Therapy in the Air Program
Combat Injured Troops offers support to Soldiers and veterans and their families. We specifically reach out to members of the military community around the country who have been injured while defending our freedom. We specialize in serving soldiers with physical and emotio
nal disabilities. Our programs are open to men and women of all ages.
The home office of Combat Injured Troops is located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. As an unofficial home of the U.S. military, there are few communities in the world who can compete with the military history and tradition of Fayetteville/Cumberland County.
Combat Injured Troops offers a unique program that no one else can provide – Therapy in the Air. Therapy in the Air is an adventure program to honor, empower and motivate combat injured troops. Skydiving has an unparalleled sense of freedom mingled with excitement and offers mental, phys
ical and emotional rehabilitative experiences to severely wounded troops. Therapy in the Air encourages wounded veterans, raises their morale, and offers thanks for their sacrifices.
Mike Elliott and The All Veteran Parachute Team manage the Therapy in the Air Program. Mike Elliott, Golden Knight (ret), President and Founder, has over 25 years of military service, serving in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force. He has also logged assignments with both the esteemed 82nd Airborne Division as well as its rival for fame and prestige, the 101st Airborne Division. He has earned every instructional and technical rating available in the skydiving community and has over 9,000 parachute jumps, including over 3,000 tandem parachute jumps. He has conducted tandem jumps with passengers ranging from high-level dignitaries (41st President twice) and internationally renowned celebrities to soldiers returning from combat. His experience as demonstration team leader and tandem team leader for the elite US Army Parachute Team ensures that The All Veteran Parachute Team tandems and demonstrations are conducted with the utmost of professionalism, safety, and precision. Mike has an Associate Degree in Business Administration.
When a Veteran with a physical handicap or PTSD is referred to Combat Injured Troops for Therapy in the Air, Mike Elliott performs the necessary evaluation to determine if the individual meets the physical requirements for a tandem jump. Combat Injured Troops arranges transportation for the individual to travel to Fayetteville, NC and provides lodging for one night. A dinner is setup for the Veterans to meet some of the Board Members and All Veterans Parachute Team members and each other. One of the goals of Combat Injured Troops is to build a community of people who can rely on one another for support, advice and friendship. One of the biggest problems facing combat injured troops is answering the question, “Where Do I Land?” It can be a major struggle fitting back into a community or even your own family after suffering an injury whether it is physical or emotional. Combat Injured Troops recognizes that in previous military conflicts and wars not as many soldiers survived and return
ed home. In these modern times, with the increase in survivors comes the need for more awareness and more programs to deal with the issues confronting soldiers returning home.
The next day begins at the Paraclete XP SkyVenture in Raeford, North Carolina doing Indoor Skydiving. From there, the group moves to the Raeford Parachute Center for the training and actual tandem skydive, weather permitting. The skydive experience is videoed by a member of the All Veteran Parachute Team from before the Veteran boards the plane and takes off until he or she lands again and tells everyone how it felt to jump out of an airplane from 13,500 ft. and what the experience meant to them. The video is given to the soldier as a memento of his or her Combat Injured Troops experience.
Combat Injured Troops has a website, Facebook and twitter account. We are a totally volunteer organization. There are no paid salaries to anyone on the Board or anyone handling the administrative functions of the charity. We strive to jump about 4 Veterans a month for a total of 48-50 soldiers annually. We keep the groups small so we can get to know the individuals and they become a part of our close-knit community. We follow up with photos, phone calls, emails and through social media postings.