Johnnie O. Yellock II
Staff Sergeant retired Johnnie O. Yellock II comes from a dual Veteran family, was born in The Netherlands, and raised in Texas. In 2002, he graduated from Keller High School. Johnnie received his degree in Manufacturing Engineering from Tarleton State University in Stephenville, TX in 2006.
SSgt (Ret.) Yellock enlisted into the Air Force Special Operations Command as a Combat Controller on April 17, 2007, and completed the Combat Control pipeline in June 2009. He was a certified air traffic controller, trained static line and free fall jumper, and a U.S. Army qualified combat scuba diver. His first assignment was to the 23rd Special Tactics Squadron (STS) Hurlburt Field, FL.
SSgt (Ret.) Johnnie O. Yellock II served his first deployment as an STS Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) supporting Combat Search and Rescue operations in Afghanistan. Two of his best friends, Senior Airman Mark Forester and Senior Airman Danny Sanchez, were killed in action thirteen days apart from one another shortly before Johnnie returned home. SSgt (Ret.) Yellock then deployed in June 2011 as a JTAC in support of United States Special Operations Command Special Forces tasked with Village Stability Operations. Combat controllers are responsible for keeping situational awareness while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance in the joint arena.
On July 6, while operating in Eastern Afghanistan, an Improvised Explosive Device detonated beneath and disabled his vehicle causing life-threatening injuries to both of his legs. Johnnie applied tourniquets to his own legs and continued to assist his team by providing Helicopter landing zone guidance to medically evacuate (MEDEVAC) himself and his interpreter to a nearby Forward Operating Base. Johnnie would spend the next three years in intensive rehab at BAMC in San Antonio, where he endured 30 limb-salvage surgeries to date. Johnnie was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Action Medal for his actions that day. Johnnie medically retired from active duty on November 27, 2013 and became the Veteran Liaison for Helping a Hero. He champions the Mark Forester Foundation (www.MarkAForester.com) to honor his best friend who was killed in action in Afghanistan.