Heroes Sports Teams Up with Am300 to Visit US Coast Guard

Corpus Christi, Texas -  For over a decade American300 has been delivering messaging to our Department of Defense and Homeland Security, in an effort to raise awareness surrounding the subject of resiliency.  Utilizing hundreds of individuals with resilient rich personal stories and a willingness to share, the nonprofit has exposed service members to some of life’s most dramatic case studies in resiliency with the goal of creating dialogue while breaking down barriers as to what the human dimension is capable of in life - if we just don't quit. 

This week, American300 teams up with Heroes Sports, a nonprofit created by Army veteran Mike Barker, of San Antonio to not only deliver personal stories of never quitting, but to bounce and shoot a basketball while doing it. “I got turned onto Heroes Sports by one of our mentors who just became the third purple heart recipient to summit Mt Everest this spring,” says Rob Powers, founder of the mentoring program, he adds, “then I’m in Jordan talking with a senior NCO who mentions Heroes Sports founder Mike Barker and how he knew the two of us would get along.” 

Upon return from the middle east trip, Powers reached out to Barker and the two instantly hit it off.  “Rob started mentoring 11 years ago after loosing a friend in Afghanistan and I started our organization for much the same reason,” says Mike Barker who along with others have created a comprehensive sports and outdoors program for active duty and veteran service members a like. “Rob asked if any of our team members had done much life story sharing on active duty bases and the answer was not that much.” 


That’s all changing quickly, as American300 and Heroes Sports have organized the first THREEonTHREE Basketball Tour with US Coast Guard Sector Corpus Christi Service Members this week.   While the Heroes Sports players will be sharing their life stories with Coasties for the first time, they’ll also be playing a game that is anything but new to this group of Army veterans.  

“It’s a natural partnership, Mike and his team are showcasing one of the most critical elements to resilient living - teamwork.  Through group activity individuals who might otherwise not have a ‘shipmate’ or ‘battle buddy’ end up being surrounded by them.  True teamwork breeds trusted communication and a willingness to engage with the person on your left and right.” says Powers, adding that American300 is constantly looking for ways to showcase resilient living in new and meaningful ways. 


This will be American300’s third trip to USCG Sector Corpus Christi and first for the Heroes Sports members: Dante Langston, Ian 'Doc' Crews, Bryan Burr and Mike Barker, all US Army Veterans.  For more information on American300 and Heroes Sports programming go to:www.American300.org  www.heroessports.org Both also have platforms on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Cowgirls Trade Cowboy Christmas For Time With Troops

Bridgeport, CA -   While rodeo committees from coast to coast celebrate our nation’s birthday with patriotic, cash rich performance purses, a group of professional cowgirls are giving their barrel racing equine partners the weekend off to spend time with our Marines. 

Instead of chasing the cash and points during Cowboy Christmas, Wrangler National Patriot Cowgirls: Jenna Smeenk, Trisha Shields and Renae Cowley are spending the 4th with a very special group of Marines from the United States Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center and the community that supports them. 

Saluting our military is nothing new for Wrangler National Patriots.  Over the past 8 years they’ve found themselves on the battle fields of Afghanistan and Iraq and countless other remote locations around the world.  With the ‘Wrangler National Patriot Memorial Day Tour’ heading into it’s 9th edition next year, the program’s sister tour, ‘Wrangler National Patriot Mountain Tour’ is celebrating it’s 6th visit to our Department of Defense’s only animal packers and special operations horsemanship instructional programs.

“This is my second 4th with the Marines and greater Bridgeport family that supports them and I can’t wait to be back around friends, breath the Sierra Nevada mountain air,” says Jenna Smeenk, a United States Air Force Veteran who deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq during her years with Air Force Special Operations Command, she adds, “There’s always going to be another barrel to race around, but there’s only one 4th each year and being invited by American300 to spend it with our Marines and their families is priceless.” 

Joining Jenna, are fellow barrel racers: Renae Cowley and Trisha Shields, who continues to serve with our United States Air Force Special Operations Command.  The three also hold Miss Rodeo titles with Trisha having served as Miss Rodeo USA, Jenna, Miss Rodeo Florida and Renae, Miss Rodeo Utah. 

While their own horses are home taking a much deserved break in the pro-rodeo circuit this weekend, the cowgirls won’t be out of the saddle much.  

Tony Parkhurst, USMC Master Sergeant retired, manages the equine programming for the training center and has the cowgirls lined out with almost nothing but riding.  As tradition has it, the three will be honorary members of the ‘Marine Corps Dream Team’, which participates in Centennial Livestock Companies produced annual Bridgeport Ranch Rodeo, they’ll also ride side by side with Marine Mountain Warfare Training Center Cadre during the annual Bridgeport Parade on the 4th. 

“American300 has been bringing world class Wrangler cowboys and cowgirls to the base and community for years now, their presence has become part of our July 4th fabric,” says Marcus Bunn, Centennial Livestock’s ranch manager and co-host of the ranch rodeo along with his wife Kim each year, adding, “it means a lot to see how much the western community comes together in recognizing this very special group of Marines, that live and operate in the mountains with us.”


About American300 -  The all volunteer nonprofit has been engaged in producing resiliency minded engagements for our Department of Defense and Department of State since 2006.  For more information visit: www.American300.org   or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. 

Chasing Horizons - Bryan Heselbach's Story

Hohenfels Germany -  Chasing Horizons, featuring ultra-distance cyclist Bryan Heselbach of Steamboat Springs, Colorado will be interacting with US Army Garrison Bavaria - Hohenfels soldiers and their family members as Hohenfels Morale Welfare and Recreation along with MWR Outdoor Recreation staff, host a group ride this Friday evening followed by a BBQ and meet and greet with Mr. Heselbach.
Mr. Heselbach, is part of American300 a nonprofit that supports the DoD’s resiliency initiatives by bringing mentors to bases worldwide.   In the case of Hohenfels, American300 has been visiting the base since 2009.
“Hohenfels has with one of the best MWR and Outdoor Recreation staffs in the entire military and we take advantage of this fact every time we visit,” says Robi Powers, founder of the American300 mentoring program, who will be joining Heselbach on this trip,  adding “Whether a NFL Super Bowl Champion, Everest Expedition Leader, Wounded Warrior, or in this case, a former National Team Cyclist who now competes in ultra-distance events; the message is always the same, Never Quit  and the Hohenfels MWR staff allows our mentors the opportunity to deliver the message in fun and unique ways every time we visit them.” 

For Bryan Heselbach, the road to representing our country at the World Championships was ‘paved in dirt’, says Powers, pointing out that Bryan, was named to the World Championship Team that competed in Bromont, Quebec Canada in 1992. 

Not long after the World Championships, Bryan along with his wife Anne moved to Hahn’s Peak Village, a former mining town, 26 miles north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. 
It was in Hahn’s Peak Village, working as a construction foreman that he nearly lost his life one day a few years later in the late 90’s, the result of falling off a roof and breaking his body both inside and out.   During his lengthy recovery, the question of whether he would work again let alone ever ride a bike again was in question.

Through perseverance however, Bryan, slowly recovered, eventually regaining the ability to work and most importantly to his mental well being, his ability to ride a bike.
“Cycling has always been part of my life, it’s part of my DNA and on that fateful day back in the 90’s I almost lost it,” recalls Heselbach. 

After years of gradually getting stronger and stronger, it was time for the now master aged rider to set his sights on something larger, or in Heselbach’s case: longer. 
Aside from offering over 3 million acres of National Forest, Hahn’s Peak Village rests aside one of the countries most extreme mountain bike races; ‘Tour the Divide’ a solo unsupported 2,800 mile race from Baniff, Canada to the Mexican border in Antelope Wells, New Mexico.  “Since 2009, I’d been watching mountain bike racers roll through the area, watching them chase the horizon and it lit a fire inside of me,” says Heselbach, who ended up entering the ultra-distance race and finishing 29th in a time of 21 days 4 hours. “After finishing the ‘Divide’ I was hooked and saw that there was a similar cross-country road bike race ( unsupported ) so I entered the ‘Trans Am Bike Race’ the following year.” 

Now with two of the most grueling unsupported cycling races in the ‘bank’, Heselbach is exploring other ultra-distance events as a way of pushing his limits and expanding his horizons.  “There’s always going to be setbacks in life, the trick is focusing out on the horizon and chasing after it… especially when times get tough.” 


American300 - The 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit hosts unique resiliency events on military bases worldwide.  For more information visit: www.American300.org 

8th Annual Western Themed Tour Heads Overseas for Troops

Wrangler Team with Troops in Africa 2016
Europe/Middle East - Wrangler Cowboys and Cowgirls along with Nashville Artists embark on their 8th Wrangler National Patriot Tour on Monday May 22nd.   Where is our Department of Defense Armed Forces Entertainment office sending them this year? 

Bases in Kosovo and Jordan 

To date the western team has visited: Alaska, Afghanistan, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Oman, our Pacific Command and UAE to name a few. This year’s Memorial Day tour will be mixing the lush green rolling hills and cool european temperatures of Kosovo with the baking hot sands and stone of Jordan in the middle east.  

“Where we go each year doesn’t matter, why we go and who we go to see is what this annual trip is all about,” says Jeff Chadwick, a Director with the Wrangler Corporation who has been on all of the trips to date, adding, “Armed Forces Entertainment and American300 have done a fantastic job over the years of moving us around the world with a focus on remote and isolated base visits which is the only thing we’ve grown to expect.” 

Mr. Chadwick who held a professional rodeo card himself ‘back in the day’ has assembled an all-star team for this year’s trip including tour mainstay Lucas Hoge and his Band's lead guitarist Thomas Becker, joined by Wrangler Cowgirls: Annie Bianco, Jenna Smeenk and Brittany Truman along with World Champion and Hall of Fame Cowboy Bullfighter Rob Smets. 

Non-stop boot stomping musical performances, on the fly roping lessons and most
Lucas Hoge & Thomas Becker - 0200hrs 'Guard Shack' Concert 2016
importantly western community icons getting to spend time with the troops is what this tour has always been about.  American300's John Bates and Robi Powers couldn’t be more proud of this traditional effort. 

Colonel Bates, a retired Marine Corps 3x purple heart recipient sums it up this way: “there’s something about putting Nashville’s finest with Cowgirls and Cowboys and watching them show the Troops that they’re admired and appreciated in and around Memorial Day that rings of ‘they're not forgotten - you're not forgotten' loud and clear… it’s pure Americana… with love by some the most genuine troops supporters you'll ever find." 

About Armed Forces Entertainment

Armed Forces Entertainment is the official Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas, with priority given to those in contingency operations and at remote and isolated locations. The Department of the Air Force is the executive agent of Armed Forces Entertainment. Founded in 1951, Armed Forces Entertainment brings a touch of home to more than 500,000 troops annually, embracing the best of Americana that stretches across all genres of entertainment. For more information visit www.armedforcesentertainment.com ,  Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

About American300 


American300 is a all volunteer 501c3 created to support our Department of Defense and Department of State with meaningful resiliency programming.  Established in 2006, American300 programming has brought special guests to dozens of countries and over 500 military installation visits to date.  For more visit www.American300.org and www.OneTeamEnvoys.org - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. 

ONETEAM Medical Team - Collaboration Is Key

San Salvador - ONETEAM Envoys return to El Salvador with focus on expanding the
Youth Rugby Dir. Felipe Flores with young players
relationship between the ESA Youth Rugby project and government sports medicine officials. 

Now in it's third month of programming, the ESA Youth Rugby Project has grown from zero participants to well over two-hundred.  While young community members are learning the sport from local coaches and program manager Felipe Flores, there are development aspects in play off the field as well.  "Rugby is a contact sport and while our youth 7's program is focused on speed and passing there will be tackling and the potential for collisions that take place," says Felipe Flores, adding "thanks to ONETEAM Envoy's medical team we are collectively addressing all aspects of sports medicine in a collaborative effort with our nations sports ministry and Olympic Committee sports medicine staff members." 

While rugby is a 'contact' sport, Flores points out that a review and broad discussion on concussion protocols is needed in El Salvador.   He points to other sports where concussions happen as proof that El Salvador needs to catch up.  "We have hard court sports like: basketball, volleyball, martial arts and open field sports like soccer that all suffer from concussions, so it's imperative that we create a discussion with medical professionals." says Flores. 

ONETEAM Envoy's Laila Powers M.D. heads up a team of American physicians who are committed to ensuring that El Salvador's sports medicine team members have all the subject matter expertise available to them. "It's not an issue of our physicians knowing more, it's about creating open lines of communication so that we can be as collaborative as possible," says Doctor Powers, adding "programs like 'impact' concussion testing and concussion protocols are constantly being updated both in America and around the world, the more professional care givers can share with one another the better." 

The ONETEAM Envoy visit will also include meetings with ESA Rugby board members, US Embassy staff members as well as El Salvador Sports Ministry senior leaders. Time will also be spent visiting with the four existing ESA Youth Rugby programs and meeting with officials from two additional cities that have expressed interest in joining the project.  

Hoosiers Host Nation's Largest Half Marathon - in Kosovo

500 Festival Public Relations -   The 500 Festival is taking a remote version of the 2017 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon and Finish Line 500 Festival 5K to overseas troops stationed at Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo on April 28 and 29. Hosted by our deployed Indiana National Guard, and other U.S. Armed Forces personnel, the individuals stationed at Camp Bondsteel will have a unique Indy Mini experience that feels like home.

“Holding a satellite version of the 2017 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is something we’re very excited about this year,” said Bob Bryant, president and CEO of the 500 Festival. “It’s an honor and a privilege to take our event and deliver it to Hoosiers and other armed forces personnel overseas. We can’t wait to see the impact this has on both our troops and our participants at home.”

Longtime Indy Mini public address announcer Rob Powers will travel to Kosovo to manage the event as a representative of his nonprofit organization, American300.org and the 500 Festival.  

“Emceeing one of the greatest half marathons in the world is an incredible honor, but being able to announce at a forward deployed remote Mini-Marathon is beyond words,” Powers said. “And then I get to fly half way around the world to do it again a week later in front of thousands here in Indy.”

Powers will travel with Vietnam wounded warrior Charlie Manis; a decorated member of Indiana’s famed D Company, 151st Rangers. The Indiana Army National Guardsmen will be joined by businessmen Aasif Bade, who serves as a board member of the 500 Festival. “Charlie and Aasif are going to be our grand marshals and will be jumping into runs each day... we've already go them practicing with the green starters flags." added Powers laughingly. 

Troops in Kosovo will receive the full experience, from medals and shirts to an exciting and challenging 13.1 mile race. They’ll also hear the same voice that launches the Mini-Marathon back in Indy the following weekend.

The 2017 remote Mini-Marathon is the first since 2013 when the 500 Festival hosted a similar event. Prior to 2013, the last time Troops had run a remote Mini-Marathon was when Powers helped host a forward version in Kuwait in 2009 with the same unit that is now deployed to Kosovo. 

“We’re thankful for organizations working to support our service members while overseas,” said Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, the adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard. “Events like this promote healthy lifestyles that improve the overall well-being of our soldiers.”

The 500 Festival will continue a season-long campaign of encouraging our Indiana military 

personnel throughout running events this spring. The 500 Festival Miler Series, presented by OrthoIndy, consists of races in February, March and April mirroring a half-marathon training program. A Thank You banner, signed by staff, volunteers and participants will be delivered to Kosovo and displayed at the race to support and encourage troops as they prepare for their own Mini-Marathon.

About American 300


Founded in 2006, American300 is a 501c3 not-for-profit that supports our Department of Defense with subject matter experts on the topic of resiliency. To date American300 has conducted well over 500 worldwide base visits with mentors ranging from Wounded Warriors and Olympians to Professional Athletes and Astronauts. The primary goal being to connect remotely deployed Service Members with mentors who bring a unique perspective on the general theme of never quitting while striving to be the best in service to our country, their families and communities they live and operate in. More at: American300.org 

EVEREST SUCCESS!

Benjamin Breckheimer, USA SSG ret. 
Kilimanjaro Tanzania and Mount Everest Nepal - American300 mentor Benjamin Breckheimer, US Army purple heart recipient is making good on a life goal of taking his purple heart to the summit of the world's tallest continental mountains. 

After retreating due to sickness on Kilimanjaro a few years ago, Benjamin along with 17 American300 support climbers reached the summit of Africa's tallest mountain this spring. Knocking off two of his '7 Summits' (Mount Elbrus in Russia and Kilimanjaro in Africa) and the first of his 'redemption summits'.   

With five more mountains on his list, Benjamin returned to the states, not to relax and celebrate his African success, but to prepare for the next 7 summit: Mount Everest in Nepal. 

This past week, American300 founder Rob Powers traveled to Nepal with Benjamin to begin the acclimatization routine hand him off to fellow Am300 mentor Chhiring Dorje Sherpa. Together with two Swedish and one Polish climber Benjamin will be attempting to summit the world's tallest mountain this May as part of the Rolwaling International Expedition. 

Like, Kilimanjaro this will be Benjamin's second visit to the mountain.  Unlike, Kilimanjaro where he feel victim to sickness, Benjamin was returning to base camp from high on the mountain in 2015, when the major earthquake rocked the country and caused catastrophic damages and death throughout Nepal to include 19 climbers being killed by avalanches. 

"Getting knocked down mentally came way closer to killing me then having my leg blown off," says Benjamin, referring to the darkness that enveloped him during his recovery from the Afghanistan roadside bomb. "Having this 7 summits goal has ignited a passion within me that has restored me, I can't wait to get back onto the mountain."   

American300 will continue to provide updates as they become available from Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and the International Expedition team members. 

UPDATE - 20APR17 - The team is at base camp and has completed several acclimatization climbs to 5,000 meters.  All team members are doing great. 

UPDATE - 22MAY17 - Benjamin and Chhiring achieved the summit of Everest on 22MAY17 at 0825hrs local Everest.  They have descending to Camp 3 and are resting over night before continuing downward.   Benjamin now joins two other combat wounded warriors (purple heart recipients ) as the 3rd Purple Heart Climber to stand on top of the world. 

Youth Development - focus of new Olympic sport in El Salvador

El Salvador - After years of working with the El Salvador Olympic Committee’s family of sport, American300 ONETEAM programming with support from the Colgan Foundation have agreed to focus support on El Salvador’s Rugby Federation and a program called “ESA Youth Rugby Project 2020.” 

Currently, there is no comprehensive youth rugby program in the country and the goal of ‘Project 2020’ is to see participation grow from zero to over a thousand in the next 4 years. 

“There’s only so much Eduardo Palomo, president of the ESA Olympic Committee and his organization can do to support the full array of Olympic sanctioned sports throughout the country,” says Rob Powers, founder of American300, adding “ Our goal is to support the ESA Olympic Committee’s efforts by focusing on this amazing opportunity to grow a new Olympic sport.” 

Working with Daniel Olano, president of the El Salvador Rugby Federation, American300 ONETEAM programming will focus on youth development.  “Daniel has a vision and it is centered on youth programming in mass, which imatches our programs goals completely.” says Daniel Beery, Olympic gold medalist and American300 ONETEAM sports ambassador. 

This coming week, Olano along with newly hired development manager Felipe Flores, a long time Olympic Committee staff member who resigned from the Olympic Committee in February, will be hosting Powers and Beery. “ We have meetings scheduled with the Mayors of: Santa Tecla, San Pedro Masahuat, San Miguel and San Jose Guayabal, in what will serve as an official launch to the program as these cities have agreed to work with ESA Rugby in developing youth programming.” says Felipe Flores.  

“We’re incredibly grateful to both the ESA Olympic Committee and ESA Rugby for the continued work they do providing sports opportunity to the youth of El Salvador,” says Beery, “on any given day athletic fields across El Salvador are packed with soccer players, our goal is to encourage a whole new group of youth to join these players on the field of play with this new Olympic sports offering.” he added. 


For more information on American300 ONETEAM programming visit: www.American300.org 

Photographers Focus on Service Members

Southwest Harbor, Maine - American300 returns to New England and our United States Coast Guard with the first of a new programming initiative involving professional photography this week. 

“We’re always looking for ways to connect with service members and the Coast Guard has had this amazing nationwide photo contest called ‘Shutter Shootout’ in place for years,” says Gretchen Powers, a professional photographer and volunteer tour leader for American300, “I saw an opportunity to round up my colleagues from across the country and ask them to volunteer to share their tricks of the trade with our service members.” 

Aside from the obvious benefits of having professional photographers share their subject matter expertise, American300 is excited to expose these professionals to the day in day out role that our Coast Guard and other branches of service perform for our country. 

“Whether it be with a mobile phone or dedicated camera, photography is just one of those activities that nearly everyone has access to and with a tiny bit of instruction there’s a wide array of positive growth that can come from taking pictures that truly capture a moment in time… it’s an art form and seeing individuals improve at it is rewarding for everyone involved.” says Powers. 

For this first workshop, Powers has enlisted the help of fellow New England based professional photographers: Cam Held and Christine Reighley.  With a morning spent focused on giving the photographers a taste of Coast Guard life and afternoon spent having the professionals share and instruct the hope is to provide the Coasties with the tools to take better photos while on adventures with their family and friends while encouraging them to get out and explore their surroundings says the team. 

For more on American300 visit:  www.American300.org 


American300 is a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit which is focused on supporting our Department of Defense and Homeland Security Service Members with innovative programming which fosters positive growth and resilient mindsets.  No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is ever intended or implied - American300.org 



Climbers Rally For Fellow Mentor



UPDATE:  Benjamin along with mentors and supporters reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on March 1, 2017 at 0722hrs! 

Tanzania Africa -  For experienced high altitude climbers, Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t considered a technical climb, but rather a bucket list summit.  Rising to a height of 19,340 feet above sea level the world’s tallest free standing mountain represents the roof of Africa and is a famed member of the 'seven summits' achievement for reaching the continentals tallest peaks. 

For medically retired US Army Staff Sergeant Benjamin Breckheimer, climbing became the driving force behind his recovery process after being blown up while on patrol in Afghanistan in 2009.   Only through incredible medical care was his right leg re-attached and circulation resorted.  Today, his right ankle is completely fused in a 90 degree ‘standing’ position but, has mobility in both legs, just don't ask him to run. 

“It's my oxygen, the reason I get up in the morning. When I’m not climbing or preparing for a major climb, my mind tends to wonder and right now that’s not a good thing.” says the 31 year old purple heart recipient who struggled with alcohol abuse and suicide during his darkest days of recovery.  

In 2014, Breckheimer traveled to Tanzania in hopes of collecting the first of his seven summit peaks - Mount Kilimanjaro, or ‘Kili’ as it is referred to within the climbing community. As fate would have it, he became sick on the flight over from the States and lasted 4 days on the mountain before succumbing to altitude sickness and retreat. 

Benjamin shares his story with Airmen in Germany
“Kili, is a killer for those who don’t respect her,” says Chris Klinke, a multiple Everest summit expedition leader. “It’s not a technical mountain, it’s a text book acclimatization ascent to do it in 5-7 days.”  The statistics speak for themselves: over 40 percent of the climbers attempting to summit the mountain succumb to high altitude sickness and retreat.


During the year following his failed attempt on Kili, Benjamin was afforded an opportunity to join an Everest expedition team, which also ended unexpectedly.  It was on Everest in the spring of 2015, that the Calvary Scout experienced the biggest scare of his life.  An avalanche tore through base camp killing 19 fellow climbers and just missed sweeping Benjamin away.  “Seeing that massive wall of snow coming right at me was more terrifying then seeing my leg dangling by a cord after the explosion in Afghanistan.”

This week Breckheimer returns to Kilimanjaro with a crew of supporters from the nonprofit organization American300.  “I had the opportunity to travel with Benjamin on a overseas military mentoring tour last November and watched him connect with fellow service members in an incredibly powerful way,” says Eric Meyer, MD, who also has multiple Everest summits and volunteers as a military mentor with American300.  “When we heard that Kili had kicked Ben’s butt, a group of us decided to help him give it another go.”


“We constantly place individuals like Benjamin with deployed troops to allow for personal resiliency stories to be shared,” says Rob Powers, founder of the military mentoring program.  “For Benjamin it’s mountains, for others it’s something else maybe.  The point is, we all need something that drives us from within and seek the true fun that life has to offer if we just don’t quit.” 

American300 has enlisted the support of fellow mentors and supporters to ensure that Benjamin doesn’t go it alone. Climbing alongside both his Kilimanjaro and Everest attempts will be Chhiring Dorje Sherpa, a world renowned Everest expedition leader and long time American300 military mentor along with Dr. Meyer, Dr. Bryan Scheer and others. 

“We’re incredibly honored to support Benjamin’s return to Kilimanjaro and Everest, he’s not only a great example of resiliency, he’s become a fantastic mentor,” says Ed Bell, president of the all volunteer effort American300 who along with Powers will be joining the climb. “Again it showed all of us the power our mentors have in effecting positive growth, not just with the troops they serve, but with each other - we couldn’t be prouder of the American300 team.” says Bell. 

Kilimanjaro isn’t the only mountain that American300 volunteers will be helping Benjamin 
climb this year, he will also be traveling to Nepal and Mount Everest. 

Follow along with Benjamin on his journey to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro and Mt. Everest here at www.American300.org for updates, photos and video. 

About American300 - 

The 501c3 nonprofit American300 supports our Department of Defense and Department of State with mentor programming designed to increase individual resiliency. Learn more at: www.American300.org 

Wounded Warrior Saved by Mountains

Whiteman Air Force Base -  Benjamin Breckheimer, joined the Army to save lives. Despite the countless lives that his surgical team managed to restore life to, the daily loss of life in Baghdad was taking its toll on his soul.

What happened as a result of his deployment to Iraq as a Army surgical assistant is the stuff movies are made of.  After a year of guts and gore, Sergeant Breckheimer, put in for a occupational re-assignment.  

If the story ended here, many would guess that he chose solace in a duty assignment that would place him far from the inescapable human destruction of war… the reality - Benjamin, chose to be closer to the front lines where his patients were receiving the injuries he dealt with on a daily basis in Iraq. 

Upon return from Iraq, the surgical assistant went back to advance training school as a Calvary Scout.   Not long after graduating from calvary advanced training he was deployed a second time to Asia, this time around to the eastern border of Afghanistan. 

“I got so burned out on always working on the after effects of terror,” says Breckheimer, adding “I knew that I needed to be up front fighting alongside these warriors that I was caring for.” 

Months and countless patrols into his re-deployment as a Cav Scout, Benjamin’s Stryker was struck by an I.E.D.  The explosion destroyed the Stryker and Breckheimer.

After years of warrior care and a successful limb re-attachment ( right leg ) Breckheimer was then dealt with another set back - divorce. 

Things weren’t going well in Benjamin’s life.  

One night while sitting in bed, Benjamin held a handgun in one hand while petting his dogs with the other.  In his mind it was time to throw in the towel, but the thought of killing himself with no one around to check on him revealed the reality that his dogs would probably end up eating him… sick thoughts for sick times. 

His dogs ended up saving his life that night.  He’d nearly thrown it ( blown it) away and in the days that followed that darkest of nights he became introspective. “I’d always been drawn to the magic of huge mountains and after looking at guys like Tom Whittaker ( first amputee/handicapped climber to summit Mount Everest) and wounded warriors who were climbing instead of quitting I decided to set my new life goal to join them. 

Breckheimer and Rob Powers, the founder of American300.org will be laying out their personal life stories with Airmen at Whiteman Air Force Base this week in hopes that by sharing, others may be able to better understand the ridiculous nature of allowing life’s darkest moments and thoughts to get in the way of it’s potential brightest memories.  “What I’ve been through is nothing unique, there are millions of warriors who have or will go through much of what rocked my world - I’m just hopeful that by sharing my story others will be better prepared to realize that they’re not alone, that life can offer so much if we just don’t quit.” says Breckheimer. 

Today, Benjamin, has climbed one of the world’s seven continental tallest peaks with a goal of summiting Kilimanjaro and Everest this year.   If successful he’ll be the third purple heart recipient to summit Everest. 

For more on American300 visit:  www.American300.org 


American300 is a all volunteer 501c3 nonprofit with a mission of supporting the Department of Defense through military mentor programming.   The nonprofit also conducts sports diplomacy programming throughout the world.   

USA Diving Heads to Thule Air Base


BY USA DIVING -  JAN. 12, 2017

Olympic medalists Troy Dumais and Sam Dorman will travel to Thule Air Base in Greenland on Thursday, January 19 as part of USA Diving’s Dive Into Service program.

Dive Into Service is a leadership focused mentorship and relationship building program that partners USA Diving athletes with active military service members and veterans. USA Diving athletes will support and engage members of our military and will have the opportunity to learn leadership and team-building skills through sessions run by military leaders sharing their personal experiences defending our nation.  In turn, USA Diving athletes will share their stories of setting both individual and team goals to be the best in the world while representing Team USA. 

Dumais, a four-time Olympian and 2012 bronze medalist, will be making his second trip with the Dive Into Service program when he travels to Greenland. Dumais took part in the program’s launch on September 11, 2016, with a visit to the Air Force’s 21st Space Wing located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Dorman, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist, will be participating in his first Dive Into Service trip.

Thule Air Base, which reports to the 21st Space Wing, is the United States’ most remote military base. Located 750 miles north of the Arctic Circle, its mission is to provide early warning and defense of ballistic missile launches against the United States and Southern Canada to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and JCS Command Centers. The 12th Space Warning Squadron also detects and tracks polar orbiting satellites in support of operational space surveillance and space control missions.

USA Diving has partnered with American300 Tours, a not-for-profit organization that supports military service members and their families with mentor programming, to implement the Dive Into Service program.  Hosting the visit to Thule Air Base will be Olympic Gold Medalist and long time American300 mentor Dan Beery. 

American P.O.W. - 'Service with Honor'

Undisclosed Middle East -   Lieutenant Ed Mechenbier, had done everything he could to save his aircraft and the lives in it, but on the third “we’re not going to make it...” call from his backseat weapons officer, he made the decision to eject.

 There was no need to say it again...they were going in! 

Less then two seconds after his parachute deployed, the fighter pilot watched as his F4 Phantom slammed into the soil of north Vietnam. 

Mentors and Troops deployed in Southwest Asia are reunited once again as American300 partners with DoD Armed Forces Entertainment to present: ‘Service with Honor'... the story of Major General Edward Mechenbier, USAF retired. 

“There is very little that hasn't already been said to a service member who is on their 'um-teenth' deployment... they've seen and heard it all," says Army Veteran Robi Powers, founder of the nonprofit American300, adding, "but put a guy who went through six years of hell as a prisoner of war, who then came home to eventually become a two star General and troops ears and eyes perk up... the message is worthy and relevant." 

Aside from the opportunity for service members to get to personally know the retired General, they'll also be provided the opportunity to ask the biggest question of all: 'how'd you manage to get through all those years of torture and incarceration in north Vietnam'. 

After years of mentoring on bases throughout the United Sates with American300, this will be General Mechenbier's first trip overseas with the nonprofit.  The nonprofit believes in growth through a strategic nurturing approach.  “Not everyone is going to relate to every guest mentor we introduce to a unit,” says retired Army Ranger and purple heart recipient Jessie Stewart, who sits on the non-profit's advisory board, adding,  “When I was on my last deployment I didn’t want to be around folks who couldn’t relate, who hadn’t been there, I can relate completely to how our programming is received by Service Members... I was one of them, I met Robi and American300 the first time in the middle east and the effect was overwhelmingly positive."

Focused on sharing real world resiliency stories time and time again with the hopes that eventually every service member meets someone who ‘registers’ and can be 'related to' is one of the primary missions of American300.  The other is to give Service Members an opportunity to spend quality time with the various guest mentors.  “We work with leadership that allow our guests to slow down and develop relationships with our warriors,” says Powers.  

American300 is an all volunteer nonprofit which enlists the assistance of resiliency experts to help today’s military members be the best that they can be in service, relationships and friendships.  To date the nonprofit has visited over 500 bases worldwide in support of a comprehensive approach by the Department of Defense to offer up unique ways of approaching service life.  Previous visits to the middle east have featured world champion athletes, Olympic champions, wounded warriors and astronauts to name a few.   

For more on American300 visit: www.American300.org 

About Armed Forces Entertainment

Armed Forces Entertainment is the official Department of Defense agency for providing entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas, with priority given to those in contingency operations and at remote and isolated locations. The Department of the Air Force is the executive agent of Armed Forces Entertainment. Founded in 1951, Armed Forces Entertainment brings a touch of home to more than 500,000 troops annually, embracing the best of Americana that stretches across all genres of entertainment. For more information visit www.armedforcesentertainment.com ,  Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

Cowboy Kicks Off World Championships By Visiting Troops

Nellis Air Force Base -  After twelve years of competing in professional rodeo's world championships, Trevor Knowles would be right in his mind to step away from the injury prone sport of bulldogging and focus his energies entirely on running the family farm.  Instead, the hall of fame high school wrestling star will be entering the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the 13th time in the hopes that his steers run straight and his landings on top of them go in the right direction. 

Of all the professional rodeo sports, steer wrestling aka ‘bulldogging’ is one of the hardest on the body, not the steers, but the cowboys.  “Being raised on a farm and having a Vietnam veteran for a father definitely has made Trevor the man he is today,” says Jeff Chadwick, a director with Wrangler Corporation who recruited Trevor and many others to represent the companies ‘Wrangler National Patriot’ program years ago, he adds, “It wasn’t a hard sell, Trevor has been donating time and financial resources to local military charities ever since he started on his way to being a million dollar Cowboy."

As part of the Wrangler National Patriot program, professional cowboys, cowgirls and rodeo committees here at home are asked to volunteer time and energy to raise awareness and funds for our military charities.  

In 2009, Chadwick went one step farther by partnering with american300.org to connect his stable of professional athletes with our troops serving around the world.  Now 8 years later, Wrangler champions have shared their never quit winning attitudes and heart felt thanks with thousands of troops.  “Every year we take Wrangler Cowboys and Cowgirls out on the Department of Defense Armed Forces Entertainment Wrangler National Patriot Memorial Day Tour,” says Army Veteran Robi Powers, founder of American300 “while the focus has always been on saluting the service and ultimate sacrifices, it’s also become a resiliency sharing experience as troops come to understand the true nature of what it means to be a professional cowboy.” he added. 

This week, Trevor Knowles joins the likes of World Champion Hall of Fame Cowboys: John W. Jones Jr. and Rob Smets along with Annie Bianco and many others in taking time out for our Troops.   Trevor along with Chadwick and Powers will be visiting Nellis Air Force to meet Airmen and share their thanks along with resilient life stories. 


For more on American300 Military Mentor Programming visit:  www.American300.org