is currently stationed at Fort Campbell. Just a week before the ACMA show, he arrived home from Afghanistan, where he had just finished a tour where he earned two Purple Hearts. The tour of duty in Afghanistan was Dettloff's third in a combat zone, which includes two tours in Iraq. Dettloff was deployed to Afghanistan two weeks after his wife gave birth to their twins.
While deployed, Dettloff was a platoon sergeant with 2nd Platoon Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 327 Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division.
According to Jennifer Dettloff, her husband doesn't consider himself any type of hero. "It's never about him. It's always about the soldiers he serves with."
In a recent interview, Dettloff’s loyalty is apparent as he discusses fellow soldier, 1st Sgt. Robert N Barton, whose life was taken when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device in Konar, Afghanistan.
"Robert was absolutely everything a leader could ever ask for in a soldier and everything a person could ask for in a friend. He was then, and still is, the absolute very best soldier I have ever had the honor to lead and train and I miss him more than I know how to describe every day."
Later, Robert was killed in Iraq -- but still inspires Dettloff, as he wrote in a letter to his family:
"I often use Roberts’s courage and dedication to duty and his comrades as an example for my recruits to aspire to and have posted his picture and actions on my memorial space on the wall in my bay."
Above is a clip of the Dettloffs arriving at the Ram Red Carpet and Ram Truck CEO Fred Diaz presenting a plaque to Sgt. 1st Class Dettloff. You can check out other videos from the ACMA Ram Red Carpet on the Pentastar Video YouTube channel, including of Ram CEO Fred Diaz and soundbits from Sgt. 1st Class Dettloff and his wife, Jennifer.
For other images from the honor given to Sgt. 1st Class Dettloff, see this Flickr set.
Sergeant First Class James Dettloff, holding his son Gunner, musician Luke Bryan and Ram CEO Fred Diaz arrive on the RAM Red Carpet at the 46th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena April 3, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Jerod Harris/ACMA2011/Getty Images North America