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Archive for the ‘Veterans’ Category

Bravo 5 from Stroup Knives

Thursday, April 14th, 2022

Army Veteran Chris Stroup has begun making a name for himself as an up and coming bladesmith.

He recently partnered with Justin Melnick of the hit TV show SEAL Team to create the Bravo 5.

Designed for every day carry, the Bravo 5 is a great companion whether for duty or camp use. It features a full tang and 3.5″ drop point blade made from 1095 High Carbon Steel. This is paired with a Gray G10 or Wood handle giving the knife an overall length of 7.75″.

The Kydex sheath can be configured for vertical or horizontal carry.

stroupknives.com/bravo-5-knife

10% of the proceeds of Bravo 5s from Stroup Knives sales are donated to SOWW Charity to support the US Special Operations Community.

Veteran, Linguist Reflects on Vietnam Service

Wednesday, April 13th, 2022

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, Dr. Tom Glenn originally enlisted in the Army so he could attend the Army Language School — later called the Defense Language Institute, or DLI. With a passion and knack for linguistics, Glenn taught himself French and Italian as a child, studied Latin during high school and German during college.

With a craving for more, Glenn enrolled in DLI with the hopes of learning Chinese.

“I wanted to go to the best language school in the U.S., maybe in the world,” he said. “But when I got [there], they told me they weren’t going to teach me Chinese, they were going to teach me a language I had never heard of: Vietnamese.”

Glenn was a Soldier and had to follow orders, so he spent all of 1959 learning Vietnamese. He spent six hours a day in class with two hours of private study each night for a full year.

“I graduated first in my class of ten,” he said. “I asked the Army to send me to Vietnam but [they said] they had nothing going on there.” Instead, Glenn was assigned to the National Security Agency, or NSA, at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Still hoping to study Chinese, Glenn enrolled in George Washington University in Washington, D.C. as a part time graduate student. Glenn went on to earn a master’s degree in government and a doctorate in public administration.

By the time Glenn finished his enlistment in 1961, he said he was “comfortably speaking” Vietnamese, Chinese and French; the three main languages spoken in Vietnam.

The NSA immediately offered Glenn a job at “five steps above the normal level” and sent him to Vietnam for the first time in 1962 as a civilian.

“Between 1962 and 1975, I spent more time in Vietnam than in the U.S.,” he said.

Despite being a civilian, Glenn lived with the military as if he were still a Soldier.


Tom Glenn poses for a photo in his fatigue uniform in Dak To, Vietnam in 1967. One morning while assisting U.S. 4th infantry division and 173rd airborne brigade, Glenn woke up to find his uniforms missing. Some of the Soldiers at his camp had “snitched” his fatigues and taken them to a local tailor whom they paid to sew tags above the breast pockets that read ‘Glenn’ and ‘Civilian.’ (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

“I was one of them — sleeping on the ground next to them, eating [field rations while] sitting in the dirt by their side, using their latrines and going into combat with them,” he said. “I was the only civilian I knew who was willing to put his life on the line by working with the military in combat on the battlefield.”


Tom Glenn in Saigon, Vietnam in 1962 (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

Glenn’s job was in intelligence; using signals intelligence, intercepting and exploiting the enemy’s radio communications, informing friendly forces on what enemy force intentions were and where they were.

He says that the strongest human bond he’s ever seen was that between two men fighting side by side.

Glenn spent his thirteen years in Vietnam all over the country, “wherever combat was going on.” He worked most often in central Vietnam, just south of the demilitarized zone that separated North and South Vietnam. The day-to-day was just like any other Soldier in combat.

“[The days were] defined by the boredom of waiting and the terror of close combat,” he said.

Glenn wants Americans to know the “grisly horror” of war. He wants citizens to respect and admire service members who “put their lives on the line for our good.”

After the Vietnam War, Glenn’s readjustment to civilian life would have been more difficult had he been sent straight home. Instead, he was sent abroad to serve on the battlefield all over the world after Saigon fell in 1975.

Glenn retired from NSA in 1992.


Tom Glenn in Saigon, Vietnam in 1974 (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)


A Civilian Meritorious Medal that Glenn earned for saving lives during the fall of Saigon, Vietnam under fire in 1975 (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)

“Welcome home, brother”

When Glenn meets other Vietnam veterans, he puts his hands on their shoulders and looks them in the eye. They share an experience unknown to other Americans.

For years following the war, many Americans saw Vietnam as “the war we never should have been involved in.” During those years, Glenn never mentioned his service overseas.

“Then, several years ago, I was invited to a welcome-home party for Vietnam veterans,” he said. “After some hesitation, I went. A bunch of young people, who hadn’t even been born before the end of [the war], shook my hand, hugged me and thanked me for my service.”

Glenn urges other Americans to approach those who served and thank them. Only then will that service member know that their service is “worthy of gratitude.”

Award-winning author

“The real adjustment [came] thirty years ago when I retired as early as I could [to] write full time,” Glenn said. “I was so intent on writing that the transition was a relief rather than an adjustment.”

Glenn’s first book is titled “Friendly Casualties” and consists of a collection of short stories to highlight the horrors of war. He chose to write about Vietnam because of his post-traumatic stress injuries, or PTSI. “[It] wounded my soul,” he said.

He learned that the only way to survive his injuries was to face the memories “head-on.” The best way to force himself to face those memories was to write it all down, which has resulted in six books and 17 short stories as of March 2022.

Glenn’s books are categorized as “fact-based fiction” which he said is the only way he could “delve into the emotions [he] lived through in real life.” He said he’s lived through experiences “far more compelling” than anything completely made up.

“I want people to know what [it was like],” he said. “I needed to vent, to stand face-to-face with my memories and learn to live with them.”

By Megan Clark

Kit Badger Covers The 8th Annual SOC-F Fundraiser

Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to attend a SOC-F fundraiser, Kit Badger takes you beyond the velvet rope.

2022 SOC-F Sporting Clays Invitational Silent Auction is Now Open

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

Each year the non-profit Special Operations Care Fund holds an invitational Sporting Clays shooting tournament as a fundraiser. They also host a silent auction and open it up to the public. This year’s slate of items is exceptional.

Check them out here.

HunterSeven Foundation – Warfighter Health Symposium – March 22 in San Diego

Monday, March 21st, 2022

The HunterSeven Foundation and Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation invite you to attend an interactive event designed to educate service members, veterans, their families and healthcare providers on the importance of understanding military exposures as they relate to wellness.

Veterans and Clinical Researchers Chelsey Simoni, MSN-RN, FP-C and Jack Ratliff, APRN-BC of the HunterSeven Foundation, along with MSG Geoff Dardia, Director of the TFDSOF Health Initiatives Program will present research on post-9/11 toxic exposures, deployment and operational environments, risk factors, and explain how a personalized and preventative approach to healthcare will lead to optimal wellness in the veteran and warfighter community.

Guest speakers will include: 

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, D.O., Founder of the Institute for Muscle-Centric Medicine

Get tickets here.

Sponsored by NFQ

H/T to Tactical Distributors

In Memoriam – Col Gail S. Halvorsen (USAF, Ret)

Friday, February 18th, 2022

Earlier this week Col Gail S. Halvorsen (USAF, Ret) aka The Berlin Candy Bomber and Uncle Wiggly Wings passed away. His family was at his side at the Intermountain Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah, where he was admitted following a short illness.  Colonel Halvorsen was 101 years old and he is survived by his five children and numerous grand- and great grandchildren.

We received this information from the Airlift/Tanker Association:

Col Halvorsen, a Utah native, began his flying career when he earned his private pilot’s license in 1941 through a Civil Air Patrol program.  His passion for aviation led him to join the Army Air Force in 1942 flying transport aircraft.  In 1948, peace in Europe was threatened as the Soviet Union blockaded all ground access to war-torn West Berlin. Then, Lt Halvorsen, a member of the newly formed United States Air Force, began flying humanitarian airlift missions to starving West Berliners.  During one mission, he paused to share two sticks of gum with nearby German children who were watching the aircraft and busy flightline.  Two sticks of gum did not go far and he promised the children he would be back the next day to drop candy from his airplane, telling them, you will know it is me when I “wiggle” my wings.  That simple act of kindness and compassion led to “Operation Little Vittles” and, in all, over 23 tons of candy were dropped from Allied aircraft. His impact spread beyond the smiles of German children.  He brought visibility to the plight of the German people and put a human face on their suffering—Americans now saw the Germans as humans, not enemies. Strategically, the Allied resolve strengthened, and West Berlin’s freedom was secured without a single shot fired and his act of kindness forged the strong bond between America and Germany that endures today.

After hanging up his uniform Col Halvorsen continued his life of service by inspiring youth and adults around the world to a life of service. 

May He Rest In Peace

5.11, MGM, United Artists Releasing and K9s For Warriors Team Up to Support U.S. Military Veterans

Saturday, February 12th, 2022

Channing Tatum (co-director/star) and Reid Carolin (co-director/writer) join to support military veterans in celebration of their new film “Dog”

IRVINE, Calif. (Feb. 11, 2021) 5.11, Inc., the global innovator of purpose-built apparel, footwear and gear, has teamed up with Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), United Artists Releasing (UAR) and K9s For Warriors to support military veterans in celebration of the February 18 theatrical release of the upcoming film, ‘Dog’ starring Channing Tatum and co-directed by Tatum and Reid Carolin. As part of the collaboration, 5.11 will donate $25,000 to K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of trained service dogs to military veterans suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, and/or military sexual trauma.

As a part of the initiative, Carolin, Tatum and K9s For Warriors delivered a service dog to a well-deserving member of the U.S. Military earlier this month. Active Navy Captain, Jon, and his new Labrador, Winston, will complete a 3-week training program at K9s For Warriors’ headquarters in Florida where will build an unwavering bond.


(Left to Right) Navy Captain, Jon, with Labrador, Winston, Dog Co-Director, Reid Carolin, and Dog Co-Director and Actor, Channing Tatum

Tatum reflected on the opportunity to unite a deserving veteran with his dog saying, “it is an honor to be a part of this moment.” Around creating the film, Tatum remarked, “It was a really beautiful journey for us to learn the depth of the bond between a soldier and a dog.”

DOG is a buddy comedy that follows the misadventures of two former Army Rangers paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois dog) buckle into a 1984 Ford Bronco and race down the Pacific Coast in hopes of making it to a fellow soldier’s funeral on time. Along the way, they’ll drive each other completely crazy, break a small handful of laws, narrowly evade death, and learn to let down their guards in order to have a fighting chance of finding happiness. With roots in servicing military communities, 5.11 products appear throughout the film, including the RUSH24™ 2.0 Backpack used by Tatum’s character.

“We’re pleased to support these outstanding projects that bring awareness to the many sacrifices and struggles that our nation’s veterans face every day,” said 5.11’s CMO, Debra Radcliff. “We hope our contribution helps more brave veterans find a companion through the efforts of K9s For Warriors and lets them know they are greatly appreciated.”

Determined to end veteran suicide, K9s For Warriors is a non-profit that pairs highly trained service dogs, commonly rescued from shelters, with veterans struggling with the invisible wounds of war. This innovative program allows the K9/Warrior team to build an unwavering bond that facilitates their collective healing and recovery.

“We are incredibly grateful to collaborate with 5.11, MGM and UA Releasing to support our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms,” said K9s For Warriors CEO Rory Diamond. “K9s For Warriors has the privilege every day to see the impact a Service Dog has on a veteran. With a battle buddy by their side, the veteran returns to a life of a dignity and independence. This partnership has given us the amazing opportunity to showcase that special moment when Channing surprises our Warrior Jon with his Service Dog for the first time, beginning their journey towards an unbreakable bond.”

Join us in celebrating the work of K9s For Warriors, the spirit of the film ‘Dog’, and the excitement from Channing and Reid around uniting Jon and Winston. The video can be viewed in its entirety here.

For more information on 5.11’s activation with MGM, UAR and K9s for Warriors, please visit www.511tactical.com/k9s-for-warriors. For more information on 5.11, please visit www.511Tactical.com. To learn more about K9s For Warriors visit www.k9sforwarrior.org.

Kalashnikov USA and Community Partners Connect USMC Veteran with Emotional Support Dog

Tuesday, February 8th, 2022

Pompano Beach, Florida February 7, 2020 – If dogs are man’s best friends, then service dogs are their life-enhancing faithful companions.  Service dogs for veterans take it one step further: providing their valuable assistance to those who have selflessly served our country.  

Kalashnikov USA (KUSA) believes in giving back, especially to military veterans.  The company is also filled with dog lovers.  Recently KUSA decided to help a very deserving Marine veteran by providing her with an emotional support service dog.  Meet US Marine Corps veteran Lorena Guimares and her new canine companion, Vityaz, a male Labrador Retriever puppy:

K-9 recruit Vityaz, sitting on the yellow paw prints at Recruit Depot Pawris Island, meets his new battle buddy, former US Marine Corps Sergeant Lorena Guimares

Over the next six-months, and under the watchful eye of professional dog trainer (and senior drill instructor) Fletcher Swain of Custom K-9, K-9 recruit Vityaz and former “Devil Dog” Lorena G. will be honed into a lean, mean, finely-tuned human/canine machine.

Kalashnikov USA (KUSA) is grateful to several key individuals and organizations who helped make this happy connection happen.   Sgt. Adams Lin of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) made the introduction to Marine veteran Lorena Guimares.  In addition to being the county’s largest law enforcement organization, the PBSO is well known for their support of military veterans and their annual Bark-A-Thon event designed to promote pet adoptions.

Dog trainer Fletcher Swain helped identify and secure a suitable puppy with the right temperament and intelligence needed to become a fully-trained emotional support service dog.  Custom K-9 is providing lodging for Vityaz as well as a suitable parade ground where he and his human companion can learn to march in unison and communicate with each other.

“This really was a team effort involving KUSA employees, community partners, and even our customers (especially Dennis M.) who helped us select “Vityaz” as the name for the service dog in training.  In Slavic mythology, a vityaz was a noble knight who fought dragons, giants and other creatures using a combination of strength, wits, and courage.  We’re confident our canine Vityaz will likewise help Lorena overcome her challenges” said David Garretson, VP of Marketing for Kalashnikov-USA.  ‘Stay tuned as we follow this dynamic duo on their Semper Fidelis bonding journey” he added.