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88 Graduate of the US A.F. Academy

On Superintendent’s list 7 of 8 semesters (maintaining at least a 3.0 GPA and at least a 3.0 Military performance average)

’89 Graduate of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program

’90 Graduate of Lead-in Fighter Training

’90 Graduate of RTU for the A-10 close air support aircraft

Played nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys as a defensive lineman, winning three super bowls ’93, ’94 and ’96

Board Member, Promise Keepers

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Chad Hennings grew up in a Christian home in Iowa and was a “punch the clock” Christian with no real relationship with the Lord. Others saw him as successful, but inside he felt he was failing as a man, by relying on himself instead of seeing himself as part of a team—God’s team. Chad was an accomplished lineman in high school and was offered full scholarships from universities across the nation. He chose to attend the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he racked up numerous honors academically and on the gridiron. Among these was being named Most Valuable Athlete at the Academy, as well as being named to the Western Athletic Conference’s All-Decade Team. In addition, a two-time Academic All-American, Chad was inducted into the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame as well as the College Football Hall of Fame.

His exemplary achievements put him at the top of many draft lists and earned him a spot on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster, but Chad postponed his entry into the National Football League to fulfill his commitment to the U.S. Air Force. Chad entered the Euro-NATO program, a training program for top pilots, and soon found himself at the controls of the A-10 Thunderbolt. Though Chad was a part of a team and was successful at everything he worked at, Chad dealt with feelings of isolation and loneliness that he struggled with since childhood.  

“I was always able to overcome everything with my own work ethic,” says Chad, “however it all changed when my son Chase got ill.” Overnight, Chase went from a healthy 2-year-old to a boy fighting for his life with an inexplicable, auto-immune disorder. “From the pain and fear that Chase would die came the realization that I could no longer rely just on my own strength,” says Chad, “Chase’s sudden, life-threatening illness forced me to rely on other men as never before—and on God like I never imagined.” Chad reminds us that pressure brings out what really lays inside someone.   “Chase’s illness exposed a weakness in me that I had never paid attention to,” says Chad, “Rooted in my childhood, I tended to close myself off to the help and friendship of my male peers.”   It was through this family crisis that Chad allowed God to provide him with quality relationships that helped pull him out of the isolation and lonliness he had felt for so long.

Through his organization, Wingmen, Chad desires to see others find the joy and excitement in life that he has been privileged to experience in so many ways, public and private. “I have known the kind of friendships, mentoring relationships, and accountability that are rarely found in our society outside the arenas of war and sport,” says Chad, “I’ve always seen these experiences as preparation for something greater down the road.”

As a speaker, today, Chad confronts the disconnection men feel, sharing life lessons he’s learned that stresses crafting character and vision for one’s self, finding fulfillment, healing the troubled past, developing a work ethic and living your spirituality. “It’s time for men to tear down the walls that separate them from God and other men,” says Chad. He now works with Promise Keepers organization to reach and help other men and their families.

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