Before the Bowl, the luncheon – annual event spotlights war hero Travis Mills

Retired U.S Army Staff Sgt. Travis Mills, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient, will be the keynote speaker at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl Kickoff Luncheon on Dec. 21. (Photo courtesy Travis Mills Foundation)

Setting the stage for the 20th anniversary edition of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth will be the annual game’s traditional Kickoff Luncheon to be held at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 21 at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel.

The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl will be played at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 22 at Fort Worth’s Amon G. Carter Stadium, pitting the Air Force Academy Falcons against the Baylor Bears. Tickets for the game and the previous day’s luncheon can be purchased at

Keynote speaker for the luncheon, sponsored by the Omni Fort Worth Hotel and American Airlines, will be retired U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills, a Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient. He is one of only five quadruple amputees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to survive such extensive injuries.

Mills, now a motivational speaker, has written a New York Times bestselling memoir titled Tough As They Come. His story is also featured in an award-winning documentary film, Travis: A Soldier’s Story.

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“Everyone who attends our kickoff luncheon will be forever changed after hearing the words of this American hero,” said Brant Ringler, executive director of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

On April 10, 2012, during his third tour in Afghanistan, Mills, set his rucksack down on an improvised explosive device, triggering an explosion that cost him portions of all of his limbs. He woke up on his 25th birthday to learn of his injuries, and later became a quadruple amputee.

Mills spent nearly two years recovering and rehabbing at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington, D.C. Now, he can feed himself, walk and even drive a car.

Mills refer to himself as a “recalibrated veteran.” He and his wife Kelsey founded the Travis Mills Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports post-9/11 veterans who experienced life-changing injuries while in service.