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On Nov. 11, 1918, World War I ended. A year later, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as Armistice Day. Since then, Armistice Day, now Veterans Day, has evolved into an annual observance of recognizing U.S. military service members’ sacrifices and, as of 2020, their families.

For 42 years, The Carlson Law Firm has made its home in the Killeen-Fort Hood Area. As a result, we have represented thousands of military service members and their families. In addition, many of our attorneys began their legal careers in the military. We have grown beyond the Killeen-Fort Hood area but continue to represent America’s bravest and their families with the same fearless determination displayed by our nation’s armed forces.

Today, we highlight the service members’ contributions from every branch of the military—including our own military veterans on our team.

Craig Carlson – Managing Partner

Managing partner Craig Carlson served as the Chief of Legal Assistance, Chief of U.S. Army Claims, and Senior Trial Counsel in the U.S. Army JAG Corp from 1989-1992 at Fort Devens. He moved on to be stationed at Fort Hood, where he served as the Senior Trial Defense Counsel from 1992-1994.

Steve Walden – Partner

“I decided to serve my country because all of the men in my family have served. Each one of them enjoyed their military experience and shared their stories with me growing up. I looked up to these men, and naturally, I wanted my own stories.

I served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted member from 1987-1990, served in the Florida and Georgia National Guard from 1990-1997 while in college and law school. Then I served as a commissioned officer in the Army from 1998-2001. I began my military career in artillery, moved into infantry and Judge Advocate General’s Corp.

As a judge advocate, I worked in legal assistance, operations law, and a prosecutor for military crimes and civilian offenses on Army property.

The military taught me that working as a team can multiply your strengths and do the same for weakness. Encouraging and building up your teammates is the path to success. In addition, I learned a great deal about people in general. In the military, you live alongside members from all walks of life and experiences. This experience helps me relate better to the clients I serve and the juries to who I argue.

The military has its own language and culture. It’s not something you can learn but requires experience to understand. Knowing the pay and benefits system, rank structure, and daily requirements gives me an understanding of all the options I can explore for my client’s benefit. Regardless of the type of case, I use my own experiences to get the best result for the Service Members I represent.

Before coming to Fort Hood, I was stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.”

Todd Kelly – Partner

“As the son of a veteran, I was encouraged by my father to join the military. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps on July 10, 1987, I began my military service as a combat engineer until attending law school. I was on active duty during Desert Storm but did not deploy to Iraq. When I returned to the fleet, I served as a judge advocate until I left the active service as a Major on May 20, 1998. That is exactly 10 years, 10 months, and 10 days of service. But who’s counting?

As a Marine, I was stationed in several locations:

  • Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, Hawaii (Engineer Detachment Commander, BSSG-1; and Commanding General’s Staff: Human Affairs Officer)
  • Cherry Point, North Carolina (Engineer Officer, MWSS-271)
  • Carlisle, Pennsylvania (Student judge advocate at Dickinson Law)
  • Marine Corps Base, Hawaii (Judge Advocate, Legal Service Center Criminal Defense Team)
  • Marine Casualty Center, Fairfax Virginia (Marine Corps Casualty Officer)

While serving as a judge advocate, I was a criminal defense attorney until assigned as the Marine Corps’ Casualty Officer.

I understand the unique challenges faced by military families and the sacrifices that they make for the safety of us all. I have lived it, and I have represented those who lived it.

As a Marine Officer, I swore to defend the United States Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. As the attack on our right to trial by jury in civil cases remains under constant attack, I believe that this oath that I have lived for the past 31 years has guided me in the fight for civil justice and rights in civil courtrooms. Too many of our brethren have paid the ultimate price to protect our system of laws for us to merely throw it away to those with money and power. We must hold them accountable when they hurt people. Despite the obstacles, that is our duty.”

Nathan Kennedy – Partner

“I decided to join the military because my father served 22 years of active duty in the Navy, and my grandfather was a Korean War Army veteran. In 1999, I was awarded an ROTC scholarship and began active duty in the U.S. Army in October 2007. I served from October 2007 until July 2012 and was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas.

I served a full year in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom from January 2009 through January 2010. In my time in Iraq, I was a prosecutor for the 1st Cavalry Division.

When I returned to Fort Hood, I was a criminal defense attorney. My military experience prepared me for practicing law because of the number of cases I tried to verdict. I know what it means to wear a uniform. Because of this, my military clients get the best representation possible.

I received wartime awards, including a Bronze Star and a Combat Action Badge.”

Happy Veterans Day to Those Serving and Those Who Served

We are proud to have these former service members on our team to help area soldiers and veterans with their legal needs.

Thank you, veterans. We greatly appreciate your service!

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