Dan Ward was raised in Central Virginia and attended Virginia public schools before graduating from Vanderbilt University on a ROTC scholarship. Dan spent 25 years in the Marine Corps flying in combat missions over Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. He later served as a senior military advisor at the Department of State where he was promoted to Colonel and managed operations in Syria and Ukraine before retiring in late 2014. Dan then began flying 777s commercially and advocating aviation safety issues for the Air Line Pilot Association (ALPA) on Capitol Hill. He lives on a farm in Orange with his wife and two children, where he raises cattle and runs a sawmill repurposing historic lumber.