The weekend of August 14-16 was a whirlwind event for the Purple Heart Tour hunters – Dan Hammack, Kevin Olech, Ryan Olech and Austin Schultz. After flying in from Atlanta and Memphis to SFO the time flew by as one event led to another. From airport to hotel to gun range to BBQ to hunting, there wasn’t much time to rest. Here are a few shots of the weekend.
Left to right: Dan Hammack, Keving Olech and Austin Schultz with the results of the first morning’s hunt. Keving and Austin were the first to strike, but before the weekend was over, all four of the Purple Heart recipients got their blacktails.
With their deer, Austin Schultz and Kevin Olech along with sponsors and volunteers. The Mule Deer Foundation and California Deer Association were the main NGO sponsors and the Rao Ranch, owned by Robert and Linda Rao was the main private supporter. Hunting took place on the Rao, Fields and Banke ranches southeast of Livermore.
A ton of other non-profit conservations groups, businesses and private individuals supported the event including but not limited to California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, California Houndsmen, Safari Club International, California Waterfowl Association, VFW Post Livermore and associated veterans, Wente Vineyards, Tim Weaver of Weaver Carlson & McCartney Accounts, Gary Pacheco of Pachco Bros. Gardening, Dwight and Edie Ortmann of the Central Coast Chapter of MDF and the Livermore-Pleasanton Rod and Gun Club.
There were many more and I’ll keep adding to the list as I gather more info.
Here’s some background info on the participants and their service records.
Dan W. Hammack III
Military Branch: US Army Reserve, Special Forces (Green Beret)
Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
College: University of Georgia, 1983
Served on 32 combat patrols inside the demilitarized zone in Korea.
Following Special Forces training, led combat missions in Panama while participating in Operation Just Cause 1989-90.
1991: Left active duty to pursue a different career, but remained in the Army Reserve
2001: Activated to participate in a variety of Special Forces missions connected with Operation Enduring Freedom.
2003: Fully activated and assumed command of the Free Iraqi Forces, a unit of Iraqi volunteers during the Invasion of Iraq and subsequently during Operation Enduring Freedom.
2008: Organized the Purple Heart Tour
Currently CEO Southern Wilderness, Inc.
Personal Info: Second only to his devotion to his country is Hammack’s passion for the outdoors and wildlife conservation. He has transformed his family farm into Southern Wilderness Plantation a prime hunting property with an aggressive wildlife management and habitat restoration program. He has been recognized by many groups for his conservation and volunteer work including the Georgia Wildlife Federation, Quail Unlimited and Georgia State Senate.
Kevin Bradley Olech
Military Branch: USMC
Home town: Uniontown, PA
2001: Enlisted as an assaultman.
2003: Became a scout sniper.
2004: Deployed to Ramadi, Iraq.
2004: Wounded legs and arms by shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade.
2005: Awarded Purple Heart and Navy Achievement Medals with combat V.
Personal comments: “First off I would like to thank those of you who put this event together. I am really looking forward to this opportunity. I’m originally from Uniontown Pa. It’s a small town about 50 miles south of Pittsburgh. I am not married, but I have been in a serious relationship for over a year. I have no children. My parents live in Indiana. My dad served in the army in Vietnam. My older brother still lives in Uniontown. He served five years in the Navy working aboard submarines.
My younger brother Ryan lives in GA and is in the Army. He is also coming on this hunt. I have a younger sister who lives in D.C and is married to a Marine officer. My hobbies include hunting, fishing, camping and hiking. I pretty much just like being outdoors. Hunting takes up most of my free time from September to January. Hunting lets me kind of unwind and just recharge. I just like being up in a tree with just my thoughts and the anticipation of that big buck walking in range. Hunting gives me something to look forward to, and I am really looking forward to hunting with my brother again.”
Military Branch: US Army
2009: While assaulting towards the objective, Ryan was shot through his left shoulder. He had several broken ribs and a sucking chest wound. His life was undoubtedly saved by LTC Russ Kotwai.
Current Residence: Martinsville, IN
Marital status: Married for 5 1/2 yrs
Children: 1 boy named Hunter
Hobbies: Hunting and fishing
Personal Comments: “I have been hunting since I was 12. I have hunted deer, turkey, and pig. I have been in the military for a little over 5 years. I have been on 6 deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. ”
Military Branch: US Army
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Sergeant Schultz has been deployed ten times and is received awards during his last two deployments for actions against and eliminating armed enemy combatants.
Personal comments: “I’m an avid hunter mostly for white-tail deer, turkey and hogs. I lease property in Georgia specifically for hunting. I’m 27 years old, married and have a ten month old son.”
More on this topic later and photos of a couple more bucks.
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