Army Ranger made most of his CBJ military salute

“Midway through the first period, Mrs. Tortorella comes and nudges my arm,” Mayne said of Christine Tortorella, the wife of head coach John Tortorella. “She goes, ‘Are you Tony? Are you the Ranger?’ I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ We talked for 45 minutes.” 

Mayne’s story has special significance for the Tortorellas, as Christine and John’s son, Nick, is a U.S. Army Ranger just like Mayne. And the chance to talk about his experiences with a “Ranger mom” like Christine Tortorella was just the cherry on top on the game for Mayne, who also enjoyed watching the Blue Jackets post a 5-3 comeback win over the Canucks. 

Video: Tony Mayne recognized by Elk+Elk Military Salute

Currently residing in Tampa, Fla., after growing up in Marietta, Ohio, Mayne had three special guests at the contest. Most dear to his heart is his mother, Sherri, a cancer survivor who lives in nearby Grove City and was attending her first Blue Jackets game.  

Mayne also was accompanied by his high school cross country coach, Dave Ackerman, who he describes as a “no-nonsense, personal development-focused leader” who he hadn’t seen since high school. His third guest was Kristen Troesch, the girlfriend of the late Ranger Josh Hass, who passed away from cancer, and Troesch lives in Columbus and is an advocate for service-related cancer initiatives. 


“I had my team of superstars,” said Mayne, who stood on the ice with Leo Welsh for the national anthem and was recognized by the team during a first period intermisison. “It was just fantastic. I was treated very well. It’s great to be there on the ice, being with Leo was fantastic. Seeing the guys warm up and seeing the speed and the size, no one appreciates hockey until they’re down at on the ice at that level.” 

In addition, the weekend trip to Columbus featured more than just the chance to take in the Blue Jackets game. On the Saturday before the Sunday night hockey contest, Mayne and supporters of The GallantFew, a veterans’ support network that helps military members transfer into civilian life, met at the Tim Hortons at Nationwide Arena and walked to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. 

That was the final mile of a 565-mile trek for Run Ranger Run 2020, an event in which teams and Individuals pledge to walk, ride, run or row a combined total of 565 miles in the month of February, all to increase awareness for veteran issues surrounding the transition from active military service to civilian life. 

Mayne is a volunteer with GallantFew and is also the director of The Darby Project, which provides individualized transition support for Army Rangers moving into civilian life, and the Patriot Challenge, an annual fitness event that raises money for GallantFew’s transition support programs as well as national and local military and veteran support initiatives. 

Considering Mayne is at the end of his 21-year Army career, with retirement on the horizon for July, these issues hit home. This summer, he plans to move with his family to Columbus, Ga., near Ft. Benning, the home of the Rangers, and work with an outreach center that helps Rangers with the transition to civilian life. 

“As (servicemembers) are looking to start their military careers, they need a one-on-one relationship with someone they trust,” Mayne said. “When I go out or someone goes out into the real world … they just might not be exposed to mentors that can help them succeed as a civilian like they have had in the military. In the civilian world, good mentors generally only happen when the individual seeks it out, whereas in the military, leadership is given. 

“We’re developing a long-term relationship where that veteran, once they transition whether they go to school or employment or both and start having a little bit of success, they can then feed back into the mentor system.” 

After graduating from Ohio State in 1998, Mayne enlisted into the Army and joined the 75th Ranger Regiment. As a member of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, Mayne was among the first soldiers to see combat after Sept. 11 when his company conducted a combat jump into Kandahar, Afghanistan in October 2001. 

His original plan was to leave the military in 2002, but those Sept. 11 attacks galvanized his decision to continue on, and Mayne would go on to be deployed eight times for a total of four-and-a-half years. He has been awarded the Bronze Star four times and led two companies in the 82nd Airborne Division in combat in Iraq. He has finished his Army career as an operations officer at the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa. 

“When I look at my life, it’s been nothing but great people have given me great opportunities to do great things throughout,” he said. “I’ve truly been blessed. I show up to work every day knowing that I’m with the best people who expect the best, so it’s playoff hockey every day. That becomes something that really galvanizes the team and it changes your outlook on what is possible.” 

He still returns to Columbus for Ohio State football games and Blue Jackets games, having become a hockey fan while living in — ironically — Columbus, Ga., where his son took to the sport watching the now-defunct Columbus Cottonmouths of the Southern Professional Hockey League. In watching the sport, Mayne sees something that reminds him of his military career.  

“In no other sport is the premium on team play as it is in hockey,” he said. “Four lines on the ice, the 5th Line in the crowd in Columbus, it’s such a parallel to what we need to succeed in the military as a total team and a family kind of watching us from afar. It’s amazing.” 

Article source: https://www.nhl.com/bluejackets/news/army-ranger-tony-mayne-made-most-of-blue-jackets-elk-and-elk-military-salute/c-317012994

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Posted by on Jun 3 2020. Filed under Army. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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