SOCRS060- Mike T. Burns- “Hanoi Hilton Resident (Survivor-Hero): The Coast of California”

December 13, 2018
Name: Michael Thomas Burns
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force
Unit: 433rd TFS
Date of Birth: 18 October 1944
Home City of Record: Fort Wayne IN
Date of Loss: 05 July 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 173600 North  1062700 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Other Personnel in Incident: Carl Crumpler, returnee

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.

I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I am 28 years old, my
birthdate is 18 October 1944. I attended De Paul University and graduated
with a BA in Economics in 1966. I was introduced to flying through the ROTC
during my senior year, and I loved it. Pilot training at Vance AFB, Enid,
Oklahoma was one of the biggest years of my life. Learning to fly jets was

I was sent to the back seat of the F-4, and upon completion of the normal aircraft training and survival schools, I went to Ubon, Thailand 29 May 1968. Colonel Carl Crumpler was my front seater and we were shot down on 5 July 1968 attacking a gunsight in the panhandle of North Vietnam. It took 35 days to get to Hanoi by truck. I was beaten up but not severely tortured. I lived in five different camps during the 56 months of my stay.

There were various things that, at different periods, had great value to me and gave meaning to my life. The firm conviction that no matter what else happened, my family loved and cared for me constantly, was very important to me. At times, the overwhelming feeling of life-sounds, breathing, consciousness, good health - the sheer realization of just "being," and a subtle, distant conviction of the existence of our "Source," that almighty "Love-Energy" that created all and is a part of all, was overwhelming and good. Of course, those guys, those other minds that I was "forced" to live with, who made me laugh (at myself), informed me, and shared their life's experiences with me - to them I look with respect, sympathy and love.

I came home, to beautiful home, in March 1973. Since my Air Force debriefing, l have been traveling back and forth across this country, seeing and meeting friends. I'm presently at San Antonio getting recurrent in the T-38. My plans for the future are not definite. A career in the USAF, a career with the commercial airlines or a return to school (stressing the humanities) seem to be foremost in my mind. I'm very proud of my 56 months as a POW. We did not stop living in Hanoi, we just found other avenues of existence that had meaning for us.

It's good to be home. Thank you America, whatever your beliefs, for the wonderful welcome I received. Thank you USAF for your kind reception and treatment.

===================== Michael and his wife Cynthia reside in Florida.


SOCRS059- Erik Shaw “Tactical 16: Publishing The Inspiring Veteran Stories that Matter”

December 6, 2018

Erik is a Combat Veteran (US ARMY) with tours to Afghanistan (2013) and Iraq (2005). He started Tactical 16 in 2012 to fill a void in the publishing/consulting industry after seeing so many Veterans get terrible book deals that did not better their personal lives. Since 2012 Tactical 16 has grown and now includes authors of all backgrounds, not just military!

Erik has been a guest on FOX News multiple times, and the Tactical 16 team has been featured on Yahoo, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, SKYNEWS, NEWMAX, and EWTN. Tactical 16 has grown from a Veterans-only and focused company to having resources to not only help Veteran authors but non-military authors as well. Erik started working with multiple NFL players and other notable celebrities in 2018 on various publishing and non publishing projects that will benefit Tactical 16’s growth for years to come. “Our goal is to build a one phone call network, so when our Tactical 16 teammates need some help, we can provide it quickly and efficiently from reputable and proven professionals.”

Erik’s hobbies include building rifles he never gets to shoot and gives away, softball with Toby Keith, buying cars that he rarely drives and ‘nerding out’ to military aircraft that fly over his house.


SOCRS058- Eric Wahlquist- “Radical Sterilant Technologies: Healing Communities & Changing the Global Paradigm for H2O Treatment”

November 27, 2018

Eric Wahlquist is 18-year veteran of the US Army Special Forces with an in-depth knowledge of Special Operations procedures. He Founded three privately-funded tech start-ups. He has extensive experience both as a senior level executive and helped to build and manage successful marketing, sales, and operational teams within all of them.

Currently, he is the Vice-President of Operations for Radical Sterilant Technologies, a company with the technology to sanitize massive amounts of water economically and quickly.  This product would help to stabilize developing communities around the globe, making the world healthier and safer.  


SOCRS057-Herb Thompson- “SF2BIZ: Transitioning Special Forces Skill Sets to The Civilian Business Sector”

November 20, 2018

Herb was raised in a poor family in upstate New York near Rochester.  He knew from an early age that he wanted to be a soldier in the U.S. Army.  A few of his relatives had served in the military.  His grandfather was an infantryman in the Korean War.   Herb admits that he didn’t apply himself in school and and that his Father was very lax in allowing him to find his own path.  Herb credits his success to some of his teachers who took the time to mentor him, including his Father.

Herb joined the Army right out of High School at age 17.  Because of color-blindness, he went into Human Resources.  He deployed to Uzbekistan/ Afghanistan in 2003.  There, he had the opportunity to escort a lot of money around the country, primarily to Special Forces units, one-time he helped move move $8.2 million to a main Allied base in Afghanistan.  Next, Herb volunteered to be a Drill Sergeant and he loved it.  He won a "Drill Sergeant of the Year" competition which led him the TRADOC CG, where he did special missions for top Army leadership.  A SF CSM mentor of his told him he should be in the Special Forces and that's where he went next as an E-7, one 1 of only 5 senior enlisted for that class.

After qualifying for Special Forces, Herb was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group.  He had multiple deployments to the Middle East and one "great" deployment to Afghanistan, where he advised, trained and led Afghan Commandos in dangerous missions.  His most rewarding trip was when he was in charge of over 200 Afghans (with less than ten Americans) on a 10-day mission in an area controlled by the Taliban. They survived 3 ambushes during that mission.  On one day, Herb learned an invaluable lesson about the difference between courage and stupidity. Luckily, he lived to tell the tale. After that trip, Herb went on to conducted more classified missions in the Middle East. 

Herb started SF2BIZ to empower SF veterans to seize opportunities in business. 


SOCRS056- Robert Garcia- “The Warrior Strategist: Seriously Humble Beginnings”

November 16, 2018

Robert Garcia is a United States Air Force Veteran. He spent five years of Active Duty as a B52 Avionics Technician and 13 years in the Reserves as an Air Battle Systems Manager. He deployed to Korea ten times including hitches in Guam and Qatar for Operation Enduring Freedom.

Robert grew up in the small logging town of Eureka, California. He struggled with a severe learning disability as a child, causing him to drop out of High School and later, two colleges. But, he never gave up.  His determination and persistence to overcome his weaknesses paid off. He went on to earn not only an MBA, but a PhD, too. Robert developed a system of "speed learning" that helps others achieve their business goals using asymmetrical methodologies to process and retain information. He is the author of "Next Level Supercharged Speed Learning Book."

Robert currently resides in San Diego, operating as a business strategist and Founder & CEO of SHIFT Advanced Life Design Magazine.





SOCRS055- Scott Kinder- “The Institute of Project Management: ‘Real World’ Certifications”

November 11, 2018

Scott Kinder is the Chief Commercial Officer for the Institute of Project Management. In this role he is responsible for international business development and strategic partnerships Prior to his role with the Institute, Scott served as a federal civil servant within the US Department of Defense and was responsible for seven office US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) programs of record with annual budgets in excess of $100 million USD.

Scott also served in differing roles on an Operational Detachment – Alpha (A-team) in the US Army Special Forces. He is a proud Ambassador of the Green Beret Foundation and lifetime member of the Special Forces Association. Prior to the military and government service, Scott served as the Vice President (Operations) for a global startup, an operations specialist at a Fortune 500 bank, and as a barista at Starbucks…

Scott is the author of two books, Ground Truth: Enhance personal and organizational leadership skills and accountability through lessons learned from elite Military Special Forces and The Hill, Overcoming Fear and Learning to Embrace an Elite Mindset. In his free time Scott teaches self-defense classes and coaches soccer.


SOCRS054- Jason Redman- “SEAL Savior”

November 5, 2018

Lieutenant Jason Redman joined the Navy on September 11, 1992 and spent eight years as an enlisted SEAL.  As an enlisted SEAL Redman completed three deployments throughout Central and South America and spent two years as a training instructor before being selected for the Seaman to Admiral Commissioning program in 2000. 

He attended Old Dominion University graduating Summa Cum Laude in May 2004 completing his time with the Hampton Roads Naval ROTC as Student Battalion Commanding Officer before he was commissioned as a Naval SEAL Officer.

Over the next four years, Lieutenant Redman completed combat deployments in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  On September 13, 2007, outside of Fallujah, Iraq, Lieutenant Redman’s Assault Team came under heavy machine gun and small arms fire and he was severely wounded in the ensuing firefight. While recovering at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, Redman authored and hung a bright orange sign on his door, which became a statement and symbol for wounded warriors everywhere. 

Lieutenant Redman is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Combat Action Ribbons and the US Army Ranger tab along with numerous other personal and unit awards.  

Redman retired from the Navy in 2013 and founded the Combat Wounded Coalition a Non-Profit organization which inspires combat wounded warriors to Overcome.  He currently acts as the executive director of the organization and is also the founder and CEO of SOF Spoken, a speaking company which provides inspirational presentations on leadership, teamwork and overcoming adversity for businesses, first responders, sports teams, and government organizations.  In 2018 Redman launched, the Overcome Academy, a leadership, resiliency, and communication program for wounded warriors to develop “the next greatest generation.”

In November of 2013, Redman published “The Trident: The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader”.  His book details lessons learned in leadership and overcoming adversity throughout his SEAL career while also discussing his combat deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as his personal journey with his wife Erica and their three children.  The Trident was selected in 2014 as part of the Chief of Naval Operation’s professional reading program.

Jason has appeared on multiple national news networks including Fox News, CBS, CNN, and CBN.  He has appeared on Fox and Friends multiple times and the Huckabee show.  Jason has appeared in multiple documentaries including History Channel’s, Navy SEALs, America’s Secret Warriors.  Additionally, Jason is an actor playing the lead role in The Perfect Day film and a supporting character on an episode  of Hawaii 5-0.


SOCRS053- Isaac Belden: “12B Capital: The Heart & Soul of Business & Philanthropy”

November 1, 2018

U. S. Army Veteran Isaac Belden is also a husband, father, and a small business owner.  After serving 12 years as a Combat Engineer (MOS 12B), he left the service to start 12B Capital, a Boise, Idaho-based company.  They provide credit card processing and business funding solutions to businesses of all sizes.  There is a significant processing component to 12B Capital that helps its clients to fund non-profit initiatives of their choice.

Isaac refers to himself as an “Accidental Entrepreneur” and says he “wouldn’t have it any other way”.  He is driven by his passion to serve and for helping others do the same. He has recently launched another passion project in his home State of Idaho that will help veterans on their path to entrepreneurship.


SOCRS052- Russ Barnes- “SYSTRO: Military Transition & Entreprenuerism”

October 26, 2018

Colonel (retired) Russ Barnes is the CEO and Senior Business Advisor to Entrepreneurs and Executives at Systro, an organization design firm specializing in small business development.  His 30+ years of experience in organization development is drawn from military service, franchise ownership, academic programs, and strategy consulting, specifically with small businesses.

After retirement from the military, Russ grew a franchise territory from zero to profitability in less than three years.  His growth was based on a clear vision, building an effective network, consistently delivering a quality product and maintaining a relentless focus on customer service.

Russ is a graduate of the Referral Institute Certified Networker program where he received extensive training in referral marketing. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Manhattan College (NY), his MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and his Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from Air University.  He is currently earning a PhD in Organization Development at Benedictine University.


SOCRS051- Ethan Samuels- “World’s Finest Navy Intelligence, Transition & US VetLife”

October 19, 2018

Ethan is a veteran of the United States Navy.  He served honorably as an Intelligence Officer from 2009-2015.  During his time, he served as the Middle East Subject Matter Expert for Carrier Strike Group One, on board the USS CARL VINSON, as the carrier strike group sailed through the Arabian Gulf during the Arab Spring.  His Carrier Air Wing, Carrier Air Wing 17 provided Close Air Support for fighting men and women on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan.  During these engagements, Ethan led the debrief team and developed the Standard Operating Procedures for obtaining accurate mission reports for the Electronic Attack squadron.  His expertise in the Middle East came from his time at the University of Chicago, where he majored in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations with a focus on the Islamic Middle East and the Arabic Language.  This background served him especially well as it led to his first job out of college as a civilian Arabic interpreter for deployed troops in Iraq in 2008. 

Since having left the Navy, Ethan has become a powerhouse in the Financial Services field as a top producer for several leading agencies including Northwestern Mutual.  He now serves as the Chief Operating Officer for US Vet Life, a financial startup specializing in helping servicemembers, veterans, and their families successfully navigate and leverage the benefits and benefits market both in and out of the military.