Straight Outta Combat Radio-Honoring Combat Wisdom
SOCRS096- John Preston- “The 1000 Year Warrior: 22 & You”

SOCRS096- John Preston- “The 1000 Year Warrior: 22 & You”

September 24, 2019

John Preston is an American singer-songwriter, firefighter and US Marine Corps veteran. In this candid interview he talks of his childhood, military service and its after-effects on him personally and others, including close family members. He explains how his musical career started, how he creates his songs, his influences and inspirations and what music means to him.  

For more information about his current project visit: www.22andYou.net 

SOCRS095- Osee “Trey” Fagan- “The Untold Stories of Valhalla”

SOCRS095- Osee “Trey” Fagan- “The Untold Stories of Valhalla”

September 19, 2019

When Osee “Trey” Fagan came up with the idea for a book about fallen heroes, he had three goals in mind.Honor the fallen so they’re not forgotten. Find a way to support their families. Inspire the current and next generation of Marines.

After serving in the Marine Corps’ Force Reconnaissance and Marine Corps’ Forces Special Operations Command, MARSOC, Fagan said he felt compelled to start the project.

“I’m getting out and transitioning out of the military in a couple months,” said Fagan. “I felt like I still had something to give, something to honor the people in the community and the guys who died.”

The project is coming together as a book called “The Untold Stories of Valhalla,” which tells more than a dozen stories of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

The book will be a compilation of stories written by close friends of the fallen, with permission from their families. Stories about the fallen won’t just be about their roles as Marines, it will be about who they were as family men, friends and as individuals.

The mythological Valhalla is a place where heroes go who have died in combat to join their brothers in a glorious feast to celebrate their valor in combat, which is where the title of the book came from.

Veteran authors writing about their friends’ lives and their deaths had to be compelled to write their stories, said Fagan.

“You do it because you know at the end state, this product is going to honor them in the long run and it’s going to help their families for one and it’s going to be in good nature,” said Fagan.

For Joe Bell, an author in the book, it was therapeutic to tell his friend’s story.

“The story I’m writing, I’m so close to the person I’m writing about, that it’s easy to describe everything he meant to me and my family,” he said.

For Bell, the book means more than just telling stories.

“It’s important because the next generation of raiders need to know they’re just like these guys and they can be just like these guys and (the book) can give them something to emulate,” he said.

Bell said the book is also important to not only show the character and human side of the Marines, but to also put the Marine Corps in a good light.

Both Bell and Fagan said they hope the book will eventually make the Commandant’s Reading List, a selection of books the commandant of the Marine Corps puts out for Marines to read to improve their leadership and their well-roundedness as a marine.

“It would mean the effort of the authors and the Marines in the stories are worthy of note throughout the Marine Corps,” Bell said. “It would signify the sacrifice they made would mean something to the entire Marine Corps family.”

Profits from the book will support the families of the fallen. Donations and book sales will be evenly divided to provide support, said Fagan. According to Brothers In Arms, money from the project will go to quality of life initiatives for surviving spouses and children; grief counseling; educational and vocational scholarships; assistance with cost of living expenses for families suffering from economical hardships; and travel expenses associated with annual travel to/from memorial sites/ceremonies such as Arlington National Cemetery.

“Our goal is to raise $17,000 (needed to get the book published),” Fagan said. “Everything above that is going to go to support the families.”

Through this book, Fagan said he hopes to honor the fallen so they’re not forgotten, find a way to support their families, and inspire the current and next generation of Marines.

“It’s a labor of love because the stories (the authors) are writing about meant a lot to them,” Bell said. “It’s as much about us writing the book about these Marines as it is about the families who are going to hopefully read the book.”

For more information on the book or the Brothers In Arms Foundation, visit www.brothersinarmsfoundation.org/the-untold-stories-of-valhalla.

SOCRS094- Barry Zworestine- “Country Roots”

SOCRS094- Barry Zworestine- “Country Roots”

September 6, 2019

Barry Zworestine (In His Own Words):

I was born in Southern Rhodesia (in what is now Zimbabwe) in 1953. After a fairly uneventful schooling in which I focused more on sports than on academics, I went to university in South Africa, where I spent several years training in the field of education.

In 1976 I returned to Rhodesia to comply with national service requirements and was involved in the Rhodesian Bush War. On leaving the war in 1977, I spent a number of years living and working in South Africa before emigrating to Australia, where I lived for several years before settling in England for a brief period of time. After unsuccessfully attempting to mountain bike from Great Britain to Israel in 1984, I flew there instead and spent four years developing the British Council English Language Centre. While in Israel I developed a passion for marathon running, which then extended to ultra-marathon running after I returned to South Africa to qualify as a clinical psychologist.

 I returned to Australia in 2000, where I have remained ever since. In 2002, given my military experience and psychological qualifications, I was accepted as a contractor with a veteran organisation; I still continue with this work today. I also continue to run short distances and am passionate about music. I play the African drum, American Indian flute and the Australian didgeridoo.

In my most recent book, “Which Way is your Warrior facing” I dress the complex nature of transitioning to Civilian territory. I have also combined Book One “Which Way is Your Claymore Facing” and set the book up as a free PDF download from my website. I have encapsulated many years of conversations and learning with the extraordinary men and women I have sat with in my practice over the years, from regular to special forces soldiers. I hope that some of what I have written will support you and others around you on your journey towards healing. As I have noted, this is not a researched and academic text, and as such it may very well have its failings and limitations. Instead, this book is based on years of conversations with veterans and their partners and children. It is based on my experiences and challenges as a veteran and a man. It embodies years of exposure to neuroscience principles and brain- and body-based wisdom. I have tried to express this in simple, accessible writing and to draw on military operational terms to explain relevant concepts and lessons. I've also drawn on my own life experience while navigating my own pathway through a variety of life challenges.

SOCRS093- Boone Cutler- “On The Front Lines…Always”

SOCRS093- Boone Cutler- “On The Front Lines…Always”

September 4, 2019

Boone Cutler is an author, columnist, music video director and Warfighter Rights leader. He holds the distinguished honor of being the first nationally recognized radio talk show personality who is also a combat veteran from the current war.

Boone’s message is simple: “America has lost faith in what they used to believe were the heroes of Hollywood, America has become disgusted with the political climate of today so the only place to turn to and trust for leadership is the Warfighter.”

Boone began writing his Iraq War-inspired autobiographical account of what he experienced, Voodoo in Sadr City, during his combat tour in Iraq, and completed it during his two-year recovery from wartime injuries at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, during the Neglect Scandal of 2007.

After recovery, Boone began to see a major void in the Warfighter community.  He decided to approach Fox News affiliate 99.1 FM Talk with the concept of a new show that focused on national, international and social events based on the Warfighter’s perspective.

In 2011, his show Tipping Point with Boone Cutler was launched, providing a weekly platform for Boone’s raw Paratrooper, no-holds-barred style. The show quickly becoming a hit over the air waves and online, with an audience of fellow Warfighters and curious mainstream American listeners.

In June 2014, Tipping Point with Boone Cutler began its partnership with KNEWS 107.3 FM in Reno, NV airing for three hours every Saturday.

In 2010, Boone founded the National Warfighter Symposium to bring much needed attention to Warfighter issues, such as post-combat life – particularly the alarming rates of Warfighter suicide and homelessness.

America currently loses at least 23 Warfighters (22 veterans + 1 active duty) to suicide every single day. This is a number that Boone has made his mission to combat with his creation of “The Spartan Pledge”.  Warfighters promise not to take their own lives, and instead vow to find a new mission to help one another. He has chosen GallantFew.org, founded by US Army Ranger Karl Monger as his signature charity.

In 2012, Boone was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease, secondary to a blast-injury in Iraq.  He is currently starting to campaign for more awareness on the issue in the Warfighter Community.

Governor Sandoval of Nevada appointed Boone to the Inter-agency Council on Veteran Affairs for the 2012/2013 term. Boone is now very involved with the arts, after seeing first the healing effects of music therapy. He also works as music video producer / director for REDCON-1 MUSIC GROUP.

In 2014, Boone became the national spokesperson for the Warfighter Rights’ Movement whose mission is to end Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder phobia that results in discrimination against Warfighters in employment, housing and the judicial process.

Boone spoke at the 2016 World Peace Conference.

SOCRS092- Jack Berman- “The Shirts Off Their Backs”

SOCRS092- Jack Berman- “The Shirts Off Their Backs”

August 30, 2019

Jack Berman joined the Navy while still in High School in 1960. During his time in the Navy, he worked as a radar man and a storekeeper during various enlistments until 1976. Jack switched over to the Air Force in 1976 and worked as a Production control supervisor for civil engineering projects. Jack now lives in Missoula, Montana.

Jack is a combat veteran deploying to Vietnam and during Desert Storm in 1991.
SOCRS091- Roy Duncan- “Do Your Job, Come Home, and Get Busy to Work”

SOCRS091- Roy Duncan- “Do Your Job, Come Home, and Get Busy to Work”

August 22, 2019

U.S. Army Veteran and Bronze Star recipient Mr. Roy H. Duncan is THE FIRST WORLD WAR TWO VETERAN to join us on the show. 

Roy is the son of a sharecropper and was born in Western Kentucky. During the war, he was a Radio Operator assigned to HQ Company, 21st Armored Inf Bn, 11th Armored Division in General Patton’s Third Army.

This native Kentuckian answered his Nation’s call to duty and his story is amazing, one worth hearing. The tail-end of his military service took him through the last six months of the war that had the 11th Armor Division pushing through the sun-covered countryside from France to Linz where they liberated the Mauthausen Concentration Camp on the day the war ended.

Roy Duncan was not awarded just one Bronze Star Medals, he’s got three.  

SOCRS090- Brandon Long- “I Feel Like Superman…I Feel Free (Shut Up & Be A Marine)”

SOCRS090- Brandon Long- “I Feel Like Superman…I Feel Free (Shut Up & Be A Marine)”

August 13, 2019

Brandon Long (In His Own Words):

I was born and raised in Fort Wayne Indiana and knew from the age of 5 that I wanted to be a Marine. My mother's uncle served in the Air Force and he was a big idol of mine. I wanted to be like him and he helped to encourage me. When I was a sophomore in high school, I got into some trouble with the law and I was no longer able to join the Marine Corps. I knew that I had to try anyways. I had to talk to the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps and the Commandant for 3 months for them to make an exception and let me join. I am so thankful they did. I was able to join the Marine Corps in February of 2009. Somehow my recruiter got me to become an early graduate so I did half my senior year.  In February of 2009, I started my Marine Corps career with boot camp in sunny San Diego, California. Boot camp went by pretty fast and it was a lot of fun. After boot camp, I went to Infantry School at Camp Pendleton. Once that was completed, I was placed with my unit, 3rd Battalion 5th Marines out of San Mateo in Camp Pendleton. When I got with those men, i realized I was in it for real now (lol). I trained with AMAZING men and learned a lot from them. We found out around January of 2010 that we were going to be leaving for Afghanistan at the end of September. The work up for that deployment was pretty intense but very fun. On September 28, 2010, we loaded up on buses and headed to the airport for Afghanistan. It didn't take long before we were there. I remember walking off the helicopter and seeing a massive black cloud from something that exploded earlier in the day. It was a complete culture shock for me. We spent 2-3 days getting our gear ready and making sure we knew what we were doing and where we were going. We then took a helicopter ride to our main F.O.B. called Nolay. It was nick named 'No Legs' by the Brits. We spent a day there and the we were drove to our patrol base. From then on, while I was overseas, we never used vehicles again. It was all foot patrols.

Immediately we took a lot of contact every day. We started having injuries pretty quick. Seeing one of your brothers laying on the ground injured is a hard thing to process but this is war and we have to adapt and over come. Of those many men that were injured, I served with Lt. Robert Kelly (General Kelly's son). Lt. Kelly was my LT and he was motivated as hell. On December 21,2010, I was reunited with my squad of men after being apart for about 2 weeks. This is also the day that changed my life. We went on patrol early in the morning and i was on point. Everything was going good for the first few hours until i came across the Helmand River. There I found rocks stacked on top of each other on each side of the road. This was consistent for almost a mile with about 5 feet in between the stack rocks and the were spaced out wide enough for a vehicle to drive in the middle.. Towards the end of the rocks, there was a little path on the right that had the same concept with the rocks but now the path was like a walking path of stacked rocks. The rocks lead to a big bush where you could see that someone cut the top of the bush so you could see behind it. On the other side of that bush was about 50 stacks of rocks in a 10 foot circle. As I went to step over the bush to investigate more and find a wire or something to indicate it was an IED, I put my foot down and the explosive went off. Immediately, I was thrown in the air, landing on my right side. I opened my eyes and the dust was every where and I couldn't breath. I knew right then what happened but didn't know how bad. I laid on my back and told myself "I have to see how bad this is". i went to lift my right leg and instead pulled the bone out of the leg. I went unconscious for a minute or so before regaining consciousness. While I was out, I had visions of seeing my daughter who was about to be born, I got to see my wife (now ex), and I got to experience what I think was heaven. When I regained consciousness, I was not allowed any pain medications or it would have stopped my heart. I don't remember exactly how look it took for the Medevac team to get to me but it felt like forever. I remember asking my men if I could ever ride a bike again and they said not to worry about it. When I was on board the Medevac, they were finally able to properly put me under. One of the medics saw that I had severe internal bleeding and if he didn't do something, I wouldn't make it to the hospital. So he took out his knife and cut my stomach open so he could dump out the blood. Come to find out, there was a LARGE rock inside my stomach sitting just below my lungs. The rock had entered through my leg during the explosion. When I got to the hospital in Afghanistan, they did everything they needed to to get me ready for coming home. I unfortunately woke up. When they pulled the air tube out, I was able to make a phone call home. I called my wife and told her I was injured and that I loved her. She was going into labor at that moment. I called back a few hours later and I could hear my baby girl crying in the background. It was the happiest/saddest moment in my life.

When I got home to the USA, recovery was pretty difficult. I was on a lot of heavy medications and my body doesn't handle medications too well. The first 2 1/2 years are kinda blurry for me. I remember some things. When I got out of the military, I went back home to Indiana. But, I had forgotten that it snowed there and I was in a wheelchair now. So my wife and I decided to move to Florida. I had never been before. We moved here and built a house. Unfortunately though, we did end up separating not too long after moving. And that's where my motorcycle came into play. My wife wouldn't let me buy a motorcycle because she didn't want me getting hurt. However, when we separated, I went straight to Adamec Harley-Davidson and bought my first trike!! The people there were great! They had never modified a motorcycle before and I had never seen one in person, so we collaborated together and did our research. They were able to help me take my ideas and turn it into a reality. This is my 2nd Harley Davidson now. I plan on getting more.

SOCRS089- Lani Hankins- “Kruse Corner: Where Nobody Fights Alone”

SOCRS089- Lani Hankins- “Kruse Corner: Where Nobody Fights Alone”

August 12, 2019

Lani Hankins (In Her Own Words):

I grew up in a small town on the Central Coast of California, and was the youngest of two kids. My father, a Vietnam veteran, worked for a company that specialized in metal coil and paper roll restoration, while my mother worked in human resources. Prior to joining the Army, I was enrolled in the Fine Arts program at the local community college. Shortly after completing my associate’s degree, I was sent to Fort Jackson, South Carolina for Basic Combat Training (BCT), followed by Fort Lee, Virginia for Advanced Individual Training (AIT) where I was trained as an Automated Logistical Specialist (92A).  I was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, where I worked as a supply and dispatch clerk for the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team. During my time in 1-4 CAV, I was a member of the Female Engagement Team (FET) and completed one combat deployment to the Paktika Province of Afghanistan. In February of 2015, I transitioned to the Army Reserves where I continued to serve as a 92A in Cape Coral, Florida.

I decided to leave the Army after 6 years to continue my education with the Post-9/11 GI Bill. While working on my master’s degree, I was given the opportunity to address veteran suicide and communication problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs. My capstone project inspired me to start a blog where I could continue to bring awareness to veteran suicide and veteran health care issues. Today, the Kruse Corner blog is where I share personal stories about life in the Army, the transition from soldier to civilian, and my struggles with mental health. My mission has been to encourage other veterans to reach out and share their own story to take action against veteran suicide and end the stigma attached to mental illness.

SOCRS088- Annette Whittenberger- “A Wild Ride Called Life”

SOCRS088- Annette Whittenberger- “A Wild Ride Called Life”

August 9, 2019

Annette M. Whittenberger, currently living in Fairfax, Virginia understands the challenge of veteran transition and development as she is a Retired Combat Veteran, an Army Spouse and mother to a college freshman and high school sophomore. She focuses on coaching others through PTSD, anxiety and depression and trauma.

 She is a mentor with VeteratieMentor and for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS).

 She is also a blogger on Medium.com

 Annette has a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Environmental Management. 

SOCRS087- John Cunningham- “Freedom, Protecting Your People & Splendid Isolation”

SOCRS087- John Cunningham- “Freedom, Protecting Your People & Splendid Isolation”

August 8, 2019

John Cunningham is originally from Baytown, TX. He attended the United States Military Academy West Point in 1963, he was the first person in his family to join the military. "All I knew about West Point when I arrived is what I saw on TV," says Cunningham. Originally, he started West Point with a class of 865 students, in 1967 Cunningham was one of the 565 students who graduated, with his bachelors in General Engineering and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the Signal Branch in the United States Army.

From there, his first assignment in the army was Ranger School at Fort Benning, GA. After successfully completing and graduating Ranger School he continued his Signal Training attending various training schools in Georgia and New Jersey before being stationed in Germany. Shortly after, Cunningham served first combat assignment of 12 months in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division.

Later, John discharged with the Army in 1972 at Fort Hood, TX. He the enrolled in law school at the University of Texas and graduated with his Law Degree in 1975 and went on to earn his MBA and CPA. After 25 years in the corporate world with his Wife, Marlies and three children; Michael, Sean and Katrina Cunningham.  In 2000 John and his family moved to Columbus, Georgia where they bought a Harley-Dealership, Chattahoochee Harley-Davidson, located just outside of Fort Benning. 5 years later, Cunningham expanded and built a secondary retail location, Big Swamp Harley-Davidson, in Opelika, AL just miles away from Auburn University. Today, one a year away from their 20th Harley-Davidson Anniversary, John and Marlies Cunningham are proud owners of Chattahoochee Harley-Davidson and Big Swamp Harley-Davidson.