Dan with Kiowa Warrior helicopter

Hearing people’s stories is one of the great things about working here; from military wives to stay-at-home-dads to college students, our Community is a diverse crew with a common goal of rewarded self-expression.

Our Affiliate manager came to me this week to tell me about a really interesting Affiliate, Dan Carbone, who wears a lot of hats: he also happens to be a Shopkeeper, a husband, a dad, and an Army helicopter pilot.

In his words:

I am a member of B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Campbell, KY. We are currently deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. We were deployed to Iraq in 2006. I am a Kiowa Warrior helicopter pilot. This is what I do for a living when I am not trying to make money online –

It’s a freakin’ cool job.

We think it’s pretty great that an active soldier is using the CafePress system to make extra money while he’s deployed overseas, and so we asked Dan to tell us a little more about himself.

I am an incredibly fortunate guy, happily married to the lovely Wendy for 15 years this year. (Our anniversary is Sept. 11th). I am the proud father of four happy, healthy, handsome sons. I have been a soldier for 15 years and a Cavalry Trooper since 1995. I spent 10 years as an enlisted soldier before going to flight school. I’ve been stationed in Korea, Texas, Germany, Bosnia, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Iraq , and Afghanistan. Phew, only 5 years to go!


This is a current photo of our unit here in Afghanistan. We got here in January 2008, and hope to be home by March of 2009. I am in the first row – last one on the right.

You can always get better info if you leave this in my wife’s hands. I have been running CavHooah.com long enough to get her interested in starting her own. She is the rock who not only takes care of the family and runs the website business from home, but she is also our troop’s Family Readiness Group Leader. FRG leaders are like the Commander’s voice for the families back home. She relays important information to the spouses while we are deployed, and helps keep morale up with the families. She recently organized and executed our Squadron’s first-ever Kid’s Spur Ride! Awesome job, honey! I’m proud of you!

While that video was from our last deployment to Iraq in 2006, it still is pretty cool and really tells what we do for a living. Rest assured, the Banshees already have another video in the making!

What I love about CafePress goes far beyond just being able to express my ideas on shirts and gifts. The CafePress community has been a tremendous source of information in helping me get my site started and helping me connect with other military shopkeepers and families. The forums and the people who participate in them are knowledgeable and always friendly. We have a common goal and we all stick together. But CafePress has also helped me teach my children about basic business practices. I am helping my sons start their own shops – they are always busy creating new designs and they realize how hard work can be rewarded. I think what I like most about CafePress is that it is a great place to go when I am off-duty here in Afghanistan. Working on my shop helps me pass the time, even with our agonizingly slow internet connection. I always seem to have have many more ideas than time!

I got started with CafePress when I was looking for a Cavalry shirt. When soldiers in our units have new babies, we call them Cav Babies and Wendy and I thought that shirts would make a great gift for the new parents. Since we couldn’t find a shirt we liked, we came up with a basic Cav Baby design for a shirt and it is still our best selling item to date!

Our current mission in Afghanistan and our past tour in Iraq are both similar in nature. Our primary mission is to support the soldiers on the ground. When they are crossing high terrain and they just can’t see over the next hill, that is where we come in, providing both reconnaissance and security for the guys with their boots on the ground. We have been called the “angels on our shoulders” by some, and by most of them we are known as the “K-Dubs” (short for KW, or, Kiowa Warrior, which is what we fly). If a convoy strikes a roadside bomb, we race to the scene to provide security and scout out the enemy. We have also conducted security missions in order to protect and maintain vital infrastructure such as oil refineries, pipelines and power lines, along with providing security for Iraqi civilians during their elections. When our soldiers are out there in the dark, all alone, wondering what’s out there, it is a pretty comforting feeling when they hear us overhead. It’s an incredibly rewarding job, knowing that we are protecting our comrades in arms.

Dan Carbone

Big thanks to Dan for sharing his story.

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