Linda Maloney spent 20 years in the US Navy, first as an enlisted air traffic controller and then as a Naval Flight Officer, flying both the A-6 “Intruder” and EA-6B “Prowler.” In 1993, Linda became one of the first women in US history to join a combat military flying squadron. Linda received a distinguished air medal for combat, awarded for flights flown over Southern Iraq in support of the no-fly zone during her deployment to the Arabian Gulf.

Another first for Linda was being the first woman to eject from a Martin Baker ejection seat from her A-6 aircraft in 1991 over the Atlantic Ocean, an experience she takes us through in detail. After retiring from the Navy, Linda worked as a defense contractor and authored Military Fly Moms ~ Sharing Memories, Building Legacies, Inspiring Hope,  a biographical collection of the inspiring true stories and photographs of seventy women who shared the same two dreams—becoming aviators in the military, and being moms.

Kini Cole spent 6 years in the US Marine Corps as a Recon Marine, 4 1/2 years with the NYPD and has been in federal law enforcement for 25 years.

In addition, Kini is also a 3-time IBJJF World Champion, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Professor and an instructor at South Florida Tactical Athletes, a company that prepares candidates for Special Operations Selection Courses in all branches of the US military.

Nick Rahn spent six years in the US Air Force as a member of the Security Forces, which included four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Nick is also a mixed martial artist who has fought in multiple tournaments and competitions.

This is a raw, intensely personal conversation in which Nick opens up about a lifetime of highs and lows, from family trauma to IED patrols and discovering a soldier who had committed suicide on base, to a loss of purpose after leaving the Air Force, culminating in his own suicide attempt. From that abyss, Nick emerged with a sense of purpose in the service of others, got back into MMA and founded Warriors Next Adventure.  WNA provides multiple avenues for veterans to heal, get involved with charitable projects and rediscover that sense of camaraderie and purpose that they had during their military service.

KR Paul joins the show. Kay is active duty US Air Force, having initially joined the reserves in August of 2001. Kay’s Air Force career has taken her on multiple deployments throughout the world and taught her invaluable lessons along the way…such as how to play Crud, hunting zombies with JTACs on Guam, the elastic definition of ‘acquiring more food’, and the resilience that comes with falling down a hole and climbing back out. In addition to all that, Kay is the author of the urban fantasy, “Pantheon.”

To learn more about Kay and her work, check out,
https://authorkrpaul.com

Mike Camarillo joins the podcast. Mike spent 12 years in the US Navy as a K-9 Handler. Upon leaving the Navy,  Mike began a 21-year career in law enforcement across multiple agencies,  including serving in the executive protection unit assigned to the president of the Navajo Nation.

Since 2003, Mike has been riding with the Navajo-Hopi Honor Riders, a group of motorcyclists who honor military members and families through motorcycle escort services and volunteer community projects.

Ryan Casperson joins the show. Ryan spent 4 years active duty in the US Army and is currently in his 7th  year in the California National Guard. He is the Commander of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Associate Chapter (CVMA) 33-2, based in Stockton, CA.

While on active duty, Ryan was a wrecker, or what he describes as a “tow-service for the Army.”  While on deployment in Afghanistan, Ryan had some memorable experiences, including hanging in a truck off the side of a cliff, being mortared a few times and eating lamb chops at a Polish Forward Operating Base. Back home, Ryan continues to serve in the CA National Guard and through the CVMA. Ryan’s chapter is involved in many local charitable projects, including a homeless veteran’s outreach program, memorial rides, and Christmas/New Year’s giveaway for veteran families in need.

Daniel Charles Ross spent seven years on active U.S. Army duty, mostly as a long-duration undercover Military Police Investigator, serving five years in Germany in two trips. Dan has been a senior enlisted Navy Journalist since October 1986, with deployments to places such as Manila, the Philippines; Germany; and New Orleans covering Mardi Gras. Dan retired from the Navy Reserve in July 2010 as a Chief Petty Officer. Most of his civilian work life was spent on staff at and for magazines. He was an Associate Editor at AutoWeek; the Detroit Editor at Popular Mechanics; and the National Editor at both Motor Trend and Car and Driver.  Dan is the author the military thriller ‘Force No One’ and the upcoming ‘Force Majeure’.

You can find out more about Dan and his order his books at:
https://genuinedcr.com/

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/