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Overview (1)

Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tom Kovach (rhymes with "watch") is an American actor, producer, writer, and military technical advisor (MTA) living near Nashville, Tennessee. Former staff sergeant Tom Kovach is a member of the Air Force Security Forces Association and the prestigious Veterans in Media and Entertainment (VME). Tom's official hashtag is #TomKovach.

Tom is best known for the TV drama series Nashville (2012). During their six-season run on two networks, Tom worked on 19 episodes. (The series was dropped by ABC in May of 2016, but was picked up by CMT only three weeks later. Tom was a leading member of the "Twitter charge" that demonstrated the loyalty of the show's fans -- known as "Nashies".) It was one of the fastest series "revivals" in TV history.

Tom Kovach is an associate producer of The Challenger Disaster (2019). Tom also earned "special thanks" in that movie for his inputs as a real-life Air Force whistleblower. (For details on that story, research the hashtag #NewburghNYwaterScandal.)

Born in 1958, Tom grew up in south Texas until age 14. His mother died from medical malpractice when he was five years old. His father was severely injured in an industrial explosion when Tom was an infant, and died in Tom's arms in November of 1972 (when Tom was in the 10th grade). After that, Tom moved in with relatives in Upstate NY, where he graduated from high school in 1975.

During high school, Tom became a cadet in the all-volunteer Civil Air Patrol and was the 1974 honor graduate of CAP Ranger School -- a non-combat search-and-rescue training program, which was a "pipeline" for those interested in going on to USAF Pararescue (the highly trained commandos that jump behind enemy lines to rescue downed pilots, etc.). In the 20-year history of the Thunderbird Land-Rescue Training Center, only six students earned the rating of "expert Ranger". Tom was the last. He served as an instructor in the 1975 and 1977 summer training sessions. The school closed in 1979 (too tough for modern tastes).

In 1975, Tom graduated from high school in June and joined the Air Force in August. He did not make the cut to become a Pararescueman. (An inner-ear condition prevents him from being able to remain focused during the difficult nap-of-the-Earth flying that is required of Pararescue aircrews.) Tom spent his first three Air Force years in a computer job (their choice, not his), until he had an opportunity to cross-train. In 1979, then-sergeant Tom Kovach was a distinguished graduate of the USAF Law Enforcement Academy. He was then a squad leader in combat training, earned his Blue Beret, and went on to become a law enforcement supervisor.

While at his first base (the computer job), Tom took advantage of several opportunities that the Air Force presented. During the harsh Upper Michigan winters, Tom volunteered for temporary duty assignments in the Snow Control section of the Civil Engineering Squadron. There, he learned to operate several types of heavy equipment, and to plow snow on the airfield. He also volunteered for two state crews that fought forest fires (so big that they made the national news). Tom also made friends with several members of the Royal Iranian Air Force, prior to the 1979 revolution. Tom began to learn the Farsi language from them, and he still speaks a little Farsi to this day.

Tom performed several special duties during his Air Force career. These include leader of a counter-terrorist team (EST), security advisor and manager (RP), and working with Federal agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. (AFOSI is the USAF equivalent of NCIS.) In May of 1980, three weeks after Operation Eagle Claw, Tom captured an Iranian defector from a diplomatic aircrew, and thus prevented the derailing of negotiations for the embassy hostages held in Tehran, Iran. Tom was involved with counter-intelligence in Korea, and helped to block an intelligence effort against the base where he was assigned.

In a military competition called Peacekeeper Challenge, out of a starting field of approximately 400 Security Policemen, Tom placed number eleven. He was first place in crime-scene investigation, second place in vehicle accident investigation, and third place in land navigation. (To prepare for the competition, Tom and his team did their navigation practice in an alligator-infested swamp in Alabama.)

Tom has 44 parachute jumps (35 of them freefall), several open-water SCUBA dives, practiced several forms of martial arts, trained his own horse for Civil War cavalry re-enactments, and was rated "expert" with multiple military weapons. Tom also occasionally served as a "catcher" for Military Working Dog training. He speaks portions of several languages, and is conversant in American Sign Language.

Tom's career in the Air Force was cut short after more than 16 years in uniform. One night on patrol, Tom observed the base commander supervising an environmental dumping incident four nights after Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait. Tom "blew the whistle" about the illegal dumping. When nothing was done inside military channels, Tom flew in a TV-news helicopter and showed the brown foam to well-known NYC reporter Gabe Pressman. During the budget cuts after Operation Desert Storm, that commander made sure that Tom's military career was terminated. When money ran out, so did his first wife. (The commander was later promoted, assigned to the Pentagon, retired as a two-star general, and then illegally became a lobbyist.)

It was also during his high school years that Tom caught the acting bug. He was in five stage plays. He had three different roles in a 1974 production of "Fiddler on the Roof" -- Cossack dancer, Jewish bottle dancer, and Russian villager. (Tom is of Rusyn descent. His grandmother came from a village on the border between Slovakia and Ukraine.) Tom was the stage manager for two of those five plays. In 2005, Tom was choreographer and assistant director of a community theater production of "Fiddler on the Roof". At the age of 47, not only did he again perform Cossack dancing on stage, but he taught men less than half his age to do likewise! Tom also portrayed the antagonist, The Constable, in that production.

In the wake of his USAF career, Tom has worked as a CADD operator, a salesman, a paralegal, a horse wrangler (on two different ranches), and an engineering clerk. He is also the inventor of a piece of military field equipment (called the Kovach Klip). Tom was a member of Rolling Thunder for four years. (Tom first rode a motorcycle, unassisted, at the age of ten.)

Besides acting, Tom has worked as an on-set production assistant. He has also written seven chapters of a military/suspense novel, and has written script foundations for two historically-accurate Western movies (one with a WGA-registered "treatment"). Tom is available as a military technical advisor, and is on file with Warriors, Inc -- owned by Dale Dye, Capt., USMC, Infantry, retired.

Tom had married his high-school girlfriend in 1978. That lasted until 1994.

Tom met his second wife online in 2001. That lasted until 2020, and they are still cordial. She grew up in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton, Illinois. She used to walk to school. Her older sister was classmates with Jim Belushi, who sometimes came to the house for dinner.

Tom Kovach has a daughter that has a master's degree and hopes to become an art gallery director. She also hopes to become a female Indiana Jones. (She is a former Roller Derby competitor, with the rink name "Indy-Anna Bones". Her skates were known as the "Quads of Zoom".) Still the protective father, Tom thinks that it would be a lot safer for them to simply make an adventure movie together.

Tom's preferred acting roles are (in no particular order): attorney, judge, doctor, senator, general, CIA director (again), airline pilot, helicopter pilot, rancher, spy. As you can see, he has been "rehearsing" all his life.... (A major "un-rehearsed" acting goal for Tom is to portray the Apostle Paul in a movie that is historically and theologically accurate.)

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kovach, Tom

Trivia (40)

When he was 42 years old, Tom Kovach "jumped the gorge" - a popular activity for young people at a swimming spot near the campus of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. (This is not the 240-foot gorge where several students have committed suicide. This is the 35-foot gorge with a waterfall at one end and a small lake at the other end.)
Tom has also written song lyrics and cowboy poetry. One of his poems can be seen on the website of American Cowboy magazine. (Tom later made a video of the poem, titled "Why I Wrangle". Check the "external links" section of his About page.).
In March of 1982, Tom Kovach served on a protection detail for US President Ronald Reagan and stopped a motorcyclist from getting near the motorcade. Secret Service agents questioned the rider for four hours.
Tom Kovach has survived five gang fights, 44 parachute jumps (including a high-speed malfunction), three encounters with loaded weapons at close range, two attempts to run over him with cars, one sniper attack, and one attempted strangulation.
When he was 46 years old and working on a trail ranch, and would stop into a restaurant on the way home from work, patrons would sometimes mistake Tom for cowboy singer Garth Brooks. (That was the inspiration for Tom's all-black portrait photo, to resemble Garth's famous album cover.).
When practicing land-navigation skills for the prestigious Peacekeeper Challenge military competition, Tom led his team through an Alabama swamp -- complete with water moccasins and alligators.
On one parachute jump, the weather was so hot that when Tom passed over a paved surface he gained 50 feet of altitude while trying to land.
One day in 1985, Tom was on a parachute jump load with "Jumpin' Joe" Kittinger -- the man that in 1961, as a captain, set the world freefall altitude and speed records by jumping from a special Air Force balloon at the edge of Earth's atmosphere (102,800 feet above sea level). At the time of Tom's jump with him, Kittinger was a retired colonel that was still cleared to jump from military aircraft.
While in between his two active-duty Air Force enlistments, Tom Kovach worked as a security guard at a defense contractor.
During his career in the Air Force, Staff Sgt. Tom Kovach worked on various occasions with Federal agents of the FBI, ATF, Secret Service and Customs Service - as well as the agents of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), the USAF equivalent of the better-known NCIS.
As a freelance writer, Tom once interviewed TV producer Gary Johnson ("Doc", "Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye") for a column about positive TV programming. As they got to know each other, it turned out that they had both lived in the same Nashville-area apartment complex (but at different times).
One of Tom's fellow instructors at CAP Ranger School many years later became the topic of a Time magazine cover story.
In 1978, the Air Force began a program called WarSkill. It started as an experiment at only three bases. Tom's base (K.I. Sawyer AFB, now closed, located in Upper Michigan) was the first of those three bases to start the training. Tom was the honor graduate of the Air Force's very first WarSkill class in law enforcement.
While stationed in Korea (Daegu) in 1981, Tom took two college semesters of Korean language. So, he does not speak the "bar talk" that most GIs learn while there; he speaks "real" Korean. To this day, he can still carry on a conversation in Korean, and native speakers say that his delivery is excellent.
Tom once rode in a cattle roundup on an Alabama state prison farm, after a drought had enabled a local rancher's cattle to wander across the river to the prison property.
While stationed in Alabama in the early 1980s, Tom Kovach owned a horse and rode in Civil War cavalry re-enactments. On one occasion, Tom's horse stood and did a 270-degree turn on his back legs, and then went into a full saber charge.
Tom Kovach has an associate's degree in criminal justice and a professional certification as a paralegal.
While stationed in Alabama, Tom Kovach went sport skydiving with Army CWO Lance McElhiney (the founder of the Apache pilot training program) and with Army Reserve Maj. Larry Bagley (then-president of the US Parachute Association).
Tom Kovach is the owner/trainer/agent of his dog, "Braveheart -- The Big Dog". Tom hopes that Braveheart will also have a successful movie career.
When he was younger, Tom owned a total of four German shepherd dogs (at different times). The last one had a 24-inch neck, and was often mistaken for a Military Working Dog.
Tom Kovach did the same job in the Air Force as legendary action-movie star Chuck Norris. In fact, it was Tom that recommended to the Air Force Security Police Association that AFSPA award Norris with an honorary Blue Beret. (Norris left the Air Force before the beret was introduced as a uniform item.) At first, the idea was rejected. But, two years later, in a ceremony at Lackland AFB, Texas, the leaders of AFSPA did award Norris with a beret.
Tom Kovach did not appear in his first movie until he was 51 years old. At age 54, Tom auditioned for a "tough guy" role in a TV pilot movie. At that same age, 54, Charles Bronson made the first of his "Death Wish" movies.
Only a small number of movie personalities have parachuted from military aircraft while serving on active duty. Tom Kovach is a member of this group, which also includes Clint Eastwood, Rod Serling, Tom Harmon (actor, sportscaster, and father of Mark Harmon ) and Dennis Franz. Charles Bronson served as a B-29 tailgunner, but it is unclear if he made any parachute jumps during his service. Tom Selleck served in the Army National Guard, but it is unclear if he made any jumps during his service.
In December of 2009, while on the set of the TV pilot movie "Tough Trade", one of the background actors collapsed in what turned out to be a diabetic shock. Three people quickly responded to help. The first was a background actress named Mary, who turned out to be an off-duty cardiac nurse. The second was Tom Kovach. The third was singer/musician/actor Trace Adkins. Seeing that Mary had the patient well under control, Kovach and Adkins then went outside into the midnight cold to lead the ambulance crew through the maze of lighting equipment, keep people back, etc.
Only 28 days after his birth in New York, Tom Kovach was adopted by a childless couple in Texas. As an adult, Tom tracked down his birth family. He met his mother and two older brothers.
In the lobby after a sold-out performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" (in which Tom had three roles), Tom's high school English and drama teacher (Janet Rose) introduced Tom to her friend Helen Foley -- who had been the English teacher for famed TV writer/producer Rod Serling.
In addition to acting, Tom is also a talent manager. His boutique company manages only current or former military members. Tom's clients include a former Pararescue commando instructor and a combat triple-amputee.
Tom's first marriage lasted from 1978 to 1995 (they had been high school sweethearts; she filed). Tom and his second wife (Lynn) met online in 2001 through a Christian dating service. Tom and Lynn each had one child from before. Both children are now grown and on their own.
Tom's grandmother, Katarina, came to the USA at the age of 15. She grew up in a small village on the border between Ukraine and Slovakia. Her parents put her on a boat to America, after Bolsheviks killed her brother during an uprising.
Tom's father, Frank (born: Frantisek), was one of nine surviving children of Stefan and Katarina Kovach. Frank "Lefty" Kovach was a boxer -- amateur, intramural (in the US Army), Golden Gloves, and professional. He had 21 pro fights -- 19 wins (15 by knockout), one loss and one draw.
Tom's adoptive family is of Rusyn descent (similar to Ukrainian). His birth family is of Italian descent. As a teenager, Tom lived in a "very ethnic" neighborhood, where it was common to hear Rusyn, Polish, Slovak and Ukrainian on the sidewalks. (There were several "onion dome" churches in the neighborhood.) In his forties, Tom lived in another neighborhood that was that way with Italian language and culture. (In late September, that neighborhood gave off the aroma of grapes, because so many families had big grapevines in their yards. Tom's landlord was well-known in the neighborhood for his wine production.).
After his career in the Air Force, Tom worked occasionally for a private investigator, who had been only the second Black state trooper in the State of New York (at the time of his 1962 appointment).
Tom Kovach is also the founder of two online businesses: Blue Beret Travel and 1SG Enterprises. (The second is a consulting firm, which includes serving as a Military Technical Advisor for TV and movies.).
Tom Kovach has a trademarked drink named after him. He invented it at a locally-owned Italian restaurant in Nashville. The "Tom Kovach" is made of two shots of Drambuie, and one shot of Caravella Limoncello, on the rocks -- and, of course, it is "shaken, not stirred".
When he was 12 years old, growing up in south Texas, one evening, Tom was surprised to see that the admission price for a high school dance had been temporarily increased from fifty cents to "a whole dollar!!". Tom then asked his friends, "And, what kind of name is ZZ Top, anyway??" Three years later, after moving to Upstate NY, Tom went backstage with ZZ Top and told them that story.
Tom Kovach has never been a member of either of the Big Two political parties. Tom leans to the political Right.
In March of 2017, Tom Kovach was accepted for membership in the prestigious group Veterans in Film and Television.
Tom also hopes to break into script writing. In 2003, he tried to pitch a two-part script for the TV series JAG (1995), but he did not have an agent at that time.
On 18 May 2017, Tom Kovach filed a lawsuit in Federal court. At 59 years old, Tom was still considered a "child" by the State of New York for the purposes of accessing records related to his adoption at birth. Representing himself in court, Tom hopes to help other adult adoptees gain access to certain records. (Tom's approach respects the privacy of birth parents that wish to remain secret. But, at the same time, the "best interests of the child" arguments should not apply to adults. Tom had already met his birth family in 1990, yet the state still would not give him access to certain records -- which are readily available to non-adopted adults.).
In September of 2021, Tom contracted COVID-19. He was sick for 23 days. After his recovery, and now protected by natural immunity, Tom began working part-time as a commercial scuba diver.

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