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This is JoCo podcast number 270 with Echo, Charles and me, JoCo Willink Good evening, Echo. Good evening. I'd made a mistake that was going to cost me my life. I turn to the man beside me, he was a Yemeni, we called him H, and he was the only passenger in the beat up local car I was driving. The air around us with was stiff, with heat and tension, the vehicle almost rocking as the press of humanity outside began to shove towards me, pointing, I kept my eyes down, not out of fear, but so that they didn't get a good look at them through the dirty glass.


I knew exactly what had happened, how they'd spotted me, I was dressed head to toe as a local from flip flops to a turban. I had a dyed beard and my skin colored, but what I hadn't added to my disguise was my brown contact lenses and now my bright blue eyes were drawing the locals in to point and stare.


I knew it was only a matter of minutes before the neighborhood bad guys started slipping out of their hiding places. And tonight I could look forward to an orange jumpsuit.


The last thing the world would see of me was the image of a former Special Forces soldier about to meet his end, courtesy of an enemy unfamiliar with the Geneva Convention.


Bollocks, I wanted to talk to H, I wanted to the local man's opinion, but if the people outside saw my lips moving in a funny way, then we were truly fucked.


And so instead I raised an eyebrow and hope that people would just think I was commenting on the traffic that attacked us into this bustling marketplace.


Each gave a shrug and reply as if to say, what can you do? What could I do, get my head chopped off or go out fighting, those seem to be the choices I knew which one I'd choose if it came down to it, but I couldn't help but hear the voice in the back of my head, the voice that had told me always, you'll never last two minutes in the army.


Well, if this was the end, I'd show them how wrong they were. I've been showing them for years.


This wasn't my first covert mission as a civilian, I'd cut my teeth as a Special Forces soldier and as such I'd had my mettle tested again and again.


I tried to remember that as yet another local pointed at me and began waving towards my door. I pretended to be busy looking ahead at traffic and checked the mirror behind me. No sign of our second car. I wanted to rub my eyes, despite the danger, I was knackered. Maybe that's why I had made the mistake. Maybe that was why I had to get on my radio, hidden away out of sight from the Yemenis who continue to walk by, peering in and pointing at me.


I kept my message short, trying to move my lips as little as possible, I've been compromised. My mate Sam came on the net from the second vehicle, he was out of sight, but I was sure that he couldn't be more than one hundred meters away.


Are you compromised over? He asked, I confirmed that I was. Are you happy with the immediate action drill over? I knew that drill off by heart, the first part would involve me pulling a snub nosed machine gun from beneath my seat and emptying a full magazine into the windscreen, this would send a very loud signal that it was a good idea for people to get away from me. It would buy me seconds to grab my wrapped up assault rifle wedged between the seat in the door and exit the vehicle.


Then me and my flip flops would be racing for the nearest safe house. Sam came back on the net. Your call out. My call, when it comes down to it, the biggest moments in your life always are. I thought about letting out a deep breath, but looking ice cool in front of each was important to me. Fear is contagious and so I put mine on a shelf until I got clear of the situation. Instead, I imagined everything that was about to happen in this shit storm.


Bloody hell, I almost laughed to myself, all this over a pair of contact lenses. I looked at H gave him the slightest of nods, he was probably sending up a prayer at that point, maybe more than one, my own thoughts went to my wife and children.


If someone wanted to stop me seeing them again, then I promised it would be a fight like no other. And then with the thought of my family pumping like fire through my veins. I reach below my seat and took hold of my weapon. And that is the opening of a book. The book is called Relentless. And is written by someone named Dean Scott, who is a British soldier who served as an engineer in the commandos and eventually went on to the British Special Forces selection and became one of the first Army soldiers to opt into joining the special boat service counterpart to the British SAS.


And that is just the beginning of this story. And luckily for us, Dean is here himself to help talk us through his experiences in the military and beyond. Dean, thanks for coming in. Thanks for coming aboard. No pleasure having me.


It's been a long time that we have been getting requests to have a Brit on here. So you're the you're the first. Well, we had we had one photographer who had been to Iraq, but I think you're our first British military person and there's been a lot of requests.


Right. So glad.


Glad to have you here, man. And no pressure on you at all. The whole nation is riding on on your shoulders, so.


That's the that's the beginning of this book and the beginning of the book starts off as sort of the middle of your your operational career when you talk about the military operations and then civilian operations.


But I guess we should start at the beginning. I always like to start at the beginning of, you know, where you came from and and how you ended up in this particular situation in life. And, yeah, let's get to it. Yeah.


So I was, um, I was born into a military family. My father, he was in the Royal Engineers, and so he very much immersed in that environment. And I grew up in a town called Aldershot, which was the home of the British army.


So it's just airborne heavy. You had to parallel you had three parodic I'd never even heard of the Royal Marines or the special boat service. I mean, it was just S.A.S. and Airborne.


And my father and my mother, they ended up splitting up when I was quite young age. By the age of eight, my mother left my father and took me and my sisters to Manchester up north.


And we ended up in a homeless home in my side. And my side back in the 80s was the roughest estate in the whole of the UK.


Now, now, when Brits say a state, yeah, we see an American say a state. They're thinking of like a country estate, like houses. When Brits say a state, you're talking about the ghetto.


Yes, it is a ghetto and it's it's a government housing. Right. Is that isn't a government housing estate. That's where the word estate comes from. The courtroom council estates.


And yeah, obviously to get your your name on on the housing market, you have to then go into a home at home. So that's what we did. We ended up in in a homeless shelter in my side. And, you know, I was the only white I mean, my sister's the only Caucasians in the area. So we were attracting attention from an early start. The you know, this soon ended up with me learning how to fight with my fists quite early, you know, protecting my sisters in in the school playground.


Actually, I ended up having to leave that school because too many fight and we moved to another another place up in Manchester. My mother, we then got housing. My father, however, used to travel up and pick us up.


Every other weekend is about 240 mile drive one way and take it back down. Me and my father were very close.


My sister was very close to my mother and three years later, my father got custody of me and my sisters.


Um, well, that's that is at heart. I mean, America, it's pretty hard for especially a military dude to get custody. Yeah.


Over the mom. Yeah, I know that. I was I think obviously, you know, he he put his career on pause. He got promoted to Regimental Star Major was posted to Germany and he said, no, I want to stay in UK. I want to look after my kids. And so he put his whole career on line. And I think the judge at the time didn't want his siblings split up. And I didn't want like two sisters being in Manchester and the sun down south.


So the judge said, no, the children make the decision.


And being the eldest at age about ten and a half, I had to make that quite hard decisions. And so, no, I want to live with my father. And he he got custody. And, you know, even today, I remember the day that my mum dropped us off and the reaction she saw when my father took her away. You know, that sticks to you something something like that.


But for me, we moved back down to Aldershot. And, you know, I'm very close to my father. I never actually wanted to pursue a career in the military myself, as you always wanted to be a fireman.


But we grew up around them. But my dad is it was it was a Scotsman. It was old school sergeant major.


He was old school through and through. And I remember finishing junior school and we went on to what you call high school, secondary school.


And so this is what age what age is this? Well, I would have been about thirteen at his age, so.


Thirteen. You've been living with your dad for a few years now, a couple of years. And you're seeing the military, but you're still not quite.


You're not quite, like, enthralled by it. Yeah, yeah, and as I say, when I was immersed in our school playground was where the Red Devils used to take off, which is the British parachute and freefall teams. Every day you'd see the parachutes. The guys would be walking around in the uniforms, in their maroon berets.


And it was just it was almost like the norm living in Aldershot. So, um, but my father is now going to transition out the military. My father his career wasn't very he was more sports, what we would call a tracksuit soldier, you know, very good at a sport. And soccer was his.


So he was the army manager, coach and player. So I very rarely saw my father in green.


You know, it was more tracksuits, trainers and on on the football pitch. So I didn't really know much about the military and the layout of the military and what was going on.


Deployments. He went on deployments to like Northern Ireland, but that was. But when he then got custody of the kids, you know, that obviously stopped him going on on any deployments. And this is a period of time, actually. You know, the last conflict was 1982, which was the Falklands. So there's a dry period up until now. We had the Gulf War in 91. But I was still to come out I year, two years, two years later.


So other in Northern Ireland, there wasn't really any sort of overseas deployments.


So it didn't didn't really affect him going away. And but he was now coming to the end of his career and transitioning to civvy street. So growing up in Aldershot and his military schools. And he then decided to put me in secondary school in the local town. It's called North Camp.


But being old school, my, my, my, my father dressed me up day one in a blazer carrying like a briefcase and a briefcase.


And I wasn't even really aware that I was more upset about it.


But my hair was a crewcut, you know, rather than going downtown and paying for a normal haircut, my father would take me to camp and just put me in straight the front of the queue of all the recruits.


And that's it. Yeah. So I really stood out when I turned up in a school day when I stood out.


And so this school what kind of is this school like a what we call in America, a private school where you have to pay to go to or what was different?


No, it was a public school, but it wasn't in a military town. It was next to the military town. So the children and their parents weren't from the military because it was so close to Aldershot. There was a lot of rivalry between.


And so the haircut just I just stood out and, you know, a forty a week later, I got suspended from that school for fighting and like, were you just that angry youth or what?


No, I just think I'll just put in some really awkward positions and that that being one. But I always remember my father. I know you guys do Brazilian jujitsu.


You know, my father, again, always taught me to fight with my fists.


And as soon as the guy we call that Scottish Jujitsu. But as soon as the opponent's down there said, you know, you stop, you've got the better them.


And there's no, like, follow up like there is nowadays.


So I was so nervous when I got home and I sort of left the left the letter on the table and quickly ran upstairs to the toilet.


My father, you know, screamed out my name and I come down and his is one question was, did you did you hit him when he was down?


I said no. He said, that's fine. And then I had to I then explain to me, I said, look, you dressed me in this, this.


And he he just thought he was doing good by me when in fact is bringing in far too much attention. We then left actually not long a few months after that and moved out into the country totally away from any sort of military town. And that was almost the start for me. That was the start of a new life.


Know, I'd left that military background behind me. So how old are you now? I'm about fourteen now. Right on.


And then you get to where where do you move to when you've got this new start?


So move to into Surrey. So it's just south of London.


That's more very, very green in the country. The country.


Exactly. And now did you how was that? Was that like you said, it was a new start because you were able to fit in a little bit better. Your dad didn't shave your head to the new school? Yeah, exactly.


There was no military barbers, but it was also that no one could judge you. You sort of left your your past behind, you know, Manchester fighting. And, you know, it's almost like this is the baseline you start from now.


So and again, it was actually nice to socialise with kids. You parents weren't is learning stuff that was out, that military lifestyle. You know, all my friends back in Aldershot, their dads are all airborne because my dad wasn't they called him, you know, I mean, it was just like he didn't have any of that.


I didn't have to prove anything to them or feel like, you know, you know, because your father's career, you're part of that.


And that's what Aldershot was like. It was like, know what rank your father is? Apparently not.


And it's like, oh, God, I had a friend through. Who is Australian, S.A.S., and he was saying, you know, him and his wife, we were talking and he was like, they're they're having an expression. It was like, oh, they're wife. Where's the rank of the family? So it's like, oh, you know, he's a lieutenant colonel. Who are you? It sounds like. But I can't imagine little kids telling me my dad's not airborne.


Oh, yeah. That's why they call Mahat.


And it's just that the parachute regiment call him. I don't know, we say Helly Airborne Troop, but it's it's not they just call him a hack because they don't have the Marionberry.


And then, you know, some of the Army commandos also take on that terminology and call him call them hacks or scream as we in the army, the American army, they call someone that's not Airborne Aleg.


And he said with such disdain, I remember what I went to airborne schools.


I come here, you nasty leg. And then in the in the Navy, the the the aviation guys, people that are in helicopters or jets or whatever planes they wear brown shoes, it's part of their uniforms.


So they call in a derogatory way. They call anybody that's not a brown shoe, which no one's used that term, but they call everyone not a black shoe.


And so then in the team, we take that one step further, like derogatory. Who's that guy? Has some shoe came over and told us we couldn't wear that, whatever.


So that's it's funny how you get these little little little words stick but hat. Yeah.


Is the parachute regiment and then the Marines obviously from the Army. It's Pungo. No, no. The little kids telling you your dad's a hat. Oh yeah. Yeah. And again, no wonder you had to fight on a regular basis. Yeah. If it was airborne I'd probably be all right. And then so.


So so you end up in in Surrey. Yeah. You're in the country. Do you feel like your life's taken a better direction. So your dad was a great athlete apparently.


Who did you inherit that athleticism and love for the game. I did, yeah.


I think that's where, you know, I'm very competitive. I like to compete. And I think that's, you know, from my father, you know, even on Christmas Day with the board game, it got that competitive and you had to win, you know, and you know. So I did inherit that from him, um, sport wise. And I followed in his footsteps, you know, played played football as well. I wasn't great at sport, but I just tried everything, you know, I was very fortunate at school.


I know getting sports personality in order sounds amazing. Yeah. But I wasn't the best at football. I wasn't the best at rugby. You know, I just helped out, you know, if they said, right, we need someone on the basketball team, you know, basketball, I would step in.


So so I saw that from my father. But and I think that's what helped later on in the military career. You know, I always found myself competing with others or having to prove prove a point or be an ambassador. Mhm.


Well that's two different things actually. Prove a point or be an ambassador. Yeah. I don't know how that's, that's like. That's two different things, right, if I'm trying to prove a point. That's one thing from trying to be it's like one's going to come at you, the master is going to be cool. So you found that nice, like middle ground between those two things?


Yeah, well, I found myself that, you know, when you were in the army and you you were working alongside Marines, you're an ambassador for your cat, that if that makes sense, you know, I mean and then when you go to the SBX from the army, you're an ambassador for the British Army when you own Geocode podcast and the First Brigade of the British Army is there.


So it's proving a point to myself into them, but almost represent in your unit or your cat badge.


So you talked about you wanted to be a fireman.


And in the book you in the book, you it sounds like a at some point you realize there's a lot of applicants to be a fireman and like thousands of applicants to be a fireman. It's sort of like in America, we had a similar thing here, but you realized it's not going to happen.


Yeah, well, back to the school in my Father Gambin old school, he wouldn't let me go out and play unless I did my homework so he would check everything. So in school wise, I did quite well. I didn't look beyond school. I didn't look at college. I thought I was just going to join the fire brigade and you had to be 18 anyway. So still underage. And that that I know is a big recession. And I was two thousand applicants for one job.


I went to college every summer holidays as a young kid. My father would take me, my sisters, down to south west of England to to Cornwall, and we would go surfing. So I'd been surfing since, you know, a young boy. So during college we had a two week summer holiday.


So my mates are right. Let's go down to Newquay. None of them surfed that. They just wanted to try and find girls.


So, you know, we all went down to Newquay for two weeks. I was in the water all day and they just just sat on the beach doing their thing.


And I met a Norwegian guy, John, and we just got chatting and he was a silver service waiter at the local hotel. So Beach is actually on the surf, to the surf, to the official beach hotel is on the peninsula. And he said, well, I'm getting thirty pounds a day. I serve breakfast, I get free breakfast, I serve a surf all day. Then in the evening I serve the evening meal and you know, I get a free meal, I get 30 pound in my pocket.


Is any ten pound for the hostel for Brillion? You know, being an entrepreneur, I'll have a piece of that. So two weeks later, my father came to pick it up.


And this is now where you talk in ninety four long before any mobile phones and things. I wasn't in the car park with my friends and my dad's always been. And they said, oh, he staying.


So. So your friends met your dad? Yeah, my dad dropped his off and he came back to pick us up two weeks later, but I wasn't there. Yeah. So again, I just didn't want to confront my dad and I don't want to go back to college, so I just want to get into an argument.


So when you got done with what we call high school, how old are you? So we're about sixteen. OK, so then your college starts after that.


And this is taking place during this two week break down there. You're surfing. Yeah. You're living the dream and you see this Norwegian cat that's got it all figured out and you figured you're in.


Yeah, that's it. That's my life. All planned out now the road map. And then my father then came back six months later, you know, looking for me.


And he found me working in a local surf shop. And he's, you know. Right.


You know, you've messed up your education. I said your life is over, you know, given all these all these little one liners. So for me to really just silence him, I just said, well, I'll join the army.


And you normally expect so, you know, warm, comforting words from your father. But I've sort of met with respons. You'd last two minutes probably wasn't the response.


I wanted it, but I thought, OK, no, there's no point in getting into an argument and the best thing to do is try and prove him wrong. I was about five foot seven and sixty five kilos so I could probably see where he was coming from that at the time.


But he drove me back down to Surrey and then the following Monday, you know, we went I went into the careers office.


Did your dad go with you? No, he didn't.


But his office was only 400 metres from there. So I walked in and it was in Aldershot, obviously para heavy airborne. And I came out and went to my dad's office, said, I'm joining the parachute regiment.


He says, you bloody not, and marched me straight back in and I didn't.


Obviously, he was royal engineers. I didn't know much about the Royal Engineers.


I didn't know that you actually can do PE company and be an airborne engineer or do the all arms command, of course, and be a commander engineer. All I had known was him playing football. So when he actually explained a bit more to me, I thought, OK, that's a good idea.


Then he wanted you to go engineer so you'd have some kind of a civilian skill set, whether it was building or pouring concrete or whatever skill you're going to get.


Yeah, he's thinking obviously short term, I'll probably do minimum three years, you know, be a bricklayer, a plumber.


So but also within the military, those trades and be you'll be trades in the engineers where your art is and trades, which is like carpenter, plumber, you know, every now and then your trades was like. You're electricians and plant operators that are big jobs and diggers.


So my dad said, how about a plant fair size, our gardener, and then he know what he was all about. He said no.


You then explained. But again, before that, once once he'd be back in the office a week later to go in and do this touch screen test.


And basically I passed it and he said, you can choose any trade you want.


Obviously, back in 94, I was thinking more with my my penis and I was thinking bomb disposal. That sounds sexy. I said, let's go bomb disposal.


So I went to my dad's office. I said, don't go and bomb disposal. He said, you know, he just marched me straight back in and then he said, Right, why don't you be a plant?


And again, you know, he was he was sort of carve in my path or put me in the right direction, you know, if I stepped off and that's it.


So then so then you're enlisted. And how long was that was the wait between when you enlisted and when you actually shipped off to basic training?


It wasn't long. It's all about two, two to three months. I went to a place called Pirbright. You have like a um it's almost like in a quaint three days where you do all your fitness tests and when you speak to other recruits, you know, get their perception on basic training. So I was actually I think my dad pulled a few few strings, got seemed to get quite quick to stop blaming others.


And then in the book, you say you basically say that basic training is what basic training is. Is there anything that shocked you about it? Where did you feel like you were pretty ready for it?


Um, again, my my father, you know, he started stirring things I had to turn up in a place called Basen Born.


And all I'd known about Basen Born is where they filmed Full Metal Jacket and Memphis Belle. And as the only research I'd done on it on this place.


But you had to be there from zero eight hundred in the morning to seventeen hundred at night. You had prayed on the Sunday.


Actually between those times my father had me dropped off a zero seven fifty five with my hair already cut and my bag already packed because he knew it was all about first impressions.


You know, if you start coming in, you know, just over five or about half, four, you know, I mean the instructors were already marked your cards, but I arrived at five to eight and I stood there from eight o'clock till five o'clock in the in the evening. So, you know, in reflection, going back, I know why he did it at the time it was raining. I didn't appreciate it.


But, you know, it's a culture shock, uh, training avenue. You're sort of used to having your your home comforts is taken away from you guys. You did have hair, so you lost their hair. And we all look the same.


But it's good. You know, it's still instilled that discipline from the off. How long is British Army boot camp?


So it depends what what catbirds several engineers.


We do ten weeks basic training. And literally that just is as what it says. It's basic training. We then have phase two combat engineer training, which is about 14 weeks. And then you go on if you then want to go do the commando course. The command, of course, is ten weeks as well. So if you start put them all together, it can be quite long.


If you join the Royal Marines, that's nine months from from start to finish. Um, so, yeah, it all depends on what catbirds you go into.


But originally basic training is about ten weeks and then you got picked up to become where did you get picked up to become a physical training instructor. Yeah. So I was like they had a lot of faith in you out of the gate or was that your dad working behind the scenes.


No. Well what it was when I when I finished my phase two training, I got my post in order and I remember ringing my my my dad and my stepmom, Penny. And I said, yeah, I've got posted to eight. And then she starts crying on the phone and my dad picks up the phone. He said what we said to Penny. I said, I've been posted to two eight and I can hear him in the background.


I said to a not quite like that, but what it was because my father was the army manager to a engineer regiment, were in Germany with the army champions, football champions in Germany.


So it was like your son.


So you're coming out to Germany.


So I got posted to Hammil at the age of 18, which at the time was good. You know, it was the Deutsche mark before the euro.


It was like must cost about seven dollars for a crate urbex at twenty four, you know.


You know, I see in Germany, which which is now collapsed.


Now everyone's back in UK. But as soon as I arrived, MassArt, major new they call it Kice Borders, the footballers. You're a bowler, you go, I'm not going to see you could lynche it was almost semiprofessional. You didn't work.


You trained every morning between eight and 12 on the Astroturf and you had to be a big match every Wednesday afternoon. Then we used all pray play semipro for local teams. So he knew that he was never going to have me as a soldier. So he said, well, I need to fill a slot, a billet in the gym.


So you're going on your PTI course, and that's how I managed to get it. FastTrack. So. So. Quickly and then what that course consist of. So I flew back to hold a shot and it was right next to one of my old schools and it's basically the you they get in the position that you can you can teach physical training.


So when you go back to units, the different types of training you can do, you can do gym, you can do Green Party. And the hardest thing is gymnastics. You actually have to do gymnastics.


And it's like, hmm, you know, it's like a flying tracksuit just float from a T-shirt and yeah, probably look more elegant than me, but it's just so you in a position when you go back to the unit, you can run Pete Sessions and then you end up from there, you get done with that.


And then you now is when you check into 59 Comando.


Yeah, there's a little period before between that. So when I was in the gym, I was like I could see, I could see me. Almost mirrored my father's career.


And I was I don't want to be a tracksuit soldier, you know, I want something different.


So you saw the possibility of mirroring your father's career and something about it. You didn't really you wanted to be you wanted to you wanted to get after it in a different way.


Yeah, that's what I wanted to do, do something different. And so I actually filled out the application form for Nine Squadron and five nine.


And actually, on reflection, it's a nine squadron is the Airborne Engineers, which is back in Aldershot where I grew up, and five nine commando is down in North Devon and it's no surf heaven down there, you know, sonand beach, Akroyd Beach.


So for me, we are in San Diego and he's from Hawaii.


So maybe it's not quite Surf Heaven program.


Give it to you, Englin. It is. I'll give you that. But for me, you know, you joined the military because you want to you want to see the world. You want to experience new things. I don't want to go back to Aldershot. So five nine commander was well suited for me, so I applied for five nine commander. And you have to go do a four week beat up with the unit before you can go on your command.


Of course. So so you go to the unit first and they kind of do an assessment. I said yeah. And then and then from there you go to that sort of like Ranger school in America. You can go to a Ranger battalion and you haven't been Ranger school yet and then you go to Ranger school.


I said, yeah, it's like that. But back in Germany during this process, when the paperwork was in, one of the one of the squadrons had just returned from Northern Ireland and they had like a welcome back party in the camp Khumba.


There's a course called, um, so engineers were infantry can come do engineering courses. And there was an infantry unit called the Fusiliers who were on camp doing that. But they were troublemakers. Basically, they were banned from downtown, but always causing trouble.


So they were on camp this evening that they had the big the family get together. They were in the bar as well. And me, my friend, could see they were being quite rude to some of the call.


And Pat's wives, you know, the lads wives, you know, and so me, my friend decided to open up on a couple of them.


So we ended up, you know, putting down free guys. My, my, my, my, my sergeant major came in. Is that right? You boys go.


But, you know, it's brushed under the carpet, then rudely awoken by a military policeman two hours later said you're under arrest.


And so before I went over to five nine commando, I there was a possibility that I could be getting court martialed for this fight.


So I went over anyway. I did the first week the beat up, and then the court staff sergeant pulls me and he said, you've got to fly to Germany. They're doing an ID parade. Okay.


So I'd parade is some kind of investigation investigation with the police.


You know, they want to line you up with other other guys.


Are you are you, like, totally distraught at this point?


Um, I'm not totally distraught. I you do worry about your career, how this can can affect your career. So I flew over and me at the time, I still haven't grown into my ears, so I just stood out like a sore thumb and they all knew me as the PTI. So straightaway they just be like, yeah, that's the guy, my friend, who did it with me. However, he's his brother was in the squadron as well, so he never got picked out.


So. OK, great.


Um, so I flew back to finish the beat up, you know, they said, yeah, you're fit enough. You ready. So went on and did the did the commander cause. And um when we finished the command of course ten weeks later we go back to five nine commando and the O.C. is like that he said, right guys you guys are going across the water and the squadron are in Northern Ireland.


Support Perfect Robertino of nine and said not you stop. So you're going to cross the other war. You're going back to Germany said we need to get this, get this cleared.


So I went back to Germany and basically they said, look, you can go court martial and it probably will get thrown out, but it's going to be another 12 months to 18 months. You know, I've just passed the command. Of course, I wanted to go be with the commandos, so I just plead guilty. I've got charged.


And so I spent fifty six days in the military correction training center, which is called the prison, known as the Glass House, and the commanding officer, actually, because everyone knew it was me and the other guy.


And they knew these guys were troublemakers, that you just unfortunately got caught out. So the commanding officer was an airborne guy, airborne engineers.


This is the commanding officer at Colchester. No, no, this is Jim. Yeah. Now, this is in Germany.


OK, you know, I have to leave that unit first. And so the RSM March is, Manyara said, was one a football player with me and. And he's out. Right. And I suppose I thought I was going to give you 60 days, but because you've done the all armed commando course, I've taken four days off. Any questions?


I said yes. If I gone airborne, what? I got more days. And he sort of giggled and they said, you know, it's time for you to go. So. So, yeah, I spent 56 days in Her Majesty's Corrective Training Center. Yeah.


I was looking I didn't know what Colchester was, but it's basically with the same term echo. Charles, when you hear somebody say Leavenworth, what do you think of the prison. Yeah, military prison. That's kind of where culture. I think it's the last military prison really in England.


It's everybody knows the glass house is the glass.


It's the equivalent of Leavenworth. Yeah. And everyone, as you know, you hear horror stories coming out of the glass house.


And what and what it actually is, is because when you have an escort that dropped you off and the instructors are there to meet you and it's like it is like a scene out Full Metal Jacket, they are screaming and shouting at you, but as soon as they've gone, they just treat you like adults, you know?


I mean, it's they take away all those of those creature comforts. You know, you don't you're not allowed to phone anyone. It's two sessions a day. It's room inspections all the time. I actually really enjoyed Colchester. And I said if I got paid full full wages, I would I would have really enjoyed it.


And it got to a stage actually, where guys were going into Colchester and coming out better soldiers, a lot better soldiers. And they were actually getting promoted when they go back to their units and they had to stop that.


I said, no, it's you know, you're there for, you know, bad, bad reasons. You can't be seen to be be promoted. So I did I did my time there and went back to five nine.


Right. Rewind a little bit to the commander, of course. Yes. How was that. Yeah. So I remember my father dropping me off at driving me to North Devon to do the beats up. And then, you know, I mean, obviously I hadn't told him about the incident in Germany at this point.


And he said, you know, these guys will you know, these guys will make you a man, you know? I mean, so you obviously really nervous about things, but.


But is that the Beatles? Great. You know, the five nine beat up, they actually is hard of you. All arms come out, of course. So if you can reach their levels of their expectations, then as long as you stay away from injury, when you go in your arms, come on. Of course, you should be fine.


So the all arms command, of course, is for any cap badges.


So engineers, artillery, anyone who's going to be serving alongside free commando brigade with the Royal Marines or any naval, you know, doctors, dentists as well. So you've got a mixture on on that court.


And you've got guys who are young privates all the way through to quite senior officers who may have just been attached to the brigade. And we also have foreign foreign militaries. I remember we had a SEAL, a Marine on our course as well, U.S. Marine on our course. We had some guys from Lebanon, we had some guys from Russia. We had all sorts on that. And basically they get you to a standard.


So you're understanding the Royal Marines sort of TTP their recipes. So when you go to unit, you understand how they operate as well. You know, you do amphibious warfare as well. I mean, you also do their commando tests.


So their commando tests in the 30 miler, which is the last one to get your Green Beret and all the all the other tests that build up to it.


And it's ten weeks long and I could be a doctor that's going to get attached to I could be a thirty nine year old doctor that's going to be attached to commando. And I got to go through that and get a thirty pound rock on it.


I think for them they, they, they volunteer for it, you know, they can still serve with the brigade, but it's almost like, you know and you see that you made the effort and you've got the coveted Green Beret, you know, probably to get less pressure if if they've done the course by actually saying that the Navy guys were really good because a few years later, which we'll touch and I ended up being an instructor on the on this command, of course, the Navy guys, because they have no military background before this, they've not picked up any bad habits.


So what the instructors were telling them, they were picking up straight away, whereas you may have a sergeant or a staff sergeant who's been in 14 years and he's already picked up his little bad habits and he's having to, you know, realign and or reset that whole whole cock up. But for us, our course, I didn't learn anything. If I'm on I learnt nothing on our course.


Every one of our instructors got sacked at the end of the course. Our course is very officer heavy and it.


Was like we weren't allowed to wear Goldex if it rained, we didn't learn any finish who could survive in the cold and who was the face actually learning anything, seojin wise?


I picked up when I got to the unit, but that backfired on the instructors because at the end, of course, they do like course critiques, you know, how was your course?


And it was so officer heavy that they went to town on them. They went right when they went to town because enlisted guys get handed a critique and they're like, good, good, good guy. You end going to get a beer officer's like, well, let me state my opinion on this matter.


Oh, yeah. They fired every every instructor who got sacked, but from the two army guys, the engineer and the artillery officer.


But for me, I'm still I'm only eighteen. You know, you're still developing as a young man. I wasn't I wasn't fully grown. I remembered a load carries being, you know, really difficult.


You're carrying some excess weight that, um, and is very different from, like PE company, the Paras as or more that they're leaner and then they go faster with less weight, whereas the commandos, they sort of tend to be bigger guys and carry more weight by a slow speed. So I do think that's probably the hardest course is still debate, but that's because I hadn't developed yet fully.


Mm hmm. Now I got to pull this one section out of the book because I thought it was worth reading. This is when you're in Colchester and you have this conversation.


You say drink was a big problem in the forces at the time. I'd be surprised if it isn't still. And so when I was interviewed by the officer of the prison, I was grilled about my alcohol consumption.


You were drunk when you hit the other soldiers, correct? Yes, sir. So do you have a drinking problem? No, sir. I'd have hit them anyways. What happened to your wrist? And this is another thing you explain. I fell out of a window, sir. Trying to urinate, sir. Were you drunk? Well, yes, sir.


So you don't have a drinking problem?


I didn't really know how to reply to that one. As far as I saw it, it was just part of army life, part of being a squatty.


If I had a drinking problem and maybe the whole army did personally, I felt like he was just being one of the boys. The officer dismissed me. And then you go on to the fact that you enjoyed being a Colchester, which is which is cool.


You had a good time. But that's a that's one of those things. As I was reading it, I've I had quite a few conversations with young seals, you know.


Hey, so you've got another fight to bar. Right. And that's why you're in here talking to me. Yeah. Were you drinking? Yeah. And you also were here three months ago and you were also in another fight in the bar and you were drinking. You see any common things, you know, any commonalities between these incidents? No, I don't know.


I like to fight.


I guess I got to watch out for that one. You get to you get to to fifty thousand five hundred fifty nine five nine if you get to five nine and I thought this was cool, couldn't have asked for a better beginning to my time. At five nine, the admin officer took one look at my report from Colchester, seemed happy with what he saw and whipped it up a fresh start.


But it was a lonely start.


The rest of the squadron was in Northern Ireland finishing the tour I'd missed out on doing to my due to my time in Collie. I was gutted not to be a part of that, but it end up working my favour. We're sending you on a diving aptitude course.


Usually guys have to wait years to get on this, so consider yourself lucky, so because the other guys were deployed in Northern Ireland, you got an opportunity to go to this dive course?


Yeah, that's it. So in the Royal Engineers, we we have divers.


So everything you can do on the surface, bit broken, cut in welding, carpentry, scaffolding, everything we can do.


Sub-surface, you guys call that hard hat diving and the Ausdance, which is the open supply diversity in the Kirby Morgan helmets, that that's part of it. So Scuba is part of it. And so and so is that.


But we group everything. If you're not doing combat swimmer operations, like if you're just if you're doing any kind of work, we call it hard hat diving, a hard on diver, it's like, good, good for you. Yeah.


But like, yeah, that's the way we classify anything. That's not Drager. Yeah. Combat swimmer ship attack, you know, is like hard hat diving.


Yeah. Hey before, before we dive into that.


So is this going to Colchester. That's, is that on your record or when that guy shredded it, was it gone.


I think it stays on my record.


I was just trying to prove point is, you know, a fresh start. Actually, a lot of a lot of guys do well in the military, a lot easier as you look back, especially the gods.


They've been a culture that is almost you touched on it and in that brief up a guy for drink and then three months later, you come in and you tell him it's again. And obviously he's he's making a mistake that I learnt from my mistake and I learnt at an early stage. Thankfully, it didn't happen later on in my career.


And then obviously I have bigger consequences because I still didn't have rank at that point.


So, you know. Yeah, no, it's I so in in the Navy, you have service stripes on your uniform. And if you've never been in trouble, those service stripes are gold. So in your dress uniform, you see a Navy guy and Navy master chief or a senior chief and they're in their uniform. They'll have service stripes. So it's like one stripe for every four years you can. So you can have a lot of stripes after twenty eight years.


Yeah. And if you've never been in trouble, they're gold.


But if you've been in trouble, if you have like a captain's mast or something like that, they're red.


And it was it was always interesting to see that there would be guys that would be master chiefs and they'd have they'd have red stripes mean they got in trouble at some point in their career.


And the reason I ask that is because, you know, as more and more focus sort of more and more attention to the SEAL teams, you know, was like a lot less of a there's there was more of a zero defect mentality.


And if you got in trouble one time, it was going to stay with you. It is going to be a problem.


You see those gold versus red stripes?


Was it kind of like it's kind of cool to have the red one, or is it kind of cool to have the gold? Like what? It depends on your assessment of the situation. That's what I mean. Like, what was the common? Like the culture. Like if you seen a guy and one guy had a gold, one guy had a huge deal, not a huge deal.


But like btf Tony, you read all is one of my buddies and he's like, you know, just a break glass in case of war type of dude.


And yeah, he had bread.


So it kind of depends on the person's, like, personality, like it's a case by case. Yeah.


And this is this is, you know, back in the day when guy, you know, when guys were getting in trouble more because there's also less going on. And really a lot of it boils down to leadership, to, you know, if you're if you're. Leadership isn't giving you stuff to do and pointing you in the right direction. Where do you end up if you're 18 years old, if you're twenty one years old, if you're 19 years old and you don't you're not given good direction, where do you end up as a as a young male?


Where do you end up becquerels jail? Well, possibly, but definitely in a pub, definitely, you know, being aggressive, definitely doing this. That's where you're going to do. And so if you haven't gotten some good guidance, then it's going to be problematic. And, you know, we're getting better at it, but it definitely is.


It's good to hear that you could you could have a mistake like that. And look, how many times did you not get caught, right? Of course. Yeah, plenty of times this time you got caught. It's good that you could get caught. Learn a lesson and move on. It's also very interesting that people would come out of that highly disciplined environment, highly disciplined environment in Colchester and do better as humans. Yeah, do better as soldiers.


That's freaking legit.


That's proof. Proof of proof that discipline equals freedom.


Well, that's kind of a good deal where like you can go to prison essentially and get what I mean, would you call it rehabilitated?


Like if you're improved with absolute out of it? I mean, isn't shouldn't that sort of be the goal?


I think so. Yeah, I think so. You know, like I said, it's you know, we have something similar. We don't have the bans on our arms. But if you have 15 years of of good discipline, you get the long service, good conduct medal there, you know.


Yeah. You have things, you know, to aspire to.


But, you know, I think everyone will get in trouble as long as you learn from it, because it's character building as well. And thankfully for me, it was at an early age, my good friend. Now he's sirc. I mean, yes, yes. He was in Colchester Prison with me as well.


So but has it's been almost like, oh, people are getting promoted.


It's the wrong reasons for going in that.


But if you come out a different man, different soldier, like I said, the instructions in there were amazing. And that's probably, you know, that was reflective on the guys when they came out.


Well, it's interesting that you actually call them instructors and not guards, right.


When you go into the Navy brig, if you're in the Marine Corps, in the Navy, you get in trouble, you go into the brig. Right. And those are guards. They're not instructors. So it's kind of cool that they were actually trying to. Well, do you think that they were trying to teach you?


They were trying to push forward? Yeah.


Well, you have military lessons is just being on camp, but you just locked up at night.


That's the only difference. You know, you are going to you don't drill. You know, the guards today we're going to take off on the runway and march in as fast as you can. I mean, you have the gym instructors. I mean, you do aircraft recognition. You'd be on the ranges. You go for runs, PT, you would run out the camp gates.


And I remember running like I think, but I knew that if someone wanted to take a boat for it and you stopped them, it reduce your sentence. I was keeping an eye out, you know, for any sort of.


Oh, really shot. You tackled somebody. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But I think you have an interview when you go in and they, they sort of say, you know, you got all sorts in there. You got guys who who don't want to be in military. You know what, we've got guys with drugs, you know. You know, there's all things. And when I you know, you just don't it said you are going to fight in a lot.


You just got caught. At the end of the day, they enlisted.


They've probably been in the position you been in before but just didn't get caught.


So so it's like more I mean, it's like a different approach essentially than like a you know, like when you think of prison outside of the military, you're like, nah, that's your punishment straight up. Like you you're it's essentially like the difference between a beating and a counseling kind of thing. So like, you know what you're talking about kind of a counseling like, hey, you did this.


Let's let's let's kind of benefits from this whole situation improve you?


Well, they have programs like this now that I think about it. They have programs like this in America. I don't know if they have in England, but they take kids that are on the wrong track and they put them into like a highly disciplined military, militaristic environment.


And it definitely can straighten him out. I sponsored a kid going through one of those things and went up there and saw what they were doing. And it's like a lot of those kids really turn around and start doing well.


Yeah. So, yeah. And then but then if you just get the beating, it's like you just it's. Yeah. It's just a different approach. Right.


Is it effective, I think for the military, you know, if you come out a different person, you know, if you come out, I mean, you reoffending. No, see, there's a problem. Um, but I think it's almost like, yes, it's one strike, um, because you can go in and you have twenty eight days and under and twenty eight days old and it's like two different things.


You look down, you look down at the book, you're like, I'm competitive about it. You guys are over here for twenty eight days. I'm big time. I mean you've got the ones actually we're going to get discharged in the military as well.


But rather than just throwing them out the gates, they would go do plumbing courses, carpentry courses. So there's stuff that there to help them.


Yeah man that's squared away. OK, so I cut you off when you were starting to talk about dive school. I'm sorry, but yeah.


No, it's yeah. So but for the Royal Engineers have divers, I mean we have about four hundred and fifty divers at the moment and. And basically what. When I was in Germany, there was always things on orders asking for guys who want to go on a dive course because everyone's heard of a company, the power, of course, and the all arms command, of course. But of course, I think it's probably one of the most arduous and underrated and underrated courses.


But it's also an additional quote.


You get you get more money back back in the day when I is only two pounds, 65 five, about five dollars a day.


But now you're talking, you know, 20 pounds, 35, 40 dollars.


So they used to always be.


Anyone want to go out to bars, right? Exactly. Exactly. But there was they'd struggle to get volunteers from other units because of the guys. Airborne engineers and commando engineers could have already physically robust that. There's a waiting list.


You know, you are on the back of that list.


But because they're all in Germany, so all in Northern Ireland, they'll out or you go in on that issue.


So I literally must they're just fast tracked two or four years to get on on this course. So I went and did by my aptitude. And now I've seen dive in change over the years. This is back in 90 in 97.


And it was called a desk dive. And self-contained compressed air is like scuba, but it was no comms. We don't have any comms, no visibility.


The only way we communicate, we had a lifeline, a rope around our chest with a bow line, allegedly poles and bells. So is Nalin, as you know, underwater. It's an alien environment. And so a lot of guys don't like it.


But for me, being surfing, I love the way it was almost like for me, I'm more comfortable underwater and I am on land.


So so I did that course, came back and the squadron had just returned from Northern Ireland.


So here's me now in this new unit just stole in everyone's dive course, which everyone is on the waiting list for and they've already heard.


I've just come out of Colchester, so there's a couple there was a couple of names within the unit like squadron bullies, and they're like, oh, wait till such and such seizure.


And we go, we had a Christmas party and one of the lads just comes over, said, I think your hand and just just full on straight in the face of the guilt.


So I you know, I just I just really hooked him back and, you know, he stepped back and said, that's all I needed to know.


And I think that sort of now came get my foot in the door within the unit. But well, five nine komando used to be the Army minor unit boxing champions.


And each year they were because they won the final, they'd automatically go to the final the next year. And each year our opponents were the airborne engineers. So this was coming up in January. Freeman's training.


I didn't have a choice. Well, you've been a coach, a prisoner on the boxing team.


Was that really so? Um, so we went I just spent three months.


Did you ever box before? I did. In Guildford, where necessary. One of my friends from school, we went to a place called Bellfield, so I did a bit of boxing. Then again, my father didn't want me boxing and I thought I had an agreement and he said, Well, I'll box until I get beat and then, you know, then I'll stop. So thankfully, I never I never got beat. Only about three fights, I think, when I was there.


But in the military, in five nine commando, it's it's just pure fitness.


There's no boxing skill at all. And we have three or four sessions a day.


And rather than like lose the weight over a period of time, they lose the weight in a short period.


I mean, you've got to maintain it. But three months later with the Army, my unit's finals, and there's other guys from the squadron based out of a training unit. And you can see I'm reading the book like, who's this? Who's this new lad?


And we thought we were going to walk away with it. And at the end of it, it was two or seven fights at a nice to all at the interval. And remember the sergeant major coming in and he's just in my chair.


He said, you need to, you know, poke me right in the chest. And I was like, oh, my God. And I came out and I tears in my eyes. The adrenaline was pumping. I went out and I knocked the guy down three times in a minute and twenty seconds. And that literally, you know, I'd made my mark within five nine komando. I settled in quite well. That's awesome.


Good story. You go you go here in the book you say it wasn't it wasn't long into my time at five nine that I was selected for Recce Troop, a kind of elite within the squadron. It was a huge privilege, as Ricky was known as being a great stepping stone towards the Special Forces, an idea that I'd begun to toy with thinking about my future in the Army.


So you end up in Recchi Troop.


That's it. Yeah. So in three Commando Brigade, you have five nine commando engineers that support the brigade. You have two nine commando, the artillery and within three commando brigade they have their own sort of reconnaissance troop called Brigade Recchi Force or Brigade Patrol.


Brigade Patrol. Troop from the Marines, which consists of snipers and mount.


And leaders, but also part of that group is naval gunfire from the artillery and also 059 wreckage. So we're almost like eyes on the ground, advances on the ground, you know, given input on potential combat engineering tasks.


So you have to be selected from within five nine commando. And they did that in Norway. So each year we used to go to Norway for three months and the whole of the brigade and we do Arctic warfare training.


It was all due to the Cold War. If the Russians were starting to head west across Norway, that we'd be able to stop them.


So, you know, and Norway's an equalizer that separates the boys from the men. So I'd got my name had been picked up to go rescue troop.


And so, yeah, so very fortunate to get selected again at a young age to go Recchi troop and within five nine commando is actually classed as a in my time.


It started again as I entered into directorate, as you touched on there, refugee, about 100 percent pass rate for UK Special Forces selection.


So guys, I would see guys leaving and never come back. So for me, that's when I then started my head start turning towards the opportunity special forces. You know, my dad told me I'd last two minutes. I managed to get through basic training. I've done a patch. I managed to get through Colchester. I managed to get through the command. Of course, I'm now just about get my my wings. And you're also then amongst like minded individuals, those who want to go or aspire to be special forces.


So, um, so, yeah, that was really true for me.


Did you did you go through any official training for Recchi Troop? Do you have to go to a school or is it just from the unit itself? You get trained up.


They they had their own selection process within the unit when you used to have to go do PE company with the the airborne engineers, of course. But when I when I got there, our troop staff sergeant, you know, said there's no need to do PE company, you know, would run our own selection process, which disgruntled some of the older boys.


They felt like you have to do PE company. Um, but there's a big difference as well. Now in the guys are going true compared to the guys of old guys of old we like, you know, just huge. You know, they were just massive guys.


It's all about fitness, whereas now, you know, the world is sort of evolving.


The Balkans had kicked off and so five nine commando went to Bosnia and we went to to Kosovo. We brigade Iraqi force. Well, this is the first operational tool, the wreckage troops since the Falklands War.


And so the guys in between that period hadn't seen any action. And then we then when I went over to Kosovo, which was great for us.




You say here one day I called home to the UK with news from my dad. He'd probably forgotten long ago about our two minutes conversation in the car I had and I had a big smile on my face. I gave him the news. I'm going to Kosovo. I told the old soldier, I'm going on tour and this is in this in two thousand.


So if you were going to do something real, going into going into the going into Kosovo was as good as it was going to get at that time.


At that time, yeah. Then what types of missions were you doing there. So brigade for.


So we were we were doing as you know, forward observation, for example, one the first I mean it's in the book actually the first up we went on, it was like, right, we're going on the ground, we're on ops.


And supposedly there was a five K buffer zone between Serbia and Kosovo. And they didn't want any sort of any Serbians in there, any cousins in there, because, you know, that's where it was all kick it off.


So a lot of our work was on the border, but there was also those that did commit horrific crimes, crimes of war as well.


So we were also identifying these facts and imagery for them and then obviously getting guys to come in and pick them up. So we were having to grab our camera kit straight off.


Civilian shell was walking in with a great big lens and things.


And I remember the first job we went on and we inserted we had our intelligence brief wins it.


And as we were patrolling, you know, to the FRB, I was the rain man and I kept hearing something.


I'm sorry to that stop team get down on one knee, you know, all around the fence. I'm all looking through our eyes. You know, there's nothing there. But you can hear almost like the creeping in the leaves, you know, someone sneaking up on us anyway.


It's carried on all the way through. We got to the position. Even when we're in the opposition, we can hear it. We've got the imagery. We need it in. About two weeks later, we we extracted through the field for two weeks in the field.


The two time you're hearing this noise at night, you hear these probable enemy approaching your position that you're ready for the fight.


The whole time you're thinking of the words, you know, you should be there and doing that. And so when we extracted, we went back to camp and we have a debrief. And, you know, at any point, someone like, yeah, you know.


I don't know where we will compromise, it felt like will compromise, but there was a lot of movement, you know, especially at night and then some some, you know, common call of green slime.


The intelligence call this guy that I did forget to mention it is breeding season for the tortoises.


So actually, what we were hearing was the tortoise coming out to make, but it kept the whole patrol on stand to for two weeks.


So you guys are doing recon patrols. How big of a team are you guys rolling out with three and six mantin? Six months. And you're staying for up to two weeks out there?


We we did four weeks once. Yeah. We got to basically we got a report in that there was a a training camp in the fire buffer zone. The Serbians basically said, you deal with them or we'll do them. And so we insert it in no snow on the ground as well because we are trained. We are the best guys for the job.


So we did our tents and in observation ops four for four weeks and just feeding back all the intelligence. And then they were it was a military training school. They were doing heavy, heavy weapons training in small arms.


Training is quite well disciplined. And we had actually them relieved by the Americans. Americans, you know, came in and took over from us four weeks later.


And I think subsequently from that to go in and actually take down take down the training camp.


But for the four weeks in the snow, you know, praise the boys from the men, what the op tempo like when you get back and how often how much downtime would you get?


And then you drove back out.


We'd be rolling. You know, we obviously deserve some reserves, but is everything from urban to rural? You know, we were doing stuff as well in vehicles. We had snipers in in the tall buildings in the middle of Pristina. And so the jobs range from that to you know, we did get into about one to one of the local government guys is going to be an assassination attempt on him. So we're obviously having to keep an eye on him all the time as well.


And I remember actually seeing two guys and we got out. We were in civilian attire and we walked up to walking up towards and we could see the guys that we knew were going to take him down. And they caught our eye and they caught theirs and they just went the other way. And actually, it was a dry rehearsal, which is compromised drive rehearsal. They weren't doing it then, which obviously kept him alive probably for another month.


I think he did get assassinate after we left. Mm hmm.


So you had to be how old are you at this point? And twenty two. Yeah. So you're just all kinds of fired up for this is living the dream.


Oh yeah. Is everything everything you dream about and read about. Yeah. Doing it for real.


You go through this this year in the book as you close out this chapter. We were just about to head home from Kosovo when we were fastball down to a task.


We're going to apprehend a bomb maker, we were told, and the adrenaline began to buzz in my veins, sitting through the Intel brief, we learned that someone had been cooking up bombs that were being used to take our politicians. The bomb maker wasn't the one using them. He was more like a chef for hire. Understandably, NATO were keen to get him off the streets. I wasn't the one to grab him, but a couple of the other guys bundled him into the back of our vehicles, of our vehicle.


His hands were tied behind his back and despite our orders to keep his eyes on the floor, he kept looking up and around him. I put a hand on the back of his head to help his concentration. That's bang out of order, the man shouted in a sharp Mancunian accent, as I've ever heard. So that's a Manchester accent. Just like my jaw dropped and I looked around at the other guys in the team.


Not for one moment had we suspected that the bomb maker could be a fellow countryman. When we dropped him off for questioning, I bet he wished he'd stayed at home. There was a solitary chair in the center of a courtyard with two bright spotlights shining on to it, very James Bond. We left the bomb maker to answer for his crimes. It was time for us to go home. So you guys were running those?


Those are great ops. Yeah, great ops getting bad guys.


Who'd you turn them over to? Who's going to interrogate him?


It was our intelligence services. Yeah, relatively gentle then.


So then this is the point where you get the offer to or the selected once again to go be an instructor.


Yeah that's Flintstone's my senior Levingston. Yeah. Limestone. So you go to limestone to to be an instructor of that commando course which you, which you had gone through and the one that you said everyone got fired.


Yeah. Yeah that's it. Yes. And so how is that. Yeah.


Great is great privilege to go back. So, so what we used to do with five nine Recchi troop, we each, each troop within five nine had to have a guy who did guard duties and things that so we were exempt from guard duties and from that we would send an instructor on the commander course for you. So you're actually again, it was classed as a post in our unit, but you were still attached.


So again, when I talk about being an ambassador or an ambassador now for the CAP badge, and this is only about four years after me doing my own course.


So I always remember my course thinking, well, you know, when we were on our course, we had to build build up the instructors tense. You know, we were doing a lot for them when I got there at night and day. Now, we did our own tents, but instruction had changed completely. They we were doing everything that the students were doing. We were wearing the same equipment and we didn't have any, you know, Gruchy kit as well.


We were wearing exactly what they they had. And because you were you were as an ambassador, you obviously had to be seen to be doing what they were doing, which I thought was a great way of teaching. Don't ask them if you can't do it yourself. And and so, yeah, it was night, night and day. The we had a couple of instructors on the course and, you know, I soon learned how you can get the most out of your students.


I know when I was on my course, you know, I didn't learn anything. And I always remember for well, I don't want this to happen to these young boys, you know, I want them to be in a good position when they go to their unit because you're going to go back to five nine and you're going to be serving along alongside these guys as well.


But we had a couple instructors and they would just come out every morning and just scream and shout, you know, I mean, I think the Marine instructors, they felt they they had a bad, bad deal going on.


The all arms command, of course.


And in fact, actually, they enjoyed it. They really opened their eyes to how good these guys were at Soldier in the Marines, because it's nine months long.


They're so proud of that tradition. And they see these, you know, army guys coming in and doing ten weeks. But they don't realize what they've done before that before they've got it.


But these guys will come out and scream and shout and and see the students eyes. It's almost like straight in that press up position. And, you know, they've got nothing back.


Whereas for me, it was all about the banter. It's about humor. You need to have a sense of humor and be approachable. So if I had to tell them to do press ups, I would do the press ups with a member. Also, there was a law that we could only do thirty press ups.


Not really a law. Yeah. Within limits then.


Yeah, yeah. They start introducing the maximum. You can do it a process but there's ways you can get around, you know. Good in the press up into a half press up. You can hold it for a few seconds then fully down you know. So we did I mean there's ways, ways around it.


But for them as a students, you know, I was seeing a product at the end then probably what they did of me four years before. So I did like I did like that change.


Do you feel like you were able like I was very lucky because I was got a new instructor rolls and was able to teach. I taught everything. It was awesome.


I felt like I learned a lot while I was teaching. Because now you're observing. I mean, from a leadership respect. You know, I was when I was 35, so I was like a young junior guy, I was teaching the young officers that were going through our basic was called SEAL tactical training at the time. So I'm out there telling them how to run immediate action drills and telling them like, hey, no one's listening to you. You need to step back and you take a look around.


I learned so much from doing that. Did you feel like you in this instructor mode got to learn?


Yeah, I got to learn a learn a lot myself. Yeah. And like I said, we call it a sugar pedestal. We used to always do the demonstrations before the students. So it's like do not mess this up.


So our drills had to be had to be slick and quick.


But on my first course we had the first female candidate to do the alarms command.


Of course, in the book you call the lieutenant y. Lieutenant y y. Yeah, we had to protect her name for legal reasons, but she'd done two she had two previous attempts and this was her third attempt.


And so the instructors who took her on her initial two courses were dismissed from the training team. And we had another training teams or come in. So you can already see it's going to be getting tested that way.


Who basically what it was, is they wanted a female to pass the command.


Of course, people don't realize it's actually basically if a female hadn't passed the command, of course, they were going to lower the standards until a female passed. But that would be standard throughout male and female. So the fact that she went on and passed, we didn't lower the standards.


So people don't see see the bigger the bigger picture behind the scenes.


So so when you talk about her in the book, she didn't pass is not that she didn't pass. There was two ladies on the course. It was Lt. Y. And I say Lieutenant X, Lieutenant X was a doctor who's actually from five nine and she did everything that was asked of her.


You know, she she struggled and things like that, whereas Lieutenant Y was almost playing the system, she knew that if she could go to the doctor she would get two days light duty.


But the way the time Enza that used to always be for the commander test. So she dressed up for a couple of days for the commander test.


And it was that it wasn't the fact she didn't use the fact that she played the system. Well, Lieutenant X, you know, she remember one of the guys does who went on to be chief instructor, the sniper school.


We're doing some close call, Scooby, and, you know, you'd follow the student through and then at the end you'd give him a debrief and he's like, come through.


This student said a guy was brilliant. And then Minims thought chatting.


And as we looked over, it was like a scene from a shampoo advert. She took her helmet off and just rushed ahead and move. It was a jaws hit the floor and the that I said, well, if she was good, you tell her, you know, tell it if she was good and he did your accident.


But I'm forty five. You do your your bottom field test. It's like an assault course and you have to climb a 30 foot rope. And she was about a foot and a half just below that rope. So she didn't progress on that course.


But I do think, you know, if she had known it instructed without any qualms.


That Lieutenant lt was Lieutenant X, OK. Yeah.


And but you're saying eventually she did make it through Lieutenant and Lieutenant. Why she she she made it through on that call. She made it through on that, on that course.


And it was almost to just dampen the white noise. You know why. Whole lot. We need a female pass. We need a female to pass. But you can imagine what the airborne lads were like, you know? I mean, it was like, oh, my God, you know, used to get phone calls. My wife's on paternity leave for ten weeks. I mean, come down and do your calls.


Yeah, she is the good baño.


You also talked about the guy that was, what, fifty something years old. You're just a beast.


Yeah. So, you know, even when you know lt way past I was getting Bluey's from the lads there in Afghanistan. Yeah. Well done. You know, I mean it like, you know, lads from the Special Forces don't even bother coming on selection. It's like a big thing, a female pass in.


But to be honest, you know, she deserved to pass. And I generally believe that if deserved pass, you know, you weren't the right.


And so, yeah, the next course, this gentleman turns up Captain Fox, and he's basically going to be the family officer to Nine Commando. This guy is 55 years old and he did PE company for years before I was born, the airball.


So they were there on parade.


And the first thing we do is we do a six mile BU in March and it was spring and we came back and it's like you just thrown two buckets of water over this guy.


And I said, Are you or I kept him for it.


It goes, Oh yeah, I had pneumonia, you know, fifteen years ago. So I can't control my my my sweat. Oh my God, this guy is going to die.


I mean, but this guy basically, he had like four wheel records. He was an ultra marathon runner. I don't know what it was called, but Bayti has to keep moving, has to be physically active.


But this guy was always cool.


I remember when in a teacher student students messed up and, you know, so I had him on BCT know, up and down this hill, an American.


Every time he come to me, get the press position, I just feel really embarrassed. I told my grandmother he's pleased I'm not counting votes.


I said, what is it? I said, can I take my blanket off now? Yeah, yeah, please do. But, you know, really humbling being with him.


But I remember he was in my my group and we were doing the email next week, you know, come on notice. And the final test is a fair imal endurance march. And in eight hours and at the end you get a Green Beret.


A couple stories.


That is a great reference to the finish point. And the finish point, actually, is a public car park on Dartmoor. You shouldn't know it, but this is fine. So when it came to the emailer, I bring him up.


And so he wanted to know that. Did he clarify why he wanted that? Because he wanted his wife or whatever.


He wanted his girlfriend to come and say, my girlfriend wants to meet me there and do mine?


Yeah, fine. So we came over, cut the old man's slack. Yeah. Yeah. Most of those older dudes, they got right on. Thank you. Yeah. I just as much suspect if I need to become a four year old boy. So um. So I said yeah of course. And then we did the first Meyler and on the last phase you bring him up a hill called Pubis Hill. You bring him in. I mean you stop him short of the end and you get in to sort themselves out.


They put the cap come on and and we march them in.


And so it was doing that.


And as we came around the corner, oh, my God, it was like the Super Bowl was banners and balloons. How is that? And I said I thought it was just a girlfriend. He said, Oh yeah, my grandkids is a big giggle.


I think this is a good section you had in here just on on you touched on it. But just the the attitude of being instructor, you say. I think a lot of NGOs came into their positions on courses and and at units thinking that being shouty, shouting and swearing was the way to behave because that's how it had been for them. And perhaps they thought it made them feared. Personally, I didn't want to scare people into learning. If they didn't want to be there, they'd end up failing themselves without me shouting and screaming.


I found it far more effective to use humor and to be quiet at times when others would shout using that old old parents line of I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed, just a look would be enough. They wanted the approval of those already wearing the green lit. And so if they saw that they had failed you, they double their efforts on the next task.


No need for shouting or swearing. When you fill a void with swearing, it looks rightly or wrongly like it's down to lack of intelligence or to anger issues. Instructors were being assessed by their students just as much as the other way around. I always decided early on that I would have that I would share in any punishment that I handed out. If I gave them press ups, then I'd get down in the mud and do them too. Not only did that earn their respect, but it gave them no excuse in their minds to feel hard done by.


At the end of the course, those that earned the coveted berets would be serving alongside me. And so I wanted to treat them as my equals, even if I was in a position of authority, especially if I was in a position of authority, we needed each other. And that's the same. Whether you're on a training exercise in combat or attempting a world record. No person is an island.


Yeah, good, a great attitude that I think a lot of people could use, you know, from a leaders, not just instructor, but from just a leadership perspective, you know, that you think maybe you need to yell to get someone's respect. No, it doesn't. You actually lose respect when you act like that.


You get done with that. And now you go to see the careers management officer and he's asking you about what you want to do next. Now, did he did he chime in about selection, selection? Did you see the one that brought up you possibly going to selection or did you already have it in your mind?


I had it in my mind, so he pulled me in. So the whole period of time now from joining five nine to where I was now, I was now a sergeant.


I'd spent eight years in five nine. And that's purely because of the wreckage of your arms command, of course. So normally in the military, you spend four years and then you move on to another unit. You know, you progress in your career. So to have eight years there and seven and brigade is unheard of. So I basically had to move on. So I put my paperwork in for the PATHFINDER'S, which was the brigade recchi for the airborne unit.


And each year we have a confidential report and my report was excellent. And he pulled me and he said, can you not see the wood for the trees? Because you need to go to then come back as the staff sergeant, go in, you know, find this isn't the way to properly gave me a bit of a rollicking, um.


But that afternoon, actually, I got a phone call from Glasgow. Glasgow runs all our MANIN records. They tell you where you're getting posted and things like that.


And so the engineer, rural engineer, divers, we also have Royal Navy search divers. They've been a few deaths recently in the Royal Navy divers. And just purely because they're not full time divers and, you know, lack of knowledge.


Lack of protocol.


Yeah, yeah. Protocol training and unfortunately, in a couple of deaths. But then HSC now started creeping into diving.


You know, when I had said earlier that there's no no voice comms and things that now you can't dive unless you've got to a visual camera and voice comms.


HST was really creeping into Watts, HSC Health and Safety Executive. OK, yeah. Yeah, the the the big banners.


So they did introduce a new dive equipment called the Sabre Mod one. Um, and so it didn't disrupt the other diving courses. They introduced another dive team to come in and train all the current divers within the engineers. So I just passed my army diving supervisors and got top student. So, you know, that same day to our majors that I wouldn't be Maralal. I then get posted to the dive school. So it was out of both our hands.


So I went down as the senior dive instructor.


And then you're down there is the senior drive instructor. And it sounds like you guys are basically just partying a lot because in the book, I mean, you guys are divers, but you kind of it's you're training people that are already divers, right? Yeah. Yeah. And you're just training them on a new piece of gear. That's it.


Yeah. They're already qualified divers, but for them they're going to Portsmouth is like probably coming to San Diego.


You know, you've got two weeks in the gaslamp for these guys. They're saving up their money. So ready to rock and roll.


Yeah, but every two weeks you get another in another course of qualified divers. So for them is a holiday. They knew that.


They knew they were passengers just going through the procedures. So they're on holiday and they're dragging you on holiday. Yet you coming out and you know the single guys.


Yeah, of course. And at one point, at what point did you realize did you decide you're going to go selection?


So a couple of days ago on SAS and we we met up about three months later and, you know, it really opened my eyes.


And I you know, I like to party hard and they're like, you're not even drunk. And I said, I'm going to go in selection. And it was a backfire.


No, you weren't. I said, yeah, well. So that Monday I just stopped drinking.


And then I trained and I went on.


I had an attempt at selection before that a couple of years for not long after the alarms command, of course, and my knee blew out on the hill.


How deep in this election were you on that first time when you got blown out me, given the aptitude phase, the first four weeks on the Hilton?


So I told my I told my lateral meniscus, but my training for that selection, I was up and down the North Devon coastal path carrying weight is just pound in and pound in the knee. So for me, I didn't want to have that same approach with this attempt. Also, I was running dive courses at the time, so any time I had, you know, off was evening.


So I spend two hours on the spin bikes, you know, just be on a spinner for two hours each night for six weeks.


How was it when you when you got dropped from selection the first time around, like you kind of making it like it's no big deal? I only know from my experience. It's a when you if if people don't make it through, like basic SEAL training, it's it's a it's horrible because you're going to be in the regular Navy and that's not what you do in the Navy to do. And all of a sudden you're doing this other thing or you're doing like a regular Navy job.


And that's not good. And I can't even fathom, like, my mindset if I wouldn't have made it.


But it seems like it's a little easier on someone that's, you know, you're sure you were you at 59, so you be at a time. So you're an Iraqi troops.


You're like, OK, I didn't get through this time and I still have an awesome job. So maybe it wasn't quite as psychologically devastating.


Yeah, well, we you get two attempts at selection. You see, I knew I had another tattoo. It wasn't the be all, be all or end all, but I learned a lot from that. And it was it was the approach to training, you know, a lot you know, we have the first four weeks, which we'll talk about soon on selection, which is the aptitude phase, which is the hills phase, which is the physical.


Once you're at once, you pass. That is when this old man then comes in.


And I sort of knew I just need to get past that first four weeks because sodium wise, you know, spent years and Recchi Drew, you know, I was on the all arms team, you know, I was I was quite current.


So when I did it the second time, I was on the spin about four to eight.


So low impact and actually had we do a A run in the UK and it's going to be the basic fitness test.


It's run for a mile and a half and I've got my fastest run at the age of twenty eight. I didn't like seven minutes, ten seconds. So I thought, right, you know, the fitness finishes, fitness is up up there. So I then went on selection.


I decided to do go SB's. I went did they do a thing called a briefing course.


Because it's two attempts at selection days of old guys. You know, if you went from the Marines and Paris guys would go on selection and get caught out there, you get big culture shock. They didn't realize actually what was involved and what training and preparation you need to to do so rather than waste in one life, then coming back and potentially getting injured both units and introduced a thing called a briefing course, which you can have as many times as you want.


And it's a one week course. And basically it's like an aptitude. It gives you an insight of where you are fitness wise. Navigation wise.


Did you get to do that, the first attempt that you do that yet? They didn't have that yet. So it wasted one life. So I'd wasted my life.


Yeah. So I went and did the SAS Brevin course for a week and then the following week I went and did the SBS one because they wanted I wanted to make my decision, but obviously a lot of my friends were in the SAS.


I sort of knew all them and, you know, saw the way that they operate. And then I went down to pull indorse on our south coast. And then in the guise of er you know, they've got frog shorts, T-shirts in a RIFs and all of that. Yeah. This is me, this is where this is where I belong.


And so I did both. And then you have to make the decision before you go on station.


So I said right I'm going. And that was a new thing before. If you were in the army, you're going to say as if you were in the Marines or I guess they take regular Navy dudes into the SBS.


There's only ever been one Navy guy pass, although it's the Naval Special Forces only only one Navy guys party. Up until then, it's one hundred percent Royal Marines.


So normally you or in the past you would have been SAS. One hundred percent, not even a choice that you're in the Army, you're going to the SAS. And at some point during the joint environment of, hey, we all need to work together. Yeah, they said pick which one you want to go to.


You saw the you saw the you saw a pool, you saw flip flops, you'd surf shorts and o'kelly's and said, I'm heading there.


Yeah that was it.


The so what it was was the Marines could go to the SAS, so the Marine, the SBS were losing candidates to the SAS because not everyone likes diving the sea.


Oh yes. And some guys have had injuries as well. I mean, they can't go underwater. So they were losing students to that. And so they decided then open up, try service at the Navy. The Army in the RAAF can come and they just literally just done that.


So for me, having spent eight years in three commando raid, having the Green Beret anyway and being seen that it was just seemed a natural transition, that the perfect transition for me.


But in my head I thought, well, if I go S.A.S., you know, because I'm senior dive instructor, I'm going to end up in boat trip if I go.


ACEBES These guys are all divers. So, you know, I'm a level playing field and that was where my mindset was. And so, yeah, I did it much to the disgust of my friend.


Yes. Yes, a lot.


What you do it because especially the wreckage, we had 100 percent pass rate and it was like, you know, if this guy goes, then, you know, people are going to look at those options, you know, UK Special Forces.


Forty percent UK Special Forces made up of the Royal Marines because they were all in the spot.


Mm. You you had to explain this a lot. Here's the here's the book talking to your instructors. Why the fuck do you want to go to pool. One of the D's asked me. The Special Forces selection encompassed all those who want to go to SAS and SBS. So it's the exact same training you're going to go through, the exact same training, the exact same selection course, I should say.


I knew I shouldn't give them a real answer. I didn't want to go to Boat Troop in Hereford, and I liked the way the SBS guys cut about in tee shirts, shorts and Oakley's as a surfer. That appealed to me and pool would certainly put me closer to the surf spots of Devon and Cornwall.


I love diving staff. Shit answer who likes diving? The snorted picking up a rock. Put that in your kit and you better fucking have it when we're when we get to the end of the day. I had it with me every day. Each morning the desk would ask me the same question and each day I'd be told to put a rock into my already heavy burden. Then one day I had an idea my chances of being the grey man were long gone.


And so I decided to deploy a bit of humor back in the camp that evening I got busy and in the morning I was prepared for one or two of the DS walked over to me. They were both from Hereford and both had been at five nine. They had a keen eye for horrible rocks or you. Why the fuck you want to go to a pool?


I placed my weapon down across my boots that it was out of the dirt and opened up that one of the map pockets in my trousers, pulling out a laminated photo. What the fuck is this? One of them sneered. It was a folder. It was a photo of Bournemouth. My saying that right.


Bournemouth, Bournemouth, Bournemouth got I'm an American. Here's a photo of Bournemouth Beach during a heat wave.


I'd pulled it off of Google and laminated it in the office.


You don't get topless girl girls on the beach in Hereford staff, I told them with a straight face and both men burst out laughing. I kept the photo in my pocket for the rest of the course and didn't carry another rock.


Actually, one of the main reasons why I draw well.


I grew up surfing too, in the cold water of New England and I was looking at, you know what? I was trying to figure out what I wanted to go into. And one of the things that was seemed like a really good deal was either being stationed in Virginia Beach, which is good waves on the East Coast and or San Diego, which is San Diego. And either that or you go to Fort Benning or Fort Lewis or you just there's some other places to get stationed.


So that definitely helped guide me in the right direction. And I didn't know any seals at the time. Otherwise I would have seen sandals, shorts, and I probably would have steered even more in that direction.


You continue on here despite the rocks.


I did really well on the hills. The training on the spin bike worked out my joints felt fresh on my last basic fitness test to dive school. I even ran my fastest time ever. Twenty eight years old, avoiding injury on the hills is key. There's no time for recovery. If you get hurt, you're done. That's that. And so I was pleased that I've learnt the lessons of my first attempt at selection and adapted my plan accordingly. Yeah, my buddy John Dudley's a boner and like he's he spends a bunch of time on the stationary bike getting ready for hunting season.


And I was like, I just put on a rock and walk because I'm maybe not as smart, but yeah, it seems like that's a seems like that works.


Yeah. I think obviously you can have the impact anyway. You know, for me when I did the first selection, you know, I've got quite big hill legs, so actually ascending hill was not a problem. We need to be making up. Your time is on the on the downhill and on the straight. And, you know, and that's where I need needed to improve. So that's that's why I introduced the spin bike.


I didn't want to inflame that injury again. I didn't want to start in a bad position. So I just looked at what worked and what didn't. You know, I knew I had the strength in my legs. I just didn't have the speed. And how was I going to be able to improve on that? And that's what it's been about, was perfect for it.


But the our aptitude, our first four weeks is, you know, it's twenty 20 to 30 kilometers, up to seventy pounds you have and then have the test week and they say, you know, you need to be moving at four K now, which brings us fine.


But as, as the crow flies looking at map.


So if you got a mountain in the way you need to get over that mountain. So you need to really be moving about five to six K an hour because if you have then have any issues navigational wise, you know, you've got some fudge and you're not scraping in.


But Groundhog Day for four weeks doing that on the Brecon Beacons in warehouses.


And you don't know there's no, like, cutoff time. They just tell you to go and get it done as quick as you can. Yeah.


You basically get to your start point in the day to give you your grid reference. You then step aside, work out, you know, which direction you'll go and tell him in time, speed, distance, and you start working on your fork and how long it's going to take you. And then you go and you get to the next checkpoint, which is a top of the hill where I always meet the dates, tell him to pick up a rock, and then they would just give you the next one.


And you just keep going until you get to to the finish point. And they also have a couple of little games in there as well, where you think you finish for the day and the.


Right, your next checkpoint and then, you know, you go you start, go in and call a couple of guys that will have done and didn't realize actually it was just a test.


You just have to get the self-discipline in a self-motivated you know, you wrote that you wrote about that in the book how they'd come up.


You think you're done. You've been walking for, what, 12 hours, 14 hours or whatever it is, 19th day in a row. Yeah, you come up to the to the drill sergeant and you say, you know, I'm checking in and he's like, here's your next point. Yeah. And guys would say, I'm done. And they'd quit. Yeah. And then someone else would come up and say, here's your next point. They'd start walking, say, just kidding, come back.


And then that guy would realize that they just quit for no reason.


Yeah, yeah. I think it was on ours.


It was a lot of the parallax. It's a lot. The Parachute Regiment had to go as drivers to drive the vehicles on the selection's before. So they knew the start and finish points and it was actually to catch them out because in their head.


Right, right. I just got 30 km, I've just got 30 kilometers.


And so they built themselves up. And when they get to that point, they think it's finished. And then when you throw a little curveball in that a lot, they weren't expecting it.


Um, but then yeah, in test week, you know, it's called the aptitude test week itself. You then have five matches and if you don't come in on the times, you know, you get a red card, you get to Records', you're done.


I think the first free march is about 30 kilometers. Fourth March is fifty five kilometers. Then you have four hours rest and then that evening you do forty miles and which seventy pounds. It's called endurance and you have to do that within twenty hours.


It's called other things besides endurance like. Yeah. Yeah.


So but you finish that and you think Britain you know I've just passed the hills. It's quite a big thing. But for the instructors they call ABCP, they don't even call you by your name.


They don't know who you are at this point is like and you probably lost 50 percent of the course at this point, either voluntary withdrawal injury or actually just not the.


Yeah, the grand jury level's got to be high. Yeah. OK, that's a beat down on your joints. Oh, I know. What would happen to you the first time.


Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I mean obviously like I broke my ankle as a young boy so my nemesis in the military was my, my left ankle and so it would go oh right.


We can edit that.


We don't want everyone to know his weaknesses.


So for me though, I knew that and I would tape, you know, I take my ankles up and things like that.


And I remember on test week, um, I had these these military lowis had great ankle support because, you know, because were were failing, they were leaving. So in the evening, you put your boots in the drawing room.


And I remember going in the next day and they look a bit small.


And one of the guys had left it, taken my boots on.


I still had three more test matches with me with these almost like jungle boot style boots running across all these babies heads. So, yeah, but, you know, you sort of administering yourself, looking after yourself and prevention.


Um. You continue on. You get past that that phase and like you say in here, like that was just the beginning. And you also say that you had to be totally self-motivated. You have the mental strength that you didn't unlike any company or commander. Of course, there were no shouts of encouragement from the staff. Anything that Diaz did say would be an attempt to undermine your confidence and make you second guess yourself.


Yeah, my preparation for the course helped a lot. I never doubted my decisions. I knew I'd done the work over the years to be spot on with my map and compass. I knew I had left enough sweat in the gym to have my fitness up to standard. I'm only human and I'd listen to the D's cutting criticism. But then I could calmly say to myself, it's just part of the mind games. Maybe you're doing fine. Times like those.


I think back to when my daddy told me I wouldn't last two minutes in the Army, he'd been wrong and so would the D.


Yeah, they played. They, they learn what to say to people to get them to quit. You know, they, they say all kinds of things. And what you saw, what you see right there, it's just part of the mind games. Yeah. But man they go hard.


Yeah, yeah, yeah. We go to the jungle. So once we finished the hills phase we, we start doing some, some infantry skills as well because basically you're learning all over again. So whether you're a Marine or Para, the way that they operate nukes is totally different and you're introducing new weapon systems.


So the C8 DiMarco is only used by UK Special Forces. You have to learn a whole new weapon system again.


And yeah, but you know, from your friends who've done it before you that they're going to start playing mind games with you. And I remember we go to Brunei, spend six weeks in the jungle and that's that's a great, great selection. You lose a lot of guys. You know, some guys really thrive in the jungle.


And some guys, it's almost like it's claustrophobic.


You know, you spend a lot of time in there day in, day out and hear the helicopter coming in and pick up the lads. And you see guys, it's you see guys randomly packing their bags. You like to eat it. And I love what you do. And I said, oh, well, you know, I'm going to fail. This instructor said, you know what the instructor said? I remember when it happened to me.


I remember we were marching up to a range. And everything we do on Selection's live firing, we don't do blank.


Everything is for real, you know, because on a day to race, you don't fire blank.


And it's all about weapon handling it. You're safe, but, you know, effective. And I remember one instructor coming straight out to me in my face screaming his show, and he said, if I see any weapon hanging like that again because you'll be off, you'll be on the next helicopter. And I just said yes, stuff. I didn't get into an argument.


I mean, being on the range, he didn't realize that, you know, I'd being on the range.


I knew it was my day that he was testing me.


And you could see as well, you know, throughout the course you can see how he's getting it today. The instructor would be honest.


I mean, you get guys, you know, who don't pass. And they said, oh, yes, could I add a personality clash with the instructor?


And a lot of them tend to use that. But what they do on selection is great is actually especially with the final exercise the last ten days, they swap your instructor around. So if there is, you know, human beings, there's always going to be personality clashes.


If there is anything like that is sort of you get you get a fair chance. So I enjoyed I enjoyed the jungle for me. You know, I was going through a court case at the time.


My ex-wife and I get custody of my my my first daughter.


And I remember passing and we have a barbecue and they always say, don't go in selection with any welfare issues. You need to go. They're fully focused.


You know, the guys guys, we get letters from their wives, you know, Bluey's, and she's having a bad day.


You know, if she's home with a frigid cold or bluey blue, it used to be like blue blue envelopes, which are free free post. Got it. And, you know, you write and then it's purely just military.


So it's known as a blooey.


And, you know, if your wife's having a bad day and she's got kids and she thinks you're on holiday in Brunei, you know, I mean, and she's a mini, you know, plays on your mind and guys pull themselves off and then the wives know that I'm actually right now, you know, I mean, so they do say to cut off all the white noise.


So when I finish my achieve and start to lie because I had guys come on air, well, I said I'm going through a divorce and custody of my kid.


Is it really I said the only place the solicitor is going to get letters to me and ask me.


So for me at the time, it was it was a big escape. Escape. Yeah.


Just cause I've got a big pile of letters that are great, but um.


But yeah, you come back from there and I got the troop sergeant roll for the final five days of the the final attack and you sort that's almost and indicate that you're doing well.


And so I thought I knew I'd done well on the course. But when you come out again, we have a barbecue, the instructors get together, they have their little, you know, final decisions. But you don't know for another five days when you get back to UK, they don't tell you their nanny's life. So, you know, one of the instructors came up to me at a barbecue, a friend of a friend, South African lot drunk.


Drunk is how yeah, how he said he should come and say yes, so it's almost like you've been given the nod and officially and so you're telling that you can give it a nod.


Yeah, I haven't psyllids a self critique in over the next five days. And and remember, the same dose came up to me the next day.


He said stoy. So did I give you the nod last night. I said no. He said, did you pass it. You said, I did it are drunk.


So that's like psychological, psychological games. Hey, it's been nice knowing you really made good effort out here.


And yeah the actually the jungle drums is quite a big thing selection. You know, those instructed to go back, those sorts of things. It didn't take long before it started. So I got a text of my friend's wife saying, well done. Part of how does his wife know indefinitely back. Even though you're feeling confident, you've done it. You still you still when you walk in five days later, he's like, you know, because occasionally guys are getting the down check because whatever.


Yeah. Let's say, you know, they may have got through the jungle phase, but maybe not not not this time.


But with the jungle you only get one attempt.


So that's your only attempt. So, yeah, that's a that's quite a big, big Kahlúa as well. But once you finished the jungle phase, you know that they want you, you know, so the next three months, you know, unless you're a real, you know, do a Neil Diamond necklace, negligent discharge or something like that, you you should be safe.


And what's the last three months? What are you doing for that section? So you do continuation change. You do see survival, evasion, resistance, extraction, running through great quotes around Scottish Highlands.


You do your your parachute and you squidge, you do communications kit and then the final phase, counterterrorism. And so basically they get you into a position that when you join your Sabre squadron that you can fit into the team. But you that's just your standpoint within the squadrons. But so it's a six month process.


It's actually quite a long drawn out.


And we we basically the SBS and I, as you touched on, it's joint selection and the accommodations at Hereford with the SS and you've seen the guys on the course already been given, you know, what squadron they're going to be told, what deployments are going happen to go see the quartermaster to get Kit and you guys in the special I got. Yeah, no, not again.


Anything is quite risky in that they get their beret and belt and then we used to just get given a blue tracksuit. You've got then another three months continuation.


Oh it's continues on. It does too. There's still selection or is it just continuation its days of old.


It used to be selection because if you fail the dive course they'll accept you and says, you know the whole thing, you know, what's the difference to the SAS in the ESPs? I always say surprising the average soldier, slightly better soldier, you know, sort of joke in. But, you know, but actually they then introduced that.


We then got we then got our own unit recognition. We've got our own cap badge recently. And, you know, we've got our own belt because days of old, you wouldn't know who was SBX.


It was a Royal Marine Corps badge. That was it. Yeah. The only indicate was his long, curly hair.


You go hear an elite club, it may have been in the journey to get there was incredibly difficult, but all of the other men at the squadron I now joined had done exactly the same. So no one remarked on it. For me, selection had been the most monumental thing in my life. But for these guys, it was a tick in the box to get me to work.


You the new guy? Are you all right? Simple as that. I'd be the the exactly the same way once I'd spent some time at pool and the next cadre of new guys came in. But for now, I was the new book and I was about to begin one of the most intense periods of my life.


What year is this? So this is two thousand six. Oh, OK, so it's on.


So where were you in September eleventh happened.


So September 11th. We were about to go on a next cycle. Save Syria in Oman is a big, big exercise.


And remember, obviously, seeing the Twin Towers, you know, getting pulled into the cinema, watching it, and then that that afternoon I got a phone call from the dive school saying that, you know, there's an army advanced diving course died yesterday. Yesterday, one of the guys has failed his his entrance test.


So I dive in courses in phases.


You have your basic course, which is which is six weeks. You had advanced courses at ten and you supervise it. So you have to pass each for you progress.


And so I got a phone call to come down to dive school. So I was heading down the road and then obviously see the Twin Towers. Everyone's gone.


Oh, man. Think, oh my God, I'm going to miss out on this. And, you know, so I missed the initial the initial phases. And then I was at Levingston on a training team when the lads lads deployed. So yeah, I missed out with three Commando Brigade, my Afghan tour. So it's fuming a few minutes.


So my my first deployment Afghan was. Yes. With the ESPs.


You say here, I totally understand that some people will be disappointed that I can't divulge details of Special Forces operations, but our country has enemies and we can't hand them information that could endanger the lives of my former colleagues who continue to operate around the world selflessly providing the blanket of freedom beneath which we sleep. I know you'll appreciate that. And in light of what they sacrifice, we can sacrifice some stories. Let me just say that those years gave me some of my best friends and that I love the job.


So this is now your you're going on deployments with the SBS and obviously we're not going to go into any any details of them.


Were you guys primarily doing, like, direct action?


Yeah. So when we I was very fortunate. My first you know, I'd miss the opportunity of three commando brigade. So when I went out with the SBS and my first first deployment was the first ever operational jump for the SBS into into Helmand.


So I was like, wow, it's my first time in Afghan and is an operational jump at night.


And so yeah, we were doing it's called Task Force forty two to forty two, which is the door kick in.


But also alongside that the intelligence services were also picking up agents, things that so I was having to work between, between both.


Normally the guys would go in that were from our reservists and it all failed the course.


So when I first got there it was literally door kicking and I mean, in the day dressing up as a local. But for me, we then did numerous operational jumps. We were very fortunate on that.


So we had the most HVAD and any squadron and we had more expertise in three months in the last three squadrons back to back, because we were just changing the way that that we operate.


As you know, out there, you had to change. You know, they all knew your TTP and you had to change and adapt to that. So for me, I was at the pinnacle. You know, I've missed out that time, every commander brigade, but I made up for in abundance.


And what's your position or are you like a breacher? Are you a sniper? What's your what's your role? Yeah.


So actually one thing I forgot to mention, so like so when I went on selection, I was a sergeant. When you finish selection, you Frangos, you start again the troop as a trooper.


Yeah, well actually they said I was going to be a Marine.


I was that awful as it I said that's fine. But I know that no other army lad especially have one is going to come in to SBX. If you call as Marines, you have to call his troopers. So when I went in, I was almost like the guinea pig, you know, what works, what doesn't work and things like that.


So, yeah, but then you do you were you literally the first army there was to two other guys, two other guys with me. There was an officer and another engineer lad in your selection class.


Yeah. And so you three were the first Army soldiers to go into the hospital.


There was one before. There was one big one before us, but at first time in their squadron.


But from the engineers, especially if you've been been the first and I think now fifteen percent of the space is now made up of the army.


So it was almost like the floodgates had opened, which I think is good, because the Marines, as I said, they're so proud of their background. I think that. But you need diversity. You need diversity in there. And that's what the army, the army brought in.


Also the fact that. At the time, the SS were running Iraq and the run in Afghan. So, again, you know, if you guys want to go into the election, you know, Iraq was starting to wind down. You guys were looking towards Afghans. So the space was a good option.


Yeah, that's my interaction with well, I had two interactions with the with the British Special Forces in my career. One of them was before 9/11. And it was very cool. And I'll tell you about it later. And then the other one was it was it was just in in Iraq, you know, we're hitting target sets and there was like multiple targets that were all somehow connected. And so I just sat down next to the troop commander and we talked through the plan and really good guy.


And obviously just you know, when people ask me about the Brits and I, I've worked with other British units, but all of them what I say about the Brits, the British are just professionals, like just professionals.


The way they behave, the way they operate, it's just always awesome. You know, they're going to be squared away. It's that was always my impression of of the British special forces and of the British military in general. Yeah. Except for one person that I'll tell you also tell you about later, which was really strange.


And he was British Navy. So which is strange, right? Because that's the Royal Navy. That's the Royal Navy Air. Right. Yeah. We should be just totally squared away. Yeah.


Well, that's probably where the drinking and drinking problems are. Yeah. This guy was I don't know, maybe he could have used a beer, this particular individual.


So you so I cut you off when you were talking about I'd asked you, were you a sniper. Yeah.


Yeah. So when you when you join, it depends. So we have four troops, you have er mountain boat and mobility.


I mean you go in there and as I said, when you, when you pass election you think I've just done six mumsie. Now you're at the base line you and now another base line and you have to then get all these other skill sets. So within the teams is where there's any gaps, whether it's language demolitions. You know, I was the forward air controllers and anything to do with er was me, so I was I was DFAC within hours.


And then that means you get to go on every mission. Yeah exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Vervet.


But then you obviously stacking up on the doors, you know you would be point man, you know there's guys out and have got books, not first money and I'm the leader.


Well you know, you know the first marine is the new boy. Now the section of the command is like number three or four. So but then obviously when you bounce onto the next door, it just depends who was a you know, and that's what we used to do. We didn't really have say, right, we have to go in this order. You know, when we did our training, it was unrelenting. You know, we knew it inside out.


The drill was it was just second nature, very slick.


So but you were so you're just you guys doing a rolling point. Doesn't matter who goes in. But did you did you guys have Breacher did you have special assignment for that because you were an engineer? I figured you were going to say Breacher, because we always kind of associate Breacher with engineer was. I don't know.


Yeah, no, it wasn't actually when I when I was so out there. No, no, it wasn't. Because they're demolitions. It's slightly different from the royal engineer. Demolition will take down the bridge.


Not a nice little hole. And we know we'd probably drop the whole compound. They didn't trust you.


You'd be using tumour's explosives.


But what they tend to do, which I thought was great in the special forces, if you already have skill sets, you've already got that skill set. They give you another skill set, you know, so you sort of build on it said like the Pathfinder lads who like the airborne Recchi when they go S.A.S., they're already hailo train. So there's no point in going there. They've got that skill set. Put them in Biotrue, you know, so they try and give you as many skill sets as possible.


Yeah. And then how long would you guys go on deployments for SARS's six months, six month deployment?


We used to do a two year sort of ruman. So six months pre deployment training, six months training. You then come back. I mean, you're on the Green Arrow, so you're on the page for any sort of any other situations around the world. I mean, six months counterterrorism then. So hostage rescue in, you know, domestic and international.


And then when you look like I said, I think that's enough broad. People can kind of figure out what you were doing, but how long how many years of this cycle where you want.


So this cycle, this cycle, every every two years or so, every two years, you've been out for four for another six months, unless you then you spend four years in your same squadron and then you have to move on. You then get like an instructional post. You guys tend to do that and then they then come back in and end is and team leaders and go for the whole room on again.


So now we're going to jump into one particular pre deployment training cycle.


I'm going to the book. We were in the desert as part of our pre deployment training. I couldn't wait to get back out on operations, nor could any of the other guys. Being on Ops was the reason we joined the Special Forces. And no where were our skills put to the test more than the daily life or death battles with our enemies going on high altitude, high opening training. I loved jumping, jumping, some guys didn't and just sucked it up, but I always wanted to be the first in the sticks so I could stand on the open tail ramp and look down at the earth beneath me.


I wanted to soak it all in before I jumped. But on the second jump that day, I was put in the back of the line.


I waddled with my kit toward the door.


As the others left the aircraft. One guy tumbled out after the next. Eventually it was my turn. I jumped. And immediately I knew that I was in trouble. I felt something on my leg, I looked up and saw that it was wrapped in rigging.


I knew that as soon as the static line pulled up the canopy, that rigging would shoot up above my head and the force of it would take my leg with it. I had a second to get my leg clear whack.


I failed the static line, pulled the chute, the chute, pulled the rigging, the rigging pulled my leg. It came up and over my shoulder like I was a yoga guru.


Instantly I felt every muscle, ligament and tendon rip and snap.


I screamed in absolute agony and almost blacked out from the pain. The rigging worked its way clear and now the leg fell back alongside the other. But I knew that I had no control over its movement. I was lucky to still have the leg. The force could have easily ripped it off and if that happened, I'd have bled to death within minutes in some poor local would have had a one legged corpse landing in his garden. Pain was racing through my body, but I knew that if I didn't get my act together, I could still die.


I was so far up that oxygen was thin and I could not afford to pass out. I drifted away from my guys. If I drifted away from my guys, I could end up in the middle of the desert or the sea.


It would be brownness.


I had to stay awake. You'd think that the pain would have made that easy. But it was so intense that my brain was trying to send me into unconsciousness. I wouldn't let it, I just wouldn't instead, I fixed my focus on the descending parachutes of the stick and followed them in. It was the longest 30 minutes of my life. Despite the physical agony I had, time had enough time hanging in the sky to feel emotional pain to. I knew that there would be no deployment for me now.


I think I knew deep down that there would be no more time on operations at all. Thirty minutes is a long time to think about that when you're alone floating through the air. Finally, the ground was getting closer. I saw my mates landing in formation. I wanted to make a good landing out of pride. But more than that, I knew that if I landed badly I could quite well ruin my good leg to the ground.


Came up to meet me. I pushed down on my toggles and flared the chute just at the right moment, dragging in enough air under the canvas to take the speed out of my descent.


If you do it too early, you just stop in the sky, then drop like a sack of shit. But I came in like a feather and landed on one leg. There was only one thing left to do, MADEC. What year was that? So that was 2010.


So, ma'am, that's it, I mean, your leg, did you know instantly you were you were done? Yeah, you know, it was actually the new guys are coming to the squadron. We're getting Heigh-Ho trained. So our sergeant major, that we'd already brought a Heigh-Ho train from previous tours that will go do fun jumps. You know, I like jump in, but it's no such thing as a fun jump in the military.


And and the reason I got moved, I normally am at the front.


I like to frog turn around and you exit the poses, which he's always upset the the the RF. So I then got moved to the back of the stick and I said we've done numerous of these jumps, just routine.


But as I call in a line so you know, kick trying to kick it in time and I couldn't I mean when they got pulled up and over, you know, probably hear me from the ground screaming, so but no one else in the team is aware that's anything going on.


But because of those fin altitude or drifting in and out of the vomiting, because of the pain, I just needed to I just wanted to get to the ground, see and establish what was going on and assess the other parachutists.


Their approach, you know, took another look over these and landed at one legged but no stray away or put any pressure on it, you know, cause we got medic medic back to the camp and had a MRI scan the next day.


And yeah, you've done your ACL, you Hamshari lateral meniscus, your hamstring, Metcalf, you quad, all the support muscles as well.


So normally with an ACL or MCO, you can carry on and see rugby players and just carry on. But is all the support muscles.


But to add to the issue as well, the it was the Icelandic volcano which grounded aircraft all over the world so they couldn't get an error to me.


So base, I was just thrown into a hotel in Muscat. The lads went on to talk from there.


I was put in a hotel for four weeks with painkillers, you know, sort of deteriorating.


Go back to UK after an ER Omid sent home for six weeks back to the hospital and they lost all my paperwork.


And it was just a spiral of of errors within the military medical system.


How long did it take for you to get through? I mean, how long did it take to get surgery? And you talk about in the book. But how long was that.


It was 44 weeks in the end. You know, when I ended my leg on the first selection process, it was five days when I was running again in six weeks. It took me forty four weeks to get there. So, you know, my hope, my leg had deteriorated completely. And for me, I was then transitioning to civilian street. So I wasn't really focused on my my my rehab was like, what am I going to do next?


Did your at what point did the you know, did somebody say, hey, that's it, you can't be here anymore? Do they offer you medical retirement? Like what did that process look like?


You'd like to think they'd of your medical retirement, but it didn't. You know, I had to almost threaten them that I needed with legal I needed the operation. And when I left it, they pay scale. They put me out and was one below a medical pension. And he said, you are fixed within 26 weeks.


I was like, what else is 44 weeks? So five years later, I had a tribunal hearing against the military.


And what the military tend to do is it's basically guys that appeal it.


They'll say no and you can appeal it again and they'll say no, they'll lose. Eighty percent of people doing so. I knew a general who said to me, he said, just keep appealing, said they won't even open your case until it's deferred appeal, which is five years later.


So that's what I did. And then I had a tribunal hearing in in Edinburgh and I went down and actually had a QC in front of it and two doctors from the military.


I then brought a military charity called Royal British Legion, and they just sort of asked certain questions. We didn't get your story out.


And then you have a representative from the military veterans appealing and normally they can be quite aggressive.


But this guy was actually quite, quite relaxed. But someone did say to me the week before, I said, look, when you go in this, that he had one and he didn't get his medical pension, he said, when you go in there, you can't be deemed stop special forces.


You know, these guys say, can you walk down the street? You say, no, you know, it was one. And so so I had that in the back of my mind. The I went in and actually they had the time line.


I'd print it out and, you know, I then ended up getting a full, full medical pension, then backdated.


But the fact that I had to go through it in my own. Yeah, it's crazy like to think, you know, especially when you feel like you're the top again.


You feel like you're a pop star when you know to one special forces and then just this all almost a cloud over my my career, not my career, but then my last last year in the military.


It's about it leaves you the bad taste, leave me a bad taste. And I didn't actually. Realize until I was successful, how you know, what a weight was on my shoulders, you know what I felt when I got it? I felt I've been reciprocate for my time, you know, things I can almost close that chapter and move on. But I was five years after leaving.


How many years then did you how many years were you in total? 16. So 16 years in.


And so you get from the day you got injured, how long did it take before you said, all right, I need I'm going to get out because I can't do my job anymore?


So it was over nearly a year and I had to extend because I had been operated on in the military, have to return it to civilians in similar additional condition.


What you ended and I was nowhere near that. So so for me, my mindset, you know, my head's now thinking, well, I'm not I'm not in the military anymore. I need to look look beyond that.


But you still can't progress because you're waiting on this operation. So I got it in the end. Then when I finally left in May 2011 is when I actually go out.


And then as you're working through this transition, at some point you get a call. It's can you be in Libya tomorrow? Yeah. Yeah, that's it.




So to add to the pressure, you know you know, when, you know, we talk about identity crisis, you spent all his time in the military working in a tiny unit, you know, knowing what you're doing day out, working alongside professionals to like, where do I now fit in society? What is my role? What is my purpose? So I had that going on in my head.


I hadn't really had that full transition to guys. When they get out, they have like two year build up, you know, to do all these workshops and they set up their companies. Mine was almost, you know, crash bang, you're out the door.


My wife at this point was eight months pregnant.


So I'm not saying only work out there. You know what I can do. And, well, sound like Liam Neeson. People with our skill sets tends to be the private security industry.


So this was the middle of the Arab Spring and Gadhafi was still in Tripoli at this point.


And in Benghazi, a lot of the oil companies, the security companies, the media were forming up.


And my friend, who was a director on a large security company said, Dean, can you be in Libya?


And I said, yeah, of course. So when I went straight in and basically it was the Diffie Project Department for Institute Development, which was the, you know, at the time was the prime minister's little baby. So they would go into the sort of countries and you'd have representatives from the financial sector, from the medical and, you know, the military. And it's to basically advise and help these these countries get back on their feet. So they're all preparing for Gadhafi.


So I he said, can you go in? Can you help sell the Difford project? I'm going to fly thirty private security operators in from Iraq and Afghanistan.


So I went in and straight away I could see there was no threat.


You know, the Libyans were very hospitable, but they also were quite adamant that they didn't want this being another Afghanistan and Iraq. You know, once Gadhafi had fallen and they wanted to take control of their country, they didn't want, you know, private security.


So we had these MP sevens, these weapons. And these guys came in two days later from this Hurk, you know, these from Afghan in Iraq and where's our weapons? And that's sort of sort of changing their mindset. Actually, there is no threat. And, you know, it needs to be all or low key.


And I was also trying to find a niche within the industry. And I was looking at all these other security companies. A lot of my friends had their their security companies were doing any piracy off the east coast of Africa. So I didn't want to tread on their feet.


So, so many big security companies identify with charging, you know, six figure sums for crisis management and evacuation plans. But when you scratch the surface, there was nothing in place. So having spent two weeks set that up, I.


I flew back home and Alana gave birth to our daughter, Molly. And I said, I think I've got a plan.


So I went back in to Libya and and there's a huge proliferation of weapons at a time. There's actually ammunition. It was difficult to get hold of. So I bought thirty weapons on the black market and I buried them between Tunisia and Egypt. I just spent a month in the desert just in these cases, comms, kids and money, and just wrote my own evacuation plans, hoping never to really, really need them.


And that's what I did.


We lived in Aberdeen, which is the oil and gas capital of Europe, so I could link to the oil and gas sector. And that's what I did. I didn't that was my niche. I'd found a niche within within the industry. Um, so, yeah.


Now, did you set that up where you were talking to the oil companies? And I've been to Aberdeen, thankfully, very coarse. Have you ever surfed there?


I haven't, no.


But I know a Thurso firm and is one of the great spots I was there in like the winter and you could have surfed it like it wouldn't have been fun, but you could have surfed. I was looking at the waves. I went for a little run down there and I was looking at the waves and I was. Like, you could do it, you could do it, but we make enough fun, gross dancing, choppy, like barely you could pricer for about, you know, two seconds or three seconds per wave.


You have the waves to yourself, though. There was no there was no living on the beach.


So did you did you set that those all that gear up and then go and pitch to clients like, hey, I've got these plans set up, here's what I can do for you.


And then are they giving you some kind of a revenue up front? Yes.


So basically identified that I brought him up first. You know, it's almost like I have this plan in place. You know, I had the cash. It's in my sort of mindset where it was I. I knew that the Libyans didn't want security companies with weapons.


So before long, we couldn't do that to my sort of mindset was if there was a situation, we could drive across the border unarmed, you know, go to the cage, pick him up. If we need the if we needed weapons, you know, and we'd get in a decline out.


And then and that was it. So it was almost like a retainer. And knowing that service was there. And then we we used to have like like triggers, you know you know, if there's a certain situation to go up to yellow, we go up to Amba.


So really, you should never if you're a there into that trigger system that you have in place, you shouldn't really need to go for a long evacuation.


The only thing that sort of is natural disasters, that's where you can go from green to red overnight is a natural disaster. So really, if you have that in place, but that's something I just picked up from the military, was these systems and these cases that had the IRA and the Taliban use these systems. That's where it originates.


Um, but for me, it just wasn't I was walking around with weapons, but I knew I had safe houses and I knew that the weapons available if needed.


And you built relationships. And you talk about that a lot here. Yeah, yeah.


I, you know, I so, you know, I when I got out as well, I didn't want to be going out to Afghanistan and Iraq, you know, I'd done my time in the desert.


You know, I sort of the security security industry isn't risk reward ratio balanced at all. You know, you could be in Yemen, Libya, Somalia on fifty percent of what you're on take in the UAE royal family superyacht from Barcelona to Maldives. I was that well, where's the money? And it's in the corporate close protection.


So I didn't have cargo pants and tight tops.


You know, it was like it was a nice dinner jacket and brogues. And that was that was my approach. But everyone has this perception of special forces, you know, is about offensive action.


You know, breaching walls is kicking in doors and things. That's 25 percent of what we do.


50 percent of what we do is, is support and influence is hearts and minds being embedded with the locals, understanding actually what is the situation on the ground, not what I'm seeing on TV, but what is actually going on in the ground.


So for me, I really built up good relationships with local fixers, 167 tribes in Libya. So my fixer in Tripoli isn't a same fixer in Benghazi. So I quickly understood that, especially during that the Arab Spring and I just returned from the London Olympics.


I was providing security for Visa and I was in Benghazi. The evening that your American ambassador got killed, September 11th, 2012. And I got a phone call. Could I ask for help? A German oil company, eight German engineers get him out of Benghazi. So while it was OK, I think they made a film thirteen hours while it was all kicking off in the sea. I got these guys safely from Benghazi to Tripoli through safe houses that I had in the desert.


And again, I remember we had drivers from Benghazi and we got to the safe house and we, you know, we could drive to Tripoli in a day. But I said, no, we wait here for 48 hours, which is worrying the engineers a bit.


And the Benghazi guys had like big, big beds. And they're like, oh, no, Mr. Dean, we can go. I said, no, no, we wait 48 hours. But they were nervous. I knew they were nervous going into Tripoli because they're from their own region. But what they weren't aware of it.


I was getting drive is coming in from Tripoli to me is and they would carry on. It's that sort of knowledge, knowing who to use and when to use. And I remember the morning we were leaving and these poor guys in Benghazi, but I couldn't tell him that shaped all their big hits.


And I went outside in the Tripoli drive. It turned out it was like almost like a scene from the OK Corral. They all started going for their weapons. I said, look, I said, I cannot take you to Tripoli. You will compromise us. These guys can do it. And I said, you will still get paid. And it's just all about respect. You know, I always say about communication, but for that operation, I couldn't I couldn't divulge too much to them.


So I got them safely out. And then two years later, I was in Brazil for Visa, again covering the World Cup.


And I then get a phone call from. The Canadian embassy. So what happened now is the Tripoli war is a civil war between the militias and the government and embassies.


The only reason embassies are in countries all about trade and investment. You know, what can we get for for our country when it when things start opening up?


So October 13, the they've done an assessment, the Canadians, and basically it was costing them 20 million dollars a year to have the embassy open.


And the sort of assessment was there's going to be no trade investment for at least 15 years.


So when we see a window of opportunity, let's collapse the embassy and leave.


But it couldn't just collapse then because the locals would question them.


So fast forward now some 14, the Tripoli war, the Americans, the Brits, Italians, they just shut shop and when the Canadians aren't going back, so they had to shred everything. And STADA, their protection team was Canadian military and they would fly in every four months, rotate, you know, fly into Tripoli International Airport.


But during that period of four months, they never left the walls of Tripoli. They just went from their accommodation to the office.


It didn't get out the city.


So they didn't know what was beyond the city walls. And there's actually only 100 kilometers of coastal road from Tripoli to Tunis.


So I flew in and we'd already evacuated a couple of people from U.S. aid. And I don't go with the big over there because I like local taxis.


Just keep it all low profile.


And the week before, the British got engaged at every checkpoint on the way to to Tunis, which is obviously worrying the Canadians.


So me and my fixer, we went out and we just them speaking to the guys who got the weapons, you know, identified who the tribal elders was, sat down with him, you know, shared bread, coffee.


And it was actually all about communication, showing him respect.


And, um, yeah, the following following day, they then escorted us safely. So far, 18 military and four diplomats single handedly from Tripoli to to Tunis.


Yeah, just to put that in perspective a little bit, when I was a young seal before before, you know, September eleventh, one of the main missions, I did two deployments with the Marine Corps on ships. And one of the main missions that we were trained for is called a neo noncombatant evacuation operation, which is literally to go into whatever, you know, an American embassy, presumably, and go in in some hostile or semi hostile country and evacuate those people.


But they would have an entire amphibious ready group with, you know, several battalions of Marines. The Air support the SEALs all to go and get whatever that group is out of the country.


So when I was reading that portion of the book where you made this happen, that's that's a huge deal to do this, essentially a mission that normally that that could utilize an entire amphibious ready group with airframes and ships and the whole nine yards to make this happen.


And you were able to do it in a different way from a different angle by utilizing the locals, by having building relationships with the locals, going in and doing it low profile. That's just it's a real credit to the way you were thinking about that operation. Yeah.


You have to think out the box. You know, the fish wagons is fish wagons that take fish from Tripoli to Tunis every day. So we use the fish wagons to put the equipment in because they would just go straight through border control.


There were a bit slower get into Tunisia. I could see the Canadians getting a getting a bit a bit worried.


But yeah, I was just thinking thinking out the box. We did have you have coverage those you have you coverage to to the border. And then we we're at the border, the Canadians and Matt.


But I did that job for free. And the reason I did that was the year before I just finished.


They said, well, I be go ahead.


It's it's an interesting perspective. You got yourself into a situation that maybe didn't give the best image of what you were trying to do. Yeah.


So my role within the security guard was very ad hoc. You know, when I go out, a lot of my friends went over to work in the UAE and train their military, which is great, good money and things that I wanted to learn more, you know, outside that military environment as well. I actually did more sensitive jobs as a private, secure operator. And I did when I was in the Special Forces. And, you know, I worked all over Africa, Yemen, you know, every time I got a phone call, it was a different country.


It was a different job.


And I'd just come out of Yemen and I was in Dubai and I got a phone call from my friend. We just set up a new company in London. And he said, can you be can you be in Libya tomorrow? I said, can't have my visas expired.


So don't worry about it. This is a different call. By the way, I did that call earlier. Did you can you be can you be in Libya, Libya tomorrow? This is another time that that happened. This is another time. This was what? This is what you were doing that once you got out the military, you're running. Security events, you're providing security, are doing assessments, you're doing evacuations, and so this is another time where you got the call, hey, can you be in Libya tomorrow?


Yeah. Can you be in Libya tomorrow? And I was out. Well, no, because my visas expired. And he said, you don't need a visa. Oh, that fine. So I flew via Manchester, flew straight in and I got to the I got to the airport terminal. And this young guy comes up to me, said, you, Mr. Dean. Mr. Dean said, follow me. So everyone's in the queue for passports. And we went in another queue and we went to took me into the city.


I went to the to Besty Hotel, which is part of your hotel group. I knew that was owned by the Maltese and also by the government. And one of the guys that he said rights met one of my partners.


They're my business partners. And he said, right, you just about to go meet the prime minister. Libya speaks no English, speaks German.


So the health minister's going to translate, as I could find, to a bit on the back story about 48 hours before the militias had seized all the oil terminals to stop exporting of oil in Libya.


And so we went upstairs and he sits down to explain this situation to me.


And he said, well, what do we do?


And I said, well, I said, what do you want? He said, I want I want terminals, but terminals back.


I say, look what we can we can put a team together, you know, do for four simultaneous assaults, you know, don't do back to back. Do you want four simultaneous assaults over from sea or from land, but leave the flank open for to escape said, no, I don't want to escape. And I sort of looked over to my friend and he said this has been sanctioned a lot.




Okay, so let me just translate this for people that might not be tracking. So there's oil rigs that have been seized. The prime minister of Libya is sitting there telling you, I want these things back from these insurgents or whatever you want to call them. I want these oil rigs back from these insurgents. I want you to do a simultaneous that where you said, hey, I can do a simultaneous assault. Yeah. So you're going to need a lot of people to do this.


And then you say, listen, you know, smart thing, you're thinking, hey, I'll give them a way to get out that way. They're not going to stand and fight, hopefully, and, you know, will mitigate damage. And he says, no, we don't want anyone to escape. We want you to go and kill all these people that are on these oil rigs.


And that's so that's the the mission tasking that you're getting has the mission task.


And for the listeners, battle in Libya, Benghazi over in the east is where all the oil is and the politicians rule in the west.


And again, different tribes, they do not get on well. So and then in the middle, you've got Misrata as well. And that is a big mess.


So I walked out this meeting and I'm that right. I'm going to need at least one hundred and fifty guys, you know, fifty to one and 72 two. And this is being funded. He said, yeah, make it happen so straightaway.


So I'm like, I'm having to make phone calls and I would love to see the invoice numbers that you're going to send.


But the and it was no the money we were getting for this job was four times your normal daily wage, you know.


And so I had guys on standby in UK on like twice as much they're doing in Iraq and Afghanistan at home. It was huge. They started to grow into a beast. And every evening I would go up and speak to the prime minister, update where we are in this situation. And, you know, this went on for like two or three weeks.


The problem I had was some guys were starting to come in and it was trying to hide them, you know, to keep him out of you because those other private security companies that who I knew I had a great reputation in Libya and they're like, oh, what are you doing, Dean?


I'm not I'm reviewing my evacuation plans. I you know, the guys do look very special forces. So this went on for about three weeks.


And in all the planning in a place doing all Iraqis using his private jet, you know, to fly over the areas, identifying, you know, if there's any aircraft we can utilize at the top of the equipment list, we have kit coming in from that attack, you know, all over the world.


So, yeah, it was a big invoice. And this evening I went up to the prime minister and he said, look, he said, I need to go to, um, to New York tomorrow, the UN conference. But each evening, please come up, brief up. The health minister says fine.


So the following evening I went upstairs and the health ministers.


And so now the prime minister went to New York. He's in New York now.


You're just along with the the health minister, health minister, who actually turns out to be not the health minister, but a hospital manager from London. It's the only guy he could trust. So it's very close doors.


But in the in the corner of my left was a larger gentleman with a big bushy tush and used to say nothing to me, mean health minister chatting away. Next thing, you just start screaming Libyan. They start arguing in Libyans.


I just pull my pull my chair back and quiet down. I mean, you just then started talking in the perfect English, you said, who are you told him who I was? And he said, what are you doing here? And I explained, and he was the head of the SS intelligence service. And he said, no one knows this is happening in government.


You know, he's going the prime minister gone on his own back, OK? And he said, where are we with it? I said, well, this is the stage, right? You know, one or two more weeks and we're ready to go. And he said, so I'm not saying stop it, but can we slow it down? I'm thinking, yeah, the daily wage, we going to slow down as much as you want.


I said, yeah, of course. So he said, Well, look, I'll tell you what we're do is why not?


We design a Special Forces training program for the Libyans in the West and the Libyans in the East because they would never train together.


That way it would be covered. The reason why this equipment coming in, it would justify why this guy is coming in. So we went to an agreement on that.


I want people to drag this right out.


So that's what we did. Anyway, the you know, the government paying it was a third party. I can't mention it was paying for this. And about a week later, they said, look, you know, we are siphoning money and let's call it a day.


Could we can pick this up any time we can come back and pick up said yet. Perfect. Let's do that. So I said, stop sending the guy back. One of my best friends, he stayed out with me. I said, we'll go back tomorrow evening.


We're in the is a restaurant at the top of the hotel.


And I was Moroccan Open-Air Restaurant, and we could hear a distinct sound of an AC 130, you know, Hercules aircraft sound is like distinct and Willott, that's a hook.


But there was four AC 130 is that military to military airport around the corner. But they were grounded. They didn't work because we'd done the recce on them, see if we could utilize them for nothing of it.


Anyway, the next morning, all over the World News Delta Force had come in and picked up an AQ guy responsible for the Kenz in Kenya and Tanzania bombings. So obviously the prime minister, when he got to the U.N., had done an agreement with the Americans, giving it the green light, which is fine.


But of course, even for that was me, you know, me and my mate trying to get to the airport that day was difficult and obviously explaining to the other security companies, I said that that wasn't me. We got out, um, the prime minister got back about three days later. He got arrested by the militias. He got released in the end.


Again, people thought I was responsible for that. I wasn't. So I kept a low profile for about a couple of weeks. And I flew black back in and I was winning contracts.


I was getting some good contracts, but I wasn't getting your oil and gas, you NGOs. I wasn't getting the big ones.


And I met a friend who had access to this guy who's a security advisor for PMC and also publicity.


And he says he says that everyone thinks you're you're a mercenary. You said we're not mercenary, state sanctioned by the various governments.


It was actually a show of force. How quickly we could pull a private team together.


You said. Yeah, we know that.


I said, but for the general, you know, corporations, you do their diligence. They don't see it like that. So then when it came to the Canadian embassy, one, everyone had gone. No security companies were going to come back in and help the Canadians. When I came in, they said, what was the cost? And I said I think was about seven thousand dollars.


And that was to cover the fish waggons my fixer and I charge nothing and you know, everyone that you could have made. But for me, it was actually them brushed off that reputation of being a and then put my name on the top of the pile as been the no number did that up for seven thousand dollars.


Seven thousand dollars.


We've got twenty four sorry. Twenty two people.


Whole embassy safety issue. That's ridiculous. Yeah. Yeah.


My wife said you should have charged, you could have kept your reputation or earned back your reputation and at least made a little money on the side. But for me it's all about, you know, it wasn't the money.


I like to help people and that's why I wanted to get across.


Is that fact? And yeah, it did. Yeah. No, that became number one in the industry. Yeah, it's a lot. It's a strategic move obviously to to do that and take care of those people and, and give them a good deal and, and clean your reputation up after had been a little bit tarnished by this involvement.


And you know, you go into some details on the book on that about just just the fact that, you know, you can be sitting there talking to the actual prime minister of the country at the time. And it's not what it looks like.


No, no, no. Exactly. I want to back up a little bit. There's one part in the book you're talking about, your new normal and this is what you're doing. Your dad had been diagnosed with cancer.


You drove to the hospital when you got to the hospital, your sisters are there. Your step mom's there. They'd been there kind of kind of just toiling with the whole situation. You show up and put them on rotation like, hey.


I'm going home, I'll be back in the morning, you know, you need to get some sleep because they were out there at the edge and then you come back and you go into this, the next eight hours is probably the longest continuous amount of time that we'd ever spent together. This is with your dad in the hospital. He's in rough shape. We had a bit of a chat, but it was superficial. He was on painkillers, but that had never been our style.


Anyways, I knew I loved him. He knew I loved him and I knew he loved me. Anything else I can do for you? I asked him. He told me out of pain in his leg. I saw I had a problem with one of his pain relief devices. I took a couple of seconds to fix it, and instantly he looked serene and nodded off to sleep. When the girls returned that evening, he was still peaceful. I've never seen him look so calm.


My step mom said, Well, that's because he hasn't got three women fussing over him, isn't it? I joked. Every squad he knows that dark humor is how you cope with death.


I stood up and gave my dad about in the shoulder when we would be back. When will you be back? One of my sisters asked me. I shook my head. I won't. I'm going back to Aberdeen. They couldn't believe it. I've said my goodbyes. I told them and my family are up in Aberdeen. That's where I need to be. I knew it would be the last time that I saw him and I was at peace with that.


Back in Aberdeen that night, I got news that I had been expecting. How's your dad doing? A lot to ask me. The next day at breakfast. He died last night, I replied and went back to eating my cereal. I was that blasé about the whole thing. I didn't realise it then, but death had been normalised for me. So two in my ways of coping with it, a complete numbing of my emotions. My father passed away and had given my wife the news in the same way that I'd tell her that the cattle had just boiled over.


The next week or so, I took control of the practical side of my dad's death. I helped arrange the funeral and made contact with the Royal Engineers Association so that they could be present. I wore my love. That's one of the ceremonial uniforms of the Royal Marines and the SBS. I wore my Green Beret, my medals and my father's. It was the last time that I wore the uniform and I suppose that it was a sort of fitting tribute in itself.


My dad had been a huge part of me beginning in my military journey, and now he was part of its end. How are you feeling? A lot to ask me after the funeral. I need to leave the house at zero six hundred hours tomorrow to get to the airport, I told her in reply in a moment when most people are wracked by emotion, I was planning my travel for the job in South Africa.


I was relentless, but in pursuit of what and why.




Obviously, you know, it's something that, you know, we we have to deal with death on a on a big way and in especially when with with people that, you know, I don't know how old your dad was when he died, but at 67, had he had a grown son and and kids and had lived his life.


And, you know, I know for me, you know, for us it's hard because we see we we see our friends that die that are twenty seven, thirty two. You know, they haven't had that opportunity. And I think that's something that makes a little sense in my head of when someone older dies. Of course it's sad, but you know that they had a good life and they had that opportunity.


And then, like you said, you know, we unfortunately have to see a lot of people dying. You have to figure out how to get through that.


And sometimes maybe it's not the. Well, sometimes I guess we take the emotional side of it and have to stifle it down, maybe not the best thing to do, but it's kind of what we do. Yeah.


So it's how we deal with things that we might be my father. You know, when I join the army, that was that was my new family. One of my sisters stayed with mom and my dad. My other sister went up to her mum today. They had their own lives. When I joined the army, that was that was my family. You know, I would only get in touch. My dad was old school, you know.


I mean, he I remember getting a phone call you got ringing that really, you know, and it was because my cousin to come over from Australia, he would only ring if it was really, really report. So I would do my normal birthdays and Christmas and that was enough.


And no news was good news in my family. My my dad sort of knew the score.


He would know about me coming back from a tour. I wouldn't tell him when I was going.


So we had that that relationship.


So, you know, we weren't close, close. But I think it was just after Christmas, we knew he'd been diagnosed and it was terminal and things I and my sister said, you need to come down, you need to come down.


And I know that she was being a bit overreactive when her husband rang me, said, you now need to come down. So I'll come down. And I went in and literally they're all watching is every breath.


You know, their eyes were like pithos in the snow. They've had no sleep for like 24 hours. So I'd just flown in, hadn't seen them for months.


I said, right, I'm just off to my friend's house and not what I said, because, you know, you guys tomorrow will be useless, you know? I mean, I just the military just kicked in. We need to sentry's we need routines.


And I remember my mum calling me from Manchester. Think you need to calm down. It's like, you know, they're they're upset. You deal with death differently than they do.


But like you said, the eight hours I had with my dad, you know, that was the longest I had. And, you know, for me, I'd said my goodbyes and I just went a bit that was twenty fourteen.


It was the same year that evacuated the Canadian embassy.


When I came back from that trip, I did the same thing again. I sat down and my normal stop would be to, you know, service and service my kit ready for the next phone call.


And one of my shirts was covered in blood. I'd administer first aid, a traffic accident at the border. So I said to my wife, I said, can we get the the blood out?


Could yeah. I want to know what is blood in there. And I sort of said, well, I've just evacuated the Canadian embassy. And she has another throwaway comment. Like you told me, your dad just died. So actually, we sat down that evening down to bottles of pool and yet tears flow in.


And really what it was, is actually I hadn't come to terms with the fact I'd left the Special Forces.


I was still trying to match the adrenaline rush that I had when I was still in.


So everything even approaching the fact that my father had died, that hadn't hadn't sunk in.


So as you mentioned earlier, and it takes a whole brigade to evacuate. So, you know, I didn't have that top cover. I didn't have the helo support that the guys coming in. So that's when the the pin drop for me that something needs to change. And it was actually all about communication.


And I built up inside me and it was that evening it really kicked in. Your dad's not here. It don't have to prove a point any more. So, yeah, it was a big if you could just go dead or divorced as well.


So, you know, I'd reached that T-junction. I was I was going to die or not have a family if I didn't change the way my lifestyle you are.


One of the things that you breezed over is when you when you did the World Cup in Brazil. And I'll just jump into it. It was at the Brazil versus Cameroon game that I got a chance to catch up with a friend of mine. He was there representing the football association because his brother couldn't make it happy that my clients were secure with the other lads. I left my place and went to the presidential box to meet my mate from the army.


All right, Stathi, he said, How are you, mate? I asked him. We'd met back in 2007 at a joint tactical air controller, joint terminal attack controller JTR course held at R.A.F. Leming.


There were eighteen students. And when we've been told to behave towards a certain individual, as we would to anybody else in the forces, no special treatment. It was on the second day that we hit it off. When we were being given our callsigns from the back of the room, I'd made a joke at his expense and there was a sharp inhalation of breath as everybody waited to see how it would look or see how we would see how he took it.


He laughed, and that was how I came to be paired up for the rest of the course with Prince Harry, who is one of the most decent blokes you could meet. He's a military man through and through. And I think part of the reason he loved the army so much was that he could just be himself. He was comfortable in this environment and he could handle his rank and job as well as any other soldier I'd met. It was great to see him in Brazil, not because he was a prince, but because he was a comrade from my days in Keat, just like one of the boys.


How long was that course? So that's a six week course that we're going back now to 2007 and you know, R.A.F. Leemon, he's got all your fighter pilots, you know, your tornadoes and you fires, you know, with a with their brown shoes, probably. And the and literally that RFLP they the jet at course is a wooden at the end of the runway, you know, no one even knows we're there. So I remember walking in the room and clocking him.


He's probably about 23. So basically this is when he he wanted to go on his first tour to Afghanistan, but he could just go on tour.


You know, he had to have a role within the unit and his commanding officer was an SS guy and said, well, look, go on your geotech course, you could be the regiment or forward air controllers.


So that's what I did. It came on, of course, and like, say, could was there, you know, every man and his dog turned up for some face time with him and, you know, it was cringing. But the back for the lads at about four in the back with two S.A.S. into guys.


And he was literally sat in front of me. And, you know, everyone did their opening address. Harry then left the room and then the commandant was out right.


Gets no preferential treatment, you know, treat him like one of their own, you know, find Harry then comes back in and the first leches callsigns.


So on the course he called Jackpot won the jackpot, won eight. So at least the pilot knows who the student is.


And then, you know, for example, the prefix for special boat service mayhem, some mayhem for free and, you know, Widowmaker for the seats.


So Harry puts his hand up and he says, you know, if successful on this course, don't get a callsign. And I just blurted out, yeah, you're Fox-Pitt one that.


And of course, everyone was just like, you know, you can't say that. I'm sorry. You've just told me to dream not only to be turned over and know, looked at the berry, smiles at me, oh, God, I'm going to get beheaded.


And that afternoon, the sergeant major comes back in and he's that way of randomly picked these jackpot numbers. You'll be working with me.


And he pulled an SAS guy, an SBS guy, Prince Harry, and an R.A.F. officer, and then the other 14, which didn't make sense that we've randomly picked out.


But you could see on the course that was going to go my sort of first exposure to meet him got partnered off. They knew he wasn't going to get any preferential treatment.


And I think you made that quite clear, not quite clear, but also the fact that he he's probably is most comfortable there because he wasn't being critiqued by the media and everyone else. He could be Harry. He could be, you know, Lieutenant Wales and things. And he was actually a good operator.


You know, he's clear and precise over there. He didn't get flustered. And so, no, he is well worthy of that role.


And then we maintain that relationship after that. You know, we did a lot together. We do a lot in charity. And I remember going to we had a big rugby game called the Army Navy each year at Twickenham.


It's like the biggest rugby event, 850000 people turn up. Yeah, they drink more alcohol on that one weekend than every international rugby guy. So he is my wife. And Alana, she didn't really know I knew him and I not long been injured. So my legs and a brace at Twickenham.


And I he texted me, he said, let's catch up in a car park. So we're caught up in a car park.


And this was this is now a training to be a pilot.


And, you know, we started chatting and he said, look, I passed my course on. You make a decision.


You know, whether I fly Apache or links and links is like a glorified taxi driver for General Jones. And when we checked into the the Apache callsigns in Afghan, the prefix is ugly, ugly one ugly, too.


So I said, look, I always tell the lads, go ugly early. And so he that he then messaged me a few days later and said, yeah, I'm going ugly.


So he then goes Apache, fast forward. And a big Special Forces charity event.


And he's he's a guest on my table. And they auctioned off a special boat service like statue silver plated. We've like 40000 pounds. And Harry's beautiful for four years. I knew I knew the bronze one was only seventy five pounds, you know, so I did.


I bought one and I got it.


I got a quite laminate and I said, you know, Harry, I said, congratulations on being ugly, mayhem for free and got delivered to the palace.


But but yeah he you know, he did ten years and did another tour, you know, that was where he was.


He was most comfortable. And that's when we started building our relationship, you know.


You know, he's so tight who people he can trust and to be part of that 13 years later is a big thing. I mean, he knows obviously the integrity of the special forces. You know, you know, I get message all the time. Can you speak to Harry?


Yeah, well, yeah, that's I just I wonder if he's going to end up playing a role a little later.


He is, yeah.


But going back to the dead or divorced section in this book.


So you pretty much you get the message like I'm either going to get divorced or I'm gonna be dead. I don't like either one of those outcomes. So you you kind of stand down from the security stuff and you've got to get a job like a regular job.


So go to the book. Yeah, I needed a job and a lot of suggested I come work with her in the property development sector. It would be a chance for me to learn about something outside, kicking in doors and sneaking people out of countries. And because I wanted what was best for my family, I gave it a go. I was about an hour into it before I started to fantasize about launching myself out of the nearest window.


Everything that I'd done in my life, I had done with the ethos of unrelenting pursuit, pursuit of excellence, the unrelenting pursuit of excellence.


And I tried to bring that attitude into the office.


But something was missing. And you spent some time doing that.


And and then she can tell that you're miserable and you're trying to suck it up like a good like a good man. And finally, she says, you know, you look miserable and you're like, yeah, I am. And she says, why don't you want to start biking to the office, start cycling to the office. And it's ten miles. Each way you start doing that, you're starting to. That's cool. Hey, you're starting to get you're starting to get after it, you know, on the bike and trying to beat your times and all that.


And she says, you know, basically you're still not happy, are you?


And you admit to her like, no, I don't like sitting in a cubicle or whatever it is you're doing. And finally, one day she she rolls in on you and, you know, she's holding something. What's that? I asked her. She had a book in her hands, a big one. Alanna threw it at me, read it and pick something.


She said, I looked down at what had landed in my lap. She knew me.


I smiled, opened the cover and began reading Guinness Book of World Record Records.


So. So that's what she did. She threw the book at you and said, figure out which figure out something to do.


Yeah. Yeah. So so a bit about Alana, actually. You know, when when I transitioned, you hear horror stories. When people transition from the military, some can be quite turbulent and some quite smooth.


So when I met Alana, she was a bank manager for all the free the biggest banks in Aberdeen. So when I'm worried about, you know, certain people, she said my first security company on her phone watching TV, you know, not for me is like whether I've tick the right box.


So she she knew about the corporate side, which helped my transition and is a massive part in moving forward.


So when I came back from the Canadian embassy dead of divorcing, it was actually she felt I wanted to go away and I felt that she needed me go away to make money. So it was actually a lack of communication. You know, we sat down, we sort of communicate and she said, well, look, we don't need money.


I've got my own property business, you know, come come with me.


So I said, fine. So this is about five years now from leaving the military to stage in my life. My my injured legs now two kilos lighter than my good leg because of the muscle wastage. So when I was away on these security jobs, if there was a gym there, I took my T-Rex everywhere, you know, very upper body focused and neglected my CV. So I just bought a pushbike.


So I got to look at that, go like that skipping leg. There's always going. I just worried about those guns or anything about that kind of stuff. So, yeah.


So so I bought pushbike off Amazon and I bought some Batman Lycra thinking it was cool. It wasn't. And I didn't know anything about cycling, but straight away, just about eight miles I'm about.


But being physically active, I felt I was a big way off your shoulders. You know, I can't run anymore and I just felt perfect.


But you know when my back story, Santini's architects and planners meeting. So I have no interest in these drawings.


And, you know, me and my wife could see the glaze over my eyes.


You know, I was more interested in the coffee, the biscuits, actually, when my son was born, I was the one holding the baby food, feeding the baby while she was doing all the work. And you just felt like, you know, is this is this all I've got to offer? And I didn't want to be taking those risks. I did before.


So I was about a month before my fourth birthday and I was getting around middle age crisis ground.


And I always remember doing remember reading Guinness Book Records.


So, you know, I always think in cycling because it's not impacting money, you know, maybe I should have it. Well, Ferreiro, Russia's in a minute or something, I'm going to be easier.


But living in Scotland, I was thinking maybe, you know, maybe Aberdeen to Dundee, about sixty miles, my wife, and found the world's longest road, just like from southern Argentina to Nova in Alaska. So I said a joke that she clearly wanted me out of the house, I.


So it's like, yeah, it's fourteen thousand miles. It's called the Pan American Highway, called the Pan American Highway.


So, you know, to give you an idea, because of the curvature, the curvature of the Earth, it's equivalent to cycling from London to Sydney and then another 4000 miles.


It's that, you know, it's 22. So I thought perfect, you know. So having only Saigo less than 20 miles, I applied for the world record, which some people think is quite arrogant, but I thought in my head I said, well no, I have that endurance mindset.


If the knee is not going to be an issue then then why not. Why can't I do it.


So I apply for it to a record. We'll record 125 days at this point. And then six weeks later, Guinness came back and said, yes, you've been successful on your application during this period.


Someone else has already beaten.


The world record is now 117 days, grace already. Forty eight days of my original plan.


So we mentioned Harry already, which is perfect, rolled into this. So Harry and I, you know, we do a lot in charity stuff. You know, he used to come on my table. I had an intelligence fusion cell based in Mozambique, in Tanzania. So, you know, these guys would give me any reports of where the ivory was going from Africa, you know, to the Far East, you know, so I would be pushing this information up the line to Harry who would then be getting out.


So we were doing a lot in charity anyway.


So, I mean, Guinness came back, you know, I rang him up and I said, look, I'm going to cycle the world's longest road and, you know, will record what should we do it?


And the this was 2016.


So his brother and Kate and him were about to launch a campaign in 2017, go heads together, which was a mental health campaign in the military.


I'd seen it first hand, you know, some of my friends, you know, and I wasn't aware how big an issue to the whole of society, you know, it very much everyone talks about nowadays be from postnatal depression, young children, teenagers all the way through. So he said, could I do it for that campaign? I said, yeah. Harry asked, would you do it? You're not going to say no. I said, yeah, of course.


So so I did that.


And then he then introduced me to the Rule Foundation, who deal with all the charity work. And, um, first, you know, you walk in the room and they're like they're probably like, I want to Harry's his mates again.


I sat down and they said, right. First question is, how much are you looking to raise? And if I want to keep them at the table, I said a million pounds and just shout it out.


And the but for me, I wanted the enormity of the challenge to reflect how much, you know, you can't go do like the L.A. Marathon and say you're going to raise a million pounds.


Has to be in comparison. I said fine.


I said, what was your message in him for about how just told me to come in and was erm so I just thought about and I said, well physical activity helps your mental state so you can't use that. I said, well why not.


It was not been scientifically proven. So says fine if I don't need a scientist to tell me that I feel good when I'm being physically active. So I ignored them anyway and carried on promoting. I mean, obviously now is very much recognised. Yeah, it's one of the coping mechanisms.


So so that was the birth of the Pan American Highway Challenge, sort of fell into it by accident.


And the a lot of people doubted you because you had no experience on a bike. You know, these other people that are setting these records, you know, they they that's what their life is. They're experienced racers and whatever else. And you just decided to watch this. Hold my beer.


We sponsored my team.


We did a SWOT analysis that right at the beginning, its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and fres. And the only weakness it came about was my arrogance towards the site and community, which I took as a strength.


And actually, yes, I cleaned it evolved so much from when I was a young boy on a BMX.


And, um, but for me, it wasn't so much about the physical. I I'll deal with that on the time is the planning. You know, one of the things we're good at in the military is that meticulous planning and the detail, you know, even in the Canadian embassy for if you have the right plan and you just bring that, you know, so I just took a military set of orders and put it on air and I just crossed out ammunition.


And that's when I started started putting the plan together.


But I was taking experiences I had in the military from before me sort of putting into this challenge. I love the phrase that you can't be experienced with our experiences. So I've had experiences before. And then what?


How can I sort of transferred onto this?


So one thing we used to do in these special forces, which I thought was great, is not because, like, we're one of the best in the world. It's because you're always evolving, always learning, always changing. And when used to come off the ground, we to do a thing called before we even go clean your weapons in admin yourself.


It's called a hot debrief. You know, while it's still fresh in your mind.


And the three questions that were posed were what worked, what didn't work. And if we were going to do that again, what would we do differently?


So at the time I was reading magazines, I was buying books about cycling, but I wasn't getting those answers I.


I needed and I fought with the best people to speak to those I've done it before you you know, they've been there, they've been on that road, they'll they'll be able give me the answers.


So I did I reached out to the previous record holders and I just posed those three questions.


And I'm getting all the information in all their issues. They would all start in Alaska and finish in Argentina, but all their issues were in South and Central America.


So for me, I was up. But why take a gamble with the second half?


You know, why not get, you know, bureaucracy at the borders? Language is bad for your base. Why not address those issues early?


Then when you get into America, we can then reassess where we are.


So one of the things I was proud of is that I ignored everyone else and I turned on his head. My stop point was from from southern Argentina. So that's that's how I came up with that plan.


But, you know, there's a lot more to it than just grabbing a water bottle and a helmet and cycling. No, you know, I mean, when you put a new plan in together, you know, I had a support team and a documentary team who are very much more risk averse. And myself, you had to be considered in their welfare. So there's things you don't really think about elections. You know, what's the best time? Are you going to go through a country in mid of elections?


Any civil unrest? You know, what's what's going to give you the most advantage season wise? You know, there's there's so much, which is what we do in the military, you know, and that's that's what it was.


And so that's where the planning came from, is from what I picked up before.


And then training wise. Yeah, I then, you know, Harry and I did a little promo video together to promote the challenge.


And once the cameras finished, he said, you know, what training are you going to do?


And I said, well, I'm going to do lands. And John O'Groats lands.


And John O'Groats is the seven point of England to northern Scotland because the Pan American I was 15 of them back to back.


So I said, if I can't do what I was, I going to do 15. So I said, I'm going to do that.


And he said, well, I do it with some of the members, the Invictus Games. I said, Yeah, of course. Again, I don't want to do it with them and embarrass myself.


So I haven't only cycled three weeks.


I rang my mate and I said, I'm going to go to London, John O'Groats and EVMs that. Well, you're not ready. You don't know youngin. Been cycling, you know, bike fit.


And I thought bike fit was fitness. It's actually your measurements to your bike. Oh yeah. So I just fooled me too. Yeah. Yeah. So I set off from Cornwall.


We had first two days was a huge storm storm Mangus the first day I fell off my bike fractured. Must avoid a got to Scotland. It was the coldest it being in ten years. It was minus sixteen. I wrote off the first bike and my friend just went and bought one off the shelf. I did everything completely wrong in the cycling world, but for me, if I couldn't do one, how was I going to do fifteen? And then we then did it six months later with these guys and I was bike fit.


I knew about cadence and things like that. And I understand more. The listeners in UK that London John O'Groats is a is on the bucket list for cyclists.


But for me it was a training ride and I almost had to approach it in that manner.


Yeah. What I like about all this, I mean, it's it's something I've been saying to veterans for a long time, which is, you know, when you get out, you've got to find a new mission. If you don't have a new mission, that's when things start going sideways. And, you know, for you, your first new mission was doing the security stuff and you did that. You attack that and then all of a sudden you had to pull back from that to take care of your family.


You tried the new mission of the cubicle and the the drawings that you, as you call them, that that wasn't a mission for you. Then you got this in your head and now you had a new mission, something to focus on, something to do, a positive thing. And, you know, obviously takes moves you in the right direction. It's just it's a it's a really great example of something that I say all the time that you actually executed.


This is an interesting section in here. It's called Who Dares Win, Who Dares Wins? And you've got to you've got an unexpected call. And the call. The guy says, My name is Andrew Slater. I'm a television producer.


And he had this idea they're going to take Special Forces soldiers.


I'm going to put civilians through some kind of form of some kind of selection.


And as he's doing this, you know, you're he's interested in having you be one of the guys.


Yeah. And the question was, has this been cleared through the Mod, through the Ministry of Defence? And you start running and it's up the chain of command and you're asking if this can happen or not. And then you get this going to the book here. A couple of weeks later, I received the letter. It wasn't exactly a pleasant memo from the Mod. It cut straight to the point telling me to step away from the project immediately. I read over the letter a couple of times to make sure I had everything straight, but it was literally in black and white step away from the project or become persona non grata.


Yeah, which is PGT means you're not you're not welcome anymore.


When it comes to decision making. I always listen to my gut instinct and it was telling me loud and clear that I should come. Why would the mods wishes I was the SB's ambassador to Scotland and I enjoyed that role, I enjoyed the SBS Association charity events. I enjoyed being able to visit Pool and Hereford. I had good mates still and both did. I want to cut that away in the vain hope of becoming the next Jason Statham.


The answer was clear. I can't do the show, I'm afraid, mate. I told Andrew no worries, he said. We thought this could be a problem. Have you approached the media about the show? I asked him. You're going to have the same problem with everyone. Unless the show gets cleared and you go on, you end up saying the show went ahead. And as soon as it became public knowledge, there was a shitstorm at the Mod and in Hereford ampoule the production company and the guys had pushed on without the Mod signing off and the SAS and SBS immediately clear declared them persona non grata.


They were not allowed to attend any association events or to be on camp. To give you any idea of how seriously this was taken. I'd heard of a former general who was persona non grata being escorted off camp in Hereford from his own from his own friend's wake. I didn't want to see that happen to the guys, but it was their decision and not for me to question personally. I felt that this sense of community was important for my own happiness.


And that wasn't worth giving, worth giving up. I like the lads. They're very close friends. And so I felt for one of them. Later that year when I saw him at a black tie event held by the regiment, he'd come as the guest of someone who is still serving. But when the RSM saw him, he was asked to leave.


He was he looked absolutely gutted. And who am I to blame him? It was in many ways like being cast out of a family.


So it's interesting, too, because the reason that was interesting to me is because then you wrote this book. Yeah, but obviously you clear this book through the Ministry of Defense. I've written a I've written forty nine books or whatever the number is at this point. And, you know, again, it's always very you know, I remember the conversations around when I hadn't written a book and just saying, like, we're not going to do anything that sheds any light, that puts anything.


We don't have anything bad to say about the military, about the SEAL teams. Like that's that's not what we're doing. We're obviously not giving away any information that could be useful at all to the enemy.


And, you know, that's obviously of, you know, when when we ran these books, when I ran these books through the chain of command, you know, we it was like direct calm's with people that I knew and that were in the military and senior ranking positions. And they read them and said, yeah, these are good to go. And, you know, I had a great senior officer who said, you know, we're quiet professionals, quiet professionals, but that doesn't mean we're silent professionals.


They're stories that need to be told. There's lessons that need to be passed on. So, you know, look, you never feel good about it because we're we're we're not we don't want the spotlight. You're never going to feel good about it. And there's always going to be guys that are going to look at you and say, oh, you know, there you are in the spotlight. And that they're they're totally I understand them because I was that guy, too.


And so I get it. And there's that's just the reality of the situation. But it was interesting to see how you had to go through that and and make those decisions yourself.


Yeah, I think I think to me at the time when when Andrew came up and I said, your name keeps coming up, fine.


And there was an old documentary is called Sassy Tough Enough. It was a massive failure. And I was out. That's all I had was visions of that.


So it went on and ended up being one of the most most successful film episode on Channel four. And the two guys I got on it, you know, one of them had just come out, you know, got kicked out the military him and he went to prison, you know, for him, you know, there was no other option for him.


So he it was a lifeline.


And then the other guy, Foxtail, to his folks that he he had post-traumatic stress, but he had post-traumatic stress because his time served in the Special Forces.


He couldn't work in the private security sector for so for them guys, it it perfect for them. You know, they had a means of income for me at the time.


It didn't work because I was smuggling people across borders. And, you know, I was a really close relationship with Harry, you know.


So at the time, it then didn't look right that you were on TV. I'd say it wasn't.


You can't do it.


It's not, because as you touched on it, people can learn from the military and these sort of grateful that what upset the military with it was that they filmed it and then flank them, you know, so I've maybe now I'll get my book out and things.


I you know, I'm still part of the group. I do charity work, but I've been transparent in everything I do. And they understand I think it was just the way that they'd gone about it, in the fact that they caught me by surprise, but fitted for the two guys I got on the show. You know, they've now got successful careers in that.


And they probably if they didn't have this show, they'd probably really be struggling, you know, coming out of prison, having post-traumatic stress.


But obviously, the military also need to understand that it's a different world. You know, social media. You know, for me, when I was in, it was a taboo of talking about before.


You know, there is a way of communicating. And obviously, as long as you don't give away certain things, then you can there's nothing that you can't get from the Internet and that's it.


And a lot of it is actually jealousy.


You know, a lot of it is actually jealousy from those still in because they're not in that position that they can they can do that. But for me at the time, I just it just didn't didn't fit. Right.


I'm going to fast forward a little bit, you know, you you're just training and you're fundraising and you're getting ready and you're doing all these taking all these skills that you learn from the military for planning and endurance and mindset. And you and you get to a point where you're going to launch this thing and, you know, you're you're supported on the ground.


This is just so you mentioned it, but you're supported on the ground by a sports massage therapist, a bike mechanic, a medic, a two man camera crew that will be gathering footage to make a documentary about the event. It was a big team, but with the exception of the documentary crew, everyone was doing it pro bono. So it wasn't a huge strain on our sponsors.


And then finally, we get to shortly after dawn on one February twenty eighteen, I went with my team to the starting point of the Pan American Highway. I had twenty two thousand kilometers ahead of me and one hundred and ten days to do it. No crowds, no big send off. Start freaking pedaling. Yeah.


And you you cover a lot of this in the book, you know, talking about what what that's actually like. What is what you're going through. The wind, the, the crashes, the traffic, the heat, the cold, the illness, the just the mayhem.


You know, you talked about you go through four seasons while you do that, you go through all four seasons.


And so then you're making progress.


And then one time I'm going to the book here.


I got instantly worried when I stopped for lunch and saw I missed four calls from Alana. Usually she would just leave me a message asking me to call her back. I worried that something had gone wrong with the funding for the challenge or worse still, that something was up with Molly or Tommy.


Your kids I face time for what's wrong. I asked, what do you wear to a royal wedding? Alana said, I had no idea what she was talking about.


What do you mean? What do you wear to a royal wedding? She said again, then lifted up a card so I could see it a lot. And I had been invited to Harry and Meghan's wedding. I didn't see that one coming. I told her honestly, Harry was a mate. But a royal wedding isn't for a few beers in the local. When is it? Alanna smiled. She knew that I'd know the date was the date I was due to finish in Alaska off by heart, nineteenth of May, she said, and I heard myself groan.


That was four days earlier than I was expected. Expecting to break the world record. The last flight you can catch is on day hundred and two.


You better put your foot down so you get the invite to go to the big wedding. Yeah.


So set the will recall was one hundred and seventeen days. And when I was doing my planning, I thought, you know, contingencies, those things that are out of your control bit, natural disasters, coups and things. That's awful. If I encounter any of them on the challenge, you know, I don't want to eat into the challenge to my target was one hundred and ten days. And it's because we had that that fudge.


So you give yourself seven days of fudge. I gave myself seven days of seven days of fudge. It should be something out of control. It wasn't even into record time. It was eating into that. I mean, I'd done all my planning on that other thing called the Bible. I knew every inch of the road we'd planned out on paper, had on digital.


We know South America. I did it in forty eight days. It will record was fifty eight days. So I took ten days off the first world record. And as you touched on, you know, you had food poisoning and you had, you had everything else.


But it was things that I didn't see as well. You know, when I was putting the plan together, the medic I had to send home, you know, it's not in the book, but I had to send the medic home on day thirteen. It was pulling the documents is like, my God, the bike ride was actually easier than managing egos, egos, you know, because they're pro bono.


They all start one in one in more from the challenge as they saw evolving. And thankfully, my wife was a campaign director. She was sort of managing keeping control of that. We got to I talked about, you know, going from south to north. That was a great decision. From a second perspective, I got tailwind all the way through crudites, five, 2500 kilometres tailwind.


But every checkpoint, every border, we're having to swap vehicles. That was slowing us down.


So the plan was to have an RV and a four by four ship from Fort Lauderdale to to Panama. So then when we did the second part, a challenge that would take us all the way to Alaska, I was in Ecuador and my wife rang me and she said that the vehicles haven't gone on to the shipping container.


She cried.


So thankfully, my wife and my P.A. and to my mates had foresight. They flew over to Fort Lauderdale and they drove the vehicles four thousand miles in eight days.


My wife left the kids a Mother's Day back in the UK and they drove it all the way to Panama. I broke the world record in the morning, flew across the Darien Gap and they just handed the keys over, you know, sort of integral part of this challenge. You know, people see you on social media. It's the team around you that I don't see. We didn't get to Mexico and the mechanic and a soft tissue therapist.


These are new terms and conditions. I'm now. Project manager, we're going to change the name to this. Here we go. You know, this has been going on for nearly two months now. They said you can't do this with ours.


I left them in Pueblo.


Hold my beer on my back, my mate, and then drove the RV and then we just pushed on it. We didn't have a mechanic, but we weren't far from the American border. So when I got to the American border, I got the American border on day 70 and I was 14 days ahead.


It will record. I didn't realize how important it was getting to America. I don't know whether it was because everyone spoke our language. I wasn't on Google Translate for the last two and a half months. You know, the culinary options were better or probably because the previous record holders or their issues were in South and Central. If I left all that behind me now, it should be a smooth road. And also the fact that if there is any mechanical issues, we can just get another mechanic.


You know, we can find a massage parlor. That was the hardest thing for my wife, trying to find a massage parlor, which is the right massage parlor. And so getting into America was up 14 days ahead.


Perfect. And then I had that phone call there, which is great. But I was now going into that phone call was 14 days ahead.


Ten minutes late. I'm now a day behind.


So all the efforts I've done up until then, all that drama, not that it meant nothing is like you've now got a new objective.


So cycling in South America because of the sport team and documenting being risk averse, you know, I had to consider them. So I had to cycle from first light to last light, and that was it. And I was off the road again in South America is a lot more safer. So I could cycle at night.


And I got to Lubbock, Texas the next day and 60 mile an hour winds and tornadoes. I was grounded for another another 24 hours. So was now two days behind my new target. So, again, I just looked at the plan, looked at the paperwork. There's an app on your phone call, Windi TV. It's quite popular with sailors and it gives you the strength and directions of the winds forecasted every hour for the next two weeks. It's about ninety five percent accurate.


It's ninety five percent down. Ninety five percent. It's a great it's a great app.


Yeah. And it was known as my second wife on this because I was just always looking at windy TV. So for me to get out a little bit at a cycle three hundred forty miles in forty six hours to miss the next weather window. And that's what I did with North America. I just played chess with Mother Nature through North American Majority. Cycling was done at night because you know the winds up. Yeah, less wind got to Cheyenne, picked up the 50 mile an hour winds and so cover two hundred and sixty miles in 11 hours cycling.


So I was also using it to my advantage. So I, I gained at that time I had about seventeen days originally on. I did it in eleven and a half and I foot perfect.


And then we got to a town called Whitehorse about a week outside from the end. And I thought, you know, we'll record you're going to this wedding, let's get by grizzling.


And then this gentleman is this guy's come on on social media that day, professional cyclist, he's already got three hour endurance world records, mid 20s, sponsored by all the big brands, Red Bull. And he's he's announced that he's going to do the Pan American Highway in August, be the first man to do it 100 days. So that's great.


So every time I thought I'd met my objective, you know, then moved.


But thankfully for me, if I'd known about that, start the challenge, if I'd known about the wedding, known about this guy, you know, I may not have pushed I may have pushed myself too hard. But for me, when I received that information, I was in a position that I could act on it. So, yeah, I sakova, you know, the last two days I had 250 miles to do. And it's Dalton's highways where I feel my truck is, and it's that road there.


And I thought, well, I did 250, I do 150 miles today and 100 miles on the last day when I'm in my family, my wife, my kids are on on the on this oil field improved by the end. So I know they're only a couple of days away. Did the first fifty miles and I've got this roadblock at noon and it kills that.


No you can't pass till eight o'clock tonight.


So, so, so, so that evening I had to rest for eight hours and you're not rested am and I just cycled from eight o'clock that night. Seven o'clock in the next night. Two hundred miles in minus eighteen to make sure I came in in ninety nine days and twelve hours.


So I talk about the importance of planning but actually. The success of this was being reactive to the situation on the ground, you have a plan that's great, you have a stop when you have an objective. But, you know, if things change, is the best plan survives first contact, and that's what it was. It's being reactive to that situation and not even to the very last day. I was having to change change the plan.


Yeah, even that. Even when you talked about the fudge factor, which some people were a plan that and just had. Oh, OK. I got to do it in two hundred and twenty five days or one hundred, twenty three days. Cool. That's what they're going to book. They don't understand all the things, the amount of room that they gives you to make those adaptations when you need to is again that's something we learn about, that things are not going to go smooth.


That's the one big I can promise you. I'll read one more thing out of the book here.


Athletes talk a lot about visualization and how they had imagined their final moment of victory again and again and again. I'd done the same. But now that I drew close to the finish line, my moment was nothing like I had ever imagined it. This was no ride along the Champs Tilley's with me leaning back in the seat with my hands in the air. I clung on to my handlebars for dear life, hitting one patch of black ice after another. My face was covered in frozen snot.


My muscles were shaking from fatigue and cold, and every blast of arctic wind caught through me to the bone. But I made it.


And there you go, you skated to the finish line, I pulled my wife and kids into a hug, I was so exhausted that I probably can't remember when I said I was probably talking gibberish, but I'd miss them all so much. And they got big kisses from their dads, cracked lips. Molly was aware of what was going on and full of beans, but Tommy was in a world of his own.


I thought it was I thought I must be hallucinating when I saw the lady from Guinness was braving the cold in tights in a skirt. But there wasn't one ounce of discomfort on her face. As she presented me with my record, I was now the record holder for the fastest cycle of the Pan American Highway, completing at ninety nine days, which also made me the first person to ever do it.


In under one hundred I hug my wife, but unlike in Cartagena, this wasn't the place to stand around for a post certificate photo shoot. Let's get to the hotel. I told my family and team as we piled into vehicles, leaving the frostbitten finish line behind us.


So you made it and but that's not the end, that's not the end. It's not the end of the book. And it's definitely definitely not the end of the path that you're on right now.


Yeah, because you needed a new mission, right? Yeah. Tell us tell us what's up. What's your next challenge? Where where are you headed next?


Yes, sir. My USP is you know, I take a sport or discipline I've never done before and find the biggest challenge, the biggest challenge. So I've been arrogant towards the cycling community is now going to be the kayaking community. So the next challenge is to kayak the River Nile, the world's longest river from source to sea.


So it's never been done before. So unlike there where I can speak to previous record holders, it's not been done before. So the plan was obviously to do it last year. And of Jakovčić, you know, Scoppetta that. And that's why I'm here in America. You know, whilst the world is Porres, let's get over here, get set up and get ready for that. So, yeah, four thousand two hundred eighty miles. But, you know, unlike truckers and support team, you've got a worry.


I've got crocodiles, hippos, civil war in South Sudan.


But one thing I'm excited about this challenge. You know, I talk about we talk about the successful private security missions. You know, everyone's quite quick to tarnish certain communities, you know, with one brush and what they see with TV. You know, if it wasn't for those local communities being so hospitable, I wouldn't have been successful on them.


And that's where they Africa now is going to be great because I'm going have to rely on the locals to help me. And so, you know, it's not a world record.


Whatever I do is the world record. Um, but one day. So that's the next challenge. But one of the big feedbacks in the book is, yes, great endurance. But you are the security guru. Why are you still not in this industry? So for me, I've got a niche security company in a very low key.


We help either corporate or high net worth and things, not because paddling and cycling doesn't put food on the table.


My wife keeps reminding me so. But yeah. So I've set a date for the February next year and we sell and she can be.


So you've got a team, you know, obviously that's doing the security work under your guidance. What's the how do people get in, get in contact with you for that type of business?


So, you know, originally I wasn't going to have a website and things like that.


But, you know, we will have a website based password-protected because for me, my approach to security is know there are certain ways the security of us is more intelligence based. You know, you have the private element.


You know, we then have the intelligence side of it and then and then cyber you know, we don't you know, I don't normally walk around with tight black T-shirts with tattoos.


You know, we blend in and things that and it's just having that approach that I've used before. So, yeah, you go to my website, you can get in touch with them. But the new website can. And that's what I've been doing these last four months, is set up the business preparing for denial. And next and your website is Dean Start.


I was calling you Dean Scott. I'm sure you've been called that a million times. I was called I was calling you Dean Scott or Dean Scott. My wife was calling you Dean Scott. So it's Dean. Scott s t o t t dotcom.


Yes, it is. Where we can find you also. You're on Facebook, Dean start SB's.


You're on Instagram, which Echo only calls the Graham at Dean Start.


It's real quick on the Nile.


What's what's like the major challenges there. What's the what's what's the hardest level rapids. They have their submerges.


Falls is the most powerful waterfall in we grade six, grade six waterfalls. But the problem you have with the water hoses, they take the crocodiles and hippos from Lake Victoria and put them in Murcheson. So when you come down there, they're all in the pool to the bottom.


So originally when we were going to if it were recalled, I said, oh, you can only use one boat.


That's just not going to be feasible in a 93 percent. And now it's quite flat. So we'll use like almost like a ski to go on that, but then use a creek boat for grades three to four and then a raft will have to use a raft on some of those big ones.


Are you going to have like a sniper overwatch for crocodiles and stuff?


There's going to be a guy coming, a guy called Meridith, actually, he's he watched his friend get by a croc kayaking in the DRC, you know, so he knows in all inside out, you know, he's talking about throwing stones. I'm thinking using something a bit more powerful, but localized.


You know, I want to bring as many locals in as I can because especially the fishermen, they know them waterways better than anyone. So if there's crocs and hippos in that pool, I'll just portage it.


I'm going to paddle for a walk, walk around it message wise. You know, we one thing we're passionate about is modern slavery and human trafficking. And we're thinking of using this challenge to promote that.


But then that's sort of challenge in just one campaign.


The great thing about the Nile is, you know, it's the lifeline of Africa. We can talk about poverty, pollution, covid, you know, so we're going to. Talk about the so many so many things along the challenge, do you have a date plan to launch that first in February ourself? Oh dang.


Next year, one year. Yeah.


Wait a second. You have to have a start point. I genuinely have to have a stop. I don't have a stop point.


Then to start. Just start point becomes never. Yeah. Guns never keeps moving to the right. You have a start point and then you can start approaching sponsors and start working back from that. So it gives me a year now to train at Newport Aquatics. And and you know, when look out, you know, get a get sponsorship.


The book is called Relentless that the subtitle is From SB's to World Record Breaker Echo.


You got anything else?


How's your leg from the parachute situation? Yeah.


So when I actually started the training, I went see a doctor and tested the strength of my quads and my hamstring, and then it was him that identified, you know, your leg is two kilos like that, really. And when I say often the challenge, I've got the muscle mass back and my hamstring was 18 percent less power. But, you know, it's still good.


We're good to go. So does it bother you, like, the day to day stuff? No, no.


I you know, I joke that my wife didn't marry me because I look like Lance Armstrong or Chris Froome. I try not going like or as often as I can, but said, you know, for me and I still try and push. You push on the bike now and then.


Yeah, it was crazy. Yeah. I mean, it's awesome. It's awesome what you've done to support these charities as well. The heads together and and I'm sure you're going to support some some awesome charities for this next event. Paddling the Nile. Hopefully you won't support the charity of free food for hippos and crocs.


But yeah, people can get this book on the air. We'll put a link for it on the website and. Yeah, awesome. You got any final any final thoughts, Dean?


No, I think, you know, when you see the website, you see the frogmen and everyone's out. Why the frog? I always got the question, what's the difference between you and the other guys? And going back to my original one and my reason for going SBX, because I know they're all divers and they weren't. I ended up being the number one frogman.


So for me, I'm not I'm not a cyclist. I love I love the water. So we have the Nile and then another one, which Jocke you're welcome to come along. It's called Surf. And we pirates going to surf the Somali coastline.


Oh yeah. That's fun. That's not surfing with pirates. That's surfing with sharks. Yeah, exactly.


But again, is promote in these, these countries in their amazing countries as well. But obviously being as close to the war as I can.


Yeah. I'm game. I never got a chance to go into Somalia south off the coast of Somalia for months and months and in the 90s waiting to go in. I never got the chance so I didn't get to operate. I'll go get some barrels. Let's let's rock and roll.


Well, there's breaks and beaches with no names, actually. So the plan is to, you know, from the north to the south. But, you know, again, people see what they see on TV and make that assumption straight away. When I was in Mogadishu, again, I work on my own and work with the locals and I was like spear fishing for lobsters and everything. And you wouldn't think you're in Mogadishu because it hasn't been commercially fished for years.


There's a huge abundance of wildlife there as well.


Yeah, I think my wife and when you pick it up, when you when you read the book, you know, it's a team effort. You know, my transition from the military. Wouldn't it be nice if it wasn't for my wife?


We're very much we know our strengths and weaknesses now. My wife can't ride a bike. No, I can. But my wife is very good at all the planning.


And she was key to success or the challenge and the success in my time school.


And I generally believe that anyone can break a world record if you take away all those distractions, you know, the business, the mortgage, you know who's looking after the kids.


And that's what Alana does that really well. And then again, my my young children have No. Nine and four. I saw a joke that when my my son was two and a half the challenge when we finished the challenge, you know, the challenge was older than my son's. I think he just thought I was a cyclist.


And my daughter, she was born after I left the military. So when I tell her dad was a soldier, she said to you and a soldier, so my son thinks I'm a cyclist and my daughter, things in my world were me.


So I sort of joke about that. But again, you know, they're very they very much look up to mom and dad, you know, and they travel everywhere with it. They've been all over the world. I know Alaska, South America and Australia and things that are very lucky to have that. I think people think once you have children as it as you travel and days over, you know, don't let them dictate, you know, your life well.


Awesome. Thanks again for coming on. And and thank you for your service. And Great Britain has always been our strongest ally.


And and we as nations have been through hell and back together in multiple wars.


And we. We can count on you in our darkest hour, so thanks for coming on, sharing some of that with us and good luck. Thank you. Watch out for those hippo's.


And with that, Dean Stot has left the building talking about his incredibly incredible journey. Pretty crazy stories, the the relentless pursuit of perfection. Yeah, it's he writes about that in the book a lot. I only read it once today, but it's in there quite a few times. That mindset, the special the British Special Forces mindset of the relentless pursuit of perfection.


Awesome to have him on here. And thanks for coming on an echo, Charles. Yes, sir.


Speaking of a relentless pursuit of perfection, you have any suggestions that could maybe enable our relentless pursuit of perfection?


We're not going to get there, by the way. Yeah, but we're going to pursue it. Yeah, I will say facilitate.


OK, I said enable, enable and facilitate for sure. OK, look with you.


Are are all of us trying to break Guinness World Records for the book?


We are not maybe not factually. Not every not everyone. Correct. Yes I can say that. But we're on a path.


We're on our own path. Right. And that path is not easy. That's why we're on it. In fact, if it's easy, is it even a path, really? Not really, no. I guess technically it's the path of least resistance. Yes. Watch out for that.


That's a different kind of. We know that it leads downhill that path in particular. And we're not looking for that path. We're not looking for it.


We're not on it. We're not even that's not our gym in any way. But the path that we are on is hard obstacles, pitfalls and traps, wise men once said.


But on that path, you're going to endure or you have to endure some sort of pain.


In your joints depends on what you're doing, obviously, but most people are going to enjoy that. Yes, indoor. Yeah, and look, I'm not saying you should worry about that. And in fact, if you really don't want to worry about that, guess what?


Jacko has some supplements, but that for your joints, OK, we've got don't think there's anyone that's curious about how you're going to bring it all together.


Know like, oh, here it comes. Oh, there he did. He did it again. Hey, look over here trying to sensationalize these things to make them sensational.


And hopefully, I don't think there's anything sensational about it. Here's the deal. You don't want to have joint issues, so you want to do things that take care of your joints. Yes, my joints.


I mean, shoulder, elbow, elbow, knee, neck, whatever you want to call it. If it's a joint in your body, you don't want it to give you any issues. No, you don't want that. No.


So that's why we made joint warfare go to war against that to that degree.


Hey, you ain't crude oil, by the way. Super oil. Yes. Yeah. So now we don't even have to worry about that stuff. So there's a lot of things that you should be concerned about on this path. Distraction, temptation, if you will, your friends sometimes.


And let's face it, your joint. You know, I don't want to have to worry about that and stuff.


Take the joint warfare every day with the super oil every day, and you will not have to worry about that kind of stuff. Yeah, that's how it works.


Get the subscription. Yeah. So check it out. We are trying to make things easier so you can stay on the path more. So right now, everything at JoCo Fuel, if you subscribe to it, then the shipping is free. And look, we obviously we are we understand that there's people that don't want to give their money to some giant companies. Right. This is part of it also. So they don't want to give money to giant companies, but big sometimes big giant companies ship stuff for free because they got this mass, you know, economies of scale and stuff.


We understand that. We understand that. So if you go to JoCo fuel dot com and you subscribe to anything, we're going to ship to you for free. You have to give your money to some big giant company.


You don't have to do that. It's fine. We're here to refuel dot com subscribe, get joint warfare, get super crill, get discipline, get vitamin D three for your immune system. Get Cold War for any of these things, Molk. Multi flavors. I just had I just rotated Molk, would you go into a milkshake?


Would you go from the peanut butter one to rotated? No, not the flavors are rotated into a daily or more specifically, a nightly. Got it.


I put a banana in there. I think that's how four from indefinitely. That's just how right now get the kids on board.


My kids are all about these different additives, you know.


Yeah, I'm good. Yeah. They can get a subscription for the discipline cans. Yes you can.


Yeah. So that's what we're doing.


Yeah. So this one cans. That's for like us who, who kind of like are kind of down for the energy drink scenario but are not down for the toxicity sugar and all these bad elements that most of the time come with energy drinks.


That's what they do, cover the energy drinks unless you get these energy drinks. Exactly right. And that's exactly my point. So, yes, the discipline go in. It can there's also powder. There's also pills. You can also get some stuff.


You can get the cans at Walwa and you can get all the stuff at the vitamin shop as well. And also, if you are doing jujitsu, which is recommended. Yes. Look, this you want to talk about something you're never going to be you're never going to achieve. Perfection in jujitsu is definitely one of them. But it's going to help you in a lot of different aspects. You're going to do jujitsu, go to origin and get yourself a geek, get yourself a Rakhat.


And since you can't wear a GI or a rash guard where you can depend on her represented in a rash guard in the supermarket, he doesn't care all day, all day.


So what are you going to wear on your legs? Right. Are you going to wear pants to the supermarket?


Low probability. Low probability.


How about you wear a pair of jeans, cool origin jeans made in America, origin sweatshirts made in America, this all origin beanies, whatever we all made in America boots.


I hear some new stuff coming out with the boots scenario. I'm no I'm in no position to talk about it, but I hear good things from, you know, Pete Chalamont and we're trying to make stuff happen, that's for sure.


Origin, main dotcom, all kinds of American made products where we are bringing manufacturing back to America.


Yes, it's true. Also, JoCo has a store, so JoCo store Dotcom is where you can get this one equals freedom stuff, shirts, hoodies, hats, like that kind of stuff.


So we've got this political freedom. We got good. We got stand by to get some we got get after it anyway. Like I said, That's where if you see something cool on there that you want to represent while you're on this path, that's where you get it 100 percent. We also have something formally known as the t shirt club whack.


It's not really a club. I guess it's just it's a it's a solid kind. It is a club, to be honest with you. But it's called the shirt locker. New shirt every month, boom, buy new you don't mean like, oh, it's just a new shirt, it's a new design. He designed the shirt. It's kind of an OK, I'm going to use the word.


I'm going to use it exclusive because you can't get it in the store. Otherwise you see him saying, so you sign up for this.


So people that are like really into the game in the game on the path they're representing hardcore.


Yes, that's it. So, yes, JoCo saw dot com.


Also subscribe to this podcast and you can do that wherever you get a podcast because you have JoCo unraveling, which which I can tell you, Darrel's in the house where we're on it. I apologize. It's been a while, Darrell, wrapping up a bunch of stuff in his world. And so now we're going to get back in the game. They're grounded podcast. Where am I even making claims on that?


I know we're not making OK yet.


We're your kid podcast. I will make claims on. Oh, that one will get on it. You can also join us at the underground. Underground is where we're putting some alternative podcasts, maybe some amplifying information, some a little behind the scenes, we're going to do a Q&A. You just tell me about some Q&A. People can send video questions, audio or audio or video questions, and you might be like actually featured on it, like your voice.


So, you know, clear your throat. So Midem boom work. It'll be good. I'll make an announcement on where to send them.




On what, like a Twitter, Instagram, Caesarea or something like that. You'll know. Yeah, you'll know. And this is all from JoCo underground dot com. And look, it's cost eight dollars and 18 cents a month. This is the platform that we control.


So there's no buddy that's going to tell us what to do.


No sponsors are going to tell us what platform to tell us what to do. We're going to do what we want to do regardless. And it's eight dollars and 18 cents a month. And if you can't afford that, that's OK. We're not here to gouge. You know, if you can't afford it, email assistance at JOCO Underground dot com. And that's a little idea that I heard from Sam Harris. Sam Harris, same thing. Can't afford it cuz he we're not I'm not trying to hold back information, actually trying to keep information free flowing, because if something ever happens to these platforms, we're going to need something somewhere to go.


We'll have it. Little contingency plan is in action. So appreciate the support over there. It's true.


Also, we do have a YouTube channel for the video version.


This podcast went to see what everybody looks like and see what Dean looks like. Dean Stot, Nancy, by the way, if you want to see what Dean start looks like, you're going to need these.


You can check it out. Well, some excerpts on there, yeah, and also I do a lot I do a lot of work as the assistant director with a lot of these videos. So if you see something you like, just let me know that you enjoyed my assistant directing.


I feel like we all kind of enjoyed your ten list of 10 things that you utilize on the Daily News.


So I think I think that was kind of a cool little hit that you guys kind of you know, I mentioned that my daughter kind of drove the. The spirit behind that and people think I think people think that that meant that she made it kind of did. Well, she did, but during the editing she did.


You get director credit? Yeah, she looks straight up. Good job. Step it up.


Yeah, I do. A lot of assistant directing. Yes, sir. I understand.


Also, Origin USA has a little YouTube channel. You can check that out if you want to keep you updated as to what it's like to grow a business. Yeah, that's a good one. Yeah. They put all kinds of cool stuff on their main tie. Yeah.


Yeah. Pete, you be little.


They're up there getting after it. You know what it's kind of like like, you know, when you go to work, like let's say you go to work every day and you kind of let's say, I don't know your manager, I don't know whatever. You go to work every day and you kind of get updated when you go in about, OK, what's currently going on, what's the status of this?


It's kind of like that when you when you watch, like, the YouTube things or sorry, the the Origin YouTube channel or HD. Yeah, that's the one I worked in HD.


That's what I watch. The interesting thing is, like if you watch a reality television show, what they do is they take a bunch of people with, like, weird personalities. I'm not saying in all cases, but this is kind of a stereotypical thing. Take a bunch of people and then they can fight with each other about whatever, right? Yeah. And it creates drama for your TV show. And then people watch it because they like to watch a train wreck.


The thing that's cool about about what we're doing at Origin, when you see behind the scenes, it's not it's not the team fighting with the team. It's like, hey, how are we going to make this work? How are we going to get the right materials? How are we going to get this in production? How are we going to satisfy this this clients that we've got or the customers? How are we going to take care of them?


So it's that it's that struggle.


It's not a struggle against there's no there's no like reality television drama. Yeah. The producer like to and this is what they do.


By the way, from what I hear, it's not like I watch this kind of stuff, but I hear that they'll be like, hey, like there's little writers there that'll be like, hey, look, we're going to send these people on a trip to the Bahamas. And, hey, you like you got to you got to say that you don't want to go because of what this lady said, like last month on Instagram or something like this.


And you better tell her and we'll just see how it plays out kind of a thing. See, and just like your point, though, how whack that is.


Well, you know, at the end of the day, I agree, but it makes for good, cheap entertainment, you know. But yeah. So you see the origin one and it's like, yeah, it's not scripted drama. It's like the actual drama that comes with running and maintaining, growing like a business or whatever. So, yeah, if you're interested in like how to run a business and what just the whole of that whole environment and the process, all that home is where it gets real interesting.


Very interesting check.


So we got that also we got an album called Psychological Warfare. Just me talking to them through your moments of weakness.


We got flip side canvas dotcom, which is Dakotah Myers company.


Hang stuff on your wall that'll keep you on the path.


Got some books, obviously relentless, from SBS to world record breaker by Dean. Stop.


We have that up. We haven't linked linked books from the books, from the final spin a story.


Is it a poem? Don't know. Is it a novel? Don't know. I wrote it but I don't know what to call it. If you want to try and categorize it, you're going have a hard time.


The the the literary critics. Yeah, yeah. They're going have a field day with that one. We'll see, we'll see how it shakes out from leadership strategy and tactics.


Field Manual. The Code. The Evaluation of Protocol Discipline Code. Freedom Field Manual where the Warrior Kid for Field Manual Way, The Warrior Kid one, two and three Making the Dragons about face by Hackworth.


I wrote the forward extreme ownership and the dichotomy of leadership, also of a leadership consultant consultancy called Echelon Front Echelon from Dotcom. We solve problems through leadership. If online, if you want training for you, for your company on leadership, if you want to get aligned, go to EAF online dotcom. We got the muster. Twenty twenty one.


Go to extreme ownership dotcom if you want to come in, if you want to come and get after it with us, you want to meet a bunch of people that are all moving forward on the leadership path.


Everything we've done is sold out. These are going to sell to.


So come early if you want, if overwatch, if you need leadership inside your team in the civilian sector and you want someone from the military that understands the principles we talk about all the time, go to f overwatched dot com.


And if you want to help service members, active duty service members, retired service members, their families, Gold Star families, check out Mark Lee's mom.


Mom, please. She's got a charity organization. And if you want to donate or you want to get involved, go to America's Mighty Warriors, a dog.


And if you want more of my if you just you're sitting there thinking, I could really use some more of Juncos interminable reading or we need more of EKOS unrelated revelations.


You can find us on the website, on Twitter, on Instagram or Frico, the Grim and on Facebook, EKOS Adequate, Charles and I am at JoCo Willing and Dean stop.


Is that Dean start SB's on Facebook and Dean start Stoate on the ground.


And thanks to all military members around the world and tonight, especially to the United Kingdom.


And I know that we rebelled against you to form our own nation, but we became allies and we thank you for standing by our side on the battlefield, the little island with the heart of a lion and to our police and law enforcement and firefighters and paramedics and EMTs, dispatchers, correctional officers, Border Patrol, Secret Service and all first responders.


Thank you for your continued service and for being there for us when we call and to everyone else.


Let me ask you this, what are you doing? What are you doing? Are you doing everything you can? Are you? Who you want to be? Are you who you are, you who you are capable of being? Are you engaged in a relentless pursuit of excellence? And if you are good that if you aren't, well, then you just might want to pick a goal and go get after it. And until next time, Zakho and JoCo out.