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Thank YOU! Please Keep Spreading the Word!

American Warrior Radio just surpassed 100,000 visitors for the year!

When I revived the program following the founder’s untimely death, with absolutely ZERO knowledge of doing a radio show, I was inspired by his mission; to educated and inform our population about those who protect us on both the home front and abroad.

I have no idea that we would see this kind of progress and am very pleased we are reaching a national audience now.

Please keep spreading the word!  If you have an idea about a story that needs to be told, please send us a note to: warriorradio@cox.net

 

Team Building in an Elite Unit – Charles Faint

Charles Faint wanted to provide his West Point cadets with a real life examples of team building.  But he had to get approval before he published the article “Competition, Call of Duty and ‘Naked Chicks with Guns’; Lessons on Team building from an Elite Special Operations Unit”.

team

The issue also caused quite a bit of controversy around his family dinner table – particularly for his daughter Emily.  Emily shares HER perspective to begin our show.

This excellent article highlights Charles’ duty as an intelligence officer with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment.  Known as the “Nightstalkers” this elite unit is comprised of the best qualified aviators, crew chiefs and support soldiers in the Army.

Soldiers who volunteer for this select unit are by their nature highly competitive. This desire to be the best at everything manifested itself in some strange off duty competitions including pushups, yoyos, geography and even juggling.  But competitiveness translated into mission effectiveness; EVERY soldier in the unit wanted to be the best at performing their duties and mission objectives.

One area of competition cited by Charles came about when the pilots challenged support staff to a Call of Duty video game competition.  At first the support staff got their clocks cleaned. But they turned it into a team building exercise. They strategized, practiced, and even engaged their technical experts in using a higher powered computer to give them a half second processing advantage. Soon they were beating the pilots.

Everything the team did together, whether playing Call of Duty or eating together built relationships of trust – a basic and important element of team cohesiveness.

His intelligence briefings often included film of previous missions set to a soundtrack & soon became a crowd favorite. One week, bad weather meant there was no mission footage to show. At that point in the briefing Charles informed attendees there would be no “predator porn”.  This was greeted with booing and catcalls.  After a pause he announced that he DID have a picture of naked chicks with guns.  Charles received a hard stare from his commander but because he trusted Charles, he allowed the briefing to continue. The actual photo he included in his briefing is posted above.

Charles emphasized that Naked Chicks with Guns was in quotation marks. He discussed what the Army DOESN’T do, including actually showing any sort of disrespectful photo in a briefing or actually referring to a fellow soldier as a “chick”.  This reduces trust and runs counter to team building.

Takeaway:  Those pilots were waiting for the green light from us, and when it came on they went for it. They didn’t need my “but..” There was no time for “but..”  “But” causes hesitation and hesitation gets people killed.

 

Law and the Military – Attorney Matt Randle

law

Attorney and Army Veteran Matt Randle shares key points that members of the military should know about civilian law.

We begin by discussing Veterans Courts. The first Veterans court was established in Buffalo, New York in 2008. There are current Veterans Courts in all 50 states.  The purpose of the courts is to allow for rehabilitation in a non-correctional system setting.  Any Veteran is eligible for the program but the degree of qualifying offenses vary by jurisdiction. While Veterans may request the alternative track, the final decision remains with the prosecutor.

 

Matt cautioned active duty military members to obtain outside legal advice before choosing the Veterans Court option. What may seem like a less painful path MAY have adverse effects upon a military career.

Matt and one of his law partners are both Veterans. He believes this gives them special insight when it comes to representing members of the military. This especially applies to law involving divorce decrees and other settlements impacting military benefits. Matt estimates that as many as 10% of their cases involve correcting judgements that did not take into account the unique aspects and regulations of military service.

Members of the military must also be extra cautious because some charges may create complications that civilians don’t have to consider. As an example, he cites the fact the even a misdemeanor domestic violence charge could result in the military member being prohibited from being in possession of a firearm – a critical tool for most military professions.

Matt’s advice to members of the military who find themselves in a situation involving civilian law? First, inform your chain of command and second, contact an attorney.

Matt served five years as a combat medic. He deployed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was also honored to have been involved in a special mission to repatriate the remains of a US service member from the Korean DMZ 70 years after they were killed.

Matt was a Tillman Foundation scholar and has appeared as a subject matter expert on CNN, Dateline News and in the Wall Street Journal.

 

Purple Heart Wines & Purple Heart Foundation

Purple Heart

Bill Hutton, Sr. V.P. Purple Heart Foundation

The Purple Heart is awarded to military members wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces. It is the oldest military award still presented to US Service members.

This week we discuss the Purple Heart Foundation and Purple Heart Wines– a unique and delicious fundraising initiative of the C. Mondavi and Family Vineyards.

 

The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Composed exclusively of decoration recipients, it is the only Veterans organization comprised strictly of combat Veterans.

Purple Heart Wines

John Moynier, Winemaker – Purple Heart Wines

The Purple Heart Foundation is the fundraising engine of the MOPH and Foundation Senior Vice President Bill Hutton begins the show by outlining the programs offered to Veterans and their families through the organization. Bill is a retired Marine wounded three times and also earning a Silver Star during his service in Vietnam.

 

The Foundation and MOPH have a number of continuing initiatives and Bill was careful to emphasize that their programs and services are available to ALL Veterans, not just those who earned a Purple Heart.

John Moynier enlisted in the Air Force during the Vietnam era and spent the majority of his career as a military sentry dog handler and trainer. Upon departing military service he decided to pursue a degree in Veterinary Science at the University of California Davis. Instead, he found himself drawn toward their highly regarded viticulture program. He has been a winemaker for 41 years, thirty two of which have been with the C. Mondavi and Family Vineyards.

John has been involved with this special project since 2014 and, as a Veteran himself, he is thrilled to be part of this unique fundraising program that supports Veterans. So far this year, they have donated $40,000 to the foundation.

TAKEAWAY:  This is a wonderful wine and they could probably charge more per bottle. But a reasonable price means more people can enjoy – and support – the Purple Heart Foundation.

 

I am Suicidal and I Won’t Give Up – Sean Cavanagh

 

suicide

Sean Cavanagh has struggled with thoughts of suicide for two decades.

Several hundred times the dark thoughts have come, ranging from deep depression to a moment when he sat in his bedroom, a loaded Glock in his hand. A member of both the military and law enforcement community for two decades, he was well aware of the stigma attached to suicide so he kept his struggle to himself.  Then, following conversations with two separate colleagues who were suffering, he confessed that he TOO struggled with those demons. Following those interactions he decided to share his pain publicly..very publicly by posting an open letter on the Havok Journal website.  That gutsy moved proved cathartic to both him and to many warriors who are fighting a similar battle.

Sean has taught suicide intervention as part of training for police personnel.  Sometimes he taught the course while feeling suicidal himself. But he found strength and determination to move forward one more hour, one more day, one more week.

Sean believes that the nature of law enforcement/military jobs creates an extra challenge because they are taught to compartmentalize.  The pragmatic issues of safety & security also complicate matters for members of these disciplines who may wish to seek help.

As a hostage negotiator, Sean has had to talk people out of committing suicide. During our conversation he also shares signs to look for and appropriate actions to take if you suspect a friend or colleague may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.

TAKEAWAY: For every suicide there are a thousand deaths among those left behind.

If you or someone you know is struggling with this issue please visit:

Vets 4 Warriors OR call the Veterans Crisis Line  (800) 273-8255

 

Have You Checked out our Podcasts?

Over 12,000 persons have this year!  If you haven’t visited recently, here is what you may have missed:

In addition to some names you might recognize like Roger Staubach, Dale Dye, Jim McDivitt and Radney Foster we have also spoken with others whose names might NOT be so familiar but are true American Heroes:

The brave helicopter pilots who landed on a cliff side to rescue Marcus Luttrell in the “Lone Survivor” story

A Marine pilot who earned FOUR Distinguished Flying Crosses in Vietnam, returning from one mission with palm fronds stuck in his tail section.

A soldier who was a teenager when he jumped into Normandy, survived the Battle of the Bulge and went on to lead clandestine missions in both Korea and Vietnam.

Check out our podcast archives using the tab above, now conveniently organized by broadcast month!

 

FBI on 9/11 – James Gagliano

FBI 9/11

James A. Gagliano

Retired Ranger and FBI Special Agent James Gagliano knew about the threat of terrorists before 9/11 – he saw it firsthand in Yemen.

As a member of the elite FBI Hostage Rescue Team, James was dispatched to provide security for the FBI investigators building the case against al-Qa’ida following the December 2000 attack on the USS Cole.  He recalls pacing the deck of the wounded Cole, his weapon at the ready, and thinking thoughts of revenge.

A graduate of WestPoint who earned his Ranger tab and served with the 10th Mountain Division, he knew about conflict.  His 25 year career with the FBI would take him to several locations on the planet and into the sewers of undercover drug work.  But none of that would prepare him for what he witnessed on September 11.

Were it not for a dental appointment and a leg still in a soft cast from recent surgery, James would most likely have been one of the victims of the brazen attacks on the World Trade Center.  As it was, he spent many days following the attack working “the pile” to recover evidence.

James recounts many of the images seared into his mind from that fateful day; the look exchanged with a New York police officer when he passed through the barricade on his way toward the towers and the horrific image of fellow Americans jumping to their deaths rather than being burned alive.

Two of his FBI comrades gave their lives that day – Special Agent Leonard Hatton, who entered the World Trade Center to help and lost his life rescuing civilians and retired Special Agent John Patrick O’Neill, his supervisor in Yemen and the man considered by many to be the man who unsuccessfully tried to warn our nation about the looming terrorist threats.

James penned a compelling and passionate piece for Havok Journal about his experiences and thoughts on 9/11 titled “Earn This”.

TAKEAWAY: Over the course of his military and FBI career, James saw many awful examples of how inhumane men can be to each other. But 9/11 was the worst he has ever seen.

The largest 9/11 Memorial Tower climb by first responders and military members takes place at three locations in Arizona this fall. For more information visit: www.911towerchallenge.org

 

Freedom Isn’t Free – Folds of Honor

On Independence Day weekend two guests remind our listeners that Freedom isn’t Free.

Both are representatives of the Folds of Honor foundation and both have made sacrifices for the freedom we celebrate this weekend.  One lost a leg and the other lost her husband.

Freedom Free

Major Ed Pulido

Major Ed Pulido is the Folds of Honor Senior Vice President.  He is a 19 year Army Veteran and on August 17th 2004 hit an IED in Iraq. Ed made a vow to the young man who saved his life that if he got back home and received a second chance, he would take care of people like that soldier and his family. He fulfills that vow through his work with Folds of Honor.

Following a forced amputation of his left leg, Ed went through some dark times. Receiving the letter informing him that he was “..unfit for duty” was a particularly tough pill to swallow. Ed invests much of his time addressing the scourge of Veteran suicides.

Freedom Free

Maj. Troy Gilbert (R) with General Robin Rand

Ginger Gilbert Ravella knows all too well that Freedom isn’t Free. She became a Gold Star wife on November 27, 2006.  Air Force Major Troy Gilbert lost his life while providing close air support for the crew of a downed Special Forces helicopter.  The Commander of that Army unit told Ginger that he has no doubt that Major Gilbert saved 22 lives that day.

Now widowed with five young children, Ginger faced extra challenges due to the fact that Al Qaeda fighters removed Troy’s remains before a rescue party could reach the crash site.  It took 10 years of persistent pressure before his remains could be fully repatriated.

Ginger & Troy’s children were some of the first to receive scholarships through the Folds of Honor Foundation.  She continues to “pay it forward” by helping to spread the word about Folds of Honor as the Director of their speakers bureau.

Ginger and her current husband Jim (also a retired Air Force fighter pilot) have recently published a book titled “Hope Found” that discusses their journey through dual tragedies (Jim lost his wife to cancer in 2007) and how faith has buoyed them.

 

World War II Foundation – Tim Gray

War FoundationTim Gray is the Founder and Chairman of the World War II Foundation. He has produced 18 World War II documentary films to date, with several more in post-production.  Tim is a master storyteller; just the kind of person we love on American Warrior Radio!

His work has been recognized with FIVE regional Emmy Awards, THREE Indie International Film Fest Awards and American Public Television’s National Programming Excellence Award. Tim’s documentary films rank among the top five most requested programs nationally by PBS Stations.

Tim was a sports and news anchor before taking a leap of faith and retiring to create the World War II Foundation. He was soon rewarded when his first documentary film won an Emmy. He is used to deadlines but faces his biggest challenge yet; chronicling the stories of the World War II generation before they have all passed on.

His latest work is “D-Day Over Normandy” which uses modern drone technology to give viewers a bird’s eye view of these critical battlefields complimented with interviews of men who were there and participated in the combat.

“D-Day Over Normandy” is narrated by NFL legend Bill Belichik. Belichik is just one of the notable names who have narrated Tim’s films. Others include; Tom Selleck, Matthew Broderick, Dan Akroyd, President George W. Bush,  David Schwimmer, Ben Affleck and Governor Tom Ridge. Actor Damion Lewis (who played Major Dick Winters in Band of Brothers) said it was a defining moment in his life.

While fun to partner with celebrities, Tim says he gets a bigger thrill meeting his World War II heroes. One common trait among them all is an earnest sense of humility – they had a job to do and did it.  He pursues his mission to educate future generations through the films of the World War II Foundation with a similar earnest passion.

The World War II Foundation is a non-profit and anyone who wishes to donate my do so directly at their website.

 

A Veteran Helping Veterans – Deb Martinez-Garibay

Deb Martinez-Garibay is an Army Reservist with a passion for helping Veterans.

Deb shares additional information and background on just a few of the projects with which she is involved.  She emphasized that no matter the program, they all need volunteers and support in the form or monetary or in-kind contributions.

Team RWB

Team RWB seeks to enrich the lives of America’s Veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. They have chapters in 87 communities around the globe.  Activities range from team sports to marathons or cultural events. This program is a great way for civilians to get to engage in helping Veterans and also getting to know their stories and challenges.

PGA Hope (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere)

Sponsored by the Professional Golfers Association, the HOPE program provides Veterans with FREE golf instruction taught by local PGA Professionals. The year round program is designed to enhance rehabilitation and assimilation back into civilian society. The local group even has a special wheel chair built for a disabled Veteran that allows him to golf!

Arizona Veterans Stand Down Alliance

A Stand Down is community-based event where organizations come together to provide annual, one to three day events that bring together the State’s homeless and at-risk military veterans, connecting them with services ranging from: VA HealthCare, Mental Health Services, Clothing, Meals, Emergency Shelter, Transitional and Permanent Housing, ID/ Drivers License’s, Court Services and Legal Aide, Showers and Haircuts and myriad other services and resources.

We wrap the show with Deb sharing some of the personal challenges she has faced after becoming disabled during here military service.  Her experiences have inspired her to become even more active in programs that are helping Veterans who may not have the kind of family support network that she has.