ECD Member Pete Tragni Elected to Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame

Peter Tragni
Congratulations to Pete Tragni, one of the first members of the East Coast Doughboys, on his election to the Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame in January. In addition to being one of the most knowledgeable members of the ECD and generous with his time to new living historians, Pete also has a deep collection of World War I history. Pete has brought his collection to many events and is one of our best living historians. He has leveraged his background in the Army to help the WWI reenactment community for decades.

Pete joined the Connecticut Army National Guard in 1981 when he was just 17. He was looking forward to a career in medical services after completing basic training but fate took him in a different direction. He was chosen to attend Airborne school as an R.O.T.C. cadet. Upon his commissioning as a second lieutenant at 20, Pete joined Armored Cavalry and took over as scout platoon leader in C Troop, 26 Cavalry, Connecticut Army National Guard.

In time Pete transferred to other roles in the U.S. Army Reserve. He was a Civil Affairs Officer. When the Gulf War in 1990-91 occurred, he was activated to serve in Operation Desert Storm and commanded a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Scout Platoon in the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, and later retired as a captain.

In the civilian world, Pete had a long career as an officer in the Danbury Police Department. He served the department for 27 years as an officer, training officer, school resource officer, and patrol sergeant. Pete helped to train and guide new officers, was in the honor guard, the critical incident and stress debriefing team, and recruitment team.

His army time and police career intertwined in 2004. Pete was selected by the Department of State to become an International Police Liaison Officer in Iraq, where he trained, evaluated, and mentored new Iraqi police officers.

Upon his retirement from the police department, Pete went back to college and earned a double masters in clinical mental health and school counseling. He became a licensed professional counselor and a middle school guidance counselor. Pete used his training to work with the Army in the Military Support Program, which embeds licensed therapists in Guard units. He works as an integral part of the unit providing mental health services for soldiers and their families.

Pete worked as a school counselor in Waterbury public schools for many years, supporting students who come from many different backgrounds. Pete is on the Western Connecticut Regional School Crisis Team, which deploys to schools when a major incident occurs such as the death of a student or faculty member to render counseling services.

Today Pete is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Educational Leadership, with the vision of taking his military and police leadership experience to train school leaders in crisis situations.

Among Pete’s many awards are the Order of St. Maurice by the National Infantry Association in recognition of his selfless dedication to the mental health of soldiers. He is active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 149. Pete also brings some of his large WWI collection to 102nd Infantry Association events for displays and living history.

The Connecticut Veterans Hall of Fame was established to increase the awareness of the lifetime contributions of Veterans after completion of honorable military service. It is not a military hall of fame. Those selected for the honor are Veterans who honorable served their country through military service and who continue to serve and inspire others with their accomplishments throughout their life. Pete was inducted January 25 in Rocky Hill at the Gold Star Families Auditorium by the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs in the 19th Class of Veterans honored.

The East Coast Doughboys are proud of Pete’s honors and we always look forward to his kindness and humor at our events.