SOF members reunite for different mission

  • Published
  • By Air Force Senior Airman Dylan Gentile
  • 919th Special Operations Wing

A Green Beret and an Air Force Reserve pilot who supported contingency operations together were reunited recently almost seven years later. Maj. John Karlesky, 859th Special Operations Squadron pilot, and U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class (Retired) Ian Prescott’s paths crossed again for a different mission--building an adaptive home following a firefight in combat that left one of them critically injured.

“It’s been a lot of fun catching up with him,” said Prescott. “It took us a while to realize we knew each other in the past.”

Prescott was medically retired from the service after a firefight in Afghanistan left him paralyzed from the waist down. He was shot by enemy fire while on patrol, which completely shattered two vertebra and punctured vital organs. Prescott was evacuated to an operating base and underwent months of physical therapy when he returned home. His service to the U.S. Army was highly decorated and garnered him a Bronze Star Medal with Valor and a Purple Heart.

Karlesky, whose civilian occupation is owner of a construction company, is partnering with the Gary Sinise Foundation to build the home for Prescott.

“He’s served a very prestigious military career and I’m very grateful to be helping him and appreciate him for his sacrifice to our country,” said Karlesky. “We really want to build him a home that his family is going to enjoy for a long time. We’ve worked with them on every last detail to make sure Prescott can get around in his wheelchair.”

The foundation held a framing ceremony on Feb. 15, 2022, for Prescott’s new home. This happens when the framing of the house is complete, but the exterior lacks shingles or siding and the interior lacks drywall or flooring. Community members, housing contractors, Patriot Guard Riders, family, and friends from the 82nd Airborne Division arrived to welcome him into his new home.

The Gary Sinise Foundation is an organization led by the director and actor who supports veterans through various channels. Sinise, famously known for his role as “Lieutenant Dan” in Forrest Gump, paid for a home to be built for Prescott and hired Karlesky as the general contractor.

“I’ve built homes for a lot of veterans and disabled vets,” said Karlesky. “Being a veteran myself, part of our primary goal is just to help them out as much as possible.”

Multiple speakers from organizations that contributed to the project had a chance to speak at the ceremony. After the ceremony, family and friends had the chance to roam the house with sharpies and write kind words on the wood framing.

“I can’t wait to get into this house,” said Prescott. “It’s great to hear that veterans got out there and made this happen.”