Rod served for 27 years with the Air Force’s elite Pararescue units. He retired as a Chief Master Sergeant in 2005 and moved to Butte, Montana. He is a combat veteran of Operation Just Cause (Panama), the first Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He has extensive experience operating with and training military Special Operations units. As the Director of Operations for a 150-man elite Special Tactics Squadron, he planned and executed several sensitive Joint Chief of Staff missions. He also served as the Pararescueman Functional Manager for the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). He oversaw all training and helped develop much of the curriculum. He has 30 years of instructor experience specializing in emergency medicine, wilderness survival, mountaineering, rope rescue systems, navigation, and skydiving. He is also a Wilderness First Aid instructor and Level II Avalanche/Rescue qualified.
He is an avid skier, hiker, ATV and snowmobile rider, and spends a considerable amount of his free time in the outdoors. He participated in two Eco-Challenge adventure races (Argentina and Alaska), and completed summit climbs on Mt. McKinley, AK (2 times), Mt. Popo, Mexico (3 times), Mt. Blanc, France (5 times), Mt. Rainier, and The Matterhorn in Switzerland. Rod conducted research and testing with Dr. Peter Hackett, Colorado Altitude Training, on Mt. McKinley and helped develop treatment protocols for high altitude sicknesses and injuries. He also helped develop mountaineer rescue kits and cold weather clothing for USAF Pararescue/Special Tactics Teams.
Rod is a graduate of Wayland Baptist University and the Community College of the Air Force. He has a BS in Occupational Education and Training Methodology (Minor – Emergency Medicine) and AA in Survival and Rescue. Some of the more notable of the numerous military schools he has attended are the following: US Air Force Pararescue Recovery Specialist course, High Risk Survival, US Army Military Free-fall Jumpmaster, Hostage Survival, Advanced Trauma Life Support, US Air Force Combat Survival, US Army Combat Diver, US Navy SEAL Dive Supervisor course, PADI Master Diver Instructor, US Air Force Water Survival, Montana Snowmobile Safety Education Instructor, and an American Avalanche Institute Certified Avalanche Safety Instructor