Veterans - Can we share your story?

Veterans, thank You for Continuing to Protect!

We value our Veterans and Active Military here at the USCCA! As part of a special Veterans Day tribute, we’d love to share your stories!

Here’s what we’d like to share about you:
Your Name
Branch of Service
Short Summary of Your Service and Why You Served
Short Why Did You Become a USCCA Member
Photo (in Uniform if Possible)

We are more than happy to limit your name to your first name, last initial to protect you from the adoring fans you’ll receive from being part of our tribute :wink: (You probably won’t be surrounded by crowds of fans after this tribute, but I know some don’t like sharing too much personal information - and we honor that sentiment.)

You can send that information to me through PM here or via email at Or share it with everyone on the Community in a reply below.

The USCCA does offer a special Veteran/Military rate of 10% off any level of membership. If you’re not receiving that special rate, please let me know! I can get it squared away for you. (You do not have to participate in this request to have the military rate applied to your USCCA membership.)

We want to hear your story!


@Dawn - great idea with this thread ! :clap:
Definitely I’d like to hear the story of Our Heroes!
Actually I’ve been thinking about such thread since yesterday, when I came back from New Orleans.
I’ve experienced something amazing on the Airport. People where shouting “Welcome our heroes”, I saw a lot of Police Officers and Soldiers…there was a plane with WWII Veterans arriving.
[not a best picture, but I was afraid of taking it at the airport]

That was so emotional for me… something I experienced ONLY in United States of America.
Unfortunately I’ve never found such respectability in Europe… What a shame…

Anyway - Thank you HEROES !!!

[this one taken on Mississippi River]


The only time I ever returned home from a deployment to a U.S. Airport was my last trip to Iraq. I was in the company of a Company of Marines and my medical staff. Pretty much all of us were bone tired from the flight and most of us were combat types that had been out doing the job on the streets as well as back at various FOB’s. In other words as tired as we all were we were edgy around anything that looked like a crowd.

It was a little podunk airport somewhere in Maine at 8;00 PM (the airport was essentially closed for business) with a 2 - 4 hour lay over for our last leg to home depending on where you were going. I noticed a few things immediately as we began to de-plane. There was no rush to the door. One row at a time folks stood up, stretched grabbed their junk from the overhead and fell in place a couple steps behind the guy/girl in front of them. As we left the gate there was this long hallway down to the airport proper. Somehow everyone of us was 10 - 12’ from the guy/girl in front of us and we had self divided into two columns, one on either side of the hall both about 24 - 36" off the wall (ALL in step!)

As the lead of the columns rounded a corner it stopped, I think I even saw a couple fists go up to indicate “hold”. Then we started to hear the cheers and applause as well as “God Bless America” (the song). The effect was surreal as we started moving forward. There was a crowd of 50 -70 people all cheering and clapping. I know I shook everyone’s hand at least once some several times. There was an odd combination of a retired Navy Diver, Marine Gunny and Coast Guard Chief with EIGHT 140 qt coolers (the big white marine jobs) full of beer and soda (well, 7 were beer and one had soda and water). There were WWII vets, Korea Vets, Vietnam Vets, their wives, regular folks and even a Army Air Corps WAC that was a plane ferry pilot during WWII (Amazing stories she had).

The end result was an over whelming feeling of “We are HOME!” and they WANT us here. As verbose as I may be, I cannot put into words what that greeting did for me personally to shake off a year long deployment and break the “combat mode” mentality that most of us developed. As I was talking with the Navy Diver he said “We can tell the combat vets just by the way they come down the hall and while it really jazzes us up, we have learned we have to tone it down a bit, we have actually had folks take a knee or start backing up the hall. It’s a terrible thing what some of you have learned, so we learned too.”

Now that I am retired (from the Military) I have participated in a couple events like this at the local airport but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that occur it the military MAC terminals where many unsung hero’s come home to little fanfare as access is restricted.




I wish my home coming head been that good. My own wife wasn’t even there to welcome me home. That was the day I truly realized my career was over do to medical. I got a few thanks and hand shakes but nothing to memorable. And I felt like I had failed my grandfather by not being able to get my 20+ years in the Corps.



Served in the Army

Why? at least one person in my family in ever generation going back to colonial days has served, I was raised and determined to carry on the tradition.

I was supposed to go in to fly helicopters but the day before my final review board the program hit it’s cap and was closed.

This completely crushed me and for the next few month’s I was directionless.

Over the summer I watched friends of mine killed in fights, DWI’s, was involved in a huge brawl where one of the opposition was killed on main street.

I’m keeping count and wondering where I’m going to end up if I stay.

It got worse as the summer got hotter.

Went back to my recruiter towards the end of August and told him straight up if I stayed in the area six more months I expected I’d end up dead or in prison before it was over.

Told him to sign me up for the toughest physical and mental challenge he could. Since I’d only missed 2 questions on the ASVAB I was in the 99th Percentile and qualified for any MOS they offered.

Off to Infantry Basic/AIT Ranger Training, then back for Airborne, got sent to Europe and immediately turned around and sent back to JSOC and spent my career there.

Why did I join USCCA. As an NRA Instructor, RSO, CRSO I ws part of a good program for beginners but honestly felt it was really lacking for practical self defense training and the progression was expensive and extremely slow.

I signed up as a member of the USCCA for the online training and protections that come with membership and the more I went through reading and watching the videos the more it appealed to me as I felt like the advancement was much faster paced and honestly offered much more of what I consider to be the key element in self defense which is mental training.

I truly believe after years and years of instructing and dissecting both successful and failed self defense shootings that successful and lawful self defense is about 90% mental. Knowing first the law and knowing it well and understanding how it applies in every scenario you can imagine.

If you spend all the time you can examining self defense scenarios the odds of you finding yourself in one in which you are completely suprised and ill prepared to react are very slim.

If you understand the law, truly understand it, not just the statues but how they have been applied in prior shootings your odds of having a failed claim of self defense due to making a mistake are astronomically low.

If you understand exactly what to say when police arrive and when calling it in, your odds of starting off with a bible self defense claim go up astronomically. If you keep running your mouth beyond the basics, they go up again geometrically.

If you understand that the gun is not a license to shoot (neither is your LTD/CWP or whatever it is your state, and that when carrying you carry a much higher level of responsibility than the general public, your mental attitude is likely to keep you out of trouble.

If you understand that with that duty comes the responsibility to modify your behavior, to avoid conflicts whenever possible, to never let your temper get the best of you etc, your odds of ending up in a self defense situation that is indefensible go down dramatically.

All this takes a far higher level of dedication and mental training than most bachelor’s programs in college. Unlike college this training can literally cost you your life or decades in prison when not learned, and can keep you out of prison and out of the graveyard when the lessons are learned so well that your decision making and reactions are all but comletely automatic and correct if/when you find yourself in a potential self defense scenario.

Anyone can learn to pick up, handle safely, load and shoot a firearm accurately enough to pass a qualification and even to ahceive a fair level of competency.

Not everyone will ever develop the proper attitude or develop the proper knowledge base and experience to not only survive such encounters but to walk away from them completely innocent and avoid charges altogether.

Why the USCCA? Over all the programs I’ve been through in the last thirty plus years it does the best and preparing you for both the physical and mental training necessary, but if/when you do find yourself in a deadly force encounter prepares you to walk away the “winner” both on the street/in your home, and at the PD/Courthouse following your use or threat to use deadly force.

Last, the USCCA is not stagnate, they are always trying to improve the courses from top to bottom. To that end they listen to every student, instructor candidate, instructor and TC’s which is why it constantly is updated and improved.

Every student, every class, every instructor/TC is part of making it a better organization from top to bottom and bottom to top.

Sorry for the long windedness but this is something I’m rather passionate about.


Anyone who has served can attest to this, the Corps taught me to have a level head and temper. Also to not escalate a volatile situation. I learned early how to fight seeing as I was the ONLY white boy in the neighborhood. And I wasn’t about to head down the path of gang membership.

The military teaches us how to fight and be deadly, but the civilian aspect is MUCH different. All that being said, we know to keep our heads on a swivel and to watch our 6. But at the same time know that we need to be polite, kind and professional to everyone we meet.


I’m so sorry, @Brian_J! We appreciate your service greatly! :us:

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No need to be sorry, everything that has happened in my life has made me stronger and showed me that a Marine never gives up.

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I joined the Army straight out of high school in 1985. Why? Because I wanted to serve. Was a CH47 mechanic during my time in service. After I got out in 88, I joined the National Guard. My best memory is when we were activated during the blizzard of 93. We helped stranded motorists on the interstate get to a shelter until the interstate could be cleared and reopened. I got discharged in 1997 after being diagnosed with type1 diabetes.
The one thing I took from that time was the determination to not give up and discipline.



My branch of service? It was an American ‘agency’.
I was never in the US military. But this picture is me (30 years ago) wearing the Captains uniform of an unnamed Arab country.


I just read your story @Craig6 and it made my heart smile! What a great welcome home!


“Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.“
(Maj. Gen. James Mattis, USMC)


Mad Dog Mattis

USAF 1973-1976 Did two voluntary 13 month tours to South Korea. There was no draft but the lottery system was being used at that time. Why did I volunteer? I felt it was the right thing to do. My father was in WWII. My two brothers were in the Air Force in the era of Viet Nam but they would have been drafted, therefore they volunteered for the Air Force. They all tried to dissuade me from joining but they were not successful. The service was very beneficial to me as it caused me to mature much sooner than I would have as a civilian.
Why did I join the USCCA? Like joining the military. It was the right thing to do.


Tony DelMarto, Retired, 24 years of service
US Army, CA Army National Guard, US Army Reserve, Active Guard/Reserve (AGR)
Active Army: Military Police, 1st MP Co. 1st Infantry Division, 558th MP Co. West Germany
CAARNG: 40th MP Co. 40th Infantry Division, (within California)
USAR: 311th Command Support Corp, (within California/Utah/South Korea
AGR: US Army Recruiting Command, 6th Brigade
I had always wanted to serve my country from my youth
When I obtained my CCL I was given a list of options to choose organizations from. USCCA was first on the list and USCCA was recommended by my CCW trainer. I researched a few and found USCCA to be the most dedicated to CCW wearers and the training/education/information to be unmatched.


Also, I do not have my military discount of 10%…yet


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Pride was a long time coming. My family’s history in military service tracks back to the Revolutionary war. I went to NAVY boot camp at San Diego Dec. 68, volunteered for UDT ( they call them SEALs now). Found out I was born with a heart condition so no UDT for me. I became an aircraft power plant tech and wound up with choice duty stations even though I put Viet Nam on all my dream sheets. Ended my service on the Intrepid CVS-11 as a S2-F plain captain four years later. I came back to a country of people who hated anything related to war so I never spoke about my service nor admitted I had joined. All of a sudden, a decade or so ago people started showing respect for Veterans again, now I wear my NAVY Vet hat wherever I go and people thank me for my service. I am now openly a proud Veteran.
I used to hunt rattle snakes every spring in west Texas and never carried a gun and only owned a single shot shot-gun until about 18 years ago. About three in the morning some crazy guy started trying to bash in my back door while screaming for me to “COME OUTSIDE NOW!” I stood inside that door, holding that shot-gun, waiting for this nut to make it inside while my wife dialed 911. He never made it inside (strong door) and thank God I didn’t shoot through the door. Turns out the guy was crazy and off his meds, he had three small children with him. Cops picked him up a block away doing the same thing to another house. That’s when I decided to learn about hand guns and get some training. I’ve learned a lot since then and now that USCCA has come into my life I have learned even more.
I carry a long barrel Judge in a shoulder holster while on the Farm and a G-17 open carry in town.

Just an old man on a farm in Texas,

Baron G. F.


@Baron. Thank you for your service.
I know this pain, when you fought for your Country and Country (or people) turned back on you. I’m pointing here to WWII, when hundreds of Polish Soldiers came back home after War and found themselves arrested. (only because they won the War from West side of Berlin).
Thanks God history ALWAYS is going to be corrected and proper value is eventually appreciated.
BTW - great family’s history !!!
Thank you again. :us:

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