#243 Mike Durant
Lace Waltham too. I glass fatherhood. got a Black Hawk down. We've got a Black Hawk down. Welcome everybody to so to forty three of the podcast. I am happy. There's always to be here with you. Thank you for stopping by. If this is your first time listening to a podcast please get over. There and back not subscribe button. Do Not WanNa miss all the action that it's coming your way right here on first-class first class fatherhood all right. That's very special guests with me here today. If you have ever seen the movie Black Hawk down then you're in for a real treat night stalker pilot Mike Durant was shot down some all your back in nineteen eighteen ninety three when he was flying a Black Hawk helicopter he was taken prisoner for eleven days before being released and he retired from the army as Chief Warrant Officer for Black Hawk. Helicopter Master has there aviator in the legendary one hundred sixty at sore. It is a huge honor for me to have him on the podcast with me here today. Mike durant will be here in just a few minutes so please stick around for the interview and this interview is very special for me. Not only because I've seen the movie at least one hundred times I have read the book Black Hawk down by Mark Bowdoin and I have also read Mike. The Rams Book in the company of Heroes which which is just a phenomenal read. Mike Durant took part in several major operations including operation just cause in which the Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega was captured and Mike goes into great detail in the book about what it's like the night stalker pilot and they are the best of the best in the special operations aviation game and it goes without saying that I highly recommend the book in the company of Heroes and the link to it will be in the description of today's podcast episode and I do remember watching the drama of the battle of Mogadishu unfold on TV back in nineteen ninety-three when I was just thirteen years old which is the age of my oldest son now and I remember seeing the bodies of Delta Operators Gary Gordon and Randy sugar are being dragged through the streets bolt of them responsible for saving Mike the Ranch life and they died heroes. I also remember seeing the video of Mike durant himself being held captive and as a matter of fact you guys know just how much I admire the navy seals and read all their books. I Navy seal book that I ever read was. Howard widens seal team six book. He was part of a four man seal team. That was present in the battle. Mogadishu and I'm going to have another navy seal with me here. For a frogman man Friday edition of First-class Fatherhood Former Navy seal Chris Gomez will be here with me on Friday so lock in for that and tomorrow. We're going to go back to the football field with eleven year. NFL wide receiver ever TJ Huffman's Outta all right so let's go dad's please shared his podcast with every the India neighborhood or in your contact list. Let them know about the show that is celebrating fatherhood and Family Life Fatherhood Hood rocks family values rule in every day Fathers Day right here with me and I'm GonNa be right back with legendary night stalker pilot Mike Durant. I'm Alex Lace and you're listening to I last fatherhood all right. That's first-class. Fatherhood is being brought to you today by Manscaping who is number one in men's below the belt grooming manscaping offers precision engineered tools for your family jewels. They sent me their lawn mower two point. Oh and I wish they had something like this years ago. I can't tell you how many times I've nicked my nuggets in the shower while shaving and you definitely don't want to be using using the same razor on your face that you're using down there on the two amigos the lawnmower two point. Oh is an electric trimmer with skin safe technology. It's waterproof so you can use it in the shower so let's go dad's right now. First Class Father who listeners are getting twenty percent off their entire order plus free shipping by using the Promo Code father go to Manscaping Dot com enter the Promo Code Father at Checkout Save Twenty percents off and get free shipping may escape Dot Com Promo Code Father all right joining me. Now is a first class father. He is a retired chief warrant officer for combat veteran his awards awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze Star with valor the Purple Heart Three air medals the prisoner of war medal and many others it is tremendous honor for me to say Mike durant welcome to First-class Fatherhood thank you it was pleasure to be here all right. Let's start here. How many kids do you have. And how old are they well. My wife and I have raised six. three of those are mine. three of those. I got as part of a package the deal when I remarried the oldest is thirty one and their sort of cluster together. They're in their twenties and then our youngest just turned fifteen. Wow okay yeah. That's a big a big range there. I got four myself. We're going from thirteenth to five so I got a little ways to go yet. We're bracing for impact your teenage years well. We had pretty good luck with it for the most part but there's there's a lot of curve balls can come your way in that time. That's for sure. Well definitely all this information. I mean getting here and help me out but if you could just take a minute here to hit my listeners but a little bit about your background and what you do well my background background is. I was a special OPS Black Hawk pilot. I spent twenty two years in the military. I suppose the most recognizable thing for the average person is ah the guy who was shot down in Somalia at movie Black Hawk Down is all about and of the real life guy not the actor and Joe Awesome career you know I it would take me days to talk about just those life experiences in what what kind of impact all that had on me a retired in two thousand and one and that Saas also the same year I was remarried and we moved to Huntsville Alabama where we currently live been here now eighteen years and eleven years ago. I started my own business so I took some of the things that I learned from for my experiences in life in general in the military and apply those to commercial venture here. We're doing pretty well actually yeah your story is just incredible and I and of course live obviously seen the movie and I've Read Your Book in the company of Heroes and I thought it was just a you know phenomenal. I'M GONNA get more into that in just a minute here. But how old were you when you first became a father and had to becoming at that kind of change your perspective on life so first child was born one year before we deployed Somalia so I I was thirty two when and my first son was born so I've seen you know you. You've interviewed a lot of folks that have deployed a lot in special special ops type operators and they probably have all said the same thing when you're in that kind of a unit in your trying to raise a family. It's it's a bit of a challenge because you're gone a lot and you really have to rely heavily on those around you obviously if if you are married your your your spouse is critical because you know you're gone in a moment's notice in oftentimes you're gone for three months you know in some cases longer than that and and that's really tough especially during critical times when you Miss Birthdays holidays you miss school events whatever it is so it's a very very difficult challenge and and I think it takes extraordinary people to do it successfully and it takes a village. It really does it. It cannot be done alone in those circumstances. Yeah Adam sure you've heard me say to on the show. Mike it's just one of the biggest reasons why I have so much respect one of the reasons why I have so much respect for all you guys and women that serve just because I can't imagine how hard it would be to try to balance that out between having a family and doing such a you know an important important and you know a job that takes so much of your focus and you spent eleven days in captivity in Somalia. What would it children like their Mike as opposed to like kids here era families there what we're like the relationship between the kids and the data that you see over there so it's funny when you break people down to their basic elements we have so much much in common. You know you would think when you first look at at Mogadishu. It's like another planet really I mean for those of us. Who Live here here in cities of comparable size. It's it's just completely different but once you get inside and you see how people interact and and how children children behave and how they play in the street. It's it's all the same. I did not see a lot of interaction between fathers and their children but you could sense. Is that the family relationships were were very similar. You know the young people look to the older people elders for life lessons and mentorship shipping values and all the same things that that impact our youth here impact the youth there and very well said and Did you feel comfortable letting your kids edge. See the movie when it came out. What are your thoughts about the film so we really don't talk about it. You know it's if they if they want to see hit their free to see it. I know some of them have and some of them haven't if they wanna read the book for Free Read. The book that's their decision but we've sort of put it off on the side and and don't really ever even talk about it. It's it's not something you know if they if they wanNA know something. I'm I'm happy to talk to him but it's just it's just a different phase of life in There's there's just so much more that occupies our time in our thoughts today today that we really don't spend any time even even discuss yeah yeah and it must be difficult soon like I mean you've had you had a twenty two year military career and obviously you know your you're most known for the Black Hawk down incident but you continue to serve for so long after that. What was it like for you. Serving in the service after that incident was it something that always came name was the kind of respect the fact that it was like you're you're moving on from it so they left it alone a lot. You know people were constantly looking for are lessons learned and you know because if you think about it if you look at the time line that happened in ninety three we didn't get involved in a global war on terror in two thousand thousand one so we had eight years where there wasn't a lot of combat experienced people were really looking at that mission to to pull as much as they possibly it could out of it. I would I would say even today that particular battle and you know my personal experience in the personal experience of many others there that day is still scrutinize is because even today after all that's gone on in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are some unique elements there that we still need to leverage and learn from so for that eight years until my retirement there was an awful lot of pull on all of us to try to share our perspective then try to help make the the the military better and I think we did I. I've always said that there was one thing that I would say was positive about Somalia is that we had an opportunity community to look at it and understand the challenges involved in fighting and that kind of environment for eight years before we had to do it on a much larger scale in multiple locations and I think we were better prepared for the global war and they're very well said getting back to you as a dad here Mike I mean I've seen you speak week before. you know just through watching your seminars there on youtube and stuff like that. You're obviously very well disciplined in the military. what type of disciplinary are you like as a father well. I think I'm certainly lead by example kind of father. I I absolutely a subscriber of the you know walk the walk mentality and in matters much more what you do than what you say Ah In terms of discipline you know. I think that we've been fortunate in that. We haven't had a lot of discipline problems. We've got one out liar but you know it was. I just I consider it a phase and we've gotten through all that you know give you an example. We want our kids that invite invite some friends to Lake House that we have in there was alcohol involved and we found out about it and we had the option to come down really hard on her or Try to make a life lesson out of it and and we we chose to make life lesson out of it and explain to hurry. Look you know this is wrong. YOU PUT US at risk. I mean you got underage kids out here consuming alcohol who there's water here drowning risks. There's there's driving risk. Think about all the things that you put at risk for us. When we you know everything we do in our life is is built around and try to help you be successful and we don't want this to create a situation where you know we punish you for a period of time and treat create resentment we we want you to learn from this mistake and we we willing to forgive you and we want you to you know to say you'll never do this again. And I think it was one of the better decisions we ever made actually because she appreciated the way we handled it. She learned from her mistake. It didn't happen again and she turned into a fantastic young woman yeah very cool. It's definitely one of the things that concerns my wife and I is our kids are just starting to get the teenage years and and I drive on the weekends and I drive a lot of college kids around. There's a local college here and it's from what I see the decisions that are going on and what they're doing. It's it gives me pause and you know I definitely WanNa. Make sure that I don't punish too much where they don't don't WanNa. Come and talk to me and be honest about what's going on. That's really the biggest fear that I have when it comes to parenting absolutely and that's the that's the risk you take. If you are a little bit too harsh I'm not I'm not suggesting guessing you don't discipline it all but you know needs to be fair and needs to be measured in. I think you need to find a balance between how hard you WANNA come down and still protect that relationship because it is it is critical that you have that good communication and that relationship throughout life through all the different phases which you know how you deal with it and and how you communicate with a four year old is obviously dramatically different than when you do when you're communicating with seventeen year old or twenty year old very well said all right. Dad's the NFL season is now upon us and the Major League baseball season is winding down. There is no no better time to take your kids to the ball game and first-class father who listeners can save twenty dollars off their tickets on SEATGEEK DOT COM by using my Promo Code First Class. That's it's one word first-class. Maybe WanNa see a concert or Broadway. Show Save Twenty Bucks on tickets on seatgeek. Dot Com use the Promo Code First Class. It's a slam dunk dunk deal. Dad's SEATGEEK DOT COM Promo Code First Class. Fatherhood is the best seat in the house. All right is many of you have hit me up saying that you would like to start your own podcast and I am telling you right now. Anchor is the easiest way to get this done number one. It's free I have never paid a dime to publish any of my podcasts and their creation tools allow you to record and edit right from your phone or your computer anchored those all the distribution as well so it can be heard on spotify apple podcasts and many more also you can make money with no minimum listenership. It's everything you need to make a podcast in one place. I what are you waiting for download the free anchor APP today or go to Anchor Dot FM to get started and I read your book in the company of Heroes and that came out in two thousand three a couple of years after the movie Were you approach to write the book or is that something that you had planned on doing what was the genesis. Have you coming out with your book so I I really respected the whole secrecy of the Special Operations Community and and I wrote down some notes about the mission drafted some thoughts right after it happened and then I put it away because I didn't feel like it was appropriate to even consider writing something about operations that were so recent that you know to me that just wouldn't right thing to do well after the movie came out. I I realize well I mean basically the whole mission stories on the street at this point and now I have sort of an individual story that has not been told and I think I can't tell it and not worry about you know ten years years ago and by and and there's really not a lot of operational specificity that matters at this point you know ten years in the future so I thought you know what I think he's probably going to be okay to do it at this point and I I saw it out some mentors that were senior leaders in the community and they said you know what I don't think anybody's GonNa give you any any any grief for writing a book at this point so that's when I reached out to to find a publisher and an agent and it was great a great experience it turned out really well and very proud of it and I have no regrets about doing it at this point for sure yeah. It's definitely a book. I think just about about everybody. Every American should read. He tells a wonderful story and I did any of your kids ever take up flying or helicopters or any other type of flying at all so we have talked about it and my my theory is this. I retired when they were all pretty. Young in the world they know really really is Huntsville Alabama. which is an engineering town? I mean it's it's compared to Raleigh North Carolina or the beltway I mean the there's just a lot of engineers here. There's a lot of aerospace but it's not on the it's not on the flying side. It's on the technology side so we've got their their interests have been more in that direction and we haven't necessarily want to hold them back from flying serving in the military but there's not really been a lot of interest from any of them in doing that and that's fine. I wanted to do whatever they're interested in. you know it's funny our youngest who's now L. Fifteen. I went to a parent child. space camp which people are familiar with the it's. SORTA sister course at the same facility what he called aviation challenge listeners out there not heard about this look it up because it's a tremendous opportunity for a parent child relationship building you go there. Can you bunk together and it's basically aviation challenges a mini flight school. I mean we learned about aerodynamics. We did evasion. We we flew simulators. Oh you plan missions all of that lasts about four days total and I did this with our younger. I did it with one of the girls and then I did it with our youngest Michael also and he wrote I guess it's now six years later in a in a an essay for school. Now these high school what influences decision to want want to pursue the career he wants to pursue and my wife and I were trying to speculate about what he would pick you know he he would pick because she's a pilot also he would pick well. You know my parents both pilots so I I got I was interested in aviation or you know this or that but what he wrote about was I went to aviation challenge with my dad and I got interested in being an aerospace engineer and that's what he wanted to be now for since we started talking about career decisions and just it's really rewarding. I suppose is the right word to to realize years down the road that that is the event in his life when he thinks back that that pushed him in this direction and again great program. There's lots of you know. Similar programs like that out there but that one in particular is really a good one and gives you a chance to really spend some quality time with the kids yeah very cool. I'll throw a link to that in the description of this podcast episode so malices I just have to like they want to find out more about it. What about like as far as you know becoming a night stalker. I it's usually now today especially with the Navy seals being in the public. Everyone writing books books like years ago not many people knew about a lot of these special operation forces like seals like the night stalkers and all this stuff. When did you first become aware of what a night stalker was. Was it when you were a child. How long did you really want to beat out or that. Come after you joined the service and found out it's kind of funny I was just thinking about this the other day and and and this is the actual moment when I found out about this unit. I was in Korea already on the flight school I wanted I wanted to fly and I went when I was pretty pretty young graduated flight school at twenty two so I think that I look at twenty two year olds now and I don't mean to sound condescending or whatever but it just it seems is young to be in charge of a military aircraft flying missions you know in a foreign country but but I was and I was I loved it. It was the fulfillment the dream I'd have since I was about fourteen and I was sitting in a bar with this guy who just come from Fort Campbell and he's talking about this special unit there. Nobody's supposed to know about that is is looking for people that you want to do these classified missions and work with these special units and and I'm like wow I mean. I know that kind of thing existed. I really really like to know more about that. So when I got assigned to Fort Campbell the first thing I did this figure out where in the heck these guys weren't located over there and feel about an application and and I guess you could say the rest is history so you're right at the time there was not a lot of information nation of people knew about Special Forces and people knew about Navy Seals in general but they didn't know about some of these sort of subsets within within those groups that were you you know even you know a tear tear up in terms of the secrecy and the sensitivity of missions and all that and it's a it's certainly something something I'm proud to say I was a I was a small part of in a really exciting part of my professional life and there's no doubt that there's you know on number of kids is that have been inspired to become pilots based on your book and the movie and Obviously Gary Gordon and Randy sugar both were awarded posthumously the medal of honor honor after they were killed into Somalia incident there. Gary had a couple of kids. I'm not sure about Randy. Do you still stay in touch with those families or anybody else that was connected to the raid so I I've seen the families every now and then I saw them again. it's Fort Bragg I think it was about a year ago. Now I was down there for a memorial and No rainy did not have any kids Gary Gary did have to and they were both there and they're they're both doing yeah well as far as keeping in touch you know we tend to stay in touch more with the folks that were in our part of the operation so I'm I'm almost in daily. Contact with the with the guys not so much. you know some of the other units that we support it although like I said when we do a reunion reunion or or whatever I've I've tried to all those I think I made them all and it's it's always great to see those folks and see see how well everybody's doing. Unfortunately we're all getting a little bit older but you know it's life and we just gotTa enjoy every moment that weekend yeah and I know that right. Now are political atmosphere atmospheres a total nightmare but anything that you've ever considered throwing your hat into the political arena at all or is that off the radar for you off. The radar just doesn't consumed my personality. I just can't do it and I know that's probably the kind of people we'd say well. That's what we want and doing it but unfortunately I don't think in our system works I I think you have to be you know of a certain personality and and value system to do it and and do and win you know in the end you have to win you could be you know the most honest down to Earth good intention person in the world but if you don't win it doesn't accomplish anything thing and and I just don't see how I could possibly do it. I really don't you know I don't even I tell people. I don't even like the politics business. I can't imagine the politics of Politics Yeah right on with that. What type of goals are playing. Do you have your for yourself but if you might well you know finish it up the job at hand Dan. Which is the family. you know we have one left at home and he's doing well. He's the one I was just talking about that. We went to challenge together. he's been the easiest so far. Mar in I hope we stay on that. Trend the you know he's he's. GonNa be off to college in about two and a half more years. You know here here professionally. I'm SORTA targeting that same timeframe to start throttling back a little bit. It's you know I've been. CEO here for eleven years and there's a lot there's is a lot to that. It's it's it's it can be all consuming. I don't think I've let it be all consuming but it can be and it is somewhat stressful and you gotTa build a you know find that work life balance and I think my family would say that I've done that. I've tried pretty hard to do that but you know I also If you WANNA have a little bit more time to enjoy the things that I like. We've purchased a place in Colorado. We're playing expensive time out there. Just loved the mountains I grew up in the mountains in New England and the the winter in Colorado's a little bit more tolerable than the winter in New England and and so we plan and to spend you know maybe half the year up there and quite a few mountains and keep skiing and those sorts of things and and watching grandchildren girl up and income visit as often as the yeah good stuff all right my last thing. I'm GonNa hit you with here. I love to ask all the DADS. I got on the PODCAST. What type of advice do you half of that new father or for ought to be dad. WHO's out there. Listen Nice. I guess the best advice maybe would come from the things that I don't do. Well that that I try to do better at. I think men tend to be fixers. I've I've heard this from a couple of different folks at least about my personality that you know we we we. We think you know very straightforward. Direct solution to a problem. We'll we'll we'll solve it and we're dealing with people when we're when we're trying to be a father and and people don't always react the same way to the same thing so we need patience. We need understanding when you listen and we need to. I love and I think if you approach it in those terms you know the specifics. Don't matter I it. You'll ah you'll find a way to be successful but if you know if you're overly harsh or if you are not trying to have a relationship with your child if you you know don't prioritize it then then. It's probably not going to go well they they. They need your leadership your ship. They need your mentorship. They need your values and they need your time and if you're willing to give all that you'll be successful yeah very well sad and loved him message. This has been a big honor for me. I gotTa say Mike Durant. You're a first last father all the way. Thank you so much for giving me a few minutes off First Class Fatherhood my pleasure back to wrap things up here. You're on first class fatherhood. I got to give a special. Thank you once again to Mike Durant for giving me a few minutes of his time. Here was an incredible honor. Pleased me up on twitter. Guys dropped me that on instagram. Let me know about today's that is episode. I always loved to read your feedback and do yourself a favor tap the link in the description of today's podcast and check out Mike Durant's book in the company of Heroes. You guys are GonNa. Love it small on on the podcast. You're going back to the Gridiron here eleven year. NFL veteran wide receiver TJ which means auto joins me and Friday of course we have a frogman Friday edition of the show former Navy Seal Chris Gomez joins me here right. That's all I got for you guys today. I'm Alex lease. You have been listening to the first lady's fatherhood and please remember guys. We are not babysitters. We our fathers and we're not just fathers. We are first-class. Fathers solve down time I know.