Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock is a Marine Corps legend and one of the most lethal snipers in history. His incredible true-life war stories are the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast we talk about his sniper duels, that time he crawled two miles to kill a Vietnamese general, and more. Don’t miss this episode of a real American badass.
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.
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.
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.”
NOTE: O.V. was wrong about the bull decapitation being part of a Gurkha ceremony. The animal sacrifice video he was referencing during the podcast is part of the Gadhimai Festival in Bariyapu, Nepal. But, the Kukri knife IS used during the animal beheadings.
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.
August Dannehl: Navy veteran, WATM show producer and chef – Augie is the host of our popular video series, “HURRY UP AND WATCH!” where he breaks down some of our favorite military movies in three minutes. He also cooks, hosts and produces “Meals Ready To Eat” a show that takes him around the world to bring people together with food. More about Augie:
Steven Briggs: Comedian, actor, and USO entertainer – Briggs is an LA-based comedian and performer having appeared on TV, clubs, and theaters across the US. He’s also a USO entertainer and has traveled abroad to deliver laughter and entertainment to the troops through the ‘Apocalaughs’ tour. Learn more about Steven:
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with poet, activist, filmmaker, actor, and Navy SEAL veteran of 22 years, Mikal Vega.
Vega joined the Navy at 17, entered the EOD profession for roughly nine-years, and deployed multiple times around the world in support of SEAL teams. After working with SEALs, he decided that’s what he wanted to do with the rest of his career.
At 28, Vega earned a spot on SEAL teams and added a few more tours of duty to his already impressive resume.
After being honorable discharged in 2012, Vega started a non-profit called Vital Warrior, providing Kundalini Yoga for veterans, first responders, and active duty service members.
But, this wasn’t enough for the motivated sailor.
Vega went on to express his creative side by entering the world of film and television and now serves as a military advisor on the hit NBC military-drama, The Brave.
The Brave — “Stealth” Episode 108 —Pictured: (l-r) Noah Mills as Sergeant Joseph “McG” McGuire, Natacha Karam as Sergeant Jasmine “Jaz” Khan, Mike Vogel as Captain Adam Dalton, Hadi Tabbal as Agent Amir Al-Raisani, Demetrius Grosse as CPO Ezekiel “Preach” Carter (Photo by Lewis Jacobs via NBC)
As veterans, we have a surplus of talent and creativity that we can draw from stemming from our unique military service and experiences.
Like many combat vets who are fans of narrative filmmaking, Vega uses his in-depth training to bring the realism of combat tactics to the screen.
The Brave cast — Pictured: (l-r) Tate Ellington, Demetrius Grosse, Anne Heche, Dean Georgaris, Executive Producer/Co-Showrunner/Creator; Mike Vogel, Sophia Pernas, Hadi Tabbal, Natacha Karam, Noah Mills, Mikal Vega, Technical Advisor. (Photo by Paul Drinkwater via NBC)
NBC’s The Brave focuses on a group of elite Special Operatives who embark on the most challenging and dangerous missions around the world to save the innocent lives behind enemy lines.
During his service, Vega held many positions, such as a SEAL Platoon Leading Chief Petty Officer, Personal Security Detail Shift Leader, U.S. Navy SEAL Combatives Instructor, U.S. Navy SEAL Demolitions Instructor, and Senior Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician.
He’s earned many awards, including the Purple Heart for injuries sustained during Operation Iraqi Freedom, two Bronze Stars with combat valor, the Army Achievement Medal for Operation Joint Guardian Kosovo, and the Navy Achievement Medal.
Vega’s qualifications include, but are not limited to, Navy SEAL, Senior EOD Technician (Bomb Squad), Breacher RSO, HRST Master, free-fall parachutist, U.S. Secret Service, Presidential Security Detail Operations, combat leadership, precision driver, dynamic firearms, SCUBA and closed-circuit diving supervisor, Cold Weather Environment Survival, demolitions instructor, and martial artist.
Following his lifelong passion for acting, he used his career successes to fund Vital Warrior, a system that increases performance and resiliency through non-pharmaceutical stress mitigation techniques that can help veterans and their families recover from wartime trauma.
He was recently elected as president of AK Waters Productions and has acted in film and television productions that include Transformers 3 and Hawaii Five-O among others. Vega lives in Los Angeles with his wife, daughter, and son.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A nickname is a revealing indication of a man or woman’s character. Whether it’s bad or badass, it’s usually determined by peer evaluation — unless there’s something so obvious about a person’s appearance that a nickname is impossible to avoid.
In this episode of the WATM podcast, we discuss our favorite military leader nicknames and how they earned their labels. Some leaders wear them with pride, while others resent their given monikers.
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.
For over a decade, actor Stephen Lang has performed a one-man show based on the real-life stories of eight Medal of Honor recipients. The play has taken him to U.S. military bases and ships around the world performing for the troops and even before the people he portrays. Recently, footage from his performances was stitched together for the film “Beyond Glory.”
For this episode of the We Are The Mighty Podcast we invited Lang to discuss “Beyond Glory” and three Medal of Honor stories from the film.
Lang is an acclaimed stage, TV and film actor; you may know him for his role as Ike in “Tombstone” or as Miles Quaritch, the badass Marine colonel with the scars across his face in the movie “Avatar.” Lang began his career in theater. Broadway roles include his Tony-nominated performance as Lou in “The Speed of Darkness,” Happy in the Dustin Hoffman revival of “Death of a Salesman,” Colonel Jessep in ”A Few Good Men,” and Mike Tallman alongside Quentin Tarantino and Marisa Tomei in “Wait Until Dark.”
Selected links and show notes from the episode:
[01:40] Lewis Millett’s Medal of Honor story – Millett was an Army officer who received the Medal of Honor during the Korean War for leading the last major American bayonet charge.
[05:40] Discussion with Lang about Lewis Millett.
[08:05] Discussion with Lang about James Bond Stockdale.
[10:55] James Bond Stockdale’s Medal of Honor story – Admiral Stockdale was the highest-ranking naval officer held prisoner during the Vietnam War. He received the Medal of Honor for his leadership among the prisoners and work to galvanize the resistance to their captors.
[20:40] Lang’s experience performing for the troops
[22:05] Preparing for a “Beyond Glory” performance.
[26:05] From Navy warships to the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, Lang discusses the unique locations he has performed for the troops.
[28:15] Lang’s drunken experience with Marines during a performance in Bahrain.
[31:15] Common questions from the troops after a “Beyond Glory” performance.
[34:15] Meeting the Medal of Honor recipients Lang portrays in his show.
[36:30] Lang’s painting versus photograph analogy of his performance.
[39:15] Lang’s recognition by the Medal of Honor Society.
[40:50] Avatar sequel and other projects Lang is currently working on.
[45:00] Nick Bacon’s Medal of Honor story – Bacon was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat during the Vietnam War.