Operation Amped Co-Founder, Joseph Gabunilas, is a Senior Information Technology Project Manager for Quest Diagnostics Clinical Trials division in Valencia, California. He received his B.S. from August University in the School of Education after earning his B.S. Physical Science with an Education Minor. Joseph is also a graduate of “The West Point of the West – New Mexico Military Institute” where he received his Commission in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Joseph retired at the rank of Major in 2003 after 9 ½ years of Active Duty and 11 years of National Guard/Reserve duty. He has served in Europe, South Korea and in the US with the Washington State Army National Guard and Army Reserves holding a number of leadership positions from Communication Platoon Leader to Chief of Automation/G6 463rd RRC at Los Alamitos, CA.
Joseph’s work with ill and wounded soldiers and veterans began when a friend asked him to help facilitate access to the San Onofre Beach Facility at Camp Pendleton in July 2006. This was the first Surf Therapy event for Wounded Warriors called “Surfers for Soldier”. It was meant to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of 9/11 and allow surfers the opportunity give back to those who have sacrificed for America’s freedom. This first event involved 10 wounded Marines from the Casualty Barracks at Camp Pendleton. Since then, Joseph has been instrumental in coordinating the annual 3 day Operation Amped event at Camp Pendleton. His work with Operation Amped has seen him progress from volunteer to President of the Board of Directors. He continues to see the value and benefit of surf therapy and his meticulous planning skills have guaranteed the continued smooth execution of the 3 day event with increasing success every year. Joseph has a responsibility to lead the organization into an expanded role with the mission to touch and heal as many wounded veterans as possible through surf therapy.
Being an avid surfer/waterman since he was 13, Joseph brings over 40 years of surfing experience and skill to the organization. The 3 day Operation Amped event is a Family Affair where Joseph, along with his wife Cecilia, his two sons Jason, (25) and Nathaniel (23), all work tirelessly alongside numerous other dedicated volunteers to insure a memorable experience for all.
On occasion, Joseph makes his way to the break at Ventura Naval Base at Point Mugu with his favorite Custom 6’1” Roberts Diamond Fish getting pitted going “Pig Dog Style” on its backside left!