Welcome to SOFREP Video: Heroes of Special Operations.

Yesterday, we heard from former Green Beret Jack Murphy about one of his mentors, Jared Van Aalst, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

Today, we dive into the profound impact John Hayes had within the Recon Marine community, a true testament to leadership and mentorship. Hayes wasn’t your run-of-the-mill leader; he was the kind who led with a mix of iron discipline and genuine compassion, pushing his men to excellence while always ready to lend a hand in their growth. His approach to leadership stood in stark contrast to the more aggressive styles, making him a revered figure among those lucky enough to serve under him.

The narrative takes a poignant turn with the news of Hayes’s untimely death, a blow that seemed unfathomable to those who viewed him as invincible. His loss was not just personal but symbolized the loss of a legend whose influence spanned across generations within the Corps. The gathering of comrades from different phases of Hayes’s career at his memorial underscored the wide-reaching impact of his life and service, bringing together those who knew him in various capacities, from a sergeant to a master sergeant, each sharing stories of how Hayes shaped their lives.