Early dreams for a new business took root during the agonizing ten months Army Captain Dawn Halfaker spent recovering from over 20 operations she endured when she was severely injured in Iraq. She had spent five months in Baquba, in the volatile province of Diyalah as a Platoon Leader, charged with training an Iraqi police force. Shortly after midnight in June, 2004, Dawn rolled out in a convoy of 4 humvees on a reconnaissance patrol when her vehicle was hit by a barrage of small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades. One grenade pierced the engine of Dawn's vehicle before it burst immediately next to her, leaving her right arm hanging by a piece of skin and a few tendons. Dazed and covered with blood, Dawn still managed to order the driver to flee before lapsing into a coma that lasted twelve days. She awoke as a patient in Walter Reed Army Medical Center in terrible shape: besides burns and lacerations, Dawn suffered 5 broken ribs, a shattered shoulder blade and a deadly infection that almost took her life, and eventually led to the amputation of her right arm. For her heroism, she was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
During her recovery, as Dawn began to realize the military career she had desperately wanted since the first day she entered the United States Military Academy at West Point was over, she worried about "losing a sense of purpose.":
I really loved what I was doing. To me the military was a dream job with so much of my life and my identity wrapped up in it. So I was fiercely determined to stay connected to the fellow soldiers I had left behind on the battlefield.