Keith Helfrich Sergeant Major, US Army
“Hero’s Ride of a Lifetime” Nominated Veteran
Keith Helfrich joined the Army in 1986 as an 11B (Infantryman), after three years he competed in the Best Ranger competition and tried out for Special Forces. After two years of training Keith was assigned to10th Special Forces as an operator 18B (Special Forces Weapons Sergeant). Keith was promoted and worked as an 18F (Special Forces Assistant Operations and Intelligence Sergeant) and finally as an 18Z (Special Forces Operations Sergeant). Keith had the privilege to lead the most elite soldiers on to the battlefield as a Team Sergeant and as a Sergeant Major. His combat experience includes Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort II, Bosnia, and Iraq.
Keith was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his contribution in a combined operation with three Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha (SFOD-A) units during Operation Iron Fist. It was a joint Iraqi/U.S. raid on Salman Pak which was a stronghold for insurgents. Command was expecting high casualties on the U.S. side. The raid lasted over 10 hours with house-to-house fighting. The operation resulted in the capture of over 100 insurgents and the enemy surrendering the town of Salman Pak to U.S. troops. Keith’s planning and execution of the operation as the ground commander and his maneuvering of teams resulted in no friendly casualties.
Keith served four tours in Iraq. In 2012, after 26 years of service, he was medically retired with a 100% disability after sustaining his last injury.
Keith currently lives in Texas with his wife Raquel, who is his high school sweetheart and best friend and their three daughters, 19, 16 and 12 years old . Keith told us, “Without Raquel being by my side and all the support and help she has provided me throughout all my surgeries and counseling with PTSD and TBI, I don’t know what would have happened to me. I have three beautiful daughters that provide so much support as well”
Here’s a little more from Keith about his motorcycle experience and coming on the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis: “I started riding dirt bikes as a kid and have always had a bike although now I prefer a big V-Twin. I love to ride my bike, it relieves my stress. I have never been to Sturgis so I am really exited to go. I am looking forward to riding in the Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis. I feel it will be really good for me in so many ways, but more importantly, if I could connect with another Veteran and help them from my experience, that would be self-rewarding on its own.”
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