Dan Ward was raised in Central Virginia and attended Virginia public schools before accepting an NROTC scholarship to Vanderbilt University. After graduation, Dan spent 25 years in the Marine Corps flying attack jets in combat missions over Iraq, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Colonel Ward later served as a senior military advisor in President Obama's State Department where he ran cooperative defense programs in Syria and Ukraine before retiring in late 2014. As a civilian, Dan pilots 777s and until he became a candidate for Congress, he advocated for increased aviation safety on behalf of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).
Dan lives on a farm in Orange with his wife where they raise cattle and run a sawmill repurposing historic lumber. They have two children in college and two dogs running around the farm.