WEUAS | Wounded Eagle Unmanned Autonomous Systems
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Who is Wounded Eagle?

Wounded Eagle is a consortium of Veterans and supportive civilians dedicated to helping wounded and disabled service members, Veterans and their families find pathways into the commercial drone industry through training, networking and mentorship.

Wounded Eagle’s Mission

Wounded Eagle is dedicated to upskilling our members by providing the tools, training and resources necessary to become FAA-certified commercial drone operators.

Who do we serve?

Wounded Eagle is EXCLUSIVE to Veterans and their family members. Please SIGN UP here, and upload a photo of one of the following: DD214, VA card and/or VA letter of disability rating, which qualifies for FAA exam reimbursement.

What do Wounded Eagle members learn?

Qualified members will receive training to become a fully certified commercial drone operator, licensed by the FAA to operate drones weighing less than 55 pounds for commercial purposes. Our training program includes an eLearning certification course in partnership with Mappix supplemented by an 8-week, 1-hour lecture series that will allow our members to get certified by Dr. Chris Johnson, who is an Air Force Veteran and Data Scientist who builds drones and other robotic combat vehicles for the US Army. He has trained thousands of manned and unmanned pilots in his 15 years as an instructor pilot and has built dozens of drone programs for clients, including Global-100 enterprises, Fortune-500 companies and Big-10 Universities.

Benefits from our training

Not only will our teammates benefit from a new career in the UAS industry, but also the joy and therapy flying can bring to them. Think about someone confined to a wheelchair and what this would do for their standard of living and quality of life?

Industry and Job outlook

The UAS industry outlook is breathtaking, we are in the golden age of UAV’s and ROV’s. The opportunities are limitless for careers, jobs, and start-ups for our team and shipmates. Just about every industrial sector will be effected by the introduction of UAV’s and ROV’s into service. As of August 29th, the FAA now has a test certification (14CFR Part 107) for sUAS operators which does not require a pilot’s license.

How we are going to train Wounded and disabled Veterans?

Our course structure is simple, half the time is spent in a class room environment and the other half (if not more) is spent out in the field gaining flight time/hours. Upon completion of our course, the student will receive the multirotor they built, the tools they used to make and repair it, and also the batteries, a charger, transmitter, receiver, and misc. parts for their multirotor.

Market forecast

The UAS/ROV industry is growing exponentially as companies discover new uses for drones. The Market forecast is that the UAS industry is expected to require tens of thousands of operators. Business Insider has it that… Enterprise Drones shipments, also known as commercial drones, will reach 805,000 in 2021, a CAGR of 51%, compared with 5% growth on the military side.

Mentors and Internship

We need others of like mind to make this all work. We need the business community to step up and make a difference in a person deserving of their support.

Corporate Training

There are federal funds available for employers to train veterans for their new job position and to bring them up to speed with any proprietary systems the company supports.

Local Support

We need your involvement with WEUAS, we’re all a team with one goal, giving our wounded And disabled veteran teammates a hand up into the UAS and ROV industry. Our guys paid the 2nd highest price our great country can ask of its people, don’t we owe it to them to show we appreciate what they’ve done and accomplished? What they’ve sacrificed? They did their job, now join WEUAS and help us with our job training our wounded veterans to be more than they thought they could ever be again.

Board Members & Crew


Joseph Dorando, Chief Executive Officer

Joseph Dorando (U.S. Navy enlisted.) is a retired civilian IT Specialist of the El Monte Police Department. His duties included the assisting in the original construction and maintenance of the police dept. network and the city wide phone system, microwave system, and just about anything with a wire attached. Other duties included web designer for the PD and audio video service for the city hall meetings. Previous to that, Joe worked as a PBX engineer for over twenty years including OCONUS service for military contractors. Involved in technology Mr. Dorando knew after the first drone reports started coming in from Afghanistan and Iraq that UAV’s were the future and law enforcement just got a new tool on their duty belt. Thinking of the many other aspects of unmanned aerial vehicles, it wasn’t long before Mr. Dorando knew there would be a huge civilian job market for commercial operators of UAV’s and that lead to the idea and importance of creating Wounded Eagle UAS to train wounded and disabled veterans to build, fly, operate, and repair UAV’s and become successful as career UAS operators.
George Meyer

George Meyer, Advisor

George Meyer, US Army Lieutenant Colonel, Retired – Over 28 years of global service.  George enlisted in the early 1980’s into Air Defense Artillery, serving in Germany as a Fire Control Crewmember and a “Stinger” Missile Crewmember.  He then served in the Hawaii National Guard as an Infantry Platoon leader on the island of Kauai. Commissioned in the Hawaii Army National Guard in 1993; he was able to become Airborne, Air Assault and Pathfinder qualified. He then served as an Infantry Company Commander for Bravo Company, 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, in Pago Pago, American Samoa.  


Steve Dykhouse

Steve Dykhouse, Advisor

Steve Dykhouse (USMC Ret.) is the President of Unmanned Systems Integration and is employed full time as a Department of Defense air traffic controller at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.  Steve has over 24 years’ experience with ATC.  He is also the UAS airspace access coordinator and the ATC liaison for counter drone efforts at the base.  His experience also includes 6 years in the Marines as a turboprop propulsion mechanic, multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan on active duty and as a contractor.
Steve has a BS in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is working on his Master of Science in Aeronautics with a concentration in Small UAS operations and Airspace Management.  He also teaches with the Los Angeles County Regional Training Center as co-lead for the counter drone course and in support of their other UAS related education.
Tim Houston

Lt Col Timothy Richard Houston, Advisor

Lt Col Houston is a 2012 graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and was commissioned through Officer Training School. Lt Col Houston has over 4000 flying hours in the C-130e/h1, MQ-1B, MQ-9A, RQ-170, T-44, and T-37. He has served as Executive Officer, Scheduler, Airlift Director, Exercise Planner, Operations Supervisor, Safety Officer, ADO, Flight Commander, and Deployed Detachment Commander. Lt Col Houston is currently Chief, RPA Programs & Requirements, HQ AFRC and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Dean Barefield

Dean Barefield, Advisor

An experienced Program Manager and military Veteran. Dean entered the United States Army in 1996 and enjoyed a military career spanning more than 22 years, serving the last 12 years as an AH-64D “Attack Helicopter” pilot and a UAS Technical Warrant Officer.
As a UAS Technical Officer, he was responsible for integrating UAS in support of full spectrum military operations. Dean is a Part 107 certified remote pilot and holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management. He is also a member of the Critical Infrastructure Partnership Advisory Council (CIPAC) Working Group and the Energy Drone & Robotics Coalition.
As a UAS Program Manager, Dean leverages his prior experiences to successfully integrate UAS in support of the utility industry.

Robert Corbett, Advisor

Rob is an Inclusive Flight Advocate and USAF veteran from Waynesboro, Virginia. After suffering a catastrophic spinal cord injury in 2016, he has devoted his time to educating and training individuals of all “Abilities” in assistive technology, vocational skills, and adapted sUAS operations. Rob is paralyzed from the chest down and has no finger function in his hands. Through many hours of research and development, he has found many solutions in adapting sUAS controllers and systems. He developed a fully inclusive drone training program based around the Skydio 2 platform and has conducted training with people from various backgrounds and walks of life. Rob is currently working on ways to expand this inclusive sUAS training and hopes to provide a means of flight for people who otherwise would be grounded. He is also working on an inclusive flight video project capturing the various forms of aviation and the people behind the controls. “Flight Takes Many Forms” is Rob’s vision for making aviation more inclusive for all and creating awareness for the industries sharing airspace.

Paul Ruffin, Advisor

36+ year business management and IT professional with a background in international and information sciences specializing in business development, management
systems and technology integration. As a business analyst and enterprise system adept at solving problems and integrating technology into current business in a cost effective and reliable way. 25-year emphasis in business modeling, architectures, telecommunications, disaster recovery and business development. business environments I have worked in include banking, real estate, mortgage health & social services, international trade, manufacturing, construction, public and education.

Brian Soliday

Brian Soliday, Advisor

Brian Soliday has 30 years of extensive experience working in sales, marketing and channel within the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and remote sensing. He  currently serves as Sales Executive for 1Spatial. has presented technical papers at over 75 events on six continents and has written articles in; Eastman’s Bowhunting Journal, Planning, Point of Beginning, The World & I, GEOEurope, Arc News, Space News, and Earth Observation He graduated Summa cum laude with a MA degree in geography specializing in sensing and GIS in 1987, and earned a BS degree in geography in 1983. Both degrees earned from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

Chris Johnson, CEO of MyMappix

Dr. Chris Johnson is an Air Force Veteran, a commercial pilot for both manned and unmanned aircraft, and a certified flight instructor (instrument and multi-engine) with a PhD in Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW) where he directs the UW Flight Laboratory, which is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Center of Excellence for aviation research. Dr. Johnson is a part-time Professional Services Consultant for Skyward, Verizon’s drone company, and he is also a Data Scientist for the American Family Data Science Institute at the University of Wisconsin, currently building simulation-based training and testing platforms for next-generation robotic combat vehicles for the US Army. Since 2015, he has built scalable drone programs for dozens of industry clients, large and small, including Big-10 universities, Fortune-500, and Global-100 companies.