Dan began his career with the National Park Service in 1973 as a “climbing bum” getting paid for rescue work in Yosemite National Park. From 1974 through 1977 Dan participated on almost every major SAR that occurred in Yosemite. Over time Dan’s specialty became high angle rescue. Dan and the Yosemite rangers began pioneering the techniques and equipment that would come to define the state-
Dan spent the years from 1977 through 1984 working back-
Due to the unique characteristics presented by one of the most inhospitable places in North America, Death Valley introduced Dan to “tactical” law enforcement decades before “tactical” entered law enforcement’s lexicon. White supremacists, paramilitary groups, satanic occultists, metal scavengers, natural resource thieves and remote narcotics labs were in abundance. Awareness of these problems by Park management was not. Dan began learning and training i.e. innovating to a point where he could master and then teach what he had learned to others in the field.
Dan returned to Yosemite Valley for the summer months from 1982 through 1984 as an LEO with lateral assignments in technical river and rock rescue and leadership positions in managing major searches. As a SAR Incident Commander and Coordinator Dan participated in over 500 major technical SAR operations up to and including big wall rescues and project searches.
From 1984 until his retirement in 2003 Dan became a fixture in Death Valley becoming a Range Master, Firearms Instructor, NLTA Master Instructor, NRA Police Firearms Instructor, Transitional Firearms Instructor and an armorer across several different weapons systems including Sig handguns, Remington shotguns and the AR weapons platform. Dan attended the CBP air narcotics interdiction course due to his involvement in discovering and destroying approximately 28 clandestine airstrips that were located on his watch throughout Death Valley. Dan became an instructor at the National Park Service Special Operations Course (SpecOps), a clearinghouse for US Park Rangers requiring specialized operational proficiencies. With his niche in developing SpecOps based on his real world experiences in Death Valley, Dan spent nearly two decades teaching tactical rifle and handgun, tactical tracking, team building, long range precision marksmanship, anti-
Dan spent several years assigned to Operation Alliance/JTTF 6. As a field ranger and trainer Dan was assigned to military units and was tasked with requesting, planning, and executing counter narcotics operations throughout Death Valley and surrounding areas. Dan has direct experience with supplying logistics and material support from engineering units to light and heavy lift observation platforms (helicopters and the AC-
Dan was highly involved in support of US Army Special Forces during this time with a focus on training, interdiction and enforcement. In Dan’s words, “I discovered that much of the desert survival training was not very practical. During the summer months various US Army Special Forces units would come to Death Valley and we would teach them some things we knew and they in turn would teach us some ‘things’ they knew. It was very beneficial.”
Dan completed his career after 30 full years, having attained nearly 30 special achievement awards, 7 exemplary act awards, and the Department of the Interior Medal of Valor.