Saber Six

fallen Hero Honor Ride

Six fallen heroes.

1700 miles.

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.

  • PFC Chris Pfeifer
  • SGT Adrian Hike
  • SPC Jacob Lowell
  • SSG Ryan Fritsche
  • CAPT Dave Boris
  • MAJ Tom Bostick

AARP Veterans Day message

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:

  1. Help our unit’s veterans and families recover from combat’s psychological injuries and achieve new dreams.
  2. Support a Rotary Club of Milwaukee scholarship endowment in their names.
  3. Raise awareness and support for the 800 paratroopers in our unit (The 800) and for all combat veterans living with post-traumatic stress
honor ride

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.

  • Private First Class Chris Pfeifer – Spalding, Nebraska, September 25, 2007
  • Sergeant Adrian Hike – Carroll, Iowa, November 12, 2007
  • Specialist Jacob Lowell – Elwood, Illinois, June 2, 2007
  • Staff Sergeant Ryan Fritsche – Hall, Indiana, July 27, 2007
  • Captain Dave Boris – Minersville, Pennsylvania, November 12, 2007
  • Major Tom Bostick – Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, July 27, 2007

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.

Retired Colonel Chris Kolenda in Afghanistan
COL (R) Chris Doneski & COL (R) Chris Kolenda

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!

Platinum Sponsor
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Gold Sponsor
Silver Sponsor
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Board of Directors

Chris Kolenda, President
Chris Doneski
Joey Hutto, Secrectary
David Roller, Board Legal Advisor
Nicole Kauss, Treasurer
Mary McCormick, Milwaukee Rotary Club Executive Director
Stephen Church
Karen Seitz
Ted Kennedy
Nathan Springer
Karen Pfeifer
Theresa Glowicki
Dave Spencer
Larry Gonzales
Jay Pieri
Ian Folau
Larry Lunsford
Geoff Dietrich
Steve Brody

Cycling Coach

Chuck Kyle

Company Sponsors

Specialized Bicycles
Kolenda Strategic Leaders Academy
Wheel & Sprocket
Borah Teamwear
Admired Leadership
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Rotary Club of Milwaukee

Financial Advisor:
Vicky Staudinger

Website Sponsor:
Tornado Marketing

$1/mile Sponsors

Christine Smith
Alan Weiss
Ralph J Schindler, Jr.
Linda Hartz
PAE
Geoff Dietrich
Robert and Julie Mandell
Bard Kauss
Lori Tompos
Dan Kolenda
Kate Shortall & Blackstone, Inc.
Erik Kober
Billy Lovett
Joe Warnagiris
Anthony Muri
Jacob Tapper

Sky Soldiers ($173)

Chris Anthony

THE Airborne CAV ($191+)

Lester Munson
David Roberts
Paul Miles
Andrew Bochman
Stephan Chevalier
Teodora Sadek
Tiffany Tinsey
Victor Pedraza
Marlene & Tom Battelle
Scott Heal
Larry Alexander
Rodney Coleman
Dave Roller

Going the Distance ($455+)

Donald Baldovin
Masuda Sultan
Robert Hutt
Timothy Breitbach
Marie Weiss
Timothy Eller
Wayne Bunch
Mark Chappel
Michael Urbatis
Dee Dee Kiesow

Millennium ($1000+)

Michele Flournoy
Karen Seitz
Anonymous
Darren Miller
Karl Springer