Dave Dequeljoe is a former Navy fighter pilot with two combat tours to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was awarded the Navy Commendation with Combat “V” device for valor and an Air Medal with Individual bronze star device for the heroic low altitude rescue of U.S. Special Operations Forces from an overwhelming advancing armor column. Dave also was awarded two Strike Flight Air Medals, and his squadron won the Battle “E” for excellence in sustained combat sorties. Transitioning home after debilitating injuries sustained from an inverted flat spin ejection, Dave became an entrepreneur and has owned several businesses, receiving multiple awards for positive culture and leadership before disaster struck.
When cockiness and stubbornness left Dave’s unresolved combat issues untreated, his life self-destructed. This led to a painful divorce, the collapse of his loving relationship with his four children, and unexpected homelessness. Dave remembered the advice his mother wisely told him: when you aren’t feeling good about yourself, the very best thing you can do is to help someone else. Dave immersed himself in learning, and patiently took careful notes during his recovery from severe depression in the hope that he could teach others how to discover their own specific “Arrow of Pebbles”: the flight path to victory that he’s confident will guide his fellow veterans out of the darkness.
Dave’s long term goal is to stop veteran suicide rate by sharing what actually worked for him. “The rocky transition from haughty arrogance to open humility was painful but soul cleansing. I hated the entire self-help book category at first, but eventually I realized that I just had to wade through all the lavender and fluff to find the truth: you CAN fight your way out of the black hole, and you CAN win. I cobbled together the best things I discovered, and then applied the tactics we learned in the squadron to figure it all out. It seems complicated and overwhelming at first, but once you solve the equation it’s pretty simple.” Surprisingly, during the course of his tumultuous voyage Dave also learned that thinking big and dreaming creatively to craft the life of his dreams was actually a huge boost in finding hope and gaining momentum.
Now Dave is ecstatic about helping both veterans and civilians reduce the impact of depression on their lives and minimize the time spent living in pain. He practices this every day in his current role of entrepreneur and consultant. “Once people realize how to overcome their internal resistance and their fears,” Dave says, “it is extremely rewarding to watch them gain momentum, confidence and hope. After they see firsthand that they can live life the way they have always dreamed, it’s all relatively smooth sailing! I love helping people and this book is a way to help people on a larger scale.”
Dave is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.