OUR TEAM

The Fallen Outdoors is proud to be staffed solely by volunteer Veterans.  Outside of those listed on this page, each state has their own leads and staff to ensure that Veterans get the best experience possible. 

Eric Bakken

Founder

Eric Bakken was born and raised in Minnesota and joined the United States Army at 20 years old. He has a wonderful wife named Nikki and a beautiful daughter named Finnley who is named after his best friend (Eric Finniginamm) who was killed in Afghanistan during their first tour in 2009. He served in the army for almost 8 years as a 11B infantry. During that time, he deployed several times for operation Enduring Freedom along with attending school and holding most leadership positions in an infantry line platoon.  He left the Army in 2015 to pursue my dream of growing The Fallen Outdoors to its full potential. Eric has been an avid outdoors-man his whole life. From fishing to big game and everything in between with a preference for waterfowl hunting.

“One thing I wanted to strive for when I built TFO was that I wanted it to be open to all veterans of all branches and backgrounds.  I have seen too many great men and women left behind because they didn’t meet a certain criteria and I will not follow suit. If you served honorably you are my brother and sister. I do not care how long you served, what branch, what job, combat or garrison. Wounded or untouched. The Fallen Outdoors is here for you and I am here for you!” – Eric Bakken

Branden Trager

President

pres@thefallenoutdoors.com

Branden was born and raised in Chillicothe MO, where he hunted and fished with friends and family from the age of 10. He joined the Army at 19 and has been Active Duty for the past 21 years. He has been stationed all over this great nation and is proud to now call the Pacific Northwest home.

“I was introduced to Eric Bakken as he was transitioning out of the Army and we became friends and began working to grow The Fallen Outdoors. The TFO has become a passion for me and gives me the confidence that I will never lose my community of brothers and sisters in arms. I am an avid waterfowl hunter and fisherman, my greatest joy is bringing other Veterans along to experience the adventure of the hunt.”

Branden Trager

President

pres@thefallenoutdoors.com

Branden was born and raised in Chillicothe MO, where he hunted and fished with friends and family from the age of 10. He joined the Army at 19 and has been Active Duty for the past 21 years. He has been stationed all over this great nation and is proud to now call the Pacific Northwest home.

“I was introduced to Eric Bakken as he was transitioning out of the Army and we became friends and began working to grow The Fallen Outdoors. The TFO has become a passion for me and gives me the confidence that I will never lose my community of brothers and sisters in arms. I am an avid waterfowl hunter and fisherman, my greatest joy is bringing other Veterans along to experience the adventure of the hunt.”

Mike Unruh

Vice President

mike.unruh@thefallenoutdoors.com

Mike hails from the flat state of Kansas. He began his Army career at the age of 17 and has been stationed all across the U.S.  The events of 9/11, which will forever shape our great country, led him to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan.  He just retired with 20 years of active duty service as a Criminal Investigator and now lives the retired life in Missouri with his wife and three daughters.  He grew up with an obsession with hunting and fishing, though, his family wasn’t into it.  My grandfather showed me the ways of western Kansas upland bird hunting when he was the mayor of Greensburg, I still to this day hunt there in memory of him.  It wasn’t until 2008 that he began deer hunting which soon became his passion.  Mike also is a predator hunter and loves to chase them year-round.  He has a passion for being on the water as well as hunting.  He has been an avid kayak angler for more than 12 years and runs a kayak fishing series for The Fallen Outdoors.  
 
To me, The Fallen Outdoors is a way for me to share my passion and knowledge of the outdoors with other veterans in hopes of creating passions for them.  I love to kayak fish, and kayak fish competitively, deer, turkey, and predator hunt,  but anything outdoors is what I do.  I firmly believe that TFO has saved many lives by the large network of like-minded outdoorsmen and women we are. By connecting with other Veterans and listening and sharing stories, it gives you hope for the future.  The way TFO shares its experiences and dedicates its time to Veterans in the outdoors is what keeps me involved.  There is no better feeling than helping a fellow brother or sister that needs some healing by showing them the way of the Outdoors.  It is key to allow our families and our children to be involved as well.  This allows them to see the special bond that we Veterans have and also gives us a great opportunity to teach them about the conservation of our natural resources.  It is them who will replace us in the woods or on the water when we pass.

Justin Boardman

Staff Manager

j.boardman@thefallenoutdoors.com

Justin started his career in the Army at 17 as an airborne infantryman where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division for 6 years before going on to Special Forces Assessment and Selection. He is still on Active duty as a Green Beret with 1st Special Forces Group. Justin has served 4 combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many other countries around the world. He is a very avid and successful waterfowl hunter and bowhunter for deer and elk. Justin is also an avid bass fisherman and plans on fishing in more tournaments in the PNW to spread our name across the veteran community.

I’ve had the honor and privilege to be apart of The Fallen Outdoors since 2012 when it was still very small and it has been amazing watching it grow to what it has become… I have had the extreme privilege to be apart of some life-changing trips amongst our nation’s finest and it is humbling knowing that TFO has the current outreach it has. It is my utmost devotion to extending our extreme gratitude to our country’s veterans and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. I cannot say enough about the organization and what we stand for and I am proud to be apart of this team.”

Justin Boardman

Staff Manager

j.boardman@thefallenoutdoors.com

Justin started his career in the Army at 17 as an airborne infantryman where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division for 6 years before going on to Special Forces Assessment and Selection. He is still on Active duty as a Green Beret with 1st Special Forces Group. Justin has served 4 combat tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as many other countries around the world. He is a very avid and successful waterfowl hunter and bowhunter for deer and elk. Justin is also an avid bass fisherman and plans on fishing in more tournaments in the PNW to spread our name across the veteran community.

I’ve had the honor and privilege to be apart of The Fallen Outdoors since 2012 when it was still very small and it has been amazing watching it grow to what it has become… I have had the extreme privilege to be apart of some life-changing trips amongst our nation’s finest and it is humbling knowing that TFO has the current outreach it has. It is my utmost devotion to extending our extreme gratitude to our country’s veterans and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. I cannot say enough about the organization and what we stand for and I am proud to be apart of this team.”

Alan McCosley

Treasurer

alan.mccosley@thefallenoutdoors.com

Alan was born in Fayetteville , North Carolina and grew up hunting whitetail deer, ducks, small game as well as fishing local rivers and ponds. He joined the U.S. Coast Guard in January 2008 and shortly after graduated boot camp from Tracen Cape May. Throughout his career he was able to serve at the U.S Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard in Washington DC where his duties included working as a firing party member and drill team. After leaving Alan served overseas in the Middle East as a part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. Upon returning, he went to the second ever “A” school class and graduated the Federal Law Enforcement Academy as a Maritime Enforcement Specialist. Leaving there he went to USCGC Diligence out of Wilmington, North Carolina. His last and final duty station before being medically separated was Maritime Security and Response Team out of San Diego, California.

Alan first joined The Fallen Outdoors in 2016 after coming back home and running into Robert Brewer who stood up team North Carolina. Alan’s passion for helping others grew throughout the years and soon was asked to step up in 2018 and take over Team North Carolina as the new Team Lead.

“The Fallen Outdoors has been a huge part of my life since getting out of the Coast Guard in 2016. While I was on active duty I found it hard to get out and be active in the outdoors just because of the lifestyle I lived. What I love about TFO is that we are giving members the opportunity to get away from being cooped up in the barracks or going to a bar every night or whatever the case may be, and have them interact with veterans from all walks of life as well as other active duty members. Many of these guys create a lasting friendship all because we brought them on a fishing or hunting trip.”