Our nation has a debt to pay: To honor our wounded and fallen warriors from ALL conflicts.
Each year HALO invites 30-50 combat wounded veterans that range from WWII to current conflicts.
The below list of wounded veterans are our confirmed attendees/participants in the 2017 “Weekend to Remember.”
Each veteran that participates has sustained combat injuries and received the Purple Heart Medal for those injuries.
Please take a couple minutes of your time to read over our event attendees and consider a donation or a ticket purchase to the 2017 “Weekend to Remember” Warrior’s Gala.
Retired Army Staff Sergeant
Bobby Henline is a retired Army Staff Sergeant, last serving with the 82nd Airborne Division. He spent 13 years in the Army, completing four tours. While on his fourth tour in Iraq, three weeks after his arrival, an IED exploded under his Humvee – April 7, 2007 is a day he will never forget. The four soldiers with him were killed. As Henline stumbled out of the wreck, a human torch, he was extinguished by the soldier he had replaced in the Humvee. With burns covering almost 40% of his body, fractured bones in his face, and his head burned to the skull, Henline was put into a medically induced coma for two weeks and was flown back to the states.
During his initial six-month hospital stay, Bobby remained upbeat, positive, and relied on humor to get him through each day. Putting nurses in headlocks, trying to keep other wounded soldiers’ spirits up by telling them jokes, and singing a ditty over and over garnered the attention of his occupational therapist. She challenged him to go to an open mic night and try his hand at comedy, making him promise with a pinky swear. He kept his promise, and that experience started a new chapter in his life. Comedy helps Bobby keep his Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Anxiety at bay, and allows him to share his story and healing with others in a positive way.
Today, Henline continues his quest to make people laugh in a variety of venues. He has performed professionally as the “Well-Done Comedian” at Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club (Las Vegas, NV), Laugh Factory (Chicago, IL), and Hollywood Improv (Los Angeles, CA) to name a few.
Henline’s story and lived experiences have been featured in numerous media, including the documentaries “Comedy Warriors: Healing Through Humor”, “Healing Bobby”, and “Weight of Honor”; on CNN, PBS KET, NPR, Today.com, and Time.com; Time Magazine, People Magazine, The Huffington Post, Guideposts, and The Nipawin Journal; as well as television, radio, and podcasts around the world.
His other experience includes modeling, acting, writing poetry, and songwriting.
As a Motivational Speaker/Comedian/Emcee, Henline is comfortable speaking with one person or 1,000’s. He collaborates with and performs for military and military-related organizations to inspire soldiers, veterans, and their families, spreading his message of life, love, joy, and resilience; he visits middle and high schools across the country to inspire young people; and speaks at mental health and other healthcare organizations, sharing his story of resiliency, hope, and healing. In addition, Henline speaks/performs for Law Enforcement and First Responders, Organized Athletics, Universities, Charities, Fundraising Events, and more.
Thomas "Charlie" Linville
U.S. Marines, EOD Team, Single Amputee, Afghanistan
Thomas “Charlie” Linville was born in Boise Idaho on August 22, 1985. He graduated from Boise high school in 2004. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on January 22, 2006 and completed basic training at MCRD San Diego. He became an 0351 infantry man. He was stationed with 3 Bn/1st Marines briefly and then was moved over to 3 Bn/5th Marines. Charlie deployed to Fallujah Iraq in 2007. During his Iraq deployment Charlie was meritoriously promoted to Cpl . When he returned from his successful tour in Iraq he submitted a lateral movement to Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). Following the completion of EOD school, Charlie was stationed with 3rd EOD Co. out of Okinawa, Japan. Charlie deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in 2010/2011 where he found himself supporting his previous infantry unit 3/5. Charlie mitigated explosive hazards on a daily basis during his afghan tour. On January 20, 2011, while conducting EOD operation Charlie was searching for IEDs. It was then he stepped on a tertiary device (a third IED). Once he regained consciousness he assessed his injuries which included severe spinal cord damage, shoulder tears, traumatic brain injuries, hearing loss, amputated right ring and middle fingers radiculopathy of left leg, and crushed right foot, he placed his tourniquets and was medevacced out from Leartherneck, to Bagram, then Landstuhl, and finally Balboa medical Center in San Diego. After fighting for 18 months to save his right leg, Charlie elected to have his leg amputated below the knee. He immediately began physical therapy and two months after the amputation he competed in his first triathlon. This gained the attention of the The Heroes Project who invited Charlie to climb Mt. Everest. After two years of being sent home due to natural disasters, Charlie finally was able to attempt the summit of Mt. Everest, which he accomplished on May 19, 2016. He became the first combat amputee to ever summit Mt. Everest. He now aspires to finish the seven summits in hopes of sending the message to others in the adaptive community, and those who may be struggling inside, to never quit or accept CAN’T.
U.S. Army Ranger Master Sergeant Leroy Petry (Ret.)
Medal of Honor Recipient
MSG (R) Leroy Petry was born on July 29, 1979 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1999; something he wanted to do since he was seven years old. After completion of Infantry One Station Unit Training, the Airborne Course, and the Ranger Indoctrination Program at Ft. Benning, Georgia, he was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He served as a Rifleman, Grenadier, Squad Automatic Rifleman, Fire Team Leader, Rifle Squad Leader, Assistant Operations Sergeant, Weapons Squad Leader, and Liaison Officer for United States Special Operations Command Care Coalition-Northwest Region, providing oversight to wounded warriors, ill and injured service members and their families. He has deployed eight times in support of the Global War on Terror with two tours to Iraq and six to Afghanistan.
His military education includes the Airborne Course, Combat Life Saver Course, US Army Ranger Course, Warrior Leader Course, Jumpmaster Course, Advanced Leader Course, Senior Leader Course, and Combatives Level-1 Course. He earned the Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Basic and Senior Parachutist Badges, and Canadian Parachutist Badge.
His awards and decorations include the Medal of Honor, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (1OLC), Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal (2OLC), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (1OLC), Army Good Conduct Medal (3rd Award), National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with 3 Combat Stars, Iraq Campaign Medal with Three campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (Numeral 3), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (Numeral 2), NATO Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, and the Valorous Unit Award.
MSG (R) Petry and his wife Ashley have four children, Brittany, Austin, Reagan and Landon. He is currently enrolled in college with goals to earn a degree in business management and own his own business. In addition he is on several boards: GE Veteran’s Network (advisory), Boulder Crest Retreat, Medal of Honor Museum(advisory), Patriot Project, and works as a warrior liaison for Feherty’s Troops First Foundation all geared to improving the lives of veterans and our military.
Medal of Honor Recipient - U.S. Army - Staff Sergeant (Ret.)
Medal of Honor / Purple Heart) When his company came under heavy crossfire from an enemy complex, S/Sgt. Jenkins unhesitatingly maneuvered forward to a perilously exposed position and began placing suppressive fire on the enemy. When his own machine gun jammed, he immediately obtained a rifle and continued to fire into the enemy bunkers until his machine gun was made operative by his assistant. He exposed himself to extremely heavy fire when he repeatedly both ran and crawled across open terrain to obtain resupplies of ammunition until he had exhausted all that was available for his machine gun. Displaying tremendous presence of mind, he then armed himself with 2 antitank weapons and, by himself, maneuvered through the hostile fusillade to within 20 meters of an enemy bunker to destroy that position. After moving back to the friendly defensive perimeter long enough to secure yet another weapon, a grenade launcher, S/Sgt. Jenkins moved forward to a position providing no protection and resumed placing accurate fire on the enemy until his ammunition was again exhausted. During this time he was seriously wounded by shrapnel. Undaunted and displaying great courage, he moved forward 100 meters to aid a friendly element that was pinned down only a few meters from the enemy. This he did with complete disregard for his own wound and despite having been advised that several previous rescue attempts had failed at the cost of the life of 1 and the wounding of others. Ignoring the continuing intense fire and his painful wounds, and hindered by darkness, he made 3 trips to the beleaguered unit, each time pulling a wounded comrade back to safety. S/Sgt.
Jenkins’ extraordinary valor, dedication, and indomitable spirit inspired his fellow soldiers to repulse the determined enemy attack and ultimately to defeat the larger force. S/Sgt. Jenkins risk of his life reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Col Paul Lockhart
United States Air Force - NASA
Commissioned in the Air Force in 1981, Paul served 26 years on active duty before retiring in 2007 from his last assignment with the Air Staff at the Pentagon. During his service with the Air Force, he served as a fighter pilot with the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and as an F-16 test pilot in Florida. As the Operations Officer for the 39th Flight Test Squadron in Florida, he directed testing for much of America’s current state-of-the-art weaponry. In 1996, Paul was selected by NASA to become an astronaut. Reporting to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas in August 1996, he completed initial astronaut training in 1998. Paul was then assigned to the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems/Operations Branch where he worked various technical issues for the Space Shuttle Main Engine and a redesign of the Shuttle’s flight display. In 2002, Paul Lockhart flew as pilot on two Space Shuttle missions to the International Space Station (ISS), STS-111 and STS-113. During these missions he directed six space walks in repair and construction of the ISS. He accumulated over 26 days in space in support of these missions.
Frederick D. Gregory
Colonel, USAF (Ret.)
Frederick Drew Gregory, Colonel, USAF (Ret.) is a former test pilot, NASA astronaut, and NASA Deputy Administrator. He was born and raised in Washington D.C. graduating from Anacostia High School. He attended the United States Air Force Academy (nominated by New York Congressman, the Reverend Adam Clayton Powell) where he received his undergraduate degree in Military Engineering. He earned his wings after helicopter school, flew in Vietnam, transitioned to fighter aircraft, attended the Navy Test Pilot School, and then conducted testing as an engineering test pilot for both the Air Force and NASA. He received a master’s degree from the George Washington University in Information Systems.
During his time in the Air Force, Gregory logged approximately 7,000 hours in more than 50 types of aircraft as a helicopter, fighter and test pilot. He flew 550 combat rescue missions in Vietnam.
In 1978, Gregory applied for and was chosen as a member of the first class of Space Shuttle astronauts.
Gregory became the first American with an African lineage to pilot a space craft, the orbiter Challenger on mission STS-51B. This flight was the second flight for the laboratory developed by the European Space Agency for scientific experiments on the space shuttle. The crew also deployed the Northern Utah Satellite before landing at Edwards Air Force Base. He was then the first person ever of African lineage to command any space mission with the launch of STS-33 in 1989 on the orbiter Discovery, which carried a classified payload. He then commanded STS-44 on Atlantis which in addition to deploying a Department of Defense satellite, DPS 15, also conducted extensive studies to evaluate medical countermeasures to long duration space flight.
Colonel Michael J. Harner
Colonel Michael J. Harner is the commander of the 377th Mission Support Group, Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. The group is responsible for providing combat-ready support to Air Force’s sixth largest installation with 52,000 acres, over 800 facilities, 1,302 housing units, and controls a $90 million budget supporting more than 5,800 military, 6,200 civilians, and 20,000 retirees. It has overall responsibility for base support including civil engineering, force support, logistics, contracting and communications services. The group also supports the 58th Special Operations Wing, the New Mexico Air National Guard’s 150th Special Operations Wing and over 100 federal and contractor mission partners engaged in Air Force, Department of Defense and Department of Energy weapons system development and testing, space technology and research, and nuclear research and development.
Colonel Harner entered the Air Force in 1993 upon graduation from Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Michigan Technological University. He has served in a variety of Air Force leadership positions at base, major command and at Headquarters Air Force levels. He has deployed four times and commanded three squadrons, including command of the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron providing forward deployed support throughout US Central Command’s area of responsibility. Colonel Harner is a Purple Heart survivor of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
John "Tig" Tiegen
U.S. Marine Corps - Sergeant
CIA Global Response Staff Team member in Battle of Benghazi
John “Tig” Tiegen – born in 1976 – is a former Marine Sergeant from Colorado who spent several years as a security contractor for Blackwater. He served the company on missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq before going to work for the CIA’s Global Response Staff.
Quiet and precise, the married father of infant twins was in the midst of his third trip to Benghazi, Libya for the CIA’s GRS when the attacks of September 11, 2012 occurred. He was the most experienced in the city and assisted in saving the lives of many. Tiegen received the Award For Heroism in recognition of his bravery and valor.
He is the co-author of 13 Hours along with members of the Annex Security team and NYT’s best-selling author, Mitchell Zuckoff.
Navy EOD - MC Ken Falke
CEO Boulder Crest Retreat
Mr. Falke is a 21-year combat veteran of the U.S. Navy EOD community and retired Master Chief Petty Officer. Ken is highly respected around the world and throughout the military and civilian counter- terrorism communities as an innovative and forward thinking leader in training and technology development. Ken serves as a subject matter expert for the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security and many foreign governments.
Under Ken’s entrepreneurial direction and leadership as the Founder of his first company, A-T Solutions, the company is a recognized international expert and valuable global asset in combating the war on terrorism. At the forefront of providing training and consulting services in the Anti- Counter- Terrorism industry today, A-T Solutions was named four consecutive years to the Annual Inc. 500/5000 fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S. Also recognized in Entrepreneur Magazines’ Hot 500 List, the Washington Technology “Fast 50”, Smart CEO’s “Future 50”, and most recently the winner of the very prestigious Greater Washington Area Government Contractor Award in the category of companies $75M-$100M. In 2010, Ken was named as the Entrepreneur of the Year for the Fredericksburg, Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce and selected as a finalist in the prestigious Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year program.
Ken currently spends the majority of his time educating the public and private sectors on the issues surrounding the long-term care of our returning military personnel and their families from the last eleven years of war.
Ken is married to Julia Falke (for the last 30 years) and has two daughters Gennavieve (24) and Rhian (20).
US Army Ranger (RET)
Todd was injured during combat operations in Mogadishu, Somalia. On 03OCT93, Todd was knocked off the “fast rope” while inserting in to a blocking position in support of Delta Force. Todd fell approximately 80’ suffering a broken left hip, numerous ribs, neck and back injuries, broken right arm, and a fractured skull. Todd was rushed to the airfield (hospital) and stabilized. Todd was then flown to a local hospital in Germany where he underwent his first surgery to repair his left hip fracture. After approximately 3 weeks in Germany, Todd was flown to the United States and admitted into Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Todd spent just under two years recovering from his injuries and was released on the Temporary Disabled Retirement List (TDRL) where he remained for 4 years attempting to rejoin the active Army. Todd was permanently retired (medical) in the late 90’s.
After retiring, Todd began a career in Law enforcement with the Pensacola Police Department. Todd worked in several different divisions, Patrol, Narcotics, and as a School Resource Officer. Todd resigned from the Pensacola Police Department in 1999.
After resigning from the police department, Todd worked as a civilian contractor in Iraq. Todd worked on a Personal Security Detail for the US Department of State.
In 2011 Todd accepted a job with the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office. Todd worked in patrol and as a K9 Handler. Todd recently resigned from the Sheriff’s Office to focus on his family and helping other veterans.
Joseph "Joey" Bozik
My name is Joseph Bozik. I was born May in1978 and have gone by “Joey” all my life; so I prefer it. I was born and raised in Wilmington, NC. After graduating from high school in 1996 I attended The University of North Carolina at Wilmington briefly before joining the Army in January of 2001. I was stationed at Ft Bragg, NC, home of the 82nd Airborne Division and U.S. Army Special Forces. After serving for over four years I was severely injured in Iraq in 2004. An IED explosion took my legs above the knees and my right arm below the elbow. I then spent the next year and a half recovering from my injures at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. When I was released from the hospital in 2006 I moved to California and began working at Wells Fargo Bank as a personal banker. While in California I had many great experiences and learned to live with my disabilities as a civilian.
In November of 2007 I moved to NC. While in N.C. I went back to school at The University of North Carolina and had two children. My daughter was born in 2008 and my son in 2012, the same year that I graduated. Since having children, I have realized my path in life was not damaged, just altered.
When I graduated from college in May of 2012 I decided to move to Dallas in order for my kids to receive a top-notch public education and a better job market. Since moving to Texas I have found employment with the Department of Homeland Security as a computer forensics analyst in the child exploitation division. I did that for one year. Now I run a non-profit called We Defy Foundation out of Mckinney, Texas. We provide combat, disabled veterans one-year scholarships so that they can begin training in jiu-jitsu in order to better improve their overall physical health, mental state, and camaraderie. I currently train and compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in-between working and helping to raise my children. I love my family, my country, and staying active.
U.S. Air Force - Senior Airmen
United States Air Force-Retired, Senior Airmen Scott Palomino. I was a 1C5, Aerospace Control and Warning Systems Operator, assigned to the 603rd Air Control Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. As a 1C5 I tracked and controlled military aircrafts with weapon systems on them. We provided Theater Air Control for all military branches during hostile combat and missions. I was injured in a mortar attack on 10 April 2004 where I lost my left leg, below the knee (BK), while being deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq, performing Theater Air Support missions. The mortar attack hit three of us, injuring two and killing one, A1C Antoine J. Holt. After losing my left leg, I realized that my life had changed and I now needed to get my education. I attended Texas A&M University-Commerce where I pledged Sigma Chi the second semester of my freshman year. I pledge Sigma Chi because they did not look at me as a man with one leg, as someone who is disabled, or some reject. They showed me the utmost respect and took me in as one of their own. I actually thought that my life was over, that I would not have friends again, and that I would never meet another woman to love. My life changed for the better after meeting all of my Brothers and I will forever be thankful to them and Sigma Chi. My Brothers showed me that life was not over and there was still so much more to live for! I have always been very athletic and enjoy running and playing basketball. And, I also met my wonderful wife, Amanda Michelle Palomino (Alpha Phi), at a Sigma Chi mixer!
I was on the 2013 and 2014 USAF Wounded Warrior Wheelchair Basketball Team, Sitting Volleyball, and Track & Field Team. I took second place in the 1600 M run with a time of 5 min. 34 sec. at the 2013 Wounded Warrior Games. I was the USA Team Captain for the 2014 Invictus Games in London, England, where I also competed in Wheelchair Basketball and Track & Field. I earned two silver medals at the Invictus Games.
I am currently the Director of the Airmen & Family Readiness Center at Carswell AFB, Texas, and Certified Personal Financial Counselor. My goal in life is to continue to work with and support Veterans and their families. I am currently attending TCU and enrolled in the Masters of Social Work (MSW) program.
Major Achievements: I received my Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) from Texas A&M University-Commerce after retiring from the USAF, Intramural Basketball Champions four years in a row at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Meeting the Love of my life, Amanda M. McGill. Getting married on 4 May 2013, My daughter, Abigail Grace, was born on 1 Feb 2014, Purple Heart Recipient, 2004, Operation Iraqi Freedom Combat Wounded Veteran, Air Force Commendation Medal, 2004, Air Force Senior Airman Below-the-Zone Promotion., United States Air Force Basic Training Honor Graduate.
Michael "Mike" Vasquez
U.S. Army - Corporal
Mike graduated from OSUT at Ft. Benning, GA as an Airborne Infantryman (11B1P) in 2005.
He served in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 as an Infantryman Machine Gunner protecting civilian contractors and recovering blown up vehicles.
In 2008-2009 Mike deployed to Afghanistan as an Infantryman team leader to provide Protective Security Detail for Military Intelligence soldiers and worked as a Human Intelligence exploitation expert as a secondary role. Mike’s roles as a team leader were: machine gunner, Squad Designated Marksman, multimedia exploitation expert, UGS (unmanned ground sensors/cameras) emplacer/operator and was frequently attached to two SF units: ODA 9224 and 2221 of 19th group Special Forces as a machine gunner when needed.
Mike’s main role in Afghanistan was to protect the M.I. soldiers, but also to use his trained-ability to go behind enemy lines and emplace hidden and camouflaged cameras to monitor the enemy’s movement and to act as a counter-IED task force team leader that helped eliminated the threat of IED emplacing Taliban and IEDs in certain areas before they could be used against coalition forces. Mike also specialized in multimedia exploitation which involved acquiring the enemy’s media devices such as cell phones and hard drives and extracting vital information that led to vital intelligence and the capturing or eliminating of Taliban leaders and fighters.
On 10 July 2009 while on a mission with the 636 M.I. team and ODA 9224 Mike’s vehicle was hit with RPGs and small arms fire severely injuring him in the gunner’s turret and his team members inside. He continued to engage the enemy and eliminate the threat to help get other injured comrades to safety by being medevac’d. Mike was also medevac’d and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury, Chiari malformation (acquired), spinal contusion, shrapnel, abdominal wounds, partial blindness, left side paralysis, and other smaller injuries.
Mike recovered at Landsthul Germany and BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center) at Ft. Sam Houston, TX and was discharged finally on 10 February 2010.
On 23 July 2013 Mike had brain surgery to help with his brain condition that was a direct result from the TBI in Afghanistan which contributed to the loss of use of both of his legs and feet. Mike is forever bound to a wheelchair now and is a paraplegic from the waist down.
Mike’s military awards include: Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with one oak cluster, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” Device, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Combat Action Badge, Texas Purple Heart, and the Texas Combat Service Medal.
Mike has a Bachelors in Applied Sciences from Wayland Baptist University in the field of Human Services and Psychology and is now attending Texas Tech University seeking a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Communication Design. He aspires to continue to help other wounded veterans that are in his similar situation and loves to advocate for VA reform to better the health care of wounded veterans. Mike also takes great pride in being an active board member and the Graphics and Media Director for “HALO For Freedom Warrior Foundation,” a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that also helps wounded veterans. His hobbies include: graphic design, woodworking, exercising, riding his hand-cycle, drawing, painting, helping others, volunteering with non-profits and his church, fishing, hunting, and more than anything: spending time with his family.
U.S. Air Force (retired) Staff Sergeant Security Forces (Military Police)
I was born and raised all over the world, while my father was serving in the U.S. Air Force, but I am a Texan at heart. I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a Security Forces member right after high school at the age of 18 following in the footsteps of my father and hell-bent on making a difference and saving lives. I served in several locations overseas in the Pacific, Europe and deployed to the middle-east in support of OIF & OEF. When I was stationed overseas back in 2012, I was targeted by a local national who was an anti-American radical who had a personal vendetta towards U.S. Military servicemen and women. He shot me with a shotgun and slug shot at point blank range nearly taking my arm off. Without the use of my forearm and hand, I elected for an amputation to utilize a prosthetic arm for a higher quality of life and working out more efficiently. The reason I am so passionate about CrossFit is because it was the only constant in my life that was not taken away from me that night. I was doing CrossFit before my injury, and now I’m continuing it after. Charlie Mike to Recovery is what it’s all about, continuing mission to recovery. Now I’m a CrossFit Trainer and will continue coaching and acquiring as much knowledge as possible to help others, especially other wounded veterans on their road to recovery as I work for the non-profit organization Wounded Wodders.
Daniel G. Neild
SSgt, USAF (Retired)
Daniel enlisted in the Air Force in June 2006 after graduating from Gilbert High School in Arizona. After graduating from the Security Forces Academy in November of 2006 he was assigned to Moody Air Force Base in Valdosta Georgia as a Fire Team Member for the 822nd Security Forces Squadron. In May 2007 Sergeant Neild was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom to the 16th Military Police Brigade as a tactical vehicle driver for Area Security Operations conducting over 110 combat missions and 11 combat sorties in support of Joint Task Force 134. On October 17th, 2007 while conducting a routine sweep on Main Supply Route Sioux Falls the lead vehicle Sergeant Neild was driving was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Staff Sergeant Neild began his second deployment in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom working as a Fire Team Leader and an Emergency Medical Technician for the 113th Infantry Battalion leading over 150 combat patrols as a part of Task Force Bucca. In 2009 Sergeant Neild began his third deployment in direct support of Operation New Dawn. He worked under the 2nd of the 127th Infantry Battalion as a Fire Team Leader leading over 122 combat patrols in support of Joint Task Force 134. Upon return from his last deployment Sergeant Neild was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the IED in during his first deployment. He retired from the Air Force on December 28th of 2013. His decorations include: the Purple Heart, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal, and the Air Force Combat Action Medal.
After the Air Force, Daniel studied Therapeutic Recreation at Arizona State University and worked for Sun Devil Fitness as the Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation Specialist. He represented the Air Force at the 2014 Warrior Games competing in track, field, and archery. Daniel also placed second at the 2014 Working Wounded Games and first at the 2015 Working Wounded Games. Currently, Daniel is the Co-Owner of CrossFit Forever Strong as well as the Co-Founder of Wounded Wodders and holds the following certifications: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Crossroads Adaptive Coach, CrossFit Weightlifting, CrossFit Mobility, & CrossFit Gymnastics.
John Lee Lund Jr.
Navy AO3 Retired
John Lee Lund Jr. was born and raised in Elyria, Ohio. In 2004, at the age of 18, John joined the Navy as an Airman Apprentice, Aviation Ordnanceman (AOAA). After basic training at Great Lakes in Illinois, John attended A-school in Pensacola, Florida. John completed A-school as third in his class and had a choice of 3 ships for assignment; 1 on the west coast and 2 on the east coast. John chose the USS Enterprise which is home ported in Norfolk, Virginia so he could be closer to his family in Ohio. Throughout John’s naval career, he was deployed 3 times and got to visit Italy, England, South Korea, China, Greece, Croatia, and Bahrain. During his 4 years in the Navy, John increased in rank from AOAA to AO3, Third Class Petty Officer. John worked in the Armory for 2 years doing small arms maintenance, qualifying ship security on small arms and salt water sprinkler maintenance. He then spent the rest of his naval career working on cargo/weapons elevator maintenance. During his service, John received his Aviation Warfare Specialist qualification, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon as well as a letter of commendation from his Commanding Officer for his exemplary work and achievements.
In 2007, John was honorably discharged and started working for federal contractors as a Heavy Mobile Equipment Mechanic on the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia. In 2011, John was hired by the Department of Defense doing the same work on the Norfolk Naval Base as he was doing as a contractor. In 2013, John was promoted to his current position as an Electronic Industrial Controls Technician.
Sgt. United States Marine Corps
My name is Chris and I served as an Infantryman for 10 years in the United States Marine Corps. I served 3 tours in Iraq and 1 in Afganistan with 2 others serving in MEU’s in various places in the south pacific. I served with the second Battalion 4th Marines, 5th Marine regiment, 1st Marine Division during my time of service. I served in Ar Ramadi, Iraq in 2004 where 20% of a 1000 man unit was either killed or wounded. I continued my service with other deployments to include a second deployment in Iraq in 2006- 2007 during the surge and conducted combat operations in the Haditha triad area doing sweep and clear missions across multiple towns and villages. I then deployed to the south pacific on 2 separate Marine Expeditionary Units to various countries to include Africa, Australia, Japan, Philipines, and other countries like UAE. On one of thos MEU’s I was the PSD element’s platoon commander that was responsible for the security of high ranking officials and U.S diplomats abroad. The MEU conducted combat operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2012 I operated in Afganistan with 2/4 and was positioned in the northern Helmend region in Musa Qala Distric Area. I was honorably discharged June of 2013 at the rank of Sergeant and current operating in Sheridan, Wyoming.
Army - Coalition to Salute American Heroes
Jorge joined U.S. Army in 2001 after eight years on the police force in Puerto Rico. On his fourth deployment to Afghanistan in April 2004, Jorge and his unit were on their way back to camp after a patrol through the region. Jorge was driving a Humvee, the lead vehicle of the convoy when it ran over an anti-tank mine.
Having taken the full brunt of the mine, Jorge was the only one injured in the explosion. His lost his right leg immediately in the explosion and his left leg was severely injured. He underwent a long recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and now wears a computer-controlled prosthetic leg.
Jorge briefly returned to law enforcement, working for the Department of Defense as a radio operator with the police department at Fort Sam Houston.
Today he is employed full time with CSAH as Director of the Family Support Network and CSAH Liaison to Brooke Army Medical Center. In addition, he serves as a the Assistant Vice President Midwest Region and National Spokesperson for CSAH to help to raise awareness for the organization and to inspire other wounded veterans to remain hopeful, even in times of extreme distress and isolation. Jorge’s story is one of perseverance that can be a model for those going through similar situations.
He resides in Texas with his wife and three young children.
Army CPT Honored Warrior Participant
(Purple Heart Recipient) US Army Airborne Ranger Charlie Company 2nd Ranger Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment Ft Lewis WA 1989-1993. Wounded 20 December 89 on combat jump into Rio Hato Panama, Jump Altitude around 400 feet “Six Minutes!!” The jumpmasters started their pre-jump commands. It was time to stand up. His knees had never been so thankful. Now it would be his legs and shoulders that would bear the discomfort of the tremendous weight of equipment. The C-130 had interior red lights and Ross heard someone reciting the Ranger Creed. You could hear the plane taking hits from ground fire, and away they went. Ross had a perfect exit, no twists. His riser was shot and he streamer in somewhere around 100 Feet. Alec Ross was medically discharged out the military in 1993. From 2003-2008 he worked as a defense contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, and rehabilitated and reenlisted in the Army Reserves in 2005. Ross was selected for Army Physician Assistant program in 2008 and graduated with a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies and was commissioned in Sept 2010. He served several posts and currently a Physician Assistant with Special Operations Command Africa and working as a civilian at Ft Campbell KY in a Troop Medical Clinic caring for our Soldiers and their families.
Blaine Campbell; upon graduating High School in Texas, Joined the United States Army in 1988 Guaranteed Airborne assignment. Served with the 2/325 82nd Airborne Infantry Regiment as a Infantryman and resonance with the scout platoon. Joined Special Forces and went through selection Oct. 1993
Worked at the advanced airborne (HALO) school until separation from the army.
Blaine Campbell has been an independent custom builder and consultant since 1999. Blaine’s primary focus was on historical and retail renovations and worked on projects nationally and internationally. He was also involved in the family business, building and developing various marinas alongside his father in the state of Texas.
His consulting experience includes working with HGTV’s 2008 Green Home in St. Lucie. He has also worked with communities and municipalities advising on their Green Initiatives and Energy Reform Programs. Blaine Campbell has advised on a sustainable designed High School in North Hampton, North Carolina.
Blaine Campbell is an active member of the Florida Green Building Coalition (FGBC), The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Solar Energy Society (ASES).
Currently owns and operates several companies in the retail construction and manufacturing industry.
Army SF, Ranger - Team Fast Track
Team Fastrax Manger Gene Newsome and has the Professional Exhibition (PRO) Rating, decorated veteran US Army Ranger and Green Beret. With over 15000 Skydives, he serves as an Accelerated Free Fall Instructor Evaluator, Tandem Instructor Examiner, Instructor Examiner, Pilot and a Master Rigger licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration at Start Skydiving in Middletown OH. Gene also was the Test Pilot For all the Flags.
Christopher E. D'Angelo
Technical Sergeant Christopher E. D’Angelo is currently serving as the Mike Missile Alert Facility Non Commissioned Officer in Charge 490th Missile Squadron, Malmstrom AFB,MT. The 490th Missile Squadron provides combat mission ready ICBM forces and missile alert facility managers for nuclear deterrence and long range offensive combat operations in support of the President of the United States and Combatant Commanders.
In 2000, Technical Sergeant Christopher D’Angelo enlisted in to the Air Force from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania following his high school graduation from Langham Creek high School. After completing Air Force basic military training Technical Sergeant Christopher E. D’Angelo went on to complete Heavy equipment and pavement construction technical school training at Fort Leonard Wood, Army post, MO. After that, Technical Sergeant Christopher D’Angelo was assigned to the 819th Red Horse squadron at his first duty station, Malmstrom AFB, MT. Technical Sergeant Christopher D’Angelo held many positions in the 819th Red Horse squadron Malmstrom AFB, MT including Delta Team Flight Chief in charge of 25 Airman, Demolition Team Non Commissioned Officer in Charge and a member of 35 person Airborne Red Horse Team which deployed worldwide to captured/remote airbases. Technical Sergeant Christopher D’Angelo has been deployed seven times with 81 combat missions/ 6 enemy engagements as a lead gun truck commander while in Iraq. He was awarded the Air Force Combat Action medal and Purple Heart for his brave actions which also led to him becoming 8 AF Staff Amn of the Year. One mission he stoped to provide cover fire for an Army tank on fire taking fire with 7 personal on the outside in cover. Furthermore he was handpicked to be Malmstrom Air Force Bases First Term Airman Center instructor assistant NCOIC. Additionally Technical Sergeant Christopher D’Angelo moved to his Special duty assignment as a Facility Manager where he resides as the Mike -01 Faculty manager in charge. He is married to the former Chanda Ruby of Great Falls, Montana. They have three children Chance, Jace and Brittyn. He was promoted to the rank of Technical Sergeant on 01 DEC 2014
CPT, U.S. Army, Infantry
The ground war of Operation Desert Storm started during his 21st birthday celebration while he was at the University of Georgia. He felt the call to duty and would soon enlist as a track vehicle mechanic.
Christian would return to college and earned a BBA in Marketing from Georgia State University while he was a dually enrolled an ROTC Cadet. When the slot at Airborne School that was promised to him as a carrot for joining ROTC was given to another Cadet, he went to a local drop zone to learn to skydive. He had 35 jumps before the Army finally came through on their promise to send him to airborne school.
He earned an active duty commission in the Infantry in December of 1997 and would go on to IOBC and Ranger School (10-98). He then led Airborne Infantrymen of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division to Kosovo in 1999-2000.
He and his partner would represent the 82nd Airborne Division in the 2001 Best Ranger Competition earning 2nd place with the smallest margin of victory in the history of the event. Christian loved serving in the Army, but resigned from active duty soon thereafter on 1 AUG 2001.
He has led his VFW Post 12002 and helped to found their main effort, Operation Santa. For over a decade the volunteers of Operation Santa have raised the funds, bought, and delivered Christmas gifts to the children of troops deployed overseas from Georgia. In their busiest year they delivered Christmas gifts to 798 children. Last year they delivered Christmas gifts to 247 children. They make a profound impact on these children, their families, and the deployed troops at a time when they are feeling the strain of deployment separation the most; during Christmas. They boost morale and help with the war effort.
He is a proud new member of Team Fastrax and enjoys skydiving when he isn’t spending time with his wife and two young daughters. They live in the northern suburbs of Atlanta.
Kenneth Pood is a 2nd generation Tora Bomb squad member and has been supporting the Tora Tora Tora group for 22 years. He took a break from working airshows for several years when he enlisted in the US Army as a 15R – Apache Crew chief. He was stationed with 3rd Battalion, 101st aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, KY on September 11th, 2001. He deployed multiple times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom as a soldier. Upon his discharge, he went back overseas as a contractor and supported the 101st AVN regiment and the 82nd Airborne Division multiple times as a Field support Representative. Ken is a 50% disabled veteran himself, and is very excited to be here today sharing his love for the military and pyrotechnics with his military brethren. Ken is married and has 3 awesome children 8, 4, and 2yrs old. He looks forward to sharing his love of the Tora group once they meet the age requirements. He now works full time for IBM as a Team Leader for the Security Services division.
MSgt Israel Delgado
U.S Air Force EOD
MSgt Israel Delgado, a native of El Paso, Texas, enlisted in the Air Force in June of 1998. In March 1999, Sergeant Delgado graduated from NAVSCOLEOD, Indian Head Naval Station, MD. Sergeant Delgado has completed overseas tours in the Republic of Korea, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey and Hickam AFB, Hawaii. His stateside assignments include Davis-Monthan, Arizona and currently Kirtland, New Mexico. His deployments include Qatar 2001, Iraq 2004, Afghanistan 2005, Iraq 2007, Vietnam 2010, Afghanistan 2011, Belgium 2013 and Saudi Arabia 2014.
Since August 2016, MSgt Delgado has served as the EOD Flight Chief at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico. MSgt Delgado has been married to Wendy Delgado for over 20 years and they have two children, Briana, 19 and Nicholas, 13 years old. His proud family continues to strongly support his desire to serve as an EOD technician.
During his most recent combat deployment, Oct 2011 to Apr 2012, MSgt Delgado served as EOD Team Leader at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, in support of USMC Route Clearance missions. On 27 Dec 2011, following a complex IED attack, Sergeant Delgado dismounted from his vehicle and initiated the convoy’s post-blast investigation and vehicle recovery operations. While he swept for potential secondary IED’s to clear a MEDEVAC landing site, a second 80lb IED detonated within 35 meters of his position. Due to injuries received, Sergeant Delgado was awarded The Purple Heart for Wounds Received in Action. Additional decorations include 2 Bronze Star Medals, Army Commendation Medal, and 4 Air Force Commendation Medals w/Valor.
MSgt Delgado lives to serve his country as an Air Force EOD technician and has reenlisted three times. His goal is to continue to serve for 24 years or more. He is currently pursuing a second degree in Homeland Security to enhance his ability to support the counter-IED effort.
Mark Clark has been a part of the WOH airshow, helping TORA for 20+ years. He joined TORA 5 years ago, as an official member. Mark made his living as a communications professional and recently retired. He also has a long history in the fire service, both paid and volunteer.
Jim Cool is a US Navy veteran serving from 1967 to 1971 as a crewman on a P-3B Orion ASW aircraft patrolling the Atlantic and Mediterranean. After leaving the military he went to work for Union Pacific Railroad and served in various capacities for 35 years until his retirement in 2007 when he retired as a Corridor Manager supervising mainline freight operations in California, Nevada and Utah. Jim has been supporting the CAF and Tora Tora Tora Airshows for 18 years and participated in approximately 150 shows. In addition to air shows, Jim is a Basic Handgun instructor and volunteers as a range safety officer at Eastern Nebraska Gun Club. He is married with 5 children and 4 grandchildren and lives in Bellevue Ne.
Commemorative Air Force
Ben West has been supporting the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) and the Tora Tora Tora group for 28 years. The CAF is a living history museum dedicated to keeping Warbirds flying and telling the importance of our military heritage and the role of airpower. Ben has been in the military for 23 years, enlisting in the Army Guard as an Infantryman in 1994. A few years later he earned his commission and was a Tank Platoon Leader on the M-1 Abrams in a Heavy Cavalry Unit. At the same time he was a high school math teacher in Bellevue, Nebraska. The Air Guard offered the chance to fly and he switched over in 1999 and flew the KC-135 for 10 years and was a part time substitute teacher. He is now a Lt Col in the Air Guard and flies a unique ISR aircraft. He is and his wife have three awesome, high energy boys.
Colonel Richard L. Menhart
United States Army Retired
COL Richard L. Menhart retired from the United States Army on 16 Nov 2016, after a 29-year military career. He was born in Vestaburg, Pennsylvania. COL Menhart completed Reserve Officer Training Corps program as a Distinguished Military Graduate and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps with detail to Infantry Branch in 1991.
COL Menhart’s assignments include Commander, 406th Army Field Support Brigade (AFSB), United States Army Sustainment Command; Director, Army Compartmented Element, United States Army Special Operations Command; G4, ACE, United States Army Special Operations Command; Battalion Commander, 701st Brigade Support Battalion, 4th IBCT, 1st Infantry Division; J4, Joint Task Force, Joint Special Operations Command; Squadron Executive Officer, Brigade Support Operations Officer, Troop Commander, United States Army Special Operations Command; Senior Supply Company Observer/Controller, Joint Readiness Training Center; Company Commander, 25th Forward Support Battalion, 25th Infantry Division; Battalion S1, 530th Supply and Services Battalion; Company Executive Officer, 647th Quartermaster Airdrop resupply Company, 1st Corps Support Command; Rifle Platoon Leader, Anti-Tank Platoon Leader, Battalion Support Platoon Leader, 1st Battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division.
COL Menhart graduated in 1991 from California University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. degree in Education. He also holds a Master’s degree in Military Studies from the Marine Corps University. His military education includes the United States Army War College Fellow, University of North Carolina, Depot & Arsenal Leadership Program, Marine Command and Staff College, CAS3, Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course and Infantry Officer Basic Course.
COL Menhart’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit (1st Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star Medal (3rd Oak Leaf Cluster), Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1st Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal (2nd Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal (Service Star), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal (Three campaign Stars), Iraq Campaign Medal (Four Campaign Stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Military Volunteer Service Medal, Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Oversees Ribbon (Numeral 3), the Valorous Unit Award, the Meritorious Unit Award, the Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Action Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Parachutist Rigger Badge, Canadian, German and Australian Parachutist’s Badge’s.
COL Menhart is married and they have two children.
United States Army
Jacey Shack was born and raised in Albany, Texas where he participated in multiple activities including Boy Scouts, Football, Tennis and Track. After graduating high school Jacey attended Sky Helicopters where he earned his commercial rotorcraft license. Jacey joined the United States Army in 2010 as a Kiowa Pilot and finely tuned his skills as an elite low level Scout Pilot. After completion of his 6 year commitment, Jacey returned to his home town and started S2 Helicopter Services. S2 is owned and operated by Jacey with the support of his wife and two kids. Since beginning the adventure of business ownership Jacey has had the opportunity to participate in many of activities but none compare to the Halo for Freedom Warrior Foundation.
Grey Jewett served 12 years in the United States Marine Corps and recently medically retired as a MARSOF Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician in July of 2016. He joined in 2004 at the age of 21 as an Electronics Technician and quickly advanced to Corporal to be eligible for a lateral move. In 2007, Corporal Jewett requested a lateral move into EOD and was accepted, graduating January 2008 from NAVSCOLEOD. His first duty station was 2D EOD Company aboard Camp Lejeune and completed two tours to Ramadi, Iraq and Helmand, Afghanistan. Upon return from his last deployment, Sgt Jewett submitted orders to MARSOC and was accepted. Now Staff Sergeant Jewett, he spend the next 5 years on Marine Special Operations Team 8222 and deployed twice more to Western Afghanistan supporting Village Stability Operations and partnered with host nation forces. Accumulative blast injuries and nerve damage ultimately led to a medical retirement. Now, Mr. Jewett attends college full time at Pikes Peak Community College and was just accepted to attend University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in the fall. He is now 33, a college student and admittedly now a homemaker (Stay at home Dad).
Michael John Stringer
Michael attended recruit training Sept. 4 2002 at Parris Island SC, and became a machine gunner, deploying to his first duty station in Kaneohe, HI in March 2003. First deployment was to Asia with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from September 2003 to February 2004. His second deployment was to Afghanistan – October 2004 – May 2005. Michael re-enlisted with orders to Camp Pendleton, became a marksmanship instructor for West Coast recruits. Third deployment was to Iraq from October 2008-May 2009. Michael applied to Explosive Ordnance Disposal School in September 2009, and graduated a year later, September 2010.
After completing EOD School, he was transferred to Camp Lejeune. While on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan, he was severely injured while investigating an IED strike. As the EOD Team Leader, working with Georgian soldiers, he was severely injured by a secondary IED and was awarded the Purple Heart in April 2012.
Michael’s injuries include: two broken wrists, bones in both hands were broken; jaw was severely shattered resulting in TMJ pain. I was given a tracheotomy to get me breathing again which has effected my swallowing. My main injuries included a severe Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD, which has completely reshaped my life, relationships, judgment and well being in general.
Michael honorably and proudly finished his 11-year military service attached with Wounded Warrior BN, and medically retired Sept. 29th 2013
Christopher William Blount
E6 US Navy
Biography: I joined the Navy immediately after high school in 2003. I went to Hospital Corpsman (HM) “A” school following graduation from Recruit Training in Great Lakes, IL. During HM “A” school, I volunteered for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). I stayed in Great Lakes for a few months post “A” school graduation for special programs prep before transferring to EOD Mobile Unit (EODMU) TWO in Virginia Beach, VA for ‘mudpup’ duty. As a mudpup I learned basic skills and knowledge which prepared me for dive school. Two months later I was on my way to Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, FL. After dive school graduation, I moved on to Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD school for short) in Eglin AFB, FL.
I graduated EOD school in 2005. Between graduation and my first assignment, I attended Tactical Training in San Diego, CA where I gained skills in shooting, land navigation, and helicopter rope suspension techniques (HRST). After this training, I completed my permanent change of station (PCS) orders to EODMU EIGHT in Sigonella, Sicily, IT. Shortly after arriving to EODMU8, I was able to attend the Army’s Basic Airborne Course in Fort Benning, GA. Returning to Italy a second time with new silver jump wings, I joined back up with my team and prepared for our Africa deployment to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Each of my deployments were six months each. After Africa in 2006, I deployed to Iraq in 2007, and to Afghanistan in 2008.
After my last deployment, I spend time on a mine countermeasures (MCM) team and worked in the Readiness and Training (R&T) department. During that time, I applied for an enlisted-to-officer commissioning program, Seaman to Admiral (STA-21), and was selected for officer training. In 2010 I transferred to Officer Training Command in Newport, RI. After graduation, I attended the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime college. I studied International Transportation and Trade and held leadership roles in Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) Battalion. I studied there in the Bronx for two years before being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I. I was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by medevac in 2012 and medically retired in 2013.
SSG US Army
SSG Kolmerten came on active duty in 2007 and immediately proceeded to Redstone Arsenal for Explosive Ordnance Disposal training. After successfully completing Phase 1, he transferred to Eglin Air Force Base to NAVSCOLEOD. Here, he spent 9 months training to become an EOD technician. After Graduation, he was sent to his first duty station, Mannheim, Germany. After two years of TDYs and training events, he deployed to Afghanistan for the first time. Hal spent a year traveling around and working as part of an EOD Team responsible for disarming or destroying over 200 IEDs. He returned from this deployment and immediately transferred to Fort Stewart, GA. There he became a platoon sergeant and was tasked with preparing 5 EOD teams for a Special Operations Support Mission, deploying in June of 2013. It was a very successful deployment for my teams and myself. On his final mission in country, 10 Dec 2013, he was shot by small arms fire, 7.62, in the left leg. SSG Kolmerten was Medevac’d to Kandahar and then on to Germany. He returned to duty and was able to make himself eligible for assignment back to NAVSCOLEOD, where he currently trains the next generation of EOD Technicians.
Technical Sergeant Jermaine R. Kindred is the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Operations Support Division, Nevada Test and Training Range, Nellis AFB, NV. He directs operational and support personnel for the Nevada Test and Training Range. This HQ USAF selectively manned activity encompasses eight directorates and over 800 civilians, military and contractor personnel operating in four distinct locations including; Nellis AFB, NV; Creech AFB, NV; Tonopah Test Range, NV, and Leach Lake Tactics Range, Fort Irwin, CA. He manages the safe clearance and removal of unexploded ordnance, low-level radioactive waste, and material potentially presenting an explosive hazard for the 2.9M acre bombing range in order to provide the war-fighter a flexible, realistic and multidimensional battle-space to conduct testing, training and tactics development in support of U.S. national interests. TSgt Kindred advises the Operations Support Division Target Manager on creating relevant target sets, safe range procedures, AFI target currency compliance, and weapons and ordnance impacts to the range. In addition, he oversees Weapon Danger Zone and Radiation Safety programs. He has served in many capacities such as Functional Area Expert, Radiation Safety Officer, and liaison officer to the Department of Energy.
TSgt Kindred initially began his career in the aircraft maintenance career field. After completing basic training in 1999, he attended technical training at Sheppard AFB, TX for Aircraft Fuel System Repair. While in this career field he made the rank of Senior Airman Below the Zone and in 2003 deployed to Jordan in support of Combat Search and Rescue missions, subsequently being named the 57th Wing, Nellis AFB, NV Maintenance Professional of the Year. In 2006, TSgt Kindred re-trained into the Explosive Ordnance Disposal career field. During this period he has deployed three times as an EOD technician in support of the global war on terror and served one tour in Iraq; two tours in Afghanistan. In 2010, TSgt Kindred’s team was involved in an IED strike that took the life of his teammate Senior Airman Michael Buras, and wounded himself and TSgt Kemp. He is married to Julie and has three children; Sasha (12), Madeleine (6), and Mikey (3).
Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Williams is a former Canadian Light Infantryman. After moving to America he joined the United States Marine Corps as an Automotive Diesel Mechanic. He deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina as part of the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) Katrina, and Joint Task Force Lebanon. He then laterally moved into Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). As part of EOD, or as they are commonly referred to, “the Bomb Squad”, he deployed to Iraq during the Iraqi Surge and Iraqi Sovereignty phases of the war. GySgt Williams then deployed 3 more times to Afghanistan during the Consolidation I, Consolidation II, and Transition I phases of the war.
Gunnery Sergeant Williams has received the following awards: Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V”, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, Navy Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation (4), Good Conduct Medal (3), National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal (2), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (6), Nato Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Operation Enduring Freedom (3), and Operation Iraqi Freedom (2).
Gunnery Sergeant Williams achieved his Masters of Arts degree in National Security from American Military University (AMU), and his Bachelors of Arts in Homeland Security from AMU. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Administration for Homeland Security and Leadership at North Central University. His current hobbies include crushing Zimas, burnouts on his scooter, and burning worms to the dance floor!
Dan Stollings joined the United States Air Force in 1981, followed by the Air Guard, for a total of 10 years as a Jet Engine Mechanic, Egress Technician and Firefighter Augmentee. He maintained F-4 Phantoms, OA- 37 and C-141. In the Guard he ran the Test Cell and Trim Pad.
On the civilian side, Dan has maintained 2 civilian corporate aircraft ( Piper Aerostar 601p) and was Maintenance Superintendent of a Medical Equipment Company in Richland Michigan for 6 years. During that time, Dan was instrumental in starting a tourist line Railroad in Michigan. He was on the Board of Directors and was also the Chief Mechanical Officer. Dan went to work as a Service Manager for West Shore Fire for 2 years. They were the Michigan Dealership for Emergency One Fire Apparatus. He worked for Dowding Industries in Eaton Rapids Michigan as Maintenance Superintendent and maintenance. He went to work for West Shore Services as an installer and Specialty rigging and put together many exhibits at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan. Dan put the whole Aviation exhibit together at the Henry Ford Museum and moved the Wright flyer aircraft for them and Walt Disney. Dan then went into the Mass Notification side. IE tornado sirens, plant alarm, employee evacuation notification. In 2015 He started his own business, Fortis Alerting Systems. He works all over the United States and currently very heavy in the Petrochemical Industries for plant / site notification systems.
Dan started with Tora in 2015 at the Wings Over Houston Airshow.
Scott F. O'Grady
Captain Scott F. O’Grady was born in Brooklyn, New York. He moved with his family to Long Beach, California in 1970, then to Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1972 and finally to Spokane, Washington, in 1974. He graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1984 and attended the University of Washington for one year before transferring to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. O’Grady earned an Aeronautical Bachelor of Science degree in 1989 and was commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps program, April 1989.
Following college, O’Grady attended the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, from November 1989 to December 1990. He was then assigned to F-16 pilot training at Luke Air Force Base until December 1991 when he began his first operational assignment flying the F-16 at the 80th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Korea. In April 1993, O’Grady was reassigned to the 526th Fighter Squadron in Ramstein, Germany, until assuming a position in May 1994 with the 555th Fighter Squadron in Aviano, Italy. In October 1995, he was assigned as an F-16 pilot with the 466th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In July 1998, he was assigned to a joint survival agency at Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane, Washington. After 12 years of military service, O’Grady entered inactive reserve status in February 2001. Shortly after, he enrolled at Dallas Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master’s Degree in the spring of 2007. Scott also was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service by the University of Portland in Oregon.
O’Grady was helping enforce the NATO no-fly zone policy in the skies over Bosnia when a Soviet-made anti-aircraft missile slammed into his F-16. O’Grady tells his incredible story of how he survived in hostile territory for six days before being rescued by the U.S. Marines in his book, Return With Honor, which spent six weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. He has also published Basher Five-Two, a children’s edition of his original story. His courageous story has also been documented on the Discovery Channel presentation, Behind Enemy Lines. In addition, O’Grady has been featured on CNN’s Voices of the Millennium, a Then and Now, series that focus on the most influential personalities of the 20th Century. O’Grady has accumulated more than 1,300 military flying hours including over 1,000 in the F-16.
Darryl J. Dutton
U.S. Air Force
TSgt (R) Darryl J. Dutton spent 12 years in the U.S. Air Force in various locations around the world. He joined the military in November 2000 from his hometown of Milton, Vermont. His assignments included Dyess AFB, TX, Eglin AFB, FL, Incirlik AB, Turkey, and Hickam AFB, HI. He also deployed from those locations 6 times to Oman, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
During his final mission in Afghanistan, his unit was injured by a buried improvised explosive device, and caused damage to TSgt’s Dutton left arm and leg. He was immediately medevac’d to Kandahar and spent 1 month in various hospitals, ending with Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, TX.
His injuries caused him to be medically retired, in December 2012, from the Air Force and begin his civilian life. TSgt Dutton now resides back in his home state of Vermont and continued his government service with the US Citizen and Immigration Services in St. Albans, VT until 2015. He currently spends as much time with his kids as he can as a stay at home father.
TSgt Bruce Thomashunis graduated from Lecanto High School Florida in May 2002. He left for USAF basic training in October 2002. From December 2002 to October 2003 TSgt Thomashunis attended Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Eglin AFB, FL. After EOD school he was assigned to the 325 Fighter Wing Tyndall AFB, FL. While at Tyndall TSgt Thomashunis was deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq as an EOD Technician. During this deployment a roadside IED hit his HMMWV. TSgt Thomashunis suffered a mild TBI from this incident. In February 2008 he was assigned to the 45 Space Wing Patrick AFB, FL. While at Patrick AFB, TSgt Thomashunis deployed one time to Baghdad, Iraq and twice to Kandahar, Afghanistan. In November 2012 he was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing Lakenheath, England. During his time there he had one deployment to Siauliai, Lithuania. In November of 2016 TSgt Thomashunis was assigned to the 90 Missile Wing F.E. Warren, Wyoming, and continues his active duty career.
During TSgt Thomashunis’ career he has been awarded 2 Bronze Stars, 2 Air Force Commendations, 2 Army Commendations, Air Force Combat Action Ribbon and the Army Combat Action Badge.
Casey L. Pascoe
Casey joined the Air force in 2003 and went straight into EOD School and graduated in March of 2004. He was sent to his first duty station, Luke, AFB Phoenix Arizona. While stationed at Luke Casey deployed to Kirkuk Iraq in 2006-2007. In September 2006 his team’s vehicle was hit by an IED while conducting a routine route clearance mission. After the hit, Casey began to have symptoms of a TBI but brushed it aside and kept on with the missions. After Luke AFB he was sent to an overseas assignment to RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, shortly after he was deployed to Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan his team filled many different roles. We were eventually sent to a French Area of Operation to provide counter IED support to the French Special Forces and the 10th Special Forces Group. While conducting missions in the Kapisa Providence Casey’s injuries were further aggravated due to being subjected to multiple close detonations. Casey was awarded the Bronze Star for the missions completed. He returned back to England and was under going neurological evaluations and was denied to deploy back to Afghanistan in 2012. Shortly after this, Casey was awarded the Purple Heart back dated to September 2006 for the TBI that he sustained initially in Iraq. On May 28 2013, Casey medically retired from the United States Air Force.
In 1966, after a year of proving to his family and friends that he really was not yet mature enough for college, John Bates dropped out of school and enlisted in the US Marine Corps as an infantryman and a machine-gunner. Following training, he was permoted to Private First Class and deployed to Vietnam where he was assigned to Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, primarily based out of An Hoa, Vietnam. He fought in eight major named combat operations and was wounded in battle on three occasions; grenade shrapnel to his left knee and leg, a punji stake wound through and through the left foot and a machine-gun wound through his right chest. The gunshot wound and following surgery necessitated removal of most of his right lung. Curiously, every time he was wounded, he was promoted to the next higher rank; thereby leaving Vietnam as a Sergeant of US Marines with less than two years total of active duty.
Returning home to Camp Pendleton, CA, his package was reviewed by BUMED, the Navy medical branch that clears Marines for world-wide duty. Bates was determined by them to be “Not Fit.” So, without the band, parade or celebrative cigars, he was medically retired.
Anthony “Tony” Davis
Specialist (retired) Anthony “Tony” Davis was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia December 22, 1971. After graduating high school in 1990, he enlisted in the Army and was assigned to B Co. 2/505 PIR, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. On March 23, 1994, he was at Green Ramp, Pope AFB preparing for a Hollywood jump with Australian jumpmasters when an F-16 and C130 collided above the runways. The C130 landed and the F-16 crashed and slid into a parked C141 that was just fueled. The resulting fireball spread through the 500 paratroopers waiting to jump. Specialist Davis was hit with debris causing the loss of his left leg below the knee, numerous burns, broken patella, and upper body nerve damage. He was taken to Womack AMC and then transferred to Walter Reed AMC where he recovered over the next 8 months. He was medically retired in February 1995. He is now married with two daughters and works as an IT Specialist with the Federal Air Marshals.
Carlton V Harrand
He Joined the army in August 1948 and attended basic training in Fort Knox, KY. He attended jump school in Fort Benning, GA and was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY. In 1950 became part of the 187 Airborne Regimental Combat Team to Korea where he had his first combat jump in Sunchon, 16 miles north of Pyongyang. His second combat jump took place in Muncan-ni in March 1951. That year his platoon sergeant was killed and he assumed command. Later he was involved in a jeep accident and was hospitalized for 8 months. He was discharged from the army on May 22, 1952.
He returned to Oshkosh and married in 1953. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1956. He moved his family to Albuquerque, NM where he taught school for 32 years, retiring in 1989. He and his wife have 6 children, 3 sons and 3 daughters. They live in Rio Rancho, NM and also have a residence in Angel Fire, NM. He spends the majority of his time in Angel Fire where he enjoys ski biking in the winter months.
Retired CSM, US Army
Dave Jenkins is a retired US Army CSM who gave 25 + years of service throughout his Army career was born at Fort Bragg NC and raised in Altoona, Pa. He’s served with distinction with both conventional Army units and SOF throughout his Army service. Dave began his active Army duty in June of 1982 and completed Field Artillery School at Fort Sill OK and was subsequently assigned to his Army unit in Germany. In 1984, Dave was re-assigned to the 82nd Abn Division at Fort Bragg NC as a 105mm gunner-section chief and in 1988 attended the newly established JFKSWC Special Forces Orientation Training 21 day course. Upon selection, Dave received further training as a 18B Special Forces weapons SGT and became a SFQC graduate. Upon completion of the SFQC, Dave was re-assigned to the 7th SFG(A) at Fort Bragg NC and Fort Davis-Clayton Panama, C 3/7 SFG(A) from 1989-1999 where he participated in Operation just Cause, Promote Liberty and many other, JCETs and counter-narcotics missions throughout the SOUTHCOM AOR. Dave has held the duties of 18B junior- senior weapons SGT, 3 X man HALO-Sniper Tm Leader, assault force team member, 18F Asst-Intell Ops SGT, Military Observer Mission Ecuador-Peru JTF SGM and 18Z Special Forces Detachment Team Sergeant when assigned to B Co 3/7 SFG(A). In 1999, Dave was re-assigned conventionally by choosing, as First Sergeant to HHS 1/321 FAR (Abn), the Army’s only airborne droppable 155mm unit located right back down the street at Fort Bragg NC. Selected for SGM in 2003 from a short stint in the 25th ID Hawaii, Dave attended and graduated from USASMA Class 54 and was thereafter reassigned back to the 18th Airborne Corp Artillery at Fort Bragg NC as the Fire Support Sergeant Major (2004) and immediately deployed to Iraq where he became an advisor to the Iraqi Security Forces during combat operations throughout Baghdad. During a personal security detail mission ( 1 X US Army General Officer-Italian Ambassador) and investigation for the Italian Hostage shooting incident in March of 2005-Baghdad, Iraq, Dave was injured by a hand grenade that was thrown off a bridge that went off behind his vehicle while dismounted. Dave’s shrapnel injuries were minimal; he was RTD and was returned to Fort Bragg to assume duties as a BN CSM for a re-organized Field Artillery (1/377 FAR-Gunslingers) unit and we deployed on order in Oct 2005 as a battalion sized security gun truck element. Our Gunslingers did an incredible job during the entire deployment with over three million miles of security ops driven and countless hero’s who won awards for valor, purple hearts to include, we were the only battalion in the brigade during rotation to not have a combat KIA….God rode with us. Also during this deployment, I was personally involved with another type of three hr complex attack north of Taji on MSR Tampa in the spring of 2006 that involved an insurgent gasoline fuel bomb truck exploding, while receiving small arms and a service laid IED that over pressured our road side security halt. Weeks thereafter, I began to have headaches and fortunately reported them to the local TMC that thankfully documented them in my med records….soooo where I am today continues on from my last day of Army service back in Oct 2007. Since then, Dave Jenkins has been diagnosed with TBI, a skull based tumor and has survived two successful brain surgeries . I’m so humbly proud to be standing here among you all and to be so richly blessed to be a part of this HALO for Freedom-Warrior Foundation-Weekend to Remember….I will never forget, never each and every one of you. And as I walk this Texas earth with ya’all this week, I cannot ever forget and won’t forget the American heroes who have given their lives for our great country. As a Gold Star child myself, my father gave his life in Vietnam with the 5th SFG(A) during the Battle of Dong Xoai, 10 June 1965, so as you may understand, war has been at every cornerstone of my life, just as every step of my life has been with Dana Bowman in our Special Forces brotherhood , as roommates and our nearly 30 years of enduring friendship. Oh yea, we go back and do we ever, but Dana is the absolute leadership-Godsend for this entire Weekend to Remember-HALO for Freedom and ALL wounded warriors worldwide…so please love him and thank Dana every chance you have to include all his committee members. Dana is my friend forever, on both sides of heaven and for all his sacrifices, and the countless lives of disabilities he’s been changing-empowering over these twenty years needs he deserves unquestionably national recognition and I’m talking from the President of the United States. God has spoken to my heart and I’m going to form a personal committee over the next two-three years to have Dana Bowman nominated for the Presidential Medal of Freedom under President Trump, and whomever wants to come on board and assist myself with this very important mission for Dana and his legacy would be greatly appreciated! Lastly, on Dave’s final bio out, he’s always been godly blessed and is married to the former Jeri Rae McGarvey from Osceola Mills , Pa whom they share a three year old son with named Luke and Dave’s first born son, Matthew Jenkins an airborne-infantryman who is currently serving proudly in the 173rd ABCT 2/503 Vicenza, Italy whom Dave is so very proud of. Two sons, 18 years apart and Dave’s favorite pastimes are hunting, fishing, camping and staying connected with veteran’s worldwide! Dave is currently on disability leave from the USASOC Special Operations Missions Training Center at Fort Bragg NC as he continues to undergo neurological rehab for his TBI related conditions and two last brain surgeries.