Josh Collins wrote -
The Task Force Dagger Foundation has solutions that saved my life and my family. My project Veteran Voyage 360 is purposed to raise awareness and resources for what they are doing.
MY OBJECTIVE and PURPOSE:
1. My goal is 7,500 former and active Special Operations Members treated. To raise the funds required for every Special Operations soldier who needs it to receive the same level of care as me. – The Brain Treatment Center, the Carrick Brain Center, Millennium Health Center, etc
2. Increase availability of functional medicine modalities that extend the soldiers performance, career and life. Do this during and post career.
3. Increased investment in state of the art protective equipment that will drastically increase soldier survivability (Non Newtonian compound protective gear, elastomeric materials and coatings, etc…)
THEN REPEAT STEPS 1-3 FOR THE WHOLE FORCE! I BELIEVE THIS WILL PUT A SERIOUS DAMPER IN THE 22 VETERAN A DAY SUICIDE STATISTIC.
Task Force Dagger Foundation –
• The TFD saved my life by answering the call for help, providing for my family while I was hospitalized, and finding the subsequent state of the art modalities after that 3 month long hospitalization in the James A Haley Polytrauma Unit in 2014.
• Instead of just being on a dozen different prescription meds, and “living” out my life, Task Force Dagger put me through programs that have completely changed my prognosis, and moving in a positive direction of recovery. I am now only on required/essential meds, and no/zero pain, psychotropic, or sleep medications.
The underlying story behind this venture lies in SFC (R) Josh Collins' personal struggle with TBI and PTSD. He is a Special Operations combat Veteran with rotations to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia, along with numerous other deployments around the globe in support of the War on Terror. Moreover, Josh is a Wounded Warrior with 4 documented Traumatic Brain Injuries with loss of consciousness from explosive blast, 2 by parachute landing falls, and 1 more from combatives training. After he retired out of 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta Force in December of 2008, Josh continued to support the military as a contractor both stateside and abroad. But it was while leading a training exercise in 2013 that he sustained a final major concussion, and complete with a fractured nose, ribs, and cervical spine compression that dropped him over the edge. Driving on with the Doctor’s prescribed medications, but also self-medicating with alcohol, he reached the limits of his ability to function. He was finally hospitalized for over 3 months in the James A Haley VA Polytrauma Unit in Tamp, FL. for sustained TBI therapy, and was subsequently medically retired again as a civilian. Not one to quit, this series of events, saving his life, marriage, and family has rekindled a new fire. After the hospitalization, his wife Tonia purchased him a Stand-up paddleboard for recreational therapy to assist in the prolonged recovery. It was on the water again that Josh found a sanctuary. Severe vestibular (inner ear) damage, nerve damage and palsy in his right eye, and cervical spine compression now fused, left him continuously off balance on dry ground, but the rolling surf calmed all this and in his words, “Everything holds still when I’m on the water.” Having nearly lost it all, he is now determined to make a difference in helping other Veterans navigate these perilous waters of life after combat; Veteran Voyage 360.
This is the first step of a 3 year project to raise $22,000,000 toward the treatment and recovery for Veteran's Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and in support of the Task Force Dagger Foundation Initiatives. During this time period Veteran Voyage 360 will conduct 3 long range and record breaking over water expeditions by small human powered craft, and culminating in a solo 27,000 mile circumnavigation of the globe nonstop and unsupported. This represents the longest journey a soldier takes as he or she separates from the military after service in combat, and transitions into civilian life. Regardless of the length of service, whether 4 years or 24 years, returning to normal life can be a difficult struggle, and especially for those suffering from the physical and psychological wounds of war. The past 14 years of sustained combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken its toll on this all volunteer Army, and the biggest indicator of this is the historically high suicide rate throughout the services. The number of soldiers and veterans taking their own lives now accounts for more than 10 times the number of casualties overseas.
The 3 expeditions that our scheduled over the next 16 months are:
OCT 9-18, 2015 - 300 Miles open water by Kayak - The NC Blackbeard Challenge – COMPLETE and I WON the single craft division, and crushing the previous record by 8 hours!!
MAR - JUL 2016 - 3400 Miles open water by Stand-up Paddleboard from Corpus Christi, TX to the Statue of Liberty, NYC - "OPERATION STAND UP AMERICA". This will be the Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled by Stand-up Paddleboard.
JAN 1, 2017 - JUL 1, 2018 - 27,000 Miles by Ocean Rowing Boat – The Ultimate Veteran Voyage 360
The final mission is to complete a first ever nonstop, unassisted, manpowered voyage by small vessel around the world (over 27,000 miles) in under 18 months. The purpose of this operation is to significantly increase awareness and resourcing for veteran brain related injury and illness treatment and recovery. Josh’s vision is simple, to accomplish a record setting voyage that is both dangerous and epic as a demonstration of resolve and sacrifice in support of the 24 million plus veterans of this nation. Moreover, to put a stop/loss on the 22 Veteran-a-day suicide statistic that currently plagues the nation as a result of these wounds. This voyage represents the long journey a soldier or sailor takes when separating or retiring from the military. It is often difficult, sometimes arduous, and most certainly something that feels very lonely and taking years to complete. For Josh personally, this voyage is the ultimate triumph over “disability”, the diagnoses, the meds, the alcohol, the pain, and the loss. This is his way of grieving, and to support those who may have even more to grieve. The end state is a successful first-ever circumnavigation of the globe by a small man powered boat, and $22 million raised during the 18 month long voyage for the Task Force Dagger Foundation initiatives, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immediate assistance to wounded, ill, or injured Soldiers and their families, and the families of casualties from the United States Army Special Operations Command.
Check out my website – www.veteranvoyage360.com
And follow our progress each step of the way on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/veteranvoyage360
Thank you for your support!