Gary Linfoot has over 23 years of military service. He began his career in the US Army when he enlisted in 1987 as a Ground Surveillance Radar operator. In 1989 he attended Flight School and in 1990 graduated as a Warrant Officer and went on to serve as an OH-58 and OH-58D Instructor Pilot in Cavalry Squadrons in the 7th ID and 82nd Airborne Division.
In 1997 Gary became a member of the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne). Gary served with the 160th, also known as the Night Stalkers, for over 13 years where he performed duties as an AH-6 Little Bird Instructor Pilot and Flight Lead. In October 2001 he deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) where he participated in the war’s early operations deep within Afghanistan. In February 2003 Gary deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and from February 2003 through June 2008, completed over 20 combat deployments in support of OIF. His tactical and technical expertise was critical to the successful execution of countless Close Air Support missions and complex Special Operations Aviation missions worldwide.
In Jun of 2008 while conducting operations in Iraq, Gary’s helicopter suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and crash-landed. As a result of the hard landing, Gary suffered a broken back at L1 and was instantly paralyzed below the waist. After only three months of recovery he returned to duty and culminated his career in the Army as the Officer in Charge of the only Special Operations Aquatic Training Facility. His military awards and decorations include the Combat Action Badge, Master Aviator Badge, Parachutist badge, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal with Numeral 17 and “V” device.
Gary retired from the 160th SOAR(A) and the Army in 2010 as a Master Aviator having accumulated in excess of 5000 flight hours to include over 3000 Night Vision Goggle (NVG) hours and over 1200 combat hours. He continues to serve the Night Stalker community as an A/MH-6 Simulator Flight Instructor. Gary and his wife, Mari, reside in Clarksville, Tennessee with one of their daughters and their son. They also have a daughter who resides in California.