Age: Born in 1985
Military Service: USAF Active Duty 10 years, Portland Air National Guard 4 years (ongoing)
Most Memorable Hunt: First archery Elk season
Specialty: Archery Elk, Tactical Shooting
Born and raised in Minnesota I grew up fishing and doing everything else outdoors that I could. I joined the Air Force right out of high school and after about two and a half years of selection and training I became a Combat Controller. My first duty station was in England and then Washington state at what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord, it is here where I discovered the world of big game hunting! During a trip back home to Minnesota, which turned into my first hunt, one of my best friends bought me a compound bow and said, “Here, now you are a bowhunter!” I immediately fell in love with the challenge and adrenaline rush that is involved with getting extremely close to such large and sometimes dangerous animals. I embraced it with a passion and have never looked back! My military buddies and I would go out any chance we got. We would individually and collectively research the surrounding areas, gear, and tactics in order to hone and improve our skills as hunters. Due to the training and deployment requirements of our unit it was extremely difficult to find time to scout and even more difficult to actually get out to hunt. Since we all came to Washington from other places there was no one to show us the ropes and it took us a long time to learn the public areas, the rules, the regulations, and the “secret spots”. It was frustrating to say the least!
I served 10 years on Active Duty before migrating over to the Oregon Air National Guard where I still serve part time. After Active Duty I got into Defense Contracting and currently work with and fly Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). This keeps me fairly busy and a lot of the times out of the country, however, my schedule when I am back in the states is flexible enough to allow for much more hunting that I was ever afforded while I was Active Duty. After 9 years of hunting, fishing, and networking in the Western hunting scene I have become much more knowledgeable and resourceful when it comes to outdoor activities. My goal now is to share and help other Veterans, and active military members, that may find themselves in the same or similar situations that my buddies and I were in and be able to eliminate some of the frustrations we encountered.
When I got out of Active Duty I no longer had that consistent team environment and constant flow of adrenaline pumping training that I had become accustomed to. After all the preparation and training that I encountered for my 6 combat deployments due to the demand of the Global War on Terrorism, as well as our home station missions, it had truly become a decade old lifestyle. When I separated it was like I was being completely uprooted and placed in a strange world that seemed to be operating in slow motion. The peace, tranquility, rawness, danger, unpredictability and beauty of the outdoors alleviated any anxiety, worry, fear, and the voids that were left by leaving the lifestyle that has shaped me into who I am today. I want ALL Veterans to have the opportunity to experience this same level of healing that the outdoors has brought me. After all, the opportunities that are out there as well as the very land we live on is the tangible part of freedom that all Veterans over the years have fought, bled, and died for.