Honored Warriors & Distinguished VIP Ambassadors Team Fastrax™ Warrior Weekend to Remember 2019
New 2019 Warriors
Air Force MSgt Adam Boccher
(Combat Injured) MSgt Special Agent Adam M. Boccher is assigned to AFOSI Detachment 327, Little Rock AFB, AR. Agent Boccher joined the USAF in July of 1999, and spent his first four years as a Major Traffic Accident Investigator and Criminal Investigator with the 97th Security Forces Squadron, Altus AFB, OK. Agent Boccher retrained into AFOSI in May 2004 and has since conducted high-interest felony criminal, fraud, and counterintelligence investigations, and participated in high profile Protective Service Operations to include the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force. In September 2011, Agent Boccher lateral transferred into AFOSI's polygraph program were his primary duties included conducting criminal, counterintelligence, and security screening polygraph examinations.
Army E-4 John Cornett
(Purple Heart Recipient) John sustained shrapnel to his left arm and left hip. The first was from a booby trap and the second from an enemy M-79 round.
He holds a Bronze Star, 2 Air Medals, Army Commendation, Good Conduct, and a Combat Infantry Badge. He served in Vietnam for 14 months and 5 days with Alpha Company 2nd Battalion 12th Infantry Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division. He was in Cambodia in May and June of 1970 during the Cambodian Incursion as per Richard Nixon. He goes by Randy.
Army E-7 Blair Donaldson
(Combat Injured) Blair sustained injury from an IED device in Afghanistan.
Army Command Sgt. Major Kevin Engel
(Purple Heart Recipient) Command Sergeant Major Kevin Engel entered the United States Army 18 November 1982 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In addition to his last assignment as the Command Sergeant Major of the 533rd, FEST-M, Fort Knox, he served in Delta Company, 34th Engineer Battalion, Fort Riley, KS; 23rd Engineer Company, Fort Richardson, AK; Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 39th Engineer Battalion, Fort Devens, MA; 23rd Engineer Company (Operations Sergeant/Platoon Sergeant), Fort Richardson, AK; STB (Operations Sergeant), Fort Richardson, AK; Far East District (QA Inspector), Corps of Engineers, Korea; Bravo Company, 864th Engineer Battalion (Platoon Sergeant), Fort Lewis, WA; STB (BN Construction NCO), Fort Richardson, AK; Charlie Company, 864th Engineer Battalion (1SG), Fort Wainwright, AK; Title 11, Fort Monroe, VA, with duty at Fort Sheridan, IL, as an Instructor/Writer and TASS QA NCO; Sidewinder Team, (Sidewinder 40-BN CSM Trainer), Fort Irwin, CA; and Headquarters and Headquarters BSTB, 1BCT (BN CSM), Fort Campbell, KY, (Task Force Spartan CSM, Iraq Deployment). He has also deployed to locations around the world including Nepal, Cambodia, Panama and Tonga.
Command Sergeant Major Engel has an Associate of Arts degree, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration and Military Operations. His military education includes Basic Training, AIT as a 51B Carpenter, Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Non-Commissioned Officer Course, Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer Course, Air Assault Course, Rappel Master Course, Battle Staff, First Sergeants Course, Systems Approach to Training, Sergeants Major Academy Class 56, Battalion/Brigade Pre Command Course, and the Joint Engineer Operations Course.
Command Sergeant Major Engels’ awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal (5th Award), Army Commendation Medal (5th Award), Army Achievement Medal 6th Award), Army Good Conduct Medal (9th Award), National Defense Service Medal (2nd Award), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Non Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (4th Award), Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (6th Award), Combat Action Badge, Air Assault Badge, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Pistol Bar, Expert Marksmanship Badge with Rifle Bar, Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Wheeled Vehicle Clasp and the Corps Engineers Bronze de Fleury Award.
Command Sergeant Major Engel was medically retired from active duty on 2 October 2012 as a result of injuries sustained during combat. His wounds were sustained 12 April 2008 while conducting an Air Assault Operation just north of Tikrit Iraq. He has been a member of Team Fastrax for four years and currently lives in Brownsville Kentucky.
Army SFC William Evans
(Combat Injured) William served a 15-month deployment, he was hit by over 6 IEDs and lost 26 brothers. Three were missing for over a year. There were multiple firefights. He has a total of 4 combat deployments with well over 10 IED hits.
Marine SSgt Jerry Ferris
(Purple Heart Recipient) Jerry sustained injury in a firefight in Hue City. He was also wounded in Phu Bi and Quang tri.
Army E-5 Jeff Hall
(Purple Heart Recipient) Jeff sustained injury on March 11, 1991, during operations west of Kuwait City, Kuwait. His vehicle struck an anti-tank mine and he suffered wounds to the lower extremities and right upper extremity.
Army E-4 Daniel Hof
(Purple Heart Recipient) Daniel sustained injury in 2005 by an IED in Mahmudiyah, Iraq.
Army Former E-4 (SPC) Daniel Hutchison
(Combat Injured) Daniel originally deployed to Iraq as a Combat Medic with the 285th ASMC, and fell under 3rd MedCom. But when in Iraq, he was attached to both 2nd Infantry Division and 118th MP Co ABN during the deadly troop surge of 2007. He suffers from PTSD.
KY National Guard SSG Rickey E. Jones
(Purple Heart Recipient) SSG Rickey E Jones joined the Kentucky National guard April 1981. His mother had to sign for him to join, as he was 17 years old. He was a 36K Radio/Antenna Teletype operator and did this for approximately 8 years.
He then went to Desert Storm Aug 1991 thru May 1992 with the 438 M.P. Co, replacing the 338M.P. Co out of Louisville, Ky and was a 35B- M.P./Customs Inspector.
He served 2 years with Ky-JSO-Drug Eradication, May 1992 thru September 1993, then transferred to Trucking Company 2123rd Transportation Jan 1993 as an 88M-Heavy Equipment Transporter. He spent 10 years with them and drove all over America.
In 2002 he was activated for active duty with a trucking company out of Paducah, spent 12 weeks at Ft Campbell, and was then sent home. He was activated with 617th M.P. co. on October 6, 2004 and he left for Iraq.
On July 28th, 2005 he was hit by an IED while standing outside of his hummer. An Iraqi kid came up to him, saying "boom-boom". He went to investigate the "boom-boom" and it blew. He was sent to the ER in the green zone. All the bomb fragments that hit him where stopped by his vest. There were no broken bones, but lots of bruises and he suffered a severe brain injury, which went undiagnosed for 3 years. He was awarded the Purple Heart and a Combat Action Badge. He came home October 31, 2005, which became the best day EVER!
Air Force SSgt Lisa Mills
(Combat Injured) Lisa sustained injury on 16 May 2008, while deployed to Ali Air Base in southern Iraq. A rocket hit about 50 feet from her and sent her into a concrete barricade. She endured what was later found to be a double concussion that resulted in Traumatic Brain Injury, severe tinnitus, and damage to her entire spine. Along with the TBI she also lives with PTSD and is a 100% Service Connected Disabled Veteran.
Army E-6 Andrea Morain
(Combat Injured) Andrea sustained injury when she was involved in a mortar attack in Afghanistan. She fell down a flight of stairs and injured her back, jaw, spine, and much more.
Air Force E-4 Kris Morgan
(Service Connected Injury ) During a deployment in 1997 in Saudi Arabia, Kris was removing ground equipment of the flight line and fell and hit his head. He was diagnosed with a concussion and sent to a tent. He woke up 27 hours later with massive head pain. In coming weeks/months he began to have migraine headaches and then randomly passing out. After about a year, the migraines kept getting worse and syncope was happening more often. Then he started having grand mal seizures, approx 7-10 a week. The AF Medically Discharged him in Mar 2001. The VA then sent him to Houston for brain testing and they found he had brain damage on his brain stem from the injury in 1997. The VA then medically retired him at 100% Permanent and Total Disabled.
Army Ranger Adam Ralston
(Service Connected Injury) Adam served in the United States Army 2/75. He was awarded EIB, Ranger Tab, 2xARCOM, AAM, National Defense Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, German Parachutist Wings, Basic Airborne Wings.
Army MSG Joe Roberts
(Purple Heart Recipient) Joe was wounded by an IED while on patrol in Baghdad as a Team Sergeant in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom on July 3rd, 2007. He sustained a TBI and multiple pieces of shrapnel, some that are still embedded in his right arm.
Army E-6 Bryan Russell
(Service Connected Injury ) Bryan served in the United States Army. He was assigned to 1st brigade 101st, 3rd brigade 82nd, 1/77 armor, 498th air medevac, Bco 1/158 infantry AZNG. He suffers from PTSD due to combat.
Army SFC Andrew Six
(Combat Veteran) SFC Andrew Six grew up in Pennsylvania with his four brothers and four sisters. As a young adult Six volunteered as a firefighter and search and rescue medic where he developed a desire to serve in the military. SFC Six enlisted into the Army to serve as a combat medic in 2008, after Basic training and advanced individual training he was assigned to 2-502 Infantry Regiment Fort Campbell KY. SFC Six served as an Infantry platoon medic and company senior medic. In June of 2010 SFC Six deployed for 12 months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF 10-11). The event of this deployment motivated SFC Six to continue his education and training as a medic; this is why he requested to leave the infantry to become a flight medic. SFC Six was then assigned to C Co 6-101 Aviation Regiment Fort Campbell KY. SFC Six deployed in support of combat operations in Afghanistan in 2012 (OEF 12-13), 2015 (OFS 15) and 2018 (OFS 18-19) with Shadow Dustoff. SFC Six also deployed to Puerto Rico to provide aid in the aftermath of hurricane Irma in 2017. SFC Six has served and deployed in all leadership positions from Flight Medic to Platoon Sergeant of a Forward Support Medical Platoon. SFC Six’s awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross W/ Valor, Air Medal Numeral 5, Army Accommodation Medal 2 OLC, Army Achievement Medal 3 OLC, and the Humanitarian Service Medal, Combat Medical Badge, Expert Field Medical Badge, Army Aviator Badge Basic, and the Air Assault Badge. SFC Six will celebrate his 10th year of marriage to Megan Six this year and they have 3 daughters Audrey, Emily, and Isabella.
Marine Cpl John Smeeton
(Purple Heart Recipient) John served in the USMC. He sustained injury from an IED during his deployment. He was awarded a Purple Heart, good conduct, combat action, and sea service deployment.
(Purple Heart Recipient) Bio pending.
Marine Cpl Michael Tabor
(Service Connected Injury ) On 11/25/2006, Michael was the point man of a dismounted patrol in Anah, Iraq. He was hit by a control detonated IED. He had a piece of shrapnel tear through his left thigh, entering from the rear and resting millimeters from his femoral artery. He was flown to Al Asad and had the shrapnel removed on site. He also suffers from TBI from multiple explosions throughout his two deployments, causing severe migraines.
Army MSG Victor Underwood
(Purple Heart Recipient) Victor C. Underwood, MSG Retired, served in the US Army for 20 years; 17 years in Special Forces which include 2 tours of duty in Vietnam. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for action in the battle in Special Forces camp in Ashau, Vietnam. He received 2 Purple Heart medals. Victor retired from the Army in 1978 and currently resides in Chewelah, WA.
Army National Guard SFC David Wallace
(Purple Heart Recipient) David sustained injury during an IED attack on his vehicle during convoy operations in Iraq during OIF II. He currently lives in Miamisburg, OH.
Army Sgt Michael Wright
(Service Connected Injury ) Michael was diagnosed with PTSD after leaving active duty in 2010. He served in the United States Army and was assigned to the 25th ID, 10th Mountain, 411th Civil Affairs. He was awarded a Combat Infantry Badge.
(Purple Heart Recipient) Bio Pending.
2018 Ambassador Warriors
Army SSG Alvis Domerese
(Purple Heart Recipient) Alvis served in 2/327INF, 2/27INF, 2/5CAV, 196th QM, 129th CSSB. Two roadside IED's struck up an armored Humvee while on a routine mounted patrol striking him on top of his head. He had a fractured skull, swelling on his brain, and shrapnel covering his face, neck, head, and arms. He still has lingering effects over 13 years later. Military decorations include PH, MSM, ARCOM, AAM, GCM, NDSM, KCM, ACM, GWTEM, GWTSM, MOVSM, NCOPD, ASR. OSR, NATO(Kosovo) NATO (Afg ISAF)CIB, EIB, Air Assault Badge, and Expert Marksmanship Badge.
Marine Cpl Will Hamilton (Will)
(Purple Heart Recipient) I joined the Marine Corps in 2003, directly out of High school. After Boot camp and Infantry training, I was assigned to 3/8 Lima company in Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. My Unit was put on alert not long after I arrived. March of 2004, we deployed to Haiti for security purposes. I was wounded only two weeks into the deployment. My squad was conducting presence patrols at night, and we were ambushed by enemy forces. The bullet damage to my arm was severe enough to require a life flight out, but that worked out great for me since I got to keep my arm.
It took six months to get myself back to working order, which was perfect timing for the Fallujah Iraq deployment in 2005. Our unit came in on the backside of the main push of Fallujah, but it was no less dangerous. Our next deployment was to Ramadi Iraq in 2006, which was probably the hardest one. Our Unit took quite a few losses, but we made a huge impact in the area.
I went home at the end of my contract in 2007 and began my civilian life deployment, which at times is far more difficult than the Corps. I now have a B.S in Exercise Science, with a minor in Psychology, and I'm working towards getting my Masters in Clinical Psych. I ultimately would enjoy helping Veterans with the road to recovery, both mentally and physically.
Army SGT Kelley K. Kellogg
(Combat Injured) SGT Kelley K. Kellogg (E-5) survived a parachute malfunction at Fort Bragg in 2003, then deployed to Iraq from 2003-2004 with the 307TH EN BN of the 82ND Airborne Division. He took a round to his helmet when his convoy was attacked while heading back from Al Taqaddim to Ar Ramadi. Three of the four convoy vehicles were disabled by enemy actions and all 12 made it back in one HMMWV. There were multiple other events which resulted in bad times but that's the way it goes. Then, he deployed to New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina to secure the airport followed with search and rescue operations. Shortly after that he traveled to Lafayette, LA to do more search and rescue for Hurricane Rita. He suffers from severe PTSD and multiple TBI's.
Army MSG Pavel Palanker
(Purple Heart Recipient) US Army MSG Pavel "Pasha" Palanker enlisted in the Army in May 2003 he is still on (Active Duty). He Served multiple deployments to Iraq and Africa. Notable Awards include Purple Heart 7 Sept 2005 (Iraq), Purple Heart 3 Oct 2015 (Iraq), Army Commendation Medal with "V" device for Valor. His injuries are a result of multiple IED explosions. Pasha lives with multiple TBIs, burns, permanent loss of hearing in his left ear, and severe PTSD.
Army SFC Cory Remsburg
(Purple Heart Recipient) While deployed to Afghanistan, on Oct 1, 2009, IED explosion injury, including Penetrating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), right eye blindness; paralysis left side of body; vocal cords damaged, burns.
Army SGT Myles Smith
(Combat Injured) Sgt Myles Smith, is 30 years old with a loving, supporting wife, and 2 beautiful children with one on the way. He served two combat tours in Iraq. His first deployment his convoy was hit by an IED. His vehicle rolled and the fire extinguisher busted him in the mouth and shrapnel went right below his gut. He suffered a traumatic brain injury.
Army SSG Stephen Valyou
(Purple Heart Recipient) Stephen K Valyou enlisted in the Army a couple months after 9/11 occurred. He completed basic training in Ft Leonardwood, MO OSUT COMBAT ENG. He was stationed Ft Drum NY deployed with 10th Mtn Div to Afghanistan in 2003 attached to 1/87 INF 10th Mtn Div. 2004, volunteered for EOD field union graduation stationed again at Ft Drum, NY to the 725th EOD co. WLC, ATF Post Blast school, EOD refresher course, TL certification prior to deployment to Iraq . His deployment to Diyala Province Iraq December 2006, operated out of FOB Normandy Diyala Province under Navy MU2 supporting 6/9 Cav 1st Cav, as an operational EOD TL, conducting daily EOD operations to include IED and UXO RSP and disposals, route clearance, and other operational support. 29 March 2007 received a GSW to the upper right chest cavity, bullet traveled through both lungs and thoracic spine, leaving me paralyzed I am a T9 paraplegic in a wheelchair.
2018 Alumni Warriors
Army SGT Spencer Davis
(Purple Heart Recipient) SGT E-5 Spencer Davis was hit with an I.E.D Blast 9-22-2005, 11:50PM while on a mounted patrol during OIF III as part of a Tactical Movement Team. He performed many night Ops, and LRP missions. Davis took small frags to his left hand, a compression injury to neck, hip impingement to both hips, liver damage, PTSD, etc. He told the medics he would kick their a** if they told anyone after bandages and shrapnel found in my living quarters by my female Battle Buddy while he did the 3 S's. He was treated and has continued treatment by V.A. in Columbus, Ohio and Physical therapy in Bellefontaine, Ohio as needed.
Marine Sgt Daniel Erlandson
(Purple Heart Recipient) Daniel Erlandson was born November 16, 1983 in Everett Washington. He is married to Theresa Erlandson and they just celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary on January 7th. Daniel has three sisters, one is older and two are younger. He joined the United States Marine Corps April 21, 2008. Joining the Marine Corps was a lifelong dream, and becoming a Marine is still one of the proudest moments of his life. Daniel served as a 0331 Machine Gunner and spent the majority of his career with 3rd Battalion 4th Marines (Darkside). He deployed with ¾ three times to Afghanistan: 2009, 2011, and 2013. On his second deployment in 2011, he was deployed to Upper Gereshk Valley in northern Helmand Province. On May 31st, while operating as lead vehicle turret gunner, his truck hit an IED. Everyone was OK in the explosion, but he did suffer a mild TBI. Three days later on June 3rd while on a dismounted foot patrol, his squad was ambushed and came under fire. Eventually the enemy broke contact and they headed back to their patrol base. They were then commanded to go back out to the same area even though they knew it was a bad idea and tried to deny it. Upon leaving again, they got close to the same area they came under fire the first time, and again took fire. This time they were taking fire from multiple enemy positions. As Daniel was trying to direct his machine gun squad, an enemy round ricochet off the wall where he was trying to take cover and struck the back of his shoulder. Quick Reaction Force came to pick him up via vehicle to get him to a safe area to be picked up in a helicopter. One of the Marines in the truck that picked him up was Corporal Zanowick, an incredible Marine. After dropping Daniel off, Corporal Zanowick was then forced to go back out and ended up being shot and killed no more than an hour after Daniel was shot. Daniel was taken out of the fight, and had to leave his guys for the rest of the deployment, and then to top it off he found out they lost Zanowick. That took a very strong toll on him then, and still affects him to this day.
Army SPC Daniel Guerin
(Purple Heart Recipient) Army SPC Daniel Guerin joined the Army at the age of 23 and served his country for four years, including being deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005-06. Dan was awarded the Purple Heart in February of 2006. Dan and his wife, Heather, have three children, Hannah, Jeremiah, and Eli. His hobbies include recreational target shooting, spending time with his kids four-wheeling and anything outdoors.
Marine Cpl Josh Hoffman
(Purple Heart Recipient) Cpl Joshua Hoffman was injured on the battlefield of Afghanistan, August 6th, 2011. His primary job and responsibility as a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan was to find any and all bombs that would prevent infantry and follow-on forces from completing their mission. He was on what was supposed to be his last mission when he found three bombs, and while determining the size of the third bomb his foot inadvertently set it off. The blast blew his left leg off, broke his right knee and femur in half, gave him a grade 4 concussion, severe short term memory loss, and extensive damage to the rest of his body. He was then medically retired from the Marine Corps after he rehabilitated in 2013 and has since had his first child and bought his first home with his wife and son. Joshua said, “Every day is a constant struggle, but with the support of my family, friends, and neighbors I always just bear down and carry on through the day. Life is what you make it and I am trying to make my second chance count. - SemperFi”
Army SGT Ryan Mack
(Purple Heart Recipient) Sgt. Ryan Mack was in the Battle of Marjah, Afghanistan 2010. While serving as a reconnaissance team leader, his team was working security for a group of engineers attempting to clear a road for a larger group to move through. The engineers missed the IED and his truck found it. Sgt. Mack broke every bone from the knee down in both legs and had a minor TBI.
Army SGT Matthew Pennington
(Purple Heart Recipient) Raised in both Maine and Texas, Matthew Pennington entered into military service at the age of seventeen; he had a robust career full of responsibility and leadership roles. Then at the age of twenty three he was struck down by an ambush IED team in Iraq. Losing his left leg and receiving severe damage to his right he was honorably retired and received the Purple Heart and the state of Maine Silver Star among various others.
Matthew has starred in a short film “A Marines Guide to Fishing”. It is story that portrays an injured veteran’s transition back into the work place as well as coping with his loss one year later on his alive day.
Prior to acting, Matthew gave a speech for veteran’s day in the town of La Plata, Maryland as well as campaign videos for Senator Susan Collins. He has served on a panel for Secretary of Defense Gates at Walter Reed and received many of other types of recognition for his service to America.
Matthew has worked alongside director Nick Brennan and Marjorie Pennington to perform screenings of “Marines Guide to Fishing” to raise donations for charitable organizations serving veteran’s. It was creating these environments of entertainment and education that led him to further his speaking career as a Keynote Speaker for the Brain Injury Alliance, Joining Forces, various Military-Civilian conferences and Universities. Matthew has built a program that was endorsed by Congressman Mike Michaud and it has been replicated by the Vet Center’s located within Maine and has been reported to have great success.
Currently Matthew is a part-time National Spokesman/Field Associate for the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes, it is a job he believes in and also one that allows him to witness and hear about the positive impact made in the lives of the combat wounded. Matthew has been married to his wife Marjorie Pennington for 11 years and looks forward to a life full of giving to and assisting those in need.
Army CPT Alec Ross
(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.
Air Force SSgt Zac Ruttman
(Purple Heart Recipient) Zac Ruttman is a 37 year old resident of Owasso, OK and a full-time student. He is married, has a seven year old boy and loves both of them very much. He was part of the Tactical Forces Group (Team 2) in Iraq 2004-2005. He was in a Humvee turret as the heavy gunner when their vehicle took a direct hit from two IEDs followed by small arms fire. He sustained shrapnel to his back, neck, and head and ruptured his right ear. Zac said, “Most of the injuries were superficial due to the outstanding armor. After several surgeries and inpatient rehab, I am is about 80% recovered with minor limitations. I feel truly blessed and very well taken care of.” He was awarded (in his seven year career) over two dozen medals and ribbons including the Combat Action Medal, the Commendation Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart, and Oklahoma’s ‘Outstanding Soldier of the Year’ in 2006.
Marine LCpl Nick Siewert
(Purple Heart Recipient) LCpl Nick Siewert graduated high school in 2004 and served in the Marine Corps from 2004-2008. He was deployed to Iraq as a Machine Gunner two times to Fallujah (2005) and Ramadi (2006) in the 22nd MEU 2007. Since its activation in 1982, the 22nd MEU has been awarded two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, four Navy Unit Commendations, five Meritorious Unit Commendations, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Streamer with two stars, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamer with two stars, the Armed Forces Service Streamer with three stars, the Southwest Asia Service streamer with two stars, the Afghanistan Campaign streamer, the Iraq Campaign Streamer, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary streamer and the Global War on Terrorism Service Streamer. Nick received his Purple Heart in 2005 in Fallujah. He was assigned to the 3/8 and was attached to the Lima Company as a 0331.
2018 VIP Warriors
Army COL Gregory Gadson
(Purple Heart Recipient) Gregory D. Gadson (born February 19, 1966) is a retired colonel in the United States Army and the former garrison commander of the U.S. Army Fort Belvoir. He is also a bilateral above-the-knee amputee, occasional actor, and motivational speaker. He served in the U.S. Army for more than 20 years as a field artillery officer and served on active duty for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Forge, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Education and military career
Gadson attended the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, graduating in 1989. He also holds a master's degree in information systems from Webster University and a master's degree in policy management from Georgetown University. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College and the Advanced Field Artillery Officers Course and in 2010, he became an Army War College Fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C.
Commander, U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Director, Army Wounded Warrior Program, Alexandria, Virginia
2nd Battalion, 32nd Field Artillery.
4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Fort Riley).
Battalion fire direction officer for 5th Battalion, 18th Field Artillery, III Corps at Fort Sill.
Division targeting officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 82nd Airborne Division Artillery.
Battalion adjutant, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.
Battalion fire support officer, 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment.
Commander, Battery C, 3rd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.
Commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 82nd Airborne Division for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg.
Personnel distribution officer and human resources commander, Alexandria, Virginia.
Battalion operations officer, 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery.
Operations officer, 25th Infantry Division, executive officer.
Special assistant to the commanding general, United States Army Pacific at Fort Shafter.
Platoon fire direction officer, firing battery platoon leader (Desert Shield/Desert Storm)
Chief of operations, Multinational Division North, Bosnia-Herzegovina, (Stabilization Force XI), 25th Infantry Division (Light)
25th Infantry Division Artillery, Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom V)
On the night of May 7, 2007, while returning from a memorial service for two soldiers from his brigade, he lost both his legs and severely injured his right arm to a roadside bomb in Baghdad. He became one of the first military personnel to use a next-generation powered prosthetic knee with technology to make it possible for amputees to walk with confidence and with a more natural gait.
WO1 Regimental Sergeant Major Michael Logan
The Royal Irish Regiment- Iraq, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Kosovo and Northern Ireland Veteran.
A British Army veteran of 24 years’ service Michael has deployed in support of the global war on terror with 4 tours of Iraq and 3 to Afghanistan. Tours of Kosovo, Sierra Leone and 6 years’ service on Counter Terrorist Operation in Northern Ireland where also conducted during his career. It was in Afghanistan in 2008 whilst serving alongside the Afgan National Army (ANA) as part of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team Battle Group (OMLT) that Michael was injured in a Suicide Vehicle Bourne Improvised Explosive Device (SVBIED).
Warrant Officer Class 1 (Regimental Sergeant Major, RSM) Logan’s career has spanned over 24 years of military service, within which he has fulfilled a variety of roles. His principle responsibility throughout the majority of his career has been the command, leadership and management of Infantry soldiers. This responsibly has ranged from sections of 8 soldiers up to a Battalion of 500 men and woman. Outside of his core role Michael has specialised in a number of other key areas including, logistics, equipment care and management, administration and Operational planning and training. Michael’s ability was recognised throughout his career by regular promotions in rank. This dynamic journey culminated with his promotion to Regimental Sergeant Major of a regular Army Infantry Battalion. WO1 RSM is the senior rank a soldier can reach and appointment of RSM is only achieved by the most capable soldiers in the British Army.
Having left the military in 2011 Michael has worked very closely with veterans, he plays an active role within 3 main charities, Deptherapy (Using scuba diving to help physically and mentally challenged veterans. Beyond The Battlefield & Out of the Shadows, two Northern Ireland based charities supporting veterans and families who have been affected during the troubles in Northern Ireland.
Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland Michael enlisted in The Royal Irish Rangers in 1987 a unit that in 1992 was to be amalgamated with the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) to form The Royal Irish Regiment. Michael has one daughter, Ellie 22 who has followed her dad into uniform and is currently servicing as Police Officer within Police Scotland.