Shawn Ryan Show #002 Former Navy SEAL/BUDS Instructor Travis Kennedy

Shawn Ryan Show #002 Former Navy SEAL/BUDS Instructor Travis Kennedy

so you’re going out every day beginning
a gun fight outside of your fob then you come home and then you got a deal with
the base getting hit how many engagements would you say you were part
of in that eight months do you have any idea I lost count who’s that many just
put that in perspective for it because most guys don’t think about this that’s
a hundred and eighty fucking engagements their very first up the helo crashed oh
shit killed everybody one guy survived I want to take a call I
have your dad on the line Jim hey Jim how’s it going this is John Ryan I kind
of just in the background my on hope that you understood or at least somewhat
understood when I was out to do every night right would sundown these dudes
are just smash us with small arms and they would be effective a lot of times
when you lose guys in a combat zone and you know them it’ll create a type of
ritual did I do anything I’m gonna take another call we got a mutual friend on
the line that was there or that whole second deployment with you Jeffrey and
there’s a picture of you and Jeff and another guy’s face it’s blurred out hell
yeah I do welcome back to the Shawn Ryan show I
hope everybody had a good Christmas good holiday a good New Year we released our
first episode on midnight on Christmas Eve out of 800,000 podcasts and an
estimated 30 million episodes we ranked number 73 on the top charts overall
right off the bat thanks to you guys for heading over to iTunes listening
subscribing and most importantly leaving us a review if you get a chance and you
haven’t done it yet please go over to iTunes leave us a review even if it’s
only one word that’s all I’m asking for doin ease with that being said I’m ready
to kick off episode zero zero two we have a thirteen year combat veteran Navy
SEAL with multiple combat deployments he was a buds instructor this one really
strums the heartstrings we get deep it gets emotional guys this is better than
entertainment this is the real thing please welcome mr. Travis Kennedy all right Travis I’ve been dying to meet
you finally here in Tennessee or in my
studio I can’t fucking wait to get started Jeffery to introduced us what a
couple months back over the phone and anybody that’s a friend of that guy is a
friend of mine and I just want to say it’s a real pleasure to finally meet you
and and to have you on the show Thank You Man yeah it’s been a long time
coming for sure true pleasure to even be sitting right here and spending the
weekend with you yeah yeah that’s this is awesome I want to dive right in here
and I’m gonna give you a tough question right now the hot topic on the news is
Iran we just killed soleimani and without going too far in depth into your
background yet you’re a team guy you’re a seal you’re an operator you’ve been on
multiple bases maybe embassies fobs but you’ve been on government facilities in
combat zones that have been hit numerous times I want to hear your take on our
president’s decision to fire up that drone strike and take out sulemani yeah
it’s been a definitely controversial topic at least from what I’ve seen
lately however my opinion is that these decisions aren’t made rationally they’re
not made hasty they’re very strategic and thought-out especially with a guy
like from soleimani this is someone that’s been on our list for a very long
time so the president had to make a difficult decision but a decision that
in my opinion needed to be done and at the end of the day we’re getting rid of
a terrorist that has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths
you know Iraqis in American lives so we’re doing the world a favor by getting
rid of this guy yeah we may be there is always risk on the tape
and these decisions are made every single day some don’t even come to the
spotlight but all these risks are weighed that are not just made blindly
so yeah I mean as a guy that’s 13-year Navy SEAL multiple combat deployments
well over a hundred engagements fighting off terrorists that are trying to kill
you I mean what what does it like to hear
people say that they’re upset that we killed a guy who’s responsible for
thousands of US lives and you know and and they don’t support it they don’t
they don’t think that we should have retaliated and me personally I had
friends that died in Benghazi and we saw what the fuck happened when we don’t do
anything when we don’t send help and when we don’t you know stand up for our
guys that are over there fighting for the fucking freedom that these Americans
have at home that’s really honestly truly mind-blowing I try to ignore stuff
like that I’m all these people online but it’s hard to miss especially with
this it’s the reaction of people getting mad because he may stoke another war
another conflict with a trip with Iran we’ve already been in conflict with Iran
for a very long time we’ll still continue to be we have no good relations
with them they’re not a friendly country whatsoever but so but just one instant
because it’s been blowing up so much and almost like him because he’s such a
high-level guy that people want to go high and right knee-jerk reaction and
think you know this was so horrible that he was gonna cause a war possibly but I
think people just need to understand to educate themselves and why these
decisions are made because this isn’t like these are made all the time yeah
and they just don’t people don’t know about it yeah but I just hate I hate
seeing online I hate seeing people going uproar
or stuff like this yeah I think you know it seems like you know you’d never hear
anybody who actually did anything for the country speaking out against things
like this it’s always the people that are sitting on their fucking ass back in
the rear enjoying the freedom that we fucking give them and you know maybe
those people should just shut the fuck up and enjoy what they have exactly oh
but all right enough about politics I hate them I get past every time I talk
about them but I want to dive right into your childhood and you know kind of
where you grew up and and how you grew up and and eventually what led you to
become one of the world’s most elite operators as a Navy SEAL so where did
you grow up so growing up Southern California grew up with city called
Huntington Beach it’s a beach town living in California I mean I was just a
punk kid growing up a skateboarder just doing shenanigans at a younger age
bouncing back and forth between mom and dad they were divorce typical you know
broken home sharing time when did they get divorced I don’t remember I was an
infant I mean I was so young I can’t remember when they were divorced I can’t
remember when they’re married it was that long ago okay so you never I’ve
never I’ve never experienced living at least from what I did but at one point
when I was a baby but even remembering living with them in the same household
married so I grew up like that it was a normal that wasn’t normal for me but so
going back and forth between mom and dad growing up was normal there’s a pain in
the ass I actually like spending more time with my mom that I did my dad when
I was younger really and I have no idea why even
looking back I was just I like to call myself an idiot because now my dad had
like we’re mom and dad are super close with me my dad is super tight but I
think it was because at the time my mom was dating someone who had a son who’s a
little bit older than me and we’re like brothers
okay did everything together always hung out were skateboarding always fucking
off so naturally I was inclined just to want him to be there all the time so never wanted to go to my dad’s I did but
not often without bitching that’s surprising me because I’d research in
you on social media and listening to your previous podcast I can tell that
your guru and your father are extremely tight my question is if you were so
tight with your mom what is the thing that kind of drew you closer to your
father as I got older yeah I think as I matured more I just kind of realized
that he was my father you know as a father figure and I just wanted to be
around him more you know I was like probably around 14 13 14 I wanted to
spend more time with him and we became closer because my mom was just dating
this guy they end up separating so that older his son we all like parted ways so
that kind of got broken up so then I was kind of left with without him and then I
just kind of leaned towards can naturally just went towards my dad okay
and we became tight lot tighter I spent a lot more time with them especially
when I was in MIT once I hit middle school and then going into high school
but still the same things still sharing time throughout the whole process what
were you like as a kid were you we like a nerd we’re studying making good grades
or were you a Hellion out yeah terrorizing the town growing up always
like a punk kid younger like middle school just a punk skateboarder just
doing shenanigans fucking around I was I was a mediocre student and elementary
mid school middle school junior high probably just mediocre I didn’t really
try that part in school I was more focused on fishing when I was
younger just fucking off and then towards the end of I would say middle
school zone in high school and then I started I started tightening up I was
never really a overachiever in school as far as grades are concerned but I got
into sports and that kind of changed my mentality and it wasn’t really until I
got in high school and started playing like lacrosse and started and a couple
of sports that I really started maturing okay seeing what the next move was in
life you know I heard on some of your other podcasts as well they assumed that
you were from a great family it sounded like and I think I heard one say like
you know oh you know a lot of guys that go into Special Operations or even the
military from broken families and you didn’t say a fucking word
they just breezed right over it and my wife actually picked up on that first
and so you’re not from a picture-perfect family and Huntington Beach California
everybody thinks you had some shit yeah most people think and it’s fine that
people from SoCal or especially those beach cities because they are wealthy
cities you know born with the silver spoon in my mouth yeah got everything I
had perfect family everything all shit together
far from it we were good but definitely not normal family broken home that but
that was normal for me so I was used to it mm-hmm
maybe if it happened later in life it probably had more of a profound effect
on me but being that it was and I was such a young age but not even realize
that was just normal yeah I was just so used to it that
didn’t really have a net really too much of a negative effect I mean my parents
being separated but yeah definitely we were just lower middle class family I
can just struggles my dad was struggling and starting his own business poor but
still providing you know my mom same thing so definitely definitely not the
tip what you think of a Southern California
house for sure at what point did you start to realize you wanted to become a
Navy SEAL or join the military how old were you I was about sixteen fifteen
going on sixteen that I knew I wanted to be in the military because in the
beginning when I started weighing all these options I knew I wanted to be
military then I was really sat down like what I want to do I want to do something
above the norm like I didn’t want to just join it be a grunt or just the
regular sailor I was more focused on Navy and I just wanted to join it just
be on the ship and just do whatever job I wanted to do something great I did at
the time think about Naval Academy so I was talking this time I was discussing
my father what I should do at first he wanted me to do college he knew it then
he’s like Navy you think about Naval Academy I thought about fighter pilot
that thought came in and out of my head pretty quickly I think it was more of
this like the stigma it was like oh that sounds great it sounds fun you know it
sounds like a cool job but the whole Naval Academy that just wasn’t for me
and I’ll say now being officer was that my personality so I’m glad I didn’t do
that but fucking cake eaters yeah that would not that’s not me
then I’ve you know going on with seals my father was a big influence or major
influencer for the seals you know he’s one and I heard this another podcast say
he he’s the one that brought the information home for me because at the
time there was minimal minimal information online or whatsoever you
know he brought home a pamphlet like those little trifold pamphlets that had
seals all little blips of information not much but just like this is Navy
SEALs and I was like holy shit you know like that was it especially him giving
it to me that was more of a subconscious thing for me like at the time I look
back and like maybe that was you know seeing him give me this like hey you
need to be do something great yeah like that set the tone that’s pretty
surprising you don’t hear that very often about
their parents push their kid into Special Operations I think that’s cool
but you just you don’t hear that ever yeah it’s very surprising what did you
know I mean when he gave me the pamphlet what that was or what that would entail
I knew what they were but I didn’t know what it entail I mean I’ve heard of him
but does vaguely I didn’t know all that it’s like just a glimpse into that kind
of pamphlet thing of what they’re about because at the time before that in
research I mean I’ve heard of it I’m like a little bit but that once I got
that my hands that dope do you know a deep dived into it you know I just
became obsessed because even just looking at that getting it from him just
and then reading it I knew that was in me a good fit that was more my style who
I was my personality where I would see I would fit and do good and be successful
and after that I was like that’s it like that’s what I’m gonna do and the merit
especially with the the water aspect to that because I really that’s why it
drove me kind of Navy the maritime aspect and that was like perfect it’s
like seals me perfect fit for me you like the water growing up
I agree yeah I did do you like it now I have a different relationship with it
now I think a lot of guys have a different relationship with that after
takes me about ten minutes again you signed up at 17 years old I mean you
can’t even legally do that by yourself what was that like and and why didn’t
you just wait to race me yeah I mean for me yeah I knew my core that I want to do
this so bad I was like I need to sign it make this happen because that when I did
that that even stoked the fire even more because now I had that goal I already
made that commitment and there was no turning back in my mind you know but I
was so set in that time because I lit I enlisted this summer going into my
senior year because I wanted to graduate and go
so you enlisted before your fucking senior year of high school
yeah so I was already in in the Navy the debt program throughout my senior year
so I knew for a fact I was going I didn’t knew when I was leaving for boot
camp like halfway through senior year holy shit I left literally a month later
after I graduate high school one month later Wow
so looking back now after all you’ve been through did you do you think you
had any idea of how big of a fucking decision that was that you made it 17
years old to go and then this is post 9/11 what yours is oh six oh six say hey
post 9/11 so no I definitely I I knew I was making a major commitment because I
knew SEAL Special Forces like this is big time this is but being at a young
age like just knowing that it’s a minimal knowledge I knew about it I
didn’t know the magnitude I mean that was way bigger I didn’t really it didn’t
really come to life till actually got there well but I definitely knew I was
making a life-changing decision a difficult one hell of a childhood
challenging one too but the magnitude didn’t really hit me until I actually
got to buds and that’s when reality struck but I knew what I wanted to do
that’s why I joined so early because I wanted to leave right away
yeah I wanted I don’t want buffer time because I knew myself was like if I drag
this out then this I’m gonna critic excuses or something yeah because my LOC
typed my training like over a year out when I enlisted I was like so 100%
frontside focused you were locked on logged on like one person trained you
know that was my life and I gave a shit about anything else like I played a
little bit sports that helped me and then trained and then was I think
everybody I finished school passed I wasn’t exceptional because I was so
all I care about what seals A’s B’s C’s or below and your grades no ways I got
like a beat couple B’s C’s and D Matt wasn’t a math student
not a math guy now actually for they’re not decent math now but at the time I
think because I I think I just didn’t put effort into it I don’t know why what
I the interest wasn’t there was so focused on something else
yeah so how long after graduation did you go to boot camp graduated in June of
Oh sakes what the buds are excuse me boot camp in July month later camp went
to boot camp in July graduated high school in June so a month later I left
for boot camp in July bo 6 and then bootcamp is boot camp and then I went to
core school at the boot camp oh shit I joined July of o1 that’s weird
yeah 18th was the day I went there Wow when you join you so you joined you had
the seal contract or whatever they were calling it at that time and at that time
did they have did they make you go through in a school to fill the job of
the Navy if you quit or did you go straight to buds yeah they did I had to
pick a rate out of passed the seal PSD before I got to try out for buds
probably even boot camp and then I had to pick a rate and I pick him core
school because at the time there was only an approved list it wasn’t any job
in the Navy they gave me a list like a 5 jobs like ordnance radar Corps school
what I looked at it was like maybe I’ll just pick something that’s practical you
know that’s gonna be useful in my life medicine so you did that yeah I know it
I had no idea like I would be interested in it I just sound it’s like ok medicine
that sounds more useful than an AO or something low is just ordnance on ships
yeah so I picked that and that kind of paved the way I will worry when he got the buds 19 19
19 so you did all this preparation from age 16 you made that decision 17 Loctite
yeah you get two buds did you think you were prepared when he showed up I did
were you prepared when you showed up I thought it was I mean I’d everything up
until that point I really thought I was did everything I can I had all the tools
thought I knew everything I needed to know about training and to be it
physically mentally ready but once I actually started buds I knew there was
things that I wasn’t ready for I mean it wasn’t gonna be a surprise
yeah things you just can’t train for what was that like for you I mean you’d
seen I’m I’m assuming you watched every damn piece of content you could get your
hands on Discovery Channel History Channel books whatever you could get
your hands on and so you thought you knew the whole process you saw it all on
you know or what you thought you saw it all and then you’re there and you see
the Bell and you see the grinder and you see the instructors and you see the
classes they’re already classed up going through hell week second phase third
phase well what was that like when you showed up and you saw all that shit for
real for the first time definitely nerve-wracking it was a surreal
experience so I remember checking in I checked him
in like handful other guys we walked in the quarterdeck checked in and then they
marched us through the grinder and there was a class going on the grinder getting
beat they’re doing a PT and that was definitely a surreal experience for me
nervous as hell scared also very excited too
like I had all kinds of emotions in me yeah oh how to act just stoic face but
internally I was because I was just like this frail skinny 19 year old out of
boot camp lost so much weight so I was just like I looked probably so I look so
damn young yeah and then like I said prior to that point I
thought I knew I was gonna get myself into until I saw it I was like holy shit
you know here it is yeah you see yeah you see guys that are mid 20s early 30s
yeah because I saw a first phase guys see like second third phase guys running
around he’s like browsers these dudes got a long-haired look like you know
more mature older like fuck you know this is taken back yeah I should some of
them have already been to combat and back from other branches and decided
they want to try out for a still yep and you’re a 19 year old pump kid from
Huntington Beach California I mean did you did that intimidating you seeing
guys like that quit it didn’t intimidating me I didn’t really notice
it at first I mean I didn’t really pay attention to people who quit I was just
especially in the beginning there was just so many of us that you wake up and
there’s the lost like 10 guys how many did you start with we started around 140
I will you something like that and then I and I’m graduating buds with 31 32
shit so that’s they say it’s like 85% attrition rate yeah and that’s I mean
well above that so that’s a little tougher glass glass hardest class yeah I
hear that all the time too when you showed up whether its selection or buds
a lot of a lot of guys showing up to those kind of training curriculums they
have one evolution one famous evolution in mind that they’re scared shitless of
like a lot of guys go to buds it’s the you know the 50 meter underwater swim or
selection is the land nav did you have anything that you were really worried
about me was the boats on heads I saw I didn’t know how I would until I point
like I knew I had to do four mile run I knew we had to do the swim I wasn’t
really sweating that I heard about the 50 meter wasn’t really sweating that but
seeing watching the videos and somebody that I seen like the log
tea and the guys sprinting with his boat on their head and they’re being right
because that’s in my opinion is still the worst evolution in buds I mean it’s
definitely mentally and physically the most taxing I’m running with that thing
on your head especially when people around you aren’t holding their weight
in the beginning when you’re all collectively holding holding your weight
and it’s manageable but when people start slipping and it’s brutal for me
that was one of the most challenge in the beginning probably one of the most
challenging things was was that as bad as you thought it was gonna be the boats
on heads was worse they’re the worst I don’t even know I just saw it I didn’t
know how bad it was gonna be those are things you can’t prepare for like boats
on heads rock climbing log Pte you know those watching guys on the video it just
doesn’t really do it justice yeah it’s a little bit different
watching somebody with a rubber boat on their head you’re like yeah you know how
bad can it be and then your head’s under that boat
with a bunch of sand in between your scalp and that boat with ways I don’t
know a couple hundred pounds full of sand and water and then you know it
takes your scalp with it and flushes your neck
yeah that’s an eye-opener for sure the thought of quitting ever crossed your
mind don’t never never once no and I can honestly say that no never thought about
it one time no shit definitely struggled through their buds on certain physical
evolutions and challenged definitely a lot but the thought of giving up now
what did you struggle with running running yeah running was my kryptonite
as it progressed me getting it was okay and then they got progressively a little
worse and worse and then kind of set me back did it did you get rolled back or
second phase I got rolled back for runs oh shit
how was that did that just crush your mind yeah I was embarrassed for sure
especially over runs I just felt like what the fuck try was
like over fucking runs this is what we do you know I maybe I want to take
taking a better if I like failed to pull competency or something like that or
dive because that’s a difficult task but a four-mile time run that I’ve been
doing for the past eight weeks longer I thought I would I never would have saw
myself failing runs because I failed one before pool can’t pass pool can’t failed
another one after pool con which is a major milestone in the second phase and
then and I’m getting rolled back into another class but post pool comps I
don’t have to do that all over again for you civilian type spool comp is a major
hurdle in buds which is still training and basically long story short it’s
scuba diving you’re with open-circuit tanks and you have to go under and
basically what happens is you get the shit beat out of you and you can’t
breathe then you have to go through all these procedures before you can
resurface and get air did you have to do that over again
No thank God now that’s thanks God that was a that was a tough evolution yeah –
I was probably one of the toughest I dated muds not the toughest but I’ve
luckily got to be able to roll back post that so I classed up with another class
and then finished buds with that class no more hang-ups no more hangups
actually came back stronger and healthier and I wasn’t even roll back
that long month month and a half ok so not very long but I came back stronger
healthier so I’m just focused on I trained I rehabbed my body because I
just I still felt a little broken down – after hell week first phase but so maybe
that was a blessing disguise I don’t know but I was I was still ashamed to
myself like I didn’t want to fail and then see my first my class passed me up
which is a shitty feeling – so you graduate buds
you go to stt and then just doing the research I already know you became a
medic you went to 18 Delta course correct yeah
and Fort Bragg that’s a hard thing to do because that’s a long course and so the
guys that you are in buzz with her already at the team some of them are
already going off to war and you’re still in the schoolhouse you know how
was that that was definitely being a corpsman already right when I got my
bird they just immediately pointed at me like hey you’re going to 18 Delta or
Sock’em which is the Special Operations combat medic the short course of the 18
Delta it’s six months still very long course and yeah I was kind of like
taking back I was like okay you know not really knowing what the hell that was
really and so I was a little irritated because I was eager to go to the team
and start working and get out of the student kind of mindset and actually
show up to the team started doing the job and training with the other other
team guys but I took it on the chin you know so let’s go and I went but we’ll
get into it but it was the best course I’ve ever attended my entire career we
really backtrack in just a second get through buds I mean I know how
influential your dad was in your life and he originally gave you that pamphlet
which was the initial idea of you becoming a Navy SEAL at the end of sq2
which is still qualification training when you got your Trident how good did
that feel knowing that your dad I mean he must have been yeah incredible
feeling I mean not only for me I know for him he was there so was the rest of
my family he got to see he did yeah and get pinned
did yeah he was there it was really cool to have him there and the rest of my
family as well mom’s sister so that was unbelievable best feeling I
ever had best feeling in my life number one moment my life up to this
point so and everything coming to fruition after all those kind of steps
leading up to this point and now it’s actually coming true was great yeah I
knew it was great for him too because you know he’d just see the result that
must have been really cool yeah so you’re at 18 Delta school you’re a
little bit pissed off because the boys are at the team already you’re in the
school house an army schoolhouse nonetheless which is always kind of a
pain in the ass for to do the Cross thing with the with other branches and I
know how frustrating that most of them but looking back now now that you know
the medic is probably the most important job on the team would you have changed
anything no no like I said it’s I became passionate about medicine like that’s
where I fell in love with it there at the squad and even after chorus school I
didn’t know shit about it I mean they just teach you bare bones and then
actually deep dive into this course I developed a love for and a passion for
it and I enjoyed every minute of it yeah definitely do not regret it because it
paid dividends throughout my entire career everywhere you go need a medic
every op you need a medic and there I was a guy that’s medic because there’s
not many medics and far a few between the platoons because no one wants to go
because it’s too long too hard but being at Bragg where the schoolhouse has
located an army base massive and it’s Joint Command so a bunch of different
units majority army but there’s a bunch Navy guys definitely stood out and we’re
under the microscope for sure mm-hmm and it was really important to me to
perform because I didn’t want to be I’ve heard horror stories at that point like
I don’t want to be the team guy showing up to the platoon saying he failed 18
Delta there’s been a straight-up turd that’s
the first impression I don’t want to be that guy they were expecting you to be a
medic and show up here and as soon as you do that you’re screwing over the
platoon yeah absolutely and you know you just look bad as a seal
it has a man so I definitely didn’t want that I wanted to crush it how did you do
in that course I mean that’s a probably that’s got to be one of the most
academically challenging courses in the military going through 18 Delta I mean
it’s I mean it’s so much information condensed into what six seven months
yeah yeah it was the most challenging course academically end up surprising
myself I’m graduating that course is an honor man in my class oh shit
which I kind of blew my owns myself away doing that because I never graduated
honor man anything for that yeah but after graduating that class finished
honor man because leading up to that point like I said I was passionate about
it I love doing I wanted to be a good medic because it was important to me
it’s damn near like being in college even never had college experience at
that point but it was like being in college I was in the books 24/7 seven
days a week learning the shit in and out especially
in the first three months first half the course second half is when you actually
get to do the real stuff the live tissue training surgical skills T Triple C so
it was a gut check for sure for me but again I and part of the motivation was
to I wanted to outdo the army yeah because before that it’s always like
some army guy getting on her man or outdoing the Navy guys because there was
only like six of us so I took it upon myself I was like you know what i’ma
show them what seals are all about we’re fuckin we need we need to dominate here
because we’re such on the microscope all the time that’s always a pain in the any type of school with a different
branch because of that competitiveness or come what’s the word I’m looking for
you’re under the microscope as other units and there’s a the pissing contest
for doing the – yeah pissing match pissing match with all the branches you
know and they see you especially there’s only a few of you you know we always
hung out together and then when we’re in ranks every morning there we’re oh
segregated there’s only a little you small unit of us and I mean all this
staff they’re hated the Navy guys it never goes smoothly that’s for fucking
sure but but you graduated honor man which is kind of funny considering
you’re a subpar student in high school you’re still I mean you’re only a couple
years older now and and 18 Delta school correct and you graduate honor man
that’s I mean that’s fucking impressive now I was 21 when it finished yeah I
turned 21 well is there at the end so you graduate 18 Delta you’re a combat
medic you’ve shown up to SEAL Team four you show up to SEAL Team four I mean
that’s a lot of schooling in preparation for a kid to go through you’re finally
at SEAL Team four twenty one years old what was that like yeah that was a long
time coming I mean towards the end of that once I graduated the school house
even asked me like you got her man it says you got her man we won’t offer you
to stay longer like hey you want to stay for additional seven months and be up be
here for over a year to do the long course they called the long course and
at the time I was like no I was like I want to go to the team mm-hmm so that’s
how hungry I was at that point I was ready yeah ready to finally be there and
do the job as finally I was prepared I knew medicine to be a good medic and I
was ready to just to actually do the to be a seal because when you’re in Sock’em
the med school you’re just all you are is inundated with medicine you’re not
learning anything seals operators at all it’s just 100% medicine
okay which it has to be that way to make you good medic so you get removed a
little bit yeah so I was so eager to go to a team and
just start operating like I wanted to be a seal so I was ready I was ready to get
after it what was it like walking in the platoon Hut that first time I mean I
know you showed up the SEAL Team four I know you jumped in a platoon that was
coming back from war and here you are green probably overly motivated as most
new guys are and these guys are coming home from was it Iraq yeah I was going
to one troop these dudes around Iraq and they were just on like the last month of
being there about to be coming home and they were getting it over there yeah and
majority of those guys have already been there two times some three so was that
intimidating for you and very intimidating because I was only at the
time was going only me and a couple of the new guys were the ones going into
one troop which was the scent complet troop and what the guys that were
getting out going to war so you knew as soon as you showed up you
were going to war I was going to one troop Iraq which is responsible for the
AO CENTCOM so I knew inevitably I was going to go to Iraq that was kinda in
the back of our mind they didn’t say for sure at that time when I first checked
in but I knew I was going to one troop it’s happening it’s happening that’s
where I’ll be going in the future and definitely nerve-wracking I was a super
intimidated even go and be going to SEAL Team four and then let alone like going
to the platoon space which is like sacred territory for the old guys yeah
so definitely nervous especially when they got there and they started
trickling in and then because that’s when I first showed up it was like we
got our gear we just got a locker quarter-deck watched new guy duties you
know just new guys stuff all the time so not really much of anything until they
actually showed up and then they start showing up and then we actually get to
see him you know these dudes are that War veterans man these guys have been
there done that and I’m just we’re just over here just new and green
knowing shit you know just keep my mouth shut I imagine them they probably
weren’t the most welcoming bunch of yes definitely not not at first no there
they they didn’t all show up at once they kind of just all half came in and a
half knelt rail then they all went on leave pretty much almost immediately
when they got back but yeah when once they saw us it was just like blood in
the water so did you get to do a full train up before you went out the door or
yeah I did full workup a full workup it’s work ups about a workup as a year
and a half about a year and a half yeah so you did a year and a half train up on
top of all the training you just did to get out the door how long do you think
it took to gain the respect of your peers your your your new teammates that
you’re getting ready to go to war with they’ve already been to war I mean
that’s I took a while you got a man the fuck up
and prove yourself to these guys to blend you know to to get accepted it was
like chunk buds you know bum shot now show them to the team as a new guy
everyone’s done what you’ve done and more mm-hmm
now it’s like prove yourself all over again so it was that whole stress was
like again happening and it was just every single day just putting out
putting out put now make sure I’m right place right time right kit I’m always
performing trying to outdo even the new guys you know trying to stand out you
know just prove myself I’m worthy and I don’t think it was until damn near
deployment that we got some we’re pretty much a respect like a okay full workup I
like hey he just said that you showed up and and at the same time you’re feeling
on top of the world because you just got your Trident you’re a seal medic you’re
checked into SEAL Team four the fact that you just said everybody’s already
done what I’ve done plus more I mean that just just what you’ve done already
by age 21 is fucking impressive and to have that attitude going in I
mean that’s kudos to you because it is that’s very real yeah you show up you
think you’re the shit and then every single person at that team has already
done every fucking thing you’ve done tenfold exactly and I first my first
show up there yeah else knew you guys were like on top of the world I didn’t
really hit home until we saw our these seasoned fucking war fighters coming in
the doors like okay yeah maybe we needed to step the fuck back yeah humble
ourselves a little bit and it did we sound like we’re really arrogant but we
just got to see it and feel like okay we know our place we need to prove
ourselves now were you glad you were you knew you were going to combat yeah right
off the bat yeah I was glad because that’s what we did that’s what we
trained to do I mean I’ve I think I’m lucky and I’m grateful that I had to be
able to have that opportunity even as my first pump bill go to war I mean not
many seals even some of the older seals I read my platoon could even say that
yeah so that was even rare at that time yeah most guys up my LPO at the time has
never even been in combat oh sure his old crew you know so guys
gonna combat was farthing between you know it’s kind of luck of the draw so I
was very grateful and lucky to be a part of that platoon I mean that was a very
interesting time and the teams I feel like post 9/11 up to about that point
because there really wasn’t a whole hell of a lot going on between Vietnam and
9/11 a couple things here and there and it created a lot of animosity in the
community with it between the older guys and the newer guys who were coming in
and going straight to fucking combat and other guys I mean some guys have retired
out of there you know and right never got a chance to do that but you went
right there do you feel like you were ready I feel like I have to work up
everything up to the point I was definitely my mind was right I wanted to
go I felt confident I felt comfortable with being a part of
the platoon and I felt solid at first I thought I was going Iraq and was all
geared up for that and then ice ended up switching troops okay
I needed a medic and let him go in Afghanistan you switch troops or foot
splatoon’s they needed a medic which means you’re the fucking primary medic
as a new guy going to Afghanistan correct yeah that’s a shit ton of
responsibility how do you think you handled that I thought they had it
pretty good I mean I was mentored up by solid individuals in my troop my
original platoon solid medics the senior medics and older guys because there was
only like five of us new guys majority of Batum is all senior guys at you know
multiple combat or if not just one so seasoned and they they brought us up
right and definitely gave me the confidence to I can succeed and do my
job well and that’s how I felt I mean I was more excited to know how to leave my
platoon but then at the same time I was like really excited to go to Afghanistan
because that was a spot what at what point in the Train and the workup did
you switchable tones at the very end I was in uh I was done with work out so
you just spent a year and a half proven yourself to a new team only to get
removed put in another new team where you have to prove yourself as a new guy
again and you’re the fucking primary medic I mean yeah me and two other guys
those are some big shoes to fill it was it was intimidating cuz I didn’t know
anybody besides there’s two of the guys that came with me the snipers one was a
sniper so they kind of were a buffer a little conduit they were a little more
protective yeah I knew some of the new guys they had but yeah the same thing I
had to prove myself because they didn’t know who I was they had some
other guys kind of ouch him for me but same token and I still got to prove
myself how do you think your dad felt when he found out I mean he gave you the
pamphlet to become a seal you become a seal now you’re getting ready to go out
the door and do the shit for real yeah I don’t it’s honestly hard to say cuz I
never asked him how he really truly felt but I’m sure he was nervous cuz I did
tell him up front I I thought about just like lying and just bullshitting my
parents and telling where I was just in the makeups just say I was going to
Europe or something just to be fine I’ll be good no builder could call you
whenever I crossed my mind but at the other day I was like no I’m just going
to tell him where I’m actually going because this is what I signed up to do I
thought it was right what do you expect or Navy SEALs what we
do yeah we go to war and handle it but I’m sure he was nervous and he was
excited because I actually doing what I wanted to do what I love to do but I’m
also certain that he was probably scared shitless I know my mom was yeah did you
try to shelter him from what was actually happening yeah I never I kept
it vague yeah I didn’t go to nitty-gritty and I kept it very vague I
said I was going Afghanistan that was it I didn’t say like we’re you know
obviously didn’t tell me what I was doing even when I was there and I
reached I call them email them or even I try to calm once in a while on the
satphone we got to call him I just didn’t even talk about what the hell I
was doing is more of this you know how’s it going I’m good you hear my voice like
I’m doing well type of conversation yeah it’s funny lose almost all emotional
communication yeah somewhere along that pipeline it seems like almost all guys
do there’s no more sense of emotion yeah you put up the shield like not really
realizing it it just happens you know innately
because it’s work you know you got business you know you can’t bring motion
into it and you can’t and I did I didn’t want to do that to my family like
they’re gonna be worried sick yeah like putting undue stress on themselves
because I’m over there you know I didn’t want that to happen so I’m sure it still
did anyway but I didn’t want to feel that far you’re getting ready to leave
for combat as a brand new medic to Afghanistan with your new platoon as a
new guy going back to your dad who you’re extremely extremely close with do
you think his you think his mindset changed at all did he get worried that
you were now that it became very real like hey Dad I’m going to Afghanistan
for six to nine months I would say so yeah I mean at the time he didn’t they
didn’t really express their worries to me that much because they wanted me to
remain focused but I knew because after the fact I spoke to but I knew their
distress was high they’re definitely worried I saved more
fear of the unknown for them at least because I was the first one in the
immediate family going in the military and they had no experience of any one of
their family going in the military so this is all new to everybody so on your
family you’re the first one yes that’s going in the military and you’re going
to war at the highest level exactly and they’d so they knew I want to be doing
some things I want to take a call and I have your dad on the line Jim hey Jim
how’s it going this is John Ryan I’ve got your son sitting here and we’re
talking about right before he leaves on his first combat deployment at SEAL team
fours a new guy and I was wondering if you have any questions you’d like to ask
him hey I do actually I love the date he called
me to kind of say goodbye to me whether you still ready head out for that the
point at the appointment now what I just helped you felt when he landed in
Afghanistan after all the years of training for that okay led up to that
moment but it was a big deal for him to even think about it ever since high
school woman I was his only treats how easily he felt when he actually landed
in Afghanistan for the first appointment how I felt about it I mean I was scared
I was talking to Sean about this I was definitely nervous as hell I think those
nerves turned into more with the excitement and the motivation but
definitely scared of shit because I knew knew exactly I was doing it for real I
mean I wasn’t going to Europe or South America I was actually going to war all
that training and hard work coming to fruition finally it was I couldn’t even
figure I could it’s hard for me to even explain in the words to obviously you
guys what I was gonna be doing but I kind of just in the back of our mind
hope that you understood or at least somewhat understood what I was actually
going to do Jim I got a question for you so you were really supportive of Travis
going into the end of the SEAL Teams and and doing that job how did it feel for
you when he checked into SEAL Team four and you realized holy shit my son’s
going straight – straight to combat after we’ve already been at war for
seven years work hard towards oh I was so proud of him at the same time I was
nervous – yeah he was going out Dennis Tanner didn’t we know how to look out
there actually we didn’t know when I’d actually talked to the gangs let me read
be going on this champion because we check in when you could never know what
that would be how was that how was that six-month
deployment for you as a father was that compared to all the other time in your
life was that would you say that was probably one of the most stressful
moments of your dad no I mean I’m glad that you I guess after you saying that
yeah the good mind said about it because at the time I was given vague
information cuz I didn’t know either I mean I didn’t know when the hell I was
about even call or what type of connectivity I was gonna have there etc
or I kind of had idea what I do what we were doing but I didn’t know the how you
know important much we were gonna be doing so it was even hard and difficult
to me explain to my family what exactly what I was beginning to and I purposely
didn’t I’ve ever seen I kept it vague I did I said hey this is where I’m going I
almost thought about lying and be like I’m going somewhere else yeah like I’m
just gonna go to Europe I’m going to Europe for six months I’ll bail I’ll
call you when I get there or something just keep it really vague
we could keep it comfortable but at the end of day I felt like that would be
doing a disservice I’ll be like snowstorm going yeah so this is this is
what I do Jim I got one last question for you
before we jump off the line here what made you hand Travis the brochure
on being a Navy SEAL remember that he would talk about what do you wanted to
do in life I’m just never seen a person or driven at such a young age I thought
well this could be perfect for him with the driver he has Coleen Wow that’s so
you knew he was gonna make it right off the bat training like training for buzz
going just hold the driving call where do you
think he got is born you know carried over to your left
that’s incredible definitely and businessman having run his own business
yeah and so definitely well Jim I really appreciate your time and for the call
and and uh we’ll be home soon all right dad Thanks
all right no but how did that feel was a pleasant surprise
expected was it did you know when all that stuff before how he felt and know
because I don’t see never really asked no but I knew they probably did feel
that way like I said but I just I mean even to this day I haven’t asked him
yeah I know but it’s good I mean he had the right mindset well you guys are
obviously very close and that’s really cool to see but enough of the mushy
stuff let’s move on to combat so your boots on the ground Afghanistan what
year 2010 2010 a lot of shit happened right around then like bin Laden got
killed you know where’d you land did you land
in Bagram wounded in calf killed yet you went straight to Kandahar yeah went to
Kandahar and then from there we loaded up and shipped out to a place called fob
Lane with the time still team 3 was there well it’s a little little tiny fob
and back in the day was owned by an SF unit and team guys took it over it was
in Southeast Afghanistan a province called Zabul and the area called
Arghandab so there’s definitely the hotspot of the time in the area but we
ended up getting arriving there and then till team 3 was there like I said and we
end up doing you know once we hit boots on the ground you do so fired up
motivated getting checked in we kind of pretty quickly I’d say within the first
week we started planning and for our first turnover up so fairly fast just
for reference southern Afghanistan down in Kandahar is one of the hottest zones
on always has been throughout the what almost two decades yeah that’s going on
or war time in Afghanistan and how long were you there before how long I mean
did you guys even have time to settle in because I in Kath did a lot of research
and I talked to some of your friends and I mean you guys were getting it so in
once we arrived to our fob yeah yeah like I said it was pretty quick
we got half I would say half a SEAL team three platoon kind of left as we arrived
and then the the kind of leadership more senior guys stayed on board to do
turnover with us but it was fairly quickly before we started turning and
burning and how that nice that good battle rhythm and just started knowing
because our art art honestly the leadership that I had was eager and
hungry what black track real quick before we
get into the details what were your living conditions like
how many people a lot of people don’t understand what a fob is a fob is not
like a big base it’s a small fortified a lot of times using sandbags as cover can
you kind of describe your living conditions how many guys who are worth
were there locals we had so we had our entire platoon so about we actually went
there with I would say 18 seals 18 I think was nine to 18 or 19 seals and we
had another handful of enablers plus SEAL team 3 there so we had almost 60
guys I would say on this fob we only had one we had no locals that slept on our
thought with this no nun or partner force okay so they had their own own
little fob I was sleeping and we had like little B Hut’s little wooden rooms
so this fob honestly was pretty well it was decently built up because it’s been
it would had been there for a while like I said in the army SF unit Oda unit ran
it and established this thing so it pretty well built up it wasn’t very big
but it was decently built up so living conditions honestly my first point
weren’t bad so I was we’re all pretty decently comfortable okay
as far as sleeping is concerned but we we would get attacked on nightly basis
of that comfort wasn’t went out the window
every night you’re getting it pretty much what are you getting attacked with
small arms indirect okay yeah any bar any close calls a few somebody it get
into the base but not near that where we slept
but it was mainly just kind of sporadic fire they were definitely aiming at us
and getting close but nothing I wouldn’t say effective at least on their fob well
were you having to defend the base at all or was it all pretty much in know we
got weed every time we based offense way to good we use our our G’s we had some
rg-31 with the 50 cals on it and we also had a
which is the up armored all-terrain vehicle oh good so it’s big beefed up
like an all-terrain and we had our 50k they had 50 Cal weapon system a remote
weapons system they call hard ws is on top of those things so we placed those
in position we also had a huge tower with the 50 on it that we used as well
and then we also had a mortar pit – oh good so we would send our own indirect
fire what point so how long were you there before you started leaving the
wire and going out on on your own ops and look what was your mission there so
our mission was a strike force we ended up just doing the straight village
clearance and direct action but our very first op that some we did turn our
turnover up was one that was pretty impactful for everybody that was there
we did a turnover out with SIL team three only few very few guys in my
platoon actually went went on it because it was mostly SEAL Team 3 doing or
turnover I’m just kind of see how they did business kind of SOPs and they left
late that night and before you know the Sun even rose we I got woken up the
middle of the night load of the helo because the helo crashed
oh she killed everybody so we lost team four guys three guys all the whole crew
everybody in the bird went down we lost a one guy survived and your Dow he
survives welcome in a miracle but so the bird ended up crashing on the hillside
going down it didn’t it didn’t get shot down anything but it was going because
we did a lot of overwatch positions we call them SC positions and then we had
the main element down the ground in the village and we had the overwatch
positions which we call supporting element up in the mountains so we did a
lot of that at night so the helos would land at these peaks and sometimes they
wouldn’t even touch ground they would just hover over the cuz they couldn’t
land on these mountaintops or so this train was rugged yeah
so this burden I’m just clipping the side of the mountain and lost everybody
except one so so that I go woken up in that load of the bird went over hover
over it because they there was nobody there there was only because the other
bird was getting dropped off somewhere else on another peak so I got woken up
loaded the bird grabbed all my med kit I mean that was like something up hey
hello like fuckin reality check bird just went down let’s expect everyone to
be dead get your fucking med kit get your litters now so I can grab all my
shit I had it all staged thank God all ready to fucking go but I’d load up as
quickly as I can jumped in the bird and then we took off
by the time we get there we hovered over it by the time we got there the PJs were
there they started the recovery so that was our very first opposite attune Jesus
Christ lost ears are off the bat that’s that’s
fucking tough yeah that was a definitely a huge kind of wake-up call for the boys
yeah that was tough too that was because we had me like I said up at that point
we haven’t done anything yeah I mean go on an OP we’re still fucking trying to
get our feet wet figure shit out next thing you know we lose fucking five guys
so it’s it’s it’s real fucking real yeah that’s real this fucking this is reality
now so it was definitely that put it damper on things I wouldn’t say not for
a long time I should believe I don’t know probably I would say for a few days
you know it was tough but the Turner we had a really good leadership that they
understood that it was important to fucking keep the guys moving yeah keep
the mind focused a lot of times when you lose guys in a combat zone and you know
them it’ll create a type of ritual or maybe not a ritual but something that
you’ll do to prepare yourself before every session yeah yeah I would say like
a ritual did I do anything yeah did that specific
incident because it happened so fast when she got in country to dad did that
create any kind of routine before you would go on on a mission like some kind
of superstition or I didn’t develop we all as a platoon we all like took a knee
and prayed before we went out that was kind of a mutual agreement and I’ve
never done anything like that at that point but I did it with him just just to
fucking keep the mind right yeah every time we stepped out the door and I I
think it helped you stay focused but after that event you know that the boys
were everyone was locked tight because they knew that’s I mean that doesn’t get
more real than that no most guys go to combat you know they may not experience
it you know some a lot do but you going in expecting not to experience it you
don’t want your boys to fucking die yeah I want you to lose teammates yeah that’s
the worst possible scenario but you still you hope for the best you know
what that should happen in your own teammates but I think after that event
everybody just fucking locked the fuck on you know everyone was already a long
time but that just a whole nother level send it over the top yeah now you’re
chomping at the bit yeah now that motions
a little angry you know you know we’re in bad guy country so now like the
motivation is even more to fucking just get after and take it to them yeah a lot
of myself included used tragic events or the loss of friends to kind of build
that anger and fuel your mindset before going on ops which is and that’s why I
asked that question yeah who was your guys top tempo like a few times a week I
say three or four times a week we’d be out the door we Louie all we did was fly
away ops leaving the middle of night helos going to villages majority of them
were 24 hours to 48 hours we did long 172 so we didn’t do the only time we did
local we would just walk to our little local village or something like that but
95% of them we’re all flyaways like I said three or four times a week village
clearance were you guys looking for something specific were you stirring up
the hornet’s nest what was the we would be able to talk about a little bit of
both targeting a lot of a presence and
establishing more of a green zone for us and just showing face we would clear the
village but at the end of the day the mission was hey clear the village let’s
get the elders together let’s establish rapport and build relationships but
we’re all at the same time we’re filtering out the bad guys that’s kind
of the under arching it was but the overarching mission was say we need to
build make sure it’s increase our green zone build relations and show more
presence that was our main focus and I spent majority of that deployment if not
all that appointment on top of mountains yeah
where you guys getting after it were you engaging yeah third time you left the
wire was a hit-or-miss i wouldn’t say it not every time
definitely a hitter mitt would I say about 50% of the time we were getting
ticks okay get in contact with the enemy and you’re doing flyaways so you’re
getting in a tick on foot I don’t have any you guys aren’t bringing any
vehicles maybe snow they’re all except them let me get small arms and indirect
and how many guys are going on ops with you roughly the entire platoon so we’re
almost 30 guys with enablers okay and partner force so we brought the door
with partner for us as well and platoon you know that’s 18 guys 19 guys plus our
neighbor is another five so we’re up there we get a decent force but we end
up having to supporting helmets with at least four guys and then the main Allen
was the big element the ground which was doing the clearance we had to overwatch
position so and where were you I would end up always been on the overwatch okay
a few times I’d go down there on the main element but marked or not I would
just volunteer to go on overwatch position put me on there my leadership
would put me up there too so I got very familiar with the mountains of
Afghanistan you know were you watching your guys get into engagements yeah but
actually Martin thought we would get the tix okay they would see us up there
because these this is where these dudes are hanging out yeah they’re not hanging
out on the ground we talked tonight we’re talking day we go in a night
insert at night and then execute during the day just a sunrise okay so the helos
when you guys would take off for an OP they weren’t you weren’t landing right
in the village it would land we would offset from the village the main element
not far baby I could click okay and then they were patrolling and then right at
first light they would you know break that last line to cover and start making
start conducting clearance and then we would they would insert us at some peak
we would do some false inserts and then it sort of set a certain peak and then
we’d control up to the top of the mountain where ever we needed to go
but believe it or not been a lot of times where we ended up being very close
to where the enemy’s hanging out yeah these guys are on the ground they don’t
then from my first deployment my experience then and had the balls to go
face to face on the ground with with seals with us at least they would
occasionally but it would be more sporadic and there would be at a
distance wouldn’t be super effective I would be I got more effective fire when
I was up in the supporting element the never did and I was on the ground no
shit that’s an interesting did you utilize your your training is an 18
Delta on that deployment I did only medical treatment I didn’t after that
the point we didn’t Guinea no serious injuries yeah I did a local minimal
stuff for partner force we end up doing med caps every weekend for the villagers
so I would do a lot of treatment for that but as far as combat care no
because we didn’t have any serious injuries at post the helo crash you know
so let’s wrap that deployment up you coming home as a new guy
or I guess you’re not a new guy anymore but I’m in shit that’s I mean that’s
pretty fucking real right off the bat to cut your teeth into what was it like for
you coming back going back to the team and seeing the next batch of new guys
enter into your platoon and you’re going straight back to combat again mm-hmm for
the next one yeah I was going right back into one troop again staying there and I
knew dandy right away we knew we were gonna go to Afghanistan because Iraq
kind of stopped now they had they needed to actually at the time all the troops
were going Afghanistan this next go-around it was that much of a demand
so all of them were going so everyone yeah the Sal even the three troop with
South competence some of the guys are even getting filtered out and going to
so that’s how much the was so we I knew it was going coming
back home from deployment you know was I mean I was describe it but it was if I
was relieved I was kind of ready to come home at that point nervous – because
I’ve been gone kind of for so long I seemed like yeah being my first
deployment so I really didn’t know how to act or you know behave once I got
back I mean I wasn’t married or had kids or anything so I came back and they’re
just me so I just pretty much just continue doing work again yeah I mean I
did go home like a month later took some leave took like two weeks came back here
at California hang out with the family was it hard but I mean interact a little
bit because I felt like they wanted to ask stuff didn’t they didn’t know how to
ask it and they didn’t ask it and they really didn’t know I like because I know
I noticed this now more than in the past when I was a new guy like soon as you’re
around people that are very unfamiliar with military in general let alone seals
and like deployment they just they think the things that you’ve done may have
messed you up or something or may have they put this stigma on you may be no
fault of their own because that’s just like kind of the mentality but I felt
that way like you all right you know you’re everything good you know how was
how was deployment you know you’re doing good etc but over time it was fine like
I kind of just got back on the grind of being on the back of the team again and
it was a good thing it’s actually a good feeling once I kind of platooned up
again and that was an older guy if you want to say that and then now I got to
work with my new you know mentor new guys and you know watch them prove
themselves to me and the rest of the fucking guys that you know been there
and done that yeah as well did you find out you’re going back to Afghanistan how
fast after you got back from your first pump in Afghanistan I would say
we found out officially probably halfway through but at the beginning we always
knew that we were gonna go back so maybe a good maybe good six months so you were
kind of like iffy and then six months later so yes I was like hey no you’re no
shit going to Afghanistan now it’s where where are we going Afghanistan oh okay
so you did know that you knew like right away yeah so it’s like okay we knew it
because like I said everyone was gonna go there but it was more of a question
of where exactly in that ganna start me going because the other puts troops and
I’m going like calf mmm major bases yeah so this was kind of again as of that
competition we need to be the best performing fuckable attuned to get the
best mission because at the time via so what’s coming about village stability
ops what we called it and that was the mindset of we needed to win the hearts
and minds kind of went over the people and that was the mission to be on
because that was we were getting you wanted to be sent in the most remote
areas yeah more chance to get you wanted to be a lot of that yeah more chance to
get into firefights get after it less stress of the flagpole and we’re on
our own you know we’re doing we could do our own thing and be effective you know
we’re not we don’t have our hands tied if we’re like the units at the CAF we’re
all like that’s like a major hub which the other two troops and so we ended up
getting the VSO mission at the end of the day and work up we had a solid head
shed a lot of experienced dev group guys and they really groomed the troop well
and we had strong chiefs and you know all that leadership was really tight so
your immediate reaction when you found out you’re going right back to
Afghanistan in a year year and a half depending on how long your workup is
were you did you want to go back were you excited to go back did that become
home for you I was excited to go back you were yeah I was hungry to go
again I was especially after my first experience I felt I was way more
experienced and more prepared and I could knew what I was getting myself
into so I was ready to go back and at that time they’re like hey guess what
you’re also gonna be staying 8 months maybe you could speed up to 10 months 10
months yeah so it was like eight to ten because before that still team ten went
out there they ended up staying there for ten months
yeah right before us so that wasn’t a change as well because with this new
mitt new VSO mission they required us to be on the ground longer okay build
relationships I was kind of the mindset strategy behind it so we knew we’re
gonna be there longer okay so as to be the rougher and being that VSO mission
we knew we’re gonna be this this deployment was gonna be rough it was –
it was unlike you nothing like my first one the second one was worse second one
was yeah were you and Jeff together on this one we’re together okay did you
guys know each other before them yeah we did a little bit we’re in different
troops where do you fly into for your second deployment let’s skip the workup
and let’s just go straight back over there
what where did you fly into this the same place calf right back to an outer
base right back to calf and then we had to fly – I ended up going in the same
area southeast Afghanistan again Arghandab River Valley where my first
deployment was but I was just a little further north where my first fog was
could that father going away so we established SEAL team 2 was here they
established this via so sight when we got there was nothing it was like three
two tents Alaskan tents a couple hess COEs i mean this thing wasn’t even a
base it wasn’t even fully said little I could throw a football to one end it was
less than hundred yards no shit I was small so you’re this base is less than a
football field yeah it’s like smaller than football small that’s a ball field
with two tents yeah when we got there was two tents we didn’t have no
running water no shitters they right next to a village and then their partner
force owned a compound that they took over right next to the the team guys
little site and these guys are rough I mean we got the really holy shit you
know like these guys were fucking roughing it this was like real deal
so that was unexpected we got we had a little kind of they told us a little bit
but we had no idea was like like that magnitude that level but yeah these guys
were roughing it I didn’t have anything because you couldn’t drive there nope no
heels would hardly ever come because every time they would come in here they
would get shot at every single time so like you know upper lovers like now we
can’t bring any lows in there so it was like very rare that would David even for
us even getting there was a pain you know even to change out crews there’s a
pain in the ass just can you walk us through a little bit more about how many
people are on this table what was it just your troop where you know was just
two platoon ok so there’s like 16 yes with enablers by pushing 20 little over
to like 21 22 with enablers and then steel team – was there a platoon they
had minimal guys with short oh because they already shipped some guys off so I
think they had like 12 guys so it was tight we were sleeping on top of each
other we ended up making another tent so we could all pack in we’re sleeping on
cots literally right next to each other just racked up jam as many as you can in
there until we got more more gear more equipment cuz we even have any more
tents there’s nowhere to sleep we got to sleep on top of each other until still
team to finally get out of there but we did a couple turnover ops which I’m
going pretty smooth mm-hmm so that went well and then they end up leaving and
then from there the whole time was like literally build up shop we needed to
establish some sort of living but we the whole time I was there we had no
running water we always slept on cots we didn’t have a kitchen it was in like a
dirt hut they would drop us food the via airdrop because no kilos would come in
hardly ever relive him with locals yeah we lived we had locals a partner for us
living on our fob how many there is about six of them what was that
relationship like did you guys have any confidence in them some a lot of units
have different I had confidence so I ran actually these guys I the role I was in
I ended up being like their handler paying them make sure their their gear
you know those guys actually were good there are counter iad kind of partner
force they were solid so we didn’t really mind their trustworthy we felt
comfortable with them walking around on her fob and they had weapons the partner
force our real partner for us the AAA SF guys are with us that lived in the
compound probably 50 yards away we’re decent at first and like towards the
middle of the point we had some hiccups way to get rid of them because we lost
confidence oh that because they were we I think we ended up doing something that
didn’t like and then mmm we had to call in counterintelligence guys to interview
them and there was some red flags with kind of attitudes towards us maybe
possible like in signs of attack or aggression this happens a lot
in a lot of different units and a lot of different agencies when you guys got rid
of them where did they go did you guys just cut him loose and send
them back to their town because that can create an entire new enemy no toward you
the ASF was kind of somewhat of established for us somewhat so but they
just got him Heatley got out of there so we they didn’t we didn’t say hey walk
away from the fob and just go find your own path they got in a bird and we
shipped him out of there got a whole nother unit okay so it was it’s fairly
easy but at up to that point too late left it
was like we didn’t trust them like hey don’t you can’t come over here with UK
man approached our fob or a little via so sight with a gun
yeah do not you can come over here no weapons though we searched them just a
lot of animosity was building up so you’re dealing with that and then you
said it was hotter you’re stuck in deployment so were you guys getting hit
on the fob – oh yeah all the time once we got there he was damn near every
night every night I call it take 30 fucking every night right with sundown
these dudes are just smash us with small arms and they would it would be
effective and indirect it would man be in our coming through our tents small
armed with P cam rounds and then indirect fire as well you know landing
in our fob and just right out of it like in one fucking blew up our kitchen damn
near kill the dude he was in and lucky he dove into our little our little med
center was attached for a kitchen so he ain’t luckily diving into that got some
fragments back but he came out and scathed but but they were that what
happened a nightly basis I mean I first do is we’re not expecting that I mean
tensions were high we’re like at night going to bed you know we’re relaxed our
shits ready to go but you know we didn’t we weren’t expecting that and it took
some time to fucking get used to and then before you know it
dudes were in their racks with like full Cammy full kit just ready to go because
we knew is coming yeah this every night would just be the same fucking thing
should man so what I mean what was your washer op tempo like this deployment
compared to little more we were going on a daily basis on this one daily but
every day you’re going out and are we doing foot patrols we’re doing foot yeah
we’re doing foot patrols to local villages maybe further north a little
bit south presence and create again increasing that green zone because we
only go so far because we we didn’t do any type of flyways it was all because
of you so we needed to stay local did a lot of ones in the village near us
but every time it seemed like every time we went out we’re getting new a tick Wow
every single time so they’re going out every day you’re getting in a gunfight
outside of your fob then you come home or maybe maybe this had already happened
but and then you got a deal with the base getting hit so I mean this yeah it
honestly was like that I would say all the way up until December it kind of
died down a little bit because I got cold so we were kind of expecting that
but it’s even still like they still would fucking every time we would the
base attacks were lighting up but every time we went out the door those would be
the same wow they just knew what where the fuck we were going they could see us
before we were coming that was hard for us because we were just we didn’t do any
night ops who’s all bright middle a day they knew we were going there to fucking
meet just meet key leaders shake hands and establish rapport and his hold of
security we weren’t necessarily targeting individuals we did a few times
we ended up Iran Intel so we ended up going on missions purely driven off the
Intel that was found being myself sources and my other teammate that was
we were partners together in it so we would gather on until then target that
way Wow and then other missions we would get
from hire as well but and we got creative with it that deployment we said
was roughly ten months nine to ten months it was that yeah almost it was I
ate how many engagements would you say you and/or your team were part of in
that eight months do you have any idea I don’t I mean it sighs I lost count who’s
that many yeah I don’t know a hard number yeah it was a lot and I would say
pushing 100 yeah I mean with all the ops fob attacks and even just going out the
door like damn near right around the corner next
Jeff Raymond our own village I mean just a six-month deployment alone is a
hundred and eighty days and if you guys were taken if you guys were taking fire
and getting into ticks almost every day and you did longer than six months just
to put that in perspective for it because most guys don’t think about this
that’s a hundred and eighty fucking engagements yeah there’s a lot of
engagements at the time I might even look it like that because you just you
don’t pay attention to it yeah you know you’re just you’re ready for the next
yeah ready for the next one and then before you know it you know I think
they’d the leadership to keep track of it but guys didn’t really focus on it
but it was a lot I mean it felt like that like he said it felt like every
damn night and almost what the beginning it was they wanted to fucking try
something you’ve never thought about that until just now so what’s that sound
like to you when I put that in perspective and I say you took part in
over a hundred and eighty fucking engagements in less than a and in eight
months oh yeah that’s a lot of fucking yeah
that I’ve never really thought of it like that you know is that the time
you’re just doing the job you’re doing a job and you know thinking of it as a
tick like a like a check in the box like oh I got one two three that’s why when
he takes I got you know you know what Ranger you guys fighting at is always
different is it up close and personal or is it
are they throughout that is one was everything everything and in between you
guys have air support we had some air support occasionally with little birds
and we had sometimes we had some f-18s fast movers we would come in nice but
mainly just the Hilo support I’d only that was like the only platform that
really be available even to come in to help us out so but not often not every
time you’re really out there hanging out there yeah we’re just us you know it was
really just us we had some army guys attached to us a little army unit that
we utilize for fob security and some other support so it’s really just us
doing our thing out there there’s a blood you know blessing in
disguise I think I mean it was we got so much out of it and I don’t think we
would have the experience we had if we were wearing an analyst I wouldn’t have
that deployment if I would say went to CAF or anything like that I mean really
truly was just us that was our deployment we were fully
control over it and definitely learned a lot and had shit-ton of experiences I
mean for God’s sake helo we had another helo crash at this
fob thank God it wasn’t as horrific as the first one I experienced helo coming
in at 47 came in crashed on our fob shit came in nose down and because our hlz
was kind of a slope came in nose down dusted himself out slow rolled into the
corner of our Hesco barriers which Hesco barriers are filled with dirt on the
border of the the site hit that completely destroyed that 47 split the
front end in half destroyed every blade there was a mark 19 in that corner so
grenades are going off shit like it sounded like we just like everyone was
inside at this time it was midday only two people were out there so you’re
getting head oh yeah I could run out there I was like in my tent I remember
and I heard this huge explosion grab my med bag fucking ran out there looked and
I see if 47 just blowing up I mean this thing was shreds believe it or not the
to the crew survived I was like this yeah
these guys were crushed up into the the front end that the two side door Gunners
were smashed up into it into because the whole front and nose crunched and these
dudes there was there be two shit but they survived shit
yeah it was crit was unbelievable did you guys lose anybody on that
deployment only we didn’t know no team guys no American forces we lost our one
of our close partner force the one of the guys that lived on the base with us
our counter IUD guys their head do their leader was a shot in the head
killed during an OP during a tick lucky shot I mean it was it was actually kind
of it was a hard loss even for us because he he we became close with him
because there was only six of them these guys were northern Afghani
and these dudes fucking hate Taliban yeah the Pashtun people that live in the
south so these dudes were really truly there
for the right cause right reason fight for their country and their fucking good
at what they did different a motivator yeah they’re fucking it was good to see
that and motivated us you know if we could just work with them we were like
we’re just taking you guys fuck everyone everyone else that’s one thing I’ve
noticed about the Afghans versus Mike’s personal experience with the Iraqis is
the Iraqis most of them we had those guys attached to us most of them were
fucking lazy and they didn’t really want to be there but on the other hand the
Afghans I mean those are some fucking dedicated fighters yeah and they want to
make shit happen and they want to fucking be there and which is really
cool to see you know that to see a host nation you know one to you know do the
right thing but yeah it was it was humbling for to see that shit because it
makes you want to do your job harder like cuz you’re there of helping them
out fighting for their country in your country you see that it’s good shit was
hard for their team and the loss they actually quit they all left because they
didn’t want to work anymore because they lost her commander but it eventually
talked him back into coming back to us yeah I’m so it was a difficult time but
overall experience for the books man you know sounds like it
I’m going to take another call we got a mutual friend on the line who was there
or that whole second employment with you Jeff read time Jeff read from frozen
tried and how the hell are you pretty good man so I got a buddy of yours that
I think you might know on my show right now
Travis Kennedy oh yeah it’s good to hear your voice man I’m doing good man
glad you get to call in so I got a question for you guys there’s like I was
scouring through both your instagrams before you got here and there’s a
picture of you and Jeff and another guy’s face that’s blurred out and you’re
sitting against a mud wall with a big shit-eating grin on both of your faces
and you’re talking about a big engagement that just happened the whole
night before and I was wondering if I could get both your guys’s perspective
on what happened that night kick it off yeah I do man it’s that one that picture
was on the very end of the OP I mean this the insert exfil he was over it was
damn near 15k in throughout the night and I was yeah we did on the way there
and then we clear to did a village clearance we ended up just laughing
because that’s where we did a video we’re waiting for our Vic’s to come in
and it was just so damn long that was one of our biggest one of the biggest
hops I think we did that deployment because it was just so long and we had a
lot of people with us and again yeah Jeff said every time we went out
literally we were wet and then we I think it then we were just everyone was
just at such exhaustion like so fucking tired we’re leaning it post up against
this wall me and Jeff and then two of our buddies actually two guys next to us
where the are you guys I know you remember him but uh we were just fucking
bullshit in the shit just fucking suffering and laughing at the same time
because we’re so fucking beat to shit we just patrolled in fill all nighter
cleared this big-ass village gotten some ticks cleared IEDs we had a lot of
overhead Jeff was dealing all the overhead and then we xfield back humped
it back and that took us all damn day to hump that back that far and then we were
just posted up waiting sitting there for hours is for Vic’s to come get us
it was his almost it was pretty funny you have something dealing with voices
and it said ever since I’ve known I’m but Jeff when I talked to you and asked
you to give a call in you had a question for Travis about some Carl Gustav rounds
and for you civilian types out there Carl Gustav is basically a big-ass
rocket launcher it’s shoulder-fired so why don’t you go
ahead and fire that question off Jeff hell yeah I do because everyone thought
I fucked a mortar hit me yeah I do die bury that cuz our LPO thought a fucking
mortar hit me me and Blake were shooting it I shot it he loaded it for me
I staged it right outside in the try wall little cardboard box outside of my
tent because I couldn’t there wasn’t any room so I ran out I knew our stage it
grabbed the Gustav he grabbed the rounds and we fucking ran to the corner of the
fob and fucking launched that thing we’re at the mountain the same mount we
always got hit at literally same exact mountain that every time did you get hit
from there again I think so that was right I got hit there again it’s get a
kid on boots on how many rounds did you fire I think I’m just a couple just
couple yeah but I use that more than once with just a couple Carl Gustav
rounds yeah shopping mall but because our LPO was up on top of that little
deck above the kitchen he looked down and saw like this massive explosion he
told me after as he said my fucking heart set yeah yeah that was a big one dude I was
they thought they had had upon us cuz we refresh it well Jeff Travis tells me
this was probably the most the most eventful deployment of the three that uh
he did what uh what would you say about that what’d you guys do flip a coin yeah
and we were debating whether we wanted to get our boots wet that’s the toughest
decision right there if it was worth it no better was worth
it to dish out some love to the you know local haters yeah
well Jeff thanks for calling in man you got any words for Travis for we up and
the call thanks Jeff to get your voice brother hope you’re well
all right Jeff you too man tell the wife tell the kid I said hello
and especially a dance or two that’s my favorite one so alright be safe Jeff the
light was good hearing his voice that’s the last call I promise but how’s that
did that take you back I mean it did yeah did it make him miss it a little
bit maybe yeah maybe miss being around guys like Jeff yeah honestly it’s been a
while since I even talked to him so it was good to hear his voice and reminisce
yeah I get to do it often yeah and none of us are as good as we’d
like to be at keeping in touch and sometimes the best thing for us and my
opinion is to you know separate yourself at least for a little while from you
know the majority of the community to get up find a new way but so we’ve
already established that your second deployment was a really eventful one you
come back home again for the second time did you know you were going back to
combat again for a third time or no I wasn’t gonna I was at that time was
going to buzz instructor oh okay you want to become a buds instructor yeah
did you want to do that yeah you’re ready for a for a break yeah I was ready
they asked me if I wanted to do something different and that was the
only way I was I’m going to leave they were trying to force too
out to go to trade it yeah I’m and I was like no it was like I’m not going there
if I’m gonna do something I want to do I want to be a buds instructor yeah yeah
at the forefront of the training and I knew I wanted a budget structure at
first phase I was like oh you were first phase I was first phase and that was my
goal you were a total fucking dickhead yeah all right I was like the quiet why
I fuckin dickhead out that landish instructor yelling and screaming but
that’s like the worst kind you never and I knew what I wanted thinkin yeah so I
said I’d the opportunity it was hard to get because the guys going from east to
west it was it’s a fate you know it’s not hard to do leadership is not really
prone to like guys do that but I guess they were said screw it let me do it you
went to so you come home from deployment it was a rough one you guys did a lot of
good shit got a lot of combat and you go did you go straight to buds as a first
phase instructor when you got back got back to it obviously did turn to some
break some leave cool down Lauren R and then as soon as I was done
with that it was later I got orders to go to buds
I called him ahead of time I was like look I’m coming there I want to go first
phase and they’re like alright you got it yeah yeah and I just checked in
simple as out well this is interesting that because you were so motivated to
become a seal and and talking to your dad that I mean he had no doubt you were
gonna make it and then you go to combat you make it through you go to combat you
do two pumps you had some you took some heavy you got a lot of combat time how
did your mentality change towards I mean you show up and you got 200 men you know
some of them are still fucking kids others are you know little older trying
to you know prove with themselves they can make it what I’m always curious like
what do you think of the what do you when you see 200
people that all want to be exactly what you are and none of them almost none of
them have any fucking idea of what they’re about to go through if in the
unlikely event that they make it well what do you think of the what do you
think of the class are you right away I know you know 80% of them are not gonna
be there and I don’t say that overtly but I just know yeah but I take it what
I’ve learned when I was instructor I was able to it was definitely a growing
experience for me I would say professionally and maturity for sure
just being once you walk into that it’s just like a bubble its own world like as
an instructor even as students like even but as an instructor you’re held you’re
like you’re on a pedestal whether you think so or not you know you’re a god to
these students you know in their mind they want to be you so it’s definitely
upholding the standard and exceeding the standard but when I look at students I
just whenever I saw a fresh class I’ve always took it as a fresh start I mean
they needed to prove themselves to me I get a blank slate for them until proven
otherwise okay we had some times we classed up
looking at him sometimes I as classes went on I became inherently just I could
look at a guy and be like no no shit not happening were you ever wrong a couple
times yeah yeah the nerdiest looking fucking dweeb oh yeah makes it huh I
mean nine times out of ten but makes it that’s people think you know so
concerned about size weight strength etc it’s those guys are put out more than
I’ve seen d1 athletes guys with everything like supposed to be athletic
studs just quit day one yeah so it’s just there’s no you can’t pinpoint it
what I’ve learned you can’t pinpoint like he’s me good he’s not he’s solid
he’s not you know it’s so broad you know you just never could
tell who wants it more as time goes it’s all proven in action it’s like someone
could say they want it but that doesn’t mean shit until you’re out there I mean
you’ve been through a lot at this point and I mean did you have any animosity
towards the students did you want them to quit our did you did you like talk to
us about when you look at a class and you have just come from what you’ve come
through and you’re still at a young age I mean what are you are you thinking I’m
gonna fucking crush you you’re going to quit or are you thinking no I definitely
had that mindset with certain individuals not everybody I could tell I
would get really fucking pissed and angry at certain students just based off
their performance and just lack of mental strength and just the want to be
there because you hear everything in the wind of why they’re there you know why
they’re not performing etc or quitting so it was just frustrating to me as well
as the other instructors and I worked as I got to work with some seasoned
instructors to have been majority of him if not all of them a couple all combat
really and all the leadership were damned Nick okay so seasoned guys
so the tolerance for not putting out or not wanting to be there was ill CH for
everybody the patients were so I got I it was so easy what I learned as an
instructor was so easy to see the negative and somebody to like we are so
quick to say we spoke about it like eating your own so fast yeah we were so
fast I found it because I did it just to find so negative performance in somebody
and they maybe were doing okay but as soon as they slip up just a little bit
we’re on it he may be okay he may be like overall a
decent like up to that point but maybe just having a bad fucking day or
something but as soon as he has a bad fucking day we’re on him trying to get
him out of there you know we’re just very it’s I found
myself jumping to the negativity so fast mm-hmm vice
looking at everything like is this guy performing and see what is he doing
after this point what’s his reputation in class etc looking at the bigger
picture you know I was always front sight focus on making dudes quit yeah at
first which I found out that it was kind of like that was the wrong approach I
shouldn’t I shouldn’t have done that like right out the gate you know our
goal our goal isn’t just to fucking make dudes quit we want to get rid of the
guys and want to be there and the program gets rid of the guys you know
itself this hasn’t been changed a proven system the guys are gonna leave because
the curriculum it is what it is structures are they’re just there to
help hold the standards did you did your mindset start to change while you were
current while you were at first phase as an instructor or de jure mindset change
like after you left thinking back on how everything went it changed while I was
there I would say it changed when I became a proctor of a class and I was
like the lead instructor of class 3:05 and I really got to get to know the
class how was their guy was their conduit between the rest and instructors
I would meet with them talk with them make sure they have all their shit
squared away for the next day meet with them on the weekends you know I became
close and built a relationship with the guys at first I’m just I’m there to help
with scheduling and just help the class and weed out the people I don’t want to
be there but as time goes on you build relationship because you you’re with
them the entire seven weeks you know first phase so I grew that’s where I
think I definitely grew as an instructor and as a seal as far as maturity is
concerned no shook is that responsibility too cuz you’re the go-to
guy you’re not just another instructor out there yelling and screaming yeah you
know I had another student there looking up to you like hey they’re meeting with
you every night they can go to you to talk to you and I would meet with them
at night and tell them hey you’re this is what you’re fuckin up this is what
you’re doing good this is what you need to be squared away or remediate them to
let them know that hey you’ve been fucking up this whole this whole day
so I definitely definitely grew during that that one class and then after that
point the rest of the class I was there I was there for another six seven
classes it definitely carried with me throughout would you say I mean out
right off the bat maybe this came later maybe I didn’t come at all but would you
say there is uh is there any specific common denominator that you’re looking
for and the guys that are coming through the training I’m looking for that strong
why that’s strong why why they want to do it yeah and everyone has their own
and there’s not some blanket statement that’s gonna be good enough but everyone
has their own reasons why but it has to be for me what I saw a lot of it wasn’t
about the job it was more about I just want to do buds or I just want to try
challenge yeah that was it I was like the sole focus in the INA in itself it
is a challenge yeah you should want to complete buds
that but that’s just a stepping stone to becoming a Navy SEAL that’s just not
that’s not the end-all be-all and I found a lot of the students didn’t
really know why the hell they were there vice just being there just because they
saw it online or you know they woke up one day and started to prepare six
months or less than that for buds yeah and yeah they met the standards to get
there but that’s it you know just because you can pass a CO PSD doesn’t
mean you’re gonna make it through and it does it and honestly when you have a
week I tell these guys people all the time if you have a week Y or that
trickles down in your motivation everything you’re gonna get weeded out
quick that Y is not gonna hold up against all the demands that especially
first phase requires of you yeah that’s that’s going to get in and out of your
mind quick so if you’re if you don’t want to be a seal and do the fucking job
downrange but you know when I was there too many people still going overseas you
know it kind of died down there yeah died down right when I got back because
our last point I finished in 2013 and then we’re slowly kind of removing guys
from Afghanistan especially the team guys you know so
barely anyone was going there when I was instructor so I don’t think they maybe
just didn’t have a clue or didn’t really think about it but again this is not a
blanket statement for every student but for the people that quit or I saw lack
of performance and when I specially when I was a proctor and spoke to him it was
that it kind of all boiled down to that it wasn’t like all my legs hurt I’m
tired it was like I always out there why the hell are you even here makes sense
is there as much as we eat our own and we do eat our own we’re probably the
best out of it out of all the all the other branches which I don’t necessarily
think is a fucking good thing but at the same token we’re also extremely fucking
tight net and we have each other’s back on deployment we might not I might not
like you I might not want to be around you but when you’re on deployment things
change and you have to have that fucking teamwork so as an instructor do you
teach that or is that something that you think that guys come to the table with
it’s just like in their heart it comes that I think guys show up with that they
come to the table with that kind of mentality already that’s why they’re
there that’s what kind of drop part of the reason why I probably drove them to
the program mm-hmm there’s we don’t give them no PowerPoint on being a team
player teamwork it’s just it’s driven into them like right away even before
they even phase up to first phase it’s like you’re in Bo crews you’re in a
class you’re part of a team your part of it you need to work together otherwise
you’re gonna fail you know so that the program doesn’t inherently and then
we’re there to reinforce it and make sure that that standard is held when you
have guys that show up that aren’t team players and a lot of times these are
your division one types Division one athletes Olympic athletes
sometimes it’s guys from other branches that are just cry
and the fucking runs crushing the swims they’re the top performers but and then
they want to gloat and they want to be fucking praised for how well they’re
performing but they’re not a team player how do you is it hard to get those guys
to quit do you try to get him to quit I’ve always seen it kind of just like
you said the program kind of takes care of its takes yeah you know takes care of
itself how did how do those guys wind up washing out I think the majority they do
wash out the program will expose them and then so will the class to be honest
with you because they see right through that shit and they’re not even the class
leaders and the bokor leaders they may be in charge may not be you know even
they may be just the lower ranking but a d1 athlete or something or maybe an
officer but even still they’re gonna get exposed and they’ll be oust by the by
the class pretty quickly when I see when I was instructor we touched on it that
social pressure and if you’re not a part of the team you’re gonna be quickly cut
out of the team yeah cuz it and that happens quick too and then instructors
will kind of help reinforce out as well we hope they we help hey what’s up with
this guy you know what you use and do something about it talk to the class
leader maybe his bow crew leader or maybe he’s an officer we talked to the
class oh I see to talk to him so there’s ways to expose that if we see because
maybe he’d be crushed and passing every test but again he’s standing up because
he’s not being a part of the team he thinks he’s above the rest those things
you could see quickly and buds little discrepancies and people even as an
instructor yeah do you think you see it faster as an instructor as you do as a
student out this class would see it before us okay yeah the the his own boat
crew would definitely see it before us because in those those occasions that
the arrogance that entitlement you know may
not show because he could be passing tests he could be passing all the runs a
swim so he could kind of slip by a little bit because he’s performing just
on a performance standard but as soon as we start doing team evolutions the boats
the logs Rockport and surf passes etc that’s when people like that start
showing okay he’s not putting out he’s just in the same position all the time
he’s not moving holding his weight he’s not shifting like for the boats boats on
heads like number two spot which is directly in the middle of the boat the
heaviest spot where all the water goes kind of rest in the center and it bows
too so all the weight kind of centers in the boat he’ll never go to that position
or if he’s on the log he’ll never go to the end of the log where all the weight
lies everyone tries all the turns or people who don’t want to put out don’t
want to be part of the team go to the center where they could pretend like
they’re carrying something yeah because everyone else in the end is carrying the
weight so there’s they know they find out these little tricks that we know of
the instructors see this we see it all the time
and we pick up on it because this we see the same faces in the class we’ll see it
too but we notice the same exact faces the same spot every time yeah how do you
deal with that as an instructor do you do you give them like a little extra
game extra tension extra benefit oh yeah to entice them to ring the bell we’re
getting some extra motivation yeah definitely that if we notice something
during the evolution will shift them to the spot where we think it’s the
toughest we log them in front of the entire class humiliate him no no not
humiliate okay we would tell him if he was doing what I was just described we
would tell him to go back to the position to the two spot at the end of
the lock and stay there okay and you’re gonna stay there until you either quit
or you start putting out for your boat crew more often than not they tend to
fall out yeah or start collapsing they’re all tired boat crew because
they’re holding their weight and everyone else starts caring more
more tired just like a snowball effect everyone starts dying off so I I’ve
always been like really curious about like you get these guys sometimes ice
and I never was you know an instructor so this is why I’m so curious is you get
these guys that they just can’t fucking hang they don’t put out the bow crew is
basically you know carrying them through hell week especially and nobody seems to
be able to force these fuckers to quit and but they do wind up disappearing so
if you got a guy and you’re an instructor who he’s not cutting it his
boat crews suffering he’s not a team player he’s hanging on by a thread
because he just won’t ring the fucking bell like how does he like disappear
we is pretty easily actually for we just won’t write him up performance wise you
just performance drop him right drop him oh shit he’s over a series of evolutions
not just one time yeah but over a series of evolutions over a couple of days
maybe a week of just not performing or hacking it after being warned done and
we just pulled from the class okay sometimes people do squeak by though
that being said you know but yeah performance drop okay it would be the
way to get we get rid of these guys I have another question – I’ve never
actually met a buds quitter I don’t know if you have this – but everybody seems
to get oh yeah medical dropped you know I mean I’ve met a ton of buds quarters
but nobody ever admits that they only say oh I’ve been med dropped and I know
when I was going through buds they would actually give they would give him a
choice like well you know would you like to be med dropped and is that is that
how that goes you just tell them huh yeah you don’t have to bring it just no
okay nope if a student clearly just wants to do our
or drop drop on request he has to ring the bell okay cut and dry but if it’s
for a medical it’s the only reason he’s gonna get med dropped if it’s for a
severe medical issue I’m talking severe because right now they at least when I
was there my experience has a very good medical system there and they’ll rehab
you up you know that will rehab the student back to full health and put them
back in the class if he injured stress fractures or whatever that was like kind
of induced because of the training they’ll rehab you up and get you back in
the class if your performance dropped your performance dropped it’s not like
hey do you want just to write down a mid drop you know you really got performance
dropped or you do hard and we just wrote down you got med dropped no way yeah
you quit you quit I think it and I’ve come across that to myself they’re lying
they’re just just straight up just they don’t want to admit to themselves or
others that they just quit just a flat-out liar it’s flat-out liar and I
have met a couple guys where they approached me like it no I quit or they
just straight up and those are far for you in between but I respect that more
than yeah you know I don’t hold it against them I don’t give a shit but
it’s not for everyone yeah it’s not for everyone but if you have your straight
up that those people who do that just straight liars so they’re lying to
themselves but because we don’t give a shit yeah I’m not a ton of meds ops I’ve
never met a quitter that’s kind of funny let’s dive into the infamous hell week
you went through it I went through it when you go back as an instructor and
you see what these guys are going through in hell week and and you’ve
already done it I mean does it does it look as bad as when you’re going through
it does it look worse does it look the same it allows an instructor it’s like
that behind the curtain look yeah but it definitely looks worse as a student yeah
as an instructor it’s not that bad but it’s by no means has a change it’s tough
as hell but I don’t know when I look I could hardly
remember when I looked back think back at my hell week they did how they
remember some of evolutions yeah destructor Ivan I can remember
because I just work at tons of them but working him as an instructor so I
remember everything would you say that was your favorite evolution to work as
an instructor camp surf camp surf I came surfing we call the camp surf is like
Wednesday night so midweek kind of Wednesday night dudes made it because
that following day is like messing around and doing around the world who
you’re done but camp surfs like middle night by the old course build this huge
fire pit and then huge pit right next to it where all the students lie and it’s
like we make a little stage and they tell us jokes and their jokes shit we
send with the surf zone laugh at him and if they’re good let him go stand by the
fire for a couple minutes warm him up and kind of the whole class will go
through and then we’ll punish him occasionally we had a tradition where he
brought him food punished him how if they’d fallen asleep mm-hmm if I could
wake him all upset him to surf nil and I surf hit after surf it up just sort of
hit that’s the worst thing in hell week yeah we would just do hundreds of hit
the surf hit the surface or I mean these guys are just back and forth back and
forth back and forth and that water’s freezing asks how freezing ask them it’s
a tiny 50s yeah mid 50s at night summertime it’s a
little bit warmer I would say six little like low 60s to mid sixties even then
whether it’s summer winter doesn’t matter because we just keep you in the
water longer and trust me you’re gonna freeze just as much if you frozen
no wonder time even in the summer yeah you know like you watch discovery watch
you know all the Hollywood class and the documentaries and you read the books and
now they see all the pictures on social media and stuff but these guys watching
Discovery Channel they they see they see guys rolling around in the surf and
carrying logs and carryin boats but what they don’t what they don’t see is is the
shit that you can’t see they you know as an instructor and and you
find out real fast as a student like the chafing from the sand and in your
armpits on your groin and your junk and you know from the sand rubbing back and
forth and that dries and I feel like the instructors know it dries and that’s
camis are like stuck to the side of your sack and as soon as the class is dry
it’s like hey we’re gonna go for a run as soon as you run those pants are
crusted to that chafing and it rips the skin right off everything and then so
that burns like hell and then it’s hey get your ass back in the water and then
you’re thrown an open wound into the water and Ardie guys I mean do you guys
take do you realize you remember that shit when you were going through do you
know that’s going on what the class oh yeah I know we know what’s going on
because it’s happening when I was a student I knew was going on because I
was living it so it was the class some got it worse than others and like I said
when we every morning they get mad checks so we they get seen by doctoring
if it’s horrible they’ll get it treated although get it bandaged but again as
instructors we’re not holding them training because we know some students
have chafing somebody have it way worse than others I mean I haven’t seen
students there were literally covered in chafed arms armpits chest waist groin
legs I mean look like they just fell off a
motorcycle in the street I mean it’s horrible how bad some people get
affected some people get affected more than others I don’t know why but it
doesn’t we don’t want to alter training because students are experienced and
burn pains if anything that’s just part of the process and hey man you can’t
handle that and get out of here yeah I got a burning sensation on my groin yeah
well yeah welcome to the SEAL team welcome I think it’s just it’s part of
the process and welcome to this yeah inhale week is there a specific
evolution where guys start dropping off immediately is or is it always random
like is it is it break out when you’re breaking them out of the time
as a law BTW is it or or it’s not breakout to be honest we don’t lose a
lot of guys if we’re gonna lose a lot only time we ever lose right when how
week starts is before it even kicks off because we lock them down into a a tent
or a room before hell we kicks off like three hours prior then we’ll get some
stragglers that would just walk up a ring out before how we keep it because
they can’t handle the stress and not even do anything they’re just watching a
movie laid up eating so we’ll get some stragglers but it’s not until maybe that
night and we’re doing based or boats on heads running all over buds compound and
then across the street to the dry side running all over there and then maybe
doing also another one’s steel pier oh you call it which we just the whole
evolution is this all about freezing the students yeah
just a mental methyl gut checked what happens when a student gets hypothermia
is that end to the evolution or is that end of the evolution for that specific
student depends on the severity but it’s just that this the evolution continues
on we just pull him out okay rewarm him if we can if it’s something we can deal
with if it’s severe then we’ll with their hand me let’s driving back to the
clinic but uh nine times out of ten we could just handle it on the spot
get a quick temp warm him up put a blanket around him dry them off beanie
code etc for a little while which I feel is like the worst thing because we warm
him up and then as soon as he’s good to go like he’s coherent he’s back to
normal he’s like all cozy and falling asleep or like hey wake the fuck up go
ahead to surf get your ass back out there start training if you want to be
here yeah would you say the majority of the quarters come from the first night
see the first yeah first 24 hours yeah first 24 hours 24 to 32 hours say you
get the majority by the middle end of the middle of week and then Wednesday
night you have you pretty much have what you’re gonna have at the end of hell
week yeah whether someone gets hurt then you get some but as far as quitters are
concerned pretty much stop Wednesday night going to Thursday morning when
hell weed is secure it as an instructor do you and you’re looking at 20 guys out
of 150 who just made it through what’s only what three or four fucking weeks in
do you feel any sense of pride for those individuals that have gutted that out as
an instructor looking looking at them and knowing what they’re getting ready
to go to now oh yeah definitely a huge accomplishment on their end and they’ve
earned a level of respect at least how I viewed it and then other structures did
too when I was there and it kind of proved to me that there that for one
they want to be there for two they’re ready to get trained up until that point
now we could start we had the core guys that want in this class I want to be
here because that we just they just passed the most grueling part of
selection now it’s time to kind of put them to the test other ways but we have
a solid foundation of the guys that I want to be here he’s not gonna give me
quarters after that very very rare yeah it’s mostly just performance or medical
issues but that it’s definitely a level respect and they’ve proved to us that
they’re ready to be trained after a whole week it becomes and I don’t wanna
word this wrong but it’s a little bit of pressures off you just made it through
you know the harder it is the hardest evolution and buds in my opinion and it
is a night and day difference coming from hell week and two into post hell
week you know one day you’re wearing a white shirt you graduate whole week
you’re a brown shirt and then you get a little bit more respect at least when I
was going through you get a little bit more respect is it hard to like switch
that mindset as an instructor or is it still like that
no it’s still like that you do get a little more of a level of respect from
the instructors because like I said after that we the training kind of
shifts they break up into squat their own squads and we start kind of building
that platoon mindset and I actually try and start teaching them kind of some
core skills and being the seal but that’s a real fine line though
because sometimes students take it a little too far like they’ve been made it
they’re fucking they’re good to go but then we quickly crush that if they’re
getting a little too arrogant yeah so I’ve seen that happen a lot with classes
you know they finish Hellwig they think they’re looking good to go they made it
at the brown shirt or fucking on cloud nine but we squash it they never happen
again it’s usually the Proctor’s that sniff through that shit nice and they
hammer it you’re looking at one I got squashed but you know and looking at
these guys as they’re going through I mean you always have in the in the back
of your mind you might be you might be with that guy that you’re instructing in
I mean fucking what you’re in combat taking fire engaging the enemy and
that’s always in the back of your mind have you ever worked with any of the
guys you put through buds when you went back to the team yeah I worked as a
couple how was that relationship it was good I mean it was definitely knowing
them when an instructor it was different dynamic but I don’t be in some of them
out there LP oh yeah so it was actually a good relationship it wasn’t
uncomfortable alright because but at first they saw me as like an instructor
when they got to the team and in my platoon so they already had that mindset
like holy shit you know that’s instructor Kennedy but that quickly
faded when I just set the tone of hey your new game your teammate you know I’m
your LP oh but but it didn’t it wasn’t a negative thing at all
I should kind of liked it was kind of it was kind of really cool to see them
there and buds progression their progression now they’re actually with me
and actually the team doing the job so it was cool to see that process that’s
why I liked first Faisel that’s why I wanted to go to first faced with a
growth yeah through all that this that the meat of the selection and then the
outcome at the end so that’s what that’s what the reason why I
like that phase long I mean shit it’s pretty fucking cool I mean you’re I mean
you’re basically like the gatekeeper of the community in a first phase
instructor or the you know the biggest I mean that’s the biggest hurdle yeah
being an instructor and going back when these guys graduate buds and s qtd I
mean because you’re part of that entire pipeline in at least a little bit do you
feel like these guys are ready once they finish buds or sqt
yeah yeah I did ago yeah I feel like they’re ready the end product is solid
well even while I was instructor I know today it is – so the program is what it
is for a reason and it produces really good team guys that’s my opinion and
that’s what I’ve seen and that’s what I know is true but the outcomes great here
and there you know get some stragglers that get to the team and don’t perform
and they kind of look back and like what the fuck what buds why’d you let this
guy slip through but that’s small you know that happens sometimes we can’t
really we do our best to mitigate it but you can only do so much is there
anything you would like to see implemented in buds that you think will
prepare guys more for showing up to the team or prepare them more for like the
mindset they make a better seal is there anything you would like to see
implemented in the bud program as an instructor that would make a better team
guy and end result yeah I would say for the leadership let the the instructors
do their job which will produce a better result as for a student because you give
them restrictions they’re not going to build an enforce the standards which
then trickles down to they’re not going to have the right mindset going forward
they’re not they’re not doing well with the teamwork you know that meant
team mentality etc mental toughness so when your hands are tied
from the top that’s going to trickle down into the class because that you’re
the class is a direct reflection of the instructing staff mm-hmm and how much
they uphold the standards and all the the physical aspect and everything else
so what I do like at the very what I was there at the very end they did implement
the mentors I think they need to hammer that a little bit home more they
assigned instructors they split the class up into squads and they assign an
instructor to squad as like a mentor oh really so they kind of hammer down go
full force on that that way you build relationships with these guys and I got
to do it one time because they start it was a fairly new thing but those guys
that I mentored were later on in my platoon working for me oh sure so I
thought it was a really cool tool you really get to like get in the mindset
they could ask you questions and you’re actually out there teaching them kind of
the fundamentals of being a seal and building out relationship you know it
paid dividends which I saw throughout the rest of the phases because like you
said you know you’re gonna be working with majority of these guys yeah most
instructors that they leave buds and go on to the team or something gonna be
working with these guys so you need to have and and you get to understand where
they’re at to mentally you know are they in the right mindset do they have the
right characteristics you know whether we that’s how we get to know these
people you know some psych exam they took before is not like a good very good
marker whether they’re gonna be a good team guy or not they’re still trying to
figure out how to find the best candidates today yeah I still can’t and
I don’t think there ever will but being more intimately involved and like
knowing the guys that’s gonna help getting to know actually who they are as
a person what’s inside their who they are then you understand like why they’re
here yeah that makes it or they come with you know what they used to do what
do they in do why do you want to be a seal you know what are you interested in
doing yeah and I think is a seal which I like
the seal community like we’re from everywhere you know so many different
backgrounds so many different professions yeah that’s what you come
together is for just one purpose that’s what I like this team’s a lot one of the
great aspects of it but they just hammer home on that a lot more now I think they
still are but just really focus on that post I wake and the first phase I mean
that’s you know that’s actually very refreshing to hear that you’re you as an
instructor as a combat that are comfortable with the product that’s
coming out of the training center and showing up to the teams I mean that’s
like that’s I mean shit that’s all you can ask for you know there’s a solid
individual coming out of that pipeline ready to fucking and go to work
yeah 99% of them are freakin solid it’s the one percenters that mess up and then
they make everybody look bad and that’s just how it’s always been it’s how it’s
always will be yeah as soon as someone messes up then
everybody looks bad then they start spotlights like what kind of product
you’ve given us when one turd shows up into the team not performing when the 15
other team new guys are that showed up we’re doing solid and all sudden we’re
producing bad people yeah it’s just a numbers game and probability at that
point but like I said we going back again we always so quick to talk about
the negative or bring that about you know advice you know hey let’s
handle it internally so that’s going back again that’s what I’ve learned as
an instructor like just take a bigger picture like let’s get to know these
dudes and I’ll leave you a lot of problems in the future a lot of issues
when they get to the team I don’t leave liberty etc like their personal time get
in trouble with the law etc like all these little things probably could have
gotten caught going through the program knowing where this guy is what he’s been
doing maybe has all these fucking red flags throughout buds like drinking etc
which there has been mmm so that could have been found a lot
earlier for the show to the team causing a scene yeah
so I’m still moving along you finish up your time at Budds and then you go back
to the teams what team did you go back to for again it went back to four and
where were you going this time this time I got assigned a three troop so I knew
it was SOUTHCOM at the time it was one troop was going to Africa – as you come
and three tree with SOUTHCOM so it’s fourth team falling back to its roots
SOUTHCOM was this AO because all CENTCOM kind of died off East Coast teams are
not going there at all the most kinetic place was Africa and even that wasn’t
nearly as kinetic as Afghanistan when I went there so I end up going to Colombia
did my LP Oh tour and what’s this outcome how was that deployment I liked
Alice it was a really good deployment I enjoyed it it was very very different
than the first two I experienced I mean it was a little night and day difference
yeah working with the embassy other you know host nation partner forces a lot of
FID those you know no foreign internal defense we’re just training the local
Special Forces a lot that was the main kind of main gig there we’re looking
working with a lot of interagency there was DEA mmm CIA there so we worked
alongside of them we help train their forces so a lot of joint the joint
advise and assist ops what kind of ops where they encountered
route or not counter drive count all of them were counter narcotic and local
within like their city they utilize their military Special Forces to do
basically police work okay in the city so it’s a little different dynamic than
what investigation – I’ve work or under work or as DA’s I would go in and I’ll
have a target and like hey we’re gonna go and arrest this guy okay so they’re
hidden houses they’re hidden houses yeah yeah with them yeah we’re part
a block over in the street okay your command and control your yeah we did a
advising and assisting them we’re not up there on the train or anything we’re
just sitting in our up armored Vic a block over doing overwatch okay make
sure everything goes smooth are you proud of these guys you get attached to
them towards the end I did yeah we helped also help develop their whole
selection process as well for their special forces unit so I myself being
like the lead lead guy down there in that part of Colombia had a lot invested
in this and I was proud of the the product cuz we helped stand up their
course which produce their quote unquote operators yeah so and I was pretty
pleased on how motivated and effective it was and how much time and effort they
can they put into it they took it seriously so this is like a whole new
this is a completely different mission than what you’re used to being
overseeing foreign nationals operate in their own country and training them what
to do and how to do everything and it sounds like you really enjoyed that and
it was a nice change from yeah was Elise it was definitely an a complete 180 I
did a little bit of fid when I was in the Middle East just a little bit but
this one was that was kind of the main focus to give us access and placement in
that country regardless and that’s that’s what seals do I mean that’s what
we do majority of the job weren’t out war that’s what team guys do so we got
to have it as important part of the mission guys don’t like it but um it
needs to be done we did a lot of that but I enjoyed my time there I mean it
was being that a Oh was pretty comfortable Columbia so and that was
your last deployment I was my last one and how long after your last deployment
did you leave decide to separate out of the community so I finished that
deployment and then went to trade at the Training Command for two years
Oh I end up being I made chief and I being
the chief of Salle Special Operations during combat just another it’s just a
training division in the big umbrella of all the divisions just I just taught was
in charge of one of them and I did that for two years spent a lot of time in
Kentucky that’s where our training was out there so so mount for you civilian
types is basically urban warfare it’s moving as a team small unit tactics in
and out of urban environments downtown cities stuff like that mm-hmm heavily
focus on that leadership skills communication we did a lot of shooting
CQC yeah both quarters combat that was kind of the culmination of the work up
for guys the assaults block now whatever all the team guys look forward to is the
best blog I’ll get all the team guys want to do assaults you know I want to
do CQC oh no shoot on do DA’s so that’s what that block is but so I learned a
lot I learned to have a lot of you know things about being a seal and new skills
sharpen my skills learn a lot more leadership stuff just big kind of bigger
pictures kind of staff stuff being in that role being like a chief of a cell
you know but it was two years I mean for our generation that block of training
CQC hitting houses urban movement all that kind of stuff I mean that is the I
think without a doubt the single most important training block that we have
with what’s going on in the world today and I’d love to hear your take on I mean
you’ve been out you’ve done it three times now you were a buds instructor now
your teaching and your sin you’re seeing the final product do what they want to
do and what they do best what does that look like from the outside kind of
looking in I mean are you like holy shit like these guys are fucking good
or we’ve got a lot of work to do I think it’s the majority are pretty solid but
again we need more time needs to be spent on it we don’t spend enough time
they they took away a week from the training the trainings three weeks long
sock was salt blocks is two weeks long so a total of five weeks total assault
block but more time is needed because that is like the meat of the skill set
yeah and if we’re focusing more of attention on diving or mobility or we’re
taken away if they people higher up see that may be more of a priority and
they’re gonna take away they took they’ve taken away time from an assault
block because they don’t see that it’s necessary we need to focus our efforts
may be on more their time were you impressed with the product coming out of
that the teams I had mix I had a mixed feelings sometimes no shit
yeah I think it was I could name the teams I’m not going to be named the
teams that I liked that really impressed me but I can the teams that were like
like they need more work they just need more time yeah they just didn’t do it
enough they didn’t know if what happens is that they just don’t do enough prep
work prior to the assault block on their own time okay so they don’t take it upon
themselves to go rent out the kill house to do runs with older guys teaching new
guys and just doing those reps before they get there to set themselves up for
success and it shows you know let’s move on towards transition and I mean there’s
all this preparation that goes into going to combat doing the job right
making sure you’re a team player all that stuff and when I was in there was
no preparation for guys that are leaving that kind of a job that kind of you know
the things that you see and the things that you do or zero preparation for it
and what do you think about that and how was
your separation were you nervous yeah I was nervous I knew about a year out that
was I was gonna make the decision so I I’ve already have stuck to what I felt
was right for me so I knew I was gonna get out but as far as like knowing what
to do are people helping me none I mean very limited other than I really had to
seek out and more finatus there’s people outside the community not inside yeah
because if I told the first time ever I told my leadership
I mean job out drop to the floor like what the hell are you doing you know
it’s more like and then afterwards I felt more like hey they’re like hey fuck
you like you leaving yeah so that stigma is still floating around there it’s just
kind of it what I’ve noticed is based on person person it’s not in general but
but about a year out I prepped try to line everything up myself get as much
information as I can at the time I was thinking I was like really going back
and forth what I wanted to do with my life after the teams and before we get
into that before we get into after you’re gone I heard you saying in
another podcast about you talked about going and seeing psychiatrists and Doc’s
on your way home from deployment we didn’t have that when I was in and even
if we did I don’t know that any of us would have opened up maybe it would have
helped us maybe it wouldn’t have do you what kind of questions were they asking
did they seem genuine were they there to help did you open up to them the ones
post every deployment I didn’t really feel they were genuine is more of a
check in the block okay because we after the Afghan deployments both of them we
stopped in a town to take a weekend break before it was in the States we
just took a weekend break and then we had him every morning we wake up me like
a certain type of doctor and it was more of a check in the block
for them like hey you feelin good check oh he’s alright get out of here
mm-hmm it wasn’t until like I was actually getting out now they have
programs set in place they were a concussion clinic yeah so they have like
these clinics set up for guys especially special operators that they really dive
deep and get full-body like what’s going on with you open it up they’ve you know
everything from head to toe they do and honestly it’s a really good program and
if they take it seriously now because in the past anything have two shits about
this stuff yeah it’s they don’t even think about it
nor pay attention to it so nowadays it’s more prevalent so they did I went
through that saw the psych a handful of times at first I was I don’t think I
ever really opened up I mean I talked a little bit the beginning the first
couple times I went no I didn’t at all I only went five times but the last three
times I talked a little bit I opened up some I progressively opened up a little
bit more but by the time I was already out you know I was always like front
sight focus on I wanted to get this done it was part of the transition to go
through this medical exam it was like a month-long yeah so I needed to get that
done before I got out but that being said I felt that did help me though
because part of that program to see all these different doctors and talk to them
it did help me and there was a whole other I do got to do a physical thing
for physical rehab plan got to see chiropractors massage therapy float tank
therapy should they really stepped it up yeah so that’s a whole nother month long
too so there are these programs to really kind of before you get out to
kind of just get your head right yeah I felt like it did for me and help it got
my head right a little bit can we back on level ground and kind of kept me
focused on my next move because before that I was like I thought I knew what I
was going to do but we’ll get to that but it’s like I’m really grateful that
they have that now you got out I know you tried out for a law
enforcement agency I’m not sure which one you didn’t make it and I want you to
tell us a little bit about who you were trying out with him why you think maybe
you didn’t make it so I applied for the FBI I would say damn near a year before
I got out me and a couple other guys did about I would say about the last 10
months I went through the entire not the entire cuz I didn’t make it but
three-quarters of the process and I thought this is it
this is what I want to do great job do good things sir my country still just at
a different capacity so I was really stoked about this I thought I was gonna
be the exception to the rule I’ve told you this about having issues
transitioning I thought was a big boom just transferred right over like get out
get right back into a federal job simple I try to time it just right so when
there’s no lag time whatsoever I went through all the process and it was after
the background check all the background stuff I got a letter saying no so I I it
had something to do with the background for me probably the polygraph don’t know
why they don’t tell me yeah they don’t tell you there is more I just took it
did all the background check paperwork everything and simply I didn’t know
until about a month after actually got out and moved to California actually why
I drove to California just to visit mmm no intentions on staying because I still
had the foresight if I made it like I’m good I’m gonna get this job cuz I
thought at that point cuz I crushed everything up to that point and I
thought my polygraphing background was pretty solid it was solid but then I got
a email saying nope okay it was a formal thing I came in with a set but it was
very vague was like hey you didn’t meet the requirements etc you know so it’s
always interesting to me because so many guys from Special Operations community
I mean there just aren’t there finished jobs that translate director I mean
there’s barely any to what our experiences and what we can offer and a
lot of guys seem to flock to the federal side of law enforcement or other
government agencies and you know state and local law enforcement agencies and
it seems like it’s the same story over and over these guys get out just like
yourself they apply for some type of law enforcement organization and then they
get the letter that says they’re not they don’t have what they’re looking for
yeah some bullshit which I find really odd you know you’re you’re a shooting
instructor now you teach tactics and you teach law enforcement don’t you find
that kind of odd that so many guys come out they apply to law enforcement
agencies the law enforcement agency tells them hey thanks but you’re not
good enough and then six months later they’re fucking calling you up wanting
you to come and train their top bucking tier guys at that agency to do their job
don’t you find that a little odd yeah it’s mind blowing actually yeah and I
didn’t really think about it so I trained my first group of law
enforcement but you’re right it’s like it’s unreal to me that they would pass
up such my mind solid individuals that would do good things for their community
yeah so I don’t know their agenda on that one but again yeah fast forward
today I train cops all the time yeah but yet
these even State Department say no actually after that after I got that
letter and I was like internally humiliated and shamed mmm cuz I was like
a huge blow to my ego I didn’t tell anybody and at first I was out my dad’s
and he was standing right there and I was like I didn’t want to tell him I
just and I was like well here we go no go on this and I was
like kind of like damn you know what because I didn’t have any plan at that
time you put all your eggs in one basket yeah we’re going to work for after the I
thought you’re a shoo-in only to find out according to them you’re not good
enough and I heard you on a podcast also I think it was right before that
happened maybe you they asked you about transition and your you were like oh
yeah it’s a fucking breeze and now you’ve got nothing no plan nothing going
on you’ve been denied I mean you’re living with your dad yeah it was
horrible in your fucking 13-year veteran Navy
SEAL that was embarrassed I mean I cuz I didn’t have anywhere to go
I moved out of my place in Virginia I left some things there but I brought the
majority of my you know I had some stuff here I just drove across country to
spend some time with him I was my intention and I got the letter say no go
then I was there my dad’s living there I was living my dad’s like an 31 years old
just did almost 13 years service seal had everything going for me and now I’m
like now what so as it’s pretty tough like mentally for me mm-hmm
so I was like scrambling how tough on a scale of 1 to 10 probably one of the
hardest things I probably 10/10 way up there as far as mentally yeah but just
like ego just because I thought I had my shit together yeah I like to think I
still do but at the time I was like damn like I’m I never would have thought in a
million years I’d be like a 31 living in my dad’s yeah I didn’t live there very
long but I had to live there because I know where to go
yeah and I had no job so and I had no idea what the hell I was gonna do so I
was living off savings I money but I was living off my savings
just from working some I doubt I was in the service but again me being Who I am
I was stressing yeah and again I applied for another local law enforcement I
don’t know why I did that what I did because I was like what’s the quickest
thing I could do here applied for the Orange County Sheriff’s didn’t I didn’t
go through the process I just didn’t even show up I got invited to do an
interview and all that I just didn’t even show up like fuck that I just in my
gut I did gut feeling just wasn’t for me so I just didn’t go
but now I am now but that that little I would say two-month window from April
May and a March April into May was tough because that’s when I was stay with my
dad yeah and I didn’t have my shit I don’t even know what the hell I was in
you so what did that lead to that led to fast forward in my business now but one
reason being is I was just there you know one day it was like hey my dad had
some friends there were some gun gun owners he’s doing forever one’s a
firefighter Dylan just works alongside him and they wanted to go shoot they
knew I was in town I’d know him too but so the arts go take me to your range
went out there with him had a blast shot all their guns and I end up just
teaching him just a couple things here and there like how’d it hold it properly
because they were all asked up just the basics so we had fun I think literally
that night I came back because before this I interviewed a couple jobs what
other jobs in an interview with I interviewed for another instructor job
no I worked a security job for like a week and I fucking quit that and this
other instructor job for firearms training that was another that end of
the day I just didn’t like it mhm and after that range day I went with my
friend my dad his friends I was like I could do this I kind of
like I don’t know I just had like this epiphany like slapped my face like I
always love to enjoy shooting I mean know if you ask me a team guy who
doesn’t fucking enjoy shooting because that’s what we do you know we shoot all
the damn time but I really enjoy it you know it’s a really good stress reliever
for me but and also like being a buzz instructor that being a teacher to
mentor I that gourami – I like teaching people do things and watch them grow and
a better person etc new skill set so that on top of that experience it kind
of like hey I could do that I wouldn’t make a business of this you know I can
do this on my own I don’t need to go work for someone else who’s already
doing it my time and effort into that or some other company I could focus my
hundred percent of my attention energy onto something of my own which I felt
way more comfortable about yeah I just wait I don’t know I just because I also
wanted that freedom to that’s part of right what are the reason I got out to
Friedman oeuvre you know building to do what I want set my own schedule just
have a regular life I have a family have a family yeah a good relationship so
working for someone else for eight to ten hours a day in an office or wherever
or standing doing security I was like no yeah yeah it was no way I tried it yeah
I tried it for one of those jobs for a week and I said I’m out because I just
it was actually a pretty good job but as at the end of the day I was like hell no
I couldn’t do it so the business idea dawned on me and I just went full force
into it 100% that night literally just me my dad brainstorm because he he
started his own business too and he has a successful one so he on top of that
meant again that’s worded today now he’s sitting there mentor me on business –
yeah so it was kind of cool kind of funny to see how all the things worked
out like that but then I’ve ended this company coming to have now so I’ve been
full force with this so Kennedy defensive shooting is born
and it’s a brand-new company just a baby right now
I mean I think that’s what pulls a lot of guys out of the the darkest part of
the transition which a lot of times and you know leads to suicide addiction all
that kind of stuff did actually before did you deal with any of that
before living the last year like when I was that trade it part of the reason why
I got out because I mean I was single no intention I was like hunter percent
focus on work and every time I was out drinking all the time when I was home
even on trips I would be out fucking drinking every weekend I just saw where
I was going while I was still only like the last year and a half or so in my
personal life I didn’t want that to continue so I knew I didn’t just
separate myself because I was all I cared about was work and then when I
didn’t work I just was home partied all the time I drank I didn’t yeah
rarely occasionally I wasn’t like a fighter but I would just go out and
booze all the time you know and then just fucking wake up with hangovers
every fucking day three or four days a week and I was like the fuck am i doing
yeah no knocking anywhere just just repetitive and then rinse repeat rinse
repeat rinse repeat every trip yeah and it just it took a toll too for sure and
I saw where I was going and where I would go to because if I stayed in I
would just probably continue to do that yeah
and just push kind of I had some friends by just relationships if I wanted a
family probably would have happened because I would just cared about work
because I was always so fucking nervous to like be gone yeah I always wanted to
be there and be that guy like I would let everyone else go
I won’t even come home for like holidays cuz I was like I didn’t want to leave
holy shit that was like I just want to stay so do you think that your business
kind of jury out of that cycle it did it gave me
say they give me a purpose because once I got that that bug you know Donna me I
was like all in front sight focus on it pulled me out of that rut you know I was
still at the time still living my dad you know but I was like all right run it
got the name started doing all the backend stuff stablish the website and
just kind of just building somewhat of a business foundation so I actually get
out there and get clients it’s a new addiction
yeah it doesn’t being a new addiction for me and now it is still addiction you
know but I mean a lot of guys sorry go ahead it did bring me out of that hole
like you said yeah that’s before that I was literally just sitting there my
dad’s house like totally my my fucking thumbs like no purpose no no reason even
be there just like I’m just sitting here cuz I’m a bum yeah it’s it’s almost you
know I see a cycle and this is my own theory it could be just a bunch of shit
but you know what I see what draws a lot of guys out of that downward spiral
which a lot of times doesn’t end well you know you get the addiction to
adrenaline being a seal you can’t like just like we talked about
you had over a hundred and eighty fucking engagements you know in less
than a year and you become addicted to that and then that addiction a lot of
times I believe gets replaced with drug addiction and alcohol which are also
coping mechanisms and then just from my own personal experience and watching
guys like you and other close friends of mine the business becomes the new
addiction which pulls you out of the the drugs and alcohol a lot of in or
adrenaline and I mean and you’re fucking crushing it now you’re already trained
in Huntington Beach SWAT team which is incredible yeah that was a certain that
was kind of a surreal experience for me the city I grew up in now I’m training
their SWAT team so and those things season season
officers to not young all them probably had six seven years on me
yeah what do you what would you say your most challenging thing is in business
right now it’s client acquisition yeah getting new clients and just in content
creation just constantly just and growing developing new ideas for growth
and I always I don’t want to be stagnant I don’t want my sole purpose is to do in
my business just to do private lessons yeah I want to be a little bit I want to
be bigger than that and it can be I just you have any idea what you’d like it to
grow into I’d like to grow into more we’re in the works of developing some
courses to expand outside of just privates possibly doing group classes
ten to fifteen people I had multi day courses which I’m developing now with
one of my close friends of mine and then work more with law enforcement to I’d
like to work with a lot more law enforcement maybe a little bit more
heavy on law enforcement little less on the civilian I got more fulfillment out
of training the HP SWAT than I did you know not it’s just those in my mind
people like that they need to learn the skills mm-hmm that I had to offer
because they don’t get it enough you know hands down any Department SWAT or
not like they don’t get to beyond the gun enough your other SWAT are you not
or not but that’s in my that’s true you know like I trained cops on their own
dime they you know they come to see me and pay a private lesson from with me
not they’re not getting the department paying for it they’re paying for out of
pocket so focusing more on maybe I could work with more departments and work with
them yeah I mean that’s definitely understandable because turning and a law
enforcement guy I mean he might I mean shit he might put what you just taught
them into or at least has a higher chance of putting what you just taught
them into a real-world situation like within a couple hours exactly and and
I’m sure a lot of them probably do but Walter Otis I know you got a flight to
catch is there anything else you would like to
cover before we wrap this thing up I think we touched it all again thank you
and for your mentorship and I test your mentorship and advice to the majority of
my success of my business in the beginning and even to this day rather
seriously so thank you oh you’re welcome thank you for coming and I don’t think
after the experience you just shared with us I don’t think you’re gonna have
any fuckin problem filling an open enrollment course or finding private
lessons or trying in law enforcement in any part of the country so guys check
Travis out on Instagram what’s your handle you find me at Travis Kennedy 267
or Kennedy defensive shooting as well and we’re starting a YouTube channel up
as well yeah YouTube channels like Kennedy defensive shooting Facebook and
then website as well as Kennedy defensive shooting comm for all the
information well I’ll be sending everybody I know over there so I just
want to wish you the best of luck and I want to thank you for coming out and I
know some of that stuff that you shared is not fuckin easy to do and I just want
you to know that me and the audience really appreciates it and thank you for
your service thank you brother appreciate you inviting this it’s been a
true pleasure meeting you Jared

100 comments on “Shawn Ryan Show #002 Former Navy SEAL/BUDS Instructor Travis Kennedy

  1. Timothy Smith Post author

    Good luck with your new business Mr. Kennedy !! Great interview Shawn , keep up the great work .

  2. Just Felix Post author

    If someone who dislikes this reads this , I'd like to know what made you hit the thumbs down? Honest question , I'm drawing a blank trying to figure out why .

  3. Joe Smith Post author

    I'm sitting here in my office with a shit ton of work to do but I couldn't shut this off. I could listen to every single word any operator has to say. It's not often that you hear from the tip of the spear.

  4. Bluewater _ Post author

    This is just pure content. Three hours and didn't lose interest or focus once. The call in's on the show, great idea. That moment between father and son was fantastic. Immediately thought of all the fathers and sons who no longer have the option to tell each other how proud and thankful they are of each other. Such a shame that YouTubes algorithms are prone to promoting junk on the trending instead of great work like this.

  5. javan alibabaie Post author

    Another great video, thanks for all the work you put in. Not sure if it was just me but it was hard to hear Travis with my computer volume on max

  6. M J Post author

    God bless you guys and those who gave service to our country and especially those who paid the ultimate price so we can enjoy our freedom ! You make the world a safer place and im proud to call this great country home!

  7. jawjww Post author

    I respect all the guys that serve so the rest of us can be lazy, safe fat asses. Thanks to all servicemen!!!!! Your stories are fascinating

  8. christo stefan Post author

    Citizens shouldn't just sit down, shut the fuck up and enjoy the freedom you gave to them. Our citizen government is the greatest attribute our country has given the world. We wouldn't have our president without it. It's an ugly fucking process to be sure. But being able to participate in the discussion is exactly why my family came here from communist Europe. Mr Kennedy is right it's your job to educate yourself. Part of that realization is remembering Vietnam and the recent admissions we were misled into wars. No way I'm going fall in and click my heels Without trusting you. Without people here calling bullshit we'll be looking back saying "we didn't know". When we damn well fucking did. Anyways, great video you guys. Bless you and keep up the great work you do.

  9. Mike McDonald Post author

    audio on the video changes some is loud some low and quiet and im having to turn up volume to hear them talk. then an ad plays and its blaring.

  10. DV8 *** Post author

    Vigilance Elite
    8:08 Enjoying the freedom that you give them? How about the freedom that the Constitution gives them. The freedom that gives them the right to free speech. The freedom that gives them the right to engage in the body politic. Who the fuck are you to tell people to stfu and enjoy what they have thanks to you. Sorry your subjects don't cut the muster there Kim Jong-Un.

  11. erics vision Post author

    Just left a comment over on iTunes. Glad you’ve got it over there. Easier to take with me than trying to hear it all on YouTube

  12. taylorad1986 Post author

    Guess we know why the FBI and LE agencies have the issues that they do today. That’s ridiculous and makes zero sense

  13. 89 Alpha Post author

    Those clear cut emotions when Dad got on the line. Runs deep. Wish I had that kinda support growing up. Fuckn beautiful thing

  14. Colt Griffith Post author

    Shawn I thank you deeply for everything you do and continue to do my brother keep up the amazing work

  15. Ron Zabawa Post author

    Great pod cast great format and interseting and insightful questions and his responses are raw and honest1

  16. Paul Hastings Post author

    Great content we didn't tell every by to buy one your flannel shirts. I have allowed respect for you seals . I know when I got discharged I just got walked ses bag in the walk out the gate
    Didn't have The avantages things did you guys are, No place to wind down turn up being a drug addict and up alcoholic Quit smoking quit drinkin quit drug and not feel better now, I just have questions about some the medication from the VA
    I'm doing the best I can with what I got

  17. Michael Vinson Post author

    Utmost respect for both these men. Thank you. Men like this are the reason we can sleep in peace at night.

  18. Kenneth Rich Post author

    3 Hrs of Incredibly great content. Travis is another example of why America is great. Thank you sir.

  19. Jacob Toles Post author

    This is so good. You're nailing these podcasts. Youre asking all the things I want to know as a Civ. It's so damn interesting. Keep it up man

  20. Iornman Nate Post author

    Great pod cast like the way you break it down. Can you get Drago would be interesting to hear you break his story down.

  21. Super Trooper Post author

    I couldn’t hit like fast enough…I admire you both and all your SOF brothers. I’ve been a cop for 22 years and an 11b before that. You are my heroes. God bless you guys. Be safe.

  22. Boom Shakalaka Post author

    What is an enabler? Is that a SEAL job or CIA operative or what? Heard him talking a lot about going on missions with enablers.

  23. Larry Love Post author

    I might have the reason why they won't hire Ex Vets to become Law enforcement when get out out of the military is because Soldiers are true solid individuals and Law enforcement are corrupt people who were bullied in school and they don't want them Vets coming in and messing that up for them! (This is just my opinion) Also not to mention they don't want these soldiers coming in there showing them up. I use to have such a High Respect for law enforcement but after having to deal with some of the bull shit they put me throught. You find out quickly their agenda (Nothing but a Racket "Money"). So I would say your lucky they passed up on you Travis, now you can Charge the shit out of them by taking their money, to show them how to operate a weapon cause lord knows 90% of them suck at operating their tools lol Great interview Shawn cannot wait until you put out the next one.

  24. T O Post author

    And please bump up the sound a bit. I've got the volume pegged and I'm having a hard time hearing you guys. Thanks!

  25. Larry Love Post author

    Whatever Law enforcement agency Did Not Hire this Man Travis Should Be Ashamed of Yourselves and Losted out on A Teammate. Go Fuck Yourselves 💯

  26. Hunter White Post author

    We, as a nation, need to figure out how to improve the transition for these men and women. It shouldn't be as tough as it is on them.

  27. sean peterson Post author

    Anyone who gives this a thumbs down has more sand in their vagina than Demi More did while filming GI Jane

  28. Dances Reluctantly Post author

    You were too good for the FBI….probably actually care about doing the right thing…too much integrity.

  29. figsy n Post author

    Give me a fucking break! You guys have an itch you don’t mind scratching, as long as you get your nut off. Has nothing to do what makes best sense for our country

  30. THE OPERATOR 101 Post author

    I must say that this interview was very powerful and helpful for me in working things out in my life at this present time, thank you very much and thank for your service guys and God bless you guys always 🇺🇸 ✝️ 👍

  31. Alejandro Gonzalez Post author

    This is why sas is better ya navy seals talk way to much ya think ya super badasses but ya don't fool me and this is no diss to all seals cause I have family their but they no how to keep their mouths shut 💯

  32. jossuification Post author

    thanks for the great podcasts! Tho i feel sad for the guy who does the lighting for the show because you dumbasses use baseball caps inside lol

  33. Bring Back Datsun Post author

    Typical welfare whores claiming that they "give" me my freedom…LoL!

    If that's the case then why isn't The Federal Reserve on fire?

    Why aren't the Clintons, Bushes, Soros, Obamas, and their ilk in a 6×6 cell awaiting trial? Why aren't members of the Bilderberg Club, Club of Rome, Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, U.N. etc. in handcuffs?

    You're nothing but PUPPETS of the World Elite and their One World Government Agenda!

    This coming from an HM3 2 Mar. Div. Veteran…

  34. Boom outdoors Post author

    Wow that was an awesome interview! I have been watching your channel from the beginning from what the hell I give this YouTube a try to this top professional inspirational real deal channel . I’m looking forward to more

  35. Ben R Post author

    I almost thought the phone call to dad was tacky for a second but you did that perfectly, really sent the narrative about his character and attitude toward training home.

  36. Kyro Post author

    This was amazing thank you both. Love what your doing here Shawn keep it up brother! Thank you Travis for coming on and sharing your past and wish all the best for your future.

  37. German Redneck Post author

    You said at the beginning of your video please leave one comment on what we think about your podcast and everything. I can’t leave one word but I can Say two words”Thank you”

  38. Jason T. Post author

    Travis looks really young…although kids can be the most effective weapons. Nice video, great to listen to at work!

  39. Luiz Uribe Post author

    Politics. Apply for the FBI fully qualified. FBI calls your previous chain of command. Previous chain of command is salty because you separated and don't give you the recommendation. Is that possible?

  40. Greg Hausmann Post author

    “ maybe those people should just shut the fuck up and enjoy what they have.” My sentiments exactly.

  41. Ryan Painter Post author

    "there wasn't a lot going on between Vietnam and 9/11"… …yep, Desert Storm and Desert Shield really are the most forgotten conflicts.


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