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Choices Not Chances Podcast

Choices Not Chances Podcast

Author: Ryan Rogers And Matthew Charette

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The Choices Not Chances Podcast came about after the release of Ryan Rogers’s new book, "Lions of Marjah". The Podcast is a veteran-oriented work, focusing on interviews of not only combat veterans but the families and lives they lead transitioning from combat. We will feature veteran aid of all types and consistently plug new therapies, as well as make an effort to bridge the civilian/military divide. The warfighting experience comes with many changes, some tolerable, others not as much. Semper Fi!
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Recently I sat down with Nick Aicardi, the Host of the Hard to Kill podcast, and talked about life. I really learned a lot in this one. Nick walks us through his experiences overseas, right down to the moment they closed on the enemy and sorted the situation out. The warfighter in me loved the chat and so will you.
This week’s guest is retired Army Captain Joshua Hearns. He has had a multitude of different experiences in life and in service. I first met Josh in San Antonio, TX during a stay in an in-patient therapy facility called Laurel Ridge. During the 30 days I was in therapy, Josh and I talked a good bit and jammed out with guitars in the evenings. In this episode, we talk about his childhood, and his experiences in Iraq as the XO for Alpha Company 177. We discuss leadership, combat in Iraq., and transition back to society. This was a special episode for me because it was the first conversation between Josh and me in a long time. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Justin Cramer joins the show to chat about life, war, and transition. We have a chat in this clip about his time operating out of a patrol base in Afghanistan. He had friendly Marines under fire as he was controlling air to assist. Cramer explains the process of deconflicting fires from air assets, and the chaos that can ensue. When Marines and friendly forces are under fire the fog of war is real. Things don't always go as planned.
Chase McGrorty-Hunter joins the show to talk about Flashpoint Taiwan. Chase is an active duty Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and has been someone that I started to follow on social media some time ago. In the past few years a cluster of active duty enlisted Marines as well as Officers have taken to the social media scene to enhance the warfighter. As I followed I learned, and every conversation we have had, I have learned as well. Gunny McGrorty-Hunter takes us through the structure of Flashpoint Taiwan, a war game of the largest kind. He speaks to articles written, Q&A sessions, and the culmination of the games in December. If you are an active duty Marine you do not want to miss this information.
This week’s guest is Dominique Williams, a former NFL football running back for the Minnesota Vikings, working toward his lifelong dream of being called up and activated. Dom suffered two ACL injuries, one on each knee and he was confronted with the reality that he was getting older, and his injuries were not helping his cause. Dom had to look at his life and decide on how to reinvent himself. Now, Dom works with the youth in his community branding himself a student success coach. He means to be the mentor and coach that he never had. Showing students what to do and how to be successful in identifying their dreams and taking actions that align with their thoughts and vision for themselves. This was an awesome interview to conduct and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.
Luke is the Senior Vice President of Outreach for the Folds of Honor. He joined the Folds of Honor in April of 2022 after a distinguished career with the Tulsa Police Department. Captain Luke Sherman served as a member of the Tulsa Police Department from 1992 through March of 2022. He has been involved in many different units and assignments. He was part of the command staff for the department and has over 25 years of experience leading, influencing, and guiding hundreds of police officers and other department employees in enforcement of local, state, and federal laws. Captain Sherman has been involved in thousands of critical incidents while working patrol, street crimes, SWAT and the Fugitive Warrant’s unit. He also commanded both the Department’s Special Investigations Division as well as the Special Response Team (responsible for handling civil unrest situations). Throughout his decorated career, he has been awarded many medals to include the prestigious Medal of Valor. Luke has also been involved with the National Tactical Officer’s Association (NTOA) since 2004 as an instructor and director. The NTOA is the most recognized and accepted tactical police training association in the world. In 2007, Luke joined the NTOA’s Board of Directors group and for the past 5 years has been the Chairman. The NTOA’s membership includes law enforcement officials from 32 countries and every state of the U.S.A. In these roles with the association, Luke is considered a key part of an executive leadership team responsible for the creation and implementation of several national recognized initiatives pertaining to law enforcement standards and training models. He has been instrumental in shifting the association’s goals in regard to identifying, patterning and successfully modernizing a storied national association in multiple areas regarding professionalizing these specialized police services. These programs have been implemented, recognized and accepted throughout the nation at all levels of government. Luke also is the owner and principal with Aegis CPG, a Tulsa based security consulting firm. Aegis CPG specializes with instruction and mitigation consulting services to organizations for the purpose of protecting both the workforce and business assets. His company provides system and security solutions that are scalable and applicable to a wide array of diverse clients including Universities, privately held and Fortune 500 companies, municipalities, state and federal lawmakers as well as private citizens. Luke holds a B.S. of Science in Criminal Justice with Minors in Psychology and Sociology.
This is an awesome conversation between retired Marine Master Sergeant John Dailey and I. John, and I talk about a myriad of different topics. John is a grunt, a Scout Sniper, a graduate of Ranger School, a leader in 1st Force Recon, and specifically the Team Leader of Marines involved in an ambush south of Kandahar in 2001, which was the first Marines in a decisive engagement in the entire Afghan campaign. John was instrumental in the inception and development of MARSOC. John talks in depth about his experiences not only with the teams but also with situations he experienced while in the Fleet Marine Corps and Marine Security Guard (MSG) duty. He speaks about Budapest, Turkey when the Berlin Wall came down. He talks about Scout Sniper School and a wicked prank that was played on him by the other guys at the school. John remains involved with MARSOC and is publishing a book called “Tough Rugged Bastards” about a lot of the experiences outlined in the interview. John edits for the Lethal Minds Journal, he has a Substack called Think, Read, Write, Repeat at jdailey.substack.com as well as an upcoming Substack called Ruck the Fuck Up at RTFU.Substack.com
This evening LtCol. Mike Allen (USMC) joins the show to talk about his career, his plans for transition, and his new venture in selling guns. Mike is set to retire in about 18 months and has already begun his transition plan. Mike entered the Marine Corps as an enlisted Logistician, ending up on an unorthodox path through the fleet Marine Corps. He would eventually attend school and be deployed as a Marine Security Guard in Kuwait City, Kuwait, and the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Allen built an impressive career in the enlisted community, the Chief Warrant Officer community, and later the commissioned officer community. We had an amazing time recording Mike and we look forward to working together in the future.
Recently I sat down with Ricky Johnson Jr. for the podcast. I was turned on to his content by one of my good buddies, who worked out at the same gym. Ricky has been through a lot. As a child he talks about his “normal” being vastly different than other people. The culture in which he grew up certainly would shape some of his future. Ricky served in the Marine Corps as a bulk fueler, followed by getting out of the Corps and getting heavily into criminal activity. Everything from drugs to theft. He was left without a driver’s license, spent time in jail, and a list of felonies. Ricky talks about the loss of his son, being his call to action, his call to get better and find some sort of good from years of bad. Now, Ricky speaks publicly about his experiences, from high school football teams to United States Marines, he has spoken at more that 200 venues, and continues to make positive impacts in his community. I hope you can take something away from this conversation. Semper Fidelis Simul Fortior
I had the opportunity last year to sit and chat with Jason Rhodes a while back. Jason contacted me about coming on the show or at the least being promoted by the show. He was embarking on a walk across the country to raise awareness for PTSD. He also donated a nice CMMG rifle to the show to be raffled off as a fundraiser. Jason started his journey shortly after our meeting, today we will talk about his life and the path that led him to where he is today. He is the founder of RenoVet non-profit, where he refabricates homes and adds wheelchair accessible entries to disabled Veterans homes. In 2024 he will transition to conversion vans for homeless veterans. The walk for Jason was as much about personal healing and resilience as it was about PTSD awareness. But it would suffice to say that he has come out of this experience a stronger and better person. To donate to Jason’s cause please visit RenoVet.org
From the merchant Zeno of Citium to Marcus Aurelius, we chat about the pillars of stoicism and explore the eudaimonic nature of stoic philosophy. Marc Arrington is a returning guest to the show. He was featured in episode 47 and returned to discuss China and Taiwan in episode 55. Marc is a retired Marine Raider, heavily affiliated with the Raider Foundation and several other non-profit organizations in Eastern North Carolina, greater Camp Lejeune area.
Chase McGrorty-Hunter joins the show to talk about Flashpoint Taiwan. Chase is an active duty Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps and has been someone that I started to follow on social media some time ago. In the past few years a cluster of active duty enlisted Marines as well as Officers have taken to the social media scene to enhance the warfighter. As I followed I learned, and every conversation we have had, I have learned as well. Gunny McGrorty-Hunter takes us through the structure of Flashpoint Taiwan, a war game of the largest kind. He speaks to articles written, Q&A sessions, and the culmination of the games in December. If you are an active duty Marine you do not want to miss this information.
For an infantry Marine, you "march or die". When Marines do get to march on the enemy it is an unforgettable, life-altering experience. Re-entry to friendly lines is winning the day. "The fight raged for hours, and for hours we raged back. We flew in from the sky for the opening of our attack. Three days they stood and fought us hard before they were overcome.We dropped them in the killing fields between the poppy runs. Such a pretty battlefield, I never would have dreamed, the beauty of a poppy field in Marjah in the spring.
Yonel Dorelis AKA Yogi joins us for this episode to talk about his distinguished career flying for multiple different branches of the U.S. military. We talk about his youth and his service, culminating in his actions during operation Anaconda in Afghanistan. He is a true American Patriot with an amazing story!
Dean Wegner joined the podcast to talk about his life and his apparel company. He graduated from West Point and joined the Army. He flew choppers and achieved the rank of Captain before exciting the ranks to pursue other ventures. I was recommended to Deans apparel company "Authentically American" by Jeffery Sabins and instantly started an order. Matt and I were looking for an American made company to support and after one chat with Dean we found just that. Patriotism runs deep in the Wegner bloodline, and this episode was a blast to record.
Retired First Sergeant Larry Briar joins the show and discusses his experiences. We talk about combat, loss, and transition. I hope you enjoy this episode.
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