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.
You might think that, somewhere along the way, someone in the staff of a senior senator from Kentucky would have figured out what Duffel Blog really was. Instead, in 2012, a concerned constituent actually had the Senator’s office send a formal letter to the Pentagon concerning Duffel Blog’s report of the VA extending benefits to Guantanamo Bay detainees.
Duffel Blog and its writers are more than brilliant. What it does at its best is play the role of court jester – delivering hard truths hidden inside jokes. In the case of Senator McConnell’s office sending a letter of concern to the Pentagon over a Duffel Blog piece, the site was hammering the VA, equating using its services to punishing accused terrorists in one of the most notorious prisons in the world.
We laugh, but they’re talking about the VA we all use – and we laugh because there’s truth to the premise.
Paul Szoldra is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Duffel Blog, former Military and Defense Editor at Business Insider, and was instrumental in the creation of We Are The Mighty. He’s now a columnist at Task & Purpose.
Speaking truth to power is not difficult for Szoldra, even when the power he speaks to is one that is so revered by the American people that it’s nearly untouchable by most other media. We live in an age where criticizing politicians is the order of the day, but criticizing the military can be a career-ending endeavor. You don’t have to be a veteran to criticize military leadership, but it helps.
“If you go back on the timeline far enough, you’ll find a lot of bullsh*t,” Szoldra says, referring specifically to comments made by generals about the now 17-year-old war in Afghanistan. “And I have no problem calling it out, highlighting it where need be.”
Szoldra doesn’t like that the top leadership of the U.S. military exists in what he calls a “bubble” and can get away with a lot because of American support for its fighting men and women — those fighting the war on the ground. Szoldra, who left the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2010, was one of those lower-enlisted who fought the war. When he writes, he writes from that perspective.
“If we’re talking about sending troops into Syria… I wonder what does that feel like to the grunt on the ground,” Szoldra says. “I don’t really care too much about the general and how he’s going to deal with the strategy, I wonder about the 20-something lance corporal that I used to be trying to find IEDs with their feet.”
His work is thoughtful and, at times, intense, but always well-founded. Szoldra also does a semi-regular podcast with Terminal Lance creator, Max Uriarte, where they have honest discussion about similar topics. Those discussions often take more of a cultural turn and it feels more like you’re listening to Marine grunts wax on about the way things are changing – because that’s exactly what it is, with just as much honesty as you’d come to expect from Paul Szoldra and his ongoing body of work.
The times Duffel Blog articles were mistaken for real news
Duffel Blog’s new party game
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, Blake, Chase, Tim, and O.V. discuss what role we’d like to serve in during any war.
Many veterans today are so intrigued by military history, they’ve considered what war they feel like they missed out on. Although when (hypothetically) given the opportunity to change from their real life MOS to whatever occupation they wanted, the podcast crew surprisingly decided to stick to their original area of expertise.
The creator of the military counter-culture comic strip “Terminal Lance”—Max Uriarte—is the guest for this week’s podcast.
Max leads a busy life these days. He just published his much anticipated graphic novel “The White Donkey,” he’s working on building an animation studio, and he continues to publish his wildly popular comic strip.
This episode delves into the origins of the Terminal Lance universe, Max’s film aspirations, and his reasons for getting serious in the “White Donkey.”
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.
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:
Role players are an essential element for troops preparing to travel overseas and face-off with the enemy. They provide a cultural boost by immersing troops in the violent world they’re about to deploy to.
They submerge themselves into training scenarios like mock firefights, ambushes, and suicide bombings — all for the benefit of troops heading to combat.
Some role players themselves are refugees turned Hollywood actors.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake talks with Kelvin Garvanne about his life as an Arabic/Iraqi role player for U.S. ground troops heading into combat.
For the last nine years, Garvanne has provided Islamic culture and language training to military and civilian personnel deploying overseas.
“A role player is basically there to interact with the battalion’s training,” Garvanne explains. “There are different levels on how you can interact. We were all characterized as ‘meat puppets’ which were basically folks who were just there to do whatever was told of us to do. “
These mock firefights consist of loud gunfire (blanks), firework explosions and a Hollywood makeup team to create realistic blood and guts.
Kelvin Garvanne attended the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He is an Emmy award creative artist who is fascinated by the world and enjoys investigating the context of national and world events.
Mr. Garvanne is a native New Yorker who has lived in Washington D.C., Bogota, Colombia, Madrid, Spain, and Los Angeles, CA. He has traveled through several countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Panama, Mexico, and Haiti. For the last nine years, he provided Islamic culture and Iraqi and Pashto language training to military and civilian personnel deploying overseas.
Mr. Garvanne continues to develop opportunities to advise and train military and civilians positioned in careers involving global service. He also develops creative projects to expose the human condition.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we speak with actor, TV host, and former U.S. Army Green Beret, Terry Schappert. You may remember Terry from the popular History Channel show Warriors and, more recently, Hollywood Weaponson 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.
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.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake, Tim, and O.V. speak with Army veteran and fitness expert Jennifer Campbell on what veterans can do during their busy day to stay in shape — especially when going to morning PT isn’t an option.
“Veterans have a 70 percent higher chance of developing obesity than the general public,” Jennifer Campbell says.
The reason for this statistic is due to the dramatic change in a veteran’s daily habit. The majority of the veteran community have been known to cease fire on their work out plans, which creates a negativity jolt the body’s system.
In this episode, we talk on a wide-range of topics including:
[2:00] The daily regiment of a fitness instructor to maintain a healthy lifestyle while still staying “loose.”
[2:40] Information about “Merging Vets & Players,” the growing fitness organization that connects troops and professional athletes.
[4:50] Some positive traits of working out versus taking certain medications.
[6:20] What “Overtraining Syndrome” consists of and how to avoid it.
[10:00] How structured dieting and workouts are necessary for those looking to get into the fitness industry.
[11:40] How to properly test your genetic makeup.
[13:25] If you want to cheat on your diet — a.k.a. cheat days — here’s how to do it the right way.
[18:20] What you can learn about yourself from your genetic markers.
[19:20] Important tips how to stay in shape while working in an office space setting.
[23:20] Some dietary buzz words that freak everyone out.
[30:25] How we can stay looking young using our new health and fitness tools.
[34:45] What type of alcohol we should be drinking if you’re trying to stay in shape.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, the gang comments on some of the biggest challenges the U.S. military will face in the coming days.
Because external challenges are easy for a fighting force like ours, the internal struggles are the ones we really want to talk about. These affect not only the troops themselves, but potentially their families, friends, and morale as well.
1. New physical standards for all
The recent years have been huge for the military community in terms of change. The most important changes include who can join, who can serve openly, and how they can all serve. Even the service chiefs are trying to understand how this will affect everyone.
But at a junior-enlisted or NCO level, we know we’re just going to deal with it, no matter what. Women are going to be in combat, along with transgender troops serving openly. What will the new fitness standards look like? Should there be a universal standard?
2. Mattis is cleaning house
The Secretary of Defense, universally beloved by all service members of all branches, wants the military to become a more lethal, more deployable force. To this end, he wants to rid the branches of anyone who is not deployable for longer than 12 months.
Defense Secretary James N. Mattis hosts with Montenegro’s Minister of Defence, Predrag Bošković, a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Feb. 27, 2018. (DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)
Those numbers are significant, too. Experts estimate up to 14 percent of the entire military is non-deployable in this way, which translates to roughly 286,000 service members. It’s sure to make any military family sweat.
3. Okinawa’s “labor camp”
The Marine Corps’ correctional custody units want to open a sort of non-judicial punishment camp on the Japanese island of Okinawa. The purpose is to give commanders a place to send redeemable Marine who mess up for the first time in their career.
In the military, we joke (sometimes not so jokingly) about the idea of “turning big rocks into little rocks” when we talk about getting caught committing a crime while in the service. Don’t worry — no one actually commits the crime they’re joking about. But what isn’t a joke is hard labor imposed by a military prison sentence. Now, even troops with Article 15 can be forced to turn big rocks into little rocks.
4. A new military pay raise
Yes, the military gets a raise pretty much every year. Is it ever enough? No. Do service members make what they’re worth? Absolutely not. Is Congress even trying? Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Well, this year they’re getting the biggest bump yet after nine years of waiting. Are they worth more? Of course they are.
5. Marine Corps blues face a real challenge
For years (actually, decades), the Marines’ dress uniform has been the uncontested, drop-dead sexiest uniform in the American armed forces. Now, they face a usurper that really does have a shot at challenging their spot at the top of the rankings.
The Army is reverting to one of its classic uniforms from the bygone World War II-era: the pinks and greens. The decision was met with near-universal jubilation from the Army (it was a golden age for the U.S. Army in nearly every way).
Now, former airman Blake Stilwell demands the Air Force develop its own throwback jersey.
Noah Galloway is a veteran who sustained injuries in an IED attack on his second deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005. He lost two of his limbs and sustained severe injuries to his right leg and his jaw.
Like many disabled veterans, Galloway became withdrawn, out of shape and depressed. The former fitness fanatic and athlete was drinking, smoking, and sleeping his days away. But late one night, Galloway realized that there was more to him than the injuries. He walked out of his room realizing that he was setting the example for his boys of what a man is. And for his little girl, the example of how a man should act and it terrified him.
He needed to make a change, and he needed to do it fast. He joined a 24-hour gym and started eating right. He participated in obstacle races and adventure races around the country, such as Tough Mudder, Spartan events, Crossfit competitions plus numerous 5K and 10K races.
Now a personal trainer and motivational speaker, Galloway doesn’t take excuses from his clients, fans, or followers – and finds ways to get things done. Galloway was a season 20 participant of Dancing With The Stars in which he took third place following his appearance on the cover of Men’s Health Magazine and numerous other publications.
Most recently Noah joined WWE Superstar John Cena and three other veterans on American Grit, a military-inspired show on the Fox Network that splits 16 of the toughest men and women into four teams of four who work together to face survival challenges. It’s Galloway’s job to push his team of civilians to act as a team and go beyond their limits.
The show airs Thursday, April 14th at 9/8 central on Fox.
In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, the crew speaks once again with standup comedian-turned-actor Tone Bell.
Tone isn’t a veteran, but as always, there’s a connection. On the Netflix show Disjointed, he plays a veteran who served on three Iraq combat deployments and now deals with the everyday struggles of a combat veteran.
To play the role, Tone studied multiple levels of PTS, the process of veteran transition, and the culture of cannabis, all while bringing his comedic charm to the character. These hot topics would send the average actor running toward the next potential part, but this comedian believes this role only made him a better thespian.
“You just want to get it right,” Tone Bell says. “You want people to appreciate it and not go ‘bullshit’ that’s not the way it happened.”
Tone Bell as “Carter” doing what he does best — exhales the comedy. (Netflix)
Since Hollywood doesn’t have the best track record of getting the veteran characters right, veterans tend to become very harsh in our criticism — something they feel entitled to do.
“It [the role of Carter] took a toll on me as a person in my day-to-day life,” Bell admits.
Since Disjointed Part: 1 debuted on Netflix, Tone received copious amounts of support from the veteran community for finally portraying a veteran the right way and not going over-the-top with his performance.