fallen Hero Honor Ride
Six fallen heroes.
An untold number of combat veterans living with (and dying from) post-traumatic stress.
The ride may be over, but our troops need support now more than ever.
The Saber Six Mission
The Saber Six Foundation honors the memory of the six paratroopers from Chris’s unit who were killed in action in Afghanistan. Funds raised by the Saber Six Foundation will be used to:
- Help our unit’s veterans and families recover from combat’s psychological injuries and achieve new dreams.
- Support a Rotary Club of Milwaukee scholarship endowment in their names.
- Raise awareness and support for the 800 paratroopers in our unit (The 800) and for all combat veterans living with post-traumatic stress
Over 7,000 American service members were killed in the post-9/11 wars. Over 30,000 have died by suicide — that’s four times higher than combat fatalities. Many others suffer substance abuse, broken relationships, depression, and other challenges.
Understanding the Happiness Curve for Veterans
It’s not uncommon for veterans to point to their time at war as the happiest of their lives. They have a keen sense of purpose and belonging, common dangers, and the belief that the people around them have their backs. At ages 18 – 25, they are also at the top of the happiness curve.
After military service members leave the unit or the service, they often also lose that sense of purpose and belonging. They start to think that “nobody gets me, nobody’s got my back, nobody can help me.” Feeling alone in a crowded room is where the problems begin.
Some find new purpose and belonging — their happiness curve is relatively flat. However, many drift into mid-life crisis and start to really struggle. Others go into free fall and are at high risk for the worst outcomes.
Flattening the curve for The 800 and their families
We want to assist veterans who are struggling to get the support and guidance they need to bounce back stronger. We want to make sure those people who are in free fall get the care they need to lead healthy and happy lives. Our ultimate goal is to see greater support for all of our veterans..
Our heroes were willing to die to protect our freedom and way of life. Their lives are worth living. Help our heroes build dreams to live for.
What is the Fallen Hero Honor Ride?
The Fallen Hero Honor Ride is a 1700-mile bicycle journey to visit the graves of the six paratroopers from our unit who were killed in action in Afghanistan and raise funds for the Saber Six Foundation. The ride starts in Spalding, Nebraska, on September 25, 2022, and finishes at Arlington National Cemetery on October 22, 2022.
Who is Saber Six?
Saber Six has a dual meaning. First, it stands for the six paratroopers from Chris Kolenda’s unit (1-91 CAV, 173rd Airborne, [also known as Task Force SABER]) who were killed in action during our 15-month Afghanistan deployment in 2007-8. Saber Six was also Chris’s call sign in Afghanistan. TF SABER became the only unit in the history of the war to have motivated a large insurgent group to stop fighting and switch sides.
Who is Chris Kolenda?
Retired Colonel Chris Kolenda has left military service but continues to serve the military community in other ways. Today he runs Strategic Leaders Academy, a consulting firm that helps veterans and their family members build meaningful, joyful, and profitable businesses. In 2007-08, he led 800-paratroopers in eastern Afghanistan. Six of his paratroopers were killed in action, dozens wounded, and every one of the 800 combat veterans have been deeply affected by the war. They all served and sacrificed so Americans could pursue their dreams peacefully and safely. Chris created the Fallen Hero Honor Ride to raise awareness and funds to honor their service. He has also written and been featured in several books about his experiences, including his latest, Leadership The Warriors Art.
What happened in Afghanistan?
We fought hard and achieved unprecedented success (see Jake Tapper’s book, The Outpost). Six of our paratroopers were killed in action and dozens wounded. Every one of the unit’s 800 paratroopers has been affected deeply by the war. They served and sacrificed so Americans could pursue their dreams peacefully and safely. This video shares more of their powerful stories.
THANK YOU TO OUR TEAM AND SPONSORS!
Board of Directors
Chris Kolenda, President
Joey Hutto, Secrectary
David Roller, Board Legal Advisor
Nicole Kauss, Treasurer
Mary McCormick, Milwaukee Rotary Club Executive Director
Kolenda Strategic Leaders Academy
Wheel & Sprocket
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Rotary Club of Milwaukee
Ralph J Schindler, Jr.
Robert and Julie Mandell
Kate Shortall & Blackstone, Inc.
Sky Soldiers ($173)
THE Airborne CAV ($191+)
Marlene & Tom Battelle
Going the Distance ($455+)
Dee Dee Kiesow