Jamie and I have been married for nearly 18 years. We met in 1999, at the age of 22, married in 2001 at the age of 24, and then I began deploying to war zones in October of that year. My perception of what it meant to be a SEAL changed after 9/11 as our country and military shifted from “conceptual” war, to “practical” war.
For 12 of the 17 years of my military career, our country was at war. The solider/service member does not bear this burden alone, and in hindsight, I believe that the family shoulders more of the cost. We met young, and at the end of what can only be poorly described as a tumultuous experience, remained together, growing our family from 2 to 5 along the way.
My hope is that this podcast opens the door to many more with her. It was not easy to record, and she is uncertain, even as I write this about the release. I put incredible value and weight on her perspective, and I hope it resonates with, and helps those out there who have shared the same experiences.
I am never able to answer all of the questions received, but I do my best to get to most of them. This week was going to be an interview, but sometimes life gets in the way, so I called an audible and dove back in to some unanswered questions.
Advice for your members of the military, or young men and women in general when it comes to “Paying your dues,” Forgiveness vs. Revenge, How to find your purpose post military, struggling with how to deal with those who “thank you” for your military service, accepting big changes in life without becoming overwhelmed.
Aaron Cross is an Army veteran with tours of duty in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He started his career as a “grunt,” (his words, not mine) and then became an airborne soldier and served with multiple units, to include the famed 101st Airborne Division. On his last tour in Afghanistan his vehicle was targeted by an IED, an incident for which he received the Purple Heart, and ultimately lead to the end of his military career.
Aaron has been very vocal and open about his struggles with PTS (Post Traumatic Stress), which is far less common than it should be from those in military circles. Since his separation, 11 of the men he served with have chosen to end their own lives, a statistic that is far too common, and speaks to the challenges of military service in active war zones.
War changes you, in my opinion, for both better and worse. You will come home a different person. You will see the world differently. You will struggle to find common ground. The journey is not the same for any two people. Hopefully someone listening to this is reassured on their own journey, and maintains the resolve to see their way through it.
I am consistently blown away by the questions that are submitted by listeners. I appreciate the time and effort taken to submit them, and I’ll do my best to launch another episode to clean up those that I missed.
In this episode I cover everything from fighting a sense of entitlement in your kids, what you should do if you encounter someone lying about their service (specifically SpecOps service), advice for those stuck in a job that they hate, raising teenage sons, and my thoughts on team sports. Like I said, we covered quite a bit.
The vast minority of citizens will never serve in the military. My father served before me, and his father served before him. I hope that military service ends with me, and that my children find other ways to serve.
This episode is with my father, and we discuss our own family lineage, how and why we set our roots in the beach town of Santa Cruz California, and the history of our families military service.
I am often asked about my service, and I can only reply with my own experiences. In this episode I tried to focus on the experience not of the service member, but of the family supporting the military member. I receive emails from parents of those serving often, hopefully this episode helps them.
This is the second episode I have dedicated completely to Military Q and A. I have been incredibly surprised by the volume of questions, so the military themed episodes will continue from time to time.
In this episode: What I would change from my time in service, the most important/valuable piece of equipment I was ever issued, healthy mindset for a career, killing, motivation, females in direct combat roles, and more.
The 2018 bow hunting seasons has certainly had its ups and downs for me. I started my season on 25 August with Red Willow Outfitters in Northern Alberta, and just wrapped it up with a week of hard hunting in the mountains of Montana. There were many failures, many mistakes, and many missed opportunities. Those were the building blocks of my eventual success.
The second half of this episode is devoted to Q and A from the internet. Kaepernick and Nike, managing adrenaline during, handling demotivated days, and more.
Travis Davison is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the owner of Straight Blast Gyms in Kalispell, Whitefish, and Missoula Montana, as well as the Vice President of SBG International.
John Frankl is a 4th degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a professor in Seoul, and the man responsible for bringing BJJ to the Korean peninsula.
Both men are masters of their craft, and continue to both educate and expose people like myself to BJJ. I have less than two months under my belt, pun not intended, and was able to attend a two day John Frankl seminar at SBG Kalispell.
I have many questions about BJJ, it’s origin, future, and current state, as I am sure anyone who begins the journey does.
JT Holmes is a man who makes the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man Alive” look as if he has lived a boring life. JT is a professional skydiver, BASE Jumper, Ski BASE Jumper, Skier, Speed wing and Speed flyer (the first does not use skis, the second does), truck and Razor racer, public speaker, stuntman, and occasional actor.
He calls the Lake Tahoe area home, and travels the world extensively creating content for his sponsors, and in general, pushing the limits of what is considered possible.
Here are some of the links we discussed in the episode:
Top 5 Crashes – He is of course number 1
GoPro line of the winter
Chris Spealler is a return guest on the podcast. He is a former college wrestler, and most often known for his competitive days as a CrossFit Athlete. He had top ten finishes at the CrossFit Games in 2007, 2008, and 2010, and winning the Master category for 35-39 year old athletes in 2017. He is the owner of CrossFit Park City in Utah, a husband and father, and a passionate archer (sort of).
The training program referenced in the podcast can be found here, at: Grunt Works, and can be used as a stand alone program, or as accessory training to your current program. It is designed for capacity in the outdoors, not inside of the walls of a gym.
Robb Wolf is a 2 x New York Times best selling author with his books Wired to Eat, and The Paleo Solution. He is considered one of the worlds foremost experts in Paleolithic nutrition, but also has a diverse background in strength and conditioning, as well as academia as a research biochemist.
He is the host of The Paleo Solution podcast on Itunes, and his website RobbWolf.com is a vast resource for anyone with questions or interest in the Paleolithic approach to nutrition.
Jocko Willink is a retired Navy SEAL, Author, Speaker, host of the Jocko Podcast, owner of Echelon Front and Victory MMA and Fitness, as well as being a black belt in BJJ. If you are serious about leadership, his book, Extreme Ownership needs to sit on your bookshelf and be referenced often.
John Dudley is a world class archer, coach, founder of Nock On Archery, host of the Nock On Podcast, and as of last week, a skydiver. John’s breadth and depth of archery experience spans decades of competition and hunting, as well as countless sessions coaching and teaching archery at all levels.
In a 72 hour period we trained archery, skydiving, and BJJ. The results were the same for all of us, a sense of invigoration and appreciation for pushing our boundaries and learning something new.
Leadership, discipline, archery, BJJ, skydiving, decentralized command, failure and success. This podcast has it all.
Jeremy Jones is a professional snowboarder, and the founder of Jones Snowboards. Paired with his brothers, who created the extreme sports media company Teton Gravity Research, they created an amazing trilogy of snowboarding movies: Deeper, Further, Higher.
In addition to his amazing snowboarding ability and innovation, he is a passionate advocate for combating climate change. In 2007 he created POW – Protect Our Winters, an organization dedicated to reduce the effects of climate change through education, activism, and community based projects.
John Dudley and Chard Ward are both return guests.
John is an archer, a hunter, a coach, and as far as I am concerned, a chef. Chad is a pit master, which I believe stands for chef that uses a barbecue instead of a kitchen top. Both Chad and John taught at the inaugural Nock 2 Fork event held at Traeger HQ, which I highly recommend attending.
We discussed a wide range of topics from favorite BBQ, to favorite BBQ techniques, archery, and a little leadership.
The most important aspect of this podcast for me is around the 1 hour mark, when John and I are able to finally discuss a concept that we have been working on for a year. It went live today, and is about all of you, and what we can all do together.
Mark Twight is a man who has found success in many arenas. When I first heard his name, he was described as an Alpinist, an expert in the outdoors. The description did not do the man justice.
Mark was not only an alpinist, he is an author, the founder of Gym Jones, an accomplished cyclist, and at one time a trainer to many stars that most would recognize from movies such as 300, and Man Of Steel.
Mark and I met in 2005, while I was slowly climbing out of the hole that an injury from work, plus my own poor choices, had put me in. Our initial encounter was “exercise” based, and the lessons he exposed me to still frame the way I train now, and eventually led to a short lived career in the “fitness world.”
He is one of the most unique human beings I have ever encountered, with an intensity and drive that can burn most to the ground. It is what I admire most about him.
This conversation was over 1 year in the making. We both wanted to wait until we were in the right spot, and I believe we finally arrived there.
Todays episode is Q and A from the internet, with a twist.
As fate would have it, my father and brother in law are here in Montana on vacation. As I was reading through the questions, I realized that they are both a wealth of knowledge from different backgrounds, and that their insight into the questions is equally, if not more valid than my own.
Jason has been serving as a firefighter for the city of San Diego for over ten years. They operate in small elements, requiring teamwork, communication, leadership, and individual responsibility. I would say the community has more similarities to the SEAL Teams than differences.
My father has worn many hats throughout his life. He is a Vietnam veteran, small business owner, school teacher, sport coach, and after today, a podcaster! I learned many of the lessons that have served me well throughout life working beside him on construction sites.
Between the three of us I think we had some good answers.
At the age of 19 Jessica Lynch joined the Army, and just over one year later she found herself staged for the invasion of Iraq. During the initial surge towards Baghdad, her unit became separated from their convoy, and found themselves in the town of Nasiriyah. Her smaller unit was ambushed, and she became the first American POW (Prisoner of War).
As Jessica and her unit were staging for the invasion in Kuwait, my unit was in Saudi Arabia, doing the same thing. As the war began, we began working through our target deck, until actionable intelligence was received about her location. After a quick forward staging, planning, and limited rehearsal, we assaulted the hospital, and recovered her on 1 April 2003. It was the first successful of an American POW since WW2.
Jessica was immediately taken to a higher level of medical care, and slowly began her journey home to the US via Germany.
There has been much controversy over what happened during the events leading up to the rescue, and of the rescue itself. It is safe to say, in my opinion, that the military used the operation to serve their needs at the time.
I had not spoken to her until this recording, and it was great to revisit the events of 15 years ago from both sides of the same coin.
You had military questions, I had answers. I did my best to work my way through them and answer as many as possible….Quiet professionals, leadership strengths and weaknesses, DEVGRU, preparing for combat physically and mentally, pros and cons of military service, etc.
I will try to do a military specific episode every so often, as there is obviously a desire, and no lack of questions.
Round 2 with the one and only Josh Bridges.
Josh is a retired Navy SEAL. We met when I was putting him through basic SEAL training known as BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL). Post training we served together at SEAL Team Three. Post military our paths constantly crossed in the competitive CrossFit ecosystem.
Josh has been competing in the CrossFit Games since before he left military service, meaning he found the time to train in the limited off time associated with an already arduous job. His best finish at the Games to date has been 2nd place in 2011.
Our conversation last year occurred just after his Regional competition, this year it is just before. We talked pre, active, and post military life. Training style and philosophy, and how he dealt with last years competition not sticking to the script he had planned for it.
Answers to a variety of questions from the internet with topics ranging from Situational Awareness, finding your purpose and meaning both inside the military and when you leave, Andy Stumpf hunting camp curriculum, and snake oil salesman in uniform.
A Thunder Chicken is a turkey, at least that is what I have been told. This episode is from our hunting camp deep in the back country of Kansas, where we were competing in the World Turkey Hunting Championships.
Spoiler alert, we did not win. After two days in a blind I did not see a single turkey. I heard one, I think.
The best part of any hunting trip for me so far has been the people, this trip was no different. Instead of being the new kid on the block in the archery world, I got to watch my good friend Trevor Thompson begin his journey.
If you have ever reached out to me with questions about where to start with archery equipment or training, this episode is for you. John covers in depth strategies to purchasing you first equipment, and then training with it.
Other than the endless political banter, guns, and specifically school shootings have lead the headlines recently, and for good reason.
My children are now being called the “Mass Shooting Generation,” a term I wholeheartedly disagree with. Our use of language, much like our objectivity, has been utterly lost.
We can continue to look for “light switch” solutions to these complex issues that did not arrive overnight, or we can, as a society, agree that there is a problem, and commit ourselves to the work needed to create an actual change.
It all starts with remaining objective, and not giving in to our emotions.
I did my best to answer a variety of questions received over the last six weeks from social media. Topics varied, but I covered everything from training, mullets, challenges and difficulties of being a military parent, blessings in disguise, skydiving and BASE jumping, broadheads, back country split boarding, and more.
Thank you for all of the questions and support, I’ll answer more of the questions in another podcast soon.
John Barklow is the Big Game Product Manager for Sitka, a hunting brand based in Bozeman, Montana.
Prior to his current profession, he served for 26 years in the United States Navy as a Diver. We met in 1997, when I was a punk new guy, and he was running the dive locker for SEAL Team Five. His background and experience is diverse…In addition to classical dive training, he is a wealth of knowledge in climbing, skiing, back country travel, snow safety, and survival, to mention a few. For 15 years he worked at, and lead the Kodiak training facility where all SEAL candidates now go for their cold weather and survival training.
To add icing to the cake, he has been a bow hunter for 30 years, and we recorded this podcast at the end of an epic bow hunt for Axis deer on Lanai, Hawaii.
The CrossFit Games began on private property in Aromas, California in 2007. Participation and popularity grew rapidly, and by 2010, the Games had moved to the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, and were being broadcast on national television. At the apex of that rise was Rich Froning
Rich finished 2nd in 2010, and then dominated the competitive CrossFit world for the next four years. He won the CrossFit Games as an individual competitor from 2011 through 2014, then as a member of a team in 2015 and 2016.
Not only did he dominate physically, he paved the way for athletes to truly make a living in the competitive CrossFit ecosystem.
He lives in Tennessee with his wife and three young children where he owns the Affiliate gym CrossFit Mayhem.
Dr. Mohammed Ahmed is the Medical Director at the Kaizen Brain Center, located in La Jolla, California. His specialties are memory disorder/dementia, and brain injuries.
If you are anything like me, you are confused by the multiple terms used when discussing brain injuries. CTE, TBI, PCS, Concussion, etc. I hear them often, but I don’t know what they mean, or the differences between them. I have a history of concussions, and a few loss of consciousness events, so this podcast is as much for me to answer my own questions, as it is to educate others.
If you would like to learn more about the Kaizen Brain Center, what they treat, and the treatment they use, visit them at their website:
Jack Carr is the epitome of a renaissance man. He is a retired Navy SEAL with 20 years of experience on both the enlisted and officer side of the house. He consults with tactical brands, speaks publicly, and as of March 6th, will be a published author. His first book – The Terminal List hits shelves tomorrow. Although it is a work of fiction, it is written by a man who lived “that” life for two decades. Emotions and experiences that are anything but fiction can be found throughout the novel.
Chad Ward is a professional Pit Master. You should think of him as the Yoda of BBQ, or perhaps Darth Vader. I’m not sure which he would prefer. I have drooled over pictures of Chad’s work for months, and finally got to meet him during my recent hog hunt in Oklahoma, where he was turning wild game into amazing Nock 2 Fork meals.
Chad is the co-founder of Whiskey Bent BBQ, a competitive BBQ team, and the name of his BBQ supply store.
An early morning podcast over a cup of coffee from hunting camp. John Dudley is a world class archer, bow hunter, and teacher of all things archery. Torsten and I are not, but we connected in Oklahoma for a hunt. When Torsten is not spot and stalking hogs, he calls New York home, and is an Executive Vice President at Atlantic Records. Not only does he possess an incredible amount of knowledge about the music industry, his name means “Thor’s Hammer.” What else needs to be said!
True Freedom of Speech, at least in my opinion is a knife that cuts both ways. This past week I was inundated with questions about my thoughts on the interaction between a Los Angeles high school teacher, and a student wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt. This incident made national news quickly, and was the topic of many social media platforms. Many people assumed I would share their outrage, I do not.
I reference the recording in the episode, and if you have not listened, here is a link that will take you to the audio:
The remainder of the episode is dedicated to additional questions received from listeners to the podcast.
Dakota Meyer is a husband, father, Marine, and one of 11 living Medal of Honor recipients from the war in Afghanistan. He enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school, served from 2006-2010, and received the highest and most prestigious military decoration that can be awarded for his actions on September 8th, 2009. He hosts his own Podcast, Owning It With Dakota Meyer, which can be found in Itunes. This conversation was simultaneously recorded for his podcast, and my own.
If you are familiar with the initial growth of CrossFit, and the CrossFit Games, Chris will need no introduction. If you are not familiar…Chris Spealler is an 8 time CrossFit Games competitor, the owner of CrossFit Park City, and Icon Athlete. Chris and I travelled the US for many years together teaching the conceptual foundation and movements of the CrossFit program, and he has now planted his feet in Park City Utah. I am often asked questions about training and programming, he is a far better resource than I am when it comes to those matters. We discussed training, life, his mastery of archery, and everything in between.
Ethics, principles, bravery and cowardice all wrapped in a question about my thoughts on hunting. It is certainly not for everyone, and I am far too inexperienced to answer most questions about it, but ethics are ethics, and they don’t belong on a sliding scale.
Closing out 2017 and kicking off 2018 with a cleanup question from last year that I have been wanting to answer for weeks. We are all going to experience others letting us down, and we are all going to let others down. How you handle it is what will separate you from those around you.
After arguably the worst travel experience I have had in ten years, I was able to link up with John Dudley, and THE Hunter Phelps in the mountains of France. Our target was the Chamois, a species of the goat-antelope family. The terrain was spectacular, the animals were elusive and alert, and at the end of the trip, we headed home empty handed. The experience gained, and the lessons learned, for me, made the trip a highlight of my year. Round two is already in the planning stages.
John Welbourn is a 10 year NFL Veteran, and the founder/CEO of Power Athlete. We were able to link up for a short podcast prior to the launch of his 2017 Power Athlete Symposium in Austin, Texas. John and I have been friends, training partners, and shit talkers for nearly ten years. I count him as one of my closest friends, and I always enjoy picking his brain for opinions and insight.
I got a call from the IRS this morning, or at least that is who they said they were….I had some free time, so I called them back. After that, I dug in to some internet questions and we had a bow hunting extravaganza. My bow set up, arrow set up, practice routine, spot and stalk hunting, shoe selection, bravery and fear, habits and discipline, and most importantly, my favorite Kill Cliff pairings with adult beverages.
I think we covered it all on this one. Thoughts on every day carry items, concealed carry and actions by armed civilians, tips on getting in to skydiving, the value of sports for kids, CrossFit training, and my two cents on advice for parents. Hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think.
I intended for this episode to be dedicated to answering military themed questions from the internet. After ranting for 25 minutes over my frustration about the handling and reaction to the deaths of the Army soldiers in Africa, I did actually answer some questions. Thank you to those who submitted them, and thank you to everyone listening.
After a solid week of hunting for white tail deer in Georgia, I sat down with John Dudley and talked all things archery…How we hunted during the week, and our next planned adventure. John is an absolute wealth of knowledge, and if you have any questions about hunting and archery, I cannot recommend his Podcast Nock On enough. It, and he, are the one stop shop for information and education.
This episode focuses on two questions received from listeners. The first is on the value of stress testing and “inoculation,” why it is used in every aspect of SEAL training, and how everyone, regardless of occupation can benefit. The second question is about dealing with leadership failures, the lessons to be learned, and moving forward.
It was one hell of a week. I started my hunt with the news that the Vegas shooting had occurred hours before I woke up. There is some great information being discussed, and some wildly inaccurate information being touted as fact. It was, and is a tragedy. I hope our country is mature enough to take the time for reflection, and potentially improvement. In other news that does not matter…I was successful in my elk hunt.
I am consistently asked by people from all walks of life how they can more effectively “Be The Example.” I don’t have any tricks or hacks, only a simple (not easy) thought process to guide my personal decision making. To be clear, I could not be further from perfect, and I definitely don’t have it all figured out. I fall flat on my face and fail, often. When I pick myself back up, this is the principle that I use. Hopefully someone out there finds it useful.
Kicking off the week answering questions from social media. My thoughts on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, PTSD in the military, Skydiving and BASE jumping, and the behaviors and traits from the SEAL Teams that DO NOT work in the civilian world.
What is this?? A Friday Podcast?? Monday’s podcast was about Failure, and you can’t talk about Failure without at least dedicating the same amount of time talking about the other side of the coin. Many people spend time obsessing over motivation, which is a good thing, assuming it is there when you need it. If you ever find it lacking, you may find your world unravelling, unless you are backstopped by purpose.
It happens to us all, and it happened to me last week. I have found that failures appear to come in many shapes and sizes, but they are nearly always the result of the same thing, focusing on what you cannot control instead of the one thing you can, yourself. It is a simple concept, but it is certainly not easy. Hopefully someone can learn from my recent mistakes, and not repeat them elsewhere.
Today is the 16th anniversary of 9/11, a day that had tremendous impact on my life, and the world. This episode answers questions received from the internet, focusing on the lessons learned throughout a career in the military, and the mindset and physical preparation required to “Always Be Ready.”
A last minute trip to Alberta Canada for my first bow hunting experience with John Dudley, and a podcast before I hit the road home. We hunted hard for five days, and saw just about every animal the amazing country had to offer. It was an adventure in the outdoors, and one I will never forget. If you are new to hunting, interested in hunting, or just enjoy tom foolery, this one will be right up your alley
Cleared Hot Episode – 10 with John Dudley. John is a world class archer and bow hunter. I first picked up a bow 18 months ago, and learned much of what I know by watching his videos on Youtube. Now, I am preparing for my first season of bow hunting, and was fortunate to spend a day and a half at his home, shooting arrows, rebuilding my bow, and picking a masters brain on best strategies for a first time bow hunter. He has an archery podcast called Nock On, a dedicated youtube channel Nockontv.com, and an archery academy Nockonarchery.com. Educate yourself, up your game, and Nock On!
Episode 9 with 2008 CrossFit Games Champion Jason Khalipa. What began as a competitive CrossFit career has evolved into a business empire. His facilities can be found across the globe, and it is not accidental. I have never seen the man not smiling, even in the midst of challenges that would strain even the strongest of families. Athletics, business, Lukemia, and his desire to raise awareness and make a difference.
Cleared Hot Episode – 8 with Brian Chontosh. Brian is an ultra endurance athlete, CrossFit seminar staff member, retired Marine Corps Officer, and amazing human being. We talked Life, Purpose, Struggle, Service, and much more – Strap in and enjoy.
The three most impactful changes/improvements to the SEAL Teams post September 11th, 2001. You might think I am talking about SEAL stuff, but remove the term SEAL, and think about the changes from the perspective of your own organization, regardless of what you do, and the sector. Effective leadership, and when to start thinking and acting like a leader.
My philosophy on training, why my wife and I decided to go to marriage counseling, Terrorism in Europe, Influential books, thoughts on self defense and courses like Sheepdog Response, and closing with my thoughts on the trend and desire to “Hack” your life.
A solo podcast from the road, and the middle of my move to Montana. Instead of a guest, I answered some questions from the Internet. A lesson learned from a personal mistake that has stuck with me for decades. My thoughts on raising quality human beings, female operators in combat, and closing with my proudest moment, and my biggest regret. Thanks for the encouragement to go it alone instead of skipping a week.
Tony Blauer has been a student of violence for 40 years. He is the CEO and founder of Blauer Tactical Systems, an organization that works with Military, Police, First Responders, and civilians. The SPEAR system is based on survival reflex, instinctual movement, and human physiology. His mission is simple – Make the world safer.
Whether you accept violence or abhor it, it is part of the world we live in. Preparation, understanding (of yourself), and situational awareness will help you navigate any environment.
Episode #3 with Sean Hughes. Sean is a retired Naval Officer, currently working in the technology sector. His route to the Naval Special Warfare community began at the service academy in Annapolis, and included a deployment with the fleet Navy prior to being assigned as a SWCC (Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman) detachment Officer in Charge. Sean hosts two very different websites. The first, www.chartwellwest.com is a blog that received millions of views during the election cycle of 2016. The second, www.care4us.org is a beacon for families that have special needs and challenges not understood by most. A modern day renaissance man.
Episode #2 with Josh Bridges. Former Navy SEAL, CrossFit Games competitor, coffee aficionado, and all around bad ass. We talked terrorism, telemarketing, and training.
Episode #1 With Ron Ortiz – 18yrs of service as a Firefighter/EMT throughout Florida, and a dominant CrossFit Games Masters Athlete. Fighting fires, battling pill and heroin overdoses, and training to be competitive.