Director of Veteran Services
Command Sgt. Maj., Gretchen Evans enlisted in the Army in September 1979 when she was 19. After completing basic training, she would serve in Italy, Central America and the Middle East as a counterintelligence soldier conducting counterterrorism operations. In 2004, she was promoted to Command Sgt. Maj. and served next to Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry in her final deployment to Afghanistan. In this role, she managed the safety and security of all the military security, personnel and 30,000 ground troops across the U.S. military bases in Afghanistan.
In 2006, her career was cut short when a mortar round’s detonation left her with severe brain injuries and completely deaf. She was honorably discharged from the military and began recovery at home, where she channeled her grief into running, hiking and writing a compilation of other Veterans’ stories and experiences she titled, “Leading from the Front.” The success of this book inspired her to become a motivational speaker for Veterans and large organizations. She and her hearing service dog, Aura, have toured the country inspiring others for almost 17 years.
Throughout her work, she has also continued her love of running and adventure pairing with other Veterans and civilians with disabilities to form Team Unbroken. She trained this team and led them to compete in World’s Toughest Race: Exo Challenge Fiji. She continues to train the team with goals of participating in more marathons, cycling challenges and even two “Ironman” triathlons.
Evans has served on the board and an ambassador for many organizations seeking to provide accessibility and resources for Veterans and now she serves as Unbroken Spirit’s Director of Veterans Services.
Now, after moving 27 times, receiving 27 awards and decorations as well as 27 years of active-duty service, Evans has settled in Texas with her husband, Navy Captain and Chaplain Robert Evans. In 2022, she was presented with the ESPY’s Pat Tillman Award along with induction into the Veteran’s Hall of Fame and the U.S. Army Women Veteran Hall of Fame.