In April of 2010, CAPT David Olson, USNR (Ret), observed a young Army 1LT, Brian Brennan, at the MacDill AFB Fitness Center, was impressed with his workout ethic and intrigued why a service dog should accompany this soldier during his exercise routine. Based upon the amount of weight this soldier was pressing, there did not appear to be any physical limitations. Olson’s curiosity got the best of him and he subsequently approached the Army 1LT to inquire about his obedient service dog and why he might always be present with him.
CAPT Olson learned that on May 7, 2008, US Army 1LT. Brian Brennan of Howell, NJ, an Operation Enduring Freedom combat veteran, was seriously injured in Afghanistan when an IED exploded under the humvee in which he was traveling. The attack took the lives of two soldiers and a civilian. 1LT. Brennan and Specialist Ryan Price of California were the only two survivors. 1LT Brennan suffered cardiac arrest, multiple fractures and traumatic brain injury. He returned home a double amputee.
CAPT Olson subsequently met with Mrs. Carol Martin and, together, they founded the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge so that others may be inspired by the accomplishments of such great Americans.
In June of 2010, the first group of military Combat Wounded and Injured veterans met in Talkeetna, Alaska. Their objective was to address and search for effective methods for healing and inspiring our returning wounded veterans and to promote the work of local universities and colleges who are conducting medical research in this effort. After 12 days of mountaineering training in the Alaska Range with these amputees and others afflicted with TBI and psychological trauma, the group overwhelmingly agreed to lead, expand and continue the effort for the benefit of all our Combat Wounded and service-injured and their families.