My name is COL Don S., a Special Forces officer stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC, and I have received substantial medical care through Mike Sformo’s Operation Backbone.  Operation Backbone provides a significant, and in some cases a lifesaving capability for both veterans and active-duty military to receive the highest quality medical care for serious injuries incurred in service to our nation. Too often, veterans must wait far too long for care for serious injuries that they incurred while in service to our nation, injuries often incurred in combat, and as a result those veterans must endure arduous physical pain and deficits, and a low-quality of life as they await care. 

These veterans are usually waiting for the VA to see and treat them, and the wait times to receive that care can be unreasonable, or too much for the injured veteran to bear. Likewise, active members must also, at times, wait inordinate periods for care at military hospitals, or to be seen via referral at local clinics and hospitals. Operation Backbone provides accelerated, and world-class treatment and care for those veterans and active-duty personnel that would  otherwise wait beyond their abilities for that care. I am a good example of the tremendous capability that Operation Backbone provides. In 2005 I was injured in Iraq, where I sustained serious injuries to my spine, head, hips, and other areas of my body. I had my first of seven surgeries for these injuries in 2006 at Landstuhl Army Hospital in Germany, but that, and all successive spinal surgeries have failed. In 2015, 

Operation Backbone stepped in and provided high-resolution imaging that showed a fracture of my L4 vertebrae that had been undetected since I was originally injured in 2006, and then Mike and OP Backbone immediately coordinated high-quality surgical care for me. Now, in 2018, Mike is again stepping in to ensure I receive timely care care for those spinal injuries, as my current military post does not have a neurosurgeon on staff, and the referral process to an outside hospital takes so long for approval, and then to be seen. Operation Backbone’s personal committees to care for our injured veterans begins at placement with the best surgeon for the injury, and continues through the post-surgical and follow-up phases, and beyond. What is vital to note is that Operation Backbone may very well be the only opportunity for a veteran or active-duty member to receive timely care, but far more importantly, it is also the best opportunity for a veteran or active-duty member to truly receive world-class surgical care at some of the best hospitals in the nation. 

This is the lasting legacy of Operation Backbone, and many Operation Backbone alumni would also say that Mike Sformo and his stellar organization have returned them to a quality of life that they would otherwise never returned to, and in many cases, saved their lives.

Top of the spear Quotes

“You can’t just see a surgeon in the VA, you have to work through the system. I was addicted to prescription pain-killers. Gaps in refills were like detox. Operation Backbone was a Godsend. I learned more from Sformo – Operation Backbone - them in a day than in 15 years fighting to get care. Mike said, kill yourself on your own time, now you’re on my time now. Screw the VA!!”
- Kurt, Special Ops Soldier, Operation Backbone
Norfolk, VA, Parachute did not open – smashed in to the tress then the ground


Mike Told me, “Before you blow your head off, let me take a look. Now I am still in the ARMY, & received a new cutting edge spine stem that has brought me form deaths door, to finishing out my ARMY career.”
N. S. Operation Backbone - US ARMY. Ft Bragg, Broken Back, upper neck


Opioids after opioids after opioids years and years of pain, drugs, misery frustration with my wife and family! My wife got a hold of Mike, tests & tests & tests, location to location let to a 12-hour surgical spine replacement of hardware. Rehab (pre surgical) with the NHL Dallas Stars, gifted me the ability to spent my first Christmas – in years & years to actually be with my family down stairs and not F-ed up in pain in bed with nothing bud bad thoughts.
Nate, US ARMY, Shot in the face broken back


“If not for Operation Backbone, I’d be dead. I was addicted to prescription narcotics and tired of being a burden to my family. Backbone saved my life.”
Thanks Mike! Hugh, Special Ops Soldier, Operation Backbone, Fr Bragg, Back, neck destroyed from years of serving US

Shot in the Face and Broken Back

"Opioids after Opioids after opioids years and years of pain, drugs, misery frustration with my wife and family! My wife got a hold of Mike, tests & tests & tests, location to location let to a 12-hour surgical spine replacement of hardware. Re-hab (pre surgical) with the NHL Dallas Stars, gifted me the ability to spent my first Christmas – in years & years to actually be with my family down stairs and not wasted in pain in bed with nothing bud bad thoughts.

Nate, US ARMY, Shot in the face broken back. Backbone Patient

Parachute Malfunction

“You can’t just see a surgeon in the VA, you have to work through the system. I was addicted to prescription pain-killers. Gaps in refills were like detox. Operation Backbone was a Godsend. I learned more from Sformo – Operation Backbone - them in a day than in 15 years fighting to get care.” Mike said, kill yourself on your own time, now you’re on my time now. Screw the VA!!

- Kurt, Special Ops Soldier, Operation Backbone Patient, Norfolk, VA, Parachute malfunction – crashed into the tress & ground

Keep Fighting That Fight for the Voiceless.

Et Al, 

I want to prequil this letter with the fact that it is LONG overdue, long overdue. I was recently interviewed by a gentleman in the Public Affairs arena as I was Operation Backbones Pilot Program and asked “Who is Mike Sformo?” 

I owe that question a good answer and although this is a unique question, and the short answer is “He has been my family’s Guardian Angel “, But, there is more to this answer than that...