Welcome to Urban Valor, where we hear the stories of our veteran heroes in their own words. Within these vet interviews, you'll hear everything from combat stories, life stories pre/post military, military transition, and everything in between. Our interviews aren't just war stories or combat veteran interviews, but interviews from any military veteran willing to share. Our mission is to educate the masses with what military veterans go through while serving their country and how life has been since their military transition back to civilian life. Join our cause, online community, and show your support for Urban Valor at https://urbanvalor.com
Marine Captain Loses Fiancé In Osprey Crash 58 Days Before Wedding
This week’s Urban Valor episode features Marine Captain Kelsie Hancock.
Kelsie grew up in Southern Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, fishing and crabbing. She went to school across the street from Patuxent River Naval Air Station and would watch the jets fly over and knew she wanted to be a Marine since the 4th grade. During her enlistment, Kelsie was reunited with a former school colleague at a camping trip in Zion National Park, Marine Captain, and V-22 Osprey Pilot Nick Losapio.
The two hit it off, started dating, and became engaged. Unfortunately, Captain Nick Losapio was killed during an Osprey crash in June of 2022, 58 days before he and Kelsie were set to be married. Kelsie has since reenlisted in the Marines as a reserve officer to help her get back on her feet and honor what Nicked loved to be with his comrades.
This is a devastating listen, so we ask you to show your love and support for Kelsie Hancock as she courageously and openly shares her story without fear or holding back.
We're honored and appreciative of Kelsie's willingness to share her story with Urban Valor and co-founder Josh Guiterrez.
If you haven't yet, please LIKE THE PODCAST to show love to Kelsie and Urban Valor.
Please Comment with your support and/or any questions you have for Urban Valor, and we'll answer them asap.
Please Subscribe and click the "bell notification" so you NEVER miss an episode of Urban Valor. We put out weekly episodes on all major social media, have a podcast, and, coming very soon, a website where veterans can virtually share their stories. We'll transfer your story (if you choose) to the Urban Valor community!
As a marine veteran who lost the love of her life, Nick Losapio, Kelsie Hancock is sharing her story to help give other veterans the confidence to share their military stories and for combat veterans to share their war stories as well. Talking to people and opening up about your feelings helps, and we at Urban Valor want nothing less than for our veterans to get the help and support they truly deserve.
Underwater Mine Blows Up Navy Ship & Helicopter Crashes In Somalia
This week’s Urban Valor episode features Navy veteran, Johnnie Garcia. Johnnie grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood in Los Angeles, CA. His brothers were part of the gang culture and killed far too early. Johnnie enlisted in the Navy to escape from the trouble he was getting into. While in the Navy he spent time on the USS Tripoli, which was struck by an underwater mine while Johnnie and several hundred other personnel were aboard. On a separate deployment, Johnnie thought he was going to die while on a helicopter that crashed on the beach in Somalia. He leaves us with the struggle of transitioning back into the civilian world and what he does to continue onward and upward.
Major thank you to Johnnie Garcia for sitting down for his veteran interview and sharing his story with us! We appreciate his service as well as his willingness to share and transparency about his military transition.
It's incredible what Johnnie faced and overcame, and we're honored he sat down with Urban Valor's Josh Gutierrez to share his veteran story on Urban Valor.
Bouncing Betty Mines Kill 12 Marines & Wound 16 In Vietnam
This week’s Urban Valor episode features Marine Vietnam veteran, Ron Galasso. Ron grew up poor in Los Angeles, CA. He enlisted during the draft and said he chose the Marines because they were taking fewer casualties than the Army in Vietnam. Ron enlisted into the infantry as a rifleman, but quickly got selected to become a reconnaissance Marine. He says bouncing betty mines were a big problem for them in Vietnam and describes a time the mines killed 12 Marines and injured 16 more. Ron received two purple hearts for his time in Vietnam. He leaves us with how enduring so much trauma in the Marines affected his transition back into the civilian world.
We are so honored to sit down with Ron Galasso, Marine Vietnam Veteran, because a lot of the previous generation of veterans (and still many today, of course) feel they need to hold in information and avoid talking about their mental traumas or acknowledge their PTSD symptoms.
Ron steps up here not only as an example for all generations of Veterans to open up and share, but he's also an advocate for mental health in the military for combat veterans, and we're so fortunate to be able to share his story, advice, and support through our Urban Valor network and community!
Marine Combat Veteran Born Addicted To Drugs Goes From Homeless to R&B Artist! 🎤
This week’s Urban Valor episode features Marine veteran, Elliott Mckenzie. Elliot was born addicted to drugs because of his mother’s drug use while pregnant. He was placed in a foster home, went to a paramilitary High School, and enlisted into the Marine Corps’ infantry as a rifleman. Elliott and his Battalion served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and lost 16 Marines on his deployment. Upon transitioning, he almost went to jail for throwing a knife at his brother and ended up homeless because his family understandably feared him after this incident but ultimately Elliot fought his homelessness through his love and talent in music which he credits for saving his life. Elliot went on to become a professional R&B singer recording his own albums. Elliott has sung the National Anthem over 100 times for organizations not limited to the Dodgers, Lakers, Rams SF Giants, and several other professional sports organizations.
Elliot courageously shares his combat veteran story and life story openly with Urban Valor Co-Founder Josh Gutierrez, about his bouts with mental illness and PTSD after his military enlistment and deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He sends a clear message that if you're dealing with something difficult or struggling, know you're not alone. Speak up and open up about your struggles, because you'll quickly discover that many others are going through the same fights and struggles as you are.
Also, Elliot encourages listeners to NEVER give up and to keep fighting for the life they want and deserve. We're so thankful Elliot McKenzie sat down with us and shared his story on Urban Valor!
Please "COMMENT" any questions or to show love/support to Elliot, we'll answer you as soon as possible!
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Cheerleader Checks In To Navy Unit In Hollywood Fashion
This week’s Urban Valor episode features Navy veteran, Karla Lees. Karla grew up in San Dimas, CA cheerleading and was interested in fashion and design. She enlisted in the Navy at 16 years old as a machinist. Karla cried when she found out she had to cut her hair before going to Bootcamp and was surprised when they cut it even shorter upon arriving at Bootcamp. The gate guards didn’t believe she was in the military when she showed up to her new unit in high heels and hot pink luggage. Karla was the only female machinist in her division. She talks about ship life, visiting different ports, and transitioning out of the Navy after thinking she was going to make it a career.
We're so thankful that Karla sat down with Urban Valor's Josh Gutierrez and shared her story about boot camp as a female, a navy machinist/military machinist, and a female veteran in the fun and enjoyable interview!
Comment your support or ask any questions! We are even Karla may answer! We'll try to respond asap.
And PLEASE Subscribe so you never miss an episode of Urban Valor, we put out new episodes every week!
Marine Sergeant Captured & Killed During Ambush in Iraq in 2003
This week’s Urban Valor episode features Marine veteran, Aaron Rodriguez. Aaron was assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 during the Invasion of Iraq in March of 2003. While convoying supplies near the city of Nasiriyah his unit was ambushed with heavy enemy fire. Shortly after the ambush took place, they realized Marine, Sgt. Fernando Padilla-Ramirez was missing and had been captured. Aaron speaks about his frustration with their commander deciding not to go recover Sgt. Padilla and the toll it took on his unit. Eventually, Sgt. Padilla’s remains were recovered by 2/2 Fox company, part of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit at the time.
This interview is powerful, as Aaron is an intelligent speaker who really delivers his memories with detail and emotion making you feel for him and his unit during the time Sgt. Padilla was captured, as well as numerous other moments in this interview.
As we always say, the courage it takes to sit in the chair with Urban Valor as a military veteran, whether it be a combat veteran or not, or whether the veteran is a Marine, Army, Air Force, Navy, or another branch of the Military.
As a combat veteran, this Marine experienced much there is to experience in the military. His story is a true testament to the courage and strength of the military. We're honored to hear Aaron Rodriguez's story and learn more about his experience in Iraq. We share his story to raise awareness about the effects of combat, the decisions and hardships military members face while serving, and also to detail more information about the Invasion of Iraq, War on Terror, and the sacrifices of the military who served during these time, as well as other wars and time periods.
Please share and donate to help us continue to provide military veterans with the resources they need to share their stories and help others learn about the military.
Our website, UrbanValor.com is under construction, with our hopes to launch during the new year. Our goal is to begin traveling or funding travel for Veterans to enjoy a Los Angeles vacation on us, and share their stories with them and their loved ones. When we begin accepting donations, 100% of donations will go to Veterans and/or highly researched and reviewed Veteran charities, with 100% financial tracking available on our website.
We will make an announcement once our website is live and we're prepared to accept donations for Veterans in need!
In the meantime, the best way to support out Veteran interviewees is to watch our videos, listen to the Urban Valor podcast, and engage with our videos and posts across social media.
Many of the Veterans we interview check in on their videos and the comments, so please show your love and support, ask questions, or just give thanks under our videos!
And Please SUBSCRIBE so you NEVER miss an episode of Urban Valor! We put out new episodes every week!
This podcast is enjoyable to listen to and flows well. It’s part incredible story telling mixed with friendly conversation. You won’t be disappointed. Semper Fi brother!
Thanks for filling us in on all these stories and recording it for history.
Brotherhood Beyond The Battlefield
I met Josh “El Guero” through close mutual law enforcement brothers several months. We had lunch down by the beach in Orange County and hit it off immediately! He asked me I’d like to jump on his podcast. I said “Let’s F#€KING GO! We did the follow week. I’m on a mission to help fellow combat veterans, LEOs, firefighters, and other first responders heal from their visible and invisible wounds of trauma from war and service to our communities! We will be doing future podcasts together. Josh was able to experience our Tejano-Indio culture back home in Texas in April. My family and I now consider him family!
Much love Guero!