February 27, 2020
Jocko Podcast 199 w/ Kirstie Ennis:  Pain Makes You Better

Jocko Podcast 199 w/ Kirstie Ennis: Pain Makes You Better

this is Jocko podcast number 199 with
echo Charles and me Jacque are willing good evening echo good evening I have
not been on this earth long but I’ve been through more than most would in a
lifetime I served six years in the United States Marine Corps has a
helicopter door gunner and airframes mechanic my last deployment to
Afghanistan I was involved in a helicopter crash June 23rd 2012 was the
defining moment in my life I suffered a traumatic brain injury severe facial
trauma a left leg above the knee amputation damage to my cervical spine
and damage to my upper arms I remember screaming with tears rolling down my
face when they said they were taking my leg above the knee I thought it was all
over that all of my dreams were turned into nightmares I have it on repeat
in my head a scream encompassing terror pain and fear of what my life might
become and those are the words and thoughts of
a wounded warrior a Marine Corps sergeant a third-generation Marine whose
mother and father were both Marines but in this case this particular Marine was
able to take that fear that fear of a new life of a different life of what
life might become with those devastating injuries suffered and turned that new
life into one of overcoming struggle a life of facing new challenges and a life
of leading the way and showing the path for anyone that faces challenges and
struggles in any walk of life as this Marine proves you are never out of the
fight and it is an honor to have this Marine with us on the podcast tonight a
marine by the name of Kirsty Ennis Kirsty welcome to the podcast thank you
for having me I dug a little deeper on your blogs and Facebook to assemble some
things because I like to read what people write and because I think that’s
the best pathway to figure out what they’re thinking at that time and yeah
you got some pretty pre incredible statements on there and I was able to go
through them and assemble and like I said let’s let’s start off talking about
where you came from because I think that’s always a good place to start and
one thing that you you in in your writings I found this which I thought
was just I just had I just had to bring this up yeah I’m that guy you don’t they
say someday someone’s gonna go through all your social media stuff and read
that’s me so here we go this is what you said about your childhood I was a jerk
as a child my mom and dad would just love to tell you stories about me
dismantling my win no alarm to sneak out disconnecting
phone lines so my principal wouldn’t call home or maybe even bringing stink
bombs into school so there’s that we’re getting an indication kind of a view
into what you were like as a kid where was it where where did all this take
place man well so with both my parents being in the Marine Corps we bounced all
over the place but after my mom my dad got out we went back to the the
panhandle of Florida and I spent most of my middle school in high school years
there and I was just an absolute terror I mean I mean I gave my parents a run
for their money I mean I look back now and I actually
feel really really bad about it I’m terrified to have kids of my own because
I know paybacks a bitch yeah but yeah I mean I was just always way too smart for
my own good like school was a joke athletics were never really hard I
didn’t I wasn’t challenged so yeah I was just always up to no good
nothing like malicious yeah a little mischievous the most malicious thing was
stink bombs in school we don’t know what the statute of limitations is so we’re
not gonna go there yes exactly what um you mentioned athletics a little bit
what sports did you play so growing up I did a bunch of team sports I mean
everything from softball to volleyball and and everything in between actually
like a lot of the individual extreme sports that I’m doing now never even did
him as a kid everything was obviously very southern and team related so were
you good at were you good athlete I like to think so
yeah I mean again I never really was challenged it was just I was okay with
you know being good but not really having to try that hard at it and that
was your high school career I mean you played sports at what point did you go
from the distinct Unabomber into saying you’re gonna join the Marine Corps yeah
well so I actually was doing with my high school curriculum that time I was
15 so I started doing college classes up at the time Pensacola junior college and
yeah I got my two degree and again well you just hyper motivated to get done
with high school or yeah and just bored I was really bored and I mean I’m sure
you’re familiar with Pensacola there’s especially the surrounding towns they’re
just not a lot there so yeah just wanted to be
done with it and get the heck out and I never looked back
and then you enlisted how old were you when you enlisted 17 did your parents
say your parents had to sign the paperwork how did your parents – Marines
feel about you going in the Marine Corps so my mom was like good riddance signed
immediately wanted nothing to do with me I was out my dad was pretty pissed
though um he really wanted me to finish that last two years of college before I
went off to the Marine Corps and so he came home he was he was working on the
pipeline at the time came home like a bat out of hell and was like you know
argued with me the whole nine and I just lied through my teeth and told him that
I would do a desk job to get him to sign I was like look dude you can sign the
papers now or you can wait 8 months I’m gonna sign him anyways myself so he
finally buckled he trusted me which that was a bad idea when I was 17 it’s so
strange when you look back and I got I got a son right now that’s 16 and I’m
thinking wow like it you grow up so much between the ages of 16 17 and like even
20 22 and then 20 to 25 like you don’t know a lot when you’re 17 years old
that’s the bottom line but you I mean I will say this both your parents being
Marines one thing that’s kind of cool is they at least knew what was gonna happen
I mean if you if your parents didn’t have any experience they probably
would’ve completely freaked out but you at least know what the Marine Corps is
you know that it’s you know that it does what it does and it does it well you
know the Marine Corps puts kids from every background every walk of life onto
the path of being a Marine which is a squared-away thing to be in my opinion
how much of a shocker was it when you how much longer was it until you went to
boot camp I went a few short months after that originally I was gonna try
and hold out and and actually wait a little bit before my 18th birthday but
again I got that little two year degree from Pensacola junior college and I had
a little bit of free time started getting in trouble again so it was just
time to leave what was the how was how much of a shock was it for you checking
in to boot camp you know it’s it’s funny and I’ll tell a
quick story about my family or my parents because it’s my hands-down
favorite story but mom dad got married at 18 living on Navarre Beach in Florida
dad joined the Marine Corps right afterwards eight years later I’m already
born we’re living on 29 palms I’m in California and my mom comes home and
tells my dad you know I think these female Marines are pretty badass dad
looks at mom says I’ll never be married to a female marine mom looks at him
turns around leaves gets an age waiver and joins the Marine Corps so like my
earliest memory is actually you know my mom walking across the parade deck thank
you so how old was your mom when she enlisted in the Marine Corps she woulda
been 26 37 yeah that’s the Marine Corps doesn’t
take people that are that old that’s like an ancient dinosaur in the Marine
Corps yeah and boot camp they all called her
mom how long how long did your dad end up doing in the Marine Corps I’m using
for nine years I didn’t what about your mom she just did for part of it was a
spite thing I think and then part of it you know she wanted to do and I think
she would live in regret if she didn’t do it hmm
especially if her husband told her no you where that was going so so you check
into the boot boot camp was it was it a shock to your system
did your the you know be with your mom and dad both they the Marine Corps had
they kind of given you a heads-up did you understand what you were getting
into and how much did it still shock you yeah well I saw I kid you not like I
idolized my parents you know I I just love the fact that they got up every
morning put the uniform on and did something bigger than themselves so I
mean my favorite movie I mean I got off the bus and watched documentaries on
Marine Corps boot camp you know my Barbies were dressed in dress blues my
favorite t-shirt was my mom’s u.s. marine kind of thing so I was very well
educated and verse on what boot camp would consist of and of course I heard
all the stories from everybody but I loved boot camp I made it way harder on
myself that I needed to because I was again 17 years old and just a little
shit you know they’d say yell and I whisper just being just been a pain um
but as far as like the physical aspect of it you know I just reminded myself
like I’m getting to play for 13 weeks like where else do you get paid to run
and throw grenades and and you know do the obstacle course the was there
anything you had trouble with in in Marine Corps boot camp
I honestly I just had a I had an issue just like I said breaking down my
attitude my attitude was you know I wanted to say why’d everything and so
that was when I say the hard part again it was just yeah keeping my head in the
right place and then how did you end up becoming like what was the process for
you picking your MOS well I wanted again one of them used to challenge myself you
know I didn’t want to do supplier admin and I wanted to deploy when I actually
walked out of my class that I was in when I was 17 I very vividly remember
looking around this chemistry lab and being like he won’t do it she can’t do
it there’s no way in hell he’ll you know he’ll deploy or any of that and
obviously very terrible and judgmental of me but I mean that was the catalyst I
mean that inspired me to walk out of that chem lab and go to the recruiters
office what year was this 2008 oh so you fall on knew that you were going to go
to on deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan if you got a some kind of a job that
would put you in the field in some way exactly yeah and I wanted that I mean I
growing up I would like fur for a long time some of my family was like oh god
she’s gonna be a social worker because I just always loved it’s like I was the
bully that beat up the bully you know I love protecting the kids that you know
couldn’t or wouldn’t protect themselves so yeah when I went to the recruiters
office I was like you just got to give me something where I feel like I’m
living that higher purpose or I know exactly without a doubt you know what my
role in the grand scheme is so when I went into the recruiters office I was
like throw me whatever you got and then of course the ASVAB I had the scores to
do whatever and I knew nothing about aviation but that’s that’s what I went
for to become a to become an airframe mechanic that was the first step and
where is it isn’t that school in Pensacola it’s
and imagine how much trouble I got in again the what were you do you remember
September 11th yeah I was in fifth grade mrs. Todd’s class at WH roads in Milton
Florida how much understanding did you have of
what was happening where your parents own the Marine Corps now at the time no
but my dad was actually working on the outskirts of New York City and so I
remember my mom picking me up and honestly she was just petrified she
thought she was gonna get you know stop-loss she thought she’s gonna get
called back and she didn’t know what to do my dad’s working in New York and you
know we’re down in Florida and I just remember laying on the on the carpet in
front of a TV that wasn’t even a stand under this big blue jean blanket and
just sitting there and crying and waiting to hear from my dad and figure
out what was going on so yeah I mean obviously very emotional that and then
as you I mean going back a little bit but when you’re doing the Marine Corps
your parents absolutely know that in the Marine Corps after September 11th if you
were in the Marine Corps there was a really good chance you were going to
Iraq or Afghanistan yeah and you when what year was at you enlisted 2008 yeah
so you go to airframes Co how long is that school last it’s only a few months
really but it was hard to like get classed up into it um but I was in the a
school for like for like four months down there and then see school over a
new river for a couple of months new river what where’s that um it’s right up
solution okay and this is you know just for people that don’t for people that
don’t know too much about the military I mean the the military is a massive
organization that basically encompasses all of everything that happens in the
world so yes you see Marines flying
helicopters but there’s a marine that knows how to work on that helicopter
there’s a marine that knows how to fix that helicopters in marine that knows
how to fuel that helicopter those Marines know how to work on the
electronics and there the and then there’s people that know
how to land it and there’s there’s people that do everything and then
there’s people that supply the people that are doing all those things with the
gear that they need and there’s Marines that are
educate so there’s this whole world inside of the military inside the Marine
Corps so and you have to have it all in order in order to go forward and fight
wars there has to be all these different logistical support elements and
equipment elements I mean just it’s just this massive machine in the army has the
same thing and the Navy obviously has the same thing with ships and planes
everything else so but what’s cool is when you join the service as they used
to say when I was a kid do they still say that Jocko enjoyed the service I
always felt like I was in World War two and somebody to ask me hey how’s that
how’s it being how’s your run in the service going so when you join the
service when you join the service they give you some kind of a job and some
kind of an education so that’s what you were doing learning how to work on on
the on the 53 right that’s what is it specific to the 53 oh yeah so you’re
learning specifically how to work on a specific aircraft that is used by the
Marine Corps called the what is the mh-53 what’s the what’s the Marine Corps
version called the CAG 53 big awesome bird powerful massive bird helicopter
that can hold 40 Marines I’m gonna say I had to memorize all that stuff it’s my
memories getting Shady speaking of senior citizen over here so then where
do you get stationed when you get done with these schools my first radio
station was Miramar actually Oh a little bit better than 29 problems a little bit
better so and then what’s your day-to-day life when you’re are you
attached to a squadron is that what’s going on yeah so my first unit was heavy
Marine helicopter squadron 465 and to be totally honest my the airframe shop
didn’t really want me there right off the bat you know I you know throwing a
female into a shop of all dudes you’re adding a pretty interesting dynamic so
it was really a matter of I had to prove myself how to wear a chip on my shoulder
and keep my head down again got into my fair share of trouble as an eighteen
year old in San Diego I worked my way out of that when I first
got in the Navy and got to San Diego there was a rule the drinking age was 21
in California but the drinking age on-base was 18 so like yeah you could
there was kids that did had never drank before just wrecking themselves it was
such a disaster at some point luckily they changed it so you’re you’re in
there you’re the first female you said that that was with this group yeah very
very long time and then I mean that’s when you’re a new guy checking in
anyways it’s gonna be you’re gonna get you’re gonna get I guess hazed is the
politically incorrect word right we’re not because you’re not allowed to haze
but you’re gonna get is razzed okay is that the same thing you’re gonna get
raster you get hassled but when you’re checking in somewhere when you check in
are you guys already looking are you already seeing a deployment ahead of you
so when you check-in out that I K we’re going on deployment at this time right
when I got there I actually consider myself to have been getting lucky
because they were just leaving from you so I lucked out and missed them you and
got to stick around stick back and actually learn my job and become become
proficient in that and then when the next cycle came around half of us went
on him you than half of us went to Afghanistan and I was lucky enough to go
to Afghanistan and then what was that deployment when you were heading on that
deployment were you what was your what we were nerves like were you just like a
typical 18 year old marine that’s just fired up to go and get after it I was
just yeah I was so super excited honestly I am yeah I mean I was just
ready to go I mean I think my bags were packed weeks in advance but and I don’t
even think the nerves kicked in about any of it up until it you know like
you’re starting to land you’re doing your laps that’s when I got nervous yes
earlier where did you how did you guys get there how did you guys deploy there
so we came in on a c-130 okay and the bird the your helicopters were already
there and so you were replacing basically replacing the group yep
exactly and so you show up on the ground and
then what was the day-to-day what was your was your mission there what were
you doing day-to-day life my first and second deployments were varied
friend the first one was you know super err like maintenance maintenance in
vault I mean it was everything I was usually a nightshift but yeah I mean it
was everything from doing the hydraulics to riveting welding composite composite
repaired you know battle damage assessments stuff
like that you know they trusted me enough to go out and do those jobs by
myself but not really enough to to come outside of the wire do anything like
that what was the OP temper like how often
were the birds flying were they flying like every single day all day every
single day um I mean we oftentimes we’d send out seven or eight flights and
again you know you know birds don’t fly out there single ship so I mean you’d
have 14 aircraft down and having to like do turnarounds and daily inspections to
get him out the next day or even five six hours later and Marine Corps usually
deploys for six months was it a typical kind of six-month deployment seven-month
deployment because there’s a little bit on the beginning a little bit on the end
were you what was were you getting sleep yeah I mean I I mean I had I hadn’t
it was weird like I mean I by no means we’re doing any of the things that you
guys were doing and I very much so loved the fact that my job was directly
supporting the guys in the ground like I had such pride in that and I knew that
if I didn’t do my job then again like you guys aren’t gonna be able to do your
job so I had a huge pride in that um but I did I mean I loved everything about
being out there um you know I loved the sim in my mind simplicity of it you know
you don’t worry about how your hair is gonna look you don’t worry about we’re
gonna wear what you’re gonna eat you know you just worry about keeping birds
up staying alive keeping you guys alive and coming home safe so to me it was
very routine I mean even though your days are varied between you know what
your maintenance schedule er what your flight schedule looks like it’s I mean
it’s pretty frickin straightforward yeah and and that’s one of the things that I
love always loved about deployment was you all of a sudden nothing else in the
world matters except for this thing that you’re doing you’re doing your job
whatever that job may be whether it’s fixing a helicopter or going out on
patrol that’s what your life is and like you said there there are lives at stake
I mean it with your job you know everyone’s relying on those helicopters
everyone’s relying on those helicopters to to do
they need to do to provide extract insert helicopter a casualty evacuation
I mean it’s absolutely critical and every single person that it plays a role
in making sure that those things do what they’re supposed to do it’s like yeah
it’s absolutely critical and that becomes your whole life that becomes
your whole focus and it’s it’s it feels good in my opinion when you have that
much focus and clarity in your life yeah no I mean I loved it I mean that’s why I
had three months between deployments four months between deployments so you
come home from that first deployment and what what gave because normally the
Marine Corps takes what 12 months to 18 months between deployments for whatever
unit somehow you end up going switching to another unit what happened here yeah
so towards the end of the second half of that first appointment in May of about
2011 my former gunnery sergeant reached out to me he said hey you know I want
you to come back to Afghanistan with my unit what do you think initially I was
like get bent dude there’s no way I’m coming back here like I need a break but
sure enough got home August 2011 you know went on leave with the family and
then in June or excuse me in September 2011 what was down in cave a won’t
complain about that with heavy Marine helicopter squadron 362 and then we were
right back in Afghanistan yeah June end of January 2012 and then what did that
deployment look like that’s when I actually was able to step up and you
know could be proud of those combat action wings and that’s when I was
actually you know a 50 caliber machine gunner Arial door gunner and again you
know I’m still turning wrenches and maintaining the aircraft that I’m flying
on but to me I was in my opinion I was feeling I’m feeling a much bigger
purpose you know again the things that you were just rattling off whether it’s
you know you’re sitting there on chopped standby waiting for a medevac to get
called in or an insertion or extraction you know you’re just in my opinion it
was just way more high-speed low-drag so you’re still doing your maintenance job
yeah and then your your other job is when they launch some of the times they
would need a door gunner and they put you on the fifty Cal yeah well I mean so
it’s a routine thing so it probably every other day once every three days
I’d be flying okay yeah so it was just like here you’re scheduled for flights
these days and and then what kind of missions were you guys supporting a
broad spectrum of things yeah I mean some days it would be just your generic
like resupplies or you’re dropping off mail and other times you know you’re
doing everything from drug raids to yeah my name my favorites were the insertions
and extractions for sure and did you already knew how to shoot a 50 Cal but
did they fam you up further once she started doing it from the helo because
the 50 caliber is such a beautiful piece of machinery well it was funny too man
when I first decided I wanted to pick my wings like that was even more of a
battle than I mean even just being a maintainer like nobody wants to see a 5
foot 3 blond lady you know draggin their knuckles and turning wrenches alongside
the dudes and then now she steps up and says she wants to do speed reloads with
85 pound cans and they start looking a little funny uh-huh so again proving
myself all over again but I mean I loved it even when you’d go pick up you know
the boys from 1 7 or 2 5 or something they’d just be looking at you so funny
with the little blonde ponytail hanging out the back of the flight helmet I mean
I just yeah I loved it and then what so every third day you’re going out the
other days you’re working and the missions that you’re supporting our are
everything everything I mean we we would work with the Marines would Berkeley
Australians we’d work with the Brits I mean the Georgians would work with
everybody how how hot was the AOS that you were working in like how what was
the threat level how did you feel did you feel were you ever at a point where
like oh yeah we know we’re gonna out were to know we’re gonna get contacted
or was it the enemy was pretty tame in the areas you were going into it was
gonna hit and miss I would go back and forth I mean you mentioned the 53
earlier I mean we’re a huge bumblebee man we’re a huge target as it is you
know certain areas you know Lashkar Gah you know mousical and all that like sure
those areas like for lack of better terms yeah I mean you you’d pucker like
I mean it’s very real I mean other times you know going on to Dwyer
I’m not so bad you know and then the the did you start feeling any any like
stress or were you like just in the zone well it’s weird like I never really
thought about getting hurt ever I mean I don’t know if maybe it was a young
mentality but I mean everyday when I’d go pick up my blood shit and you know
grab grab the gear not to the bird it wasn’t I mean a crashing or getting shut
down or any of those things like never even crossed my mind it was just I want
to go out there and do my job and quite frankly I mean flying over a you know
anywhere staying in or any of those areas the Green Zone like Afghanistan is
beautiful like if you’re not getting shot at you’re not terrified like I mean
I loved it I mean it’s a stunning country and then even just like the
interaction that you get with some of the people I mean it’s pretty special
sometimes so then you never expected you never thought about it you never thought
about getting blown out of the sky you never thought about it any of this stuff
and then all of a sudden let’s talk about June 23rd 2012 so what what type
of mission were you going out on so we were actually doing a resupply and then
we were dropping off three space available army medics and then we were
going out bounce you do an extraction of Marines it’s a little bit of everything
I mean that’s pretty common you just bundle it all together and try to meet
the schedules that everybody needs but I mean honestly it should have been fairly
routine so we were making our wage and now is that and there’s a little bit of
stuff going on like we were getting spotlighted and so it’s calming out in
Afghanistan where basically they try to bloom out the helicopters the pilots
can’t see anyways but they would basically signal to the next stations
all the way out to wherever we were going so they could figure out where we
were landing we’re in route to now Zaid and unfortunately never made it to now
that we were supposed to be dropping off those three army medics and everything
from ammo to mail and everything in between and yeah the last things that I
remember was the pilots or my excuse me my tail gunner calling for power for the
for the pilots to deliver the news to the aircraft up are off and probably
came over comms and said he wasn’t getting the desired outputs and the next
thing you know we came nose up and then rolled left and
being on the left gun night-vision goggles down it was weird
I just counted like just as like normally like as a door gunner you’re
the eyes and the ears for the pilot so when you’re landing especially a big
piece of machinery like that it’s 5 4 3 2 1 s main mains on deck and that’s all
I did and then we hit the ground you know
there’s a lot more better stories out there but yeah and you remember all that
stuff yeah and that’s what I remember there’s a lot that I was knocked out the
assumption is the barrel of my 50 Cal which obviously sticks way up the side
of the helicopter hit the ground before I did and came up and threw my face so
had some pretty pretty severe damage to my face and my right frontal lobe but
yeah I mean I know did you ever piece together with the
pilots like what happened I think I mean in my opinion you just choked I mean
there was pressure I mean it was you know brought out circumstances we were
being spotlighted there were small arm stuff going on around us nothing that
was a real threat to us by any means but you know actually my last memory of
being in Afghanistan on Camp Bastion this little makeshift hospital
everyone say his name but was the pilot sitting by my bedside and just sitting
there and crying and then I found out later that he actually deal Ward so I
know there’s a lot of guilt there I mean I forgiving the situation for sure
but um but yeah so the helo crashes and you’re knocked out what’s your what’s
your first memory of after being knocked out so everybody like my pilots were
screaming for my tail gunner who I mean I just idolized this dude and they
couldn’t find him they couldn’t get a reaction from him at first so I started
screaming like I’m hearing all this going on and it’s not real I wasn’t in
pain I wasn’t in shock I wasn’t crying it was just like holy shit find my tail
gunner and I don’t know the details of what exactly happened or how exactly it
happened but he ended up going out the back and hitting the river rocks before
we actually hit the ground I don’t know if he was coming off of his Gunners belt
to get to one of the three available seats on the other side of the aircraft
or what he was doing but he went out the back and so I just
heard screaming to get a reaction luckily over time they got our reaction
from him and like all of it was just pure frickin chaos but I remember like
rolling my tongue around my mouth because I couldn’t breathe out of my
nose and there were no teeth everything was shattered there’s just like a big
hole and then it was just gurgling because I couldn’t breathe my nose
couldn’t breathe out of my mouth and one of the army medics actually crawled all
over all of these trials that we had and got in my face and I remember reading
his you know his patch and he was just in my face trying to keep me basically
out of shock and then they called in says one of my favorite stories so I
hope second Battalion fifth Marines is listening but they called to five out of
now sod to come out and provide security and obviously you know help with
stripping everything down and when they called it in whoever said it you know
said you know the female gunner they don’t impact because they couldn’t get a
response for me long story short they come out and put me in the other
aircraft or lead aircraft along with my tail gunner and the rest of the crew and
get us out of there and back to Camp Bastion well long story short I’ll fast
forward a little bit 2nd battalion 5th Marines ended up shooting these pistol
rounds underwater when they when that’s done they bloom out into flowers and
they got him back to me in this little wooden case and said for flowers that’ll
never die just like you but yeah I mean every single one of those dudes now to
this day like they laughs airily we didn’t think it was true barely bullshit
there’s not a female on that aircraft was the whenever I think of a helicopter
crashing I think of it exploding and being on fire so how did it not was it
what did it survive kind of intact no okay so it was just you know so I
actually have a little bit of I there was a G boss out right outside of now so
I have actually seen what happened when we hit the ground so when we hit the
ground the transics transition section came off and of course like the tail
pylon and everything just went flying the rotors and all of that but I mean it
wasn’t salvageable I mean they just took the guns and
a couple other things off of it and then they just blow it up and you were the
worst injury worse casualty on the helo right yes and that’s probably because
like you said you were the door gunner on the another side and to be totally
honest probably just because of my size I mean in my 50 Cal on a gal 21 mount
you know sits up damn nur on my chest on me so you’ve got some pictures on your I
think it’s your Facebook of your face and it’s freaking crazy I was like holy
I mean it is it’s like fully exposed like you’re you’re you are hurt bad yeah
bad and so so what then what’s your next memory when’s your next memory did they
put you in the induced coma what they do with you so much pain no so I woke back
up in route to Camp Bastion and this dude Comstock he was the the new left
door gunner on the other aircraft he bent down next to me and he just
basically told me he’s like don’t close your fuckin eyes cuz you’re not going to
open him again and my tail gunner my old gunnery sergeant it was actually laying
next to me because we were just laying on the floorboard of the aircraft and he
kept throwing his arm over my face to keep from getting hydraulic and fluid
and stuff halt in my open wounds and whatnot and so I’m laying there and I’m
like trying not to cry I’m panicking that like I’m gonna die or let’s say my
little sister because I have no idea what’s going on like I was numb I knew I
was hurt but I didn’t really it was weird I couldn’t feel anything
and then I just kept staring at this blue cabin overhead light and thinking I
wasn’t gonna die without seeing my little sister what about your leg did
you did you what are you aware that your leg was jacked up I was well aware them
and I was jacked up cuz that was I mean I wasn’t paying like that’s the only
thing that actually hurt for whatever reason like I could feel that and
nothing else and yeah that was just that was pretty brutal but yeah then they got
me back to Camp Bastion and I remember thinking like that’s fucking fine like
they’re just gonna send me back up I’m gonna go right back to this I got we’re
almost on our way out we’re gonna you know go home in August it’s totally fine
and then my gunnery sergeant the one who ass
me to go on that deployment I’m a sergeant major at the time walked in and
they were looking at me and they’re both crying and just staring at me I’m like
oh shit this is this is not good and I think that’s when uh when I
realized like I was going home and yeah I mean I was devastated I think that was
the hardest part of any event was just having to leave everybody behind I mean
even once I left cam bash and you know they sent me to Kandahar Germany DC and
then I made it back to San Diego and I’d been I had just been in combat
meritoriously promoted to sergeant and when you were when you’re getting the
the whole evacuation to Germany are people meeting with you are you are you
starting to get a glimpse or a feeling for what’s going on yes no like I I mean
I knew what was going on I didn’t quite understand obviously the whole process
but I was pissed off and I wasn’t really letting anyone help for explained to me
anything I actually didn’t really help the
situation sorry mom but when I was in it would have either been Germany or
Kandahar they finally let me call home because of course my CEO gets ahold of
my parents and you know my dad answers the phone well eventually I can call
home but I can’t talk because there’s you know there’s there’s no jaw or
anything so I’m trying to tell my mom like I’m coming home and my mom starts
laughing at me and she’s like you know baby girl I can understand you must be
on some really good drugs and I get past my mom and hang up the phone on her and
then I don’t talk to anybody like I’m not mad you know and then you know
they’re loading me up like I’m pissed off at my mom I’m angry that I’m leaving
my dudes like I’m just I’m just a shit show
and then they load me up to actually they don’t have me induced they don’t
have me sedated or anything they load me up in Germany to send me to DC I don’t
they have you induced or is it cuz you had brain trauma or something yeah so
they wouldn’t give me anything for pain right off the bat especially because of
the head trauma but yeah so then from Germany somebody that was just in a
helicopter crash they don’t put him to sleep for a flight from Germany to DC
and so then I’m on this thing like they have me strapped down to a gurney
there’s a bunch of other dudes I think their legs blown off people sitting on
sides of the aircraft like just staring at me as I’m losing my mind my lungs are
sticking together so I can’t breathe I mean it was it was a terrible terrible
journey back let’s put it that way but I think once I made it to DC and then you
know they’re carrying us all off on the stretchers and stuff like that and you
know there’s American flags and supporters and people out there you know
telling you that it’s going to be okay I think in that moment like I realize that
I was going to be okay but it still didn’t quite I think I was scared of of
what was going to happen you know basically that I wouldn’t be able to
stay in that was the fear that was the fear the fear that you couldn’t you
wouldn’t be able to stay in the Marine Corps how long had you been in for at
this point four years just made sergeant yeah we’re your parents waiting for you
when you got to DC no they were waiting for me in San Diego so it was hard for
them to decide you know of course both Marines being our both parents being
Marines it’s not a ton of money floating around my family so they you know we
needed to wait to figure out if I was going to be a poly trauma in DC our poly
trauma in San Diego so as soon as we got word that I was gonna go to San Diego
that’s one thing they sold everything in the house you know we loaded up in the
car and or they loaded up in the car and they made it up did they actually sell
their house no this is everything in it literally everything in it and we were
they down in Florida still yeah so they sold everything that they had in Florida
how long were you in DC for not too long I mean I maybe a handful of days four or
five days and then straight to Balboa and what are you thinking at this point
in terms of the level of your injuries have you seen yourself have you seen
yourself in a mirror yet because if I would have seen the picture that you
posted hahaha that would that would have like
hit me pretty damn hard well that’s actually why they took those pictures so
it was actually really cute when when I go doesn’t sound cute so when they
wheeled me and again this little makeshift hospital tent and there was
actually a British plastic surgeon that was volunteering her time this little
sweet she was old like an old lady and she looked at everybody in there and was
like no one touch her I’m sewing her back up so it was you know as far as my
face goes and so she took those pictures and when
I finally came to after she sewed my face up initially she was like I don’t
want to freak out when you see this like this is what we started with and so
that’s where those pictures actually came from you know that’s their savage
yeah but so you saw those pretty quickly yeah but then you got to see she did a
damn good job yeah I mean it’s like a miracle she was a miracle workers lady at e3 Corbin yeah that would have been
that would have not been good no offense to e3 Korman they’re doing their best
but you know obviously as some experienced Plastic Surgeons gonna do a
better job so so that’s good how about your leg what are you feeling in your
leg so my leg I knew was a bad deal from the get-go so that nobody would touch it
no one over cz but even was willing to mess with that what had happened to it
so and so when we hit the ground there’s a bone in the middle of your foot called
it tailless it snapped and shot everything up so damage the heel and up
through like my tib fib and everything something and I don’t know what it was I
mean obviously I have steel toe boots that we flying and all of that but yeah
something was underneath it with enough force that it broke everything upward
and pushed everything up and it’s what does it look like on the outside is it
like a compound fracture is it all internal damage um no I mean it was all
internal damage I mean everything I mean there was note that from my leg there
was no blood did it see cuz it seems to me that that would like if I had that
happen like oh it hurts a lot but it’s all there there’s no blood I’m gonna be
good that would be my opinion because I’m kind of I always think I’m gonna
survive everything no like well I think what worried me was like I said the fact
that everybody was looking at it and being like yeah we’re not gonna do
anything about it and nobody did anything about it for like a week ten
days and then finally someone came in and said well this is what your deal is
because of the damage that has been caused you’ve disrupted all of the blood
flow to those bones so those bones are gonna have
necrosis and they’re all gonna die and I opted for the doctors to not cut it off
right away I told them like look let’s fix my spine let’s fix my face let’s fix
my fucking brain and then we can worry about my leg and so the let’s go through
that order the face they sew you up did a great job with that
your brain so you got knocked out you got I mean you got whaled on your head
got whaled on in this accident what do you are you getting headaches is
your memory like what we what would the symptoms that you’ve noticed out of the
gate the biggest thing right I mean currently the biggest thing is still my
memory like I mean I have solid chunks of it and I’ve like made a really
conscious effort and thank God for again my mom my sister and my dad for really
working with working with me for that stuff
but for awhile I mean it was I mean everything the biggest thing was being
able to control my mood I had a real issue with mood stabilization there was
just like a constant anxiety no matter what and then I couldn’t sleep so of
course all of those things together on top of like word recognition and word
retrieval and being able to communicate effectively with doctors or your parents
or friends like what you need that was the hardest part and then like I don’t
know if you’ve ever been down to Balboa but I mean they have this whole building
for their patients to live and so I lived in I mean it was just like a
little bedroom like a little tiny condo thing but I could go into the bathroom
and just not know what the hell was going on like I had to be reminded that
if I’m in the bathroom I’m taking a shower brushing my teeth washing my
hands and so like I had to have a very specific routine to be able to like get
all Pistons firing as that did you did you notice progress over time oh yeah so
you could you see the progress I guess is what I’m asking or were you just like
what is this not getting any better the first year I really really struggled
because you get frustrated you compare yourself to how you were you know
whether that’s physically mentally or emotionally it’s just if it’s not one
thing it’s another and so I was the first year was really really difficult
but you know once I made it over that home
I mean I’m pretty proud to say that it’s been like I’ve tried like hell I’ve
given this everything that I have that it’s been like on a constant upswing at
this point I mean I still go to speech therapy to this day but I mean that
helps with everything from cognitive to again just the verbal stuff to you but I
mean it’s it’s work how about the cervical spine what like what was the
where you feeling numbness in your body parts or anything like that like I had I
had neck surgery because I hurt my spine and like I had what woke up one day and
I in the middle and I couldn’t move my right arm like it would not move which
is a really scary thing and you know eventually it all came back but what
what was your cervical spine injury did you break vertebra so there is hairline
fractures in my c2 c3 and c4 and then just from the so like being in the
aircraft there are these I mean they’re tethers I mean they go around your
ribcage and tether you to the floorboard so you don’t go flying anywhere should a
helicopter crash or something happened and so when we hit the ground it was
like the helicopter went one way and I went the other and so it kind of just
like I guess be severe whiplash back away yeah and so then my c2 c3 and
c4 did what’s called stepping so they were basically this exact one was out of
place sort of that way but it didn’t did it affect your spinal cord at all no no
I am I like doing the millimeters right there too and I uh that was scary let me
just put it that way and I mean I I didn’t know what to do in that moment
either because now you’re playing with again no offense to military medicine
I’m super thankful that I am where I am today but now you’re looking at this
situation where it’s like is it that bad to fix it you know do you let them go in
and do surgery or do you let it heal on its own do you live your life in a
c-spine for the next year or two and so yeah I mean that’s just a huge gamble
with all of it so what call did you make yes I lived in a cease my long time so
you lived in the dang that big thing that you wear around your neck mm-hmm so
yeah you’re not turning it and you’re not moving your shoulders you’re doing
nothing yeah and then you know obviously damage to the arms the head trauma also
like mess up the backside of my right eye of course
your eardrums are gonna get blown out and all that good stuff and helicopter
crash but the hardest part for me my you know I think all too often people look
at me like oh god she’s missing her left leg that has to be terrible but the
reality is if I didn’t keep my head in my heart in the right place then nothing
else was going to get better so fixing fixing my brain and fixing what I had
going on emotionally that was the hard part so you’re in the hospital for like
I mean how long are you in the hospital for two years two years from 2012 to
2014 when you’re when you’re going through one of the things that you
talked about is you’re going through your anniversary is it called an
anniversary you’re a live day a year after and you got to a point where
you’re like I don’t know if I can do this yeah so I think my my doctors and
my leadership if you will I had a lot of people come into my hospital room and
sit there and tell me I wanted to go to the drill field so bad so freakin bad
and so I had all these people coming I even had the CG of MCRD come over and
say you’re gonna be the first drill instructor that’s you know an amputee
and you’re gonna go right back into the fight and this that and the other end on
one hand like I used that to really push myself physically to get better but on
the other hand like I think it messed that misled me quite a bit
so when I got word after my second med board that I was unfit for duty to to
the injuries I have lost it like that’s when I knew that I had one more shot at
staying in the Marine Corps and it wasn’t going to ever be to fly again I
was going to be the desk job that I really didn’t want you know from the
get-go and even still I mean that wasn’t even promised so I I don’t know I
dealing with injuries and specifically my leg that’s not getting better
obviously still processing a ton of stuff and then finding out that this the
one thing that I really loved at that point in time my purpose I was now
getting pulled out from underneath my feet yeah I mean I guess you you have to
hit rock bottom you know to be able to rebuild
everything and I truly did you got a couple things in here that you wrote
about just like your mom your dad he said my dad’s been one of my best
friends and biggest fan since day one he’s giving me tough love after I needed
after injury but also motivated me and ways to continue creating and chasing
dreams I’m alive and well thanks to my family I appreciate you being as
stubborn as I am that you you talk about your mom you said my mom used to look at
me sitting in my wheelchair and say do it your damn self that right there has
got to be for a parent and I got four kids but the temptation for parents
always is to try and just take give your kids everything that you can to help
them and that I’ve said many times actually hurts your kid and here’s an
example not of a child but of your mom talking to a twenty whatever
three-year-old woman and saying you got to do this yourself that has to leave a
mark yeah I am I mean I’m not a parent so I don’t I don’t totally get that
you know that side of things but I mean my dad again one of the things I mean
I’ll get into the nitty-gritty of it because I’m transparent but so On June
23 2012 like if you’re gonna kill yourself you’re not gonna you’re not
gonna tell anybody you’re just going to go off and do it and so I went down to
the Blythe River and had some friends with me cuz we’re gonna celebrate and
all this stuff and then I decide that I’m over it like I don’t want to be
doing it anymore I do what I need to do and I’m gonna walk myself out into the
blade over and draw myself disappear and no one’s gonna have to deal with deal
with me or my problems I’m not going to be a burden anymore long story short I’m
lucky that I woke up the next day surrounded by people that did save me
and my dad came to me and crying my dad doesn’t cry my dad’s this big tattooed
dude that’s semi scary sometimes and he said you’ve got to be shitting me
you know the enemy couldn’t kill you meet at home now you’re gonna do it for
him and that’s the moment I realized that I was being selfish
the moment that I realized I had a lot more to live for and then I had a lot to
be grateful for so then I decided that I was going to turn my life around um but
I mean I I don’t know what that’s like for my dad especially like he’s always
been hard on me he’s always been the one to really set those standards for me I
mean pun intended like he’s the reason that I hold you know he holds my foot to
the fire for me and even to this day like he doesn’t do interviews you know
I’m constantly like doing the media stuff here and there but you know one
day he was asked you know you know are you proud of your daughter and he’s like
well yeah I’m proud of her but the moment she stops paying it forward she
deserves have it all taken away and I have lived my life like that
those little one-liners that sometimes look at my dad and I’m like oh I think
thanks but you know like I hang on to those and I mean he really yes he’s the
one that holds me accountable like through and through through all of it
and then my mom God loved her toughest lady I know because again even like
raising me well but then for her to like I mean I could see it even those moments
when she’s telling me to do it myself like there’s tears in her eyes like she
wants to do it for me but she knows the moment that she steps in and and you
know coddles the situation I’m not going to be independent you know I’m not gonna
move past these and you pass these injuries and live a healthy happy life
so I mean I can’t imagine the internal like turmoil that you go through and for
you to go through this like actual 180 degree transition from I
don’t want to live anymore to I want to live the best life I possibly can how
long did that transition take this is like a couple days that you went got
there is that your when your dad said those words to you you just said you
know what I’m wrong and I need to get on the right path that’s it he said I mean
I think I think in that moment I for whatever reason I mean I’ll never
understand it but for whatever reason it at that time God spared me twice and I’m
not even a religious person but God heard me twice so obviously there’s a
reason that I’m still here somebody something cut me here and then the dude
that I you know with respected admire the most coming to me and saying that
like I mean that just destroyed me I mean as long as if I couldn’t get any
lower you know him saying that I was like you know what you decide like I
can’t control the helicopter crash I can’t control what this crazy vicious
world throughout me I can’t control that but what I can control is how I’m going
to respond and it is I mean I wholeheartedly believe as a choice when
you were not dwell on the subject too long but you know a lot of people that
listen to this podcast are people that served and people that end up in some
rough spots when you were descending into that place mentally how long did
that take I mean is it something that you woke up one day and said I’m sick of
this or as it was like just the grind that beat you down over time when you
said look this is this is just not worth it right now there’s the guy I mean it’s
not I mean it’s not an instant thing I mean again don’t get me wrong I’m not
the person that walked on and talked about it like you know wasn’t screaming
for attention I was just gonna go and do it but I mean it was just one of those
things where it felt like nothing was ever getting better you know he’s just
digging this hole digging this grave you know deeper and deeper you know I
asked you about the progress of your injury that was like actually a really
personal question for me because I’m the type of person if I notice point zero
zero one percent improvement or something I’m like oh there you go this
is gonna get better and when I don’t have that happening that that’s that’s
like what I don’t have that happening I it’s like when I don’t notice any
improvement I I start feeling like oh no like it’s a that I’m on the wrong path
right now this is not gonna get better it’s kind of like how I felt with with
my neck my neck I’ve jacked up all the sudden I can’t move my arm all some you
know I’m gonna it’s gonna get better it’s gonna get better it’s gonna be
better than it’s not getting better and yeah that that’s the grind thing of
like hey this is get this is getting worse and
it’s not gonna get better and for me like now when I look like I’ve never
recovered the strength that I have in my in my right tricep and my right back
like I got some of it back but not all of it and it’s okay at some point I just
was like okay cool that’s the way this and I think that happens to people where
you have to you have to look at the situation and say well it’s what you
just said listen I can’t control that I can’t control what happened my neck you
can’t control happen this helicopter crash what happened happened what am I
going to do now and I got that I was actually getting some social media
responses about just someone was talking about so I made my buddy Lafe who is on
the SEAL Teams where we wrote a book called extreme ownership and it’s like
you take ownership of everything in your world right and there’s people that will
say oh if you get cancer how you gonna take ownership without how is that cuz
yeah when something goes wrong it’s my fault that’s that’s the way I look at
things right or something goes wrong it’s my fault that’s where I look at
everything if something’s not going the way it should be it’s my fault so how do
you take ownership if you get if you get cancer like how do you take ownership of
that and the answer is you don’t take ownership for getting cancer that’s not
that’s not but you take ownership for how you’re gonna react to it you take
ownership for your response you can’t take ownership look the helo
crashed what it for whatever reason it could be a million different things that
that helo crash the helo crashed you okay what do you do
you can’t take ownership of that crash what you take ownership of is your
response to that your response to your injuries and that’s to me is the most
powerful thing that a person has because that gives you some level of control
over circumstances that are truly beyond your control
I mean I’ve said it from pretty much since June 23rd and to 2013 you know the
right actions follow the right perspectives I mean I could sit here and
I can bitch about everything that I’ve lost I could pitch him home you know
lost memory a lost leg a lost millard a career lost years of my life you know to
the hospital to recovery or I can look at what I’ve gained how doesn’t happen I
wouldn’t be sitting here with you I wouldn’t be doing the things that I’m
doing I wouldn’t be living this very different purpose
on a totally different platform than I was before so I can take it with a grain
of salt and look at it as a blessing and a curse someone that I curse that I
wouldn’t wish on anyone my own we’re sending me and then you know I can just
keep going on about my day it’s just at what point so so now you’re two years
in the hospital so 2014 you get out of the hospital and you start living do you
is that when you get medically retired yeah May 2014 May 2014 you get out and
what do you do when you get out what’s your what do you what do you move into
are you living you’re living in San Diego at this time living an OB no so
there is two like so I mean I got it growing up again that academic thing in
that that athletic thing I didn’t struggle with it and now I find myself
in this position getting out of the rink where I’m like I’m not the same person
that I knew physically and I’m definitely not the same person I do
mentally but I really wanted to finish my first masters and while I was still
in the doctors looked at me and they were like there’s no way that we’re
gonna approve you for tuition assistance or any of this like you’re gonna fail
your classes there’s no way are you serious well so I went to my speech
therapist and said hey can you download this program read and write gold onto my
computer I’m gonna figure this out like I’m gonna finish this last year and my
master’s ended up getting that master’s in psychology with a C average so barely
but I was like determined to prove those doctors wrong and every single one of
them kept telling me if you don’t use it you’re gonna lose it like you have to
continue training and rewiring your brain so then I just didn’t stop I just
kept going to school like the moment that I got out just kept going and
obviously used this post 9/11 GI Bill and then it’s writing backing up
scholarships um decided school like wholeheartedly so this is 2014 you get
out of the hospital you’re like diving into school hardcore yeah you keep
talking about going to speech therapy and I’ve been listening really intently
trying to figure out why you need speech therapy and I have found nothing so far
super articulate you know nailing every word pronouncing pronouncing everything
awesome so what was like your lowest point for speech was it because the damn
have been done to your jaw was it your brain damage or was it just both and how
bad was it was there a point where you know you were you weren’t able to carry
on a conversation yeah so in the very beginning let’s face it right now you’re
doing a damn good job no so in the very beginning it really was it was beat it
was getting my brain to fire to be able to express myself to again to retrieve
the words that I was actually looking for now it’s more of like nerve and all
the trauma like the physical trauma now it’s like I was trying not to point it
out but like ours and s’s I’ll try to avoid that but yeah you just said both
of them perfectly but yeah like actually when I was trying to say rewiring just
now had there’s a lot of effort into that yeah but so like the head trauma
that was that was one thing that I really focused on and then around that
time actually started competing in snowboarding so you got your bad leg bad
brain you got your bad leg of a bad brain good band by the way and you and
you decide it’s cool like look before Tina starts to go Gordon what you’re
from Florida where’d that come from yeah no sorry there’s an organization
that came into my hospital room when I was actually still living at the
hospital I’m and still active duty and they came in they just said how do you
feel about learning a winter sport and this wasn’t the end of 2013 and I was
just like you know what anything just get me out of the hospital well again me
being me my doctors cleared me to sit ski but then when I show up in
Breckenridge Colorado no one asked me for you know medical clearance or
anything and I’m like well shit snowboarding
looks cool they end up picking it up really quickly and I loved it
you know it’s just one of those things that reminds you of your independence
and resiliency and you know no one can do it for you so I just kept up with it
and what was it like on your bad leg I mean it was painful I mean and I had a I
have had like a little this weird Kevlar like a carbon-fiber contraption that
your honor basically took all of the weight off of my lower limb and put it
on to my knee at time so I mean I had a little bit of
help but I mean it was I mean it was painful but it was worth it I mean I I
mean I wasn’t stopping I mean I was still dealing with surgeries I mean gosh
I was having a surgery once every eight to 12 weeks and then having the recovery
and so I mean I would sneak away from Balboa and go to Big Bear you were most
of the surgeries on your leg or were they on everything yeah yeah my leg so
between between my leg and my face that’s where the majority one came from
but 44 now they told you out of the gate that a bunch of your bones were gonna
die in your leg and they were right and and at some point like you’re you’re are
they giving you the prediction like hey this isn’t this isn’t gonna last yep I’m
in toward the end of my efforts if you will I mean they were coming in they’re
like this is a Christopher Columbus surgery at this point like we’re gonna
go in and we’re gonna try and do whether it was bone crafting or nerve
decompression or whatever it was like we don’t even know if we’re gonna find
anymore and finally I came to terms with it and so do you know what you can have
it was that before after you did the walk in England so my walk was my son
off to my leg okay that was so so you decided I got this bad leg I got brain
damage I got everything else going on but I’m gonna go walk a thousand miles
yes in the United Kingdom how’d that come about and so actually there was a
couple of older Marines that was that was working for an organization called
Bob Woodruff foundation and if they heard about this event called walking
with the wounded that you know they’ve done everything from the North Pole and
the South Pole and it was kind of just like this pilot idea and they were just
looking for people stupid enough to walk a thousand miles and sure enough one of
them’s me uh-huh but knows that they came up and they’re just like hey we’re
thinking about sponsoring this event that’s going to raise money for American
and British soldiers that are dealing with specifically brain injuries head
trauma and you know invisible injuries of all sorts and in the moment I was
just like you know what the legs coming off anyways I don’t care if I trash it
so let’s do this thousand miles and then literally seven days after I got home
they cut my leg off the thousand miles that you walk you were with at some
point you were with Prince Harry yep and he’s a legit dude
I will give him that I mean he he well he’s at least legit that he you know he
served I mean he fought in Afghanistan he was he in our rack yeah but yeah and
there’s some pretty cool stuff of him there’s a cool there’s a cool little
video someone’s interviewing him and then like the alarm sounds and he runs
off to go get some yeah and and so that was cool and usually had some some
interaction with him yeah so my personal spin on that thousand miles like of
course I was over there to raise awareness and fundraise but I made 25
memorial dog tags for Marines you either never came home or they killed
themselves when we got back home and I carried each one for 40 miles to the
poem and left them all across England Scotland and Wales with the intention
that a stranger would find them and honor our fallen you know we we shed
blood together we deserve to heal or you know men wounds together if you want and
he actually helped me lay a few of my dog tags and then I left the final one
with him at Buckingham Palace and then on what’s their Veterans Day he carried
it to the Senate are for me so again he really is a great dude as his hearts in
the right place for sure and that was one of your friends
TJ is that that the final dog tag so actually that’s pretty sad story
actually I’m so there was two gentlemen that were in the hospital with me they
were blown up ten days before I got hurt so they were with 1-7 and of course you
know me being the 53 unit we were doing constantly doing stuff with those guys
you know insertions and extractions and stuff and the two gentlemen that were
with 1-7 you know we went through all of our recoveries together and TJ was
actually one of was the guy that passed away when they lost their legs so I
didn’t I never knew him he was never really a friend it was more so for them as his wife so then you get done with
that walking a thousand miles and you come back to San Diego and preplanned
you get back in you’re like okay this this my foot is gonna die and let’s move
forward with us getting rid of it there’s a like a video like mini
documentary about you it’s done by Kozma bones and which is some kind of a
magazine and it’s a weird fit for me but yeah anyways I watched this video and
man there’s there’s a video of you and you’re walking on the beach and you’re
barefoot walking on the beach you’re walking on Ocean Beach by the way and
there’s the pier in the background and you’re like saying yeah you know I’m
walking on the beach because the I’m not gonna be able to do this anymore not
gonna be able to feel the sand on my on my foot anymore that has got to be the
the hardest decision that you’ve had to make it I mean for a person right like
you have at least this like I mean I the same I mean I surf and like I live by
the beach I love the ocean and walking barefoot on the sand is like totally a
thing that is real like it’s the best thing and I’m sitting there thinking
you’d been living in OB at the time and crazy that you’re sitting there saying
yep I’m gonna I’m gonna walk on the sand for the last time right now this is it
this is the last time I get to feel the sand between my toes
it’s the last time I get to wait around in this water yep it was one of those
things where it’s like your quality of life I was living a life that I you know
it wasn’t happy with as far as like living a life of constant recovery I’m
paying a lot of drugs I mean I’d be lying if I told you I was like sober
when I did the thousand mile walk there’s a lot of medication
oh but you know like just one of those things that I was ready to close that
chapter and just move forward you know there’s there was a lot of things that I
wanted to do with my life or that I am doing and still want to do with my life
and the thing is also important to note is they were gonna they were gonna take
your foot your shin leave your tib-fib which it’s I can’t fully express this
but I do know from friends that have had above the knee and below the knee
amputation the difference between above the knee amputation and below the knee
amputation is absolutely massive the amount of articulation that you have in
your knee is just it is incredible compared to when you lose your knee yeah
I mean I I’ll never bitch about being an amputee
I’m thankful that I’m alive but I would do anything to get my knee back well the
initial surgery they they do what they said they’re gonna do they whatever
midway up your calf or somewhere they leave they leave enough knee and this is
running around what’s this right around Thanksgiving yeah so right around
Thanksgiving you get this initial surgery and for you it’s gonna be
liberating because you’re not gonna have to worry about this pain you can get the
defeat that will work better than your foot that’s what it boils down through I
guess that’s when I was talking about like all this stuff about the sand and
getting all crazy with that the bottom line is you were thinking hey that’s
great feeling but I’m actually able to be better off with you know with with
the different varieties of prosthetic feet and ankles and all the stuff that
they can give you I mean there’s many people that have deployed after they’ve
gotten you know below the knee surgery I don’t know how many people have above
but they’re prompts know there has been some but it’s a lot different it’s a lot
different and so you get that surgery and it was it was I guess it was a bad
surgery there was a there was an infection is what happens yeah
I mean I again won’t go to friend of that one but yeah that was definitely
some malpractice on that one but yeah instead of using staples they use
stitches they never put a Luton back on there’s a number of things I was turned
away from the emergency room three times I’m gonna tell me that it was fine
and then finally you know I mean it was bad I mean it was really really bad and
they finally there was actually a doctor from Scripps that was like filling in
for one of the doctors out in the ER at Papua and she saw my leg and she was
like oh hell no like take every but like don’t even put her in x-rays like take
everybody out of the o.r like I’m going in with her and ended up cutting out
there were half of my knee they left my patella and then they went back in and
they said that that wasn’t enough and they took out my patella and made it in
above the knee so they guillotine cut my my femur there’s a note from you
December 20th 2015 I am awake and out of surgery for today I lost a lot of muscle
due to infection unless I have a Christmas miracle they’ll be taking my
knee tomorrow these are the times it’s easy to give up December 23rd 2015
update the infection almost killed me it was eating the muscles in my leg they
saved my life plain and simple I am an above-the-knee amputee but I am
healthier now still fighting the infection in more surgery 10:00 a.m.
which could make me a hip disarticulation aliy this is the hardest
thing I’ve ever dealt with I am terrified yep when they came in and
said that they might take my hip I didn’t want him to wake me back up
like do not bring me out of that surgery room keep me asleep you take I mean God
loved kudos to anybody that’s sitting in a bucket and has to live their life as a
hip desertic yeah that news was it was awful and yeah I didn’t think I was
gonna have the courage to keep going I didn’t want to keep going at that point
but yeah and the beginning of that when you were reading and I was sitting here
thinking god I was full of shit and I’m just telling everybody like it’s gonna
be okay but I’m glad that I at least finish that
with I’m terrified because it’s honest it’s true December 24th 2015 so this is
the next to the next day Christmas Eve I am I am Alive so I am happy I received
nothing about good news about my leg and it looks great being an above-the-knee
amputee will be challenging at first and all I can say is bring it on on another
note I am very sick and will be for quite some time they found three
bacterial infections including MRSA they also found blood clots in my arm
they put a PICC line in this is a life-threatening matter so I’ll need to
lay low for a while please keep praying I got this we got
this craziness yeah your parents were living
here at this time no see you who you with I was living with my boyfriend at
the time actually my mom my mom was like living with us and so she was around but
it was it was the craziest thing like we all knew my life was just I mean it was
rotting for lack I mean it’s that’s just what it was doing and so my mom would go
with me the ER would get turned away to get to Norway and my boyfriend at the
time had gone back to Florida to drive with my little sister out because it was
you know coming up on the holidays and stuff and when he was in Florida with
her they’re like you need to get your family here because we don’t know if
you’re gonna pull through this one and so my dad’s flying in from you know
being on the pipeline they’re rushing like driving across the country you know
through the night so you able to get back yeah I mean it was it was bad so
you eventually recover from this I mean good lord eventually how long does it
take to fight off these triple bacterial infections and what not so I ended up
getting out of the hospital it would have been very late January early
February so I was there for at least another month five six weeks and that
during that five six weeks is that when you started doing rehab to like get
fitted for a prosthetic did that happened that fast so they actually
started fitting me when my staples came out so yeah so would it be in probably
the week before I go to the hospital and then I hit the ground running with that
which is no big surprise at this point I want my leg and I wanna get the freak
out of here and then and then what what happens in so now what was that rehab
process like you’re trying to learn to walk again and all this stuff yeah well
so you’re supposed to go to physical therapy and go to gait training and you
know sit like six sit through like six weeks worth of like training on this leg
it’s learning how to walk they let me go with after two weeks so I took my leg
home after two weeks and just like I mean this is this is it and I mean I
actually have these videos of my mom watching me for walk for the first time
and of course it was very emotional and and whatnot but it was like it didn’t
skip a beat and he gave me two weeks and I was gonna figure it out and then
where’d you go when you got released from hospital did you stay in San Diego
yeah I said in San Diego for quite some time and then I ended up going up to
Temecula for a little while and then bouncing back and forth got back on my
snowboard and so I was spending the winters and Colorado and I’m back here
in California what is it like snowboarding now oh it
is weird no it’s I don’t know I mean I don’t know
any like I can’t remember what it’s like anymore and it likes number but two legs
were a busted-up like I don’t know I mean is again like I just got back on my
board and just rode I mean of course I wiped out and I hurt quite a bit but
yeah I guess I mean yeah you know again just didn’t skip a beat and at this
point like okay so that cosmopolitan video was made around this time right
there’s you you’re starting to get some kind of notoriety is that the right word
Waze notoriety bad no I don’t know you seem like the type of person that
wouldn’t want to be called famous but you’re starting to get some some
recognition right people are starting to hear what you you’ve gone through and
start to be interested in the story right so this is all happening to at
this time yeah which is which is weird it’s very very very weird you know I’m
not like when I think of with any of the things that I’ve done at this point it’s
like you don’t want to be celebrated you don’t want the attention for doing what
you want to do and living your life how you want to live it like I wasn’t doing
anything miraculous I’m just like I want to live you know I want to move forward
with my life want to be here for my family and then even now it’s I just
like helping people I was like you people I mean so yeah so you get the
Cosmopolitan thing you’re you go and you you go and do a job as a stunt woman in
a movie what’s that all about just fill in voids you know adrenaline
seeking I guess trying to fill that woman so everything from car crashes –
explosions – pyro did anyone notify you that this may charge there’s a couple
times but ya know you’re like I’ll crank up
the speech therapy and just do more stunts that’s it yeah oh yeah hey did
you uh what you were in a movie with Mark Wahlberg is that right yeah that’s
the biggest one so Patriots day and what do you do in that movie you’re like I
got experience at this yeah check this out I get blown up get carried around on
stretchers lose a limb fall out of a wheelchair ones at one point a bunch of
different scenes right yeah okay so you got that going on you got the the People
magazine body image hero which is what what does that mean well when I was in
this whole process I mean even from the get-go with the face like the interest
in my face um you know I didn’t and the doctors telling me all this suffer got
my leg I didn’t really care if I was going to be able to get up and run again
or any of that like as a young woman you know all I cared about was who’s looking
at me differently can I wear heels can I wear a truss is anybody gonna find me
attractive enough to have a family one day like really worried about the
self-esteem stuff um and so like moving forward I just decided that I was gonna
own my differences that I was gonna like be proud of the scars that I wore
because they told my stories I think I mean in my in my opinion they made me
look pretty tough too um but no like I wanted to show people that it was okay
to marry street cred exactly that’s like I just wanted to show people
that it was okay you know like you don’t have to be the cookie cutter you know
definition of what beautiful is and I don’t want to say the cheesy like you
know beauty comes from within but I like I wanted to show people that it was I
mean it was beautiful to be strong it was you know it’s beautiful to have
drive and have well and and to not fail I mean to give it your all and so that
that’s that’s what the the People magazine thinks of what they interview
you and take a bunch of pictures of you yeah and all that and now again I’m just
I’m just kind of have to trace the fact that people are starting to follow you
and and recognize that you’re that you have a very interesting story and
inspiring story as these things are happening because the reason I kind of
have to say that is because then you like do other things at the same time
like getting stunt women and getting crashed and blow it off and stuff like
that and at some point you’ve got your master’s degree in Business
Administration right and this is still just to prove to
people that you can still mentally go yes yes but on the other on the other
side of that too like even right now and I when I do eventually finish this
doctorate like I’m terrified of what I’m gonna do at that time I’m like oh my god
I love structure mumbled filling the void the other is like like a couple
minutes ago you like filling the void so what you’re saying is you have to be
busy you you have to have something to focus on something to do exactly okay
that starts to explain some things yes because at some point you decided that
you were going to put another thing on your list of things to get done and it’s
climb the Seven Summits right so the highest peak on each of the seven
continents I mean it was one of the things that hasn’t been done by and a
female above the knee amputee I can’t speak for the men um but yeah I decided
that I needed something you know I’d lost the 2016 snowboarding season due to
the last revision surgery to my amputated side and so I was like well I
can’t do any high-impact sport so what else can I do in the mountains in fact
sport we might have to set up a little
coaching situation here because I’m not sure so so check it out so the idea you
get the idea you must have just said okay what can I do that’s super super
hard yeah you start with Kilimanjaro is that the first one yeah and how’d that
go it was amazing actually it was insane because we were up and down in four and
a half days which Kilimanjaro stands 19,300 41 feet so for me to make my way
up and make my way back down that quickly was without a control but it was
one of those things where it was I mean it in a sick way like just like I was
addicted to school I started getting addicted to the suffering because like
you suffer and you’re miserable for days on end but then once you make it to your
goal it’s that much sweeter and so I mean it was just I don’t know like a
weird hunger for more that I wasn’t really like finding anywhere else and
then I mean I we ended up raising like $150,000 for clean water for the e
stands and IANS with that climb so now it’s like I have the personal side of
things and then I have this other purpose that I was already you know felt
like I was missing by not having in the Marine Corps and then from there that’s
when everything so which one came next car stands and car stands I was looking
at that one this is in Indonesia how tall is it just over 16,000 and it
looked to me like the getting there was half the battle
yeah so honestly I mean Karstens is an interesting mountain because it’s
notorious for being the most hostile and technical invert won’t really first to
hell but I mean it’s a 72 mile trek into the base of this rock face um so yes I
mean it’s honestly low impact scenario 72 miles yep um but I mean even just
getting out there and I mean the people that you encounter the Donnie and the
moaning tribes like I mean I mean that was just an experience in itself
I mean the local like indigenous tribes came through and like ransacked and
destroyed all of our camps and stole our passports while we’re like up at 15,000
feet watching them they teach you the awesome stuff you got a real nice a
little couple people back thirty on that stuff it’s 72 mile hike
in now some of my friends that are amputees it’s not like your your
prosthetic just is this clean easy fit and it’s all good to go
that thing that thing gets all kinds of issues I was thinking about I sweat a
lot if I was wearing the prosthetic or you have they would they would have to
put drain holes on the bottom of it do they have drain holes because I would
fill that thing up with sweat would go back I’ll send you a link later to my
Everest hi committee documentary and I am in a tank top when everybody else is
in like these big puffy summit suits I run so hot now that I’m missing my leg
and so I feel your pain on that so you’re doing these long you do that and
you make it to the to the top of car stands right you launch at some point I
guess you’d wanted to put your business administrative degree to work so you
launched a t-shirt company called headcase what inspired that well so I’m
M I’m an avid hunter I believe in the things that I consume they need to be
they need to die at my hands I don’t like eating things that are bred to die
so it was really involved in the outdoor industry as far as mountain hunting and
the likes of that nature and I if you walked into my house now like is full of
taxidermy specifically skulls and so there you have it so a lot of it was
joining forces with my buddy Nevada who carved skulls for a living now and using
his artwork and and skulls you know the head case on the outdoors
when you at what point did you did you grow up as a hunter no I mean we did
little stuff you know whitetail and hogs and stuff like that growing up but none
of the stuff that I’m doing now and when did that start I mean this whole
freaking crazy scenario you’ve got unfolding you know I so we were talking
about like loss and gain earlier and I again my biggest purse pocket like
biggest gain has been my perspective on life and so I started to appreciate it
started to appreciate just the cycle and so that’s when I really started to look
into okay well what’s going on in the outdoors what am I actually putting into
my body a and then also just you know conservation efforts and
yeah being able to provide for my family like in the most natural way possible
I mean hunting is not about death it’s about living what what you when did you
go on your first hunt oh man growing up no no like your your
more recent hunting career probably 2013 okay so you got right right into it 14
somewhere in there yeah and by the way if anyone doesn’t know hunting is not
easy and you I mean it involves it involves that’s why when you’re talking
about 72 mile hike in I mean hump hunting takes a lot of look I I just
went on a hunt and I think we were averaging like I think we average is
like 10 10 or 12 miles a day there’s like eight to 12 miles a day you know
you’re putting out up and down hills and it’s it’s hard work and I’m doing I’m
out there doing it with two legs by the way so okay so you start your t-shirt
thing and then you go for your first little kind of little would you call a
little recon a little recon of Everest to base camp
yes that was just let’s get a look at this thing let’s see what’s up yeah I
mean how inspiring was that we like would be if you have that in your mind
and you get there and you’re at the bottom you’re like let’s do just very
emotional all together but you know there’s several like there’s hooting and
hollering and several f-bombs and tears and you know everything but no I mean
the moment like three days into the actual lake base camp trek I saw Everest
for the first time and I just knew like that’s it I’m gonna do it and so that
was just getting it getting a feel for it getting to know people getting to
kind of see how the system would run who’d you go like what brought how’d you
get on that trip so actually you’re not like walking down to the travel one of
those people called travel agent oh yeah booked me to base camp yeah one way so
actually this check for the name at Haley web that I met on my thousand mile
walk she’s a she was the local mountain got
over there and she hit me up out of nowhere I’m just like hey I’m gonna you
know guide a base camp trek to Everest do you want to come and I’m like well
actually yes if I need to decide if I’m gonna climb from the north side or the
south side you know down the road and so yeah I mean I went down there and
absolutely fell in love with Nepal and the people and just their way of life in
their culture okay so you get done with that at some point you open a hair salon
yes Oceanside right on is that still there oh yeah
yes doing really well I’m also so a little backstory to all of these random
little things that I’m doing because you are doing some random stuff I mean look
it can be the brush man here no so when I woke up in the hospital in 2015
I looked during the room and told myself that whoever was in that hospital room
with me that they would never work for anybody else ever again that like if
they were willing to sacrifice their time you know their personal lives for
me to make sure that I was okay that well you know I was going to help them
live out their dreams they helped keep me alive so my best friend Christine is
actually my business partner in that so she’s the head honcho down there I’m
just the CFO slash investor so if we if we ran oh side that’s it I will need a
haircut where do we go chapter one here in body lab chapter one here your body
do you give high in Tights there no see early you said like was it three five
you said I hope three fives listening that’s t5u you said I hope to five in in
my mind to five is listening this once there are so many Marines listen to this
right now that if you don’t get a pair of clippers at the place up in Oceanside
you know let’s make it happen okay so you get that going on and then February
you start you go back to climbing so November was you went to Everest base
camp track you do the hair salon thing February you go to you go to Ecuador for
cotopaxi and this is a summit attempt right but you didn’t make it
nope oh yeah turned around at like 18,500
with what is it how much further did you have to go oh there were 1,500 vertical
what was it I just altitude and move in slow my
climbing partner had a headache we were about to hit this like really long
Traverse section and like with my prosthetic if the high side is on my
left side or my prosthetic side I cannot move well so with her being light how
died having a headache and me already being a little unsteady in the feet it
just didn’t make sense gonna make a smart call yeah and you
kind of talked about that in some of your blogs just about like making a good
decision which the mountains are littered with bodies of people that get
summit fever and they’re gonna go for it and they don’t make it exactly and
that’s one of those things where it’s like if someone’s climbing with me and
something happened like I wouldn’t be able to live with myself so yeah I mean
the mountains not going anywhere and if that one does there’s gonna be another
one so so you get done with that one some lessons learned and then you go to
Ethan you go to try Denali yeah Denali is a main main mountain yeah so
go out to Denali and spend literally a month the whole entire month of June
2018 on Denali and we made it up to 14,000 feet or pinned for 17 days now
going up and now going down we were scalping food and fuel from people as
they were like making their way down we were trying to be stubborn and ride out
this terrible terrible I mean what would really be issue 17 days 17 days and
think you would sleep for 90 minutes and you get out of your tent for 90 minutes
and dig your tent out I think I like to sleep that’s all you can do for 17 days
17 days do you do your does your body at write so bad in 17 days like I think
about like I work out all the time but occasionally ok so here’s an example we
just had an event called the muster in Denver Colorado if I would have known
you you’d have been there for the move would have been awesome
so like during that week it’s kind of hard to do my normal workout routine
it’s a little bit lighter than normal and then from that I came home for one
I got one workout and then I went hunting in Utah and I didn’t work out
there other than humping up and out but I can a Matt if all you’re doing is
sitting in a tent and then getting out every 90 minutes and take it out and
then if you think at the end of that you’re gonna have to go and walk up that
freakin mountain yeah that seems like a yeah I mean I mean yeah I mean your body
it just atrophies anyways of course being at altitude like you’re just
you’re just withering away as it is and up there limited food limited supplies
like you’re not gonna sit there and just be shoveling all sorts of stuff in your
face so but it was hard and then out there in Denali like you can’t just go
for a hike or any of that like there are so many crevasses that everything that
you have to do you have to have your technical gear be on a rope so I mean
you were literally confined to your tent and a very very small like little living
space what was the avalanche threat well
luckily we were far enough for many slabs I mean we’re really just kind of
hanging out there at that point you’re worried about being buried alive because
you slept you long okay knowing I don’t know you well but at least sitting
through this podcast and realizing that you need to be doing something at all
times what what the hell was your mindset after day 12 I was terrible I
honestly any claim like the hardest part for me is tent time like I cannot sit
still and say yeah I mean you bring it with you you bring a book to you or
whatever yes and no so on Denali it’s illegal to
have any Sherpas or any help because it’s part of the National Park Service
so I mean you have to drag a 50-pound sled and carry 50 pounds at one point
that okay so then you get eventually get weathered off that climb yeah well so we
had a very short weather window we ended up making it up to again 18,000 200 300
same climbing partner that I was actually on cotopaxi with I was moving a
little bit slow up this section called the Autobahn and you know the weather
was rolling on quick she wasn’t feeling too hot just you know wasn’t gonna
happen then so I made the call to turn her on and come down so you so now the
next thing you’re looking at is the opportunity to do Everest again yeah
that’s where you were at so you gotta come down from Denali and now it’s now
it’s Everest go time yes and no so I did Elbrus the
highest point in Europe over in Russia okay so I did denali in June 2018 our
time didn’t in June 2018 elbrus the highest point in Europe in September
2018 and then I went down to South America and Argentina January 2019
crushed that one so then I decided I was ready for Everest
now you decide you’re ready for Everest is there still is that because you’ve
been hiking in the mountains so much you’ve been doing so much that you’re
feeling like your conditioning is good or is it like is it like when you fight
in MMA or you run a triathlon where when you get done you okay to recover a
little bit yeah I mean it is but like for me especially I mean for any
Mountaineer it’s like building blocks like each of these mountains a humbles
you but then teaches you something different so whether you know you know
Kilimanjaro for example was my first real exposure to endurance so to speak
you know especially at altitude Carstens was super technical so that’s a totally
different skill set denali winter camping glacier travel Elbrus patience
for myself and people aconcagua it’s the highest mountain brushed over that
looked pretty quick yeah well versed no patience for and then yeah I can cock
away he’s known as the mountain of death it’s the highest mountain outside of the
Himalayas and down in Argentina and that one really taught me just how my body is
going to react to that kind of altitude to big mountains then how did it react
totally thing it’s weird so I run super hot all because of losing the leg and
then I don’t right now knock on wood I don’t really suffer from any like
altitude side effects like I don’t have the headaches I don’t have a hard time
breathing some once I confirmed that I was like
alright let’s go I’m the only the only issue that really ever kind of comes up
is my residual limb swells inside of the carbon-fiber socket so that can be kind
of risky and that can be risky because you won’t be able to get it off don’t
cut off circulation okay so you caught off circulation yeah and then then you
have a real problem yes okay did you have to do any more prep so so
are you when you when you’re now looking at Everest you’re doing you’re feeling
like you’re in pretty good shape for it physically yeah and then it’s okay let’s
get all my gear together which now you know pretty well because you’ve done
these other climbs you’re feeling like your gear list is pretty straightforward
yeah so let’s talk a little bit about Everest so you get to you get there you
get a base camp what’s what’s that like how freaking pumped are you at this
point I was jazzed I mean it was crazy to just because I mean obviously you
know I’ve been out there already so I mean I’m all of these memories are
coming back up and I mean you were just in total awe walking out in the Himalaya
it’s like you do not matter nothing about you matters out there so like I
mean it’s a whirl when you when you’re first cruising in to Everest base camp
and in just into the Kumu region of Nepal but like making it into base camp
it was interesting because there were so many people like waiting for me there
like so many people either they saw me on the base camp track they’ve been
watching my story or whatever like they were just so stoked to have me there and
that just meant so much to me because it was like you know what I knew this was
big in my mind this is big but not as big as like what everybody else thinks
it is I guess and like it made me realize that I was impacting a lot more
people and then of course there was like the naysayer and from you know from time
to time that would tell me oh you’re not going to make it above camp 2 as an
above-the-knee amputee and of course that just fuels my fire but no I mean
base games a special place just because it’s like this huge obviously tent city
but there are people from all over the world with the same common goal of
getting to the highest point in the world how long how many days were you at
base camp for um geez so would have been in 2 or 3 weeks so
because it’s like two or three weeks at base camp and then did you do those
little excursions where you go up a little bit and come back down
yeah kind of acclimate yeah well so so there’s the Khumbu Icefall which is
realistically probably the most dangerous part of everest at least as
far as climbing goes and it’s just cuttin because the ground is constantly
shifting obviously I mean the name tells you all like ice falls there’s
avalanches it’s just crazy and and so we would go up there and we
like test my prosthetics and the ladders we’d you know obviously go across you
know move along the fixed lines we went up to camp one and we you know came all
the way back down and after doing that I actually made the decision that I wasn’t
going to come below camp one again so climb high and slip low a couple of
times and then finally my team left me at camp one and everybody else went back
down and I see it I stayed at camp one for above 20,000 feet for almost four
weeks and your decision to do that was just to get better acclimated or to
avoid the king boys fault or you just I can’t move fast through that stuff and
then not only I just I knew that going up and down through that like that’s
just another variable and more risk I know for a fact that I can withstand
20,000 feet so it was really just kind of you know weighing the pros and cons
of both and in my opinion like again if something happened to me when I’m
sitting in the middle of this valley at 20,000 feet then it’s just me I mean I
was out there by myself in a tent there’s no one but if I was in the Combe
bow and there’s my team and then another 20 people who are also like doing the
same thing and and something happens and I don’t know that’s just a huge cross to
bear so I’d rather be solo and something happened and go back through the Khumbu
how many people are on your team so we had two locals and my buddies Robin
Chris and then a couple of arc she’s me two Americans Robin Chris then two
locals that’s the team right there who were Robin Chris so Chris has actually
dude that’s climbed with me a few times he actually did Albert snackin cago with
me and then Rob man he’s a stud I’m he he was my cinematographer for Denali and
then I decided that he’s just I mean he’s a mountain goat I was like you know
I want you to be a part of my team obviously because you can handle things
when it hits the fan but also like you’re gonna film this all right
at what point so so you get to camp to you spend four weeks or notice the camp
one you spend four weeks out I just and for weeks about 20,000 feet okay got
it and and then at what point is the decision point like okay it’s our go
time so it would have been we get word like I mean it’s all the weather game
out there so we get word that there’s a really nice weather window and it’s long
there’s when I cloud in the sky the winds perfect and then we get word that
about 250 of the 330 climbers are going to be trying for that same why don’t we
go and I just went back and I thought about things and my biggest fear on when
I’m climbing isn’t dying you know my biggest fear is getting frostbite and
losing more of my you know already very short limb and so I stopped there and I
reflected and said you know what I can’t get stuck in that line a because like
what happens if my client partners run out of oxygen there are no options
there’s no going up or down like I run the risk of losing one you know somebody
that I care deeply about obviously there’s the risk of frostbite I run warm
I have an elevated heart rate because of my injuries so I’m using more oxygen
like there was just too much there’s there’s too much to like deal with other
people and not only that but what happens if I get stuck behind somebody
to in my world like if you’re on my team and we’re climbing together like you go
at my pace and some days I haul ass some days I’m moving a little bit slower
because of my leg and so me and the team decided that we were gonna do is called
threading the needle needle and go for a much shorter weather window and we
didn’t even know if the ropes are gonna be fixed at the top so this is prior to
this big window you guys said wolf there’s a shorter
window that’s gonna last however many days and we’re gonna go for it then yep
we decide that we’re gonna go we were one of the first teams to push so and
then and then so you go up from Camp two to Camp three and then you stay at Camp
three how long do you stay there for just a night and then Camp three to camp
for another night yeah and then you sleep for like three hours I can’t four
and then you push the summit so it goes camp four camp five you just there’s no
campfire Camp six no camp six so you went from kick straight from camp four
– and you guys made it – Hillary step yep so so we made it this is so sad we
made it to 200 metres away from the summit okay I should be really frickin
proud actually like I should say that a little more enthusiastically but ya know
I mean we made it to the South Summit so I’m too obviously super proud of that
but yeah it was a little disheartening to see it I could throw a rock at it and
that’s um yeah I mean when you look at those pictures when you see an Hillary
step has changed I think in 2015 it changed from like this big well like a
10 meter like 12 meters something rock and now it’s like a little bit it looks
like something happened to it yeah great or something and so but
that’s where you guys made it – and once again you faced with this tough decision
to make of like do we press and go and it’s a huge risk
I had a friend that tried to climb Everest and he was a total stud and he
was like I mean a total stud and he was like yeah you know every step is a
freaking nightmare like it is so hard it’s like you can’t describe a heart of
this yeah because people think hey you were 200 meters come on yeah no I mean
when it was bizarre – so actually like at the moment when we were going to turn
around or we did turn around I was above everybody by I don’t know 20 yards maybe
and so the local Sherpa actually made his way up to me at the anchor and said
they’re out of oxygen you and I can keep going up to the summit you know are we
can turn around and so I’m like I’m looking at them our entire like summit
push was rough I mean it wasn’t it’s just total insanity
and I just remember looking at them and both of them having this look of just
exhaustion and just fear I’m like no I’m not doing this okay there’s that doesn’t
mean that much to me you know would they have sat there and waited for
you to come back because they don’t have a sharper or they just turn around and
go they were just turn around and go but that’s even I mean that’s even more
dangerous to you cousin what now you have no oxygen and I have you don’t even
know since this is a bad situation and so not only that but like why would I
only go up with one Sherpa that I don’t really even know you know so it’s like I
was just in bananas and it was so strange – I think I think about this all
the time because if you would have seen my reaction to turn around on Denali I
was pissed like I practically shoved this camera
back in Rob’s face I’m like angry that you know it’s all falling apart and then
that’s after 17 days but then I mean this time like I just looked down at Rob
and was like no like I’m I was at total peace with the situation I mean don’t
get me wrong like I would have loved to summit but it just and I also wouldn’t
have felt right like I mean I have been through so much with those two dudes for
two months at this point I never asked like yeah later
yes I just couldn’t do it but yeah then and coming down it’s not
it’s not like once you turn around okay now we’re good I know once you turned
her down it’s a still a nightmare that’s where everyone dies is on the way down
because they like you said earlier they get summit fever and they exhaust
everything that they have to get up to the top and then just lay down and go to
sleep on the on the way down and they’re done and it was I mean for especially
for me like with the prosthetic like going up I have a technique I mean it
just tons of right leg lunges and tricep dips and I mean it’s it’s intense but on
the way down there’s no technique it’s just forward momentum like the best
thing that I can do for myself is know how to fall down so yeah I because you
fall a lot when you’re coming down I mean I better know how to fall down you
do you change legs for coming down no I don’t it is that because it’s
impractical is that because it doesn’t make any difference does that make any
difference no yeah I mean so the actually the only thing out there right
now for people like me are the for us to be able to climb the way that I’m
climbing is the feet that I make I make them myself so there’s not many options
good change of any ways okay and you get down you’re at peace
with the decision how long did the weather hold for Oh quite some time
actually four days okay I mean which was of course I mean that’s sad for me
because I’m sitting here watching these people go up but I mean your bodies are
so trashed after being at you know 2677 28,000 feet for so long like and if
you’re out of oxygen you’re on an oxygen like at that point you’re pretty much
tapped and so I mean even after we made it back down to base camp I mean coming
down like through camp three and two like I’m I was so at peace with
everything because I’m watching these zoos of people come up yeah I mean
hundreds of people and in that moment I was like you know what you did the right
thing you’re not one of the ants you’re not one of the minions like you were
safe you were smart I mean diamond wrong like when I got back down to base camp
but definitely I was like do you have it in you to do another attempt like what’s
up but I mean just the weather wasn’t gonna hold out anyways so the other
images coming back from the Everest this year of the lines of people has been
crazy to say yeah literally the entire like ridge to the summit is one way
traffic jam yeah and so I mean that’s not what mountaineering is you know like
in my opinion like that totally discredit but what all it should be you
know it I’m glad that I was out there with me my thoughts and literally two
other people okay for sure about that yeah you right you you covered all this
in really good detail on your on your blog which is which is cool you get done
you come back you acclimate at what point did you go back in and go to
cotopaxi again and this time successful you got up there and now you’re here
what did you come to San Diego for because we’ve been trying to do this
podcast for a while and finally and I was I looked at your social media
because I I didn’t know why you were coming out here and there
put two and two together with your social media realize why you’re coming
out here why are you here for I’m actually only in San Diego very briefly
I am headed down to Mexico to raise the noir 500 explain all 500 is it is pretty
extreme off-road race and we’re actually I’m en a sweet friend of mine are
actually racing and a rebuilt flyer vehicle on military vehicle it’s like a
light strike vehicle right on the miles what kind of support do you get on that
um very non so it’s we we have a pic crew which is really one deed in a fuel
truck that can kind of chase us down but if you break down I mean you’re gonna be
stuck there for hours so so you better hope your machines running good yes
correct and that’s the next damn adventure on
your list is that how long does it take to get that done only two days
I mean you race I mean it’s a consistent thing so you’ll you’ll race two days
I’ll be back in San Diego on Sunday back in Colorado Sunday night to hustle and
work my tail off and yeah what are you working your tail off when you get back
everything from speaking gigs to the real estate team that I do with my mom
I’m opening a CrossFit gym up here and Vista dabbling with a bunch but I’m
gonna work my work until Thanksgiving and I’m gonna take some time off Jack so
those are the things that you’ve got on on on the schedule right now opening the
gym real estate ski seasons gonna start yes I can’t wait so you’ll be up there
where do you usually snowboard out all over like throwing frequently so it has
been Snowmass yeah and you live up in that area as well right yes very lucky
jack I mean so we’re kind of up-to-date right now I wanted it I wanted to cover
one more little chunk of writing before we actually close it out cuz you got
some really cool writing thank you so here we go I had joined the Marine Corps
to serve people then at a mere 23 years old I was looking to repurpose myself
now at 27 years old I’m still serving people just in a different capacity
nothing about my injuries has been easy but what I’m thankful for regardless of
the pain and grief are the people and experiences that have come my way four
years ago I was petrified of what my life may become now I couldn’t be more
proud I fought for it I worked for it harder than you can ever dream of but I
didn’t get here alone family friends believers everyone who
was there from the start thank you appreciate all of your days
even when you’re riding in the rain in the beginning of my recovery I struggled
a lot and it made me a bitter and sometimes mean person how disabled do I
have to make myself feel before I give up how much easier would this be had I
done it on two legs my heart hurt in a way that then I couldn’t even tell when
I was hurting the people around me family included not that it’s an excuse
but know that if I caused you any pain I’m sorry I’m not perfect nor will I
claim to be realistically none of us ever will be it’s all about the progress
over perfection and taking steps in the right direction
the last couple of years I’ve been working on me as a whole I’ve been
focusing on the person I want to be in recognizing a lot about the person I was
I’ve tried to surround myself with people who wish the best for others and
build them up not break them down I’ve stepped away from the toxic people that
had a negative hold on me if someone is wrong to you forgive them
unshackle yourself from that pain I started living my life for others not
for myself and life is so much sweeter that way the truth is I’m doing more now
than I ever did on two legs I’ve been surrounded by people who keep me
inspired and keep me looking onward and upward now I can’t stop I have
suffered loss that’s no secret but look at all I’ve gained how the low points
had the low points in my life not happened I would not have had the
amazing friendships or experiences I do I’m thankful for the highs and the lows
life has a funny way of putting us exactly where we are meant to be well Kirstie I think that it seems that
you have been put exactly where you are supposed to be on this path living this
amazing life and inspired so many other people where can people find you yeah I
mean everyone can follow along on of course social media Facebook and
Instagram just my name Kirstie honest but if you’re if you’re interested in
any of these blogs or the writing they’re all upon my foundation’s website
so Kristina’s foundation.org are you sure it’s not crystianna’s foundation
com it’s both okay just checking so awesome awesome so you are yeah
really cool stuff that you post on that the the detailed description of your
climbing are really really cool is that documentary posted that you were talking
about yeah okay so we’ll be waiting for that let me know so where I could repost
it no awesome just awesome to talk to you I know that we we try and stay on
the path around here you know the path the righteous path yes sir
echo charlie king of the right righteous path yeah Kirstie leading from the front
what can we do ourselves to kind of move down the path you know broadly speaking
plan II can play nice stuff um but first steer it is but well you know like
throughout the story um you know there’s little pockets of maybe like oh wait
well you know the small details so you said the pilot was do are what does do
are me upon request oh damn meaning I don’t
want to do this anymore you know oh yeah also I thought you know
that we mentioned like how you’d have like challenges with your memory like
just going to the bathroom like hey why am I here kind of think you’ve watched
the movie memento oh my goodness no but you were the second person to tell me
that in two days yeah yeah she definitely watched that movie it’s very
cool yeah so it’s the guy you know it’s about the end it’s about this guy
Leonard he doesn’t like anyway he has short-term
memory loss right so he can’t make new memories he
has long term and so he can do like habitual stuff you know stuff that I
guess it uses a different part of your brain so like habitual stuff driving a
car like that kind stuff he can do and he has his long-term memory like he
knows about his wife and his who he is and stuff but he can’t he basically he
goes to the bathroom like why my hair yeah so he has all these tattoos kinda
like you except his are like notes you know yourself yeah but they’re
everywhere you know and then he takes these Polaroids of the people so it’s
like yeah I know you you know yeah then it’s really good and it goes backwards
the movie goes backwards so you don’t it’s like you follow along with them you
know yeah so it’s like oh how did he get there and you don’t know you know he’ll
just wake up in the room with an empty bottle he’s like naked you know like
when you’re like oh I did that up you know but as far as the path goes we’re
doing jiu-jitsu yeah start do you ever train your new jujitsu yeah that doesn’t
surprise me because isn’t it interesting you snowboard I don’t I don’t know how
to snowboard and these may or may not apply to you because you’re you’re
different I think but I don’t know how to snowboard I probably couldn’t climb I
can barely climb my driveway you’re talking about Everest and all these
things I don’t have a hair salon John say many reasons and I have two legs you
know and I don’t know it seems like you know like when you say okay it depends
on how you react to like all these things it’s like your reaction
it’s like you chose to go for like these huge reactions it’s not like this weird
impossible thing you know it’s like if you have everything kind of in front of
you you’re less likely to have that big reaction you know I mean if everything
if someone was easy for you to achieve you’d have a less of a probability of
trying to make it happen yeah and then at the end then kind of as a certain and
it kind of but I guess with you like you were kind of always like that right yeah
I think you’re like okay I’m gonna I’m going to make things happen in this
maybe extraordinary way you know good or bad or you know mischievous or whatever
like you can you kind of started with that so I guess in the big picture kind
of makes sense you know but then from the outside you kind of look in but yeah
like you know how you say or we’ve talked about this before where if you’re
handed everything yeah you know like you won’t go drop a sin for it what are the
chances that you would be attempting to summit Everest if you got out of the
Marine Corps after six years and you know what I mean like it’s just you you
have these challenges and because it’s like because they’re hard and even
harder than normal that you want to do them even more yes exactly that’s kind
of what you’re saying yeah well I think it’s you like I’m I’m like I’m not just
a competitive person but not necessarily with other people it’s just I look at
what I did yesterday and I say okay well what can I do a little bit more whether
that’s something physical or mental or whatever but then also like honestly I
mean I’m not the fastest person out there I struggle my way up I’m not
perfect out in the mountains or anything that I’m doing but I really do I hope
that there’s somebody out there watching me and they say to hell with Kirsty I
can do it better than her and then I hope that they try I mean that’s what
it’s about and you know like I want somebody to see it do it kind of goes to
show also you talk better than me too by the way yeah
multiple brain damage speech therapy nothing happened to my jaw yeah like I
said it goes to show anyway if you did to all you’ve done do Jiu Jitsu – so –
so are you currently doing jujitsu no I was training
for a little bit of it and then I really fell in love with MMA and then just
boxing yeah yeah we’re good with all the above actually yeah we just like we just
like it I used to grab yes fighting in general is good well I mean I think when
I started training as when I realize like I’m an angry little person and it’s
good to get it well these are all elements of the path included on the
past so as far as Jiu Jitsu goes if you do ghee you need a ghee if you do ghee
yeah what you show hand in it I think you should oh you can do one or the
other I guess but ideally no ghee both okay what he’s trying to get to is we
have a company we make jiu-jitsu jeez we make rash guards we make t-shirts sure
and we make them all in America which is awesome from the dirt to the shirt from
the dirt to the shirt from the cotton to the from the seed to the be all main
main and we’re actually making jeans to Megan yeah Americans to denim yeah
chocolate doesn’t like fashion or fashion I think you’re right they’re
both aesthetic like that’s why you don’t know about cosmopolitan
so I Cosmopolitan’s like this if you think magazines what do you think people
time constant polished your magazine yes but magazines anymore no that’s why
they’re out there making videos cosmopolitan DICOM they’re out there
making videos yeah cuz they know no one’s reading a magazine it’s for me on
the website you know what I will tell you I used to be a sucker for I’m
talking maybe even even up to eight years ago if I was in the airport I’d
like walk through this shop and see like a magazine right yeah I don’t know
there’s a gun magazine I don’t know if it’s a car magazine I don’t know if it
was a outdoor magazine but like one of those things I’d say well you know I got
a flight he’ll read this magazine eight years ago
I may have bought III would I would there was a 70% chance that I’d see a
magazine it looked kind of cool and I’d get the magazine right now there
is a 0% chance of getting a paper magazine 0% yeah that’s I mean I guess
one would he call it those people who like they learn they yearn for the past
with a person a person that yearns for the past anyway there’s a there’s a word
for that kind person anyway so it may be that part of me maybe still like
stitcher do that anyway the people who are nostalgic like that they like the
physical magazine but here’s the thing which I mean I’m you probably realized
this you have your phone so like yeah that’s what I’m saying calm you can read
you know all the stuff that you read or whatever that is what I’m saying you
don’t need the physical magazine anymore then you gotta lug around a physical
magazine you’re done what I’m saying it’s like that’s why I’m saying no one’s
reading a magazine anymore even me and I used to buy oh yeah that’s why those but
that’s so junk but that doesn’t explain do you get magazines no I think
cookbooks but that’s not a magazine though oh it is a very there’s a cook we
call a we call a cookbook magazine um quicker oh yeah yeah you like to cook I
do you love to eat yes both yes I love to eat and I did not that I don’t love
to cook or even really like to do it I just maybe not that great at it like I
can I can make a good salad yeah funny I can make a good steak so anyways origin
USA origin main comm if you want any of this stuff we also have supplements you
be drinking some choco choco white tea over there yeah what’s your verdict now
I’m a fan I think it’s great you got a big smile on your face yeah more than
you had earlier I think it I think it not only does give you an 8,000 pound
deadlift it will make you smile well in a way it kinda is misleading because
when you look at the can there’s no like hibiscus or pomegranate like fruity
label imagery yes yeah well we’re not gonna back
looks pretty intense its tactical it looks kind of tactically seem sane but
then when you drink it certified organic going in very light very refreshing you
saying so it’s like a thing so like when you drink you hear you’re pleasantly
surprised I think on a subconscious level yeah so we got a bunch of
different things and one thing I do have to say is we got so I make this little
drink it’s called discipline and there’s a powder form and we just came out with
a powder form that’s called Jocko do you like do you like Arnold Palmer’s I do
okay so I’m highlight I love them I made that right there it’s called Jocko
Palmer get away with it for but um yeah so anyways it tastes so good it tastes
like the best Arnold Palmer that you get from you know the restaurant Arnold
Palmer’s when they do a good job can you go oh you say Arnold Palmer and
they they just they just do a good job and you’re like yes this is kind of what
it’s like so anyways that’s available and a bunch of other supplements Molk
joint warfare krill krill alert super whale oil yeah that’s for your kids mall
by the way warrior kid milk for when your kids need something good to eat and
instead of giving them level 9 Cheetos yeah no don’t get of that so yeah you
get that yeah all in origin main dot-com it should be an organ taxi thats smart
when you do the org and the dot-com so and you know when you go and GoDaddy and
they tell you hey you want to buy the org.net the dot about TV whatever dot
biz you know all this stuff or whatever you say yes if you have a good name you
say yes to all of those that’s a good strategy the last organ mancom that’s the go-to
as we can get this stuff yeah also we have a store it’s called
jaco store see I kind of figure out together
you know it’s an end so Jocko Palmer is not a genius name I know a little bit
it’s a name as a result of lack of genius oh okay like Arnold Palmer
there’s genius in simplicity bro there’s genius in simplicity give me some credit
actually that is you nonetheless so if Chuck wants an online store what bottom
line is I’m so unoriginal that I just wait starting with this podcast episode
is called choco podcast and now it’s like sort of just everything yeah hey we
need an online store Flynn should we call a lead um doing that – no I don’t
know cuz now you look back if if like four years ago someone who said okay
you’re gonna name all your stuff Jaakko I woulda been like no that’s
that’s dumb yeah but it didn’t happen like that it happened like a little bit
you know next thing you know you got Jocko publishing what the thing is a big
picture long game it does make sense no no it’s actually smart I think you the
genius in simplicity I think this applies here nonetheless choco store
calm is where you can get your shirts in rash guards tank to all these stuff
while you’re representing on the path discipline equals freedom there’s I
haven’t really talked about this to brush but a guy okay so we got a t-shirt
that says discipline equals freedom in it I don’t want to say it’s an iconic
but there’s only one place in the world that you can get this t-shirt this dude
just got arrested in somewhere on his mug shot is him he’s running a
discipline equals freedom t-shirt and he’s sporting this thing and what he did
was apparently there was some kind of altercation and he beat up to people and
then dropped them off somewhere like out there how kid what I think there were
like rugby players or something like here’s the thing so when he when I saw
that article you sent me that article it wasn’t as much it was his court
appearance so here’s the throw actively went with the court it wasn’t like he
got rolled up and then he’s in court this is what he decided to wear to court
he’s representing on the path the path yes because because a lot of people were
like oh he’s not on the path obviously if he’s getting arrested rolled up you
were kind of like Oh read a little bit more I said it we
all represent the path in our own way and this guy is no different so
basically as far as the article goes what I got from it was okay him and his
other friends who he probably found annoying at the time they were drinking some argument ensued in the car he beat
them both up real bad okay I don’t know if it was in the car before that’s where
it got a little bit like you see they’re your friends you can’t beat him up real
bad you know what is real bad even exist
well they said they will okay and then the guys who got beat up they were
saying Oh injuries or maybe their lawyer or somebody was saying oh my gosh I’m
critical and then the the medical professionals they’re like no whatever
they got they got beat up they caught a beat-down from the discipline equals
freedom guy that’s what happened okay acting annoying and drunk that’s what
I’m then he dropped them off at their house okay at this point I will not
issue and approved or disapproved I’m remaining neutral at this time until
further evidence comes forth and I can make a decision whether these actions
were approved or disciplines anything or not to us even though it does he got it
from chaco stored up comments we can get and it’s not just it’s kind of crazy
there’s other ones is this because a little while ago in UFC there is a guy
wearing the shirt and like a bunch of people all day yeah so now we’re sort of
this is headline news yeah your means my brother text me is like hey your
mainstream now you know you listen to this speaking of tangents so my uncles
were both used car salesmen and there was a crime that happened in the town
where one of my uncle’s was a used car salesman and at the crime scene it was
close to his used car lot and in the picture that they took of the crime
scene in the background you could see the sign for his you know Vic’s used
cars you could see in the background in the sign on the front page
and my uncle cuz my uncles are hilarious they cut it out they send it to my mom
and my uncle cut out the picture send it to my mom and said I told you I would
make it big time so there you go so we kind of you know it’s not nothing we
made the knowledge nothing yes yeah we made the news we’re in criminal justice
you know just it’s just funny all right real quick subscribe to the podcast if
you don’t subscribe to this podcast EKKO doesn’t think you subscribe to it at
this point I believe echo wrong by subscribing to it don’t forget about the
warrior kid podcasts that’s for your it’s for your children and if you’re a
parent it’s very very useful don’t tell anyone
don’t tell your kids that you want to keep your kids thinking that this is
like a little bit unrelated to your thought process because that way they
don’t do the little rebel thing like some people sitting at this table right
now which is actually all of us yeah so check that out don’t forget about the
warrior kids soap Irish Oaks ranch calm young Aiden making soap from
goat milk all natural so that everyone in the world can stay clean stay clean
we also have a YouTube channel you wanna see you can clean hold on just can I say
something before we were waiting for you downstairs and at the front desk girl at
the gym so the studio is at the gym for those you don’t know that’s kind of
Victor a gym called victory MMA in San Diego California
the studio is in the gym we were downstairs we were waiting for Kirstie
to show up and the front desk girl goes hey Jocko I got a phone call someone
wants to know where to Train studio in this city in some city then I’m not
going to say in case to whatever you know sure
privacy actually yeah so he’s the front desk girl says what should I tell him
and I said well here give me the phone and I like pulled up and I go hey man
what’s going on and he’s like Jaco I was like hey bro what’s happening I heard
you’re looking to train in jiu-jitsu in your city and I
google map smells like hey there’s a cool place here there’s a bunch of good
places yeah you’re good to go and he’s like he’s that came in he goes I was on
crystal meth for seven years he goes I started listing your podcast I’m clean
my family’s back in order my job is back in order please keep
doing what you’re doing I’m starting to train jiu-jitsu and I was like bro
see you I’ll keep doing what I’m doing you stay on the path and stay clean so
right on to you out there you know you are now I’m not saying if you call
victory MMA in Fitness that I’m gonna answer cuz I’m not that’s probably the
first time I have talked on the phone here in a year yeah so also that’s not
to be confused with you using Trooper soap or Jacko’s soap gonna rehabilitate
your drugs injury will not help your crystal methamphetamine habit it might
but that’s not the body yeah yeah you can’t claim it but there’s little
triggers that you could have that could make you want to stay clean yes sir
maybe you’re maybe that’s soap goat soap is one of them you could be
super stoked with that psychological warfare you can get that from iTunes
Google Play if you need that little a couple of words to maybe get you on the
path and don’t forget that we have a youtube channel yeah if you want so now
that occurs if you want I was gonna say or saying if you don’t see what Christie
looks like hey before before you check and see what Christie looks like now
first you should go and see where’s that picture posted of you with your frickin
face ripped open yeah gonna fit my face there lower right
side of my face you can see T is that teeth you can see in there you can see
like white stuff yeah it’s two little teeth like my job was shatter didn’t
just unhinged so she’s gonna like hang in there is it the kind of picture on
Instagram the kind where it’s like blurred out with the eyeball with the
with the crossover it where you got a clear Connie Lee you know that one yes
it is I don’t think so I don’t know I bet if you repost it if you repost it
you’ll be like belf they’ll what’s that called blur it out sit like a sensor for
approval something to you dang well yeah then now you can see what
she currently looks like in black and white by the way butter saying you know
in black and available on the YouTube channel when people meet me they call
you’re in color yeah thing they say and you know Lopes
they say to me you’re shorter than I thought you would do
I’m five-eleven and and they’re like I noticed well and I shouldn’t say
everyone says that to me but like I would say 10% of people see you know 5%
of people say say you’re a lot shorter than I thought
you’re gonna be and I say oh cool they say that about you too all the time
that’s that’s interesting because you know people tell me you’re way bigger flipside kamas calm Dakota Meyer Dakota
was just on Joe Rogan by the way pretty pretty awesome to hear that and we have
a little company of his called flip side canvas comm selling artwork if you want
to do something like some saying of yours if you want to put it out there to
the world we’ll talk to the Cota we’ll make it happen and by the way I told the
coda you know Dakota Israeli I told the coda that I was talking to you today and
he told me to tell you oh he said tell her she’s up he said man he said tell
her she’s a badass I’ll let her know man let her go
so Dakota Meyer badass of all badasses says you are a badass
so check out flipside campus comm if you want to get that out I written a bunch
of books the latest book coming out January 2020 is called leadership
strategy and tactics Field Manual it is available for pre-order at this time if
you want to get the first a dish if you don’t care and you just want to roll up
to me in a year with the third edition and and have me belittle you and make
fun of you for not showing any commitment to the cause cool do that
Wayne if you want to get in the game big-time and you want to have the the
trump card of books sir leadership strategy tactics Field Manual so you get
that way the warrior kid one two three available now teaching young kids
what what not just young kids you know but what everyone should know so get
those books Mikey and the dragons before the little kids the littler kids a lot
of people think it’s the best children’s book ever written that’s the feedback
that I’m getting question it could be for sure so you may want to judge for
yourself miking the dragons I tend to agree with them
yeah there’s for the little kids discipline equals freedom Field Manual
we got extreme ownership we got dichotomy leadership all those books
about how to lead and win in your life and leading the team that you work with
we got national on Form which is my leadership consultancy we solve problems
through leadership go – alone front comm for details EF online get the same
training interactive online EF online.com we got the muster coming up
in Sydney Australia by the way have you ever been Australia I went – Brizzy – I
was it was so awesome I loved it it was so awesome and so we’re doing a big
event down there and definitely looking forward to it’s in Sydney it’s December
4th and 5th here’s the thing some people think oh it’s not gonna sell out if
you’re thinking that you’re not correct you’re not correct because every event
that we’ve done has sold out some people have said well are you gonna go to
Brisbane are you gonna go to Perth the answer is no we are not a rock band on
tour we’re not hitting every city in Australia we’re not what I mean hitting
everything in America we’re doing we do one or two this is probably we probably
won’t go back to Australia for five years that’s one of my guess is right
now we probably won’t go back to Australia for five years because we’ll
do Europe then we’ll do Asia so I guess you see what I’m saying so if you if
you’re if you’re in Australia or you’re New Zealand or you’re somewhere in that
area of the world and you want to come to muster come to the one that is taking
place December and fifth we also have EF overwatch for
veterans that are looking to be placed in two companies that need leadership go
to e F overwatch calm and on top of all that if you just feel like you haven’t
gotten enough right now you haven’t gotten enough of me if you haven’t got
enough of echo you haven’t gotten enough of Kirsty yet cool this conversation
will continue on the social media interwebs on Twitter on Instagram and Kirsty is of first of all Kirsty Ennis
foundation.org and calm Kirsty Instagram Kirsty underscore NS Twitter Kirsty
Ennis and it’s que IR s TI e and then NS ki n and is and then Facebook at Kirsty
at us and echo is a deco Charles and I am at Jocko willing echo do you have
anything else no sir no ma’am good to see you good to meet you
likewise thanks for having me Kirsty any closing thoughts from you yeah I mean I
just want people to realize that me climbing all of these big you know
ridiculous mountains all over the world it’s it’s more than it just being about
me you know I’m doing it for the people that need to hope you know somebody that
needs inspiration or even just the non-believers really waiting for me to
prove them wrong and even more so like I’m doing this with heart and passion
and purpose and you know even for example like when I was out in Everest
me and my organization helped establish the first-ever wheelchair program over
in Nepal for twenty five PT orphans you know and we were just down in Ecuador we
actually had seven amputees standing on top of cotopaxi so you know this really
is it’s just about paying it forward and and helping you know get the adaptive
community into the outdoors and and hopefully encouraging you know other
people regardless of whatever your adversity that you’re facing you know to
go outside and you know and find what really sets your heart on fire it’s been
a legit honor to sit down with you to meet with you and I definitely
absolutely thank you for coming on the show I know it’s a I know it’s a
scary time commitment especially when I tell you it might be you know we’ve done
podcasts that are four or five hours long but so it’s awesome and it’s
awesome for me to have the opportunity to share your story it’s honor to be
able to do that so thank you for coming on more important than that thank you
for your service and your sacrifice in the Marine Corps on top of that thank
you for your continued service today with what you’re doing with your
foundation and on top of that but what you do every day to show the rest of us
the path and set an example for for everybody so thank you for all that and
the rest of the service members out there worldwide currently serving or who
have served thank you for your service and your sacrifice and thanks for
keeping us free in here at home to our police law enforcement firefighters
paramedics EMTs dispatchers correctional officers Border Patrol Secret Service
all the first responders that there are thank you for keeping us safe on the
home front and to everyone else out there we all suffer losses we all are going to
have highs and lows in our lives we can all be petrified of what the future may
hold and we can all have setbacks and doubts and pain that’s what’s gonna
happen in life but if you can look at someone like Kirsty and you can follow
her lead and you fight for it and you work for it and you work through it
those losses and those setbacks and that pain will make you better so as Kirsty said
appreciate the days every day then get on the path and stay on the path by
getting out there and getting after it and until next time this is Kirsty Ennis
and echo and Jocko out

100 thoughts on “Jocko Podcast 199 w/ Kirstie Ennis: Pain Makes You Better

  1. Despite her face and head taking so much trauma and physical damage, she is actually a beautiful woman. That, on top of all she does makes her a STUD.

  2. Important for the Wounded
    If you are on any pharmaceuticals
    Bio Flora in your intestines goes very bad
    Negatively affecting your health, especially Oxies
    Pro-Biotics or Yogurt are a must …Not a choice of yeah whatever

    Turn a kind of toxic septic
    Less good bacteria + bad germs multiply

    Bacteria in mouth
    Strong enough to destroy teeth
    Can migrate down to you heart …Eat at your valves

    Weak heart
    Irregular heart beats
    Arythmias …can damage your heart

    a specific
    Anti-Biotic does cure it
    Do not leave it for years, just do it

    Better than having to replace
    Your heart valves with Pig valves

    2 Cures
    Not my opinion …its Science

    Healthy Guts + Clean Mouth
    Nuetralizes the sickness from
    Pharmaceuticals, the Oxies ..etc

    If on heavy pain killers
    Do not take a big dose before sleep
    And sleep on your chest …all your weight is
    Too much pressure on the heart …its fuckin Dangerous

    Peace + Respect

    …stay Savage !

  3. I've got exertional compartment syndrome and it is making my start of my military career a nightmare as I can't run with or without weight (which I do enjoy). If I don't get these injuries sorted I won't pass my p-coy however I'm not giving up and each day I do rehab including stretching and rolling which is something everyone hates but I do it as I know it's the right way. I have no idea how long this injury will last but I'm not throwing in the towel, I'm with everyone struggling to better themselves, some have it easy but not all of us do, we just have to keep going!

  4. So Jocko no one reads magazines cuz there’s videos and audiobooks? For the record I read Extreme Ownership hardback! Gtfoh with the damn videos lol
    Echo lookin jaaaacked!

  5. Jocko, great job at the interview, brother. And Kristie, you’re a tough lady and an inspiration to many people. Keep at it.

  6. IF Jocko rank THE three religions from THE middle east. What would that list look like?? And if you only have Good/ Evil & nothing in between why did Jennifer Lopez & Marc Anthony Divorced? IF they both belive in God,Love etc etc?? Was it Love that created Manhattan projekt? God& Satan are just One equal god? At least i dont have to find a cure for Aids like Zlatan has to do. I have My problems he has His problem and THE world has a big problem with truth/ lie issue. Love ? Love me not? Hate ? Hate me not? Just becuse an old fart reads from bible means just nothing. But i would be fun to hear why he has a hang Up on me becuse he has not killed me with a knife THE last 19 years instead he hides behind His radio station & send suicide radio & disturb people's sleep.

  7. Where is she getting all the money to hike all these mountains? Everest alone is like $50,000… I imagine it’s donated

  8. I’ve often thought about those people that have been handed everything,what if they started there,could that make a impact,could that be the best way to go,tough questions,I have seen people just go up from there and some go down????

  9. 2006 I was on that flight. Ramadi to balad, balad to a stop in Kuwait city, Kuwait to landstuhl Germany, stayed in landstuhl Germany for 7 days , then flight to Walter reed. I remember the passenger's on those flights. Air force surgeons would not touch my injuries. Had to wait for the specialist at walter reed.

  10. I seriously admire her for the “gravel in the guts“. Also, Jocko for paying really close attention. So many would've missed her mumbling about “filling the voids“ but he caught it, let her finish uninterrupted and came back to it. Just shows the amount of his awareness. Kudos.

    Edited to add: she needs structure, purpose and is badass…anybody else seeing her working with Jocko in the future?

  11. Oh man… I surf when I can and grew up on a skateboard, also love snowboarding. Needless to say knees are shot. Reconstructive knee surgery at 16. Orthoscopic a year later to be sure bone graph held and screws were good. I can not imagine never riding again… And with all due respect mam, DO NOT WORRY ABOUT BEING ATTRACTIVE. CHECK!!

  12. All that in 1 woman!! Wow, intelligent, veteran, hardcore, driven, athlete and drop dead gorgeous!! That gentlemen is a Unicorn! She's unstoppable!!

  13. I want for all young girls to listen to this. This chick is badass and I love her. Strong. Smart. Humble. Just lovely.

  14. If she is really "above" other people…she is NOT above Jocko Willink, discipline-wise!
    Anyone who disagrees does not understand how I feel.
    Anyone can do 20 slow rep push-ups every day. Myself included.

  15. I am not "above" the Russian Spetsnaz. Or any Special Operations soldier. They have their own ways, culture, attitudes, belief systems. They're disiplined.
    I have seen things the Russian Spetsnaz can do involving calasthenics, fitness, and falling properly and doing incredibly 😎😎👍👍👍😊😀🌈🌈🎈🎈 & AWESOME, SATISFYING things!!
    Sonny Puzikas is right.
    About things he says on his Facebook and in his YouTube videos.

  16. I know she was hard to schedule, but please try to get her back for part two! One of the top 5 episodes you've done, in my opinion

  17. I don't choose to wear t-shirts by anyone on this podcast because I will occasionally wear t-shirts of people whose music I like or other things.
    You have to be well off financially to afford to train in BJJ, etc.

  18. I'd rather train dogs in Schutzhund, Mondio Ring Sport and have dogs that HATE and are dominant and aggressive towards untrustworthy adult strangers, who I haven't and they haven't bonded with. I choose to live that way.
    The kinds of dogs I would live with will BITE anyone who chooses to try to get into my residence, vehicle and who tries to cross the property line…uninvited.

  19. I'm a 36 yr old author who wanted to tell you guys something..Sorry to maybe ramble a bit, plz…*dont read this if you're a vet and couldn't give two sweaty rat f..ks about some war dork kid who, getting in trouble despite being an Eagle Scout lol, couldn't get the waiver ro be there w/you, and instead did something ridiculous.I earned my TBI ten times over like a grade A sh!t for brains, trying to be a tough guy…we were raised "win lose draw, you scrap" right? See, at the time I tried enlisting, they didn't let all these crips and bloods they later behaved nonchalant about lol, but hey, the CO at the Oceanside Army office lost his wife to a DUI, and that's what I had (that was it, just two Coronas at 17) so he permanently just burned me and my jacket after trying a 3rd attempt (getting thru MEPs almost to the swear in, getting 89 ASVAB blah blah!) but NOPE, it was "eat a d!ck, kid, piss off" which was a bummer..we even cried to try for Daryl Issa's help to force them to let me do an 11B gig (it's all I had wanted growing up in San Diego) but that salty angry CO in O side made it personal..idk. BUT at one point, angry, seeing WIA fellas who were so bummed, many trying to Oxy out before we knew it was an issue. In fact, I saw the descent as I also joined it…As these guys return without purpose in their eyes, some of these are good friends I couldn't stand seeing like this, so when I ended up knowing TONS of you MEU lunatics and frogs post-9/11 (these being my jr high buds, so as close as you get).. I'm only here because of YOU GUYS (all veterans, not just the ones I grew up with) who not only gave me a reason to be here right this min because of 'em, but because of the hard bark on you all, and on them all?*
    That's "the moto sh!t" that literally saved me, just how you guys view Jocko's words (and how they sounded to me too but for me it was looong too late as I had wished I heard them before taking a job emulating guys like him, and uh, yeah, if you live in CA, you heard about what happened to us in pieces later but..I am finding myself writing the ebook I was only doing the trunk monkey gig in order TO write this and then after the NDAs, I find myself watching these podcasts, unable to write, spending roughly '06 thru '09 doing a strange, surreal type of job you as a civilian like me who lived sheltered in Rancho Sante Fe/Del Mar speaking Spanish (so I was useful as a " temp 'terp" too on top of trunk monkey lol, especially because the fmr ODA guys and Unit maniacs that mentored us & later felt obligated to lead some of our group, that were guys who know Dari, Pashtu, and Arabic, but used me for the one language they DIDN'T know? I guess?) numerous DFEs from Tecate, Encinada, to the tip at La Paz as you can get, and they didnt want to choose PMC work as they trickled back from OEF, OIF's initial big fights and so on, and they started an offshoot program launched by DoD & DoJ in San Diego's L3 Comm to do PSD for Baja municipal officials in late '06. anyway, when being the crazy younger brother of infamous peckerwood crazies in North County (SD) who worrked at SEALFit, which I'm sure people here know about, in Cardiff/Encinitas lol, but without the great chincheckins I got to snap out of it? oooh man…Idk, sorry if I rambled for ten paragraphs repeating myself here, outside of the writing? I've only said some of this to a handful of friends that weren't in CA, and DEF not my family/parents/etc…I'm writing this ebook now, Comanche Chrome, about my experience when a small experimental concept for a new idea of assisting w/issues regarding the particular DTos back then who had Guatamalan SF (those f…king gross Kaibiles, freakin psycho pervs who we saw straight ambush teenage girls one time in Nuevo Laredo, around the same time we heard "the Hez got brought up by these assholes!" so I do a double take..yeah, the Caracas kooks sent their IRGC proxy pals up to REALLY work for DTOs (hence the ebook, I had to wait for the statutes of a couple NDAs they had us sign, not overly excited for San Diegans and Tijuana residents murmuring about these random crazy beheadings, again, just like some caricature of that movie Sicario except the actual time period, they were already freaking out at Justice, at the DHS etc (no one needed Hez rumors so early on in the GWOT) and myself a temp job, training, etc that you don't get outside LE or mil..but I was lucky yet injured w/a TBI (I'm not a mil vet, so being 145lbs as it is, launched through glass made for ballistic pro in a Yukon that flipped during a hit 20 min down Rev Blvd, TJ and it wasn't even mentioned in the Union Tribune or any major news outlets in Mex either, so for eleven guys (a few fmr HRT, LE, NSW, etc) to get hit like something out of I suddenly see thank you guys for doing more than you think you did, because vets like you who came back to San Diego telling us younger dudes what happened? It changed what I did for sure, I'm a writer, sure, do prof music blah blah, but what I was fortunate most for was what you all sacrificed it all for..Basically, I was lucky to grow up doing Scouts up to Eagle, then pleading to be in Devil Pups when they used it in the 90s for gang members, deliquents etc?
    I was not a big fan, obviously, of Narcos, or at least not in the sense I watch it nonstop lol…I dont see appeal there. Again, we joke nowadaysm if we'd told people what happened that looked like a scene out of "Sicario" before we knew to even expect such kinetic threats that don't fear any of these big bearded fellas with me, or even the now infamous Mex Marines & SOF who were bad ass back then, but GAFEs were diff then, plus we never thought we'd be using the courses right off, to actually dismount, being almost dead plenty had we not used our firearms. Being in a DFE w/you guys (mil vets, or combat vets in general), i guess this was just my way of saying thank you for you guys having a type of high gear you drop in, and no bullsh!t, I used our crappy DPMS AR that they had armorers (these are amazing cage crazies, who know so much, lol I could hang at the cages all day if they didn't kick my ass returning to the back of the vehicle lol..but I owe so much to you all as you represent more than veterans of just OEF/OIF/OIR to me and my family, who had no idea why I was acting so screwy after what they thought was some random car accident by TJ, thats all..In 2012, strangely, I hadn't met a "BLackwater/Triple Canopy" textbook PMC type yet, but I meet the first real life, uber epic and ACTUALLY PRO security experts who do the CENTCOM AOR for a living as I listened in awe even after everything going on a few hours away…oddly this was actually LITERALLY AT this place called SEALFit when Bub Doherty visited Mark, the owner, just before his tragic last trip out to Tripoli, as crazy as that is, it's all true what happened…..god, his poor sister, (we couldn't believe it) but all of us at this TITAN Corp little RATTLR had to certify on things I never thought we'd have to, but Bub told us the one time I met him to "get gnarly, get fast" when you're hurtin' for certain during some life/death scenarios and I remembered those words (he was a rockstar to me, supposedly driving around for a REAL soldier of fortune gig in some pickup poppin' grapes of SA 7 dealin d!ckheads by himself sometimes? Nuts. We were doing a not sexy run to transpo a fella and his PA back to waaay down Revolution when I got tossed, becoming like a stroke victim instantly at first. So frustrating…We were all so close as friends, w/five of the eleven now gone forever, but regardless, I'm here listening to you all, to Jocko, doing volunteer work in South Carolina nowadays, because I can't live in California anymore (yeah I was meant to head to the Appalachia land of the moonshine blockaders, lol jk) I was launched through the aforementioned black Yukon and skipped off the deck in this unnatural way, that even if we had helmets, I'd still have been ass up, lights the f..k out. In fact, the Scripps med center this girl is talking about was where most of us ended up being frequent guests at..sigh…But now? I help Beaufort LE doing whatever I can in their courses to help officers w/my limited exp. They asked, I came running. I wish I could repay as they're all vets like many of you, and I wish I could've given more as so many of you did.

  20. Unbelievably inspiring! I’m feeling more like a mere mortal after watching this episode. Kirstie, you are one heck of a force for greatness. Thank you for listening to your dad. The man who wins your heart better buckle up.

  21. I have no heroes. Heroes are overblown. EXCEPT: Kirstie Ennis!! The most special human being on earth. I love her spirit and drive and humanity, You are such a gift to us all, Thank you so very much!

  22. Jocko might Wonder why a movie producer also own a Soccer club?? De Laurent in Napoli just dont want fair games. Super Bowl just is better & it was Good with Madonna but this year its double goodies. Om behalf of you & me i wrote that Jennifer Lopez are bettet looking at 50 years old than She was att 14 years old. I am pretty sure you agree on that official statement.

  23. I absolutely loved this podcast. I was so proud to see a woman warrior badass and still so feminine. Thank you Jocko! We need to hear and see more strong women like this. Does she have a book out? I couldn’t find the title if so, I definitely need it!

  24. Kristie, climb up those mountains then fly down. I know you would love paragliding! Check out the PWC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffO2BVwKu1w

  25. Awesome, inspiring woman.
    Jocko is slowly building an army of disciplined disciples. People stepping their game up worldwide to get on the path, train, and make the most of their life for themselves, their families, and society. Keep it up! Musters selling out, and people lining up to train beforehand really says a lot, on top of the feedback.

  26. The problem with being in combat is not getting hurt, it's trying to recreate that RUSH. Now someone please tell me i'm full of bullshit…….i didn't think so

  27. Jocko is so right about the milestones of youth – 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 25, etc there is so much growing and changing that happens internally and externally that only really settles onward from 30 to the end.

  28. Great show. All badasses in that room.
    I wish Jocko did more of these. Some of the greatest podcasts I've listened to were the interview with soldiers, but seems like a majority of his podcasts are self improvement episodes…. That's good for some people, but I rather hear the interviews….. so more interviews please

  29. Haven’t been watching the latest podcasts for a month because I’ve been catching up with every other one starting from the very first podcast on Spotify

  30. Am I the only one that wants to give her a big hug??
    And am I the only one that thinks she would knee me in my balls for hugging her?

  31. Man. God bless you Jacko and your interviewees. PTS is hard to face man. I been doing this for seven years and recently just got real help. Thanks for what you are doing.

  32. 4:42 – I know she was talking about confidence and self image later in the podcast. I'll say this right here: she's a very pretty woman.

  33. Listing to this one I had to hop on and see the dynamic between the crew. Good listen.

    During the saporch portion… OooMmmmGgg can’t stop staring at Echo’s arms! How does he fit his shirt sleeves over those things?!?

    Echo is JAaaaaaaaaaaaaaacked! Finished up that arm tattoo.

  34. That is all how it starts! Prove them all wrong!! I got my masters too after they retired me. Speech therapy helped me so much! I still get headaches from hell and my vision is toast but I did it!

  35. Jocko and team, love the show, keep the great work. I bought the DEF book and ExOw audiobook, love them too.
    I'm actually watching/listening the episodes in order, it would be great if you guys could make 25 episode bundles on the" play list" YouTube section of the channel so fans could go to their fav episode faster instead of scrolling down a lot. Just my two cents, guys.
    I'm on my way to hear all the episodes, they are just great.

  36. Hey Jocko….. Can you do a pod cast on my grandfather who served in WW2.. He was in Patton's Third Army.. was in the Battle of the Buldge..please let me know and I can give you all the contact info

  37. I was listening to the podcast and I had to come on YouTube just to say this. People that tell you they're going to kill themselves will kill themselves. You can't assume it's a cry for help. It is categorically false that people who do kill themselves don't tell anyone. People who killed themselves both tell people and don't tell people and people who are seeking attention may say that but it is no guarantee by any means. That's a very dangerous thing to put out the so many hundreds of thousands of people

  38. There must have been a few vikings far back in her ancestry! She has true viking blood. Never seen such a tough girl. That leaves me speechless.

  39. I had this lady in my uber, last night in denver colorado didnot know who was she, appreciative humble laughing , am a fan ..

  40. This is why women shouldn’t be in combat. The whole thing goes to shit, pilot stops flying & crying at the bedside.
    She claims the pilot choked, or did something else happen ? Who knows.
    If it was a guy half that shit probably wouldn’t have happened.

  41. Jocko, by far the best podcast I have heard and watched with KIrstie Ennis, thank you for what you do and thank you for your service.

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