On this episode of Return to Base, we welcome Ricky and Leo of Task Force Hydro 1, a 501C3 non-profit organization focused on Veterans and first responders. TF Hydro 1’s mission is to come together as a community of waterman for active-duty military members, Veterans, and first responders to actively help them cope with PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and suicide by creating meaningful connections and sharing the healing powers of the ocean, rivers, and lakes via outdoor physical and recreational activities.
Here’s the elephant in the room: Ricky is not only a Special Forces Veteran, but he’s also my big brother! He and his co-founder of TF Hydro 1 are doing great things on the northern coast of Florida, and as they like to say, they are “bringing the stoke.”
You can find out more about TF Hydro 1 events at their webpage here and can even make a tax-deductible donation here. Find them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to learn more and keep up with their events!
Content Warning: This article discusses multiple forms of trauma, including suicide.
Return to Base Podcast Ep. #12: TF Hydro1
Hey, everybody. Thanks for joining us again for Return To Base, a Veteran Life Podcast. This week is very cool. We have from Task Force Hydro1, Ricky and Leo the cofounders of that organization, Task Force Hydro1, in case you’re wondering, is a veteran and first responders 501 C3 nonprofit based out of Jacksonville Beach, Florida. Essentially, they get veterans and first responders to come out to the waves, learn how to serve, just share a sense of community. Their mission is to come together as a community of Watermen for active duty military veteran and first responders to actively help them cope with PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety, and suicide by creating meaningful connections and sharing the healing powers of the oceans, rivers, and lakes by outdoor physical and recreational activities. That was a mouthful.
Really, all you have to remember is these folks are out here trying to share the Stoke. OK, it’s super cool episode here for me because Ricky is actually my big brother. He did 27 years in the United States Army of which 20 of it was with Special Forces. He retired several years ago. He went to work for an organization called GORUCK, which is great and has moved on from there but still, he’s part of the community. I love him to death because he is my big brother.
Also, we have joining him Leo, who is a former Navy Seabee. He also was a naval recruiter. Maybe some of our listeners out there got coaxed into joining the Navy by Leo and he is the co-founder and director of operations of Task Force Hydro1. Very excited about this. So let’s get started.
Speaker 1 01:59
[Inaudible 00:01:59] This is Victor Lima. Yes, RTB. This is Return to Base, A Veteran Life Podcast.
All right, here we are. What’s up guys?
Hey, what’s up? What’s going on Clifford?
Hey, how are you doing?
What was this Clifford crap? Why do you got to be so formal Ricky boy? Richard Anthony. Richard, full disclosure and I are close. We’ve known each other since we were– Well, since I was a little kid.
Literally like since you were born.
Elaborate, Ricky boy?
Close to my little brother.
Little Brother. Some say the better brother but we’ll go with little. That’s fine, and Leo here. We have Leo here. Who is– Introduce yourself Leo.
I said, give us an introduction Leo.
- Well, my full name is Leonardo but most people call me Leo. Just to keep it simple. I was in the Navy for about– Yes, for a little bit over 13 years. Between 2005 and 2018, I was a Navy CV and right now I’m here in Jacksonville where [Inaudible 00:03:36] retirement.
Nice. Jacksonville right now, I imagine is a lot nicer than being up here in Tennessee. Congratulations on having a warmer climate. Although he has a probably like its cold today. It’s probably like 65 degrees and everybody–
No, it was in the 30s.
What? I don’t believe that.
It was in the 30s when we were—
A second. But it got to how high?
Yes, well. It’s actually warmer up here. Cool. Well, anyhow, so this isn’t just a family reunion and a little get together. Ricky and Leo are members of Task Force Hydro1. We’ll get into what that is later but I first want to talk about their experience what led them to this point in their life. I know Ricky’s life story, but I’m still going to go through it. Maybe there’s something that I can learn about him. I doubt it but Leo and I, we just met so nice to meet you, Leo.
Yes. One thing I always like to talk about on this is because– Excuse me, one thing I like to talk about on this podcast is what led us to the point we are at right now, where we are, where we’re supposed to be, I hope and there’s the story of us growing up but what brought you into the United States military. Leo, you can go first man.
OK, perfect. Well, you see, I was born and raised in Peru and I came to the States when I was almost 18 years old and what brought me here to the States? I used to play soccer and then my mother who passed away in 2005. She was able to bring me here for a while. I also have construction work, air conditioning and I did it for about six years and then somehow already sometime around 2004, it’s when I started talking to recruiters. I went to the army recruiter, I went to the Air Force recruiter, and then I went to the Marine recruiter. I never went to the Navy recruiter and it was because I thought that I was too dumb to do Navy stuff.
I tried– I spoke to the Marines first and what drove me away from them, I use– I actually used to go to their PT and they lantern program. I used to be involved with that but then what just pushed me away was honestly it was just a recruiter. You know marines, how they are? They’re very– They’re cocky, you know guys, which–
Aren’t they part of the Navy?
They are. The– For me, it was just– I was just trying to figure out what to do. There was no specific reason why I joined the military. Back then I was a legal resident so I was not a US citizen. So my– I had a lot of limitations on picking out what I wanted to do in the military because of that. I also talked to the army and then the Air Force but then at some point, my ex-wife, she was in the Air Force and we ended up moving to Colorado Springs, so I was a dependent. Right? But only for six months.
Yes, say you’re a dependent. Shout out to all dependents out there. Nothing but respect and love.
Yes, nothing wrong with that but as a guy for me, it was just difficult and so when they went to the my way–
I didn’t work at Sharkies, did you?
Inside joke Greenbrae.
[Inaudible 00:08:06] Oh, sorry about that.
But anyway, I was walking around the shopping plaza, my ex-wife, she was getting her nails done and then I was talking to this guy outside this office and he was smoking. He had– I still remember his last name, Smith. He was a boat’s mate. Boat’s mates are the guys that take care of the ship. They do a lot of cleaning and painting.
Yes. A lot of painting.
Yes. Anyway, so I talked to this guy that he was telling me, it’s telling me about all the places that he’s been, and the things that he’s done, and so on and so forth and then, all of a sudden, he just popped the question. He says, “Hey, would you like to join the Navy?”
And I said, “Sure. Let’s do it.” Just like that.
He was like, “Oh man!” I didn’t think about it twice. The military was something that it’s been– It was on my mind before here, a few years before but I don’t know if it was– If it is that it was scared to live in a comfortable way. Just– But I just wanted to give it a try. I wanted to see the world, to experience something new. It wasn’t because I wanted education or money or anything. It was just– I just wanted a new experience.
Yes. Nothing wrong with that and there’s a lot of respect in that obviously, as a matter of fact, your story sounds remarkably similar to a story that our grandfather used to tell us that he saw a sign when he was growing up in Guam that said, “Join the Navy, see the world.” And so that’s what he did. He joined the Navy and the rest was history.
Excuse me. Hey, I want to go back to something real quick. So you mentioned when you join the military, you are a non-citizen. Right?
Right. I was a legal resident which is, I still don’t know what they call it a green card because I never seen a green card.
Green means go, man. [Crosstalk 00:10:32].
The– First of all, whenever you become a legal resident, you get a brown card. OK?
Are you sure not colorblind? Hey, man, where’s your green card? No dude. I don’t have a green card man, it’s brown. Get the fuck out of here.
I have this– To be able to come into the service, you have to have that, your resident card, which I did, at the time I had it. That’s how I got in, but I joined the Navy to see the world but I ended up seeing a lot of sand.
Yes. Hey, by the way, I love me some Seabees man, everybody with worth their salt knows to make friends with the Seabees if they’re deployed near you, because they will hook you up quickly too but let me ask you and I don’t know but did you have a– When you came to America, did you have a sense of, Hey, I want to serve. This is a unique country where we’re, I believe the only country in the world where when you show up and you basically can say guess what? I’m American. Now, and we always identify– Not always and not everybody but a lot of us identify ourselves as this race or this race where whereas, at a point in time, we all identify it as Americans. That’s probably not true.
In a vacuum that’s true but uniquely around the world, we’re the only country where citizens are like, I’m American. You know what I mean? Like if a dude from I don’t know, pick your country, if a dude from Kuwait goes and lives in Great Britain for 20 years, you ain’t going to hear him saying I’m British. You know what I mean?
Whereas, pretty quickly, they come to America, they’re like, American, or at least I hope they still do. So, did you feel that? Did you feel that American identity before you join the military?
This is where it goes. No, that’s all bullshit man. I didn’t feel any of that. I wouldn’t say, “No”, so my first encounter with someone in the military was through a recruiting office and to me just looking at a uniform, like you look at different branches and just looking at the uniform. For me was like, “Wow.” Those guys look sharp but if I– when I was saying I’m like, we’re not really that sharp but I’ve been in the middle.
Right? Because I was born and raised in Peru and then came here to the States and after a few years and I went back but then at the same time is it’s people notice when you’re not, you’re– In Peru, they notice when you don’t live there. Then I always found myself being in the middle where OK, I was wearing Peru but at the same time, I had to spend most of my life here in the US.
I have a lot of respect for this country. Especially for– I mean just good. I mean, I was born in Peru and I can tell you the things that I have accomplished in this country, I would never be able to do it over there.
When you when you came here and then you went home, right back to Peru. Did you feel like, “Man, I miss my old home, my other home?” Yes?
I do. I did times. Even now. Like, when I go visit family, my dad lives there and when I go see him on day number three, I’m like, I’m ready to go home. This is awesome. This isn’t– Being in Peru, I like it. I like everything there but after a few days, I feel like, I don’t belong here anymore and this is America.
It’s strange phenomenon they just made me think of is I’ve lived in Germany, wristlet is in Germany and Japan and obviously, you’re from Peru but when you spend a lot of time overseas, you’re not necessarily like Iraq and all those things but you start missing some of the things that we despise here, right? You’re like, Oh, God, I hate Walmart. I hate people of Walmart and then when you’re overseas for a bit, you’re like, Dude, it’s midnight and you mean, I can’t go get me some like, chips? Or like, a clock radio, and like some painting supplies? This is bullshit. What do you mean nothing’s open on Sundays?
I can’t go people watch.
Yes, it’s kind of wild, man but–
For me, the biggest thing is when I’ve been to Peru during summertime, most places, like a regular home is not going to have air conditioning. You only find an air conditioner system and up in a restaurant or the malls here at their business. Big business but as far as an house, you won’t find it so and that’s why I don’t go to Peru in summer now. With your time, there’s so much you can do because you’re just laying in bed and sweating and I’m like, “Man, I need to go back to US.”
Yes. Let me ask you a question, man. Did you ever consider joining the Peruvian army? I’ve been told that their armies look very World War II German-esque.
Well, my dad was in the Navy in Peru. When I was about to graduate high school, it was either– Well, I was not– I mean, I’m still not the brightest cook in the yard. Alright. The– A lot of the lovely guys that I graduated with, it took him two or three years to make it into the university because over there is a little bit differently, you take a test and then let’s say this particular school has 500 seats and you got 1500 applicants. Highest scores are the ones that are they’re going to give the seats to 500 applicants.
Now, you got some dudes that are they’re just very smart people and very good grades and all that and then it takes a while to make it all it unless you go to a private one but the system that the way to getting is pretty much the same but as far as me, he crossed my mind. My dad brought it up and say would you like to be in the military? The Navy? And for me, it was well the uniform is nice but the pace sucks.
Man, it’s all about– In Peru, in the military and this I’m talking about 1988. Now it has changed but back then it was just all about the uniform. There was nothing else and I seen– And I used to see the military guys so the cops are struggling, doing side– Things on the side to make up so they can provide to their families. For me, I was like, “No, I can– That’s not going to– I’m not going to be able to make it that way.” I was looking for– Just besides being in the military just to also make a living to later on because I was always worried about what’s going to happen next. What’s going to happen after I get out of the military? What am I going to do? How am I going to make?
Yes, that’s something that I think
Most people who join the military and surfer anytime start to think of, especially once they have a family.
Ricky boy, how about you man? Tell us about what led to the judge telling you either you go to jail or you join the military?
Pretty close to that.
Well, let’s just start off. I’m the oldest of us three. We got a little– We got a younger sister in the middle. She’s about a year and a half. She’s basically me with tits.
All right, that’s what she says. Right? That’s awesome.
She never says that to me. Thank God.
Yes, but bottom line is, we, Cliff and I, we lived a pretty rough life. We didn’t– And I probably get screamed out for this but honestly our parents were dope heads. Yes, I took it after them a little bit. I followed their path and I was in a lot of trouble in elementary school and I was always a smart kid. I had grandparents and uncles and even my dad were in the military.
Now, I always looked up to them and people who are in the military. I love my country from the day that I started speaking this lesson my grandfather talked about World War II, Vietnam. I mean, Korea, and then my uncle talking about Vietnam and stuff. I used to sit and just read a Vietnam books about the Vietnam War and as a kid. I never went to high school. I went to seventh grade twice. Yes, I never went to high school because I had to take care of myself and I got involved in gangs and a bunch of other nefarious activities and I had some Mexican gangs come to look for– Coming to find me for something I had done and I left around 17 or 17 years and went to Florida and I got a job on a longline fishing boat and then also in a diner. I met this girl who’s in the National Guard and then I got interested in it and I was like, well, let me never want to– I never want that day in high school. I went and got my GED. Right? And I joined the Army.
That’s me and that girl split. I ended up with my current wife now that we’ve been married for almost 30 years. I joined the Guard first because I didn’t have a high school diploma and then, from basic training, went back to San Diego, got a job in the shipyards, and went the night school to get my diploma and then one day, the recruiter called me up and was like, “Hey, we’re taking GED’s.” I stopped and joined the army in 1994. I went active duty in a 101st airborne.
Yes, I remember coming to visit you when you were at Fort Campbell and let’s just say he didn’t live in the best conditions. I mean, it was it was a nice trailer. Even like, third nicest on the block.
Yes, I was a private two kids.
Yes, that’s right.
Living in in Fort Campbell, Kentucky on Tobacco Road right there and I think it’s hot.
No, in Oak road. It was actually Oak Grove.
Yes, you live right on the border of Tennessee in Kentucky and it– You wouldn’t recognize it now. Believe me, I live outside of there and–
That– We had a big carpet in the middle of the living room and not more than one person could stand on the carpet because you’d fall through into the floor outside.
Yes. Those were good times. It’s government teeth. Right? Here, we get the free diapers and formula. I’ve said before on this podcast, and I’ll say it again is, you really do remember this time set sucks. Yes and then in your personal life, at least you had love right?
Yes, that was it. Yes. Always. Even there in the short time that I was there. I had my wife’s family came and visited my sister. My brother came and visited. Yes. Even when you you’re down and out. You have no money. Yes, that was one thing about me, even though I had– I didn’t get along with my dad and all that stuff and but I still had this sibling relationship with my siblings and all my cousins and stuff that kept me grounded. Yes.
Yes. Ricky boy there ended up eventually becoming a Greenbrae and eventually became a Warrant Officer, where guys like me had to salute him. Man, you didn’t even finish high school. What the heck?
It’s back when they were desperate for Ward officers. Also, I should also mention at one point, Rick was awarded the General MacArthur Award for Leadership for junior officers. We’re very proud of him and I’m I get off my soapbox out there, man but Leo had you find being in the Seabees.? We mentioned them earlier about how awesome it was if you got if you like, gave the Seabees some beer, even though that wasn’t allowed, that they would build you anything?
Well, honestly, I didn’t. When I signed the paperwork. I didn’t know what the Seabees were.
I hear that horror story about a lot of people going into the Navy.
You can be an engineer. I’m going to be a firefighter. They’re like, bro everybody’s a Firefighter.
Yes. Oh, I told the guy as I’m signing the paperwork, I said, “Look, everybody I know the Navy has ships but does everyone goes on the ship?” And he said, “No.” Well, the Seabees is done and then he said what I asked them so what do you got? What do they do? Oh, they do construction heavy equipment. They deploy to different countries and they do they do humanitarian work, like community service and then I thought, Oh, wow, that sounds pretty cool and then this person showed me pictures of Seabees and Puerto Rico, Guam in Spain, and I’m thinking, Oh, this is going to be the life. Well, that wasn’t the case.
Hey, I thought you said you saw a bunch of Sand Man, that mean beaches, right?
Because– No, it wasn’t because–
It wasn’t beach?
It was over in Spain or like in Palma de Majorca. No, it wasn’t because of that. It was because I got to Naval mobile construction seven, the construction battalion seven out of Gulfport Mississippi, and I got there about 10 days before Katrina happened. So Katrina happened and then we were helping out there out in the community but then we were going to be deployable three months later and my first appointment was we landed in Kuwait and then convoy out to Iraq and that was in six and that’s when I got to really understand what Seabees do and it was– None of that stuff that I saw in that picture maps.
No, where did you end up in Iraq? Or did you get like, bounced around?
I bounced around a lot. Ramadi was one of the places that I was. Then, there was this resort over in Basra [Sysco 00:28:13].
No, it was Basra. I remember it was nice, a beautiful little resort with a man-made island but– And then I returned by. That was a six month deployment and I returned to get divorce for my ex-wife.
Yikes, man, was it– I mean, I don’t want to get too personal. Especially do you– I mean, you got a current wife?
Yes, I do.
OK, we’ll move on. His current wide is amazing, by the way. OK. Yes. Cool. She doesn’t mind you telling this story?
Oh, no. She doesn’t.
Yes, I mean you didn’t exist until I met you, man. Yes, so what was that like? Was it the military that– In that deployment that ripped that relationship apart?
I think it was. I was selfish. I was a very selfish guy. I was not ready for marriage at all. I got married when I was 21 and I came into service, 24. I was a big man. It was just like that and then when I came back, I had a—Now, I understand when people used to tell me that I had a drinking problem. Back then I didn’t see it that way.
But– My ex-wife and I, we just grew apart with time and it only took being away from six months, seven months to actually understand what we had going on and we decided to– She decided to get divorced and for me it was shocking first because I was raised Catholic and even though I don’t practice the– For me, it was always in my mind, you only marry one. So that’s it. Even though now I think something completely different but back then there was-
Yes, like six marriages later. Did you like that?
Yes, that’s fine.
I don’t know what I’m talking about.
It don’t hurt.
Yes, it’s interesting, right? Like, Yes, deployment. [Crosstalk 00:31:00].
Because of what happened is what led me to who my wife is now.
Yes, cheer man.
If you ever asked me, will you do it over again? I’d say, yes because I am where I am because I was– I am with her because of what happened.
Yes, for sure and did you end up going on further deployments while you were in the Seabee segment? 13 years, I imagine you were gone quite a bit.
In total, my whole on those 13 years, I did seven deployments. Not all to– Not all of it to the Middle East. I actually got to see some of the Navy deployments or they call it deployments. I was telling. I oversaw the guys to the boat as I look, man. This is not a deployment. This is a cruise.
Cruise where you got it for work, man. It’s like you’re one of the helpers on the ship.
Yes. That’s what it is.
Where’s all the passengers in the entertainment?
I went to Iraq. I went to Afghanistan. The last time I was in Afghanistan was in 2009. I got a funny story about that.
Let’s hear it. We love funny stories.
We deployed to Iraq but it was during that transition when the President came on TV saying that we’re pulling troops and this and that and well, we got the word that we had to punch out of Iraq and I’m thinking well, we’re probably going to go to Spain, take all our equipment there, hang out. I just killed the remaining three months that we have. Then my chief comes, and he’s like, “Hey, dude. You got to pack all your stuff. Get all the equipment already.” I said, “OK.” Yes, they’re going to pick you up tomorrow. You’re going to be the first. You’re going with that badass party. Wonderful, you guys going in first [Crosstalk 00:33:14].
I honestly, I even went online looking around things to do in Spain. What was close to the bay and I had this whole idea what I was going to do in Spain now and then that he says, “No, we’re going to Afghanistan.” I’m like, “Ah.”
[Crosstalk 00:33:39] See the world man.
Right? Yes. I probably still have sign in my some of the bags that I have there.
I thought you’re going to get there.
But when we got there, there was– The Marines were there and I would say the Royal Marines and the British and different countries where–
Were you in Helmand?
Yes, I was in–
It’s a great place to go and change a mission. Hey, by the way you’re going to Helmand. I made out of Iraqi alive mom.
Yes. We got there. I’ll never remember that it was very cold. You can either sleep on your pop up tent outside the wrap or you sleep inside. What so happens that I had one of the vehicles to me. I just ended up crashing there covering down and then until eventually we were sharing this huge tent with the Afghani nationals. Their– I think it was the national dollar. I don’t know what they were but we’re the sharing that—The big tent there until eventually, we ended up building that Seabees, can’t remember the name of it. I can’t remember the name right now but anyway–
Here’s what I find funny about Seabees Leo is you guys always build the Taj Mahal for everybody else but every time I’ve seen a Seabee in Afghanistan or Iraq, you guys are living in rough condition.
Did you guys build something up nice and you’re like, see ya after the next one every time.
Now you know why.
Imagine if you’re like a team guy or infantry man, right? And you’re like, Who are these new guys? Oh, those are the Seabees. Oh, dude, why is their place so nice? You know what it figures. Yes, they got to fake the funk, man but if you go inside the tent though, it’s real nice. Decked out. Marble. Looks like Saddam’s palace. I got Pontiac separating myself
Yes. What I was seeing I didn’t really get to enjoy the fog much. I was constantly out and about because I was so in the Seabees you got different people that do different things like the guys that you constantly see building stuff, those are the builders and the electricians. I was an Alpha Company and that’s where the equipment operators and the mechanics are and I was one of the equipment operators. So we’re constantly– If we’re not operating equipment there, we’re driving.
You building berms, aren’t you?
Yes. Put pushing dirt. Pushing dirt goes. Pushing dirt Yes. I hated to fill out passports.
You just come back with like, sand in your boogers for like three weeks. Right? Yes, I can see that.
But it was– Overall, it was a really through it all. It taught me a lot. They gave me like a bunch of life lessons. Yes, that’s what they do.
And that’s kind of what the military does, man and I mean, it’s not like– Look, let’s be honest, right? If you’re a guy who goes to trade school, becomes a plumber. You’re going to be taught life lessons, too. Right? But it’s just different. There’s the camaraderie, there is a sense of danger.
I mean, I tell some of the people I’ve worked with before my– I can’t imagine you be 25 or 28 years old or whatever you are going without anything and being OK with it. Where there’s like, in the military. Thankfully, we had all those care packages and all that stuff. The Girl Scouts and stuff would send but a lot of times just use one without. No deodorant this week, because the PX didn’t have it. No. Whatever it was.
But obviously fun.
Yes, obviously fun. You’re like, yes, first night I was in Kuwait in 2000 and I don’t know what year it was. Anyways, I took an Ambien on an airplane and when we arrived in Iraq or excuse me, Kuwait, I think I was still riding that Ambien wave. I went and laid down on my cot and I had like a bag full of sunflower seeds and I put them next to me in this part of Kuwait. It’s like a transient center and it was like all these like, really small plywood, Jack shacks. Everybody knows what I’m talking about and I put the my sunflower seeds next to me on the nightstand and when I woke up in the morning, every single sunflower seed had been split in the sea taken out, and they were scattered all over me, all over the floor. So during the night, a party of rats ate my sunflower seeds on top of me in Kuwait. Oh my god, I can’t believe it to this day. I just can’t. I see around and I’m like, No, thank you.
When was your last deployment Leo?
My last deployment was– Oh no. So my– Yes, because after the Seabee I went to recruiting for three years in Miami. A lot of people hate recruiting. This is this thing, right? A lot of people hate recruiting. However, for me when I went to recruiting, I went to the mentality of I’m going to go grind.
Yes, dude. Sounds like it would be easy to be a recruiter in Miami. You’d be like, hey, especially a Navy recruiter. It’s like, Dude, you already went on a boat.
Well, the good thing when people will ask me about the Navy, I will tell them because the biggest the harder you go on a ship to say, look, I have never been in the ship, which is true, by back then I never experienced ship life sort of. If you ask me anything about the blue side of the Navy, I’m going to tell you read it online but as far as if you asked me something else away from the ships, yes, I can I can give you the information for that or just give you my own personal life experience with it and after our recruiting in Miami, I came here to Jacksonville and I ended cross raiding so changing MOS. OK, that’s what it is. So I guess what I am? Oh, I crocheted to an admin most.
Nice. I thought you’re going to say something crazy man. Like–
No, I was—
Like, pilot, F 16.
Now the– I was– It was either– Yes I changed an MOS or I used to get out. So back then I was I was Nephi and so in the Navy, when used to when you go from e3 to e4 so on so forth, you got to take a test and now you can take that test, you can pass a test but not get selected. For me to make to move on to first class. I was running into that problem where I was not getting selected and it wasn’t because somebody else got selected. It was because there were simply zero seats on that specific job that I was doing.
There was no option for me you either. A lot of guys that I was in the battalion where they run into the same issues and most in this incident communities, a bunch of guys, we have a lot of pride. When I went, some of the guys I left was because of that pride. They say me their Seabee or us I’m not going to do anything else. For me, I just had to wife, kids, had to do what was best for family. I am that and that’s how I ended up on a boat in the ship.
As an admin on the ship.
But you know what? The– My customer service was not the best. I had complaining about me because of the way that I will talk to them but to me, was very new. I actually got to learn what the Navy was about on the blue side and I deploy. I went to– With the boat, I went to Spain, Scotland, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Montenegro. I mean, so many countries, in a social theory, and in such a small time and my last one with them was coming from Mediterranean deployment.
Yes. Ricky, let’s shift a little bit here. Ricky, it’s funny. I know how your career went, basically but give us a once over of how you feel your career went?
Well, you know, it’s like, when once I joined the military. It was like I was all in everything I tried to do, was just tried to be the best at. It’s funny, I left being a gang member and all that stuff coming in the military and actually excelling and being able to follow orders. I didn’t like to do when I was a kid. Yes, I ended up– When I got to 100 and first airborne. A week later, I got orders to Korea to where I was leaving the 101st airborne. A year from the day I got there. My wife didn’t come out for six months. The last time she was in Kentucky, she was only there for six months.
I never realized that.
Yes. I think actually shorter and then I went to Korea and that’s probably my worst year in the army. I had May– Even remember back in the old days, you can get promoted from private to e4 like a year with just these waivers. Yes. So my boss is like waiver. I left for like, four or five army achievement medals and all that stuff, just from giving award. So you got to Korea, up and Second Infantry Division, my worst year in the Army. I was in charge of a bunch of knuckleheads that didn’t really want to listen to me and I had as a squad leader who tuned Sergeant who’s in the Christianity and karate and he really wanted me to be a part of his karate class and I was like, there ain’t no way in hell, I’m going to do you Karate class. Right? Especially when you’re preaching the Bible to me at the same time.
He made my life miserable. I went to re-enlist and I said, How do I had heard this horror story about once you went to Korea from 101st, it was just vicious cycle. A 101st for like, 18 months to three years and come right back to Korea and that was your thing. So I was like, I’m going to break the cycle. I said, What do I got to do? He’s like, we can go to Germany as I sign me up. Went to Germany. I was a camo chief for a Military Police Company and she’s I got there. I brought my wife because it basically been away from my wife for two years. Hey, welcome during babe. I’m going to Bosnia for a year. Yes.
I went to Bosnia for a year and while I was there, I seen these young living on these camps back then, when you’re in the regular army, lose a bullet, or around, destroy my phone or your magazine for me doing whatever you can doing during your old deployment. It’s article 15. You can hear the whole truck and Oh, base apart and shut down everything. It’s like losing a pair of night vision goggles.
Everybody was so bored.
Yes, and then all these– Yes, and then all these dumb rules on base, right? You know, walk with your helmet, all this stuff, do this and your body armor everywhere you go and I see these guys come and driving through the front gate in these pickup truck. Long hair, baseball caps, and just like, do whatever they want with those guys, right? They’re like, Oh, those the SF guys. Right? They live out in town in a house right? I’m like what?
For me, and I was like, I’m doing that. We got back to Germany and I went straight to the Special Forces recruiter. Yes, like I want to go and he’s like, take this PT test and what the specialists get selected right away want to Q course. Yes and ended up in Special Forces in 2000. Yes, was basically a peacetime Special Forces had nothing going on. Yes, we still had all of our manuals in three foot lockers. Right? We had one computer, one green computer and one red computer. We still use a floppy disk. Right? And, oh, my holster for my mill was a green OD green canvas holster. Right?
And all of a sudden, one day I’m driving to work and Howard Stern is talking about how it almost seemed like it was a skit. Like how he just watched a plane flying in the Twin Towers. Right? And my dumbass didn’t realize I had that Monday off. It was a Monday I believe. Right? And I came in and there was people, other teams that had to work in like gear what just happened? Like not at like 911, Twin Towers just went down and me I get stuck on the on the on the first group compound for like three days. The compound down. My whole team is at home going dumb ass. Yes. That was the beginning of my trips to the Philippines. Iraq, Afghanistan, back to Iraq, Afghanistan and Philippines.
Yes, that day changed everything for pretty much every especially if you were in the military, for sure but even afterwards, many generations afterwards. This is one of those things, and it it’s a big deal for our generation. It is our Pearl Harbor.
How about you, Leo? Were you in the States when 911 happened?
Yes, I was. I remember that day exactly. I used to work for this air conditioning company and I was at the office, waiting for another technician and then the dispatcher, he’s on his computer and he’s talking, and I’m not really paying attention to it. So thank you, Chuck. He flips the screen and he’s like, look, and I see the plane flying into the building and then I thought to myself, well, and I tell the guys, oh, that’s what it is a movie. They say, No, this is life, this is real and then, to me was just, it was incredible. I mean, it was just, it, I understand why certain laws and the way we do things now have changed and it’s, and it’s because of that. That doesn’t happen again. That doesn’t mean that that is the hope but I used to be known as a son growing up as a kid in Peru, we deal with terrorism in the 80s, you know, in the 80s.
Now, you brought some memories by that incident, what happened and as the days were, after 911 being here in the US, it was different. It was a whole different atmosphere. A sense of, like sadness, it was it was, something different and he brought me back to when I was a kid, and because when I was a kid, and they’re in terrorism, car bombs, most of them as a kid, I couldn’t go outside just to play because probably something is going to explode. Or if– Oh, before I have to leave the school, and I was in an elementary school. Before I had to leave the army, we’ll have to come and clear the area for bombs and whatnot, just to make sure that we don’t get hit and that was the day today, it was just bombings and–
You just never expected it in America?
That but I always need that I never expected is something that that was going to happen here. Never. I mean, m like, from my point of view, from my point of view, being someone that I was born in a different country for me see, looking at the US it was– I mean, this is the most powerful country there is.
Yes, if they can get us who can’t they right?
And when that incident happened when that happened was, I guess we’re not so. So safe after all. Yes.
Suddenly, you get 13 years in the military. Why? Yes. Why did you get out?
I didn’t get out. I was struggling for many years, right? That was my biggest secret. I don’t want to say, I want to say that I finally came out of the closet because that wouldn’t sound but to me, it was–
Hey, man you just said it. It’s fine, right? I’m going to be transported.
If I say something like that all well, he’s a Navy guy, blah, blah. So I was struggling for many years, a lot of anger issues, anger issues. Drinking, I never thought I had a problem but at some point I did. I just don’t want to anger and confusion and just not understanding what was going on. What was, for me in a way to cope for many years was where I was, I was a slave, like, I will go in to work and spend many hours just to not think about something else. So just not to be at home doing nothing. Eventually, the psychiatrist I mean, the psychologist she, she brought it up to me to sit and say, Look, I’m going to, I’m going to send me the paperwork to make it for the retiree.
Another time I was. I mean, after the fact I was hospitalized for three different times. The law, my longest state was 45 days and I will use I was just out of a pool because I was out of control and when finally everything came out when I had a suicide attack Am I figure you know what that is, it’s time for me to just move on. This is it. I was getting nowhere, I was about my wife, my wife was, she was she’s very strong and she was there for me but when they. So whenever you go through the, through the medical retirement process, when you go to through for a med board to see whether you’re fit for duty or not, whenever the paperwork comes back, you got a 10 day period, to decide whether you want to appeal that or not.
I took the whole 10 days to think about what I was going to do, whether it was if I was going to fight this to stay in and do several more years to finish? Or is it better for me to say, I’m done with this. I got to move on.
Under there are a lot of factors that I that I had to put in place, and it was mainly the, it was making my family I had to put them as a priority because before I didn’t know I complete I neglected my kids. My wife. Another time I was just not I didn’t see it. None of that. All my struggles, all the issues that I was causing in my house to my wife, my kids were, you know, scared. So, but none of that I didn’t see until finally came today when I was completely bogged down and say I’m done. Yes.
And so you accepted medical retirement or you didn’t appeal it?
I didn’t appeal it. I took it and but at the beginning transitioning that bar, it was it was difficult. It was weird for me not to wear a uniform. I remember looking at my calendar and counting today’s and seeing oh, what they do have duty, you know, the little things here and there or looking for my cover for my– What do you guys call it cover your hat?
Looking for cover over, or looking at my planner and because I work I used to play 3060 90 days out and see what’s you know, what’s caught me what’s going on with certain people here and there. so on so forth. So that is transitioning, I was– It was challenging but I knew that you had to be done. For a while. After I was out. I didn’t want to go inside the base or talk to any veterans any activity nothing. I use, I simply just wanted to be left alone, and just pretend like nothing ever happened. Yes.
And I think eventually that leads you kind of through this conversation and we’ll in we’ll get to that, obviously, because that’s a really important piece of this.
Ricky, tell us about– Ricky retired after 27 years and basically after that long, he’s pretty much useless. No, I’m just kidding. He’s had a ton of utility and if you can’t tell I love my brother but Rich transition. I want to speak for you. Let’s talk about your transition man and, and the triumphs. First, the struggles and then we’ll lead into where we are today.
I sort of let’s not get too heavy, but let’s get real heavy. Rick, let’s like–
Yes. No. I retired. For one I spent the last three years of my SF career not in the regiment. I had gone to a joint billet in Hawaii joint interagency task force west as me and a couple other Green Berets and former Green Berets running the Counter Narcotics Training Division, right for giant up west. I ran I would bring in seals and SF guys in Digg, Cambodia, Philippines all that and run narcotic shame, but it was sort of weird last year this I was working on soft guys, but I wasn’t really in when I went to work I was but ran a bunch of Navy Coast Guard guys and all that stuff and wasn’t really in the regiment. So I got out just because I was going to do 30 years, but just after Afghanistan losing my medic in 2012, and a bunch of other combat deployments and some injuries, that from some traumatic brain injuries and just add some focus issues, and I had some serious anger issues that my wife was seeing.
When I went to Hawaii when I left in 2012, from Okinawa, and then from Fort Lewis with Okinawa, and then I went to Hawaii bed started surfing and I’d be super sometimes I’d be really happy, but I felt like I was crying inside. Like, I just wanted to just be pissed off. I was always pissed off but the only thing that helped me not be super pissed off was surfing. Yes. I got to Hawaii and surfing actually almost took over whenever I was home from being going downrange and Frank seals and SF guys in to these jobs. I was surfing my brains out to where I was like, wake up, go, sir. Get off work go serve, I was actually thinking of excuses to give my boss to go serve. It was like this thing I needed.
Goes along with how we were brought up with the addictive personality that you inherited. Right? Hey, surfing is better than crack well but again, if you lived in Michigan, you’d be a deer hunter. If you if you lived in Glamis, you’d probably buy a bunch of four by fours but–
Yes, well, that’s why that’s why Ricky did on new medical marijuana because I would like do it so much to where I wouldn’t even wake up. Just I like it so much. Right?
That’s why, but–
We’re in Hawaii, and you’re surfing for your retirement.
Yes and I’m working with some guys, the Air Force. They call themselves managers and stuff like that. I’m not around a bunch of meat eaters that what I think meat eaters, they’re asking me to do some training, you know, and I was just like, No, I’m not doing that, doesn’t align with what I believe in and like, Well, you got to and I was like, No, I don’t. Yes, I retire. Right? I got 27 years, and I ain’t doing it. So I dropped my paperwork. Yes and that was, I had a year and a half to prep. That was the best thing of actually working in that unit was I had some time to prepare myself properly to retire, right? Take care of your medical stuff at the VA and stuff. I was actually working also for a company called go rock during that time as a 1099 contractor. During my lead days, I got pretty good at being a cadre and pretty popular right when I was retiring two years retiring, they asked me to help them film a movie downrange in Thailand, because one of the guys whose original planners, he had quit.
I jumped on board at that during some leave and I went down there, you know, scout it out, found the place to film it and I hired a bunch of retired Green Berets down there to help me to run it and then Jason the CEO, go rock it up President Go, right. I came as we’re like, hey, like, how you work. When you get out? Would you come work full time to go up? Right, like, sure. I had planned to drive the country in an RV for two years and surf up and down the west coast and the East Coast and hopefully even make it into like Central and South America but that change so we bought the RV. We drove for a couple months when visiting you cliff and ended up in Jacksonville.
But that transition only lasted to go rock full time for nine months. Yes, just because I still have some things in my head. I didn’t really properly retired the way I wanted to and I didn’t really take care of some of the things that I needed to take care of. Yes. So I quit.
Yes and then I got myself into just transition was hard for me and it’s still a little different for me, but I’m actually getting used to it. Just I’ve always been a hard charger. Right? When I can’t sit down. I can’t relax. I always fill my plate with too much. Yes, just because that’s something with me is like whenever I have downtime or whitespace I fill it with work or helping other people. Yes, that’s it. transition is. Yes.
Yes, go Ricky. Ricky, you’re angry and you’re when you say that you didn’t fully transition. I know you mean, right—But– And I know that this is hard for you to talk about but we deal with it and I’ll prompt you then and I’ll say, I’m going to rip the covers off and say that Ricky’s birthday hasn’t been the same for 10 years.
Because his medic, Ben wise, succumbed from his wounds.
On Ricky’s birthday in 2012. Right? Yes and this just a short time after Ben’s brother had been killed in a suicide bomb attack in FPS. So if you haven’t heard about the wise brothers, you should look it up. It’s, I think Three Wise Men book is the book by the survived by their Brother Ben wise. Right but Ricky holds that personal and things haven’t been the same for last decade and you still held on to that and I know you still do hold on to it.
But let’s talk about how your process went because this is really what this is about. It’s like talking to other veterans about their process. You’re not the Ricky of January 15, 2011 but you’re in a better place than you were.
Ricky January 15, 2020. Right?
Yes, it’s funny I was talking to somebody about not too long ago is from 2002 was the first time I actually seen like, dead enemy. Bill basil, in Philippines is taking some guys out on a training mission on the Ceylon. Right and they got engaged and my team, we responded and by minus they– The dead enemy taken down to this place where he had to police them up and they’re in a bunker boat and they’re in pieces right?
But I looked at it and it didn’t really affect me, because I was like, “This is my job. I’m a professional soldier. I’m a Green Beret.” Right? And like, what? Two months prior to that, the 168 bird that dropped us off and fill this into the ceiling crashed afterwards killing the whole crew. That’s it. It might seem cold and chalice to me, but it didn’t affect me at the time, right. I wasn’t like broken out of sorrow because I was in combat, I was in a zone where people were hunting me down, and we were hunting them down. I didn’t have time to really grieve and feel bad, right? And then when I saw the enemy, I was like, hey, that’s what we want. Right? Badass. Right? And then I see and then throughout the time in Iraq, and when I was see one, one meal, we’d see, we end up doing raids and stuff like that, and guys it in a dead, it just, it was, and sometimes a first group I would die that was down south or something, and we’d go and play police, you know, we go to the airport.
Nate winder, and some other guys, I think SAR major Connor, they had to take those guys and put them on the airplane since we’re in Baghdad, so they can be flown back to the States. Right? I didn’t. I will. I felt bad. Right but I was like, that’s part of war. Right? We’re professional soldiers and it was and then we went to Afghanistan, you know, and Yes, three engineer kids die. When I responded to an incident to work three American engineers died and that still, we were like, going in there to get them CQRS that team that was there on that we weren’t going to end.
We were determining God and make it to them. Yes, but it wasn’t like I was sad with sorrow that happened, right? And then we turn her back around. It’s like, one day, I’m in Afghanistan next day. I’m like driving with my family into coma. Like, my wife’s like, what? You’re driving people off the road. Right and then I’m the next day. I’m going to school for six months, and they graduate the next day and back in Afghanistan for a year.
Yes. So I think it’s important really to mention something here, which is you and I had been conversing line two dozen 12 while you’re deployed, you all were like pack up.
When this incident happened, you guys were on the plane Almost. Yes, as matter of fact, I think Ben wasn’t even on an OTA at the time, right? And he was like, dude, let me on an ODA, he was on an ODA, but support another ODA who didn’t have a medic. Right and Ben called me he’s like, Hey, cause you knew I was friends with the server major. Right and so he can do me a favor. I want to be with the team for the last couple months that we’re back. Yes, I had calls our major like, “Hey, can you bring my medic back?” Because I was I was in Missouri, Sharif training the commandos back at the Kandak. It’s like, hey, I’ll bring him back but he can’t go forward. With the grand platoon, he’s got to stay with you to help train the medics. Like all right, cool. All right. So Ben comes back. He’s like he does what any team guy would do try to get out in front like, Hey, Chief, I know I’m back but I got to get on the helicopter to go get my stuff. I love it. The team now said bring it back. They never came back until the last mission trip like eight teams are Shawn. Yes, I get jazz back here. Dude. I told her major but hey, he did what I would have done. Right?
Once would be with the boys up out forward, give him some last missions. He’s been sitting on this one Firebase with this other team with this. I’m up his ass. He wants to get out there and prove his salt. Right? I’m so bad. The last time I saw him was he flew in because we’re doing a I had been taught I had built this target pack for the last six months with the local American unit that was there and some of the unit guys. Right and it was a big joint mission. We had some delta guys with us, us and we all flew in. It was two objectives that ended up on one of the other objectives and that’s where they started taking fire from some caves and stuff. Ben, there’s some women and children in there and Bennett assisted them getting out, you know? It– But Ben eventually tried to enter the cave and got shot. Yes, one did and they flew him out and it’s funny during that time when I didn’t even like hear on the radio. We’re flying them out. metapackage right. I’m not even part of it because I’m on the other side, the objective. I didn’t feel anything. Right. I just like mission focus. Alright, that happened. Boom. Process. Don’t get them out. Done. Don’t get the mission. Get back, Ben. Ben’s got fans don’t go into Germany. We do the memorial. I mean, everybody’s in there. You guys. Go borrow? It’s like business. Do Memorial boom. Get back to the States.
Like when did you ride back when you read the play?
Like February. We were like there when he died. The 15th of January and we were back in like late January, early February back home.
Well, that was our last mission. Yes. Right. He didn’t have to be there. Right.
He did. That’s where he needed. Yes. That’s where he wanted to be.
But that’s what I’ve been dealing with. Right. For a long time. It’s like he didn’t have to be there. Right. Like, me, I pulled strings. Right. I didn’t have was strong enough as leader seven. Yes. That’s I was hurt killing myself over is but I know that he wanted to be there and that’s where he needed to be, you know, and he It wasn’t me, it would be somebody else. Right. Yes, that would have let him do the same thing. So Yes.
Let’s talk about Massachusetts man and the work that they’re doing up there and we talked a little bit on this podcast about the first podcast actually, we had some deep questions with Dr. Bessel Vander Kolk about trauma.
war trauma specifically, but the folks who have war trauma on top of intense childhood trauma. Yes. Well, I’ve been one of the reasons why I talked about early rise like I can’t ever sit still. Right.
I thought when I went to the home base, sponsored by the Red Sox, you know, and Mass General Hospital, two weeks, two weeks, Leo is a graduate, right? I started him into it, right but I It’s a great program and they fly you up there pre COVID. They fly your family up there, they look at you and say, “Hey, this is what we think you’re going to come back for two weeks.” Do brain scans all this stuff, right? You go to sports doctor, all this and they’re like, OK, you’re on the TBI track, or you’re on the fuckin crazy tracks. Right. One of those tracks.
By the way, you’re both. Yes, so I’ve actually got a couple of my buddies to go. Yes. So either rather than Leo Yes and it’s helped them. Yes but I thought it was going there man for TBI, which in some other things is what’s I have something wrong with my body from a lot of injuries that were affecting my brain that like my neck, and all that stuff, where it screwed up a lot of my focus in which would make me angry and give me headaches, but I thought I was going there also for to take care of some war trauma. Right. But what came out from it was a lot of childhood trauma that amplified my war trauma.
Severe child abuse. I just remember being like, these memories of things like being tied up which I thought were just like daydream, but my sister remembers it and she has these drawings that I actually drew him with the same thing and me being chained to a bed for days, you know, or being like this Asian. This Asian torture, my dad used to meal making meal on uncooked rice for hours and then put encyclopedias on my arms and it’s like, if I dropped an encyclopedia, I get another encyclopedia AMI when he would take me up in my underwear and a broom in my hand and put me outside while schools get now. Yes, nowadays, you know, it was just a lot of things. Waking up, you know, in the middle of the night, just to get in, you know, just getting beat up, like a grown man at the age of like, 508 until I left.
Yes, one of the things you know, it’s like, if I couldn’t read, I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t relax as a kid because if I might, my dad felt like, he had to just serve him constantly and serve him was either serve him food and all that or clean. If we weren’t doing any of that, you were fucked up. He would beat the fuck it. Right? If he found you relaxing, reading, doing anything, he would beat the shit out. That’s why for my wife, and all that my wife knows, like, whenever I have downtime, I can’t just relax, I just fill it up. I wake up at four o’clock, I go to bed at eight in between four and eight.
I’m busy. Yes and I just amplified a lot of things but, you know, I can’t necessarily say fix that little tweak that little thing but I understand why I do certain things now. Right.
So in the program in Massachusetts, kind of painted that picture, right, you use both those palettes, there’s a palette of paints. That’s childhood, there’s a palette of paints, that’s combat and by the way, we had to like gloss over a little bit, Rick’s a fucking bullet magnet where he must have circled the bullets that were meant for me because everywhere he went like, like, dude, how are you going to show that man like, I’m like, not far from you.
Yes, but those things when they combine, they’re, they’re very combustible.
We grew up the same parents in the same town, slightly different situations where, you know, I got the lesser version of it all. I got some of it. I didn’t get it all because Richard, Richard, most of his let’s be honest, but it’s not easy for me to talk about either, man.
It’s deep. Like I have that feeling that there’s a little bit of guilt sometimes that you had to had to endure that but we’re not here to talk.
That’s what but that’s what for. Man, that’s a heavy burden dude for a second birth. Right. Yes but, um, but yes, so that bit and Massachusetts is I mean, being there for you during that was pretty heavy just because, I mean, it shines some light on some dark shit that hadn’t been buried for a long time. Yes, and we’re not over it. Like we still– There’s still some lingering effects where we– I do– I hold certain people responsible and you know, I just I don’t feel the same towards certain people. Right like I have all the up until then. Yes. So like I was a kid. Yes, it’s like could have done something.
Yes, think now’s a good time to talk a little bit about how the ocean saved both of your lives. Yes, the comradeship instead of word comradeship. Camaraderie, camaraderie, the Brotherhood, the sisterhood, even and just a family. The ocean and you know, I don’t want to they might get into preachy or whatever. When I say saved your life.
No, it did. That’s one of the sayings that we have, actually is passports Hydro1 water saves lives.
Let’s hear about it. Man. Let’s hear about Task Force Hydro 1.
One, Task Force Hydro1. So we all start just real quick, you know, it’s like, you know, like I said, once I started surfing, I had to surf all the time. All the time.
Seriously trying to go on vacation to visit and he’s waking up at 4:35, 04:30 in the morning I’m like, bro I’m on vacation leave me alone. He’s like let’s go to the water.
I was surfing ripples just to say I was out in the water right? Because it was just like this feeling of like relief. Yes, go out there and just beautiful day and Pearl Harbor or out there off of the North Shore and I’m having a great time catching these awesome waves but all of a sudden I feel this feeling of crying. Right? Because I’m like there’s other people that aren’t here that aren’t here. Yes, they’re not feeling what I’m feeling but I’m so happy I’m so happy I’m out here that Yes, like it’s almost like no one could touch me out in the water and all my problems on the shore.
Yes, right that’s why I was so surprised when you were like responding to text messages from your stupid I watch them like Yes, you’re the water man like I thought that this dude had his like water issues.
It doesn’t work right but bottom line is I just started surfing but what I found out was is especially started open I was the freaking cool people and the stoke that you meet right? And not just Americans but like all the open now as a Japanese. I would go from here to here.
I have to interrupt you, man. What is stoke? Let’s hear it.
Stoke is just like that. Just like that. Good. That feeling of said Aloha. Yes, it’s like Aloha. Right? It’s like feeling like, what’s up brother? Yes, like, I don’t know you but let’s serve. Right? Let’s just get it all out and let everything out all of our differences. Were surfers. Were in the water enjoying that ride? You may. I may hated what he believes in politically or whatever on the beach. Right? But we’re out there catching waves.
Now I’m screaming for him because I see this loop coming down in a bear and a barrel or he just get worked, you know, but on the inside, it looks like he’s sucking but we both know it’s fun as hell. Right? And it’s like, Yes, you know, and it says that everything up here you feel normal, but you duck dive and feel this cold water on your face and just like washes away. Make you feel small. Makes you feel small in the big world of problems. Right? You’re just this little thing. Really like can’t fix it all. So why even worried about it? Just enjoy the moment and sometimes it would be the moment past work hours I got to retire. Private.
Let’s talk about real quick. So you start surfing in Okinawa, you continue surfing in Hawaii? Yes and then Rick was driving across the country and before that we were talking about Hey, bro, like, I’d love for you to live near me but I think we both came to a mutual conclusion. I’m like, Dude, you need the ocean bro. Yes, I can’t have you be around me and my kids. If you are a Rick, go find some motion.
Nice anger but bottom line is my biggest thing is I started stand up surfing to and then I started doing all kinds of like just being a Waterman in the water and but just the cool people I’ve met everywhere. I mean, I started like arranging surf trips everywhere I went, I’ve served in the Philippines, I’ve served in Japan, I served in Korea, right, Costa Rica, Costa Rica, New Zealand, all these places, right, Australia and then just the people I’ve met, right, and I still keep in touch with you, and then I go to Hawaii, right? And everyone’s like, oh, so localizer but dude, I go everywhere, right? And I know everything and like, family came out and visit and we’d go to a beach and somebody swim up or whatever. We go nauseous, wild, right?
What the hell? Are you the mayor of freaking Oakland now? I’m going to lose.
Yes and it just, that’s the Stoke and I love it and then all sudden I start I’m starting to like teach people how to paddle surf, because you know, and I’m like, I love seeing that I’m teaching being doing a Green Beret does, right? I like teaching. Right? And that’s what makes me feel good at giving myself to others and helping them get better. Right and that’s why, for me, someone’s someone before I even moved to Florida. My buddy Keith Payne was, he’s a senior warrant, right? He retired and he was like, my mentor at giant of West, right. You super good friend, and he’s someone that we’re I went to his church and I got baptized. You know? I found God there again, right? Because I keep paying his family but he’s like, Dude, you should. You should be run something like, you know, like a surfing instruction or something to where you help people. You know, and I ended up moving to Florida, right? And that’s, you know, moves into I started, I just moved to Florida and here’s a quick story, right?
It’s like, I moved to Florida. First day, I went surfing in Florida. I’ve been here like two weeks. I just got this new board and I go surfing at the pier and the first day I surf there, I get some dude. It’s like one of the first time this has ever happened. Some dude swims up to me and tells me I can’t surf. They’re like, Well, you can’t serve here. Yes, Yes. It’s like who said he’s like me and all my friends and all these Groms you know? Do that.
Somebody, like 40 years old, right? And he’s like, No, not me, right? Yes. That I almost hurt that guy badly. We had to talk this dude off the ledge like bro. Right? Yes, he’s do not kill a surfer. Right away in your life, man. Were like, Yes, gave us ultraviolent in your mind, at least. Yes, it was like, Dude, you have road rage already and now you’re road raging on the waves?
Yes, it’s like, I started fantasizing about killing and then moved here and I was so excited about, I’m going to start my life here, right here. I mean, a bunch of new people in my life to blossom here and this is to basically shit on it. Right. I almost quit my job. I’ve never surfed there again. Since? No, actually, I went back in once not too long ago. Right. We ran into each other again at where I started surfing and I sort of flipped the switch and I became the asshole which didn’t sit well with me. So I reached out to him and said sorry, right that’s not why sir and we’re actually pretty good friends now.
Yes, he didn’t. He ended up being like the some of the like a real famous like shape or something. Right? There’s a difference.
Now his dad just a really good dude. Famous he shapes stand up paddleboards and is well known in the community. I don’t want to say his name because he’s a Bob, You’re an asshole.
Actually a great dude and maybe he was having a bad day a big yes.
No, you know what? I looked at it. He was be protected.
Yes, what, right having some grace in our life is super important, right?
Yes, I got a real dude. I went ugly, early. Right. Bottom line. I was like, we got in a fight. I was like, I will. You know, I just said some things that normally don’t end up well on the street with people.
I’m going to I’m going to throw it out here man. Because I remember these conversations that you would have with me, Ricky and I would talk on the phone and I would be like, Dude really lacks.
My older brother by the way, and I retired within like five months of each other. Maybe Next month, I don’t know that I retired first like I’m OK but I am kind of the older. My body hurts more than yours but Yes, I mean, I was talking to him talking to him out of like, like really hurting this person and not that he would have versus weaker but he, you fantasized about it? I did and that I think taught you something about yourself that you knew needed to be fixed.
Yes, right. Yes. Why? It messed me up for a very long time. Yes.
Let’s talk about your surfing dude.
Let me surfing. Well–
Or being on the water anything? Like Well, the–
How I used to call it a stroke so the OK, how I got to it is because I was a participant in a program a surfing program for veterans.
And my therapist at the VA none other than the Vet Center. He used to tell me about surfing, talk to me about surfing right. And I never been not, I wouldn’t say comfortable but water sports never been my thing. My thing used to be soccer and also running trail running.
In sorry, out of ammo. So Yes, why would you be running? Or you have ammo?
No, it was a place for me to clear my mind. Yes, I got it and sometimes I will picture myself running and then you picture my problems behind me and then just running or running and just thinking on that, it will give me that extra push. I don’t know if you ever run, you know, like a pretty good distance but I used to get this wrong. At mile eight, when I will be on mile eight. That’s what I get this sometimes something will happen in my body that will be like, reset. My fault might my head and everything and then I will continue to run and I mean then.
Ronnie used to be my thing but surfing came around because of my therapist. He used to talk to me about surfing and how it will benefit me and I contemplate the idea but then Sunday, I went into this website and I checked it out and I apply for a surf program. So I tried it out flew over I flew over to California to Huntington Beach and that was my first experience. Surfing was being held underwater for a long time.
So, but you know what, when that happened, I still remember that instructor because I was very naive about the ocean. Yes. I mean, it’s not that I mean, it’s like Yes, sure waves here there. But I didn’t know how powerful the ocean is until I was being, you know, tumble around under water and the instructor he asked me is hey, where you want to go? You just went up there to Whitewater or you want to go in far out and I say well, let’s go far out. Happens. Right?
I don’t mean far out the pier, the Huntington Beach Pier. We were on the north side of it. Well, apparently that that was a big day. I didn’t know that what big was so the guy pushed me into the way I majest when down on the wave caught me and they just when I was underwater, you know, like, I don’t know if you heard that sometimes people when they’re about to die that all their memories have gone. Yes. Like no bullshit does what went through my mind, my childhood, my wife, kids everything it was because I was just I was drinking. I was just frowning.
Then, all of a sudden I just relax and that automatically just in, popped out of the water and on the next way, I was able to get up and go and when that happened, it was I felt like there was something that came that punch me My call or I mean made me feel wonderful like this and this is something that I’ve never felt before it was a moment of joy and being alive.
It’s a it really feels like there’s a weight lifted off your entire body because you’re weightless. It feels like right.
It was a very and I describe it as you know my son when he does my song when he was seven years old. Sometimes he will just wake up smiling. No reason. Yes, because I’m when that happened when I got that first way. That’s what I feel. I picture what is there something that he’s feeling at that moment when he’s sleeping, he’s waking up, and that smile is just happening. That’s exactly what I feel when I call that first wave. Now looking back in time, that wasn’t even a wave that was just–
You know what, man, you were on?
The most powerful force in the world, which is his nature. That’s, I think what’s really interesting that like, I can’t say, man, like I’ve got a few ways, but I don’t live near the ocean, man. I’m but my son Jude, by the way, shout out to June. He’s pretty good.
I think he has to get balance but um, but Yes, interesting how the ocean, you may think you are top shit, dude.
I’m a fucking Greenbrae. You know, you you’re like, I’m angry at the world, fuck the world, in the worlds like, hey, I can hold you under here until you die. Or I can let you harness me for a little bit and let you float effortlessly. On top of me. Right and it’s like, there’s a it’s almost a poem and it’s a song. It’s like, poetry in motion when you’re on a wave, right? Yes. It’d be skydiving and to be honest, to me, at least.
I mean, whenever I’m about to get into water i i cannot ask permission. In my head, I’m just thinking like, OK, please just be nice to meet you there. You know, let me let me get in your world like that.
I know. He does. He actually does talk. He has heard me talking too.
Let’s, fast forward just a little bit. Right. We’ve established both of you found powerful experiences, documenting experiences that made you feel small and by the way, when you feel small, don’t your problems feel a little bit smaller? Right, a lot smaller and so that’s why like, if you go out to the waves, and you have a… I watch. Back, alright, why would you ever watch out? I’m sorry. I’m going to say I’m sorry. Yes but would you like off topic a little bit? But wouldn’t you just recommend like, leave the watch?
I don’t know. I didn’t get a line on my watch because of that reason because I knew that I don’t even have to do it. I guess I live it. I live it in the vehicle. Yes, the times I go to the beach. If I know that I’m taking my kids. I know that it’s their time. Yes. So I’m I don’t I don’t serve I don’t bring my board nothing if I care about them but then the times that I go on my own is like OK, this is time and I completely disconnect from everything else and sometimes like Ricky will talk to me about some stuff and say Yes, OK. My mind I’m thinking shut off. Yes, actually said it.
You know what? We’re going to get into really quick here TF, how you’re one but I just want to like knowing that we’re about to talk about test scores. I do have one. Do you feel like that’s intruded on your stoke because now the waves are part of your it’s not business but you have responsibilities that are tied in with the ocean. No bummer. Not a bummer. A burden.
Anyway, I mean look when I when I, when I get into water, it’s to me is I go into water knowing that I’m nothing. OK? I’m completely so when I go in it’s like me surrendering to the ocean so that’s how I see it and that’s how that’s what worked for me it’s I go through the ocean by just surrender and saying you know what it is what it is let me ride some waves sometimes I’m doing OK sometimes I get nothing and you know and I get more angry when Rick is next to me constantly screaming and yelling. Oh god. Dude.
Brick has no chill when he’s trying to like when he’s with people in the waves he has no chill. Like, I’m like, dude, leave me alone. That’s why they Hey, that’s why my kids like surfing with Uncle Chad. No but OK, so how did you guys hook up in like, give me the nexus of Task Force Hydra one in the mission statement for fuck sake, let’s talk about it. Alright.
OK, so I’m just going to tell you my side of the story of how we can. So COVID happened way on was this on Backpage. They already closed that website but anyway, so the, you know, I’m very I was very, I’m still new to surfing but I seen raking in May for the poles. Every now and then I see him I definitely knew the truck, that big white truck with a with the stickers on the go around and, and I see him in the water every now and then but anyway, so I saw him this day and I was with two other guys there and I finally just– I don’t know if he say hi to me, or I say hi to you know, but anyway, so we were talking right and prior to that I was thinking about having a group of people that serve that wants to learn that just want to hang out in the water because to me, that’s what it was working for me and unquote, when my day to day–
A community you wanted to run.
I wanted a community I wanted a oneness. I wanted a place where even when you’re just quiet, you’re saying a lot. Yes. You know, so I remember that, you know, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that they you were struggling, there was something going on with you. That you weren’t you were not in a good headspace and for me was like it was just part of it, you know, so we started talking and then all of a sudden, I just share my idea when we were leaving about a group, having a group and doing this and doing that and–
But you guys just met and you’re like, Yo, we should be in a long term relationship.
Pretty much. That day, I mean, honestly, no bullshit, like, he is striking our grip back then. He just, you know, just from those few minutes that I met him, he is strike me as someone that will tag along or, you know, they helped me do what I’ve been wanting to do. Whenever I was talking to him about it, I still remember when I would not finish my sentence and he will say, Yes and I’m thinking like, this, what the fucker is saying yes to everything. Like, can you push back? That’s what I was thinking. So. So then that was the first conversation and then every now and then I will text him and say, Hey, how you doing this and that, and I used to keep bugging him about it but, he wanted me– You weren’t ready for it.
I had just, I just quit go up. OK, and I was getting ready to go up to Massachusetts, and I was COVID had just started right and I was getting ready to actually quit go rock and go into real estate. Right? But all my plans changed and COVID ever all the beaches got locked down. Remember All right, we had the only big shows open and I saw you out there and I just had a feeling he’s like to talk to you just like go say, Hi, this guy doesn’t have bad mood that day but whenever I talk to other people and just say, it sort of calms me down.
We started talking, and I was like, so, you know, it’s like, since I lived on Mayport and I only served on Mayport north and polar Navy side because of that incident. I had met a bunch of people on that side, a guy named Chris. Why Chris Whitehead, and my buddy, Roy, and all those guys, and we were all surfing and we survived COVID together. I mean, we all survived through COVID because we serve so freaking much. Right? We had no jobs, no arrows working remote. We had the only beach in North Florida that was open. All the other beaches were closed. There’s people call me like, Hey, man, remember me? I’m like, No, I remember you. By the way.
For this podcast. Ricky was laid off because of COVID from Dora, go ahead.
Yes. I’d say go ahead.
Yes, no, but so I had already like, people were telling me, because I’ve connected to all these guys when you’re on this, like, I chat. Right and just it was like, it’s really the beach. Let’s meet the beach, at the beach, right service, surfing, surfing, and then saw Leo talking like, wow, we should do this, you know and then I started going to AWS. I mean, I started going to Massachusetts and then my head was all messed up and I was like, Oh, my God, man is, you know, like, this guy keeps on bugging me. I want to do it but I feel like I’m letting them down. Right? I can’t 100% Do it. Yes. It was but something told me the beginning of 2021 reach out to Leo.
Now is the time, right? To do it. And we did it. I reached out to you and Leo have an experience with a lot of nonprofits and stuff right? In like, well, you serve organizations on my grip, because me you know, me, once I know I want to do something, I’m like impulsive, let’s just do it. Don’t slow down and they’re like, Ricky, let’s just try to do this and see when falling or need some other organization. Let’s not do that. Another LS you know, let’s not do this. I’m like, OK, and then the next day I call like, we’re an LLC. Right? Oh, a little bit immigrant. We courted some people, right? We’re like, hey, and they’re like, Oh, we want you to do this but your money’s coming here. We just didn’t like that. Plus, to me. Everything is on the west coast.
If our donors here and or donate money here, they don’t want to see their money going somewhere else. Right? They want to see localize. So I was like the only way and you know me if no one can do something as good as I want to do it. That’s just my you know, no one, even though they do something good. I can do it better.
I do my best to this man. Like, I’ve never been good enough. Right?
Yes and so we have said, this, take it easy, right? Let’s just run an organization, right? I mean, we can look into being a nonprofit. Next day, we were nonprofit. Right? And then I found out that Oh, shit, just get your nonprofit doesn’t mean you’re in 501 C3. Right and then, Lille had met this guy named Josh. Freaking great. In a different thing but then I meet Josh, I went on a search strike mission down to Cocoa Beach area and they meet Josh, I see Josh and I already know Josh, but he starts saying, hey, I want to start this thing. I hear you like, you want to start an organization and stuff.
I want to use my business to help you guys a t shirt business. Maybe I can make your T shirts you can get there. The funds from it. Yes. So just started and now Josh is a co-founder and our business advisor in the mission, man, really.
Let’S talk about that. OK, like what, like, what did you have to say verbatim? OK, but let’s talk about real quick before we get to the mission, because you have to you have to find a mission. Right, but like, Yes, Leo what?
I mean, what was it about the community in Did you immediately think, oh, veterans are people, first responders, people who are recovering from thanks.
Right. So the so the concept behind that it was because when I participate in this SURF program I wanted to have that same community here in Florida in this area.
Something else also it was that it was helping me, it was really, I can see the change in me, I can see the My wife, my kids can see the change, how I was just getting better and I figured, well, if this is helping me, it’s helping other. I’m sure it’s going to help other people and it was just that I figured, Well, if he’s helping me, it’s going to help someone else. Yes and there’s a lot of people that, that, that I knew that that’s there was surfing and so happens that we all have something in common, and we have something that is we’ll have some sort of struggle, whether it’s related to your to, to come back to childhood to a car accident, or rape or whatever the case we all struggle, somehow, some way.
So they know that about surfing, I didn’t know that a lot of people that a lot of people that I have come across not all but most of the people that have come across and in watersports, they all will have a common denominator that will have some struggle and we utilize surfing in this case, to cope with it to cope with your own struggles, whatever those struggles are, because I use them for me. Many of us use it for the same the same reason and the community, the community came to because like I said before, earlier when you’re surrounded by like-minded people or just people that understand, you know, you just you don’t feel alone, at least I mean, I don’t feel alone. Yes, positive people.
Right, you want to look forward to that next time it with those positive people and then when you’re at your lowest level, you don’t want to you don’t want to bring down the Stoke, right. Like, like, Yes, you talked about earlier about your own suicide attempt. Right?
We’ll have a common goal. Yes, we don’t we, we just don’t get in the water. Just because there’s a reason why we go there’s a reason why I get into water because I know that it’s going to that I know that. It’s going to help me it’s going to help me feel better, in a way.
That’s great, man. You wanted to read the mission statement and test for sad? You’re one. Yes.
It’s like, our mission is to come together as a community of Waterman for active duty military veteran first responders to actively help them cope with PTSD symptoms, depression, anxiety and suicide by creating a meaningful connection and sharing the healing powers of the ocean, rivers and lakes via outdoor physical and recreational activities.
When did you all have your first TF Hydro1 meeting?
What was that like? It was in April. Yes. I guess I still remember. I’m not even going to go. I thought he was April 17 2021. Yes, eight of us. Eight or nine of us.
Yes, I still I see. I see the picture every now and then I glanced at actually how to save us a stream. Yes and I see the pictures like, wow, like, there was only eight of us. Seven of us with the flag. Now how many?
There are sometimes 60 people or rotate through and one Saturday, like are stoking Saturdays every third Saturday of the month. You know? We’ll have like 60 people show up somewhere else like 100 total. Where? Hannah Park? Dolphin Plaza, Hannah Park in Jacksonville.
At the end, we’ll have you talked about that again but how was the surf on April 17?
There was no sir. Yes, it was windy. I remember they call. It was cold, windy and then our next event was May, right.
There was we serve about– I was about to go to homepage. Yes, I was I was in a bad spot that day. Yes.
Ocean, that’s an important point, man, the ocean surfing the community that doesn’t actually take away any of your problems. Now, it rewires your brain. it rewires your physiology where you just can deal with in a different way. Right. That’s one thing that our first guest on this podcast Bessel Vander Kolk talks about is you can’t ever make it go away.
That’s like what they told me what like, what the thing with Ben right?
Don’t ever go away that feeling of sorrow. Yes, like you miss them and you know, it just grief. Don’t ever go away. Just the way you deal with it. Yes.
We’re on two hours now. Most men, this is a great conversation. No, it’s great. I hope I’m not keeping you guys from something cool.
But let’s talk about a little bit.
Number one. Where can you find Taskforce? I do have one on the interwebs and stuff? Give the shout outs all the socials, we’ll put it on the show notes.
Number two, where can you surf with Task Force Hydro1?
Number three, what our Task ForceHydro1’s goals this year?
And number four, if you want to support Task Force Hydro1, how do we do that?
You can find us on the internet at our website at taskforcehydrothenumberone.org. Right and from there, you can see that we have lines of effort, which are surfing, surfboard shaping, and our palette button and then we also have a community chat. Once you’re in you come to one of our events and someone bet you right will bring you in our community chat, which within our community chat is it started off with one chat, right but then it got so popular to work are better in there with people that they serve together and it’s like we had to make like surf report and just talk surfer surfing stuff. Community chat where you can just go in there and talk all kinds of shit. Right? And then you have the power platoon right and you can talk paddle boarding and like canoe canoeing outrigger stuff and now we just have another one it’s the battle buddy fitness challenge chat right?
We’re our fitness challenge where guys are putting into workouts and all that so but you can find us every third Saturday at Dolphin Plaza Hannah Park in Jacksonville at 8am Rain or shine from 8am to 12pm We’ll be there you know that’s it’s consistent.
Right cold snowing, whatever, there’ll be one of us at least there with our flag flying high and our task force Hydro1 tent and when we do that one more there we have I can’t tell you how many boards and stuff we have boards for people to ride we have wetsuits to for people to use. We have volunteers to teach people how to surf. We have this people who just and you don’t have there is no kumbaya you know like it was come here you know when the army Mandatory Fun weekend, right? Like, hey, let’s have this awesome weekend over here but we got to go to this briefing and it’s counseling session for an hour. There’s none of that.
Right show up and sir and when you’re done, you can freaking leave me say hi to me. You don’t have to talk to me. Which we do have people like that, man. They just show up certainly. Right?
They show up. They don’t say anything cause or sometimes they don’t even get into water. They just sit there and I just look at them like OK, cool. I just want to be around us. Yes, like veterans in lawful because we got first responders, you know, because they suffer some type of trauma. Yes and they just, it’s just amazing and then now we got family members that come and so we got one guy, he’s a former sheriff. He sets up kids stuff in the back and the kids are playing. Right. It’s just we got an active duty now she’s active duty female surfer who’s also a chaplain. Right.
We named our unofficial official Chaplain Right and she’s leaving now going somewhere else, but she just wrote and texted that the new person is replacing her here and her reserve yet. He’s going to come out so we’re like, Alright, you got on your duties. Yes.
And the reason why we also wanted to open this to first responders is because there are so many programs out there out there for veterans and active duty. This is an I’m telling you that I’ve seen it where this is the time where you want to be a veteran right now, as for years, because there’s so much out there for you. There are so many resources for you to utilize now. Like I know hundreds of them how to use them all No, maybe I probably use two or three of them. Right but like I said, this is a time to be a veteran if you’re if you’re if you’re a veteran and you’re struggling is now because of lack of resources because the resources are there. It’s just because yes, you’ll want to and we think first responders need the opportunity.
Absolutely 100% and there’s some people who are both how do we help how does somebody give of their money time on the website as you go into the website all the way at the bottom you can see the PayPal link to it and also on the website we go off donations to either create one this case PayPal or it could also be by yours going to one of our one of our sponsors is a T shirt brand that liquid clothing brand liquid therapy which he what they do is they provide a shirt to us and it was they sell the shares and whatever we whatever they make out of it it’s 100% comes to comes to us awesome
Yes and gift one by the way. What are your goals for this year that those donations and contributions will support? So as you mentioned it really the lines of effort right but go ahead so the lines of effort right so once every at least once every three months we want to provide a a shaping lesson a hands on shaping surfboard shaping lesson where we got we’ve already had one right professional surfboard shaper in Brunswick, Georgia, Jeff from SSML. Surf, shout out great guy, right. Jeff Gable owns SNL.
So from Brunswick, he came down during our Christmas party in our shaping bay that we built for Task Force Hydra one and got with a veteran that we picked, and they shaped the board together. Right, showed him how to shape it, they shaped it and then they took it up to Brunswick and then they glassed it. Right. We want to provide that at least once every three months this initial year right before one veteran right that we pick. Our next is shout out to Ken White from Ken white surfboards in St. Augustine.
He’s volunteered he just recently won the shape off at the surf Expo in Orlando for the second time he’s volunteered to do the next one and we have other people down there and Cocoa Beach reaching out to help out so we want to provide the materials the instruction and this and the surfboard all for free for that bet and hopefully they take that therapeutic skill and use it wise are shaping Bay anytime they want to build another surfboard or pass it on. Beautiful.
Any thoughts of expanding to other cities?
No, not right now. Is a thing don’t come back tomorrow thinking oh, by the way, we got a chapter in San Diego or something.
OK, let me let me preface that. OK. I’ve already been hit up by people in Hawaii. Yes, right but before we do anything like that will expand into St. Augustine. Right because St. Augustine and Jacksonville are no big.
Guys are going to be like in and out right man California first and Arizona and Texas, Nevada. We just want to keep it simple. I get it man our goal so what he said to us Club was somewhat one of some of our goals for this year is so just I don’t know. We just want we want our… We play second our first outrigger canoe race. In Miami, we practice for a month. We be we be a carbon all carbon fiber. Canoe. Right? Yes and we were using a 400 pound canoe and things like 200 pounds. Right and we kicked it.
There 220 Pass. Yes, exactly. Right. But we just reached I recently, we have a goal of purchasing a six man outrigger that we have right now. Right, we’ve already had a donor reach out and pay for the storage for one whole year.
Just paddling in an outrigger is just like surfing and we just want provide that. So our goal is to raise enough money to buy that boat to pay for that boat. It’s at our use. Now I actually paid for it on my own my own bank account, but we want to use it for the club. Yes, and then just provide just good experiences, surfing lessons, we just paid for swimming lessons for one of our veterans who she loves surfing. I mean, she loves water sports but she’s not a strong swimmer. So we paid for swim lessons at the local Jewish Community Alliance.
Now that’s cool, dude.
Our whole concept is just basically to pay for. Right. So someone did it to me, someone brought me introduced me to surfing. So pass on. You know, I guess, you know, sharing this. So that’s Yes and like, we have said is, you know, it’s like, just on that just on that community chat. We’re not just meeting every third Saturday of the month, right? We got guys linking up every day now. Right? And then I’ve had people on this chat, text me on the side, say, I just want to let you know that this chat saved my life, on my way means, like, during this whole Afghanistan debacle, I’ve had guys that are prioritization that are like, the only survivor of ambushes or IDs in Iraq, right, that have texted me like, this text have saved my life during this. This chat, right saved my life during this whole Afghanistan debacle. Right? This is my new family, right? I mean, it’s just, it’s amazing to see the relationships that are spawning from this group.
That’s awesome, man and thank you guys for doing that. The community right now small, but these things spread like wildfire. Hopefully, they’ll spread to other places and people will get out of their dark places. Hey, real quick before we close out. We hear a veteran life in Return To Base podcast. Can’t let you go without telling me the most embarrassing story that you have from your military time. Let’s go Leo.
Come on. The look on his face just now. He knows exactly what he should say but I don’t know if he’s going to say, no, I can’t.
Ricky got shot in the neck in North Carolina. Hey, whoa. Warming his hands. Yes.
Fire. Can’t recall. That was embarrassing. With Green Berets. Most embarrassing things normally deal with shit and I don’t want to talk about it. Man not being able to find a bathroom.
Yes, well, if I had $5 for every time you proved yourself. See, that’d be rich. It’d be like, it’d be like $250 richer to come back when saw.
Anyways, I have an embarrassing story for Rick, but it’s more embarrassing for me. Rick visited me often for him one time too. Just a visit and he went. He’s like, Hey, man, let’s do PT with your team. Right? And I was like, alright, so I took him to go PT with my team and we’re sitting there and I’m like, my brother, and you know, he’s doing the big brother thing like being kind of an asshole and then he goes dude, shit. Before we went on, I’m like, Alright, go in the woods. So these like they’re, they resonate. are you brother? Yes, like he’s in the woods and he comes back and he literally had one side.
That’s my fam man but hey, I want to thank you guys the boys from high taskforce hydro run the cofounders and veterans. Family Ohana. Thank you guys for being with me and spreading the spreading the Stoke zone. Is that how it goes sharing the Stoke spreading the Aloha or whatnot.
And Yes thank you guys for being with Return to Base. This has been the longest episode so hopefully people were digging it and we’ll keep on so thanks, guys.
Thank you for sticking around to the end of this particular podcast. This was a bit longer than normal, obviously with two guests with such compelling stories. It takes a little bit longer. I want to thank Rick, my brother, and Leo for joining me on this podcast and for what they’re doing in Jacksonville Beach with Task Force Hydro1. It really does take a community to take a village take Ohana and them out there.
Sharing the Stoke spreading the Stoke, like they like to say is just you know, I can’t say enough about it. It’s something that needs to be done. They started it because it felt good for them but it’s grown into a much bigger family and if you’re out there in Jacksonville Beach, go check them out. You can find them at Task Force Hydro1.org That’s Task Force hydro, the number one.org. Also, thank you again for listening. If you’re a person who listens often, very much thank you for your support.
If you haven’t already, please subscribe to our podcast using whatever podcast service you listened to us on. We’d really appreciate it. Visit VeteranLife.com when you get a chance, read some of our blogs, make some comments, and share it with your friends. Until next time! Have a great day.
This is RTB signing off.