About Our Instructors

Josh Bales

Josh Bales

Head Instructor/Owner

I know the importance of quality training. I have been carrying and using guns as a professional warrior for the past 12 years, and I’ve been teaching others to do the same for more than 8 years. As a Marine Corps infantry officer, my job was to train and lead Marines in direct combat against enemy forces, and I loved it. Few things are more satisfying to me than applying my skill and experience to teach my students how to save their own lives. I have served in combat in Afghanistan and have had the opportunity to see the tactics and techniques that I taught in action. I know what works, and I take a great deal of professional pride in teaching proven skills to good people, which is exactly what I want to do for you.

I believe that to be a great teacher, one must be a good student. I continue to seek training beyond what the Marine Corps gave me in order to hone my own skills and ensure that I stay sharp as an instructor. Below are some of the highlights of my training career:
 

  • USMC Infantry Officer
  • USMC Infantry Train the Trainer Certified
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in human learning/training from the University of Kentucky
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Combat Life Saver
  • NRA Certified Firearms instructor
  • Tactical Response Graduate
  • The Range Complex (Formerly TigerSwan) Graduate
  • Max Velocity Tactical Graduate
  • Mountain Guerrilla Graduate
Dillon S. Gentry

Dillon S. Gentry

Assistant Instructor/Staff Writer

Since I was a small child there was one thing I wanted to be: a U.S. Marine. At 18 I enlisted as an 0311 Rifleman and recently completed my 6 year enlistment. I hold a bachelor’s degree in International Criminal Justice and Comparative politics. I am also an avid practitioner of Brazilian jiu jitsu, and I would advise all Citizen-Warriors to be the same.

During my time in the USMC I observed a multitude of styles of leadership and training which assisted me in developing my own. As a fire team and rifle squad leader, I developed an ability to analyze situations and discern the best course of action. I’m constantly growing and challenging myself because I know that there is always more to learn, but I enjoying passing on what knowledge I currently have to others of like mind. I believe there is no substitute for consistent, quality training which what you get with ATA.  As a firm believer in the fighter-leader concept I have a great deal of admiration for Josh, and it is a tremendous honor to be a part of ATA.

Matthew Gilson

Matthew Gilson

Assistant Instructor/Staff Writer

I always had the desire to join the military, so at the age of eighteen, I enlisted into the Marine Corps. While in the Corps, I served approximately 7-1/2 years as an Infantryman and deployed twice to Afghanistan. Through my experience in the Marines as an Infantry squad leader, I truly learned the importance of small unit leadership and how the correct application of small unit tactics can significantly change the situation on the battlefield. I believe leading from the front utilizing the fighter-leader concept is the most effective way to maneuver a team to success in the face of the enemy.

While in the Marine Corps, I attended various training courses to include Combat Hunter, Combat Life Saver, and DMOC Live-Tissue Training. Over the past 3 years, I have also obtained a substantial amount of professional training and experience regarding EVOC driving, active shooter training, and CQB training. I am constantly seeking opportunities to better myself through training and education. I’m currently employed by the Department of Energy within Protective Force, and I am pursuing a degree in Emergency Services Management at Bethel University. I am very excited to be a part of ATA and to fulfill my passion in life.

Brooke Bales

Brooke Bales

Assistant Instructor/Owner

I understand the issues confronting the average citizen when it comes to self-defense and concealed carry. I’ve been shooting, training, and carrying for the past six years, and I have encountered the challenges that face a professional working woman who wants to take charge of her own security. That’s why Josh and I started Appalachian Tactical Academy: to get this information out there to those who need it. As an NRA-Certified Firearms Instructor, I can assure you that our training will be conducted safely and professionally.