Retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary Linfoot grew up in Los Angeles. He initially enlisted in the Army Reserve after graduating high school in the hopes of becoming a helicopter pilot. After attending Flight School and graduating a Warrant Officer in 1990, Gary joined the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (SOAR(A)) in 1997.
On May 31, 2008, while conducting operations in Iraq, Gary’s helicopter suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure. The helicopter crash-landed, injuring Gary severely. Medics evacuated him to Germany for a spine stabilization surgery, and treatment took him from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, to the Tampa VA Hospital and finally the Shepherd Center in GA. His broken back paralyzed Gary from the waist down. After three months of recovery, Gary returned home to a very new kind of life.
Gary and Mari continue to pay the generosity of the American people forward by starting their own nonprofit that enhances independent living for people with disabilities.