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Behind the Warrior

Author: EOD Warrior Foundation - Sherri Beck, Mike Mack

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Behind the Warrior Podcast is hosted by the EOD Warrior Foundation. This podcast is focused on a variety of relatable subjects impacting EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Warriors, their Families and military families at large. Topics such as TBI, PTSD, health, wellness and much more. We share personal stories, resources and interview experts and organizations that shed light on difficult subjects and we have a little fun too! To learn more about the EOD Warrior Foundation, please go to
55 Episodes
Enjoy the interview with CMSgt (RET) Linda Cox who was the first female EOD Technician in the military.  A native to both Oklahoma and Texas, Linda enlisted in the Air Force in 1971.  Several years into her Air Force enlistment, a fellow airman dared her to apply for EOD School and the rest is history! Linda gives great perspective on fate, accomplishments and philosophy on life.  She is close to officially retiring after over 40 years of service both in EOD and UXO career field. Her life long love of  learning and curious nature will continue to fill her cup, long after she retires!   Resources: Blowing up the Glass Ceiling: The Untold Story Of  The Military's First Female Bomb Technician by Brian Castner Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe Support the show (
Learn about Operation Deep Dive with Cheree Tham, Vice President of Programs & Initiatives with America's Warrior Partnership. Cheree explains the elements of Operation Deep Dive, what they hope to accomplish in conducting interviews  with  families, friends, colleagues, asking them to share their interactions with people who have passed away from suicide and other unnatural causes within in the last two years.   She talks about her work the University of Alabama and what they hope to accomplish after collecting the data.  Cheree is passionate about helping others and sharing what they learn through Operation Deep Dive with others.  If you are interested in being a part of this important work, listen, learn and please contact: Americas Warrior Partnership - Operation Deep Dive - the show (
This is Part 2 of a great conversation with USMC (Ret) EOD Captain, Ben Redmond. Ben continues his story of various duty stations, shares funny stories and memories from the EOD Memorial Weekend. He talks about some of his EOD heroes, how the EOD career field and community is important to him , giving back and of course ending with some of his favorite things.  Such an enjoyable chat and a piece of history you won't want to miss. Favorite Books: Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner The Great Flood of 1927 by James Hobbs Stolen Election of 1876  by Lloyd RobinsonStruggle Well by Ken Falke & Josh Goldberg Support the show (
Take a trip down memory lane with USMC (Ret) EOD Captain, Ben Redmond.  He grew up near Asheville, NC, he shares the story of his childhood and teenage years,  his dream of becoming a NASCAR driver and the thrill of fast cars! In 1968, his life took a different turn when  he received a draft notice.  Ben shares the timeline of his service, the lessons he learned and what a blessing it has been. The influence of various leaders and long lasting  friendships have impacted Bens life and contributed to his success.  This is Part 1 of 2, please listen, enjoy and tune in next week for Part 2. Support the show (
This interview is short and sweet! Please welcome Jacques Hope  as our Marketing & Scholarship Coordinator. He is a retired Army EOD Officer who shares a passion for helping others, his love for EOD and staying connected to the EOD family. He shares a little about himself and his excitement to be in this new role. Welcome Jacques, we are glad to have you on the EODWF team! Fun Facts: Favorite song - Don't want to miss a thing - by AerosmithFavorite movie - Armageddon Support the show (
Captain Hung Cao shares his story of being born in Vietnam, and his family's  decision to flee the country in 1975. This brave trek  led him to spending many years growing up in Africa and then coming to the United States when he was 12 years old. He tells of learning to speak English and his desire as a young man to serve in the United States Military.  A US Naval Academy graduate, EOD Officer that loves the EOD career field who is passionate about mentoring others and service to his community. Hung provides some words of encouragement and wisdom he has learned over the years.  The podcast ends on the importance of family, taking care of yourself and leaning into retirement.  Enjoy! Resources: Book:  The Caine Mutiny author Herman Wouk Support the show (
Join Sherri for a conversation with LTC (RET) Bob Leiendecker as he shares stories about his childhood, love for explosives, his journey in the military and  a lot of fond memories too!  Bob is a caretaker of military memorabilia and preserver of history, specifically the EOD career field,  that dates back to WWII.  We talked about his humble beginnings,  college life, decision to join the military. Bob  thoroughly enjoyed his military career, civilian career and continues to contribute to the EOD career field. He is the historian for the National EOD Association and a committee member for the EOD Museum initiative, and preserver of EOD/military memorabilia.  Bob is a great story teller and a pleasure to chat with, enjoy the listen! Resources:EOD Museum, Eglin AFB, FL -  contact Bob directly at: National EOD Association - JOIN TODAY -  (membership is open to all graduates from NAVSCOLEOD, all services, all eras) National Museum of United States Army , Fort. Belvoir, VA  - www.thenmusa.orgSupport the show (
Jeanette Gilles, Deputy Director of Community Integration for America's Warrior Partnership joined Sherri to talk about the great programs and resources this Nationwide non-profit has to offer.  AWP started as a grassroots effort in Augusta, Georgia, over the years it has grown Nationally to connect and empower veterans within their local communities. Check out the conversation to learn more about veteran resources and the great work that America's Warrior Partnership  continues  who continue to do for veterans across the country. Resources: America's Warrior Partnership - The Network: Deep Dive - Rhythm - Support the show (
This conversation with Kent Solheim, Founder and Program Development Lead for Gold Star Teen Adventures explains the mission of this incredible non-profit. We talk about their programs and goals in giving Gold Star Teens a chance to focus on Healing, Opportunity and Leadership. Kent shares his personal story of his time in service, being critically wounded in 2007, how this gave him a different perspective on life and his desire to give back to the children and families who have lost a loved one. What he learned from the time he left the battlefield  and while receiving care at Walter Reed helped formulate the idea of Gold Star Teen Adventures.  Kent has remained on active duty as a Green Beret, you won't want to miss this episode!  Resources: Gold Star Teen Adventures - www.gstadventures.orgBook: The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz Support the show (
Join Sherri for a great discussion with Director  of Echo Hill Ranch, Marcie Friedman, and Bobby McBride, Military Outreach Volunteer. Marcie talks about the long history of Echo Hill and how her parents started the ranch in 1953 in the small town of Medina, Texas;  they had a  love for children and provided a rich environment for kids to thrive. This year, the ranch has re-opened with the help of her brother, Kinky Friedman and so many wonderful volunteers.  Bringing life back to Echo Hill has been done with compassion and care  and held their first camp session called Trailblazers.  They will offer two more this year that will host Gold Star children. Marcie and her team take a different approach as they believe that a military child that has lost a parent, no matter the cause, should have an opportunity to connect with others who may share a similar story. This rustic ranch, nestled in the valley of Echo Hill has over 200 acres, and is still very much in the 1950's original setting. All of which allows children to get back to the basics of just being a kid;  time to disconnect from technology and explore the acreage, make new friendships, learn a few skills and make some lasting memories. In fact, Echo Hill is unique in if a child attends camp one year, they are guaranteed a spot the following year should they desire to come back. You won't want to miss this great conversation, and have a chance to hear from the great people who are running it. Resources: Echo Hill Ranch - www.echohill.orgFor a direct email: 589-2520 Contact them for volunteer opportunities! Support the show (
Part 2 with Carl - continued conversation about his time in service, the Bomb, Buzzard and Pick and his creative side. Carl discusses some of the awards he earned while serving his country and provides details around a discovery of how to treat white phosphorus burns  (please note: animals are used for science). He believes that Marine EOD Brotherhood is like no other, and shares about a Vietnam archive in Texas. Carl ends the podcast with a few tips, his legacy and some of his favorite things. Thank you Carl.  Enjoy!  Resources:Texas Tech University - The Vietnam Center & San Johnson Vietnam Archive - When God Winks; How the power of coincidence guides your life -  by Squire D. RushnellA Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam  - by Neil Sheehan  Support the show (
Sit back and enjoy this conversation with USMC Captain (Ret) Carl Jozaitis. Carl talks about his humble childhood, being born during the Great Depression,  growing up on the south side of Chicago and spending summers in South Dakota. He shares how he had two choices, join the service or be drafted. Carl joined the Marine Corps, ready to serve his country and had lessons along the way, some of which are sure to make you smile.   We talked about his love of art, his creative side and so much more!  You won't want to miss these moments in history, a reflection of what the world was like for  a young Marine in the 60's, Vietnam and his service to his country.  It was a privilege to chat with Carl.  Part 2 will follow next week! Resources:When God Winks; How the power of coincidence guides your life -  by Squire D. RushnellA Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam  - by Neil Sheehan   Support the show (
This is a great conversation with SFC Jeff and Trish Dawson. Jeff shares  his story of joining the military, choosing EOD, multiple deployments and in 2019, the deployment that changed his life. Trish talks about her experiences growing up as a military child, how she and Jeff met, and when she received the call that Jeff was seriously injured. The world paused for a while, only to find the bond they share is stronger. They encourage one another and believe that positivity is key in working through the unexpected challenges life brings.  Jeff continues on his road of recovery and Trish is right by his side.  Resources: For Love of Country  by Howard Schultz & Rajiv ChandrasekaranThe Wonky Donkey  (for the grandkids) by Craig Smith & Katz CowleyGibraltar by Jeff and Trish Dawson/Maia Sharp - with Soldiers - Support the show (
In this episode, Justin talks about his time as an Air Force EOD technician, civilian contracting, a journey to find purpose and helping military families.  He openly shares his story and hopes to inspire those who may be feeling a bit lost after the military. Justin is successful in the mortgage lending industry and speaks about integrity and ethics as he assists military members and their families through one of the most crucial purchases of their lives.  We talked about the deep connection he feels for the EOD  community and why he is committed to helping others. Enjoy! Resources:Bunker Labs -  - Bunker Labs exists to empower the military-connected community to achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.  Justin Hamilton - The Federal Savings Bank -  815-908-9363 - Books: Children's book: Bluebell & the Runaway Balloon  by RH Value Publishing  Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg Support the show (
Narissa Jenkins is the founder of Healing Hoof Steps. This non-profit is located in Crestview, Florida offering a variety of equine therapy programs to veterans, active duty, first responders and challenged with mobility. There is something for everyone!   Narissa talks about her love of horses at an early age and leaving the corporate world when she needed horses the most. She shares  important information, highlights a new program called Hoof Steps for Heroes Program.   You won't want to miss this interview as she also shares exciting news about further expansion, sponsorship opportunities, events and community involvement. Resources: Healing Hoof Steps - www.healinghoofsteps.org850-764-1005Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal  by Tim Hayes Support the show (
Learn more about the Travis Mills Foundation through my conversation with Program Director, Kelly Roseberry. Kelly shares how she transitioned from working at Walter Reed as a physical therapist to Program Director of the Travis Mills Foundation. Her enthusiasm and passion for helping others is contagious. Kelly explains the mission of TMF, the program offerings, and their plans for expansion. Exciting news and days ahead. Enjoy!  Resources: Travis Mills Foundation - www.travismillsfoundation.orgFind them on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms!  Book: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah Support the show (
This podcast is focused on a new non-profit in the panhandle of Florida, Panhandle Warrior Partnership. Keith Manley, retired USA EOD Technician talks about his new role as Program Lead for PWP, their mission, and much more. Listen and learn as Keith shares how he is hiring folks to help with the outreach of over 100,000 veterans that live in the panhandle of Florida. PWP works collaboratively with other non-profit entities and resources to help veterans in need to lead a better life.  Resources: Panhandle Warrior Partnership - America's Warrior Partnership - Books: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz Support the show (
April is the Month of the Military Child - join Sherri for a conversation with Chloe Rayer, a military child (now young adult) and a Freshman in college who is studying American Sign Language with a minor in Linquistics.  Chloe's parents are both Army Veterans and she shares several experiences that have shaped her into the incredible young lady she is today.  Every military child has their own story, this is Chloe's.  Hope you take the time to listen as she shares her message to her peers is to be open, honest and don't hold your emotions in.  Her positive words and encouraging nature is uplifting. Resources: Fahrenheit 451 Quotes  by Ray Bradbury Support the show (
Wha a fun conversation with Leon Tackitt, retired US Navy EOD, Board Member for the EOD Warrior Foundation and Leon alongside his wife Cindy are the owners of Tackitt Family Vineyards. We talked about his career, the evolution of Tackitt Family Vineyards and how he and Cindy give back to a community that is near and dear to their hearts. They achieve giving back in many ways, highlighting an event called Warriors Helping Warriors.  This year marks the 10th Anniversary for this event of bringing warriors and community together. This event raises awareness and funds are  generously donated to the EOD Warrior Foundation.  Leon also shares some tips and states that perseverance is the key in the wine making business.Resources: Tackitt Family Vineyards - Support the show (
Join Sherri for a great conversation with Chris and Lilly Rogers. Chris is a retired Public Safety Bomb Technician  & Program Manager of Training for USBTA. Lilly is a  SMSgt Air Force EOD Technician . They talk about their careers, how they met and mixing the two worlds of service. We also had fun discussing the new Facebook page, EOD Chefs. The intended purpose of this page was to connect people through food, the joy of cooking and creating. The community was craving connection and this page has turned out to be a family environment that is full of positive comments, photos of delicious food, plating experts,  a recipe guide, challenges and contests. Listen, learn and check out EOD Chefs! Support the show (
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