In October 2001 following the attacks on 9/11, Nutsch led a heroic 12-man team of U.S. Special Forces on a covert mission to Afghanistan, where they would ride to war on horses to fight the enemy-side by side with their Muslim counterparts-capture the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif within a matter of weeks, and successfully overthrow the Taliban. Now a consultant to Special Operations Command, Nutsch earned a Bronze Star with valor for his bravery. This keynote speaker is sponsored by DirectEmployers Association.
During one of her three tours as a Medevac helicopter pilot in Afghanistan with the Air National Guard, Hegar's aircraft was shot down in enemy territory. The ensuing rescue earned her both the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor (only the second woman in history to be so honored), and a Purple Heart. Unable to continue flying, Hegar sought and was denied a position in the Air Force. Once again, she fought back, leading efforts that resulted in the repeal of the Combat Exclusion Policy in 2013.