Delta Force CSM Tom Satterly (left) is shown here immediately after the infamous Mogadishu mile with other Delta operators and members of the 10th Mountain Division. It was a scene immortalized in the film Black Hawk Down.

After his time in the service, Tom sat down with SOFREP to talk about his time in the service and the issues that nearly led to him taking his own life. He wrote about that in his book,  All Secure: A Special Operations Soldier’s Fight to Survive on the Battlefield and the Homefront.  

He also, with his wife Jen, talks about their journey on SOFREP Radio.

Tom and Jen
Tom and Jen

A Close Call With Mortality

Tom spent 25 years in the Army, 21 of them in Delta Force. That’s a long time being a top-level operator. He’d seen more than his share of death and anguish. He had lost close friends.

“I dealt with [grief] before I really dealt with it by almost killing myself,” Tom said.

His deployments were almost non-stop, and no time was ever spent processing the loss of friends. Tom tells SOFREP about the reality of his grieving process:

“So you come back and it’s a party, a remembrance and everybody’s acting tough and nobody’s processing the real grief. That ‘no time to grieve‘ thing just piles up and piles up but you have to make a plan down the road to deal with it.”

Compartmentalization. We’ve all done it. But for a long time, Tom didn’t deal with it. Everything he’s been through, everything he’s seen and done just piled up and was suppressed deep until it all came to a head one ugly day.

“It was me thinking I was [a] burden to everybody around me and that it would be a lot better for them if I wasn’t causing problems the rest of my life,” Tom added.

One afternoon in 2013, Tom, his co-workers, and his wife arrived at a hotel parking lot en route to the bar for their night out. Tom told them to go ahead without him and that he’d catch up. As soon as they walked off, he sat in his rental car alone, gun in hand.

“I got a bullet in the chamber halfway up to my head, and I’m thinking ‘mouth or the head.’ If I felt bad about something, it was making a mess for the rental car company [that would] have to clean it up.”

Jen, knowing that Tom was never late to anything, sent him a message, “WHERE ARE YOU!!!” 

Tom put the gun away and slowly started his recovery process