175 episodes

Real combat stories from the military's elite. This podcast highlights the courageous, outrageous, crazy, and surreal experiences veterans recall from their toughest days in the foxhole, cockpit, and front lines. We interview JTACs, Special Operators (Delta), Special Forces, Jet Pilots, Combat Aviators, Infrantrymen, Marines, and vets from over 50 years of combat experience.Interviews touch on the toughest missions these vets faced, how they handled them, their first combat experiences, how they found their way to the military, and how they managed after leaving the combat behind.

Combat Story Ryan Fugit

    • History
    • 4.9 • 1.1K Ratings

Real combat stories from the military's elite. This podcast highlights the courageous, outrageous, crazy, and surreal experiences veterans recall from their toughest days in the foxhole, cockpit, and front lines. We interview JTACs, Special Operators (Delta), Special Forces, Jet Pilots, Combat Aviators, Infrantrymen, Marines, and vets from over 50 years of combat experience.Interviews touch on the toughest missions these vets faced, how they handled them, their first combat experiences, how they found their way to the military, and how they managed after leaving the combat behind.

    Epic Medal of Honor Battle Description | Marine Force Recon | Army Special Forces | Earl Plumlee

    Epic Medal of Honor Battle Description | Marine Force Recon | Army Special Forces | Earl Plumlee

    Today we have a once in a lifetime Combat Story with one of the few living Medal of Honor recipients from the war in Afghanistan: Earl Plumlee. Earl was a Marine infantryman, Force Recon team leader, and Special Forces Weapons Sergeant in the pre- and post-9/11 era.
    Earl would deploy multiple times with the Marine Corps and the Army, to include combat deployments with Force Recon and a historic deployment in 2013 with the his ODA where he would earn the Medal of Honor. 
    In this episode, we touch on both of Earl’s Recon deployments but spend a considerable amount of time walking through the battle in which he earned the Medal of Honor and in which his fellow Green Berets earned other medals for valor. It’s an amazing story to hear firsthand that includes a coordinated and lethal attack of a US installation in Ghazni, Afghanistan; suicide bombers; injured Americans; and several Green Berets who had never fought together operating as one element to repel the attack. 
    Earl’s work during this assault is amazing and almost impossible to imagine he didn’t get more gravely wounded. He had over 300 rounds of enemy fire directed at him from very close range, dozens of grenades lobbed his direction, and suicide vests detonating meters away.
    He now speaks out about civic duty and service and provides motivational and public speaking for customers around the world. Please enjoy this selfless story of a rare and living Medal of Honor with Earl Plumlee.
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    For 25% off your order, head to MadRabbit.com/COMBATSTORY25 and use code COMBATSTORY25.
    🔗 Find Earl Online:
    - Guest Speaker Website www.earlplumlee.com
    - Instagram earl_plumlee_official https://www.instagram.com/earl_plumlee_official/
    🔗 Find Ryan Online:
    - Ryan’s Linktree https://linktr.ee/combatstory
    - Merch https://www.bonfire.com/store/combats...
    - Instagram @combatstory https://www.instagram.com/combatstory
    - Facebook @combatstoryofficial https://fb.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Send us messages at https://m.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Learn more about Ryan www.combatstory.com/aboutus
    - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    👇 Show Notes:
    00:00 - Introduction
    01:02 - Guest Profile: Earl Plumlee
    02:25 - Start of Interview
    02:33 - Life As Medal of Honor Recipient
    07:02 - Childhood
    12:38 - Military Family History
    14:07 - Deciding to Serve
    16:33 - Recruitment Story
    22:26 - Basic
    24:58 - Mad Rabbit Tattoo Ad
    26:22 - Graduation from Marine Corps.
    31:14 - First Time Down Range
    39:14 - S.E.A.R. School
    39:42 - New Guy In Recon Unit
    43:04 - First Time Outside The Wire
    45:08 - Give Legacy Ad
    46:30 - Formative Moments
    53:38 - Losing Teammates
    55:35 - Hindsight Advice
    59:49 - Second Deployment
    01:0:52 - Second Deplyoment Difficult Moments
    01:01:52 - Special Forces
    01:07:21 - First Special Forces Deployment
    01:12:36 - Having Kids At Home While Deployed
    01:14:25 - Medal OF Honor Story
    02:06:58 - Battle Afterthoughts
    02:16:49 - Sentimental Items
    02:17:35 - Would You Do It All Again
    02:19:33  - Listener Feedback

    • 2 hr 22 min
    F-15E Pilot and Weapons Officer | Teaching Fighter Weapons School - Tom Moser and Mike Benitez

    F-15E Pilot and Weapons Officer | Teaching Fighter Weapons School - Tom Moser and Mike Benitez

    Today we have a Combat Story where we bring two F-15E Strike Eagle aviators - a front seater and backseater - together to talk about what it was like flying at the same time and some of the adventures that come with that life. Both Tom “Gunny” Moser and Mike “Pako” Benitez are decorated aviators, both Fighter Weapons School qualified and both former Marines (Tom an 0311 and Mike a helicopter aircrew member and door gunner). We interviewed both Gunny and Pako individually if you’re curious about their other near misses and danger close shots (or the origins of their call signs…Pako shared his call sign origin story with us on air for the first time!).
    Pako now distributes The Merge newsletter that provides an inside and more fun look at the defense industry with over 20K subscribers and hosts The Merge podcast. Gunny is now a commercial airline pilot flying domestic routes across the US. 
    Special thanks to Ryan “Stinger” Fishel for connecting us with these two vets and with that, please enjoy this rare opportunity to hear from two combat aviators together!
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    This episode was sponsored by Give Legacy.
    Listeners can use the code COMBATSTORY to get 10% off everything on the site
    You can find out more by going to www.givelegacy.com. That’s givelegacy.com. 

    🔗 Find Mike Online:
    - The Merge https://themerge.co/
    - The Merge Youtube https://www.youtube.com/@TheMergeMedia
    🔗 Find Ryan Online:
    - Ryan’s Linktree https://linktr.ee/combatstory
    - Merch https://www.bonfire.com/store/combats...
    - Instagram @combatstory https://www.instagram.com/combatstory
    - Facebook @combatstoryofficial https://fb.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Send us messages at https://m.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Learn more about Ryan www.combatstory.com/aboutus
    - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    👇 Show Notes:
    00:00 - Introduction
    00:55 - Guest Profile: Mike Benitez
    00:19 - Marines Becoming Friends
    03:28 - Mike and Tom First Meeting
    10:32 - Teachings in Fighter Weapons School
     22:25 - Mike's Close Calls
    31:09:12 - Tom's Close Calls
    41:44 - Flying Together Down Range
    51:16 - Working With Foreign Forces
    01:00:56 - Dropping Bombs
     01:28:09 - What Do You Miss Most
    01:36:48 - Listener Feedback

    • 1 hr 38 min
    Senior CIA Officer on Russia | Legendary Case Officer and Chief of Station | Glenn Corn

    Senior CIA Officer on Russia | Legendary Case Officer and Chief of Station | Glenn Corn

    Join our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan for people who love and support our veterans, service members, and their families. It has info on a significant event in military and/or intel history, a funny military joke, an update on a current event I'm following, something I'm doing that week in my life, a book I'm reading, a look at an upcoming interview, a reflection on a past episode and more!
    Today I’m so excited to share this Combat Story with a legend from the CIA spanning the First Cold War battling the Soviet Union, to the fall of the Berlin Wall, to the Counterterrorism refocus, and then the second Cold War with Putin’s Russia: Glenn Corn. 
    Glenn recently retired after 34 years of US government service that included time with the Army and State Department but, primarily, was with the CIA as Case Officer, Russia expert, and multiple time Chief of Station in some of the most important countries in the world for America’s security.
    In this interview, we delve into Glenn’s experience at the Agency, to include close calls, lessons learned, his command of foreign languages (Glenn’s a fluent Russian speaker) and where the Agency is going today, but we spend the entire second half digging into everything Russia, to include Putin’s motivations, Navalny’s death, the experience of the Russian people from the late 1980s until today, and what it would take for Putin’s reign to finally stop and give the Russian people a just leader.
    I’m good friends with Glenn’s brother, Gavin, who was sitting just off-screen during this interview, who also spent many years in government service with the Department of Justice. They come from a family that has given so much to this country and I’m so excited for you all to hear Glenn’s story for the first time.
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    🔗 Find Ryan Online:
    - Ryan’s Linktree https://linktr.ee/combatstory
    - Merch https://www.bonfire.com/store/combats...
    - Instagram @combatstory https://www.instagram.com/combatstory
    - Facebook @combatstoryofficial https://fb.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Send us messages at https://m.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Learn more about Ryan www.combatstory.com/aboutus
    - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    👇 Show Notes:
    00:00 - Introduction
    00:56 - Guest Profile: 
    02:13 - Start of Interview
    2:43 - Getting Out of CIA
    04:46 - Thoughts To Return To Russia
    06:09 - Interest In Government Service
    10:00 - Learning Languages
    15:29 - Time in Soviet Union
    19:55 - Challenging Moments
    22:19 - Bolotor Ad
    23:32 - Experience During 9/11
    27:26 - Children Going Into the Military
    29:00 - Mentorships
    33:10 - Losing Teammates
    40:37 - Planning and Executing
    45:25 - Misunderstandings of the Agency
    47:18 - First Time Outside the Wire
    50:44 - Give Legacy Ad
    52:05 - Aftermath of the First Mission
    59:27 - Pre and Post 9/11 CIA
    01:05:31 - Toughest Moments
    01:08:34 - Thoughts on Russia/Soviet Union
    01:23:47 - American/Russian Proxy Wars
    01:29:50 - Second Cold War
    01:34:11 - Russian Propaganda
    01:41:50 - Putin's Motivations
    01:45:29 - Theoretical Changes in Russia
    01:56:04 - Glenn's Book 
    02:01:54 - Sentimental Items
    02:030:06 - Would You Do It All Again?
    02:04:57 - Listener Feedback

    • 2 hr 8 min
    F-15E Weapons System Officer | Distinguished Flying Cross Recipient | Mike “Pako” Benitez (Round 2)

    F-15E Weapons System Officer | Distinguished Flying Cross Recipient | Mike “Pako” Benitez (Round 2)

    Join our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan for people who love and support our veterans, service members, and their families. It has info on a significant event in military and/or intel history, a funny military joke, an update on a current event I'm following, something I'm doing that week in my life, a book I'm reading, a look at an upcoming interview, a reflection on a past episode and more!
    In this second round interview with Mike “Pako” Benitez, we dig deep into a series of combat experiences in the air that you won’t believe, including a low pass to danger close strafing run covering two troops-in-contact almost simultaneously to Pako’s description of the operation where he earned his Distinguished Flying Cross (you’ll feel like you were in the cockpit with him).
    Mike now creates and distributes The Merge (themerge.co) newsletter - which has 20K subscribers - and podcast - which has 40 episodes as of this airing. The Merge brings defense and tech news and insights in a more lighthearted and interesting approach that I’m confident most listeners of Combat Story will appreciate!
    We only found Pako thanks to former guest Ryan “Stinger” Fishel who was a beneficiary of the tough love and tutelage of Pako (listen to the end to hear Pako’s commentary on Stinger - it will come as no surprise to those who listened to Stinger’s interview). Stay tuned for a follow-on episode next week with Pako and Tom “Gunny” Moser interviewed together about their experiences in Afghanistan and Syria leading units.
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    This episode was sponsored by Give Legacy.
    Listeners can use the code COMBATSTORY to get 10% off everything on the site
    You can find out more by going to www.givelegacy.com. That’s givelegacy.com. 

    🔗 Find Mike Online:
    - The Merge https://themerge.co/
    - The Merge Youtube https://www.youtube.com/@TheMergeMedia
    🔗 Find Ryan Online:
    - Ryan’s Linktree https://linktr.ee/combatstory
    - Merch https://www.bonfire.com/store/combats...
    - Instagram @combatstory https://www.instagram.com/combatstory
    - Facebook @combatstoryofficial https://fb.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Send us messages at https://m.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Learn more about Ryan www.combatstory.com/aboutus
    - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    👇 Show Notes:
    00:00 - Introduction
    00:55 - Guest Profile: Mike Benitez
    01:52 - First Fatality During Deployment
    13:20 - Tough on New Recruits
    20:47 - Harrowing Flights
    28:23 - Give Legacy Ad
    29:45 - Earning The DFC
    01:00:57 - Time in Syria
    01:09:54 - The Merge Newsletter and Podcast
    01:15:10 - Sentimental Items
    01:16:32 - Would You Do It All Again?
    01:16:55 - Story About Ryan Fishel
    01:18:20 - Closing Thoughts
    01:18:49 - Listener Feedback

    • 1 hr 20 min
    F-15E Weapons System Officer from Marine Helo Mechanic | Mike “Pako” Benitez (Round 1)

    F-15E Weapons System Officer from Marine Helo Mechanic | Mike “Pako” Benitez (Round 1)

    Join our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan for people who love and support our veterans, service members, and their families. It has info on a significant event in military and/or intel history, a funny military joke, an update on a current event I'm following, something I'm doing that week in my life, a book I'm reading, a look at an upcoming interview, a reflection on a past episode and more!
    Today we hear Round 1 of a two part Combat Story with former F-15E Strike Eagle Weapons Systems Officer (WSO) Mike “Pako” Benitez. In this episode, we follow Mike’s very unlikely path to the cockpit that begins with a career in the Marine Corps as a helicopter mechanic and aircrew member in the very first push into Afghanistan to fighting in Iraq during Fallujah II.
    Mike’s path is anything but direct as he found his way to becoming an expert tactician and aviator in the F-15E. Since retiring, Mike has gone on to create The Merge (themerge.co) newsletter - which has 20K subscribers - and podcast - which has 40 episodes as of this airing. The Merge brings defense and tech news and insights in a more lighthearted and interesting approach that I’m confident most listeners of Combat Story will appreciate!
    We only found Pako thanks to former guest Ryan “Stinger” Fishel who was a beneficiary of the tough love and tutelage of Pako (Stinger mentions a crusty older Weapons Officer during his interview who made Stinger look info up as opposed to handing it to him - that was Pako). Stay tuned for a follow-on episode after Rounds 1 and 2 with Pako to hear both Pako and Tom “Gunny” Moser be interviewed together about their experiences in Afghanistan and Syria leading units together.
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    This episode was sponsored by HelloFresh! Go to www.HelloFresh.com/combatstoryfree and use code combatstoryfree for FREE breakfast for life!
    Thanks to our sponsor, Mint Mobile. To get the new customer offer and your new 3-month unlimited wireless plan for just $15 a month, go to www.mintmobile.com/combatstory. Additional taxes, fees, & restrictions apply. 
    🔗 Find Mike Online:
    - The Merge https://themerge.co/
    - The Merge Youtube https://www.youtube.com/@TheMergeMedia
    🔗 Find Ryan Online:
    - Ryan’s Linktree https://linktr.ee/combatstory
    - Merch https://www.bonfire.com/store/combats...
    - Instagram @combatstory https://www.instagram.com/combatstory
    - Facebook @combatstoryofficial https://fb.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Send us messages at https://m.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Learn more about Ryan www.combatstory.com/aboutus
    - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    👇 Show Notes:
    00:00 - Introduction
    00:52 - Guest Profile: Mike Benitez
    02:13 - Start of Interview
    02:37 - PAKO Callsign
    07:45 - Finding Aviation
    10:03 - Family Military Background
    11:17 - Recruitment
    13:43 - Bootcamp
    21:29 - Time in Marines
    23:43 - 9/11
    33:23 - Hello Fresh Ad
    34:37 - Time As A Mechanic
    40:15 - First Raid Outside the Wire
    50:25 - Reenlistment to Weapons Officer
    01:06:30 - Mint Mobile Ad
    01:07:51 - Transition From Marines to Air Force
    01:11:12 - Path to Strike Eagle
    10:18:24 - Welcome to First Air Force Unit
    01:20:00 - First Operational Squadrant
    01:39:07 - First Danger Close
    01:42:02 - First Fatality
    01:42:03 - Listener Feedback

    • 1 hr 43 min
    Inside Look at The Unit (not Delta Force) from Operator Adam Gomal | Getting Shot | Taking Out HVTs

    Inside Look at The Unit (not Delta Force) from Operator Adam Gomal | Getting Shot | Taking Out HVTs

    Join our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan for people who love and support our veterans, service members, and their families. It has info on a significant event in military and/or intel history, a funny military joke, an update on a current event I'm following, something I'm doing that week in my life, a book I'm reading, a look at an upcoming interview, a reflection on a past episode and more!
    Today we have an amazing Combat Story with someone from the very elite Special Missions Unit community who was part of an organization still referred to only as The Unit for operational security purposes: Adam Gomal. Not to be confused with Delta Force (which is also often referred to as The Unit), this SMU blended intel and special operations in combat and non-combat theaters and remains highly secretive and rightly so.
    Adam recently wrote a fantastic book - the first about this organization - titled “The Unit: My Life Fighting Terrorists as One of America’s Most Secretive Military Operatives” that details the experiences of someone operating in this shadowy, kinetic, and clandestine world so other fellow unit operators would have something they can point much the way DEVGRU and Delta can explain the great work they did by referencing other excellent books written about those experiences.
    Since the work remains so secretive, however, you’ll notice we’ve implemented some controls to protect Adam’s identity, including not clearly showing his face on camera and distorting his voice. We are able to vouch for Adam’s experience thanks to previous guests who know him personally and worked with him directly. Additionally, Adam’s book went through the lengthy publication review process with DoD, indicating his story is, in fact, legitimate.
    With that, please enjoy this amazing story from an epic and unlikely upbringing in Egypt to being ambushed downrange, shot in the stomach, surveilling HVTs, and delivering missile strikes that have a 90 minute time of flight, and more from one of the very, very few cleared to talk about their experiences.
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    Thanks to our sponsor, Mint Mobile. To get the new customer offer and your new 3-month unlimited wireless plan for just $15 a month, go to www.mintmobile.com/combatstory. Additional taxes, fees, & restrictions apply. 
    🔗 Find Adam Online:
    - The Unit: My Life Fighting Terrorists as One of America's Most Secret Military Operatives
    https://www.amazon.com/Unit-Inside-Americas-Secret-Military-ebook/dp/B09Y457JN5
    🔗 Find Ryan Online:
    - Ryan’s Linktree https://linktr.ee/combatstory
    - Merch https://www.bonfire.com/store/combats...
    - Instagram @combatstory https://www.instagram.com/combatstory
    - Facebook @combatstoryofficial https://fb.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Send us messages at https://m.me/combatstoryofficial
    - Learn more about Ryan www.combatstory.com/aboutus
    - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
    Join hundreds of others with our weekly Combat Check-In Newsletter (www.combatstory.com/newsletter) to get a short email from Ryan each week about the show, life, and the military.
    👇 Show Notes:
    00:00 - Intro
    08:36 - Connecting with Foreign Fighter Through Interrogation
    16:26 - The American Dream: Coming to America with $500 and no English
    36:04 - Mint Mobile Ad
    59:59 - First deployment
    01:05:15 - Close calls in an Arms Market
    01:09:50 - Getting shot downrange and fighting your way out
    01:24:16 - Deciding to stay in or get out after being shot
    01:26:22 - Hostile counterintelligence environment and Embassy attack
    01:31:07 - Tracking down a high value target and delivering a TLAM
    01:46:15 - The Operator Syndrome
    01:54:42  - Listener Feedback

    • 1 hr 57 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
1.1K Ratings

1.1K Ratings

Georgia Boy US sailorman ,

Outstanding

Great interview with Greg Stanson. It was very informative and interesting being able to learn and listen to a SIGINT person.

S UTECHT ,

Happy listener

I found your podcast when you were a guest on Jack Carr’s podcast. Your story was so interesting. Thought I’d check it out. It’s fantastic. Working through them at work. Keep it up. You rock. !!!! Thanks so much. Sandy Utecht

Ewan Petty ,

Fantastic Podcast

This podcast is an excellent podcast ( which I love I totally recommend!!)

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