1 hr 20 min

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

    • History

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

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

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