Lieutenant John F. Pucillo enlisted in the Navy in 1991 as a Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Assistant after earning his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science with a minor in English from Old Dominion University.

In February 2006, he was deployed to Iraq where he conducted clearance missions. On May 19, 2006 on a routine mission in Baghdad, his patrol was attacked and a roadside IED blew apart his vehicle. Lt. Pucillo sustained an above the knee amputation of his left leg.

From June 2006 to February 2007 he underwent rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and was transferred to the Naval Explosive Ordnance Technology Division in Indian Head, Md. where he assumed the duties as Readiness and Training Officer. Lt. Pucillo returned to active EOD in August 2007.

That same year, after learning about the possibilities of becoming a Paralympic athlete, Lt. Pucillo made the U.S. Paralympics Sailing National Team. 

For his service, Lt. Pucillo was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.