Northern Maine - American300 returns to remote United States Coast Guard Lifesaving Stations this week with decorated US Air Force retired General’s Bruce Fister and Ed Mechenbier.
For Major General Ed Mechenbier, the thought of one day becoming a subject matter expert on resiliency was the farthest thing from his thoughts while held captive in northern Vietnam for nearly six years. Being the last serving Vietnam P.O.W. when he retired and obtaining the rank of Major General were also outside of his realm of thought. Instead his focus in the late sixties and early seventies was on coming home with his fellow Service Members.
“There was no detailed technical manual that prepared any of us for what we went through,” says Mechenbier, adding, “The focus was on the day at hand and how we could all get through the torture and grind of captivity together.”
With a mission of sharing personal life stories and opening lines of communication with our current Service Members, American300 is visiting remote locations around the world in partnership with the Department of Defense and Homeland Security.
“American300 visits represent the antithesis of computer based resiliency training, but at the same time we fully support our current education and development models,” says Mechenbier, who for the past four years has mentored on American300 Tours countless times. “I’m a warm weather kind of guy now-a-days, but if visiting our northern New England remote Coast Guard Stations in the middle of winter is what it takes to help make our force stronger, then I’m all in.”
The wounded warrior fighter pilot won’t be alone on this tour, he’ll be joined by Air Force Academy classmate Lieutenant General Bruce Fister. Bruce joined the all volunteer effort after running into Ed and Rob Powers, the founder of American300 at an Air Force Special Operations Command leadership retreat this past summer.
“When I saw the chemistry between these two retired General’s and found out that Bruce was actively serving in the Coast Guard Auxiliary, I told Ed that we had to get him on the American300 team.” said Powers, adding, “We rely on likable, relatable and relevant guests with amazing life stories to inspire new ways of looking at the mission and life.”
Like Mechenbier, Fister has dealt with life’s curveballs while leading at the smallest and largest levels in the military. Powers, notes that they both visited a remote Coast Guard Station this past fall and received outstanding reviews, “Putting that much life experience on deckplate in a down low ‘all about our Service Members Day in the Life’ format - inspires greatness and brings out the best in all of us.”
American300 is an all volunteer 501c3 non-government organization with a mission of supporting the Department of Defense and Homeland Security comprehensive professional development programs. No federal endorsement is intended or implied - American300.org