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Johnnie O. Yellock II

Johnnie O. Yellock IIStaff Sergeant retired Johnnie O. Yellock II comes from a dual Veteran family, was born in The Netherlands, and raised in Texas. In 2002, he graduated from Keller High School. Johnnie received his degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX in 2006.

SSgt (Ret.) Yellock enlisted into the Air Force Special Operations Command as a Combat Controller on April 17, 2007, and completed the Combat Control pipeline in June 2009. He was a certified air traffic controller, trained static line and free fall jumper, and a U.S. Army qualified combat scuba diver. His first assignment was to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron (STS) Hurlburt Field, FL.

SSgt (Ret.) Johnnie O. Yellock II served his first deployment as an STS Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) supporting Combat Search and Rescue operations in Afghanistan. Two of his best friends, Senior Airman Mark Forester and Senior Airman Danny Sanchez, were killed in action thirteen days apart from one another shortly before Johnnie returned home. SSgt (Ret.) Yellock then deployed in June 2011 as a JTAC in support of United States Special Operations Command Special Forces tasked with Village Stability Operations. Combat controllers are responsible for keeping situational awareness while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance in the joint arena.

On July 6, while operating in Eastern Afghanistan, an Improvised Explosive Device detonated beneath and disabled his vehicle causing life-threatening injuries to both of his legs. Johnnie applied tourniquets to his own legs and continued to assist his team by providing Helicopter landing zone guidance to medically evacuate (MEDEVAC) himself and his interpreter to a nearby Forward Operating Base. Johnnie would spend the next three years in intensive rehab at BAMC in San Antonio, where he endured 30 limb-salvage surgeries to date. Johnnie was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Medal for his actions that day. Johnnie medically retired from active duty on November 27, 2013 and became the Veteran Liaison for Helping a Hero. He champions the Mark Forester Foundation (www.MarkAForester.com) to honor his best friend who was killed in action in Afghanistan.

Reverend Herman L. Baxter, Sr.

BaxterFamilyReverend Herman L. Baxter, Sr., also known as “Bax,” is an associate minister at Greater Bethlehem Baptist Church, in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas, TX, under the direction of Pastor Stephen G. Brown. Bax is a graduate of Troy University (MSM 2005) and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) where he earned a Master’s of Theology (ThM) degree with an emphasis in Homiletics and Pastoral Care in May 2017. Also at DTS, Reverend Baxter won the 2017 H.A. Ironside Expository Preaching Award; he is a two-time recipient (2016 & 2017) Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and a Leadership Fellow in the Dr. Howard Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership. Always a learner, this summer Bax has entered the DTS Doctrine of Ministry (DMin) in Spiritual Formation degree program.

Reverend Baxter joined the U.S. Air Force on August 11, 1986. He retired at the rank of Major on September 01, 2012 after completing 26 years of honorable military service as a Munitions and Missile Maintenance Officer that included 16 years as an enlisted Munitions Systems Specialist. A few highlighted assignments for Bax were: Executive Officer to the Nuclear Capabilities Directorate Kirtland AFB, NM; Consequence Management Advisory Team Operations Officer and Joint Elimination Coordination Element Officer for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction at Ft Belvoir, VA; Munitions Flight Commander Ghedi AB, Italy; and Community College Air Force Munitions Instructor Supervisor, Sheppard AFB, TX. A few of Bax’s major awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal w/four Oak Leaf Clusters; and the Joint Service Achievement Medal.

Reverend Baxter serves in ministry, as a squad member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) veterans service organization, and as a volunteer at EQUEST Therapeutic Horsemanship alongside his lovely wife and military veteran Brandy. Together, they have daughters Joy (7) and Faith (6).

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