American300 Public Affairs- When American300 created the 'Extreme Profiles in Courage Series' it was the battle fields of Vietnam, Grenada and Somalia that made up the majority of combat decorations that U.S. Army Rangers; Danny McKnight, Howard Mullen, Keni Thomas and Charilie Manas brought to Afghanistan last October.
This July 4th... campaign ribbons from Vietnam, Granada and Iraq will accompany four decorated Marines, all of whom gave a part of themselves to these countries and the battles that took place there...
Marines: John Bates Col ret., Tim Howard Col ret., William 'Spanky' Gibson MSgt ret. and Sal 'Gonzo' Gonzalez LCpl ret., all wounded warriors will be embarking on a similar journey as the Rangers... leaving behind their jobs and family holiday reunions, cook outs and commitments to spend time with our frontline service members as part of the Armed Forces Entertainment Leathernecks Tour organized by American300.
"Colonel Weatherspoon and the Armed Forces Entertainment office recognized the motivational power behind us bringing over decorated warriors and approved the project last year" said, Robi Powers the founder of the program " We started with the Army and we're charging ahead with the Marines... Air Force, Coast Guard and Navy - you're next!"
For the Marines getting back over 'to the front lines' as motivational guests is something totally new. For some it will be the first time they've been up close to the battle lines while for others it's been a part of their job description... Spanky Gibson, MSgt retired for example was the first above knee amputee to be granted full combat duty status in 2007 and was able to return to Iraq and his fellow Marines " I was flown off the battle field on my back in a Black Hawk. It took 2 years for me to return under my own power" says Spanky adding "For Gonzo this is going to be huge, he was flown out in 2005 and now is going to walk back onto a battle field under his own power... I know how much that helped me with closure, it's going to do the same for him... I also know how powerful it is to meet people that have been there, done that."
While Bates received his gold purple heart status in Vietnam and Howard received his purple heart and silver star on the island of Grenada, the effect of reuniting with today's warriors on the battle fields of the middle east (undisclosed at this time) is profound. "Colonel's Bates and Howard are legends within the Marine Corps... I remember listening to Colonel Howard address my unit back when I had two legs... when I lost my leg to a sniper, I immediately reflected back to that day when I first met the Colonel, took his words of inspiration and motivation... into my therapy sessions... it helped me focus and recover." added Gibson.
American300 has been actively engaged in bringing unique individuals with powerful life stories, four wheel drive attitudes... knocked down but figured out a way to stand back up and drive on, to the troops for 4 years and over 380 base visits since it's inception.
We promise that this group of Marines will continue the proud tradition of the nonprofit. "Army Rangers and their commander (McKnight) downrange over the anniversary of the battle of Mogadishu last October, US Marines downrange during this years fourth of July... we're just honored to have such great friends and supporters." says Powers "I just hope I can keep up with these guys!"
The Marines are set to launch... stay with us as the tours continue!
For more on the Department of Defense office 'Armed Forces Entertainment' visit:
American300 is an all volunteer veteran run, active duty and civilian supported nonprofit organization with a mission of increasing the resiliency of our Armed Forces Members, their Families and the areas in which they live and operate. No federal endorsement of sponsors or nonprofit is ever intended. American300 501(c)3 with offices in Cleveland, Ohio and Steamboat Springs, CO For more information contact: robpowersusa (@) aol.com