J.C. Ledbetter is Chief Operating Officer for Tactical Air Operations (TAO), located in San Diego California. TAO is the first civilian contracted parachute school for the United States Military. They are responsible for training all US Navy and Air Force Special Operators in free fall and static line parachuting. The students that attend TAO’s training are the most elite of any military to include US Navy SEAL’s, SWCC, EOD, Air Force Para Rescue (PJ’s), and Combat Controllers (CCT’s).
JC was born in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1972 and raised on the gulf coast of Florida, enlisting in the United States Navy in January of 1990. JC served twenty years in the United States Navy serving in the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewman (SWCC) community. His operational service was 10 years and five deployments in support of the war on terrorism. His awards include of two Meritorious Service medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, five Navy Achievement Medals, one Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, and four campaign Medals. After serving a tour at the US Army Military Free Fall School as a Basic and Advanced Parachute Course Instructor he was assigned to the U. S. Navy Parachute Team “the Leap Frogs,” the US Navy’s prime recruiting unit for Naval Special Warfare. Serving in roles as Team Chief and Officer in Charge, he completed two four-year tours with the team, orchestrating and executing thousands of aerial demonstrations around the United States. The goal of the team was recruiting High School and College athletes to take the challenge of becoming US Navy SEALS and SWCC’s. He retired as one of the most qualified Air Operations experts in the US Military Special Forces.
An engaging and inspiring speaker, JC spearheaded the team’s recruitment outreach, speaking to thousands of groups and millions of spectators. (JC holds the distinction of being the longest-serving “Leap Frog” in Team history.)
JC holds a United States Parachute Association “D” License, the highest level license you can receive. He holds a Professional Demonstration Skydiver (PR0) rating and is appointed as a Safety and Training Advisor.
JC has used the skills he developed during his military career in several television shows, commercials and movie productions, the highlight of which was his aerial video used in the film “Captain Phillips”. The film was nominated for academy award, golden globe, BAFTA and Critics Choice awards.
A prolific professional skydiver, JC has over 18,000 skydives. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from Ashford University specialization in Human Resources from Cornell University. A Skydiving Innovations (SI) team member for more than 15 years, JC directs many SI skydiving shows, in addition to his roles as a public speaker, demonstration skydiver and team photographer/videographer. He incorporates in his public speaking, his vast personal experiences within the US military and civilian business environments, weaving the compelling narrative that identifies the important commonalities between personal, military and business leadership and excellence.