Wounded combat veteran awarded a wild turkey hunt and a new Browning shotgun.

In recognition of his combat service in Iraq and his efforts to support our veterans on the home front, Sgt. Josh Hansen receives a new Browning shotgun from Browning’s CEO Travis Hall for his upcoming wild turkey hunt.

Browning supports a wounded American veteran. As a way for Browning to say “thank you” to our combat veterans for their bravery and selfless service, each year the company recognizes an outstanding US combat veteran with the gift of a guided wild turkey hunt and a new Browning firearm.

This year the award goes to retired US Army Sgt. Joshua E. Hansen, a wounded vet who has made some great contributions, both in leading his men in combat in Iraq and creating a support network for veterans when they return home.

"Recipients are selected from nominations and referrals from a variety of sources including past recipients" noted Jon Leonard, a volunteer who helps coordinate the program as a Hunts for the Brave Volunteer. "Selections are made by the board of Hunts for the Brave. Our intent is to reward the service and sacrifices of our military veterans. "These hunts provide many intrinsic benefits and therapeutic valued of being in the great outdoors which has proven to help veterans expedite their healing process."

Lending a Helping Hand to America’s Warriors. Sgt. Josh Hansen knows firsthand the pain and suffering that are the price of war. He was hit by enemy IEDs eight times during his second combat tour on Iraq. Josh's combat engineer battalion lost six great men in combat, including three from his own company.

Hansen’s final IED explosion came on 15 March 2007, lifting his Humvee high in the air and sending it crashing back to earth. Hansen remembers few details of that final blast, beyond waking up in the helicopter on the way to a medical aid station.

While Hansen’s visible wounds were slight, the cumulative trauma to his brain caused by multiple IED blasts would leave life-changing scars and ultimately end his military career. Medically retired from the service, Hansen felt isolated, depressed and struggled to find his role in the civilian world.

Adding to his emotional burden was the loss of four of his brothers in arms to suicide once they had returned stateside. Recalling his role as a leader of men in combat motivated Hansen to become involved in creating a support network for fellow veterans. 

Sgt. Hansen is the subject of one of the paintings in former US President George W. Bush’s new book “Portraits of Courage.” After being invited to spend a weekend mountain biking with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Hansen co-founded and began running Continue Mission, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization serving veterans with service-connected physical, mental and emotional injuries.

In addition to his role on Continue Mission, Hansen also volunteers his time with several community outreach organizations including the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition, NAMI, Davis HELPS, and the Wood Cross City Community of Promise.

You can learn more at continuemission.org 

The story behind the story.

Browning CEO Travis Hall presents the Browning A5 turkey shotgun to Sgt. Hansen.

Wounded US Army Combat Veteran Awarded a Wild Turkey Hunt and a New Browning Shotgun. For well over a century Browning has proudly supported America’s armed services with the best military firearms designs possible. John M. Browning’s legendary 1911 .45 ACP pistol, the Browning Automatic Rifle and the .30 and .50 caliber Browning machine guns have all won the lasting respect of generations of US combat veterans. In fact, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the legendary BAR.

Even today Browning continues to say “thank you” to our combat veterans for their bravery and selfless service. Each year for the last decade Browning, in cooperation with Hunts for the Brave, a local veteran’s support organization has recognized an outstanding US combat veteran with the gift of a guided wild turkey hunt and a new Browning firearm.

This year’s winner is retired US Army Sgt. Joshua E. Hansen. Originally from Woods Cross, Utah, Hansen left his successful motorcycle business to join the US Army shortly after the 9/11 attacks. He was assigned to the 321st Combat Engineer Battalion, an Army Reserve unit based in Ogden, Utah. Hansen was first deployed to Iraq in 2004.

Jon Leonard announces this years recipient. Leonard (left) is a volunteer board member with Hunts for the Brave and helps coordinate the program.

During Sgt. Hansen’s second combat tour in Iraq he was assigned the dangerous mission of finding and clearing the enemy’s improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in and around Fallujah in support of the 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Expeditionary Forces.

After having a number of close calls from enemy IEDs, Sgt. Hansen was seriously injured by a massive explosion on 15 March, 2007 and was evacuated for further medical treatment. He received both the Purple Heart for his injuries and the Bronze Star for meritorious service. He was medically retired from the Army in 2010.

Today Hansen is married and has three beautiful children and one grandson. He co-founded Continue Mission, a non-profit support group helping veterans find the road to recovery through active outdoor activities so they can start to enjoy life again.

When asked what he thought the greatest needs that America’s returning veterans faced, Hansen responded that it was to help them find a meaningful purpose in civilian life. “When vets some home they are kinda lost,” Hansen noted. “In the service we have structure and such a tremendous sense of purpose. And returning vets bear the invisible wounds of war - the hidden parts that people don’t see.”

Retired US Army Sgt. Joshua E Hansen.

“We work to get vets out of the house and back into nature,” Hansen continued. “Vets love the outdoors and they need the camaraderie. It makes a big difference.”

“Our original intent with this program was to reward the service and sacrifices made by our combat veterans”, noted Jon Leonard, a volunteer board member with Hunts for the Brave who helps coordinate the program.  “However, we have found that these hunts have proven to be very beneficial in helping veterans overcome the adverse effects of combat-related issues and expedite the healing process”.  Recipients are selected from nominations and referrals from a variety of sources including past recipients.  Selections are made by the Board of Directors of Hunts for the Brave upon review and verification of nominee’s combat deployment and service record.

Browning’s CEO Travis Hall also expressed great satisfaction with the program. “Browning has always had the greatest respect for the men and women who volunteer to serve in our nations’ armed forces,” stated Hall. “They do so with extraordinary courage and dedication, protecting our nation and our people, and helping defend liberty around the globe. To all those who have served, we at Browning say ‘thank you.’”

Copyright Browning, 2017.  This article was written by Browning staff writer, Scott Engen. Image of the new book, Portraits of Courage, by former president George W. Bush is used with appreciation. Go here for more information on the Portraits of Courage exhibit and book.