PODCAST

American Warrior Radio

Ben Buehler-Garcia

Telling the stories of our men & women in the military and those who support them.

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Carry The Load – Stephen Holley
Carry The Load – Stephen Holley
Carry the Load co-founders Stephen Holley and Clint Bruce are both Navy SEAL Veterans. The idea for their initiative was born out of anger and frustration, feeling that Americans  were drifting away from the original purpose of Memorial Day.  On Memorial Day 2010 Clint decided to undergo physical pain as an emotional purge. He loaded his pack with one pound for every comrade he had lost. During that walk he encountered a WWII Veteran who asked him; “Who are you carrying son?” Stephen joins us to share more information about their organization. Stephen and Clint organized their first Carry the Load walk in 2011. The event raised $100,000. Their intent was to just organize a Memorial Day event but it has since grown to a year round series of activities across 48 states. Carry the Load has raised over $33 million for Veteran and First Responder charities. Interestingly, their grassroots growth has principally been driven by the 99% or our population who never served. Their goal this Memorial Day is to raise $2 million dollars. They have five national relays traveling 24 hours a day, seven days a week following different paths across the US. Those relays will cover a total of 20,000 miles during the month of May. There are also rallies schedule in many cities. If there is not an event near you, Stephen encourages you to form a team and conduct your own. There is no cost to register – YOU can make a donation or register to walk at their website. Veteran and First Responder organizations who would like to apply to be a beneficiary can do so in September of each year. Carry the Load has three principal focus areas; Raising awareness, funding continuum of care programs and inspiring patriotism in our nation’s youth. TAKEAWAY: A critical element of each event is facilitating participants to share their “why” with each other. They walk because “you can’t run and talk.”
5d ago
42 mins
Coffee or Die – Marty Skovlund, Jr.
Coffee or Die Executive Editor Marty Skovlund, Jr. had two aspirations in High School; play for the NBA and become an Army Ranger. The Los Angeles Lakers never called but he did earn a Ranger tab. The idea that someday he would be doing “classic Ernie Pyle” journalism never crossed his mind. Marty founded The Havok Journal to give a voice to the Veteran community.  Later, he approached Evan Hafer (a fellow soldier and Founder/CEO of Black Rifle Coffee Company) about starting a media arm of Black Rifle. Coffee of Die launched in June of 2018. Their website receives 2 million visits per month and their YouTube channel has generated 13 million views so far this year. Marty says he left Afghanistan with a rifle and returned with a camera. His reporting for Coffee or Die has also taken him to Iraq and he recently returned from Ukraine. He shares what he witnessed in that conflict. “In Ukraine they are fighting for their very existence. Even common citizens have taken up arms.” One of his most compelling series actually was domestic coverage – the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota. Marty’s current project is a book about special forces legend Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent, a woman operating “outside the wire” with Special Operations at a time when it was almost unheard of.  She was killed by an ISIS suicide bomber in 2019. I strongly encourage listeners to read his first book: “Violence of Action; The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror.”  Also, look into The Darby Project. We also discuss Marty’s evolution into being a “real journalist”, an issue he struggled with for a long time.  He drew from his experience as the “new guy” in Ranger training. “You can’t expect others to take you seriously if you won’t take yourself seriously.” TAKEAWAY: They idea that long form journalism has died is not accurate. People just have more competition for their time and if the product is compelling they WILL read it.
May 10 2022
41 mins
“Richard Eager” – Montgomery’s B-17 Pilot
“Richard Eager: A Pilot’s Story From Tennessee Eagle Scout to General Montgomery’s Flying Fortress” is the product of a 13 year  long collaboration between a World War II B-17 pilot and his family.  Because Richard Evans was such a gung-ho air cadet and an Eagle Scout at heart, one of his fellow cadets began calling him Richard “Eager” and the nickname stuck. Unlike many World War II Veterans, Richard often regaled his family with stories of his time in the service. At their urging he sat down, and over the course of three years penned a 21 chapter manuscript. However, he was never able to get it published. Upon Richard’s death in 2006 his daughter Barbara Evans Kinnear made it her personal mission to get her father’s story into print. 100% of the proceeds from book sales benefit the Air Force Aid Society. One of the more interesting aspects of Richard’s service included being selected to fly a B-17 that was “won” by British General Bernard Montgomery in a “bet” with General Eisenhower.  Captain Richard “Eager” was ordered to pick his crew, load into an assigned B-17 and report to General Montgomery. The book relates some little known insights into General Montgomery and the Eagle Scout from Tennessee even got to meet the King of England. Richard left the service after World War II but was called back to serve during the Korean War and the Cold War. His career put him into the cockpits of many bombers more advanced than the B-17 including the B-47, B-52 and B-58. Richard’s last project was the XB-70, only two of which were ever produced. TAKEAWAY: Richard’s story might have been lost forever when Barbara and her family lost their home to a wildfire in 2008. Miraculously, she discovered some of the original draft chapters along with a treasure trove of her father’s letters and photographs while cleaning out his storage shed.
May 2 2022
42 mins
Pin-Ups for Vets – Gina Elise
Pin-Ups for Vets founder Gina Elise began to hear news stories about Iraq war Veterans needing medical care and she wanted to do something creative to help. Her grandfather served in WWII and Gina had always been a fan of that era’s pin-up art.  So in 2006 she decided to create a classy, 1940’s style pin-up calendar to raise money for Veterans. After donating $5,000 in proceeds from the first calendar to a local Veteran’s hospital, she began to get inquiries about the next calendar. Gina also heard from female veterans looking to volunteer. She saw this as an opportunity to empower them and shift perspectives about what a Veteran is. In the words of one model; “There’s nothing that says I can’t be a hard charging Marine AND a lipstick wearing pin-up. So I choose to be both.” Pin-Ups for Vets just released their 17th calendar and have donated over $100,000 to purchase rehab equipment for Veterans hospitals. In addition to shipping the calendars to troops deployed overseas, Gina and her Ambassadors embarked on a 50 state tour visiting Veteran hospitals/homes and military bases. She says it is very powerful to see the instant connection between these female Veterans and those they are visiting. In one case, after she had a conversation with a wounded soldier, the hospital staff told Gina he was suffering from a traumatic brain injury and that was the first time he had spoken in a month. To date, they have visited over 15,000 Veterans nationwide and overseas. Listeners can help by making a direct donation or purchasing the calendar & branded merchandise through the website.  Advertising opportunities within the calendar are also available. Casting notices for the calendar are posted on the website each spring. TAKEAWAY: “I came for the service but I stayed for the sisterhood."
Apr 24 2022
41 mins
“Lucky” Luckadoo – World War II B-17 Pilot
Today, John “Lucky” Luckadoo is the last surviving member of the 100th Bomb Group from World War II.  Most of the bomber crews of the 100th only survived 5 missions, earning the group the unenviable nickname “The Bloody Hundredth". It not until 50 years after the end of the war that John began to talk about his time at war because “those were not the happiest days of our lives and recalling them was not a happy experience.” Lucky relates that bestselling author Kevin Maurer called him “out of the blue” and said he had heard some of his stories and wanted to read his book. John replied “Well, I don’t have a book’ and that began a collaboration that resulted in “Damn Lucky; One Man’s Courage during the Bloodiest Campaign in Aviation History. Lucky and his high school friend Sully both wanted to fly and tried to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Sully got permission but Lucky had to wait until the US entered the war. Later in the war Lucky flew to a nearby base to visit Sully and saw a crashed aircraft. Tragically, that had been Sully’s plane. Kevin does an excellent job of translating Lucky’s war experiences including the Bremen mission when German pilots crashed their planes directly into the bombers. Of the 18 aircraft that began that mission, only six returned to base. Kevin has written books that span from the Second World War to the present day. He says there are some universal truths regardless of the generation. Most soldiers are fighting for the person next to them and leave the politics for home.  He says one shouldn’t give the military a mission unless you are sure of what you want them to achieve because they will sacrifice their lives trying to accomplish that mission. TAKEAWAY: Lucky says he was fortunate to have an author sufficiently talented to put the reader in the cockpit.
Apr 20 2022
43 mins
DCM Consulting – Christopher “Dutch” Moyer
DCM Consulting Founder Christopher “Dutch” Moyer served 31 years in the Army – 26 of those in Special Operations. He has taken part in over 1,000 successful combat assaults in classified & unclassified missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even as a child he wanted to be a soldier and at the first opportunity enlisted in the tank corps. However, he found that the Army in the 1980’s was not what he had hoped.  After a five year break, he returned. This time he “Wanted to be in the worst possible places with the best possible people.” He became an Army Ranger and spent the last 14 years of his career with the elite Joint Special Operations Command. JSOC was created after the disastrous “Desert One” mission. After retiring Dutch tried his hand at various careers but in 2014 decided to return to his strengths. “I’m much better off training men to survive battle.” DCM Consulting provides advanced training to both military and law enforcement units across the country. Part of his “why” for starting his company stemmed from the fact that many local law enforcement agencies don’t provide the specialized training necessary for their officers to survive high intensity situations. (Dutch shared a recent situation where his fee was paid by a private citizen because their local police department did not have the funding.) In addition to close quarter battle, his training includes rifle/pistol proficiency and stress inoculation. His trademarked phrase “My Sword is Your Shield” is a concept that not only applies to military/law enforcement situations but also applies to what can be achieve by working as a team in almost any context. Dutch also pays homage his Combat Assault Dog Valco who sacrificed his life saving Dutch and his comrades on a mission. TAKEAWAY: “I can’t be the agent of correction any longer but maybe I can help someone who is.”
Apr 11 2022
42 mins
Bridging The Gap – Glen Williams
“Bridging The Gap”, a new book authored by 26 year law enforcement veteran Glen Williams might be directed at his police comrades but holds learning lessons for all of us. Over the course of his career, Glen suffered through two divorces, numerous traumatic events and developed severe PTSD. "My objective in writing this book was to help others not do the same stupid things that I did. If I can help one person avoid a divorce or PTSD or suicide then I win.” He recounts a briefing held for police academy graduates and their spouses. The couples were told the divorce rate among law enforcement couples was high. There would be things they saw on the job that officers would not want to or couldn’t talk about with their spouse. “They told us open communication was important but they didn’t tell us HOW to do it.” His law enforcement career got off to a rough start when he was rejected by the postal inspector’s service because of his diabetes. His evolution to a “regular beat cop” was fraught with other challenges including supervisors who misconstrued his lack of communication as arrogance. Glen says he later realized he would give off that vibe as a way of covering his own insecurities. “Subconsciously I was protecting myself. Basically..Realistically I was destroying the thing I cared most about – my marriage.” In Bridging the Gap he recounts several scenarios from the ridiculous to the extremely traumatic. One of my favorites was the stormy night when he almost shot Ronald McDonald. He strongly recommends journaling as a healthy method of dealing with trauma. Blue Help and the CODE 9 Project also provide support resources for those in the law enforcement community. TAKEAWAY: Glen provides an eight hour course in communication to police departments around the country. He also encourages anyone who needs to talk to contact him directly.
Mar 31 2022
42 mins
American Warrior Garage – Scott Jones
American Warrior Garage was inspired by a chance encounter in a department store parking lot. Scott Jones and his friend Vince Gibson had been restoring cars together for about 20 years. One day they noticed a Veteran who had lost both legs to an IED blast “wheeling around” Vince’s 1969 El Camino. A conversation about classic cars ensued with the Veteran saying  “Man, I’d like to be able to drive one of those.”   Both Scott and Vince are Navy Veterans and realized they had found a new mission for their auto restoration talents. They incorporated American Warrior Garage as a non-profit with the mission of “Restoring Heroes’ Lives One Hot Rod at a Time.” They offer their programs to first responders and EMS personnel as well. Their first restore was a 1970 Chevelle for a double amputee Marine Corps Veteran.  They are currently working on a ’68 Torino for a Veteran with five tours of duty. Scott admits that in the early days of the organization they were “just winging it” and the organization was funded out of their own pockets. Scott tells the story of a 1962 Thunderbird owned by a Korean War Veteran and donated by the Veteran’s family. The car was pristine so they cleaned it up and raffled the car as a fundraiser. They also do repairs on “normal” cars for donation to Veterans. American Warrior Radio Garage was featured on two episodes of the “Garage Rehab” television program. As part of their mission to help reintegrate Veterans back into civilian life they are also trying to help Veterans get to the first level of Automotive Service Excellence certification. TAKEAWAY: If you or someone you know has a vehicle sitting around, please consider donating it to American Warrior Garage. Any garage owners around the country who might be interested in joining the effort with a “satellite” program are also encouraged to contact Scott as well.
Mar 22 2022
42 mins
VA Whistleblower Paula Pedene
Whistleblower Paula Pedene thought she had found her dream job. But her commitment to honesty and integrity led to a nightmare – one that should infuriate every one of us. Her story is chronicled in the book “A Sacred Duty; How a Whistleblower Took on the VA and Won.” Paula enlisted in 1978 and became a Navy journalist.  She re-enlisted for the Gulf War but a hereditary eye disease eventually ended her military career. In 1994 she was appointed the first full time Public Affairs officer for the Phoenix Veterans Administration Health Center. She led the Phoenix VA to national recognition and awards. However, a new administrator who was inclined to his own betterment rather than putting the Veterans first led to her first conflict. He delayed and denied care in order to secure additional equipment. Dr. Sam Foote was the original whistleblower in this situation and approached Paula about reporting the conditions and she agreed to step up. An internal investigation found $ 11 million in shortfalls but Paula was branded. Incoming administrators sought out minor infractions to punish Paula, literally exiling her to the basement. What was supposed to be a 30 day investigation turned into two years in limbo. But she would not give up. The new administrators were “gaming the system” in order to secure performance bonuses. They were literally keeping two sets of appointment books. Testimony and later investigations revealed that as many as 3.500 Veterans were stranded on these “alternate” lists and 1,800 could not secure primary care appointments. Some died while waiting for appointments. Eventually, thanks to many allied whistleblowers within the VA, Congress and the media, the Phoenix VA state of affairs (and similar situations around the country) was finally brought to light. Of the 156 VA hospitals nationwide, similar wait list situations were occurring at 111 of them. Paula received redemption. TAKEAWAY: “The Veterans Administration is an agency with a very noble mission. But the bureaucracy sometimes lets bad actors maneuver and it needs a culture change.”
Mar 16 2022
42 mins
Project Sapient – Ayman Kafel
Project Sapient Co-Founder Ayman Kafel became a witness to war from his first days on earth.  His father was working in Liberia when Ayman was born, but the Liberian civil war forced his family back to their native Lebanon.  The Lebanese civil war made them seek a more peaceful life in America. Like many immigrants, Ayman has a deep and abiding love for the US and what this country stands for.  So when we were attacked on 9/11 he immediately enlisted. “Our family felt that those evils we had escaped had followed us here.”  He experienced several combat deployments and planned to pursue a career in Special Forces. A forced medical discharge would cut those plans short.  He pursued a “second mission” protecting his fellow citizens as a law enforcement officer. Ayman has served 15 years with the Attleboro Police Department and currently commands their “Problem-Oriented Policing Unit.” We spend some time exploring this rather unique community policing concept. Ayman created The Project Sapient podcast to engage his law enforcement/military brothers and sisters in conversations that need to take place.  In a recent Havok Journal article, he expands upon the “sheepdog” concept by proposing that within that group there is a sub-set he calls “Hybrid-Wolves”.  These are the “truest practitioners” of the warrior mindset; they have tuned their instincts to proactively seeking out evil. We both agree that law enforcement officers need to be allowed to act upon their gut instincts. Ayman emphasizes the importance of continual training for our police officers. Many officers are forced to pay for additional training out of their own pockets. TAKEAWAY: “My experience as an immigrant in the military was enlightening. No matter where we came from, our language or religion, we saw each other as brothers and sisters. One people – we were American Soldiers.”
Mar 9 2022
41 mins
Community Support
Community support of our military is the focus of this episode. American Warrior Radio is “deployed” at the ColoGaurd PGA Classic. The PGA is very supportive of our military. We spend the first half of the show with Jay Bickley, Vice President of the Davis-Monthan 50, and all volunteer group of over 100 community leaders that advocates for Davis-Monthan Air Force base and their airmen.  Jay also spent 27 years in the United States Air Force, retiring as Vice Commander of the 12th Air Force. Jay and I discuss the various components of the DM-50 mission.  We agree that any community with even a small military presence should establish an organized support group if they don’t currently have one. Jay emphasizes that these sorts of relationships can prove very enlightening for civilians in addition to being beneficial for the military families they support. He is happy to provide advice and mentoring to any community thinking of creating or reviving a support organization. We spend the second half of the show with two sailors from the USS Tucson submarine. LTJG Anthony Schlitt and FT2 Jose Lopez.  They were part of a four sailor contingent from the USS Tucson making a “namesake city” visit to Tucson, Arizona.  The USS Tucson is a Los Angeles Class submarine based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Both sailors were making their first namesake visit. Both emphasize they were surprised and impressed with the level of community support that civilian members of their namesake city provide for the crew and their families.  LTJG Schlitt comments that he had heard this namesake relationship was one of the best in the Navy and this visit confirmed that belief. FT2 Lopez says it is very important to know that there are people outside of the military who are so supportive and it definitely raises morale. TAKEAWAY: “If we don’t have a good namesake relationship on my next boat, I would 100 percent push for establishing one.”
Mar 1 2022
42 mins
Red Burning Sky – Thomas Young
Red Burning Sky is the latest work by Air National Guard Veteran Thomas Young. The novel was inspired by the real mission that is considered by many to be the greatest airborne rescue in history. Operation Halyard took place from August to late December 1944.  Halyard successfully rescued 432 US aircrews and 80 allied troops from behind enemy lines. Thomas had over 5,000 hours as a flight engineer in C-130 and C-5 aircraft. During his career he deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Horn of Africa. He is currently a commercial airline pilot. As part of the strategic war effort, the allies conducted bombing raids designed to shut down Germany’s oil production. Many of these refineries were located in Romania.  From October of 1943 to October of 1944 the 15th Air Force conducted 20,000 bombing sorties out of Italy. The cost was high, losing over 50% of their aircraft. However, they only lost 10% of their aircrews, many bailing out over the Serbian regions of Yugoslavia. Thomas describes the logistical challenges involved in these rescues including the fact that this region was “involved in a civil war in the middle of a World War.”  He incorporated many of the real elements of this story into Red Burning Sky including the challenges of keeping so many rescued airmen off the radar of Nazi patrols, the ingenious code developed by the crews to confuse the Germans and the labor involved in carving landing strips using nothing but hand tools. While the characters in Red Burning Sky are fictitious, some were based upon real mission participants such as George Musulin, a former professional football player turned OSS Agent.  General Draza Mihailovic, leader of the Chetnik detachments of the Yogoslav Army also plays a prominent role. MIhailovic refused offers of evacuation, choosing instead to stay and fight for his country. Tito’s socialists won the civil war and Mihailovic was executed in July of 1946. Much of this operation remained classified for many years. Operation Halyard’s story is preserved and advanced by the Halyard Mission Foundation.
Feb 28 2022
41 mins
Veteran’s Repertory Theater – Chris Meyer
Veteran’s Repertory Theater President and Artistic Director Christopher Paul Meyer had acting in his blood. He comes from three generations of theater performers.  But the 9/11 attacks created a long detour from the performance arts. Chris found some success acting, including a small role in a television soap opera. He chose to focus his energies on stand-up comedy because that allowed him to be more entrepreneurial. His directorial debut was a one act “off-off Broadway” comedy. Opening weekend went well, the theater was closed on the following Monday and the 9/11 attacks happened on Tuesday.  Chris was scheduled for jury duty that morning at a courthouse near the World Trade Center towers. He described his experience as curiosity evolved into panic and the reality of the scene unfolded. While Chris didn’t immediately enlist following the attacks, he joined the National Guard several years later when it became apparent this would be a long war and recruiting numbers were lagging. He spent 33 months in combat zones and earned a Bronze Star in Afghanistan. After 20 years of “wanderlust” he would return to found the Veteran’s Repertory Theater to allow those who have experienced danger to tell their stories through theater, poetry and writing. Their programs also include family members who also have borne the burden. They have multiple programs available, many of them online. These include the Savage Wonder Podcast, Savage Wonder Literary Blog and Write Loud. While they are located in upstate New York, his goal is to make them a national brand. Chris also shares his experiences working with a group helping to get our allies out of Afghanistan. His team focused upon Afghan commando allies. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done without being deployed.” Chris was managing 11 families and it was a 24 hour job.  All of them have been removed from danger. TAKEAWAY: The Afghan commandos that fought shoulder to shoulder with us would be great Americans in a heartbeat.
Feb 15 2022
41 mins
John Gilstrap – Blue Fire
John Gilstrap always wanted to write.  He penned short stories as a young child and was editor of his high school newspaper.  But he was also an adrenaline junky. He regularly watched the television series “Emergency” and took an advanced first aid course in college. The class required a ride along and he was hooked. Upon graduating from college he received his EMT certification and joined the Burke Volunteer Fire Department – the busiest firehouse in Virginia. He says that as a firefighter/EMT you are often interacting with people on their worst day.  “It’s THEIR bad day but I needed to keep it together and bring order to chaos.”  While years of seeing these horrible scenarios can take a toll on one’s psyche, he relates that he twice delivered babies and those were joyous occasions. Gilstrap never dropped his love of writing and has become a prolific bestselling writer of several thriller series. "Blue Fire is his latest release and he is currently working on his 25th book.  One of his non-fiction books (“Six Minutes To Freedom”) tells the amazing story of Kurt Muse, an American civilian jailed in Panama under the Noriega regime.  Extricating Muse from the notorious La Modelo prison was a priority mission during Operation Just Cause and one of the rare occurrences when Delta Force was sent in to rescue a civilian. His first published book “Nathan’s Run” became a worldwide bestseller but also one of the most banned books in America because it had a lot of bad language. This taught Gilstrap some valuable lessons and he shares advice for aspiring writers on his website.  We discuss when it is appropriate to include sex, violence and bad language.  “Sometimes a sex scene stops the plot.” An example includes the experience he had with a director who insisted on a sex scene in the middle of a forest fire.  He also shares the importance of being able to deal with rejection. Gilstrap was rejected by 27 agents before he got his first offer. TAKEAWAY: “In THIS business the only way to lose is to quit.”
Feb 13 2022
41 mins
Diplomatic Security Service – Fred Burton
Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent Fred Burton spent most of his career focused on counter terrorism.  Among his more notable cases, he investigated the assassination of Israeli Prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. He was part of the investigation of the FIRST World Trade Center Bombing and was involved in the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind that attack.  He was also part of a special team set up to locate and free western hostages in Beirut. He is recognized as one of the foremost experts in the country and last year was named among the most influential people in the security field.  Fred currently serves as the Executive Director for the ONTIC Center for Protective Intelligence where he also hosts a great podcast. He has also written several bestselling books drawn from his time in the DSS. The Diplomatic Security Service traces its history back to 1916 when the State Department established the Office of the Chief Special Agent. The DSS has the largest global reach of any US Federal Law Enforcement Agency. We discuss the emergence of modern day terrorism in the 1970’s with a particular focus upon the Iranian revolution in 1979 and their affiliation with Hezbollah.  Fred’s book “Beirut Rules” tells the story of the kidnapping and murder of CIA Station Chief William Buckley.  He sees the attacks in Beirut and the 2012 assaults in Benghazi as both out of the "same playbook". Fred emphasizes that when you have a lack of human intelligence combined with lack of tactical analysis it usually leads to disaster. TAKEAWAY: Fred’s father was a military policeman and played a role in the Nuremberg trials following World War II. Fred will never forget his father’s words: “Son, there is evil in this world. There always has been and there always will be.”
Feb 6 2022
42 mins
Havok Journal Update – Scott Faith
Havok Journal editor Scott Faith joins us for a discussion of timely topics leading into 2022. Havok Journal is one of my regular visits on the web for stories and editorial written by members of our Veteran and First Responder communities.  Scott is a Veteran of half a dozen combat deployments and has served with several different Special Operations units. Due to the nature of his work, “Scott” writes under a pseudonym. COVID Despite being fully vaccinated, Scott and several of his family members contracted COVID.  His children had minor symptoms, Scott was on his back for two weeks and his former Special Forces father was hospitalized but has recovered. His experience led him to pen an article about “Blaming the Unvaxxed”. We also discuss the impact of both the disease and vaccines upon our military readiness. VETERAN SUICIDE In the third quarter of last year, more service members died from suicide (126) than the entirety of COVID deaths (86) since the pandemic began.  Scott says that SUICIDE, not COVID, is the real epidemic for Veterans. The military culture of stoicism and silent suffering further complicates the issue. He urges every to read “The Morning After I Killed Myself" and reach out for help. UKRAINE We discuss the evolving issues in Ukraine.  Scott shares the international security issues that would arise from a war and his conflicted feelings on the role the US should play. MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES The US military is having trouble meeting retention and recruitment goals.  This Havok Journal article points out one of the problems.  Mold is prevalent and brown water is coming out of the taps of the barracks at one of our premier Army posts. Scott points out that this highlights some real leadership failures and is not limited to a single branch. VETERANS PURSUING ELECTED OFFICE Currently, only 91 Veterans serve in the US Congress, the lowest number since World War II. However, this election season has seen a significant uptick in the number seeking public office. Scott and I agree this is an encouraging development.
Jan 25 2022
42 mins
Development Group Five – Glen Burton
Development Group Five was founded by Glen Burton to use military approaches, themes and training techniques to help empower people to be the best that they can be. Following ten years with the British Army, Burton began a career in executive close protection and has built a reputation as one of the most highly sought after consultants in the industry. His client list includes well-known names within the entertainment and business world as well as international royalty. He has led and managed protective operations in over 120 countries. Perhaps his most infamous moment came when he transported a young African boy adopted by Madonna back to London. The tabloids claimed he had “kidnapped” the child. The inspiration for Development Group Five first came in 2011 when Glen was hired to accompany the son of a high net worth family who was about to take a several month long adventure-training trip in South America. The young man had lost his father the previous year and Glen developed a natural mentorship relationship with him. The Development Group Five curriculum and training is built upon five pillars; Performance, Motivation, Mindset, Vision and Execution.  Team members include coaches and business leaders in addition to individuals with a military background. In addition to personal development coaching for individuals and workshop type sessions, Dev Group Five also offers a course called “Mission Control” where teams are tested in high pressure, “real world” scenarios. We first had Glen on American Warrior Radio to discuss his book “In Harm’s Way”. He has now released a second book titled “The Fortitude Warrior”. He says fortitude is a trait he found common among both the military and business leaders with whom he interacted over his career. We spend much of the program talking about the concepts and inspiration put forward in the book. TAKEAWAY: “You’ve got to want to be better than you are. If you are not doing something you love, then why are you doing it at all?”
Jan 17 2022
41 mins
Walking In Mud – Steve Giblin
"Walking In Mud: A Navy SEAL's 10 Rules for Surviving the New Normal" was inspired by Steve Giblin’s observations of what is happening with his fellow citizens during the pandemic. Steve served 28 years as a Navy SEAL and another nine as a civilian contractor. Much of his career was spent with the Tier One Navy Special Warfare Development Group.  While cleaning out his new office, he came across a single page typewritten document titled “The Ten Essential Qualities of an Underwater Demolitions Man.” The document was written by Lt. CDR F.R. Kaine, one of the original World War II “Frogmen”, as a list of basic things he expected from those under his command.  These ten qualities (Pride, Loyalty, Sincerity, Responsibility, Leadership, Example, Forethought, Fairness, Seamanship & Common Sense) form the structure for the chapters in “Walking in Mud”. Steve initially met “Walking in Mud” co-author Jon Land through the Home Base Veteran and Family Care organization. Jon was looking to interview Veterans for a book he was writing.  After he and Steve corresponded they decided to write a book of their own. We explore how these ten qualities translate into simple rules for living life in general and dealing with the stresses of our “new normal” in particular. One great example of resiliency is the story of “Michelle”, a sailor who was reassigned from supply duties and received a “crash course” in Special Forces training in order to join a cell assembled for Operation Just Cause. When the operation was complete the Navy sent her back to supply but instead she “crossed the street” and joined Army special operations. TAKEAWAY: One of the famous aspects of Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training is the brass bell that candidates can ring three times to “volunteer out”.  Many of us face a similar metaphorical brass bell in our lives.  Steve shares that one cannot “un-ring” the brass bell at BUDS but we can often can go back on quitting decisions we have made in our lives.
Dec 21 2021
42 mins
Justin Nassiri – Veteran Entrepreneur
Justin Nassiri experienced a leadership crucible moment unlike many entrepreneurs. At the age of 23 he found himself responsible for a $2 Billion submarine and the lives of 180 sailors.  One might say it was the perfect preparation for someone who would go on to the rough and tumble world of Silicon Valley technology. Jason followed his brother to the US Naval Academy and was still a midshipman when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Nassiri says the “nature of my proximity to war changed at that point.”  He volunteered for submarines and served on the USS Alaska (SSBN 732) and the USS Chicago (SSN 721). One of the leadership lessons he learned aboard submarines was “You’ve got the team you’ve got and you have to make it work and make due with the resources you’ve got.” While his degree from the Naval Academy was in Electrical Engineering, he found himself more intrigued with management and enrolled at the prestigious Stanford Business School.  Nassiri says that while the MBA experience helped him “decompress” from the military, the transition to the civilian world was still not an easy one.  Based upon his experience and transition stories he heard from other Veterans, he started the “Beyond the Uniform” podcast.  He has interviewed over 415 Veterans about their transition stories. While completing his MBA degree he regularly met with other students to discuss problems that needed to be solved and how they might be addressed. This planted the seed for the company that would become “StoryBox".  Jason pursued the venture capitalist route to fund his first endeavor, an exercise he described as “tap-dancing to feed my baby.” His client base grew to include giants like Disney, Levis & Bud Light before he sold the company. His latest venture is a marketing technology company named “Captivate.” What he found hardest about Silicon Valley was the psychological component. “You are working hard night and day and then the person in the office next door to you becomes – literally - a billion dollar company.” TAKEAWAY: "Entrepreneurship is non-stop experimentation."
Dec 12 2021
42 mins
Charitable Organizations You Should Support
Charitable organizations supporting Veterans & first responders is the topic of today’s show. Attacks on law enforcement personnel are on a record pace and the withdrawal from Afghanistan does not mean Veteran support needs are reduced. In fact, the opposite may be true.  We talk with representatives of four charitable organizations that deserve your support during this season of giving. SPIKES K9 FUND – Founder & President James Hatch Military working dogs regularly spared the life of Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch. Now he is giving back by enhancing the training, care and preservation of working dogs. They provide vital equipment such as protective vests, heat alarms, GPS collars in addition to training for agencies all across the country. They have helped over 1600 dogs in 49 states. CONCERNS OF POLICE SURVIVORS – Executive Director Diane Bernhard Diane served in law enforcement for 23 years before assuming the lead role at COPS. She first learned of the organization when a colleague was shot and killed on duty.  Their mission is to rebuild the shattered lives of survivors and co-workers affected by line of duty deaths. In many cases they are able to contact families anywhere in the country within 24 hours. THE GREEN BERET FOUNDATION – Lead Ambassador Travis Wilson Travis wore our nation’s uniform for 21 years including 13 years as an elite Green Beret. The Green Beret Foundation was created in 2009 to provide Special Forces soldiers and their families with emergency, immediate and ongoing support. They have helped over 13,000 families and this coming year they will be expanding their services to Green Berets who served prior to 9/11. BOULDER CREST FOUNDATION – Founder & Chairman Ken Falke Ken is a 21 year combat Veteran of the Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal community. He and his wife donated 37 acres of their family farm to build a retreat center to help Veterans struggling with PTSD. They added a second facility in Arizona and expanded the availability of their programs to the first responder community. They recently partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to establish 10 Traumatic Brain Injury centers and partner with other non-profits across the country to deliver their Warrior PATHH programs. Their programs have a tremendous success rate.
Dec 6 2021
42 mins