- Height5′ 10″ (1.78 m)
- 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
- 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.).
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