Dustin Heard | Free Raven 23

Dustin Heard is 35 years old and was born and raised in Olney, Texas. He joined the United States Marine Corps in October of 2000.  His first duty station was with the Marine Corps Security Forces Battalion’s 1st Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Team company (FAST). Throughout Dustin’s service with 1st FAST, he participated in multiple direct action operations crucial to the success of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

After Dustin’s service with 1st FAST, he volunteered to join the ranks of the 2nd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment as a machine gunner with the Combined Anti-Armor Weapons Team (C.A.A.T) in order to deploy to Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terrorism, Operation Enduring Freedom.  During Dustin’s deployment to Afghanistan, he faced the volatile rigors of combat against a determined enemy.

As a result of Dustin’s exemplary service, his awards include the following:

  • Combat Action Ribbon
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Bronze Star
  • Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • 3 Sea Service Deployment Ribbons
  • Multiple Certificates of Appreciation from the U.S. State Department.  

After being honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps in late 2004, Dustin was vetted to join the elite ranks of Blackwater Security Consulting in a determined effort to once again serve his country.  While With Blackwater, Dustin supported Diplomats of the U.S. Department of State in providing crucial high threat protection services paramount to grand strategy in Iraq.  

Dustin served with distinction as a Protective Security Specialist and Quick Reactionary Force Operator.  As a result, he was awarded multiple certificates of appreciation from high levels of the U.S. Government including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Ambassador William B. Taylor.  In Ambassador Taylor’s words, “Throughout his endeavors, Mr. Heard consistently conducted himself with the highest levels of professionalism, integrity, and tactical capability,” and also stated that through high-risk conditions, “…he was instrumental in ensuring my safety while performing duties vital to the success of the Iraq mission.” 

Dustin Heard is a thoughtful man whose greatest wish is to spend his life supporting his wife of 11 years, Kelli; children, Hannah (9) and Quinn (3); contributing to his community; and leading the simple life that has been his dream. Those who know Dustin attest him to be a compassionate man who would stop whatever he is doing to lend a helping hand. His children simply know him as Daddy and desperately miss his presence every day.