Army Veteran Chris Loudenslager is today's Veteran of the day.

During National Park Week, today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Chris Loudenslager, who is now a National Park Service superintendent.

From 1988 to 1992, Chris Loudenslager served in the Army infantry, and with A Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment from 1988-1990. In December 1989, he parachuted into Panama during the initial invasion of Operation Just Cause.

From 1993 to 1997, he served as an Army Special Forces Communications Sergeant. While a member of A Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Operational Detachment-Alpha 345 and 346, Loudenslager deployed to Haiti and the Caribbean Islands. He trained, advised and assisted the Haitian Presidential Security Detachment as a member of the Presidential Security Advisory Unit. He also served as a special operations liaison to the United Nations during Operation Uphold Democracy.

Loudenslager returned to college in 1997 but, as a non-traditional student, he felt increasingly isolated, and recalled thinking, “They should just stick me in the woods on a mountaintop somewhere: I wonder if they pay anyone to do that?”

These thoughts led him to transfer to Michigan Technological University to pursue a major in forestry. At a job fair, Loudenslager met a National Park Service (NPS) representative from Isle Royale National Park. Loudenslager knew the representative’s husband, a senior noncommissioned officer, from their time in Special Forces together. The peaceful island wilderness environment was exactly the sort of setting he had envisioned, and he worked as a temporary employee in Isle Royal National Park for four seasons.

After Loudenslager received his bachelor’s degree in forestry, he earned a master’s degree in policy and park management at Michigan State University and spent some time working as a trails technician for the U.S. Forest Service. In 2015, Loudenslager returned to the NPS as a permanent employee as the trail planner for the 5,000-mile long North Country National Scenic Trail.

He later became the trail manager and then achieved his ultimate goal of being a park superintendent in 2019. Loudenslager explained how his career provides him with the opportunity to “…leverage [his] special forces experiences with working with people that are different than [him] to build coalitions around a common goal, then working hand-in-hand with these groups as an active and credible partner to provide the training, technical assistance and guidance they need to be successful.”

As the superintendent of the nation’s longest national scenic trail, Loudenslager is actively involved in providing employment and recreational opportunities for military members and Veterans and said he feels a personal connection when he hears of them benefiting from experiences provided by the country’s longest national scenic trail.

Thank you for your service!

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.


Writer: Hannah Nelson

Editor: Katherine Berman, Lauren Dahler

Fact checker: Crystal Moore

Graphic artist: Erin Gallagher

Share this story

Published on Apr. 19, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2.6 min.

Views to date: 164


  1. Chris Loudenslager April 20, 2021 at 10:02 am

    Nothing worth having comes easy- if it’s your passion, make it your mission.

    Do all you can to prepare, work to create your own competitive advantage, set short-term goals that will lead you to the objective, make the most of unexpected opportunities, and adapt your strategy as you go without fully deviating from the plan. At every step along the way, always be your best, set the example, do the right thing even when nobody will ever know, and make your leaders and colleagues happy that you were the one who was hired for the position.

  2. Angeline Chaney April 20, 2021 at 6:51 am

    I was stationed in California 88-90, but happened to be stuck in a C-5 sitting on the runway at Travis AFB, because you all were headed to Panama. Since you all took precedence, we sat on the hog for three hours. It was worth every every minute! Thank you for your service!! I actually have a pretty cool poster / Map of the operation (Just Cause), that I kept all these years.

    Angeline C.
    Vet- US Army
    “There can be only one, Army”

  3. Chris Loudenslager April 19, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you very much.

    Correction to clarify: I served in the US Army Infantry (11C) from 1988-1992; I was with A 3/75th from 1988-1990, then 2/11th (IOBC) from ’90-’92.

    • Jacob Warkentin April 19, 2021 at 4:20 pm

      I was a Construction Equipment Repairer (91L) from 2016-2019, and went to the University of ND for the year of 2020. Worked that summer as a seasonal Park Ranger and really enjoyed it, was thinking of finishing my degree in Natural Resource Management or something similar. How competitive is the NPS? You guys need a good amount of personnel or is it difficult to get your foot in the door?

  4. Senior Veterans Care Network April 19, 2021 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you for your service Chris Loudenslager.

Comments are closed.

More Stories

  • Navy Veteran Calvin Leon Graham became the youngest World War II soldier at the age of 12, and the youngest recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Horace Poolaw, who became a well-known photographer of Native American life.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Deborah Jo Pereira, who enlisted in the military at a unique time in her life and in American history.