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An original series based on true Veterans stories



Retired Army Captain, Leslie Nicole Smith, graduated from Marymount

University in Arlington, Virginia and received her commission from the Army

ROTC program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Leslie was

then assigned to the Nuclear Biological Chemical Corps, and also attended

the Army Defense Information School, enabling her to serve as a Public

Affairs Officer.

Leslie deployed to Bosnia in September 2001 with the 29th Infantry

Division for Stabilization Force 10 during Operation Joint Forge. While in

Bosnia, Leslie developed a blood clot and returned stateside two weeks

before the end of her deployment. She was immediately admitted to Walter

Reed Army Medical Center and diagnosed with a blood infection, resulting

from exposure to a chemical agent or toxin. Ultimately, Leslie lost her left

leg and she is now legally blind.

Leslie was never discouraged by her losses and forged ahead. Her positive

attitude carried over into her work at the USO and the Department of the

Navy. Leslie is an Ambassador for the Gary Sinise Foundation and the

Travis Manion Foundation. She has appeared on Lifetime's Project

Runway All Stars to raise awareness for women veterans and on the

daytime drama, Days of Our Lives, for a special veterans episode

dedicated to PTSD.

Leslie has shared her inspirational story across the country including the

White House, West Point, and Wall Street. She has appeared on both local

and national media such as FOX News Live, MSNBC, CBS Talk Philly,

News Close Up with Marvin Scott, SNJ

Leslie’s story was included in the third book of the American Heroes series

written by New York Times best selling author and former Marine, Colonel

Oliver North. In February 2014, both Colonel North and Leslie were guests

on the Katie Couric Show to discuss the book, “On the Homefront, The

Hearts of Heroes” and to share her motivational story. Leslie is always

accompanied by her faithful and hard-working service dog, Issac, who

helps her navigate through life each day with confidence and happiness.


Joseph E. Dames III, Current Job Title: Mitre Corps – Multidisciplinary Systems Engineer

(2015) Mr. Dames was hired by MITRE Corps as a systems engineer in charge of communications systems fightability in combat operations. 

(2010-2015) Mr. Dames was hired by Augustine Consulting Inc. as a unit systems integrator. Mr Dames deployed to Afghanistan 3 times in support of the Joint Special Operations Command to field and enhance soldier survivability in combat operations by facilitating development of communications technology. 

(2009) In July 2009, Mr. Dames received an honorable discharge from Active Duty Service in the United States Army to begin a career with Triple Canopy, Inc. as a counter assault truck commander for the Ambassadors detail in Iraq.

(2007 – 2009) He was selected in June 2007 through the Ranger Orientation Program to serve as a Ranger Rifle Platoon Leader in 2nd Battalion, 75 Ranger Regiment at Fort Lewis, Washington. Immediately following his selection, he deployed to Iraq as a Ranger Rifle Platoon Leader until redeploying to Fort Lewis, Washington in September 2007. In April 2008, he deployed again to Iraq as a Ranger Rifle Platoon Leader until redeploying to Fort Lewis, Washington in July 2008. In February 2009, his last deployment to Iraq, he deployed once again as a Ranger Rifle Platoon Leader until redeploying in May 2009. 

(2006 – 2007) He deployed to Fort Wainwright, Alaska in March 2006, then directly to Iraq where he served in 4th Battalion, 23nd Infantry Regiment as a Stryker Platoon Leader through November 2006. Upon redeployment to Alaska, he continued to serve as a Stryker Platoon Leader and Company Executive Officer through May 2007. 

(2005 – 2006) He earned his commission as an officer of the United States Army in June 2005, and attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course until November 2005. Upon completion of the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Mr. Dames attended and graduated the coveted United States Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia in January 2006. 


Bronze Star Medal (2 awards), Army Commendation Medal for Valor, Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon



Commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry from Officer Candidate School in 1995 after enlisted service in the 2nd Infantry Division, 1st Ranger Battalion, 25th ID Long Range Surveillance Detachment (LRSD) and the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) where he served as an 18E; his first assignment as an officer was with the 1st Battalion, 508th Airborne Battalion Combat Team (ABCT) in Vicenza, Italy where he served as an Airborne Rifle Platoon Leader, Heavy Weapons Platoon Leader and the Battalion S-3 Air Officer.

Following the Infantry Officer Advanced Course and the Special Operations Detachment Officer Qualification Course, Lieutenant Colonel Donegan served with the 1st Battalion, 10th SFG (A) in Stuttgart, Germany as the Commander of Special Forces Operational Detachment-ALPHA 013 where he was responsible for bringing numerous personnel indicted for war crimes (PIFWC) to justice in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Dennis also commanded what was called the “First Strike against Terrorism”, when he led his Detachment on a raid against known terrorists in Sarajevo which became known as the “Hollywood Hotel” raid; and as Commander of Troop IV with the Regional Commander’s In-extremis Force (CIF). Following this assignment he served as the Aide de Camp to Major General Eldon Bargewell, the Senior US Military Advisor in the Netherlands and the J-3 at Allied Forces North; Brunssum, the Netherlands. Lieutenant Colonel Donegan then served with the 3rd Special Forces Group in Afghanistan and as the Executive Officer of B Co., 2nd BN, 3rd SFG (A) in Iraq and also as the acting forward company commander where he was responsible for helping in the formation of the Iraqi Counter Terrorist Force (ICTF). Lieutenant Colonel Donegan then served as an Unconventional Warfare Instructor with the 1st Special Warfare Training Group and as the USASOC DCS, G-3 Range Branch Chief before being assigned to the 5th SFG (A) where he served as the first Commander of the newly formed Operations Detachment, Commander of the Group Support Company and Commander of Bravo Company, 4th Battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Donegan led Bravo Company on its inaugural combat deployment to Iraq where he served as the Commander of AOB-5420 at FOB Warrior in Kirkuk from January to September 2010. Lieutenant Colonel Donegan then served as the Lead Plans Officer for Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) Gulf Cooperation Council Operational Plan Team, where he led a Survey and Assessment Team into Cairo, Egypt during the early stages of the “Arab Uprising”. Lieutenant Colonel Donegan is currently detailed to the Department of State where he serves as an expert on Special Operations.

Civilian Education:

University of Rhode Island: Baccalaureate of Arts in History 

Webster University: Master of Arts in Business and Organizational Security Management

Military Education:

Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced Courses

Special Operations Detachment Officer Qualification Course

Combined Arms Service Staff School

Joint Officer Planning Course

US Army Command and General Staff College 

Awards and Decorations:

Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Valor “V” device and six oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Achievement Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Good Conduct Medal with three knots, Department of State Superior Honor Award, National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with bronze campaign star, Kosovo Campaign Medal with two bronze campaign stars, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with bronze campaign star, Iraq Campaign Medal with two bronze campaign stars, War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Service Medal, NATO Medal with bronze campaign star, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with number two, Overseas Service Ribbon with number five, the Army Service Ribbon, the Army Superior Unit Award, the Valorous Unit Award and the Meritorious Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster. 

The Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Special Operations Diver Badge, Special Forces Tab, Ranger Tab and The Order of Saint Maurice  Foreign jump wings include Jordanian, Tunisian, Norwegian, Dutch, German, Australian and Laotian.