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Mark Winkelman
24 October 2019
Big Hearts Under the Big Sky

Mark enlisted into the United States Army as a Combat Engineer in 1999. His first duty station was at Fort Stewart, GA with the 10th Engineer Battalion from 1999 to August 2001.

On September 1, 2006, he was on foot patrol in Iraq when an IED went off injuring him severely and changed his life forever.  As a result of the blast, he suffered significant tissue damage and loss on his legs and backside and has a 100% disability rating as a result of those wounds.   He medically retired from the Army on July 5, 2007.

For the next 11 years, he had numerous surgical procedures and underwent extensive rehab.  During this period, he entered college and received an associate degree in Sociology.

Mark was accompanied on this trip by his friend and hunting and fishing companion, Blake Anderson.  Blake is also a combat Veteran who served as United States Marine from 2007-2017 as a Helicopter mechanic. Blake deployed to Afghanistan and as a Marine Expeditionary unit (on a ship). Blake left the military in 2017 because some medical issues that prevented him from reenlisting. Their friendship started over a shared goose hunt in 2018 and have been hunting and fishing together ever since!  

Mark and Blake arrived in Montana when the temperature was below zero but encountered a very warm welcome from Tim and Joanne Linehan with Linehan Outfitting Company in Troy, MT.  They had a successful lion hunting trip with another Purple Heart recipient and mountain lion guide Phillip Soucy of Libby, MT.

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