Dr. Thomas McElheny, Founder and CEO of ChurchPlaza served 7 years in the United States Marines. Beginning as a rifle platoon commander in Vietnam, his personal decorations include the Bronze Star with valor device, Combat Action Medal and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. Following specialized training, he later became a team leader, jump master and Airborne-operations officer for various Marine ANGLICO and Force Recon units. In those duties he was honored to have trained and/or served as a Liaison Officer to the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, US Army Special Forces Units, Seal Teams 1 and 3, Royal Marines, Greek and Turkish Army units and also as an exchange airborne instructor at the Greek Army Airborne Training Command in Athens Greece. Tom earned multiple airborne certifications and wings to include Navy and Marine Corps, United States Army, Greek and Canadian Army.
Tom’s son Tavis McElheny, stakeholder and administrator, served 10 years as a decorated Coast Guard search and rescue pilot after 4 years as a police officer and later 4 years as a Federal Agent. His personal decorations include service during hurricanes Katrina, Ike and others. As command pilot, he flew the first Coast Guard fixed wing aircraft into Haiti after the devastating earthquake and his aircraft provided the first over flight intelligence photos to American commanders in Miami and Washington. He also served as pilot and escort for Katie Couric in her first reports and photos available after the disaster. Tavis is a rated pilot in multiple aircraft to include multi-engine jets, multi and single engine turbo, piston and rotary (helicopters). During his service he was forced to make three “declared emergency” landings.
Tom’s son Cail McElheny, stakeholder, served 12 years as a helicopter pilot, flight instructor, forward observer and additional duties with the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 2014. During this time, Cail completed three back-to-back Mid-East deployments; his first two as a CH-46 pilot and his third as a ground officer in Marja and Sagan, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, during periods of heavy combat and his areas of responsibility were among the most active in enemy contact throughout his tour. Many from his unit were wounded or gave their lives during their deployment.
We are but three in a long line of McElheny men and women who have had this honor while serving in every American conflict since 1756.
God Bless America!
1 John 3:16