Mayor Nutter Presents Liberty Bell Award to American300 Founder

City of Philadelphia - Former Army Soldier, National Team Athlete and Olympic Teams Coach, Robert ‘Robi’ Powers, who founded the all volunteer nonprofit, American300 was honored this past week by Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter at a special reception in the City. 

During the ceremony, Mayor Nutter reeled off a list of Powers major accomplishments: “Robi not only co-hosts the Philadelphia Marathon with me, he runs a nonprofit mentoring program that provides a critical mentoring service to our troops on military bases around the world.” This is a personal achievement, and we’re very proud of him as a city,” said Nutter, who presented Powers with the city’s Liberty Bell Award. 

“Robi is just an amazing veteran who has distinguished himself as one of the most widely recognized military mentors in the country,” Nutter said.  “He is in the singular category of military supporters who have dedicated themselves to the service of taking care of our men and women in uniform.” 

Powers, who recalled the 8 years of working with the city to conduct Mayor’s Office sponsored outreach events for the Troops, said the recognition by Mayor Nutter and the city, “is very humbling and will be shared with all of the volunteers at American300, who continue to work with those who protect and serve so that freedom and liberty may continue to ring loudest throughout the world.” 

For more information on Powers’ nonprofit effort: 

Philly Mayor Shouts From the Roof Tops for the Troops

City of Philadelphia -  For the 8th straight year American300 and the city of Philadelphia Mayor's office have partnered to extend a hand of brotherly and sisterly love to our Troops.

Year one took Robi Powers, founder of American300 and the co-host of the international marathon to the Middle East.  Years 2 - 5 featured staging 'Philly Spirit Run First Wave Races in Germany at US Army Garrison Bavaria's Hohenfels small Army base.

For the past two years, and final years of Michael A. Nutter, Mayor City of Philadelphia's time in term limited service ... it will be the United States Coast Guard that feels the 'extra love'.

From all of us at we'd like to extend the most sincere thanks to Mayor Nutter and staff of the Philadelphia Marathon.  The past 8 years have flown by, but the connections our mentors and team have made with US Armed Forces members have carried on and will never be forgotten.

On the eve of the event we wish all Godspeed in their endeavors tomorrow.  As American300 friend and supporter, the legendary Olympic team runner Billy Rodgers likes to say:  May the wind be at our back.

To Mayor Nutter and Team, you've got the best life savers in the world running with you today... thank you for sponsoring their efforts and more importantly thank you for showcasing our Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Civil Service support staff over the years.

On behalf of our entire team - heart felt thanks!

v/r  Robi Powers - founder

For more information on American300 Tours please visit: 

Devotion to Duty... after the fight!

USCG Station Indian River Inlet -  Sharing life experiences and fostering positive growth will bring Major General Ed Mechenbier and Lieutenant General Bruce Fister to US Coast Guard Heavy Weather Motorboat Lifesaving Station in Delaware next week. With over 10,000 hours of combined Air Force flight hours, (300+ hours in combat), Generals Bruce Fister and Ed Mechenbier are living aviation legends. 

Major General Mechenbier spent 6 years as a Vietnam Prisoner of War being tortured repeatedly and subjected to some of the harshest conditions imaginable.

Lieutenant General Fister, flew over 7,000 flight hours, 220 combat missions and commanded at the Squadron, Wing, Numbered Air Force and Major Command levels.

“It’s not everyday that small remote stations get General Officers on deck, especially from a different branch of service,” says Rob Powers, founder and host of American300 Tours.  “These two Generals are walking examples of Coast Guard core values in action.”

Resiliency expert Powers says he has been asked why these two Generals are taking time away from their families to visit with the lifesavers assigned to duties under Sector Delaware Bay.  “The answer lies in continued service to their fellow service men and women.”  Powers said.  “These two generals could have focused on retirement and wet fishing lines.  They have earned that.  But instead they want to share their personal stories of heartache and triumph.  Sharing their spirit of never quitting.”

Powers indicates that this is what American 300 Tours are all about.  A spirit of - Never Quit - shared by veterans engaged on a personal level.  “It’s going to be an amazing couple of days as these two Generals open up and share about their personal devotion to duty with over 70 years of honorable service to our country.” Rob Powers said.

For more on the all volunteer efforts of American300 Tours visit: 

American300 is a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit with a mission of supporting resiliency programming throughout the Department of Defense and Homeland Security.   No federal endorsement of nonprofit is implied or intended - 

Never Quit - Medals and Music Tour

Undisclosed Middle East - Four veterans and one civilian are headed to remote bases throughout the Middle East with one simple message: Never Quit.

It was the seventh time Marine Corps .50 cal machine gun operator Salvador Gonzalez’ Humvee had been hit by a roadside bomb.  Instead of previous strikes, which required nothing more then a hobble back to the rear for replacement parts, this time his Lieutenant was dead and he was in a coma. 

With the dream of making it to the show in NCAA Division I, basketball realized, Dan Beery was going to make sure that he didn’t let his coaches and teammates down by not putting in the extra training hours.  Having grown up in rural Indiana breaking mustang horses and doing whatever needed to be done for his family, Dan was no stranger to long hard days of work... he was just a typical farm tough young man.   Then one day while warming up with friends he suffered a career ending knee injury.  His dreams of game winning three pointers and the NBA where all but over. 

Flying Navy helicopters with his room on the ship filled with music sheets and guitars was how Naval Academy graduate Jeff Widenhofer liked to deploy.  After 3 trips to the Middle East and a thousand hours of flying he was getting ready to drop out of his green ‘pickle’ flight suit and spend more time driving his acoustic guitar... Jeff, had a passion for creating music and he was very good at it.

Then one day word came that Jeff would lead the death notification team assigned to the family of a Navy SEAL Officer - Lieutenant Michael Murphy.  Not only did Jeff cross LT Murphy’s family threshold performing official notification duties, but he ended up basically living with the family and supporting them for month to follow. 

A Marine Sergeant executed his Executive Officer in broad daylight and put another bullet through his Commanding Officer’s chest.  Marine Officer and Judge Advocate, Captain Charles Feldmann was assigned duties as lead prosecutor in the high stakes, high publicity death penalty court-martial.  Little did he know that his successful conviction would set in motion events that would change his life forever. 

Behind every curveball in life there is a silver lining, just ask these four individuals or the veteran who brought them all together to share their life stories with Service Members this week. 

In 2006, Robert ‘Robi’ Powers, a former US Army Mountain Warfare Instructor, National Team Biathlete and World Cup and Olympic Teams coach received a phone call from a friend serving in Afghanistan.  The message was hard to take.  (A mentor of Rob’s had been killed in a nighttime firefight).  This was the second time Rob had received one of these horrific calls, but this time his comprehensive fitness was strong and the path he felt he must take was a resolute one.  His mission – to instill in fellow service members the awareness of how important they are to one another.  To share the story of how two amazing non-commissioned officers in his life (two brothers who took the time to mentor him, remain involved in his life and make certain that he NEVER QUIT back in the day), allowed him to achieve so much in life.   

Nine years later, American300 Tours working in concert with the Department of Defense places volunteers with resilient life stories on bases around the world.  Through relaxed unit level engagements special guests share their personal life stories with active duty members, who in most cases have their own jaw dropping stories of never giving up.   The goal – listen, learn, connect and grow in a positive manner as one team.  Instilling the spirit that Robi learned long ago – never quit!

In the days to come we’ll be sharing ‘the rest of the story’ regarding where Sal, Dan, Jeff and Charles are today and the accomplishments they’ve achieved and continue to achieve by having never quit. 

Follow the ‘American300 Tours‘ on Facebook. 

For more information on the Department of Defense Office of Armed Forces Entertainment please visit: 

To learn more about American300 Tours visit: 

American300 is an all-volunteer 501c3 nonprofit that provides resiliency and operational programming to the Department of Defense and Department of State.   No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is ever intended or implied - 

Volunteer Effort Extends to Northern New England Coasties

Northern Costal Maine - For the 28th time this year Army Veteran and former US Ski Team Olympic Teams member Rob Powers, of Colorado found himself seeking out some of our nation’s most remotely stationed service members, this time in northern Maine.  

He does it all to support our troops via a nonprofit that he founded in 2006 called 

With a mission based on bringing individuals who have faced resilient moments of extraordinary proportion in life to military bases around the world and allowing guest mentors to share their personal life stories and learn what challenges our Service Members face, American300 Tours and Powers have been very busy over the past 9 years. 

“It’s a ‘day in the life’ embedded guest mentoring program that has landed on just under 500 bases to date,” says Jesse Stewart, a retired US Army Ranger and wounded warrior, who adds, “I can tell you the program helps troops, because I was one of them.” 

Stewart met Powers over in the middle east 6 years ago.  Given the opportunity to meet and share with legendary Olympic gold medalist Frank Shorter, Astronaut Sandy Magnus and Bart Yasso, America’s Mayor of Running ended up changing his life.  Now medically retired from multiple combat wounds and working in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Stewart too packs up a go bag and travels with Powers to remote bases sharing his personal story of never quitting several times a year. 

On this trip to remote stations in Maine, Powers is joined by his oldest daughter Gretchen who lives in Portland, Maine.  Gretchen serves as a public affairs liaison alongside Mike Lane, the director of public relations for Steamboat Ski Resort in Steamboat Springs Colorado and Michael Collin director of public relations for PaleMorning Media’s Portland Maine office.  Like Lane and Collin, Gretchen and her dad along with over 200 other ‘American300 Warriors’ are purely volunteers.

This weeks mission - meet the next group of Coast Guard Stations that the nonprofit will be supporting in the years to come.  American300 focuses on units that allow for repeat engagements over the span of 2 years with a goal of 6-8 quarterly fashion visits as the goal. 

“Dad started the nonprofit effort back in 2006 as a way to pay it forward for two amazing non-commissioned officers in his life who gave it all,” says Gretchen, who in her non-volunteer life is a professional photographer and videographer, adding “I’ve only had the honor of going out on 5 tours and visiting 21 bases so far.  Last year he was asked if he could bring guests to Washington and Alaskan units... now I’ve got him visiting my home state Coasties too.” she adds with a grin. 

With millions of miles flown and 4-6 months a year living in barracks, tents and bunk rooms Powers hosts different American300 guests who are able to touch the lives of thousands of service members around the world.  

“We work with DoD leadership and place guests where they direct us, in most cases there are professional development funds that assist in covering basic associated costs,” says Stewart, who now serves as a board member and mentor, adding “in the case of the Coast Guard we utilize our own donor dollars because they just don’t have the budget to support this style of human dimension resiliency training.” 

It all came to be 2 years ago when Powers and his advisors were discussing how much time they spend with Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force service members and how little contact mentors where getting with the Coast Guard.  

One email and a couple phone calls later and Powers with the blessing of his board were dialed in with Coast Guard leadership and had a tour lined up.

The problem was that the 11 stations the Coast Guard recommended he visit with guests,  involved traveling from remote motorboat lifesaving stations out on the very tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula to 9 remote stations in Alaska, to include UnAlaska ( Dutch Harbor ).  “We didn’t have the funds for that type of a tour so I went to the USO for support, thankfully they were super happy to grant us a last minute grant,” says Powers, adding “most of our programming dollars come from the DoD’s Armed Forces Entertainment office and Major Command’s ‘Total Force Fitness’ ( comprehensive personal and family development programming) funds. After the USO bailed us out on that first big Coastie tour we just rolled up our sleeves and found more donors to help out and it’s been working great, we’ve visited over 40 stations in the past 2 years at zero cost to the stations.” 

This year 8 of the nonprofits 32 tours will be US Coast Guard Station centric, so there’s a long road ahead to come anywhere near the nearly 500 visits that American300 has conducted with Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine units. “thankfully it’s not a competition and no one is keeping score, we’re all volunteers and Rob does his best to juggle the yearly schedule to accommodate as many requests as possible” says Stewart. 

With administrative costs averaging under 3 percent each year, and no sponsor or donor dollar obligations, American300 has positioned itself in a very unique category of military support non-government agency work. “I created the nonprofit to support our Joint Chiefs of Staff and all they command around the world with a focus on the most remote and hardship deployed locations possible,” says Powers, “It’s a complete labor of love by volunteer Veterans and Patriots who want to see our current generation of warriors and lifesavers excel and be better in service and family life then those who came before them." 

For more on American300 visit:  

American Cowgirls Travel Overseas to Salute Our Troops

Undisclosed Southwest Asia -   Professional rodeo cowgirls and a duet of country singers from Nashville will be heading to undisclosed remote and isolated bases to visit troops this month.  The group features Chenae Shiner Vest, a former Miss Rodeo America and professional cowgirl, Air National Guard Technical Sergeant Trisha Shields, a former Miss Rodeo USA, Air National Guard Technical Sergeant Jenna Smeenk, a former Miss Rodeo Florida and professional barrel racer and the Nashville country music duet of Aubree Bullock and Keenie Word who perform under the stage name ‘The Damsels’. 

The American Cowgirls Tour will spend time with troops in some of our most remote bases allowing the opportunity to meet these professional rodeo athletes and enjoy boot stomping country music while receiving heartfelt thanks from not only the Cowgirls themselves, but the entire western community. 

“We’ve hosted the Wrangler National Patriot Tour for six years through Armed Forces Entertainment on Memorial Day and the feedback is always the same -- outstanding,” says Rob Powers, a veteran and founder of American300 who will be joined by decorated Vietnam wounded warrior Billy Aerts, a legendary musician and co-host for the tour, he adds, “there’s something about cowgirls that is pure Americana ... no other country has iconic cowgirls and our troops really appreciate meeting them wherever we go.” 

Sharing tales from the professional rodeo circuit combined with world class music at night to raise spirits and salute the service and sacrifices that our troops make each and every day --  that's why the American Cowgirls are going to be off their horses for the next several weeks and they wouldn't have it any other way.  

For more in depth information on the Cowgirls visit Armed Forces Entertainment:

For more on American300 visit:

American300 is an all volunteer 501c3 nonprofit which produces resiliency minded base tours for the Department of Defense over 30 times a year.  No federal endorsement of nonprofit or sponsors is ever intended or implied - 

Army Soldiers Share Life Stories with Airmen

Barksdale Air Force -  Resiliency... the ability to rebound; elasticity.  

For nearly a decade the nonprofit American300 has been introducing unique guests to Service Members on bases around the world.  The mission: Share real life human examples of resiliency in an effort to reinforce the comprehensive resiliency teachings presented by the Department of Defense. 

“Some can read books, study computer based training modules and gather the necessary tools to be more adept in dealing with life’s curveballs,” says Robi Powers, founder of the all volunteer effort, “others have to interact with experts first hand to assimilate and learn.” 

With over 400 bases visited to date, American300 has developed its own comprehensive sense of what makes troops tick.  “The concept is simple: put experienced individuals with troops and allow for meaningful exchanges to take place,” says Jesse Stewart, a wounded US Army Ranger who will be visiting Barksdale’s 2nd Bomb Wing Airmen this week, “My story is different from Jen and Shannon’s and that’s what makes the concept of putting real faces on resiliency so effective, there’s multiple real world, real life examples to learn from.” he added. 

Joining Stewart will be Chief Warrant Officer Jennifer Housholder and Shannon Ritch.  

Each has a unique life story, rich in resilient behavior. “Jesse ( Stewart ) got blown up several times, that’s not my story at all,” says Housholder, who after two deployments to the middle east found herself face to face with severe post traumatic stress, “As a DoD certified ‘Master Resiliency Trainer’ I can say with certainty that American300’s approach and Major Command’s that take advantage of it are helping to bridge the gap in understanding.” she added. 

With guests ranging from Tom Whittaker, the first amputee to summit Mount Everest to Major General Edward Mechenbier, a USAF fighter pilot that spent nearly 6 of his 44 plus years of duty in P.O.W. camps in Vietnam, there’s never a shortage of unique and valued guests. Currently the nonprofit has over 100 mentor volunteers. 

For the third guest traveling to Barksdale, Shannon Ritch, bouncing back took on a whole new meaning when he was medically discharged from the Army.  Instead of quitting, Ritch went on to become a mixed martial arts world champion.  On top of that he continued to serve his country as a protective security duty specialist for the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials in Baghdad, Iraq for several years. 

“We’re in our 5th year of programming with Air Force Global Strike Command and Barksdale Air Force Base’s 2nd Bomb Wing,” says Powers, adding “ it’s been a fantastic opportunity for Airmen to meet amazing guests who come to share their personal stories of flexibility, adaptability and most importantly the ability to bounce back and grow stronger.” 

For more information visit: 

American300 is an all volunteer 501c3 nonprofit effort.  No federal endorsement of nonprofit is implied or intended - 

Astronauts Bring Message of Teamwork to Remote Bases

American300 Public Affairs  8/1/15
Andrews Air Force Base -  Armed Forces Entertainment has teamed with American300 once again to bring NASA Astronauts to the Troops this summer.  This will mark the 6th time that American300 has worked with NASA to place Astronauts with service members serving in remote and isolated locations around the world. 

"We started with Astronaut Sandy Magnus back in 2009 and have had Air Force Colonel Mike Hopkins and Dr. Steve Swanson out on several tours as well," said Robi Powers, founder of American300 and the host of the nonprofits military tours. " Expedition Astronauts all have incredible 'never quit' stories of service and sacrifice and it's these stories that I think our Troops relate to the most, plus who doesn't want to meet and hang out with a person that's been in space." he added jokingly. 

For Combat Navy Pilot and NASA Astronaut Captain Berry 'Butch' Wilmore, the tour is going to put him back with fellow uniformed service members.  Captain Wilmore has traveled to space 3 times and will share these experiences along with his decorated combat fighter pilot service years with troops at: Thule Air Base, US Naval Station GTMO, Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen and Sector San Juan. Joining the Naval Aviator will be Rick Mastracchio, a 25 year veteran of NASA, who has spent over 228 days outside of the earths atmosphere on 4 different space expeditions. 

Dedication to teamwork no matter how difficult the task is one of the bedrock principles of space flight and life on the international space station, where both Captain Wilmore and Rick Mastracchio have spent so much of their time in space. "You can't survive for 6 months in space as a soloist, it's teamwork all the way." says Dr Steve Swanson, who has traveled with Powers and American300 on 3 troop tours to date. 

It's real life stories backed by individuals who have 'been there and done that' in one shape or form that American300 programming is all about.  Instead of all hands presentations followed by quick meet and greets, Armed Forces Entertainment works with American300 and local commands to allow American300 guests to experience 'day in the life of' daily routines on the various bases.   From early morning unit physical training to night shift work, the Astronauts will work along side service members allowing for a natural and relaxed exchange on connection. 

"Our mission isn't rooted in entertainment, so having the Department of Defenses entertainment A team switching gears and sponsoring our tours is a real plus," says Major Jesse Stewart, a US Army Ranger Wounded Warrior, who mentors for the nonprofit and serves as a board member.  He adds, "Armed Forces Entertainment allows our programming to push out to some of the most remote bases in the world, which then allows us to focus our 25+ other tours on bases that are closer to home."

Powers, who has served as a tour leader and host for well over 400 base visits since 2006, says Astronauts and Troops go together perfectly. "Our last visit to Thule Air Base in February involved 2 Wounded Warriors and an Olympic medalist, now I'm headed back to the top of the world with Astronauts who actually have benefited from the space object detection and tracking work that the Airmen conduct as part of their overall mission at Thule Air Base.  That's 5 different 'resiliency' (American300 avoids using that word whenever possible) rich life stories that are being shared with service members stationed at the most remote base in the world.  To me that shows a level of commitment on Armed Forces Entertainment's part to keep things real... I mean we're not going to be putting on a comedy act while we're up there or down in the caribbean islands with these guys." 

While this tour isn't going to be launching anyone into space, it will be bringing together two amazing groups of individuals who share so much in common - duty, dedication, sacrifice and commitment... delivered on a daily basis through teamwork. 

To follow the tour on a daily basis visit American300 Tours on facebook. 

For more on Armed Forces Entertainment go to:

Detailed biographies and more can be found at:

American300 is an all volunteer 501c3 with a mission of supporting the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Department of State's resiliency program initiatives. No federal endorsement of nonprofit or sponsors is ever implied or intended -

Wounded Marine Visits Ketchikan with American300 Tours

Story by American300 Public Affairs - 7/25/15
Sal Gonzalez, couldn’t take his eyes off the casket of his good friend. It wasn’t the first of his friends to be put to rest with military honors, nor would it be the last.  But, this ceremony was unique.  Sal had placed his own purple heart on his friends casket and soon the two would be lowered into the ground.  

With the brass notes from Taps still echoing off distant tombstones Sal, felt once again like it should be his remains being lowered into the ground and his family members and friends mourning. 

Instead, as the service ended Sal did what he’d done countless other times, he went home and found the biggest bottle of whiskey he could get his hands on and started drinking.  Later that night, sitting alone on the front porch of his house, he cursed at God and everyone on the planet. With not more then an inch of sloshing brown liquid in the bottom of the bottle he found himself reflecting. 

“What would my friend think of my pathetic existence, drinking my life away because I lost my leg and lieutenant and felt sorry for myself, my buddy is gone, his life and dreams are gone...  his goal of a wife and kids, two cars and a white picket fence are gone.” 

As a young east Los Angeles, California first generation Mexican American Sal had been drawn to music.  At an early age he’d ‘borrowed’ a guitar and taught himself how to play.  As the trade towers crumbled on 9/11 he knew he’d join the Marine Corps. A few years later he did just that... dragging an old beat up guitar along for the Marine Corps ride to the middle east and a city called Ramadi, in a country called Iraq.  

“Country music wasn’t my neighborhoods favorite boom box selection, but my Marine brothers loved it so I learned it.  I had no desire to become a country music artist," says Sal, "...but I knew it made my brothers happy and that was what it was all about... taking care of my brothers.” 

Years later after that night of self destruction following his friends funeral service, Sal came up with a plan.  He’d pack a bag and head to the capital of country music, Nashville Tennessee and give country music a try. 

“I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, my family and friends thought I was crazy, but something told me it was the right thing to do.” he added.  

It didn’t take long for Sal to make friends in Nashville and within months he started getting invitations to play in clubs and at special Veteran’s events.  His dream of making a go of it in country music was taking shape. The only problem: the nightmares and heartache were still haunting him. 

Then one day he received a phone call from Lieutenant Colonel Mike Carrado, of the USMC Wounded Warrior Regiment.  The LTC had been asked to go on an American300 Tour to Afghanistan with several wounded Marines, but couldn’t due to his role as the Regiment’s executive officer.  What Carrado did know was that Sal Gonzalez needed to meet Robi Powers, the founder of American300 Warrior Tours. 

That one phone call started a chain reaction that has brought Sal and Robi, to some of the most remote military bases in the world.  “Sal was pulling it together, he just needed a mission beyond entertaining people... he needed to be back with his own,” says Powers, adding, “all we did was provide an outlet of service to this wounded Marine, gave him a mission set that he could embrace.  His story is one not unlike thousands of others, but the way Sal is able to incorporate music into his personal life story is truly unique and very powerful... troops, families and communities just love meeting him and listening to him play, sing and share his stories.”

From Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan to the northern tip of Greenland just shy of the north pole and countless days on US Bases here at home... Sal has been sharing his personal story of recovery and personal growth with thousands of fellow service members and the communities that support them as part of American300’s mission to reinforce growth.

Today, Sal works as a spokesperson for another nonprofit: Wounded Warrior Project and volunteers his time openly to American300 Tours, the nonprofit that opened the door to something new for the wounded Marine back in 2012. 
  • Free Community Event- Sal Gonzalez will be performing live at the Arctic Bar on Thursday, July 30th at 9pm.  There is no cover charge and he’ll play as long as everyone is having a great time!  Semper Fidelis 
About American300 - the all volunteer nonprofit 501c3 was created by Army Veteran Robi Powers as a way of supporting the Department of Defense.  To date American300 has conducted over 450 base visits with special guests like Gonzalez.  Each tour provides a glimpse at how life’s ups and downs can be overcome and how even in the face of complete adversity individuals can overcome life’s obstacles.  

For more on American300 Tours visit: 

Everest Expedition Leader to Visit U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria

American300 Public Affairs - 7/10/15
Hohenfels Germany -  American300 returns to U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria Hohenfels, this month with high altitude expedition leader Chris Klinke.  

“Our goal is to bring likable, relevant and relatable guests to units and allow for quality interactions to occur.” says Major Jesse Stuart a retired Army Ranger and Wounded Warrior, who serves as a board member with the nonprofit, “What Chris has done in the mountains with teams of climbers is nothing short of amazing, being a leader responsible for the lives of others is completely in line with what our Service Members experience on a daily basis.”  

Hohenfels Military Community is home to the U.S. Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center, located just north of Munich, Germany.  With an operational calendar which is never ending, soldiers are training international coalition forces alongside American Troops throughout the year.  Key elements to successfully training soldiers aren’t all that different then those which make high altitude expeditions successful.

For Klinke, achieving success in the mountains boils down to mental toughness.  Other factors such as physical, logistics, individual and team skill and even luck with mother nature all play into the equation, but mental stamina is where he points his finger most often when talking about successful missions.  “If you don’t have the physical skills and logistics wired you don’t belong on the mountain to begin with.” 

The similarities between the climbing world and our military have been recognized by the military for decades.  So similar are the two that the USMC created the mountain leadership course to utilize compartmentalized terrain movement and high altitude environs together in an effort to push leadership practices to a whole new level... extreme, many years ago. 

“Chris has stood on top of the world’s tallest peaks and done so most often as a leader rather then follower.  His dedication to teamwork in the mountains is in line with that of our service members.” says Robi Powers, founder of American300 who will travel to Hohenfels with Klinke. 

While this will be Klinke’s first visit to US Army Garrison Bavaria, it’s not his first American300 Tour.  “My experiences with visiting the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Center two years ago gave me a heightened awareness and appreciation for the sacrifices our military make for us everyday,” says Klinke, adding, “One night I was sitting around a squad’s campfire surrounded by snow caves high in the mountains and we delved into a discussion about the friends we’ve all lost. The similarities between those Marine Snipers and the mountaineering community are extraordinary in size and scope of people involved.  The difference being that the sacrifices made in the military far outweigh any in the civilian world.” 

Bringing together individuals with amazing backgrounds and allowing them to connect on a personal level is the bedrock of American300 programming.   In the case of Chris Klinke, Soldiers will have the opportunity to not only catch a glimpse of what it’s like to operate on the highest slopes on the planet, but to gather valuable life lessons on strategic and tactical decision making.  “ 99% of the accidents that happen in the mountains can be linked back to one or two bad leadership decisions,” says Klinke, adding, “recognizing and respecting the processes goes a long ways towards making better choices in the mountains and in life.” 

more information about American300 Never Quit Tours visit: American300 is a all volunteer nonprofit dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Defense's Comprehensive Service Member Fitness Programs.   No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is intended or implied - 

American300 Brings Marines and Community Together

Bridgeport/Pickel Meadows, California -   Established just after the Korean War, the United States Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center has been specializing in mountain movement and operations training of U.S. Armed Forces Members for nearly 65 years.  But unlike most Department of Defense military installations, the vast majority of the training areas used by the USMC MWTC are on open public land. 

Three years ago, American300 started bringing unique subject matter experts to the base to interact with instructors and students.  In that time the training center also brought on line the expansion of their animal packing program to now include the DoD's only special operations horsemanship program. 

"We'd been using champion cowboys and cowgirls in our resiliency programming around the world for years," says Robi Powers, founder of American300 adding, " so it was a natural to start bringing world class cowboys and cowgirls onto the base to assist with subject matter expert exchanges with the Animal Packing and SOF Horsemenship instructors and students." 

Beyond the obvious benefits of instructors being able to pick the brains of professional horsemen, American300 also saw an opportunity to assist the base with it's community outreach.  Three years ago the Marines had American300 guests join in the annual July 4th parade in downtown Bridgeport.  

When the community found out they had Hall of Fame World Champion Cowboys coming to town with the Marines, lightbulbs started going off for Marcus Bunn, manager of Centennial Livestock Company and director of the Bridgeport Ranch Rodeo Series with his wife Kim.   

The Bunn's reached out to Powers and together, working with Tony Parkhurst, the manager of the Marines Animal Programming cooked up a 'Dream Team' entry into the annual Bridgeport Ranch Rodeo, considered by the western industry to be one of the best ranch rodeos in the country. "We have our celebrity cowboys and cowgirls pair up with Marines for a no rules no holds barred approach to the various events," says Powers, adding "While our scores don't count, the reception by the true competitors is nothing but welcoming and over the years some great friendships have been formed." 

Three years later the annual gathering of cowboys, Marines and community has taken root. On July 4th each year, rodeo staff and 'Dream Team' contestants can be seen wearing shirts with American300, Wrangler, Centennial Live Stock  Company Ranch Rodeo Series and Marines stitched onto Wrangler George Straight freshly starched white signature shirts. The community of Bridgeport has also come to see the special guests and their Marine hosts as a stronger part of the overall community fabric. 

What stared out with World Champion Hall of Fame Cowboys: John Jones Jr. and Lewis Feild, has expanded to include, Super Bowl Champion Bear Pascoe and Miss Rodeo Florida, Jenna Smeenk, who is a Staff Sergeant in the USAF.   New this year, Marine Corps Veteran turned Hollywood actor Wilford Brimley will be joining the American300 team. 

With a ranching season cut short due to long winters and our Marines focused on training units preparing to deploy constantly, being able to bring the two groups together annually during our nation's birthday has proven to be key in strengthen the overall relationship between the base and township... and who cares if the World Champions and Marines tweak the rules a little during the rodeo... their being involved is mission accomplishment all by itself.

American300 is an all volunteer 501c3 Nonprofit with a mission of supporting the Department of Defense.  No federal endorsement is implied or intended - 

The nonprofit conducts resiliency tours worldwide on a monthly basis, focused on making our service members, their families and the communities in which they live and operate in as collectively positive as possible. 

Olympic Gold Medalist... dream big El Salvador

San Salvador - Since 1925, El Salvador has had an Olympic Committee, in 1938 the organization was recognized by the International Olympic Committee and has been competing in the Olympic Games ever since. 

This week, U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Dan Beery is traveling to the smallest of the Central American countries to share is Olympic Medal and excite the current stable of athletes and get them to focus on dreaming big.   This will mark the second time that Beery, who now lives just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has traveled away from home in the hopes of igniting the fire from within with up and coming Olympic athletes.  

As part the 'ONETEAM' American300 Envoy program he has also visited Turkmenistan.

Sharing the Olympic Spirit and in this case an Olympic medal is all a part of American300's overall mission to encourage communities to come together and grow together.  "We believe strongly that through dialogue and friendship the world will be a better place," says Robi Powers, founder of the nonprofit American300, adding "Dan's road to Olympic stardom wasn't without it's rough edges. Our hope is that the athletes of El Salvador will grow from the experience and realize that they too can achieve the podium someday." 

To date, Olympic podiums have eluded the nation. 

Beery and Powers will be hosted by El Salvador's Olympic Committee President Eduardo Palomo Pacas and staff this week.  The two will visit several teams and participate in the El Salvador Olympic Committee's annual gala as special guests.  "I'm incredibly honored to meet these athletes and Olympic Committee staff members this week, there was a time when if someone had told me I'd be a World and Olympic record holder I would have laughed," says Beery, who now works for an athlete advocate insurance company, adding "with the right dreams and effort anything is possible, I hope that by spending some time with these athletes, coaches and staff I'll be able to show them that anything is possible."

American300 is a NGO/AVO focused on strengthen individuals, families and the communities in which they live and operate.  No federal endorsement is implied or intended.  American300 is a United States nonprofit 501c3 all volunteer organization headquartered at Gries Financial in Cleveland, Ohio.  For more information on American300 please visit: 

Wounded Warrior Meets Future Olympians

Park City, Utah - When Jesse Stewart graduated from college he received two ‘diplomas’. One was a undergraduate degree, the other a commission in the United States Army as an infantry officer.  With degree and commission in hand, Stewart embarked on a career as one of America’s elite special operators.  After completing parachute, air assault, pathfinder and ranger schools he found himself deployed to the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.  

This wouldn’t be Stewart’s only deployment. 

Years later with a full medical retirement in hand the now wounded warrior works full time in Colorado Springs, Colorado for the Harris Corporation. 

At this years upcoming United States Ski, Snowboard and Freeskiing Rookie Camp, the retired wounded warrior will be sharing his life experiences with the hopes that our future Olympians will grow in a positive manner from the overall exchange and experience.  

“This will be our 3rd year bringing combat wounded warriors to the USSA Rookie Camp,” says Robi Powers, founder of American300, the organization that has partnered to help facilitate these unique exchanges, adding “The USSA’s core values are nearly identical to those of our US Armed Forces, and bringing in warriors who can share their life stories only helps reinforce with the ski teams new comers that duty, sacrifice and commitment are more then just words on a poster.” 

In return, the USSA has worked with American300 over the past 7 years to encourage national team athletes to make themselves available to the nonprofit for Athlete to Military Base interactions.  To date over a dozen such exchanges have taken place at locations that range from the middle east to the north pole and bases right here at home. 

Bringing world class individuals together to exchange information and experiences provides the framework for what has proven to make this program so successful in the eyes of both USSA and Military officials to date.  “I’m really looking forward to meeting tomorrow’s Olympians,” says Stewart, adding “These athletes personify everything that my fellow warriors and I have sacrificed so much for over the years, I just wish I had 14 of my men still alive... they would have gotten a kick out of seeing the old man trying to keep up with these guys.” 

For more information on American300 Tours visit: 

To learn more about USSA visit:  

American300 is an all volunteer 501c3 organization with a mission of supporting the Department of Defense and Department of State.  No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is ever intended or implied -

With Ray Johnston There Are No Bad Days!

American300 Public Affairs - This week the American300 Never Quit Series returns to the home of our 8th Air Force, 2nd Bomb Wing and Air Force Global Strike Command Headquarters with country music singer/songwriter Ray Johnston.  To get a better idea who Ray is we’ve shared this fantastic story written by Bill Kelly for 

Story by Bill Kelly 
Ray Johnston made the NBA, beat leukemia and formed a group,  The Ray Johnston Band. Curing cancer and getting a date with Jennifer Aniston are next on his list. Don’t bet against him.  He’s a modern Odysseus whose talents and determination have taken him from an undrafted signee with the Dallas Mavericks to lying in a hospital bed in a four-month coma, and finally landing center stage at a rock concert. His journey has been documented in an HDNet television series and marveled by reporters and supporters alike.

It would be generous to say there are long odds attached to an undrafted player making an NBA roster. Practically, the chances are those of a Mega-Million lottery. After playing in only two college games while at the University of Alabama, Ray couldn’t make the developmental league. “Rightly so,” he says.  Johnston wasn’t on anyone’s list of pro prospects and he knew it.

After college, Ray moved to Dallas and began a successful career as a mortgage broker, focused on career more than athletics.  After joining a local gym where he’d play ball, his focus began to change.  Former Dallas Cowboys Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders saw Ray’s ability when working out and urged him not to turn away from sports. “They gave me a lot of confidence,” Ray says, something that was missing during his college days.

With elite professional athletes cheering him on, Ray entered a local Hoop-It-Up tournament held outside American Airlines Center, the home court of the Dallas Mavericks. Owner Mark Cuban and team President Donnie Walsh saw Ray play and were impressed enough to invite him to try out for the team along with 20 other players.
The higher the level of play, the higher Ray’s game rose. His skills as a point guard where evident as he continually led his pick-up teams to victory during the tryouts. Out of the 20 invited players, only Ray was offered a spot on the team. “I thought I was being Punk’d.” Donnie Nelson told him flat out that he kept looking for a reason to pass him over, “but I couldn’t.” In a competitive environment, Ray had “high confidence, no pressure” and simply played much better when he played aside better players. In the span of a month, he went from selling mortgages to playing against Yao Ming and the Chinese National Team.  He had made the NBA.

In the next several months, he would play with rookies Devon Harris and Josh Howard in summer league camp, making friends and impressing coaches. He was the only player who came to practice five hours early. On a team with Dirk Nowitzski, he was determined to do everything possible to earn a position.
Ray’s maverick world changed very quickly. After bumping shins in a pick-up game, his leg began to swell. Thinking it was a very minor injury, he wasn’t initially concerned. The next day, he found the bruise wouldn’t heal.  His blood wasn’t clotting normally. He began to take things more seriously.  It turned out that his blood was 84% leukemic.

Once diagnosed with cancer, Ray remained in a hospital for four and half months. He was placed in a medically-induced coma from August until November.  It took another three to four weeks to “get his head back.” His mother was determined to make his recovery room as positive as possible. “Upbeat, upbeat” she continually told visitors before they came to see Ray.

Ray believed his parents played a monumental role in his triumph into remission.  “My dad worked hard to be a success” he says. “I was subliminally installed to think I was tough and had to earn my keep.” Though they divorced when Ray was four, his parents both helped prepare and encourage Ray during the difficult treatments and procedures, including the amputation of seven toes. “Cancer strengthened the hell out of my relationship with my parents.”

While his parents bid their influence, Ray’s faith served as more motivation. He had every reason in the world to be down, but was inspired by Proverbs 17:22.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Faith made it possible for Ray to deal with a phobia that had long plagued him but he now needed to face head on: needles. He reached back to basketball and applied the mental preparation to shoot a free throw to the task of taking an injection. “They teach you to do the same thing every time. To shoot, I would dribble three times and place my finger on the air hole. In the hospital, I repeated to myself, ‘Jesus died on the cross three times; you are such a wuss for thinking this hurts.’”

Along with his parents and faith, modern medicine helped save Ray Johnston’s life. At one point in time, Ray had 26 doctors working with him. He took an experimental drug called Tamibarotene that is now in second phase clinical trials.  The sheer number of talented people working with him made Ray want to win – in this case, beat the cancer.
Beating the odds of cancer drove Ray to take on new odds, now that of pursuing a professional career in music. When asked about chances of his being both a professional athlete and a professional musician, Ray responds with measure, “How do I answer that without sounding cocky?”

He points to having a similar support network in the music profession as he did in sports. When he played ball with athletes like Devon Harris and Josh Howard, it elevated his play. He calls his fellow musicians an “NBA All-Star Team of Band Mates.” Steve Jordon, Ray’s producer, has worked with Keith Richards, Stevie Wonder, and John Mayer. Ray seems to attract people willing to work hard for results that are not always certain. He believes he can lead them to success. He’s faced death five times in seven years; the pressures of the music industry don’t really scare him.
With sheer determination supporting each downbeat, The Ray Johnston Band mixes rock, jazz, county, and a little rumba to its performances. Touring the country, the band plays benefit concerts for organizations supporting cancer research. He carries a message to his audiences that is both personal to him and helpful in progressing beyond the pain he and they share.  His music reflects his perspective toward cancer. Upbeat. Confident.

His doctor once told Ray he would have trouble living to age 33. After playing for the Dallas Mavericks, beating back cancer, staging a successful musical career, and fundraising for cancer research, Ray has defied his doctor’s prognosis negative, clearly living a very full life.  He’s still holding out for the date with Jennifer Anniston and a cure for cancer.  He says he’s just getting started with life, and he knows that in an amazing way, his cancer helped get him there.

For more information on American300 please visit: 

American300 is a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit organization.  No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is ever intended or implied -