Hey Team Room,
Thanks to all of our new members for signing up and supporting SOFREP. I’m in the process of lining up some awesome new writers for the site and am really excited about that. I also wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to our new members.
I grew up in New York and joined the Army when I was 19 with an Option 40 contract, which puts you on the path to becoming a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment. I graduated the Ranger Indoctrination Program and served in 3rd Ranger Battalion as a Anti-Tank gunner, Sniper, and Team Leader. While in Ranger School, I was really impressed with one of the Special Forces Sergeants who sort of took me under his wing and this made me decide that Special Forces was my next challenge.
Coming off a deployment in Iraq, I got caught up doing airfield seizures for two weeks and then literally the next day was on a plane to start the Special Forces Assessment and Selection course. No rest for the wicked! Eventually I graduated the Q-Course as an 18B (Weapons Sergeant) and got assigned to a MFF (HALO) team in 5th Special Forces Group.
I won’t BS any of you, I was pissed when I left the Army after eight years. I was bitter because I felt that way too many of the people in the Army were putting their careers ahead of victory in the war we were fighting. I wasn’t interested in contracting, it sounded like being a glorified mall cop to me. I thought about traveling to South Sudan to train Christian militias or linking up with Karen fighters in Burma.
The reality was far less romantic. Like many separated veterans, I spent the first month out of the Army doing PT everyday and playing video games in my mom’s basement. Seriously. I took another path and married my longtime girlfriend who I had first met while on leave in Belize after I graduated the Q-Course. I was interested in business and was in the process of putting my Special Operations career behind me.
I started college, figuring I’d use that GI Bill for something while I figured out what kind of business I wanted to start. I saw how things were blowing up on Amazon and there were a lot of opportunities for writers to publish their work for the Kindle. I had always wanted to write the ultimate military thriller as I thought most of the books in the genre had not quite gotten it right. While going to college, that’s exactly what I did. I wrote my first novel called “Reflexive Fire.”
To help promote the book, I started a blog (reflexivefire.com, of course) and was soon contacted by the editor of Kit Up! at Military.com. He said that I could write the same kind of stuff that I was for my blog but have it on Kit Up! where it would get more exposure. Hells yeah.
That was where I met Brandon Webb. He wrote for the same blog and later took over as its editor. Together we kicked some ass and put the site’s web traffic through the roof. The problem was that there are very few military veterans at Military.com and they did not understand the audience.
One day Brandon calls me up and says, “Hey, I got this idea for a website.” Brandon’s big idea is to start a SOF themed blog called SpecialOperationsHQ.com. I thought it was kind of a lame idea to tell you the truth. There were already so many SOF blogs out there. I figured it could sell a few ads so why not and said I would be happy to help and write from the Army side of the house. Brandon wisely changed the name of the site to SOFREP about a week later.
The site debuted right after SHOT show in 2012—we’re still a young website.
I began pushing myself in new directions as I began to write for SOFREP. I was no longer writing about velcro magazine pouches but about serious national defense issues. Perhaps my first big story was about JSOC and drones operating in the Philippines. I’ve always been curious, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together which goes well with my interests in military history. So that’s what I started to do.
Soon we were breaking some pretty serious stories. Benghazi was something of a game changer for us. That day we lost our Naval Special Warfare Editor, Glenn Doherty. It set me and Brandon on a path to uncover what really happened. The e-book that resulted from that investigation is still controversial and a lot of people would rather pretend that it doesn’t exist.
Did I mention that I transferred to Columbia university after my first year of school? Holy shit did my dance card fill up fast. Meanwhile, my wife and I were starting a family and I was still writing novels. I’m not complaining here, I love my job but things started to get…busy.
There were days when I would wake up first thing in the morning to rush out and film a segment for Fox News. Sometimes I would have to line up several meetings back to back as I ran around Manhattan. One time I walked right out of a mid-term exam in Maritime History and Brandon called me to ask if I could make it downtown to film a TV piece in 15 minutes. More than once I’ve had to handjam SOFREP articles in class to respond to something happening back in “The World.”
It’s been a hell of a ride, but the website has only continued to grow and I could not be more excited about it. This is my passion and I feel very privileged to be able to conduct original research about Special Operations history and publish it here on SOFREP.
There is more to follow, much more.
Season One of the Global War on Terror is now in re-runs. Season Two is just getting started.
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