Tuesday, October 2, 2018

El Salvador, A War Story With a Reunion

El Salvador, 25 years later...A War Story of sorts with a Reunion.

One of the greatest blessings in life next to family is good friends. I had the honor to serve in El Salvador right at the end of the 12-year Civil War

We were there to do an HCA, or Humanitarian Civic Assistance as it was called then. Our job was to build a school, put in a water system and run a medical mission.

I was the senior medic at the time, up for promotion to SFC, or Sergeant First Class. That's a great privilege to earn as that rank requires Department of the Army approval.

Sadly, we had a Sergeant Major die while there. I was blessed to be with good medics and we were able to save his life and keep him alive long enough for his family to say goodbye. (His Obituary story is the 3rd one down from the top.)

There was a special thing in those days, called an OPAT. They were the special select 55, "Special Military Advisors" authorized by congress to be in the "Non-Declared War."

I was with one down there, a bit of a legend, we'll just call him, "Booger." We got shot at one evening while doing some work.  It was an interesting night.
Combat Infantryman Badge

I am still good friends with those men.  Boog and I talk regularly. But I haven't been able to see my other brothers in far too long. Trip still serves. Murray's son was a Hero.

We had drinks, made libations to the Fallen, remembered good times, and celebrated life. You can find them both here.  I was thankful to get to have reunions with many brothers and their families on this trip. I used to live and work there and was acting team sergeant for the counter-narcotics team for a while when it was brand new, working with DEA, FBI, and MD State Police. But those stories are for another time. For now, El Sal, Brothers, and Toast to the Fallen.

You can see more pictures from the reunion on my Facebook HERE

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Mykel Hawke Interview by Niece

Mykel Hawke is a huge proponent of education.  Having been kicked out of Junior High and subsequently earning his Masters, he is a huge supporter of everyone seeking higher education in all forms.

To show some of that support, he is sharing this from his niece, Cilla.  She was tasked to do a report on overcoming hardship and try to use family for it.  So she interviewed Mykel specifically on breaking the cycle of poverty as a teen.

Mykel Hawke Interview by Niece "Cilla" on Poverty and Education

Cilla question #1)  What was it like for you growing up?

We grew up exceptionally poor, in part due to the fact that no one in the family had any higher education, which of course excluded many higher paying jobs and left most folks trying to survive on very little.  If both sides of your family come from other poor families, the net effect is often even more poverty.  This doesn't take away anything from a good home and loving family, it just means you're poor.

Cilla question #2)  What were some difficulties you faced? 

When you're poor, the potential for most good jobs is almost non-existent.  You don't have the ability to make a resume, much less the clothes for a job and the thought of a car, phone and sometimes even a home simply don't exist as an option.  So it leaves mostly manual labor jobs or work where they provide a uniform and you can walk or bus to and from the job is about the most one can expect when poor.   In the old days we did not have cellular phones, and many folks didn't even have a phone at home.  Often we didn't even have a TV, maybe just a radio.  Computers and the Internet were not even invented--for us, they were "SciFi" things of the future!  That said, college was simply not an option or even a thought in most poor folks minds.  Unless your family was rich, poor people never went to college unless they were blessed to get some rare scholarship.  But even those were only given if you went to high school.  In the old days, many folks dropped out at 16 to go to work and if they were motivated, they would work hard at night for 6 months to a year to try and get a G.E.D.

Cilla question #3)  What were some responsibilities you had growing up? 

It's funny to me to see how much things have changed, as a 50+ year-old man born in 1965.  We used to start working at 8-12 years old mowing lawns and raking leaves for folks in the neighborhood. Then when we got 14 we could work as dishwashers in restaurants or paper boys.  I used to do both as I could do the newspaper delivery route at 4 am, then go to school, and then work after school bussing tables of dirty dishes and washing them.  Dishwashers didn't exist for the most part in the mainstream back then.  On weekends, I would hustle food and drinks at Bingo Halls to old people smoking like chimneys, back when that was allowed, and would make tips for serving people.

Cilla question #4)  How did you overcome any challenges you had? 

As I became a teenager, our economic status was more tangible and palpable. We could see who had money and who didn't by the clothes they wore and if they were clean or not.  Not everyone could afford a washer, and dryers were a luxury item of the rich.  I was in the Chess Club and a Straight "A" Student since elementary school.  My grades were so good, that I was asked to write stories and was let out of classes in 3rd grade to go down the hall and read my stories to the kids in 1st and 2nd grade. By 5th grade, I won the school-wide award for best stories and illustrations.  Despite all that, my poor clothes meant the "Preps" and "Jocks" (preppy kids with nice clothes and grades and athletic kids with the money to afford gym clothes and sports gear) would not talk to such a poor kid as me.  So I ended up hanging out with the poor kids.  They were great kids like any other and maybe in some ways better, as they knew they were judged and relied more on their word and deeds than their clothes and parents' money.   None the less, they did tend to get in trouble and I did end up as a sort of gang leader.  One day in 7th grade, we got into a big fight and some folks were seriously hurt.  The police and paramedics came.   Since I was in the middle, I got caught.  I was expelled from the last month of school and told I was going to have to repeat grade 7. I didn't feel that was fair, so I decided not to return to school.  I then began working at 16 at a Food Lion grocery store.  Since there were no other kids my age, it was easy to excel.  Looking back, I realize now it was likely my work ethic that helped me most. I quickly rose from bagger, to stocker, to checker to assistant manager!  They even brought me on the cash deposit runs to the bank, at 16!  They offered to pay for my GED and send me to college to be a manager.  At that point, while very grateful and honored, I knew I didn't want to be a Food Lion Manager.  I also realized if I wanted a car, a home, a real job with real money, I needed an education. 

The only way available to me, as a poor, junior high school expel-lee, to get college paid for was to join the Army.  They didn't let high school drop outs join.  They also required drop outs to have a GED prior to joining.  However, the Army did let me take the test to see what my abilities were. Recruiters were always looking to get their numbers of recruits in the service each year.  In those days, it was called the ASVAB and is still called that today.  But now, the categories are different.  For my time, the score that mattered was the G.T. That means General Technical, and in some ways is comparable to an IQ test score--your basic smarts.  The requirement to join was at least a 50. 100 was considered very smart.  To be an Officer or Special Forces, the requirement was 110.   I was very fortunate in that despite missing all of high school (4 years) and having been out for 2 years already, and only being 16 years old, I still managed to get a GT score of 121 on the ASVAB.  So they were allowed two exceptions per year and I was allowed to join the Army.  I turned 17 on November 29th and two weeks later, on December 13th, 1982, I was in the Army.  As a result of that opportunity, I went on to get my GED, then my Bachelor's degree in Biology and my Master's in Psychology.  I went on to become a senior Special Forces Sergeant and then a Special Forces Officer. 

So the point of the story is simple: work hard, try hard, study hard, and the chances are you will go far and do well and no matter what, trying to do your best will never hurt and always make you better off.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Guerrilla Course

We're very excited about our new GUERRILLA COURSE.

The Guerrilla Course integrates obstacles like those in Ranger, Seal, and Special Forces Schools combined with Hollywood versions found on shows like American Ninja Warriors.

Special Forces

What's NEW is that we're combining LIVE FIRE shooting with a spectrum of weapons, from pistols, rifles, shotguns, automatic and sniper weapons. No other adventures races out there do that.

The idea was inspired by Mykel working as a competition designer and judge for the International Warrior Competition in Jordan, where all the world's best Military and Law Enforcement Special Operations teams compete in a similar manner.

See these links for more on that:

Warrior Competition Site
Wikipedia Page
Mykel as Designer/Judge (1)
Mykel as Designer/Judge (2)

And what's DIFFERENT is the fact that these will include PRIMITIVE WEAPONS, too. Folks will get to throw knives, hatchets, and spears as well as use sling shots, blow darts, and bows.

What makes the Guerrilla Course UNIQUE is that we'll have levels that start for FAMILIES, ATHLETES, MILITARY, and SPECIAL OPS tiers.

WHY is it called The GUERRILLA Course?

First off, U.S. Army Special Forces, Mykel's background, is the only force in the world that is designated by doctrine to be an UNCONVENTIONAL WARFARE Unit, which is often interchanged with GUERRILLA WARFARE.

See Special Forces Mission UW

Watch the film "12 STRONG," how U.S. Army Green Berets were the best tool for the task after the 9/11 attacks to ride into Afghanistan on horses, link up with local warlords, and overthrow the Taliban with very little resources.

This term literally means little war, and was used by traditional, conventional forces to describe irregular warfare, including skirmishes, resistance and partisan forces. In short, Guerrilla is synonymous with FREEDOM FIGHTER.

And that's what this course is all about--small teams, doing whatever it takes to fight and win. They must run, swim, ruck, climb, shoot every kind of weapon and master every kind of tool in order to overcome and prevail, and they must do so, together, united they stand...

The OBJECTIVE of the Guerrilla Course is to get folks into fighting fitness mind and body and to improve their full spectrum of fighting skills, hopefully introducing new tools to many and getting folks to learn new ways to work together and overcome any challenges they face.

The INTENT of the Guerrilla Course is to not only let folks have fun and do new things, but hopefully to instill a sense of pride in themselves and their country as we are a nation of Freedom Fighters.

Our roots as Pioneers led to us being Partisans during the French and Indian Wars, and to Resistance Fighting Colonials against the tyranny of the British, and finally to full-fledged Freedom Fighters in WWII and 9/11. In short, the intent is to instill pride, strength, and skills of the Unconventional Warrior.

Mykel as Host, Producer, Designer, and Judge on two TV shows about Special Ops Competitions:

ONE MAN ARMY, as seen on Discovery
ELITE TACTICAL UNIT, as seen on Outdoor

We'll be doing it as a family with another married couple, Brian and Michelle Jones. Brian is a retired Sergeant Major, U.S. Army Ranger, and former member of Delta Force, and Michelle is a former Transportation Officer with two combat tours in Iraq.

We break ground this month at their amazing facilities in FLORIDA where many military Special Ops, Other Government Agencies, SWAT, and others train already.

An EXAMPLE of the location facilities

Keep an eye on this space, or follow our social media:

Mykel Hawke on Facebook
Sign up for our Newsletter

For now, we wish you and yourn, all the best from me and mine!
Happy Survivalin' &Never Quit!
Peace & Prosperity
MH sends

Friday, February 2, 2018

Hawke at the SHOT Show

I don't often write things on my blog--perhaps I will begin again...If folks would like, then lemme' know by writing me some way.

As the "inter-web,"said jokingly, grows and changes so swiftly, I've watched it morph from a barely used entity to the most powerful entity on the planet.

That said, we also adapt to our changing environment and in doing so we seek to find the better ways to help make folks lives better.

To that end, I'm sharing this impromptu interview with my good friend and amazing human being, T.J. KIRGIN of TACTICAL SH*T an all-American former cop turned business man, with a style of blunt irreverence that appeals to my nature.

In the interview, I share a bit of news on events, past, present, and future. And while the past is harsh and ugly, it is true and part of our journey.

However, as a result, we have gone in new directions, doing ever better and greater things. So we are thankful for the bad in our lives, that makes us not only appreciate the good, but makes us seek to find the message in the dark times that helps us turn it back into light and overcome and prevail.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Putting the Survival Manual to Good Use

Matt D, Former USMC, Father, Musician, Martial Artist and American Brother, shares this personal review of Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual.

He writes: In 2009 I was gifted with this book. At the time I had a job that required me to spend hours riding and would take the book with me every day and read it; then read through it again annually so that I could retain the information. I did not know it at the time, but there would be situations in my life in the years to come where having this book would prove to be a great help.

After graduating college I had to relocate to Minnesota. It was quite a shock to go from living near the ocean to seeing feet of snow fall in one day. I always loved being outdoors and seeing new places, but unfortunately I had an undiagnosed case of PTSD from my time in the Marines. I became very withdrawn and Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual was the first tool that helped me start to come out of my shell.

One winter I found myself trapped in the woods where I was doing some logging with a friend. It was freezing cold with feet of snow. We climbed to the top of a ridge and took shelter under a rocky overhang. Starting a fire out there was very hard to do in the winter, even with a lighter. When you have PTSD it is not always easy to stay calm, but I had the book on me as it stays in my pack, and I remembered the introduction which tells you to stay calm, commit to coming back alive, and then shows you how to make it back safely. I stuck to the techniques of the book, got some dry tinder from inside of tree and went to work creating a successful fire that no doubt saved our lives.

After surviving on the ridge top I began to go outside frequently, reading through each chapter to learn more techniques. I started to be able to enjoy life again as I spent time in the woods, a place that soothed my soul. I even branched out into free climbing and tracking. What I learned from Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual helped me turn the wilderness into a haven and a sanctuary for myself. I now know what to eat, what grows that works as medicine, how to signal for help, and how to catch food even if I have very little to work with. This is a peace that helps calm fears, anxieties, and insecurities.   The more time I spend in the wilderness the less I have problems with my past.

I also owe part of my health and life to this book as I used it, and the Hawkchete, to keep myself, my kids, and an autistic woman alive and well when our team was forgotten outdoors near the north shore 3 years ago.

If you want to learn to survive I recommend reading this book. If you want something to help you recover and take your life back I recommend reading this book as well.