Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Tony is the only son and the youngest of three children. His family later moved to Eagle River, Wisconsin where he was able to embrace his love of nature, baseball, dirt bikes, and hunting. He had done well enough in high school to graduate early and he then joined the Eagle River Area Fire Department. Then, at the young age of 19, he walked into the Army recruiting office and pledged his life to the service and defense of America. Watching the initial coverage of Desert Storm years prior was enough for him to know that the military would someday be his Home.
Stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Tony was assigned to C.O.L.T. 3, Combat Observation Lasing Team, HHC Brigade 4th Brigade 10th Mountain Division. He completed Airborne, Air Assault and the Close Combat Instructor courses in 2005. In 2006, he volunteered to deploy with 2-4 Infantry Battalion in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VII. With duty in Afghanistan as a Forward Observer he was attached to Creek company 2-4 infantry 4-10th Mountain Division who spear headed Operation Mountain Thrust, the largest Air Assault mission since the start of the war in 2001. Creek company worked with different units through out the South.
Eastern provinces of Afghanistan. The Forward Observer position is considered one of the most challenging on the battlefield for a variety of reasons. FO's are highly skilled and exceptionally intelligent. They must be able to work silently for long periods of time, as some missions may range anywhere from hours to several weeks long. As an FO, Tony's primary duty consisted of bringing to arms all indirect fire assets (artillery, mortars, naval gunfire, and close air support). Secondary duties consisted of communicating battlefield intelligence such as enemy locations, strengths, and activities to the command echelon; all while being challenged with fire fights, explosions and combat engagement. From December 2007 – March 2008 Tony was deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, continuing in his FO duties.
In May of 2007, Company Commander Craig Johnson had offered his highest endorsement for SPC Chobanov to be considered for the Special Operations Community. He added “I believe SPC Chobanov possesses the mental and physical constitution to accomplish any task and succeed”. He also listed the following Achievements in his Recommendation for Award:
(1) “PFC Chobanov performed beyond his duties as a FO when he was assigned to 1st Platoon in Kharnay. He always volunteered for every patrol which left the wire. Not only did he volunteer, but he volunteered to go out the gate as a basic rifleman replacement for tired Soldiers. He always placed the mission first before himself at all times. He was never reluctant in performing the duties of other Soldiers.”
(2) “PFC Chobanov on 22 April 2006, volunteered as always to be the point man on a major mission conducted by 1st Platoon. While returning from Solan, the platoon was attacked from a high ridgeline. PFC Chobanov was on point acting as a liaison for the ANA and ANP. PFC Chobanov took charge and placed the ANA and the ANP in the proper fighting positions, while taking fire and returning fire. PFC Chobanov’s tireless leadership abilities contributed greatly to the fight.”
(3) “During the contact on 22 April 2006, the mortar crew requested additional rounds. PFC Chobanov was immediate in his response and proceeded to collect mortar rounds from Soldiers. He made his way from the front to the rear of the formation and delivered the rounds to the mortar crew. He then returned to the point position and continued fighting. He demonstrated brave and valiant loyalty.” Commander Johnson also shared that “it had been an honor to command such a truly outstanding Soldier”.
Tony suffers with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) along with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Tony's multiple diagnoses have made it extremely difficult to maintain a job outside of his home. Almost 2/3 of the family income is spent on rent, which leaves very little for this family to survive on.
His road to recovery has been difficult and exhausting. Tony found himself on the receiving end of conflicting diagnoses. Each new doctor he saw had a new plan of treatment and a new medication that made his life harder. After many attempts with therapy and medications, he finally found a doctor that could provide much needed help.