Naval aviator, author and film producer Paco Chierici joins the show. Paco spent twenty years in the Navy, flying the A-6E Intruder, F-14A Tomcat and the F-5 Tiger II. Paco deployed to combat zones from Somalia to Iraq and was stationed aboard carriers including the USS Ranger, Nimitz and Kitty Hawk.

In his career, Paco has accumulated over 3,000 tactical hours and completed over 400 carrier landings. In addition to being an aviator, Paco also is the author of the novel, Lions of the Sky and the producer of the award-winning naval aviator documentary, Speed and Angels, available on Amazon Prime.

Jason Piccolo joins the show. Jason spent over a decade in various capacities with the US Army, in active duty and reserve. His service included a deployment to Iraq in 2006 as the Anti-Terrorism Officer for the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Arabian Peninsula. Jason has also been in law enforcement for over twenty years, including patrolling the US-Mexico border as a Border Patrol agent and later with the White House Security Council’s Human Smuggling Cell.

Jason is the author of two books: Unwavering, about his time as a Border Patrol agent, and Out of the Shadows, detailing his decision in 2015 to become a whistle blower, exposing the fact that Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) were being handed over to criminal sponsors.

Retired Navy Corpsman Nick Nelsen joins the podcast. Nick spent 20 years in the Navy and had as varied a career as one can have. Nick did two separate tours at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, “best deployment ever!”, multiple deployments to Iraq, Japan, the Philippines, the Balkans and finally Afghanistan (where Nick shares his encounter with the Afghan Superman). Nick shares hilarious and inspiring stories of the soldiers he served with and how time and again he saw those young soldiers act in amazingly courageous ways. After retiring from the Navy, Nick got involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and he details all the many ways that this 120 year old organization serves our nation’s veterans.

Links:
-Nick’s VFW post is 1264-Irving L. Manning Post
The VFW National Home for Children
The American Legion
Disabled American Veterans
Armed Services Arts Partnership (ASAP)

Retired U.S. Army CW4 Greg Coker joins the podcast. Coker flew the AH-6 ‘Little Bird’ attack helicopter with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, the “Nightstalkers.”

The most gifted and deadly helicopter pilots in the world, the Nightstalkers are the dedicated wing of Army Special Operations and fly in and out of the most dangerous areas and missions our military engages in. Coker is a true Texas gentleman and shares stories from his amazing career with humor and humility.

Retired Brigadier General Don Bolduc joins the podcast for a fascinating, candid, no-nonsense discussion of an Army career that spanned almost four decades. Bolduc’s incredible career began in the enlisted ranks and ended as Commander of Special Operations US-Africa Command. In between, Bolduc earned a degree and became an officer, then a Ranger and eventually on to Q Course and Special Operations.

Bolduc spent time at the staff level in the Pentagon and JSOC, and deployed throughout the world, including multiple combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Bolduc was among the first US forces in the initial invasion of Afghanistan, shortly after 9/11, and linked up with then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai to help form a government and combat the Taliban and al-Qaeda. During his time in charge of US Special Operations in Africa, Bolduc instituted a program to formally provide a path to treatment for the mental, physical, and spiritual health of soldiers in his command, and has been open about his own struggles with PTSD.

Jenna Stocker joins the podcast. Jenna spent 4 years as a Communications and Strategy Operations Officer in the Marine Corps. Growing up in a family of military vets, Jenna was an avid swimmer and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Minnesota. After working at the Center for Security Policy in D.C. and briefly entertaining the idea of law school, she completed OCS and became an Officer of Marines. Jenna discusses her perspective on being a female in the Marines, the frustration of dealing with persistent injuries and what the Marine Corps means to her….and her very special Thanksgiving dinner with President Bush!

Dru Johnson joins the podcast in a wide-ranging and fascinating conversation. To say his life has been eventful is an understatement. Growing up in Oklahoma, Dru became a skinhead, dropped out of high school and joined a punk band. After some soul-searching and long conversations with his Vietnam-Vet father, Dru decided to join the Air Force, where he served 2 years active duty and 5 years reserve. He volunteered for multiple deployments to the Amazon basin in Colombia where he was part of multi-branch counter-narcotics operations. In the midst of his many jungle deployments, Dru had a Saul on the road to Damascus conversion and became a Christian. This led him to eventually finish his Air Force service and go to college. Working in IT and attending seminary, Dru went on to become an associate pastor of a church in St. Louis, where he spent 8 years. He also spent two years in Scotland and took multiple trips to Kenya to train rural pastors. Dru currently teaches at The King’s College in New York City. He is also director of the Center for Hebraic Thought and hosts a podcast of the same name. Dru also co-hosts the long running OnScript Podcast and is the author of the book Human Rites, as well as many other essays and articles.

Learn more about Dru and connect to all his work here:
https://drujohnson.com/

Rick Hogg joins the podcast. Rick is a 29-year US Army Special Operations veteran with 13 combat deployments. Starting in the 82nd Airborne, Rick transitioned into Special Operations and a career that took him to Central and South America, Iraq, and Afghanistan. During his career, Rick saw every aspect of Army Special Operations, and gives great insight and detail into what it takes to be at the tip of the spear.

Rick now runs War Hogg Tactical, a company that offers professional comprehensive mobile firearms, tactical and K9 training to civilians, military and law enforcement agencies.

Derwin Lester was a medic in the Army, and later the Army National Guard, for 13 years. Derwin takes a wry look at his Army career and relates some hilarious stories from basic training. He also takes us through his deployment to a relatively quiet Iraq and a few near- misses involving stolen uniforms and dumpster diving for computers.

Derwin also indulges his creative side, writing military themed science fiction and owns his own publishing imprint, Divided By Zero Books

Sean Ambriz joins the podcast. Sean is a Military Police Soldier in the US Army who did two combat tours in Afghanistan. In this podcast, Sean takes us through two major battles with the Taliban in riveting detail. Taking place in one of the most dangerous regions of Afghanistan two years apart, what started as relatively routine missions ended up turning into massive engagements, which saw Sean and his fellow soldiers under constant fire from the enemy and dealing with multiple casualties. Sean tells his story in fascinating, exact detail and along the way spotlighting the heroes he served with and the incredible displays of leadership from his commanding officers. For his actions, Sean received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. Sean would later put these experiences into a book, Ghosts of the Valley.

You can order Ghosts in the Valley here:

Ricoh Danielson joins the podcast. Ricoh served in the Army for eight years and then another decade-plus as a private security contractor. Ricoh was involved with the initial invasion of Iraq, which took him to Ramadi on the hunt for Chemical Ali and other members Saddam’s Baath Party in the infamous Deck of Most Wanted Cards. Later on in his career post-Army as a private security contractor, Ricoh found himself in Haiti just days after the 2010 earthquake, back in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East, Africa and Central and South America. This was a fascinating and enlightening conversation with a man who has seen some of the most extreme conditions in the human experience. Ricoh is an entrepreneur, the author of multiple books and still very involved with helping the veteran community.
You can follow Ricoh on Instagram: @ricoh_danielson_

Phil Pelletier joins the podcast to talk about his four years in the Marine Corps as a machine gunner. Phil was deployed three times during his service, including a combat tour in Afghanistan.

Phil’s battalion encountered over seven hundred IEDs during his tour, and he takes us through the experience of dealing with that constant threat. Phil also gives his insights into serving at a time when the wars in the Middle East were starting to wind down and what that meant to him.

P. S. Barlow joins the podcast. Barlow is a Drill Sergeant in the U.S. Army and is the creator of the online comic strip, G.I. Low. Barlow takes us through his decade-long career training soldiers at the beginning of their Army careers, the importance of good leadership and mentoring, how methods have changed over the years, and how not to lose your voice after a day of shouting at recruits. Barlow also takes a humorous look at his time in Afghanistan and what’s next in his career.

You can find the G.I. Low comic on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/GILowComics/posts/

Chris and Josh, both Army NCOs in Civil Affairs, join the show for a fascinating conversation about one of the lessor known (but by far one of the most interesting) jobs in the military. Traveling all over the world to some of the most remote and often dangerous locations in small teams, Chris and Josh are our military’s first “boots on the ground.” They must make contact with local populations, assess needs, identify potential threats and find opportunities to assist where possible. From deployments to Africa, the Middle East, to Asia and all points in between, Chris and Josh are America’s warrior-diplomats.
You can learn more about Civil Affairs by visiting their website:
https://www.civilaffairsassoc.org/eunomia
-Instagram: @eunomiajournal
-Twitter: @EunomiaJ

Luther Abel joins the podcast. Luther spent six years in the Navy, starting in the nuclear program and eventually ending up as a conventional mechanic. While stationed in Washington, Abel went on the decommissioning tour for the USS Rodney M. Davis, a missile frigate. The tour took Abel and his shipmates to Japan, Singapore, Maldives, Indonesia and Brunei. Abel later served on the USS Carl Vinson, a Nimitz-class super-carrier. After finishing his commitment to the Navy, Abel interned for National Review magazine, where he still writes today as a contributor. Abel currently is a student at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.

James Dunn joins the show to talk about his six years serving in the Air Force in fire protection. Originally from Las Vegas, James’s career has taken him from Texas to the the Gulf of Arabia in support of the inaugural combat mission of the F-22, to patching up gunshot victims in South Tucson. James also details his passion for politics, from volunteering for John McCain’s presidential run in 2008, to state politics in Arizona, to now working with Turning Point USA. James is the host of the Dunn Right Podcast. You can find his show here:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4F5gi0ddFgCkPzv01GrSvQ
and:
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/dunn-right/id1525223437

USAF veteran Chris joins the show and talks about his time as a Crew Chief/Instructor on the F-15 Fighter Jet. Chris details what it takes to keep those birds in the air and the camaraderie and sense of purpose one gets from being on the line. Chris is now an airline pilot, as well as training pilot for advanced military jet skills for aviators.
Check Chris’ Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/dope767driver/?hl=en
And: https://s-211training.com/

Bryce Morrison joins the show. Bryce spent eleven years in the Navy as a Gas Turbine Electrician and saw the world in the process. From basic training in Orlando, to ports of call throughout Europe and the Middle East, and back to San Diego and eventually Florida, Bryce racked up quite a few frequent sailor miles. The travel bug stuck and in his post-Navy life, Bryce now runs his own travel agency and hosts his own show, Travel Tuesdays For Foodie Fans Podcast. You can learn more about Bryce and find his show here: https://www.foodandwinecruiseplanners.com/

Austin Pritchard joins the show. Austin spent 12 years in the Air Force in Security Systems and then later as a Cyber Transport Tech. Austin’s military career took him from Texas, to the Italian Alps, to fly fishing at one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces in Iraq. After leaving the Air Force, Austin became a Marriage and Family Therapist and a pastor. You can learn more about Austin, his work, and ministry, at:
https://www.austinnpritchard.com/

Navy Chief Aaron Siebert joins the show. Originally from Big Sky country, Aaron details his path through the Navy. Starting in San Diego, Aaron eventually made his way to Camp Pendleton with the Marines, to three tours in Iraq. On his third tour, Aaron was wounded from a mortar round, an injury for which he was awarded the Purple Heart.

In a wide-ranging and candid conversation, Aaron talks about his time embedded with the Iraqi Army, dealing with the uncertainty of a sometimes hostile and suspicious population, the round that exploded just a few meters away from him, being read his Last Rites, and the long road to recovery. Even more impressive is what Aaron has done after his military service, working with multiple organizations dedicated to helping veterans deal with PTSD, injury recovery, job training, and all other aspects of reintegrating back into society.