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 www.WarriorSOS.com.

December 31, 2012

Buy Your Warrior SOS Emergency Bug Out Bag Today!


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

Warrior SOS bug out bags for sale

Warrior SOS prepping, emergency, disaster preparedness and last days survival prepper kits are now available. The Warrior SOS go-bag is both tactical and practical.  This elite go bag, (a.k.a. E&E bag, grab bag, grab-and-go bag, emergency kit, survival kit, 72-hour kit, or bug out bag) contains products for surviving in most any conditions, urban or rural. Researched, designed and specifically created for the most urgent end-of-days survival needs, the Warrior SOS bug out bag allows users to escape and evade, or survive in harsh conditions. Whether it’s a harsh military operation, a paramilitary zone, a high adventure scouting trek, environmental disasters, or a zombie apocalypse, the items contained in this Warrior SOS bug out bag allow users to survive for at least 72 hours. Combine this essential bug out survival gear with some of your own items, if desired, to create your prepper survivor kit. This go bag can be kept in an automobile or in a grab-and-go bag at home or in the office. Be at peace by being prepared. Order your disaster survival bug out bag today, complete with products that really work when unexpected emergencies occur. Buy your kit today. Don’t delay. Supplies are limited. 

The Warrior SOS bug out bag includes:
  • Stormproof Match Kit (dark green) 
  • Advanced Pure Water Straw
  • 36-oz. Whirl-Pak® Stand-Up Bags (2 bags in each kit)
  • 12" X 12.5" aLOKSAK® waterproof bag
  • Guardian Expedition Light (white light)
  • Folding Utility Knife
  • Ten packets of honey 
  • Sandwich baggie (2 bags in each kit)
  • Mini compass
  • 4-oz. Datrex emergency drinking water
  • Warrior SOS camouflage wristband

This premiere survival kit, not available in stores or anyone other than Warrior SOS. This kit cannot be purchased by single items anywhere. The Warrior SOS go bag is worth well over a hundred dollars, but you can order today for only $89.

Order today for peace of mind tomorrow!
All orders are final. No shipping overseas.


To learn more about each product, see below for details. 

Stormproof Match Kit (dark green)

The essentials for survival include warmth. In harsh environmental conditions, even in the desert at night, temperatures can drop to life-threatening degrees. Whether surrounded by water, cold or wind, the UCO Stormproof Matches and Stormproof Match Kit will burn for up to 15 seconds each, even in the harshest conditions. The waterproof, windproof container comes with 25 stormproof matches, three strikers, a piece of cotton and one durable, floating waterproof container. 


Watch this YouTube video to see the matches burn even after submerged in water, buried in dirt or in the blowing wind. 

CAUTION: For outdoor use only. Carefully monitor lit matches until completely burned. For use by adults only. Store extra strikers in protective sleeves after use to keep dry. Store matches separately from strikers to prevent accidental ignition.


Advanced Pure Water Straw

This advanced filter and straw removes up to 99.9999% of all virus and bacteria. There is a standard filter and another filter for more murky water. It’s an ideal filter for emergencies, travel, hiking, camping or outdoor use. It can be used with any type of water source excluding salt water such as tap or rainwater, rivers, streams or even lakes. Whether in your backpack, go bag, purse, or glove compartment, this filter is a must have in disasters and emergencies. 

The filter life is good for 25 gallons of water. 


36-oz. Whirl-Pak® Stand-Up Bags (2 bags in each Warrior SOS go bag)

The highly durable, leakproof Whirl-Pak® Stand-Up Bag can carry anything, including gathering or carrying water in an emergency. The bag completely stands up by itself when filled. Equal to about one liter, the amount needed per day for the average adult, the bag have superior strength and can written upon with pen or pencil on the write-on surface. The bag features a leak proof closure and “puncture proof tabs.” When filled it stands 5” W x 15” L.  

Bags should not be used at temperatures above 180° F (82° C). Bags can be frozen to any temperature. All bags are sterilized after manufacturing. 

Video start at 1:15
12" X 12.5" aLOKSAK® waterproof bag

aLOKSAK® bags are resealable element-proof storage bags featuring a hermetic seal. That means absolutely no water, air, dust or humidity permeates the closure. They are designed for a wide range of applications and environments. The transparent bags are flexible and puncture resistant. They can be sealed over and over again and are waterproof to 60 meters / 200 feet. Temperature rated to -40F to 140F. Store books, maps, medicines, electronic devices and more. 12" X 12.5"  (30.5 X 31.8 cm)

Guardian Expedition Light (white light)

The Guardian is rugged, easy to use and can be seen for over 5 Km / 3.1 Miles. With its dual function of flashing and steady on modes, the Guardian can offer over 250 hours of use. Whether on a dark highway with a road crews or commercial fishing, the Guardian is the one light to have when you must be seen. Waterproof to 300 feet and an operational range from -40C to +50C, the Guardian is available with either belt clip, wrist strap/arm band, swivel clip key chain attachment, or magnetic base. 

The clip snaps easily onto the base of the Guardian allowing the light to be attached to molle, belts, clothing, straps, collars, and a variety of other objects.

Folding Utility Knife 

The folding utility knife is a light to medium duty cutting tool. It has a stainless steel razor blade and is very sharp. It weighs less than 8 grams with a closed length of less than three inches. 


Ten packets of honey 

Honey contains all the necessary nutrients to maintain life, including water.


The Warrior SOS go bag also includesSandwich baggie (2 bags in each kit), Mini compass, 4-oz. Datrex emergency drinking water, and an Warrior SOS camouflage wristband. 

Remember, it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Have peace of mind in an emergency. Fear and panic grows when preparation hasn't occurred. Prepare now!

Order your Warrior SOS go bag today!

To order send me a note and name your price.  Send me a note either by posting a comment here or via Facebook. Thank you.


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

December 29, 2012

Guns and Freedom


“Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.  They are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.” 
~ George Washington

"Let me make a short, opening, blanket comment. There are no good guns. There are no bad guns. Any gun in the hands of a bad man is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a decent person is no threat to anybody – except bad people.”

~ Charlton Heston


South Africa has more murders with firearms than any other nation. They also have more assaults and more rapes than any other nations. (Source: http://www.nationmaster.com/facts/Crime and  http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-crime-murders-with-firearms

Interestingly, they've attempted for years to ban guns. It's not working. When governments ban guns only criminals have guns.  http://www.nrapublications.org/index.php/9472/south-africas-deadly-disaster/


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

December 22, 2012

Is This Me? - Taken from OneWarriorWon.org


IS THIS ME

Taken from www.OneWarriorWon.org by Richard Brewer. 

You’re different since returning home?  Can’t sleep?  Have nightmares?  Can’t trust civilians anymore?  Need your back to the wall when you go out to public places?  Jump at loud noises?  Feel unsafe without a weapon? Everyday stuff seems tranquil and trite?  Small annoyances set you off?  Feeling aggressive always ready to defend or fight?  Drinking to calm the swirling and raging thoughts permeating your mind?  People telling you it’s ok to seek help, to admit you have “PTSD“, but being labeled as “crazy” or being mentally ill, just doesn’t seem right?

Well, you’re not crazy, not mentally ill.  You’re a combat vet, and all that you’ve experienced has pumped up your body’s alarm, like a car alarm set way too sensitively, so that a simple set of footsteps sets off the alarm.

You are not alone!!! Warriors since the start of time, after experiencing combat, seeing corpses, smelling burning flesh, spilled blood, or feeling death’s presence in the air, have been forever changed, and so are you.  Civilians too, raped, assaulted, motor vehicle crashes, even just witnesses to horror, get the same stuff.  Why?  Because the oldest part of our brain, our ancient hard- wiring, is first focused on survival.  And, millions of years ago, our ancestors who learned to either avoid a second go around with a life threatening situation, or managed to conquer the threat (kill the enemy) were more likely to survive and pass on their genes.

So what does this mean?  If you have flashbacks, nightmares, rage over small stuff, hyper-vigilance, emotional numbing, you do not have a mental illness, you are experiencing a natural, predictable, biological response to the trauma you have been exposed to.  You are continuing to do what allowed you to survive while in a life-threatening situation, while no longer in that situation. You have been injured and have Combat Stress, not a mental disorder. You have real pain and suffering that is preventing you from living the life you once knew and still deserve.

We will help you gain the knowledge to better understand your brain’s hard-wiring system, and help you see why you continue to experience the things that race through your mind, and why your body’s survival alarm is still set on high.  Armed with this knowledge we will be able to show you ways to begin to reset your own alarm and maintain it at a level that will allow you to react appropriately when needed, and peacefully exist in the civilian world and enjoy the life you rightful deserve.

Be sure to check out www.OneWarriorWon.org 


To read an amazing interview with the founder of One Warrior Won, check out Warrior SOS, the book on Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D3WO7VK

December 12, 2012

The Most Severely Wounded Airman in History: Triple Amputee, Brian Kolfage, Jr.


The Most Severely Wounded Airman in History: 
Triple Amputee, Brian Kolfage, Jr.
Interview by Jeffrey Denning

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

Brian Kolfage is a former Security Forces Airman-turned Architect.  On September 11, 2004, on his second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he lost both legs and an arm after a rocket attack.  The 107mm rocket shell exploded about three feet from Airman Kolfage, who was thrown several feet in the air and landed against a wall of sandbags.  Still conscious, he began calling for help.  Thirty-six hours after being struck by the blast of that mortar, he was airlifted to Walter Reed Medical Center, where his new life would begin. 
The fact that no one with his level of amputation had ever been able to walk independently didn’t discourage him.  Brian walked out of Walter Reed 11 months after being injured.  To this day, he is still the most severely wounded Airman to survive any war.  
After leaving the hospital, he continued his service in the Air Force for a time and was assigned to Davis Monthan AFB (Tucson, Arizona) 355 Security Forces Squadron as the Base Security Manager.  Brian further gave service to the community by proudly accepting a position on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’  Veterans Advisory Committee where he provided crucial, inside information to help the Congresswoman make vital decisions which helped veterans nationally.  Additionally, he was invited by the Congresswoman to be her special guest at the 2012 Presidential State of the Union Address when she resigned. 
Today, at the time of this interview, Brian is in his fourth year at the University of Arizona’s School of Architecture, where he has risen among the ranks to the top of his class with an overall 3.8 GPA.  He never let the daunting tasks of drawing without his dominant right hand affect his ability to perform.  With persistence and determination, he has beat all the odds stacked against him and recently was awarded one of the most prestigious military scholarship’s, the Pat Tillman Scholar Award. 
Brian continues to embrace a positive attitude as he makes great strides, both literally and figuratively, in learning how to walk with his prosthetics.  He and his wife continues to make trips back to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit with newly wounded vets.  His insight and ability to connect with the veterans gives them new hope for their future.




Do you remember any details when you were injured?

I do.   I was fully conscious after my friends rolled me over on my back.  I remember every detail like it was yesterday.  I wasn’t in any pain at first.  I remember being pissed because I knew what happened, and how it happened.  I looked at my hand and it was hanging by skin like it had been chewed off.  My hand was folded backwards and hanging.  I tried looking at my legs but my friend Sr. Airman Cortez put his hand over my eyes so I wouldn’t see.  I told him to just get me home.



What was the hardest thing you encountered when you were in the hospital?

The hardest thing I encountered was literally dealing with having to learn how to re-live my life.  I had one hand and no legs, everything was different.  Putting clothes on, brushing my teeth, shaving left handed, zippers, buttons, unscrewing lids, caps, tying and untying knots, etc, all the little basic things we take for granted became a huge task for me and there’s hundreds more too.

Dealing with the fact that my legs were gone really wasn’t as tough as you would think, though it sucked for a few days, for sure.  I was an athlete and always depended on my legs.  My legs and extreme health at the time is ultimately what allowed my body to stay alive in those crucial moments after I was injured.




How did you overcome the set back and the loss of your three limbs?

I had to be very patient and just try to think outside of the box when doing my daily grind.  I became very creative and it took months to be able to just function normal again. 
 One moment really stuck out to me being able to move past losing my legs and that was seeing another wounded guy with all his limbs, but he didn’t know the people around him were his family.  He had no clue, and he looked 100 percent normal.  I also saw other guys missing half of their heads!  It was crazy to see how medical technology kept people alive who in any other war would be dead.  After seeing this stuff I realized I still had the most important thing: my head, my brain.  I could care less about my legs from that point on and I never looked back.




How has life been since leaving the hospital?

It’s been great.  The first two years after being out were still a learning experience for me.  Being thrusted into society after such a horrific incident was eye-opening, especially how some people react to me.  However, 99 percent of people are genuine and compassionate.  A lot of people attempt to give me pity, say they are so so sorry, and even cry.  I feel like telling them, “listen my life is probably better than yours, so relax a bit.”  But I know everyone deals with it differently. 
Kids are great; instantly I’m robo-cop or a robot.  Some kids will just stare in awe so I rotate my prosthetic hand 360 degrees and it freaks them out.  They usually run and hide behind their mom.  I have fun with it.

Do you feel the VA and the Air Force have taken care of you well? 

They have and with no major complaints.  The medical staff for the VA are amazing.  The ratings and evaluation people are evil, but it’s their job.  
The Air Force has been there for anything I need as well.  They have a great program that they stood up right after I was injured to deal with patients like me.  Even the leadership at the top communicates with me and has stayed in touch on a personal level.  They have become family to me.  I’m sure it affected everyone involved, so they probably have that connection with me because it was tragic for them as well. 

Do you have any key information you’ve learned that could help others?

There’s one thing I learned and I share it with everyone; it’s to document everything or have medical documentation about any issues you obtained while in the military.  It doesn’t matter how small, do it.  Even if you plan on doing a short enlistment, it still matters.  To get free college tuition, a computer, free books, free everything related to school, all you need is a 15 percent disability rating to qualify for the VA’s Voc Rehab program.  If you want to be a brain surgeon, they’ll foot bill for everything.  
I’ve told this to people and they got their 15 percent disability for back issues and are now going to school for free, plus they pay you $800 month if you go full time.  So not only do they pay for school, they pay you to go.  This is the program I’m using right now to pay for my five year Architecture degree, and I’m planning to attend Harvard grad school which they will be paying for as well. 
I know another vet like myself who is going to Harvard law and the VA is stuck with the bill.  It’s a great program.  One more thing: never accept the first rating they give you.  DENY, DENY, DENY till you get what you deserve.  They NEVER give you what you deserve the first or maybe even the second time.  I denied mine twice and received a 30 percent raise in benefits.

Okay, now for the crucial question.  What happened?

I was deployed attached to the Army to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.  They needed 13 volunteers to  forward deploy to Balad/LSA Anaconda to run the Customs Enforcement for the entire region of Iraq.  I desperately wanted to go instead of hanging out in Kuwait getting fat at pizza hut.  Out of 350 others my chances were slim.  
My friend was selected, but I wasn’t.  
I told one of the newer guys who was from my home base that if he went, he was going to get hit by a rocket and lose his legs (in a joking manner).  Nevertheless, he just had a child and didn’t want to go.  Everyone knew I wanted to go so I took his spot, and we left the next day.  

About two weeks later, on September 11, 2004, I awoke about 12:45pm (about 15 minutes earlier than normal) so I decided to grab a cold water from the moral tent.  As I walked out of my tent I asked my buddy if he wanted to go, but he didn’t.  I stepped out of my tent and walked about 20 feet.  I was in the middle of the intersection of tents when I heard a turbine noise for a millisecond, and I was out.  
My friends came out of the tent to see if anyone was hit and that’s when they found me lying face down on the ground with my feet pointing up.  They rolled me over and that’s when I became fully conscious.  I recall every detail.  
My right hand was severed at the wrist and hanging backwards with all the skin peeled back.  I tried to look at my legs but my good friend Cortez put his hand over my eyes so I wouldn’t see.  At that point I knew it was bad, but I didn’t feel any pain. 
I was dying of thirst.  I told my friend Higgs to get me water.  (I learned right be fore you hemorrhage to death you get very thirsty.)  Medics actually stopped me from drinking.  My friends Cortez and Higgs were rushing to stop the bleeding from my femoral arteries, as well as many others who came to help.  They were applying towels to the massive areas where my thighs once were.  They were completely gone, just mangled mush.  The medics arrived and put me into a litter, then pain kicked in and it was like my body was lit on fire.  
I arrived at the Balad Combat Support Hospital (CSH) five minutes after I was hit.  They rolled me into the door and I saw the nurses and doctors looking at me in awe, and just like that I was out.  I found out later a 107mm mortar landed three feet away from me.  I was so close that the blast projection liquified my thighs and luckily took the blast completely saving my man parts.  As you read this it sounds calm, but nothing was calm about this.  Two or three more rockets impacted around us.  The air was smokey, and chaos was everywhere; it was a horrific scene to see first hand.

You said that you remember everything perfectly.  Do you dream about it?  Flashbacks?

I don’t dream about it or have any flashbacks.  It’s never really bothered me. 

Really?  I mean, it seems surreal and, well, unbelievable to think you have not been affected, evereven in the slightest way.  Not even a hint of sadness, grief or hard days?  Regret for volunteering to go from Kuwait into Balad?  Bitterness, anger or discomfort at loud noises, crowds?  Hyper-vigilance?  
Do you or have you had any of the emotional feelings or residual effects so many combat veterans haveany at all? 

It’s definitely affected me.  I just don’t get bummed about it.  At first I when I would think about not being able to play hockey or surf anymore it would piss me off for a few minutes each time.  But anyone who knew me before knows I’m very laid back and hate to be in bad moods.  I knew there was nothing I could do to get them back, so it wasn’t worth being upset.  
On my deployments I never saw direct combat besides seeing a mortar land next to me.  My 13-man fire team was the first unit on the ground inside Iraq during the invasion.  We saw no combat while we ran convoys.  IED’s were not being used then either.  It was fun . . . to be frank. 

My second deployment was in 2004.  I wasn’t there but two weeks.  My logical thinking for why I am so relaxed about it mentally is because I never experienced the stressors that most people have.  Loud noises, crowds . . .  Love it!  ’Went to the super bowl in 2008, NHL and MLB games.  
For the initial phase of my recovery I was so doped up for months, that I didn’t care about my legs really.  I was feeling good.  It sounds crazy but true. 
I’m not a regretful person.  I know things happen for a reason, so I could never be mad at myself for volunteering.  
I had a strong support system with family, friends, and all the doctors at Walter Reed.  I was very happy-go-lucky at Walter Reed and was constantly goofing off and clowning on guys who only lost a leg.  It was my personality, and it never changed.  As I realized how lucky I was to be alive, have my head working and man parts, I really began living my life again.  I embraced my new life, the new me, and learned so much while in that hospital.  
Being around guys who were mentally disabled for life because of a fragment of metal in their head really opened my eyes!  I would see these guys who were my age at the time (21-ish) and they had to drink every meal through a straw.  I saw guys who had half their heads missing, and others with no faces.  What normal person could be engulfed in this everyday for a year and not be thankful for what they had?  I saw so much grief and so much horrific stuff that people never see it literally kicked me in the ass, and set me on course to who I am today.  
I’ve seen pictures of my injuries from head to toe minutes after I was hit, and I'm still awake in the pics.  When I look at them it reminds me how lucky I am to be here.  If you saw them you would wouldn’t believe I had lived.  People never live with these injuries.  I was just lucky enough to be injured one minute away from the regional hospital in Iraq. 
On September 11, 2004, one thing didn’t go my way that day.  But a million other things did.  My life is great.  I have a beautiful wife, family, dogs, bought a house on my own, finish my degree in architecture next year, what couldn't be good about this?  
The human mind is an amazing thing that’s developed over millions of years.  We are hard wired to deal with trauma.  Just as DNA decides who we are, some of us are just lucky to have DNA that allows us to deal with trauma better.  
Before my injuries I was a little arrogant, and cocky sometimes.  If you would have told me I was going to lose my legs and hand the next day I would have told you that I’d rather be dead, and swore by it!  But once it happened my body went into survival mode, and I had no control.  My entire way of thinking changed instantly, and I didn’t care.  In fact, when I was laying on the ground bleeding to death I told my friend Cortez that “I knew my legs are gone.  I don’t care.  Just get me home. . . .” 
In addition, my way of thinking has been further affected by two other incidents.  One year after I was injured a friend from my unit was killed in Iraq by an EFP (Explosively Formed Projectile), then years later I was on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ Veteran Advisory Committee when she was shot in the head.  I’ve seen how fragile life is and know how fast it can yanked away.

I’m sorry to hear about the death of your friend.  The whole nation was shocked when Congresswoman Giffords’ was shot, but since you knew her that affected you much more profoundly, no doubt.  These are horrible tragedies.  
You do have a gift of resilience.  What a blessing!  
You said that the military has treated you well and you have friends that are like family.  What about other family members?  How did they respond to you, and how did they help?

All my family was pretty shocked, as you could imagine.  The Air Force sent chaplains, the whole nine yards.  They were preparing for my death, and none of the docs were too optimistic.  
The very first time I began speakingbut I don’t remember any of itI was telling my dad and the medical staff about plans of college when I was still in the ICU and only days out from the incident.  I think they saw that I had a strong mind, and as I slowly came to, I was still me.  It made it easier on everyone to deal with it.  I was very self-motivated and involved in what was going on with my medical care too.  Once they realized I would be able to take care of myself on my own they pretty much went back to normal, which was about a month after I was injured. 

I have another question: what advice would you give to veterans who suffer from depression or PTSD?

I’ve never personally been affected by either; however, I’ve met many people who’ve suffered from both and it seems like the key to it is getting out and being active.  The Wounded Warrior Project has helped many people I know by allowing any veteran to go on free trips, which get veterans out being active.  I’m talking about trips to Alaska to fish, Colorado to hunt, or Florida for water sports.  They allow veterans who have similar struggles to come together in a nonclinical environment to share their struggles with each other and bond.  
I’m not a professional in this matter, however I’ve seen many life’s changes from this program and would suggest that anyone who feels they need a boost to their morale to give the WWP a call or email, and they’ll have your back as they did for me and my other issues. 

Do you believe in God?  Why or why not?  How has your belief helped in your recovery and your future?

I do believe in God.  I guess you can say I’m a non practicing catholic, or least that’s what I was raised in.  It really never factored into my recovery one bit.  
Being highly competitive in sports my whole life and always trying my best has been one of the drivers that kicked in automatically when I woke up in the hospital.  I felt like someone had just one-upped me, that being an insurgent, and I wasn’t going to let them determine how I lived my life.  I was going to conquer what they did to me and be even better than I was.  That was my mentality.
Brian, I’m amazed at what you’ve accomplished.   You’re an inspiration to me and many others.  You have an amazing optimism and a great outlook on life.  Keep up the great work and, please, give our love and appreciation to all the wounded warriors you continue to meet and associate with.  

This interview, and many more, will soon be published into a forthcoming e-book published by Warrior SOS founder and director, Jeffrey Denning, in early 2013. There are warriors from Panama, wives of warriors, a warrior who was one of the only Marines to survive the USMC Barracks bombing in Lebanon, Vietnam Vets, a WWII Battle of the Bulge survivor and many, many more.  Proceeds will be donated to the widow and children of two-time Iraqi War Vet, John Cloninger

Also, be sure to check out Jeffrey Denning's weekly column on warriors in military and law enforcement at NewsCornerUSA.com.

Stay tuned to the Warrior SOS blog, and stay safe! 


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/ 


November 29, 2012

Emergency Heat


Guest post by Sam Schwegler

My name is Sam, and it’s become my passion to build my life and home around the idea of self-reliance. We’ve all heard the old adage: Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.  I'm a strong believer in the backup-to-the-backup system.  If you have a Plan A already, great! What if it fails in the middle of an emergency?  Always have a Plan B, and then a Plan C.  I really don't believe there is such a thing as too much planning. Always try to improve your plan, or add to it when necessary or convenient. Once a backup plan reaches full functionality, it's no longer a backup plan but self-reliance. You can then move on to another area that is lacking, and—you guessed it! Make more plans.
I hope to use this outlet as a place to pass on what I’ve learned through research as well as my own implementation. I'll take some time to talk about food storage, water storage, water purification, emergency shelter, defense training, and so forth. My goal is to guide readers toward the security of having at least two weeks of survivability in their homes if all goes to pot.  Today I'm talking heat.  
Chances are good you have heard about and/or seen the super storm devastation on the east coast caused by the simultaneous convergence of Hurricane Sandy and three other storm fronts.  Power was out for millions of people for multiple days and for some a week or more!  
I couldn’t help but think that it's starting to get cold in that area of the country. Regardless of the heat sources those victims had—except for woodstoves—all need electricity to function.  Even the non-electric heating systems are dependent on electricity to move heat to liveable areas.  There is also the problem of possible interruption in gas service, propane shortage, etc. 
How would you heat your house and your family in an emergency situation with no power?  How much preparation is enough?  I think we have all seen that you can count on the government to NOT be there for at least 72 hours. You can put all your other eggs (I advise strongly against it) into their basket, but what do you do in the meantime?   
There are several great ways to deliver safe heat to keep your family and at least part, if not all, of your house warm in an emergency or disaster.  For this article, I am going to briefly discuss four alternative heat sources you can use when your primary heating goes out.  
Before I continue, let me state two very important things:
ONE: When heating your home with alternative methods, ALWAYS remember proper ventilation!
TWO: Be very well acquainted with the user manual and all the warnings that go along with your alternative heat source. The time to learn how to use it, or to learn about possible hazards IS NOT during an emergency!
If the power is down, the easiest short-term solution is a generator.  Before you make a generator purchase, take the time to research options and assess your own specific needs.  (I will be writing an article on that soon, because I truly believe a generator can be a life saver in so many ways.)  A generator can power furnace fans as well as electric space heaters.  As an added benefit, generators can provide the energy for light and electronics for entertainment and a bit of normalcy in a sometimes scary situation. Keeping enough fuel to run a generator for up to three days is not difficult and within the strictures of most fire codes. In cases where the return of power is uncertain, rationing of your three-day supply could make it last up to a week with small adjustments and sacrifices.
Propane heaters are another safe option.  I would highly recommend the Mr. Heater Buddy heaters. These can be a life saver in a cold winter with no electricity. These propane heaters run on one-pound propane cylinders; some can be modified to run off a twenty-five-pound tank.  There are three styles to choose from, each with advantages and disadvantages.  However, all of them come standard with an accidental tip-over shut-off feature and oxygen-depletion sensors for safety.  Just be sure to read and follow the instructions that will help you avoid fires and explosions. Also,  provide appropriate ventilation. 
An older method of space heating is a kerosene heater.  Very carefully read the manual and strictly observe safety warnings. Without proper filling and lighting, the unit could turn into a firebomb.  This is easily avoided by reading, understanding, and following the manufacturer’s directions and warnings.  There are many of these heaters on the market new, and many older models can be found for a very good price at the right garage sales.  They seem to last fairly well and for a small price you could walk away with a decent emergency backup heater.  You would have to keep kerosene on hand and I strongly recommend CO monitoring equipment when running the heater.  A small vent somewhere in the room would help keep the air clean.
In my opinion, by far the best option is a rocket mass heater.  You might have seen these being used in developing countries or as homemade camp stoves that can boil water with wood chips in minutes.  They really are amazing innovations. By harnessing the BTUs and storing them in a heat sink, rocket stoves provide a slow release of heat and keep the family and room warm for many hours, even after the fire has died out.  These stoves burn at nearly 95% efficiency due to a double-burn effect. The wood—the first burn, and first round of heat—burns and creates a wood gas—the second burn—which burns at very high temperatures and can be directed into a heat sink. The heat sink stores and provides the slow release of heat. Since the stove is so efficient, the fuel is kindling, meaning you can collect your fuel supply from fallen branches alone. Because the fire is so efficient, reportedly there is very little smoke.  These stoves are fairly labor-intensive (though not expensive) to build and will likely become a permanent fixture in your home.  If installed correctly, a rocket mass heater could save you hundreds of dollars a year in heating bills, if not eliminating your need for conventional heat altogether. Talk about self-reliance!
Hopefully this article provided you some ideas to get you headed toward an emergency heating plan. As I mentioned, this is a passion of mine, and I have a lot of information on several of topics I would like to share in the future. In the meantime, good luck and keep getting prepared!! 

Sam Schwegler

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 18, 2012

God and the Soldier -- a JFK speech


President John F. Kennedy quoted a poem in remarks to members of the First Armored Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, November 26, 1962. They had been deployed during the Cuban crisis. JFK read the following poem and then added his own words. Here are his words:
Many years ago, according to the story, there was found in a sentry box in Gibraltar a poem which said:
God and the soldier, 
all men adore
In time of danger 
and not before
When the danger is passed 
and all things righted,
God is forgotten 
and the soldier slighted.
This country does not forget God or the soldier. Upon both we now depend. (Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1962, p. 840.)  


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 8, 2012

PTSD - one veteran's insight

PTSD

Originally posted on
http://madogre.com/?p=3684#comment-65515

Too many people out there are ignorantly expressing opinions about Veterans and PTSD, with no understanding of either. The PTSD situation is severe and it isn’t getting better.
A big component to this is a Soldier’s sense of value, or Self Worth. Because of their negative treatment by a large population of this country and the media, and then they hear things pop up by A-Holes like Ted Turner, they are questioning their sacrifices, and time spent over in the war zones. They are weighing that against their own internal moral, ethical, and spiritual standards. Depression, Mark of Cain Syndrome, Survivor’s Guilt, Shame of a secret failure that may or may not be real. (that they let their team down)
PTSD is a deeply complicated issue. And to make the matters worse, those that seek help are made out to be villains… they lose rights… they are shunned. Sometimes police are called, guns are confiscated, houses searched, One Vet was actually raided. I’ve had contact with some Vets who have sought help who then were denied gun purchase by BCI. (Not Utah) This is not right. This isn’t how we do this. A Vet that talks to a Doc about nightmares is not a Monster about to burst his chains.
At best our Vets are treated by mental health professionals who have no understanding of Combat PTSD, because they can’t relate, being liberal minded cake eaters with no understanding of the military. I know first hand because when I was pursuing a Psychology Degree, I had to argue with students and professors that being a Rape Victim, while horrible, is not the same thing as a Veteran who put his rifle sights on another human being and pulled the trigger. It’s different. The scars inside are different. The girl that got raped didn’t volunteer for it, didn’t chose to get raped. Our Vets volunteered, they went into harms way and they chose to fight and these choices are now conflicting with their beliefs, be it Moral or Spiritual… and they come home and are then filled with more doubt about their sacrifices and self worth and no one is helping them. The Mental Health Profession isn’t geared to help Combat Veterans or Police Officers who suffer from Combat Related PTSD. There are only a very small handful of Psychologists who understand Combat PTSD. Because they have been there themselves. Others just Empathize and say they do, but they really and truly don’t and treat all PTSD the same. It isn’t. The scars are different… the layers and depths are different.
Some Vets come home to good communities and good support from friends and family and these guys are okay. They may have some nightmares but they eventually pass. These guys have that safety net of people who love and respect them.
But others don’t. They come home to people who hate them for their service. Who question them. Treat them differently. And these people really have no where to turn for just simple understanding. These guys are the ones that are most vulnerable and need the most help, and they are the ones more often than not, not getting it.
These are Good Men and Good Women. These are people who put it all on the line for us and more often than not they just need to be treated like they are normal Guys and Gals again. Even if they have a disability, physical scars… They are still our Nation’s Finest.
And then Ted Turner goes and says they should commit suicide. My anger at Ted Turner is vibrant. Their should be repercussions to what he said.


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 5, 2012

November 5th

Five years ago today I lost my very good friend and close teammate, Johnny Linde. He was on his second tour in Iraq. All the soldiers in the humvee he was in were killed. I miss him. I'm sure his wife and daughter miss him more.

Remember to pray for our troops.... and their families.


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, 2012

Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)

One of the original founders of the WWP and I spoke just moments ago. (Thanks Bruce!)

The WWP is an incredible organization that has helped many, many warriors. 


NCO and Army Ranger Jeremy Feldbusch, who lost his eyesight while in Iraq in 2003, for instance, has been helped in great ways. Not that only, but Jeremy and his parents have helped a multitude of others by their drive, innovation and love of God, family and country. The Feldbusch family are genuinely exceptional people who have done exceptional things.



www.WoundedWarriorProject.org


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

Parents of deceased Tier I Navy Seal speak out



Billy and Karen Vaughn lost their son, Aaron, a SEAL on the most elite unit (DevGru, a.k.a. SEAL Team 6), on August 6, 2011.

Their website is: www.ForOurSon.us 

The title of this online show and Mrs. Vaughn's words reminded me of another man whom I was introduced to years ago, John Bernard. He lost his son in combat. http://letthemfight.blogspot.com

I wrote about him and the media coverage showing his bloodied son here: http://jeffreydenning.blogspot.com/2009/11/media-in-war-photo-of-dead-marine.html 

It's not so much about the political ramifications of this message, although there certainly is hesitation to use force in war which proves dangerous to our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, but I include this video link because of the heartbreak of both father and mother losing their son.



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

Officer Involved Shooting (OIS)


There was a police officer involved shooting today. It was not too far from my home. I was actually headed to the police department to talk to someone about becoming a volunteer police chaplain when I drove near the the scene.

My prayers go out to all those involved -- the family, friends and community, as well as the law enforcement officers. The last thing police want to do is get in a lethal confrontation. Police officers, by nature and by training, do all they can to avoid these circumstances. These situations are always hurtful, emotionally and spiritually, to all parties involved. Again, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved. May there be healing and hope in the days and months that come.


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 25, 2012

SWAT -- not Sit, Wait, and Talk

Here's an old article I wrote and originally posted it on SWATdigest.com. I found it re-posted on a couple of sites, including PoliceOne.com.


SWAT: Not Sit, Wait, and Talk

For adrenaline junkies, it can be hard to take a pause, but doing so can ensure success for you and your team members

By Jeffrey Denning
“Hurry up and wait” is one sure thing that can be counted on in almost every tactical operation. Knowing when to wait and how to best utilize that time will help secure success and, most importantly, keep team members and the innocent safe. Aside from that, there are a few things every operator would like his administration to know… (Don’t worry; I’ll keep it clean.)
Fighting the Urge to Rush 

Admit it: breaking down doors, “runnin’ and gunnin,’ ” and “flowing and going” is fun. Busting into a room after throwing in a few flash bangs (a.k.a. noise flash distraction devices, NFDDs) and hollering “POLICE! Don’t Move!” while pointing a subgun or tricked out long gun at some unsuspecting felon is a rush. Nothing compares to it. Some might even say it’s better than sex.

Most tac guys (and gals) are adrenaline junkies. At a younger age, I, too, exhibited some of those characteristics. I went free-fall skydiving in high school, messed up my knee on a much-too-high cliff jump at Lake Powell, free climbed (without ropes) up 90-foot rock faces, and jumped like a stunt man, head-first off a three-story building onto crudely made padding. I even trained for a short season with members of the U.S. ski jumping and aerial freestyle ski teams. It’s amazing I didn’t get hurt more than I did.
One of the things I really enjoyed was backcountry skiing. We’d find huge cliffs and try to avoid hitting the trees in the air and land in the soft powder. Years later, I remember reading about a man who tried to break the world’s record for the longest cliff jump on skis. He miscalculated his jump and hit another cliff, plummeting several hundred meters to his death. Had he taken more time to calculate his jump, he might have set the record—and lived.
I realize that doesn’t have anything to do with police work or tactical operations, but I learned a valuable lesson from reading about that experience. It taught me an important lesson: it’s better to be a calculated risk taker than just a risk taker.
Now I run away from trouble. I avoid risk. My body doesn’t recover as quickly as it used to. I don’t want to get hurt.
One of the things I like about SWAT is there’s nearly always a way to improve the plan and increase the changes for officer safety. SWAT officers have the element of surprise. Time is on SWAT’s side. Rarely are tactical teams forced to walk into a trap. The danger comes from rushing in.
Larry Glick, the former executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association and the founder of the International Tactical Officers Training Association (ITOTA), taught me the value of patience in order to lower risk and ensure success. He suggested that we should consider every available tactical option before breaking down a door. If it’s a barricaded situation, for instance, there’s no rush to go in. Wait. Use gas, a ruse, or something else to flush the suspect out. Use a robot or your SWAT monkey—“tactical primate”—in the case of Mesa, Arizona PD. Rip down a wall and wait. Open up the door and stay outside. “Break and rake” the windows and wait! Resist your urge to rush in and lower your risk. Once inside a building, the level of risk raises exponentially. Hold off and be safe.
Although the physiological changes from an initial adrenaline dump may occur and we may be ready to “rock ‘n’ roll”, we should fight the urge to rush in until we are confident that we have the tactical advantage.
On Hold, Standing By

Talk about frustrating. You’re amped, psyched or stoked—depending on what part of the country you’re from—either way, you’re ready to charge in like a Mac truck and do some damage, if needed, and the situation or the boss says “hold on”. Now what?
Eat.
Okay, that might not be the first thing you should do, but it’s something that should be more on the minds of operators.
In July 1999 I trained with representatives from nearly every SWAT team that responded to the Columbine High School shootings just three months before. I don’t recall if it was a Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy or a police officer from Littleton, Colorado who said that before he went inside the school he saw an officer sitting on the sidewalk finishing off a hamburger and a drink. Even though Columbine changed the way officers would respond to active shooting situations forever, the actions of that SWAT officer that day were praised as brilliant. It was a long day. It would eventually take four and a half hours just to clear the inside of the school!
Don’t forget to fuel up. Although we won’t take time to eat in an active shooter situation, there are plenty of other operations that will demand lots of time and energy. Combat operations fatigue the body. Don’t get overly focused or too “tough” to give your body what it demands. Your performance will deteriorate in all aspects should you neglect this important necessity. And, as we’ve heard, “eat when you can, not when you have to.” If you wait, you might not get the chance.
During down time continuously improve upon the plan. This is a given, but many teams still need serious help in this area. Why? Because we’re all creatures of habit. We get comfortable over time. Our successes outweigh our failures. We think we’ve always done it that way and it’s worked so far.
Warning! Routine kills.
Welcome outside thinking. Challenge old systems and ways of doing things. Bad guys watch, study and learn. Potential threats and serious cop killers have access to tactical training. They pay attention to the way things are done. In one sense, they’re not as stupid as they act. As we live to stop them, they study on how to defeat us.
Because of this we must encourage creativity and explore unconventional tactics. What was once unconventional in SWAT operations is now well known and publicized. Our nemeses often know what we’ll do even before we do it.
Barriers to creativity include unapproachable leadership. This is a team operation. Individuals may be smart, but one person cannot possibly have all the answers. Leaders and individual team members must—not should—encouraging brainstorming and free thinking by allowing open discussion (at the appropriate time). Avoid put-downs and saying things like “that’s a dumb idea.” Instead, explore each option and give a reason why or why not. Quality leaders should be able to articulate and convince a whole team why the final tactical plan is the very best and safest option.
The other related hindrance that keeps our blinders on, generating dangerous myopic thinking, is “group think”. Do we all think alike? Most of the time that’s good, but sometimes it can thwart progression. Challenge the conventional, the routine. SWAT needs guys/gals who will challenge the norm and ask why or why not. Finally, take suggestions and ideas from new guys seriously. They often have fresh perspectives.
Focus. Concentrate. Never underestimate the suspect(s), the terrain or the situation. Dominate tactically. And remember: there’s a serious difference between using strong, powerful, overwhelming tactics and using excessive force. Don’t confuse this. Win.
Dear Boss:
If your SWAT team isn’t training at least two full days each month, plus a minimum of two or three weeks each year, you’re doing your community a grave disservice. If your team runs five miles together in full tactical gear on training days instead of making use of the limited but valuable training time you’re allotted, you’re wasting precious time. Don’t major in the minors! Seriously, how often is your team going to rappel in an operation? Focus training on what’s most important: tactics, shooting and scenario-based training. You can’t get in shape by working out two days each month.
Chances are you don’t have enough team members to safely, adequately handle SWAT operations, let alone those who may be on vacation, injured, or face it…intoxicated. Consider doubling the current number. Even then you might not have enough. On my first hostage call-out, our team leader had just gotten out of the hospital from receiving a vasectomy. If we could only schedule when criminals would start their rampage, then we might keep small numbers of SWAT officers available.
Seriously though, hopefully nothing terribly wrong will every happen, but changes are something will go extremely awry one day. At that point budget and personnel shortage problems that may now be attributed to the current lack of support and resources will seem futile. Multiple death notifications, workers compensation pay-outs, negative press coverage, not to mention the abundance of other distresses, is not a good note to end your career on.
On another note, you should know the capabilities of your SWAT team very well. Then you will use them with confidence. Don’t hesitate to use your tactical team. Too many police administrators mistake boldness for excessiveness. They incorrectly believe that the chances of an “incident” increases when SWAT is used. On the corollary, using SWAT on the relatively “small” incidents will create greater overall safety for all officers and, especially if the team doesn’t have a lot of experience, it will prepare them for the future colossal conundrums. SWAT officers who complain about doing the job should leave the team. The caveat, however, is to not abuse the recall system or the team. Don’t call SWAT in to direct traffic in a bad storm, literally or figuratively.
Finally boss, please stay out of our way and let us work. No chief should serve as the lead negotiator or the SWAT commander. And no supervisor should ever keep his/her SWAT team in a “red light” status if the situation legally and tactically warrants action. Nothing bothers me more.
Conclusion
In sum, be flexible, but in control. You keep the tactical advantage by making the suspect(s) bend to your timetable. You don’t bend to his/hers.
I’ve had a long held theory that guys in special operations have a greater libido than the average person. With the higher level of testosterone that propels guys to do high-risk work, my theory seems awfully reasonable. Now, I hope I’m not being too tactless, irreligious or flippant by writing this, but considering my audience, and given the topic, in high-risk operations as in intimacy, there is wisdom in slowing down and taking your time. Hurrying is for beginners. As in love, when it comes to bullets, pain and possibly death, the late King of Rock and Roll would wisely remind us: “only fools rush in.”
Jeffrey Denning


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