In this podcast, Rad features Master Sergeant John “Mad Dog” B. Melson, who served 3 years in the USMC and almost 17 years in the Army National Guard. After his service in the Marines and in the wake of 9/11, John tried to enlist again but found out that he had a tumor in his neck which was cutting off his blood flow.

He was in extreme danger and was faced with a difficult decision: undergo surgery that could kill him or do nothing and have less than 5 years to live. He chose to have a fighting chance and went under the knife. Against the odds, he survived and was given the chance to serve again in the National Guard to fight in Afghanistan.

He shares crazy stories of his 9 combat deployments, from popping smoke to signal the A-10 not to fire upon them in the middle of a firefight, to being left to fend for themselves during a Taliban assault. He is the recipient of 5 Bronze Star Medals, 2 Purple Hearts, and 4 Army Commendation Medals for Valor.

Check out John’s podcast Guts and Grit:

Get a copy of Jessica Ainsworth’s latest book titled At What Cost on Amazon which features John’s foreword and an entire chapter on his story and the personal cost of war: