Last night I finally got to watch Marty Skovlund’s and Leo Jenkins’s documentary, “Nomadic Veterans,” which details their gonzo vagabond adventure across America and beyond with only a few dollars in their pockets. Setting out from Denver, the two former Rangers train-hop and hitchhike their way to raise money for Gallant Few. Their adventures and misadventures involve run-ins with the law, sleeping outdoors, visiting a gentlemen’s club, hanging out at West Point, overland border crossings, and much more.
Their journey had a few secondary objectives, intentional and unintentional, in that it also brought to light the issue of veteran homelessness and how tough it is to live with barely a dime in your pocket. On their travels, Marty and Leo met with other veterans to talk about difficulties in transitioning to civilian life. Some of them are dudes who they served with in the Ranger regiment, and others are from older generations, like a UDT who served in Korea.
There is even a brief cameo appearance by yours truly from when these two former Rangers stayed at my old apartment in Manhattan. They showed up around three in the morning, we drank a few beers, Marty made a class-four download in my bathroom, and then they rolled out before I even woke up the next day. These guys were busy hitting the pavement, and definitely pushed themselves to the limit in order to raise money for charity. Also, let’s be straight here. These guys were Rangers and went all out because they don’t know anything else.
The documentary came out looking great thanks to another Ranger who I served with in 3/75, Matt Sanders, who provided direction for the film. It is really awesome to see these guys out there doing what they love and being successful at it. “Nomadic Veterans” is out on Amazon now and is available for streaming, so I highly recommend checking it out.
By the way, Marty and Leo are still living it up in the minimalist style. Basically, they still live like bums. Both have lived out of a van as they travel both nationally and internationally. Leo also documented his adventure with Marty and further trials and tribulations in his new book, “First Train out of Denver.” I don’t think anyone quite knows what comes next for these guys—maybe not even them—but that is part of the fun.
Congratulations to everyone involved in “Nomadic Veterans,” and thanks for showing us how to get it done with class, humility, and a whole lot of humor.