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Jocko Podcast 90 w/ Travis Mills: 90: Tough As They Come. Soldier. Warrior. Hero.


this is jaco podcast number 90 with echo
Charles and me Jocko Willington good-evening echo good evening as my wife Tori mentioned this past week
has been in one of the most challenging of my life I want to say thanks to my
friends and family for your support you really have no idea how much a few words
of encouragement can mean when you are at a time and place like this thanks
again my platoon is in a very active area of
operations in southern Afghanistan our mission is to close with and destroy the
enemy there is no outside the wire here because there is no wire my boys are
simply always on alert we haven't had a shower since we've been in Afghanistan
we've run non-stop missions and have been very successful at accomplishing
these without experiencing any injuries to our own I'm just trying to paint a
picture of life here and not trying to make you feel sorry for us trust me I
belong here with these guys and we are a family rather I want to paint a picture
because I'd like to tell you about Travis Mills I know you don't know him
but it would mean a lot to me to be able to spread his story my platoon string of
missions without injury came to an abrupt and violent end last week when we
hit a dismounted ie D during combat operations
I had three paratroopers injured from the blast one was minor one was severe
and one was simply beyond words most severe injury was sustained by my
weapon squad leader Travis big Mills I'd like to take the
opportunity to tell you about him even under the conditions that I've described
he is the best of us he was the biggest guy in the platoon and has the biggest
heart to go with it he was eager to please and always cheered us up
he led from the front and was injured because of it he preferred that he take
the injury over any man in his squad he was the most fearless person I have ever
seen in combat when we weren't in combat he was great to have around he woke up
every morning and sang a bunch of different songs to us usually Keysha or
Britney Spears or the songs of some other girl band we had this ritual
anytime we finished a patrol where we had a firefight once we returned to the
strong point he'd run to the front of the formation and sing songs about the
82nd airborne he would do dance gestures and all he even did it for the brigade
commander when he came to visit it was a big hit I laughed at how or he laughed
at how serious I am and how I don't like to be touched
so he made it his personal mission to make me laugh usually this involved an
overly aggressive and a little too intimate man-hug followed by a middle
school style dance where he'd grind on me he kept me sane I laughed at his
antics constantly in combat there's no one we would rather have been with he
risked his life to save others constantly and I can recall two times
specifically where he literally saved me needless to say I took his injury hard
including the personal that a leader feels when he is
responsible for his men so I wanted to tell you these things everyone is asking
how I'm doing yes I am hurting but you know I'm gonna be okay more importantly
Travis is going to be okay the truth is I've seen things here so terrible that
I'll never be able to put them into words
Travis's injury being at the top of the list but I've also seen things here so
wonderful that I'll never be able to put them into words either I know that
sounds crazy but it's true how do you put into words this spirit like the one
I've just described in big mils the reality of it is that I have the honor
of leading people like Travis there are many more in my platoon just like him so
while I've seen some things I'd like to never talk about again I've seen just as
many that I'll spend the rest of my life trying to explain to anyone who will
listen I've seen a tremendous love and care between brothers that have only
each other to rely on and have only one care to bring each other home it's a
selfless deep everlasting bond that I consider myself lucky and absolutely
privileged to be a part of thank you so much again for your support but know
that I am fine I am exactly where I need to be right now my family here is taking
care of each other and we will persevere as one now that is a letter that was written to
friends and family at home from lieutenant Zach Lewis commander of first
Platoon Bravo troop for 73rd cavalry squadron fourth Brigade Combat Team of
the 82nd Airborne Division the all Americans and I think that letter
describes Staff Sergeant Travis Mills as only a fellow platoon member could explaining his unbelievably positive
attitude his courage under fire and his unwavering leadership and tonight I am
honored beyond words to have the man that lieutenant Lewis spoke of Travis
Mills here with us to talk through his experiences on the battlefield and off
Travis welcome to the show good evening thank you for having me yeah now I'm
gonna say this upfront I was a little nervous about having you on because this
show has a reputation of being very serious and very solemn and I know that
you have an issue with both of those terms in a broad perspective so for
those either that haven't heard anything from Travis before there's not a lot of
serious stuff that Travis does so serious comedian and
hilarious guy with an incredible attitude
welcome to show man thanks for coming on No thank you so much I'll do my best to
be serious I think my all TV described it very well in that letter he wrote to
his family I made sure that I kept the spirits up
and I would hug him and everything like that but under fire was a whole
different person yeah yeah no I thought he did a great job of capturing you know
what everyone's feeling over there and well I didn't I didn't go in Afghanistan
but what dissimilar to what we'd fill in Iraq and you know I talk about this a
lot about the fact that this is why guys miss combat you know you miss combat
even though it's when you're over there and you're in this crappy situation and
you're like I can't wait to get home but then when you get home you have that
little thing in the back your mind that says that misses that camaraderie which
only comes from that place so he did a good job of describing that so I think
to end to understand where a man ends up we kind of got to understand where a man
comes from so going back to the beginning
the young Travis Mills the young Travis Mills and you know how you grew up and
all that talk a little bit about that yeah I'm from Michigan when I go around
I speak throughout the nation I always say is anybody from Ohio before tell me
from Michigan yeah OAH and then they yell IO and they get real passionate and
then I yell sucks you know and I get I get some boos but I'm from a small town
in Michigan right around the thumb area I grew up playing football basketball in
baseball I have an older sister younger brother my parents are phenomenal people
and you know just good wholesome values and then I went to college to play
football after high school was over and decided that probably wasn't the right
time for me to go to college and take it serious so I went to sue so hold on so
you were playing three sports in in high school and
I I got a quote from your book in here by the way I'm gonna read it I was the
fun kid who lived at the end of your block I was big for my age and for a lot
of boyhood years I had a big gap between my two front teeth yeah
now is that a negative thing no okay cuz some of us at the table here still have
a gap between our faces I'm just saying I on the sides now right
but I like to wear my hair my hair shaved in a buzz cut particularly in the
summers when it got hot with that Opie Taylor kind of look I fit in this small
town America and he did karate by the way you're looking at the 1993 create
cry state champion I was six but that's it's not a competitive age bracket for
karate champ in a back kick over on that breaking rib actually you had a contest
here I'm gonna I'm gonna read about it it wasn't all easy and one of my first
karate matches I got kicked hard in the sternum and couldn't breathe I gasped
panic and tried to suck air when my normal breathing didn't return
immediately I raised my hand and forfeited the match I'm kind of
disappointed my dad rushed over Travis what are you doing you forfeit a match
you net you never forfeit a match no matter how hard you're hurting you never
quit ever yeah my dad was appointed in me too so I never did again and then I
just I don't know I just went harder the rest of that after that I just my dad
taught me good values my mom took karate with me so don't mess with your mom
either no no wow yeah she's 5 foot 2 125 pounds
how did how did she produce your big ass yeah I don't know I don't know if I was
your dad 511 no kidding yeah yeah but I was 6 foot 3 when I was at my walk
around weight and the first match I ever had I had a girl and she beat me cuz I
wasn't hit her yeah and then I was cleared to like hit girls and I thought
that okay so next wife I didn't went went to town on you know put a whooping
and now I know you don't hit girls either way so I
learned you know that's a lose-lose situation
didn't your mom your mom told you no go hit her yes a book like she was like hey
listen you got to go beat her up well okay so is competition and she was in my
you know they don't have this separate gender bracket so everybody's the same
and the first girl I faced I wasn't hit and I lost about and then the next girl
after that my mom was like you can you can hit I was like oh okay so I just
like you're going down puberty and everything didn't hit yet that was seven
for me the football team Vince Laville do I say that right I'll
levy a okay well you know I know about so much of a French speaker over on my
end or whatever that language is might know his name I would have said the same
thing here's how he described you the first time I met Travis he was in Middle
School at track meet I'd heard about him so I went over to watch him he won the
shotput which meant she was strong then he ran over then he ran over to the
100-yard hurdles and won those two 20 was fast you don't see that combination
a lot I knew that this kid was gonna be a special athlete in high school he
became a superstar three Sport athlete baseball basketball and football he was
the leader on each team and made first-team all-conference in all three
sports with football he was definitely a big cog in our team's wheel we were the
smallest school in our conference and we got beat up for a lot of years but his
junior year Travis and his friends got into weightlifting and powerlifting and
went to all the football camps that year we won the conference championship and
made the playoffs for the first time ever Travis's work ethic moated
everybody motivated everybody everybody got stronger because Travis was their
leader jack and steel how did you how did you what like got you what made you
start lifting coach the NBA and when I was in seventh sixth seventh grade
he said that after school if I wasn't playing a sport I had to go lift weights
and he was a vice principal of the high school so having friends in high places
is nice you get in trouble you don't really get in trouble you know
the story yeah the story in there about me getting in trouble in class freshman
year what did you do I broke whose childish never mind but just tell us
what you did it's in the book you know my buddy farted in class got kick in the
hallway so then my other buddy did so I wanted to go out there so I finally let
one rip so I can go out in the hallway and he took us into the office but you
just said guys knock it off you can't do this anymore too much protein powder oh
that's all yeah so my buddy Eric he got his parents are very competitive like
mine were and we were both the team captains and stars of the show if you
will so I went home and said hey can I get some cell taconite Rotech and it was
before like they had the rally regulations on it my parents like no you
can't do that like well Eric's parents let him get it maybe wasn't true right
Eric we're home said the same thing to his parents so we both got to get on
those and I mean you know protein powders yeah that's gonna disrupt
science class ya know I mean it was fun you know everybody I worked at a grocery
store after the football games the old man would come in drink coffee and hang
out with me yeah and my boss just like the owner of the store just accepted it
like the wives would shop and they just let you get away with it yeah that the
water cooler was a coffee pot and we just hang out tell me what I did wrong
what I did right very varsity about varsity blues talent right right
big-time yeah yeah I saw some video footage of you at those games that it
was like madness at those games well the one the one run I had was it looked
pretty good on film yeah look pretty good to me is one time I did anything
special so you get done with your senior year of football and did you maintain
the high level of discipline in your grades after that point with a
girlfriend that has a 4.0 oh so my grades went right down yeah no more
study partner no no more like she would help you homework yeah be in the same
class and write left-handed for the scratch work you handed to me right
nothing like that and so that that meant did you get looked at did you get looked
at for college ball I did I had a couple offers for baseball and football
d2 a couple d1 smaller D ones and for some reason my guidance counselor he
just I think he just knew mr.

Sampson great guy he
kind of figured I wasn't gonna like college and be disciplined enough so
he's like what about this Community College they're really good and you can
go there and play football and I decided to go there and I just I mean I was cut
off for football I wasn't cut out for the study in there at that time in my
life right and so you went there for what a one-year semester once a man and
my girlfriend was like you should move on so I did yeah in that met her
boyfriend Colin then I joined the army he's back in my life how'd this happen
yeah yeah lately I haven't talked I haven't yeah look him up I mean he
worked at a golf course when I found everything out so I got my buddy up and
went over there wide wide she tell you to come home I
could be by I guess I don't know I was like hey what's this about and then she
finally broke down told me I was like oh hey did you know the army was taking
people and giving bonuses see yeah yeah because you were in debt you ran up I
was you know I was about 10 grand in debt free college but that was for the
whole year the baseball coach asked me to play there to date
yeah but then you uh you're in debt you're Colin was it on the scene now
that kind of threw a loop so you end up joined the army I joined the army I went
to all the recruiters and the army had the best thing going which was cash
twenty four thousand dollars that today no idea yeah
does did Budweiser get any of that money you know nah I don't I'm actually I'm
not a beer if not a bruiser no no no it's not that far I'm a whiskey fans
okay but uh no I mean I just I saw a way to pay my bills back way to travel and
do some more fun stuff I went there to be an electrician and they showed me
airborne video I was like I want that oh yeah the old deal what's that called
bait and switch yeah yeah yeah what I really want to do is I want to get a
good on thing you know where I can carry on in the civilian life and have a good
trade that you're after that I can bring back the civilian world they're like
watch this video that's me that's all showed you and uh is it like airborne
recruiting video well to be honest Vidya I was a ranger regiment recruiting
video and I signed up for all that but then all the rumors were like if you
don't make it you're going to Korea and I'm like I don't wanna go out Korea yeah
and then twenty-two of my friends went to Fort Bragg because you got to pick
your duty stations they were filling up the new brigades they're like oh you
guys we need you to fill in here and you can pick where you go so all of us from
basic training went because what year is this 2006 oh yeah so that's so it's
totally different from me because I joined the Navy in 1990 oh yeah that's
before I was doing a christ a champion yeah yeah we're talking old school yeah
so there's no war going on and even though in my mind I always thought like
the seals were just like fighting wars worldwide at all times which was not
true but I thought that but yeah it wasn't like everyone that was joining
the military it's not like when you guys joined the your generation people joined
you knew you're gonna warn oh absolutely you know I the biggest regret actually
do have and and not to kiss up to tell you what you've done but it's not trying
to go to the Rangers or go special forces or to see the Ignite I didn't
even try it I wish I would have well you would have did you start thinking about
that further in your career absolutely I was gonna come back and I was either
gonna go recruiter and get my last year and a half of college so I went to
college when I could I took college out on reinvestments and that was gonna try
to go recruiter to go ahead and get my degree and then go to the Special
Operations world because if you don't do it that way if you could become an
officer lady you gotta go back through the queue okay but there was either
gonna be go right to Special Operations and try that out or go become an officer
and then go but yeah I just you know I know I have no excuse at first it's a
weird thing it's a weird thing and I don't really like anybody like I was if
you compare you as an athlete in high school and me as an athlete in high
school it's not even comparable you you were like ten times the athlete I was
for some reason I was stupid enough to think like I can make it through that
training and you weren't smart enough to go like I can make that because you
would on this the saddest thing is with the whole the Ranger contract I had and
all these guys were going and I got to talk to my buddies at going to Fort
Bragg I ran into a bunch of them they're like oh yeah we made it I was like oh my
gosh I could it's an interesting it's an interesting it's actually humility it's
you being came in you know I don't know I played
you know football and baseball and ran track or was on is that right well
basketball football baseball and basketball I'm a great athlete but I
might not make a few that's that's actually a form of humility you know I
think it is I was just yeah I don't know her head was that I just I you know
looking back now I'm embarrassed about it a little bit and I wish I I wish I
would have went and tried it out I mean I live a really good life I have a
wonderful wife and everything not to jump ahead to beautiful children so
life's life's good as bad as a situation I'm you know I found myself in in April
of 2012 but but looking back I wish I would have tried something yeah yeah I
mean but the 82nd airborne is which is where you ended up is a freaking awesome
unit oh I yeah I mean kool-aid everybody's like all about standards
how'd you like and this is something I because a lot of people that listen to
podcast they join the military believe it or not and like we just met a
guy the other day who's going September 18th going the marine corps but I always
want to tell them like when you show up with your boot camp it's gonna be a
shock to your system right I mean it is gonna be you're gonna lack of sleep it's
not gonna be stuff that you're used to it
it sounds like you got a little you know shock to your system and you showed up
there of just normal military stuff and well I guess my point in saying that is
when you show up to boot camp boot camp listen is is not gonna be fun for you
it's gonna be transition I mean you can mentally prepare all day yeah you know
and then you get yelled at and you're like I'm doing it wrong leave me alone
it made me coleslaw I don't like coleslaw the first thing like I come out
on the leg gets coleslaw for lunch I'm like and then after I eat the coleslaw
at first I'm like watch me eat this and then the next time at dinner I'm like
okay finally no coals over cuz I'm a big bastard you ate first I remember you you
get to school you know so yeah yeah that's that's boot camp right yeah
that's perfect I always thought when I talk to you
Larry going I like just play the game yeah understand it's gonna end and make
the army what you can make it like make it work for you you understand the job
you're getting yourself into and things like that because people ask
what you still join if you know what happened I said yeah absolutely I would
I enjoyed every second I was gonna be a twenty year guy I figured there that
relisted and you know just you know yeah it's cool it's a cool thing that you
wrote kind of as you're wrapping up bootcamp you're thinking about September
11th you know like I said that for you is one that you clearly knew that going
in in 2006 and he said I remember feeling a ragged mix of emotions anger
confusion dismay and wondering why anybody would want to do this to us I
was American I understood we'd been attacked and that
our country was now at war and that when there's a war somebody needs to have the
courage and intestinal where would fall to do the actual defending fighting and
unavoidable killing that accompany military actions that would turn out to
be me and that's another thing that people need to think about if you're
joining the military and I've gone through this with a bunch of people that
you know I this happened a long time ago this parent you know said can you come
talk to my son and he really wants to be seal and I was like yeah sure no problem
and so I meet this kid strapping young kid looks super happy and positive and
he does water polo and he's a great athlete and he's a guy I really want to
join the SEAL Teams you know what what advice do you have for me I'm like are
you ready to kill people and are you ready to die and it was like the whole
room got Walters them too but they're looking at me like I'm crazy but my
point was like that's what the military is you kill people and you risk your
life that's that's what the military is I mean yeah absolutely they have the
combat and non-combat combat MLS's you know just in every service so with
the SEAL Teams with a for true that's that's what your job is and you're
willing to risk your life for others I mean it's just when I signed up I was
like yeah I'm ready to do this but you never really understand everything and
then when you go through basic training they show you all these videos and a lot
of it they showed a lot of Band of Brothers stuff which is what got me
interested in going into the military and I just took it as like this is what
out is what I'm going to do this is awesome yeah but but I get what you're
saying that people ask me can you talk myself out of doing this and I'm like no
that's like that no you can't you can't talk yeah young man
the stones find people that want to tell you like well I was gonna join but then
I I did this and I'm like I don't I don't care like don't you know and
everybody I talked to not everybody but like I talked to they got to give me
their worst story possible I was like oh I got a brothers friend that lost two
legs you know yeah bear trap okay okay so I know what
you're going through okay do you are watch out for the bear trap I know sneak
up on you now my brother's friends okay dude this cracked me up you're at
Airborne School most you're doing your first jumps to you five jumps and
everyone's cool most back to the book most were without incident except my
third jump which was supposed to be a daytime combat jump with full gear on
the way down I dropped my rucksack too slowly you're supposed to release it
when you come to the tree line but when I released the pack it stayed just ahead
of me and I landed on top of the metal frame frame ouch I yelled and pained the
jumpmaster was already on the ground and yelled back at me did you bring
something private Mill's I said no he glared at me and added the shut up I
shut up the airborne schools really funny and so this is what happened to me
at Airborne School I was a first review I'm not like um I'm a person that falls
fast through the air when parachuting I don't know why I'm just one of those
people you don't float though I don't flow and and the other thing was I
didn't like doing a PLF which is the proper way to land which is you keep
your feet and knees together and then you like act like you have one big leg
and that's the way you're supposed to prevent getting injured breaking your
ankle or knee or whatever and so when I was parachuting at Airborne School I
wasn't really doing a PLF I was just kind of athletically landing on my feet
right so anyways they got these loudspeakers down on the on the field
and has all these new guys all of us are just new and the guys on the megaphone
he goes and he's talking to me because my feet are apart and I'm just gonna do
an athletic thing he goes feet knees together airborne feet be together every
one feet me together of orange feet needs to get airborne
you all right airborne so uh yeah I thought that was funny that
correct did it hurt no I I didn't get hurt that's impressive
get hurt cuz yeah you know I was I was actually a jump master direct towards
the end of my you know military yeah time that was in and you know got the
balls of feet calf time you know I had an although you dialed all those
instructors how long is it the jumpmaster school will be an instructor
at Fort Benning well at MIT so it's completely different so well I mean it's
not that much different I guess but for me it was like a three week course and I
was able to like check people's equipment but they didn't make you
memorize the term and all they did didn't know did they
you gotta memorize like the pre jump brief and everything yeah stuff like
that but no like like this is a nylon stitch with five thousand drain test and
steel it's stronger than America that's don't waste our than America no way but
you know they don't they don't do that to you
yeah that's that's a good times you're getting ready for your first deployment
you show up at 82nd airborne you're you're there you're getting ready for
your first deployment you know you're going to Afghanistan and you're leaving
just after Christmas and here we're going to the book
my dad didn't talk to me about leaving over the next few days we hung out and
did whatever we normally did but most he said during that time was be sure to
keep your head down then the day before I left dad told me a story about when he
went into the army he'd taken washable paint and written a note to his parents
in their shower stall where they were sure to be able to see it it said one
short sentence of reassurance all will be fine early the morning that I left I
took a washable marker and went into my parents bathroom right above the faucets
where they were sure to see it I wrote the same short message all will be fine
I was miles away from the house when my dad called he told me he saw the note I
didn't say much and he didn't say much he told me he loved me then his voice
became hoarse and his words of support for me came out broken and first time going on the pointed and it
was it was a little rough too because a guy from my hometown a marine he was a
buddy of mine as my baseball coach his brothers in my grade
the day after Christmas on the 26th he got shot by a sniper in Iraq and ended
up right through his heart and he didn't make it home so his uh my brother's
actually his girlfriend was his that this chris is a little sister and she
was at my house and I found out from from friends that what had happened
before the family found out from people that were deployed with the unit so I
mean I was that was roughing my parents you know to have me you know in a couple
weeks going overseas and then I'm at home and they after Christmas you know a
guy gets shot that I know yeah there's that's well I think that's
one of the hardest things for when when military families see someone wounded or
killed they know that that could be there mm-hmm
their loved one and that's why that that's I mean two days before you're
leaving man that's harsh and and we're good we're close friends with the family
like like I said is the his dad coached me from I think ten years old up to
fourteen and yeah I have 14 or 15 but you know knew the family are they well
so so is little rough and things like that for a bit on my parents but you
know people now when they see me they say hey do you go and speak to a lot of
military things I'm like you know I don't really do that that much they want
me to come in I will but I'm not sure but guys won't even want to see me on
stage say hey guys you're gonna be a okay
you know okay let's try not go out I mean I mean I talked a lot of companies
but when it comes down that I'm like hey guys you'll be good over there it's like
some movie that that six I don't know what it is but they're like maple tree
made me the man I am today yeah yeah I've never seen it maggot told
that line and he's got like two fake legs he's good really with movie quotes
especially bad movies I'm so glad I forgot you were here
no it's great every now and then chime in so your first deployment what do you are
you need three Ernie for um when I went over there I think I was in III that's
I'm I've been an e2 actually my day yeah I was only again a military like six
months for I deployed that's crazy I was a good time I work
for a colonel yeah you're doing basically PSD for the colonel right yeah
yeah so like try being like a young private
you go to a unit that's non temperature you don't get treated like crap you work
for a lieutenant colonel right who's a direct descendant of
Colonel Custer he's a it was his great uncle hey the guy's just as wild Scotty
D and he always walk around what's better pair of aces guys two pair and he
show like the double a's on his armor and a phenomenal guy really and we just
go around him so we ever got yelled at or my my team leader was was a kook
sergeant rush like if we if we ever got yelled at he just go to the colonel be
like hey so they're bothering us in the Kremlin don't you doctor my guys and I'm
like this is so nice being protected I'm literally a colonel so that was a
relatively cush and you were living on a if you were the colonel I'm assuming you
were living in like pretty good fob Salerno oh yeah and they have like hard
buildings in the head tents we were in the very first hard building babe oh we
all went in and bus satellite internet I had a shower everyday hot meals how
often are you rolling out into town every day okay but we'd go out to
government work and come back okay you know and I was in the gym I'd go at 8
o'clock I don't like be in the gym with people like I was like I don't know one
on my machines and I super said it a lot so I go from 8:00 to 11:00 at night just
crush it in the midnight chow which is like the greatest thing ever no crowd
you just you like I was like omelets and hot wings are there oh you get the combo
breakfast and dinner scenario boom you know I know you're a much cooler guy
than me but when you get the midnight shower at 5:00 Sal I'm sorry yeah I want
the hot wings I'll take pancakes and mashed potatoes
gravy on that and you guys it sounds like on that first it well you didn't
you didn't even shoot you even shoot your gun first point didn't have two
guys on patrols every day I had a suicide bomber run off the house and
like detonate on the front of our truck it's just like an idiot you know be like
in like you know it's nut sacs hanging off the light and there's you know but
he's just the trucks not hurting it's like genius bro genius job well done
hey for effort yeah I got F for judgment yeah yeah but
still that I mean that that having a suicide bomber hit your truck that's
like that's at least a reality check out a minimum well I mean yeah so is it was
it was our one of our front trucks and then also we had a guy run up on the
colonel open in a hospital and detonate himself I was in the truck at that time
like in the gun but we just found out if we go out there we just make sure
everybody knows were really aware every time we take a turn
you know our guns are rotating we're not sleeping we're up and out we didn't
really get messed with and in that and that helped I mean I was you know I was
in a place where there was bombs and things like that but I was protected you
know yo D would roll out before the current one anywhere oh that's right
yeah how many guns how many gun trucks did you take on a convoy just before oh
just four of us would him in the three truck or two truck he's in the two I was
down at the first like six months nice and then I was I moved to like be a TC
but it the threat level was like medium I mean cuz you take yeah you take a
bigger convoy with more aggressive facilities if I was in the hump it was
all Humvees we were for like any other and I had a 249 like his mic what my
main weapon I the saw yeah they're like yeah okay the front truck
yup 50 Cal back truck we're gonna give you a mark and you just gonna get a saw
yeah it was like Oh awesome thank you so I had a head I saw that's what I put it
up there like it was a big old gun yeah that's awesome
good times yeah why I didn't think of you a real gun up there and I get that I
had 22 at the time guys found a way for me to get some of their self image
wonderful now you would for is this is this deployment you went for a home for
R&R on it is and you had your first meeting first meeting with one of your
platoon mates sisters you know I love it I love to antagonize people and I got a
myspace friend request and I thought man this is must be a dating pages that you
know cowgirl hat round blouse shirt or whatever jean skirt I was like
that's a dating site you know there's ad wait a second huh that last name seems
my medic let's do some investigation he was home on R&R and I was looking
through I was like that's his little sister she's 18 so it's legal and I was
just like except you know and we started chitchat and I just did to make him mad
you know but we ended up enjoying each other's company the first time we ever
met I was like I deserve a vacation I've been here 11 and 1/2 months you know I
got coming home for 18 days you wanted want to go on vacation she's like yeah
sure so beside we're gonna go to Cozumel
Mexico how'd you how'd you talk the her dad into that she was 18 so she did what
she 100 I guess I don't know he didn't kill me so yeah every right and so you
go to Mexico it's your first days like hey I'm just gonna take you to Mexico
yeah yeah you guys Isao north at $24,000 when I know exactly where I went to
Mexico then back to Michigan for a week I had a great time she went back to
Texas had to go back overseas I got held up in Atlanta so I called her up was
like hey I'm in Atlanta for the night you want to come and she said yeah but
she came out next morning saying our goodbyes crop it out – you're streaming
from her face she's like I love you and I'm like I'm no idiot so I love you –
yeah I didn't pause yeah there's like in between her stops I want marry you I'm
like yeah I get that but you know in my head I said that cuz I was like I want
to marry you to real Casanova here jump on that airplane to get back overseas
give her a call right 24 hours later in Afghanistan I'm like hey what's going on
baby she's like guess what I don't know what the weddings planned feels calm bought her a ring called her
dad and whatnot yeah I guess that's cool and like well okay thanks
yeah then we got married how did her brother feel about you he was it was her
brother in your platoon with oh he was my magic yeah I actually rode in the
same truck as me oh my Colonel would pick on him on the radio
hey fuck what you think Mills doing with your sister that's how I say I'm like
breaking let that go what do you mean I'm standing up in the
truck you know and Josh just yeah hammer me in the backseat and I'm like no no no
don't do this don't do this here but now he was a good guy he's like he told mom
and dad's like look I know how it looks he's actually a good
kind really nice so see how it works out and I ended up marrying her yeah yeah no
that's awesome man that's that's a great story you detail it in here that it's
pretty it's pretty unbelievable you know that you pulled all that off well in the
kernel was actually setting me up to go to the prep school in Virginia for West
Point uh-huh he's like you should be playing football my my lieutenant at the
time lieutenant Phillips now he's a major but
maybe as a colonel now but um he was training he was a football coach and he
holds a record in Chicago yeah most consecutive losses at the school he was
coaching at in high school yeah they were that bad great guy though he was
like helping me coach and train up and lift weights and do whatever but then I
met Kelsey I was like I think I'm just gonna do this you know so we got married
when I got back how long how long after you went home for Christmas did you come
back I came back in April on the thirteenth night 14th morning and then
you won't find it in my book but we got married the courthouse on the 17th there
you go yeah and then we got married again the I lighted wedding engineer
like little Jared that money well I needed to I spend all my money you know
I don't know get a house look we need – I need that BHP three months of his damn
wedding you know so we're in Texas in McKinney 112 that day and then you
settled down and now you now you know you're staying in the army you've pretty
pretty much saying I'm saying the army at this point
well I mean I really enjoyed it I got moved around to another unit and when I
got back cuz I had to go to like a line unit could be a PSD guys I mean I was up
for this is awesome but yeah we got an apartment in North
Carolina right outside Fort Bragg they're bought a dog life was good and
and I figured military's doing well and then just kind of hung out for 15 months
or 18 months before I deployed that's what's going to say so it's 18 months
but between deployments for you it was that's usually a year in three months so
like I went for 15 months so they gave me 18 months off and I went for a year
and then either gave me 15 months off then I had to go again
for my third but I'm jumping at it here so you you get back over on deployment
and this is this is like within days you'll tighten me up on that but one of
your one of your friends Tyler dude you say that right hmm you know he's out on
a mounted patrol IAD hits the first vehicle then they get a snart small-arms
ambush and I'm going to the book here our guys needed to get the disabled
vehicle out of the way and while they worked toward this objective Tyler
sprinted up to a high site on a nearby hill and fired through some five to
seven magazines two ammo protecting his soldiers below when the disabled truck
was finally cleared Tyler sperner back to the truck but the enemy had
specifically targeted him an RPG flew in and he was hit they rushed him back to
the hospital at the fob but it was too late Tyler died on the operating table
fury rose up inside of me I wanted to find whatever Taliban savages did this
to Tyler and shoot them in the face Tyler was always cautious he took his
job extremely seriously and never made mistakes there was no reason for him to
die he described to me once how he believed his job as a sniper ultimately
saved innocent lives he was putting into practice what he knew to be true he was
helping the world not hindering it and he'd been trained to be one of the rough
men who stands ready in the night prepared to do his duty prepared to
visit violence on those who would do us harm Tyler's death far hid far too close
to home and we'd only just arrived so that's not a fun way to kick off
deployment you know and I don't not sure he's experienced in your unit but it
seems like the guys get hit are the ones that you don't expect to ever get hit so
ty there was a year older than me I respected him I mean it was it was crazy
because you know a guy's your older cycle or whatever but he had such a
professionalism about him and I looked up to him and I try to learn what I
could from him and he only had like uh he'd probably add an extra year and a
half in the army than I did but either way and highly ranked sniper and he went
up and just he no take bad shots so he was just popping everybody they did
Tyree him he actually I'm pretty sure was a camp chapman that he that every
not sure if you ever been to the SF no I haven't based there can't but anyway
that's where he ended up not making there's only two
weeks into the appointment and you know when that guy like that gets hit one
you're obviously frustrated and angry you don't know why it happened but two
it's like well geez if he can get you know hit or taken out you know kind of
takes you down to confidence a beggar dude peg or two as well because he's a
guy you wouldn't expect not that you expect anybody to get hit I guess but
you know like a super soldier yeah style guy yeah and I'm sure like everybody if
you help them in that regard everybody held him in that regard and so
everybody's feeling that same oh yeah kind of straight-up nervousness
right yeah and there was he would walk by like on our ACU's I could have a
strange pose talk to string in some standard stuff I might always be hanging
out he's what my yank on it and they make me
do push-ups and yell at me I wanted to punch him in the face but I couldn't you
know and I understood why I was doing it so much is a fun story I guess like tell
people cuz I mean if I could have decked him I probably would have only been in
one fist fight ever I knocked myself out playing volleyball oh that was the one
here it's sad but true it's in the book yeah I don't know what well you might as
well tell it Wow yeah we were just were playing volleyball and ever I got my
husband over the net we made oh we oh we 254 like cables for the antennas we use
those and 550 cord uh-huh and there was like net I was 6 foot 3
and the net was only six foot tall so I was like just hammering at home I had
vertical you know like LeBron so he's ridiculous hold belly button above the
net and I kept going over they kept yelling so I pulled my hand back real
fast but I did it and then I caught myself right in the eye socket you
knocked out do you actually knock yourself out yeah yeah but but later on
when I had this happen I did get knocked out
yeah looks like key man you with a Fist of Fury could have done under stood a
chance I don't know if I'm impressed if that's like super impressive or super
not impressive right you either have that fist of iron or a glass jaw we're
not sure which I hit a bomb yeah it knocked out so my answers have been
fists of iron you know the questions have been answered I be in jail right
now if I were fisticuffs on anybody so you it sounds like
you guys ended up doing over watches of a road in um what up by sobs ik pass
okay yeah and great time how long were you on that for we went out there and
they were like yeah just go ahead and pack for you know a couple weeks and
then we were out there I think fifty some fifty days or so and we just living
on top of a mountain and then let's just monitor the road yeah just because they
had they were bringing up convoys a jingle trucks with military gear on to
build another fob and we had people on both sides and I actually uh so afraid
to tell my wife I I went down one day I get some food or something or get a
resupply and I'm will be back up they made a stop they want to register
mortars and I was like what the I just want to get back up there I got out and
I slammed my door and like the brilliant guy I am I went ahead and used the fists
of fear and a hammer to hammer and I ripped the scab open on my hand I told
the wife my story of my life it was so much blood it was gushy was ridiculous
but uh as my wedding ring fingers I took my wedding off put on the front of the
Hummer and I got the medic I said get out your doctor you know Willis or
whatever I fixed this up for me and he had to put tape on I got back in left my
wedding ring right on the front of that Hummer and drove back up mountain so
likes for 37 days every time I got a chance to go down the mountain I had a
metal detector out like please find this tungsten ring please don't tell my wife I was like to give people that didn't
serve a little you know impression or of what it's like and I thought this one
wrapped it up pretty good going to the book here going so long without taking a
shower came with its share of complications guys got trench foot from
their feet being wet and sweaty and not taking care of them properly
I got strange rashes and intimate areas and it wasn't uncommon for a guy to
mutter about his balls sticking to his leg when he hiked every dude got chafed
up pretty badly and his bodily crevices and a common complaint was that a guy
had swass slang for sweaty ass my armpits hurt I sweated so much that the
salt got trapped in my skin and my back broke out in a raised bubbly rash this
happened to other guys too the only solution is to get your ID card out and
have another dude to scrape your back home
until the salt crystals pop out it's a brutal procedure and it feels like
getting cut with a razor blade but it's all part of the fun mm-hmm yep day to
day yeah get something I mean it sounds guys complaining than that one huh no
yeah watches someone's like scrape salt crystals like the size of table salt
come out of there I'm not sure if you ever experienced like that no but uh
yeah it's pretty bad you get so grown and then I took for real showers that
year yeah like real ones I mean you go get a water
bottle poke holes in the top and spray yourself down then you had to get dirty
all over again this whole long process you're talking to there like how it
takes like nine days or something before you get comfortable with your nasty yeah
yeah and then you don't even want to break the cycle and get clean again you
know you get used to it again know what the best parts like the winter cuz you
don't smell as bad in the winter like in the winter you don't take showers like
I'll brush my teeth keep them pearly white make my teeth look whiter you know
but yeah and I was pretty I actually decided halfway into that deploy I was
like tell my wife just send me a pair of range of panties so I wore a whole pair
like Ranger panties for a month and I just took them off was like no not gonna
wash these just don't wear it accept it move on
twelve bucks well spent so perfect whereas object past my my pants got so
torn they're like chaps like I thought cheeks were hanging out stuff and one of
the sergeant majors came in you know and they're all out of out of shape Branson
like sergeant major if I change the pants I may get another pair looks just
like this like it's a I'm not on the fob yeah there you come into like you gotta
get a new uniform and all that I'm like bring me one I like yeah okay let me do
that you got it bud I know you get back in that truck and roll your ass out of
here so back to the chicken wings and pancakes a lot of MREs
that's good times yeah you know I got a just straight-up I mean in the SEAL
Teams we just don't have to eat that many MREs it's just things yet to do
either you make them you can make those things delicious yeah you care that
burrito mm-hmm get at me a little bit yeah
I actually my first deployment to Iraq we ate MREs for a little while and I was
legitimately sick of them and and it was it wasn't that long
mm-hmm but I was already sick of them one no 50 days I can promise you that
yeah well I mean yeah yeah you're just gonna say something about the SEAL Teams
weren't you no no I would never I don't have this superior defend myself we're
getting shipped in stakes crap like that I mean later on that if one we had like
stakes on like one day a week they'd bring out like these frozen steaks and
we'd cook them over like an open pit of fire with a stick there on yeah dude it
is legit like I would go out for some rent my first point would go out to
because we were living at weird on by up and Baghdad big chow hall and everything
good and we'd go out to do an OP somewhere there be some SF group in the
middle of nowhere and you'd see how they're living it wasn't always an SF
crew personas it's our army you know some army platoon or company out there
in the middle of nowhere and you're like dang these boys are roughing it nasty
and we're here like think about Gatorade the bottle yeah give me two give me two
I'm a hide one in my pillowcase you'd feel bad they'd be oh man you're in the
SEAL Teams were like dude I'm ashamed to like even be hanging out with you right
now you guys smell so bad I don't know why they brought me out here you guys go
sit over there we're gonna sit here really guys have unit you know what is
we've gone three days without a shower this is crap man
yeah we did that but you know within during this I mean enduring the truck is
still like it's funny like my friends from high school right I have two really
good friends I can talk with whatever but if I run to another person from high
school or whatever we'll catch up on everything that it's like oh great
talking to you I think you know and then you find your way out of conversation
but you friend to military buddies you haven't seen in years and you just go
right back into it you know just because you understand where you've been their
own through speaking of going through stuff here we go back to the book the
Taliban screeched to a stop and started shooting at the ANP bullets cracked all
around us we got word from higher command to engage I yelled to my men
fire we shot our rifles and just let loose with several bursts of machine
gun rat a tat tat rat a tat tat rat a tat tat this is my first large-scale
firefight of any kind it hit me with a wham that this wasn't merely a training
exercise anymore this was the real deal my gentleman rose and withered a surge
of energy but I also felt calm as if all my training had kicked in at once and I
just did what I was trained to do I honestly wasn't afraid I took aim and
fired at the bad guys they fired at me and it didn't faze me to think that I
might kill somebody when I wanted when they wanted to kill me first I saw
several Taliban members get hit and fall more fell and more the last few who were
left turned around and took off took off up the wadi we got word to get not to
give chase because waters are great choke points for potential enemy
ambushes when the shooting died down completely we approached close enough to
see the bodies of the enemy soldiers I just helped kill it was a surreal
feeling but I reminded myself that this is what a soldiers are built to do we
received reports later that three of my men three of the men killed were top
Taliban leaders in the region so there's your first gunfight yeah that's pretty
awesome so the ANP AP commander was the former Taliban guy and he switched over
sides and rather NEP he's like yeah they're having a big meeting I got a
call that kinda come down this Wadi we'll go check it out and then all the
sudden just like just dropping you know mark-19 and the 50 Cal 240 on them and
just hey you know going nuts and then then you know they come back and they
they're really good about taking their bodies away with them you know they're
pretty good about it but they were like 18 or 20 people deep in the in the wadi
coming we just led into him and yeah that was my first like real taste of
like I shoot my gun at people what were you a team leader at this point no I was
so I was actually a squad leader oh that's right I was I was a position
up so I was 75 but I was in a squad leader position so I was trying to do is
of what a weapons squad know know that we were actually we were mounted okay so
I had my own truck but I had two tracks that were under me so I had two two two
trucks that were two teams graha two team leaders that
were underneath me and then we'd had a truck so my senior like team leader had
one he was a TC of his truck and I was a TC of the the junior team leader that I
had was a good time again I said that at speaking somewhere the other day and I
said something along those lines and like somebody said like I think it's
kind of weird that you say it's good time and fun and I'm like well it's
adrenaline rush like I'm gonna guess it's good time and fun I mean they shot
at me first he started it yeah defend yourself but
uh yeah and then I mean yeah I just you know doesn't didn't faze me it didn't
hit me hard I wasn't worried about it just kept moving on a matter of fact
that region died right down like completely after though if you killed
all those bad guys yes in fact like that was our first night out there to like
move it out to the middle of nowhere and snowstorm and I was like maybe I'm not
first night or second night out there we just shot everybody and then for the
next like two months it was quiet and they're like they back filled us with
some other platoon they're like hey we're gonna bring in this platoon here
you guys are gonna go up north where there's been a lot of fighting in
Baltimore god all right cool let's do it so that's that's the next big movement
that you made was to that spot mm-hm and that place has had a bad rep like as far
as being a lot of fighting there I bombed God was real heavy real heavy it
was the bomber grab river and when we got there the Italians were there before
us and I guess they were just like hey Taliban don't mess with us here's here's
some money and we're good and we're we're the 82nd so we're like no not
gonna happen and the infantry platoon that we were placed yeah you mean for
the record I am infantry I was in a cab unit but they always have charlie troop
as an infantry but soon they bring in and then we had these coin balloons I
was like two infantry and two cab squads to make the tombs up but um yeah we
replaced these the infantry guys they had two guys killed unfortunately fell
into a river there was actually a ceasefire with the Taliban to find the
bodies and bring the bodies back and we got up there and there was like a line
in the sand they said look you cross this line you're gonna get shot at and
we were like alright cool so we we started taking ground and
everywhere there's a fighting position on top of a mountain they would
booby-trap it and they were done so a guy one of the FOS sergeant fox good guy
he picked up a matchbox like yep I got a matchbox it looks like and then just
they only found his torso that was you know everything else was gone just his
body armor but instead of staying in one spot at this one we took one more spot
and they're like yeah well some MARSOC guys went up here was this the was these
the strong points like corvette and impalas that we're talking about now
yeah yeah yeah these are in your book you talk about those being an Impala was
the they even worse went even further in enemy territory yeah and they were like
yeah we had like a March that guy got shot in the head when he was up there
because there's like a eight-man team that went in and like you guys can't
really go there so we decided one night we're gonna go there we drank we got all
ready for it what was Impala physically what is it like a little former like
lake house or sometimes there's actually absolutely was a house and we decide
we're gonna take it one night because it was the last house in the edge of town
and then there was 1,200 meters between the next like village and the Taliban
would go in there and shoot at us and you know be able to sneak down away far
enough and we had a javelin team come up on one side we we went up in the middle
of night on this side then we had other people on this side and we just we just
took it the middle of a night and then they said we're gonna go there for like
you know three days do reconnaissance come back they're like oh you know what
we're gonna stay there so the work didn't stop we had to fill sandbags put
up barbed wire and then we went up the side of a mountain and built and dug in
a an Opie but it was like we we had 21 guys in a tub and never knew we only had
20 minutes twenty one man put tuned so we had like 13 down at the cop and then
we'd sent the rest of up on top of a hill and we dug in so deep that was
eight-foot deep pits and there was a living room
I've 240 pit a 50 Cal pit like a little dining kitchen area and then like three
sleeping pits like three like that two cots would fit in like it was huge did
you put overhead cover on them somehow no we just dug them deep enough where
you didn't didn't need it yeah I mean we put I guess we put our
Pancho's over it you know things like but not protection from mortars no no
yeah and if you stood up when they were digging it and they started digging it
when you stood up and you we're digging they start shooting at us and then we
just rain hell and we dug in and after about a month of that we just were
killing so many they just gave it up they're like alright we're done and
that's where we I mean we can't that came out we were black on water and then
like the brass came out they're like why don't you guys shave it where's your
haircuts I'm like hey we're gonna have water are you kidding right now bro and
then the same sergeant yelling for my pants they wanted to go up to see ROP so
my sergeant's like hey Sarge knows I need you can you take one of your teams
and just go so we took four men out and I walked him right over what I thought
the road was clear you know but it was all filled with water when we took the
place walk more huge IEDs that just the batteries had died in them cuz they
waited you know we waited too long but when they dried up like oh there's a
mortar oh look at that that's a that's a tea mine and triple stack you know but
anyways I would like took him up on top of the Opie and stuff like that and it
was funny because as they're yelling us for not being shaven or cleaned up I go
a quarter of the way up this is like a hundred yards probably they come
straight up mm-hmm and I go up a quarter way with them and I say all right I'll
be right back yes I run to the top and I'd say hey LT you know the sergeant
major is coming up in the colonel so I just be ready you know so we're like
trying to put our uniforms on and everything instead of like just our
t-shirts and I run back down and he's bare crawling he says sounds like I
can't do it like no he's your midnight tell me what's alone how about that that is it huh when you make it to the
Opie he made it up to the top he did eventually and I'm like but I came back
down I can't be a little bit of fear in him I said Sgt here this is not the spot
that you want to stop right there that town that's Taliban held anybody in that
town shoots at us and if they see that we're not moving quick they're gonna
take pop shots so you're gonna do yeah I mean mostly true here he's like he was
like sitting down looking and I was like no no no no you need to need to move sad
you may need to go and I mean and no offense to the brass it wasn't you my
sergeant major I don't think that was there at the time I was like a different
unit or whatever but but yeah I mean it was it was it was a wild wild west we
were just shooting firefights every day but we were the
northern limit you know there was no buddy farther push then push than us
yeah I want one part you're talking about how you you ended up shooting
eleven javelins in a day I think yeah that's getting after it
yeah on pretty much anyone standards yeah I think we shot twenty nine that
whole deployment it was it was cool damn so you conventional army can be fun yeah
yeah do the conventional army Ruth and Ramadi were freakin getting after it
every single day is they were awesome awesome like you were getting in a
firefight every day there huh or for a bit there we were and then it died right
down they were just tired cuz you know once
they shot once we just we let loose we had enough ammo to to last us for years
probably and we let them know we let him know yeah America's real cool when it
comes to ammo yeah in those situations it's like oh you guys need more yeah
we'll be right there alright
you are yeah same thing happened you were like you're like did you find you
found triple stacked IDs in your position yeah so dumbest thing ever
we went in and we cleared it and then we had like Marines yo D like MARSOC he OD
clear stuff like there was like unexploded RPG round the side of one of
the walls and then there was other booby traps well it turns out where we were
rolling all of our like big barrels for the generator and stuff like that was
like it was all booby-trapped right we're exactly we step and this guy
sergeant Barton he's a great guy he there's his metal out of the ground
he's like huh what's that it starts beating on it with her shovel and I'm
going I'm getting ready to go on my R&R ting like what are you doing dude God
some in the ground here just looking at he starts digging I he's like oh oh
that's not oh shit and then turns out where you're rolling these 50 gallon
drums taking all this supplies over right over top right in the breezeway
good god it's where I would so it was so hot there and I mean I get Iraq's out
too but it was so hot like me and my buddy it was a my team leaders would go
out there weed spray ourselves as water bobbing our PT shorts sprayed with water
I'll lay on our cots and just see how long it took to dry usually about 10 to
15 minutes to get completely dry and our cots were right
with these just and no idea because I mean yo D came through and they didn't
find it so was it he figure it was like a command debt that had the battery died
or something or it was a yeah well it was um pressure plates oh so like these
big drums were having the circuit connect but the batteries and them died
we you know luckily we didn't take the property to you know after like that I
think after the March that guys got hit they went in there and booby-trapped at
all knowing that we were trying to take it but somehow the batteries didn't
didn't work which helped out for us because we jumped over a rock wall that
they had where there's like a hole already from probably Hellfire something
from time before so right where we you know obviously be easy place for us to
jump over that's what we all jumped over and there was stuff stacked there too
you know it's where you talk about it in here and I heard this from the Vietnam
SEALs they would set up ambushes on VC and they would you know go okay
we're gonna shoot from here and when we shoot from here they're gonna take cover
over here behind this lock so they put a big Claymore underneath that log and
they're you're talking about how the Taliban is doing the same thing over
there you know basically oh as soon as we start shooting at them they're gonna
run to these cover positions so we'll just put booby traps or mines in any of
these cover positions now we actually had to change up our SOPs or standing
operating procedures on my third deployment instead of diving for cover
you've had to take a knee yeah you have that so that's what I was reading and I
was just that's what it reminded me of they're reminding me if that's what
that's what my predecessors and the SEAL Teams in Vietnam would do to the enemy
and now the enemy was doing it to us or do you guys not scary this is this is an
interesting spot you're heading home for leave from there I left a man caught a
series of connecting flights home to America I gave Kelsey a huge kiss at the
airport in Dallas when I got back to the house gave our dog buddy a big hug it
felt great to be back but it also felt surreal and this is a strange part of
this leave time I didn't quite know what to do with myself I could take a hot
shower anytime I wanted I could sit on the couch and play video games I could
drink a beer and eat a cheeseburger outside on the back porch
nobody was shooting at me nobody stunk nobody was sleeping on triple stacked
IEDs Kelsey was finishing up the semester
with college and work so I bought a truck and we drove up to Michigan to see
my parents we had a few bright and happy days with them then it was soon time to
go just like that I hugged my parents gave Kelsey a big kiss and flew out to
Detroit to head back overseas it felt oddly good to be back to Afghanistan
the feeling is difficult to explain in America when I'd hung around with some
friends in Dallas and got reacquainted with some of my buddies from high school
back in Michigan I had seen firsthand how most of the people my age lived if a
dude who's 22 or 23 like me he was usually finishing of college or hanging
out trying to find an internship or an entry-level job he might be living in
his parents basement trying to scrape together enough money to move out or
maybe he was partying hard on weekends or maybe still in a frat
he was almost always short on money almost always wondering what to do with
his future not there was anything wrong with any of that a guy's got to do what
a guy's got to do but by contrast at my age in the military I led people in
combat I controlled fire fights I handled hundreds of thousands of dollars
worth of equipment I made decisions that affected whether people would live or
die it fell real on a personal level I made decent money I was married I had a
good credit score I was thinking of buying a house soon it felt good to be
trusted with this much responsibility I was proud of my drive and sense of
accomplishment I was already a man I think statements like that are like what
get kids or if I say kids but like when I meet kids like I've just met it at
this event we were just at and this you know he's okay I'm 19 I just joined the
Marine Corps I'm leaving September 18th and that statements like that is what I
think makes people join the mill it gets a lot of people to join the military
like 22 years old oh yeah you're getting paid you got a steady job your job is
more meaningful than any job they could have I mean never mind maybe they're
working at fast-food right like I did you know never mind that they're working
at Wendy's even if they have kick-ass job somewhere it doesn't matter
your jobs more meaningful cuz you're a soldier fighting for our freedom
yeah and they would you know you go back home and you see what they're doing
you're like wow I like to change you know and I'm like man I understand I got
married I have an apartment I you know I have two cars or whatever and it's at
that young man age I mean my friends back home they they were still really
nice and you know I still get along with them and everything I just felt like
what I was doing was was a different purpose and I was trusted with more
things I mean when you're in college and everybody like oh you're a kid in
college but when you're in the army and you're like oh you're in the Army you're
on your second deployment yeah you know what do you do a lot I'm in charge of
seven other lives included as well as my own and I tell them where to move what
to do how to shoot and how to how to do things and they're like oh okay
yeah I'll get some kid in the gym in my gym will be like all you well you know
well I'm only 23 you know oh yeah when I was in 23 my 3rd platoon actually where
we were drinking beers because there's nothing going on but anyways killing
Budweiser yeah like a beast so then how did you feel about that two
weeks leave during the middle of deployment well I mean it's a constant
worry like how are my guys doing we had a satellite phone we didn't have
internet or things like that so I couldn't just like hit them up real
quick on a cuz the army makes you do that well yeah yeah they allow it and
they they say you need you know this stuff and but they're pretty aren't they
don't they push it pretty hard no I mean get hard well that's yeah and
I don't just just don't discriminate on ha say is politically correct there's
there's the army that's at Bagram Air Force Base that where's PT belts that
you know goes to Duncan it goes and gets her Dunkin Donuts and it complaints
because not a lot of taste too hot and then there's the people like us where
it's like there's 22 of us for 21 of us sitting out in middle of nowhere yeah
taking no showers no one's gonna come say hey you need to do this
alright we had one kid come out now I ran into him again in Lansing Michigan
actually had an event he you know out of the military and I didn't realize it was
him but he came out he chose to be a financial guy enlist says in the
financial will and that's fine hey you want do financing you won't work
on the s4 shop great comes out there giving a survey some dumb survey that
there's whatever big army wants you know the
good idea fairies or whatever but he's on the rooftop because they call me and
hope we get in a gunfight is gonna be great in the corner say excuse me
he's like well no I just you know because I I'm on the five all the time I
just I love I won't see a gun you know I hope we're getting in a firefight I said
what what don't you get if they shoot at us my guys could get hit for what you're
hoping happens here I said I got an idea get off my roof and he's like well I
said no seriously get I'm gonna throw you off this roof you don't get off it
and he looked at critter what am i my guys and credit goes oh no sergeant
Mills is real tall you off this that's it if we get shot at don't get my guys
way stay the fuck off the roof and get down and he was just like but I don't
get it I'm like it's not a game this isn't I mean when we get a firefight you
know we get you know people run up on their PT shorts and their flip-flops and
they got the Kevlar on in their body armor but I mean that's real life
bullets are flying in the way he was just so nonchalant I hope we get a
firefight that'd be really cool it's like my guys could get shot like what
part of cool don't you get so I mean they're that you know the army does push
something but other times we're just left alone yeah I just remember guys
going from from guys that were in combat all the time not fob its but and they
did seem like the command their commands wanted him to go home for those two
weeks and hey man you need to take this break on your sleeves mandatory yeah I
think you meant like calling home calling home stuff's not man oh no ice
meant going home sir yeah yeah you have to go you have to go okay that's what I
thought and a lot of guys some guys don't want to but you have to you you
know the callin home thing I think is I don't know how often you called home but
I try to call him like once a week once or twice a week because if you start
doing more than that I think it's worse on both well you run out of things to
say that's always going you know for I mean no offense to anybody's love life
out there but in my wife and I get along great
you know but when I would call home hey what you doing well just know today in
Afghanistan I don't wanna be like waz out now I got shot at and then I ended
up killing two people and then this guy got hurt but it's it's okay he's gonna
be fine don't worry about me aids you know she can't say I got stuff like oh
well you know I went on patrol today got to help help a kid tie shoe you know and
that dad gets old and then what'd you do well I went to school today and I mean
there's no real story there so I we gotta let it build for a week or two you
know I definitely recommend that why I mean
that the nicest way I know totally and I think if you're if you're calling home
every day then you're like you're missing and you're connecting and just
like no like you said let it build have something to talk about real and what's
good then it gets annoying like what are you thinking about and then you know I
see it happen I you know I I even say I it happened to me and Kelsey um you know
what are you thinking about whoa no what you think what do you want to talk about
I don't know you got nothing to talk to me about second no I don't and it's not
a bad thing it's not that I love you any less it's that literally I can't tell
you what happened here because it's not gonna make you feel better about the
situation mm-hmm so you don't know them like thing is you know you got all this
stuff going on and then your wife's like you won't believe this and you're like
what and she's like um we lost that library
book that we got out and now they called and they want us to pay for it you're
like just got the jack it's Kim the checker we're gonna be good well are
they overcharged yeah yeah some of the big big get the big drama drama at home
yeah the wide-eyed like yeah oh no that's not okay well I watch the guy
bleeding bleed out today put my finger and bullet holes oh I get what you're
saying the same I was like oh my god but you go ahead tell me about what happened
with you to tell you something about the spoiled mayonnaise that you had on your
sandwich um oh that's no joke that's awful you get home from that deployment
going back to the book my parents flew down from Michigan Josh and Deanna this
is your Josh is your brother-in-law Ian as his wife we're there and some of
the guys from my unit came over I'm an the barbecue the smell of charcoal fired
hamburgers drifted over the neighborhood and I felt like the luckiest man alive
Kelsey and I had a dog two cars and now a house we were young family living the
American dream so you had the goal of buying a house and now you actually
bought one right power of attorney I called my wife in she's I guess what I
did today I was like watch cuz I bought a house I'm like how did you do that
she's like what you bought it signed a piece of paper attorney
so speaking of jokes I tell every time my dog but uh now we bought a house and
then my he was they had a young young child they
still do Reagan but over the time she was like 70 months old I guess him I
think you drinking tonight Joshua's eye responsibility you know like oh I'm all
holier-than-thou or something like I can't drink and then by the end of night
he passed out in a fire half drunk it could be smoke trying to wake him up he's in a fire ant
here on my backyard like and I was like responsibilities yeah
favors last week back to the book fortunately after I got
home I didn't struggle with any past memories of combat although I do I know
any number of soldiers who do I told a few stories to Kelsey about our units
time and robot and BMG about going without a shower for so long and about
some firefights we got into an Impala and Corvette but she'd like to talk
about those things much and I understood that I found I could shut off the
memories pretty easily my logic was straightforward I was a combat soldier
that's what I did I told my mind to go to certain places and I refused to allow
it to go to other places I found that I could connect with my family best that
way although I know other guys handled things differently with equal success
and the reason I threw that in there is just because you know I get a lot of
guys that ask me about how to handle the whatever memories they're bringing home
and I thought that was a you know pretty good methodology man like okay I'm not
gonna think about that right now yeah I mean it was like I had a bury it
you're just so desensitized when you're over there like I'm pretty sure the book
talks about it but we went on patrol and then one day a guys or a and P was
wearing a bright green you know like a construction vest and now we were all in
the getting ready to load up in the trucks and someone made the joke I think
it was me or maybe crater but either way we're like well I guys gonna get shot
today cuz he stood out he ended up be the only guy that was shot that day and
he ended up dying you know eventually from his moons but so yeah well he got
that guy died but you just you don't say it like hoping to get shot but you're
just like well that's part of what happens but she didn't like hearing my
stories at the combat and things like that so I just like I guess I won't talk
about them she's like you just get so excited about telling those stories and
you laugh about it and it's real serious I'm like well
I made it like you know yeah but you still snap in action I was driving in my
house with my buddy never went past a firing range and they opened up the two
40s and like I hit the brakes contact right contact right and I pull over and
me and him are both reaching for our m4 which was right next to us we're like oh
yeah I made a minivan like for me it wasn't speaking of minivans you found
out you're you're gonna be a daddy at this point – Wendy came home from her
second deployment oh no that'd be awful if I came home I found me a dad it took
us a little while oh well four months after I got back
we're gonna yeah right on yeah I guess it feels yeah I wasn't I wasn't trying
to imply anything yeah but we uh yeah so didn't plan on it right away you know
having children but find out we were gonna have children or have a daughter
and worked out great you know I'm very excited did the whole nesting thing my
wife had a sweet mazda3 hatchback with a little nesting thing you know like set
the baby room up you know yeah I could tell my wife because I bought her a
brand-new car in 2010 it was brand-new out flying
Mazda 3 hatchback she loves it loved it and I was like that baby is not gonna
fit in that car she's like yeah it's gonna be fine I'm like no it's not fine
I got so mad one day like after arguing with her about it I go out there and pop
the car seat in and I said go ahead and jump in your driver seat honey go ahead
jump in there she couldn't finish it saying go just get rid of it done she
was so mad loved every second you know I won I won that game you were right
that feels good I got you off topic so yeah we were gonna have a kid I'm
straight on topic way tight on topic over here I know yeah well you're a
professional I didn't doubt that September 27 2011 our daughter was born
Wow I made some weird noises in the back of
my throat there our kid was with goo all over her and she was wrinkly and
scrunched up and all I could think of that she was the most beautiful thing in
the world it's okay to cry the nurse said I didn't know how to cry so I just
kept making weird noises in my throat doctor I was
like nurses like it's okay it's okay to cry mr.

Mill's like cry no wait that was
weird in this haze like this guys taking this kid home
I mean I'm about the pediatrician that day oh fuck it they were talking my
Belgium beer or some damn thing and like I hear the two doctors talk and my kids
and they're crying and the nurse comes out said hey who supposed lookin at my
kid and they're like oh doctor this you have a B there because I I don't have
one in there and she was you want suffer guy goes huh
who wants to forgot huh chuckles it off and then goes his back talking until
understood get that kid back in that room and I turn around that guy and I'm
already up like you know 1820 hours cuz we went to labor induced or whatever and
eyes are bloodshot and I'm just like still jack from lifting weights and I'm
like you know you're not gonna look at my kid find me a better pediatrician the
guys like and I had to go get calluses on them they came at you they were very
nice when they you know towering over this guy like I will beat you if you
touch my kid you're not doing a job bro then we can we put her in the car so you
take it home and we get home and my mother-in-law's with us and we're
looking at Kelsey cuz go see our car shows why she not buckled as a team I
thought you did show straps I thought you did it no strike you know good dad
award no one yeah coming out of the gates coming out of the gate strong epic
fail 45-minute drive no cars there no buckled car seat I'm a good driver yeah
that's good luckily a me all this time you're still a soldier you go to you go
to a jumpmaster school mm-hmm and you failed jumpmaster school the first time
I did yeah it wasn't like the JMP I did you fail the written exam know what that
academic part of jumpmaster school I've heard that's the most brutal part it was
rough it was rough and I feel I failed that and it was a whole you must be a
dumbass the hell am but I went back next you know the next
like one through you know I thought it was cool in here you talked about you
know one kid you threw out the plane yeah yeah I get another kid you kicked
out the plane they were fine yeah and that's the thing they came and thank you
later cuz they're just like scared right I'm
not sure if they made it well you know but look that you made up here yeah you
claimed most fabricated no yeah so I give my brief and I they always made the
youngest or the like the least senior guy give the brief so like you tell them
the brief if you know I said green let go and you don't go give you the or two
more times if you don't jump I will unhook you it attached you give you all
for no such equipment though you know say go to the real paratroopers or
whatever that's what uh no jumper is that when it's called a name for it yeah
jump refusal jump refusal yeah military oh yeah and then what am i briefed you
know it's all three pages you gotta memorize that's not my brief right there
and say but I guarantee you today if you're on my door you are going so I
told the guy you know green like go and like the first guy went second guy went
third guy went fourth guy or whatever they'll go and then finally I get to
like 13 or 14 I supposed to exit all you know thirty paratroopers are 32 whatever
and this guy's like froze and I'm like I know you think you're not gonna go but
you better jump out of this plane music you know and I said I told you you were
going and then back with shirt back his pants I just threw him out you know that
personally I was like I'm like go and then another jump the same thing
happened I said I told you you were going he's they're frozen the door like
in one foot back I just grabbed the top sorry backed up grab top of the plane I
just kicked the right in the back of his parachute I wasn't worried when I was
like we'd hear those rumors but I never saw it happened yeah I mean if they
don't jump they're gonna lose money and then they're gonna waste a good pass and
then the plane either can go back around make another pass and like prolong
everybody's night and make it harder because I have personally I do paperwork
on now but I don't like to do or you you can barely write yeah what I understand
so what no right hand let's go take take poke to me like but yeah I mean I sorry
it's just fear got the best of them like no we're going today and you're
you know I said some other choice words in their ear but they went but what I
liked about that from like a broader perspective than just Airborne School is
like so often men people just need to like go cuz like you said once you go
and you get that first thing under your belt then can they go on they jump it's
no problem you know but so often people did they just has it they're just scared
of the unknown you know and what you gotta do is just go just jump
well my Fit jumping Airborne School knockin I was you know pv2 mills I
jumped out and it was the nighttime combat was so scared I know what to do I
was like I'm not gonna be the big sissy on this airplane you know so I drove out
like Superman and I got my left leg caught up in the risers I was coming
down like a like a flamingo and my shoe started collapse on me and I was shaking
my I was falling faster but I had pulled my reserve you you you pulled your
reserve and everyone was cool yeah no kid they were mad about that oh yeah but
I was dropping fast and I guess you survived which is a good thing yeah yeah
but my my leg was tangled up so bad it's in the first jump in Division I'm like
oh I don't know if I want to do this anymore and then the guy family went and
I was like well okay he did it that's yeah that's not good damage you have to
pull your reserve an Airborne School hmm but I mean it wasn't cause of
malfunctions because my own stupidity I devote like Superman and my left leg
got caught up in there and I couldn't shake it out and then I was like
watching the silhouettes above me like boy you're a jar of pills I'm like okay
you pick up e6 so now you're now you're Staff Sergeant take over a weapon squad
mm-hmm which is the senior spot but I was I
went to work that day I got picked finished al ALC or whatever which is e
six course I went my first start said I have offers in you know 2nd and 1st
Brigade 508 I'm I'm gonna take those I'll have a squad leader spot you know I
get back from this four day vacation or four day break I came back in the game
in the senior spot here guys oh yes and cantle see she didn't really
want you to go overseas again did she I mean yes and no she understood it but I
mean obviously no wife once there love when you go overseas their their husband
overseas brother we just bought a house the baby was just born quite frankly we
could have used we could use the tax-free money
hundred percent could use that the money that you get from being over there and
also we have the soldiers come to my house and have barbecues and she sees
how they look up to me and how I'm in charge of them and it's this whole
camaraderie and Brotherhood thing I had orders the Fort Hood
I had my sergeant major cancel him cuz like I I don't know why he kicked me out
because I'm not kicking you out I said sergeant major I have orders at
Fort Hood and he's like you not want to go I said no I need to deploy these guys
so he just like I'll take care of it yeah the way you put in the book is the
reason I went overseas was because of the soldier next to me the guys in my
squad our job was to protect American keep the Taliban at bay I'd trained my
men I taught them all I knew it was my job to take care of them I couldn't
imagine them to point without me and I mean I was quite frankly upset when I
got those orders but they were building a new brigade and they want to combat
NCOs was over two years of combat experience to go help you know lead
these guys and I was like a noble I get it but not not for me right now you
leavin and josh is going away at the same time your brother-in-law your
wife's brother going away same time here we go back to the book she was in tears
a beautiful mess Josh was leaving on that same deployment too but a day later
than I was so he came to see me off and support his sister I hugged him and he
hugged me back Chloe was five months old and sleeping soundly in her car seat she
never woke up when I kissed her cheek I unstrap my daughter picked her up and
cradled her tightly one last time in my arms she inhaled deeply smiled and
carried on sleeping then I waved goodbye walking away from my loved ones I had to
ask myself if this third deployment felt different from the first two I had a
child to think about now a family I knew there would be tense days and firefights
ahead but honestly I wasn't afraid of dying I wouldn't be reckless and make
myself an easy target and I didn't want to die but I knew that if I got hit then
I got hit if it happened then it was meant to be as a soldier it's not like I
talk about my emotions every day I don't write poetry
I don't watch romantic comedies as a rule I'm trained
to kill people that's what I do you've got to be tough in the 82nd you've got
to be as hard as life you don't want to show weakness ever particularly with any
of your guys around when you're overseas and out in the middle of nowhere and you
have 12 to 20 guys with you you can't take a seat and say you're done as a
leader I couldn't throw my helmet down and complain that things weren't fair
you have to make the best of it you have to keep going you've got to be as tough
as they come but even so as I walked away from my wife and child and
brother-in-law the wind struck my eye and I wiped away the wetness with the
back of my sleeve harder going away on this deployment no a little bit yeah it
didn't feel right I actually had a conversation my brother-in-law and in
his garage with him hasn't you know Josh it's always a guy you don't expect to
get hit that gets hit and uh we didn't start naming all the people from our
deployments cuz we were the same brigade always just different unions and I said
I just don't feel good about it you know I mean not that I couldn't go where I
wasn't going to go but but yeah it was harder you know my wife and everything I
supposed to leave the next day I went to work they're like hey look we need you
to take this talk of guys over can you leave tonight instead of
tomorrow night and I was like well yeah I gotta leave work right now and I'm
gonna go see my wife and my my kid like yeah you can go so I went but it does
you know I once a each deployments harder the second one wasn't hard for me
to go I mean had say goodbye but part of my job the third one was more man I hope
I get you know to come back home but you got to push those thoughts you
know out of your head you can't I would stop you we can't dwell on it you can't
think about it you can't you know worry about what's gonna happen you got to
just push through and whatever happens does happen but you know as long as
you're not reckless and careless you know you can't affect what your outcomes
gonna be anyway so you might as well just keep pushing forward
yeah do you um and now you end up on this deployment
the the fob of a strong point that you're in so small doesn't even have a
name yeah I was in the middle of nowhere this is complement and you got there and
what was the was the environment like there I mean the the units that leave
always give real great advice and their commander told our commander you're not
gonna really change a lot stuff here with how the rules of engagements now
because the rules of engagement over different presidencies or different
leadership changed and they said you know when we go out we take shave cream
we line when we walked you know we come back that's all you're gonna do and of
course when we get there we're hard-charging like we're gonna go here
here and here and here and SOPs changed the bowel space all changed we lived in
a like my first moment I was on a big fob second appointment I was in a row of
little out little strong points and fobs and then this one we were just like hey
here you go we're gonna helicopter you and you're dropped off they says you 360
around is all bad and that's just how it was so we'd go out the first day went
out got huge firefight and that's what my guys really understood like I was in
a lot of schools like I went to college and went to jumpmaster school went to
the advanced leadership course ALC course for the e6 so when I got back and
I got to the weapons a lot squad leader spot some of the guys didn't know who I
was from anybody got it my first sergeant knew me that's why I got the
spot but the other guys were like why the hell is it this guy jokes around he
doesn't he's not mean he was a smoke anybody he's you know really I was
polite I guess and whatever you know normal everyday guy didn't have his trip
in my shoulder after our first firefight like to the guys that came from a
different integer unit we're like look I didn't get why you were the the squad
leader I didn't get how you got a six and why you were in charge but now I do
because you know when shit hits the fan I was I was a guy needed to be there I
guess yeah I mean this firefight going going to the book here sergeant Butler
yelled I'm hit im hit one of his teen leaders sergeant Marty
Miller ran over to him and swept his hands long Butler's body to look for
blood Miller ran back to our lieutenant or we
could he couldn't find any and you you just you sprinted out into
this riverbed during this firefights going on and here you are I'm still one
of my body armor but I was essentially weaponless if I'd kept my rifle it will
only slowed me down I ran over to where sergeant Butler lay he was probably
fifty meters total away it's my leg he shouted I can't put any weight on it
shut up I yelled get on my back now let's go without waiting for him to
answer I grabbed his right hand with my left squatted down and threw him over my
shoulders in a fireman's carry he was probably 185 pounds I have to
them up and ran back to safety so there you go just I understand after you
perform like that in firefight your boys like oh yeah we we get it
well we yeah so we were on one side the wadi the dry riverbed and my CEO was
like we're gonna cross this river bed I'm like all right I mean that's really
really open but let's do it so first second and headquarters
whatever went across right yeah just just I always have to point this stuff
out because we have a lot of guys that are in the military that listen to us
and so you're just doing a classic cover move one elements gonna stay back on the
high grow on one side river to cover as the other other elements pushing across
yeah and this is our first day in country so we're just trying to learn
the battlespace hey because we were think about setting up another Opie or
strong point on the body cuz there's a lot of traffic and they start to move
over over there and they get about 50 meters away Center 5 meters whatever and
then all hell breaks loose shots remember we're and third squad and
fourth squad weapon squad which is me are over on the river you know riverbed
and we start laying in everybody ducks town takes cover and and I'm still
standing and I'm yelling and I'm one of my guns are shooting to the far left
where should be shooting to the far right he's the right element so I walked
over and I kicked the team leader you know actually I think I'm I did Mac his
head real hard and I said fix it fix it now and I tell him where to shoot I went
back over and directed some more traffic and then some of the other two team
leaders from the third squad were just firing all their rounds after we already
gained some fire superiority so I yell at them and said you two know better you
been here before control your rounds control your fire
and just make sure it's suppressing and then Butler went down and we're like oh
Butler just got hit and tearing his MCL ACL and meniscus or
whatever I mean doesn't prevent damage and my first starts like third squat go
and get him I I said no first art nowhere but I got it so I took my weapon
off and I am for you know I was like here hold this for me I tossed a my m4
because I just you know it gets in the way and I ran down then the aim hey hey
over on the riverbank right kind of right behind where they're at I said you
guys do not shoot don't you can shoot you know don't you shoot me in the back
sorry about that I think I edit that but ever maybe you don't like don't you guys
shoot me so I ran out and got him took him back and I set him down so I ran out
out 50 he came back and it took him about about fifty to eighty behind the
building set him down I sat down again drink of water at first sight like my
first I go to sergeant Mills need you back here okay I ran back oh crap
where's my gun and Marty had it somewhere I go you go and I was the last
one on the objective uh we had to hike back two miles with Butler on the
stretcher but I was last one with the fo on the objective pop and smoke for the
kya was to come over and cover our movement do the two guys that yell
they're the ones that told me they'd follow me to hell and back like we get
it now sergeant knows we'll find it he'll back quick they were just kept
shooting I'm like yours a-team layers you've been here what are you doing oh
that's awesome man this reality check it's it's uh it's another example I mean
again just you're talking about how you were in leadership position here just
backed off a little bit you're you're paying attention to what's going on
instead of you being on your gun and shooting you're backed off you're
watching that's what you need to do in a leadership position you got to back off
a little bit you got to observe what's happening you got to make sense of
what's happening and then you got to make sure that people are doing the
right things yeah I mean you know I've I shot my gun I mean that's great I got
change suit my m4 and doing had to do but if I wasn't controlling my two heavy
weapons squad you know like I had the two forties I was good
king of the battlefield if you will with the heaviest firepower I was in charge
of they weren't doing the job the right way then we were all in trouble yeah
yeah as I always say God bless the machine gunners yeah I knew that it sounds like that
deployment was I mean the the firefights as you talked about in here were a lot
you get a lot of firefights every other day if not every day so so this one here
you went out and did this raid and then you get word after you do this raid that
there's no aircraft to come and pick you up from the raid and go ahead and walk
back yeah that's good times yeah we we went out we I told my guys like look
it's gonna be hell H just bring extra we had each of us 2,000 rounds of 760 to
gain and then we also had I always carried two thousand rounds of seven six
two or I guess depending on the mission it would change me a thousand of two
thousand and then I'd carry 20 grenades ten on my armor and ten in my bagman
another twenty forty mike-mike site at 203 Jesus and then four hundred
twenty-five five six rounds like not in my magazines and I always had roll
that's like freaking 200 pounds yeah what yeah but without without ammunition
you're kind of screwed with terrific point so I always had 12 magazines on my
person and then I'd have you know 13th one in my in the chamber so I had 13
full magazines on me not because 13 is like some special number just because
like my mag passes for Harry yeah my mag pouch was you know too deep so I could
have six three on each side yeah and we went out there and I mean up
getting like 71 firefights and way back home we had four detainees and I got I
got I got put next to the gun at one time and you know how it's called
pigtail and rat tail the cop when you put your 76 to Lincoln you have one side
come out and then you you know switch back it in then L try to come out so
when you hook to a gun it pulls out your bag and then if you have another back
next year you clip it together what we shot through all my rounds one and one
of the things we shot two other the seven sixty rounds like oh this is so
much like lighter and I got to another spot and one my my guys Brandon feste he
was one of the guys got hurt with me later on but he was almost knocked it
like past now so happy I said take my bag he goes no I go so has a give me
your bag don't argue with me and I was like you need to make it back to the fob
and then our our PA that came out with this awesome guy ranger regiment guy and
he turned in to be a doctor he was dehydrating really bad on the walk back
go to hallucinations and stuff so we decided me and two other guys or three
other guys go ahead and just like trot ahead and walk faster than everybody
else and like made it back to the fob first to get a get a MRAP to come get
him but yeah and we actually one of the guys we detained we we we detained all
these guys they had 600 pounds how many explosives batteries RPGs the thing was
a drone followed their RPG team back on the motorcycle to this compound ak-47s
but we didn't get pictures with all their stuff so we turn him over to the
local national government and they say we didn't get pictures these guys are
these guys are free so let him go turns out the guy that we had detained one of
them because we hided them fingerprints were all over my bomb and there's 13
bombs in a row and they're all over the bombs that the one that I hit so the guy
that we captured as one to put the Bahaman alpha troop caught him a meanie
took care of them so all right sorry I bring it down to tone no going to April
10th 2012 you get some Intel in the afternoon that there's a ided out in the
village and you guys are gonna go check it out and here we're going to the book
we hiked only about 400 yards to the village in addition to my weapons team
there were other squads along on patrol a total of 28 soldiers my lieutenant
Zachary Lewis went to the left with the first and second squads heading to meet
with the village elders while the rest of our men went with me around the
village to the outside to offer support in case of an attack along with my gun
team I had my platoon sergeant and a medic sergeant Daniel Bateson with my
group all looks calm it was just another day in Afghanistan another normal patrol
we approached and abandoned a na security posts two portable buildings
and stopped near the buildings to establish a security perimeter I called
for feci to bring the minesweeper check this area was the only order I gave feci
walked up a path used by villagers and scanned all the area around he went up
and back and all was clear no beeps there was no reason to question anything
feci finished his minesweeping duties and went up and went to set up on the
far flank i called riot up to me and asked him where he thought we should put
the gun I knew where it should go but I wanted to let him decide making sure he
knew his stuff he motioned to exactly where I thought we should put it a good
spot and I said all right go get an F and bring him up here that was it riot
led left to go get an F and as he did I set my backpack down the backpack
touching the dirt was all it took such a simple act of war my world erupted I saw
a flash of flame and heard heard a huge kaboom hot jagged piece pieces of
explosives ripped through me I cartwheeled backward end over end
hit the ground and slam my face hard against the compacted earth instantly I
felt my left eye starting to swell shut I smelled burning flesh my own I tasted
dirt and I was wet with sweat and moisture just like I'd walked out of a
hot shower dirt fell everywhere through the air it rained down and clung to my
eyes nose and mouth I don't remember rolling over but I must
have because I glanced to the side and saw that my right arm was completely
gone I caught a glimpse of my left arm covered in blood and tattered my arm
trembled as if it had a will of its own I looked down and saw my right leg was
also gone the stump looked like a piece of raw meat
the bottom of my left leg was still attached but held on only by a few
strands of skin I saw all this in a flash in an instant I felt confusion but
no panic my first thought of what was of my guys I flopped my remaining arm
toward the microphone clipped to my carrier plate and somehow managed to
push the button I hit a bomb I said I need help
Bateson my medic rushed up to me along with staff sergeant Keith Hamm bright
our platoon sergeant only about 30 seconds had passed since the blast
immediately they applied tourniquets to hold whatever blood was still inside me
I'm not gonna make it I said leave me and go to save my guys shut up sergeant
Mills said Bateson let me do my job I ignored Bateson and yelled my men's name
like roll call feci riot Neff to see if they were okay two were hit feci and
riot and other medics were already caring for them they were bleeding but
nothing was missing they yelled back that they were all going to be ok I
calmed down more soldiers ran toward me sergeant Alex voice another medic
wondered aloud where to best get IV access there were no pulses to check
except for my carotid order augury he quickly ripped to open my vest shaved
a spot on my chest and put an IV straight in him
sternum it hurt going in and I must have howled because he yelled at me that I
was going to be fine I yelled back doc shut up I know he and
I both calm down someone stuck a fentanyl pop in my mouth it's a potent
painkiller that releases as the pop dissolves I'd down the first one spit
out the stick and asked for another you won't need it someone said I was still
thinking that I was going to die I didn't want to show fear I didn't want
to freak out you never want to show fear around your men let me up let my family
know I dealt with it without crying I said tell him yourself someone grunted
he was being encouraging letting me know I wasn't dead yet I tried to see around
me I raised my head wanting to get a visual of feci and riot someone shoved
my head back down by still commanded a voice my one eye was swollen completely
shut the other eye was blurry from dirt I tried to raise my head again again I
was pushed flat my eyes were watering now the dirt turning to mud time passed
and I didn't know what was happening I mumbled something but there was no reply
only this steady whoop-whoop of a blackhawk helicopter
touching down nearby six men surrounded me hefted me up and carried me over all
told it might have been ten minutes since the blast until the helicopter
arrived feci and riot were first inside the helicopter everything was foggy and
noisy and I couldn't make out my surroundings clearly my two guys were on
seats and I saw blood and bandages jumbled in their direction feci had
shrapnel his face riot had shrapnel face legs and hands their images faded away I
focused on the noise of the rotors we were in the air and the flight medic who
were taking care of me riot yelled in pain I tried to look around someone
needed to attend to riot where are the medics one of the medics was talked
to the pilots up front riot was yelling again I looked in festes direction and
told him to calm down feci nodded riot stopped yelling and i winked at him to
let him know he was going to be okay it was all I could think to do the flight
medic was it back in view I could barely see him through the goop in my eyes you
are a green flight suit and had a big Darth Vader helmet I tried to speak he
gave me a quizzical look I yelled as loud as I could take your helmet off he
took his helmet off give my guys water and tell them they're gonna be okay I
barked don't worry I'll take care of them for you he said he was busy with
some tasks on me that I couldn't see a moment went by and I added I'm sorry for
what the medic asked for making you take your helmet off he gave me a ride grin I
realized he'd been doing his job all along doing it well both the medics head
I just couldn't see all that was happening around me my mind went in and
out I was coherent but fuzzy in spots in 15
minutes the helicopter landed in Kandahar hospital staff crushed me
straight to the operating table we're gonna put you under now came a voice
from above me I'm fine I said leave me alone the mask came over my face and I
tried to push it away I remember asking one question am I ever going to see my
baby girl again little intense yeah yeah I might miss
more choice words I didn't put in the book I said to the flight medic I had
yellow three times then last time I threw the f-word in there take your F
and helmet off and he did in my head I was just thinking Saving Private Ryan
don't go out you know like for your mom like the medic when he got shot in the
movie and I just you know I was a guy that I had a sniper round crack next to
my head and I rolled in and I was so embarrassed I rolled away from it then I
stood on top of the mountain and shot off a magazine and a half before I got
back down and so just the whole don't show fear I figured I can't change what
happened right now if I raise my pulse but I'm gonna bleed faster and you know
thanks to my platoon sergeant I started him bright and Doc Bates and then doc
voice I was able to maintain most of my blood they must have slapped those
things on you quick tourniquets all over ten 20 seconds to 30 seconds I think and
it was it was the aircraft airborne somewhere and got redirected to you how
did you guys get a helicopter there so fast
I don't know we usually only went out when it was when there was helicopters
on station because the threat was so so real not that we need to talk about this
and you guys edited out but at night time the Taliban had free reign to do
what they wanted we were told because of politics or
whatever somebody said we can go out night time so we had the best night time
capabilities but we couldn't go out so on the raid camera 30 feet in the air we
would watch them on the screen and watch them put bombs in at nighttime and we
couldn't shoot them couldn't shoot from mortars at them and couldn't get them so
it kind of sucked because you'd watch them put the bombs and then the next
thing you're supposed to go out try to find them and that's why in 2012 you say
would they wouldn't let you shoot him they want let's go out and get him
they're like no I can't go out nighttime really but there we can see them I mean
I don't wait you guys talk about it you know it does bother me as a reality it
you know like you know one yeah you don't get political so you don't have to
on this with me but just Washington put bombs and knowing I had to go out try to
and then the guy that I found or we walked back through you know seven
different firefights and ten clicks when they went out to do the surveillance on
the site that got blown up at I blown up at there was 13 in a row right there and
for some reason the my super Brandon went up and down not once but twice and
nothing alarmed him so there was six daisy chain together called squad killer
so you had to be the front guy to hit the first one and then everybody behind
him would get just taken out so in a way it was probably better that I got hit
that day than have somebody walked past and hit in the neighbor behind to be
taken out – yeah so just just the politics of war I guess kind of sucked
because I would watch him put bombs in it couldn't shoot him the kya was to
come out station the guy shooting NSA her and yards away would drop their
weapons and walk away and all of a sudden they were no longer combatant
until the kind of was were out of fuel and we were gonna run you know a
thousand meters this way because if we did then the guys would just take leave
their aks and take off so you know the red tape but when I got blown up I did
write on my LT until yeah I got hit I don't know how bad it is and I told my
men you know way from me he kept fighting me off and tell me to somebody
my job then the doctors worked on me for 14 hours I was told like nine doctors
and seven nurses and two nurses for nine hours plum Erin out of my longest keep
me alive like took turns pumping air I was so low on blood they did over 30
transfusions and they didn't have enough in stock so they were like on the big
speaker in Kandahar saying a positive blood and universal we need it now
and they were right from I had a lot of tests I had to do for like you know
possible HIV or things like that because it was just later just taken and put it
right in yep cool alright thanks for your blood we're gonna put it right in
them they knocked me out medically you know maybe unconscious
and they kept me like that for four days so I just realized you know I always
said god bless the machine gunners but how about a little god bless the doctors
and nurses for sure oh absolutely and the medics I mean yeah and the
medics every time I go when I speak I my someone signs about perspective and I
tell him you know about the guys that have not made it back home and I'm
thankful to still be around and living and I'm gonna keep living you know for
them so that you know their sacrifice wasn't in vain because what happened to
me is nowhere near what happened my buddy Francis gene Phillips a fourth or
Frankie great friend he died you look behind a wife and a
four-year-old at the time so I'm thankful for the medical advancements in
Vietnam a lot of guys didn't come back like me and I get sometimes people like
well we just didn't see people like you during the Vietnam War it's just it's so
sad this happened I say well they were guys they didn't come back you know so
so yeah I mean then the doctors do not tie things in and my calf muscles around
the end of my left leg now I guess for padding or something just nuts you know
but that was on the 10th and then I still had my left hand when they they
got done working on me my wrist had blown out pretty bad by my finger I
indexed my middle and my thumb and then two days later in Bagram they cut it off
my brother-in-law flew in from his outpost to Kandahar with me and escorted
me cuz did you guys have to fill blue books out before you deployed we caught
the blue book it's like if I die bury me with this it's not a blue book but we do
we do do that yeah yeah well I don't it was yeah like a little blue pant they
call it the blue book in the army but just like if I die you know I want my
wedding ring I want a picture of my wife and my kid or you know I want this music
to play right basically plan your funeral is kind of morbid but I guess
it's all right but he was a guy was supposed to escort my body back home so
he came to where I was at and then they shipped me to Bagram on April 12th and I
was well they took a look at my hand like it's not gonna make it it's just
necrotizing and you know limb length is a huge thing so they cut it off and then
so they didn't tell him they're doing it so I rolled into surgery and I came back
and the man was gone but I didn't know he still you know medical error sedated
mm-hmm and then two days later they went for the very first time on the upper
14th and I woke up in the room my brother-in-law he was one to tell me but
what I don't know if I put it in the book I don't think I did April 14th
actually my birthday yeah so my 25th birthday I found out as a quadruple
amputee and it's funny because my first deployment when I didn't know about
amputations and things and Josh was just a friend of mine not my brother long I
was like look I'm very athletic I played a lot of sports if I if I lose a leg or
something just let me bleed out like I mean that was that naive at 19 years old
like if I lose a hand just I don't I don't need to live you know cuz I didn't
know any difference we're now I have I wake up no arms and legs and I'm like
okay well at least I made it I guess meanwhile back on the home front going
to the book Kelsey received a call at 11:53 a.m.

Her time while standing in
her parents kitchen in Dallas Texas she was making a tuna fish sandwich and and
then it's the commander on the phone and she describes you know he tells her
straightforward you know the severe injury and this is what she wrote in her
journal I could not wrap my head around the pain
my husband must be feeling I was all alone in the house and my actions upset
my daughter to the point where she was screaming I could do nothing to soothe
her I couldn't pick her up I couldn't look at her my body felt like he was
being torn in two I wanted so badly to be able to talk to Travis and let him
know I love him and that I thank God that he was still alive then it
continues on Kelsey called my dad in Michigan but when she tried to tell him
what happened little would come out my dad knew something was wrong and kept
repeating is he alive is he alive is he alive and then your dad said this until
you go through something like that yourself it's hard to describe the
feeling there's no eating anymore you don't leave the house there's a lot of
pacing around you just wait whenever the phone rang we jumped you look at the
phone and you don't know if you want to answer it or not so it wasn't obviously it wasn't just
you that got hit too you know your your family back home gets hit with the shock
of all this and all also in your squad theory on ya there which is the coolest
name ever the resident spells the riot I mention him earlier
but yeah he got wounded he was pretty bad I mean he was able to get up and
walk couple days after he it was he was sore for quite a bit and and then fest
he got hit as well he did and luckily he had his sunglasses on because he his
face was just blasted but he still has his visions doing great I just got
engaged so I mean that yeah it's just a bad day you know my dad when he says he
don't eat and do that stuff he actually was in the hospital with me got
diverticulitis real bad and he almost died he was so dehydrated they had go in
and like give him surgery and like yeah like for six months he probably be mad
if I told everybody but he had a class me bag because he got so dehydrated
because he cared you know it was just so so worrisome for him you know and then
when I woke up I was kind of a dick I didn't want to like my brother and I was
like you gotta call it you know Kelson you gotta call your mom and dad like I'm
not talk to anybody because you know you're angry or set you're questioning
that's God hate me and my bad person what did I do wrong in life to get this
I mean I pay my taxes you know I have a family why would this happen to me and
then a little bit goes like Forrest Gump where it's like Lieutenant Dan like no
what what what the hell you know I didn't I live through this you know is
this some kind of sick punishment that for something I did wrong and I mean you
come to a realization like hey you know what
just sometimes bad things happen to good people it is what it is you can't change
it you might as well keep pushing forward and it's nothing I did wrong in
life it's just what was slated so you know that's what happened yeah I thought
it was interesting that one of the guys on the medevac bird lick road rota
Facebook to Kelsey and was explaining you know what it was like and and yeah I
mean here's what he wrote my name is first sergeant wait the other medic
the other flight medic was Staff Sergeant Hawker Smith you belong to a
family of warriors other wounded soldiers in the aircraft were injured
and screaming but your husband was warm worried about more worried about them
than himself he described and he describes like how you were doing the
thing and tell him to take his helmet off and and you know here come on back
to the book his face was dirty and there was dust in his eyes but he never shed a
tear IRA playing my mind a moment when he
looked at other wounded soldier at another wounded soldier and winked to
reinsure him that it would be okay my crew is still on duty in his units area
now we go back to Kandahar on Monday but we won't go back the same way I'm an 8
6 is the example for myself and others to emulate now actually I had to get my
I was strapped down so I had to get my arm out because when I was yelling at
him I was like hey take it all off I said take your helmet off that finally I
got my arm up how were you conscious man that's freaking crazy good genes I guess
you know but I pull my arm out and I said take your you know helmet f-word
helmet off and I put my hand over my head too emotionally you know as my arms
drooping down or whatever but I just like taking helmet off and then he
didn't I was like give my guys walked I'm gonna be fine and then later I did
apologize for yelling at him I say hey hey sorry I yelled that's worried yeah
you know but you know at that time I guess maybe it was easier for me to like
think about everything else going on except for myself yeah you know and I
just I just figured it is what it is was everything happens gonna happen and
doesn't do me any justice to scream out or yell or be afraid I mean hey I can't
change what's going on right now so just do what best I can to you know help
situation yeah and and Josh shows up like you know you just talked about this
and then Josh just say hey I'm gonna tell it to you straight
mm-hmm because you asked you said to Josh hey am i paralyzed and I'm going to
the book here no man Josh said you're not paralyzed
you don't need to lie to me I whispered I can take it I'm gonna tell you
straight Josh knew I'd want to know the truth you're not paralyzed but both your
arms and legs are gone the date was April 14 2012 still the
same day as when I'd heard the news I was a quadruple amputee it was my 25th
birthday you talk about the pain and I think this is something that people
don't get myself included the pain was so bad part of the pain was the thought
of what I'd become I could hardly picture the new me yet
the pain was more than emotional it was a physical pain it coursed through my
body I felt like I was on fire I tried to focus on my breathing and take stock
of why my pain was so bad even with all the medications flowing through me it
still felt like I was in a red-hot vise I could hardly take it I knew Josh would
never lie to me but my arms and legs still felt like they were attached my
hands felt like they were burning like someone that was clamping them inside of
an industrial furnace but my hands weren't there the flames were eating
away my ligaments my nerves my skin my legs my phantom legs were
clamped in that same fire bolts of agony surged from limbs that weren't the
register that weren't there and registered to a brain that still was the
pain came and went came and went came and went
Josh started in his seat and leaned or started a seat and leaned closer
Travis you needed me to get the nerves nurse I didn't say anything
I was itchy and sweating bad he pressed a buzzer
then then went out and got a cool cloth and laid it on my forehead the nurse
came in and upped my morphine just before I went under again everything
that I'd always drilled into myself rushed through my mind never show fear
never let your guys see you in pain don't cry out even when I've been lying
on the ground right after the blast I felt pain then but I hadn't showed it
when that IV was shoved through my chest that was chest that was painful but I
wasn't gonna complain then you don't let people down you just don't but this time
the pain was so bad it was still so bad even
if mork painkillers in me now so bad so bad so bad this time I wanted to do the
unthinkable two words rose and began to vocalize
within my throat Josh I said yeah what do you need buddy I swallowed and
whispered two words I quit yeah not good I uh I don't know what I
mean this is a lot of pain I guess I don't know why you know you sit there
any question like am I gonna be a burden on my family
right why how you know my wife should she stay with me I mean what do I have
left to offer my daughter am I gonna be a monster
when I get to see her finally and then it's like why did I live through this
why you know why not make it not that I'm I guess angry I lived her at the
time you know when that was happening I wasn't so much angry it's more of a
question like why what's what's the purpose why not just let me go out my
wife gets you know 400,000 from the government and then she can go remarry
and have somebody that's able-bodied and live a happy life but that you know a
lot of questions are you know when you're sitting in the hotel room I heard
me in a hospital bed you know in the hospital room and you just got stare at
the ceiling the whole time you just never know what would think and the
military it's easy everything is laid out for you this is our mission is our
plan is what we're gonna do is how we're gonna get it done there it's just all
unknown and that pain like from missing limbs it sounds freaking horrible oh
yeah I mean it was like a spike getting drove through my heel fingernails
getting like just ripped off and then seared and it was just it would mad what
causes that well I mean a lot of it is phantom limb pain so your nerves try to
find where your hands and your feet are and if they can't find it they try to
redirect and keep trying to find it so it's just one excruciating you know zap
to another and then they in your probably talk they had experimental
things they tried on me because it was so bad and after the second one they
tried I was like oh I feel a little better and then the the doctor like was
all excited I was like uh I know the pains back and I went you know got all
yelling out and pain stuff and he just he actually cried he felt so bad because
it was to the point where they gotta find some cure or I'm gonna be so just
in agony yeah agony or I'll be so used to the medication that the doses are
gonna get to the point where I'm just gonna OD on them you know because I'm
gonna be so so they're custom I can't think the word right now it's Galen tolerance hell yeah yeah oh yeah yeah my
tolerance would be so high that I'm just gonna end up odeon damn of course
house come on you know you wonder where you get your sense of humor you're
telling your dad what happened you're like I stepped on a mine went flying
through the air I did a 180 it was crazy well Travis my dad said the important
question is did you look good doing it yeah yeah I mean I think I did yeah and
meanwhile Kelsey she she you know you've been voicing some of these concerns like
about hey can I even be a good dad now can am I gonna be a burden you're kind
of telling Josh some of those things and she told or he told Kelsey and here we
go back to the book my brother told me that Travis is nervous to see me because
he doesn't know how I will react or if I will continue to love him as my husband
these worries seem so trivial to me because I will love him through sickness
and health until death do us part I'd not use those words lightly when we got
married I will be by his side every day for the rest of our lives whether he
likes it or not I know his natural reaction will be to
push me away because of embarrassment or feelings of letting me down but I just
wish I could constantly reassure him that my love for him is unwavering yeah
I mean when I saw her I told her she should go I said you know hey you should
take what we have the house is yours the cars of yours sell mine you know
whatever and do what you need to do well financially fun whenever I can you know
and she was like that's not how this works handicapped parking that you are there's
like a level of luck involved when you get married I don't care who you are oh
you know like you could easily marry like Satan you know and I know I know
you I know plenty of guys that have made some really bad game and call them bad
decisions because just like okay I understand if you have this great
courting thing and all that and you're whatever that you can make a good
decision then that's great but like a lot of guys in the military you're young
you're like you know what we're getting married and there's just like a flip of
the coin and you got a saint I mean I literally did flip I'm like 17 days in
person you know what it would be great we just went to Mexico and then it's how
we're gonna get married and then we just got married yeah let's do that let's be
a great story for everybody whether it works or not
man you scored for sure she got lucky too well I didn't really pick that up
but um okay we'll go with it hey I wasn't really saw Chloe for the first
time so you need get back to Walter Reed I did April 17th I got back and the
first time I actually Kelsey wasn't that hallmark moment you know it's like oh my
gosh I love you so much it was actually I was getting rushed in my relate one of
my right leg ripped open and I'm like mrs.

Mills you're in charges medical
history now you have to sign this piece of paper he has to get two inches of
confers right leg we need your consent consent she's like what
it sure was passes out there like mrs. Mills I'm like Kelsey just signed the
paper and I'm yelling just sign the paper it's okay
and she signs it that's the first time I had to see her just real quick yeah go
ahead and hack him up and they went and took my leg two inches off on the right
and resealed it next days when I tell her like you know this isn't by anything
that you signed up for you you can go and you know you know it's no big deal
I'm not worried about it she's like nope know how this works we'll get through
this together and then they you know they induced me into this coma later on
because the pain was so bad and I was getting my tolerance level built up for
the pain meds and uh she sat on my bed like 20 hours a day knowing I wasn't
gonna wake up for five days like we're gonna put him out for five days so yeah
so this was crazy reading about in the book you you're in such horrible
horrible pain like undescribable pain is this basically an experimental thing
procedure that they did on you yeah I'm the second the nation never have the
ketamine coma and xxx in the world and sonicstage Studies on me the ketamine
coma is 600 melih milligrams of ketamine per hour yeah so it go around the clock
mmm well it based on like waiting things so I'm sure like different measurements
but they when they did it you go in and then it just circulates through it's
supposed to reset your brain to think where your nerves end there
where they in and you know you come out and it's just you who's neat like crazy
yeah and nothing on TV is what was real life to me ya know the I'll hit some
highlights from your holy snake cuz when you get when you get done out of the
coma you're in a coma for five days which is just black nothing right
there's no nothing nothing there then you go into hallucinations
you got chasing kids that stole things from Walmart you got Genghis Khan that
you're out with Genghis Khan you're a SWAT team is coming to get you you got
you and your cousins are riding skateboards you know TV reality show you
got yourself playing hockey in the NHL I was particularly concerned about a 50
year old go-go dancer that crawled on a leash down the hallway of Walter Reed
that one made me a little bit nervous the service dog apparently Kramer from
Seinfeld stops by so you go through these massive hallucinations that that's
freaking weird yeah I mean it got to the point where I'd get out my tangents and
they said for the first like seven days you know it's gonna be bad then after
that it'll start to fade out at ten days you should be able to tell when you're
having one or not but I remember my final mile come in one morning and the
Cape's game was on the night before I was watching it I was like I scored nine
goals with Ovechkin I had a triple hat-trick he's like oh that's that's
great and then I thought that way I got blown up and I woke up the very first
day I thought that this guy from my hometown made a derogatory comment
towards my mom my wife my daughter and my buddies and I jumped in the car and
chased him and went off the road and I smacked a tree and I killed my two best
friends and like I made my mom and my full-on o leaved those a hundred percent
I told my brother and all the story just as intently intense as I told my wife
and he listens oh yeah and everyone's just going with it so I try to like
argue with me they're like we're gonna go with this and I called my buddies a
message and like I'm so I hope you're not dead and then I finally came out
who's a nation and I realized what happened a my brother my walk back in a
sec hey man thanks you I didn't want to tell you any different I was like yeah
and I understand you know that's like don't text when you're drunk or whatever
you know don't don't call people need messages when you're on from seven-day
who isn't it trips and I only left two messages there twice round so it's cool
and both was I'm sorry I killed you then I think I killed you
and and then I got some phone record tell what was going on yeah so I I
started having another one and I was like I'll add solicitation and then
finally I get the part I was playing with people like Josh was in my room and
I was like Josh because what I said what you're seriously gone just kidding okay
and that's I look at the ceiling I was like oh they're all around me is like
where where I'm like oh my gosh Roger were and I like jad so I started messing
people once I got the hang of it that's awesome and that kind of like did it
though right like yeah yeah so I did about five more months of pain pills and
then finally like in October I was home for Thanksgiving in North Carolina at my
house at Fort Bragg and I was just like you know what Kelsey came in as I don't
want him anymore I'm done she's like you can't just quit the easiness and know
everything I'm done so I was like five days of pain and then now no medication
nothing I'm good to go so the Academy coma in my documentary
you know it says I won't do it again but that was five months after the fact I'll
still like doing pain pills and stuff there for most after the fact that guess
cuz in September but looking back like that was the best the best thing for me
to get me past the you know the pain part and then on to my recovery you have
a second person that ever had that done I guess in the nation that's crazy I
guess yeah I thought this is a great talk about your kind of transition
mentally going back to the book back in normal days I loved the challenge the
quest to succeed in the Army had always been a challenge for me my situation now
is a quadruple amputee held that out the same sort of dare to succeed sure if I
could have changed things I wouldn't have been in the situation but I
couldn't change things being a quadruple amputee was my new reality I could quit
for good I could shut myself off from the world I could will myself to die or
I could fight forward and keep on living legit well I mean it came down to a
choice at the end the day I was still here my wife's gonna say on my side my
daughter I think I think I'm a monster still laughs and snuggles up with me and
you know I mean when she first saw me I thought she's gonna be really afraid but
then short arms short legs fuzzy chest I look like a teddy bear totally you know
but this one can talk yeah cool and they're active I've never been Stern
with my mom I my mom's nose one time a whole different
story karate I know my dad we were slapbox in the kitchen which meant I was
17 my dad was trying to mess with me but might slap back you bet you did you
could take me I'm like no bro that were just playing but he slapped at me my
mom's behind me and I carved back in my head and scariest day of my life you
don't make her mad and but anyway so I was only stirring one time my mom I woke
up you know and I suppose gal the rest I could and I said where's Chloe yeah
she's like oh the air came to visit but you were sleeping that's like don't ever
let me sleep to that again that's the whole reason that I'm able to still keep
functioning is because of my daughter and you know being there in my wife but
you know the mental part was the worst mm-hmm at 4 o'clock to say o'clock at
night I couldn't add the lights on in my my apartment something to do I thought
it was like the operating table I start sweating real bad I just I mean now I'm
fine but in the first I kind of I 5 6 months I was just like no lights at this
time it's quiet hour and it's like that it man I started watching like I watch
so you know video view as you were training as you were now relearning
everything look and I never really understood when people said you got to
read got a real earn to walk and you got a real oh and I didn't really make sense
of it but it's really clear to see when you watch your progression what that
looked like you liked how you were clearly relearning how to walk like I
never understood that but when you watch the videos and the the progression that
you made you can see that that's what it looks like when you first stood up I'm
like oh yeah it looks like he's learning how to walk or sure enough you got
better and better and it's pretty amazing and and two things you're gonna
find out when I was going to my recovery the first thing I learned how to walk
with my daughter we're just kind of cool they got my little short legs and I was
stumbling around she was stumbling around we're holding hands and the next
thing you found out my love for Philly cheesesteaks because I do less workouts
and stuff like that the gym you know as you go but I went from 250 to 140 and I
was real skinny and then all of a sudden I start getting fatter and fatter and
fatter because the lyrica and the medication and I was like oh I love
Philly cheesesteaks so I'm trying to work on that now but my progression is I
got better I got fatter too and you got a visit from a guy named Todd nicely mmm
and that wants to help that a lot my competitive edge did he walked in on his
fake legs and to fake arms and first thing I have his mouth hey man welcome
to the club I was like I wanna be in your club it's
a kind of late now don't you think and I looked at myself when I was a lock you
got me there and as you walked over I said you want a ginger ale
and he heard me wrong and he went over to the counter or the sink and
underneath the sink was was a 12-pack of ginger ale I got hooked on it like crack
at the hospital I got off it now but either way he bends down on one knee
bends down on his other knee reaches on with his fake hand gets it out pops the
top of his other arm and walks our own hands he goes here you go I'm like oh no
I was asking if you wanted one but before I have the full sentence out I
said how'd you do that he said hey man I'm Todd and I'm the
second-ever welcome to the club here the fourth quadruple amputee to make it back
home you're gonna be fine other than Missouri with my wife I Drive
I have a boat I do whatever I want I walk it just takes time and he said I'll
even work out with you tomorrow you know this is like I'm still thinking
I'm in hallucination mode this is this is like maybe eight nine days after my
ketamine coma and he's like I'll work out with you tomorrow so the doctors
come in and I'm like hey I got to work out today like you can't work out you
know I was like no no seriously I've been I'm gonna work out with Todd nicely
he said I can work out at one o'clock and they're like well you're not ready
and I hadn't let him know is like I don't know what you don't get buddy I'm
working out today and I he say I'll think about it so I called him every
half hour for four hours straight to find said I could and I went to met Todd
and Todd did a workout and I laid on my stomach with the pelvis pattern under my
stomach or whatever so they stretched my pelvis muscle back out and heating pad
my back and I fell asleep 20 minutes best workout I've ever done but I start
my recovery that day and as far as the physical is easy as you know I like the
physical challenge the mental was the hardest part for me
I mean bar none it was it was the worst you know I couldn't look at myself in
the mirror for a while there I didn't like what I saw you know seeing my my
arms gone the scars just overall mess that I was and thinking now it's gonna
be a burden and all that so it just that's just how it went so the more
capable you got the more comfortable you got in your new skin yeah well I found
out that they let you go for one hour and then physical therapy no an hour of
occupational therapy and then they let me do another one and another one turned
into four hours of each so eight hours went eight hours a day at the gym
recovery Oh at the gym and occupational therapy learn how to use my hands how to
wash myself again how to dress myself again learn how to drive learned how to
do all that stuff but it took 19 months of at Walter Reed 13 months and
paperwork was after that to get out but and you you um you eventually went and
met your guys when they came home though that's I did an awesome I did I set some
goals when I was in the hospital my birthday I called my wife and my mom and
dad and I was basically really short hey guys what's up fine love you bye
that's all I wanted to say I didn't want to talk and have a conversation and go
over what happened to me I kept it very short but I told my brother Monson I
have to call my guys in my unit you need to find the number to my strong point
and let me talk to him so there's a picture going around where
I had a baseball cap erna lies out on patrol and I had sleeves rolled up and
helmet off sunglasses I mean everything out of standards everything as you know
they have standards or whatever and I got a hold my sergeant major and said
sergeant major I'm so sorry I understand if you had to take my rank I should have
been out of uniform I do apologize and now the pictures go on public he's like
you're crazy dude like just get better you're fine and then I got to hold my my
guys and I told them guys I'm fine I'll be ok and I'll be there when you
get back from Afghanistan I'll be there at the you know the ramp to give you
guys a hug on my tile legs and it took me a while I got my two legs that
morning and they got back had to work out three hours ok and then the tall
legs don't bend but I thought it wasn't wearing now but they're they make me at
least 6 foot tall well you can't take those legs home unless you can stand up
when you fall down so the whole day the therapist walks up it's a stress ball
they knock you down you know what the hell that's not a trust fall supposed to
catch me I supposed to close my eyes and trust you're gonna catch them they're
like that's the catch you gotta give yourself back up in there for sir great
no I had I had two of the best therapists uh that you could ask for
no I'm Kerry and Joe and they got me you know back to where I was at but I did
meet my guys and the first one the first people got the hug was doc Bateson you
know it's a hey man thanks for all you did and then you end up doing a 5k 5k
run so well I mean another goal yeah so Todd nice we came in when he met me he
had four firefighters also for telling the town
five K they do in New York City and they also they partner with Gary Sinise and
they build houses and things like that for guys I've been through traumatic
injuries and they were like hey we're gonna have a 5k in September we'll push
you I'm like I'll walk it like wow yeah but it will push you it's no big deal
and I was like no you don't understand like I'm just gonna walk it and like
well you don't have legs yet but if you do Walker that's cool so I went up to
New York City after my daughter's birthday the day after and walked the 5k
I came out of Brooklyn Battery Tunnel thinking okay I'm gonna sit down now
like I'm tired my back hurts I got a mile and you know 1.2 miles or something
to go my right leg I completely rubbed raw not bleeding inside my socket I was
like it's good I've met a goal I've walked over to you know two miles now
and I came out of the tunnel there's 343 firefighters with banners around their
neck for 9/11 I thought jeez okay well if those guys and gals can help down
this flight stairs then ultimately died you know trying to save lives I can
finish this so I did I was sore it was bad but I didn't did finish it and then
eventually you're like he said you're driving now you went out did like
mountain biking and skiing and all this other kind of just getting after it
basically for better or for lack of a better term and then you and then you
retire you retire from the from the Army and and what's your next move your next
move is you figure out you're gonna get a house and you're gonna move to I had
to move to Maine my wife is from Maine originally the heat doesn't do well with
amputees because your blood circulates faster you comes back warmer when you
really see from your body its head hands and feet so I'm missing you know for the
five and then my legs are capped off so if I wear pants or for wear shorts it's
the same there's no air hitting a third of my body
and yeah so we decide we're gonna move to Maine we didn't start a non-profit to
help with care packages at first and then we grew it to the retreat center
that we have here in Maine and it really threw my work at Walter Reed how's that
Walter Reed I was such a beat person how's the same person as before the
blast I was still going in and having cash for Fridays because I made people
annoyed but other people loved it I have a what Friday extra Fridays I'd go put
my take alone I turn on cash on Pandora we just rock out and unfortunately saw
videos of youth like dancing who cannot be unseen apparently burn into your
right now you're welcome but uh you know they started to ask me if I'd meet
people upstairs and it started out hey you know Travis we have a guy upstairs I
can't tell his name his room number but if you could talk to him really help
he's not in 41 he's not in 43 but if you could find him you know and I'm not a
Marine so you know I was smart enough to find that his number 42 I don't eat
crayons but anyway so I would go up and talk to him then it turned into like hey
we have PFC Johnson he's missing two legs
his mom is mother-in-law and his two kids are here can you go see him I told
me you'd be up around this time and that's how the book got started and my
documentary got started and then the foundation which is because all the
nonprofits that Walter Reed doing great things Kelsey and I want to give back
some way shape or form and this is how we've decided you know that we can get
back the best yeah so I'm what tell us more about the foundation
so the trashman's foundation was started really just for care packages overseas
and then I went out to Colorado learn how I go downhill mountain biking and
doing things and then I realized that Walter Reed does a great job of taking
the service member out there the only thing that the government doesn't lack
but because of the funds have to go to the soldiers they don't get to bring all
the families like my wife got to go because I needed assistance know and
things but a lot of the guys that could take care of themselves couldn't bring
their loved ones and that's fine that's okay but we thought we could do
something in that in that space my whole reason for getting better was my wife
and my daughter easily so we started bringing families out and we did it for
one week of a year and we brought families out and show them how to do
things adaptively kayak and canoe and things then we did another one and it
went so well we thought we should buy a property so we bought a property
supposed to have $500,000 project now is a three million dollar project we did
our first week of program aramean first year programs this year we did seven
weeks 56 families and we bring them up we host eight families per week up to 40
people and we show them how to do things we have a place on the water for
kayaking and canoeing and tubing and boating and we just do horseback riding
and archery and there's all these activities ropes course and we just say
you know what I understand what you're going through I understand it can get
tough here's a network of people that are just
like you whether you live in Chicago in the inner city or you live in the plains
of Montana reach out understand that these families go through the same thing
feel comfortable when you come here that you can fall out of a kayak and nobody's
gonna freak out they're gonna understand what you're going through
and it's just as much of a place for the loved ones you know the wives that can
talk to other wives or our spouses and the kids can run around see the you know
what my dad has one leg missing in one arm but this dad has two legs missing
and that's pretty cool because they know we're going through and after our first
year of operations running it was such a great success we're gonna do strategic
partnerships with other nonprofits that share our mission and they'll donate
what it costs for a week and over on their own retreats up here as well so
we're talking about summer families as well as PTSD and TBI cuz right now I
focus on limb loss or paralyzation but this hopefully will run 40 or 45 weeks
out of the year it's all donation based and the cool thing is like as the
president and the six other board members I do have we don't take a dime
we never will we're auditing ourselves right now so we down the CFC the
combined Federal Campaign and it's all about giving back so it's it's been
really rewarding and fulfilling and I'm glad to be out there helping these
families cope with their situation and tell them that there's other people out
there like you keep going never live life on the sidelines and most
importantly never give up and never quit if people want to help this organization
what's the best way for them to do that visit the website Travis Mills net org
it has all the information on the foundation there's ways to donate online
there's ways to do volunteer options you know we had people fly in just to
volunteer for the week and help us out and there's also you know ways to do
corporate sponsorships we had Wayfarer come in donate all the furniture
New Balance came in donated to us and things like that so we're growing we
believe in our mission we know we can do this and there's other things we want to
get accomplished out here we need to build a multi-purpose Center we have a
pool going in and things like that but it's all about giving back in and the
mindset of the service member that we're trying to host and the family the book
tough as they come that's what we read today it's a it's a
great book I read a small chunks of it yeah you can pick that up anywhere where
they sell books and what about the documentary so the documentary is called
Travis a soldier story it was done in 2014
and it was actually unveiled to G at Film Festival and we took first place in
55 short films I got to meet Marcus and Melanie on the trial that night it was
really really great to meet them and now Netflix has sinus on for a two-year run
so we got on Netflix in May so if anyone wants to watch that it's on Netflix
it's called trav sort of story and it just tells the whole story it just has I
phone footage of everything that Kelsey and I went through yes and the two medic
says the two medics say my life I actually re-enacting need getting blown
up and the two guys get hurt or in the documentary as well yeah and my
brother-in-law saw all the people that were there are in the documentary know
between the book and watching the documentary and you get to see the faces
and everything it's really uh it's really cool too real powerful and what
about social media how's your social media presence it was a popular it's not
yours by any means we're about 60,000 and some
strong on our Facebook page I do little videos my daughter learn how to tie her
shoes the other day we taught her in the morning and you know by like we taught
her like seven and my 9 o'clock she's tying it by herself giving an intro to
tying your shoes online but just SSG Travis Mills is my page if you want to
check it out and share my story that really helps you so and it's Twitter
Instagram and Facebook you're on all three SSG Travis Mills
that's that's where you can find it yeah you know you you put the last thing in
the book like the last line in the book you say live in freedom to go forward to
love your family to make something of your life to never
ever give up to never quit that's success and obviously in my opinion if
if never giving up and never quitting is the definition of success that I think
you're the most successful person I've ever met my life brother for real well I
appreciate that I just we we realize that people that depend on you the
people that when to tell this and the lives that are lost I mean you've had a
lot of buddies I'm sure that didn't make it back home
my situation is not not life-ending my situation is just I got a couple more
steps in the morning put my legs on put my arm on take my daughter tomorrow's
action my daughter's orientation at school I get to take her my wife and I
just had a baby and I named my named a little boy after my two medics his
name's Dax Dax after Daniel dogs ander for the
medics that saved my life so thankful to still be here through all the smoke and
the dirt in the dust that's all sale now and I'm living life
to the fullest and doing the best I can to make sure that people understand life
goes on and to never ever give up and never quit anything else
any closing thoughts I mean I just obviously want to thank everybody went
into this I mean from my unit on the ground I know I was a heavy guy you know
walk around weights 400 pounds so to get you know with all my gear on and all
that to get me out there was great this medical staff doctors nurses physical
therapists occupational therapists everybody obviously my family I went
into it I want to say thanks for being there with my side my beautiful wife and
my wonderful children for you know really accepting what happened and
moving forward in life and just uh you know they everybody know you know you
can't always affect your your situation you find yourself in but you always can
affect your attitude and that's that's where I find the most I guess the most
realization in my situation I can't always affect if I drop something on my
hand you know I can't pick it up right away or I have to do something weird and
get mad about it cuz getting mad doesn't I'm getting mad doesn't do anything so I
always try to keep my head to be positive and keep pushing forward
but thanks for having me also I want to thank you for having me on here both you
Jim I didn't look at you very much I'm sorry I know we talked about this
earlier he said not you said not to yeah try not to it's at your discretion for
sure okay perfect perfect yeah hey man thanks for coming on of course thank you
for your service to this great nation not only as a soldier and a leader on
the battlefield but for your continued service that you're doing today for
veterans and also for the the gift that I think you give everybody that hears
about your comes and contacts you with you in any way and that is
just a living example of grit and of determination and of will and I just
think you're the absolute model of what it means and what people can accomplish
if we do as you say and that is to go forward never give up
then never ever quit thanks for coming on brother thanks for having me and after a little administrative break
travis has left the building pretty damn awesome yeah to have him on man yeah
yeah any and every excuse that a person might have is a human being just got
destroyed yeah yeah and it he really kind of Illustrated how hard it got
spread the time when he was like when he said oh I quit in the hospital yeah and
it's kind of like it makes just kind of when you're around him now and you see
just how he is it kind of really brings to light how good he is now yeah you
know and and he couldn't at that moment in time and when people get into that
darkness they don't see they can't they can't see the future they can't see that
things are gonna get better they can't see you know for him at that point in
time there's no way it was gonna get good you know you know so yeah that's
very true very true yeah interesting thing you see again where he's like
concerned about his men and even when he said I quit he was concerned about like
his wife yeah and like that was the significant element just a totally
selfless person awesome well speaking of being awesome
yeah echo Charles you're awesome we thanks
Beth we can talk about some awesome american-made stuff that's a good idea
I like where you're going with this origin origin mancom but yeah origin
that's the brand so what is origin we're in league with origin I like the
expression in league with by the way I might have told you that before yeah
it's a good way of putting it yeah so this is straight up the best
american-made apparel in the world you can you don't have to say the best
american-made apparel you can say it's the best apparel in the world and it's
American made yeah is that subjective I guess it's kind of subjective but if you
say it's best american-made well I guess it all technically might be I don't know
either way is dope yeah and it's all made in America but here's the thing
about made in America I guess I don't know I could be wrong about this part
but technically you could be like yeah they sewed these I don't know pants or
whatever you know in America like hey where did you get the material oh well
you know we got it from somewhere else not in America which I guess is cool
technically it was made it was crafted but not here so you figure what like
let's say yeah cotton pants right you get the material from America but how do
you make the material the actual cotton where does cotton come from you grow it
pays to have a cotton like trees like a bunch of them by the way I'm quiet
nonetheless so where do they get where does origin
get that cotton America what about the seeds to plant the cotton they're from
America for sure so straight up from the ground the earth from the seeds to the
pants that you yet in the event of you getting pants
yeah the way there's other stuff there's geese and that one's a good one
the geese if you're into jiu-jitsu nonetheless the pants that I got the
joggers he was asking me how do you like those and you know the new joggers
they're kind of like they have a different shape than the old-school
sweats so I was like okay you know and I looked into those I was telling Pete
this story where I ordered some ironically from overseas I ordered him
from overseas they looked pretty good so I ordered them didn't come in by the way
this was about a year and a half ago still didn't come in by the way but I
looked into it I was like whatever it was probably not for me so attic you
know it's a sign one of those deals either way I get beats once I'm like all
right cool I'm gonna try these I put them on surprisingly legitimate as far
as the look goes cool it's me Pete even said that I'm like I look good in them
which is a lot because I just kind of met Pete in person over the past week
anyway good stuff it's good stuff and again all made in America all of it
some G's on there some cool rash guards the did George Washington rash garden
that I feel like we're ready for that one to come back so yeah so Pete should
yeah should have that one yeah nonetheless origin Maine dot-com
and when I say mean it's the state mean so origin Emma Mei any.com that's a good
one the best one really when it comes down
to it also Jaco has some supplements krill oil which we need in joint warfare
so really this is like a full-on like joint cos krill oil omega-3s for your
joint first as well yeah then joint warfare is like because there's a bunch
of thing so regardless what you think yeah krill oil joints boom good it's
there's more to it than that it's like what like glucosamine could like
basically all the stuff that you have been taking for years yes you said you
know what let me come over my own jockle formula and we have it now
boom have it now two products right super krill joint warfare yeah
that's the one that's the kit it's the new kit mm-hmm as far as kits go also
those are also on Origin main comm by the way yeah yeah origin main dot-com
also on it so you know we've been we're on a trip right now in the event of
people not knowing that we're on a trip to mean I didn't bring the kettlebells I
thought that that might have been too much plus you know to check on Kelly
they give you fifty pounds right in your life it's my kid all bells one get about
more than 50 pounds nonetheless Davey eight pounds
yeah in your case minus 62 it okay the werewolf times 224 mmm boom math on
point there was a guy at the camp that we went to that brought the kettlebells
the 7d whatever wasn't a gorilla one from on it the cool one I didn't I
didn't work out with him though I was gonna I wanted to I intended to anyway
those gorillas and werewolf kettlebells that I'm talking about these are the
cool kettlebells they're from on it those are all kettlebells are good
really but if you want that level up of coolness yeah get those I'm on it calm
slash Yakko get it jump ropes on there the bunch of cool fitness stuff if
you're dragging in your workout which I do sometimes i lagging my work at none
lag like physically but um interest was you know you get kind of bored not you
you don't get bored huh no you just like well it doesn't matter
right right even register board or not yeah execution is happening to know what
it's about yeah well some of us we get kind of bored and it's not that we're
getting bored so we're not gonna do it we're looking for something like oh yeah
let me try this new thing some new hotness in regards to workouts can you
just not say new hotness anymore a high spot Will Smith it a lot of it was cool
doesn't like certify it for the pot i know bright figure i try it out don't
just know it's been tried it fans know next rejected oh yeah alright if you
want some new cool stuff to do into a workout hey man look
has all these won they have battled ropes and maces and cool say and they
have cool videos on there by the way don't get addicted to the website spin
appropriate amounts of time on the website not too much
remember how are you talking about like you know when you watch a video then on
YouTube and then another one pops up yeah no six of them pop up yeah all all
formulated for you by the way especially picked what's out for that weird YouTube
munchkins that are like saying I know what likes yeah that's a cute you want
to see another street fight anyway just watch out for that on on the website on
the on it website because the videos are real interesting but they're about
workouts though a lot of them so it's kind of its kind of a catch-22 watching
a video about working out does not replace working out though no no check
it you got to get after it for sure but a lot of options on there anyway on it
calm slash chuckle that's the one right there also you know what them in this
camp so some guys came to the camp they brought this 200 pound bag bag of he
said it was sandbag but it's like gravel essentially and the challenge is to pick
it up over your shoulder 200 pounds so even that really I mean that's not that
easy 200 by the way when they were explaining it to me it was Mike Gerard
Brian Victor mm-hmm there were Explorer explained to me well while they're
explaining it to me I'm thinking okay I know what a hundred fifty pound dumbbell
feels like when you lift it up and I'm thinking good I get that and
that has a handle and balance by the way something like shoot could do I meant I
don't know if I could do that could I could I do that and then they're
like oh yeah you know like that I've done it and okay so it can be done like
it's it's obviously not like this thing you need years of practice or whatever
so I was like but man I don't know and then sure enough so it's yeah when I
when did it it was like you was heart I failed the first one I brought you bring
it up you kind of bring it onto your lap yeah 200 pounds of n that's not like
it's like you know how you say when you when you pick up a person and they're
just dead weight and similar to that anyway boom fail the first time they're
cheering me on thanks for that by the way guys that helped me and then the
second time I did it you it was good one of the high points anyway that was just
a side note also just too soon bunch of people don't have to ask me yeah I did
not participate in the challenge I have an injured rib that was that yeah you
were happy about that you still not have a sheet on your face man yeah well I
yeah the rib is almost healed thanks Andy does Andy Andy did that in a way
and this is I think you paid a bigger price than me but you messed up my rib
in an identical way mmm a few months ago oh you were gonna get a submission on me
and then you hurt yourself no I was I was escaping missions oh yeah it's
essentially the same situation but instead this time you got the rib injury
yeah instead of the guy you're trying to tap out so yeah so in a way good for you
you know and I hope you we've all learned something from this whole thing
today anyway also when you buy this book and you will and should tough as they
come tough as they come Travis Mills get it
through our website that's a good way to support I have a little section we have
a little section books from the podcast click on there it'll be by episode this
is uh you know this is a good way to support
click through there it's bring you to Amazon even if you're gonna do any other
shopping boom even you just as good a way to support that way just click
through get the book that's a good way small
action big reaction small click click one – it's like 2 more clicks super SWAT
actually somebody asked me they said hey does it really help the podcast to like
do the Amazon click through and I said absolutely it really does and they said
well like how much and I said well it's basically the way echo describes it it's
basically the way echo describes a small action big reaction so yep you have to
be very right on that one yes yep you know I just had a feeling from the
beginning that that was that's a good way to put it and it is really also
subscribe to the podcast it's a good way to support stitcher iTunes Google Play
all these ones that provide Platt podcasts this seems you know seems like
something that everyone probably has done already but you know if you haven't
subscribed to them that's a good and if you're in the mood leave a review that's
a good one some good reviews on there already thank
you guys for doing that very colorful would you say colorful is that a good is
that a good yes colors don't creative free creative yeah it's good they're fun
to read from time to time also youtube if you liked the video or want to watch
the video version of this podcast see what Travis looks like see what
chocolate looks like see what I look like if you're into that um yeah
subscribe to the YouTube get a get a little alert when we upload a video yeah
but beyond just watching what we look like there's other things that come from
the YouTube channel yet that are not on the podcast alright yes I subscribe yeah
right little Augmented videos that you make with your creative spin on them
there yeah there's just straight excerpts right and then there's a
deleted scenes yeah deleted scenes I think I'll put some more on there
there's a few you know what when you kind of go through and I then I want you
know when I edit it right so really the edit the audio editing process pretty
simple you cut off the beginning you cut off the end you fade it in you fade it
out done that's it easy yeah but the parts that I cut off
there's some some nuggets and interesting stuff and
you know when you're in the in the moment I'm talking to you it's just
regular we're just talking and whatever may be relaxing maybe not but when you
kind of go back and listen to it it's kind of funny hmm
anyway I'll put some of some of those on there too so yeah if you subscribe to
the YouTube channel you can watch those those are cool the excerpts are just
kind of like you know shareable smaller you know nuggets of jaakko wisdom which
is cool I mean you know if you don't want to listen to the whole podcast is
for the thing in fact in fact there's a couple of people were there like yeah I
listen to those they guide to camp he was like yeah I listen to those excerpts
like almost every day yeah cuz they're like yeah there's a lot of them there
now too by the way also chuckle has a store it's called Jacko's door jaw
closed or calm there's some shirts on there if you want to support so I'm not
saying buy shirt I'm not saying buy a hat got hats on there now snapback
snapback my bad I thought they're you know echo followers flex fit trucker
hats exist yeah they don't have those in the world doesn't need them yeah it
almost doesn't make sense yeah well maybe I don't know I feel thought
they're flexible you know what I looked into it and I realized that the the
reason that I thought their flex pay is because some new hats I'm coming out
with oh maybe in a few weeks they're like they're a different style
hat and their flex fit they look dope too by the way I'll show them to you one
day cool um so yeah I'm not saying hey I'm
noting a buy buy a shirt by a rash guard or whatever I'm saying going the store
Jaakko store look on there check out the items and if you like something get
something some hoodies on there some women's stuff some patches which are
cool I've seen a few of those on people's backpacks actually they look
kinda dope I'm gonna um probably put one on my backpack um and you know so much
for letting us all know about that well I'll be looking for its done anyway
Jocko store calm that's a good way also psychological warfare who are we just
talking to that Oh Pete yeah we're okay basically psyche like
psychological warfare what is that it is an album with tracks chaco tracks where
in your campaign against weakness meanings if you're if you have goals
like okay so listen to Jordan Peterson mm-hmm and he kind of he has this thing
I'm not gonna go like too much into it but he has this thing where it's like
okay why don't why don't people get what they want because and one of the reasons
is because they just don't know what that is and we kind of don't even if you
say I only get better better than what jujitsu cuz you can do one push up a day
and you're technically better technically so it's like what do you
mean better better how whatever whatever so anyway back to this cycle I don't if
you wanna lose weight you want to wake up earlier and be more disciplined in
these specific ways and all this stuff you want to clean up your diet to clean
up your diet you gotta avoid junk food all this stuff
junk food need get distracted by short-term payoffs right with junk food
because junk the whole idea of junk food is short-term payoff over long-term
payoff good diet long-term path bad diet short-term bill anyway if you get
tempted by weakness you listen to the psychological warfare album or just a
track or whatever so look you waking up early in the morning 4:30 every day
that's what I'm doing from now on that one day when you're kind of tired and
the alarm goes off and you're tempted or compelled to press the snooze or just
stay in bed I'll wake up later I'll wake up at noon just saying some people wake
up at noon sometimes play this track called get up and get after it I
guarantee you won't wake up at noon you'll wake up at the assigned time
assigned by yourself by the way 100 percent success rate on that if you fail
if you listen to this and you fail at your little thing yeah I don't know I
don't know what to say but that's a good one psychological warfare
Jaco willing look for it look into it also you get some chalk or white tea you
can get that on Amazon it'll make you be able to do amazing
feats of strengths sure with no effort barely at all yeah
like the rock bag yeah yellow jacket white tee boom you nailed it easy money
one hand books like echo said tough as they come by Travis Mills
you can get that you can also get a book called extreme ownership that I wrote
with my brother life babban it's about combat leadership way the
warrior kid if you want your kid or a kid that you know to be stronger smarter
healthier and therefore because they're stronger smarter and healthier they're
also more confident hmm if you want to do that for a kid get them book called
way the warrior kid then you can also get the discipline equals freedom Field
Manual um it got a little bump the other day I don't know I think like in social
media I put something out and it got a little bump and all of a sudden the
delivery dates of people that just ordered it got pushed back hmm so I
don't know I don't know specifically like what that means but I'll tell you
this it means you should order it now if you want to get it when it comes out
order it if you want that first edition copy which is pretty much what you want
if you need leadership in your world which you probably do because that's the
way things get done is through leadership and you need help in that
department you can contact our leadership consulting company national
on front it's me it's Lafe babban JP Jenelle Dave Burke you can email us at
info at echelon front comm if you want us to come speak or work with your
company that's what you do and finally and this is the muster we are close to
selling it out right now the one that's in San Diego September 14th and 15th
leadership tactics techniques and procedures for business and life get
better at everything get registered do it now before it sells out it might even
be sold out by the time this podcast comes out but check it out see if you
can find it see if you can get their extreme ownership calm and a total
monster if you do need to can you communicate with us
where actually cruising on the interwebs
Twitter Instagram and also a facebook a baja echo is that echo Charles and I am
at Jocko willing and to all the military members out there that are holding the
line thank you and to those veterans that stood the watch especially those
that were wounded thank you for giving us our freedom and to police law
enforcement firefighters EMTs and other first responders thank you for your
service and thank you for keeping us protected from man and from nature here
at home and to everyone else out there facing struggles and facing hard times
remember remember the challenges that Travis Mills faced and still faces and
he faces those incredible challenges every minute of every day and he does
that with tenacity and positivity and proves without question that if you
never quit and you never give up and you keep moving forward then nothing can
stop you from getting after it so until next time this is echo and Jocko out


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