Army medics and Navy corpsmen are a perfect example of service branch cooperation. When they work together, they save lives.
For this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we invited former Army medic Ruty Rutenberg to chat with our resident Corpsman about deployment responsibilities. Tune in to learn the differences between their jobs on the field and in garrison.
Disclaimer: Let’s be honest — we only work so well together because we’re secretly trying to outdo the other side.
Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig, the film chronicles one of the first Special Forces teams to deploy to Afghanistan after the attacks on 9/11. The SF team joins forces with the Afghan Northern Alliance and rides into battle against the Taliban on horseback.
12 Strong brilliantly captures how difficult it is for ground troops to work and fight alongside Afghan freedom fighters against the insurgents due to the language and cultural barrier.
The film stars WATM friend Rob Riggle, Chris Hemsworth, Michael Pena, and Michael Shannon.
2. The 15:17 to Paris
Directed by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood, the film focuses on the American soldiers who discover a terrorist plot on a train headed to Paris.
Interesting enough, the three Americans who thwarted a terrorist attack play themselves in the film alongside actress Jenna Fischer — and we like Jenna Fischer.
3. Tough As They Come
Starring and directed by Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone, the film tracks Travis Mills (played by Marine veteran Adam Driver), a quadriplegic soldier returning from Afghanistan after his horrific injury.
Back in the U.S., Mills has to reconcile with his stepfather while coping with his new life using prosthetic legs and arms.
Directed by Todd Robinson, the film showcases a Pentagon investigator who teams up with a few veterans of “Operation Abilene” to persuade Congress to award deceased Air Force medic, William Pitsenbarger, the Medal of Honor 35 years later.
Pitsenbarger is accredited with saving over 60 ambushed service members in one of the bloodiest campaigns of the Vietnam War.
The film stars Sebastian Stan, William Hurt, and Samual L. Jackson.
Directed by Justin Kurzel, the film chronicles a nameless ex-Nazi captain who navigates the ruins of post-WWII Germany to atone for the crimes he committed during the war by hunting the surviving members of his former SS Death Squad.
Gal Gadot is rumored to have a role, but additional information hasn’t been released.
6. The 34th Battalion
Directed and produced by Luke Sparke, the film follows four friends from Maitland, New South Wales who join the 34th Battalion to serve on the Western Front. The film depicts the experiences of the unit, which was recruited in 1916.
Green on blue attacks — used to describe attacks by Afghan soldiers on Coalition forces — are one of the many dangers our troops in the Middle East face every day.
These deadly morale-sapping attacks are difficult to predict and leave lasting negative trust issues between the locals — and American forces. As many as 91 incidents resulted in 148 Coalition troops killed and as many 186 wounded between 2008 and 2015.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Marine infantry officer turned Army Green Beret Chase Millsap, and our Navy corpsman smartass Tim Kirkpatrick share their experiences working with the locals. Millsap with the Iraqi Police and Kirkpatrick with the Afghan National Army. As you’ll listen, their experiences differ.
Before they were big-name celebrities, the veterans on this episode of the WATM podcast were everyday Joes in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps. Some — like Montel Williams — were among the those who made full careers out of their time in service. Others were not cut out for the military and were eventually kicked out.
Regardless of their experience, one thing’s for sure — their military careers didn’t determine how famous they’d become after the service.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake speaks with Marine veteran and “Terminal Lance” creator Max Uriarte about his newest projects and other current events.
“When I first started ‘Terminal Lance’ I was convinced I was going to get my sh—t pushed in,” Max humorously explains. “I knew I was going to get in trouble. I was waiting for that phone call.”
Soon, Max was releasing hundreds of “Terminal Lance” comics covering a wide range of topics, including military customs, the most popular (and the most disgusting) MREs, long-distance relationships, and other aspects of life in the Corps.
His latest book “Terminal Lance Ultimate Omnibus” delivers the complete collection of Abe’s shenanigans. It features over 500 serialized comics published on terminallance.com, with additional comics previously published only on the Marine Corps Times newspaper, and new, never before published comics. The Omnibus will also include Uriarte’s signature blog entries and previously unpublished bonus material.
The “Terminal Lance Ultimate Omnibus” hardcover book will be available April 24, 2018.
We also discussed Uriarte’s new podcast “After Action,” a show about national security, military life, and other random bull—t, according to Uriarte. It’s co-hosted with Paul Szoldra, the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular military satire site Duffel Blog. You can listen to: After Action” on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn.
Uriarte joined the Marine Corps in 2006 as a 0351 Marine Assaultman and was stationed at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. Uriarte deployed to Iraq twice with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom between 2007 and 2009.
During Uriarte’s four years of enlistment in the Corps, he served as SMAW Gunner, Team Leader, Squad Leader, .50Cal Gunner, Combat Photographer, and a Combat Artist.
In 2010, Uriarte started the hit comic strip “Terminal Lance,” which soon became the single most popular comic strip in the military.
In 2016, Uriarte released the world’s first graphic novel about Iraq, written and illustrated by an Iraq veteran, called “The White Donkey: Terminal Lance.”
The “White Donkey” was independently published in February 2016 and was a massive success. Within 72 hours of its release, it was picked up by publisher Little, Brown Company for smash publication on April 19th, 2016.
In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast Army special operations veteran and subject of “That Which I Love Destroys Me” documentary Tyler Grey shares his experience and wisdom for transitioning out of the military. Grey left the military at the height of his career due to injuries he sustained while serving in Iraq. Today, Grey spends his time as a technical advisor in Hollywood and mentoring veterans. Recently, he worked on the set of the DC Comics supervillain movie “Suicide Squad.”
Grey’s advice is valuable for any transition, not just the military. Whether you’re switching careers, going through a rough personal patch, or approaching the next chapter in your life, these words of wisdom will prepare you for those trying moments.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we talk to former Air Force Chief of Staff, General Merrill A. McPeak, who served as a military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council, and the President.
He’s also a career fighter pilot with more than 6,000 hours under his belt, including time as a solo pilot with the elite Thunderbirds.
The General currently has three books out,Below The Zone,Roles and Missions, and Hangar Flying, about his time being ringside during one of the most tumultuous moments in recent history: the Vietnam War, where Gen. McPeak was an attack pilot and high-speed forward air controller.
In this episode, we talk on a wide range of topics, including:
[1:35] The Mandatory Fun crew introduces General McPeak and his epic resume.
[4:00] How allied troops managed to set traps for their North Vietnamese enemy.
[7:00] The general discusses what it was like kicking off Operation Desert Storm.
[10:30] The reasons behind why air doctrine changed since the Vietnam War ended.
[13:45] The general breaks down the stats of the fighter pilots who have been shot down.
[21:00] What it’s like flying in an Air Force air show in front of political VIPs.
[28:50] What influences the general had on Ken Burn’s PBS Vietnam documentary and what it was like working with the filmmaking legend.
[34:35] How the Air Force attempts to retain it’s outstanding and well-trained fighter pilots.
[35:30] What things the general loved about being a fighter pilot.
[45:15] The importance of having nuclear weapons on station.
Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) can be a debilitating condition and often referred to as the silent killer of veterans. Alarmed by the 22 veteran suicides per day statistic, Jake Clark founded Save A Warrior, a warrior-led healing experience to save active duty service members, veterans, and first responders from committing suicide and improve their lives.
In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast Jake Clark and Raychad Vannatta—Save A Warrior’s executive director—stop by to discuss their mission and tactics for curbing PTS.
The attack on the Alamo in 1836 was not a 13-day siege and slaughter as often portrayed in film and television. Don’t get me wrong – the defenders of the mission-turned-fortress were killed en masse as Mexican troops stormed the structure. It’s just that not everyone inside the Alamo died that day.
That’s how we came to know of Joe — just Joe, any other names he had are lost to history now. Joe was the slave of William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo during Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s siege of the Texian fort. But no one knows exactly how Joe got there. No matter how he ended up there, he was one of many slaves and free blacks who fought or died at the Alamo.
Joe was a stalwart defender alongside Travis and other Texians. When the din of the fighting died down and the Mexicans firmly controlled the fort, Joe was shot and bayoneted, only to be saved by a Mexican field officer. Because Joe could speak Spanish, he was able to be interrogated afterward.
That’s where attorney-turned-author Lewis Cook picked up the story. His first book, called Joe’s Alamo: Unsung, is a fiction-based-on-history account of what came next, after the Alamo, and after Joe escaped.
Cook was waiting to go to medical school when he discovered Joe’s story and was compelled to write about the Alamo. Cook discovered the Alamo was more than a bunch of white, male landowners fighting for Texas. The fort was full of women, minorities of many color, and followers of many religions. So, he set out to tell the story of the Alamo, a story that, he believes, belongs to all of us through the diversity of its defenders.
In his book, Cook tells a different story from what is commonly told in textbooks, film, and TV shows. It includes recently discovered facts about William Travis, Susana Dickinson, Davy Crockett, and Joe himself.
Audible: For you, the listeners of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out some of the books and authors featured on Mandatory Fun. To download your free audiobook today go to audibletrial.com/MandatoryFun.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with U.S. Navy SEAL veteran turned entrepreneur, Eli Crane. You may have seen Eli pitch his business, Bottle Breacher, on the hit TV show Shark Tank. Eli’s appearance landed him partnerships with celebrity businessmen Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary.
Eli stopped by our show to talk about what military strategies he uses to run his multi-million dollar business.
A lot of the tactics that we use on the SEAL teams actually work really well in business,” Eli Crane states. “When you make some of the correlations — in battle, you have the enemy, in business, you also have an enemy, but we usually call them the competition.
Bottle Breacher is one of the fastest growing veteran-owned and operated businesses in Arizona.
Eli and his wife Jen dove into the Shark Tank with their sole product. A recycled, authentic, decommissioned .50 caliber Bottle Breacher, manufactured in a one-car garage.
Having enticed sharks Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary to invest, today they feature an ever-expanding product line, serving customers both domestically and internationally.
Bottle Breachers aims to provide the best handcrafted, personalized gifts and promotional products on the market.
Through their success, Crane’s company has donated to over 200 non-profits in the last year alone. Shopping with Bottle Breacher means supporting military veterans, active military personnel, first responders, children’s foundations, and various other non-profits.
At the end of the day, we do a lot more than bottle openers. What we really specialize in is mens gifts
Eli and his wife on the sandy training grounds of the Navy SEALs. (Source: Bottle Breachers)
As a kid, Eli always looked up to those who served in the military and decided to join a week after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. On his second attempt, Crane graduated BUD/s with class 256 and was later assigned to SEAL Team 3 under legendary American Sniper Chris Kyle.
For the WATM audience, Eli and team outstanding team have decided to give us a 20% discount on all items! Simply use the code WATM20 at checkout.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Tim, O.V., and Blake speak with The Marine Rapper a.k.a. TMR about all the A-level training our service members receive but don’t capitalize on it when they get out.
Every veteran’s journey after the military is different.
While some of us pursue the career along the lines in which the military trained us for, others take a different path and sometimes fall short of their full potential.
“They [veterans] have a set of skills, they have leadership abilities, and there is so much more we can do,” Blake passionately states. “Granted, I’m a writer, and I have five degrees, and none of them have to do with writing.”
A veteran finding his or her purpose is essential to life outside of the military.
So when did TMR decide to become a rapper after serving the Corps?
“When I started getting better at it,” TMR jokingly admits. “In the Corps, I wasn’t at the level I am now.
If you’ve ever surfed the internet looking for military rap songs, chances are you’ve come across the unique sound of “The Marine Rapper.”
Known for sporting a red mohawk and wearing an American flag bandana, TMR served 10 years in the Marine Corps as a Combat Correspondent where he earned a Combat Action Ribbon and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals during his service.
After successful tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, TMR left the Marine Corps in February 2014. After entering back into civilian life, TMR began focusing on music as a profession and for cathartic expression.
The real James Bond is finally revealed: A few years ago Larry Loftis decided to stop publishing legal articles and work full-time on researching and writing the story of Dusko Popov, the daring World War II double agent who worked tirelessly to keep the Nazis off guard about the upcoming D-Day invasions.
1. Popov was captured by the Nazis before he became a spy.
Dusko Popov was a student in Germany as the Nazis took power and began to persecute the German Jews. No fan of the Nazis, Popov thumbed his nose at the thugs who came to intimidate patrons of Jewish businesses. He was quickly visited by the Gestapo, who imprisoned him and tortured him for information.
He was able to escape Germany because of his family’s connections. Hermann Göering ordered his release to Yugoslavia.
Johann-Nielsen “Johnny” Jebsen
2. He was recruited by his best friend.
Johann-Nielsen Jebsen – known as “Johnny” – went to school with Popov. But Jebsen is from a very wealthy European family with German roots. They met each other at the university of Freiburg but where Popov was expelled from Germany, Jebsen, as a German citizen, was forced to join the Nazi war effort. He joins the Abwehr (German military intelligence) as a spy recruiter.
His first recruit is Dusko Popov and the two both became double agents for the British.
3. He warned the U.S. about the attack on Pearl Harbor
Popov warned the FBI on Aug. 18, 1941, that the Japanese were about to attack Pearl Harbor. Popov and his MI6 supervisor met FBI officials at the Commodore Hotel and for three hours laid out the entire plan. Popov was in the country to set up a spy ring in New York and recon the defenses at Pearl Harbor.
The attack was supposed to be a repeat of the British attack on the Italian fleet at the defended port of Taranto in 1940. The Japanese wanted to know how they could be as successful as they enter the war against the Americans. The reason President Roosevelt never saw the information will enrage you.
Check out the book (or finish this podcast) to find out!
4. He was critical to the success of D-Day.
The British determined that the best way to keep the Germans off guard on D-Day was to convince them that the invasion would come at Pas-de-Calais, not Normandy. At the risk of his life, with interrogators who were convinced that Popov was compromised by the British, Popov returned to Germany.
He gave the Nazis the false information the British wanted them to believe during multiple, marathon interrogation sessions that lasted for hours at a time over a series of days. Popov was the only spy who was interrogated by the Nazis about D-Day.
Simone Simon in 1942’s “Cat People.”
5. His real-world girlfriend was a movie star.
Just like his silver screen counterpart, James Bond, Popov had a slew of women he used for various reasons as a undercover agent for two opposing countries. But his heart belonged to just one – and she was as glamorous as the rest of his World War II life: Hollywood movie star Simone Simon.
Larry’s next book will be The Courier: The True Story of World War II’s Most Highly Decorated Woman, about the World War II spy heroine Odette Sansom and Captain Peter Churchill. Learn more about Larry, The Courier, and Into the Lion’s Mouthat Larry Loftis’ website. You can also follow Larry Loftis on Twitter and Facebook.