John Wayne Walding, born on the 4th of July, was raised in Groesbeck, Texas. He spent nearly 12 years in the United States Army, including seven years in the prestigious 3rd Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He has combat deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During his career at 3rd SFG, he served on ODA 396/3336 as a Special Forces communications sergeant, and at the Sniper Detachment as a sniper instructor. On April 6, 2008, John lost his right leg to sniper fire during the battle of Shok Valley. He continued to fight alongside his brothers for four more hours. The incredible story of that six-hour fight is detailed in the book “No Way Out: A Story of Valor in the Mountains of Afghanistan” by Mitch Weiss and Kevin Maurer.
John’s military awards and badges include the Silver Star as well as the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Airborne, Air Assault, and Special Forces Tab.
Post-injury, John attended Special Forces Sniper School and, upon graduation, became the first amputee ever to become a Green Beret sniper. Using a hand crank, he went on to compete in the 2009 Boston Marathon, in which he finished fourth, as well as being a top ten finisher in the 2010 New York Marathon. He ran the 2010 Army 10 Miler, the 2016 Dallas Half Marathon, and recently completed one of the hardest marathon routes in the world, the Bataan Death March with a 45lb ruck sack.
John is the founder and owner of 5 Toes Custom, a Dallas-based company of custom firearms. The mission of 5TC is to be a place for both transitioning and combat wounded Veterans to learn a craft and regain their north star in the company of fellow Veterans who understand that the battle never ends. John also travels the country speaking to Veterans’ organizations, corporations, and the public about leadership, excellence, and overcoming adversity using his motto “Lean Forward, Fight Hard.” John strongly believes his biggest accomplishment is marrying his beautiful wife, Amy, and having their four wonderful children: Emma, Sam, Andie, and Hannah. They reside in Little Elm, Texas.