Patriot to the Core
Patriot to the Core
Thad Forester
Patriot to the Core
Ep 114 | Joe O’Keefe – Hunting Osama bin Laden in Tora Bora in 2001
Within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, Air Force Combat Controller Joe O’Keefe was in Afghanistan working with the CIA and other special operations units. Joe and his small team made their way into the mountains of Tora Bora with the help of the Northern Alliance. Armed with the element of surprise, he was able to start calling in close air support against hundreds, if not a thousand enemy fighters. What was initially thought to be an overnight observance, turned into 5 days with only 1 hour of sleep the entire period. The CIA station chief told his team to drop bombs for as long as possible because the President was getting sit-reps on it minute by minute. He and his team ended up killing hundreds of people. “They had chosen their course, we had chosen ours, that’s the nature of it.” You can read an excellent article about this mission in Task and Purpose here: Task and Purpose – Air Force Commando You can also watch this interview on YouTube at the link below: YouTube Other CCT interviews mentioned in this episode: Ep. 91 – Will Markham Ep. 88 – Kyle Stanbro and Michael Lamonica Copyright 2024 Thad Foresterhttp://www.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.com
Jan 22
1 hr 7 min
Ep 113 | Hershel “Woody” Williams – Medal of Honor Recipient from Iwo Jima
The late Woody Williams will never forget the odor of burning human remains. “There are some things about that 4 hours that have bothered me my whole life… I can’t remember going back and getting the other 5 flamethrowers.  It was so horrific, I didn’t want to remember.” I was introduced to death by flamethrower after learning of Mr. Williams.  He went thru 5 – 70 lb flamethrowers in a 4-hour battle on Iwo Jima.  Two of the Marines assigned to him were killed that day protecting his life.  At the time of this interview in 2017, he was the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor from that battle, and the last surviving Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for heroism in World War II. Mr. Williams died in 2022. I asked Woody, “What did you know about Iwo Jima before you got there?”  His response, “Not a thing!”  Later he saw the flag raised on Mount Suribachi, but didn’t consider the significance at that time.  He had a job to do and wasn’t reveling in the moment. His story is remarkable.  He was awarded the Medal of Honor by Pres. Truman, but admits being more nervous to meet the Commandant of the Marine Corp than the President.  He shares with us what both these men told him regarding the medal.  He didn’t know anything about the MOH beforehand.  Even the day he received it he didn’t know what it was about. Awesome interview.  You should read his medal citation below and learn more about him at these links: Read his Medal of Honor Citation Learn about his foundation: Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation *originally published Oct 30, 2017 Copyright 2024 Thad Foresterhttp://www.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.com
Jan 1
59 min
Ep 112 | Mark Schmitz – Disaster at Abbey Gate
Mark Schmitz’s son, LCpl Jared Schmitz, was one of the 13 Americans murdered at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, on 26 August 2021 during the evacuation from Afghanistan. He was just 20 years old. He was there on a humanitarian mission working the infamous Abbey Gate. When Afghans made it past the Taliban checkpoints, they were desperate to get on a flight out of Afghanistan. Jared and his fellow Marines, and others, were there among crowds so large and compact that he said if your arms were at your side, you couldn’t raise the above your head. We discuss how this suicide bomber made it to the bottlenecked gate and was able to kill so many. Why the sniper wasn’t given permission to kill him beforehand. And, what has been the government’s response since. Note: this bomb also killed over 100 Afghan civilians. He has also created The Freedom 13.org that supports the veterans still with us. They have big plans for retreats in each state so that Veteran’s and their families can stay for free, much like and Airbnb, but with land, shooting, fishing, riding, etc. Learn about their upcoming events, including how to donate or volunteer, by visiting here: https://thefreedom13.org/pages/events If you’re listening on Apple Music or Spotify, please rate the podcast with 5-stars and subscribe or follow. I’m tired of average podcasts with lame topics getting more listens than mine. Please help spread the word! Listen on SpotifyListen on Apple PodcastsListen on Amazon MusicListen on Google PodcastsWatch on YouTube I’m a proud affiliate of GORUCK. Please use this link if you want to check out their workout, rucking, running, apparel and other equipment. It doesn’t cost you any add’l money, but allows me to get a small commission to help this podcast reach larger audiences: https://www.thadforester.com/gr-affiliate Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterhttps://www.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.com
Dec 11, 2023
1 hr 4 min
Ep 111 | Don Stevens – Security Forces, Combat Control, Burn the Ships, PTSD
Don Stevens is one of those rare operators who retrained into the Air Force combat control (CCT) pipeline at the age of 32, after being in security forces. This required uncommon humility since leadership said, “What are we gonna do with a MSgt. who doesn’t know squat (many different strong words could be inserted here)?” Even though I’ve had several CCT’s on this show, we haven’t talked much about their humanitarian roles. Don tells us how he got a team ready to deploy to Haiti in less than 4 hours, when the earthquake in 2010 happened. Stevens provides advice to new guys entering the CCT pipeline, why PTSD doesn’t have to be a big deal, and shared the scariest thing he’s ever done. Hint, it wasn’t in Afghanistan or Africa. You can also learn more about Don as the co-founder of FoxTrot 3. Mentioned in this episode: Thai Soccer Team Rescue If you’re listening on Apple Music or Spotify, please rate the podcast with 5-stars and subscribe or follow. I’m tired of average podcasts with lame topics getting more listens than this one. Please help spread the word! Listen on SpotifyListen on Apple PodcastsListen on Amazon MusicListen on Google PodcastsWatch on YouTube I’m a proud affiliate of GORUCK. Please use this link if you want to check out their workout, rucking, running, apparel and other equipment. It doesn’t cost you any add’l money, but allows me to get a small commission to help this podcast reach larger audiences: https://www.thadforester.com/gr-affiliate Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterhttps://www.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.com
Nov 6, 2023
1 hr 23 min
Ep 110 | Special: Kenny Alicea & Mark Forester – Beautiful Symphony of Death and Destruction
On this 13th anniversary of the death of my brother, SrA Mark Forester, I have the opportunity to talk with Kenny Alicea who was the Senior Weapons Sergeant for his Army Special Forces team (ODA 7212) where Mark was attached. Kenny contacted me a few weeks ago and told me he was on that final mission when Mark and Calvin were killed. He was a few hundred meters away with the mounted element, but he heard the radio calls and helped clear the area after their deaths. He helps piece together a few more details about Mark’s final moments. In addition, Alicea told me about some initial disagreements and arguments he and Mark had and how they resolved those and worked together to bring destruction to terrorists and protect their teams. Hint: both of them said they own the airspace. Once they started working together, he said Mark was phenomenal at his job. You can connect with Kenny on his YouTube Channel that helps vets in the private security contracting field: https://www.youtube.com/@VetsToPSC For those watching the YouTube version, I hope you enjoy the slideshow at the very end of the interview. Mentioned in this episode: Ep 60: Captain Wes Wilson – Ken’s team captain gives lots of detail on that battle too Ep 38: Bobby Bonello – Mark’s good friend escorting him home to Dover AFB – Angel Flight Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterhttps://www.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.comWatch this interview on YouTube
Sep 29, 2023
46 min
Ep 109 | Nic McKinley - Fighting a War on Human Trafficking
Nic McKinley is an entrepreneur, former Air Force Pararescueman, and ex-CIA operative who founded DeliverFund, the only donor-funded solution to human trafficking that delivers proprietary data and technology to law enforcement, allowing them to take down human traffickers effectively. With 30 combat deployments under his belt in both Special Operations and the CIA, Nic experienced the power of technology during the Global War on Terror and set out to use his skills and training with that experience to combat modern slavery. On September 1, 2023, DeliverFund launched an app to combat human trafficking. Nic discusses this in-depth and drives home how effective and life saving this app can be. You can download it here. By gaining access to DeliverFund’s immense digital database of potential human trafficking activity, we all have the ability to take proactive measures to ensure our safety. We can work collectively to build safer, stronger communities. I loved talking with Nic. He also gave unique perspective how his life as an Air Force PJ prepared him for the CIA and for launching DeliverFund. He also shares some thoughts on “til Valhalla” meaning and why we should seek for something better. Mentioned in this episode: Nic on Episode 68 of Patriot to the Core Nic on Cleared Hot Podcast Nic McKinley – The Real Jack Ryan Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterhttps://www.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.comWatch this interview on YouTube ​
Sep 4, 2023
55 min
Ep 108 | Rich Brown – Marine, Author, American Warrior Society Co-Founder, Savage Somm
Retired U. S. Marine and former Policeman, bouncer, Corrections Officer and more Rich Brown (@american_warrior_society) is back on the show so I can dig into his new Memoir “On Violence & Varietals“. We cover many areas of his life: fighting as a boy, the Gulf War, sleeping with one eye open, interacting with prisoners as a corrections officer while safeguarding his family, marriage trials, combatives, Highway of Death, 80’s music, dominating at Police Academy, pepper spray, and so much more. An excerpt from his book states: “At the moment of cease-fire, I emerged from the metal-skinned C-7 changed. I looked at my hands and the hands of the men around me. During the last several days, I had brought death, yet I had emerged from the land of the dead. I was reborn, transformed from the Rich Brown that began the assault to a man ready to take his place in the tribe.” Brown would give anything to have journals from his ancestors. Since he kept good records while deployed and beyond, he wanted to leave this record for his posterity; at least this is one reason he wrote the book. Rich is almost a jack of all trades, and holds belts in Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kinami Ryu Aiki Jujutsu, Judo, MCMAP, and Okinawan Freestyle Karate. You can also listen to Rich on Episode 51American Warrior Society Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterhttps://www.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.comWatch this interview on YouTube
Jul 31, 2023
1 hr 7 min
Ep 107 | The Mark Forester Foundation Charity Golf Tournament – Aug 11, 2023
The Mark Forester Foundation’s annual golf tournament will be held Friday August 11, 2023 at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in Muscle Shoals, AL. In this episode, I chat with Doug Cole and Jay Stubbs who are long time participants and supporters. We talk about the course, the value of the entry fee, prizes, experiences and why they keep coming back each year. My family and I appreciate the tremendous help we receive from these families that support my brother’s foundation. The MFF always needs sponsors, so if you’re interested in sponsoring a team, a hole, the flag pins, a contest, or even donating prizes, we will welcome it. You can learn more about The Mark Forester Foundation here and register and/or become a sponsor. We hope to see you on Aug 11 in Muscle Shoals, AL. Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterwww.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.comWatch this episode on YouTube
Jul 17, 2023
22 min
Ep 106 | T. C. Fuller – Stories From a 20-yr Odyssey in the FBI
T. C. Fuller joined the FBI after an 11-year career in the Army as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer. Then he joined the FBI and became a Special Agent, serving for 20 years. During his time in the FBI he held many assignments, including: Principal Firearms Instructor, Joint Terrorism Task Force – Domestic and International, and Violent Crimes where his subject was added to the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list. The fugitive was captured for severe crimes against children. We start out talking situational awareness and how his “lack of” got him robbed at gunpoint, and what he learned from that. We also discuss how he graduated from Defensive Tactics School, compare the leadership of former FBI Directors Mueller vs. his predecessor Freeh, what would happen if owning guns became illegal – that could fall upon the FBI to confiscate them, the interesting work he does with The Horus Group, and his new book “Painting Over Rust.” Dr. T. C. Fuller is a frequent guest on The American Warrior Show and has dozens of articles published in various periodicals mostly related to law enforcement procedure, weaponry and personal defense. You can watch this interview on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/nIW_7QQdA_o Special thanks to Our Town Podcast for letting me use their studios once again. Mentioned in this episode: Episode 51 – Rich Brown Episode 50 – Tim Larkin American Warrior Society The Old Gray Man YouTube Channel Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterwww.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.comThad on YouTube
Jun 26, 2023
1 hr 14 min
Ep 105 | Medal of Honor Recipient Mike Rose – Vietnam
Gary Michael Rose (Mike) joins me in person to share what happened in Laos during Operation Tailwind in 1970. During these 4 days, Sergeant Rose exposed himself to the enemy many times in order to treat the wounded. And then, the helicopter carrying Rose and others crashed further injuring him and the other wounded on board. Despite his numerous wounds from the past three days, Mike Rose continued to pull and carry unconscious and wounded personnel out of the burning wreckage and continued to administer aid to the wounded until another extraction helicopter arrived.  It’s a remarkable story of selflessness where Rose said “we should not have survived.” “I really take pride in the fact that I can go to my grave knowing that at least one person- I did something one day that caused him to live another 42 years,” Rose said. This Special Forces Medic is credited with saving numerous lives over that 4 day period. You can read his Medal of Honor Citation here. I loved having him in studio to talk in person. You can also watch this interview on YouTube here. Copyright 2023 Thad Foresterwww.patriottothecore.comemail questions to thad@patriottothecore.com
May 29, 2023
1 hr 40 min
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