My name is Gary Stouffer and I am an active duty Chief Warrant Officer 3 in the United States Marine Corps. I joined the Marine Corps during my college days and have been in for 17 years now. I have been married to the lovely Catherine Kennedy from New Jersey for 16 wonderful years. We have two children, Shannon, 16 and Shane, 12.
During my career as a Marine, I have been deployed multiple times to combat zones, humanitarian missions, and foreign country military training around the world. I served in Albania, Kosovo, Afghanistan and twice in Iraq. During my deployment to Afghanistan, we were on our way back from a re-supply mission when our convoy was hit by a complex attack. My vehicle was hit by multiple IEDs and I was thrown inside of the vehicle. It wasn't until I returned stateside when I noticed the dramatic effects from the blasts. After nine months of testing, I was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury, anxiety disorders, PTSD and compression fractures in my neck and lower back. It has been two years since the incident and I am still undergoing speech therapy and physical therapy and I am being monitored by multiple doctors.
I am currently pending the results of my third limited duty board, where I await the outcome of whether I can stay in the Marine Corps on a permanent limited duty status or get medically discharged. After 17 awesome years, right now I will be happy to just see my way to officially retiring at 20 years. My dream was to stay in and retire at the highest pay grade which is CWO5 at 30 years.
I have received two combat action ribbons, multiple personal commendation medals, campaign medals from Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan and numerous unit awards. I am currently pending approval for the Purple Heart. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and how it makes me feel. I can still remember each trip afield with my father as a little boy in a rural town in Pennsylvania. Throughout my career, I have made it a point to never lose this great passion no matter where I may get stationed. It has always been a dream of mine to hunt in Texas, but with current operations and training, I have yet to experience it.