Chief Warrant Officer 5 Gary A. Linfoot
U.S. ARMY (RET.)
Gary A. Linfoot is a retired U.S. Army officer who has the right stuff: a pilot with 5,000 flight hours and 1,200 hours of combat; a veteran of Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom, 2001) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003-08, for 20 combat deployments); a survivor of grave injuries from a helicopter crash; and a high-tech pioneer in the use of an EKSO exoskeleton for paraplegics. Rising to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 5, he enlisted in 1987 as a radar operator, graduated from flight school in 1990 and went on to instruct pilots in the 7th ID and the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1997 he joined the Night Stalkers, the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), spending 13 years as an instructor pilot and flight lead. In June 2008, while conducting operations in Iraq, his helicopter crash-landed due to a mechanical failure, breaking Linwood’s back and paralyzing him below the waist. He returned to duty only three months later. His 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. He retired in 2010 and still serves the Night Stalkers as a simulator flight instructor. In October 2013, Linfoot became the first military recipient of an EKSO exoskeleton for home use through a grant from the Infinite Hero Foundation. By Memorial Day of 2014, Gary, with wife Mari and son Hayden as his support, had completed over 100,000 steps using the device.