Army Veteran Dawn Halfaker never expected she would be be in the military. She was a guard on her high school basketball team when the NCAA sponsored her trip to visit West Point, one of the schools recruiting her. Hesitant but with nothing to lose, she accepted the trip. She soon fell in love with the school and her thereby set the course of her future career.

Halfaker graduated from West Point in 2001, and since then, she has gone on to accomplish many great things. In this episode of Borne the Battle, she spoke on a few of her many accomplishments:

  • Overcoming adversity despite suffering a permanent injury while serving in Iraq
  • Serving as a military liaison to the House Armed Services Committee
  • Working for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency at a time when the agency developed groundbreaking new technologies
  • Bringing an important woman’s perspective to the Wounded Warrior Project as its board’s chairwoman
  • Being part of a VA committee that fundamentally reshaped how VA provides care for its wounded Veterans

One of the most notable achievements Halfaker discussed was how she built up her own business and turned it into one that now has over 600 employees. She had no experience running a business before, facing a difficult journey. However, she met like-minded people similarly committed toward creating innovative solutions to modernize the government and went from there.

With a life full of civic, business and personal accomplishments, Halfaker is a champion of change. In 2014, VA recognized her as a Woman Veteran of Change.

And in 2020, Halfaker was listed as among Washington’s Top 10 Health Executives to Watch.

She overcame one of the biggest hurdles of her life after an injury in Iraq and created success for herself. She lives her company’s vision: “Continue to Serve.”


#BtBattle Veteran of the Week:

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Calvin Wong is an intern with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He studies History as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis.

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Published on Mar. 1, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.2 min.

Views to date: 807


  1. Teddy Joe Wagoner March 6, 2021 at 9:52 am

    I do not come here regularly,, I happened upon this site as I was searching and researching, the procedures my wife must follow when I die soon. I have found a few sites that I have really enjoyed, such as this one. I’m sure I’ll book mark it and truth be told, I’ll probably never make it back to it. In fact, in a week I’ll probably go through my book marks, and not knowing what it is, I’ll probably delete it. But to J. Wix’s comment I have to agree,, to a point, and it pisses this poor, under paid retired Submariner off every time I encounter it,, and it’s often, that much is very true. But not here. I took the advice above and I looked back at the previous stories and the editor was correct I am happy to say. I can also say that if a week from now I am still here and looking through my bookmarks, if I remember this article, and am able, I will defiantly come back for another un bias story. I think Dawn’s success is primarily due to the foundation and teachings of her parents as she grew up, secondly to her training at WestPoint and her experiences in combat. I think anyone with those things behind them is destined to succeed. I wish I had had such a combination.

    Ted Wagoner
    USN / Retired
    Submarine Service

  2. J wix March 4, 2021 at 10:31 am

    I see you have managed to showcase mostly women and minorities. Such politically correct bullsht is nothing but a sham. Suddenly white males are viewed as unable to be qualified to advance the political agenda. This is not racism on my part but on yours. Your posting of such stories is a credit to the individuals overcoming adversity but is NOT limited to people who were born female or a minority.

    [Editor: This is the 231st numbered episode. For a true account of the context of this show, please see the archive: ]

    • Tanner Iskra March 4, 2021 at 12:38 pm

      Hi J. Wix – please see the editor’s note.


    • Tommy G Spears March 4, 2021 at 5:49 pm


      As a white male veteran, I understand your frustration. It seems we are a marked group, these days. The reverse racism and reverse sexism you speak of are real, and speaking out against them is to do the right thing. But, like all things, there’s a time, and there’s a place, and this is neither. Here, we are not white, or black, yellow, red or brown. Neither are we male, nor female. Here we are veterans, first, and vets like Dawn Hafaker are first among us. There is no heavier medal a veteran can wear than the Purple Heart.

      Ssgt.T.G. Spears

  3. D Kellerman March 3, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    As a woman veteran, I very much enjoyed listening to Dawn’s story – what a great example of adapt and overcome. Was so excited to here about her company and working with the VA to make it better. I work at a local university and wish the VA Once system that we use to report enrollment to the VA would seek Dawn’s help!

    • Tanner Iskra March 4, 2021 at 12:40 pm

      D. Kellerman,

      Glad to see that you enjoyed the episode. I was happy to help tell Dawn’s story.


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