Get to know the author
Gary Quesenberry was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, where his parents taught him the value of hard work, patriotism, and commitment to family. His passion for the outdoors and patriotic spirit led him to enlist in the United States Army at the age of seventeen, where he served in the 7th and 24th Infantry Divisions as an artilleryman. Gary is also a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. Shortly after leaving the Army, Gary began his law enforcement career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He served as a correctional officer and Special Operations Response Team (SORT) member in FCI Beckley, West Virginia, and United States Penitentiary, Atwater, California. After the events of September 11th, 2001, Gary left the Bureau of Prisons to become a Federal Air Marshal. There, he traveled the world in the service of his country and devoted his time to studying the areas of violence and predatory behavior.
Now Gary is the CEO of Quesenberry Personal Defense Training, where he’s developed numerous basic and advanced level courses focused on defensive tactics, and mindset. He has an extensive background in both domestic and foreign counter-terror training and has worked in both the private and corporate sectors to help educate others on the importance of situational awareness, and personal safety.
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Joined the United States Army at age 17
As a Soldier in the United States Army, Gary was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division, B-15 Field Artillery. There he was selected out of 140 candidates to be transferred to the Special Weapons unit, where he held a Top-Secret Clearance at the age of 18. Gary trained extensively to handle and deploy nuclear munitions specific to the 155-millimeter howitzer and served proudly during Operation Desert Shield / Desert Storm. During the war, Gary was assigned to the 24th infantry division. He received the Kuwaiti Liberation Medal from the governments of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the South West Asian Service Medal, the National Defense Ribbon, and the US Expeditionary Forces Medal. Gary was honorably discharged on September 5th of, 1991.
Correctional Officer / Federal Bureau of Prisons
Before becoming a Federal Air Marshal, Gary dedicated seven years to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In November of 2000, he accepted an appointment as a Supervisory Lieutenant in the United States Penitentiary, Atwater, CA. As a Correctional Lieutenant, Gary was assigned to the position of assistant leader of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT), where he coordinated and conducted training in areas such as dynamic building entry, weapons systems training, and small unit tactics.
Federal Air Marshal / Department of Homeland Security
As a Federal Air Marshal, Gary deployed on commercial flights worldwide to protect airline passengers and crew against the risk of criminal and terrorist violence. He was assigned to numerous domestic and international flights, including special coverage missions where he conducted covert surveillance and reported on known or suspected terrorists. Gary also served as the FAMS’s lead firearms instructor, creating a training curriculum, formulating and implementing complex planning strategies, and establishing methods of tracking individual and group performance concerning firearms, defensive measures, and mission tactics training. Throughout his career, Gary was an integral part of the international training initiative and worked closely with agents from foreign governments to improve the strategies and tactics employed by America’s overseas counterparts.
Competitor on The History Channel’s TOP SHOT
Top Shot was a reality show program on The History Channel. Sixteen people were brought to a California ranch that had been converted into an outdoor shooting range and split up into two teams of 8 to compete for a $100,000 prize and the privilege of being named “Top Shot.” Contestants were put through a series of various team competitions. In addition to the team challenges, each episode has a one-on-one challenge in which a losing team member is eliminated. The teams are dissolved when enough people are eliminated, and the show becomes a free-for-all.
Gary was featured in season 3, which premiered on August 9, 2011, and Season 5, which premiered on May 29, 2013.Gary was a finalist in both seasons, and his inclusion on the show led him to be voted as one of Cleveland, Ohio’s most interesting people in 2012.
In October 2020, Gary finally retired from Government service and settled in his hometown of Hillsville, Virginia. There, he focuses on his family, writing, and teaching others about the importance of situational awareness and personal safety. Gary is now an expert panel member on the television series iCrime with Elizabeth Vargas.
Companies I’ve worked with
Gary Quesenberry is a highly sought-after, dynamic, and engaging speaker who has worked with prominent self-defense companies around the globe. But situational awareness isn’t just for those who study self-defense; it’s for everyone. If you have a group of people who may be interested in learning more about this lifesaving topic, take a look at what people are saying, then click on the “Book Gary” tab to schedule a training seminar tailored specifically to you and your company’s needs.
Customers Loved the event
Read what attendees are saying about Gary’s dynamic and engaging situational awareness seminars.
Gary’s experience qualifies him uniquely in this field and his down to earth personality and professionalism as a teacher and trainer make it easy to follow and absorb his material and hard earned lessons. Learning to spot danger is about winning fights by avoiding them altogether or gaining significant advantages should the fight come to you. Read the books, you won’t regret it.
Gary was our keynote speaker at our 8th Annual Florida State Shoot. He did a phenomenal job of kicking off the event with an engaging and educational talk on situational awareness. We teach our members that the most important tool you have to keep yourself safe is your mind and the examples and information Gary shared from his Spotting Danger books further solidified that. Members found his speech extremely valuable and many said it was the best part of the weekend’s events. Gary is a great supporter of the Armed Women of America, not just here in Florida, but across the country as well. We look forward to having him join us for future events.
Gary Quesenberry is simply a class act. His “Spotting Danger” series of books are written from an intelligent perspective based on his deep background in training and successful career in Federal Law Enforcement. Most importantly, this perspective doesn’t exclude the emotion of being a husband and father. As someone with a similar background, I cannot express how important that aspect of his writing is. Gary speaks to the “everyday person” in his books while describing common dangers everyone should be prepared for. I have also had the pleasure of attending Gary’s lectures as well. He has a unique gift of naturally connecting with a wide range of audiences. This aids him in bringing the crowd through an emotional journey of situational awareness education and nailing “WHY” it’s so important. Gary does a great job of warming the crowd up, making them feel comfortable as he begins. I enjoy watching as he shifts gears by introducing facts and safety advice in a way that keeps an audience interested and engaged. I have seen many speakers typically lose people’s interest attempting to share similar information with far less success.
I respect Gary’s honesty in not just sharing his success but also his fears and even failings in figuring out how to be the best parent as his children grew. By the time Gary’s seminar is over, the crowd has laughed, cried, and cheered as they leave. They exit, shaking his hand and hugging him like a long-lost friend. They do this because those people realize some of their fears and failings but now feel more empowered to protect themselves and others. Gary is genuinely humble and kind, to say the least. To have that effect on folks who start off an hour before as complete strangers is a people skill money just can’t buy. That same experience comes through with my wife and I reading all of Gary’s books and sharing them with our children. This is why, as a husband, father, and editor of the Armed Lifestyle Magazine, we are deeply honored to feature any of Gary Quesenberry’s work within the pages of our publication.
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