Sentinel Stories

“SOF is hands down the best thing that could have happened to my family during my transition out of the military. They're directly responsible the for amazing life my family is living and for the professional success I've achieved since my military service.”

— John Wayne Walding

John Wayne Walding

Sergeant First Class, US Army Green Beret
Business Owner

John Wayne Walding was born on the 4th of July. He spent nearly 12 years in the US Army, including seven in the prestigious 3rd Special Forces Group.

John has been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. During the battle of Shok Valley, John lost his right leg to sniper fire. He continued to fight alongside his brothers while wounded 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.)

For his bravery in battle, John received the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart. He was also awarded a Combat Infantry Badge, an Airborne Tab, Air Assault Tab, and Special Forces Tab.

John has never let his injuries slow him down. He attended Special Forces Sniper School and was the first amputee to become a Green Beret sniper. John also competed in the 2009 Boston Marathon; where he finished fourth in the hand crank division, and the 2010 New York Marathon, where he finished in the top 10. He also ran the 2010 Army 10 Miler, the 2016 Dallas Half Marathon, and one of the hardest marathon routes in the world, the Bataan Death March (which also required him to carry a 45-pound rucksack).

Along the way, Sentinels of Freedom (SOF) provided mentoring, networking, and financial assistance to help John reach his goals. SOF also helped John create a business plan for the first company he started, 5 Toes Custom, a Dallas-based company that makes custom firearms. John recently launched a new company, Gallantry Global Logistics.

Today, John and his wife, Amy, live in Texas with their four children. John also travels the country to speak about leadership, excellence, and overcoming adversity. All along the way John sticks to the motto he lives by: “Lean Forward, Fight Hard.”

Sentinels of Freedom continues to mentor and work with John.

Sentinels Across America

Across our great nation, our Sentinels are building new lives for themselves and their families.