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.
Medal of Honor Recipient - U.S. Army - Staff Sergeant (Ret.) Vietnam Veteran
Don Jenkins, from Quality, Kentucky, had been working in the coal mines for several years when in the Spring of 1968 at age 19, he received his draft notice and reported to Fort Campbell. By October 1968, PFC Jenkins was in Vietnam with Alpha Company, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. Just three months later, in January 1969, Don and his unit were dropped off in Kien Phong Province where large numbers of North Vietnamese were dug into bunkers directly around their landing zone. Within minutes of landing, their unit took heavy fire. Don ran to an exposed position in front of his unit and opened fire on the enemy gathered around log bunkers. Several charged him; he killed them all. When his M-60 jammed, he grabbed a rifle and continued to fire on the enemy. In need of more ammunition, Don then made multiple trips through heavy fire to get more ammunition from dead GIs. When there was no more ammunition on the battlefield, Don crawled to a fallen comrade with two antitank weapons, grabbed them, and ran within twenty yards of two North Vietnamese bunkers and took out both of them with the antitank weapons. While firing an M-79 grenade launcher, he was struck in the legs and stomach with shrapnel, but, hearing the cries of help from fellow soldiers trapped in the midst of battle, he ignored his own injuries and crawled back through the high jungle grass to reach a wounded soldier. Don dragged him over hundred yards to safety then crawled back into the darkness several more times, and one by one, rescued three more wounded soldiers.
Don returned home later that same year, and, after his discharge, went back to work in the coal mines of Kentucky. One afternoon in 1971, an Army officer arrived at his door and told him he needed to get a new suit and a haircut; he was going to Washington, D.C. There, on March 3, 1971, President Richard Nixon presented him with the Medal of Honor. After the ceremony, Don returned to Kentucky and worked in the coal mines until 1999, when he was forced to retire because of a disability.
Medal of Honor Recipient - U.S. Army Ranger Master Sergeant (Ret.) Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Leroy A. Petry enlisted in the United States Army in 1999 from his hometown of Santa Fe, New Mexico, 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 Delta Company, 2nd Ranger Batallion, 75th Ranger Regiment. On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Leroy was in training to be a Ranger, and his instructor told the class, “Keep training, you might be going to war.” Within months, Leroy was in Afghanistan for the first of 8 deployments – 2 to Irag and 6 to Afghanistan – for overseas contingency operations in support of the Global War on Terror.
On May 28, 2008, during a tour with the 75th Rangers in Paktya Province, Afghanistan near the mountainous border of Pakistan, Leroy and dozens of Rangers were executing a high-risk daylight mission into an insurgent compound. The insurgents were heavily armed, but it was considered a risk worth taking because intel indicated that a top Al Qaeda Commander was in the compound. As the helicopters touched down, the Rangers immediately came under fire. Within minutes, Leroy and another Ranger pushed ahead into a courtyard, surrounded by high mud walls. As the enemy opened up, Leroy was hit in both legs by AK-47 fire. Bleeding profusely, Leroy summoned the strength to lead the other Ranger to cover, behind a chicken coop. As Leroy radioed for support, he hurled a grenade at the enemy, giving cover to a third Ranger who rushes to their aid. An enemy grenade exploded hereby, wounding his two comrades. Then, a second grenade landed – this time, only a few feet away. Instead of seeking cover, Leroy lunged forward, toward the live grenade. He picked it up, cocked his arm to throw it back and, just as he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist, showering him with shrapnel, and saving the lives of his Ranger brothers. Despite his grievous wounds, Leroy remained calm and even put on his own tourniquet. He continued to lead, directing his team, giving orders, communicating the situation by radio, and even telling the medics how to treat his wounds.
Leroy was awarded the Medal of Honor in 2011 and continued his Army service as a Liaison Officer for the United States Special Operations Command Care Coalition. He considered it a great opportunity to work with the care coalition; stating “If I can’t go to the fight, I can help the men who are wounded, injured or ill.” Leroy retired in 2014. He and his wife, Ashley, have four children: Brittany, Austin, Reagan and Landon.
Thomas "Charlie" Linville
U.S. Marine Corps, EOD Team - Afghanistan War Veteran
A Boise, Idaho native, Thomas Charles Linville has served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It was in Afghanistan, while serving with the 9th Engineer Support Battalion 3rd Marine Logistics Group EOD Company as an Ordinance Disposal Technician, that Charlie was struck by a tertiary device. Charlie and his unit were responding to an IED detonation and while conducting a sweep of the area, he was struck by an IED device. The explosion launched him into the air and inflicted multiple injuries on him, some visible others not. He suffered fractures to his right foot which later resulted in an amputation below the knee. In addition, Charlie suffered the amputations of his right ring and middle fingers, a severe spinal injury at the L4, L5 and S1 levels, which caused radiculopathy in his left leg further impairing his mobility, and a moderately traumatic brain injury.
Charlie has undergone multiple experimental surgeries in order to walk again and lost his right foot to an amputation after fighting over a year to save it. Despite his injuries and debilitating pain, he has volunteered his time with the Armed Services YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, Feed America, Lives of Promise and the Semper Fi Fund as an advocate for other wounded warriors. After his first two attempts at Everest were halted due to both an avalanche and an earthquake, undaunted, Charlie completed the last of The Seven Summits, and on May 19, 2016, became the 1st combat wounded veteran to reach the top of Mt. Everest.
U.S. Army Ranger Veteran - Sergeant - Mogadishu, Somalia Veteran Movie: Blackhawk Down based on events
Florida native Todd Blackburn was a Ranger in 1993 with Bravo Company, Third Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment as part of a team of about 100 Rangers and Delta Force commandos sent in to capture Somali warloads disrupting international humanitarian efforts to end a famine that had killed over 300,000 Somalis. In the dusty, chaotic capital of Mogadishu, Somalia, 18 U.S. soldiers died in a single day in 1993, the worst firefight American troops had fought since Vietnam and the subject of the movie Black Hawk Down. As Todd’s Ranger team was to dropping into the city, he fell 80 feet to the ground suffering a broken left hip, numerous ribs, neck and back injuries, a broken right arm and a fractured skull. Todd survived partly due to his quick evacuation in a convey of three Humvees. The vehicles came under such intense fire that the medic treating Todd held an IV bag with one hand while he fired his rifle with the other.
Todd spent 3 weeks hospitalized in Germany before being admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center where he spent the next two years recovering from his injuries. Todd, who was raised in a military family in Pensacola, was medically retired and returned to his hometown where he pursued a career in law enforcement. Todd has worked with the Pensacola Police Department in several divisions including Patrol, Narcotics and as a School Resource Officer. Todd recently resigned from the Santa Rosa County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office where he was in patrol and a K9 Handler so he can turn his focus to his family and to helping other veterans.
Major General Gary L. Harrell, USA (Retired)
Major General, USA (Ret)
Major General Gary L. Harrell officially retired as the Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Special Operations Command on 1 July 2008. Gen. Harrell’s distinguished career began when he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 7 December 1973 upon graduation from East Tennessee State University. His initial assignment was to the 2nd Battalion, 508th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Anti-Tank (TOW) platoon leader.
In January 1977, after completing the Special Forces Qualification Course, he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Ft. Gulick, Panama. He served as Commander of an SFOD-A, SCUBA Team, and Commander of the first CINC, INEXTREMIS Assault Team. Harrell was again assigned to the 82nd Airborne in September of 1980. He assumed command of Company C, 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry in February 1981, and deployed as a member of the first multinational force to the Sinai Peninsula in the Spring of 1981. Harrell was assigned as the G3 Air, 82nd Airborne Division and deployed to Grenada for Operation Urgent. In April 1984, he was assigned as the Operations Officer, 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group Airborne, Ft. Devens, MA.
In December 1985, Harrell was assigned to 1st SFOD-D, (Delta Force) Ft. Bragg, NC as a Troop Commander. While in the unit he participated in Operation Just Cause, Panama. His troop performed the first successful hostage rescue by snatching a US Citizen, Kurt Muse, who had been held captive in Modelo Prison by Noreiga’s forces just prior to the commencement of the main U.S. invasion of Panama. Harrell was the only officer to enter the Modelo Prison during the rescue operation.
In March 1991, Harrell was assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command as the Army Special Operations Action Officer. He participated in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In April 1992, he assumed command of C Squadron, 1st SFOD-D and deployed to Colombia, where he led forces in operations against Drug Lord Pablo Escobar, in support to the Government of Colombia.
His next combat deployment was to Somalia for operations in support of UNOSOM II. In Somalia, he was the Ground Force Commander for combat operations that a portion of which were later depicted in the book and subsequent movie known as Blackhawk Down. On 9 October 1993, he was severely wounded by enemy mortar fire and evacuated back to the U.S. where he began a long recovery process. He was assigned as the Deputy Commander, SFOD-D, in June 1995 and later commanded 1st SFOD-D from July 1998 to July 2000, participating in numerous combat operations with SFOD-D.
U.S Army Staff Sergeant - Iraq VeteranMotivational Speaker
A veteran of 13 years in the Army with four tours in Iraq, Robert “Bobby” Henline, sustained severe burns and injuries when his Humvee was struck by an IED blast while leading a paratrooper convoy in Iraq in 2007. Bobby was the sole survivor of the attack which tossed his crumpled, flaming Humvee five car-lengths down the road and left his four fellow paratroopers dead. The blast fractured bones in his face and burns covered over 40% of his body. His head was also burned to the skull. Bobby was placed into a medically induced coma for several weeks. His left hand was later amputated.
During his rehabilitation, Bobby began telling jokes as a coping technique to stay positive, upbeat and to ease the discomfort. His joking was so successful that Bobby is now a regular on the stand-up comedy circuit. He has performed professionally as the “Well Done Comedian” in Las Vegas, Chicago and Los Angeles and has been featured in numerous documentaries, magazines, television, radio, and podcasts worldwide. Comedy helps Bobby keep his Post-Traumatic Stress and anxiety at bay while sharing his story of resilience, hope and healing with others.
Colonel Paul Lockhart
U.S Air Force - Astronaut
Paul S. Lockhart, Col, USAF (R), is a former United States Air Force pilot, aerospace engineer, test pilot, and NASA Astronaut with two space shuttle missions.
Paul was born in Amarillo and attended Texas Tech University where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics followed by a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas in 1981. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF in 1981 and upon graduation from pilot training in 1983, was assigned to the 49th Fighter Interceptor Squadron flying T-33s. In 1986, he transitioned to the F-4 and flew operationally with U.S. Air Forces, Europe (Germany) from 1987-1990 as an instructor pilot for F-4 and F-16 aircrew in the tactics of surface-to-air missile suppression. In 1991, he reported to Edwards Air Force Base for yearlong training as a test pilot in high performance military aircraft. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Test Wing at the Air Force Developmental Test Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, performing weapons testing for the F-16 aircraft. During his 4-1/2 year tour at Eglin, he was selected as the Operations Officer for the 39th Flight Test Squadron. Much of America’s state-of-the-art weaponry was first tested under his guidance at the 39th Flight Test Squadron. He has logged over 5,000 hours in more than 30 different aircraft and the Space Shuttle.
Selected by NASA in April 1996, he reported to the Johnson Space Center, completed initial astronaut training, and was assigned to the Astronaut Office Spacecraft Systems/Operations Branch where he worked various technical issues including the Space Shuttle Main Engine and redesign of the orbiter’s flight display. He is a veteran of two space flights, STS-111 (June 2002) and STS-113 (November 2002). The STS-111 mission delivered a new International Space Station resident crew and a Canadian-built mobile base for the orbiting outpost’s robotic arm. The crew also performed late-notice repair of the station’s robot arm by replacing one of the arm’s joint and brought home the Expedition-Four crew from their 6 ½ month stay about the Station.
His second space mission, STS-113, included the delivery of the Expedition-Six crew, the delivery, installation and activation of the P1 Truss, and the transfer of cargo from Shuttle to the Station and brought home the Expedition-Five crew from their 6-month stay aboard the Station.
He left NASA in January 2005 and returned to the Air Force, retiring in March 2007.
Colonel Frederick D. Gregory
U.S. Air Force Astronaut
Frederick Drew Gregory, Col, USAF (R), is a former United States Air Force pilot, military engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut as well as former NASA Deputy Administrator.
He was born in Washington, D.C., and received his undergraduate degree in Military Engineering the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964. Following graduation from the Air Force Academy, Fred took helicopter training, earned his wings in 1965 and served initial assignments as an H-43 helicopter rescue pilot at Vance AFB, Oklahoma and at Danang Air Base in Vietnam. Upon return to the US in 1967, he was assigned as a missile support helicopter pilot, flying the UH-1F at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. He later re-trained as a fixed-wing pilot, flying T-38s and F-4s. Following stops at the Navy Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Md., and at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio, he was detailed in 1974 as an engineering and research test pilot at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia and earned his Master’s Degree in Information Systems from George Washington University. In 1978, NASA selected him for astronaut training. He soon became the first person of African lineage to command any space mission.
Fred is a veteran of three space flights. His first space assignment was as pilot of STS-51B Challenger, which soared into orbit in 1985 with a crew of seven and the European Spacelab, a pressurized 23-foot laboratory positioned in the cargo bay. The crew had plenty of company – 24 rats and two squirrel monkeys – as part of their week-long science, technology and research experiments packed into the Spacelab.
On November 22, 1989, Fred guided the STS-33 Discovery mission into orbit with four other astronauts. On the second day of this Defense Department mission, the crew reportedly deployed the two and one-half-ton, $300-million Northern Utah Signal Intelligence satellite intended to monitor military communications in much of the world. In 1991, Fred again commanded a Defense Department mission with the launch of STS-44 Atlantis with a crew of six. The astronauts successfully released a Defense Support Program satellite and worked on secondary payloads, including a Military Man In Space experiment designed to assess the ability of a space borne observer to collect information about ground troops, tanks, planes and other equipment and facilities.
Gregory served as NASA’s Deputy Administrator from 2002-2005 and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 1, 2004.
Married to the former Barbara Archer of Washington, DC until her death in 2008. They had two grown children. Frederick, D., Jr., a Civil Servant working in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (DOD), and a graduate of Stanford University and the University of Florida. Heather Lynn is a social worker and graduate of Sweet Briar College and the University of Maryland. Fred is now married to the former Annette Becke of Washington, D.C. and together they have three children and six grandkids.
Colonel Michael J. Harner
U.S Air Force - Khobar Towers Bombing Survivor (Saudi Arabia)
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 the Air Force’s sixth-largest installation with 52,000 acres, over 800 facilities, over 1,300 housing units, and controls a $90 million budget supporting more the 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.
Mike entered the Air Force in 1993 upon graduation from the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Michigan Technological University. He has served in a variety of Air Force leadership positions at the base, major command and headquarter 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. Mike is a Purple Heart survivor of the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On June 25, 1996, just 6 days into his first deployment, Mike sustained multiple injuries in the truck bombing of the Khobar Towers complex which killed 19 Airmen and wounded over 385.
U.S. Army Veteran – Sergeant First Class - Special Forces / Golden Knight Membe
Dana Bowman has astounded the nation and the world with his drive, determination, and will to succeed. He is a retired Sergeant First Class with the U.S. Army where he was a Special Forces Soldier and a member of the U.S. Army’s elite parachute team, the Golden Knights. Dana Bowman is a double amputee. He lost his legs in an accident during the annual Golden Knights training in Yuma, Arizona, in 1994.
On February 6, 1994, Dana gained worldwide attention when he and his teammate Sgt. Jose Aguillon collided in midair during the team’s annual training. Aguillon died instantly. Dana’s legs were severed from his body, one above the knee and one below the knee. Nine months later, he turned this tragedy into a triumph when he became the first double amputee to re-enlist in the United States Army. This achievement is just one example of his many successes under adverse circumstances.
Dana retired from the United States Army in 1996. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in commercial aviation at the University of North Dakota in May of 2000.
Dana has given more than 400 speeches in the last few years and has been featured in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, Reader’s Digest, People and many more. There have also been numerous television programs which focused on Dana and his story including Dateline, A Current Affair, Real TV, NBC Person of the Week, Day and Date and Extra. Dana has been fortunate to have the opportunity to let his speeches touch so many from the physically challenged to the able-bodied. He strives to show physically challenged people can still work and excel in today’s society and military. Dana emphasizes the words amputee and uselessness are not synonymous.
Dana spends a great deal of his personal time working with other amputees and disabled or physically challenged people. As the founder and President of the HALO for Freedom Warrior Foundation, Dana continues his selfless work giving back to the brave men and women that have given so much of themselves for our country. Dana jumps the HALO for Freedom Warrior Foundation Logo in to the many events he addresses annually and tells his audiences about our group and our cause.
John "Tig" Tiegen
U.S. Marine Corps - Sergeant - CIA Global Response Team, Battle of Benghazi
Former Marine Sergeant and Infantry Squad Leader from Colorado, John “Tig” Tiegen, applied his military training as a security protection contractor for Blackwater Security on missions in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. His work as part of the CIA’s Global Response Staff would change his life forever and culminated in unexpected recognition on a global scale. In the midst of his third trip to Benghazi and as the most experienced Annex Security Team member for CIA’s GRS, Tig was an essential part of the rapid response to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants attacked the American US State Department diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Tig received the Award for Heroism and Valor in recognition of his bravery and the combined heroic efforts of his team in saving over two dozen lives while fighting off radical Islamic terrorists for over 13 hours. Tig is co-author of the best-seller, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi – his first-hand account of the Battle of Benghazi and was instrumental in providing real-life experiences as a consultant on the movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. Tig is the married father of twin boys.
Scott F. O'Grady
United States Air Force - Bosnia VeteranFighter Pilot
Brooklyn native Scott Francis O’Grady always wanted to be a pilot. Growing up in a military family, Scott got his pilot license when he was a teenager living in Spokane, Washington. He attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, joined the ROTC and set his eyes on the Air Force. In December 1989, he began his military pilot training and spent the next two years learning the craft of the fighter pilot. Later based in South Korea, some of his missions involved flying along the demilitarized zone between the North and the South.
In 1994, flying out of Aviano AFB, Italy, during the Balkan War, Capt. O’Grady helped make NATO history when he became part of its first combat mission during the Balkan civil war and took part in the Banja Luka incident where he fired upon six hostile enemy aircraft. On June 2, 1995, on another routine combat patrol flying an oval pattern over northwest Bosnia, Scott was shot down by an SA-6 mobile missile launcher and forced to eject from his flaming F-16c into hostile Serbian held territory. After nearly a week of evading the Serbs he was eventually rescued by Marines.
Scott co-wrote two best-selling books, telling his incredible story in Basher Five-Two: The True Story of F-16 Fighter Pilot Captain Scott O’Grady and Return With Honor, which details the spiritual effects of his experiences. The 2001 film, Behind Enemy Lines, is loosely based upon his experiences.
His courageous story has been documented on the Discovery Channel presentation: Behind Enemy Lines and Scott has been featured on CNN’s Voices of the Millennium, and the Then and Now series that focus on the most influential personalities of the 20th Century.
After 12 years of military service, Scott entered inactive service reserve status. He enrolled at Dallas Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master’s Degree in the spring of 2007 and now calls Texas home.
Joseph "Joey" Bozik
U.S. Army Veteran - Iraq War Veteran
North Carolina Native Joseph “Joey” Bozik joined the Army in January 2001 after briefly attending The University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC home of the 82nd Airborne Division and U.S. Army Special Forces. In October 2004, while working security in Iraq with the Army military police, his Humvee rolled over an IED. The explosion took his legs above the knees and his right arm below the elbow. Joey spent the next year and a half recovering from his injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. In fact, he married his wife, Jayme, on the third-floor chapel at Walter Reed. He and was discharged in 2006.
In 2007, Joey returned to North Carolina and re-enrolled at The University of North Carolina and had started a family. Since having children, he realized his path in life was not damaged, just altered. Upon graduation from college, he moved to the Dallas area with his family so his children would have a top-notch public school education and for a better job market. In Texas, worked for the Department of Homeland Security as a computer forensics analyst in the child exploitation division.
Joey had been a wrestler and martial artist in his teens and, after his move to Texas, saw a chance to return to the athletic world. He currently trains and competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Since his return to the athletic arena, Joey now runs the non-profit We Defy Foundation based in McKinney, Texas. The We Defy Foundation provides combat-disabled veterans a one-year scholarships to begin training in jiu-jitsu to better improve their overall physical health, mental state, and build camaraderie. Joey stresses that love, family, country, and staying active are keys to success.
U.S. Air Force - Senior Airmen - Iraq War Veteran
As part of Command and Control Battle Management Operations, Senior Airmen Scott Palomino was an Aerospace Control and Warning Systems Operator, assigned to the 603rd Air Control Squadron at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The El Paso Native tracked and controlled military aircrafts with weapon systems on them. On April 10, 2004, while at Balad Air Base, Iraq, providing Theater Air Control for all military branches during hostile combat and missions, Scott was injured when a mortar round exploded in his tent resulting in the loss of his left leg, below the knee. The mortar attack hit three of his crew injuring two and killing one, AIC Antoine J. Holt.
Scott returned to Texas to focus on his education and 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 my Sigma Chi 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!
Scott always thrived on physical and athletic activities and enjoys an active lifestyle and was part of the 2013 and 2014 USAF Wounded Warrior Wheelchair Basketball Team, Sitting Volleyball, and Track & Field Team where he placed second in the 1600 M run with a time of 5 min 34 sec at the 2013 Wounded Warrior Games. Scott was also the USA Team Captain for the 2014 Invictus Games in London, England where he earned two silver medals. Scott is currently the Director of the Airmen & Family Readiness Center at Carswell AFB, Texas, and a Certified Personal Financial Counselor. His goal in life is to continue to work with, and support, Veterans and their families in their recovery and transition to civilian life. He is currently attending Texas Christian University enrolled in the Masters of Social Work (MSW) Program.
Scott’s major achievements include: Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) from Texas A & M University after retiring from the Air Force; Intramural Basketball Champions four years in a row at A & M, meeting the Love of My Life, Amanda M. McGill and getting married in 2013; his daughter, Abigail Grace; and his military awards: Purple Heart, Operation Iraqi Freedom Combat Wounded Veteran; Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Senior Airman Below-The-Zone promotion; and United States Air Force Basic Training Honor Graduate.
Michael "Mike" Vasquez
U.S. Army - Corporal - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Michael “Mike” Vasquez enlisted in in the U.S. Army in 2005 and graduated from One Station Unit Training at Ft. Benning, Georgia as an Airborne Infantryman in 2005. He deployed to Iraq in 2007 and 2008 as an Infantryman Machine Gunner protecting civilian contractors and recovering blown up vehicles.
In 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.
On July 10, 2009, while serving as a turret gunner and marksman with the 636 Military Intelligence and 19th Group Special Forces in Afghanistan, Mike’s vehicle was struck with RPGs and small arms fire severely injuring him in the gunner’s turret and his team members inside. Despite his severe injuries, Mike continued to engage the enemy, eliminated the threat and helped to get other injured comrades to safety. Mike suffered a traumatic brain injury, spinal contusion, shrapnel and abdominal wounds, partial blindness, left side paralysis, and other injuries.
Mike recovered at Landsthul, Germany and Brooke Army Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas and was medically discharged in 2010. In 2013, Mike underwent brain surgery to alleviate symptoms 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.
He is the recipient of the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medals, and many others.
Mike has a Bachelors in Applied Sciences (Human Services and Psychology) from Wayland Baptist University 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 a similar situation and loves to advocate for VA reform to better the health care of wounded veterans. Mike is an active board member and the Graphics and Media Director for HALO For Freedom Warrior Foundation. 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.
David M. Bowers
U.S. Navy Veteran - Petty Officer 2nd Class - Iraq war Veteran
Kentucky native David M. Bowers joined the Navy directly out of high school in 1980. Growing up in a military family, David lived all over the U.S., but considers Texas home. After completion of basic training at Great Lakes, his first duty station was Little Creek, Virginia to complete work with the mobile diving and salvage unit. The mobile diving unit duties included working with salvage ships picking up planes and helicopters that had crashed at sea. David’s team also participating in the salvage of the Air Florida Flight 90 from the Potomac River in January 1982 and in the relocation of re-activated battleships down from Pennsylvania to New Orleans.
David then transitioned to the Reserves where he worked on dive locker duties on the USS Iowa, the USS Hoel, the USS Comstock, and the USS Proteus and was security team leader with the Undersea Warfare Unit 109. He soon deployed to Norway with a communications unit then transferred into Adak Naval Air Station, Alaska with a Mobile Undersea Warfare Unit in 1988.
Subsequent deployments included Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Singapore, Bali, Australia, and Puerto Rico for drug operations detail.
In 2002, he became a security team leader and in 2003, David suffered a medical emergency, underwent many, many surgeries, and spent the next 2 1/2 years recuperating at Bethesda Navy Hospital in D.C. David had over 70 surgeries and laid in a hospital bed for most his time at Bethesda. He was medically retired in 2005 as 2nd Class Engine Man. Dave now resides in Texas.
U.S. Army Veteran – Chief Warrant Officer - Iraq Veteran Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot
Ryan Weaver is a high energy, all-American, rockin’ country music artist who proudly served as an active duty Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot, Chief Warrant Officer 3, in the United States Army. Ryan Weaver started in country music in 2005 while still on active duty, playing the club and festival circuit throughout the southeast. His performances are known for their unique blend of high caliber audience connecting original songs and rockin’ cover material combined with a heartfelt message and genuine humor.
Ryan’s story is like no other artist in country music. Growing up with a family of eleven in a small town in Floral City, central Florida, Ryan joined the Army right after high school. After several years of working in the Military Intelligence field, Ryan followed in the footsteps of both of his two older brothers, Steve and Aaron, by attending Warrant Officer Candidate School and flight school. He graduated top of his class in flight school, becoming a Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot, and in 2003 he found himself deployed to Baghdad International Airport in Iraq where his brother, Aaron, was deployed in nearby Fallujah.
On January 8, 2004, Aaron was killed in action when the Medivac helicopter he was a passenger in was shot down by enemy fire. Ryan certainly understood mortality and the risks of combat. After all, Aaron survived the bloody 1993 battle in Mogadishu, Somalia that became the basis for the movie, Black Hawk Down. When Aaron died, however, something changed for Ryan. He returned from combat, taking a position training the next generation of Army aviators and officers at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and has not piloted a Black Hawk since that fateful day.
Ten years and one day after the last time Ryan saw Aaron alive in Iraq, Ryan’s brother-in-law Randy Billings was laid to rest one row back from Aaron. Randy was KIA in Afghanistan on December 17, 2013 when the Blackhawk helicopter he was piloting was shot down by an enemy ground detonated explosive device. With a second heartbreaking loss to his family, Ryan became even more determined to succeed. These ultimate sacrifices by his brothers fueled his fire to accomplish his dreams of becoming a nationally recognized country music artist.
Ryan’s most recent advancements are an indicator that he is on the edge of something truly special in country music. He released his first single to radio with a music video reaching national television audiences on ZUUS Country and The Heartland Network, performed on the Samsung Galaxy stage in 2014 as an official CMA Festival artist in Nashville, and began working with Charlie Daniels’ long time manager David Corlew. Ryan has performed on The Ryman Auditorium stage along with Charlie Daniels, Phil Vassar, Ty Herndon, Andy Griggs and Jamie O’Neal. His notable performances include Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the historical 40th Anniversary Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam, the Castle Rock Colorado Freedom Festival, Margaritaville Nashville, and Volunteer Jam. Ryan proudly made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry Stage on September 1, 2015.
U.S. Air Force Veteran – Staff Sergeant - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Daniel Crane was raised around the world while his father served in the U.S. Air Force, but calls Texas home. At 18 years-old he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a Security Forces following in the footsteps of his father. He served in several locations overseas in the Pacific, Europe and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2012 he was shot at point blank range by a local in Iraq nearly taking off his arm. Without the use of his forearm and hand he elected for an amputation to utilize a prosthetic arm for a higher quality of life and working out more efficiently. He is passionate about staying in shape despite the odds and enjoys his time as a CrossFit Trainer. He aspires to continue to help others, especially other combat wounded veterans, on their road to recovery as he serves with the non-profit organization Wounded Wodders.
Daniel G. Neild
Staff Sergeant, U.S Air Force - Iraq War Veteran
Daniel Neild enlisted in the Air Force in June 2006 after graduating from high school in Gilbert, Arizona. After completion of 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, Dan 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 driving the lead vehicle and conducting a routine sweep on Main Supply Route Sioux Falls, his vehicle was struck by an IED. In 2008, Dan began his second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom working as a Fire Team Leader and an Emergency Medical Technician for the 113th Infantry Battalion and lead over 150 combat patrols as a part of Task Force Bucca. In 2009, Dan 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, Dan was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder resulting from the IED blast during his first deployment. He retired from the Air Force on December 28th of 2013, and 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, Dan 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. He placed second at the 2014 Working Wounded Games and first at the 2015 Working Wounded Games. Currently, Dan is the Co-Owner of CrossFit® Forever Strong as well as the Co-Founder of Wounded Wodders, a therapeutic recreation program helping to improve Veterans’ physical, cognitive ad social functioning. Dan holds the following certifications: CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, Crossroads Adaptive Coach, CrossFit Weightlifting, CrossFit Mobility, and CrossFit Gymnastics. Dan is currently studying Exercise Science at Chandler Gilbert Community College.
John Lee Lund Jr.
U.S. Navy Veteran – AO3
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.
U.S. Marine Veteran – Sergeant - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Chris Ferguson served as an Infantryman for 10 years in the United States Marine Corps with the Second Battalion 4th Marines, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division during his service. He served in 3 tours in Iraq, 1 in Afghanistan and 2 other South Pacific tours while serving in Marine Expeditionary Units. While in Ar Ramadi, Iraq in 2004, 20% of his 1000-man unit was either killed or wounded. During the surge of 2006-2007 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Chris was again deployed to Iraq and conducted combat operations in the Haditha Triad area doing sweep and clear missions across multiple towns and villages. He then deployed to the South Pacific on 2 separate MEU’s to various locales including Africa, Australia, Japan, Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. On one of those deployments, Chris was the PSD element’s platoon commander that was responsible for the security of high ranking officials and U.S diplomats abroad. In 2012 he deployed to Afghanistan with the 2/4 and was positioned in the northern Helmed region in Musa Qala District Area. Chris was honorably discharged June of 2013 at the rank of Sergeant and current operating in Sheridan, Wyoming.
U.S Army - Afghanistan Veteran - Coalition to Salute American Heroes
Jorge DeLeon joined the 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 the lead Humvee of the convey. While maneuvering his vehicle to avoid an insurgent attack, he ran over an anti-tank mine. Having taken the full brunt of the mine, Jorge was the only one injured in the explosion. Jorge suffered multiple injuries resulting from the explosion – his lost his right leg immediately, his left leg was severely injured, he suffered hearing loss and a Traumatic Brain Injury. 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 Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes as Director of the Family Support Network and is their Liaison to Brooke Army Medical Center. In addition, he serves as the Assistant Vice President Midwest Region and National Spokesperson for Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes 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.
U.S Army - Captain - Panama, Iraq, and Afghanistan Veteran
US Army Airborne Ranger Alec Ross was stationed at Ft. Lewis with Charlie Company, 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment from 1989-1993. During Operation Just Cause, Alec was wounded on December 20, 1989 on a combat jump into Rio Hato, Panama. The Rangers jump altitude was around 400 feet that day, “Six Minutes!!” The jumpmasters started their pre-jump commands. When it was time to stand up, Alec’s 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 Alec heard someone reciting the Ranger Creed. He could hear the plane taking hits from ground fire, and away they went. He had a perfect exit, no twists. However, his riser was shot and he streamed in somewhere around 100 Feet.
Alec was medically discharged out of the military in 1993. From 2003-2008 he worked as a defense contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, rehabilitated and then reenlisted in the Army Reserves in 2005. Alec was selected for the Army Physician Assistant program in 2008 and graduated with a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant studies and was commissioned in September 2010. He served several posts and is currently a Physician Assistant with Special Operations Command Africa and working as a civilian at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in a Troop Medical Clinic caring for our Soldiers and their families.
U.S. Army Veteran
Upon graduation from high school in 1988, Blaine Campbell joined the United States Army with a Guaranteed Airborne assignment. He served with the 2/325 82nd Airborne Infantry Regiment as an Infantryman and reconnaissance with the scout platoon. Blaine joined Special Forces, and went through selection October 1993 and worked at the advanced airborne (HALO) school until his separation from the army.
Blaine has been an independent custom builder and consultant since 1999 with primary focus on historical and retail renovations 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. He currently owns and operates several companies in the retail construction and manufacturing industry. He has also worked with communities and municipalities advising on their Green Initiatives and Energy Reform Programs. Blaine’s consulting experience includes working with HGTV’s 2008 Green Home in St. Lucie, Florida and he 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).
U.S. Army Veteran – Ranger, Special Forces - Team Fastrax Manager
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
U.S. Air Force (Active) – Technical Sergeant - Iraq Veteran
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. 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.
From Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Chris enlisted into the Air Force in 2000 as a civil engineer. After completing Air Force basic military training, he went on to complete heavy equipment and pavement construction technical school training at Fort Leonard Wood. Shortly thereafter, he was assigned to the 819th Red Horse squadron at his first duty station, Malmstrom AFB. His positions there included: Delta Team Flight Chief in charge of 25 Airman, Demolition Team Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge and was a member the 35-person Airborne Red Horse Team which deployed worldwide to capture remote airbases.
Chris has been deployed seven times with 81 combat missions including 6 enemy engagements as a lead-gun truck commander while in Iraq. On one such mission in January 2008, Chris was the lead gunner and was hit by a roadside IED. After 3 years of recovery at home station and Walter Reed Chris was returned to active duty and remains on active duty. He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Air Force Combat Action medal for his actions which also led to him becoming the Air Force Staff Airman of the Year. Additional decorations include: 2 Air Force Commendation Medals, 3 Air Force Achievement Medals, Army Achievement Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.
Chris was handpicked to be Malmstrom Air Force Bases First Term Airman Center instructor assistant NCOIC and moved to his Special duty assignment as a Facility Manager where he resides as the Mike-01 Faculty Manager in Charge. Chris was promoted to the rank of Technical Sergeant in December 2014. He has represented the Air Force in the 2014 Warrior Games earning a silver medal in wheelchair basketball. He is married to the former Chanda Ruby of Great Falls, Montana. They have three children Chance, Jace and Brittyn.
U.S. Army Veteran – Captain - Kosovo Veteran - Team Fastrax Member
The ground war of Operation Desert Storm started during his 21st birthday celebration while Christian Stevens was a student at the University of Georgia. He felt the call to duty and would soon enlist in the Army as a track vehicle mechanic. Christian returned to college and earned a BBA in Marketing from Georgia State University while dually enrolled an ROTC Cadet. Christian was promised an Airborne slot as enticement to join ROTC. When the promised slot at Airborne School 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.
Christian 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 August 1, 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 funds, purchased and delivered Christmas gifts to the children of troops deployed overseas. In their busiest year, they delivered Christmas gifts to 798 children. Last year they delivered Christmas gifts to 247 children making 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.
Christian 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.
U.S. Army Veteran – Chief - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran Tora Member / Crew Chief
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.
U.S. Air Force (Active) – Master Sergeant - EOD Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
MSgt Israel Delgado, a native of El Paso, Texas, enlisted in the Air Force in June of 1998. In March 1999, he graduated from NAVSCOLEOD, Indian Head Naval Station, MD. He 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. He has also served as the EOD Flight Chief at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.
During his most recent combat deployment, Israel served as EOD Team Leader at Camp Leatherneck Afghanistan in support of USMC Route Clearance missions. In that capacity, in December 2011, following a complex IED attack, Israel 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 causing multiple injuries. Due to injuries received, Israel received the Purple Heart. Additional decorations include 2 Bronze Star Medals, Army Commendation Medal, and 4 Air Force Commendation Medals w/Valor.
Israel lives to serve his country as an Air Force EOD technician and has reenlisted three times. He currently serves as the EOD Flight Chief at Kirtland AFB with plans to serve for 24 years or more and is currently pursuing a second degree in Homeland Security to enhance his ability to support the counter-IED effort. Israel 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.
U.S. Navy Veteran – Tora Member
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.
U.S. Army & Air Guard Veteran – Lieutenant Colonel - ISR Aircraft Pilot
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 Ben switched over to the Air Guard in 1999 and flew the KC-135 for 10 years and, was also a part time substitute teacher. He is now a Lt Col in the Air Guard and flies a unique ISR (information, surveillance, and reconnaissance) aircraft. He is and his wife have three awesome, high energy boys.
U.S. Army Veteran – Helicopter Pilot
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 OH58-D Kiowa Warrior Scout Pilot and finely tuned his skills, molding him into an elite low level operator. 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. Jacey flies 7 days a week providing helicopter services including cattle herding, hunting, aerial surveying and photography. 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.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran – Sergeant - EOD - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
4th generation military service member, Grey R. Jewett, III, joined the United States Marine Corps 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, Grey 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 he completed two tours to Ramadi, Iraq and Helmand, Afghanistan. Upon return from his last deployment, Grey submitted orders to MARSOC and was accepted. Now Staff Sergeant Jewett, he spent the next 5 years on Marine Special Operations Battalion Team 8222 and deployed twice more to Western Afghanistan supporting Village Stability Operations and partnered with host nation forces.
After serving 12 years with the Marines, accumulative blast injuries and nerve damage ultimately led to a medical retirement. Grey retired as a MARSOF Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician in July of 2016.
Now, Grey attends college full time at Pikes Peak Community College and has been accepted to attend University of Colorado, Colorado Springs this fall. He is now 33, a college student and admittedly now a homemaker (Stay at home Dad).
Michael John Stringer
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran – Staff Sergeant - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Massachusetts native, Michael John Stringer, attended recruit training Sept. 4, 2002 at Parris Island SC, became a machine gunner, and reported to his first duty station in Kaneohe, HI in March 2003. Later that year, his first deployment was to Asia with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit from September 2003 to February 2004 quickly followed by a second deployment to Afghanistan. Michael re-enlisted with orders to Camp Pendleton, and became a marksmanship instructor for West Coast recruits. Returning from his third deployment to Iraq, 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. While working with Georgian soldiers as the EOD Team Leader, he was severely injured by a secondary IED detonation only 10 feet from him.
His face was so mangled by the blast he was given a tracheotomy to get him breathing again, the results of which have affected his swallowing. Michael’s injuries include two broken wrists, broken bones in both hands; and his jaw was severely shattered resulting in TMJ pain. His main injuries include a severe Traumatic Brain Injury and PTS, which has completely reshaped his life, relationships, judgment and his well-being in general.
Michael was awarded the Purple Heart in April 2012 and has honorably and proudly finished his 11-year military service attached with Wounded Warrior Battalion, and medically retired September 29, 2013.
Christopher William Blount
.S. Navy Veteran – Petty Officer 1st Class - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Christopher William Blount joined the Navy immediately after high school in 2003 and transitioned into Hospital Corpsman (HM) “A” school following graduation from Recruit Training in Great Lakes, Illinois. During HM “A” school, he volunteered for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and stayed in Great Lakes for a few months post “A” school graduation for special programs prep before transferring to EOD Mobile Unit 2 in Virginia Beach, VA for ‘mud pup’ duty. As a mud pup, he learned basic skills and knowledge which prepared me for dive school. Two months later he was on his way to Naval Diving and Salvage Training Center in Panama City, Florida. After dive school graduation, he moved on to Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal in Eglin AFB, Florida.
Chris graduated EOD school in 2005. Between graduation and his first assignment, he attended Tactical Training in San Diego, gaining skills in shooting, land navigation, and helicopter rope suspension techniques. After this training, Chris completed his permanent change of station orders to EODMU 8 in Sigonella, Sicily, Italy. Shortly after arriving to EODMU 8, he attended the Army’s Basic Airborne Course in Fort Benning, George. Returning to Italy with his new silver jump wings in 2006, he re-joined this team and prepared for an Africa deployment to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti for the first of several six-month deployments. He later deployed to Iraq in 2007, and to Afghanistan in 2008.
After his last deployment, Christ spent time on a Mine Countermeasures Team and worked in the Readiness and Training department. During that time, he applied for an enlisted-to-officer commissioning program, Seaman to Admiral (STA-21), and was selected for officer training. In 2010, he transferred to Officer Training Command in Newport, Rhode Island. After graduation, Chris attended the State University of New York (SUNY) Maritime college studying International Transportation and Trade and held leadership roles in Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Battalion. Chris studied in the Bronx for two years before being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type I. He was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center by medevac in 2012 and medically retired in 2013.
U.S. Army (Active) – Staff Sergeant - EOD - Afghanistan Veteran
SSG Hal 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, Hal was sent to his first duty station, Mannheim, Germany. After two years of temporary duty 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. Upon return from this deployment, he was immediately transferred to Fort Stewart, GA where 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 Hal and his teams. However, on his final mission in country, in December 2013, Hal was shot by small arms fire, 7.62, in the left leg. He was medevac’d to Kandahar and then on to Germany. He returned to duty and was made himself eligible for assignment back to NAVSCOLEOD, where he currently trains the next generation of EOD Technicians.
SU.S. Air Force Veteran – Technical Sergeant - EOD - Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Technical Sergeant Jermaine 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. 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. He also 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, Kindred 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.
After completing basic training in 1999, Jermaine 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, Maintenance “Professional of the Year.” 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, while with the 99th Civil Engineer Squadron at Strongpoint Belanday, southwest of Kandahar, Jermaine’s team was involved in an IED strike that wounded him, critically wounding teammate TSgt Kemp, and took the life of Senior Airman Michael Buras. Jermaine turned-down a medical discharge to remain in the Air Force and continues to serve. He is married to Julie and has three children; Sasha (12), Madeleine (6), and Mikey (3).
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran – Gunnery Sergeant - EOD – Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Gunnery Sergeant Thomas 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 Katrina, and Joint Task Force Lebanon. He then laterally moved into Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD). As part of EOD, he deployed to Iraq during the Iraqi Surge and Iraqi Sovereignty phases of the war. Thomas then deployed 3 more times to Afghanistan during the Consolidation I, Consolidation II, and Transition I phases of the war.
Thomas 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).
U.S. Air Force Veteran – Tora Member
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.
Darryl J. Dutton
U.S. Air Force Veteran – Technical Sergeant - EOD – Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Darryl J. “DJ” 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. DJ also deployed from those locations 6 times to Oman, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
During his final mission in Afghanistan, DJ and his team were on route to clear an IED along with an Army Infantry security unit and, upon arrival at the location, an Army infantryman stepped on the pressure plate detonating an unknown, buried IED. DJ was thrown into the air by the explosion and injured along with 7 other personnel. He was immediately medevac’d to Kandahar and spent 1 month in various hospitals, including Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio undergoing several surgeries to repair his left arm and leg.
His injuries caused him to be medically retired, in December 2012, from the Air Force and begin his civilian life. DJ 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. DJ has represented the Air Force in the Warrior Games participating in wheelchair basketball. He currently spends as much time with his kids as he can as a stay at home father.
U.S. Air Force (Active) – Technical Sergeant - EOD – Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Bruce Thomashunis graduated from Lecanto High School (Florida) in May 2002 and began U.S. Air Force basic training in October 2002 and, over the next year, attended Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. After EOD school, he was assigned to the 325 Fighter Wing Tyndall AFB, Florida. While at Tyndall, Bruce was deployed to Kirkuk, Iraq as an EOD Technician. It was during this deployment in Iraq, when a roadside IED hit his Humvee. He suffered a mild TBI from this incident. In February 2008, he was assigned to the 45 Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. While at Patrick, he deployed once again to Iraq and then twice to Kandahar, Afghanistan. In November 2012, he was assigned to the 48th Fighter Wing, Lakenheath, England. During his time, Bruce had more one deployment to Siauliai, Lithuania. In November of 2016, he was assigned to the 90 Missile Wing, Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, and continues his active duty career.
During his 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
U.S. Air Force Veteran – EOD – Iraq & Afghanistan Veteran
Casey joined the Air force in 2003 and went straight into EOD School, graduating 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 his return, Casey was assigned overseas to RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, and then was re-deployed to Afghanistan. While back in Afghanistan, his team filled many different roles and 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 after neurological evaluations, and was denied deployment back to Afghanistan in 2012. Shortly thereafter, Casey was awarded the Purple Heart backdated to September 2006 for the Iraq IED blast. On May 28 2013, Casey medically retired from the United States Air Force.
Colonel John Bates
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran – Vietnam Veteran
In 1966, after a year of proving to his family and friends that he really was not yet mature enough for college, John Bates Jr. dropped out of school and enlisted in the US Marine Corps as an infantryman and a machine-gunner. Following training, he was promoted 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 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. Facing the reality of being a veteran years ahead of his schedule, Bates decided to pick up where he’d left off in college a few years earlier prior to enlisting. Then, with bachelor and master degrees in hand and capable of running marathons and ultra-marathons, Bates started requesting permission to come out of retirement to re-enter the active duty Marine Corps. After years of being told no, the Navy Medical Board finally signed off on his health records and gave the Marines final say on allowing reinstatement. Marine Headquarters said yes, provided Bates could pass Officer Candidates School.
The rest of the story is history. Colonel Bates went on to serve in numerous command positions over the span of thirty-three plus years of service including two more combat tours in Kuwait and Iraq.
Anthony “Tony” Davis
U.S. Army Veteran – Specialist
Anthony “Tony” B. 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 Company, 2nd Battalion 505 Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. On March 23, 1994, he was at Green Ramp, Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, preparing for a Hollywood jump with Australian jumpmasters when an F-16 and C130 collided above the runways. The C130 managed to landed on the runway while the F-16 began to disintegrate and crashed. Momentum carried the F-16 into the wing of a parked C141 that had just been fueled. The resulting fireball and explosion 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 Army Medical Center and then transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he recovered over the next 8 months. Tony was medically retired in February 1995. Tony is now married with two daughters and works as an IT Specialist with the Federal Air Marshals.
Carlton V Harrand
U.S. Army Veteran – Korean War Veteran
Wisconsin native Carlton V. Harrand joined the army in August 1948 and attended basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky. He attended jump school in Fort Benning, Georgia and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In 1950, he became part of the 187 Airborne Regimental Combat Team in 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 Carlton assumed command. Not long after, he was involved in a jeep accident and spent 8 months hospitalized recuperating from his injuries. He was discharged from the Army on May 22, 1952.
Carlton returned to Oshkosh, married in 1953 and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1956. He moved his family to Albuquerque, New Mexico 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. Carlton spends most of his time in Angel Fire where he enjoys ski biking in the winter months.
U.S. Army Veteran – Command Sergeant Major - Iraq Veteran
Dave Jenkins, is an active US Army CSM how has given 35 years of service throughout his Army career. He was born at Fort Bragg and raised in Altoona, PA. He has 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 Airborne 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, HALO-Sniper Team Leader, assault force team member, 18F Asst-Intel Ops SGT, Military Observer Mission Ecuador-Peru JTF SGM, 18Z Special Forces Detachment Team Sergeant, First Sergeant to HHS 1/321 FAR, the Army’s only airborne droppable 155mm unit located at Fort Bragg. 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 as the Fire Support Sergeant Major. In 2004, he was deployed to Iraq where he became an advisor to the Iraqi Security Forces during combat operations throughout Baghdad.
In March 2005, during a personal security detail mission for the Italian Ambassador and investigation for the Italian Hostage shooting incident in Baghdad, Iraq, Dave was injured by a hand grenade that was thrown from a bridge and detonated behind his vehicle while dismounted. His shrapnel injuries were minimal; he was returned to duty at Fort Bragg to assume duties as a Battalion for a re-organized Field Artillery unit and 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 heroes who won awards for valor and purple hearts, we were the only battalion in the brigade during rotation to not have a combat KIA – God rode with us. Also during this deployment, in the spring of 2006, Dave was involved with another three-hour complex attack north of Taji on MSR Tampa that involved an insurgent gasoline fuel bomb truck explosion, while receiving small arms and a service laid IED that over pressured our road side security halt. Weeks thereafter, he began to have headaches and fortunately reported them for documentation in his medical records. Since then, Dave Jenkins has been diagnosed with TBI, a skull based tumor and has survived two successful brain surgeries.
“I am 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, 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 – 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 and ALL wounded warriors worldwide…so please love him and thank Dana every chance you have. 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 and empowering over these twenty years. Unquestionably, he deserves 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 me with this very important mission for Dana and his legacy would be greatly appreciated!”
Lastly, Dave has always been godly blessed and is married to the former Jeri Rae McGarvey from Osceola Mills, Pa. They are the parents of 3-year old Luke. Dave’s first born son, Matthew Jenkins, is an airborne-infantryman who is currently serving proudly in the 173rd ABCT 2/503 Vicenza, Italy. Dave’s favorite pastimes are hunting, fishing, camping and staying connected with veteran’s worldwide! He is currently on disability leave from the USASOC Special Operations Missions Training Center at Fort Bragg as he continues to undergo neurological rehab for his TBI related conditions and two brain surgeries.
U.S. Army Veteran – Iraq Veteran
Mike Nasche is a Service Connected Disabled Veteran, a combat Veteran of Iraq, and is the Director of Veteran Relations for Impact a Hero. In addition to his sixteen years of honorable military service as an Airborne Infantryman and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Mike successfully transitioned from active duty to civilian life, but it didn’t come without struggles. He is a subject matter expert in Veteran Transition.
In addition to his combat experience, Mike served as a recruiter for the Army. His numerous Active Duty Recruiting Awards helped launch his career as an Account Executive and Recruiter for an Executive Search Firm, that firm specialized in placing Veterans into Corporate America and Oilfield Services Companies.
Most recently Mike served as the Chairman of the Veterans Resource Group at Baker Hughes Inc. and in 2013, he helped them debut on the Military Friendly Top 100 Employer List. An aggressive recruiting goal to “Hire a Veteran every day”, along with the amazing community outreach and the overwhelming Employee Engagement propelled Baker Hughes soar to the #3 Military Friendly Employer in 2014. Shale Oil & Gas Magazine recognized Mike with a full-page article entitled “Smoothing The Transition” which outlined the Impressive Military Recruiting Efforts and Outreach Program of Baker Hughes Inc. In fact, under Mike’s leadership, The Veterans Resource Group (VRG) was nominated for Best Outreach Program by the Prestigious World Oil Awards in 2014, named Top 5 Finalist.
Currently, Mike is the Owner and Principal Consultant of Sense of Urgency Consulting LLC. He was recently sent to Washington D.C. to testify as an Expert Witness before a Congressional Sub-Committee hearing titled “American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Veterans“. In his testimony, he gave specific examples of how businesses can do more to bridge the gap for transitioning service members.
He is driven by his passion to support Veterans, especially Wounded Veterans. Over the last decade his efforts resulted in him being awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM). Mike’s outreach resulted in more than $50,000 donated to well deserving Veteran supporting Non-Profit Organizations and he has raised over $100,000 for seven specific charities that support Wounded Veterans and/or Transitioning Service Members.
Mike also serves as Director of Veterans’ Relations for Impact A Hero, providing immediate and ongoing support for our severely wounded, post-9/11 combat veteran, their families and caregivers. In addition to all these efforts, Mike even finds time to serve as a volunteer fireman.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran – Corporal
Ohio native, Doug Doss, proudly served 4 years with the U.S. Marine Corps assigned to MAG-14 VMA-224 All Weather Attack Squadron, an A-6 squadron based out of Cherry Point, North Carolina. He was an Avionics Technician and served at bases including Iwakuni, Japan, Cubi Point, Philippines, El Toro, California. He received awards for meritorious unit citations for Squadron readiness, over-seas service, good conduct and others.
After leaving the Corps, Doug returned to Ohio as a Supervisor for the Ford Motor Company, Ohio Assembly Plant for 12 years where he supervised in Paint, Trim, Chassis, and the Testing and Repair areas. The vehicle models included the Econoline van, Escape/Mariner, and F650/750. He served as the only Supervisor trained on their Emergency Response Team. In 2011, Doug received the Ford Motor Company’s President’s Health and Safety Award for his accomplishments during a home fire rescue he facilitated while driving home from work.
He also worked 3 years with PolyOne Corp. in Avon, Ohio as Research Technologist in their vinyl polymerization and compounding area and was a trained Emergency Response Team member. Doug returned Amherst, Ohio in July 2015 to supervise the Machining Services division of Nordson Corp. Nordson is a global leader in the manufacture of dispensing and coating equipment. Doug’s last assignment with Nordson was as a Quality Analyst. He also serves on the Emergency Response Team for Nordson.
Doug enjoys helping others and has volunteered his time to Habitat for Humanity building homes, the Red Cross blood bank, Harvest for Hunger food bank, and his favorite – helping with HALO for Freedom’s Weekend to Remember Wounded Warrior events. He assists where needed and especially enjoys helping with the skydiving events. He received his skydiving training by Dana Bowman and members of the Golden Knight Parachute Team. He has over 400 skydives to his credit. Doug was also a successful bone marrow donor in 2001 and frequently communicates with the recipient who had a complete recovery.
U.S. Army - Staff Sergeant - Iraq and Afghanistan War Veteran
Travis was born in Virginia Beach, but moved to Texas at the age of 2 and claims it as home. He joined the Army in January of 2004 as an Infantryman. His first duty station was as a proud member of the “No Slack” BN at Ft. Campbell, and he would deploy twice to Iraq with this unit, as part of OIF IV and OIF VI/VII. After returning from his 2nd deployment to Iraq, he was stationed at Fort Carson. Shortly after getting there, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th BDE as part of OEF X. While stationed at Ft. Carson, he went to Ft. Polk as an OC, and then was DA Select for recruiting. He spent over 2 years recruiting in Syracuse, NY as a part of the Syracuse Recruiting BN. Afterwards he was stationed at Ft. Hood, where he spent over 2 years as a part of 1st Cav. In 2016, he was honorably discharged after deciding not to re-enlist. A few months after getting out, he graduated with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Small Business Entrepreneurship. Travis is currently in the Private Security industry, where he does work as a Personal Protection Officer, Private Investigator, and Fugitive Recovery Agent. He lives in the Dallas area with his wife April, and their 2 children, Patrick and Lila.