“We owe it to the fallen to live well.”
—John Wayne Walding


John spent 12 years in the United States Army, including seven years in the Special Forces Group at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and during his career at 3rd SFG, he served on ODA 396/3336 as a Special Forces Communications Sergeant and the Sniper Detachment as a Sniper Instructor.

It was during the harrowing battle of Shok Valley on April 6, 2008, that John would lose his leg to a sniper, and yet returned fire for four more hours with his severed lower limb tied to his thigh. The incredible story of that six-hour fight is detailed in the book No Way Out: A Story of Valor in the Mountains of Afghanistan by Mitch Weiss and Kevin Maurer.

Post-injury, John attended Special Forces Sniper School and upon graduation became the first amputee ever to become a Green Beret Sniper. Using a hand crank, he went on to compete in the 2009 Boston Marathon, in which he finished 4th, finished in the top 10 in the 2009 New York Marathon, and ran the Army 10 Miler.


John travels the country speaking to veterans’ organizations, corporations and the public about leadership and excellence, overcoming adversity and maintaining mission focus.

If you’re interested in booking John to speak at your next corporate event or association meeting, please fill out the contact form below and someone will get back in touch with you soon. Thank you.

John holds the Silver Star as well as the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Combat Infantry badge, Airborne Air Assault and the Special Forces Tab.

In 2014, John was named the recipient of Crown Royal’s annual “Your Hero Name Here” program for the Sprint Cup Series Brickyard 400, making the race’s official name the John Wayne Walding 400.

John and his wife, Amy, reside in Frisco, Texas, with their four children: Emma, Sam, Andie and Hannah.

“The veterans are the most amazing, the warmest, the best people… So I’m going to introduce… someone who’s been through a lot – John Wayne Walding. I think a lot have heard of him. [He has] actually become a very famous person. He should be much more famous than me because he’s a lot more courageous than I am… He is an amazing guy, and I heard him speak once before. I was so impressed I just asked him to come up and say a few words.”

—Donald J. Trump
Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. January 28, 2016


John is the founder and owner of 5 Toes Custom, a Dallas-based builder of handcrafted precision rifles. It was during a fateful meeting with former pro golfer David Feherty that an unlikely friendship was born. David, an ardent supporter of vets and a gun enthusiast, introduced John to master gunsmith Dick Cook, from whom he would learn the art of handcrafting rifles. But it’s about so much more than the meticulously designed works of art that come out of John’s shop, one at a time. 5 Toes Custom is also a place for transitioning and wounded vets to come learn a craft and regain their independence in the company of fellow vets who understand that the battle never ends.

5 Toes Custom donates a portion of all profits to charities who share its fundamental principles: to provide opportunities and support to deserving vets – these “quiet professionals” — who have sacrificed so much.

For more information about 5 Toes Custom, please visit:


If you’re interested in booking John to speak at your next corporate event or association meeting, please fill out the form below and someone will get back in touch with you soon. Thank you.

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“I really say to everyone that we owe it to the fallen to live well, and that’s something that people need to understand. Guys are still dying… if you don’t try to live every day as precious as it truly is, then it’s a travesty to them.”

—John Wayne Walding