Colonel David Dodd is a Believer, husband, father, and Soldier. He command a United States Army Company in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, a Battalion in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, and Battalion in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and a Brigade in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina relief operations. David accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in 1993 while serving at the United States Army Special Operations Command. Dr. Jim Johnson, retired Army Chaplain and author of “Combat Chaplain, A Thirty-Year Vietnam Battle”and “Combat Trauma, A Personal Look At Long-Term Consequences.” mentored and baptized David.
Within weeks of 9/11, David’s unit was deployed to locations in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. David and his Soldiers wore a Shield of Strength engraved with Joshua 1:9, “I will be strong and courageous, I will not be terrified or discourage; for the Lord my God is with me wherever I go.” These Soldiers wore the same Shield of Strength during the invasion into Iraq. Soldiers within the the Brigade David commanded, wore Shields of Strength while on combat and humanitarian missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States, and in Central and South America. While on active duty, David shared more than 10,000 Shields of Strength with members of the Armed Forces, Military Families, and Senior US and International Leaders.
Sergeant First Class Cedric Jermel King entered the United States Army in
1995. After completing Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual
Training he attended and completed United States Army Airborne School at
Fort Benning GA.
First Class King’s first assignment was Ft Bragg NC where he served as an Air Traffic Operations Specialist. He then reclassified to 11B and applied to serve and was accepted into the 2nd of the 75th Ranger Regiment based out of FT Lewis WA, there he would serve as a rifleman and Machine Gunner. Sergeant King next moved to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) there he served as team leader, Squad leader, and Weapons Squad leader while deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He then spent two years serving at the United States Army Airborne School Serving as an Airborne Instructor, he then was chosen to instruct at the United States Army Pathfinder School where he would teach for 4 more years. He returned to Ft Bragg NC where he was chosen to serve as a First Sergeant of Bravo Company 1-505 PIR while still a Sergeant First Class. The unit would deploy to Afghanistan in 2011 while Sergeant King would serve as the First Sergeant he would also receive the opportunity to serve as a platoon sergeant the following summer logging two continuous summers in Afghanistan.
The second tour would prove to be a fateful one as an insurgent Improvised Explosive device would challenge himself and his family. The explosive device caused Cedric to lose both legs and part of the function of his forearm. Undaunted by the experience, Sergeant King is now more driven than ever, his goals are to become a gold winning Paralympic athlete, climb MT Kilimanjaro,Rainer,Everest, Hike the entire Appalachian trail, and graduate from law school. He now is on the long road to recovery stationed at the Walter Reed National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Md. SFC King has taken his message of hope and inspiration through motivational speaking to business corporations, the US military, the NBA, the NFL, and several faith based initiatives.
Sergeant First Class King has attended and Graduated from all levels of the United States Army enlisted education system except the United Army Sergeants Major Academy. He is a graduate of the United States Army Jumpmaster Course, United States Army Pathfinder course, the Air Assault course, The United States Army Ranger Course, as well as several other courses.
Sergeant First Class King is a recipient of the Bronze Star medal, the Purple heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and several more.
Sergeant First Class King hails from Norlina North Carolina, and is married to Khieda King. Sergeant First Class King has two daughters named Amari and Khamya.
Kenny Vaughan is a national champion athlete and inspirational author and speaker. He is a man who lives by faith and shares that faith at every turn.
He is founder of Athletes for Christ and maker of the Shields of Strength scripture-inscribed dog tag necklaces worn by more than two million athletes, U. S. military servicemen and women and their families, and Christians and non-Christians across the globe.
Kenny Vaughan has battled fear and fear of failure with faith, and allowed God to take that battle and use it to inspire and encourage others.
In his talks, Kenny shares his story and the lessons that God showed him as he trained, competed and ultimately won — against impossible odds — the National Water-Ski Jump championship competition several years ago.
The Shields dog tags, which he first made as personal tokens to remind him of the lessons he had learned about fear and faith in national ski competition have been requested by all branches of the U.S. military since the first American troops sent to Afghanistan following the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001. NASA astronauts, employees and their families have worn them following the Columbia space shuttle disaster in the Spring of 2001, and members of the New Orleans Police Department and first responders group wore them as they faced the dangers in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
January of 2005, Vaughan?s book “Trials to Trophies, The Power of Faith In Adversity,” the true story behind Shields of Strength, was released by Brown Books. He is currently working on a second book on the power of faith in overcoming depression.
He has shared his story with generals gathered at the Pentagon, for Association of Christian Schools International athletic coaches, for public and private schools, youth, religious and military gatherings across the country.
Chaplain (LTC) Gary Williams was born in Hamtramck, Michigan and raised near Detroit, Michigan. Upon graduation from high school, he went to Concordia Lutheran College in Ann Arbor, MI where he received his BA. From there he went directly to Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN and graduated in 1983. He served as an Associate Pastor in Iowa and Indiana before being commissioned into the US Army Chaplaincy in January of 1989.
CH Williams served as a Battalion Chaplain during his first two duty stations, Fort Carson, Colorado and then Darmstadt and Vilseck, Germany. After graduating from the Chaplain Advanced Course, he served as a Battalion Chaplain and then as the Ethics Writer/Instructor at Fort Gordon, GA.
After leaving active duty he took a call to Berrien Springs, MI where he became the Associate Pastor from 1999 to 2004. He also served in the Reserves during this time as the Command Chaplain for the 351st Civil Affairs Command and then the unit Chaplain for the 757th Transportation Battalion and the 323rd Combat Support Hospital. In 2004 he was activated as part of a Chaplain Detachment and served at Camp Scania, Iraq till December of 2005. He then was mobilized at Fort Gordon and served as the Brigade Chaplain for the 93rd Signal Brigade and the 35th Signal Brigade.
Chaplain Williams deployed to Afghanistan from May 2010 to April 2011 as the chaplain for the 359th Signal Brigade. Upon his return, he transferred to the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade where he served until 15 October of 2012 as the Observer/Controller – Trainer for deploying units leaving from Fort Bliss, TX.
Chaplain Williams personal decorations include: Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (5 awards), Army Accommodation Medal (3 awards), Army Achievement Medal (4 awards), Army Superior Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal (2nd award), Global War on Terrorism, Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon (2nd award), Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device (2nd award), Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and NATO Medal.
Chaplain Williams is married to the former Patty Keinath of Millington, Michigan and has 3 sons and a daughter: Nathan, Jared, Danielle, and Seth. Gary and Patty are blessed with 2 grand-children, Braelyn (21 mo’s old) and Emma (18 mo’s old).
Chaplain Williams retired from the US Army Reserves in April of 2013 and is waiting for a call to a church. He plans to help a small mission church in South Carolina in November.