About Me

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I'm the author of four books: Warrior SOS, The Work of Death, Together Forever, and Leaders Wanted. I'm in the doc film Please Remove Your Shoes. I've blogged for The Washington Times, and I write for Guns.com. I've worked for the high-profile U.S.-led Roadmap to Mideast Peace in Israel and Palestine. I've also worked as a SWAT team leader, a Federal Air Marshal and a sole-source training instructor on a classified contract with a U.S. government customer. My master's degree is in Military Studies and terrorism. I'm a former noncommissioned and commissioned Army officer, with service in Iraq. I've been Scuba diving and skydiving; I have trained with members of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team, and I'm an FBI-trained crisis negotiator. My interests lie in helping others and in strengthening America through inspiring moral courage, government fiscal responsibility and accountability, and maintaining principles that have made--and will continue to make--the United States of America a blessed and prosperous country. I'm a father of six, a husband, and a police officer. I reside in Utah, and I'm a Mormon. See also https://jeffreydenning.wordpress.com.

December 18, 2011

Christmas Tribute to Soldiers

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

November 1, 2011

Interview with Tom Spooner, Invictus Alliance Group LLC & Labyrinth Guides

Tom Spooner is a 21-year Veteran of the U.S. Army, 15 of which were spent within the U.S. Army Special Operations Command. His reputation as an Operator and Sniper is second to less than a handful of his immediate peers. Tom's uncanny ability to teach Close Quarters Battle (CQB), Sniper Operations and high stress decision-making and planning, can be directly traced to his 40 months of Direct Action combat experience in a Special Missions Unit over a decade of deployments. Using his 21 years of tactical experience and mastery, Tom has efficiently condensed his knowledge into precise and effective customized instruction and application plans, and is arguably the most experienced and qualified tactics instructor currently available in the private sector. Tom is also a husband of 20 years, and the proud father of two boys.

Along with his brother, Scot, also a Green Beret, Tom Spooner is the owner of Invictus Alliance Group, a customized tactical training organization, training a myriad of law enforcement organizations, SWAT teams, and military special operation forces. They also own and operate Labyrinth Guides, which provides customized leadership consulting and training to professional organizations.

W-SOS: Tom, thank you so very much for agreeing to do this interview. Let's begin. Will you explain--in generic or specific terms, (whatever you're most comfortable with)--some of the situations you've encountered during your military tenure?

Spooner: My first unit was the 82nd where I stayed for 5 years. I was in the first gulf war as a private right out of basic. That was my first experience with the face of war.I then spent 5 years on an ODA with 7th group training soldiers in central and south America.

Sep of 2001 I went to selection and made it into a special mission unit. I had one deployment to Afghanistan and 11 to Iraq. I have been a part of 3 mass casualty events, killed or captured thousands of terrorists, been a part of hostage rescue operations, involved in the first battle of Falluja, conducted over 3,ooo combat operations, buried many friends, saved many Host Nation civilians from the brutality of terrorism and protected our way of life.

W-SOS: Have those events changed your life?

Spooner: Yes, Forever.

W-SOS: What was it like to have Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Spooner: The more correct statement is, what is it like to have TBI. The most important part of the TBI process for me was to take the tests that definitively identify the parts in the brain that are not working the way they are supposed to. Having been diagnosed with mild TBI (what the hell does mild traumatic brain injury mean anyway. Does not seem mild to me or my family), it was a huge relief. The reason why it was a relief was because I thought I was loosing my mind. The tests said I was not crazy, just damaged.

W-SOS: Are there on-going effects today?

Spooner: Yes. The parts of my brain that were damaged are verbal memory, processing speed, and vestibular balance. When I get really tired my brain slows down and it is hard to make simple decisions when new information is presented. All of this only occurs on the inside. To the outside world I just seem tired or a little confused. My family and I have had to make some adjustments and gain a lot of understanding. We are adjusting well though and our life is very good.

W-SOS: What, if anything have you done to try and regulate your life back to normalcy--emotionally, mentally, spiritually?

Spooner: A lot. First of all I do not believe in the concept of “life back to normal”. Experiencing war has forever changed me. It is my responsibility to expand myself (lack of better words) to accept all of the hate, love, rage, joy, pain, kindness, depression, freedom, terror, dignity, guilt….etc, etc. I cannot do this on my own. That is why I have my God, support of others like me and education.

The first thing I did was take those tests to identify what was the problem. Then I went to the TBI clinic on Fort Bragg. There they set me up with cognitive therapy, vestibular rehab, headache specialist and a psychiatrist. I did intense (to me) therapy for 3 months. I was put on Zoloft and saw a non military psychologist. I was also diagnosed with a strong case of PTSD…….imagine that.

W-SOS: Do you ever find difficulty talking about experiences or admitting "normal reactions to abnormal events" (a.k.a. post-traumatic stress)?

Spooner: At times I do have extreme difficulty talking about certain experiences. Sometimes I will refuse to think about them and attempt to put them out of my mind. Other times (like this interview) I don’t have a problem at all. It all depends on the day. I know I must to help others. I don’t agree with statement “normal reaction to abnormal events”. There is nothing abnormal about war. Combat in one way or another has been going on since man was put on this earth. That statement and many more like it that many psychologists use only helps to make me feel more different than I already do. Those events (combat) are not normal to most of society, they are to us.

W-SOS: How has your believe in God helped you through your trials, current or past or both?

Spooner: I could not have survived the last 10 years without depending and trusting on my Creator. The same goes for my everyday life now.

W-SOS: Do you ever feel like most people wouldn't ever understand what you've experienced? In that way, do you ever feel isolated or disassociated from others?

Spooner: Me feeling like most people would not understand is an accurate emotion. They would not understand. Just like I don’t understand what it is like to be in outer space or a neuro surgeon. I thank God they do not understand. If they understood then that would mean they would have experienced what I experienced. I did it so they would not have to. My choice.

W-SOS: You spent 40 months in war operations. Anytime you're away from your wife and family, coming home has always been a challenge--at least in my experience--because you've changed and so have they. For those who've never experienced that, how would you best describe the time away? What about the readjustment phase?

Spooner: Everyone’s deployment cycle is different. My deployment cycle was deployed for 3 months, stateside for 6 months (at least 2 of that 6 was not at home), X 12. For almost half of my career. All of my 30’s. I was either on a deployment, recovering from a deployment and preparing for a deployment. With no end in sight. I fully had expected and accepted that I would eventually die on a deployment. That did not happen. My wife would say that out of the 6 months I was stateside I was present only for the last month before we started the cycle over again. My wife held my family together. At the end, we both could not take it anymore and I got out. No one can continue that way of life without reaching burn out. Me, the wife, the kids, all of us.

W-SOS: Anger and irritability seems to be one of the main side affects of post conflict experience. Would you agree? If so, or if not, would you elaborate?

Spooner: Anger and irritability are emotions that I experience when someone is trying to kill me and my friends. It is personal to me. I would go from a target to my living room sometimes within 72 hours. We struggled sometimes, but what kept it all together was respect for one another and a lot of hard work, together. What I am saying is those emotions are accurate and normal. What is not normal is if those symptoms get worse or don’t lessen. That is symptoms of TBI or PTSD.

W-SOS: You have told me during our personal conversations, that you've been "scared to death." Several people have uttered this cliche, but not many people have truly had fear like modern warriors. How would you describe your reactions to such fear and how have you overcome the fear?

Spooner: The main times when I was terrified was when we were powerless over the outcome of a situation, ie completely out numbered or mortar fire. My emotional reaction was flight. What kept me from taking action on those emotions was the amount of stressful training we had conducted, over and over and over and over.

W-SOS: "The amygdala [portion of the brain] seems to respond to severe traumas with an un-erasable fear response"--which is the basis for post conflict trauma. Some of the responses for fear include fight, flight, or under some circumstances even, freezing or paralyzation. These natural human responses to fear, allow us as human beings to survive. But, how can warriors survive readjusting to civilian life or a life outside of the theater of operations?

Spooner: By addressing every aspect of who they are mentally, spiritually, emotionally. Again, for me, there is no re adjusting. I can never go back to who I was before September 11th 2001, my 8th deployment, elementary school, or like I was before my grandfather died….etc etc.

W-SOS: What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing stress related to man-on-man conflict?

Spooner: That is the name of the game. If you are not capable of dealing with the fact that at some point in the near future you and another man are going to be in a fight to the death, get another job.

W-SOS: What advice would you give to veterans who are experiencing troubles, even though they may not have been directly involved in conflict, but are effected by the troubles of the war zone nonetheless?

Spooner: I have found that giving advice does not work. All I can do is tell people my story. If they are attracted to my Truth, then I can tell them what I did specifically. I stay only within my own experience. No one can argue with my experience. Then they can make their own decisions on how to get help. If a veteran truly wants to get better, there are many people and programs that are there to help. I know the system is broken, but it is all we have to work with. No person or institution can stop me from getting the help I want and no person or institution can force me to get help if I don’t want it.

W-SOS: As you travel around the country now, teaching military and law enforcement professionals, what are the top goals for doing so?

Spooner: The number one goal is to give battle proven tactics and principles that come from experience. We are not saying that the way we do something is the only way, it is just a battle proven way that we have experienced.

W-SOS: Thank you so very much, Tom, for the service you've given to our great nation. You've laid many sacrifices upon the alter of freedom. I thank you and your family.

As far as your leadership and customized tactical training goes, you will undoubtedly break new ground--you already have--and you and your team will surely continue to help SWAT teams, patrol officers, hostage rescue units and special ops personnel everywhere you go, not to mention the businesses, corporations and magnates you will yet influence for good. Undoubtedly, warriors today will be far ahead of the tactical power curve if they take advantage of the specialized training you have to offer, all based on many years of recent, proven combat experience. Keep up the great work.

Tom Spooner can be reached through the Invictus Alliance Group or Labyrinth Guides websites.

To read this and other amazing interviews, check out Warrior SOS, the book on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-SOS-Military-Veterans-Emotional/dp/1462117341/

For Warrior SOS book endorsements from Glenn Beck, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and others, check out the author's link: http://www.jeffrey-denning.com/books/warrior-sos/ 

October 28, 2011

Warrior SOS Tactical Training Helps Cops for Christmas

Tomorrow, we'll be teaching a customized Tactical Patrol Rifle course for several police officers at the request of a local Chief of Police. As in all our training, the training costs are low and discounted in an effort to allow budget-troubled departments to have quality training. All proceeds from this training will be used for great purposes--helping families in need.

With the help of local police officers, Warrior SOS will use the money made from this and other training events to help give a happy Christmas to a family who otherwise might not have had one. We are especially interested in helping families with young children.

Not only are police officers most aware of "who's been naughty and who's been nice," but they also see many good families who fall on hard times--whether victims of crime or honest people, in dire circumstances, struggling to make ends meet.

We welcome the private financial help and assistance, as well as donations from local businesses, in an effort to help many families in need this next Christmas season. We unapologetically state, that by doing this service, we can help put Christ back in Christmas.

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

October 17, 2011

Warrior SOS - helping others admit, understand & get help

Unlike Hollywood portrayals, warriors are not invincible super-humans. The warrior suffers from doing things and seeing things so others won't have to experience them. They are the proverbial shields, protecting liberty and preserving delicate minds from chaos, destruction and physical harm. Unfortunately, as a result, warriors suffer too - sometimes for many years. Susan Evans McCloud so eloquently captured this phenomenon when she wrote: "In the quiet heart is hidden Sorrow that the eye can’t see."

- Warriors know the true cost of freedom.
- Warriors understand what it really means to lose a friend.
- Warriors have silently wept at man's inhumanity to man…woman…and child.
- Warriors understand fear better than anyone.
- Warriors know about homesickness; they know how it feels to work weekends and miss birthdays, holidays and anniversaries.
- Warriors know all too well the feeling of prolonged stress and constant vigilance.

After critical incidents and lethal confrontations, warriors have experienced normal reactions to abnormal circumstances, commonly referred to as post traumatic stress or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Research suggests that around 70% of combat veterans will experience combat and operational stress reactions that can include depression and anxiety, or manifest itself through anger or substance abuse. Moreover, 20% of returning OEF/OIF Veterans—Veterans of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—meet the criteria for major depression, acute anxiety or PTSD. (As qtd in presentation by Major Thomas A. Jarrett, Warrior Resilience Conference II, 3-4 NOV, 2009, Norfolk VA)

Suicide has taken far too many warriors. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, act now—ACT RIGHT NOW. Asking someone if they're thinking about killing themselves or committing suicide will not put the idea into their minds so that they'd act it out. If the response is "yes", ask them if they have a plan. If there's a plan that would place them in imminent harm, do not leave them. Get them help immediately.

Don't wait to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline until it's everlastingly too late.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1.800.273.TALK (8255)

The warrior often suffers privately. Family members play an integral part in the life of the warrior. As a result, not only does the warrior suffer from loneliness—and on occasion, true despair—but the whole family suffers too. Adjusting and adapting, healing and helping, and mending broken things can only be done with patience, long-suffering, strengthened resolutions and love unfeigned.

In order to fix any problem, admittance is mandatory. Developing a plan and maintaining the course is crucial for mission success. The goal is self-healing and helping troubled relationships. The aim is to feel joy and to be productive.

Don't be deceived through counterproductive and excessive alcoholic intake, fist-fights, pornography or dangerous flirtations outside marital vows; these may elicit temporary pleasure, but they have the capacity to bring lasting remorse, conflict and trouble.

Don't be deceived by thinking—even tacitly—that cruelty to others will make things better: it won't.

The warrior doesn't need to suffer alone. Families don't need to suffer in silence either.

Warrior SOS was developed with you, the warrior, in mind. From traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by explosions and other trauma-related head wounds to post traumatic stress, PTS(D), Warrior SOS was founded to assist, help and bless warriors and their family members.

Whether it's to save a buddies' life or win a lethal confrontation, Warrior SOS exists to add more tools to your "tactical toolbox." Additionally, Warrior SOS was created to emphasize the fact that you're not alone.

Finally, although no one's situation is always perfect, each of us can experience lasting peace and real joy as we focus on God, family and country. The warrior, among all people everywhere, deserves our highest admiration and praise. To the warrior we say: Thank you. We support you. We want to see you succeed.

May God bless you and protect you and your families, now and forever, and may God bless America.

Jeffrey Denning

October 15, 2011

About me

I'm the founder of a non-profit organization, a former Federal Air Marshal and Iraqi War Vet, and I'm a MORMON.

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

October 4, 2011

Iraqi War Vet & Police Officer Goes Public, Admits PTSD, Gets Help

To read an amazing interview with Lisa Villont and others, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

J.P. Villont and his wife Lisa.

The name Warrior SOS came about after I received a brief text message from my long time friend and warrior-buddy, J.P. Villont. He sent a note - a SOS.

SOS is an international distress signal. In morse code it is: ... --- ...

S.O.S. is the clarion call for H-E-L-P!

Upon getting JP’s message, I immediately called him. I asked him if he had thought about suicide or had thought about killing himself.

Many years ago, in FBI Crisis Negotiation school, I learned that asking someone if they’re thinking about suicide won’t put the idea in their mind; they won’t do it if you ask, in other words. I also learned that sometimes people do not equate suicide with killing themselves, and vice versa, so I began a habit to ask both questions if I sensed any distressing signals appertaining to such a total and complete despair.

Thankfully, with the help of J.P.’s loving and supportive wife, and caring counselors at the VA, he’s been able to get help and healing.

Often signs of Post Traumatic Stress and other combat related emotional frustrations, come in the way of fits of anger. J.P. is no exception as you'll see by the article below. Recognizing and admitting there’s a problem is the first step. There are many people willing and anxious to help, however.

As a personal note to J.P., I simply wish to say: I sure love you, brother. Keep the faith! Fight the good fight. You’re a good man.

Warrior SOS also wishes to thank retired Delta Force Commander, DALTON FURY (DaltonFury.com), for signing a copy of his NY Times’ best-selling book, Kill Bin Laden for J.P. Villont. (As a side note, any readers should definitely be sure to check out Dalton's new fictional Delta Force Novel, Black Site).

Once again, Warrior SOS applauds the great courage of J.P. and his wife Lisa for going public, and agreeing to be interviewed with Stars & Stripes, a military newspaper. By courageously going public to discuss difficult, personal heartaches and heartbreaks surrounding PTSD, hundreds - if not thousands - of military veterans and their family members will likewise be able to find the courage to seek help; others in similar circumstances will be comforted by the fact that they are not alone.

Now, a portion of the article/interview, follows: JP Villont’s Story as Reported by Stars & Stripes.

Story by Matthew M. Burke, Stars & Stripes, published Sept. 23, 2011


Marine Cpl. J.P. Villont returned from Iraq a broken man.

The married father of four was angry, paranoid, hyper-vigilant, aggressive and withdrawn — telltale signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Yet, for seven years, the former Marine was reluctant to seek help.

“Obviously I had PTSD and it was undiagnosed,” Villont, 40, said recently from his Phoenix home. “It’s a huge stigma, so I didn’t want to find that out. I pretended I didn’t have it for many years.”

Then, following a couple of violent outbursts, Villont finally contacted a few veterans facilities in Arizona. He was told he would have to wait months for treatment.

With seemingly nowhere to turn, his wife, Lisa, starting posting messages on the Wounded Warrior Project’s Facebook page.
“Its been over 7 years since my husband returned home from Iraq, just last week he finally decided to seek help for what we assume will be diagnosed as PTSD,” she wrote...

Lisa Villont is convinced that [a volunteer with the Wounded Warrior Project’s] actions helped save her husband’s life.

“I can tell you, there is little doubt in my mind that if we had not encountered WWP ... I would be a widow today,” Lisa Villont said.

“He absolutely, positively, would have found a way to kill himself.”
...Finding others with similar problems was the key for J.P. Villont.

In 2003, the infantryman was attached to the 1st Tank Battalion as a machine gunner during the invasion of Iraq. His unit fought its way through Basra, all the way to Baghdad.

“We were in direct combat with the Republican Guard — their tank battalion,” the soft-spoken Villont recalled. “I was with 60 tanks so we were rocking and rolling. I saw a lot of destruction.”

In the middle of his tour, he went on leave to be with his then-pregnant wife who required an emergency surgery in a California hospital.

He rode out of Baghdad with two body bags next to him.

Villont was supposed to have 10 days of leave before heading back to war. But, word came down that his unit had accomplished their mission and that he was no longer needed in Iraq.

“That was pretty surreal,” he said. “Like the Vietnam vets, I went directly from combat back into civilian life.”
He left the Marines and returned to his job in law enforcement.

Not long after, his troubles began.

First, he assaulted a neighbor who shot bottle rockets toward his home in the middle of the night; Villont said it triggered a flashback. He was later jailed for a morning after a domestic disturbance last year. which triggered a six-month investigation. He was cleared after no charges were filed. He was then allowed back to work.

Finally, he sought help but was unsuccessful, and his wife reached out to the web community.

After reading Lisa Villont’s postings, [Jennifer] Boyce, [with the Wounded Warrior Project] referred the couple to local services and a Project Odyssey retreat with fellow vets. The retreat offered outdoor activities and the companionship of fellow combat veterans, plus counselors.

At first, Villont resisted. But after talking with other vets, he decided to give it a shot.

“I didn’t want to sit around hugging each other singing ‘Kumbaya,’” he said. “But it was me and seven other vets. We clicked immediately. It was a breath of life.”

Now, J.P. Villont exchanges texts, calls, emails and Facebook messages with the other veterans he has met.

He uses social media to monitor legislation and find other outreach organizations, and he received a scholarship from the University of Phoenix to get a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling so he can help other veterans. Villont is retiring from his job as a highway patrolman at the Arizona Department of Public Safety due to injuries from an on-duty crash in March.

Although he is not cured, J.P. Villont no longer ruins family outings because of his outbursts. He’s learned he has certain “triggers” — his wife calls it his “Spidey” senses — and needs to stop before he reacts to them, to ask why he feels threatened. Villont just got out of a 24-day inpatient PTSD clinic in Tucson and is looking forward to starting school in October, thanks to the single post his wife made a few months ago.

“It’s been a pretty amazing asset,” Villont said. “You’re able to learn about this stuff from your computer. ... Once you start opening doors there is no end to this stuff.”

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

September 28, 2011

Davis Brown - The Just War Tradition...Special Issue of the Journal of Military Ethics

The Just War Tradition and the Continuing Challenges to World Public Order, A Special Issue of the Journal of Military Ethics
Launching Speech Given on the Occasion of the Tenth Anniversaries of 9/11 and of JME

Davis Brown

Davis Brown at Norwegian Defense College

Davis Brown, Ph.D. (ABD), J.D., LL.M., is the founder and director of the Just War Theory Project with the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) and the author of The Sword, the Cross, and the Eagle:The American Christian Just War Tradition.

It was a Tuesday morning; warm and clear. After an unremarkable commute I stopped by the Pentagon to run some errands, then I continued to my office a quarter mile away. I was to spend the morning editing a policy brief by the Academic Council on the United Nations System on humanitarian intervention; and I had to get ready for a phone call to the Executive Director of ACUNS. We were preparing this document to present in New York in two months time, and I was going to be at that seminar in person. I had already resolved to finally have dinner at Windows On The World (the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center), something I had long wanted to do.

Then a plane hit the North Tower, and I and my co-workers rushed to a television to see the news coverage. At first we all thought it was a freak accident. Then the room fell silent as we watched the chilling image of a second plane hitting the South Tower, and we all knew then that this was no accident.

In the meantime, life goes on, so I made my phone call on schedule. We made some small talk about the attack (as if anything about it could be regarded as “small”), then it was back to the mundane world of word-smithing and comma placement. In the middle of the call, I was jolted by a loud whoosh of a plane flying low and fast right right above us. Two seconds later, a thud, in the distance, but the explosion was big enough to shake the building.

I quickly ended my phone call and everyone went outside. A plume of black smoke rose in the direction of the Potomac River. Then someone exclaimed, “It’s the Pentagon!” and despite our disbelief at the events that were unfolding that morning, we all knew he was right. A little while later, we watched in horror as one of the Twin Towers collapsed, then the other. By then our shock had turned into the grim realization that we were probably going to war—never a pleasant thought when you’re in the military.

Two months later, I went to New York for that seminar. It was my first time back in seven years. And it wasn’t the same New York I had once lived in. The city was eerily subdued, the mood like that of a wounded lion. The site of the World Trade Center, once a place of rough-and-tumble commerce, now sacred ground. In sum, the events of ten years ago this Sunday were life-altering to the American national psyche, and I daresay to the international psyche as well.

On September 10th, the academy (of international law, at least) was still fighting the Kosovo War, which recently had exposed the tension between what uses of force are legal, and what are moral or even legitimate. But the attention span of the academy can be short, and after 9/11 nobody wanted to talk about humanitarian intervention anymore. In a way, this was understandable, since everybody thought at the time that 9/11 would change everything.

But as it turns out, 9/11 didn’t change everything. It did not pose any significant challenges to jus ad bellum or just war theory, at least not in and of itself. What 9/11 did do, was to set into motion a chain of events that a year and a half later did challenge jus ad bellum and just war theory. I speak of the doctrine of preemption, which was articulated first as a measure to prevent further catastrophic terrorist attacks, and later invoked as a justification for invading Iraq. And not only is the United States still fighting the Iraq War, but so is the academy.

Preemption is a problem for us, not necessarily because it’s the global superpower that has invoked it, but because of the dilemma for world public order that it poses. Preemptive self-defense would legitimize an attack on another state that has no immediate plans to attack it; it may have long-term plans to do so but may lack the capability or resolve to attack in the present. To allow such an exception to article 2(4) is to open Pandora’s Box. And yet, in an environment in which we struggle to keep chemical, biological, and God forbid nuclear weapons out of the wrong hands, the consequence of not allowing a preemptive attack may be to force a state to suffer a crippling first blow. Prohibiting anticipatory self-defense thus plays into the hands of the state with the original hostile animus—the state that is the real aggressor.

Meanwhile, the problem of humanitarian intervention, which everyone stopped talking about after 9/11, has not gone away. Now, it’s clear that the drafters of the Charter envisioned a world in which aggression would be de-legitimized, hopefully out of existence. But surely the drafters did not intend to provide a shield for such well-meaning public servants as Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein. To legitimize humanitarian intervention is to invite its abuse as a cover for more nefarious motives, but vicious regimes like the ones I just mentioned cannot, must not, be allowed to remain unaccountable for their atrocities, much less remain in power.

These are the two dilemmas that continue to vex scholars and policymakers: anticipatory (or preemptive) self-defense, and humanitarian intervention. How to resolve these dilemmas has been the work of the Just War Theory Project, which is a loose network of scholars and professionals dedicated to exploring the role of military force in maintaining world public order. I and the other contributors to this Special Issue submit that the framework of the just war tradition is well suited to help us find our way out of these dilemmas.

In designing the Special Issue, we sought papers that we believed would advance our understanding of each individual just-war criterion. In the article on Proper Authority, I argue for returning to the original, state-centric understanding of the concept. For various reasons laid out in my paper, I argue against the trend of construing Proper Authority as something multilateral or judicial.

We have two articles on Just Cause, one for anticipatory self-defense and one for humanitarian intervention. Joseph Boyle takes up the anticipatory defense side, and his approach is to distinguish between defense, which he finds a permissible cause to use force, and punishment, which he does not. Henrik Friberg-Fernros takes up the humanitarian intervention side. Now the question of whether humanitarian intervention is legitimate or not has been done to death, and it seemed pointless to add yet another article on that question, when the battle lines within academia and praxis are pretty much drawn at this point. Friberg-Fernros’s article is different: Rather than trying to argue that humanitarian intervention is a just cause, Friberg-Fernros starts with the assumption that it is. His focus, then, is to discover whether humanitarian intervention is a right to act or a duty to act. In doing so, he illustrates the tension between just war theory, which is permissive, and the Responsibility to Protect, which is more or less obligatory.

We also have two articles on Right Intent. In the first one, Darrell Cole argues that Right Intent is best treated not as an inward frame of mind, but as a communal, public act that has observable manifestations. From those manifestations we can deduce the real intent of the actor. Cole then applies that approach to the Iraq War among others. In the second piece, Fernando Teson draws the distinction between intention and motive, and shows how the two are often confused, and frankly, often misused.

We tend to speak of the three just war criteria of Thomas Aquinas, but actually there is a fourth one, which is embedded in the second. Not only must the attacked state deserve to be attacked on account of some fault, but also the attacked state must deserve to be attacked on account of some fault. This is the criterion of Proportionality of Cause, and it’s probably the most difficult one to apply. In my article on Proportionality, I suggest using a tort-based approach, in which the use of force is judged as an appropriate (or inappropriate) remediation to an injury that has been caused by another state that has breached its obligations.

We also have a paper on the under-studied criterion Reasonable Prospect of Success. Frances Harbour proposes that what is to judged as “reasonable” should be the “probability” of success, and not merely the “hope” or “chance” of it. She also calls for an expanded understanding of what “success” is; she argues that there is moral value in resisting a supreme injustice, even when the unjust actor can’t be overcome. That, in her opinion, is a “success,” even if it isn’t a material one.

And finally, Walter Dorn presents his Just War Index, in which the use of force is not evaluated as either “just” or “unjust,” but rather on a sliding scale in which the use of force could be supremely just (or unjust), or moderately, or slightly. In this exercise, Dorn also illustrates the limitations of just war theory. What just war theory can’t do is to provide clear, definitive answers to the question “is this or that war just or unjust”. Why? Because at the end of the day, there is still some subjectivity to evaluating each criterion. For example, two of our contributors find the Iraq War to be largely just; I’m sure some other contributors disagree with that. One of our contributors finds the US war effort in Afghanistan to be more unjust than just. In this case, I know some others disagree. On the other hand, what just war theory can do, first, is to help us find the right questions—questions of authority, cause, intent, proportionality and so on. Second, just war theory can tell us which uses of force are comparatively more or less just than which other uses of force, and why. For example, if our contributors had to rank in order of more just to less just: Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the US invasion of Afghanistan, and the US invasion of Iraq, I think all of them would agree on the same ranking. In sum, our contributors believe that just war theory can provide insight into judging the legitimacy of using force, in a way that the modern, restrictive form of jus ad bellum in international law cannot do, and in a way that most approaches to international relations don’t even address.

That, in a nutshell, is our Special Issue, which should be available in print in a few days. Thank you, Henrik, for your role in bringing these papers to the light of day, and for allowing me to address this august and somewhat intimidating audience.

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

September 9, 2011

Student shot and killed - called "Ultimate breech in firearms safety"

Report from MyFoxATLANTA
GBI - Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Veteran firearms instructor, teaching correction officers, was using a live firearm inside a classroom when the training should have called for a plastic training gun instead. He was demonstrating firearms tactics to the young, 24-year-old woman, when he drew his service weapon and shot her.

My heart goes out to all involved in this sad - and clearly an accidental - event.

This tragic and unfortunate event is a reminder to reinforce core gun handling safety measures at all times.

Check out the difference between Accidental and Negligent Discharges.

Learn more about Gun Cleaning Mishaps.

For more information and articles I've written for Guns.com, click here.

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

September 3, 2011

Iraqi Veteran Gets Blown Up - His Story!

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

September 1, 2011

Mother of Military Veterans (OIF & OEF) Gives Advice, Speaks of Faith and PTSD

Terri Reid lives in the same area of the United States as her Mary O’Reilly character, Northwest Illinois. She lives on five acres of rolling land in a 100 year-old farmhouse, with her husband, children, dogs, cats and several dozen chickens (well, they live in the barn.) She has seven children and eleven grandchildren, and LOVES her big family.

Her background is in marketing and public relations, but she has always enjoyed telling stories. For a while, she worked as a freelance journalist for the local paper and wrote the Halloween feature for many years, collecting as many local ghost stories as she could. She gave her collection of local ghost stories to the local historical society to use as a fundraiser, they are now in their third printing.

She loves to hear from her readers. She can be reached at terri.reid@reidassociate.com

SOS: Can you tell us just a little about your recent writing successes?

At the beginning of 2010, I was successfully employed as a marketing consultant. I had a small business of my own and I had several customers who had small businesses. During that time I was taking a good look at my life – what where my goals? Was I happy with what I was doing? Did what I was doing really “work” with my personal goals. One of my clients (actually my biggest client) was a website developer who developed sites for two very different sectors of business. I was an independent contractor for them and I did all of their small business sales, the owner handled all of the corporate sales. This meant that I was flying out to a number of conventions all across the United States and selling their services. This also meant that I was traveling at least once a month and generally over the week-end. I remember one convention in particular that started my new thought process. We had to arrive on Sunday – which meant flying early in the morning out of O’Hare and getting to Las Vegas midday. We set up the booth and got everything we needed done for the next day. Then, the owner informed me that we would be hosting one of her current corporate clients at a comedy show that evening. I told her that I wasn’t comfortable with going to a Las Vegas comedy show because I knew the person we were to see was very crude and I didn’t think it was a great Sunday activity. (Okay, that was an understatement! J ) But she told me I didn’t have a choice, as she already purchased my ticket and told the client I would be there. Looking back, I should have still insisted that I didn’t want to go. But, I felt pressure and I didn’t want to disappoint my client. So I went. The show was as I expected – truly awful – but even worse, I felt that I had betrayed my values and my Heavenly Father.

That night, I lay in my hotel room contemplating the choices (and compromises) I had been making in order to please this client. I realized I wasn’t being true to myself or my faith. So, I made the decision that as soon as I was able, I would leave this job. I prayed about and felt such a wonderful sense of relief – I knew I had made the right decision.

When I got back to town, I started speaking with my other clients (local clients) about the possibility of doing some more work for them. One of my clients was really excited and had a laundry list of things he wanted to pursue. We talked about a marketing plan and a budget, it would more than cover the out of town client – and I was thrilled. So, I gave the website client a month’s notice and fulfilled all the responsibilities I had for them. A month later, when I was to meet with the local client, I received a call from him. This was the time when the economy was making drastic changes and several large brokerage houses lost everything. Well, a great deal of his business’ money had been invested in one of those brokerage houses and he was going to have to make drastic cuts. Not only would he not be able to fulfill the terms of our agreement, the other work that I had been doing for him for years was going to have to be severely cut back. I couldn’t believe it – my safety net was gone. My income was gone! What was I supposed to do next?

So, I started applying for jobs – but in this economy, nothing was available. And, as a self-employed consultant, I didn’t have the benefit of unemployment. I started looking for freelance writing jobs and took a couple of those on. And, I decided to finish up the novel I had been working on. During that time, a friend sent me a Wall Street Journal article about a woman who published her books through Amazon’s e-books. She had tried to sell her books through traditional publishers and had been turned down, so she decided to sell them on her own. It sounded like a great plan and the payment schedule was so much faster than traditional publishing (you get paid after 60 days) and I needed to generate income quickly, so I decided I would e-publish.

My first book, Loose Ends – A Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery, came out in August, 2010. Now, a year later, I have five novels for sale and have sold over 60,000 copies. I have made more income from my writing than I ever made with any of my consulting and I am able to write full time and meet the needs of my family.

I would have never been “forced” down this path of success if all of those doors I had counted on hadn’t closed. There were times when I was so frightened, there were months that were VERY lean...but, I remember praying about my decision and knowing that I received assurance from Heavenly Father that what I was doing was right. So, I knew, sooner or later, He would bless me. And He did.

SOS: That all must feel very personally and professionally rewarding for you. Changing topics a little, with seven children, you have a very large family. How do you keep it all together? What's your secret, especially when difficulty and hard times, heartache and heartbreak comes?

I have faith in my Heavenly Father. I know that He loves me and He loves my family. I understand that He has a better perspective on my life than I do. And I know that He won’t make me deal with anything more than I can handle. When my son, David, was in Afghanistan in the Army there were scary times. I remember on Mother’s Day the whole family was here at the house and I had arranged to call David through Skype, so the whole family could speak with him. When I called, there was a recording that said all the lines were down. I knew they did that when there was a casualty in the unit. I kept trying to call him throughout the day, but continued to get the same message. My heart dropped, I expected a strange vehicle to drive up to the house and two uniformed men to step out. I was pretty much beside myself in worry. There was nothing I could do. No one I could call. Then, I realized, there is always someone I can call. I slid to my knees and poured out my heart to Heavenly Father. I told Him about my worries and concerns. And then, I did the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done. I handed my worries over to Him. I had Faith in Him. I told Him that I knew He loved David and He was watching over David, and I would have Faith that everything would turn out the way Heavenly Father wanted it to be.

David called the next day. Unfortunately, a young man in their unit committed suicide that day and the phone were turned off until his family could be contacted. I felt so much sorrow for that poor young man who didn’t understand that there was always someone who loved him and would listen to him.

I don’t know what I would do without the knowledge that my Heavenly Father is always there for me. And even when I’m not as attentive as I should be to Him, He’s always there for me when I need Him.

SOS: Faith in God has helped a lot of people and so many military warriors included. Did you grow up in a military family?

My father was in the Marines. He was a Korean War vet. Unfortunately, my father was an alcoholic and ended up leaving my family when I was in fourth grade. There were eight of us and I was the fifth child. My mother remarried a year after and was married to a wonderful man who is also a World War II veteran. He actually was on Omaha Beach on D-Day. So, I actually never had the opportunity to “live” with my stepfather, but I love to hear the stories he is willing to share with us.

SOS: I can't imagine what those heroes went through. I truly cannot fathom it. Wars are different today, but each warrior has his/her own personal battles -- some of them real events and some of them on going emotional struggles. What would you recommend as a mother of military veterans -- even with one in Iraq at this very moment?

My son, Nathan, is in Iraq – in the Air Force. And having him on a base (and not out on patrols sitting behind a gun) eases my mind. But, there is always danger when they are in a war zone, so I am never complacent about the degree of risk and sacrifice he is making for our country. However, now that I have one son who returned from Afghanistan and experienced the horrors of war, I understand more fully the great sacrifice these soldiers give to their country. Young people have always thought there were immortal, that’s what gives them their sense of adventure, their willingness to risk and have fun. When they go to war and they see their friends die in front of them, that wonderful sense of immortality is stolen from them. Not only do they realize they can die, they also often feel guilty for not dying when their comrades have paid the ultimate price. They have nightmares of being back in the war zone. They wake up in the middle of the night, shaken because they think they have to go on patrol again. The room gets too hot, a car backfires outside, the road gets too bumpy and they are back in Afghanistan trying to stay alive.

What can we do – those who love these soldiers? We need to listen. We need to never judge. We need to be there, day or night. We need to understand what they are saying, and not impose our thoughts on them. We need to realize that we will NEVER understand what they went through or what they saw, and the best thing we can do is love them, unconditionally. But, we also need to encourage them to seek help. PTSD is not something to be ashamed of. It’s like being ashamed of having a cold, that would be ridiculous, right? PTSD is the bodies way of dealing with the emotional and physical trauma experienced overseas. Just like we need chicken soup, Vitamin C and cough medicine for a cold. We need counseling and direction to deal with PTSD.

I have been blessed with a son who communicates with me. There were many nights when we would sit together and he would tell me about his experiences. Things he never told me while he was there because he didn’t want to worry me. So, I would listen, mostly, and never shy away from the bad parts because if he was able to deal with it in person, I certainly could listen to it and sympathize with him.

I also learned a wonderful lesson from my son. David was in a convoy patrolling in Afghanistan. He was a gunner – so he sat on top of the Humvee. Because of his sharp eyesight, David was generally in the first vehicle. During one patrol, they partnered with another unit, so David was third vehicle. As they drove next to a nearby village, the first vehicle hit an IED and exploded. David watched four friends and brothers die in front of him. While he was there, he told me he wasn’t on that patrol. He had been back at the base. (Once again, he was protecting me so I wouldn’t worry.) When he got home he shared the real story with me. In my ignorance, I said, “Well, David, all of those prayers we were saying for you must have worked.” David turned to me and said, “Mom, I don’t think Heavenly Father let others guys die so I could live.”

Wow! He was absolutely right. And I told him so, immediately. Those young men who died all had families praying they would come home safely. I don’t think Heavenly Father hears the prayers of one mother and not the other. Heavenly Father had nothing to do with that IED or the evil men who buried it there. But we also have to remember that this life is just a test. The real reward is when we return to our Heavenly Father with our jobs well done. I’m sure those young men were welcomed home with love and compassion – greater love hath no man than he gives his life for another.

The only advice I can think of offering is this – get to know your Heavenly Father. He is the one who knows you and loves you no matter what. And realize that you are his child. You are a child of God. You have infinite worth. He has a plan for you. He sees the bigger picture. If you are still haunted by your time overseas, don’t let the enemy win. Don’t let them claim another casualty. You are stronger than that! Get the help you need to set you back on the path you need to be on!

SOS: I'm inspired by your words, advice and encouragement. Surely all others who read this, with a hope and even a small - if not large - belief in God, will feel of your tender heart and love for them. Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts, your time and your inspirational words. I hope you continue to be blessed with your profession, and especially, I hope and pray your family and posterity will be safe and blessed now and forever. As a mother of military veterans, you have sacrificed much. Thank you. Thank you so very much.

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

August 15, 2011

Training in Utah

My hearty thanks goes out to all who helped spread the word about the 3-day charity shooting training held recently in Utah, and particularly to those who came to shoot and train. The final day an entire SWAT team came out.

We had a lot of fun and we were able to raise some money to give to a family in need. All the proceeds were donated to the family of a two-time Iraqi war vet who is terminally ill with brain cancer.

Be sure to check out articles on this training, as well as other tactical tips (videos and articles) on Guns.com. Click here to view all my articles.

Pictures are courtesy of Welden Anderson of Self-Defense Solutions.

July 26, 2011

Thank you Original SWAT boots

Warrior SOS wanted to publicly recognize and thank Original SWAT for their on-going support and efforts to help us accomplish our mission. Not only are Original SWAT footwear products a great choice for the operational warrior, but the people that work there are top notch.

Thank you so very much.

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

July 21, 2011

Welcome home boys!

(U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Joseph E. Rey, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs)

These men from B-Company, 3rd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) recently returned from Afghanistan. While deployed, Master Sergeant John Masson (pictured center), lost both legs and an arm. He wanted to wait for the homecoming ceremony, and wait for his team, to receive his Purple Heart.

Welcome home boys...welcome home!

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

Thank you

Warrior SOS would like to thank Brownells, ESS eyewear, Original SWAT footwear, Jon McNaughton art, Arntzen Targets, and Insight Technology.

We would also like to thank Action Target, Springfield-Armory, and VertX for their assistance and generosity.

Finally, thank you to the folks at Blackhawk, Law Enforcement Targets, Safariland, Streicher's (PoliceHQ.com), Blackhills ammo.

Any donations to help out the warrior in need are truly appreciated.

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

July 16, 2011

Why Shoot Center Mass?

I just started as an editorial writer for Guns.com. My first article:

Why Shoot Center Mass?

"Why are we trained to shoot center mass. Why not shoot someone in the arm or in the leg?" That was the question posed to me by my friend, Brian, while we were attending the police academy together. When I attended the Dallas Police Academy I had already served as a full-time police Special Reaction Team (SRT) team leader at a U.S. military installation. I had attended multiple civilian police and Department of Defense special operations tactical schools, including an Advanced SWAT course with the famed Los Angeles Police Department. So you can imagine my surprise when asked why we were being training to shoot center mass.

I've often wondered about this conversation when thinking of my friend. A few years following that conversation there in the police academy, he was gunned down in the line of duty—murdered.

Here's how the conversation went, as best as I can recall.

Read the full article here: http://www.guns.com/why-shoot-center-mass.html

To read amazing interviews with warriors, check out Warrior SOS: Interviews, Insights and Inspiration, the book on Amazon.com. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

July 6, 2011

Interview with a US Special Forces operator

Gregory Tarancon is a US Army Special Forces Master Sergeant / Sergeant Major selectee, assigned to the 20th Special Forces Group (US National Guard). He is the recipient of four Bronze Star Medals, two NATO medals and multiple other awards, including SOCOMs Joint Service Commendation and Achievement Medals (USMILGP-Honduras). He most recently served as a team sergeant for an 18-man Special Forces Operational Detachment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF XVI - Afghanistan). Since 9/11, he has participated in more than nine contingency operations (including, but not limited to 4 - OEF combat tours, 2 - Operation Iraqi Freedom combat tours, and 2 - OEF-CAA Honduras and South America rotations). He has worked as a contracted training instructor/advisor in Africa and Iraq, with MPRI, in support of State Department initiatives. He holds a bachelors degree in Aeronautical Engineering Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. When he's not involved in military operations, he works as a federal law enforcement officer with the Department of Homeland Security, serving as a Federal Air Marshal in Washington DC. He is married with two children.

Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

You've experienced a broad range of operations since 9/11, and have been away from home and hearth a lot since then (not to mention the deployments prior to 9/11). How are you able to continue to mission in between homesickness, trial and operational frustrations?

It is always difficult dealing with being separated from the ones you love. I am lucky because I have been blessed with such a supportive and understanding family. I don’t think I would have been able to accomplish most of the things I have done without my families support.

Another positive influence has been my faith in God. During these deployments I have been lucky because I have had many family members and friends praying for me and my team. I tried to say a prayer everyday for the safety of my team. I believe it helped us through the most difficult times.

Abraham Lincoln wrote this about faith –“Without the assistance of the Divine Being ... I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail.”

Finally, the belief that the United States of America stands for freedom, is the greatest country in the world and that as patriots it is our duty to zealously defend America against all threats to freedom. We must continue the struggle until there is victory.

JFK made this statement and I believe his words: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

How did you and your team feel upon hearing about the death of bin Laden?

We have been waiting for this moment for a long time, but in a single word – “Justice”

You have a son at West Point. He hopes to follow in your footsteps in SF. What do you think the future will bring for the next generation of warriors?

Unfortunately, history has taught us that to this day there has not been a “War to end all Wars”. Conflicts to defend freedom were around during my father’s time, his father’s time, my time and I am afraid will continue during my son’s time. The next generation of warriors must adapt to fight a faceless enemy (a wolf among sheep), a criminal that has no honor and uses women and children as shields. The future warriors must be more than just a soldier; they should be skilled diplomats-ambassadors, criminal investigators, builders, community leaders and must understand counterinsurgency and asymmetric threats.

What advice would you want to offer him?

Well, I would tell him to apply what he learned at West Point, with an open mind of course and in the event he can’t remember everything he was taught, just remember one simple rule – Never ask your soldiers to do something you not willing to do yourself, remember to “Always Lead by Example.”

There's so much more you'd want to teach your son, undoubtedly. What would you want him and other warriors to know about life threatening situations?

Trust your instincts, have faith in your abilities and the moral courage to make decisions. Be tenacious about taking the fight to the enemy. Have the will to win because those who live are those who zealously take the fight to the enemy.

How do you prepare to win?

It is a combination of training and mental conditioning. Take every opportunity to train as hard as you can. You can’t train for every contingency, but perform with surgical precision the drills that you consider most important. Develop and cultivate the warrior’s ethos, dominate the situation and instill confidence in subordinates.

You were nearly killed a few years ago, but a foreign SpecOps warrior saved your life. Can you tell us about how that made you feel? Do you think about that ever?

Yes, I do owe my life to a fellow operator a French Naval Commando, who was a member of a Joint Special Operations Task Unit that our team was partnered with conducting joint operations in Eastern Afghanistan. To get straight to the point, he was a professional who took the job seriously; literally he had my back and that’s how he saved my life. He was pulling rear security during an assault on a compound and took decisive action against a group of insurgents coming up from the rear. He was the only one that stood between them and the assault force I was a part of. He not only saved my life but the entire assault element.

When it was over, he just joked about it, as if routine and added that I would have done the same thing for him. He was absolutely right; war has a way of making us all a band of brothers.

Do you think about the multiple engagements you've experienced? In your mind, what's the best way to deal with painful memories?

Every situation is different, no matter how many times you find yourself in contact it is never predictable, so it is very hard to prepare. I feel that no matter how grave the situation you must try to keep your wits and stay calm.

I don’t think there is any way to really deal with painful memories. Everyone is different and has different ways of coping. I myself turn to God and find some relief in prayer. It has also helped me to talk to someone I trust. Overall, the best overall way of coping is staying mission focused and realize that people depend on you to drive on.

You've lost some good friends. You've had many other friends get wounded -- some very seriously. If there's something you could tell them -- or have told them -- what would that be?

These men are the epitome of the word “Warrior”. Their sacrifice was not in vain; they made a great difference and many of their brothers are safe because of their actions. They had the will to defy fear; the sense of duty to throw the gauntlet down to fate and the honor to scorn in compromise with death - that is heroism. These men are the noblest, bravest of souls; I have ever had the honor of knowing and serving. These men are a shining example and a pillar of strength for us to follow. They are my brothers forever; they will always be in my heart. I love them and will never forget them.

Many warriors have unseen wounds. In fact, there have been more mental illness injuries in the GWOT than in all other wars. What advice would you offer to them?

If you are hurting, please seek help. You owe it to yourself and your family to get better. There is no shame in asking for help. In fact, it is a very brave thing.

Many of the warriors today are in the Reserves or National Guard. What is your feeling on the contributions of the citizen soldiers?

National Guard and Reserves have made a tremendous impact on the mission. I have come across many General Officers to include: (Admiral Mullen, Admiral Olsen and General Petreus) who have stated that the difference between Active forces and Reserve forces is seamless across both theaters of operation. I have met many high ranking government officials that were impressed with the broad range of unique civilian skills that National Guardsmen and Reservist brought to the table such as Doctors, Lawyers, Pilots, First Responders, Police Officers, General Contractors to name a few. In addition, the typical National Guard or Reserve soldier tends to be older so the level of maturity and experience is greater when compared to the Active duty soldier. I don’t think people realize that the National Guard and Reserve make up more than 50% of our deployed forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Major Commands such as CENTCOM, AFRICOM, SOUTHCOM, SOCOM are composed of over 40% Reserve and National Guard Soldiers. As, I sit down writing this response to you from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, I look around and see more Reservist than Active duty working on the flight line, MP patrolling, Combat Units getting ready to conduct operations, soldiers conducting logistical operations all wearing National Guard and Reserve Patches. Quite frankly, we could not do these missions without the National Guard and Reserves.

These citizen soldiers are often brought home from war and immediately integrated back into citizen society -- far away from military installations and support. Do you think such a separation from teammates and resources is damaging? What can these warriors do for help?

Adjusting back to civilian life can be difficult, but there programs that have been implemented to help soldiers coming back from deployments. One such program is called “The Yellow Ribbon Program”, which is federally funded and conducted at the state level. It provides a multitude of resources to soldiers and has helped many.

There’s a huge bond between fellow warriors. Will you give us your point of view on this incredible bond?

I can’t say it better than William Shakespeare; “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me; shall be my brother.”

How can family help during reintegration, or return from deployment?

Family is a great source of support, there is nothing like family to get you back into a healthy routine. My advice to family members is to continue to be more understanding and loving. Realize that there is an adjustment period and it takes time to adjust to ones surrounding. Your loved one has been gone for a long time in a hostile environment and things are going to seem confusing for the time being. I myself just wanted to spend time with my immediate family and wanted privacy. It took some time for me to feel ready to interact with friends and society in general.

What advice would you give the warrior who returns home?

Feel good about yourself, be proud of your accomplishments, you just came back from serving your county and defending Freedom. You have just done one of the noblest acts any patriot can do for his country, so it’s ok to have a little pride you deserve it!

Be grateful to be coming home. Enjoy every moment with the ones you love. Never forget that the most powerful force on earth is love. Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible -- it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.

Is there anything else you'd like to share that would be helpful for the readers of the Warrior SOS blog?

Keep faith in God and Country and to remember "God has brought together Jews, Christians and Muslims to this holy land. No human power can change it -- their destiny is to live together."

On this last deployment, especially, how has religion and a belief in God helped you and your team personally?

More than any deployment I turned to God and prayer to give me strength, wisdom and guidance. Prayer and faith helped a great deal to get through some rough times, especially when there were doubts and I was unsure of a decision or outcome, I would say a silent prayer to God. On some of the more difficult operations, I would lead the team in a prayer, some guys though it was corny, but I did it anyway.

My favorite prayer for warriors was written by General Patton –

"God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever led us to victory, please continue Your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Strengthen my soul so that the weakening instinct of self-preservation, which besets all of us in battle, shall not blind me to my duty to my own manhood, to the glory of my calling, and to my responsibility to my fellow soldiers. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord."

What a wonderful interview! Thank you so very much for your example, patriotism and courage.

I am happy you liked the interview. I have to be honest, some of it was hard to write because it did bring back some difficult memories, but if it can help fellow warriors healing, it was worth it. Thank you for asking me to do it. I also did find it uplifting and brought me some peace.

To read more about MSG Gregory Tarancon, see the following links and interviews:






If you wish to contact him, you may do so at gregoryivt[at]aol[dot]com (written out to avoid spam)

To read this and other amazing interviews, check out Warrior SOS, the book on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Warrior-SOS-Military-Veterans-Emotional/dp/1462117341/

For Warrior SOS book endorsements from Glenn Beck, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman and others, check out the author's link: http://www.jeffrey-denning.com/books/warrior-sos/