Major Ojeda was born on 25 September, 1970 in Rochester, Minnesota to Richard Sr. and Florena Ojeda. He was raised in Logan County West Virginia and graduated from Logan High School in 1988.
Major Ojeda took his oath of enlistment on DEC 28, 1989 and shortly afterwards attended and graduated from Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as a Bridge Crew member. Following his initial training, he was assigned to the 130th Engineer Brigade in Hanau, Germany where he would spend the next two years (the first year during the Cold War) as a member of the 814th Engineer Company (Assault)(Float Bridge). Immediately following his tour of duty in Europe, he would return to the United States and be stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he would serve in the 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat)(Airborne), assigned to the 264th Engineer Company (Airborne) (Medium Girder Bridge), the only Airborne Bridge Unit in the world. During his time in the 264th, he would attain the rank of Sergeant, and attend and graduate both the US Army Basic Airborne Course and the Sapper Leader Course.
In the summer of 1993, Major Ojeda would apply for, and would be granted a Green to Gold scholarship to attend college at West Virginia State College (now University) as a cadet through the Reserve Officer Training Corps Program. Simultaneously, he would also serve as a Non Commissioned Officer in Detachment 6, 150th Armor as a Cavalry Scout. It was during this period of time when Major Ojeda competed for, and won a slot to attend and graduate the 101st Air Assault Course located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. On May 18, 1997 he would graduate from college with a Bachelors Degree in General Education and receive a commission in the Engineering Branch with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant.
Immediately following graduation from the Officer Basic Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri he would be re-assigned back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, again, with the 20th Engineer Brigade assigned to the 37th Engineer Battalion (Combat)(Airborne). Over the next 4 1/2 years he would serve as Platoon leader of both Sapper and Light Equipment Platoons, a Company Executive Officer, Battalion Air Operations Officer and Battalion Maintenance Officer. During his time in the 37th Engineer Battalion, Major Ojeda would also complete the Advanced and Master Jumpmaster Courses through the 82nd Airborne Division Advanced Airborne Course. Major Ojeda would also become the first American Officer to be selected to attend the Chilean Commando Scuba Course.
In 2002, he would return to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and attend the Engineer Advanced Course and travel to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to complete the Combined Arms Service Staff School. Immediately following those courses, Major Ojeda found himself stationed in Uijongbu, South Korea with the 2nd Infantry Division working in the Assistant Division Engineer Cell. During his tour in South Korea, Major Ojeda would serve as Major General Woods Liaison Officer for the Land Partnership Plan, tasked to coordinate the consolidation of all 2nd Infantry Division camps from 17 existing to 5.
Following his tour of duty in South Korea, Major Ojeda would return again to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to the 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat)(Airborne) where he would serve as the Brigade Air Officer over three battalions of paratroopers, responsible for the planning of airborne operations and the management of currency of nearly 3000 paratroopers. In the Spring of 2004, he would assume command of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 20th Engineer Brigade and immediately deploy to Jordan to conduct Cultural Awareness training to prepare him to return to America and train his unit for an upcoming deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In November 2004, Major Ojeda would successfully deploy his unit to Kuwait where over the next 12 days, he would assist in developing the plan and execute a border crossing and lead the first serial of the Ground Assault Convoy from Camp Virginia, Kuwait to Camp Victory, Baghdad. Over the course of the deployment, Major Ojeda would lead and conduct numerous operations, providing security to key leaders all throughout the battlefield. Throughout the deployment, on numerous occasions, Major Ojeda and his team found themselves engaging in actual combat operations against enemy forces earning numerous members on his team, to include himself the Combat Action Badge. Following the deployment, at a ceremony held in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Major Ojeda would receive the Bronze Star Medal.
In the Spring of 2006, Major Ojeda would change command of HHC, 20th Engineer Brigade and immediately assume Command of Delta Company, 37th Engineer Battalion (Rear Detachment) and prepare the Battalion for their departure for a year long deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Over the course of the year, Major Ojeda would be responsible for the training, equipping and deployment of every new Soldier that arrived to the unit. In 2007, Immediately following the re-deployment of the 37th Engineer Battalion, Major Ojeda returned to the 20th Engineer Brigade Headquarters and deployed to Iraq again as the Chief of Operations for the Brigade. During the deployment, Major Ojeda would run the Joint Operations Center and assist in the coordination of all operations. Upon completion of the deployment, Major Ojeda would return and be assigned to the 30th Engineer Battalion where he would serve as the Battalion Executive Officer and the Brigade Rear Detachment Executive Officer for four separate Sapper Battalions, a Geospatial Battalion, a Construction Battalion and four separate companies and detachments working for the XVIII Airborne Corps.
In 2008, Major Ojeda would change duty stations to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to attend the Command General Staff College (CGSC) and also continue his civilian education by enrolling in Graduate School at Webster University. In the Summer of 2009, Major Ojeda would graduate from both CGSC and earn his Masters Degree in Business and Organizational Security. Immediately following the completions of both programs, he would be re-assigned back to Fort Bragg, North Carolina to serve in the 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division as the Brigade Special Troops Battalion Operations Officer.
On January 18th, 2010, Major Ojeda would be deployed to Operation Unified Response-Haiti as a member of the Global Response Force, serving as both the Operations and Executive Officer to provide Foreign Humanitarian Assistance to the people of Haiti following the devastating earthquake disaster that left over 250,000 dead and over one million homeless and in desperate need of medical care and assistance.
Upon his return from Haiti, Major Ojeda volunteered to train and deploy as a Combat Advisor with the 10th Mountain Division for an operation in support of Operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan. Throughout the remainder of 2010 and the majority of 2011, Major Ojeda would serve in the Logar and Bamyan Provinces as a Security Force Assistance Team Chief forward deployed to advise and mentor numerous District Chief’s of Police concerning the operational control of approximately 1200 Afghan Uniformed Police. It was during the end of this deployment where Major Ojeda would receive his second Bronze Star Medal.
After returning from Afghanistan, Major Ojeda would be re-assigned to the United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), assigned to the Beckley Recruiting Battalion as the Executive Officer. Over the course of the next two years Major Ojeda would serve as the second in command of a recruiting force that occupied one of the largest and mountainous footprints in USAREC which includes Fairmont to Beckley WV all the way East to Virginia Beach. In addition to serving in the Beckley Recruiting Battalion, Major Ojeda started the Logan Empowerment Action and Development (LEAD) Community Organization which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization completely dedicated to the citizens of Logan County conducting beautification projects, responding to disasters, establishing food and clothing pantries, conducting drives to provide children shoes to start the past two years of school with, distributed over $40,000 worth of toys to children throughout Logan County during Operation Santa and have worked with countless leaders and other civic organizations to address the needs of the people. In June of 2013, Major Ojeda came down on the selection list for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. Major Ojeda chose to retire and on October 8th, 2013 he signed out on Terminal Leave to immediately start work establishing a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Program as the Senior Military Instructor at Chapmanville Regional High School.
Major Ojeda has attended numerous courses over his 24 years of military service and each one of those courses educated him on Leadership, Accountability and most importantly, how to take care of and look out for the welfare of his Soldiers and their families.
Major Ojeda’s military awards include two Bronze Star Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, seven Army Commendation Medals, five Army Achievement Medals, The Good Conduct Medal, The National Defense Medal with Star, The Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars, The Iraqi Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, The Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, The Global War on Terror Service Medal, The Korean Service Medal, The Humanitarian Service Medal, The Armed Forces Service Medal, The Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, The Nato Medal, The Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, The Army Service Ribbon, The Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral “4” Device. Major Ojeda has earned the Master Parachutist Badge, The Air Assault Badge, The Combat Action Badge, The Sapper Tab, The Drivers Badge with “Wheeled” clasp and Combat Service Identification Badges with the 20th Engineer Brigade, Tenth Mountain Division and Third Army. Major Ojeda has earned foreign awards to include parachutists badges from Canada, Chile, Egypt, Germany, Kuwait, Pakistan and Venezuela as well as the German Bronze Shutzenshner (Marksmanship award). Major Ojeda is also a recipient of the 20th Engineer Brigade’s Centurion Jumper Club after completing his 100th parachute jump and the US Army Engineer Regimental’s Bronze Order of the De Fleury Medal.
Major Ojeda has also earned civilian honors by being recognized as a Distinguished Mountaineer in 2005 by Governor Joe Manchin III immediately following his first successful command in combat. In 2012, Major Ojeda was once again honored with the Distinguished Mountaineer Award by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for his success during another combat deployment and the creation of the LEAD Community Organization. In February of 2013, Major Ojeda was invited and attended the Presidential State of the Union Address. Major Ojeda’s combat service was recently highlighted in a book by Eric Douglas called “Common Valor” and a documentary called “The Voices of War”. On 1 January, 2014, Major Ojeda officially retired from the United States Army.
Major Ojeda is married to the former Kelly Ann Wismer of Logan, West Virginia and they have two children. Richard III (17) and Kayla Lavon (14).