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Special operations military news and straight talk with the guys in the community. Hosted by former military operators. As seen ranked #1 in Apple Podcasts government category.
Updated: 16 hours 22 min ago

Episode 548: Jacob Sotak, SOFREP Editor in Chief

Fri, 01/15/2021 - 11:00

Jacob is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan in the early 2000's as part of a Civil Affairs team. After his service, which included a stint at the Presidio of Monterey Defense Language Institute where he studied Arabic, Jacob relocated to New York City. In New York he worked for the New York Times and several other companies before joining forces with SOFREP as Editor in Chief.

In this sit down with Jacob, we hear some stories from OEF and how he came to lead the team at SOFREP. Moreover, we get a glimpse at where SOFREP is headed and how the publication will refresh itself in the new year.

Be sure to tune in as we put Jacob on the hot seat!

Editor's Note: This episode was recorded the morning of January 6th. 

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Episode 547: Editor's Round Table Featuring Steve Balestrieri, Sean Spoonts and Jacob Sotak

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 11:00

This week on SOFREP Radio we decided to shake things up a bit. While we had a standard-issue podcast lined up for you, we thought we would take a moment to discuss the events that unfolded in Washington D.C. on January 6th — and the aftermath — in a segment we're calling Editor's Round Table.

SOFREP contributor Sean Spoonts, Senior Editor Steve Balestrieri and Editor in Chief Jacob Sotak dive into the protest-turned-insurrection and try to answer some of the questions banging around the internal channels at SOFREP. What actually happened?Is what we witnessed sedition, or the impassioned outcry of American patriots? Who is responsible for the actions of the mob that entered the Capitol building? And what does this moment mean for our national security? 

Like so many Americans who are struggling to wrap their heads around the events that unfolded, our editorial team has more questions than answers. But, despite our differences in opinion, we believe the only way to approach clarity is through discussion and the sharing of differing perspectives.

We hope this first foray into the Editor's Round Table helps start a conversation among our listeners and, if we're lucky, sheds a little light on what we believe hangs in the balance.

And, in the name of discussion, we extend to you an invitation: Send us your thoughts at [email protected]. What did we miss? What do you think about the events of January 6th?

Editor's Note: This conversation was recorded on January 7th. At the time of recording, President Trump had not released his video statement acknowledging the event and committing to a peaceful transfer of power on January 20th.

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Episode 546: Delta Force CSM Tom Satterly (Retired) and Jen Satterly

Fri, 01/01/2021 - 11:00

We are honored to host Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Tom Satterly and his wife Jen in this very special episode of SOFREP Radio, and the first of the new year.

Tom served in the United States Army for twenty five years. Not long after joining the Army in 1986, he passed the Special Forces Q Course and became a Green Beret. By 1991, Tom had moved to Delta Force where he served for the next 20 years deploying on countless missions across the globe.

Most notably, Tom served in Somalia and fought in the Battle of Mogadishu — the longest sustained firefight in military history since the Vietnam War — which was depicted in the oscar-winning 2001 film Black Hawk Down.

But for all Satterly's combat missions, his struggle with depression, pain and PTSD was the battle that nearly broke him. It was Jen who spotted something wrong and saved Tom from a suicide attempt. Tom's battle with PTSD took on a new light, and together, Tom and Jen started the All Secure Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to support struggling servicemembers and families and equip them with the tools and skills to emerge from their individual battles stronger and more resilient.

In this episode, Tom and Jen discuss his deployments, his struggle with PTSD and their ongoing mission to end veteran suicide.

This episode is not only the story of the Satterlys, but also a reminder to the families and friends of servicemembers and veterans; our fighting men and women need our support and resources like the All Secure Foundation — among many others — are out there to help, as Tom and Jen so poignantly remind us.

We at SOFREP hope this episode encourages you to reach out to veteran or servicemember in your life and remind them they are not alone.

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Episode 545: Joe Kent, Special Forces Veteran and Gold Star Husband

Fri, 12/25/2020 - 11:00

It's Christmas Day and we are honored and humbled to bring you an exclusive interview with veteran Joe Kent. Kent is a former Army Ranger who went on to join Special Forces Fifth Group where he logged eleven combat tours in Iraq and elsewhere. Kent rose to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer before leaving the SOF community.

In addition to his decades of service in U.S. Army Special Operations, Kent is also a Gold Star husband. His wife, Shannon Kent, was a U.S. Navy intelligence operative who was killed while serving in Syria in 2019.

In this very special episode of SOFREP Radio, we talk with Kent about his service in Iraq and Yemen, hear his thoughts on the missteps the U.S. has taken in the wars in the Middle East, and share in remembering the heroic service of his wife.

Here is a recent video about Kent's experience and his stance on the 'Endless Wars.'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfCHddpPEyU

We're honored to have Joe Kent on this special Christmas episode; his story and his service is emblematic of the kind of selfless service carried out by so many in our armed forces and Special Operations units.

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Episode 544: Bing West, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense, Author 'The Last Platoon'

Fri, 12/18/2020 - 12:15

This week on SOFREP Radio we were joined by Bing West, Marine Force Recon veteran, former Assistant Secretary of Defense to the Reagan administration and prolific author. In this episode, West walks us through his latest book, The Last Platoon, and talks about the Corps, the war in Afghanistan and much much more.

Read our full review of West's latest book on SOFREP.

About Bing West

During the Vietnam War, he was a platoon leader in Force Recon leading over 100 combat patrols. When his tour (66-68) was completed, the Corps asked him to write a guide for Marines coming into the country. The guide was titled Small Unit Action in Vietnam and the military published over 100,000 copies of it.

Bing West spent time in Afghanistan with Marines on the ground when he was 70 years old.

Afterward, Bing served as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan administration. His son, Owen West, was also a Marine officer in Force Recon. Owen later became the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict under General Jim Mattis with whom Bing has co-authored a book.

Bing has authored 10 books centering on the Marine Corps. Many of them are about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan where he made about 40 trips and spend time on the battlefields and with Marines in the field.

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Episode 543: Jeff Nyce, 30-Year SWAT Veteran and Author of 'Failure's Not an Option'

Fri, 12/11/2020 - 14:25

This week on SOFREP Radio we welcome Jeff Nyce, an over 30-year veteran of SWAT — 1981 to 2014 — who held the roles of operator, team leader and commander. Nyce completed over 4500 raids barricades with Montgomery Country SWAT during his time in uniform.  

Nyce participated in some of the most highly publicized events in law enforcement history, which generated national and even international attention, including the takedown of the DC snipers. He also involved in a hostage rescue incident by a lone-wolf domestic terrorist who the FBI determined was “the first suicide bomber with hostages in the United States” at the Discovery Headquarters Building in Silver Spring, Maryland, and the capture of a violent group of serial bank robbers featured on John Walsh’s America’s Most Wanted.

At the height of his career as a SWAT commander, Nyce was struck down by two diseases that at the time were deemed terminal with no available cure: multiple myeloma cancer and cardiac amyloidosis. Doctors told him that he had less than two years to live—at best.

Nyce prepared for what would be the greatest fight of his life. He overcame many obstacles, including “coding” in 2013 during a stem- cell transplant that required chest compressions and saline to bring him back to life and then a stroke precipitated in 2015 by the chemotherapy he was undergoing to forestall the myeloma and amyloidosis.

To get through, Nyce applied lessons learned from his years in SWAT: “Never complain, never quit, and the mission comes first. Failure’s not an option as it relates to the mission.” Nyce's mission was simple: survive.

Eight years have passed since his initial diagnosis, and Nyce is still alive and in remission. By all medical accounts, Nyce has defied the odds.

Nyce's memoir, Failure is Not an Option consists of three elements: high-profile SWAT operations; his medical journey; and lessons on fitness, diet, and drug routines that have helped Nyce manage these medical obstacles and improve his quality of life.

Don't miss this great episode of SOFREP Radio. 

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Episode 542: Mike Sarraille, Retired Navy SEAL, Author of The Talent War

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 11:00

Mike Sarraille is the CEO of EF Overwatch, an executive search firm and talent advisory, and senior leadership consultant with Echelon Front. He is a former Recon Marine, Scout-sniper, and retired US Navy SEAL officer with twenty years of experience in Special Operations, including the elite Joint Special Operations Command.

Sarraille is also the author of The Talent War, a mandate for harnessing talent in business to achieve growth and hit targets:

"In this hypercompetitive business environment, the war for talent has never been more important, nor more complex than ever. Of 800 CEOs and 600 other C-suite executives polled in 2019, the overwhelming majority cited the ability to attract and retain top talent as their number one concern.

"You need to attract and retain the best talent for your organization to win, but without the right strategy or mindset, you won’t be able to compete. After all, your PEOPLE— not your product or service—are your strongest competitive advantage.

"The Talent War explores how U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) assess, select, and develop their world-class talent. You’ll learn how to adopt a talent mindset, the single greatest weapon you can possess in the war for talent. When your organization reflects this mindset, you will hire, train, and develop the right people, and put them in the best positions to make decisions that allow you to retake the advantage and win the war."

Don't miss this episode of SOFREP Radio.

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Episode 541: Sam Culper, Former Intel NCO and CEO of Forward Observer

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 14:10

This week, SOFREP Radio Host Steve Balestrieri sits down with Sam Culper, CEO of Forward Observer.

Forward Observer is an Intelligence services company specializing in threat intelligence, trend analysis, conflict monitoring, and applied intelligence training. Culper started Forward Observer in 2012 when he transitioned out of the military intelligence community. He began looking at unrest in the United States and started to see indicators of low-intensity conflict — from both the left and the right — and began to track those indicators much like a military intelligence cell would.

Culper and his team at Forward Observer use evidenced-based reasoning and structured analytic techniques to think clearly about the future of American conflict.

They work to challenge status quo thinking about instability, collapse, systems disruption, and conflict through weekly analysis and intelligence reporting. They have a proven track record of offering high level, accurate insights and perspectives.

Listen in this week to increase your situational understanding, make better decisions, and reduce your uncertainty about the future.

Don't forget to check out Forward Observer, here.

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Episode 540: Kevin Maurer, Acclaimed Journalist and Author of 'Rock Force'

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 11:00

This week we rolled back the clock with journalist and author Kevin Maurer as we talk about his most recent book Rock Force: The American Paratroopers Who Took Back Corregidor and Exacted MacArthur’s Revenge on Japan.

Corregidor, as known as “The Rock” or the “Gibraltar of the East” was the scene of one of the worst defeats in American military history. Corregidor was the largest of four fortified islands protecting the mouth of Manila Bay. It had been fortified prior to World War I with powerful coastal artillery. It was relatively small, just 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide at its head, and only two miles from Bataan. Its widest elevated area, known as Topside, held most of the fort’s 56 coastal artillery pieces and installations. A labyrinth of tunnels connected the gun emplacements that housed 1,000 troops and a hospital.

After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and invaded the Philippines, Corregidor came under siege from December 29, 1941, through April 1942. After the fall of Bataan, the Japanese landed troops on Corregidor. The bloody fighting continued until May when General Jonathan Wainwright, who commanded the American and Filipino forces after General MacArthur’s evacuation, surrendered.

By late 1944, the war had turned and MacArthur was leading a monumental, but unnecessary, campaign to retake the Philippines. Thus, retaking “The Rock” was of huge symbolical importance to the Americans.

Rock Force has been called a "genuine, compelling and utterly riveting" account of the harrowing fight for Corregidor in a way that "captures the language and trappings of World War II." It's truly a must-read for any history buff.

Maurer is a very experienced author. He spent time embedded with Special Forces operators in Afghanistan and with the 82nd Airborne. He also co-wrote the book No Easy Day with Navy SEAL Mark Owen that recounts the raid that took out Osama bin Laden. So, he knows how to tell a military story.

Don't miss our full review of Kevin's book Rock Force on SOFREP.

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Episode 539: David "Bull" Gurfein, CEO of United American Patriots

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 11:00

This week we're honored to host Lt. Colonel David "Bull" Gurfein, CEO of United American Patriots.

For the uninitiated, United American Patriots is military advocacy group that works to defend service members accused of crimes while in service.

UAP works with professional fundraising organizations to generate contributions for each service member, and uses those funds for attorneys’ fees, court costs, for family members to travel to the penitentiary and/or court hearings, and, for those released from confinement, UAP funds reintegration efforts like vocational training, psychological counseling, and offers stipends for housing and necessities.  

Over the past thirteen years, UAP’s sponsorship has helped dozens of combat Service members defend themselves at trial, upon appeal, and before military boards to upgrade discharges, thereby positioning these warriors for successes in civilian life.

Most recently, UAP has helped raise awareness about the MARSOC 3, and assisted in the parole and release of 1SG John Hatley.

Lear more about UAP's mission, HERE.

About Lt Colonel Gurfein

Lt Colonel Gurfein enlisted in the Marines at 17, completed Boot Camp at Parris Island and went on to become the Honor Graduate from Officer Candidate School, Meritoriously Augmented as a 2nd Lieutenant out of The Basic School, and served as a Marine Corps Infantry Officer.

With 25 years of service, he retired as a Lt Colonel after leading Marines operationally and in combat around the world - From a Rifle Platoon in the jungles of Panama; to a Mortar Platoon across the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; to a Rifle Security Company on the fence-line at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; to a team of Future Operations Planners in the mountains of Afghanistan; to a Special Operations Task Force during the initial assault into the cities of Iraq; and as a Congressional Liaison on Capitol Hill for both the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, and the Marine Special Operations Command.

LtCol. Gurfein also has extensive business executive management experience in diverse highly-competitive industries. To include as the CEO for ArmorSmith, defense technology; SVP and Partner with Holden International, business development consultants; VP for The Venetian and The Palazzo, five-diamond resorts in Las Vegas; National Sales Manager for MV Sport/Weatherproof, emblazoned sports apparel; COO for TeleVend, e-commerce start-up; and Associate with Goldman, Sachs & Co, Wall Street investment bank.

In 2016, LtCol. Gurfein ran for U.S. Congress in NY’s 4th District and was endorsed by 5 parties (Republican, Conservative, Independence, Tax Revolt, and Reform). Although he lost, with over 40% of the vote (120k votes) he did far better than most expected he would as a first-time candidate in a predominantly Liberal Democratic district.

LtCol. Gurfein received his MBA from Harvard Business School and BS in Speech Communication and Political Science from Syracuse University.

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Episode 538: Gretchen Smith, Veteran, Founder of Cod of Vets

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 14:00

Today we sit down with Gretchen Smith, founder of Code of Vets. With Veterans Day right around the corner, we thought it was high time we talked about Code of Vets, a non-profit organization which works to raise money through small personal donations and deliver it directly to veterans in need.

Code of Vets is a 501c3 that exclusively uses social media to raise donations and awareness for veterans in crisis and/or in need. With more than 340,000 followers just on Twitter (they have a following on Facebook as well), Code of Vets has raised over $2MILLION in two years to help thousands of veterans with suicide prevention, housing, food, clothing, medical and transportation just to name a few — with only 2% operating costs — nearly every penny that came in went right back out to veterans.

Veterans receive near immediate care/assistance upon request because of their unique platform. Code of Vets has caught the attention of celebrities and public figures alike including Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Sidney Powell, Larry The Cable Guy, Oak Ridge Boys, Scott Baio, Herschell Walker and Charlie Daniels.

The inspiration for Code of Vets came from Sgt. Danny E. Smiley, Gretchen's dad and Airborne Angel. He was a Bronze Star Medal recipient, a 100 percent disabled Vietnam Veteran - exposed to agent orange. He lost his battle with PTSD at age 57.

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Episode 537: Eric Davis, Former Navy SEAL Sniper, Author and Leadership Trainer

Fri, 10/30/2020 - 06:35

This week, we welcome back to the show SOFREP friend and SOFREP Books author Eric Davis.

Eric Davis is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and decorated veteran of the War on Terror. Eric has been recognized as one of the premier sniper instructors in the U.S. military and has served as a Master Training Specialist at the SEAL sniper school.

Eric spent years developing, writing and executing curriculum for the SEAL Teams. By leveraging his expertise in the development of systems, structures, processes and practices Eric was instrumental in significantly reducing the failure rate, of Naval Special Warfare’s internationally recognized Sniper course. Since departing from the SEAL teams, Eric has worked in corporate performance, sales and leadership training bringing an unprecedented amount of innovation, efficiency and structure to the domain of business and personal performance.

In his new webinar course, Eric shares his experience as a Navy SEAL instructor and help you apply three core lessons to life and breathing through to the next level. Tune in to learn about the webinar and Eric's 'Tribe 215.' 

Learn more here.

Eric is the author of "Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEALs Learned from Their Training and Taught to Their Sons" and "Habits of Heroes: Being the Hero in Your Own Life"

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Episode 536: Donnie Edwards, Legendary NFL Linebacker and Founder of Best Defense Foundation

Fri, 10/23/2020 - 12:15

For many, Donnie Edwards is known as a gridiron grinder. A fourth round draft pick out of UCLA who played for thirteen seasons on the NFL — eight with the Kansas City Chiefs and six with the San Diego Chargers — Donnie earned a reputation for doling out hit and having hands. During his time in the NFL he logged 23.5 sacks and 28 interceptions, just nine short of the NFL record for most interceptions by a linebacker.

But for all his football fame, Edwards has come to be known in veteran and military circles for his veterans organization, The Best Defense Foundation.

The Best Defense Foundation's main focus is brining closure to WWII veterans by returning them to the battlefields where they once fought. Edwards and his foundation have helped hundreds of veterans return to battlefields from Normandy to Iwo Jima, some of whom had not set foot in those places since the war.

The Best Defense Foundation has also added to its mantle a mission for Special Forces soldiers. Dubbed simply the Transition Program, Edwards and BDF reintegrate SOF soldiers by "combining concepts from the battlefield with ideas forged on the gridiron" through "unique retreats that preserve bonds of brotherhood while providing tools and services that equip and empower our veterans to move forward."

Tune in to this week's episode to learn more about the Best Defense Foundation and hear tales from the ground from gridiron great Donnie Edwards.

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Episode 535: Paul Bruno, Historian and Author of 'The Original Jeeps'

Fri, 10/16/2020 - 12:00

This week we welcome historian and author Paul Bruno to the show.

Paul is an early Jeep historian who has just released a new book with MFM Publishing called The Original Jeeps, the true story of how the US Army created the Jeep some 80 years ago.

He has spent more than 20 years researching, writing and studying early Jeep history. He visited key sites in this story, including the United States National Archives, and combined his knowledge of project management and history in his first book, Project Management in History: The First Jeep, published in 2014. The Original Jeeps further tells the story of early Jeep history and continues his journey into the depths of this important inspirational work of human ingenuity.

Any historian, automotive buff, Jeep fan, or World War II enthusiast will love what he has to say.

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Episode 534: Jay Dobyns, the Federal Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated the Hell's Angels

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 10:00

In this week's episode we rolled up our sleeves with Jay Dobyns, a tough-as-nails undercover federal agent who served for twenty-seven years before retiring in 2014.

He achieved worldwide notoriety as one of history's most daring undercover operators during high-octane missions targeting America's violent crime. Often playing the role of a shrewdly-calculating hitman or mob debt collector infiltrating scores of deadly criminal enterprises while living among street and prison gangs, anti-government extremists, gunrunning groups, drug traffickers and organized crime members, bomb builders, home invasion robbery crews and "murder-for-hire" suspects.

A defense attorney once described Jay as: "...a government-trained ‘Predator’ repeatedly sent on seek and destroy missions in search of drugs, guns and violence, with instructions to succeed at any cost and without regard for the agent himself or those he crosses paths with.”

Jay is perhaps best known for his landmark effort against the notorious Hells Angels. He was the first-ever lawman to defeat the gang’s multilayered security measures getting inside to become a member of their legendary Skull Valley charter.

Jay's book about that investigation - No Angel, My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels - is a New York Times and international bestseller.

His follow-up book - Catching Hell, A True Story of Abandonment and Betrayal - is a bestselling memoir that details the events of his life and career.

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Episode 533: Javier Peña and Steve Murphy, the DEA Agents Who Took Down Pablo Escobar

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 10:00

During his heyday, Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel were pushing an estimated 70-80 tons of cocaine into the U.S. every month. DEA agents Javier Peña and Steve Murphy were stationed in Colombia and were assigned to take down Escobar and the Medellin cartel.

Many Americans had no idea who Murphy and Pena were until the Netflix series “Narcos” was released. And although the series, like all Hollywood films, took some liberties with the true story, it finally brought Murphy and Pena to the forefront.

The DEA agents worked in Medellin out of the police force base and were part of the Search Bloc (Bloque de Búsqueda), the CNP’s Special Operations unit in charge of the search for Escobar. The task force also included members of Delta Force, Navy SEALs, NSA, and CIA. It was the CIA that both Murphy and Peña remember as being as much at odds with the DEA as it was with the cartel.

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