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Ep. 117 – Special Guest: Renee Nickell (Gold Star Sibling)

May 21st, 2019|

Our Special Guest this week is Renee Nickell. Renee became a Gold Star Sibling when she lost her brother, Marine Major Samuel Griffith in combat on December 14, 2011 in Afghanistan. Renee was very close to Sam; in her eyes, he was her hero. Losing him was devastating. Six years after his death, she decided to honor and remember Sam by writing a memoir about him, with the hope that it would help

Ep. 116 – COL (Ret) Lee Van Arsdale (Delta Force)

May 14th, 2019|

This week, another legend in the Special Ops community joins us, as retired Colonel Lee Van Arsdale takes us through two pivotal operations for the storied 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, more commonly known as Delta Force. Van Arsdale joined Delta Force in 1985, and spent 14 years leading some of the most elite soldiers history has ever seen. As a Major, he lead the Delta assault troop that captured Manual

Ep. 115 – LTG (Ret) Michael Ferriter (Army Ranger)

May 7th, 2019|

There are many general officers in the U.S. military, but there are few who truly leave their mark on the organization after they have finished serving in its ranks. LTG (Ret) Michael Ferriter is one of those few. His commitment to not only serving his country, during multiple times of conflict, as a Ranger and beyond, along with his steadfast leadership have made the military a healthier and more lethal fighting force. LTG

Ep. 114 – Scot Spooner (Green Beret/Delta Force)

April 30th, 2019|

Scot Spooner is a modern-day warrior. He joined the Army at a young age, earned his Green Beret, and eventually earned a spot in the Army’s elite Delta Force. He’s trained for war, instructed others in its finer and deadlier points; fought in combat and survived when others around him were less fortunate, and returned home, seemingly unscathed. But, ultimately, injuries deeper than skin surface came to light. So Scot, in the truest

Ep. 113 – Eric Stebner (Ranger – Battle of Takur Ghar)

April 23rd, 2019|

This week we return to Afghanistan, 2002, and the Battle of Takur Ghar. Retired Army Master Sergeant and Ranger, Eric Stebner tells it from the perspective of leading Chalk 2 of his Quick Reaction Force up an over 10,000-foot mountain, under enemy mortar fire, to link up with his Platoon Leader’s chalk, which was already engaged with the enemy on top of the mountain. Stebner recounts the effort to climb 2000 feet, at

Ep. 112 – Kevin Lacz (Navy SEAL)

April 16th, 2019|

Shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Kevin Lacz left college to join the Navy with orders for SEAL training. He would go on to graduate with BUD/s Class 246, and eventually land with SEAL Team Three. By 2006, he was fighting in Ramadi, Iraq, working primarily as a sniper and medic. In 2008 he returned to Iraq, working again as a sniper, medic, and also breacher – SEAL certifications that made

Ep. 111 – Annie Kleiman (CST & Tillman Scholar)

April 9th, 2019|

She initially wanted to be an astronaut, jumping headfirst into the Civil Air Patrol program at a young age. But Annie Kleiman would end up taking a completely different path – one very unconventional within the ranks of the Air Force. She would ultimately try out for and be selected to deploy as part of a Cultural Support Team (CST) in 2012 in Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment, as an Air Force

Ep. 110 – Joe Quinn (Army – Headstrong Exec. Dir.)

April 2nd, 2019|

An absolutely powerful episode this week with the Executive Director of The Headstrong Project, Joe Quinn, on the heels of launching a new chapter in Atlanta. Joe was in his senior at West Point when his brother died in the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Joe believed he was in the best spot to enact revenge on the perpetrators of the attacks, and maybe have a chance

Ep. 109 – Duane France (Army – Vet Mental Health Counselor)

March 26th, 2019|

Following in the footsteps of immediate family, Duane France joined the Army prior to September 11, 2001. When the World Trade Center towers fell, France was stationed in Germany, away from the immediacy of GWOT planning, but ready to serve, wherever, and whenever. It would be a few years before he’d be “in the fight,” but as with most people who served post-9/11, his time would come, with deployments to both Iraq and

Ep. 108 – Adam Mattis (Army – OIF)

March 19th, 2019|

He’s now living his life not just for himself, but for those he served with on the battlefield who never made it home. One of those soldiers, in particular, died in an instant right next to him. On December 8, 2005, Adam Mattis was seriously injured when his vehicle was struck by an IED containing several explosively formed projectiles (EFPs) near Sadr City in Baghdad. The attack occurred just 28 days before Adam’s

Ep. 107 – Rachel Washburn (Combat Veteran & NFL Cheerleader)

March 12th, 2019|

She went from performing in front of thousands of cheering fans in NFL stadiums, to executing one of the most vital missions in the Global War on Terror. Rachel Washburn was a Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader before commissioning as a 2nd lieutenant in the Army. Her first assignment in the Army was to a Cultural Support Team (CST) in Afghanistan – a groundbreaking concept where women were embedded with Special Operations units in order

Ep. 106 – Mike Frazier (From Coast Guard to 160th SOAR)

March 5th, 2019|

Mike Frazier has one of the most interesting military backgrounds of any of our guests. He served in Iraq in 2003 as part of a Coast Guard tactical law enforcement team, in support of combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following a short stint in the Coast Guard, Frazier enlisted in the Army to become a crew chief. He would eventually earn a billet in the elite and highly specialized 160th Special Operations

Ep. 105 – Rich Stayskal (Marine & Green Beret)

February 26th, 2019|

Imagine being shot through the chest by a sniper in Ramadi, Iraq in 2004, and surviving. Imagine completing a 4-year enlistment as an infantry Marine, surviving combat, and then going on to become one of the Army’s elite Green Berets. Now imagine finding out several years after surviving the sniper’s round, that you have terminal lung cancer that was misdiagnosed by the military, and there’s virtually nothing you can do about it. That’s

Ep. 104 – Philip Caputo (Author, Vietnam)

February 19th, 2019|

Author, journalist, and Marine Officer Philip Caputo served 16 months in Vietnam, landing in 1965 with the first ground combat unit deployed there. Caputo spent much of his time in Vietnam commanding an infantry platoon in fierce combat operations synonymous with the war. A few years later he would leave the Marine Corps and begin writing about his experiences in Vietnam. His memoir on the subject, “A Rumor of War” is a classic,

Ep. 103 – Randy Couture (MMA Champion)

February 12th, 2019|

Our guest this week is one we like to call a special veteran guest. It isn’t necessarily a story of combat and survival in the traditional sense. But it is the story of a man who served his country in the Army, during the Cold War, and then went on to inspire millions through his career as a wrestler, and then as an Ultimate Fighting Champion and mixed martial artist. He is a

Ep. 102 – Marissa Strock (Army MP)

February 5th, 2019|

Marissa Strock joined the Army seeking a sense of direction in life. She knew the military and going to war would present challenges, but what she experienced on Thanksgiving Day 2005, was furthest from her mind when she signed on the dotted line with her recruiter a relatively short period before. On that day in 2005, Marissa, an MP, was the gunner in a Humvee as part of a convoy that was hit

Ep. 101 – Jeremy Tindell (Ranger)

January 29th, 2019|

Circumstances beyond his control brought him to the 75th Ranger Regiment. But once he made it in and earned the coveted scroll and beret, retired Sergeant First Class Jeremy Tindell found a home. So much so that he stayed in the Regiment after suffering a severe back injury in a training accident. Tindell retired from the Army after 13 combat deployments. And has now found a new passion as an active member of

Ep. 100 – Michael Rodriguez (Green Beret, GWOT Memorial Foundation)

January 22nd, 2019|

As we mark our 2-year anniversary, it is an honor and treasure to have retired Sergeant First Class and Green Beret, Michael Rodriguez on the show for our 100th episode! Rodriguez, his wife, and son are all combat veterans. Between the three of them they have 16 deployments, with Michael serving 9 of those in combat. He was medically retired after 21 years of service, and continues to serve to this day as

Ep. 99 – Stacy Pearsall (Combat Photographer)

January 15th, 2019|

Her job as a combat photographer was to chronicle war, combat, human strife, and disaster relief efforts among other significant moments in history. But over time it became a much, much more weighty task. One that she was passionate about executing, but one that would ultimately take a heavy toll on her body and mind. Stacy Pearsall is one of the most decorated combat photographers in the U.S. military’s history.

Ep. 98 – Special Guests: Max Martini & Michael Hagerty (“Sgt. Will Gardner”)

January 8th, 2019|

We are extremely excited to have two very special guests on the show this week! On the heels of the premier of their new movie, “Sgt. Will Gardner” which hits select theaters, On Demand & Digital outlets January 11, 2019, actors Max Martini and Michael Hagerty join us to talk about the film, the importance of helping veterans when they come home from war, and war’s effect on the human

Ep. 97 – Gen (Ret) Merrill McPeak (Fighter Pilot, Vietnam)

January 1st, 2019|

He had no intention of making the Air Force a career when he entered the service as a graduate of the San Diego State College ROTC program in 1957. But, Merrill “Tony” McPeak would go on to become the 14th Chief of Staff of the Air Force and retire as a 4-star general, closing out a career that included flying 269 combat missions in Vietnam and flying with the Air

Ep. 96 – Stuart “Stu” Steinberg (EOD, Vietnam)

December 17th, 2018|

Stuart “Stu”Steinberg has lived an adventurous life to say the least. Enlisting in the Army during the Vietnam War, he would eventually serve as an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) specialist from 1967-1971. During his 18 months in Vietnam, he would have one of the most dangerous jobs in the services, and his experience there would eventually paint the picture his recently published book, This is What Hell Looks Like

Ep. 95 – Col Kim Campbell (Fighter Pilot)

December 11th, 2018|

Col KimCampbell’s story is one of perseverance, and living proof that shutting down the urge to quit or give up, will ultimately lead to what others told you wasn’t possible. At a young age she set her sights on attending the U.S. Air Force Academy to ultimately put herself on a path to become an astronaut.Several “No’s” and a few roadblocks later, Kim Campbell earned her way to becoming an

Ep. 94 – Dave Burton (Marine Grunt)

December 3rd, 2018|

Feeling an obligation to serve his country and fight for those lost, especially the first responders, after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Dave Burton went into a Marine Corps recruiting office on 9/12. To his surprise, there wasn’t another person in line to sign up. He wasn’t dissuaded though, and he enlisted that day. He left for boot camp at the age of 25. Following boot camp and the School of Infantry, Burton

Ep. 93 – Anthony Swofford (Writer, “Jarhead”)

November 27th, 2018|

Anthony Swofford joined the Marine Corps in 1988, setting in motion a series of events that would put him on the front lines of the liberation of Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Storm, and eventually help launch his career as a writer and producer. He’s probably best known for writing the book, “Jarhead” – a very honest memoir of a Marine’s life on and off the battlefield. The book would eventually be

Ep. 92 – Todd Nicely (Marine)

November 20th, 2018|

In a matter of seconds Marine Cpl. Todd Nicely’s life was changed forever. After the blast and while he was flying through the air, he knew “they” had finally got him. On March 26, 2010, while leading his patrol back to base camp in Afghanistan, Cpl. Nicely stepped on a pressure plate mine. The blast almost instantly took all four of his limbs, forever changing how he would live his life, if he

Ep. 91 – Jim Reese (1st SFOD-D)

November 12th, 2018|

Jim Reese spent a good part of his military career in 1st SFOD-Delta, and has been called “one of the finest special operators in the modern military” by the Commander of Coalition Forces of Iraq and Afghanistan. He played a pivotal role in the first stages of the Global War on Terror, right after September 11, 2001. His initial role was to bridge the gap between the Department of Defense and the CIA

Ep. 90 – Mark Otto (Panama, Desert Storm)

November 5th, 2018|

In this special Veterans Day edition of HAZARD GROUND, Mark talks with United War Veterans Council (UWVC) Executive Director, producer of the NYC Veterans Day Parade, and Marine veteran of the Panama Invasion and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Mark Otto. Otto only spent four years in the Marine Corps, but he packed a lot into those four years, playing a key role in two large military operations, among other special work. Following his

Ep. 89 – Carolyn Furdek (Author, Motivational Speaker)

October 30th, 2018|

Sometimes it’s the invisible wounds from war that are the most difficult to diagnose and treat. The indicators are subtle, if ever apparent. There’s more mystery than science, and the wounded are left with the burden of proof and most often hopeless for a cure. That’s exactly what happened to Carolyn Furdek. A former NCAA Division 1 swimmer, graduate of West Point, four-time Ironman athlete, and a seasoned combat veteran and leader with

Ep. 88 – Zachary Iscol (Marine, Task & Purpose CEO)

October 23rd, 2018|

Following in the footsteps of family members who had served before him, Zach Iscol earned his commission after graduating from Cornell University in 2001. He actually passed up a flight contract and joined the infantry so he could get to combat sooner, fearing he might miss the war while working his way through a lengthy flight school. In 2004, he eagerly volunteered to re-deploy to Iraq and fight in Fallujah shortly after

Ep. 87 – Joshua Mantz (U.S. Army, Asymmetric Mind)

October 16th, 2018|

What an absolutely insane story we have for you this week! On April 21st, 2007, Joshua Mantz was shot and killed by a sniper in Iraq. The exceptionally large bullet that killed Josh initially passed through a senior NCO standing next to him, and then severed Josh’s femoral artery. After losing a significant amount of blood, Josh was dead for a full 15 minutes before a military trauma team resuscitated him, bringing him

Ep. 86 – Steven Kiernan (Marine, Writer)

October 9th, 2018|

Steve Kiernan joined the Marine Corps when he was 17. He attended his high school graduation as a Marine fresh out of boot camp. The discipline and drive that the Marine Corps instilled in Steve are what ultimately got him through some of his darkest days – the by-product of becoming a Marine and heading off to war. Just a few weeks into his first tour in Iraq in 2008, Steve was walking

Ep. 85 – Paul Szoldra (Marine, “Duffel Blog”)

October 2nd, 2018|

Despite the darkness of combat, there always seems to be moments of levity that surface from time to time. Paul Szoldra, whether he believes it or not, is a master at finding those moments. Whether it was Marine boot camp, or the unforgiving landscape of Afghanistan, Szoldra found humor to get him through the boredom, frustration, and nervous anticipation of combat. A near miss from an IED blast that most certainly would

Ep. 84 – John Jones (Marine, Workshops For Warriors)

September 25th, 2018|

Retired Marine Staff Sgt. John Jones loved being a Marine. So much so that after the vehicle he was riding in was blown up by an IED in Iraq on January 3, 2005, one of his primary concerns was if he would be able to continue to serve in the Marine Corps. A twist of fate had put him in the target vehicle: he had made a last minute decision

Retired Marine Staff Sgt. John Jones loved being a Marine. So much so that after the vehicle he was riding in was blown up by an IED in Iraq on January 3, 2005, one of his primary concerns was if he would be able to continue to serve in the Marine Corps. A twist of fate had put him in the target vehicle: he had made a last minute decision

Ep. 83 – Scott Huesing Returns! (Marine, “Echo in Ramadi”)

September 18th, 2018|

This week…Marine and bestselling author of “Echo in Ramadi,” Scott Huesing returns! Scott was first on the show before “Echo in Ramadi” was released (Ep. 50), and now he returns to pick up where he left off. This episode focuses on the human condition and the idea of human connection through war and the bonds of the military. It’s really what the book “Echo in Ramadi” is all about – the immeasurable strength

Ep. 82 – Fight Oar Die (Alex Evans & Dr. Jacob Hyde)

September 11th, 2018|

What lengths would you go to, to change the world…to inspire others to change the world? Alex Evans, along with three other military veterans, is rowing a boat across the Atlantic Ocean to do just that. He’s part of the 1st all-American Military veteran team – aptly titled “Fight Oar Die” – that will race across the Atlantic Ocean in December 2018, in the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge – a race that has

Ep. 81 – Joe Getherall (Marine, Vietnam)

September 4th, 2018|

It’s hard to put into words the magnitude of Joe Getherall’s service to country from the time he enlisted in the Marine Corps to his retirement as a detective with the Los Angeles Police Department.  One thing is certain though, he embodies the qualities that every great leader should and needs to possess: selfless service, humility, mental-toughness, and courage under fire. He displayed those attributes during his three tours in Vietnam. Known as

Ep. 80 – Matthew Betley (Marine, Author)

August 28th, 2018|

Don’t ever say that a little anger can’t be turned around for good. Matthew Betley is living proof that a whole lotta disdain for something, if re-directed in the right way, can lead to something pretty amazing. He took his anger, specifically for a highly-recommended international spy thriller he decided to start reading on vacation, but just couldn’t finish because it was so poorly written, and turned it into an action-thriller book series

Ep. 79 – Alex Juedes (Marine)

August 21st, 2018|

Thinking he would go to college & follow a much different path, Alex Juedes ended up “dropping out” to follow in his father’s footsteps & become a Marine. He loved being a Marine in fact. But, on January 25, 2014, Alex Juedes was manning an MRAP gun turret in Afghanistan when an RPG slammed into the feed tray of his machine gun. Immediately, his right hand was gone and he was bleeding from

Ep. 78 – John Timar (Navy SEAL, Kill Cliff)

August 14th, 2018|

If you’ve ever wondered what the power of the mind looks like, and you’re also looking for some inspiration, then this is the episode for you! John Timar is a former Navy SEAL, who is now the Chief Sales Officer for Kill Cliff, a leading clean hydration and sports nutrition brand for elite athletes. John is also a successful, long-time entrepreneur. As a young man he set his sights on becoming a Navy

Ep. 77 – Steve Dawson (1st SFOD-D, Rescue in Panama)

August 7th, 2018|

This week we step off the beaten path and cover an oft-forgotten operation, and the stellar career in special operations of Steve Dawson. Steve spent 25 years in the Army – most of those with Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Special Forces. He spent the better part of his career as an operator with Delta Force. He also took part in the rescue operation of Kurt Muse, an American civilian living in Panama

Ep. 76 – Brian Aft (Marine, Adaptive Training Foundation)

July 30th, 2018|

On April 11, 2011 former Marine, Brian Aft stepped on an IED in Kajaki, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, while on a routine foot patrol. The blast ended up taking both of his legs, and ultimately leading him down a very dark path. He turned to hardcore drugs to numb the pain, and simply get through every day life as a double amputee. Then one day he was approached by former NFL linebacker, David Vobora

Ep. 75 – Ryan Hepworth (Combat Trauma)

July 24th, 2018|

Ryan Hepworth worked on some of the most intense trauma cases as an Army nurse. He knew he was going to experience those situations when he volunteered to work in combat trauma. A decision he says was based on a willingness to “know” the patients he was working on. Working in the combat hospital in Afghanistan brought him face-to-face with the worst that humans can do to one another in war. So much

Ep. 74 – Richard Prince (Vietnam/Hue 1968)

July 17th, 2018|

Richard Prince fought in one of the most horrific battles of Vietnam, and one that often gets overlooked. The battle for Hue City during the Tet Offensive of 1968 was an all-out grudge match & street fight that lasted for several weeks. Prince found himself fighting in one of the most hellish engagements of the battle, below the Dong Ba Tower at the city’s imperial Citadel, where many Marines perished. During the fight, Prince was

Ep. 73 – Mike Vining Returns! (1st SFOD-D/EOD)

July 10th, 2018|

This week we return with another episode with the living legend, Mike Vining. Mike has taken part in so many unique missions as an Operator and EOD Technician. And we cover a handful of those in this week’s episode. From Vietnam to Presidential elections, to prison riots, to the bombing of Khobar Towers, Mike Vining brings you firsthand accounts of rare special missions, and some pretty intense moments on the ground and in the air.

Ep. 72 – MSgt Orlando Reyes (Marine)

July 2nd, 2018|

This week’s episode is a little less about combat engagements, and more about another deadly threat amongst veterans: suicide. Master Sgt. Orlando Reyes served in three combat deployments to Iraq, but never faced a greater enemy than the one within. The stress from those deployments, the PTSD, and the failed relationships that resulted, drove Reyes to attempt to take his own life. Luckily for him, and others, he wasn’t successful, and because of that, he’s

Ep. 71 – Ben Kesling (Marine, Reporter – Wall Street Journal)

June 26th, 2018|

Wanting to do more for his country and serve in a time of war, Ben Kesling joined the Marine Corps to become an officer at the start of the Global War on Terror. As most conflicts do, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan changed him. But not in a way where he wanted to bury their memory, but more along the lines of understanding them and what effects they have on not just veterans coming

Ep. 70 – Col (Ret) Tommy Goode (AF Helicopter Pilot)

June 19th, 2018|

We’re back from a short hiatus, with an incredible guest! Retired Air Force Colonel Tommy Goode has led an unconventional career as an Air Force helo pilot. From the story behind how he made it into the flight program, to flying the rescue/recovery mission after the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, to now flying fire attack helicopters…Tommy Goode is no ordinary pilot. He’s about as humble as they come, but when you hear him talk about

Ep. 69 – Elliot Ackerman (Marine, Author)

May 22nd, 2018|

He completed five combat deployments between Iraq and Afghanistan as both an infantry Marine and Marine Special Operator. He has been awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star for Valor for actions on the battlefield during those deployments. He has seen the hellish, unlucky, and simply chaotic side of war, and lived to tell about it. After eight years of service, he left the Marine Corps to become a writer. Now Elliot Ackerman is an

Ep. 68 – Jim Hackett (Marine, Vietnam)

May 15th, 2018|

Facing a draft notice and challenged by his Marine father to prove his mettle, Jim Hackett signed up for the Marine Corps in 1967. The war in Vietnam was heating up considerably in the late ’60s, and Jim Hackett the Marine – and a crack shot at that – was heading right for the meat grinder. Except a funny thing happened at boot camp graduation: Hackett wasn’t immediately sent to the infantry. Instead, as a

Ep. 67 – Special Guest: Dianne Layfield (Gold Star Mom)

May 8th, 2018|

This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, we have a very special guest. Dianne Layfield is the proud mother of Marine Lance Cpl. Travis J. Layfield, who was killed in action on April 6, 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dianne was gracious enough to sit down with us and share Travis’ story, as well as talk about her journey coping with his passing, and experiencing some unexpected and amazing discoveries that followed. Parent or not,

Ep. 66 – Karl Holt (Green Beret, Tillman Scholar)

May 1st, 2018|

What an absolutely amazing story! Driven by a keen interest in medicine & a desire to give back to his country, Karl Holt joined the Army to become a Green Beret medic. After several years of assessment, selection, & special forces training, Holt found himself in the heat of combat, putting his SF medic training to use. On one particular mission though, while trying to escape an overwhelming counterattack, the helicopter Holt was riding in

Ep. 65 – JC Glick (Ranger, Leadership Consultant, Author)

April 24th, 2018|

This episode with JC Glick could have gone on for hours…That’s how good conversations with JC, especially those about leadership, can be. JC went from battle tested Army Ranger, serving over 11 combat tours between Iraq & Afghanistan, to leadership consultant, couch & author. He’s been tested in just about every way imaginable, from making it through a difficult childhood to leading special operations soldiers at some of the highest levels in the US military

Ep. 64 – Lewis Nelson (Author, “Life After Loyalty”)

April 17th, 2018|

A combination of factors led Lewis Nelson to enlist in the Army after college – 9/11; a family history of military service; and a history degree with a job that was going nowhere. So Nelson enlisted to become a linguist, and after several years of specialized training found himself in Iraq on two separate deployments with the 101st Airborne Division. While deployed, Nelson ran the gamut of combat occupations, from intelligence collection, to running convoys,

Ep. 63 – Matt Gallagher (Author, “Kaboom”)

April 10th, 2018|

Matt Gallagher thought he was just keeping a regular blog of his time spent in a war zone as a way to chronicle daily life as a Platoon Leader during the Iraq War in 2007-08. Little did he know that his blog, aptly titled, “Kaboom” was a much bigger hit on the internet than he thought. His chain of command was even okay with it, until, as Matt puts it, “they weren’t.” And soon the

Ep. 62 – Trey Grissom (Navy Football/Marine)

April 3rd, 2018|

Trey Grissom entered the Naval Academy to play football & left there to become a Marine after highlighting his collegiate football career in one of the great Navy upsets over rival Notre Dame in 2010. The rigors of the Academy & college football prepared Grissom well for leading Marines in combat. But as combat goes, nothing ever fully prepares you for that experience, except the experience itself. That sentiment is reflected in Grissom’s thoughts on

Ep. 61 – Joe Serna (Green Beret)

March 27th, 2018|

As a Green Beret, Joe Serna has been through just about everything in combat: he’s been blown up a couple of times, shot at, and nearly drown in an armored vehicle when the road under it gave way next to a canal. And with all those combat injuries, most certainly comes PTSD, which Joe has most certainly battled. The breaking point came a few years ago when Joe was arrested for drunk driving. He subsequently

Ep. 60 – Cliff Anders (Apache Pilot)

March 20th, 2018|

From a young age, Cliff Anders wanted to fly helicopters in the military. Getting into the cockpit seemed to be a breeze for Cliff, but getting to war, to “do his part,” was not so easy. He was in flight school during September 11, 2001, but it would be several more years & a few moves around the world to various Apache & training outfits, before Cliff would finally see combat. You see, Cliff is

Ep. 59 – Josh Jespersen (Navy SEAL)

March 13th, 2018|

Josh Jespersen’s entrance into the military wasn’t exactly conventional. But then again, there really isn’t much about Josh that is “conventional.” And he’s just about the nicest & decent human being you’ll ever meet, too! Once in the military, Josh quickly earned the Trident of a Navy SEAL & went on to honorably serve several years as a SEAL, surviving combat tours in Iraq & Afghanistan. After leaving the Navy he co-founded Mission Memorial Day

Ep. 58 – “Brad” & Jason Everman (From the band “Silence and Light”)

March 6th, 2018|

Two men…One of them wanted to work in special operations from the start, & ended up serving a long career in the most elite forces in the U.S. military, fighting in The Battle of Mogadishu all the way into the Global War on Terror. The other holds the unique distinction of playing in both Nirvana & Soundgarden before deciding to join the Army & going on to serve in Special Forces for the rest of

Ep. 57 – Mike Vining (1st SFOD-D/EAGLE CLAW/Grenada)

February 27th, 2018|

This is sure to be part one of a multi-interview series with US Army & Delta Force legend, retired SGM Mike Vining. Vining enlisted in the Army in 1968. He served in Vietnam as an EOD tech, but after 10 years in EOD he started looking to transition to Special Forces as a medic. He soon found himself, however, going through the selection process for the newly formed 1st SFOD-Delta, more commonly known as “Delta

Ep. 56 – Steve Cannon (CEO of AMB Group/Atlanta Falcons)

February 20th, 2018|

Our guest this week is not the typical guest we tend to feature on “Hazard Ground.” But we felt it was important to have Steve Cannon on to talk about service & leadership, as he is someone who’s embodied those ideals for a very long time. Steve Cannon is currently the CEO of AMB Group, LLC – the Arthur M. Blank family of businesses, which includes the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, whose business operations Cannon currently

Ep. 55 – Special Guest: Sebastian Junger

February 13th, 2018|

We are honored to be joined this week by special guest & author/journalist/filmmaker Sebastian Junger. Junger is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author of such works as “The Perfect Storm,” “War,” & “Tribe.” He is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film “Restrepo” was nominated for an Academy Award. As an award-winning journalist who’s covered news stories around the world, he’s received both a National Magazine Award & a Peabody Award. He is also

Ep. 54 – Margaux Mange

February 6th, 2018|

We return this week with a guest who at first, humbly, didn’t really believe she had much to offer to the podcast or our general audience. But she in fact does have something important to share, & sharing her story is yet another reason we do the podcast each week – to help others whether they’ve been in the military or not. Margaux Mange is a living example that you can find a

Ep. 53 – Chris Van Etten

January 30th, 2018|

There are simply too many positive things to say about Chris Van Etten to fit in this short intro, but what we will say is that his drive & motivation to move beyond his injuries & inspire others is infectious & invigorating. In 2012, while on patrol as a Marine in Afghanistan, Van Etten stepped on an IED. The blast took both of his legs as well as the life of his best friend. The

Ep. 52 – Ryan Pitts (Medal of Honor Recipient) – Part II

January 23rd, 2018|

Today we pick-up with Ryan Pitts’ story as the Anti-Afghan force begins their deadly and sustained assault on Pitts and his observation post, in the vicinity of Wanat Village, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on July 13, 2008!

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Ep. 51 – Ryan Pitts (Medal of Honor Recipient) – Part I

January 16th, 2018|

On the one year anniversary of Hazard Ground, it’s probably fitting that we share part one of the two part story of how Staff Sergeant Ryan M. Pitts received the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat. His is a story that defines the reason we do the podcast every week – to tell the stories of service, sacrifice, of unbreakable spirit, and strength in the face of insurmountable odds, with the hope that

Ep. 50 – Scott Huesing (“Echo in Ramadi”)

January 9th, 2018|

We should consider ourselves fortunate to have someone like Scott Huesing to carry on the story of the brave men of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines who fought daily in Ramadi, Iraq from the winter of 2006 to early 2007. During that period, Ramadi was considered the deadliest city in Iraq. Huesing and his Marines likened it to living in Hell. Scott Huesing served for over 24 years in the Marine Corps, both as

Ep. 49 – Nick “The Reaper” Irving (U.S. Army Sniper)

January 2nd, 2018|

Joining the military had been a lifelong dream for Nick Irving. He even knew from a young age that he wanted to be a sniper, taking BB gun shots at just about every inanimate object in his neighborhood, using his homemade ghillie suit as camouflage. And like many who know they want to be a part of the best the military has to offer, Nick set out in high school to join the elite Special

Ep. 48 – Jason Beighley

December 19th, 2017|

Jason Beighley is a special breed of soldier. He has over 17 years experience serving and excelling in the U.S. Army’s top tier Special Operations units. Looking for a greater challenge and more fulfilling job in the military, he worked to join those units, and would soon find himself involved in combat and high-stakes engagements with the enemy. One of those engagements was the Battle of Mogadishu, better known by it’s film and book adaptation,

Ep. 47 – Special Guest: Dr. Julia Dye

December 12th, 2017|

Dr. Julia D. Dye is an author and the VP and CFO of Warriors, Inc., “the entertainment industry’s premiere military advising company.”  She also runs Warriors Publishing Group with her husband, retired Marine, and star of such iconic war films as “Platoon” and “Saving Private Ryan”….And former Hazard Ground guest, Dale Dye. Julia also holds a Ph.D. in Theatrical Hoplology – a field which combines anthropology, sociology, economics, and the study of military history and

Ep. 46 – Jesse Yandell (Career Army Ranger)

December 5th, 2017|

As a young infantryman, Jesse Yandell knew he wanted to serve with the best units the U.S. Army had to offer – with soldiers who had the desire to take on more and always push further than the rest. He settled on the elite soldiers of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Once in, he never looked back, serving 15 combat deployments with the Rangers, and eventually reaching the position of Company First Sergeant within the Regiment.

Ep. 45 – Robert Disney (Air Force Pararescue – PJ)

November 28th, 2017|

Having decided that eight years of medical school was not the right fit for him, and stung by a desire to do something immediately more challenging with his life, Robert Disney dropped out of college to join the Air Force to become a Pararescue specialist, more commonly known as a “PJ.” The PJs primary mission is to rescue, recover, and/or provide medical aid to downed air crews anywhere in the world, in any type of

Ep. 44 – Kirstie Ennis

November 21st, 2017|

A self-described hellion growing up, Kirstie Ennis has always had the fire inside of her to overcome virtually any obstacle. That trait was put to the test on June 23, 2012, when the helicopter she was a door gunner on crashed in Afghanistan while performing combat resupplies. Kirstie, the daughter of two Marines, had planned to stay in the Marine Corps for a full career. The injuries she sustained as a result of the crash,

Ep. 43 – A.B. & Joshua Grantham (Father & Son Marines…From Vietnam to Iraq)

November 14th, 2017|

They’re father and son, bonded by war. Both of them, Marines. The father fought in Vietnam, during one of the most violent periods of that conflict. The son did the same in Iraq. For the longest time, the son only knew that his dad was Alvin Bert Grantham, or “A.B.” as he’s known, the wounded Marine on the tank in one of the most iconic photographs from the Vietnam War. The photo of A.B. Grantham

Ep. 42 – Special Guest: Peter van Agtmael (Documentary & War Photographer)

November 7th, 2017|

Each time Peter van Agtmael has been to war, he’s gone without a weapon. No pistol, no knife, no rifle. The only thing he’s carried into combat is a camera. And through that camera he has captured the human toll of war, both mental and physical. Since 2006 he has covered the Global War on Terror, working primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has since produced three books of images from these wars

Ep. 41 – Joel Carpenter

October 31st, 2017|

There’s probably no greater act of patriotism or selflessness than signing up for military service right after your country has been attacked. That’s exactly what Joel Carpenter did after September 11, 2001. Prior to 9/11 he had gone to Hollywood to pursue a career in film and television, but the coordinated terrorist attacks compelled him to fulfill a higher sense of purpose, even though Joel was teetering on the cusp of “making it” in LA.

Ep. 40 – Dan Futrell

October 24th, 2017|

For Dan Futrell, joining the military was at first just a means to pay for college.  After initially shunning the idea of joining ROTC, he started taking some of the classes and found he enjoyed working with the people in the program. He eventually earned a four-year ROTC scholarship, and from there the Army became more than just a way to pay for college. Following graduation and commissioning, he joined the Infantry, because as he

Ep. 39 – Staff Sergeant John Diem

October 17th, 2017|

Staff Sergeant John Diem knows what it means to serve one’s country. That phrase gets thrown around a lot, but John Diem embodies the spirit of patriotism in every sense of the word. He has served multiple combat tours as an infantryman, spending most of that time on the line as part of an infantry squad. He survived a year-long deployment to Iraq’s “Triangle of Death”, where he and his unit suffered almost daily bomb,

Ep. 38 – Mike Durant

October 10th, 2017|

Even if you’ve seen the movie “Black Hawk Down,” and know everything about the book by the same title, you’ll want to listen to this very special episode with Mike Durant, the pilot who was shot down over Mogadishu, Somalia during Operation Gothic Serpent in 1993. The level of courage and bravery displayed by him and the other soldiers who fought that long day on October 3rd, 1993, is unmatched. In this episode, Mike takes us

Ep. 37 – Robin Brown

October 3rd, 2017|

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be shot down in a helicopter in the middle of a war zone, then you definitely want to listen to this week’s episode. Even if you haven’t, then you’ll want to listen to how this week’s guest, Robin Brown reacted cool and calmly under pressure, and crash landed her Kiowa Warrior helicopter after literally being blown out of the sky by enemy fire in 2003, when the

Ep. 36 – Stacy Bare

September 26th, 2017|

From as early as he can remember, Stacy Bare wanted to be in the military. To him it was adventure, coolness, and selfless service, all in one. When Stacy finally got to be the soldier he always dreamed of, he went to war, and served with honor during Operation Iraqi Freedom. But when he came home, his life began to unravel. War had never left him. After battling addictions and a downward spiral that was

Ep. 35 – Lt. Jim Downing (Pearl Harbor Survivor)

September 19th, 2017|

On the show today, we go back over 70 years and cover the most significant attack on American soil prior to 9/11. Our guest on this episode is retired Navy Lt. Jim Downing. At 104 years old, Jim is the 2nd oldest known American survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Jim’s memory of that day is still as sharp and clear as it was the day it all unfolded, so we are incredibly lucky

Ep. 34 – Jacob Schick

September 12th, 2017|

Early in the morning on September 20, 2004, and during some of the bloodiest days of the war in Iraq, Jacob Schick and his fellow Marines received a quick reaction call. With no sleep following the previous night’s mission, Schick rounded up his Marines and jumped in a Humvee. Even though he had a bad feeling about the situation, Schick demanded he drive the lead vehicle. Shortly after moving out, his vehicle ran over a

Ep. 32 – Nate Self (Part I)

August 29th, 2017|

Nate Self’s story is the reason “Hazard Ground” was born. Early on the morning of March 4, 2002, Self, a young officer and elite Army Ranger, found himself fighting for his life on top of a remote mountain in Afghanistan, markedly outgunned by al Qaeda fighters. Self was tasked with leading the Ranger Quick Reaction Force that was sent to rescue Navy SEAL Neil Roberts and Air Force Technical Sergeant John Chapman, who had

Ep. 31 – Mike Erwin (Founder of Team RWB)

August 21st, 2017|

Mike Erwin is an amazing human. After surviving three combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Intelligence Officer, much of that time directly supporting Special Operations, he started one of the premier veterans support organizations in America: Team Red, White & Blue, or “Team RWB” as it’s commonly known. For several years now, Team RWB has been connecting and helping veterans heal through physical fitness, building community, and enacting positive change. Mike is also

Ep. 30 – Zinno & Pascarella, Creators of “Hazard Ground”

August 14th, 2017|

Mark Zinno & Matt Pascarella, creators of “Hazard Ground,” finally get together in the same city and sit down for a chat. They talk about everything from how the show got started, what it was like booking and working with some of their favorite guests so far, plans for the future, and a whole lot more! Check it out!

Ep. 29 – General (Ret) Ann Dunwoody

August 7th, 2017|

General (Ret) Ann Dunwoody holds the distinction of being the first woman in the US Military to achieve the rank of four-star general. But when you listen to her speak and understand a little bit of who she is as a person, you get the sense that there is no military rank high enough to quantify who she is as a leader. Her 37 plus years of military service have helped transform the US military

Ep. 28 – Bill Reynolds (Vietnam, 9th Infantry Division)

July 31st, 2017|

In the spring of 1966 a 19-year old Bill Reynolds was on top of the world. The young Californian had it all: the killer car (a ’65 Chevelle Super Sport to be exact), the gorgeous girlfriend, and a well-paying job in Los Angeles. Then, just before summer hit, his world changed forever – he received a draft notice in the mail, with orders to report to the Los Angeles Induction Station on May

Ep. 27 – Chris Roessner (“Sand Castle”)

July 24th, 2017|

Chris Roessner’s attitude and work ethic speak for themselves. In a relatively short period of his life, he’s gone from surviving a year in Iraq in the Sunni Triangle performing a wartime mission with one of the lowest survival rates, to being awarded a prestigious academic scholarship through the Pat Tillman Foundation, to writing and executive producing his own film, “Sand Castle,” which recently debuted as a Netflix Original Movie in April 2017. Part of

Ep. 26 – Dale Dye

July 17th, 2017|

Dale Dye is probably best known for the roles he’s played in numerous motion pictures on war and combat…Films like “Platoon,” “Casualties of War,” and “Saving Private Ryan.” But before he landed in Hollywood, he spent a majority of his time fighting and leading Marines on real battlefields – the ones where the slightest mistake or sniff of bad luck meant you weren’t coming home. He’s a veteran of multiple tours in Vietnam and survived

Ep. 25 – Col (Ret) Roland Guidry (Operation EAGLE CLAW / Iran Hostage Crisis)

July 10th, 2017|

Roland Guidry is a retired Air Force Colonel, who led an extraordinary career in air special operations during two very volatile periods in US history. The first was Vietnam, flying special “Buffalo Hunter” missions to launch photo reconnaissance drones into enemy territory from his DC-130 aircraft, in support of special missions like the Son Tay Raid. The second was the Iran Hostage Crisis in early 1980. Many people know from the 2012 film, “Argo,” of the six diplomats

Ep. 24 – Special Bonus Episode: John Brenkus (ESPN & “Brink of Midnight”)

July 2nd, 2017|

You might be wondering why our guest this week is not affiliated with the military. Every now and then we like to feature a special guest on the show – someone who hasn’t necessarily experienced combat, but who works to better the lives of others through podcasts, music, books, and other forms of media. And that’s exactly why we have John Brenkus on the podcast. He has an amazing story of how he created his

Ep. 23 – Special Guest: Mark Bowden

June 26th, 2017|

Most people know Mark Bowden as the best-selling author of the book, Black Hawk Down, the basis for the 2001 film by the same name. But this is only one small part of a collection of books Mark has written that detail some of the most instrumental US military operations in modern history.  In the last several years he has covered the Iran Hostage Crisis, the hunt for Pablo Escobar, and the final chapter of

Ep. 22 – Will Bardenwerper

June 19th, 2017|

Struck by a sense of duty to defend his country after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Will Bardenwerper walked away from a comfortable job in Midtown Manhattan to join the military. Despite some unexpected downtime while waiting to start his initial training, and then more schooling to become an Airborne & Ranger qualified officer, Will was finally dropped into the “hornet’s nest,” as he describes it, near Ramadi, Iraq in 2006, at the height of

Ep. 21 – Johnny “Joey” Jones

June 12th, 2017|

Johnny “Joey” Jones seemed to have it all. He was a young, good looking Marine, who had earned one of the most technically difficult, interesting, coolest, and coveted jobs in the U.S. military – that of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician (Think back to Ep. 3 w/ EOD Tech, Brian Castner…). It’s also one of the most dangerous jobs in the military, and on August 6, 2010, that danger caught up with Jones when he

Ep. 20 – Matthew Griffin & Donald Lee (Combat Flip Flops)

June 5th, 2017|

Despite their difference in military rank when they served in the Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment – one a seasoned enlisted man with a combat deployment already under his belt, and the other, a new lieutenant working to gain experience and the respect of other Rangers – Donald Lee and Matthew Griffin became fast friends.  They went to war together several times, all the while hatching a plan to become business partners when the bullets

Ep. 19 – Jason Van Camp (MISSION 6 ZERO)

May 22nd, 2017|

Jason Van Camp, who is today the Founder and Chairman of Mission 6 Zero, is another one of those guys who knows what it means to be a leader, in every sense of the word. He knows what it’s like to have passion for something in life and to scratch and claw toward a goal until it’s been achieved. He knows what it means to never quit – at least not until there’s physically nothing

Ep. 18 – Paul Rieckhoff (Founder & CEO of IAVA)

May 15th, 2017|

Feeling an obligation to do his part for his country, Paul Rieckhoff enlisted in the Army after graduating from college in the years just before 9/11. After the Twin Towers fell, Paul found himself in uniform working tirelessly at Ground Zero. It wouldn’t be long after that he would trade the dust and debris of 9/11 for the sands of Iraq, fighting as an infantryman at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following

Ep. 17 – Special Guest: Taya Kyle

May 9th, 2017|

Many know Taya Kyle as the wife of American Sniper, Chris Kyle…But for so many others she’s an inspiration for overcoming tragedy. For us, she is our first non-military member that we’ve interviewed, but her story is so compelling. She is raw, honest, and graceful. This is a woman who has shown more strength in her grief, than most do in a lifetime. And like Chris, she is a protector,

Ep. 16 – Ben Kotwica

May 2nd, 2017|

Washington Redskins Special Teams Coordinator, Ben Kotwica is a proven leader through and through. From his time spent grinding it out on the football field at West Point, to flying Apache attack helicopters in combat, and returning home to work his way up to coaching in the National Football League, Ben embodies the importance of preparation, perseverance, and mentorship. It was truly an honor to have him on the show

Washington Redskins Special Teams Coordinator, Ben Kotwica is a proven leader through and through. From his time spent grinding it out on the football field at West Point, to flying Apache attack helicopters in combat, and returning home to work his way up to coaching in the National Football League, Ben embodies the importance of preparation, perseverance, and mentorship. It was truly an honor to have him on the show