ARMY RANGERS HALL OF FAME | AUTHOR OF AMERICAN WARRIOR
“Gary O’Neal is the man for whom the term ‘warrior’ was invented … ”
— Medal of Honor Recipient Colonel Jack Jacobs (Ret.)
U.S. Army Ranger Gary O’Neal survived torture, the war in Vietnam, life-threatening injuries, wars in Central and South America, and both Gulf Wars. His military career took him to the far corners of the globe, enduring fierce attacks, daring rescues and harrowing missions to detonate or dismantle explosives. Life-or-death personal challenges tapped his physical and spiritual strength. He even witnessed the murder of his own family during a civil war, in retribution for his activism.
Gary’s Current Mission: Public Speaking
Today, Gary continues this activism, carrying lessons learned on the battlefield to the streets of America in a quest to save our youth from an epidemic of violence. Coast to coast, the power of Gary’s motivational message resounds through the corridors of the schools he has visited.
Gary warns: “One learns that a personal blood vendetta triggers war without end. We see it every day in our inner cities. Fueled by drugs and alcohol addiction, kids are barred from all that is life enforcing.”
Through stories of his own personal “warpath,” Gary successfully rallies youth to fight for their own futures. He works to make a difference in young Americans’ fight between life-and-death on the streets.
The inspirational gifts and teachings that Gary shares apply to the everyday lives and to the survival of today’s youth. He engages his young audiences beyond words through sharing his personal story and through the use of visual imagery drawn from his experience.
Gary pulls from his incomparable Ranger training to fight off self-destructive habits, applying it to block gang violence. He teaches young people respect for home, parents and education – but the most important teaching is to accept self-worth as a main tool for survival.
Gary inspires audiences to build a new community of brothers and sisters who understand that the undeniable “power-of-one” comes from within. He accomplishes this through engaging young audiences using visual imagery drawn from his experience as a warrior.
Physical and mental strength and the value of self-discipline are a big part of Gary’s message — his role is that of a life-changing trigger.
Gary looks forward: “Tomorrow and in the future, the youth of America will lay claim to inspirational gifts and teachings of survival.” He will continue sharing enlightening mental and spiritual gifts with school audiences.
Gary O’Neal Biography:
Gary “Butch” O’Neal lied about his age and joined the Army at age 15 to escape a hardscrabble life after being passed around by relatives in four different U.S. states following his parents’ divorce.
Trained by his father and grandfather to wield a rifle, knife and anvil, O’Neal disciplined himself to attain the coveted Ranger status among our U.S. army’s top elite.
Gary began with basic training at Fort Benning, then infantry AIT, then jump school. He served his first Vietnam tour beginning in 1967 with the 173rd Airborne, operating out of a fire base in the Central Highlands.
“I’d been lost living in America, and in Vietnam I was found,” O’Neal writes in his highly readable memoir, “American Warrior: The True Story of a Legendary Ranger,” written with David Fisher. “War was what I was good at. It made me a whole person. Like other people fighting over there, I became addicted to the high of being at risk.”
From his first assigned combat tour in Vietnam conducting hazardous missions rescuing prisoners of war, O’Neal served with several elite units including the 173rd Airborne Brigade Line Company, Company C, 75th Ranger Regiment and the 5th Special Forces Group.
His Airborne mission was a “search and destroy” nicknamed “The Herd” by legendary entertainer Bob Hope. Gary recalls, “We lost 60,000 troops, but we killed over eight million. That’s almost a nine to one ratio.