How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion - We Are The Mighty
Podcast

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake speaks with Army veteran Jennifer Campbell who is currently the Second Vice Commander of the American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood, Ca.

Recently, Jennifer and the commander of Post 43, Fernando Rivero were featured in a Wall Street Journal article about how they engineered a plan to bring some fresh energy to the post.

The young veterans of the post managed to fuse and honor old military traditions with the new generation of combat veterans.

Related: The real-life dictator who ruined his country and became a cannibal

In this episode, we talk on a wide-range of topics including:

[1:05] Jennifer states why she decided to join the Army after growing up in a Navy family.

[4:00] We talk about the path on how to join the leadership of an American Legion.

[9:50] Insightful advice for other post-military organizations that are struggling to stay afloat.

[11:23] Jennifer briefly explains “Operation the First Reformational Congress” is all about.

[15:30] We get an update on the modern and exciting renovations legendary Post 43 is getting.

[17:00] The new post modifications features a new state of the art one of these…

[18:30] Jennifer makes a list of all the film productions and celebrities associated with the post.

[20:20] Jennifer tells us the spooky inside history that happened in the historic legion.

Also Read: How to see those never-before-published ‘Terminal Lance’ comics

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Podcast

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force


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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.

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion
The salty and well-respected Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill A. McPeak (Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

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.

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran

This podcast originally produced in December 2017.

Podcast

These are the best military movies by service branch


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake, Tim, and O.V. talk with stand-up comedian and Marine veteran Mitch Burrow about what their favorite military movies are broken down by branch.

Everyone loves to watch movies from all genres. Veterans and service members have a unique connection to military films for various reasons other than great characters and storylines.

In this episode, we talk on a wide-range of topics including:

  • [0:55] Mitch humorously plugs Monster energy drink for sponsorship and advises how to avoid drinking sip cans on accident.
  • [4:10] Who was more badass? Maverick or Iceman from “Top Gun.”
  • [4:37] What scene in “Top Gun” made Mitch go straight to Mach-3 and our favorite Navy movies.
  • [6:30] Our take on the only thing the film “Hurt Locker” got right.
  • [11:30] Whic Army movies are considered our all-time favs. But not Army movies in Vietnam like Blake tried to get us to talk about.
  • [15:11] We create the perfect list of Marine Corps movies that are freaking epic.
  • [21:00] How awesome “Generation Kill” is and if you haven’t watched it you’re wrong.
  • [23:24] How difficult it was to watch and finish “Jarhead 2.” Long story short, it was tough.
  • [25:15] What we loved the most from “Heartbreak Ridge.”
  • [28:00] The best Air Force movies ever made.
  • [30:30] Then lastly, we funnel in our short list of favorite Coast Guard films.

Hosted By:

With guest host Mitch Burrow:

Mitch is a Marine Corps veteran that served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He then started a career in manufacturing before realizing that it sucked. Now, Mitch has found his true calling in acting silly on a stage in front of strangers on a nightly basis. To follow Mitch or check out one of his shows visit his website: Mitchburrow.com.

Originally published 11/2017.

Podcast

7 amazing badass war prisoners who defied their captors


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Imagine being a prisoner of war (POW) at the hight of a major conflict. You’re hundreds of miles away from the closest allied territory and thousands of miles from home. Are you prepared for months or years of hardship and torture? Will you give into being a propaganda prop in exchange for food and better treatment? Will you plan an escape?

In this episode of the WATM podcast, the boys of the editorial team discuss how a handful of badass war prisoners handled their captors and made the best out of their terrible predicaments.

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode

• Referring WATM articles:

• [00:42] Horace Greasley, the ballsy POW who broke out of prison to visit his girlfriend overnight and then sneak back into his own camp. Editor’s Note: The original wording of our first post on Greasley incorrectly stated that he was Czech and our discussion in the podcast reflects this. In actuality, Greasley was a draftee in the British Army.

• [02:00] Horace Greasley: 6 unbelievable military love stories

• [05:50] Nazi POWs in Arizona: Papago Park housed captured Nazi Kriegsmarine U-boat commanders and their crews. It was the POWs from #84’s compound 1A who would trigger the biggest manhunt in Arizona history.

• [08:40] The only prisoners who can be forced to work are junior enlisted under the Geneva Conventions.

• [12:25] The Nazi POWs made a boat in a U.S. prison camp.

• [16:05] Tibor Ruben: Holocaust survivor escaped his Korean War prison camp every night to forage for food for fellow prisoners.

• [19:20] George H.W. Bush escapes prison camp and avoids being eaten by Japanese soldiers: That time Japanese soldiers cannibalized US pilots in World War II

• [21:40] The WATM boys discuss the work detail they would choose if they were captured.

• [25:15] Douglas Bader: Double amputee begins his escape attempts while his second prosthetic leg was still damaged.

• [28:30] French general escapes an inescapable prison to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.

• [29:47] The British soldier who escaped The Gestapo’s “unescapable” castle.

• [33:15] Special Forces officer beats up his executioners and escapes with the help of his beard

• [35:25] Hippies identify 1st Lt. James N. Rowe to Vietnamese captors

• [35:30] Jane Fonda: The real story of Jane Fonda and the Vietnam vets who hate her

• [40:20] A senior officer in “Hanoi Hilton” beats himself with a stool and cuts his scalp and wrists to resist North Vietnamese propaganda attempts.

Music license by Jingle Punks

  • Contagious Instr-JP
  • Heavy Drivers
Podcast

How to see those never-before-published ‘Terminal Lance’ comics


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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.

Related: ‘Terminal Lance’ creator talks about the Marine Corps and the future of his comic

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion
Terminal Lance comic strip #494 (Source: Terminal Lance)

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.

Also Read: These simple luxuries can make your next deployment tolerable

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.

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Podcast

What every boot needs to know before partying in the Middle East for the first time


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If you’ve ever moved to a new city or transitioned to a different school as a kid, you may have experienced culture shock. The ordeal could be disorienting, but it probably wasn’t long before you made new friends and adjusted to your environment.

Now amplify that times 100, that’s what it’s like for some troops visiting foreign countries for the first time.

In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast, we discuss why partying in the Middle East is so darn hard.

Related: These comedians entertain troops worldwide with the ‘Apocalaughs’ tour

Hosted by:

Guests:

Music licensed by Jingle Punks:

  • Goal Line
  • Tribal Line
  • Private Dick
  • Dance Party
  • Looks That Kill
  • Istanbul Nights
  • Freaky Funk
Podcast

The real-life dictator who ruined his country and became a cannibal


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake, Tim, and O.V. talk with stand-up comedian and Marine veteran Mitch Burrow about a Communist Army cadet and a cannibal dictator, and they make a smooth segue into Ken Burns’ Vietnam documentary.

General Idi Amin dethroned the government of Milton Obote and declared himself president of Uganda. During his eight years of ruthless leadership, it’s estimated he massacred approximately 300,000 civilians.

Then it’s rumored the Ugandan president was a closet cannibal and liked munch on human remains.

Related: These make-believe benefits would make being a vet so much better

In this episode, we talk on a wide-range of topics including:

  • [1:10] The WATM crew discuss the Army cadet who is reported to be a big fan of the Communist party.
  • [3:35] Mitch and Blake attempt to create a list of historical dictators that weren’t considered dicks.
  • [5:45] Blake talks about the dictator of Uganda who decided one-day to start eating people. Yew.
  • [6:35] Mitch puts in his two cents on why capitalism is better than communism.
  • [8:11] Blake attempts a smooth segue into discussing Ken Burns’ Vietnam documentary on PBS.
  • [11:55] We break down who was fighting for whom during the Vietnam War.
  • [14:00] Mitch makes a humorous statement clearing the air about his Marine Corps aspirations.
  • [19:15] Tim plugs his new WATM article franchise about what movies characters are doing after the credits roll.

Also Read: How to see those never-before-published ‘Terminal Lance’ comics

Mitch is a Marine Corps veteran that served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He then started a career in manufacturing before realizing that it sucked. Now, Mitch has found his true calling in acting silly on a stage in front of strangers on a nightly basis.

To follow Mitch or check out one of his shows visit his website: Mitchburrow.com.

Hosted By:

Podcast

How some famous military celebrities spent their time in service


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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.

Related: This is how ‘Got Your Six’ works with movie makers to get it right

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

Music licensed by Jingle Punks:

  • Skynet-JP
  • Goal Line
  • Slick It Instrumental
Podcast

Why your next business book should be a military field manual




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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.

Related: How unconventional tactics won the battle for Ramadi

Bottle Breacher is one of the fastest growing veteran-owned and operated businesses in Arizona.

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion
Former Navy SEAL Eli Crane and his wife, Jen, go swimming with the sharks in order to make a deal for his company Bottle Breachers on Shark Tank.

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.

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion
.50 Caliber Bottle Openers made by veterans. (Image from Bottle Breachers Facebook)

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

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion
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.

Also Read: Navy SEAL: No, the military does not destroy your creativity

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Orvelin Valle (aka O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Special Guest: Navy SEAL veteran, Eli Crane

Articles

Dale Dye wants to make this epic World War II movie with veterans


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Dale Dye wants to make the “air version” of “Saving Private Ryan,” and he wants to film it with as many military veterans as possible.
“If you think of the first 18 minutes or so of ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ ” Dye said, “This will be that but airborne. This will be guys coming out of those aircraft and sky full of tracers.”
 
Dye wrote the script for “No Better Place to Die” from a story he’d studied during his active duty days. He felt the story perfectly exemplifies what Americans troops can do when they come together after everything goes wrong.
 
It’s about the 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers during the D-Day invasion and their contribution to winning the war. If it weren’t for these troops, the German’s may have pushed the allied beach invasion back out to sea, according to Dye.
 
While the filmmaking world knows him as Hollywood’s drill sergeant, Dye has reserved the director’s seat for himself.
 
“Given what I’ve done in my 30-year career the only way this going to get done right — the only way this is going to blow people right out of their seats — is if I direct it because I know how,” Dye said. “I know how to do this cool.”
 
As for hiring veterans, Dye is looking to fill on and off camera roles to make a filmmaking statement.
 
“My absolute promise is that I’m going to make this movie with as many veterans in front of the camera and behind the camera as I can find,” Dye said. “That’s the way I’m going to do it. I’m hoping that it will serve as a showcase to Hollywood. It will show them the talent that’s out there and what these folks can do. What they bring to the table and how motivated they can be, and I want to demonstrate that.”

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and managing editor

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Guest: Captain Dale Dye

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion
Captain Dale Dye at We Are The Mighty

Before Dale Dye was making some of our favorite military movies, he was fighting America’s wars overseas, eventually retiring as a Marine Corps captain. Having been around infantrymen all his life, he knew we were badly represented on film. The majority are intelligent, creative, and full of heart.

He felt the image of the dumb boot blindly following orders was a grave disservice to those brave service members who had risked and often gave their lives so that our nation could survive and prosper. So he looked for the best medium available to reach the hearts and minds of the public to spread his message — film and television.

Articles

What you need to know about North Korean threats


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For the past 40 years, the United States and South Korea participate in a joint military training exercise simulating a war against the Communist north.

The exercise mobilizes around 20,000 U.S. and South Korean troops in land, sea and air maneuvers. In return, North Korea typically responds with missile launches and nuclear tests — increasing tensions and the potential for conflict on the peninsula.

In this episode of the We Are The Mighty Podcast Mark Harper and Shannon Corbeil — two former Air Force officers — share their experience with these war games and what you need to know about the threat from the DPRK.

Related: When life gives you Tootsie Rolls, use them to escape North Korean forces

Hosted by:

Guests:

  • Mark Harper: Air Force veteran and SVP of Creative and Business Development at WATM
  • Shannon Corbeil: Former Air Force intelligence officer

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

Podcast

This Green Beret will change what you know about action movies




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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with actor, TV host, and former U.S. Army Green Beret, Terry SchappertYou may remember Terry from the popular History Channel show Warriors and, more recently, Hollywood Weapons on the Outdoor Channel with Israel Defense Forces reconnaissance man, Larry Zanoff.

Terry was a Special Forces Team Sergeant who happened to serve alongside WATM’s own, Chase Milsap.

Related: Why your next business book should be a military field manual

How post-9/11 vets are bringing new life to the American Legion
Larry and Terry smash Hollywood’s biggest myths in the Hollywood Weapons. (Image source: Outdoor Channel)

Hollywood Weapons gears up to take on the most insane challenges to accurately reproduce our favorite action movie stunts while breaking the myths that movies perpetuate. From breaking through the glass of a tower window, like that of the Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, to blowing up a Great War shark with a single shot, like in Jaws, this show recreates all your favorites using only practical effects.

“I have to make those real shots, with those real guns, under real conditions,” Terry pridefully states.

The show breaks everything down using high-speed cameras to catch all the little details that audience members might miss as a movie’s action sequence flies across the screen.

Terry and the team literally break it all down. (Image via GIPHY)Although the show’s primary objective is to entertain, the talented and creative minds behind Hollywood Weapons have a unique way of educating their loyal viewers by scientifically breaking down what it would take to pull off our favorite stunts in the real world.

Also Read: How unconventional tactics won the battle for Ramadi

Before the show started, Terry graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in Anthropology and was classically trained as an actor, all while serving in the Army.

“I remember I had to stop training, so [Terry] could go to an audition,” former Army Green Beret officer Chase Milsap humorously recalls.

Check out Outdoor Channel‘s video to see the trailer for their original series, Hollywood Weapons.

(OutdoorChannel | YouTube)

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Orvelin Valle (aka O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Special Guest: Former Army Green Beret Terry Schappert

Podcast

‘This is War’ is a raw look at the combat vet experience few will ever know


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What is it like to fight in combat? What toll does it take on someone, emotionally, physically, and mentally? What toll does the personal aftermath take on the relationships in the life of an American troop?

Most American Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen join the military at a very young age. Turning 18 and then going off to war will affect them for the rest of their lives. Even officers, who first get a college degree or graduate from a service academy, will be only as old as 23 when their military career begins.

What comes next? That’s what This Is War is about. This Is War is a new podcast from the Wondery Podcast Network. This Is War is full of first-hand accounts of what it’s like to fight and survive combat while protecting our freedoms, the bonds that form between our nation’s fighting men and women, and the psychological toll it can take on a human being.

Today on Mandatory Fun, we give you a preview of This Is War. Today’s story is about Ian Mearns, who joined up in the deferred enlistment program in August 2001. We all know what happened just one short month later. Ian was just 17 and starting his senior year of high school. His life would never be the same.

“Telling stories of the American combat veteran gives us the chance to look at heroism, honor, and duty through the lens of real lives,” says the opening of This Is War. “To see the practical influence of a life of service to one’s country.”

Listen to Ian Mearns tell the story of his first days in Iraq and much more.

Mandatory Fun is hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Orvelin Valle (aka O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Catch the show on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.