Tag Archives: veteran

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Veteran Volunteers To Defeat ISIS

Veteran Volunteers To Defeat ISIS from Ashley Coffey on Vimeo. Erwin Stran is an Iraq War veteran who went back to Iraq this past year in 2015, only this time it was on his own dime and on his own terms. He served in the Army National Guard prior to this past year when he decided that he wanted to volunteer to help defeat ISIS. He and a small group of volunteering men joined Peshmerga, which is the Iraqi-Kurdish military. Stran fought in Iraq for six months and in Syria for five months. Stran was never paid for his efforts, nor did he have the protection of the American military. After he came back from his first deployment and left the military he always wanted to go back. He struggled transitioning back into civilian life. Volunteering gave him the ability to go wherever he was needed in order to keep ISIS from taking innocent lives. There were no orders given to him, he would go wherever ISIS was located. Now it is not so easy for Americans to do what Erwin Stran did. The people who volunteer do not have the benefits that the military give to those who are enlisted. Any injury would be paid out of pocket. Those who do choose to volunteer have a sense of American pride that is demonstrated through their willingness to put themselves in harms way. Stran is currently writing a book about his experiences while in Syria and Iraq.
Community Human Interest Lifestyle

Tom Tschantz Flies Through Life

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Tom Tschantz stands next to his propellor while discussing his home built ultralight. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
Tom Tschantz was born in 1947. He was raised in northern Ohio. He was the child of hardworking parents that taught him the importance of using his hands. He did poorly in school and has the saying, “I brought home a D one time and my dad bought me a new bicycle.”
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Tom Tschantz flips through old photographs of his hometown in Ohio. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
Tom eventually dropped out of school in the tenth grade, and joined the Navy. He spent two years active and two years inactive. He was stationed on the USS Oriskany (CVA 34) aircraft carrier, in Vietnam, where it was his job to work in the boiler room. During his last year on October 27, 1966 the worst fire in 20 years broke out on the Oriskany. 44 men died that morning. He said, “We would fire off aircraft 24 hours a day; we were always launching and receiving aircraft, but I worked down in the boiler room because I didn’t have any education, didn’t know anything about aircraft, so that’s where they put me”.
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Tom Tschantz sits in his home while telling the story about the day the USS Oriskany (CVA 34) aircraft carrier caught fire.
After returning home from Vietnam, Tom found himself a job as an ironworker. He worked structuring steel for 22 years, of which he enjoyed. Eventually he found an interest in oil field work, which then led the way for him to work on constructing and painting water towers. He built his own rigging equipment, “With my background in construction and iron working I knew the rigging end of it”.
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Tom Tschantz holds old photographs from when he would work inside water towers. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
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Tom Tschantz does a walk around his homemade ultralight. (Photo by Ashley Coffey/Full Sail University)
When it comes to flying airplanes, Tom has an abundance of knowledge. He has built three Kitfox aircrafts. Tom has an appreciation for ultralights, and has been featured in multiple magazines and newspapers. “I taught myself how to fly an ultralight and I loved it. From there, I went and got my private ticket in general aviation, got my instrument ticket, and then bought a big airplane, a Cessna 206 six seats with 200 horsepower”. He took the first single seat ultralight he built to Oshkosh and won Reserve Grand Champion. He qualified to teach for flying ultralights from Quicksilver in California for four years.