Jocko Podcast 261 w Steve Ward: Learning Does Not Stop. Ever. Life and Leadership

this is jocko podcast number 261 with echo charles and me jocko willink good evening echo good evening being in the teams is the best job in the world probably heard me say that before the best job in the world why do i say that why do i say that well first of all the job itself which consists of shooting machine guns jumping out of airplanes blowing things up scuba diving running around in the woods it’s just a freaking awesome job so so you got that on top of that you got this mission the mission that you’re focused on you’re on a mission to protect america to protect democracy to protect freedom to protect people and in order to do that kill bad guys because you’re supposed to do all that protecting in order to do all that protecting you gotta kill bad guys which which as a kid and really as a man for that matter that’s what me and my friends always wanted to do and i’m sorry if that doesn’t sit right with you or if you think i’m some kind of a monster because of it but that that’s the reality so that’s another reason why the job is awesome but the last thing and certainly not the least thing in fact the best thing about the job by far is the boys the boys the guys you get to work with they’re they’re awesome and contrary to popular belief there’s no cookie cutter format that represents a guy in the seal teams the guys come in all shapes and sizes they come from all different backgrounds and it should be noted that not all of them are good guys there are some knuckleheads for sure there’s some egomaniacs there’s some guys that really aren’t part of the team there’s some guys that look out for themselves there’s guys that don’t help out there’s some guys that don’t care about the mission those guys have put themselves above the team so there’s there’s some of those types running around and that’s true in any organization but as a whole the boys are pretty legit they’re hard working they’re tough they put the team first they get the mission done and they have fun while they’re doing it and you can count on them which is an underrated thing right you can count on them and i was lucky enough to work with a ton of those guys during my career i was leaving ramadi so it’s the end of my last deployment and i was leaving ramadi and another task unit came in to take our place and they were coming into a complete and utter firestorm of sustained combat and look we had all been deploying a bunch over the years since 9 11 and this was 2006 sort of the end of 2006 and so so guys knew what it was like to go on combat deployments but this particular combat deployment that we had been on in the battle of ramadi was significant we had a lot of casualties and these guys that were coming to replace us i mean i knew that they were coming into something that seals hadn’t deployed into in a long time and look i’m not saying that seals weren’t deploying into dangerous places they were but kind of a known scenario like that it’d been a while and so i felt horrible actually i felt horrible for the new task unit that was showing up to replace us because i felt like we had learned so much there we had gotten good at our jobs and we i felt like we were leaving this other task unit in a bad spot and i was worried about them and worried how they would survive well i knew a few of their guys

a few other guys i knew and and that gave me uh a level of comfort one of the guys that i knew was the senior enlisted guy of the task unit a guy named steve ward one of one of the good guys and i i kind of knew him tangently over the years because i turned i turned over with him in baghdad a couple years earlier he’d been in a leadership position in a platoon a team five and to run a bunch of operations and done a great job and i’d gotten a solid turnover from him so that was awesome and it just made my comfort level go up that someone was coming in that was humble enough to listen and learn not just from me not just from tasking a bruiser but also from the army in the marine corps and who is also smart enough and knowledgeable enough to mix in that knowledge and that experience with humility and make sense of the whole crazy situation which is what he did and when steve came back from that deployment which which was a hard deployment for them we ended up working together actually actually truly working together for the first time at tradet the training command he took over the land warfare training cell as the senior enlisted advisor in that training block and we ended up spending spending a lot of time together training and preparing seals for combat deployments to iraq and afghanistan and it was a i i it’s hard for me to even say it was a challenging job yeah it was a challenging job but it was so critical and it was so rewarding to be able to work with the young frog man and pass on the lessons learned to the next generation so that they could go out there and take the fight to the enemy and keep themselves safe as safe as they possibly could and i eventually retired out of that job and steve carried on in his career he went on to more senior positions of leadership and continued to deploy over and over again in support of the war on terror until a few months ago when he finally retired and since then we’ve been working together again still still actually training leaders this time for leadership in the business world but we’re back at it and it is an honor to be working with steve again and it is an honor to have steve here on the podcast to tell us about his life his experiences and his lessons learned steve thanks for coming on man hey thanks for having me i appreciate it joko you were one of the guys in the beginning when this podcast kind of kicked off that was giving me reports from the field that you were in the game listening to it yeah me and gardner were going back and forth you know some of the books you covered early on like the last hundred yards i was like damn how could you not get on the net and listen to that for you know a couple hours so it was good yeah and here you are sitting in that sitting in the chair uh let’s go let’s let’s rock and roll let’s talk about where steve word ward came from yep so grew up in sacramento california small town um my mom and dad were divorced so i’d go see my dad in the in the summer months and my sister and my mom and i we all grew up together in sacramento um i graduated high school in 91 what would you slow your roll bro i got a list of cover man come on so what’d you what’d your mom do what’d your mom do for a living so she worked at a davis college she was like an administrator there and then what about your dad where was your dad so my dad he was an air traffic controller so he kind of bounced around the u.s spent a lot of time in florida puerto rico up in washington d so did you see much your dad growing up yeah in the summertime me and my sister go and see him for anywhere from two weeks to 30 days at a time so it was good well so it could be so you you just breezed through like oh went to high school and then graduated you were about to like be in the navy did you play sports yes so played uh baseball soccer and football coming up any good i’d say i was an average athlete nothing special i wasn’t consistent i had good like for baseball i had times when i was doing good and then i’d get in a slump and wouldn’t do so good slump due to bad attitude slump from um i’m trying to think of a good way to word this here slump from not i guess being good enough you know like you get so i was a pitcher i played baseball i played pitcher and i played outfield and i’d have some times where i’d get up there and you know my friends would be cracking jokes at me you’re going to beam the first batter you’re going to beam the first batter you’re going to beam the first batter first pitch i’m being the

first batter i’m like damn you know you’re not you can’t crack crack jokes up on the mound because you just hit somebody with a baseball so you know didn’t pan out too good for me so my junior year i kind of quit baseball and my freshman year i started playing football and i really enjoyed football contact sport hard like a lot of hard work goes into that so i enjoyed football finished that up my you know senior year i played all four years um in soccer i kind of quit playing that when i was probably like around 13 14 years old what kind of what what were your friends doing when you weren’t playing sports getting in trouble getting in trouble so sports you know i was probably like uh i wouldn’t say a bad kid but i was definitely off the path seventh eighth and ninth grade not good things for me you know i got i was picking up trash on the side of the roads i was on probation just doing stupid [ __ ] for what just nothing i care to repeat on the net just uh what do they call that delinquent i was a delinquent and it wasn’t my friends it was me i was a guy that was like one when my friends came around i was the guy instigating and kind of leading the charge on doing what kind of music were you listening to i just whatever like country rap rock it didn’t matter just didn’t matter we had the old am fm radios there ain’t nothing that’s it going on there’s a different time yeah you were limited to what you could actually hear yeah was it a small town um yeah so i grew up actually in west sac that was definitely a small town okay so yeah small town smaller high school i went to a high school called river city um it was small did they have wrestling there they had they started a wrestling program i think when i was in about 10th grade there i didn’t i didn’t wrestle i played football and i stayed away from basketball um yeah how was your grades look i don’t i’m willing to venture not they were not good i passed high school by the you know barely past high school so it wasn’t good for me i didn’t pay attention had good teachers always giving you good advice i was just not into learning so you’re a little bit of a troublemaker right do you think when you were being a troublemaker do you think you were doing it for attention do you think you were doing it for the thrill do you think you were doing it for adrenaline like why do you think you were doing it i i think when i was a truck which i was i think of a lot of it what i was doing to sort of prove to myself and my friends that i was like uh uh tough like type things like i don’t care i’ll do this like that kind of thing when i think back as to why i did dumb [ __ ] which i did plenty of i think that’s why a lot of it was like to prove that i was a quote and i’m putting in big air quotes here tough because the stuff i was doing was by no stretch of the imagination tough yep i’d say i fall in that same category trying to prove something just doing and i got a journal adrenaline rush out of doing those dumb things and it took a long time to get out of my system so you said that was mostly sixth seventh eighth ninth grade seventh eighth and ninth yeah by 10th grade were you kind of a little bit more squared away turn on the corner yes yep did you feel did you have some run-ins with the law that kind of straightened you back out probation and picking up trash on the side of the road kind of squared me away real quick you gotta wear the little orange vest you’re in the van with all the rest of the delinquents you’re on the road on saturday and sundays not a not a good situation not a good situation so then you you graduate you barely graduate high school at what point did you think about joining the navy or did you think about the joining the marine corps the army what where where’d you what was the situation with enlisting in the military so i remember one of our my high school teachers told me hey you got three choices when you get out of high school and he’s kind of mentoring us not none of us know it at the time but he’s like hey you can go to college which i highly recommend you can get a job or you can join the military or you can do a combination of one and two and that kind of always stuck with me you know and then as i started going into college like man i just i don’t want to learn i wasn’t ready to learn wait a second so you just skipped right to you’re in college so you when you when you’re still in high school you you didn’t join the navy or join the military while you’re in high school correct he gave you the three options job college military you chose college yes first yep you thought all right did you have any freaking vision of any kind whatsoever you’re just like no sign up for whatever classes they signed me up for yeah so i just signed up for the basic general education stuff you know went for a full semester and then dove into the second semester and that’s where like at one point i don’t know how the recruiter wound up at our door but the recruiter wound up on our doorstep and i started talking to him and where’s the doorstep of what your house of the house so you know you go through and i was like yeah this is something i think i might be interested because your mom called the damn recruiter in center oh she was kicking him out of there oh really she was not having any other recruiters she told him get the hell out of here

was your mom a hippie or something no no she’s a farm girl she grew up on a farm yeah she just didn’t she didn’t want me joining the military but you talked to him i talked to him and was he a navy recruiter navy guy yep navy recruiter did you have any inkling did you have any parents grandparents anything about the military you understood yeah so my grandfather was in the army and he was he never went he was around the world war two air but he never went and served you know he got stationed out uh in alaska somewhere and then my dad was in the air force so i had some small touch points there with some cool stories of you know grandfather being in the military he’s talking about throwing his grenade and the sergeant was telling him that was the best throw ever type thing and then my dad was in the air force your grandfather was getting told you’re going to beam the batter with that girl yeah whacking so then so the guy the recruiter talks to you and at this point you realize college is like a waste of your time yes i’m done with school with school i didn’t enjoy high school and i definitely wasn’t enjoying college at that point which college was it i was just called sac city community college so you’re and you were so you were living at home during this time yes yep living at home working part-time going to college what was your part-time job man i don’t remember what it was i had a couple of jobs growing up like i worked in a a bunch of different little restaurants being a bus boy being a dishwasher um move furniture with a guy named craig who’s great family guy and so we’d get on the road he worked for allied furniture we’d be trucking on down to l.a with furniture on the back of his big old 18-wheeler it was actually a good job it was hard work but it paid good money was paying 10 bucks an hour back then that was that was good money you were kind of the man with 10 bucks an hour the man with 10 bucks an hour yeah and that was a lot better pay than the navy paid you i’ll tell you that back then so how’d the navy recruiter convince you he was just like hey come in and give this a go man and you know so i went through did all the asvab testing he’s like all right we can get you in uh in june timeframe and what what job were you signing up for because you didn’t list did you know about the seals at this point no i didn’t i never i didn’t know what a seal was so i just i was signing up to go to the regular navy to go on a ship to figure life out yup little did i know i was about to get after some bathroom cleaning so so what what like job did he sell you on he didn’t sell me he was just like i mean so i had i grew up with some friends and they you know a lot of people were getting in trouble people were doing drugs all that kind of dumb stuff so i just knew i had the best option for me at that point in my life was to get out of sacramento and go try something different so the job i would i didn’t know what i wanted to do did you go to did you go ud undesignated yes oh damn yeah so i was in so for people that don’t know like in the navy you have a job it’s called your raiding and your job is you know you might be a welder you might be uh a technician or an engine man that’s going to work on engines or you might run a weapon system and they have names for all these different jobs but if you don’t have a job they call it and i remember this from boot camp it was a threat they’d say you keep this up you’re going to go to the fleet ud undesignated it means you have no job no skill you’re just gonna go in there so that threat that i got told was actually what you got signed up for go to the fleet ud undesignated sign me up i’m ready to roll get me out of sack yeah get me out of here yeah so you rolled into boot camp yep rolled into boot camp finished up in uh i want to say right around october time frame so went to boot camp when did you go to boot camp in july 1991 okay and then did you go to orlando no no here in san diego oh you went to san diego that’s right west coast yep so you went you went to boot camp and you just went to boot camp eight week it was eight weeks i think it was so we went to eight weeks of boot camp and then to the fleet oh yeah eight weeks of boot camp then i went to semen training because i was gonna work in deck department that was my own designated i was gonna be you know semen so got trained up for three weeks there and then showed up to a ship sometime and i think november december time frame of 91. bro yeah hey man it’s not that funny that’s crazy dude yeah that’s crazy you must have done good on your ass vabs that guy didn’t try and make you into like whatever some other rates we could get more no that’s crazy dude well that’s in so that was probably my first lesson learned in life hey pay attention in school so you score good on your asvab so you have options right hey when you’re in high school you don’t i didn’t ever really thought about that i just need to make it through but in life you’re going to be given some tests whether you’re going to go work in a fire department a police department you’re going to go in the military and so the better educated you are the more options you’re going to have available to you

and i didn’t do so good so my options were limited yeah that’s one thing i always try and explain when like parents ask me about kids and like what and i think one of the biggest things you can do for a kid besides getting them into jiu jitsu is making them realize that their actions today have impact on the rest of their life absolutely we get little kids and when i say little kids i’m talking me when i was 23 right what i’m doing right now is going to impact where i’m going to be right and so how can you expect a 13 year old or a 15 year old and you know girls might be a little bit smarter than boys it’s possible it seems judging from my own children anyways let me let me let me phrase that because i want to generalize in my personal family it seems like my daughters are a little better at connecting what they’re doing right now with the future than my son who just doesn’t do it as much so yeah that’s a good point when you realize that what i’m doing right now as a kid and it’s not just kids what i’m doing right now as a human is going to impact the way my life goes and you might end up in the fleet ud getting after it so so you do eight weeks of boot camp three weeks of prep semen prep school and then boom you go to a ship yep what was that wake up call like it wasn’t bad it wasn’t bad it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me what in what way yeah just it was it was a lot of hard work you know it’s when you show up in deck department and you’re an e2 you’re getting every you know uh you’re getting all the assignments that are not fun to do you know you’re cleaning bathrooms you’re painting the ship you’re chipping paint off the ship you’re you’re just doing all the things on ship maintenance and so you’re eating some humble pie for breakfast lunch and dinner while you’re doing this it gave me a chance to to kind of grow up a little bit it was good it was hard work roll the sleeves up and get dirty yeah you had time to reflect yeah time to reflect what were you thinking about when you were reflecting i was so when i’m reflecting on that i’m just like hey man can make the best out of this situation so i had one of my buddies that i uh i went through boot camp with we wound up on the same ship chris and me and him just always had competition we got put in the same deck department and every assignment they gave us we’re like running up and down them stairwell ladders just oh dang competing you know completing assignments coming back like hey what else do you got from me like hey you knuckleheads that’s supposed to take you to lunch time we’re like well we’re done give us more that’s awesome man so um it was it was fun we made the best of it you know and we had some good some good leadership on the ship and some bad leadership you got a that was my first exposure to kind of what right looks like what bad leadership looks like um so it was good and you’re taking down all these data points and you’re storing it in your head you know um and probably one of the biggest things i took out of that assignment is we had guys that were super knowledgeable just very good like we had a bm2 and he was super good at being a bowser mate he knew everything how to tie all the ropes all the maintenance he knew everything and he was squared away hard worker looked out for his guys you’re like that’s a dude i want to be like um you know always talk about echelon from hey modeling the correct behaviors that dude was modeling all the right behaviors busted his ass did good things and he was getting promoted while i was on that ship so you’re like ah data point that’s what right looks like same thing with the handful of chiefs that were on that ship just good solid dudes they weren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up get in there with the guys and get to work know like all right check mental note on that so then how long how long was it when you were in the fleet until you heard about the teams yeah so we had a couple guys that didn’t make it through sale training they showed up um became friends with those guys at some point and they told me all about you know basic underwater demolition chill training and i was like damn that’s something i’m interested in so i started training up they told me kind of all the things you need to do to be successful they took me over the obstacle court course showed me all the tricks on how to navigate that thing a lot of technique in the meantime i was getting my application together and submitting everything so when i hit the two-year mark on the ship i’d had my application back i was approved to go to to seal training and everything was dialed in as tight as it could be no matter what i was gonna have to do two years on that ship so you weren’t even close to your two years yet and you already had your application in i would say i had it in right around the probably 13 14 month cycle so you owed whatever whatever those months were the other year or something like that 10 months left yep yep something like that before they’d release you yeah and the cool thing was you know we had two my division master chief was an e9 obviously he was a good dude and then our cmc our command master chief of the of the ship was a good guy and they’re like hey man you work hard you stay out of trouble we’ll make some phone calls we’ll make sure that you get a shot at going to buds and they didn’t have to do that you know they could have been like hey pac sand jack

you want to get off the ship ship get out of the fleet and go to some other program that’s not helping us out they didn’t do that they looked out for me you know working hard staying out of trouble being a good person all those three things were were good you know so again it was kind of like reinforcing good behaviors um so always be thankful for those guys and then uh the guys the the guys that showed up that had been to buds what kind of impression did that give you did you because there’s a weird thing that somehow you have to think that you can actually do it right yeah or you know like for me i was like i can do this which is a really arrogant thing to think right it’s arrogant to think most people quit but i’m gonna be able to do it yeah i wasn’t sure where i was going to shake out on the whole thing be honest with you i didn’t like run long distance and grown up you know we did a lot of sprints in football um and i wasn’t good with pull-ups that so pull-ups i was i definitely sucked at and i was like or i don’t know if i’m gonna be able to do the amount of pull-ups that are needed done so i just started working hard on my pull-ups got on a good running program got on a good swimming program those guys taught me how to do the side stroke and so you know i just get up early in the morning knock all this stuff out go in and either do a weightlifting program and then do my cardio at lunchtime or vice versa and uh every now and then those guys come over and be like hey dial this in work on this look at that so i was i was mentally and physically prepared for first phase on what to expect because these guys had given me so much information um did those guys talk about what happened to them yeah so one of the two of the guys one of the guys made it past hell week another guy was in second phase and he got dropped for a pool comp and then the other guy he was he got up right around the third week mark four week mark in first phase and he got injured and he got rolled out guy got dropped for pool comp in second phase yep and then what would you say the other one was the one guy made it past hell week and something happened when he was waiting to class up her second phase and they dropped him and then the third guy he made it i think to like week three or four and then got hurt or quit he got i think he well he said he got right yeah so you know no one ever quits yeah yeah yeah so you had a pretty good idea of what you’re going into yep because like i can tell you i didn’t have anybody that i didn’t know anyone that went to seal training at all you know because i was in the civilian world so for me i didn’t know what pool comp was i didn’t understand anything it was just a blank open nothing and do nothing but you had a decent idea of what was going to be coming yep yep i good i was i was physically and mentally prepared for first phase did you get your pull-ups squared away i did i actually went in a little better with my pull-ups and you know the deal when you show up and you start classing up you’re starting from scratch again so now you’re from where i came in i was coming back down uh with you know my run times and swim times and all that stuff meaning you were in better shape than what was required yes yeah which is the way you freaking should try and get there yep yep so you show up to buds did you get what you expected yes yeah it was it was full benefit so it was good times what class were you in i was in 194. so we start we classed up i want to say right around january of uh 1994. would you have the did you have problems with anything in buds yeah oh yeah yeah yeah so first phase first phase and third phase were those came a lot more natural to me you know i grew up hunting and fishing and shooting guns and doing all that fun stuff so third phase wasn’t bad first phase i was mentally prepared for second phase i’d never scuba dived i never did any diving and for me that was the hardest phase you know i actually failed a couple events in there like i failed pool comp the the first go round you know and then when i did my retest i passed it and then like every little thing you know you’re doing ditching dawn you’re doing all these little things with scuba tanks and going down and doing stuff like i was jacking it all up and for me my learning style i really have to digest you know what it is i need to do and kind of like visualize it and things were on a quick tempo for guy face and so it wasn’t uh it yeah it wasn’t good for me did you feel like you were on the bubble the whole time like when i filled pool comp i was like all right damn i’m not going to make it through this man you know you’re on the wall of shame that doesn’t help either you’re like looking at brexit you’re like geez you know i failed pool comp too yeah yeah i had our ops guy from trade our ops warrant officer from trade put me through yeah full comp savage yeah he just well you know what’s crazy with pull comp like i’m going through and in my head i had the procedures down and i thought i did good i’m like i’m down there tying the whammy not doing all this [ __ ] and i’m like i’m cool calm and collect i’m going through the procedures and the instructor just yanks me up by the tank

she’s like you failed get on the wall and i was like damn seriously like i’m going through trying to think of what i did wrong i’m like i thought i was good you know but i didn’t know if they were playing games with me or what but i went over on the wall i was like [ __ ] i don’t know if i’m gonna make it that uh that guy that failed me who’s a great guy but when he he’s same thing he had me down there i was down there pool comp was 30 minutes when i went through and i know they shortened it at some point to 20 minutes but when i went through was 30 minutes and he just what he did was was he just uh he ripped my mask off and then he just started doing like a bob and he would bob down he would come down he would just knock the regulator out of my mouth and then he’d go back up and i would grab the regular i put it back in i’d clear it and then he’d knock it out again and he did that for 19 minutes damn and then and i just kept replacing it and every one of those breaths was a nightmare because you’re trying to go get them get the water out of there swallow some of the water and then get a breath and then boom he’d knock it out again and you can’t defend yourself you can’t protect yourself and you can’t panic so i just kept doing it and then at 19 minutes he just comes down and gives me the thumbs up come to the surface and i come up and i’m like i feel fine and he goes he goes you don’t look comfortable down there you fail and i was like okay so i guess that’s that roger that yeah what’s a whammy nut like they just tighten this complex not oh it’s like a multiple knots okay so it’s not like a specific like methodology or is it just like a generally speaking jam so during this evolution called pool competency also known as pool comp will come they want to make sure that you are beyond fully comfortable in the water you will not pass this if you’re not comfortable in the water zero percent chance so what they do is they they cause problems so you have these old-school scuba gear on like jacques cousteau style stuff these big hoses one hose goes in one hose comes out and they’re just like rubber hoses and they start taking these things and they first they start off they knock off your mask they rip off your fins they pull your regulator out and then they start pulling your regulator out and then like undoing your thing and eventually they pull it out and put it behind you pull your regulator behind you and tie it in a knot you got to take your gear off pull the rig over your back untie the knot start breathing again put everything back on in order following the procedures as soon as you get it back on boom they hit you again and so they keep doing this and eventually they give you what’s called a whammy knot which is a knot that you cannot get out you won’t come out so now what you have to do is ditch your rig which means you have to take it off you have to lay it on the bottom of the pool you have to take your weight belt off and place it on top of the tank so they don’t float then you have to kiss your regular or kiss your manifold you kiss your manifold oh no you request permission to go up they give you permission you know you give them a thumbs up they give you like an okay thumbs up then you kiss your manifold and then you blow and go to the surface and kiss your manifold you literally the the part of the scuba tank is called a manifold it’s where the regulator kind of comes out of you kiss that like why i don’t get it because those are the procedures oh that’s the deal okay like you got to follow these directions kind of kiss your man right did you have to kiss your manifesto yeah so you kiss your manifold and then you blow and go which means you’re not gonna give yourself uh an air ambulance by the by the air expanding your lungs and you go to the surface you blow and go to the surface when you get to the surface you give a thumbs up and you say i feel fine and they either say you know good job you passed or they say you looked uncomfortable you failed which for me they said you looked uncomfortable if you failed and then for steve they said you looked uncomfortable you failed uh i would say though one thing that’s different about me was i did good on everything else so when i failed pool comp i was like oh god like this is it i can’t i’m i’m gonna fail super sketched out yeah not me that wasn’t my first time failing so so you like failed like ditching down buddy breathe i was good on the buddy breathe uh ditching dawn and something else i don’t know what else i felt like three things my buddy breathe partner was a freaking wrestler from iowa he was a beast of a guy he was a total freaking panic in the water this dude would take the freaking buddy breathe from me because you’re using one set of scuba tanks he would take it and just breathe off of it for like a long time yeah and then he then i’d be like hey you know like give him a single like hey but i need that right now you know and so he’d give it back to me and as soon as i took one breath he’d be like you know giving me the signal he needs more but you but you passed the second time yep passed it made it out made it made in the third phase and then third phase was uh uneventful easier you know you’re just doing a lot of running swimming and shooting so it was it was that was a lot easier than second phase for me and running you were good

running good i had all my run times down before i went into butt so i wasn’t so concerned about running i was just worried about kind of getting injured swimming what about the open ocean swims good to go no factor no failure did you you you were honor man yeah yeah so and you were firing the gut yeah so the weight is impressive dude yeah the way they worked it is i think we voted the fire in the gut before the honor man results came out you know the class voted that for me and i was like all right that’s awesome and then they’re like hey ward you got honor man too and i was like all right check roger that um well the reason i say that’s impressive is the honor man is usually somebody that’s like it does really well in all the events like running swimming of course and the fire in the gut is usually a guy that like doesn’t it’s a guy that had to kind of gruel through it and gut through it to pass like in my class it was jeff higgs who had hypothermia multiple times like five or six times and he just he he showed back up to buds even though they kicked him out he showed up to class in his dungarees and just kept doing it so he got fire and gut like of course and then honor man was keith camille who’s a total stunt athlete but for you to get both those that’s pretty freaking yeah so how did you even get that i don’t know i don’t know man i don’t know it didn’t feel like it you know were you one of the leading guys were you an e4 at this point so yeah i’d made e4 off the ship before i went to bud so i showed up the buzz and i was an e4 already were you the class leading petty officer like a second class no we had a second class in there and i think eventually we had a you know he got the the guy uh our original lpo he got stress fractures and um had real bad shin splints so he got rolled out and another guy came in and he took over the class lbo stuff so was it what was hell week like for you i’ll tell you what hell week wasn’t it wasn’t as bad as i thought it was gonna be it sucks for everyone i had enough gas in my tank i think i could have went one more day but it you know it was manageable yeah it was manageable we just had a guy on who ended up in sf but he went to buds and he didn’t make it through buds but he said butts was really really hard you know he was like that’s he goes if you’re thinking you’re going to go there you’re going to get what you asked for yeah yeah yeah yeah for me hell week was kind of cool because i wasn’t the best runner i wasn’t the best swimmer and so it was like hard for me like i had to put out super hard to pass those evolutions and i had the fear of failing yeah and and hell week you there’s no time limit on there’s no time limit on the evolutions just keep going and i’m pretty good at keeping going that’s that’s a that’s a good thing i’m good at just keep going no matter what i uh the one thing i remember about helwick is you remember when we were doing steel pier that was one of the coldest points i’d had in my life you know they were hosing us off on that thing and it felt like my damn hip flexors were going to pop off we’re doing flutter kicks and then they’d pop us in the ocean and the ocean had been around 60 degrees but the ocean was way warmer than it’s hot so you’re in there and you’re like oh man this is great keep us in the ocean for a little longer you know and they pop you back up there back and forth and man i could barely walk when we got off of that damn that damn pier so the pure evolution in hell week was was horrible and then the instructor is just wrenching down on that rope when you’re carrying the boats to and from child that [ __ ] sucked you mean wrenching down on the rope so that the thing is pulling down on your head on your head yes yeah i thought my little neck was gonna snap off there were they jumping from boat to boat when you were we had instructors in our boat i don’t remember them jumping to another boat but we were carrying them around instructors were jumping from boat to boat damn and like i remember hearing my freaking neck bones just grinding yep and i was like this doesn’t seem like it’s good for me but oh well yeah so honor man and firing the gut guy and of course you check into team five and no one cares about any of that no one cares you’re like hey new guy grab go clean the [ __ ] or you’re like damn i thought i got away from these [ __ ] or something they’re following me everywhere and you checked into team five yep checked into team five in august 1994 and then back then you know we started to go through sdt so they pop you in a platoon and you start doing your platoon work up but you also gotta detach from your platoon and go over and go through uh sealed tactical training oh no kidding so okay so but your your platoon work up started our platoon workup we it was almost we were a couple months before starting the workup but we were broken off and and going to stt and the platoon had just started some things when we had finished up and you went to the group stt didn’t you no team i think you know it was just the team just to your team okay just our team yep i thought they had already combined because eventually they combined yep where every guy went directly to a group well not directly but everyone went through stt together for a while you know they still do now but there was a time when they started i thought they started around that time so with you as just guys from team five yep yep was it run by team five it was wrong by team five are trying to get yeah that’s

the same thing that i did and well did you have any idea what your job was gonna be no i got you know putting up a tune and uh initially i was a a dub a dub guy in there and i worked in air the problem i had with aw is i was left-handed and uh we’d had one of our guys in training and he’s like hey man you’re that dude’s left-handed why do you guys have them shooting at aw because you don’t have all the rounds or the brass and um the link yeah link are going out to the right which is going right across your field of fire and then you’re in your face and stuff so like hey put them on rear security so got on rear security for that first platoon and then worked in there and dabbled around and first lieutenant and uh ordinance what kind of platoon was it just a spec ops spec offsplatoon yep yep so we were deploying out to a little island out there in the pacific did you uh how was how was like your platoon leadership the first platoon was not was not good so i got to see hey what wrong looks like you know and it was kind of funny like our uh was a classic case of you know our oic was was a good dude but i think he was too smart for his own good and uh he he was a little more concerned with pt and being in good shape and he was a phenomenal athlete like one of them triathlete guys but it came at the cost of showing up to dive evolutions on time she came at the cost of being a good tactical leader down on the ground which is what everyone’s hungry for um so i think he kind of lost you know a lot of our guys respect and he was kind of hard-headed you know that classic uh i’m smart than everyone else type thing so it didn’t go over good and it was just a it was weird you know it was weird and i didn’t realize how you know trying to find of a good way to wear this it wasn’t an ideal platoon right you don’t realize that until you get into a really good video yeah for you you didn’t know anything different correct so for you that’s just the way a platoon was yep yep and the scary thing about that is you get such a big impression made on you by your first platoon yeah that if you’re not careful you can think that other platoons are jacked up because they’re not like your first platoon yeah you know you’re so impressionable yeah yeah so it was it was interesting so the there was a huge difference between my first platoon and third platoon or my the third platoon i did we were like the best platoon of the team and it felt good like the leadership was dialed in they were balanced out our platoon chief was squared away well respected he was good tactically he was good administratively like that’s the dude i want to be like you know that wasn’t your third platoon that was my third platoon you know my second platoon was was better than my first still a lot of room for improvement you know and were you rear security did you move up to point man or something yeah yeah i moved up to a point man at some point i think my second platoon the third platoon i was running point running point you’re tall for a point i know how tall are you yeah um six two yeah cause you have a dub written all over you till they find out you’re left-handed and what were you you know just to give people a reminder this is the 90s so we don’t have a lot of assets nope we don’t have a lot of money nope we don’t have we’re not really doing any real missions barely uh you know some guys like gardner went to somalia uh but that was a real rare occurrence yeah so what we would do is train get ready go on deployment kind of party um just kind of like what the what the scene was yeah i was kind of funny because when i showed up to the team gardner was already in their ear he had a couple platoons on his belt i’m on the damn quarter deck watch and uh this dude has a long name he’s still in so i won’t say his name but he had a long name and i’m like attention in the team five compound someone so you know reports of the quarterback and i butchered his name what do you think’s calling me on the damn phone you know gardner and he was a hard case man hey uf the new guy say his name right [ __ ] man that was a pretty good pretty good gardener invitation yeah it was and i was like damn i’m not getting out of the compound tonight without getting taped up and throwing in a damn mill van you know yeah so but so this was 90 yeah because at that time actually yeah at those years you were starting to get a migration to team five from like for instance from team one if people wanted to leave team one if they didn’t like the stalog yeah and so there’s a whole like gang of guys that went down to team five i remember that to just get yeah to have some freedom no fun one yeah migrate down the street gardner was always at team five so he was but he was just like why would i want me more like why would i want to be over there where there’s a bunch of rules that you have to follow [Laughter] yeah oh it was funny man well you could always find gardner out when you’re doing uh working in the desert because you just look for some smoke look for fire look for fire there’s gardner he’s lighting some [ __ ] on fire

gardner guy so uh you do your third platoon yeah and then what what are you thinking what do you think about your life at that point so what year is it so this is uh i finished my third platoon in 99 and uh so i was going through a divorce had a kid and i was like hey i gotta hit the reset button so i talked to our master chief our cmc i was like hey man he’s like hey we want to bring you in here and be the training cell lpo and i was like hey man i got a lot of baggage right now i need to break contact here go reset so i got orders over to um our special boat team at the headquarters element and i got put in their training cell and we were basically setting up operational readiness exercises just like we used to run yep so so you went just so everyone understands you went from instead of being a teen training cell which you’re gonna be gone all the time doing training trips you go to a boat training and then the ore training so you’re gonna be home a lot more yes yep and so at that point i was ready to go back to school so as soon as i got there i was already enrolled back in college on like a a one-year i don’t know what you’d call it but you know they have the military program so i was going to school saturday and sunday to knock out all my upper-level units from my bachelor’s degree and then i was working on my lower level units at the same time so i did i winded up finishing up my degree in about three years and so i’m i’m there going into the training we’re home away trips every now and then every now and again and uh it was good man i had good leadership in there these you know the special warfare combatant craft crewmen them dudes are squared away and so i got to learn a lot about the boats and that playoff or it helped me out later on because you’re really learning you know hey how far can these things go load capacity all those key tactical things that matter when it comes into a mission planning process for training or for a mission yeah and what’s good is you start to relate those to helicopters aircraft and vehicles and so it gives you a better sense because as a young team guy i was really lucky i was a co i was a communicator i was a calm guy so i was always involved in the planning more than my peers right the point man might plan the the end you know the route but like i was like okay here’s what we’re gonna here’s what we’re gonna do for communications during the insert and then once we’re on target so i was more involved in planning which was super lucky and then i did args where i was working with the marine corps and working with the big navy so once again what’s the distance that this helicopter can take us to insert us what’s the distance that we can get with our boats what’s the distance that our ribs once again the boats how far can they take us what’s their capacity so i was very lucky that i got that opportunity because once you realize how to plan with assets yeah it’s a big it transfers to all different assets makes you makes you smarter across the board yep yep so all that was good so in uh while i was there at the boat at the boat dead i was like hey not much going on in the 90s i was kind of like ready to punch out of the military and so i started uh putting in my application for the chp california highway patrol went through all the interview process all the testing got my letter of acceptance and i was kind of just on standby i was going to transition out and then in august of that year in 2001 i made chief i don’t know how i made chief that you know i wasn’t expecting to put it on it was like a total shocker you know and then in september 2001 911 happened i was like all right [ __ ] i’m staying in man we’ve been waiting a long time to get in that basement i’ve been training for whatever it would have been seven years yeah yeah so you know from there i worked with uh the cmc over team five to get back there and he’s like hey i got a platoon chief slot open if you want him i was like hell yeah you rolled right into a platoon chief slot yep after september 11th yes so i went back to the team i left like a few months early t.a.d to go back to team five until my orders could catch up and then got over there and like i think right around january february timeframe we started forming up our platoon getting ready for a 12-month work upside though so you called the cmc at team five yep and said hey bro well yeah i wouldn’t i wouldn’t say i was saying hey bro but the other master chief i had with me at the boat debt he was my second platoon chief and he’s like hey i’m working with with jimmy over here at team five you want to they got a spot open you want i was like hell yeah i want it dude my point is like hey man build some good relationships with people yeah yeah build some good relationships with people because that pays off you know and that means you how do you build good relationships not by kissing ass by working hard by doing a good job that’s how you build good relationships when i checked into team seven after september 11th is actually like whatever two years after september 11th my the the co there which first of all the detailer who i was friends with sent me to the next deploying team so when i left i had to go to college for a semen animal program when i left college i went to the next deploying team yeah that’s not luck bro

and then when i got to the team the commanding officer who i had also worked for in the past yeah fired a platoon commander and put me in as a platoon commander whatever three months before deployment damn that’s that’s just you know that’s based on my past performance and relationships for sure but the relationships are built on the fact that i worked hard and was trustworthy to get the job done yep so you never plus you just never know who you’re going to be working with no you know don’t burn any bridges man don’t don’t burn any bridges yeah and just going back to what you’re saying there that your credibility in the teams is everything your reputation yeah you don’t want to have a reputation of being a you know a japanese yeah cuckoo for cocoa puffs you don’t want to be that yeah and your reputation is is a i don’t know what the word to describe it it is a heavy thing that sticks with you it’s i should say it’s a sticky thing it’s a sticky thing and if you have good reputation it’ll stick with you if you have a bad reputation it’ll stick with you it can take people years to overturn a bad reputation and interestingly it can also take people years to ruin a good reputation yeah like a person with a good reputation can make mistakes and people like oh yeah don’t worry about it’s fred you know fred’s good to go yeah or a person with a bad reputation can make one little slip up and people are like you got to be kidding me we need to get rid of this guy pull this right and get him out of here yeah i like and i i hate to say that because right that’s like that’s like what that’s like political and all this stuff but it’s just the reality of the situation and there’s there’s a reason for that because look human beings are going to mess up but if you i guess the difference is you have a good a good person with a good reputation they earn that reputation by consistent good performance yeah and eventually that reputation stands on its own and therefore if they make a mistake which everyone’s going to make mistakes when they make a mistake when they make a mistake which they will people go oh you know like guess what you know what they’ve done they’ve done 100 good things that’s how they built that reputation now here comes a bad one all right we’ll we’ll carry on whereas if you’ve done a bunch of bad things and now you do something bad you’re you’re good you don’t have any leg to stand on yeah yep you’re screwed so that reputation thing it’s every it’s everywhere it’s everywhere but man in the teams it’s a it’s a big thing it’s a big thing it’s damn near everything it’s damn near everything it’s damn near everything your rep uh so you roll in now you’re a platoon committee a platoon chief at team five yep getting ready to deploy yes yep at what point do you realize you guys are going to iraq we didn’t know until probably january 2003 so we’re you know i’m there i get there in october 2001 january february 2002 we start our 12 month long work-up cycle and it’s going through and it looks like hey we’re going into iraq you know um we no one really understood the scale of that thing how big it would wind up being how many years it would wind up being you know so when they told us hey you’re going over we’re like hell yeah man this is awesome you know because you like everybody else in the teams was worried that there would be a three-month war and you’d miss the whole thing exactly exactly which is so hard to explain to people especially now that we’ve been at war for almost 20 years straight yeah it’s hard to explain to people how much it meant to go to war when there was no war going on yeah it was everything like you were just like man this is gonna be awesome you know and everyone’s getting prepped you know you know like i don’t know what to expect they everyone was thinking they had chemical weapons you know we were going through all kinds of mop drills with our cbr gear and just going through everything our eod guys were getting everyone tuned up so we were dialed in um and you’re looking at the freaking mop uniforms oh yeah and it’s like got a elastic draw string at the waist and like you’re thinking wait a second this is supposed to keep me alive ain’t happening whatever let’s rock and roll did you ever think that you ever take that charcoal freaking light laden suit and be like hey how wait you’re saying this thing’s gonna save me it’s got some elastic drawstring around the ankles and that’s supposed to keep me good to go yeah that mop suit didn’t have a good reputation dude for sure it was it was lacking i don’t know what the u.s government paid for those mop suits and what level of security they provided us but i don’t have a lot of confidence i guarantee it was a lot and the gas masks dude like one of the chances yep but that’s what we were getting told we were gonna do and not one single guy said no because we i did one op where we mopped up because we thought we were hitting a target that had

allegedly some whatever chemical weapons and you know what everyone did everyone got jocked up everyone put those gas masks on everyone put those stupid freaking uniforms on i’ll tell you what we had quite a few missions when we got over to iraq where we were going around with some of those three letter agencies looking all over the place seeing what was around and everything we saw was uh was old it was like he’d been there left you know nothing new at all you know um as far as cbr cbr yeah [ __ ] like all the facilities and everything was like nothing’s been here for a long ass time so so all right well let’s so you get done with your work up you find out you’re going to iraq in january and you guys are going on deployment in like april or something yep yep april time frame so i team three was already over there and just going back to your relationships piece we had a couple guys on the platoons that were dialed in with some team three guys and they started sharing information you know back and forth hey here’s what’s going on here’s what to expect so that gave us a really good idea on what we needed to prep for and so right around april time frame we deploy over to kuwait and we’re staging in kuwait waiting to go into iraq team three’s i think wrapping things up at that point and we might already turned over with them um and we’re actually in um kuwait for a a handful of weeks there i want to say right around three weeks and we actually did our first stop out of kuwait into iraq on 53s yeah that was that sounded like a crazy op it was good it was a good shakeout nothing nothing happened but we planned for 96 hours we went through all of our helicopter rehearsals you know and it was a big op we loaded up those uh our dpvs dozen patrol vehicles and we went in with a big package and we what was your mission to go take down the the dam get control get control of hadith it wasn’t hadith it was somewhere up north korean okay so uh we went up there and it was a long ass flight in there and we’re all jacked up on the cat now you think you’re going to get in the [ __ ] you know we’re flying there we got our e r plan laid out in case a helicopter gets shot down we got our mop gear with us yeah and we’re roping down all 53s on the dam with our cbr gear you look like you know michelin snowman were you massed up when you when you fast roped we were not the the game plan was secure the dam get everything set up get everything cleared and then they had some tunneling systems in there because it was a dam they wanted us to go inside the tunneling system see if there’s any you know weapons of mass destruction or chemical weapons in there so the once we secured the dam which it took a little while because you don’t really think about how big a dam is on the inside there’s a lot of [ __ ] going on in there um is this a one platoon op this is so we had like a tune plus no we had platoon plus we had our platoon our mobility element and we also brought in some stv bubbas which was good they’d already been there and they cleared a ton of ships small you know little what do you call the little boats out there dows thousands they cleared a ton of dials so these guys had already had some reps under the belt so we were excited to uh to get them on the off of this but yeah we went in there uneventful cleared it checked the tunnels nothing there then we you know waited there a couple days and we uh pulled out but that that’s a that’s like a big that’s the big mish that we were planning for in the 90s like that type of thing yeah like hey here it is yeah you’re gonna helo in this is the big mish and plus that was your first combat operation yes yep it was a big deal it was like it felt good to get that under our belt in the mid and we we um it was a good shake out for planning because you know you’re over there going through the 96 hour planning cycle um a lot of good lessons learned first time using 53s on a mission like that um so it was good you know in in one of the things i jacked up is meeting another guy or medical guy who squared away dude he stayed in the teams for a while but we roped down and we had our cbr gear strapped on our sides and so as we’re coming down we got that damn molly pack you know you got to weave it in and out of the the nylon i didn’t weave mine in and out like i was supposed to so i went through a couple but i left like the bottom undone and i don’t know if i hit the wheel or the skin of the aircraft but that thing that damn thing came popping off of course i had my mvgs in there oh the helo you know and the uh the backpack goes over the side same thing with the other cat that was with me we think the world will wash you know put it into the river and stuff they never always talked about hey it’s not a big deal you can you get you know write it off as a combat it’s a combat loss that’s what everyone was talking about you know like all right yeah i guess it’s not the big deal combat last was like dude the skipper was not happy the combat loss write-off was not a thing well what’s really not a thing is trying to do a night clearance without nods you got night vision we white lighted everything then okay so back then we’re coming up on the dam we’re white lighting it and then even the clearance on the inside so you’re lucky in that respect what do you mean saying if you you see you said you lost your nods right oh yeah yeah yeah i’m saying you’re lucky that you didn’t

yeah that you weren’t you didn’t need him yeah yeah yeah yes that is accurate because that would have freaking you’d have just been blind walking around yep waiting to yeah walk into a wall yeah it was it was just buddy along with somebody yeah it was a good lesson learned from me especially being a platoon chief did you uh that little molly weave how many molly weaves did you make like two i think i had about three in there i think there was round five and i just left out the last two and snapped it in snapped her in yep snapped her in get her done she’s good not so good not a good situation and the skipper was pissed oh he was hot man i was on the mat with him like he’s you know calling me to task on that one yeah luckily like i said you had a good reputation like if you had a bad reputation at that point that would have really sucked yeah yeah would have really sucked yep so that was your first big mish and then what but that was out of kuwait that was adequate yep and then what happened then we moved up into baghdad we had a little camp set up out there we called it camp posey you know we had a i don’t know if you know posey but a good warrant officer vietnam dude yeah yeah good good stories man the best and we had another guy we called him ranger and uh those two dudes came in they helped build out the camp you know we took a ranger with us on uh on quite a few missions good dude and then we just started operating out of posey into baghdad yeah we’re right there at the baghdad international airport and what i was impressed with looking back what i am impressed at looking back is you guys were freaking super proactive in getting missions started like you guys were super proactive in forming relationships and and getting the intel that you needed from various sources and and starting to do a lot of operations yeah we set the foundation for you guys you guys came in and did like four times more than what we did but we were definitely laying that foundation and one of the things we had our tash unit senior enlisted leader um he was dialed in and he came from damn neck and so he had a lot of good relationships and you know you know damn nick was over there at that point and so he was tied in with a lot of the three letter agencies which opened up the door with quite a few missions shared intelligence so that really helped set that up that foundation for us and then from there we’re starting to get you know some good missions and hell even if you’re getting one mission you’re like all right we’re good to go you know because you think we all think we’re gonna be out of there within six seven months like the whole thing’s shutting down yeah um but obviously it didn’t yeah so what was your you guys got in some gun fights too yeah what was it what was the first one like what do you remember our first shootout was kind of funny we were dialing in our standard operating procedures for a shootout um which we hadn’t done like you know we went through training training was good but it was nowhere near the level that you know we provided our guys once we got over to trade it wasn’t anywhere near that so we identified a few of the gaps we had and we went we developed we brought on the platoon we brought in guys with experience and we developed our standard operating procedure for what we’re going to do inside a house if we get in a shootout and it was basically suppress fire cover crash maneuver using a cover and move we’re going to deploy some crashes someone’s going to be suppressing fire while all that’s happening so on this particular mission we went in and uh the house the guy marked for us was the wrong house we didn’t know that we want imagery everything looked dialed in tight and they mark it it looks good we go in breached the door so we gone explosive so now the neighborhood’s starting to wake up we clear the house i kept everything on the clock we cleared the you know two-story house in under two minutes and we get the call on the net hey reset the the actual target house is down the street so we reset reconsolidate you know one’s on the left twos on the right gear check you know sensitive equipment check everyone’s good come back out of the house grab our wood ladders patrol back down the road and the right house is marked and we go up there and it was the right house it had a double security screen door we go explosive on it we got a failed breach so now it’s turning into a big construction project guys are up with not to mention just so everybody knows like after you hit the first house everybody in a two mile square radius knows what’s happening and if you’re in that neighborhood you know exactly what’s happening so if you’re a bad guy in that neighborhood you are now alert and ready to be attacked and you’re prepping yep exactly so now we got a fail breach we’re on the outside of the structure the preachers are working through getting through that heavy security screen door we’re kind of raking windows we’re deploying crashes in there to keep people away from the front door we finally get entry clear the first floor everything’s good we’re dialed in and back then we always pressed into our guys hey you make the call if you stack on the stairs you’re the number two guy you got three or four more guys behind you make the call and go up the stairs we don’t want to just have this lag period where you’re waiting for me or the oic to make a decision tell you what to do decentralized command so the guys stack on the stairs i’m right there i just came out of the the

kitchen area they start moving up the stairs and there’s a young kid upstairs with an ak-47 so he’s like 10 feet away and he’s just full auto and our guys are on the stairs they’re trying to return fire but the volley’s just all around our dudes man um i’m yelling at the guys get back down here they come back down the stairs and then we go through our shootout procedures which which pay dividends they work we couldn’t shoot get at the guy because the guy’s on the second deck and now we’re down below him so there’s no way to get the direct fire so our guys are exposing themselves a little bit trying to get an angle here guys are deploying crashes we deployed about five six crashes there’s no more gunfire we’re like all right check um we’re going up so you know we go up the stairs the kid had actually dropped his gun we clear the uh the second deck there’s frickin smoke everywhere so it was just i mean we’re gagging there’s so much smoke in the house go up there the guy’s not there we’re like where the hell did this guy go and um our guys go out on the on the on the deck patio and they’re clearing and now we’re looking really hard like where is this guy and the kid is a young kid hiding behind curtains and you know the guy’s there and then boom our guys muzzle strike the guy get him into the center of the room we cuff him up and that was that so uh anyone get hit by him by the bad guy you know or our guy heading up the stairs first the first guy up he had a grazer over his mvgs um it actually hit his his mount um but he he didn’t get hit it was like it was a total pulp fiction pulp fiction scenario yeah like he had angels on his because that could have been a bad night we gotta have two three guys hitting that one volley and no one got hit we we were extremely lucky how many how many rounds do you think the guy shot one mag or two mags did he get a reload no no he didn’t get a reload i think he got a full mag off somewhere in between 25 and 30 rounds damn dude yeah from 10 feet yeah yep close it’s close i mean i don’t know how he he probably missed because he was on full auto you know all those things yeah you’re just bouncing all around when you go on full auto um in the dude you know the guy was just a total douche douchebag that shot at us to him he’s like i love george bush i love coca-cola and they’re like you just shut up man so yeah we cuffed them up and that was that was emotional when you’re getting shot at that close and you’re dealing with a bad dude that just tried to kill you you know those uh emotions get jacked up pretty high um we had some good teammates there i mean i was i wanted to kill the dude um but you we can’t do that you know as much as you want to you’re gonna it’s not gonna be good but we got them cuffed up took them over to our uh detention facility and you know the guys did good that night and they did good because of the training the talk throughs that we did going through the checklist going through multiple rehearsals every time these missions came up all that panned out all that worked in our favor for that one event for that one shootout that all worked for us you know having uh having contingency plans which is that what you guys had yeah and it’s what you know we have all kinds of contingency plans i mean every i ad every immediate action drill that we do is a contingency plan like oh if we get shot at from over there so we’re gonna do a good shot from over there so we’re gonna do so having those contingency plans it just makes it so that you don’t really have to think decentralized command just works everyone knows what to do they know what the objective is they make it happen and so you can make very little call very very you can give very little direction and things still will proceed the way they’re supposed to yeah what about um what about your next what about your next gun fight so our next one i think was our uh our helicopter so we’d gone in after this guy and he um he shot an rpg and killed an army guy and so we were going in after him and so we came and we did quite a bit of helo work that deployment so we came in with our helicopters and our game plan was to you know land on the x assault the building and get grab the guy and go and he was out in this uh i think he was actually out in fallujah ramadi so there were some palm groves out there so on insertion we come in and and the helicopters went to the wrong house you know in our mvgs back then they’re kind of they’re not good so we could see how that so we we sat down and we’re like this is not the right house get back up they get back up do one orbit come back in to the right house land us we dump off clear the building everything’s unavailable we get the bad guy now as we’re going through all the uh sensitive site exploitation we’re trying to grab as much as we can on this guy you know we get a report as we’re breaking out that hey there’s two or three armed guys coming your way in through this palm grove so the helicopters were a ways out but we had a gunship overhead and so we set up a quick hasty perimeter little foot shook and we’re going to wait to see if these guys came into us well they never came into us they sent something was wrong and they bagged out so we get set up in the palm grove where we’re calling in the helicopters at this point to come pick us up and as we’re setting up the perimeter you know someone calls out over the radio hey man there’s a tracer fire that just went by and no one else has seen it there’s one dude paying attention in his field of fire sees one round come in and so he calls it out so we

kind of go on hyper alert here we’re waiting we’re watching and as the helos are coming in this dude they were probably like 300 yards from us they start opening up with triple a fire over our lz now the only thing protecting us at that time is we had a palm grove and the lz’s here and the house is somewhere over here so this tracer fire is coming over the palm grove and the the issue we had is like um communicating this back up the chain we had our tashkent commander on the ground with us on this one and some people just didn’t see this [ __ ] some people didn’t see the tracer fire coming and i picked it up pretty damn quick once the guy called it out you’re like holy [ __ ] that’s a good volley of fire we’re gonna get a helicopter shot down if we’re not careful here so anyways the helicopter comes in picks up the package grabs our headquarters on it they bounce out and then we just go over to our secondary lz which was you know pretty easy but uh it was very uncomfortable knowing that you got triple a fire coming over the top of you you know when these helos get shut down that’s going to be a long night especially out here in this rural area we didn’t have any backup and then what was your op tempo like it wasn’t bad it wasn’t like we were going out dinging targets every night but we would uh we got a point there where we were going out at least twice a week i’d say once or twice a week yeah more like twice a week but in between that we were doing other stuff like you’re doing mobility stuff you’re going to do a little bit of sniper stuff here and there um which which was which was good and then just going back on decentralized command you know the the other cqc or close quarter combat shootout we had you know our guys were going up to this uh house and man there’s freaking telephone wires everywhere man and you know how that is you’re like there’s no rhyme or reason how do you guys live with this just wires everywhere you know and we got to hop over this damn gate yeah you know to get to this house so literally like 30 or 40 wires yeah like you could be just total mayhem wires yep and we we planned for we actually picked it up on the imagery we’re going through our rehearsals and we’re like hey there’s wires everywhere as you’re coming over at this spot right here be careful don’t get your nods hit on them don’t you know we got to be quiet so we start going up and over we get the entry team over and actually we had our full squad into the courtyard because the distance from the gate to the actual house was a lot it was a big house so we needed assaulters up front so we get up front in the uh you know the entry teams going through you know our breachers going through laying the charge on the door going through all the procedures and the next scenario he gets is bang bang bang doors rounds are coming through the door and so you know our breacher we borrowed him from another platoon he was dialed in good dude um you and leif know him but so he’s he’s laying the charge and he’s using his cover right if he’s in the center of the door the dude’s getting shot with the 45 cow pistol but he’s off to the side using his covers like he’s supposed to sets the charge our guys our other guys holding security they go through our standard operating procedures they’re awake in the windows they’re shooting in through the window to get the person away from it and they’re dumping crashes in to keep the person away kick them out away from the doorway so boom we blow it of course there’s a propane tank there so the whole damn doorway catches on fire so now we can’t you know we got a failed breach air we can’t get in there the door is open but there’s just this massive propane fire going on so we got to go to our secondary door and get over the secondary door and these these dudes got a damn drop bar on there so we i mean it took us forever to get in it was a [ __ ] show we get entry into the into the doorway and there’s like a family of eight people sleeping in there and they’re like they’re still sleeping like how is it possible we just blew in your door there’s gunshots going on and you are you all are still like physically sleeping like zombies you know so anyways we got in there clear the building that sounds so unbelievable if you haven’t been to iraq before like you can’t explain things like that yeah you can’t you can’t explain things like that no to get an explosive breach a failed breach shotguns going off of fire and the team this freaking family just racked out yep they’re rocked out yeah they were zombies man would did you ever catch the guy that was shooting through the door yeah it was uh it was actually the i think it was uh one of the guy’s wife shooting through there and she’s like hey i thought you thought you were looters you’re like coming in to rob our house we’re like yeah no we’re not looters you know but um anyways we got that situation all squared away that’s a rough that well when i say that’s rough one that’s the kind of mission where things can go really sideways like if you start fragging that room oh man which you could easily do yeah to say him look we just got shot at i’m throwing some frag grenades into this room and actually you know you got a family family that are getting blown apart by frag grenades because the woman was trying to defend her house from looters which again may sound like a crazy story and it could also be the absolute 100 truth i don’t know i’m not gonna try and you know replay the situation that you lived through but yeah that could be legit yeah and you have no idea when you’re out there and that’d have been that would have been horrible yeah it’s been a freaking nightmare yeah yeah well any other big missions that uh that you guys did didn’t you guys do like some some like essay 7 recovery or something

yeah yeah yeah so we i forgot about that one so we’re out we went out there you know working with some other intel people out there and they’re like hey we’re going after some of this sensitive stuff here we you know anyways so we went and hit this farmhouse we got good air coverage overhead of us no one’s there the place is a ghost town we start going through our sensitive site exploitation and man it was like a gold mine you know the the perimeter around it was just this big huge cache and so we found a truckload of you know uh sa-7 and sa-14 missiles a ton of rpgs uh rock propel grenades and launchers and so things started getting a little spicy around there so we’re calling a little bit of a fire support and we actually had to turn that over to an army unit who came in the next day during daylight and they started going through the field and there was like i mean it was like radios it was like enough [ __ ] to outfit a damn army you know um so that was a that was a good op nothing happened but we found a lot of stuff so you know you leave there feeling pretty good about it and that so that’s a good that was a freaking great deployment for you guys especially in like whatever 2003 that that deployment was pretty freaking epic oh man we left there and we’re like we’re the man yeah we’re never coming back here again yeah because no one ever no one ever thought you’d be back there again no no no it was good and so the one thing we did that was really good with our platoon that we learned from the team three guys when we relieved them is we shared information you know i was back with you know your old your brother there team one communicating everything i had back to him hey here’s what we’re doing here’s what worked here was here’s what didn’t work here’s some things to think about with mobility and you just try to share as much information as possible you know yeah that way the next guy’s coming in they know what to expect and they can adjust training come in at a high level ready to to rock and roll i know when you guys came in you guys did i don’t know four times four or five times the amount of missions we did for that development yeah well you get you guys were pushing a lot of information back to us i know you guys were feeding my platoon chief and my platoon chief was already like a mobility kind of a mobility dude and so he was just amped bro we were doing freaking uh freaking tire change drills like nascar like a pit crew i mean it was just like it was on but here’s the funny thing we were we were on an ore prior to that deployment so like maybe three months before going on deployment we were on an or we we did our ore shipboard and we went and we were doing hydrographic reconnaissance of red beach up at camp pendleton with lead line and slate dude like it was the world hadn’t caught up yeah right the world hadn’t caught up yet and thank god you know like after that we were we we found some humvees we borrowed humvees from like the seabees or something and started running up running you know training ops down at like the old ntc the old naval training center where they had a bunch of old buildings that were all dilapidated but we started running little ops in there with our you know and our task unit commander had actually been in iraq on the push-up so he had some experience our tasking to sca had also been in iraq on the push-ups so he had some experience um which was awesome and they’re both great guys so we were we and we were just going off of the reports of how you guys were doing stuff and we were just like okay this is what they’re doing cool this is what we’re going to do this is what they did this is how they regular vehicles okay this is how we’re going to rig our vehicles so that’s kind of what we did and then i know you and i did a turnover and it wasn’t we we did it like bahrain right yeah bahrain that’s where i was at we had a platoon left up there and our mobility element was left up there yeah and we came back a few weeks early out of bahrain just because there was enough room to bring everyone in so yeah so we sat down did an awesome turnover with you guys with you and your oic yeah who’s a freaking great dude that was awesome and i was kind of like i knew who you were yeah just from i guess being around but then that was that was when i was like that’s when i first really remember getting a working like you know i might have seen you at mcp’s or something you know but the first time i ever actually got a working i think that was the first time i ever did some kind of working uh i think it was the first time i crossed paths with you yeah yeah you always hear the name out there i mean i was roommates with taco and taco had nightmare stories with you and chris he’s like those guys man they need to quit beating us up we were we had the gang mentality for sure for sure um so what’d you do when you got home from that deployment so got back off that deployment and uh there was another platoon chief slot open so that seems he was like hey man you the guy that was going to come doesn’t look like he’s going to come you want to do another one i was like hell yeah i do so then you know started form up another platoon got a bunch of new guys in new orc and start another 12-month work-up cycle dang that’s you got freaking two platoon chief slots yep yep it was awesome man that’s the best job in the world the task unit spot is is good yeah the tune chiefs saw

it’s a lot oh yeah platoon chief i mean i always say like e5 in a platoon i was just talking to some guys the other night that were e-files from studios like hey you’re good man e5 and platoon is an awesome place to be and it is it is it’s an awesome place to be and hopefully you reach a point where you go i can take care of those awesome guys yep and that’s when you go okay i’m going to be an lpo or i’m going to be a platoon chief or i’m going to be a you know if you go the officer route you can try and go that officer out but at some point you realize the best thing i can do as a to be a good e5 to take care of the other ve5s means i got to get promoted i got to take care of them and the best way i can do that is to increase my rank a little bit yeah so i have a little bit more sway yep we don’t have to do dumb [ __ ] yep you know i’m complaining about my boss you know you can only complain so much before you got to actually do something about it yeah absolutely and it’s rare that someone gets to do platoon chiefs back to back like that i mean no it’s rare that a guy even gets to do two platoon chiefs slots that’s freaking rare yeah we’re getting better at it now that’s one of the things that i know what the headquarters level they’re really looking at you know before the our um our rating really took control over hey you can only do one you got to move out another guy’s got to move in and they started looking at that because you know we had we were losing quite a few tactical leaders like their guys are getting fired why are they getting fired hey they need more seasoning yeah hey let’s grab let’s keep two three guys that are doing really good to keep that uh god what’s the word i’m looking for continuity continuity at the team and these are dialed in people you know you can count on them and uh move it forward so we’ve gotten better with uh with that over the last 10 years so those guys it’s common now for your top two or three guys to stay of the team even if they pick up senior chief they’re gonna stay in that platoon chief yeah that’s awesome yep that’s awesome and so then you do another work up you must have been freaking dialed now you’re doing a second platoon chief workup the second platoon chief was way easier than the first hell yeah the first one so i didn’t do a platoon lpo so i was sucking on a fire hose okay you know what i’m saying oh yeah yeah so you know setting up the platoon there’s just if you had never worked in training either nope not a team see i’ll tell you man my whole you know that’s probably you know my first three platoons the leadership strategy tactics we were talking about my first three platoons i learned these certain things right and i wrote about it leadership strategy and tactics but where that was like where all these seeds got planted yeah but i’ll tell you what you want to know where the fertilizer and the water came from on those seeds it was working in training cell at seal team one where i was a single enlisted e5 and you know what trip i went on every freaking trip there was i taught everything i would volunteer for every course i’d you know we would go teach land warfare then i teach diving then i teach cqc i just do and i was the main instructor on any of them yeah i was just a guy that was out there like i’ll go on that trip oh i’ll go on that trip and that’s where those little seeds started to come to fruition and the biggest thing was when you’re instructing and you know this now that we worked in land warfare when you’re running when you’re watching i ads or you’re teaching i ads you are de facto detached so you’re watching and you can see and you realize how easy it is when you’re detached and when you realize how easy it is when you’re detached and you’re going to wait a second if i’m in there i just need to take a step back and see what the hell is going on and i can make a good call so that is where i learned so much so for you have to not done that definitely had to make your first platoon chief go around a little rough it was hard i got lucky like the our sister platoon that platoon chief was dialed in he’d done all those things he was on his like seventh platoon i was doing my fourth at the time and so i leaned on him i’d ask him a hundred million questions on things and he always gave me good uh good guidance man yeah daniel good dude you know oh yeah yeah and so then you get done with that one yep and now you’re now you’re going through it again and now you’re kind of like i’m like this is easy you’re dealing with the same issues i got all my standard operating procedures in place so for every block of training we’re doing plus you’re a freaking combat vet i’m a combat you’re kind of the man i’m ready to get after it yeah so it was way easier man way easier you know you’re always going to have those same personnel issues and now you know how to deal with them you know what right looks like yeah and then what was that um then you were going back to iraq again yep so we wound up back over you know you guys came in in late september 2003 we went back in september 2004 and the place was just a disaster roadside bombs all over the place you know the drill four fighters all over the place it was a [ __ ] show yeah that that was the the end of my first deployment was when we went and got yakube which was solder’s guy and that set the whole freaking thing into a just a total mayhem and we saw that we saw the like it was it was a radical change

yeah because before that like in what would be in march of 2004 it was kind of like okay we’ll go do a mission in april we were you could look out and you’d see smoke and fire vehicles burning and like it was totally it was a very different scenario yeah in that one month period in april of 2004 and um it just got worse from there yeah and then by the time you guys showed up it was yeah it was a disaster i remember and we were doing the psd mission so we weren’t doing our typical direct action but we got in there and in my platoon we got split up so we’re in squads now supporting other platoons because you need x number of people to protect these guys um and one of the good things that the headquarters element did is they rotated guys out for a sniper mission so if you’re sniper qualified you come on in and so we covered down within our psd elements and guys go out and do sniper stuff so i was lucky i got to get out there on haifa street a couple times were you a sniper yeah yeah sniper yes i went through and uh i went through sniper school in 98 and that was back when it was out of cold lane and stuff and when i got back off of that deployment 99 i want to work for uh mark he was running the sniper core so i did a couple of instructor you know uh courses with him so it was good and that helped me out for you know the 2003 deployment 2004 the 2006 department you know but i remember getting out on haifa street it was the first time we’re out and we did sniper work in 2003 but there wasn’t nothing going on everything was under control and i remember going out there we’re supporting an army unit they’re doing a clearance so we come in dump out of the bradley set up in the in the buildings we got all our sectors covered and like there’s this mood in an apartment building with an rpg launching rpgs at apaches that are in the area and like you know the deal like you don’t shoot a rocket from a room that’s not good good practice right you’re going to jack yourself up he’s just in there getting after don’t don’t and like so the package is coming and they’re just like go go go and they just take the dude out and you’re like holy [ __ ] man this place is not good totally different and then you come out for extract the brads are coming in to pull us out and like there’s rounds coming in at you we didn’t deal with that in 2003 2003 we had the upper hand you know you’re operating at night time but we had the upper hand with what we were doing um so it’s just it was different and at that same time in 2004 you had phantom fury out there and fallujah going off you know you had good dudes supporting that and that was just i remember looking up on the uh the jock screen and the marines are going through and doing a clearance at nighttime and there’s like grenades getting chucked out and the marines are just going in and getting after it i mean they’re carrying like 25 mags in there and going building by building and like god bless the marine corps man these dudes are like badasses and we all wanted to be there like hey switch with us man come do the psd thing we want to be out there doing what you’re doing um but so anyway so you know phantom fury just died down like hey we want to send a a sniper element up to samara and so like leif got chosen to be oic and i was like hey they selected me to come in there with life i was like cool put our 10-man 11-man team together went up to smart and we thought we were going to get after it you know it was go time it was go time we were going to get some and it was uneventful man nothing happened we set up damn there we were out in the streets every damn day setting up man and it was just you know that the guys were going after their real cage it was like civilians like you don’t know what your enemy looked like they’d come in and set an ied you didn’t know they said it and then they’d be out of there how many how much did you spend how much time did you spend on haifa street not much i’d say i probably got out there about six or seven times total for that and i was only in iraq for 90 days during that time period and then you rotated out to the pacific yep yep over to pi yep guam and pi and the psd was a look it was a hard mission and everything but relatively uneventful because that’s what it was so uh at that time seals were providing security for the top seven something like that uh authorities in iraq and you know in charge of keeping him safe and he did an awesome job yeah but that in doing an awesome job meant it wasn’t action thankfully yeah because the action probably would have been a giant 2000 palm v bid that would have killed everybody or some something crazy like that yeah in in 2004 that was the first time we i really started seeing the you know uh you know the truck bombs the car bombs they’re building and i mean they built them you know this they they put so much explosives in them that the damn springs and shocks would break on them you know they’d be trying to get on base and they’re like jacked up you know yeah not good so but that but that wrapped up another deployment for you yep and and then so then what then what’d you do so then stayed at team five i made uh senior chief in 2005 picked up a potential you’re making up for going to the fleet ud yeah i mean you’re making rank quick oh

man yeah were you making rank quick for on average above average it seems like you are yeah so i would say probably above average up to chief and then you know i got passed over the first time for senior chief and then made it the second time rightfully so you don’t want guys to make rank too fast you want guys to really understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it which takes time it takes a lot of reading takes repetitions and i think when i put on chief i didn’t i was undergunned you know with my my training and my experience so it was good that i got passed over my first time for senior chief you know so anyway so i made senior chief in 2005 and then picked up a task unit and you know from there we started working up to relieve you guys when did you guys know that you were gonna relieve us i would say right around march april time frame of 2006 right when you’re so we got there yep right around that same time yep yep they’re like you guys are gonna come in behind these guys and replace them at what point did you guys start tracking like what was happening you guys started getting hot and heavy in what may june time frame yeah in april time april time yeah like as soon as we got out there it was getting crazy it was right around then in like we all of us were just kind of thinking hey it’s going to be like a fallujah style clearance and fallujah went pretty quick yep it went pretty quick you know there was a lot of you know a lot of good work being done a lot of people getting killed u.s soldiers getting uh injured um we thought it was going to be like that we didn’t know it was going to be what it was you know we hadn’t gone up against uh that type of uh enemy before yeah well we thought it was going to be a fallujah type thing too yeah and we talked about this on on the unraveling with daryl cooper that we well that’s what we got told when we got there they’re like hey you guys are gonna we’re gonna do fallujah and we’re like thank you thank you this is going to be because fallujah at that point was a real high water mark for for just awesome crushing kinetic operations by the marine corps and there was seals in their support and they did a great job so we were thinking okay like it’s on and it’s going to be whatever it’s going to be two weeks or three weeks maybe a fighting it will get cleared through the city but it ended up not going that way it ended up being that there’s a smart move by the prime minister who was a shia to recognize that if if the shia army which basically was a shia army went in there and did this type of crushing kinetic sweep through ramadi which was most which was sunni it would have set up sunni versus shia civil war and so he said we’re not doing that you’re gonna find another way to do it and the other way to do it was a counterinsurgency was going into the neighborhoods and trying to pervert preserve the infrastructure and trying to keep the civilian populace as safe as you can as you do it and yet at the same time do battle with these insurgents so that’s what that’s what we ended up doing and i i always wonder what it was like for you guys once we started taking a lot of casualties and once we started losing guys you guys must have been like um a little a little uh nervous about coming oh hell yeah yeah absolutely man no no one had been through you know that amount of uh combat like for us at that point like heavy combat you know we had uh our group commodore he was out there with us doing our you know uh ore what do they call the final battle problem and he’s like hey man you guys are going to ramadi stand by there’s a lot going on there and it was like i mean a lot going on there and uh and i think things really hit home for us um like i remember kelly coming back when he was shot and like you look at these things you’re like okay that’s manageable like hey he’s shot he’s coming in through it looks like he’s gonna be okay and then [ __ ] really hit the fan for us when mark was killed we’re like holy [ __ ] this is we’re going into something that we like you know we hadn’t been in before um so we had like we dialed in our training you guys were giving us information telling us everything you’re doing what’s working what’s not working we had some hard conversations with our operators hey man like someone’s gonna get wounded someone might get killed like we there’s some of these things we can’t control what we can do is our rehearsals train to this make good decisions on the battlefield to reduce our casualty levels but we’re gonna be shot at someone’s gonna get hit that’s coming and at the end of the day it’s gonna be us standing here that’s gonna kind of get us out of this [ __ ] so we gotta we gotta run a tight game we gotta be tight with what we’re doing um and the guys understood that you know guys understood that

um but it’s different when you get on the ground and you got a lot of rounds coming at you you know yeah you know it’s i i try to i’m trying to think of a way to explain the difference that in my mind that you got like it seems like but prior to that point most of the times when guys would go out even when guys would go out and get wounded or guys would go out and no one had been killed in iraq yet but even in afghanistan it was like it was a mission right it was like a mission a an isolated mission where something had happened and then once that isolated mission is over it’s like you reset the clock and now okay we’re in a different it’s a different mission and so it’s almost like like you do get to reset the clock yeah but in ramadi it was like you were in the same game and the clock was freaking ticking the whole time yeah and and so you guys knew that you were just going to come in and get in the game and it wasn’t going to be one mission and it wasn’t going to be three missions it was going to be mission after mission after mission after mission after mission and it was going to be as many days as you were there and um yeah i remember you guys showing up and i remember actually briefing your task unit and literally saying you guys are gonna you guys are gonna take casualties which is the which was the it was a thing i was thinking to myself do i say that is that a bad attitude is that a negative attitude is that a self-fulfilling prophecy or is that just the [ __ ] truth about what’s going on yeah and i would rather have you guys thinking okay this is the truth and if we can avoid it great but we have to be ready and we need to do everything we can but we got to be ready for it yep yep i remember you guys were telling us man we had we had our go bags ready so if someone gets injured or our standard operating procedure in place with who’s going with the guy that’s injured all of our passports ids everything we’re in the bag someone gets injured boom they’re getting all the helo with the injured guy they’re pushing out you know at least getting them over to germany um so we were definitely in the right mindset um you know when our first op out there you guys helped set that up out there at firecracker oh yeah and that was that was a good one with the marine corps we set you guys up at firecracker for your first [ __ ] yeah you’re like hey you guys are going around racetrack and we’ll just call this uh we’ll call this operation firecracker because there’s gonna be some [ __ ] going down up there god yeah it was it was it was a good first shakeout you know in the marine corps up there you know the colonel that was running the marine corps i forget his name but he’s just a good outstanding good leader just good like good dude man um so we set that up and it you know there’s a you know our guys our snipers killed a few guys on that one which was good um you know and they come just remember there’s a humvee out in the street and he’s pulling security down from us and the dude starts you know gets lit up with an rpg and like the marines are dumping out of it and they’re doing covered move drills getting back and they’re taking small arms firing we’re in a position where we can’t that you know the enemies in dead speech we can’t even do anything to support them um they come back and there was a couple like smaller mortars that came in that day not you know didn’t hit our building but they were out in front of us here it wasn’t too bad they were small um but it was a good it was a good shakeout for us like a little confidence builder whacked a couple bad guys no one got injured these are all good things and then you guys start started rolling then we started rolling and uh our first i was on that mission the next mission we did i was not on and our guys went up down the street i think from falcon and they’re setting up overwatch positions and you know they’re i think they’re in the morning time and grenades come in you know i think they had one or two grenades come in they yell grenades the guys are diving down the stairs and we had two guys get fragged from those um and from that point it was like all right you know we knew we were getting into but then it’s like now it’s real you know now our guys are getting injured we knew we’re gonna get wounded now you got two guys wounded with frags and their injuries weren’t bad enough they had to get medevaced out so they stayed they stayed with us you know it took them about three weeks to to heal up and there they were okay that was like your second op yep yep that was like our second one yeah yeah and then uh you know throughout that thing there you know one of the things i realized this is further down the road but we did this this river open we’re going to set support setting up a combat outpost and we’re using the marine riverine yeah yeah unit and those guys were awesome yeah they’re awesome i think how funny that is like hey the navy’s supposed to deliver the marines yeah now the marines are delivering us and they were good dudes man they were down there they were awesome they were squared away so they take us down river and we had all of our deconfliction up hey here’s when we hit this point in the water call up to the security army security checkpoint up ahead make sure everything’s dialed in went through all the procedures and there was obviously a disconnect so we get close to where we’re going and we can see the security position off to the right and it’s on a two-story building and we get that

we’re like that’s not good that’s a round coming over our head from the security position and then we’re like hey let your strobes do your [ __ ] and then the boat starts speeding up a little bit to get us to shore and like now we’re all pissed because we just got shot at and then we get the you know like freaking tracers are coming over us we’re like [ __ ] get us to the shoreline man so we get to the shoreline and we’re dumping out at that point it’s a full-on dude i just got chills just got chills because because when you’re taught start talking about you’re receiving fire from friendlies it’s freaking horrible and then it’s a full-on no we’re not shooting back yeah but then it’s full-on they think we’re moved in boats coming down the river and it’s just cut cut got we’re dumping off in the tools and i’m i’m freaking hot man so i’m dumping in the side of the toolies and we learn from you guys hey deconflict that with your white star cluster so i had old trusty right here you know and as i’m going to the shoreline i’m popping this thing out my weapon’s flying all over the place and i’m yelling at the aoic i was like hey freaking call back here and get this [ __ ] deconflicted now and i’m pissed i’m yelling at him i’m yelling at him he’s like what the heck do you think i’m doing what the heck do you think i’m doing i’m like [ __ ] hurry up man and so we’re yelling back and forth i’m popping up the white star cluster and of course as soon as you get the white star cluster up it the [ __ ] stops yeah but i couldn’t get to that damn thing fast enough by the time i got it i had it out in probably like less than 30 seconds dude 30 seconds a long time to be receiving free fire from american machine gunners yeah we were all sucking mud man so it was a good lesson learned one of the things with ramadi is when you go into a high stress environment there’s multiple units in the area the likelihood of you having a blue on blue you just go up drastically you know you you’ve done a lot of podcasts with the vietnam [ __ ] so when you’re in those type of environments you’ve got to have your deconfliction down you can’t you can’t do it enough really yeah and you know another thing i’ve been thinking about is from a leadership perspective a thing that i’ve been talking about all the time is is like if if you if you work for me and i come to talk to you i gotta understand what your perspective is like i gotta understand that so that i can like okay he’s reacting like this because of that and and even more in depth than that i gotta kind of know what your freaking story is so i can’t just know your perspective i got to know what your story is like oh this is steve he’s he’s been here for 20 years he’s he’s done a good job he also is known for having a bad temper he also has some trouble at home right now so i got to know this stuff yeah so that i can assess like okay what approach am i going to take what reacts am i going to get well guess what when you’re in a combat situation you better think about the perspective of the people that you’re working with yeah because guess what you take a kid that’s 18 years old he’s scared shitless he doesn’t he he’s freaking sick of being on this post he’s afraid he’s gonna get killed he’s not being briefed by his seniors he’s tired he’s pissed off he’s got an itchy trigger finger and what do you think this guy’s gonna do yeah he’s gonna shoot at you if you don’t make it clear what’s happening so it’s important to remember that you when you you have to understand other people’s perspective and understand what their story is and then you need to account for that yeah somehow otherwise bad things happen and like that’s a nightmare man like if those those there’s no protection on those cirque boats i mean you’re if that if one one iteration of fire hit those circles you’d have three four guys dead wounded whatever yeah maybe more yeah i mean you got 10 guys in a boat damn it’s a nightmare yeah yeah it wasn’t good and just talking about perspective i know the army guys there were a couple units there that you know they’d been there for like eight months i want to say like eight months and then they get the call hey you’re gonna stay like three more months oh yeah and them dudes are wore out man i mean they’re pulling security out front they’re taking round rpg rounds they’ve lost two of their friends through their friends for their friends they’ve seen vb ieds go in they’ve heard rumors about boats i mean yeah and look the army guys and the marines that were there the most professional badass dudes ever ever but there’s a lot of them yeah and if you if you have look you can have a platoon of 40 guys and 39 of them can be the most squared away guys you’ve ever met and can understand everything and be calm cool and collected but there’s gonna be one person in there that’s not yeah and and once one person starts shooting bro it’s a real problem to get it’s a real problem if you think other people aren’t gonna start shooting as well that’s that’s what we literally get trained to do oh if there’s a contact start shooting help your buddy yeah yeah not uh not good understandable but uh not not a good situation we definitely could have done a better job on that

with us um yeah it wasn’t good we were lucky no one got hit on that one yeah yeah we had one other blue on blue that i know about i’m convinced there’s i’m convinced there’s probably quite a few blue on blues going on that you just don’t you don’t know um there was because i was i was we’d talk about this with the brigade commander all the time there was one there was usually one blue on blue per day per day but that that wouldn’t get reported and there was one blue on blue per week that actually got reported yeah of like hey we were taking fire from this unit at this time most of them was like hey fire shoes fire you know that’s a friendly position like that happened all the it happened once a day yeah once a day you know usually at night but the the most harrowing example of that was there was a blue on blue between humvees like one humvee at night saw another humvee and started shooting at it yeah and there wasn’t no muge that had humvees like at least the boat the boats weren’t super common to be in the river even the marine corps boats they weren’t super common to be in the river so if they rolled out someone goes oh wait a second i don’t know what this is this might be moose boats let’s shoot them but a humvee like that’s how itchy the trigger fingers can get and you got to understand people’s perspective man we were so freaking paranoid about that stuff yeah yeah it was uh it wasn’t a good feeling that’s for sure jeez and there’s nothing you can’t like what are you gonna do shoot back no like you can’t do that no yeah you’ve grabbed that damn white star cluster fired off boy damn yeah we had one other blue on blue where we were out there and we were down there by grant cop grant and uh we went to the unit deconflicted everything and you know our guys went out there and we’re getting set up on a rooftop and like you’re like damn come on man yeah you know what wasn’t good but um those high stress level areas people are getting wounded and [ __ ] people are going to see different things it’s out there it’s real you got to be careful yeah when life and i wrote extreme ownership like we didn’t plan to write there’s three chapters in there that are just blue on blue chapters yeah out of 12 chapters yeah so a quarter of the chapters are about blue on blue like that’s we didn’t think about that but that’s what the reality of the situation was those are some of the scariest cities you know what’s crazy is when we went back to trade and we incorporated our our laser gear oh yeah people found out how easy it is to have blue on blue just to your point with perspectives like we drew that out and it was awesome to draw that out in training um but yeah so anyway so after you know after those handful ops we had uh you know we had november 19th and so this is putting us you know right before thanksgiving and we had the whole task in it out and so we had uh you know our cricketer guys are up in the papa suckers our our ari platoon is down we’re down past grant i think we’re down past ground that area we’re about eight blocks from those guys half mile mile something like that maybe juliet yeah juliet sector yeah i don’t remember all the sectors but man we’re out there and things are going good in like eight o’clock in the morning we’re set up we got mutually supporting positions with our platoon they got mutually supporting positions with their platoon things are good and i remember the first thing i was like all right this is going to be a [ __ ] show in here you know we had a car going around with the the hazards on you know so they’re signaling in the area hey man u.s troops are in there but they didn’t know where we’re at we didn’t have any you know loopholes we didn’t pound out any any any brick or use explosives so they had a hard time figuring out where we were throughout the whole day but as we’re sitting there things start heating up you know hey there’s mams over two streets over and uh they’re all consolidating one area they got weapons and then you know hey it’s coming we’re going to get we’re going to get in the mix here and so like around 11 o’clock we started calling in for our our gimmelers on a guided multiple launch rocket system and and we started getting that ready commensurating coordinates to to bring in rockets because it was different requirements that wasn’t coming from off the rails from the air so it was easier to get it approved and so as we’re doing that you know we get a call over the radio you know that you know our other unit from corrigadors hit and we didn’t know how bad they were hit but you know the aoic came over was like hey man elliot said he’s in bad he’s in bad shape and so is joe you know and we’re like oh [ __ ] man you know they’re taking them down to the cash and [ __ ] which wasn’t good we’re like everyone just got a sick feeling to their stomach you know but we didn’t know what it happened until after we got back but we’re like [ __ ] is he gonna make it he’s not gonna make it but you know those guys were in a position they started taking light fire and as they’re taking light fire you know they had rooftop jumpers in ramadi they get as close as they could and they dump grenades right on top of your position so the first thing that happened is they had a grenade dumped on their position and ellie gets sliced in the damn wrist pretty bad so you know they’re collapsing off down off the rooftop and we had explosives up there so the guys

were clacking off explosives to you know move the the rooftop jumpers away from from their guys so as they collapse down into you know on the bottom floor everything’s still under control there’s a light bully of fire they’re calling to the other the other sniper supporting element hey we’re hit we’re going to call in an extract as they’re calling an extract you know the the the iraqis come out and our unit comes out to get in the bradleys and you know they’re hit with some type of white phosphorus explosive device and i did a lot of analysis on what that was a roadside bomb what was it i can never determine what it was but you know what killed i think three iraqis wounded two r2 guys our two seals were hit critically injured you know so now they’re pulling everyone back into the house the bradleys are getting out of there because it’s just a total [ __ ] show um the other units fighting their way down the street to get in a position to help these guys out by this by this time um in long story short you know everyone’s in a bad position and and elliott was such a uh is such a good dude he’s sitting there telling dudes he’s cool calm and collect he’s got [ __ ] burning on him you know burning through his camis and he’s telling guys what to do to how to patch him up and do all this [ __ ] and he’s jacked up um you know and joe he had his legs kind of blown backwards on his lower extremities so it’s a complex situation you know outside still heated up injured guys on the inside dead guys our own dead guys iraqi troops out on the street guys fighting their ways back down it’s like as bad as the situation is as you can conjure up right but you know they get things under control they call in another quick reactionary force they load these guys up and you know that’s when we get the call over the radio that those guys have been hit meanwhile over in our sector things are starting to heat up and so we’re spinning up aircraft we’re trying to get our gamblers in position to start launching and you know our guys are out there you know laying down some a dub fire and launching a few carl gustav rockets into some positions down there by us but it was just a you know shitty day for us you know the you know obviously the whole task unit was hit was hit hard on that um wasn’t good um yeah and i mean elliott is probably one of the most severely wounded seals from the iraq war yeah yeah he’s i mean he’s he’s a freaking warrior yeah but he he he took a heavy hit that day yeah yeah and you know an elliot’s story you know that guy never quit he never gave up on life and um you know he’s going through physical therapy and him and his physical therapist fall in love and elliot marries her they get married they have kids um which is just awesome you know i’ve seen elliott a handful of times over the years you know at bud’s graduations and stuff like that um you know just sucks that [ __ ] i’m doing man yeah and leif was super good friends with elliot and you know obviously we had just all high-fived on the tarmac and said goodbye and yeah and then the next thing the latest doing he’s down at the burn center you know trying to trying to give support to elliot you know it was freaking freaking rough man that [ __ ] took the uh that took the win out of ourselves for the whole task in it you know you’re just wondering like what the hell is going to happen so now we got two guys uh wounded with frags you got joe and elliot with with what they got going on and then actually the first week we were there you know we had jimmy left over from you guys he gets he got shot he gets a grazer across his nipple so yeah things are starting to stack up man you know and elliott was a unknown we weren’t sure if he was going to make it or not yeah and i left october 21st and that was november 19th so you guys had only been on the ground without us for under a month yep yep and you had all this already stacked up yep yep yeah we and not to mention in a way you are riding in already with the mental thought of all of our casualties and our lost guys you know so you already know that this is just the way yeah yeah we had uh you know so we get past november 19th we’re kind of reorgan and things are starting to to change at that point i can’t remember if it was november or december but you know we had one of the the tribes out there they had al qaeda come in and they killed a couple of their tribesmen and they were like f al qaeda we want to come over the you know u.s side and that was that was a a big tipping point out there corregidor i forget the name of the tribe out there but the guys went out there and they’re meeting up with the shake and they’re local guys and it was a it was a weird situation because at that point those guys were dropping mortars on corregidor so there’s this friction like i’m freaking helping these dudes out they want to join us now they’re just you know the other day they’re dropping mortars on us you know um so that was that was that was interesting and then december time frame we’d set up uh i think it was right before christmas we’re we’re up there around racetrack and uh the marine corps is doing a big

huge push in through to clear out that whole area that area was still pretty much contested when you guys were there and that was an area we’d operate in quite a bit and so we’re out there for like i don’t know three four days and this is right before christmas time we think we’re going to be out there past christmas and a couple of events there like the the moves they were so good at using dead space you know i remember we’re on a two-story building we got marine corps snipers in position we’re in position we’re spread out and uh i go to use the bathroom and i’m looking out this window and there’s a tank down in my corner and a dude slips out of dead space with an rpg in like moosh boom he clacks that thing off in under three seconds melts back away and you’re like even if i was on my gun i don’t think i had enough time to to shoot that guy we had a couple close calls in that area you know they had some snipers in vehicles and so it muffled the sound you couldn’t tell where they were coming from you know and when uh you know i took a damn shot in through our position right at the 12 o’clock so you know we got our loophole set up and around 762 by 54 big one punches all the way through the wall right at the 12 o’clock position so the guy’s dead center trying to get into our hole where we’re at and i just remember thinking damn man that’s whoever shot that that’s a good shot that’s not you know some jv dude making that shot um and as i got to tell the story i forgot about this one but we had our country boy old charlie he’s out now so i’ll say his name on the net but charlie we’re on the this is all in this three four day period and uh we’re on the rooftop and it’s the same day that i take that round and through the 12 o’clock position and there’s muge doing a center peel down the street and so like i’m here charlie’s position is over here with his crew and we got a pilot up overhead and he’s like hey you got some you got bad guys coming down the street towards you and you know charlie’s just a good old country boy he’s like roger that you know he’s like frag out he dumps a frag and it like hit i don’t know how he does it he throws the frag in the blind throws it down on the street it hits in between where these moves are at and the pilot’s more excited than anyone he’s like it’s a direct hit that’s our direct head and i’m like talking to y’all like charlie what’d you do so i’ll just pop my grenade and throw it out there you know it’s like roger that dude but you guys you guys were getting aircraft overhead inside the city yeah we you know on the day elliot got hit we had a i don’t know if it was a 14 or 15. okay fast movers yeah fast you weren’t getting helos were you no yeah i don’t remember having any helo though they’d be too slow they’d get shot down yeah the healers wouldn’t wouldn’t come in for us uh because of that reason they don’t want a freaking black hawk down scenario unfolding which is which would happen yeah the apaches came in one time and they left and didn’t come back yeah they got they got lit up like it was crazy it was a crazy amount of volume of fire we were putting it in a combat outpost and they came in they said they want to support they flew in and it was like it was freaking crazy yeah they flew away and didn’t come back we man things were so confusing over there i remember being out there in positions and we had you know these two young ladies and they’re doing close they’re hanging clothes and then this other what looks like a lady comes out there and she’s like laying clothes out um but the third person that came out late they’re just looking everywhere they’re looking for us and it was a dude dressed like a woman you know they got the garb over their head so you can’t even tell but he’s constantly looking looking looking the girls are giggling because it’s you know it’s kind of funny of them i was like it took me a long time to put that uh that picture together what transpired and i couldn’t do it while i was in the field you know i was like it was just weird i’m like all right that had been a dude trying to find our position stressed as a woman um and these dudes were just they were cagey man we were out there in the papa sector on another uh mission and it’s me and another dude and we’re set up in in the hole and uh and i remember i’m looking and a guy’s looking at looking directly at us but he’s got like a three or four year old girl right next to him but he’s looking in our direction i’m like that [ __ ] ain’t right but he’s got no gun he’s like 2 300 yards away i’m keeping my eye on him watching watching watching nothing happens me and me and the other guy rotate out of the hole he gets in there and [ __ ] five minutes after he gets in the hole we just started you know got into the hole man and like i’m young like dude roll out of there you know he rolls out but there’s [ __ ] flying everywhere you know and we’re like damn that was close lucky that dude didn’t get hit you know but that guy was spotting with his daughter yeah if it even was his daughter yeah or yes spotting with a child he grabbed out and said yeah hold my hand come over here boom yeah and if the guy had a gun i’d have felt comfortable taking a shot but he doesn’t have anything so you’re just like is this just more weird [ __ ] going on over here there’s so many weird things going on weird inexplicable things that are happening all the time yeah and they’re all look freaking crazy suspicious yeah i mean we had a isr asset one time over flying overhead like is a fast mover or

something and he’s like hey we got we got a vehicle pulling up like we got a vehicle so there everyone’s looking at this vehicle i’m looking at this vehicle on the isr screen and like it’s this looks super suspect they’re stopping they’re looking around they get out you know open the trunk all right oh they’re opening the trunk open the trunk you know everyone’s on this mode and then all right they’re reaching in they’re reaching they’re pulling something out they’re pulling something out they’re pulling out they’re pulling out an object right now and sure enough like everyone’s all excited and thinking this is like we need to drop a bomb on this thing and sure enough they got out of jack out of the thing and jacked up their freaking car and changed the tire and put it all away and left yeah and like they tracked them they’re they left they weren’t it wasn’t like a a setup you know yeah and and man it’s so difficult to to decipher what’s go really happening yeah and you get better at it yeah but it’s a tough war to fight you know it’s a tough war to fight you know like i know when we turned over with you guys you always talked about the hey was a good shoot bad result hey the what they’re doing is lined up with the enemy procedures you build the story and you make the best decision you can with what you’re looking at and sometimes just your point it’s actually legitimate but you don’t know that you know yeah well that was something i i learned and stole from the first the 506 because we had or they we when we were when we first got there and we were over with them and they had some one of their guys shot and killed somebody and they were like the person was out did i forget what suspicious activity they were doing but it was like they were digging a hole in the side of the road and they shot killed the guy and then they sent a team out there to inspect and he was whatever uh you know he had he was planning to play i don’t know what he was doing but it was something that was not the activity that that the shooter thought it was and i was talking to their ops officer and he was like hey you know what this is a this is a good shot bad result meaning that the r soldier was following the proper rules of engagement and it turns out that the result of that shot is bad even though the shot was good the result was bad yeah and and you know it it bothers me so much when i hear people talk about you know these uh the us military you know causing all these civilian casualties man we go through such great lengths to prevent civilian casualties and put our soldiers sailors airmen and marine at such risk to prevent those casual civilian casualties from happen happening but it does happen that’s the reality like it’s going to happen and that’s why if you’re going to go to war you better be ready for that yep you can’t go to war thinking oh yeah don’t worry we won’t kill any civilians it’s like you know if you go into war you’re killing civilians yeah yeah i’m trying to think i know in the other deployments i did over there we started doing a lot of collateral damage assessments before we did anything i don’t remember doing that when we were in ramadi because we weren’t really dropping bombs and there was mostly just ground um ground units handling business you know um but anyways that that became a factor later on for sure everything was a cd you know yeah i mean even even even when i relieved you in baghdad we started looking at collateral damage in terms of like breaching yeah like okay we’re going to breach this building what’s the collateral damage could we hurt someone can we are we going to ruin this you know how many how many windshields are we or how many windows in this neighborhood are we going to blow out with this explosive breaching charge and what good does that do for our overall strategic mission here if we’re the [ __ ] that come in every night and blow up everyone’s house and windows right yeah all of a sudden we’re not cool yeah so sometimes it was like oh okay well maybe we shouldn’t explosively breach walden how are you gonna execute the mission and what risk does it put the troops at because the safest way to do a direct action mission is to explosively breach the [ __ ] out of them shock everyone in the building and like okay cool so there’s other tactics that we had to develop to to mitigate the risk but what i’m saying is we were taking risks for sure to try and mitigate and not just us every when i say we i mean the u.s military at large mitigates risk of civilian casualties by risking our own casualties that’s what we do and and even as much as we mitigate them we can’t mitigate them all and civilians are going to die so you need to think about that yeah so how did when you guys had that horrific incident with elliot and joe then what that like how did the rest of the deployment and i know that you guys so one thing that’s really positive is and part of this transition i don’t even know if you knew this so we were doing everything we could we we that whole sons of ambar and that whole thing started when we were there and and then the other thing we were trying to do is we were trying to get the iraqi police force built up

and we just started to get it built as we left and so you guys got the benefit of the iraqi police force all of a sudden the local iraqi police force was respected they were manned they had they they understood the neighborhoods they were tribal most the guys were tribal guys and so all of a sudden over a very quick period of time the the violence went down a lot yo absolutely absolutely i remember the police became a huge factor i think it was late january early february for us they came in they’re setting up their own police stations and combat outposts but man them dudes were targeted by aq you mean they had the head police chief they’re they’re trying to car bomb him and his entire family and they eventually got him um but it was it was rough and it definitely settled down everything i would say in by the you know mid mid january to february somewhere and there’s where things really settled and good where hey the attacks are going way down you know we’re still getting the occasional ied you know they had a you know an army uh civil affairs they were going down to freaking falcon and boom they hit an id killed all four people oh yeah that was that was travis patrick win and he’s was a freaking epic guy that and that was a major mcclung the the female marine corps officer who was just because they were there when i was there they were both just freaking awesome awesome people just awesome unbelievable that was such a freaking horrific situation yeah it’s absolutely horrible but things definitely uh died down there towards you know january february time frame i was in a good place then you redeploy you came back to america came back to america and boom i’m going to work for jacqueline training rolled into trade man and that was um that was awesome yeah that was awesome did you did you volunteer to come there what happened how did you get yeah so before deployment i know i was working with our group cmc and they were doing team level detailing so he came in he’s like hey man what do you want to do i was like well hey i want to stay out i want to stay in the area he’s like what do you think about going to trade i was like keep me in eric he’s like yeah i was like hell yeah i’ll do it so roger that man in it i was looking forward to it you know and you know that the guy relieved over there bg he’s just a good dude smart and i think he set up a good foundation uh with with what he had so i inherited a really a good product yeah he was doing good [ __ ] yeah no it was uh it was it was legit and then when you showed up it was awesome um and then i mean what was what was your experience at trade at like in terms of see now this is interesting you know i told you that like the seeds of my experience and knowledge were watered heavily and fertilized heavily but i was young so now you get to experience this in a much in a much more powerful environment because the training we were conducting was so much more advanced then and also you were more advanced and you were a combat veteran of multiple combat tours and you were a senior enlisted guy so man it was just it was awesome it was a good experience but i’ll tell you what i went in there and i’m like holy it’s different when you’re responsible for a live fire range versus you’re going through a live fire range and so there was there was a lot to that you know the most stressful thing for me during land warfare was doing all the live fire training because there was definitely a lot of opportunity for someone to get injured or wounded you know you know what i mean and so it was good and getting up there and teaching these things you just learn so much more i mean the pipeline should be we need guys in instructor positions but you need them a budge you also need them over at our trade yeah um if there was a way to split that to where they do 15 months it buds 15 months of trade it would be ideal there’s just it’s not practicable you know um but going to trade it was an eye opener and i really started you know i’d say around 2003 i started 2003 2004 started reading quite a bit started getting like i never heard of the last hundred yards you know we didn’t have a portal with libraries we didn’t have guys going around if you went a training show you might see it but i really started building up a good uh reading block and i remember talking to you when we were at trade it and we were reading i think i just went through um the maneuver warfare handbook and i was like man i’m thinking these things and then you read it and it reinforces what you were thinking so like now your confidence just goes through the roof and i think one of the things we did good in in nsw continues to do this is developing our future leaders i mean think about when you and i came up we there was no portal there was no none of this stuff we’ve got stuff hanging hey you want to be a good tactical leader leader go read your doctrine go read these books here and that is going to boost you up and the guys that are hungry they’re going to go in there and read it the guys that are you know a little bit lackadaisical and they don’t want to do it they’re going to meet the minimum standard but you definitely need to have

something out there to where you know your high performers are hungry give it to them so that they can become uh you know a better leader so i think we did that good but just going back to land warfare i think you know the stress levels they were high during live fire training the field training exercises we did were just badass we’re building you know little wood huts all over the damn place on those ranges and uh i think the guys you know i mean [ __ ] we had a thermal camera out there at one point and we’re videotaping the guys coming in so they come back and go through their debrief we’re going this is what you all look like here’s what we’re telling you here’s what you look like and the people see what they look like oh damn check roger that you know and they’re making some adjustments but i thought it was good i was definitely learning a lot while i was there i wish i had done that um that assignment earlier on in at least a team five training cell would have boosted me up a lot you know would you see what did you notice from the i mean the crazy thing about it is you get to it’s the best i i i truly think this i think that that land warfare training is the best leadership laboratory in the world i think that’s it i don’t think there’s a better leadership laboratory where you can see leadership in action i really don’t because you get the whole dynamic someone might be saying well you know when uh you know in some business or in some you know uh bureaucratic situation or some boardroom you get that part too because you’ve got the mission planning that’s taking place and there’s no gunfire going on during the mission planning but you get the stress and you get the people that have to make decisions you get the team arguing with each other and you get the different personalities that are coming out and so you get to watch all this and you get to learn and you get to see how people react and you get to see human nature over and over and over again and you get to see one platoon do it yeah and then you see another do the same thing the same i mean we had all those little uh pet nicknames for all the different maneuvers that we knew that our mooge was gonna do and we so you’d see a platoon go through the octopus you see a platoon go through the corner of death right you’d see the the trail of tears you’d get to see how they would react and you’d see what a good leader would do and you’d see how that would turn the platoon and all of a sudden they’d be able to get things together and survive and make it happen and do a good job and you see bad leadership and you go well these guys are just go it’s going to be a suffer fest and so that that leadership laboratory was just unbelievably powerful and and really it was it was powerful for for us as instructors because we were detached and we got to watch it look the troops obviously get a ton out of it too but getting to see it over and over again was just ridiculous amount of learning one of the things i i really respected about land warfare you got to see people’s true character when they’re coming through there they’re up late at night you’re under a lot of stress whatever you’re thinking in your head or whatever type of attitude you have good or bad that’s coming out and you really get to see what you’re working with with your platoon you know yeah and that’s a good precursor because when you go to combat if you end up going on deployment you end up getting in real combat you’re gonna see that that’s the only place that’s gonna come out even more is when you go into combat people start acting crazy like and i’m not talking about hey in a gunfight there no i’m talking about on a day-to-day basis you start seeing what their character is they do they want to operate do they want to hide do they like you get to see start to see all that stuff and you’ll see it you’ll see it out in the desert in training you’ll see people start to crack and you’ll also see people step up and you’ll see people start to lead and you see people that are tough and when you see those good leaders coming through and look the good leader could be anyone in the platoon from an e5 to the to the platoon or the task unit commander or anyone in between you have one good leader or two good leaders in there and they’re going to do a good job yeah they can be countered by bad leadership so you can have a good leader that gets countered by someone that’s an ego jackass and they the ego jackass can actually ruin everything sometimes if you just have one good leader that’s the lpo of one platoon and he’s a really good solid leader he can carry the whole task unit now if you put a jackass senior chief in there or a jackass chief or a jackass lieutenant he can he can override two or three squared away leaders because he’s a knucklehead and doesn’t want to listen and wants to do everything his way and wants to you know let his ego run the show it’s a freaking disaster yeah we saw it was funny we saw quite a few good leaders come through probably the most rewarding thing having guys come through training is they’re coming through they’re just starting out as a unit you know they’re figuring some things out if they haven’t been through another block and they come in and the growth that you see that you’re providing as instructors

you know as a cadre as a unit and you see them start here and by the time they finish after that three four weeks they’re they’re up here 100 the growth is is tremendous and guess what the harder the training the harder the training the more the guys appreciate it the more growth you have yeah right that’s what i physically saw happening with with our with our uh formation yeah because it was miserable yes it was freaking miserable it was freaking hard when you’re carrying out i mean we’d if if a platoon did a bad job they’d have 12 down men they’d be carrying out 12 down men for three or four kilometers before they could finally get a helicopter in there to pick up and take the wounded then they still gotta walk the rest of them gotta walk out like when you got your ass kicked you got your ass kicked and it would sometimes you know that was another big difference when a when a leader when the leadership in the task unit or in the platoon would say would come back and say hey we screwed up we better fix it oh man yeah they would fix it if the k if they came back and said oh trade that’s cheating or traded this is this this training is unrealistic if they said that they wouldn’t improve yeah and they just fall apart but when they say hey we spent too much time on target hey we didn’t cover and move yeah or hey we didn’t give the priorities correctly or we didn’t have when they came back and said that recognized and fixed it they’d come out and a good task unit by the end our trade act guys couldn’t keep them under wraps like they would get the the trade guys would get their asses kicked because there’s because there’s 40 in the back i mean 40 of the of the platoon guys so they could freaking when they would do good cover move you can’t stop them no they’re unstoppable yeah yeah well that’s what i always tell people hey man the people who utilize the laws of combat did good cover and move kept things simple good communications across the board prioritized and executed stayed detached from what was going on and the guys that utilize decentralized command where they’re allowing fire team leaders and squad leaders to make decisions at their level because you can’t be everywhere as the boss making these decisions you got to train your you got to train your your leaders up put up some guard wells get them to where they need to be and then you let them start making decisions you know and that that’s probably like one of the most beautiful things with land warfare guys are going out there they’re learning these things and they’re slowly building their confidence to where when they get to the field training exercise week and they start making some of these decisions then it’s even that much more of a confidence builder you know it’s weird because you can you can i mean look i would explain this stuff ad nauseam right ad nauseum i mean i would explain it and explain i’d say look you got to do this you got to do this you have this but sometimes man it would just take like it happening to someone yep and being and me sitting there like literally running over to a fire team leader and saying hey what are you doing those guys are freaking running right now you got to get them down you got to put down cover fire for them and them going oh wait a second i get it yeah and then you’d see this light come on or i’d run up to a freaking task unit commander and be like where do you want everyone to go right now what do you want everyone to do and he’d say we need to get out of here okay what direction i said are you going to be able to move everyone out of here no can you think your fire teams can start moving yes tell them where you want them to move just tell them all and they’ll start making it happen yeah and you could see the little like all of a sudden the little light would come on but sometimes it would just take that like you have to live you almost have to live through it so in some cases some guys would be like yeah got it cover move check got it because you learn cover move day one or the day one of the teams you learn to cover and move yeah you better freaking cover and move yeah yeah sometimes it took guys a little while to figure out how to utilize the train correctly you know because the the terrain was a was a factor rockies small wadis um uneven terrain which was hard to maneuver and especially when you got a down man there was something there too terrain terrain is the is the next level right the next level is oh i don’t just know how to cover and move i just don’t know simple i just don’t know prioritize and execute i don’t just know decentralized command i know how to utilize the terrain to my advantage that’s the next level up that’s the next level up when you realize oh i can get a little high ground oh there’s a little dead space oh there’s a ravine over here i can get the guys out that’s the next level and we tried to teach it in that method you know you start off doing iods in a flat you know spot and then all of a sudden you start to get used to rain but when the leadership when the t when the pl when the whole task unit when a fire team leader knows how to use terrain and then all the fire team leaders know how to use terrain all of a sudden we’re in a whole different spot

yeah we’re in a whole different spot so yes the terrain is so freaking critical yeah wow absolutely a little bit of high ground yeah yeah we had guys down in that micro train doing good things yeah tough stuff on the body uh and we had i mean we had rain we had rangers out there helping us oh which was awesome dude those guys they brought a lot in the rangers we had out there they had all kinds of uh both of them came from leadership assignments within their their ranger unit and they had a lot of reps man they brought a lot to the table they had all kinds of good info man we were eating we were just like on standby keep it coming keep it coming keep it coming it’s always it’s one of the the worst one of the bad things one of the worst things about the the seal teams is we don’t come from an infantry background yeah you know we’re not soldiers yeah we’re not infantry where we’re so we don’t have that skill set and you can get lucky and you can get brushed up against it i got i got at least brushed up against it doing args with the marines and being like okay i at least understand what an infantry platoon is because if you’re a regular seal new guy you don’t know what the hell an infantry platoon is you have no idea you think a platoon is 16 guys you know in a platoon but but yeah so those so in the army you have that infantry background in the marine corps you have that infantry background it’s so helpful so having like rangers out there with us who are freaking great guys by the way yeah um and they bring that that infantry background and and they were stoked too they were they freaking they loved our training yeah they were awesome the both those guys had a lot of reps in uh afghanistan i remember right and i know where the the one guy came in and he was really tightening up uh our helicopter procedures um just you know with he covered so much like damn i didn’t think about that you know all my deployments were uh to iraq at that point but yeah good dudes man did you read about face back then oh yeah so i read it when i got to uh trade it you know you had that as your bible and uh damn what was the guy’s name i had him in here uh there was another colonel that uh he’s got a page on four page uh four or something in uh on in about face but the the guy was just a beast oh glover jones that’s him yeah dude that guy had so many good nuggets on the page and a half he had yeah but i remember reading through that page 402 half worth and he just has some nuggets in there he’s got like 15 things that he covers you know strive to do small things well yeah be a doer and a self-starter um you know the one that that i always hit home with me because i think it’s so true is uh what is it the two you know in order to be a good two good characteristics of the leaders you’ve got to be a good communicator and you’ve got to be a good uh writer and and the writing piece comes into play as you start moving up in your upper level leadership and management positions because you’re writing evals for the guys and i remember being a traitor and you were kind of like hey man if you guys bring me an eval and the thing requires minor or requires major surgery i’m only going to be able to do so much to it to make it better but you bring me an eval that’s dialed in pretty damn tight i’m going to get it over the line it’s going to be a beautiful piece of work it’s going to be a piece of art and you were getting into people’s [ __ ] on it you were you were not a happy camper because there was like all these evils coming in yeah but it’s so true when you think about it hey how do we take care of our people a way is into our evaluation system making sure the right people are getting promoted and through awards those all requiring require some type of writing skill right one freaking series one year of evaluations probably the first year that you were there yeah the [ __ ] that you guys turned in and i had no choice i didn’t get him till too late and i just had to i just had to do nine days in my office just rewriting every single one of them and that’s why the next year early yeah i said hey everyone write me the eval for your best guy and then i brought you guys you you were in this group right i brought you guys into the into the conference room and posted them up on the screen i made you guys read your sentences to me and you guys you guys were just like you know like the very first sentence that each guy read it would just be like uh this blah blah just a [ __ ] sentence and i’d be like all right how does that sound like not good but that worked so well yeah because then everyone realized oh i should actually read this stuff i should actually read it aloud to myself i should actually see if these sentences make sense and it just helped everybody so so it helped me because now you guys were all turning in squared away stuff which then i could what to what would you say turn into a piece of art i don’t know if i could quite go that far i believe in quotations a piece of art chocolate we got an artist on the net over here yeah uh glover john’s from hackworth too

and he wrote a book called the clay pigeons of st low which we covered on this podcast and it’s written it’s hard to tell because he wrote it in the third person talking about himself as if he was a different person but it’s about him then it’s a great book and it gives all kinds of leadership lessons as well uh one of the things i want to camp out real quick on uh on hackworth one of the things is i was reading through that book and it took me i think six months to get through it because i think it’s a big book but it really reinforced you know when you’re coming in is a leader at any level when you’re new to that leadership assignment you’re always uncomfortable so you’re trying to figure out am i making the right decision and when you’re going through and you’re reading some non-fiction that pertains to your field your field craft it just reinforces what you’re thinking and i remember after reading about face the maneuver warfare handbook i came out i was like damn a lot of these decisions i was uncertain about it reinforced that i was making the right decision so how do you become better you read that stuff before you get in those leadership positions and who’s responsible for for just throwing that out the leadership you know if you’re in a leadership position out there what are you doing to develop your future leaders you have people that want to want to take your your job what are you doing to develop them and you look across the world like we got covered everywhere you can get in a car accident who’s the next person in line that’s going to take your job who is that person and what are you doing to develop them you know we’ve gotten way better over the years in the military than to still be doing this you think about that it’s pretty powerful you know yeah dude jp sent because i get i gave uh jp a copy of at least i think i gave it to him anyways he got a copy of the new edition of about facebook the forwarding and everything and so he’s like sending me highlighted passages and he’s and he’s not happy yeah and he’s like bro i cannot believe that you didn’t make me read this when i was a you know when i was 23 or 22 and i’m like dude i’m sorry like i’m a horrible leader because there’s so much information in there oh man yeah and i just ripped it off wholesale wholesale just ripped it off and it’s like why didn’t i share that yeah and and part of me was i just didn’t think team guys had any desire to read anything you know because most team guys didn’t most team guys were like beer you know what i did with my about face when i got back over to when i got over to team seven i gave it out to one of our younger tactical see that’s here he’s like that’s a big book i’m like yes you need to read that and then when you’re done with it you need to pass it on to someone else do you think you read it i don’t know man it’s such a big book i don’t know it’s good and here’s the thing we always talk about making hard calls you look at those decisions he made in there those were he was going to be hated he knew that going in he didn’t care he knew what the right thing to do was he made the right calls and you know he wind up saving a lot of lives with his guys from it yeah well see there’s a little nuance there in what you said he had to make hard calls he knew that he would be hated in the short term he knew that there would be resistance yeah but he knew in the end he would be admired and he would be loved because he would be able to keep his guys alive and he knew that that what what would shine through is the fact that he cared about his men yep that’s what would shine through and believe me when we had general mukayama on i was so uh not really worried but like going into it here i’m gonna meet a guy that worked for a freaking hack and what is he gonna say yeah like is he gonna be like well you know hack made himself out to be a little bit more than he was or hack talked a good game but that really wasn’t the guy he was i didn’t know what he was going to say yeah but dude he was just 100 100 percent hack was the man and he was a company commander when he when when hack was a battalion commander i mean that’s that’s the that’s the leadership wow so he you know what you know what i said did you know who hack was he goes everybody knew who hack was damn and like that attitude yeah and and i said you know what how did you what was it that made me goes everything like the way he’s carried himself the way he looked the way he had his he had his hair he’s like he had his head shaved and he just looked like this guy’s just freaking squared away from day one but so you’re gonna make because because one thing i don’t like and leif and i have talked about this on the podcast is uh the someone thinking well you know i’m in charge so i’m gonna be hated and that’s okay it’s like no that’s actually not okay if you’re hated by your troops that’s a freaking problem that means you’re doing something wrong for your troops for to take over a a a unit or take over a team or take over a position and say all right we’re going to start making some adjustments now one thing that’s different too in hack’s case when he took over the 439th is he took over

a disaster a known disaster he had to come in there and kind of swing the hammer a little bit oh he had to bring out the flamethrower yeah he had barbara do some barbecue he had to do some barbecuing but he also eventually you know anyone would do anything you know like talking to general mukuyama those guys would do absolutely anything for anything and even the freaking even the draftees would do anything for hackword like they loved them yeah and it’s kind of like you said earlier when people go through hard training they appreciate it and they love the training more when you are disciplined with your troops when you’re hard on your troops they respect you yeah and they respect themselves and you start to get this camaraderie that you need you know i think a hackworth i think of uh like you said a dude showing up right haircut right uniform just everything he’s communicating lines up with his actions and the guys just had been like damn does this guy do anything wrong you know what i mean does he sleep what’s going on with this dude and when you look at that you’re like hey my margin of error is going to be small because this this dude’s doing everything he’s saying yeah you know it’s uh powerful that’s leadership by example that’s how you got to roll yeah 100 uh what anything else from trade at no man no it’s all good christmas in the desert christmas in the desert oh yeah yeah yeah so i remember uh an island man we were wrapping up and we had a it was a good run the troop came through good energy levels and we’re getting ready to go home and uh you came and you said that wasn’t bad guys and i was like all right let me put that through my enlisted decryption device up here what jocko’s saying is good job have a good christmas he loves you all and you’re like cook you gave a little chuckle out of there so i got you kind of being huggy bear there right before christmas the spirits were good oh so i said that wasn’t bad and that’s that’s as good of a compliment as you’re gonna get out of me yes yeah i had to translate it for him but yeah let’s check maybe compliments weren’t my strong point they were not uh i got some recordings of some of those debriefs somebody’s somebody’s hooking me up uh one of one of my buddies he’s he just texted me a a couple weeks ago he’s like hey somebody gave me recordings of your debriefs yeah he’s like me you’re gonna want to hear him like chat yeah i remember being on target out there and uh this unit was maneuvering i forget what siphon we’re at but one of the guys communication is so long hey i need you to grab your guys and move to the mountain like in black hawk down you’re like what the hell why don’t you you know what are you talking about man it’s just crazy talk you know yeah i would just hit record on my voice recorder during those things and play it back for people like listen to yourself i’d be like hey you need to keep yourself a little clearer more simple clear and concise i was keeping it simple oh really listen to this here’s you telling your troops peel right hey i need everyone to blah blah blah blah freaking ridiculous yeah yep freaking totally ridiculous yeah yeah that was crazy so then where’d you go yep so after that headed back over to uh or headed to team seven and at that point it already made master chief so i was going there’s the ops master chief senior listed guy and then i got pegged to do so i went back there in what uh october 2009 october 2009 just finished up the senior enlisted academy they’re like hey this big one they’re trying to pump as many people as they can over in afghanistan so i got hit with a joint individual augment headed out to a small out station out in afghanistan i was the senior enlisted leader out there which was a good experience it was the first time at that point where i really worked in a joint environment so the my boss was a full bird colonel he was sf dude good guy i learned a lot from him he’d been in like 32 years he was prior enlisted and they worked his way up to the ranks just salty old dog and then we had you know the army air force uh marine corps out there everyone and then we had you know quite a few military officers from different countries you know we had afghanistan and a few other surrounding countries in there um in in our our primary goal was to fusion intel and then you know we had some reconnaissance platforms up overhead and you know they were doing they’re doing their stuff in some other countries but it was good and uh that was the first time i really appreciated our special forces unit and i was working with another senior enlisted leader he was in another country and he was like hey man here’s what we got going on and me and him would communicate back and forth you know like once or twice a week he’s like hey i got my sf battalion we’re training up this and he’s like here’s our numbers and i was like hey wait a minute you guys have this many you know odas over there and you’ve trained up you’ve man trained and equipped 2 000 of these soldiers he’s like yeah and i was like holy [ __ ] dude that’s a big deal man that’s like our formation in his w in action over there you know yeah like by that you mean all of the west coast seal

and all support yeah in action yeah and so these guys are training up these guys and they’re going in and they’re fighting the taliban and he’s got his oda’s doing i was like holy [ __ ] that’s a pretty badass man um so it was a good deployment like not much going on outside the wire the area i was in was actually like yeah i was like cool i just got out an island then i go over there and i’m like damn i’m back in the island the terrain is exactly exactly the same there was some hub hub about us losing our desert training facility someone else is going to take it over and i made this this slide show did i ever show you that i made a slideshow and it was pictures of afghanistan and pictures of our desert training facility side by side and you literally couldn’t tell the difference wow and i was like you’ve got to be kidding me if you think that this isn’t the greatest training site for for us to have yeah yeah yeah so anyways that was a short deployment at that point i’m the ops master chief but i’m deployed come back uh six months later i got home right before july and then as i’m back at the team the team’s going through unit level training and then we’re prepping up for our deployment in uh march time frame and that was a weird deployment like we winded up some of us wound up back over in iraq and so this is 2010 2011 time frame now and we’re breaking down iraq yes yeah we’re waiting for our four platoons that are still in san diego to get over to afghanistan and they’re going over to do village stability operations so get over to iraq and that you know that deployment um it was a long one it was like eight and a half months long um a lot of you know the unit we were working with had all the bells and whistles and it was it was good man so a lot of good things happening our guys wrapped up quite a few bad guys and uh it was it was a good learning experience it was the first time i was in you know a professional jock setting where you’re actually seeing everything unfold in real time all the assets you can imagine um you know and our guys did some good targeting they got a couple bad guys have been after for four or five years so it was good then came back off that deployment then took over as the team you know command master chief so explain what a team command master chief is well our primary job is to initially is to set up the platoons you’re working with the you know the top five of the team the commanding officer the exo your operations department you know the senior listed in there and the in the ops boss um and your primary functions are manning training and equipping the sale team and you’re the senior enlisted leader um and tactical advisor to the commanding officer your primary goal is training up all these you’re not training uh educating and training you know your uh your platoon chiefs and task unit uh senior enlisted advisors and junior officers and so you take over this position and you you start building platoons yeah yeah and i always used to say about platoons let’s say there’s a magic number let’s say the number number is 20 yeah in your top four in a platoon so your lpo your assistant platoon commander your platoon commander and your platoon chief that number’s gotta equal 20. when you add them all together yeah yeah so that means if you have a a a platoon chief that’s like a 16 because he’s just a badass cool you can give him a platoon commander that’s like a two and a lpo that’s a one if you have a platoon chief that’s like a you know maybe a a six well you gotta give him a platoon commander that’s maybe like a seven and you gotta even it out what you don’t want to do is make sure first of all you got to make sure that the number gets to 20 because if it doesn’t get to 20 you’re going to have issues then then you’ve got to complement strengths and weaknesses you know if you’ve got a guy that’s got a bunch of tactical experience but he’s horrible at paperwork well cool you know uh put him with a person that’s good at good paperwork so there’s a lot of balancing in in there that you need to do absolutely and i know uh our 20 when we formed up the team in 2010 we went with some heavy platoons with the idea we’re gonna go back in afghanistan and and one of the things with our our training and deployment schedule is that there’s a lot of lag time in there so things are always changing and i was like man when we get back and i’m forming up the team i want to make sure just to your point all these platoons are balanced out um you know when you go heavy in some platoons that means you’re going to be lighting the others yeah and that comes that comes at a cost and really what i wanted was you got however many platoons you have at a sale team you should be able to pick up any one of those platoons and snap them in no matter where you know where you’re going what the mission is they should all be pretty balanced out equally with experience in the platoon leadership yeah your check and here’s another thing to be careful of to watch out for you you’re trying to

get to 20 don’t build a platoon with a leadership level 40. yeah because it’s probably not going to work the way you think it is what you’re going to end up with is a bunch of big personalities like you take the strongest possible oic the strongest possible chief the strongest possible uh lpo and the strongest what you’re going to end up with is people that they all want to freaking stab each other in the back they all want to be the guy they’ll want it they have such big egos and it just turns into a nightmare yeah so building the stacked platoon leadership is generally not a good call yeah and you’re good even even if it happened if you actually had such exceptional individuals that they actually did work well together well then you’re it’s bad that you have them all together because like you said now you’re not balancing out the rest of the teams because because you should take those exceptionally because for for a for a level 20 individual leader actually for for a level 17 individual leader to work with another high performing leader that other leader needs to be at 20 yeah because that the person that’s a 20 and 20 instead of a 17 the difference between a 17 and a 20 is that 17 can can subordinate their ego that’s the difference because when you take two people that are eight teens they’re missing quality that they don’t have is that they don’t they don’t know how to work with other people and subordinate their ego yeah that’s what gets you to a freaking level 20 yourself yeah yeah yeah yeah the balanced out platoons are are key for the entire team it’s goodness and you think about it so if i’m bringing in a platoon and you know we really spread out our guys with with two and three platoons because those guys are developing the next set of leaders below them you know the platoon chief and lpo and everyone’s got to develop the other guys too but those guys have the most impact when the leadership’s gone they’re the guys that are around and they’re showing them what right looks like so we crossdecked you know quite a few guys got everything uh balanced out good and overall you know our deployment was uneventful for that one went over to centcom um and we were on standby to stand by you know that was after benghazi at happy so the new normal was hey be on standby in case there’s a crisis in there if crisis comes up we want to have special operations postured to go handle an embassy type event um and it was good so for that deployment we winded up you know in and out of the embassy quite a bit which was good because that i was like oh i’ve never been an embassy before so you’re talking directly to the ambassador and a whole new world yeah you got to be professional you got to have your suit on and you know you can’t drop any f-bombs out there yeah it’s a whole new world yeah so it was a really good learning experience although nothing happened i don’t say this we got postured you know we had a a unit over into a neighboring country and that country was you know uh they were going through a withdrawal process and our unit still stayed in position but we were going to reinforce that unit so we were staged we had to stage so we brought in the aircraft which you know we’re going through a full-blown rehearsal like we’re thinking we’re going to launch our guys and you know our my biggest takeaway from that deployment was like hey these relationships we have with the embassy they matter because all we had to do was call up there because we had a tight relationship and they tell us to say here’s what’s going on the ambassador’s working with the prince and the prince and they’re going through this whole thing do we want to launch out here do we not want to launch out of here um so it was good you know it was boring but it was a good learning experience yeah and for for people that don’t uh really know too much about this world there there can be and usually is a lot of tension between the state department which is the ambassadors and whatnot and the military yeah because the state department wants to solve things diplomatically yeah that’s what their life is right and the military we think we can solve things militarily so there’s tension yeah there’s often tension between those two sides but if you remember that hey we all have the same goal right we all have the goal of stability and security and overall peace so if we understand that we’re working towards the same goal let’s figure out the best way to go about it and those tensions look hopefully we can overcome yeah because they can cause to they can cause some really bad things to happen you know there can be times where the military should be used and if the relationship was good the military would be used yeah and there’s some times where the military shouldn’t be used yeah and if the relationship is bad the military gets used even though it really shouldn’t be used yeah so once again forming good relationships is it’s just freaking critical no absolutely especially in that environment more so than than ever you know hey going back into when we were forming up you know one of the first things we did is you know what grabbed in our goat locker you know our our enlisted uh formation e79

and we went through roles and responsibilities in my the cmc i had at the time when i was my task unit uh when i was attacking a senior listed advisor he went through and i don’t know how much you played in the roles and responsibilities he developed or if they crossed after what but he went through every position so i’d already had something that i’d kept for geez what is this uh four years now four or five years later and i’ve got it and i go through and i’m i’m tweaking the verbiage in there to fit to you know to art to our air our time got it yeah and so go through roles and responsibilities with the goat locker and our tactical level leaders hey here’s my expectations as a leader and and we had your jocko brief on there so i had a little reading folder on our drive here’s what’s in there read this [ __ ] it’s going to make you a better leader and i think for the most part our guys did like we didn’t have too many missteps for that um for that work-up cycle and deployment you know things were relatively contained you know like no kooky [ __ ] no big events yeah setting expectations is definitely solid and in the in the seal version of the jocko brief there’s a slide that was roles and responsibilities by person yep like task unit commander here’s what you’re doing and i went right on down the line and i’m sure you guys had to adjust it too but the point is and the reason i don’t give it really in the civil because i don’t give it i don’t give roles and responsibilities part of the brief because i don’t know what the roles and responsibilities are in this construction company or in this manufacturing company or in this financial company right it changes it shifts but in a sealed platoon in a steel task unit i knew what the rules and responsibilities were and listen and here’s something i used to explain like if you’re the platoon chief and you’re supposed to be the the person that’s handling the tactical situation okay if the officer is supposed to be looking at the next move that we’re going to take hey listen chief if your officer is not capable of doing that you better get your lpo trained up so he can handle the tactical situation so you can go and and figure out what you’re going to do next so so we have to be able to not just do like our specific job our role and responsibility but if we have to inside of our platoon we might have to say hey you know what chief you handle this over here you know if i get a chief that’s not super dynamic on target and i got an lpo that’s a badass i’ll go hey hey lpo you’re gonna be you’re gonna you’re gonna be responsible for this stuff you’re gonna be responsible for the assault chief you’re gonna be responsible for the marshaling yeah okay cool got it you’re like that’s okay it doesn’t matter now look don’t let your ego get in the way yeah because the cheap i’m supposed to be in charge of the assault cool you’re not good at it yeah of course i’d be much more gentle about it what i would say is hey you know well the thing is i want the lpo to get some experience so we’re going to let him handle some of these right now and see how he does and in the meantime you can just kind of handle the marshalling over here you know with the with the aoic so but yeah those roles responsibilities so the fact that you laid those out early lets everyone know what the expectation is lets everybody know where you stand right lets everybody know like hey i don’t put up i’m not going to put up with this i’m not going to put up with that i’m not going to put up with the other thing yeah if you’re out of line come you better come and tell me what’s going on if i get blindsided there’s going to be problems so all those all those things absolutely like that’s a great point setting those expectations of what you ex what what you need what you want what your standards are you set those out of the gate it’s going to align people real quick yeah and then you model them you got to model them yeah you got to do what you’re saying oh yeah if you’re if you’re not you might as well just freaking just not even put out the word if you’re gonna say hey everyone be squared away and you’re gonna act like a jackass just don’t even put it out yeah it just clears everybody else dumb move and then what and then what so finish up that deployment come back and then i go and work at our headquarters for our uh forest master chief which was an awesome guy at the time learned a truckload from him which i’d a which i’d be able to use for my next two positions and so at the headquarters element you know what i have on here let me just go back one real quick the headquarters element was was good because it was the first time i’m outside of that that seal team you know whether it’s training or just seal you know um mission you’re up at the headquarters element you know i was in the same office you were but i’m working for the force you’re working for the admiral so it’s a very similar line did you do how long did you work there for uh right around less than a year and a half got it but it was enough we’re ready to get out of there after 12 months but here’s what i would say i wish i would have done that position earlier on probably like as a chief or a senior chief but what does right look like where does it fit the training i think would have priority because that’s going to set you up tactically

but going up there you’re like holy cow your aperture just opens wide up with actually how things work you know with uh with seal platoons going over into afghanistan into iraq how all that stuff works the you want more gear here’s the here’s the process to procure the gear and you’re going through all that and one of the things the guy i worked for did is he was up there and he like he laid out initiatives hey here’s the initiatives i want to get over the line and then i was the guy you know when he’s on travel back at the the black palace trying to move these things forward as you know as quickly as possible without missing anything so it was it was a good experience and the guy worked where he had over 30 years and he bounced around just he was a good dude man yeah learned a lot from him yeah well you’re right i did work we worked in the exact same front i call it the front office and and for sure when you start to see you start to see how small of a role right like you’re small there’s like there’s like the whole military that’s the first time you get a taste of like did you go to the pentagon did you go on travel with your boss i went back to uh socom i didn’t travel that much with those guys so i was going to the panic bro the pentagon yeah i was i was i was you know sitting in in the back in the back of the meeting with socom you know over and over again and hearing the word being put out and seeing them seeing that the handwritten notes from the secretary of defense yeah you know what i’m saying like all of a sudden you realize how big this machine is yeah and and that puts things in perspective for you and yes you learn a lot about you know how to make things happen and how well not how to make things happen but how things happen yes and then you can at least provide some level of influence on trying to hopefully make things happen yourself because that’s a big understanding it makes all the difference in the world because now you know how to navigate it yeah and you also know like i’m there’s no point getting frustrated about this thing over here because i can at least explain to the troops hey this is why this is happening i know it seems crazy but guess what the money that’s getting spent for weapons right now was actually allocated five years ago yeah and so if you’re going to be mad about it that’s fine but it’s not going to help yeah yeah that and that was issues i remember we were getting gear three four years later that was designed for the previous three four years and it was already obsolete you’re like i don’t i can’t even use this stuff right now you know but it was good and i remember being up there in 2015 and i think that was when you and leif sent your first published copy of extreme ownership up there for approval oh yeah well then it wasn’t a published copy it was probably like a manuscript that’s what it was yep so i got me a copy of that oh really got the early one i got the early one so i read through i didn’t know what to expect you know and back then everyone’s going hey man people are on their net writing books i’m like oh let’s see what jacqueline labor write about here a little courtesy copy i remember picking up marie i’m like damn this is really good because the way you guys translated into the business world was just you know it made sense you know so and plus you recognized it all yeah from from the jocko brief which is yeah you know basically where it all came from yeah yeah and your guys the way you wrote it the position on it was from a humility standpoint which people are gonna appreciate that so it was good man yeah i know that was a that was a big um obstacle to overcome mentally yeah you know like uh for me it was massive you know i can’t speak for life but like for me i mean we just talked opened this whole thing up about talking about reputation yeah and all of a sudden you know you can you can destroy your reputation by becoming that guy yeah we wrote that book and you know and and so that was horrible that was a horrible uh experience to go through it’s like walking into the unknown and you can’t look and you can’t there’s look when you write a book it is not a humble act right like there’s no there’s it’s like saying hey i’m gonna go freaking uh uh start a podcast get a designer suit yeah or start a podcast hey i’m gonna go get a designer suit but it’s not for it’s not for me yeah like it doesn’t work or hey i’m going to start a podcast and talk a bunch like what do you got to talk about dude so to say you’re going to write a book or you’re going to start a podcast or you’re going to put a spotlight on yourself is basically what you’re doing that’s that’s what i’m saying right when you write a book you’re putting a spotlight on yourself look at me yeah and and there’s no it doesn’t matter what that book says yeah at least at the initial impression like you you you are putting a spotlight on yourself and i hated that and it was really it was hard to overcome that yeah but then you think here we are working with these civilian companies yeah and they are

being able to move forward and execute better and it’s like you know what the stuff that we learned is probably worth teaching yeah yeah the stuff that we learned is people need to hear it and then uh one of the the admiral you know i kind of had that kind of conversation with him and he says he said uh he goes you know what jonco we are quiet professionals we are not silent professionals and some of the stories need to be told and some of the lessons need to be taught yeah and the way you’re doing it is the way it should be done yeah and and that was real um you know obviously that was about as much reassurance as i could get and then and then you know just having uh having friends that read read the book in the in the teams and were like bro legit and then and then same thing with the podcast like when i started bro and i started with a podcast when all my friends started like calling me like dude that podcast was sick and everyone like that’s when i was super stoked you know because you feel horrible uh and you feel like you’re shining a spotlight on yourself and what i realized was that people saw that i was actually trying to shine a spotlight not on me but like on the community not even just our community but the army the the marine corps like everyone that is out there working hard is where where the spotlight was trying to be shined it’s just that i happen to hold it yeah and it’s pretty sketchy to pick that thing up bro think about this think about if there were podcasts going on in the 90s when we were coming up where we could learn and go and get information on books to read and lessons learned from people that were in vietnam that are talking hey here’s some things we jacked up we had a blue on blue i wish i’d have done this here’s what i did as a leader that was jacked up i wish i would have you know came over here to talk to echo on this thing i mean how much better would we have been we didn’t have we had [ __ ] man we had nothing and and that’s um believe me i think about that all the time i mean even when i when mike thornton came on yeah and and we did a full debrief i was like i was in the seal teams for 20 years yeah and i never got that debrief i never read that debrief never saw didn’t know all those lessons that he learned yeah and it’s like wait a second that’s so wrong i felt horrible yeah and so you know what now it’s like oh you can bring on roger hayden because roger hayden taught me stuff yeah but how is a new guy going to learn about roger hayden and his lessons yeah yeah you know and it’s not even just lessons about hey cover move or hey keep it simple it’s lessons about hey when this happens when you lose a guy when you get a guy badly wounded when you get somebody that’s you know acting a certain way when someone’s losing combat like all those lessons yeah yeah being able to to learn them is freaking so powerful yeah it’ll only help people out in the future you know it’s good i mean when i had james webb on who was you know naval academy marine corps navy cross uh you know secretary of the navy but when we got done and i mean he he he wrote the book of fields of fire incredible book and it’s sort of the book that all vietnam movies are based on yeah all every movie about vietnam is based on that book it’s one way or another and it’s based and that book is is a thinly disguised autobiography but when we got done we walked out and he was like i never got debriefed like that no one ever debriefed anything anything that i did in vietnam like that wow and he goes you know i wrote there’s some stuff written down in some library in the 12th floor of the pentagon you know bro 17 alpha because no one’s ever gonna read that and and to be able to debrief like that it’s yeah he’s like thank you and and his son was in freaking ramadi wow wow so yeah there’s a i i’m i’m saying do believe me i mean i meet i meet marines and army guys and team guys all the time they’re like oh yeah episode this episode is freaking awesome because just what you just said we didn’t get that opportunity yeah to be able to get the debriefs from people and hear these lessons yeah and it’s so we’re so lucky to be able to do that it’s a powerful learning tool you know a lot of things to do just to your point in the military translate right over into the business world for everyone to learn from you know so then what’d you get done you got done with war com whatever yeah so got done with the war com and uh went over and uh at that time we were doing rotations with uh combined joint special operations task force

task force that goes into iraq and then you know the deal with the siege of soda you know they’re in charge of the maneuver elements yeah so basically this is a group that’s in charge of all the special operations in a area in this case iraq yeah yep yep so went up there and i think we had you know you’re working with all these other countries and they’re reporting to you we’re working together as one big team one big unit i think we had in between 800 and 1100 people with the siege of soda and guys are dispersed everyone this is a a point in iraq where you know isis has a foothold up in mosul and we’ve got you know it was the first time i actually worked with uh marsoc we had uh their msots and their msoc out there along with the o5 headquarters they were up north and we had our nsw unit and they were co-located with us um there in baghdad and so it was uh it was a good experience you know and we’re figuring out hey how are we going to take take uh down mosul you know there it’s been several rotations before us where everyone’s just waiting one of their iraqis going to want to do it one of iraqi’s going to want to do it and that came to a head on our deployment which was good um and so finally we get approval guys come in there and so what year is this this is 2016. 2016. so you know uh guys go in there and start clearing out mosul you know and at some point you know one of our seal units rotated out and jay and his formation rotated in which was awesome jay’s team was was awesome him and his uh commanding officer did a great job building that out you know they were it was you know one of the best seal teams i’ve i’d seen um so it was good anyways they come in and start clearing mosul me and my boss we push up to uh erbil and then out of erbil we were running a a small jock out of there so we were co-located with god i forget the sea jock and the sea jock was the one who could clear air space to drop ordnance and we needed to be co-located with him to help deconflict in case anything got snagged up um so anyways there was a lot of kinetic fighting in there going on at that point but a good experience we’re working with i think seven or eight different countries first time i’ve been inside of see desoto working like that you’re up in the upper leadership and management position you know taking on everything that’s going on i’m trying to provide my my boss with the the best advice i can on you know what i recommend um you know the boss i had back then he’s an admiral now but he was just squared away just even-tempered guy people loved him the other countries loved him like hey where’d you get this guy i’m like that’s my first time working on it he’s dialed in he had a great reputation you know um so it was it was it was a good deployment you know and probably the things that weighed the most on that deployment is i’d never really been a part of uh a ramp ceremony to where you’re like you’re leading this thing and uh we had one of our warrant officers and this was our first ramp ceremony and so we had a pilot that was shot down i want to say it was 2006 time period and his remains were never recovered and our warrant officer went off this and he’s working with the shake the sheik’s going hey we got the remains if you want them and they start doing negotiations and then shakes like hey we want this amount of money and our guys going back and forth and in just a point up front i want to make is when you assign the right person you know the right talent to that to what you’re trying to accomplish you can get a lot over the finish line and i’m saying that up front because there was other agencies that had worked with this shake to try to get the remains back they couldn’t get it over the finish line but here was a guy with never done this before the right temperament the right attitude went in there and was playing a little hard ball with this guy played a little softball over here and he got it over the finish line you know we winded up you know you know negotiating with the shake we got the remains back we went through our ramp ceremony back here and then we got the you know the remains back to the u.s so the you know that officer could be properly uh buried and he was he was a a pilot that had been shot down um so it was powerful felt good you know felt good and then we had a few other ramp ceremonies we know we lost uh this was one of one of jay-z or these bubbas but he was hit you know up there in mosul with an ied and he was killed and so we did a ramp ceremony film brought him back and we had one other guy and i want to i’ll tie this back into ramadi but the the third guy we had he was you know he’s doing some stuff in another country he was hit hard he was killed and we brought him back to us and it was like the night before thanksgiving back in the u.s and in ramadi we were operating right before christmas and you know the siege of soda commander pulled us out and we were pissed off we were like what the hell man we were planning on being here in through christmas eve through christmas and the siege of soda commander back in 2006 said hey man i don’t want to report back to anyone’s family that

their son was wounded or killed you know before christmas and then here we are you know damn near 10 years later in in iraq and this guy gets killed right before thanksgiving and his family’s over with the other family or his wife and kids are over with their family and they got to get notified we’re coming back here going through all our procedures to make sure everything’s tight and he’s getting his uh proper respect before we send him out but those things like when you’re putting an american on an aircraft in a casket with the flag draped over man it just it’s a gut punch man it sucks it sucks man it’s something i never you know wish upon anyone um and it really hits home dude to you you know not good how long was that deployment that was a six month round and the iraqis took massive casualties they before we left they were like the special unit we were working with and it trained up over the years the the sf actually trained them up i think we had a hand in the pie somewhere in there but they were dialed in they were the best unit that the iraqis had and these guys had a lot of pride but they were like over 800 casualties uh when we left and it was just it was i mean isis was no joke over there man they were they’re barbaric brutal and you know there’s a there’s a fraction of of people where you think you’re going to come in and you’re going to talk some sense into some people like that you’re not you’re not talking to them and if they get a hold of you it’s not going to be good for you you’re going to get your head chopped off and that’s the type of uh that’s what that’s what we’re dealing with over there and those you know that unit that our guys were working with they laid it all out there they were going in there for their country for iraq to secure that city to make it a better place and man they took heavy casualties i mean heavy casualties um you know the the the truck bombs they built from 2004 to 2016 they up armored them in 2016. so when they’re coming at you there’s no way there’s not a good way to defeat them you need some type of missile system a rocket system coming in on top or you need some type of arresting device where you can stop the vehicle from coming at you um you know we had some good penetration with some of our heavy caliber weapons was stopping them but it was hard it was not easy and they’d hide them underneath you know vehicle or or carport um entry points and you wouldn’t be able to tell what it is next thing you know that big huge you know truck bomb is on the move and there’s up armored all over the place and there’s just a small window that they can look out and guess what if they come off the seat or anything happens with the seat and their adjustment the things rig to just blow so as soon as it hits something the whole thing’s going up and man we just remember watching cts units this damn thing would be coming you’d be trying to call in an airstrike but you got like a minute and 30 seconds to clear air space overhead to get bombs down on targets it’s like it wasn’t gonna happen so you had to be able to handle business as a tactical unit on the ground to take this thing out you know we’d give these guys rockets and ship but it they weren’t effective um so it was a super complex and frustrating um environment you know and took a lot of casualties yeah i know uh jason was saying that that you know at a certain point they were thinking that the iraqi unit that was doing the majority of the fighting was going to run out of guys like they just weren’t gonna they were just gonna all be dead or all be casualties which which was freaking scary and i i was horrified you know when he was telling me that now it’s i was hearing some of that while while you guys were actually over there but at the same time even though it kind of horrified me at the same time i also was this is going to sound wrong but i was happy to hear it because what it told me was that the iraqis were fighting yeah and when we were in ramadi the iraqis they some of them would fight but it definitely wasn’t they weren’t looking to take massive casualties to try and take a city back like they didn’t care that much yeah and they would run away we had a whole battalion quit a whole battalion of iraqi soldiers said yeah we’re out well we had one entire company disappear like there was a a strike on their on one of their checkpoints and they all just bailed that was that yeah so to hear how hard the iraqis were fighting and they were taking it to isis and that they were staying in the fight that was just freaking um that was just it was awesome to hear that it was so horrible to hear that they were taking casualties but it was great to hear that they had found the will to fight and that they were unified and and fighting courageously to to liberate other

iraqis inside their country from these actual savages that are doing the most committing the most heinous atrocities imaginable and and it was all it was awesome to hear that they were that they were fighting like that and and it was also you know when when isis decided to you know wear a uniform and put up flags it was like right on yeah let’s see how this works out for you yeah freaking legit uh and then what then what so finish up with with that deployment get back off of that and then that’s when i rolled over to group one and so you know started you know i got a good six six month of getting saturated with group level stuff and you know with the group you’re responsible for all you know four west coast sale teams and three other commands so you got roughly right around 1800 people or so and your primary function there is manning training and equipment so i’m working directly with the team command master chiefs um on some occasions they’re commanding officers and so you’re in a position of a lot of influence at that point you know and i’m directly working with our commodore on on our initiatives and moving the mission forward and you’re also dealing with uh whatever sort of you know uh equipment like trying to get equipment for the guys trying to just the whole nine yards and and overall responsible for their training did you go out to the desert during that time went out there a couple times damn bro and it’s so it’s weird it’s different when you’re up at that level when you come down in it’s never the same yeah it’s never you know you’re the show for you yeah you’re the guy then it’s like hey i’m coming in there to see this and you’re like hey man you guys might want to tighten this [ __ ] up over here you know but um it was good you know uh damn who was there i think jay yeah jay was at trade at the time so it was good so jay was always there as a right-hand man i had out there and we had a good crew of uh team committed master chiefs and one of the things we started doing back in 2015 with the the force i was working with the forced command master chief as he started implementing a screening process so we were basically going through a hiring to make sure that we were getting the right leaders in at the the master chief level to take over some of these command positions and it’s not perfect but it was a hell of a lot better than where we were um they also we also started implementing in you know platoon chief and task unit senior listed advisor screening and that was developing so it’s uh it’s getting better as we move forward bottom line is you know things are getting better you’re moving things forward that’s what you want for a better formation you know and just going back to work on real quick one of the things i realized when you’re up there you know when you’re down in the troops you’re just like give me my gear i want to get go to war and do all these things and people talk a lot of [ __ ] about everyone above them and here’s the deal with the people that are above you i’m you i’m you i was the e5 talking that [ __ ] saying all those things and guess what i moved up positions but i moved up in positions to take care of people right and so there’s a lot of kooky things that come out you’re the guy behind the scenes squashing these things you know to make sure that that our people are taken care of and i always i had a buddy that was you know he was a hard case and he’s like hey man why don’t you ever say this won’t you you need to stand up and say something about that i’m like hey man i’m handling that [ __ ] behind closed doors i’m not going to come here and open forum with the commander and disagree with them in front of all these people man that’s not that’s not smart i’m getting nowhere yeah but if i come around the back side here do a little flank plant some seeds you can have a lot more influence that way um so anyways you’re always going to get that [ __ ] with the hard cases you know what i’m talking about yeah and then how long was that tour so that was a two-year tour you know when i wanted to finish up my career there and and and towards the end you’re like i mean what what were you thinking what was on the horizon and what was your decision-making process to to decide to punch punch yeah so i punched right at like the 28 and a half year mark so i could have gone another year and a half but man i was out of juice and one of the things people talk about is hey you know when it’s time to go and man i was in that position and we had some high profile cases out there and they just wear on you man you know they just wear on you and even before that happened i knew it was time for me to go i’m like all right i’m going to do this position it’s time for me to to move out of here i don’t think i had anything left to add value to the mission in the organization i was topped out with my leadership capacity and we have plenty of guys that go out there and do the the t-socks you know the theater special operations command and that’s a high level of influence those are action arms in the operational uh areas and i was like man i just don’t see myself going and working at that level you’re working with general officers with admirals and i was like man i just and i was up a war com kind of got a a little bit of a taste of that and i was like that’s just not me um and we need people to do those positions so we had quite a few east coast guys going in uh and into those t-shock positions

and you need them because that’s a huge a high level of influence that the that we have in nsw if you have your guy in there he can help influence some outcomes which is super important but i was definitely maxed out uh out of gas time for me to pack up and go home and one of the things that always uh it comes to mind with me is in 2003 you know we had posey out there our vietnam guy good dude man good family guy vietnam had more stores you can imagine but he was like man steve you guys are stronger faster smarter than than we ever were i was like damn what’s he talking about and then i look back you know 28 you know what 15 years later or whatever it was and i’m like these young guys that are coming in they’re hungry they’re smarter they’re stronger than i was they’re faster than i was meaning hey the community’s in a good spot we got our next generation coming up in through our ranks doing good things you know one of the things uh one of our head leaders for the navy put out mick pawn stevens he said hey work hard stay out of trouble and be a good person that’s all i’m asking the formation to do the entire navy that’s that was his mantra work hard stay out of trouble be a good and cue be a good decent human being be a good person and i never knew what the hell he meant by stay out of trouble and then you know as you start moving up in these positions and you have high profile cases and things going on they can bring your entire community down to its knees meaning it’s hard to move initiatives forward it’s hard to to focus on what your actual job is because you’re dealing with you know in jp you’re dealing with court martials all those things weigh on you and it’s never good and my boss in 2015 are forced he he hammered it home to me and it made sense he said hey steve we’ve got to protect the mission we’ve got to protect our credibility credibility that’s built in other people’s blood it was spilled in other people’s blood we’ve got to protect that at all cost and he’s like it’s hard for us to protect the homeland if we if our credibility’s damaged and we can’t get employed overseas to wrap up bad guys i was like yeah check that ship makes sense so yeah yeah well that’s it’s the same thing as a reputation right yeah the community has a reputation and you got to do everything you can to protect that reputation yeah because if you’re if you’re yeah just that’s just what you have to do yeah you know and you do your best you do everything you can to protect your reputation i mean that’s just what you got to do you know man any other uh echo you got anything said something about a firecracker earlier like a firecracker scenario or whatever and you were like oh you got the firecracker like right off the bat or something like that like that it was the nickname for an area in ramadi that was north of route michigan and it was this little road that wrapped up and around us called firecracker and the reason it was called firecracker was because there was a lot of bad [ __ ] going on here there was a lot of fire a lot of fire cracking off as you said yeah interesting okay and that was like your first that was our first uh operation in uh ramadi dude that’s a welcome to ramadi situation right there damn yeah it was good that was good that’s the line freaking crazy anything else steve any closing thoughts no that’s it right oh man well uh thanks for coming on man yeah oh you know what i’ll say one more thing at one point probably you were like six months out from retiring and you said i have three courses of action for what i’m gonna do when i get out echelon front echelon front echelon front i was like right old man freaking awesome uh which is a rip-off from the marine that i covered the book on the podcast where when he was getting ready to graduate from the basic school yeah and they had to fill out what they wanted to do and this was in 1967. they had to fill out what they wanted to do in the marine corps and he put one two three infantry platoon commander in chief platoon commander infantry platoon commander it’s like that’s what i’m gonna do i was like roger that all right guess we’re gonna execute on this thing so it’s freaking awesome thanks for what you did to the teams for the teams obviously for america obviously and and and for freedom and i know we had an awesome time working together in the past i’ve i still i just when i drive at night whenever i drive at night especially out here in california in the desert i’m always thinking i’m driving back from from the desert from our desert training facility and just with just totally amped because i wouldn’t be able to sleep because i’d be so fired up for the teams and for the boys and i’d be like just amped driving back knowing that we made some freaking guys ready for war

so it was awesome working with you then and uh awesome working with you again right now man yeah hey i really appreciate it i’m glad to be on with with echelon front it’s uh it’s awesome can i say one thing real quick yeah yeah i’d like to thank my wife allison she’s put up with me for all these years she’s prior military good southern girl from arkansas um and she runs a tight game she keeps me she keeps me in line so i love worth all my heart she’s an awesome person and uh my kids i love you guys right old man awesome well uh echo yes sir speaking of getting after it speaker speaking of being awesome what do you think we can do to uh become more awesome to strive strive strive for awesomeness at the very least how about that strategy there’s some podcast we did from some ancient warrior shaking the world shaking the world with your awesomeness oh yeah oh well you know that’s a that’s a big step she’s going striving to shaking the world like that’s that’s kind of a big step for sure so let’s start with striving cool good all right well hey in your path to strive for awesomeness or in the event that you’re just straight up trying to shake the world with awesomeness hey look you might need some supplementation okay let me let me start this but steve you know you listen to the podcast yes um how often do you listen to this part of the podcast what percentage of time i i’m probably 50 50 you you hang on or is it just you can’t hit stop on your freaking iphone so you just have to roll with it it’s like stuff there’s so many new products coming out you’ve got to listen to it to kind of go all right is there some new line coming out here i’m not tracking oh chad it’s true he makes it good so so he’s saying 50 my guess is he’s kind of rounding up to be nice because you know he doesn’t want to be like harsh to equity that’s cool all lady is one percent that’s only that’s right man he’s here at 50. she does 49. here’s what i know i just got a text from jp and uh and uh dave burke they want to know if you’re gonna talk about their discipline go some sour apple snipel you mean good deal dave good deal dave okay jp just just tracking on it yeah like tracking that steve’s here and then sending taking the time to send a text to say hey make sure you talk about sour apple sniper okay dave dave wants to make jp jealous so you got to mention dave’s uh afterburner okay no problem we’re on it fully so these two guys are just breaking in the game that’s all man that’s how and i dig it either way before we get to the discipline or discipline go which are you know they’re kind of different but kind of the same we talk about joint supplements it’s important because you don’t want to think about this kind of stuff while we’re trying to what shake the world with you know we’re thinking awesomeness or strive or whatever you know you don’t want to think about your joints you don’t want to think about your immunity getting sick all this kind of stuff so you take these supplements joint warfare joints super krill oil joints vitamin d3 immunity and general health by the way vitamin d3 is good for a lot of stuff all kinds especially at this moment in time in particular we’re talking about factual information about the glory of the vitamin d that’s true absolutely true also uh cold war immunity supplement keep those in mind so you don’t have to keep the other stuff in mind well yeah that’s what i you’ve you’ve finally gotten through to me it’s only taken 260 episodes of uh now i understand that you’re like oh it’s good to to not have to think about your joints bothering you yes that’s a good thing that is a good thing so now i understand you we don’t want to wake up and be like i hope my joints hold up today and work out or whatever you see what i’m saying yes you just want to go into the workout warm up people get it done as they say exactly right also we have supplement called discipline to supplement for your brain for your body for your whole thing really life your life man your life powder take discipline powder instead of coffee try that good coffee it could be something that’s what i’m saying as far as the routine also discipline go which are and or should i say were capsules to begin with they are capsules if you’re on the go see what i’m saying yes you did that they’re they’re they’re very popular at echelon front yeah hey can i say something on the discipline go capsules hey so i’ve been using that stuff and so when i’m going in and i’m doing a speaking engagement that’s why they’re so popular i take two and here’s the deal like when i’m communicating when i’m not taking that stuff it’s like i’m going down the highway and i i really have to think hard about the words i’m gonna communicate it’s like the words are in off the shoot off a street when i’m on the discipline go the words are right there on the road i’m going 60 miles an hour you’re like boom boom boom

clear concise communications and i don’t know what’s in it but it definitely clears up your mind it clears up your mind it works you got to get i’m telling you if you’re a boss you got some things going on a meeting a high-speed meeting you’re talking to people it helps i promise you it helps i wouldn’t i wouldn’t say if it did yeah no that’s why that’s why at echelon front where we get up and we have to not only we have to speak but we gotta take questions interpret questions we gotta come up with answers and solutions and so the team is always like yeah yeah yeah i’m gonna i wanna bring the a game right yep how do you ensure you bring the a game take a little discipline go and then if you have like a little more time or maybe you want to enjoy that a little bit more you can get a can of discipline go yes which is what you mentioned right many flavors now shoot the flavor roster getting big over here so most recently after burner orange good deal dave burke boom before that sour apple sniper jp denelle what are they competing with each other oh good lord there’s some competition before that jackal palmer which by the way which by the way jocko palmer jocko palmer is not jocko palmer what it is is it’s 50 50 iced tea lemonade that’s what it is yeah some people were thinking it was pomegranate because we also have choco pomegranate white tea yeah which which you probably remember steve tell us about that’s the origin story right there at an island me rolling into those briefs with that big old plastic uh uh protein shaker with freaking with with pomegranate tea which i would get from wherever and then i’d just sit there in the front row and they’d give their brief and check back to just take your notes and be like all right you give your points or actually like you know whatever the the frontline instructors would give their points then you’d give your points and then be like you’d be like you got anything boss and i’m like a couple things is there caffeine there is just a little bit yeah there’s a little by the whole thing yeah so speaking of caffeine and just a little bit yes jocko palmer that was the one before that and then before that was what who’s the first signature oh jack savage the first signature was back savage yeah dakota tasty is that your go-to what’s your go-to i like the dak savage and i like the story behind dak savage yeah dude he’s a monster if you can just get a little if you can have a little bit of mentality of dakota then your your whole your whole being is better yeah no not no offense to jp and dave i don’t know i want to have their mentalities too but let’s face it it’s dak savage it’s freaking dakota we’re kind of in the game dakotas kind of take do you did you drink dr pepper when you were a kid i did not because that’s kind of the yeah it’s kind of the flavor apparently it’s tasty yeah that’s tasty yeah that’s my that’s my wife’s favorite yeah which what do you think of that dakota i see you tracking on my life tracking on my wife dakota uh yeah so that one’s kind of a sour apple sniper is i’m gonna say if you have a little bit of a sweet tooth yeah probably sour apple sniper is your go-to it’s true jacquel palmer is is if you like iced tea and lemonade yeah that was my favorite before the orange the orange is your favorite currently my favorite yeah yes sir but hey man you know to each their own and you know we’re going to move forward so what this is though discipline go in a can energy drink health energy drink healthy energy drink no health drink in the form of an energy drink yeah it’s been hard to figure out what to call it whatever you were just saying steve was pretty legit about just going down the road finding words everything’s in focus and i’m like yeah dude i know what your feeling is yeah and that’s what makes like the the can so good because you know like let’s face it you’re just doing whatever during the day whatever we do during the day you’re like oh you know i’ll grab a water i’ll grab a juice grab a soda sometimes some of us no this this exactly right though this is like you can grab it no you don’t get the bad parts of soda yeah you know i mean yeah if you’re going for a water cool man do it but if you’re grabbing like a red bull or i shouldn’t say any particular brand but if you’re grabbing a soda or an energy drink i’m just saying you’re gonna pay a price for that you’re paying a price you’re paying a price with your health yeah and and with this discipline go it’s paying you you think you would think that somebody would have already made an equivalent right you would think you’d think that it’s real obvious hey i’m going to make something that makes you enhances your performance but it’s actually good for you you’d think somebody would have done that why didn’t they do it number one cost too much and now they’re now they’re not making they’re not maximizing profits at the freaking cash register yeah that’s true and

number two is hard yeah it was hard to do because we had to instead of just throwing a bunch of chemicals in there so it wouldn’t go bad we had to pasteurize it which no one does no so there you go and not only that hey how are you gonna make it taste good well we’ll just put a bunch of chemicals in there that that are bad for you but they’ll make people taste good and we don’t care about the people that we’re serving this to so we’ll just let them drink poison we’ll just let them drink poison what did we do we said no i was like no we’re not doing that we’re gonna sweeten it with something real it’s monk fruit so that’s why he doesn’t even that doesn’t seem like a lot of barriers to entry right like hey we’re gonna pasteurize it we’re gonna put we’re gonna sweeten it naturally we’re gonna only put healthy ingredients in it you’d think that those those bars to entry aren’t that high you’d think someone would have done it but they didn’t yeah they didn’t do it so we did amen like i said now everyone else can get in line as far as getting in line goes for sure also speaking of tasting good milk superior protein in the form of a dessert so you know um you know such a good dessert yeah very much so so uh brian i don’t even know if i’m supposed to say this but brian sends my son and me i’m more of a secondary thing but it sends my son milk bars oh yeah right i don’t know if they’re still in the experimental stage or whatever the version that you’re getting right now is pretty close to a done deal yeah yeah so it’s like it’s one of those things where yeah man if you want a dessert like milk is the dessert and it’s super as far as like um you know how like sometimes you’re like oh i need a dessert but i you know i’m on the path so i’m gonna have a dessert substitute or something like this what i’m saying you had those out i thought those were out already i was in bars yeah i was eating something back in uh december last year we were we were in the experimental phase well they were tasty then yeah they’ve gotten better wow they’ve gotten better so it’s been hard man it’s been really hard there’s enough it’s the same it’s the same kind of battles you’re fighting with the like with with making the drink and how do you actually keep it stable there’s more there’s more there’s well not more but there’s different things in play trying to make a bar how do you keep it stable how does it maintain its texture over time what happens when it’s sitting on the shelf for two months there’s a bunch of things to deal with so we find in the version that you’re getting right now echo we finally figured out how to overcome all that and do it naturally and make it taste good and have the right flavor profile and stay stable on the shelf so it’s been a long road it’s been a road that we almost backed away from and you know me i’m not one to d-o-r-d-o-r as they say sure yeah but either way yes milk protein informative dessert not a dessert substitute by the way just simply dessert straight up where do you get all this stuff origin originally originally there’s many other places to get it but before we go there okay let’s go here choco white t you mentioned the pomegranate white tea chocolate tea that is available we’re not just talking about draco used to drink white tea now he doesn’t bruh drinks even better white tea i had it away yeah remember you still drink it in that big jar just to bring the big juice oh i used to bring it even back in the day like a crazy person yeah yeah nonetheless yes that’s available as well at also at the vitamin shop offline what do you call it like brick-and-mortar yeah boom vitamin shop go get it also the discipline go cans are at wawa in florida currently yeah and by the way if you live in florida and you’ve been and look i i asked and said hey please this is the mission we wanna we wanna go into the full chain of wawa we needed to go hard in florida we needed to go in there and clear shelves well you all that have been clearing shelves thank you keep going we’re on the path to victory don’t let up that’s true keep getting after it because you know why because people in pennsylvania and new jersey and maryland they’re they’re counting on florida it’s all eyes on florida we got a rock and roll in florida we’re on the right path don’t let up bruh it it’s true and that the thing is again i said this before it’s kind of a big deal though to go and get like an energy drink or whatever and it’d be legitimate healthy for you is a huge deal when you eat like you didn’t even really have to think about but but you just went back i mean we were talking about that 15 minutes ago but we’re talking about it again that’s cool i don’t think i i capitalized not capitalized i broke down the entire thing about the bars and the thing we got to do and how hard it was but that wasn’t good enough but not about the price you pay when you when you take drink an energy drink or a soda or something like this that price you pay versus the price that you don’t pay that’s a big deal i didn’t think i maximized the uh how should i say the communication of that big deal check

i think i have now okay also at origin is american-made stuff jiu-jitsu stuff geez rash cards some uh some athletics let me ask you a question can you wear a ghee when you go to the grocery mart grocery market yeah well as far as grocery marts go yeah sure i mean you could technically advisable well you know i’m i’m not gonna sit here and advise that but man if you’re gonna do it go ahead do that okay was there something that we could wear that would be more acceptable sure like what maybe some jeans ah there we go there we go maybe i don’t know but baby yes but where can you get american-made jeans you know it’s very hard um oh how should i say as far as uh options go there are not as many options as you know one might hope but thankfully yes i am here to tell you at you can get american-made denim jeans you know what you probably are thinking if you’re an american you’re probably thinking about like iconic iconic i’m gonna say three words iconic american genes and we all know there’s a few brands that fall into that category they’ve been around for a long time iconic american jeans i got news for you you’re iconic american jeans they’re not american they’re not american brutal so if you want to get iconic american jeans i’ll tell you where you go you go to and you get yourself some iconic american jeans we’re bringing them back yes sir yeah good work they’re doing some good work over there at origin speaking of good work joco has a store it’s called jocko store obviously so that’s where you can get your discipline equals freedom shirts hoodies hats bunch of stuff on there really cool stuff in my opinion see if it’s your opinion too chocolate oh also we do have a t-shirt club kind of creative you can come up with something else to call this besides t-shirt club uh yeah okay please obviously i have that capability sure uh i don’t know t-shirt platoon t-shirt brigade t-shirt gang we’ll just say see what i’m saying you rolled right into something that like you know my 11 year old daughter has a roller skating club right you see where i’m going with this tighten yourself up bro it’s a working title and we’re doing our best over here nonetheless this is what it is it’s a subscription based situation where you get a shirt new shirt every month creative designs anyway check that one out too if you’re interested boom do that good for a gift too by the way there you go also subscribe oh wait wait we have other podcasts you didn’t even mention this podcast well we’re on this podcast okay we do have other podcasts oh guess what the podcast you’re listening to it’s a podcast it exists yeah we already know that we don’t gotta mention that okay so yeah uh yeah subscribe to all these different podcasts jocko podcast jocko unraveling podcast grounded podcast and warrior kid podcast check those out leave a review sure because they’re funny if you leave a review make it entertaining put some layers in it it’s appreciated yeah past reviews have been pretty impressive you know what i haven’t done for a while has read reviews like online or re-posting i got to do that those are awesome it’s true i’ll do some of that also also we have a youtube channel uh video version is podcast you know you want to see what steve ward looks like handsome guy i would say as far as handsome guys go but nonetheless if you want to see what thank you echo and you’re welcome of course but nonetheless yes and we have some excerpts on there you want to you know watch slash listen to those uh that’s where that’s what you can get on the youtube channel official by the way we got it youtube boom also psychological warfare if you don’t know what that is it’s an album jocko’s album with tracks not music album not yet not yet we’re working it yes anyway it’s an album with tracks of jocko helping you through a moment of weakness like we’re gonna skip the workout there’s a little track on there to help you not skip the workout put simply that’s what it is speaking of dakota meyer he’s got a a company where he prints cool stuff to hang on your wall that’s all you need to say check that out got a bunch of books we talked about one of them today we talked about a couple of them today but about face by colonel david hackworth highly recommended there’s a new version that has

a forward in it written by me how freaking stoked i was to do that man that’s awesome did i tell you that how that happened no they were so it started selling again kind of like when i started talking about it all the time and so they eventually pulled the thread and tried to figure out why it was selling and they eventually figured out was selling because we were talking about all the time on the podcast and um they wrote me and said hey do you want to write we’re going to re-release it do you want to write a blurb for the back which is like a little quote like hey this is a great book and i wrote them and said uh i’ll write can i write a forward to it and they’d be like you want to write a forward and i said hell yeah i’ll write a forward to it most forwards are about 500 words if you google like how long should a book forward be it should be about 500 words my forward for this is 5000 words yeah it’s like a freaking because i just went off and explained how i found it what it meant you know all these the lessons i learned from it and so yeah it’s been it’s been awesome so if you want to check out that book about face by colonel david hackworth then go ahead and check that out also leadership strategy and tactics field manual so good you what you just had a company that told you uh what they just said yeah we so they’d already they read extreme ownership and their leadership team has them they have the dichotomy of leadership and i was like hey do you guys have leadership strategies and tactics and they one of them purchased it they’re like yeah they’re inbound we got them for the whole team now and the beautiful thing with it is is you got an issue you can find it in that book with a a good solution and it might not be 100 solution for your situation but you can take that formulate it and utilize it that’s the beauty of that thing yeah so powerful that’s exactly the what i had in mind when i wrote it was can you look up in here okay let me go i’m having a problem with my subordinate how do i do what do i do you know i’m having a problem with people getting on board with the new plan what do i do and just be able to look it up in there find the solution the beautiful thing about it is you don’t even have to tab it because the answers are up front hey you’re having this issue flip to this page in one to two pages you find your answer you read through it digest it boom implement it so easy check uh the code the evaluations the protocol if you need some guidance on where to go look in the military we got told hey you’re slacking a little here you could do a little better here but we go through life without an evaluation of ourselves how do you expect to know where to go get the code the evaluation the protocol get the discipline equals freedom field manual new version bigger picture of my head therefore you know obviously better another 35 or 40 pages of writing in there ideal i’m gonna say it i don’t like to throw that out there but kind of an ideal gift book right it’s not just like oh i went to the bookstore and i randomly found this book over here called whatever it’s like i got something with a little substance it’s a little bigger it’s a little heavier looks cool looks cool you can put it on a table and just have it be there just and if you read it you’re doing even better yes sir what up okay so i got this you gave me a signed copy a few years ago oh but i’m just trying to see what the difference is oh yeah well the difference is there’s about 40 extra pages of where i wrote more stuff gotcha more information so there’s that and then also there’s way of the warrior kid for field manual which is what your kid wants for christmas that’s what your kid wants for christmas because all these lessons that we talk about look you can learn them when you’re 40 after you read freaking leadership strategy and tactics or you can learn them when you’re seven and you can go through life understanding these things and you can end up in a much better place so what do you can do with your kid you’re going to put them on a path to mediocracy mediocrity are you going to put your kid on a path to being average are you going to be put your kid on a path to blame other people and be a victim their whole life or are you going to put them on the bath path to be a warrior kid and step up i’ll tell you what i recommend weigh the warrior kid for a field manual go ahead and get some of that also weigh the warrior kid one two and three mikey and the dragons oh you know what kids have to deal with being afraid and it’s not just kids but why not learn at a young age how to overcome fear get mikey and the dragons and also extreme ownership and the dichotomy of leadership the og books did i say og yes sir yes i did we also have echelon front it’s our leadership consultancy it’s steve’s with us now on the team how long you been on the team for march officially march i’ve been yeah you know ever since i got out i’ve been kind of shadowing dave and some of the crew so so

if you wanna if you if you want to work with us if you want help aligning your leadership if you wanna learn the lessons that we learned if you want us to come in and help your leadership get aligned help find where the friction points are help figure out where you can be more efficient as a team go to we solve problems through leadership we also have ef online which is where we solve problems through leadership online and we’re on there all the time so if you if you want to if you want to come on there and you want to ask me a question you want to ask me a question you might think uh how could i ever ask jock a question it’s easy you go to ef online you can ask me a question i’ll be sitting right there you want to ask steve a question about how he handled a certain situation how he organized platoons how he put teams together how he handled these leadership challenges go on to and you can ask steve a question he’s literally be sitting there so check that out we have the muster we’re scheduling the muster for 2021. go to for details we have ef overwatch if you want people that understand these principles to come and work at your company go to and we have people that we’re transitioning from the military to the civilian sector and they’ll come to your company and work and if you want to help service members active and retired service members their families gold star families around the world check out mark lee’s mom mark lee’s mom’s organization mama lee she’s got a group called america’s mighty warriors and if you want to donate or get involved then go to and if you let’s say you just desire anguish and pain in your life in your own life we can give it to you if you want it we can give it to you if you want more of my mundane discourse or you need more of echo’s unfathomable phraseology and you can find us on the interwebs on twitter on instagram which echo only refers to as the gram and on facebook echo is adequate charles and i am at jacka willink where you at steve i’m at steve ward 194 steve 194. or whatever on instagram on instagram instagram steve.ward194 is that how it works that answer what do do you post anything so i i’ll probably will here soon it’s hunting season have you posted have you posted anything ah no what are you hunting for ducks right on it’s fun yeah and it’s good living it’s good living not as good eating as elk or deer but you’re gonna get what you can get we’re gonna get what we can get check uh yeah steve man thanks for coming back on it’s coming on it’s freaking awesome and uh appreciate everything everything man yeah everything and thanks to all of our other military personnel right now out in the world on watch as steve said you you all are smarter and stronger and faster and more well equipped and better trained than we ever were so thanks for uh holding it down make sure you train up the people underneath you and for our police and law enforcement firefighters and paramedics and emts and dispatchers and correctional officers and border patrol and secret service and all first responders well thanks for protecting us here at home and to everyone else out there you know steve talked a lot today about setting a good example modeling the right example and you’ll also notice that almost every phase of his life he talked about learning and how he learned well i would say that’s part of that good example is don’t ever stop learning don’t ever stop growing don’t ever stop trying to improve you can only do that if you stay humble so stay humble listen learn and lead and also make sure that you keep getting after it and until next time this is steve and echo and jocko out