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Leo Thorsness

Advisory Council Member

Colonel Leo Thorsness joined the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Advisory Council in 2015, following a distinguished career of military service. Thorsness served 23 years as an officer and fighter pilot in the United States Air Force and accumulated 5,000 hours of flying time.

During the Vietnam War, he flew Wild Weasel missions over North Vietnam, which were focused on destroying radar and air defense systems. In 1967, while on his 93rd mission, he was shot down. He became a prisoner of war (POW) and was released six years later. Thorsness received the Medal of Honor for the Wild Weasel mission he flew 11 days before being shot down.

Thorsness retired from the Air Force as a colonel and worked with Litton Industries in Beverly Hills, California, until moving to Seattle, Washington, in 1986, where he served as a Washington State senator from 1988 to 1992.

Thorsness currently serves on the board of directors of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, and America’s Warrior Partnership. He also spends much of his time speaking with corporations, schools, Boy Scout groups, and military audiences.

Thorsness holds a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California. He currently lives in Madison, Alabama, with his wife, Gaylee, close to their daughter and two granddaughters.

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