Ryan “Birdman” Parrott
Ryan “Birdman” Parrott served eight years as a U.S. Navy SEAL attached to Team SEVEN completing 3 combat tours to Iraq before being assigned to Advanced Training Command as an Instructor.
“I did not have many opportunities to engage in combat like most of my fellow teammates while serving and don’t have medals for bravery. I was extremely blessed just to have been part of a community for a short period of time and call men like the SEALs my Brothers!”
In 2005, Ryan was riding atop a humvee manning the gun turret in enemy territory when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED), causing a flash fire and throwing him from from the humvee. Though burned himself, Ryan witnessed his fellow team members in a much more severe situation. The subsequent explosions and fire left three of his teammates severely wounded and bleeding. His teammates have lifelong injuries that they are still recovering from, but all three are alive.
“Surviving an IED explosion in Iraq, opened my eyes to a pain stronger than anything I have ever endured. Still, my wounds were superficial and pale in comparison to the wounds of others who have have survived traumatic burn injuries.”
In April of 2011, Ryan had the privilege of meeting Ret. Capt. Sam Brown and was inspired and humbled by Sam’s display of strength and courage.
“When we first met, Sam and I talked about his injuries and my experience. I asked him what the medical community was doing for those in a similar situation. We always hear about lost limbs and gunshot wounds, but we never hear about burn injuries. I knew just from one meeting with Sam that I had to do something about it.”
This initial meeting spurred Ryan to embark on a journey to help burn survivors get the help and medical attention that they deserve.
“My own experience and the experiences of others keeps me emotionally involved and motivated to achieve the goals of the Sons of the Flag. Still being able to put forth the fight, I know it is my duty to successfully carry out this mission with honor and integrity for those who have survived traumatic burn injuries.”