Lt. Gen.Mike Linnington: September 11, 2018



Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP)

John Fernandez
U.S. Army wounded warrior, Purple Heart recipient

Wounded Warrior Project is transforming the way America’s injured veterans are empowered, employed, and engaged in our communities. Soldier Ride is one of Wounded Warrior Project’s most iconic events. It began in 2004 when Long Island native Chris Carney cycled more than 5,000 miles coast-to-coast to help raise awareness for injured veterans. The following year, several combat warriors who returned from Operation Enduring Freedom with visible and invisible injuries joined Chris for another cross-country ride. This trek across the nation redefined personal strengths and limitations. Despite many obstacles, the group of warriorsrefused to give up – using the experience as a catalyst to show the public and themselves that with support and motivation, anything is possible.



·       Soldier Ride Across America commemorates the 15-year anniversary of Chris Carney’s historic coast-to-coast trek in support of injured veterans, which spurred the creation of Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride program.

·       Soldier Ride Across America consists of three teams of wounded warriors representing the U.S. East Coast, Central, and West Coast regions.

·       Soldier Ride Across America kicks off in Manhattan on Sept. 8. Warriors will visit numerous cities on the cross-country journey – including Washington, DC; Somerset, Pennsylvania; Louisville, Kentucky; Nashville, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; Lubbock and El Paso, Texas; and Tucson, Arizona – all before ending in San Diego, California, on Oct. 8.

·       Soldier Ride Across America has a 3,300-mile route – with each team riding more than 1,000 miles.

Today, Soldier Ride continues to inspire warriors and help them find their next mission in life – a healthy recovery and successful transition to life after injury. Soldier Ride uses adaptive cycling technology to help wounded veterans redefine their limitations and become well-adjusted in mind and body, receiving the care they need to maximize recovery and live active and healthy lives.

In this satellite interview, Wounded Warrior Project CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington is available to talk more about the ride and what Wounded Warrior Project is doing to help our nation’s wounded veterans. He’ll be joined by John Fernandez, a U.S. Army veteran who lost his left foot and right leg below the knee during a deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. His military service earned him various awards and decorations including the Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor. John credits his recovery to Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride program.


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Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington serves as CEO of Wounded Warrior Project. He brings 35 years of military experience and leadership to the organization. In this position, Mike oversees day-to-day operations and works with the executive team to set and implement the organization’s strategic vision. He is responsible for ensuring Wounded Warrior Project’s free, direct programs and services continue to have the greatest possible impact on the warriors, caregivers, and families we serve. Before joining Wounded Warrior Project, Mike was the first permanent Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), following his retirement as a Lieutenant General from the U.S. Army. He served as the Military Deputy to the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) from 2013 to 2015 and as Commanding General, Military District of Washington and Commander, Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region from 2011 to 2013. Mike also held general officer positions of responsibility as Deputy Commanding General, Fort Benning, Georgia; Commandant of Cadets, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York; and in Kabul, Afghanistan.

His military career included duties in key command and staff positions worldwide. He served on the Army Staff, the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Staff. His combat experience includes command of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, in support of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.


John Fernandez is a Long Island native who grew up in Rocky Point, NY. John attended the United States Military Academy Preparatory School and upon completion entered the United States Military Academy. John graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in systems engineering. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army as a Field Artillery Officer and was sent to Fort Sill, OK as an Artillery Platoon Leader, Maintenance Officer, and Executive Officer. In January of 2003, John was selected to deploy to Kuwait and participated in the ensuing invasion of Iraq in March. On April 3, 2003, he was seriously wounded in Iraq and lost his left foot and right leg below the knee. John’s military service earned him various awards and decorations including the Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal with “V” device for Valor.  After rehabilitation, he pursued a master’s degree in secondary education for mathematics at Dowling College. John then took a position with Wounded Warrior Project as their Director of Alumni. John developed Wounded Warrior Project Alumni for two years and helped create the largest network of seriously injured veterans from the war on terror. John has since worked in project/program/operations management, business development, and government contracting. John has frequently appeared on national television networks, including CNN, FOX News, ESPN, CBS, and NBC. He has also been spotlighted in major print publications, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Denver Post, Miami Herald, Sports Illustrated, and NY Daily News. John has testified to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, helped pass legislation for veteran disability insurance that has paid out over $900 million, and received multiple Congressional Certificates of Achievement. He remains an active source for media, government, and the public on issues related to returning injured veterans. John was married just before his deployment to Iraq, and his wife Kristi has been by his side ever since. John and Kristi live on Long Island, NY with their five children.

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