Monday night we had our annual SOFREP party in Las Vegas the night prior to the SHOT show. Subscribers can RSVP ahead of time and we had an open bar from 6 p.m. until sometime around 2 a.m. when we left. Don’t ask me what the bill was … these events are a great opportunity to mix it up with our readers. One of the big drawbacks to publishing in the digital media world is that you pump out articles, but all you see are disembodied statistics on a computer screen showing you how many people have read it. 50,000 people may have read what you wrote, but what does any of that really mean?

At the annual SOFREP party I get to find out the answer to that question. On the other hand, our readers have the chance to interact with our staff of writers and editors at SOFREP and the Loadout Room. Highlights from this year’s party include meeting active duty service members as well as civilians who have signed the dotted line and are preparing to ship off to the military, some of them inspired by the stories they’ve read on our website. As a writer, that is a humbling experience to say the least.

One friend appeared toward the end of the night to give me a gift. He came to Las Vegas all the way from the Philippines — an old friend of mine. The Philippines’ Special Operations community wanted to give me a plaque for traveling to their country, researching their military units and operations, and ultimately, writing an entire series about them on SOFREP with articles about NAVSOG, Scout-Rangers, the LRR, Special Forces, Marines and more.

The plaque has a special significance to me and also includes a bit of a joke. I brought SOFREP t-shirts to the Philippines to hand out, but ran out halfway through my trip. This time we specially made some t-shirts for my friend to bring back to the Philippines for the troops. Considering how generous the Philippine Special Operations community has been in welcoming me and taking time out of their busy schedule to speak with me, this is the least I can do.  I also owe a certain someone a cup of Starbucks coffee the next time I’m in Manila.

Until next time, gents. Congratulations on all of your hard work, your victories, and your defense of the Philippines.