#BorneTheBattle 53: Alejandro Villanueva – Army Veteran, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle


One great thing about podcasting is the ability to think, “hey, I want to talk to that person,” and then taking action to make it happen. When I learned that Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva is a former Army Ranger, I knew I wanted to talk with him. Al was nice enough to make time for This Week at VA and spoke to us about his experience in the military, transitioning to the NFL, and being a Veteran in a high-exposure arena.

About Alejandro:

Alejandro attended SHAPE American High School (Casteau, Belgium) and after graduating from West Point, he spent 2010-13 serving as an Army officer and served three tours in Afghanistan. He earned numerous honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, Combat Infantryman’s Badge and Expert Infantryman’s Badge. He is the son of Ignacio and Mati Villanuev. His father was a Lieutenant Commander in the Spanish Navy and also worked for NATO throughout Europe.

Covered in Episode 53:

  • Where to find the VA podcast
  • Interview Army Veteran Alejandro Villanueva
    • His decision to attend West Point
    • A story from his deployments
    • Transitioning from military to NFL
    • How he almost didn’t get signed
    • Comparing an NFL team to a military unit
    • Being a military Veteran in the high-exposure NFL
  • Volunteering at VA
  • #VeteranOfTheDay Coast Guard Veteran Donald Dewar

The #VApodcast is now available in iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, and Spotify. Search “Borne the Battle” in your podcast app of choice to subscribe.


Timothy Lawson

Timothy Lawson has been a member of VA’s Digital Media Engagement team since April 2016 and is the host of VA’s official podcast, Borne the Battle. He graduated from American University’s School of Communications in 2016 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Tim is a Marine Corps Veteran having served as a Marine Security Guard posted at embassies in Algeria, Russia, and Peru.


  1. Agnes Ballard    

    Outstanding story about an extraordinary man. Thank you for your dedication and valor.

  2. dale poland    

    I could not be prouder of you. thank you for standing for the flag and for your outstanding service to the U.S.A.

  3. allen brown    

    Is there anyone who reads these comments ? If there is,I am still waitng for a person to give the courtesy of a reply to the same question I have been asking for almost 3 yrs. Why have I not been contacted about my appeal? Again Thank You for Your Consideration.

  4. Rachel Riley    

    Alejandro is a true hero and gratefully still shares his knowledge and experiences with those of us who look up to him, while gaining from his courage to keep going and never quit reaching for the stars..

  5. Joe Negil    

    A lot of fabrication in this story

Comments are closed.