Co-Founders present at MCAA event with Deputy Commandant in attendance

On March 9th, 2017, two of The Wingman Foundation’s co-founders, Phil Duong and Jack Guevara, were invited to speaker at the Marine Corps Aviation Association’s monthly dinner at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia.  The event, attended by Navy and Marine Corps leaders and defense industry professionals, allowed us to share our story.  Among those in attendance was Lieutenant General Jon “Dog” Davis, the Deputy Commandant for Aviation (the advisor to the Commandant of the Marine Corps on all matters relating to Aviation).  Phil and Jack were able to get a brief presentation to the attendees prior to the event’s keynote speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Gregory “Sumo” Summa, the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 (VMFAT-501).  The talk was a great chance to engage an audience well connected to our issues and introduce ourselves to new pool of potential supporters and leaders of our cause.

"Donger" (left) and "Chili" (right) with LtGen "Dog" Davis, DCA

"Donger" (left) and "Chili" (right) with LtGen "Dog" Davis, DCA

“Chili” and “Donger” covered the brief history of our foundation, our mission to serve families during the post-mishap period and honor those sacrifices made in the years that pass, and gave examples of our impact.  TWF has been able to support both squadrons and families of the fallen based off of the generous backing of supporters.  “Chili” noted that what had started as an idea among three friends and fellow aviators has been able to touch the lives of many people across the globe.  Their short talk explained that all of our staff are volunteers, giving our time and experience, in order to ensure that we “Never Leave a Wingman Behind.”

 

At the closing of their presentation, they we met with a standing ovation.  We at TWF know that it is our supporters that have enabled us to touch so many people and it is our honor to carry out our mission.

 

If you are interested in supporting are future efforts, please considering donating to our cause or contacting us at  admin@wingmanfoundation.org.

2016 New York City Memorial Day Walk-A-Thon

On May 30, 2016, the Wingman Foundation completed its inaugural Memorial Day Walk-a-Thon in New York City! Over 70 people braved the inclement weather in front of the USS Intrepid on Monday morning for the start of the walk. We were humbled to be joined by fellow servicemen and women, as well as friends and family from as far as Hawaii, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

The 32-mile course took the group around the perimeter of Manhattan, with each mile dedicated to the memory of those we have lost in Navy and Marine aviation mishaps over the last ten years.

Some participants walked through particular neighborhoods, others chose to walk specific miles for their friends and loved ones, and about ten walkers covered the entire course. At each mile, the group paused to read the names and stories of the fallen, look at their pictures, and share our memories of them. It was an intimate setting and a way for our community to re-tell stories of their colleagues and friends. We hope that our day proved to have kept these warriors' legacies alive and that they are never forgotten.

Mile 29: Capt Ben Potter remembers LCpl Joshua Barron and LCpl Matthew Determan

Thank you to everyone who walked, volunteered, and donated — you made our first Walk-a-Thon a success and helped remind us of the true meaning of Memorial Day. It was a long, fun day, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

A detailed list of those we remembered and their stories is below:

The Wingman Foundation's Newest Ultra-Athletes to Tackle the Salton Sea Ultra-Marathon (81 miles!)

The Wingman Foundation is proud to welcome its two newest ultra-athletes, Brittany McCullough and Monique Jacques. They'll be attempting one of the most difficult ultra-marathons in the United States, the Badwater Salton Sea Ultra.

The two will traverse 81 nonstop miles through the Southern California desert, from below sea level at the Salton Sea to the scenic summit of Mt. Palomar!

And lucky for us, they're representing The Wingman Foundation to raise awareness and help raise funds for our mission to "Never Leave a Wingman Behind."

 

LtCol Chris "Otis" Raible Educational Grant Recipient Announced

We're excited to announce our inaugural educational grant recipient, named in honor of the late LtCol Chris "Otis" Raible. 

Head over to the Education page for more details!  And if you know qualified and deserving candidates attending post-secondary school, be sure to spread the word for our 2016 educational initiatives once announced later this spring!

Wingman Social at The Brew Project (San Diego, CA)

Another great event in the books! This past Friday, February 26th, The Wingman Foundation paired up with one of San Diego’s newest gastropubs to farewell 2015 and take advantage of the great food and 25 beers on tap. The Brew Project graciously opened up their business, allowing The Wingman crowd to take over the entire second floor of the venue with a full service bar to boot.  Additionally, The Brew Project donated a portion of the night’s proceeds directly to The Wingman Foundation!

Enjoying a few drinks wasn’t our only objective. The Wingman Foundation staff had the opportunity to thank a handful of our incredible supporters face to face.   Aircrew from nearly every Marine Corps aviation community were present. The diversity in the crowd goes to show how deep the roots of brother and sisterhood run. We think it’s safe to chalk this one up as a huge success, and we can’t wait to see everyone at the next event.  Remember, NEVER leave a wingman behind!

 

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Miramar Airshow, 2-4 October 2015

Phew, what a great weekend!  This is the Wingman Foundation coming to you following an exciting three-day celebration of aviation at the 2015 Miramar Airshow. In case you missed it, the airshow was hosted by Marine Corps Air Station Miramar and ranked as the largest military airshow in the nation. The event welcomed an estimated 700,000 patrons looking to catch a glimpse of our nation’s finest.

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 Whether you were there to witness the aerobatic formation maneuvers of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and Patriots Jet Team or take a stroll through a U.S. Marine Corps CH-53E, we hope you were able to swing by the Wingman Foundation booth in Hangar 3.

 

 Lucky for us, we were able to meet many of you and spread the word of our organization’s cause. That is, to never leave a wingman behind.  Over our three days at the airshow, we had the fortunate opportunity to not only speak with individuals but aid in fundraising through the collection of donations and sales of Wingman merchandise. So, if you were able to stop by our booth to chat with one of our volunteers or make a purchase, thank you for taking the time to help further our organization’s reach.


A highlight for the volunteer staff this weekend was the chance to shake hands with a family that benefited from the organization’s purpose. In May of this year, an MV-22 Osprey carrying 22 Marines had a hard-landing at Bellows Air Force Base in Hawaii. The Wingman Foundation stepped in to help assist with family member transportation from the continental United States to victims’ bedsides in Hawaii. We hope that this brought a little assurance in a time of uncertainty and was the first step in the healing process. A stark reminder of why The Wingman Foundation was founded.

If you missed our booth or were unable to attend this year’s airshow, we hope to catch you at one of our future events. Stay tuned at wingmanfoundation.org as we roll out event schedules, new swag, and organization announcements.  Before we sign off, how awesome is this little Wingman?  Could be the new face of the Foundation. What do you think? 


A Run To Remember

The run is in the history books and I finished with 80 miles after 22 consecutive hours of running (with a few breaks here and there for food and foot care). Around mile 50, I began having IT band pain, forcing me to power hike. As the pain grew progressively worse, I eventually had to consider the real risk of injury, and time was not on my side at my degraded pace.

In the dark hours of the morning, it was the memory of LtCol Chris Raible and Sgt Bradley Atwell's heroic actions on 14 Sept 2012 that kept me going. It was thoughts of the many veterans who are unable to do what I was doing because of injuries received in combat or because they never returned home. I am proud and honored for the privilege of representing our heroes.

A videographer performs an on-the-run documentary about ultra-marathons.

A videographer performs an on-the-run documentary about ultra-marathons.

The sport of ultra marathon is one that forces you to find your physical and mental limits, then convince yourself that your body can and will do much more than you thought possible (unless of course pushing your body is about to result in a real injury). As David Goggins says: "When you think that you are done, you're only about 40% in to what your body is capable of doing." I will tackle the 100 mile distance again, but not for quite some time.

Although I came up short of the 100 mile goal, it was not for lack of support and encouragement from you all. The race director was amazed at how many of you sent encouragement during the event, he even took a personal interest in helping me achieve the goal.

For those of you who pledged per mile, look for an email with the final amount based on 80 miles completed. The final tally of funds raised for the LtCol "Otis" Raible Scholarship by The Wingman Foundation was $10,079. Again, thank you for your support.

-- Captain Mike "SARS" Harris