Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what's wrong with America - We Are The Mighty
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Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America


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New York Times bestselling author Sebastian Junger dropped by We Are The Mighty to discuss his latest book “Tribe.”

Here’s what the publisher says about the book:

Through combining history, psychology, and anthropology, “Tribe” explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and the eternal human quest for meaning. It explains the irony that—for many veterans as well as civilians—war feels better than peace, adversity can turn out to be a blessing, and disasters are sometimes remembered more fondly than weddings or tropical vacations. “Tribe” explains why we are stronger when we come together, and how that can be achieved even in today’s divided world.

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Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America

Selected links and show notes from the episode

  • Sebastian Junger’s new book “Tribe” is nothing short of a lesson for all Americans
  • [00:40] Sebastian Junger’s motivations for writing TRIBE.
  • [02:05] Why humans are drawn to communal living and tribal affiliation.
  • [04:15] Examples of tribalism in modern communities.
  • [06:05] How do we live in a modern society and retain some of the cohesion that comes from hardship and adversity.
  • [07:15] How mandatory national service could unify America.
  • [09:00] How Bowe Bergdahl and the financiers who caused the great recession harmed America.
  • [11:05] The difference between war trauma and personal alienation for troops reintegrating into society.
  • [14:00] The dangers of over valorization.
  • [16:20] Why no one else could have written this book other than Sebastian Junger.
  • [20:00] Sebastian Junger clarifies the use of “tribe” as used in his book.
  • [23:15] The feelings associated with coming home and leaving for deployment.
  • [25:25] What it takes to be accepted into a tribe.
  • [26:15] Sebastian Junger’s thought about practicing tribalism.
  • This celebrated war correspondent nails the reasons why soldiers miss combat
  • Sebastian Junger nails the reason why young men want to go to war

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America

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Articles

It will make you angry to learn how a veteran lost $100k in benefits

Before you read any further, the lesson here is don’t listen to anyone with an opinion about your VA benefits. Even when the Department of Veterans Affairs makes a “final” decision on your case, you can still appeal. So, don’t listen to your Staff Sergeant. Anyone still wearing a uniform is not an expert on your personal VA claim.


Unfortunately, this happens a lot more frequently than you might think. That’s where Moses Maddox comes in. Maddox is more than just a veteran who advocates for his fellow vets. For almost a decade, the former Marine has built a career in helping other veterans with personal, academic, financial, and success counseling through various organizations.

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Maddox talked to us about finding your veteran community, managing our veteran ego, and how to thrive in your post-military life. He talked to David Letterman about his experience, so we’re grateful he took a moment to sit down with us on the Mandatory Fun podcast.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
Yeah, we’re totally on the same level.
(Worldwide Pants)

Maddox believes we’ve come a long way and the military is getting better at preparing us for our post-military lives. The problem in his mind is that the military is designed to weed out the weak among us and the weakness in ourselves, a necessary process to prepare military members for what they may have to do. But once you’re out, that process proves detrimental – the perception that mental issues are weaknesses is what keeps us from addressing those problems.

The greatest challenges he faced when transitioning out of the Marine Corps stemmed from his admitted lack of planning. He set a countdown to his EAS date and was excited as the day approached. When it came, he felt nothing. He was so fixated on getting out that he didn’t have a plan for what he was going to actually do when the day came.

Over the course of two months, he went from handing out millions in humanitarian aid to handing out gym memberships at an LA Fitness.

“The nothingness and monotony of civilian life has just as much potential to beat you down as war did,” Maddox says. It’s a refrain he tells to many transitioning veterans. When the military is gone, the silence is the biggest hurdle.

But all that changed. One day, Maddox drove to the VA to see if they could help him. When he was there, a Vietnam veteran saw the despair in his eyes — and told him that the feeling was normal. No one had ever told him that his struggles were normal and treatable. So, armed with this knowledge, Maddox took care of it.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
IAVA Member Veterans Moses Maddox (L) and Dave Smith attend IAVA’s Sixth Annual Heroes Gala at Cipriani 42nd Street on November 13, 2012 in New York City.

Now he advocates for veterans in many areas of post-military life. He looks back on his service fondly, but acknowledges that the Marine Corps was not the only thing he had going for him. Helping people is his passion, helping veterans is now his life’s work.

Learn more about Moses Maddox and how he discovered his “new why” on this episode of Mandatory Fun.

Resources Mentioned

Sponsors


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.

About Mandatory Fun

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Share your thoughts about this episode on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

Podcast

How the Gurkha warriors of Nepal became so feared


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The Gurkha warriors of Nepal are fearless soldiers who famously serve in the British and Indian militaries. Their reputation for bravery, fighting ability, and heroism dates back to the Middle Ages.

Staff Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw of the Indian Army, once said, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.” A fitting statement for a force who’s motto is, “better to die than to be a coward.”

Don’t miss this episode about Gurkha badassery!

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Selected links and show notes from the episode

Music licensed by Jingle Punks

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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.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
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.

MIGHTY HISTORY

The story of the slave who survived the Alamo

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.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
Maybe standing in the open wearing the brightest clothes isn’t the best idea.

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.

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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.


All that is known about Joe after the Alamo is that he was questioned by Santa Anna and then later questioned by the Texas Cabinet. A little more than a year later,
Joe escaped to Mexico on two stolen horses.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
One supposed photo of Joe, the slave and survivor of the Alamo.

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.

Resources Mentioned

Sponsor

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.

About Mandatory Fun

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Share your thoughts about this episode on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

Podcast

The wars that could break out in the next 4 years – Pt. 2


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Now that the conventions are over and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the official presidential nominees for their respective parties, how will the incoming Commander-in-Chief handle the turmoil around the world? Will America be led down the path of imminent war, or will the new president avoid these chaotic scenarios?

Join us for part two of the potential wars that could break out in the next four years.

Related:  The wars that could break out in the next 4 years – Pt. 1

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

  • Here are 10 wars that could break out in the next four years
  • [02:10] Israel versus Hezbollah.
  • [12:00] Turkey Civil War.
  • [17:30] Afghan Civil War.
  • [22:30] China versus India.
  • [38:00] North Korea versus anyone.
  • [29:30] Discussion about jet fuel’s flammability. Here’s a demonstration of jet fuel putting out a match and how it compares to other fuels.

Music licensed by Jingle Punks:

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  • Heavy Drivers-JP
Podcast

4 survival skills that will help you thrive in a disaster or zombie apocalypse

Do you have a plan for the catastrophe most likely to affect your area? Since the WATM staff is based in LA, our most likely natural disaster is either an earthquake or devastating mudslides. We wondered which one of us in the office (aside from our office Green Beret) was most likely to survive such an event.

The surprise was that some of us have more skills than you might think.


Former Air Force intelligence officer Shannon Corbeil is an avid camper. As is Army veteran and radio operator Eric Milzarski. Veteran Corpsman Tim Kirkpatrick, on the other hand, is a borderline survivalist. As for me, Air Force combat cameraman Blake Stilwell, my plan is to get rescued as soon as possible — hopefully before my rations run out.

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During an earthquake, you’re supposed to seek cover, duck, and protect your neck. Shannon Corbeil was raised in the Los Angeles area, and was in major earthquakes in 1987 and 1994. The WATM crew also has different ideas on what to do after the crisis passes: account for resources or create a team of skilled party members, ready for adventure and initiative?

And then, like the real U.S. troops having a survivalism discussion that we are, we lay out our plans for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

But there are at least four very important general aspects of survival to talk about either after a disaster, in the wild, or yes, the zombie apocalypse. The most important is being prepared! Don’t wait until disaster strikes to try and get supplies. You’ll be food for the people who went to the Army-Navy surplus ahead of time.

Also, you need to figure out how to navigate through your new, post-apocalyptic world, either by the stars or the sun. Or perhaps you even made your own compass with a leaf and water.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
Finally, your life has some direction.

In the wild, you need a little bit more. You need to figure out how you’ll filter water, start a fire, and identify edible food. Forget that most of us are bad at picking real food in our daily lives — the stakes are much higher when Taco Bell is closed for the end of days.

Finally, you need a game plan for a disaster. What would you do if a disaster struck your area? Find out what the folks at WATM came up with in this week’s episode.

Resources Mentioned:

Key Points:

  • What do you need to carry with you in case of an emergency.
  • If you don’t know any survival skills, you are not alone.
  • Use Krazy Glue for wounds; use Doritos for kindling.
  • Surviving in the wild is much harder than surviving a disaster.
  • Earthquakes don’t feel like earthquakes until they do.

Sponsors:

  • 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.
Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

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

Articles

WATM Podcast: What if the US took on the rest of the world?


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Just imagine the shocking scenario where the U.S. angered China, Russia, Iran, and its traditional allies like the UK and France. Now imagine if these countries formed a unified coalition to attack the U.S. How long would the U.S. be able to hold them off? Which tactics would it deploy? What role will its citizens play?

In this debut episode of the WATM podcast, the boys of the editorial team discuss how this idea might play out.

The podcast is hosted by bunch of vets who live and breathe all things weapons, tactics, and mil-tech. Here’s who they are:

Selected links and show notes from the episode

• Reader comments on the WATM Facebook page

• VICE article: We asked a military expert if all the world’s armies could shut down the US

• How long the US military would last in a war against the rest of the world

• IMDb: Red Dawn (1984)

• The top 10 militaries in the world, ranked [9:20]

• Russia’s only carrier is a floating hell for the crew [9:45]

• China’s new carrier will be an updated version of its first one [10:20]

• Here is why the US is the most powerful country that has ever existed [12:35]

• Swamp Fox Memorial: The legend of the Swamp Fox (General Francis Marion is credited as the Father of Guerilla Warfare) [18:35]

• Mining Everyday Technologies to Anticipate Possibilities:

DARPA’s “Improv” effort asks the innovation community to identify commercial products and processes that could yield unanticipated threats [19:35]

• This was the most powerful explosion ever . . . by a lot [22:15]

• These are the boats you didn’t know the Army had [34:00]

• Cracked article: 6 Powerful Groups You Didn’t Know Have Post-Apocalypse Plans

If The USA Falls, Wyoming Will Pick Up The Pieces [31:10]

• America’s ‘concrete battleship’ defended Manila Bay until the very end [32:15]

• For fun: Articles about the F-35 [36:00]

Music license by Jingle Punks

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  • Beat Meat
Podcast

How to survive any dangerous situation with these deadly skills


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Clint Emerson is not your average U.S. Navy retiree. He’s not your average anything and he never was. That might be why so many Fortune 500 companies want Emerson to not only speak at their corporate gatherings but also teach them how to survive some extreme circumstances.

Emerson is a former Navy SEAL and the author of a number of books, notably 100 Deadly Skills: The SEAL Operative’s Guide Eluding Pursuers, Evading Capture, and Surviving Any Dangerous Situation. He also wrote 100 Deadly Skills: Survival Edition and Escape the Wolf: Risk Mitigation Personal Security Handbook for the Traveling Professional.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
Clint Emerson is a retired US Navy SEAL, New York Times Best Sellers author, and crisis management professional.

In his books, he covers everything from making a homemade taser to teaching your children how to handle themselves during an active-shooter situation. No one needs to be a sheep among wolves when going about their daily lives – and Emerson wants you to know how to handle yourself.

“Violence is not limited to bad guys,” Emerson says. “Violence is okay for good people to activate and use against anything coming your way.”

He spent 20 years in the Navy as what he calls a “violent nomad.” But it was a lifelong dream. In this episode of Mandatory Fun, he describes how a chance meeting in an airport with a man who claimed to be a SEAL altered the course of his life forever.

But he wants you to be a violent nomad in the same way – he wants to make you self-reliant, able to self-rescue, and capable of helping others in any given situation, be they natural disasters, man-made crises, or medical emergencies. And you can do it without hiring him and his consulting firm to show you what “violence of action” means.

“This kind of violence of action can save your life,” he says. “You just need to know how to turn it on.”

Mandatory Fun guest: Clint Emerson — Retired US Navy SEAL, New York Times Best Sellers author, and crisis management professional. Learn more about Emerson at:

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.

Podcast

Podcast: This is how drunken shenanigans influence pilot callsigns

 


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake, Shannon, Tim, and O.V. discuss the interesting process of how Air Force pilots receive their callsigns.

In the military, callsigns are considered much more than just a name — they’re meant to capture the personality and spirit of the person.

When you think of the characters in “Top Gun,” you’re not thinking of Pete Mitchell or Nick Bradshaw — it’s Maverick and Goose, and they probably have hilarious stories that explain where those names came from. Those stories are told in a naming ceremony.

The details and traditions vary, but the rite of passage is usually met with drinks and shenanigans. Like a roast, the pilot sits front and center while his or her buddies one-by-one regale a story and propose a callsign related to it.

“It’s kind of like a roasting,” Air Force veteran Shannon Corbeil humorously explains. “This is where you get to make fun of your friends.”

The squadron then collectively debates and votes on the final name.

Related: These are the wars we’d fight in if we had a time machine

 

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
When you see it.

Although the other branches use radio callsigns and nicknames, the pilot’s callsign is highly meaningful, as is the ridiculous and amazing ceremony behind it!

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

Shannon Corbeil: Air Force veteran and On-Camera Host

hauntedbattlefields

Spooky military ghost stories and urban legends


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There’s a lot of death in the military; that’s what happens in wars — people kill each other. Whether it’s by partaking in the fighting or as a result of collateral damage, it is inevitable.

According to popular myth — mostly what we’ve watched during all those Halloween specials — people become ghosts by suffering a violent or unfair death. By this reasoning, bases and battlefields are gold mines for spooky military ghost stories.

Join us for a ghostly episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast where we explore the lost souls and vengeful spirits roaming military bases and battlefields in the afterlife.

Hosted by:

• Logan Nye: Army veteran and Associate Editor

• Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Senior Contributor

• Tracy Woodward: Benevolent smartass and Social Media coordinator

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

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Selected links and show notes:

  • The 5 best military ghost stories
  • That time US soldiers pretended to be vampires and ghosts to scare the hell out of the enemy
  • A bunch of US troops think they saw Bigfoot in Vietnam
  • The 6 craziest military myths
  • 5 wild conspiracy theories that turned out to be true
  • [02:00] Logan’s Stonewall Jackson hometown ghost story.
  • [06:50] General Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold’s haunted house at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
  • [09:50] The reason why there’s a lot of military ghosts stories at the Air Force museum.
  • [10:55] The military ghost story about the “Hop-along,” a Korean/Vietnam era H-19 Sikorsky helicopter whose seat is still stained with the blood of the pilot who died in it.
  • [14:30] The ghost story about the B-29 Superfortress “Bockscar” that dropped the second atomic bomb — “Fat Man” — over Japan during World War II.
  • [15:30] The ghost story about the B-24 Liberator downed over North Africa.
  • [16:20] The Nazi ghosts roaming the Air Force museum.
  • [17:45] The ghost story about the B-24 Liberator “Strawberry Bitch.”
  • [20:00] The dreadful feeling visitors get around the “Prisoner of War” exhibit at the Air Force museum.
  • [22:50] The urban story about aliens at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
  • [30:05] The ghost story about “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
  • [37:15] The never ending battle at “Little Big Horn.”
  • [39:50] The ghosts haunting Warren Air Force Base.
  • [41:45] The ghosts haunting the USS Hornet, an old Navy aircraft carrier turned museum.

Music license by Jingle Punks

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Podcast

We showed a civilian how to be a vet, here’s what we got




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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with standup comedian turned actor Tone Bell.

Tone isn’t a veteran, but on the Netflix show Disjointed he plays a soldier with multiple combat deployments under his belt who deals with everyday veteran issues like trauma and transitioning out of the military.

You may remember Tone from a few other shows he’s been on like 9JKL, The Flash, Truth Be Told, and Bad Judge with Kate Walsh.

Disjointed’ s producers and creative minds went to great lengths to develop his character and to get the veteran portion right. One of his character advisors on the show is WATM’s resident Green Beret Chase Millsap

Related: This Green Beret will change what you know about action movies

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
Tone Bell as Carter in Disjointed doing what he does best — create comedy.

In the show, “Carter” works as a security guard in a marijuana dispensary at Ruth’s Alternative Caring owned by Ruth Feldman (played by Kathy Bates).

To play the role, Tone spent countless hours prepping the character by talking with veterans throughout his creative process and combing through the script with Chase.

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America
Dank (Chris Redd), Dabby (Betsy Sodaro), and Carter (Tone Bell) marvel at their newest marijuana ventilator. (Image source: Tone Bell’s Facebook Fan Page)

In the event, Tone reads a portion of the script where he felt the “Carter” character felt synthetic — he’d immediately voice his concerns with the producers.

Tone receives several direct messages daily on social media from veterans who respect how he has portrayed the veterans on the screen. This notion promotes that aspect that showcasing veteran issues in a witty and comedic way is possible without the actor going too over-the-top with their performance.

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

This unique process of prepping for a military role with the help of veterans will hopefully create a shift throughout the entertainment space that departs from Hollywood’s version of the armed forces.

All of Disjointed episodes are currently streaming on Netflix — so check it out. It’s freakin’ hilarious.

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

Special Guest: Standup comedian turned actor Tone Bell

Podcast

This is how the US will respond when World War III erupts


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With the conflicts in the Middle East and America’s tumultuous relationships with Russia and China, it’s not hard to imagine the final chapter in the World War trilogy. While fighting a conflict on the World War scale won’t be fun, there’s sure to be plenty of fireworks. Luckily, America and NATO-affiliated countries have prepared for such a scenario.

In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast, we discuss which American forces will be the first on the scene when World War III erupts.

Related: If the modern American military conducted the 1944 D-Day landings

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

Music licensed by Jingle Punks:

  • Let’s Get Saxy
  • Goal Line
  • Method

Sebastian Junger talks war, vet reintegration, and what’s wrong with America

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