Tough Stump Tech Atos

Jarrett Heavenston of Tough Stump Technologies was inspired to develop the Atos Tracking System based on his own military experiences. Ted Fitzgerald/The Pilot

It was near dusk on Christmas Eve, 2007. A Special Operations detachment was moving through thick brush in a rural area of Iraq when the military working dog attached to the unit, who was tracking an enemy combatant off-leash, was killed in action.

The outcome of that engagement stuck with Jarrett Heavenston, a retired combat controller who co-founded Tough Stump Technologies with two fellow soldiers in 2016.

Last week the Southern Pines-based tactical mapping and Immersive technology firm released the Atos Tracking System, named in honor of the dog that very likely saved the lives of Heavenston and his teammates.

“What happened to Atos, I knew we needed a way to mitigate that kind of risk in the field. Whether it is people, or dogs, or something bigger like vehicles or parachute bundles, being able to track them and view their location in real time would be an enormous asset,” Heavenston said.

The Atos system uses GPS-enabled technology to track more than 100 individual tags through an app plug-in with ATAK (android team awareness kit) which is used by the military, and BlueTooth technology. In civilian scenarios, the ATOS system can enable search-and-rescue efforts and mitigate risk for first responders, such as hotshot fire crews.

No information is stored within the tag except an identifying number. The person calling up the tag uses a command link UHF receiver connected to the Atos system. The program identifies the tagged person or item, where they are, what frequency they are using, and any other necessary information such as what equipment they might be carrying.

“We have put a lot of thought into this technology. We really believe in it, and when I say believe I am quite emotional about the benefits this can offer,” Heavenston said. "Atos was a teammate. If we had this on him that night, the outcome would have been a lot different.”

For more information on Tough Stump Technologies or ATOS, visit or call 910-725-0895.

Atos Tracking System courtesy of Tough Stump Technologies

Recommended for you

(1) comment

Patricia Bryan

What a wonderful memorial tribute to Atos. He was not military "equipment," he was a comrade in arms to the men he served with. I wish all the military dogs would be brought home by the armed services, and reunited with the men/women they served with. Unfortunately that is not the case - often civilian nonprofits pay huge sums of money to bring them home.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just $5 a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$5.35 for 30 days

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to

Starting at
$27.82 for 90 days