Updated: May 8, 2022
On Tuesday May 3rd, I had the privilege to sit down with 2 veterans that I served with in Bulldog Troop 1-91 Cav 173rd Airborne on my podcast The Patriot Edda. Which you can check out above.
Adam Heath, Founder/CEO, Sky Tribe Vets
Adam Heath is a veteran who served in Bulldog Troop 1-91 Cavalry 173rd Arborne Brigade as an Airborne Infantryman. He would deploy with the unit for 15 months at Camp Keating during OEF VIII (2007-2008) in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. A deployment that led to the book written by Jake Tapper and major motion picture "The Outpost."
Matthew Crumlich, Vice President, Sky Tribe
Matthew Crumlich is also an Airborne Infantryman who served in HHT 1-91 Cavalry 173rd Airborne at the beginning of OEF VIII. He would later join Bulldog Troop at Camp Keating, Nuristan Province Afghanistan and serve the rest of the deployment with the unit. Matthew also stated that Adam and himself trained together prior to joining the 173rd.
Adam and his youngest sister, Chloe, came up with the idea for Sky Tribe Vets. Adam's sister and family also got into skydiving along with Adam himself. "They all saw what a benefit it's been to my mental health." Adam states. While discussing skydiving with his sister, Adam recalls reflecting on how much it reminded him of being in an Airborne Infantry platoon, and the comradery that came with it. "My sister asked me why more of my Airborne paratrooper brothers didn't jump." Adam stated during the podcast. After talking with fellow veterans, Adam discussed that most of them lived too far from training sites and could not afford the cost of those courses.
"So, we came up with this idea, like hey! Whay if we started a nonprofit where we could collect donations and help pay for guys to come out here and get their licenses and start skydiving so that these guys can have the same experiences that I am getting." Adam Heath.
Adam discussed how combat reunions also helped him with his mental health struggles. "I was going through a pretty rough time in my life and being able to go to that reunion helped me." Inspired by that, Sky Tribe Vets also wants to help host unit reunions through donations. These donations will also include travel for veterans who cannot afford to attend reunions.
"I went to that reunion 5 years ago and it was extremely beneficial to me." Matthew states. "Being able to reconnect gave me a support system again." Many veterans struggle when they get out of service and having a support system almost seems impossible after service. As a veteran who served with both Adam and Matt, nothing is more supportive than the men you served next to in a combat zone. As Adam would say "It is not a family, it's a Tribe!"
After coordination with Matthew, they both decided to start the nonprofit organization. Matthew would state that he had just graduated with an international law degree and "the timing was perfect!". Sky Tribe Vets was incorporated in December of 2021. It was during March of 2022 that they officially became a tax-exempt nonprofit organization. "We got the approval in March and just hit the ground running." Adam Heath, Founder.
So, what is Sky Tribe Vets?
Sky Tribe Vets is about building relationships. "Our mission is to improve the mental health of airborne combat Veterans by connecting them with the skydiving community, and hosting combat platoon reunions." Sky Tribe Vets. Their mission is to reunite airborne combat veterans with the sky by helping them obtain their civilian skydiving license. Sky Tribe wants to break down the barriers which include location, the process and cost. They plan to assist in paying for jumps and help veterans get their licenses. While also helping organization of unit reunions through donations. "We can't put into words how amazing it is to watch the excitement and enthusiasm come back into these guys' lives." Sky Tribe Vets.