On this episode of Return to Base, we meet up with Cliff Walker, a Veteran of the United States Navy and Air Force and a retired firefighter.
Cliff is also the founder and CEO of the USS Battle Series, which is a functional fitness competition that brings a new level of awareness in terms of health, fitness, and mental wellbeing for our United States Armed Forces, First Responders, and those in our local communities who support our brave men and women. The cool twist? They do these events on the decks of some of our nation’s most iconic navy warships! How awesome is that?
Return to Base Podcast Ep. #13: Cliff Walker
Hey everybody, welcome back to the Return To Base podcast. This week you’re in for a treat. We have Cliff Walker. He’s a U.S. Navy Veteran. He was in the Gulf War and he served 23 years as a firefighter medic with the Navy Federal fighting– Firefighting service. Try saying that 10 times fast.
He’s also the founder and CEO of USS Battle Series which is a functional fitness competition that brings a new level of awareness in terms of health, fitness, and mental well being for our United States Armed Forces first responders, those in our local communities that support our brave men and women.
It’s America’s fitness competition, ladies and gentlemen. It’s pretty cool too because what’s unique about this particular fitness competition is It’s held on board US Navy ships– Retired ships so go check it out at ussbattleseries.com but for now, hope you enjoy the podcast.
Speaker 1 00:57
[Inaudible 00:00:57]. This is Victor Lima. Yes, RTB. This is Return To Base, a Veteran Life Podcast.
Cliff, what’s going on man?
Cliff Walker 01:23
Hey, how are you, brother? Thanks for having me on Jet tonight. I appreciate it.
Yes, no worries. Thank you for joining us. I know that you’ve had a long day.
Cliff Walker 01:35
We all have.
Yes, we’ve all had long days but I know that you’re out there running your business, running USS Battle series and I assume you’re getting ready for another event coming up soon.
Cliff Walker 01:49
That– You would be correct. We’re supposed to be on Charleston, South Carolina. June 11 and 12 and teaming up with a long running 30 year firefighter challenge and yes, we’re hoping for a good reboot restart here right after coming out this last couple of years. We had a shutdown. Our last event, we thought we were coming out of all this back on Veterans Day. More aboard the Hornet in San Fran but that was a tough one but we’re ready, we’re happy to do back man to do what we do.
Yes, how did the pandemic affect you guys? I assume probably pretty heavily considering the business relies so much on close to human interaction working out even though it’s outdoors. I mean, [Crosstalk 00:02:48] if we knew then what we know now that have been like go get some pressure.
Cliff Walker 02:54
[Inaudible 00:02:54] Everything they told that survived.
Yes. Well, I guess we were dealing with the cards that we knew we had and looking back, I don’t know, modicum of caution was probably prudent at the time but now I know some of us are pretty bitter about it, but we’ll get– I’ll tell you what. We’ll get to USS Battle Series in the business. I want to– Like, since this is a Veteran podcast, I’d like to dive in and talk a little bit about what inspired you to join the US Navy and how long did you spend there? And you said you were in the Gulf War right? You’re no spring chicken man but–
Cliff Walker 03:42
Yes, man. [Crosstalk 09:03:44].
Really young man. You look really young.
Cliff Walker 03:47
Well, I was telling someone earlier man, I signed this contract and it could be up any day man so I’m just happy to be here. Halfway through this the contract might or might just go up in smoke an elevator.
Yes, that’s right. Live life to the fullest. Yes, well, probably the Navy man.
Cliff Walker 04:11
The short version, the long version. First off, we have a long running history of Navy guys in the family but that’s not really what direction. To be honest with you, was I thought I’d fire servers was there, a forest ranger was there and I remember towards graduation, one of my close buddies who was out in Philly now and we’ll get to that. He was sitting around and playing pool and like, Hey, man. We got a tight knit group of guys, we got the– Had a good mix. We got the jocks, we’ve got the surfers and all that it is girl intermixed.
Me and John, they’re playing some pool. It’s like, “Hey man, don’t tell anybody but I signed up last week man.” I go, “Signed up for what? What are you talking about?” He’s like, “Signed up for the military dude.” Like what?
Why would you do that?
Cliff Walker 05:23
Yes, I go but I’m like, “Hey, that’s cool man.” And so to be honest with you man, I crossed my mind a little bit too and I say, “My dad man, he was in the Navy and grandpa and whatnot.” And he goes, “Yes, me too.” And I go, I said, “All right man so we got to talk about next thing.” A week later I’m down off. I was living in Canyon country at the time and that I always tell people Magic Mountain, right? That’s the landmark I use and I’m soaked up and I said, OK, so I go down to local recruiter station and I had my aspirations or what I wanted to do and signed up and of course they– Back then they got to get away a little bit with lying to you. You take the house, you take the asvab and in case I want to go into the buds right back in the days and– Oh Yes, you’re good.
I get the boot camp and my mind I’m going man, I’m going to be working out on the beach man and it comes full week because everybody back then at least you need to swim. I don’t think that’s even a requirement the Navy now. What the f*ck is dude? I’m going to say I know someone’s probably fact check me. I don’t care like but I could have sworn I heard that maybe to pull my leg but I don’t know. Yes, it’s– Things have changed.
I wouldn’t doubt it.
Cliff Walker 07:11
A lot of sh*t . Yes, right? The way things have been going. Anyhow, all of you, a year I’m getting ready to get up and I’m just big time swimmer and all that and I’ll remembers Walker put your dumbass hand down, you’re too stupid and what? I was three points short and by my route, it was routed thick reasoning and word knowledge was very high but there were thick reasoning and it was– They were looking for the whole– How I put it? Where it was word problems, right? Train A, train B type of sh*t and so I kind of like, “Well, wait a minute, man. I didn’t sign up for anything else but that so I’m out of here.”
And– But I jumped in the pool anyways and I don’t think I’d ever swam so fast. Turned heads a little bit like holy sh*t what do we just see and then next week or so wasn’t too good for me and my dad, big cowboy have a dude came down with a chicken boots on and Yes, it came out of San Diego man. A little talk with me said, “Yes, you got to get your sh*t together, man.” Yes, not a guy you want to mess with. Yes, it worked and I was a model citizen after that and I went through on designated, and next thing I know it I’m in the engineering field and they sent me out to Hawaii.
Oh, man. That sucks.
Cliff Walker 08:54
I was fuck like what are you doing man? I think they give you this little packet right? Yes, and they call them your dummy orders and the guy’s like, “Yes Walker out.” That will probably change on you anyways and I’m thinking in my head, “Yes,” And so I’m pulling this out. I’m seeing the holly Koa Diamond Head. Like Oh my God, I hit the lottery and holy sh*t dude. That was 86.
Holy crap. You are–
Cliff Walker 09:28
Well, yes. All right. Yes. Man, I was going to say my ex used to stay. I would tell her I’ve been around for a minute. She like, fool you’ve been around for a long.
You’ve been around for a couple hours brother.
Cliff Walker 09:42
Talking about a minute.
Cliff Walker 09:47
Yes, you got your shanghaied man. You got shanghaied to be.
Cliff Walker 09:53
Shanghaied [Crosstalk 09:09:54].
In the Navy GI beans and GI gravy.
Cliff Walker 19:59
I love it dude, I never heard that.
That might be– You being serious? You never heard that?
Cliff Walker 10:08
I’ve heard a lot of sh*t dude but what is that again?
No. Well, I was in the army man so every now and then.
Cliff Walker 10:15
[Inaudible 00:10:15] Army sh*t man.
Every now and then, we’d be like laying in the dirt in the cold and just miserable and this guy who went to basic with me name, Steve V check who I should look him up but anyways, he was crazy. Crazy, but he looked at me and said, GI beans and GI gravy. GI, I wish I joined the Navy.
Cliff Walker 10:46
That is– I got to remember.
Yes, I was like, Dude. Seriously, man, because we were– I mean, it was just one of those days I went to basic at Fort Knox and it got cold there, man. I’m from San Diego and I’m stuck in freaking Fort Knox, Kentucky. Like getting rained on and being treated well by some sadistic people. My drill sergeant by the way I see quite often, because he like works at the commissary which is strange. It’s like oh, shoot there is.
Cliff Walker 11:29
Yes that’s crazy.
But we talking. Yes. He acts like he remembers me but I’m sure he doesn’t. Yes, I see my classics a lot too, by the way. So hey, just on Rollins, if you’re out there, you know what’s up. Shanghaied into the Navy man, and before you know it, I mean, it seems like a pretty good deal. All of a sudden, you’re headed out to paradise coming from Southern California. You got to do basic in Southern California. Illinois, like all those other schmucks these days.
Cliff Walker 12:02
I told you the backstory. I think the backstory on my buddy, John.
Cliff Walker 12:07
Guess what the fuck happened? This guy, so he got his marching orders to an aircraft carrier that went straight into dry dock in Philly. This day, still in Philly, family, everything, never left. Never left Phil. Dude, I know some pretty cool people in Philly. I talked to a guy just every other day out of Philly, man and I’m going to say, you know what? I’ve got a small group of friends but man I’m on just two hands here, man and that’s fine with me because these are the guys that I’ve known since high school man. I still talk to him to this day. The guys that I was in the Navy with will talk to those guys and that’s pretty cool, man.
Yes. He went to– What do you mean by dry dock in Philly?
Cliff Walker 13:07
Yes, right. That’s a Navy ship right that met the beams and all that stuff.
Cliff Walker 13:18
Yes, so dryer this ship will, when it goes in for a service center. Right? What not right? It’s goes into this dry dock. It gets pretty much up on these blocks, all the waters out, right? It goes into the burning and then at that point, they’re able to kind of break this thing all down and refurbish it pretty much.
An aircraft carrier, you could imagine would take some time so they were there for about– They were there for a good minute. Right? They were there for about a year from what I heard and then after that, it’s just sea trials and aircraft carriers stay out for a while and Yes, man he made a couple tours and I think he did one or two lessons like myself and then he just posted up in Philly and hasn’t looked back man so it’s quite [Crosstalk 00:14:17]. Yes, quite different and like I said, I can see why man? It’s a unique place. It’s a historical place. Got some real good people over there man. Like I said, I talked to quite often so when I got there, I got sent to Hawaii man God Dammit.
Now, so get this. They– It’s funny how things worked out but the ship they sent me to was named after Lieutenant JG Bruton right? Bruton with B. Bubba was his nickname and he was Medal of Honor recipient building action in Vietnam right? Just a badass dude and so Yes I guess you got to be have a ship named after you.
That was odd so I looked at it a couple different ways. Like one, what– Are you trying to tell me something here? Like as in the Lord what do you try to tell me? You know what I wanted to do. I couldn’t do it yet I could still retake that as around like two years later but you sent me to a ship named after Navy SEALs so I don’t know and it was odd right but I found my niche damage control shipboard firefighter and just followed on that path and after my first four years after the Gulf War, I went re-enlisted and then I went shore duty but and I wanted to go to the firefighting school teach right on base but they didn’t have any bullets for me so the recruiter said, listen. OK, let’s all send you to San Diego send it back to San dog and school there.
Well, OK so I get the family all packed up all ready to go. I sent them on their way and I packed up everything, all our belongings and getting ready to ship that out but I– For that I end up heading down and I’m a big surfer right so I remember going out paddling out on this place called Miley CO and which is what there’s only had my daughter after Miley and on the west side of Oahu and I just had this bit me like man I don’t– There’s a reason why I shouldn’t be leaving this island so long story short called mama back, wasn’t happy about it and the family came back and I’m now going to be going to, the code was 9545. It was a security detail so now I’m going to San Antonio Lackland Air Force Base.
Let’s see how they cheer Force, how they work? And I got through to training there and they taught me how to shoot again and yes, so I finally got shoot again and look at that and then send me back to Hawaii.
Cliff Walker 17:42
Yes. I finished up my time there and then then soon got into fire service man but good times brother. Good times.
Yes. What’s your– Tell me a little bit about the Gulf war man. We talked to a lot of people here on this podcast about, yes, what I’ve experienced and many of my colleagues and stuff have experienced which was see what. We don’t have to get to talk to somebody who has some experience with Gulf war so were you on ship during the Gulf War?
Cliff Walker 18:13
I was so– Crazy story. I, towards the end of my– I’m on the Bruton– One Second. Got to drink some more beer. They sent me a– They were looking for higher ranking personnel to help out on the USS Goldsboro. There’s a Goldsboro DVG, they need some personnel experience and so volunteered, which ended up helping out in the long run for me but I still learn, maybe never again volunteer yourself there I am still volunteer myself to be on a ship.
Yes. Volunteering to be on a ship.
Cliff Walker 19:19
Yes. Right and so the– I was just digging up some old history on the Goldsboro and from what I believe I guess we were the first ones to I guess to fire missiles during the Gulf War.
Cliff Walker 19:41
Yes. all over the news If you look it up, USS Goldsboro Gulf War. Yes. All that man. We were I believe one of the– I think we were the first ships to the fire man. Quite interesting bit of history right there and we’re also doing some boarding of different vessels or whatnot. Did some time to Gulf of Oman and quite the experience back, quite sometimes but probably nothing like what you saw? I mean–
We’re all different thing right like I get it. I can’t imagine being on a boat with 1000s [Crosstalk 00:20:31]. I’m like dude, I feel like I mean seems like a big target but I guess that’s why you have all those planes and submarines and all that stuff to protect the aircraft carrier right but–
Cliff Walker 20:48
The ship I was on was only going to freaking so like 200 something guys Goldsborough a little bit more than that. So both small boys, just protecting the carrier. Of course. OK. Yes.
What do you for fun when you’re on a ship, a tin can?
Cliff Walker 21:09
My God, remember back I remember [Crosstalk 00:21:12]. Speeds. Talk a lot of sh*t.
Yes, that’s what it is. That’s exactly right.
Cliff Walker 21:21
I’m not a sh*t talking brother.
Talking about people sisters and stuff.
Cliff Walker 21:25
Sisters, moms, there’s no. Nothing. Oh, no. What does that? Free zone.
Cliff Walker 21:37
Nothing is sacred, my brother. Nothing at all. Yes, man, we’re just I mean, you’re young, new, and you’re young. So you got to find fun in anything. Right? So you just do your time. It’s crazy man and you just, you think of all the place you’re going to go to, all the places you’re going to see. You just fall into this routine. I enjoyed it, man. I really did. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed memories but I enjoy making new ones. It was definitely a solid part of my life and my dad installed that discipline in us and it definitely helped.
Yes. If you had a little bit of discipline there, that’s the military turns out to be pretty easy. I found. I mean.
Cliff Walker 22:30
Yes. Hey, let’s move forward just a little bit. You have Navy in you. Just sound like you decided to go into the Air Force and eventually, transition out of the military all together. Of course, you transition, hopefully as a smooth transition into the civilian firefighting force or the Navy Federal firefighters. How did you hear about that program? And what sparked your interest to go GS Firefighter?
Cliff Walker 23:09
That’s interesting. So before I got out, was a…. because I was shortly there was a fire station at Westlock. Right? Westlock was an area where one of the weapons were like offload and unloaded weapons and some of the ships that are putting mothballs are the less lock area right? And behind I guess, Ford Island, if you would.
There was this old Hawaiian guy get ready to retire and I used to go with him and as we say, an island, talking about, hey, how do I get in the system? Really not knowing anything about it. No one’s telling me to check it out. He would tell me to bring him over this application. Everything’s online now but then application after– The deal was I have to bring him what we call a plate lunch, right? So I’d have to bring them some food with this thing.
This is how about– Yes. Of course, I’m green right? I’m like, OK, good and in the fire service, our traditions. Nowadays, it’s more like you bring doughnuts and cake. You don’t go visit a fire station unless you’re bringing something in or don’t come back. Right? So tradition but in Hawaii a little different, I guess.
Turns out this guy was just taking my applications and sticking them in the desk there and really not doing anything with them. He just wanted the lunches
It’s a free meal.
Cliff Walker 24:58
Finally met a guy sent me straight, and was able to figure out how to get in but then it was a bit of a process. Right? It takes a little while. I’m just trying to see now and then started looking for various different jobs. Got hooked up right before I got out as a lifeguard with Hawaii for a bit and but not long, right? Well, we got through the academy and everything but then I’d applied for a position on an island called Johnston apple.
Cliff Walker 25:44
Yes, dude. It’s shut down.
Did you have a family?
Cliff Walker 25:50
You cut out for a second. I said didn’t you have a family?
Cliff Walker 25:55
Set out tall so the family that decision I made to stay not keep the family on the mainland. Pretty much was that it for that marriage, we had it. She was originally from Oklahoma. Never like Hawaii. Thought everybody was against her and things went downhill after that. Got us separated, she went back to the mainland. I stayed on while I finished up my tour, and then just went on and a distant dad and get to the mainland to see him when I can and then– But my work was in Hawaii, still had to pay the bills and everything and that was that, right?
So they sent me this job and upsetting us and that’ll and was a contract job with rate on services I believe at the time and towards the end of that contract, I got a call for the federal fire department which brought me back to Hawaii and that’s where I got my start with them in 95. That was the start of my fire service if you will.
Yes. I want to go back to Johnson Atoll real quick just because it’s
Cliff Walker 27:29
It’s my place yes.
Yes, like I’ve seen some stuff about it. I’ve even seen some YouTube it’s like you’re on a ship but–
Cliff Walker 27:36
Exactly. It looks like an aircraft carrier. It’s about a foot above sea level so every storm everybody has been shipped off that island except for us, the fire department last night right always last man– Sorry my life and yes, man it’s quite a unique place. How my half mile and a half long or something. The main purpose of Johnson apple at the time was dispose of chemical weapons. Yes, all the mustard gas, all that we all had to carry around the gas masks on a small
Jesus Christ. Was there [Crosstalk 00:28:13]?
Cliff Walker 28:15
There was a little island barge so you either drank gambled are worked out man. Well, there wasn’t too much action on it.
Not too much of a balance.
Cliff Walker 28:34
Not like [Inaudible 00:28:35]. Slim pickins brothers. Slim pickins you know.
Can you imagine being the queen of Johnson at all? I’m sure–
Cliff Walker 28:45
There was. She ranked about a five or four anywhere else but on that island. She was a 10 all day long.
You were probably more likely to because they’re so big for America. Think for a marriage.
Cliff Walker 29:01
She knew it.
Cliff Walker 29:07
This is a little bit on PC. I mean, it is what it is so but yes, so man that’s fascinating. I’ve never met anybody who’s spent any time on Johnson at all and I hope they had–
Cliff Walker 29:26
It was crazy dude like I mean you did some I remember diving I got my– I could pull out my paddy license man and that thing is 93 or 94 on it may have so wild. Right? Diving with sharks. I remember going to a local bar area that love barbecue pit and get some sliders some burgers and bring them out and add in little reef sharks man it was crazy. He was wild, man. I mean, you could fish out there. A lot of office, a lot of watersports and stuff but find a unique place, man, you were 24 off and just save money man. I’ve ever had so much money in my life, man. They will pay off a lot of sh*t and put away a lot of money.
When I got back to the mainland, which was mainland Hawaii, I was good to go, man. Yes, they I think it was back in O4, that place down and now it’s just a bunch of, it’s a wildlife refuge. Nothing but like one of those bears out of those birds or whatever those. Forgot what they’re called but–
Only birds on that. I’m sure.
Cliff Walker 30:52
That is it. That is it, dude.
Without on it. Yes, like Hawaii is just like, run amok? Yes. OK, you get to the Navy. This is interesting, right? A lot of people who listen this podcast, listened to because they don’t really know what paths are to take but this is this is an interesting path. The federal fire service is still pumping, right?
I mean, when I was overseas, we would– We actually had some federal GS, I don’t know if they are GS, they’re probably contractor. They were contractor, American firefighters, that pretty much every base that big base that I worked at knows. I was like, wow, I get– I come from a family of number one folks who are in the Navy as you’re in the army and number two, come from a family of firefighters and that’s what OSHA.
If you asked me when I was eight years old, what I wanted to be? I wanted to be a firefighter just like my grandfather and when I joined the army, I asked– I said can I be a firefighter? No, not in the army buddy and so that was the end of that dream, I suppose but I suppose like I could have forged or at least tried to forge a path. As a federal firefighter, if I pushed in to be honest, I didn’t know that was an option. What is the difference between being a federal firefighter and being a civilian firefighter?
Cliff Walker 32:35
Probably pay a bit, it’s pretty good to be a federal firefighter as well.
It depends. Now that’s kind of varies mountable side. So if federal firefighter we have the same training as any civilian Fire Department, right. We’re all pretty much trained the same. Now to some departments work more than others 100%, man. A lot of federal basis aren’t going to get as much action because a lot of that is our bread and butter. We– Our purpose is to defend and protect the lives of the men and women that are serving overseas. They’re deployable, we’re not. Right? That is our purpose.
Now, do we have mutual aid agreements where, building, XYZ is building a crop burn across the fence? It’s that whole mutual agreement with the military and civilian no one helping each other out. Right? Yes, that that would happen too but for the most part, that base is your concern.
In the military, we’re training a lot on safety. So it’s in and fire protection and all that as well too. We’re not going to get the same urgencies and then you got to look at the demographics to most military bases are all younger, right? Not a lot of medical issues there majority of the calls 80%. Anyway, anywhere are going to be medical just fire codes that things are different now. Right? Things aren’t burning the same as they used to but some of your older mid Midwest back east or traditional older style construction so we’re still going to see a lot of fire in those areas especially the inner cities right where you got to but people very close.
No he’s not to buy is a figurative term. He doesn’t actually mean it’s not on anybody’s but it’s a– You’re in the army. Oh, hey, Shot Spotter Fire. Just fire man.
Cliff Walker 35:02
Fire brace for shock brace.
OK, they always say is when you were turning into the wind was turning into your driveway.
Cliff Walker 35:17
That’s what we saw, that’s what we got diverted. Real quick diverted.
So nicely to that Navy fire server or the federal fire service. It seems like did you know anything about it before? I mean before you joined and was it just like it is probably considered one of those things where you’re like, Dude, this is the best kept secret in firefighting. Don’t tell anybody about it.
Cliff Walker 35:52
No, you know what? I made a few attempts because the grass is always greener. I’m young, I want more action and several times I attempted to do that, like get on with Glendale. I remember San Bernardino Fire Department. I was slated to go to the academy I just never showed up, got banged up by San Diego fire and but always aid with the federal. I’m glad I did because it was the turn out to be the best thing for me.
My last duty station was Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station right now by a sunset cruise last two and a half years there and I was living Huntington Beach at the time. 14 miles from the house, I cruise down two and a half miles there be the beach hook. All right. Take pitch down, looking at the surf and just thought what a life man is and I go to those bits in Java. The world writes at the fire station in and their primary mission was offloading, unloading of weapons at that place here.
We didn’t really see a lot of action there and that was fine. For me, I just work out all day long. Keep Battle Series up and going and figuring that out and, just preparing for my transition. Then that time, though, I was able to work on buyback my service time, which was huge. Anybody out there that’s, looking to get out of your civil service or whatnot, and you’ve served, you pay X amount of dollars, and you can buy back that time, meaning that I served X amount of years. Well, there’s a price on that. That’s equivalent to about like, five $6,000 but that gives me an extra, like, I don’t know what it is like $800 off towards retirement.
It’s within that one year you’ve already paid that back and then it just continues on from there in my in my retirement. So that was helpful and then also a lot of the guys there are savvy on the VA, right. They record to me, which was I knew nothing about this man nothing about at all, I just a lot of stuff that was going on, or it happened or whatever. I just figure all that just life.
They set me straight on your need or your medical records this and that. That was a game changer and now I pay it forward by every time like somebody comes in to the house and they want to know, maybe the cable guy is coming, and turns out he’s a Veteran. Hey, did you know about this? And let majority of find out people don’t know or don’t don’t understand exactly what they need to do and I honestly find more and more Veterans that don’t understand the system and again, it’s just, I think help each other out.
Yes, you came about at a time where I mean you were getting out and everything and the time where it’s just a different world. The 80s were not a great time for the US military. Unless you were a Top Gun pilot. In the 90s I think we’re probably pretty low point for VA relations. I mean, let’s– If we discount, we don’t want to discount, but I’m sure the people come back from Vietnam and stuff and all those other words, probably didn’t have a great feeling of it but it seems like it seems like they’re trying now, at least last years or so.
The VA, I think is their hearts in the right place and I think they’re trying to do right by Veterans but the fact is a Veteran has to help themselves first and sometimes they need to be coached by personally, yourself for myself to say, Hey, man, if you do a couple hours of paperwork, you’ll be compensated but you have to put in the work and you have to– But the other part is you have to know who to talk to? What tree to markup?
I, myself, I got lucky. I never had any problem. I talked to a person as I was getting out, he helped me with my records and I was taken care of. It helps that. I had spent a lot of time in G watt and stuff like that but still, I always tell people on my– Hey, if you’re not happy with what you got or you think maybe things didn’t go the way you wanted to you got to go talk to somebody and maybe they can help you out because let’s face it, for all betters listening out there.
If you’re hurt now and you’re like, oh, I’m fine. The VA is not trying to– I mean, if you get a settlement of X amount percent. It’s not about how you feel right now. It’s about how you’re going to feel in 10 years exactly. I don’t feel guilty about saying, my body is going to hurt like h*ll in 10 years. Let me get this checked out. Do not feel any shame or guilt. Asking like that question. Hey, I fell or I twisted a knee during a PT test or I had to do 100 ruck marches wearing 70 pounds, and my back hasn’t been the same ever since you got to.
Yes, if you haven’t, if you’re not already 100% permanent and total. Go talk to somebody out there and say, “Hey, how do I get this documented?” Because, again, they’re– A good VA person will be looking out for you 10 years in the future or more because that’s really where the rubber meets the road and I’d say Cliff, when I got out, I was like, I feel pretty good. I feel pretty good and suddenly, three years later, Yes, I’ve only been out for three years and I feel the pains that I didn’t feel three years ago, and I’m like, Man, I’m happy that I was set up for success and that’s about.
Cliff Walker 43:08
No, what do and again, the guys that are out there, wherever they’re listening, you got to remember, you don’t always– You’re not just doing this for yourself but you’re doing this for your family as well, too. I do not have to worry about as long as my kids get the grades that they need, the financial burden, the worry of them going to college is no more because now they’re taken care of as long as they pass the score as they need to and do their part. I mean, I never would have thought of my son, he’s in a second year of college and bought and paid for and this knucklehead also gets a slush fund of like, $1,200 a month. Wow. Like, what is that about?
Man plan and he’s– It’s good and getting ready today, and I was getting the fire service. We’re looking at that but his mom’s all I know, he’s got to face schools. The agreement is, you’re still going to finish this out. That’s your word and that word, your union was sh*t, man. I know that’s going to happen and then but now we’re looking at him because I’ve always wanted him also to do the service, whether you’re an officer or whatnot. There’s just so much that you could be experiencing 10-15, 20 guys that will never experience or even know.
Right now, fire service. We’re looking towards a couple different units, the Air Guard and Air Force Reserve so they’re all guaranteed he will get in the fire service into the federal service without a doubt, yes, without a doubt, and can the fire service their training, right? It’s the same train that the city guys have Orange County guys, any of these departments have so because a lot of go federal, he’ll be trained up as long as he passes the local city tests and whatnot but again, I said, just because you’re in shape and you look a certain way or thought a certain way, there’s 100 other things out there just like you, but you got to bring something else to the table. You got to bring real life experiences.
You could be double dip in here, man. You could be the tire from the military, if you decided to stay with the reserves. I wish I did but I’d be good and we get three paychecks right now but you’re young, you think you have forever, everything you don’t, and but if anything, it’s a jumpstart. Right? So that’s cool. It’ll do that, the fire service and then finish out his schooling as well too but man, it’s a good deal but back to we’re talking about the VA and the claims and whatnot. Yes, it’s a lot of information out there a lot of information that’s out there. There’s so many benevolent organizations and some of them are benevolent.
The fire department and fire service, right? If I’m a young Veteran, I come to you and I say, “Hey, Cliff. I’m considering different career fields.” What would you tell a Veteran who is considering joining the fire service? Even at a little towns, fire department, maybe even a volunteer? Starting off as a volunteer firefighter? What is it about the fire service that you think Veterans specifically would be successful?
Cliff Walker 47:14
OK, well, I’ll tell you and good question, man. See if I get a good answer for you. First off, that the fire department is a structure rights paramilitary organization. It’s teams. Right? You’re only as strong as your weakest link there. Right? Everybody plays a part, right? Everybody has a function, you have your chain of command. Sounds familiar? Right? So it’s very similar in terms.
Like battalion and company brigade.
Cliff Walker 47:57
All that, man. A lot of things that the fire service uses was taken from the military right because it’s proven to work, right? Why not in the fire service?
Consequences are real. One ever sent you?
Cliff Walker 48:22
Yes, my sister.
Not raining or for not having discipline or chain of command control? Are real people are and people die.
Cliff Walker 48:36
No, it’s a job. Have you ever you die, man. That’s it. We– It’s on that note. I tell people I know you’ve noticed this, man. I won’t get too far off. I’ll get right back on but service just isn’t what it used to be. Just first off, coming off the bullsh*t. All the crap we just came out of and we’re still trying to struggle out but like I said, now the science is there, right? The truth there. Nobody wants to work and if they do work, it’s half ass. Right? And I find myself more and more fellow people.
Well, I’m glad that you did. OK for you, right? This is OK, just half assed service because I’ll tell you what? If you call 911 and I gave you half service, you probably could be dead. We can’t afford to give you half service. We go 100% or nothing but you’re going to get 100% every time and we don’t have if we are bad days. Don’t count either, man. You know what I mean? Yes, you got to you got to come ready to go to work. That’s it because it’s not only your life. That’s the guy to the left to you, the guy to the righty and the people that you know we swore to protect.
Yes, this sh*t for real, how do they intertwine? Very much the same and that’s what those are when you go to those interviews and you pass that basic general aptitude test, right? They’re going to be looking for, they’re going to look for life experiences and the fact that you’d served, you’ve been– You’re counted upon, right? For someone else’s life, not just your own transitions exactly into what we do and up on the fire service.
Yes, and much respect to first responders in general but especially as my heart obviously for firefighters and as my facts like your house, less than a quarter mile from me just burned down like an old house. Pretty depressing. Anyways. Yes. So I don’t know why I’m going to go on a tangent, just a tiny bit.
My grandfather was a fire fighter in San Diego and I think he became a captain or something like that. He ended up doing like a lot of investigations and stuff but one of the most interesting things is, when I was a kid, I would ask them, hey, what was like the most craziest call you ever made, or got called on? And one of the craziest calls that he got called to was the, you might remember, this is my flag, because you’re about that age where you would, but we’re San Diego, and I think sometime in the 70s, an airplane went down like an airplane went down, like on approach but anyways, he got called to it and I don’t think he knew. I think he thought it was like a small plane, much like most of us thought when we heard a plane hit the World Trade Center. We’re like almost a small plane.
Oh, Yes. My teenage Uncle, My grand father was like with my grandpa and he was like, hey, once you come with me. They roll up on a major commercial airline accident and my grand father actually says it’s like you’re 16 years old used to seeing body parts hanging from chair trees back. Yes, it– I mean, he actually, my grand father actually went on to join the Navy but, I mean, I think he wanted to be in avionics somehow but he found out pretty quick. He was colorblind.
Anyway, so I’ve never had to serve on a trip on a ship but anyways, tangent over, let’s continue target. Again, I’m a young Veteran and I say, hey, Cliff, I don’t really know what my path is. I’ve– I would consider fire service. What would you say about the fire service that and love so much? What do you what do you think are the benefits of it? And why should a Veteran pursue a career in that field?
Cliff Walker 53:32
First off, it’s something that you’re very familiar with, right? You’re very familiar with it. If whatever you did, in the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, sugar or whatever, like that, if you like that sense of brotherhood sisterhood. Having someone count on you, count on them, then it’s for you. It’s good. It’s going to be a great way to raise a family if you also like to have time off. There’s plenty of that. We’d only work 10 to 30 days a month. There always be overtime which is good.
If you want to make that cash, I truly enjoyed working, I spent probably about equal a little bit less, but we have more time at home just a few more days but almost equal. If throwing some overtime with the family at the firehouse so very family oriented which is nice and just that sense of belonging and pride that you were used to right so but now you’re making a lot more money. That’s the good side of it, man and no day’s going to be the same. There’s always something different, you’re going to be called upon to do and that was always the cool thing for me.
I did a little bit of everything, man. I got a chance to adjust that tool, which I think was a blessing. I mean, again, how many people will ever get to go out there and do something like that. So that was cool and then you’re going to back to Hawaii, working there and so when I left Hawaii, I got picked up at on Vandenberg Air Force Base at the time, right?
Because I was federal Navy, you could watch or the federal system, check it out, you could go anywhere in the world, because anywhere there’s military, there is a federal fire department. So and your time continues on. So my dad changed ranks or whatever like that, but that time counts and towards retirement. So let’s you got to break in service or whatever, but that time counts. So in 2000, I leave Hawaii, and I transitioned from the Navy Federal Fire Fire Department to the Air Force, federal fire department, but it wasn’t your traditional what I thought it was, which is operations, which is the fire trucks, the engines, all that sh*t.
It was at the time. I didn’t know it, but it was the only federal fire. Federal because there’s federal Forest Service. Right, which people got confused? It was federal fire, but Wildland it was. The only federal Wildland agency in existence and it was it was recognized so we would we were a type one hot shot crew. So besides jumping out of planes, right, a jumper, you were the you were the top of the pretty much the top of the food chain, right 2022 Guys 22 Guys able to sustain your yourself as supplies for like two weeks out, out in the, out of the elements, right?
So nothing but fire hoses, right, you got Pulaski, and chain saws and shovels and Yes, so that was the coolest sh*t, man. I saw more fire in the forest service. Well, it wasn’t for service, but it was like it right. Wildland Firefighter that I have ever seen anywhere. I mean, just saw that amazing. Sh*t dude in California.
Cliff Walker 57:49
I am seeing no fire really, to some of the most, like 150 200 foot, put trees just crowning Amanda’s wallet up and i Man it was amazing and so it’s a season I’m just part time not full time, which kind of was kind of scary because I work full time more time and I had remarried says Fenn and mama did want to come out to the mainland at that point. She she’s one of the did want to or she or she want to leave islands and Clyde promised her said Yes, we’ll, we’ll go to the mainland. So my season ended two weeks for my son was born and went back to the why and then and then a couple months later, it was time to get back to work and I remember seeing this this Wildlife Magazine and there were some guys jumping out of planes. So that’s pretty badass, man.
How do you do that? Right because I didn’t do in the Navy. So I was too stupid, remember? So I found out that in order to be a smokejumper you have to do three years on a type one hotshot crew and then then you have to go through a long process. Pecking order because there’s only 400 apparently jumpers and all the United States where there’s hundreds of 1000s of firefighters right?
Very elite group somewhat like you’re used to right. So if you have to look at the Forest Service or the fire service at least in the Wildland fire probably anywhere that I would you know that people would consider smoke jumping as the elite of that time. Yes, that too. Right? So ah, pretty good sh*t. I think a couple comedies they did too. Right? What was that? What was the wrestler? That stone cold there was another guy they did?
Cliff Walker 1:00:02
Yes, remember that one. It was good. I got kids. Yes, it’s my excuse to look at it cartoons. Right, so Calvin made the same one earlier with my son.
It sounds like you found a niche in firefighting right in like, you end up doing some pretty cool stuff and sh*t.
Cliff Walker 1:00:30
While that sh*t, I was able to do it all man and, ended my career on a good high note and it’s been good to me, it’s been good in my family and at a young age, there’s a lot of things you could do, man, and you don’t got to rush into something right away, you might want to check out the Wildland service and it would look good on a resume and look good in your interview. You’ll never see as much fire as you would in the Forest Service. So lots of things you could do airplane riding you name it, man. It’s a good it’s a good deal.
Yes and I think one thing that always stuck out to me when I thought about my grandpa in his time was up, a lot of people think oh, man, like, firefighting. Seems like you’re working out a lot but a lot of people don’t realize is 24 on Yes and what 48 off? Yes, well, Yes. Right. We have a good percentage of firefighters have are also entrepreneurs. Yes, because they have some time on there often, I’ll start my grandfather started a cabinet making business or something like that all at all, all of them do.
Yes, Yes. Opportunity, like you’re getting paid full time but you also have an opportunity to explore other interests, which is something that a lot of people, a lot of Veterans, I think would benefit from and that’s why one of the reasons why I thought it would be great to have you on just to talk through that but the number one reason, of course, and I’m bringing full circle is, you are the founder and the CEO of the USS Battle Series, which is a– I don’t know how you call a physical challenge of sense, is a Yes, like an event based, an event based company that has, I think one of the coolest niches ever actually is you guys do your workouts on decommissioned? United States Navy warships?
Right? It’s crazy. Tell me all about number one. How the h*ll do you get the idea? Number two, how do you get the access? That’s great. I mean, it hasn’t read. Well, let’s start there. How’d you get the idea? And when was this?
Cliff Walker 1:03:11
Well, OK, so 2016 was, ah, pretty much the birth of this, this idea of competing on a flight deck at aircraft carrier, the USS Midway and at the time, I was I had mentioned earlier, we were talking I’d mentioned the firefighter combat challenge. Now, if you look that up, anybody was some of our listeners might know if it’s a 30 year running event. That was at first when it first started out Dr. Ball, Davison started this firefighter challenge. It was a physical agility test and, you take the military or fire department or police department in any one of us and, you give us a physical agility test, we got to see who’s going to get the fastest score.
Boom, now we got competition, right? It’s on Game on, right and I think we perform our best when, we’re the test and up against each other, right? It’s all good. Brotherly sisterly love. Right? And so, Yes, so this is this is born and then and then it turns into this competition, two sides, teams relays. It’s a worldwide fucking competition to do any Europe, South America everywhere and every year, we all meet up on the mainland this year, I think we’ll be out in Utah, maybe I believe I check to see but the Canadians and it’s a week long event, hundreds 1000s of firefighters and we were competing.
Doing some rebranding, a lot of the Fight or challenge competitors, Cross Fit, functional fitness to stay in shape. Yes. What they’re looking at doing is partnering with us and doing this hybrid ideas. So they traveled throughout the US. We traveled throughout the US and we go to some pretty cool places, right? So they’re now a nonprofit, they weren’t for profit, we are for profit that’s attached to a nonprofit. So go fund located out of Philly.
Doing some great things, man, and people can look that up later. We talked about that later but so I got there was this gentleman doing these CrossFit events, but it was called a firefighter throw down, right strictly for firefighters and a lot of guys that I was telling about, about the challenge, we’re doing this. So I’m one of the competitors. I go up to the owner. I swear to God, but this day, I don’t know why. I thought I could do this just because I guess I think in my mind, I could do anything, right. So Phil told otherwise, or I just can’t. So I said, Listen, man, I want to go have your competition on top of that flight. Yes, right. We were at the San Diego Convention Center. Yes and he kind of looks at me and goes, it was early in the morning still. So he comes back to me. He goes Hey, Cliff, are you serious about that? Like, Yes, I was serious about that, man. I’m a godd*mn ex Navy. I do anything. It’s ships. Man and I don’t some people on the ship there and we got some boxes, you know it. We’re setting up meetings, and we’re going to have his next competition on that ship.
Something happened I’m not too sure what it was but next thing I know what I’m getting a phone call I’m calling up saying hey, I haven’t heard anything lately. This guy decides to pull the plug doesn’t tell me about it. Not return a phone calls and I’m like, Whoa, OK, what’s going on here? And they said what do you want to do? I said, Well, I want to have a fucking competition. So not knowing anything that entrepreneur nothing but again, the no quit just mindset man and which a lot of us the military or our– You are about I think and so we end up having this awesome event. We get sponsored by this new company and we have a phenomenal event that day, man and then then that we follow up the next year with a couple more events on the USS Texas.
In Texas, there Laporte, Texas, you know what that said? Yes and OK, cool. Yes, cool. Little cool little spot man. USS Texas, one of the oldest of, of that class, and beautiful ship man and then the USS Iowa battleship in, in Los Angeles Harbor and then, and then we’ve got to hit a bit of a slowdown. This was even before COVID, man, just some personal things going on, kind of held up a little bit, then I’ll send COVID hit and that kind of is what it was and we went, as I said, earlier, we went into a dry dock, man. We said, OK, we’re time to regroup and think.
Cliff, are you there?
Cliff Walker 1:08:40
Can you hear me?
Cliff Walker 1:08:41
Yes, hold on.
This is 23. OK, we had like a bit of a– I said, the whole world went into dried off and you said?
Cliff Walker 1:08:54
I said, Well, it’s about time to come out. So we made an attempt to partner with, we did make an attempt we, we partnered with TRX and, Yes. Apparently, some people think is pretty cool idea to ban which I, which I appreciate. So when we needed it, and we’d work with them actually, on a very small level, just to kind of test it out. Your past, and then a little bit of a low and then talk about what happened. So say let’s do this big event in and in San Francisco, on the Hornet and the Hornet was all happy about it, right?
Because they were bringing attention to these museums, they, it’s a lot of money to upkeep them a lot of donations and stuff. So, hey, so not only are we promoting health, fitness and mental wellbeing for our military, first responders, and trying to raise some money for these for these young men and women, as best as we can We’re also going to try to raise awareness for these ships and the history that
they’ve seen I mean, they are a huge part of who we are. Right?
Let me just stop you there with the fact that your organization, but OK, let’s put in a nutshell, right? Your organization is something akin to an A event base organization but the niche is you do it on these historical Navy properties right now owned by nonprofit mostly, or at least by these nonprofits. Right? Exactly. I’ve been on several I’ve been on the Midway I’ve been on what’s the one in New York City?
Cliff Walker 1:10:50
That’s the intrepid. Yes, I’ve been on the dropping into Jersey right there in Philly.
I haven’t been on jersey, I try to stay on jersey but the fact that you guys are bringing awareness number one to Veterans’ issues. Number two, it’s important to be physically and mentally fit. Period and number three is these a lot of people don’t really understand what the Navy does, strategically. Most people now if you ask them what is navy. Do they only know what Navy SEALs do? They go out Maciel binman, right? And they write some books.
Cliff Walker 1:11:35
I’m looking at one right now. Yes but the other guy did.
Yes, he’s very– David Goggins is an inspirational story but no, the point is, is these ships are so important to the United States. Strategic projection and a lot of people don’t know, I don’t think, especially younger generations, I don’t think really understand what that means but this is like a sovereign piece of the United States territory floating around the world and then when you incorporate a aircraft carrier, some battleships, some free it’s, it’s an incredible projection of power and in some of the ships, like I’ve been on the Midway out at Pearl Harbor, I’m sorry. I’m always in San Diego and I’ve been in Pearl Harbor.
Yes, I’ve been on the Missouri and you look at these things, and they’re just when you boil it down, they’re just metal joined together by welds, and a sh*t ton of wiring but what they meant at the time was American power in the world and I think we really do.
Look, I’m not trying to put a– I’m not trying to like humanize the USS Missouri or midway but these machines, when you go and you tour them, you realize that they are living beings, for the time that they’re serving and for the time that we get to enjoy them afterwards. They’re their relics there, they, they really are like, they’re their Veterans and if you ever get a chance to walk in the steps, if you ever get a chance to go to the Missouri, which I recommend, if you ever there’s a couple submarines in Pearl Harbor that you can tour as well.
We ever get tour the Midway or the intrepid or in North Carolina I think is the USS North Carolina and I can’t remember what city Wilmington and I’m sorry, the Alabama and Alabama I believe you’re correct. Yes, no, these things are I mean, when you’re in them, you can’t help but feel the poles that the word that was beating 40 5060 Sometimes 70 years ago, and I think we do need to pay tribute to them because it is an extension of who we are as America and our ideals as Americans the best ideals of America and not all you know so I know I’ve been going on and on about it but I think that the ships are so ingrained into the fabric of America and who we are but so many people do not understand it.
So I applaud you for what your organization is doing with attention and focus to, to these things because when people are on I’m sure there’s a lot of people who join your events who have no fucking idea what they’re doing and where they’re doing it on but at the end, they think, Oh, my God, this is like, I’m on a ship. That was an integral part of American in world history.
Cliff Walker 1:15:40
Oh, I think it was when we were at our strongest matter most together as a as a nation and it’s funny, you say that remembrance and teaching. I think that’s a big part of what honestly, Patrick critique myself, it would, it would wouldn’t be too good on the really getting that part out there and this time around with the rebranding speed when we were first the– I don’t know this but we started off as kettlebells and alarm bells, nylon throw down that that was who we were for the first couple years and then it was until I think 2018 or then became the USS Battle series and then America’s fitness competition, right?
Yes. It would, but I think what we’re trying to say here is, the focus needs to be more so on are equal to everything, because everything I think is equal, obviously, what we’re doing what we’re trying to do, but the history is, too. It’s a lot but what if done correctly and done, right? I’m not trying to just, run in here and just throw someone in done. Fucking competition on, I’m trying to do something that people remember for a long time. That’s the goal is to come back again, and again, and teach more and more people and try to get the word out there.
What is the mission of the USS biospheres?
Cliff Walker 1:17:20
Is it I guess it’s multifaceted, right? So it’s to help those that have helped others and remember, those that aren’t here anymore? And and that that’s an important data and again, I without sounding like some just some old fuddy duddy or whatever, like that, but it’s important that we remember, where we came from, where we are, where we’re going and it’s kind of it’s kind of fucked up right now, man, it really is. Yes and world, I really don’t have very much patient says it is.
The world’s fucked up right now and you and I tell you not to say we ignored maybe power but what the state of the world is in today, which we are recording on March 3 2022. Putin has been in his invasion of Ukraine for a week or so. Maybe more now but I will tell you, US Navy projection is probably hasn’t been as important for last 40 years, as it is right now today, and we aren’t executing it currently. I think we are– I take that back. Like I guarantee you that we are we are projecting US Navy power but we are assuming US Navy power and to be honest with you, I’m fine with that for right now but the strategic mission of the United States Navy, their battleships, their aircraft carrier aircraft carrier groups, I think is going to be here’s my prediction in the next year, two years.
Going to be alarmingly important, and we are going to regret that we haven’t focused enough on that in the last two decades. Right? I mean, that’s my opinion clip but–
Cliff Walker 1:19:58
Yes, well, I mean, it Right now there’s a lot to be said about what we are doing what we should be doing and I think, is why we’re seeing what we’re seeing right now, man, but make no mistake about it, man, we’re– We might be being misled right now, but we’re just still the same fucking America, you know what I mean? And people need not forget that they’re still strongest nation.
And I mean back to the USS Battle Series and the people or excuse me the pieces of United States property within which USS Battle Series is a sh*tted on is right. I mean, the world may not forget that the United States is a powerful strategic power but anyway, that is a tangent, it doesn’t have anything to do with us as pastors except to say that Navy is important and I think bringing attention to these, these chips that have been decommissioned, I think is important and I applaud what you are doing and I hope you continue doing it and I wish you nothing but continued success.
I think it’s a great business to be in, especially as we come out of the pandemic and I think that you’re going to have nothing but great success because I think people are fed up about being alone and they’re fed up about having to motivate themselves not to be sedentary may want that community that you events like your spring and so I think, Mr. Cliff. That’s all we can call me, Mr. Cliff.
But I think that your idea here in your niche is unique and I think and I applaud you for what you guys are doing and I hope if you’re somewhere where there’s an event, what’s your next event? Was your next two events ahead of people?
Cliff Walker 1:22:27
Yes, I was going to. I’m going to suggest something a little bit but our next event is going to be in Charleston, South Carolina, June 11 and the 12th Patriots Point on the deck of Yorktown USS Yorktown man and which is quite an awesome. Yes was really my first time there. I believe they also have to say.
It’s your first time?
Cliff Walker 1:22:51
It’s been my first time there.
I come from Army Special Forces anytime you utter those words.
Cliff Walker 1:22:59
I like it might be it might be an empty but it’s funny because someone the other day as mentioned, I guess it was the lady was new. She’s new to that ship as far as a special events and one of the guys that he’s my creative director and he– We’re going to have it. Are we allowed to have a beer garden on that?
I said there’s going to we have to ask every ship usually not a problem. That’s kind of odd. I’m like, why is that odd? Because well, you guys are fitness. Like, are you kidding me lady? Are we fucking some of us? The fittest people the world. Come on because we know we can. Yes, we can reshape, we do what we want to do.
Walker is a modicum of fitness. Yes. Great shape, man but hey, I appreciate you being here and joining us on the podcast and I’m glad we had to learn a bit about USS Battle series. I think that if anybody out there who number one is curious, especially I’m not going to eliminate to young 20 something. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Spaceman, I guess are called guardians.
Cliff Walker 1:24:29
But I read about those guys. Yes.
If you’re transitioning out of military and you’re not sure what you want to do, but you know that you really enjoyed the structure and discipline of the military. Find somebody who’s in the USS or excuse me, the United States federal fire service, or in any fire service. Yes and just start asking questions because I think that’s something that you could be comfortable with and I’m not saying I kicked myself. I’m just saying it’s what I wanted to do when I was a kid and sometimes, I think about it and while you’re at it if you get an opportunity check out the USS battle series.com Yes, man. Yes, check the events because I mean, how f*cking cool is it? By the way Cliff Has anybody ever fell off the battleship?
Cliff Walker 1:25:27
Not to this not to this day, man but I’m sure we’ll test it out.
It’s– We’re going on an hour and 15 minutes or so it’s bedtime read. Here’s my story. My father worked for the Defense Logistics Agency out of my 32nd Street San Diego. OK. Yes, so one time when I was young, I can’t remember how I was probably like 10. There was a cruise like a family cruise. Yes, years. Yes, for the USS Long Beach and somehow my dad, by the way, was a Veteran, the United States Navy and in right after Vietnam, he got separated involuntarily.
Anyways, he wanted me to see. He took me out on a boat he was– He wanted me to see what it was like to be on a ship. Somehow he’s enabled passage for he and I, on the United States, or USS Long Beach and I remember he worked on 32nd Street but somehow like I had it like, sit on the floorboard of the truck that we had in covered in some blankets and stuff and he basically knocked me on base and then, earlier than I was used to waking up and then we’re now on this cruise for a few hours and at one point, I sat near the edge of the deck of the USS Long Beach.
Crisscross applesauce style. My chin resting on my palms. Yes and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I remember I woke up and I was like, I fell asleep basically sitting on the edge of the deck of the USS Long Beach where I fell asleep and woke up I was, Oh sh*t and I looked around and I couldn’t find my dad for a couple minutes but as like, oh my god, I could like fell asleep and fell off the deck of the USS Long Beach.
Cliff Walker 1:28:08
Waves just the motion of the ocean.
Like, that’s how I remember it as a kid but probably in reality. I was probably asleep for like five seconds. Yes. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it Cliff Walker. See? Now I have square bro. Yes, maybe I didn’t cross the equator but Cliff Walker, founder and CEO of the USS Battle Series, you can find that ussbattleseries.com. Navy Veteran. He did some time in the air force to get that, right? Or did I mention that?
Cliff Walker 1:28:49
Air Force was just where they sent this for the air on Meltzer would go there for a security training like oh, I can’t believe we’re in the Air Force. It was training there but never mind, we’re in the Air Force.
OK, I got that wrong. I guess I heard it wrong and yes, Cliff Walker founder and CEO of the ussbattleseries.com. Yes, sir. Gulf War Veteran. Proud American. Yes and thank you very much for joining us on the podcast and I hope we go make ourselves strangers.
Cliff Walker 1:29:33
Nah, bro. I love– I was going to talk to you about maybe hosting something on the deck of the one of the events, but definitely have to dive back in later and maybe do something.
Let’s just talk offline about that. I think that’s a great idea. Cool. All right. So hey, go check out ussbattleseries.com especially if you like to take your show. I get tan and sweaty in front of a bunch of other tennis sweaty people.
Cliff Walker 1:30:07
We have limited our competition to get women men all the above.
I think– I mean, I think it’s a great time. Cool, man. Cliff, I appreciate you joining us. God bless and for all of our listeners out there, God bless you too.
Cliff Walker 1:30:30
Who we are? Thank you for having me, man and God bless everybody. God bless America.
Yes, God Bless America for sure.
Alright, everybody, so that’s wrap. Thanks for joining us for this episode of Return To Base. I hope you learned a bit about what Cliff Walker is doing that USS Battle Series and a little bit about a career option that many of us might not have heard of or even considered, which is you can go be a firefighter and as a matter of fact, you’d even be a firefighter as a part of the civil service or as a GS civilian. Pretty cool.
Go to his website, if you can at ussbattleseries.com. Check it out, coming to a battleship near you. That’s pretty cool. I wonder if anybody’s ever fell off on those battleships while doing this functional fitness competition, hope not and if they did, hopefully they can swim.
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This is RTB signing off.
Check out our last podcast: Return to Base Podcast Ep. #12: TF Hydro1