US Olympic Team Members Stand Together with ESA

San Salvador - The rowing machines were roaring as the meters piled up on the ergo's digital displays - as the training session came to an end, Dan Beery, was smiling. Beery, has returned to El Salvador as part of an ongoing exchange program between the nations independent ESA Olympic Committee and American nonprofit American300.org 

Aside from bringing a wealth of knowledge, Beery aimed to instill a message of hope to the ESA National Rowing Federation athletes and staff, which up until recently received financial support from the government.  “Over the past several years the El Salvador Olympic Committee has experienced a complete defunding by the government,” says Beery, who is on his second ONETeam American300 Envoy to the country, adding, “just weeks ago it was announced that rowing along with several other sports federations would receive zero support from the government - that’s rough for athletes like Roberto Lopez, a 2012 ESA Olympian who is attempting to make his 2nd Olympic Team in Rio Brazil this summer.”  
ESA Olympic Committee's Felipe Flores
with Coach Bob Soldivera and Olympic 

and World Champoin Dan Beery

According to Beery, the bright light at the end of the tunnel is in the ESA Olympic Committee’s establishment of great coaches across many disciplines that are doing amazing work. Additionally, he points to private and corporate supporters, that despite the government’s removal of tax deductible donations - are still contributing funds to the non-government organization ESA Olympic Committee. 

“We aren’t down here to fund programming, and we have no political agenda, our mission is to create a spirit of friendship and mutual understanding that breeds growth and ultimate success,” say Rob Powers, founder of ONETeam American300 Envoys, adding, “Sean Colgan, a US Olympian turned us on to the struggles the ESA Olympic Committee is facing.  As a result, we’re bringing athletes and coaches down to show these ESA Olympic Committee members that there are US Olympic Team members who stand beside them... that the Olympic Family stands together.” 

Standing together with athletes who live and train in one of the most dangerous urban cities in the world (over 730 El Salvadorians were killed in January of this year alone) isn’t for everyone and the US Department of State's travel warning for El Salvador continues to provide a stern warning to Americans to be very smart when traveling here. 

Coach Soldivera, Rob Powers and Dan Beery
Fortunately, ONETeam American300 Envoys are in partnership with the countries Olympic Committee and guests enjoy El Salvadorians overall admiration for it’s Olympic athletes.  “We drive for miles through gang controlled areas, gang members see the ESA Olympic Committee van coming, and smile while waving at us instead of hitting the speed dial button on their mobile phones to alert fellow members." says Powers. 

On this most recent visit, Beery and Powers were joined by Air Force Veteran and US Shooting Coach Bob Soldivera who was surprised by what he encountered.  He pointed out the level of professionalism displayed by the ESA Shooting Federation. “They have the right staff, coaches, and athletes - what they don’t have is the financial and government inner-agency support to secure the necessary levels of equipment to develop at a rate equal to their talent levels.” 

With the El Salvador Olympic Committee sending close to a dozen athletes to the Rio Summer Games in August, the American nonprofit’s goal is to work with Eduardo Palomo, President of the ESA Olympic Committee and his staff to see that number double by the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.  

Coach Soldivera with ESA Shooting Federation Athletes
Bob Soldivera sees it this way: “I’ve been coaching athletes for over 40 years here in America, athletes that have an endless supply of ammunition - the best that money can buy.  El Salvador Olympic hopefuls are on a rationed competition ammunition program, have air rifles that haven’t been overhauled in years - but they are still punching out the bullseye in training. There are 2020 Olympians all over the place down here, they just need some help.” 


American300 is a non-government 501c3 nonprofit with a mission of increasing the resiliency of our US Government Service Members, their families and areas in which they live and operate in around the world.   To date, ONETeam American300 Envoy work in El Salvador has been made possible through a grant from the Colgan Family Foundation. 

Any Given Sunday... two stories of never quitting

U.S. Bases Europe -   Armed Forces Entertainment presents ‘Any Given Sunday’ which will travel throughout England, Kosovo and Germany at the end of January and early February - 2016. 

For US Army Reserve Warrant Officer Jennifer Housholder, facing life and death is just part of the job description.  It’s the type of baggage that comes with being a UH60 helicopter pilot flying missions in the Middle East.   But on one Sunday in particular, Jen, like far too many members of our Armed Forces, was facing a complex enemy that no one really wants to talk about. 

Her Enemy - Suicide 

As a little girl Jen was exposed to abuse.  The kind that for most only resides in nightmares.  Similar to most children, Jen compartmentalized the trauma and moved on in life.  Never realizing the debilitating and destructive force that memories can become. 

“All I knew was that by ending my life the pain would go away... and the pain needed to  stop, it had consumed me,” says Jennifer aka ‘Hous’ as she is fondly referred to by friends and fans of her musical group ‘Hous Band’, she adds, “that Sunday eight years ago, sitting in my room in the middle east was the darkest moment of my life.” 

In the end she didn’t go through with the act, despite the hand written farewell note and means with which to accomplish the task. “At the last moment I pulled back and found sanity in the form of reflection on three fundamental resiliency blocks that I didn't’ even realize I possessed: hope instilled by my mother, faith in God and a bond with my fellow soldiers, who I knew I’d be letting down if I took the selfish way out.” 

Today Hous is a US Army and Air Force Master Resiliency Trainer and continues serve in the Reserves on weekends while working full time for the Air Force as a flight test engineer at Edwards Air Force Base.   During her free time she’s the lead singer along with friends in ‘Hous Band’ a group she started nearly a decade ago. 
 For Bear Pascoe, Sunday’s have ultimately provided his family with a source of income his entire adult life.  From the moment he entered the NFL draft and was picked up by the NY Giants, to his seasons after winning a Super Bowl Ring, Sunday’s have been the ultimate test of worth and job security. 

For big name players the pre-season is mostly just a warmup, but for Bear and the majority of NFL players, both young and old, each pre-season game could be their last.  

Every day, every practice and every play is a go no go test.  An opportunity to shine or disappear.  Understanding the workings of the NFL 53 man roster selection process is so complicated it takes a near college degree in the ‘NFL Cut Down’ process to understand it. 

“You have to choose what type of player you’re going to be,” says Pascoe, who grew up on a ranch wearing cowboy boots far more then athletic footwear growing up, he adds, “I always believed in modeling my play both on and off the field after the best, those who we all look up to as the true champions of sport, the players we want our kids to emulate.” 

I get paid to play football, but football doesn’t define me 
as a husband and member of my community 

Both Jen and Bear are members of an all volunteer nonprofit effort called ‘American300’ which supports the Department of Defenses Total Force Fitness program.  Joining the two on this pre-Super Bowl 50 tour are former Fresno State College strength and conditioning coach Andy Bennett, who trained Bear during his college years and Hous Band member Alex McKee, who works alongside Housholder as a test engineer at Edwards Air Force Base in California. 

“This is a great group of people that Service Members and their families are going to love to meet and get to know,” says Gretchen Powers, who will be leading the tour throughout Europe alongside Armed Forces Entertainment manager George Degrella, adding, “ it’s a tour that’s going to feature two very different stories of never quitting on Sunday’s, filled with NFL workouts and just plan awesome music in the workspaces.” 

For more information follow the tour on facebook:  ‘American300 Tours’  or visit the nonprofit on line at:  www.American300.org   No federal endorsement of sponsors or organizations is implied or intended - American300.org 


Armed Forces Entertainment is an office of the Department of Defense.  Visit this DoD Office at:  www.armedforcesentertainment.com 

Trust in Change... stories of taking a leap in faith

Minot Air Force Base -  American300 returns to this Air Force Global Strike Command Base to share stories of alternative thinking and never quitting.   With ESPN Winter XGames medals and one of the fastest qualifying runs recorded at the Olympics, Erin Nemec was looking at the potential of bringing home Olympic Gold for Canada at the Torino Italy Winter Games. 

The problem was that her ‘teammates’ had other plans for the 5’ 2” blonde, blue eyed wunderkind who unlike her teammates made the team as a walk on.   To make matters worse, Nemec had qualified for the team at a western event, far away from her teammates snowboarding headquarters of Quebec. 

“Her teammates turned on her as the Canadian media teams swarmed her after the qualifying run in Tornio,” says Kevin ‘Cacuts’ Nemec, Erin’s husband, adding, “They turned their backs on this ‘outsider’ to ‘their team’ and did everything possible to alienate Erin, make her feel unwanted and undeserving.” 

Not exactly the type of pre-race environment that breads success 

In the end, the superstar snowboard boardercross racer from British Columbia ended up not qualifying for the finals.  “It gets even better, the teams french speaking equipment and wax technician had her run on a backup board during the qualifications, he convinced her that saving her best snowboard for the finals was the way to go.”  says Kevin, who at the time was coaching America’s top snowboarders out of Colorado far away from the drama unfolding half a world away in Italy.  

After the Olympic Games, Erin made the decision to leave the Canadian team and finished off her career training and traveling with the US Snowboard Team.  To this day she is still the winningest female ESPN Winter XGames Snowboard Boarder Cross racer. 

“I learned a lot about what it means to be a teammate, support others and create an environment of success,” says Erin who now is a mother of two boys that she and Kevin are raising in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  “It really comes down to trust and I just didn’t trust my teammates or coaching staff to look out for my best interests anymore.” she added.  

Trust is a powerful word.  Erin and Kevin will be joined in visiting Airmen of the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, by Navy SEAL retired Chief Mikal Vega.   After getting blown up and torn up countless times, Vega sought out medical treatment.  Like many Service Members he found himself surrounded by prescription medication without the willpower to avoid spiking the effects with alcohol. 

“I was killing myself slowly and the crazy thing is that because the drugs were making me numb I didn’t even realize it,” says Mikal, who has become a successful major motion picture actor and now director of the veterans support nonprofit ‘Vital Warrior’ that he founded. 

With pain in his back that was debilitating, Mikal took the advice of a teammate and entered the world of Rolfing message therapy.  Instantly the effects of the deep muscle therapy and muscle/nerve alignment started to release him from the grips of pain.  He then added acupuncture and over time his pain diminished, his mind started to clear, and he was able to ween himself off the medications and alcohol.  He then entered the world of Kundalini Yoga as taught by yogi Bhajan. 

There was a time when as a SEAL I would have laughed at doing any type of Yoga

Today, Mikal’s daily routine starts off with 1- 2 hrs of concentrated Kundalini Yoga techniques... it’s simply how he starts his days off no matter where he is or what he’s doing. It can get kind of loud and it isn’t always without pain, but it’s one of the major reasons why Vega is a 22 year retired veteran and not a 22 a day statistic, referring to the most recent data suggesting that 22 veterans commit suicide a day in America. 

“We’ve been working with the Airmen of Minot Air Force Base for 4 years now, they know our nonprofit is all about sharing stories of never quitting,” says Robi Powers, the founder and tours host, he adds, “This base has had over 20 different guests share personal stories and experiences with a goal of showing that no matter what life throws at us, we can push through the adversity and realize success, that there’s always cause for hope in a better tomorrow.” 

Follow the monthly base tours around the world at: www.American300.org 

American300 is a all volunteer 501c3 nonprofit, non-government organization with a mission of supporting the Chief of Staffs Total Force Fitness objectives.  No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is ever intended or implied - American300.org 



Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Military Reunion 2015

Las Vegas, Nevada -  For the 6th straight year American300 partnered with Wrangler and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association to showcase the duty and sacrifice of some amazing United States Armed Forces Members.

We'll have a story to add shortly #longlivegreatcowboys #longlivetroops

Navy SEAL and Army Ranger Visit Ketchikan Coasties and Sailors

KETCHIKAN, AK - If asked to add up their injuries and friends lost in war and post combat mental health related tragic endings, Mikal Vega and Howard Mullen would have to sit down and spend hours with pen and paper in hand. But it’d never happen.“Spending time dredging up negative memories is the last thing I want people doing” said US Navy SEAL Chief retired Mikal Vega, in front of a packed crowd of Coasties during American300‘s latest visit to the Base and Station along with SECNAV Back Island Navy Service Members and Support Staffers this week. “I was on that road, and thanks to doctors who fed me pills and sympathy I ended up nearly killing myself.” Vega added.


Chief Mikal Vega, US Navy SEAL retired

Instead the busted up Naval SEAL Operator turned to eastern medicine as an alternative to traditional therapy and slowly started to become human again. “I started off with deep muscle message, acupuncture and then became a student of Kundalini Yoga as taught by yogi Bhajan.” With this transformation in care came a new beginning and life for Vega.Today, the Wounded Warrior turned Hollywood actor, can be seen in major film productions like Transformers and TV Series like CSI to name a few. He also founded ‘Vital Warrior’ a 501c3 nonprofit which works to share the teachings of Kundaline Yoga as taught by yogi Bhajan with fellow Service Members who he hopes can experience the same life changing and saving benefits that he’s been blessed with.
Mikal and US Army Ranger hall of fame member combat veteran, Master Sergeant ‘Mad Max’ Mullen, retired are part of a force of volunteers who have joined Robi Powers, the founder of American300 to spread resilient messaging across the service branches and globe. “Call our programming the antithesis of computer based training, what we do is provide one on one real world life lesson sharing delivered by fully vetted volunteers who are: likable, relatable and relevant.” says Powers, a former US Army Mountain Warfare Instructor and National and Olympic Teams athlete and Coach, he adds, “We visit the same areas of operation over 2-3 years bringing individuals who have experience worth listening to.”
For Coast Guard BM3 Micah Grey, American300 programming first landed on his cutter’s deckplate at midnight 2 years ago. “Back then I was a non-rate deckhand pulling a duty officer shift, I didn’t know what these guys were doing dropping in on us,” says Grey who was one of the last to ‘strike’ up into the Petty Officer ranks of the sea going service. “Robi brought some world champion cowboys and cowgirls into the galley in the middle of the night and the next thing I know my favorite song (Bob Dylan’s Wagon Wheel) was being played by a Nashville country music star. It’s surreal when I think back on it now that I’ve met so many different American300 guests and understand why they come visit us.” said BM3 Grey.
With a who’s who of guests like: Tom Whittaker the first amputee to summit Mount Everest, General Edward Mechenbier, nearly 6 year Vietnam Prisoner of War, USAF retired, Steve Swanson, 3x NASA Expedition Astronaut and International Space Station Commander, along with many others the goal of American300 resiliency tours at places like Coast Guard Base and Station Ketchikan is to deliver as many resilient real world stories over a 2 year span of time as possible.


Robi Powers, US Army and Olympic Teams Trainer - founder American300.org
The nonprofit conducts between 30-32 tours a year around the world and has been working with the Coast Guard’s Ketchikan teams for nearly 2 years now. “I’ve met a lot of amazing people through American300 Tours, but, Ranger Mad Max is my new favorite,” says MK2 Nick Wall, who serves as a engine room specialist on the 175’ Coast Guard Cutter Anthony Petit, “I mean I’m down in the engine room with Mad Max and all he has to say is how proud he is of my abilities, my service, my fellow shipmates... here I am pulling duty as a mechanic and this decorate combat warrior just wants me to know how important and proud of me he is, I still can’t get my head around it... I’m mean this guy is a warrior after all.” Nick, shakes his head as he drifts back from the moment earlier in the day when he led the Army Ranger through his ship and most importantly his engine room.


MSgt. Howard 'Mad Max' Mullen - US Army Ranger retired.
“I’m still working full-time for the Army down at Fort Benning, Georgia says Mad Max, but when Robi calls up and asks if I can join a tour I’m happy to flex and burn up the leave time,” says Mullen, who has been on half a dozen tours with Powers over the years to bases as far away as Afghanistan.
As Mullen puts it: “If I could put my Ranger uniform back on I’d do it in a second, but volunteering as a American300 mentor is the next best thing and I’m happy and honored to serve my brothers and sisters who are pulling the duty today, besides these Coasties in Ketchikan are outstanding, I’d have to say they are ‘Mad Max Approved’ even.”
For more information about American300 visit: www.American300.org
The nonprofit also has a facebook site: ‘American300 Tours’
American300 is a non-government all volunteer ( NGO/AVO ) 501c3 nonprofit with a mission of supporting our Department of Defense and Department of State - Total Force Fitness initiatives. No federal endorsement of nonprofit is implied or intended - American300.org

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: www.American300.org 



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 American300.org 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 American300.org

For more information on American300 Tours please visit: www.American300.org 

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: www.American300.org 


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 - American300.org 

Never Quit - Medals and Music Tour

Afghanistan - Kuwait 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:  www.armedforcesentertainment.com 

To learn more about American300 Tours visit:  www.American300.org 


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 - American300.org 

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 American300.org 

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 gone out on 5 tours - visiting 21 bases so far... but we're starting to visit my home state Coasties now too and that's great.” 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.” 

Coast Guard units came into the fold of programming 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 tours lined up.

This year 8 of the nonprofits 35 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 3.5 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 Chief of Staffs and all who 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:  www.American300.org  

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: www.armedforcesentertainment.com/performer/american-cowgirls/

For more on American300 visit: www.American300.org


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 - American300.org 






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: www.American300.org 

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


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: www.armedforcesentertainment.com

Detailed biographies and more can be found at: www.nasa.gov

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 - American300.org