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Simon Moloney CGC (Conspicuous Gallantry Cross)

by Shaun Kober
March 15th 2021

"I knew exactly who had shot me. That fucker got the drop on me. I could feel the bullet hole, and I was bleeding heavily. Shot through the throat...I know what that means. I've only got ... More

you know what is up guys? Before we get into today's episode, I just want to provide a warning that this conversation does contain a lot of swearing coarse language and dark humor. So if you are easily offended, take this as a warning. Please don't listen to the episode and then leave me a shitty rating and review um if you do enjoy some good quality banter between two blokes who operated at the highest levels within the military and overseas, dealt with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Then tune in and enjoy this conversation. I did have five minutes of panic and real fear, real fear, real real acceptance. I was going to die. I thought I was dead. You know, I won't lie to you for I've got a couple of minutes. So we went out with tried to go out with a bang and I'm panicking, I was gonna do if I fucking part you know, he's got to deal with firefighters to deal with me. five minutes in the medic comes running through the door. He in actual fact has heard me say on the radio, the personal radio and without even asking the groups, the group and he was with he just went awesome off. So has been shot and he started running and the boss is getting over the main radio, but he's heard it on the pr and was just started running.

I believe it was about four or 500 m full kit, 40, through Taliban firing points. He's running past the Taliban. They're shooting me. So they must have turned around looked at me like what the fuck is this fucking fucking another. Yeah he came straight in a cracked his classic joke, every day is the legs day because he was a P. T. I. C. Train us physically before we went out to deployment and he was always hammering our legs. But every day is the legs day was completely calm, looked at me uh and said straight away I've got it, I've got you don't this goes is fine. And for me mate after that, no panic, this is like I said, the man next to you, you know is a good caliber. He says it it's done. It's so for me mate they're genuinely was not a panic after that. He said I was fine. Um Ash, Ash Hadash next to me, the gun, the machine gun and a couple minutes after west got in the rest of the section got in. Um so all sorry for the for the guys who aren't military, the rest of the soldiers are short covering came back and then we took over that compound.

We took over the building started breaking down our started dishing out target indications started getting a fire back and you know from we mentioned earlier copes you have the worst days of your life and the best days of your life that day I went from probably one of the worst moments of my life to one of the best moments of my life. The rest of that day was awesome man. That's what we went out to Afghan to do. We have an awesome firefight, we fucking did some damage, we got in a good scrap and with all these boys just you know, I look around them with all these guys who are the ultimate professionalism at the highest level, they're going to operate at absolutely killing it, being brave and you know, I'm just getting, getting aggressive because one of the boys has been hit and it was me and you know, to experience that there's not many humans that do experience that, there's not many soldiers that potentially experience that especially, you know now guys were not deploying as much very privileged to have felt that level of not high, you know, it's almost like I say it's like a drug, I'm very experienced to have experienced that, it's fucking pretty cool.

Hey guys, welcome to this special episode of the live train perform podcast, I'm your host, Sean Cobra and joining me today is my man Simon Maloney, how are your brother. Really good, how are you? I am good man, I'm really fucking excited to get into this conversation with you, I've known you for a couple of years and we're going to kind of go into that story, how we met um and the times we've met up since then, but before that I'm going to read something, so people know who I'm speaking to um which is probably going to bring back some memories for you. The exceptional Afghanistan 2013 Army snipers, conspicuous gallantry cross pair awarded to Lance corporal of horse, S. G. Maloney blues and Royals for his gallantry in july 2013 following a nighttime helicopter assault operation deep into an insurgent stronghold where although himself shot through the neck by an enemy sharpshooter, the force of which threw him off the roof from where he was providing covering fire for his troop quick he quickly re entered the fray.

Following some swift lifesaving medical attention by one of his gallant comrades. Reestablishing himself on the roof, he continued to engage and suppress the enemy for a further 90 minutes in temperatures in excess of 40° until finally against his will. He was ordered to be extracted by helicopter, his citation stating that without his gallantry and skill in the ruthless suppression of the enemy, it is likely that is true, would have sustained multiple casualties. Does that bring back any memories for you and what are the kind of emotions that you feel when that's read back to you? Whoever wrote that wrote me a lot better than I could have a bit of a shit show from my side of things. But hey, instantly there you get the adrenaline right? It brings you straight back. Um, it's that feeling of while we all became soldiers I think um the adrenaline and you know, even telling the story now, you can feel yourself getting sharp ened up that heightened sense of awareness. Mm Yeah, I mean every time you talk about that day it comes, you know, straight back straight back to that day, it's cool.

It's cool. Yeah man. Yeah. And we're going to dive into that story. But I wanted to start with that because I wanted people to know who I was speaking to. Um and you know, your you were a sniper with the british military and I was a sniper of the Australian army. So this is going to be a very unique conversation that um I haven't had with any of my guests, I've spoken to a couple of guys From the military, like Adrian um the founder of Swiss eight, which we're going to discuss in a moment. Um but I think it's gonna be a really unique and interesting conversation for people to hear man because a lot of people say to me dude, you're so fucking discipline, you're squared away with all your shit and you know, your time management is really good and you know you're always on time and you always like so serious and professional and blah blah blah blah and it's like you know, people are going to hear the reasons why I am the way that I am because of you know, my military career and the sniper course in particular, which we're going to dive into um can you talk about um you know how you use those tools that you learned from the military and how you apply them to your current life just briefly, we're gonna touch on it throughout the episode, but just talk about some of the things that I just spoke about then of people made the same generalizations about you as well.

Yeah, for sure, it's you don't realize how far it goes, basics of turning up in good order sort of five minutes before when you're supposed to be um communication skills as well, A lot of soldiers are quite straight talking sometimes if something's going wrong they'll call someone out on it straight away or say this is going wrong, this is what needs to happen right now as opposed to, you know, I think people who haven't been in the military maybe pussyfoot around a bit especially in a corporate environment or and there's ways of doing things or they don't know upset HR whereas you know someone screaming or fuckhead stop that. You're gonna get people her normally works a bit better than an email from anna in Hr Yeah, 100% man, that's a that's a really good point dude, like people say that I'm like I'm so fucking straight and like don't beat around the bush and you know, that's going to hurt people's feelings at some stage and I mean my opinion is like you said, you you need to be able to fucking communicate and you need to be able to communicate effectively. And I'm learning, I'm learning to um you know, change my communication skills um to the person that I'm speaking to, because there's definitely been times in the past where my um I guess direct communication has got me in trouble and you know, rub some nose is the wrong way.

Yeah, for sure. I think every man in the military or a man or woman ex military is definitely experienced that unfortunately we come from a background where if you don't say something, people are going to get hurt as opposed to, you know, something maybe not as serious. So, you know, we're used to high stakes all the time. Um and and if, and if not, it's just a lot of hard work, right, you mess something up in the military, it's a lot of hard work, you know, maybe the blokes who just 98 miles are going to have to do further or stuff like that, so, and that's their minimum, you know, at the other end of the scale, you've got people's lives, um you know, a lot of work that's going to go away, so I think that's where we come from, and I think that's good and I think that stands out against other people, it's definitely transferable skill and put you above the rest if you're competing with people for jobs or in in the workplace, but like you say, yeah, it doesn't need to be tailored down sometimes Not everyone, Everyone's like that, not everyone, my mom sometimes. How? Not everyone. Yeah, 100% man. Not everyone's receptive to today, it's funny, like I dated a girl five years after, after I got out of the army and um you know, every time I would go away with the boys for a weekend or whatever, um I'd always come back and she's like who are you?

Like? I was just, my mannerisms were different, I was talking different, I just kind of fell back into um you know, the soldier that I was back in the day, you know um what I want to talk about first mate is um the Swiss Eight principles, So I'm an ambassador for Swiss Eight, you obviously know the swiss eight boys. You met them um in Thailand when they were over here last year doing their hard reset and somewhat of a Recchi for um their potential retreats that they might be running over here. So if anyone is listening, they don't know what's we say, It is, it's a proactive mental health model designed by veterans initially for veterans, um but it's been pushed out to the wider community now um to help people structure in um eight pillars of health and wellness and that's delivered via an app. So the a pillars of health and wellness, our sleep, nutrition, discipline, time management, fitness, personal growth, mindfulness and minimum minimalism for you mate. Uh any of those principles do any of those principles stand out to you and if so why? Yeah, easy answer for me.

A sleep. All of them are worthwhile. Some more than others for me personally. But if I don't sleep I am not going to do any of the rest very well. Um you know if I haven't had a decent night's sleep the night before, if I train it's going to be halfhearted or I'm not going to get what I want from it. I then come away from that feeling disappointed or even you know angered or frustrated. I'm not, you know you can and then you can eat as well as you want. But if you haven't had the sleep again, you know you're playing catch up sort of. So in my opinion mate sleep that that forms the base and then from there you can you can work and work the others out. Yeah man, I 100% agree with you and I listed sleep as the number one. I actually listed those in my order of precedence because I did put together an eight part miniseries was a 10 part miniseries, sorry, on the Swiss Eight Principles for the podcast. So If you're listening and wouldn't know a little bit more about each one of those principles definitely go back and listen to those episodes. I think it's like episode 22 Right through to 2032 or something like that.

Um but I'll have those, I'll have the first um interview in the show notes, that's with Adrian, the founder of Swiss eight. now obviously sleep is important for you now. Um but have those uh those pillars been in a different order at a different stage in your life? Yeah, for sure. I mean you take it for granted, but now in the military, sleep is not a priority, that's well known. Any sort of operation does not work around how much sleep you blokes again. Um if you get it where you can um you know myself being a sniper, you'd find you were leaving before everyone else to get eyes on. Um and then you were normally staying in position after the main job had gone in because you're looking at follow ups or or just waiting to extract once the business has gone away, so then you have to fit, sleeping and you know, you go into the planning cycle only than everyone else, so sleep is not a premium. So for me after that it was definitely always nutrition because I could operate when I was cold wet and I'm tired, but for me, I mean I'm a big guy, I'm I'm six ft plus if I don't start eating, I get angry man, I start to get snappy with people and I notice it bad, you know, the blokes would notice it as well, you know, I just get a Russian pack thrown at my head when I started to get snappy of people, get that down here and come back when you've changed your attitude.

Uh huh. But for me, yes mate, sleep, sleep wasn't a priority in the army. It was for me it was food. I was always looking for food. Yeah. Yeah, that's interesting man, because you know, I was the same as well, like you know, we always used to say shit like you sleep when you're dead, like you kind of laugh it off and you go out, get on, you come back from bush, you've been at bush for a couple of weeks on exercise or something, you come back on a thursday night and you know, you're sleep deprived for the last couple of days and then you know, you get back into the barracks, you clean all your weapons and all that sort of shit and handle your stores back in there like boom, let's go to town and then you're fucking out on the pierce for a couple nights or you might go out that night and then friday, you've got your, you know your your PT sessions, like your battle pT sessions, you pack marches or you know the rocking or um you know, carries and drags and all that sort of shit and man, I've got so many stories where I was lacking sleep and doing Pt in the morning. I mean we're running around the ring road man, we're just like seven kilometers seven a half kilometre ring road around our base up in Darwin and in Australia and you know guys would go out on the peace, they come back and like slept for two hours and there we're running around the ring road man and guys are like vomiting on themselves whilst they're running and pushing off to the side like hitting push ups and shit like that man.

It was we were like functioning alcoholics. Yeah, for sure. And it was I wouldn't say it was encouraged but it was definitely a culture like yeah, you know the one that goes out well I'm fucking going out and you know, like I said you just come back enough exercise and everyone does it and I don't know, maybe it's an age thing. I also think it's a mentality thing. I didn't know any different, I didn't know anything about sports science and fitness and how the body works. So I just thought it was a mentality or was rough, tough Soldier. Yeah, I can do it on eight hours sleep. And you know, I know one lad, we have a basic fitness tests in the army. Very basic is the 1.5 mile run. I think it would do it in under 10.5 minutes. You know, nine minutes is a fairly decent time. One of the guys got sort of like near seven minutes when he was pissed. He done like eight points the night before and about two hours sleep came in and broke his time, he never got near that again. And maybe that is for that, I'd say mindset obviously goes against everything we know now and like you can see both of us like, oh that is horrendous on the body, but guys done it and and guys got good times and just goes to show that sometimes it can be mind over matter for sure.

It's just a mindset how you approach it and you just, you know, you're up for it a lot of time you beat yourself before you can do something. Yeah, I actually read something about alcohol being like inhibitor, so our brain essentially has a governor that's like, don't produce too much force because you're gonna hurt yourself, but then you introduce alcohol and sleep deprivation and that governor has just been turned down man. And dude, I've played some of my best rugby games when I'm fucking, when I haven't slept or hungover and only had two hours sleep or whatever man, it's like, you know, you kind of don't feel that pain anymore and you just pushed through and he's like, all right, well I went out and drank like a man now need to back it up like a man for sure. And that was, that's the main thing is, you know, it's big boys rules, you go out, you turn up the next day and you've you've got, you've got to do whatever you've committed to. So I think that then that challenge with the bravado of it all is, yeah, we've got, we've got 10 miles tomorrow, but let's go out then. Uh Yeah, a lot of it was, well, that's it man. Like you sometimes you like, I've spoken about conditioning yourself to adversity numerous times on the podcast and that's what you're doing, right?

You're like, all right, Well, I know that I've got a, I've got a 10 clicker tomorrow. Um, and I know we just got back from exercise or whatever. The boys are going out tonight, Whatever tits out Tuesday, whatever it might be, go and get on the piece and then it's like, you know, you hit it the next day and you're like, what? Well, I'm just going to prove to myself that I can perform, I can function while I'm in a shitty state. It's funny man. Just reminded me of um one time we had the entire company, I think it's support company, Like 100 and 20 odd dudes. We just got back from exercise. Everyone went out on the piece. Um, Pete battle pt on the friday and there's like half of the fucking company man. We're just like standing on their feet at first parade, just like swaying, just stinking of pierce and the CSM comes out awesome dude and he's just like radio, you can't, I fucking know he's went out on the piss last night, but that's cool. if you want a fucking drink like a man you need to back it up like a man, if anyone fucking pulls out today, you're on guard all weekend and everyone nobody pulled out man, everyone fucking finished it and like not only finished it but smashed it and he was like that's what I'm talking about boys, you wanna fucking you want to go out and get on the peace then you've got to back it up.

Still gonna be able to do your job man. I think there's something fucking special about that hey? Yeah for sure. I mean I personally I think it's very relatable when you look at the the overexertion of it is you're expected to do similar on operations or on your snipers. Course not obviously gonna smash and then come back in but the over exerted of you haven't had the sleep, the rest of the food or the nutrition or whatever that you need but you are going to put it out the bag now and you're gonna be on empty but you're going to keep going for however long until the job's done. Um It's that pack mentality as well. I know a lot of times like the Sergeant major used to come out, you know if there was just five of you that have gone out on the piss. He sort of wonder why the other 10 hadn't if there was all of you gone out and his whole companies and shit state, you know, you're happy, this is what you want, you want unity before you go out on operations or in a group like that. Yeah, for sure. I think there's definitely some advantages to that's a really fucking good point man. Um I got asked uh probably like May last year, I was on a mates podcast um the life livers academy podcast with Jamie O'donnell and he asked me is like, what was it like being in the military?

And I was like, I had it's good points that had as bad points, but I'm like, it's one of those things like you never experienced that camaraderie ever again in your life and like I've won seven premierships man playing rugby and I've been parts of really fucking apart of really fucking amazing teams, you know, but that camaraderie of, you know, you live with your best mates, you go out with your best mates, you drink with your best mates, you go to the gym with your best mates, you go and exercise with your best mates, you go on deployments with your best mates, you have leave at the same time, you go and leave together man, like who else in their life ever spends that much time with a bunch of dudes that they fucking love and care about man that they also need to potentially rely upon with their lives and you know, this is something I've explained before is like, you know you go through some of the best times of your life with these guys by your side, but you also go through some of the worst times of your life with these guys by your side, what's your experience with that or is there anything that you want to add to that?

I totally agree and resonate with everything you just said, you go through the best times of your life, an operational tour is an interesting one because for us is six months, I think you guys are similar right? And you go through the best and the worst times of your life within those six months with those with those lads that you you love, trust you have you know you can laugh in front of them cry in front of them, you know them by the end, by their silhouette, how someone walks at nines, how someone would walk past me in the pitch black, I would know that was him, you know, I know that, I know that was, that was josh. Um dude that's a that's a great point man, like and I'm sure you can speak about this as well as like you know, I've been over watch position as as you know with our sniper team and I'd be like on the P. R. On the radio like chatting to the boys and like you put your dick away, made one of the boys had rolled out and he's taking a piece and he's like what the fuck, where are you bro like looking around trying to find where I am, but you could tell who dudes were man and I'm like, you know, a K. K and a half away and I could tell who was who by how they walked man by the gate. Yeah, for sure. Again, another sniper thing is that the A two h with with the gate and how someone walks, but for sure you pick that up, you pick that up, you can even even the obvious ones where your man who just like slaps around with it on, you can probably hear him before you can see him and you know, it's him um this is this is what I think certain lads or most lads struggle when they get out because you used to just living with people all the time, you're feeling a bit down.

My mates used to be like, what's up with you before we leave, I realized that I was feeling down like, you know, likewise picked up on your energy and your body language, man, 100% someone walks past your room, what's up with you, You know, I'm usually say set up doing something and I made on my bed, sort of, you know, staring, staring at the telly, what's up with you straight away there in um similarly to lads may be struggling on the physical side of things loaded and lower the lads, get around and get down the gym and you trained together, someone just broken up with a girlfriend, you know, they get a fucking a kind of beer chucked at their head, in fact, come on, we're going out just with a group of lads all the time, you don't have to think or worry, it's that wolf pack mentality, um but that's what the lads miss, I think a lot of the lads stayed in longer than they should have, they would have wanted to leave long before that, but they stayed in trying to cling onto it and then when you do get out and if you haven't dropped troubles and you that this is that safety net that you took for granted with the guys, you soon find yourself in a bit of a bad way, right? Yeah man. Absolutely, and like pretty much everyone that I know that has gotten out has gone through that same process, I went through the same process as well as like, you know, I haven't had any dramas with, you know, um anxiety or depression or PTSD or anything like that, you know, I've had, I've had some days where, or you know, days slash weeks where I haven't been feeling quite right and I'm like, I don't really know what's wrong, but then I soon realized like, well I'm just kind of fucking floating through life and I don't have a purpose, I'm not giving myself something to work towards, you know, but once I realized that um you know, I just kind of repurpose those S.

O. P. Standard operating procedures that made me such a fucking good soldier in the army, I was like well I'm not getting up at the same time every day, I'm not shaving every day, I'm not going to the G m every day at the same time, I'm not, you know, I don't have these structures in place, and once I realized that I was like, well fuck, I just need to start doing that stuff again, but then just repurpose it to, you know, the person that I want to be and the life that I'm living right now, Can you talk about your experience with that? And that kind of ties in with the Swiss eight model because um you know, that's essentially why the app was created because one of the guys, one of Adrienne's mates ended up taking his own life man, because he went through the same process and just fucking, you know, lost that sense of tribe and community and camaraderie, and you know, the wheels kind of fell off and he didn't see another way out, and that's why the app was created to get these tools out to people to be a proactive model rather than a reactive model. Talk to me about the some of those um things that you went through um and kind of what you're doing now because you're working with a charity called Head Up at the moment you're a co founder of that, is that correct?

Yes correct. So what you said about when you first left, I'm really glad you brought some of those points out because it's brought some things back up in my mind and this and you let me in really well when I first left the army um these S. O. Ps I just fucked straight off, I was happy that I didn't have to shave haircuts. I went I almost rebelled and I wasn't bitter against the army to say you know I enjoyed my time in the army but I fucked it straight off probably you know still trying to go to the gym but because I wanted to look good other than that the discipline went, you know I had long hair, not that this matters to say, but it's just that my image was degrading, you know, grew a beard, was getting on the piss far too much. Um It was just went a bit mad to be honest with you and completely left that and it was almost like I'm not in the army anymore so I need to find out who I am and I'm not a soldier and then you know six months down the line, you sort of get the realization and you look at yourself and one year in shit state to your heads all over the place, what do you come back to you come back to the S.

O. P. As you come back to that discipline and as soon as you implement them. Uh and this is where Swiss eight again is awesome with just you know, even the start getting regular sleep, start eating well, start having a good routine, start all of your life within a week is coming back together, making improvements and then then you're thriving off the progress. So yeah, I completely went west when I left going out partying too much. Um you know in a couple of the lads were worried about me and you know, we look at it now um and I you know, I did suffer from PTSD for for a while and that had started to creep in from this. You know, you just these anxious thoughts and just getting emotional over emotional and got to a point where some days also turned up to work just because I was overly sad for no reason at all. Um and then you don't realize what's going on. So as soon as you and like you don't know why you said you just like what the fuck is wrong with me? Like why do I feel like this? Yeah, for sure. And then that soldier mentality as well because of this action or that you have been put into this situation here are your three options of action.

It's like a process all the time. So wake up one day feeling sad that's not heard of in the army, You just get a fucking grip and get going like that mentality, right? So Boots on, soldier on. Yeah, for sure. So how did you get back on the track? And I went back to those old S. O. Ps the discipline, getting regular sleep, getting the right amount of sleep, sorry, eating well, training regularly, not drinking all the time, like simple things now. But you see something, you soon come back to it for sure. You soon come back to those S. O. Ps. Those life skills you learn when you were 16. Really? Yeah, for sure, man, that's a really young age to join. We're gonna talk about your military career in a moment, but before that, I want to talk about um Head Up, like what's going on with Head Up? Like what's your role there? Why is that? Um charity started and uh and and like kind of what's the vision for? Head Up, I'm going to be talking to paul. You connected me with paul, who's the other co founder who initially had the idea um I'm going to be talking to him and releasing that episode probably after this episode, or maybe the one after.

Um but give my listeners a little bit of an understanding of what you're up to now with Head Up and kind of the vision that you're working towards. Yeah, for sure, so paul is a very good friend of mine, I served with him, uh we went to Afghan to go on on our last, my last tour, paul's done sort of like five or tours, maybe six. Really busy guy, brilliant soldier. And he suffered from pTSD suffering pTSD badly to the point where it's got him discharged from the army, but he found any of the training or help that the army gave him um didn't help because he describes it as it was in the military environment, right? So you turn up and there's still a start major with a clipboard, so and you will meet this time in this time and this time and your sausage factory through and he doesn't want to relate to that. It was like being treating a burn victim and then sending them back into a fire. That's the way he puts it, which is really interesting. So we're in lockdown together and He were up in Scotland and he ran around the lock, the lock, there was about 36 miles and he just went out one day and did it.

And on that, you know, did a lot of thinking and he just said he came straight back in off the run and I'm like trying to give him a beer and trying to give him some food and he ran straight back into the house and started scribbling down in his note pad and he just had this mad idea. Not so mad now he's, you know, he's made it reality, but he, he wants to start head up and he has started head up, me and two other guys have come in on board to help him. But it's definitely paul's vision and it's about, It's very similar to Swiss eight with regards to how you live your life being better at life will prevent this. But we want to be, we want to sort of help the guys live a better life before these issues take place, take hold of them as they leave or even while they're in. But you know, I have a good routine meditation, mindfulness, eating the right things, understanding the body, understanding why you're going to feel sad, like we've just said, and the main eventual aim is to have a holistic retreat, which guides can come to you on a week or a three week course, learn the ways and we're not gonna sausage factory them through and sort of tell them how to be, we're just gonna teach them techniques and then let the soldiers go.

Soldiers are thinking, guys, then they don't want to have the handheld, they want to be taught how to fish and then they're gonna go and fish, so to speak. So that's the aim and Paula go into a lot more detail, but How Paul is going to get the name out there is he's going to run 5800 miles around the United Kingdom along the coast. He's going to be 30 miles a day and the main point is just gonna be unsupported. So he will have guys with him, you know, um just as a safety net, but he's essentially relying on people taking him into their homes each night, so he's going to run to a certain location, take, going to someone's house that night, is going to sit down and talk to the family, talk about mental health, talk about head up, work out how he can help them get a feel for how the world and the United Kingdom feels about mental health and trauma and just get to know people and that's what pulls all about. Yeah, that's fucking sick man. What's your role within the organization? So I'm a, I'm a, I'm a founder with Paul, essentially, we sort of try and help out with the business planning side of things, you know, it's a huge, there's a lot of next to jump through and these things, you know, with Swiss eight.

and just basically mainly we're gonna run head up whilst paul is on this run and then from there, just both, we just split the load, all of us serve together. All of us, all four of us are good friends, very good friends. So it's not like work, we get a lot of joy from the fact that it brings us all together and we're bringing lads in and helping ladd. So it's so far. So good man, it's a really good cause I got a lot of energy behind it and it is building a lot of motivation within the UK is getting a lot of, a lot of attention from the right people, so so far. So good meat. Yeah. Fuck yeah, that's awesome man. Um what are some of the tools that you've used to if some people are listening? Um and they're kind of having some dramas they've recently discharged from the military, um they're kind of lost their way a little bit because look, man like this is, let's be honest, you know, a lot of the issues that people have gone through over the last year since, since this pandemic kicked off, it's the same fucking things that we went through when we discharged from the military, probably like a little bit lower scale, but people are losing jobs and, you know, being isolated in lockdown and things like that and, you know, they lose their self identity, they lose people are no longer going to their work and their work defines who they are and the people they hang out with, you know, define who they are and when people have kind of lost their way, lost their purpose and, you know, they're looking at the world through a negative lens, like what some words of advice that you can give to them and some tools that you've used in the past that kind of helped you get back on track, so to speak.

Yeah, for sure. Again, I go on about it. Get enough sleep because people, I'm fall foul of it. You know, I sit on that sofa behind me and I watch netflix till three in the morning, I get stuck in And then this drags on so it starts there and then sleep in the next day till 10, 11. Then you feel shit. By the time you get yourself together, it's midday you feel like you've lost the day, so you slip back into it again. So go to bed at a decent time and this is a really weird point. But something that is really resonated with me is on instagram. Look on instagram, go on your social media, it's an awesome platform. Yeah, there's a lot of good stuff on there. Look at dog videos, whatever you want to do, but don't pay attention to what other people are doing because it's so easy to look on there and you see, you know, so, and so next door whose puts on instagram that they've just done 1000 burpees and you feel like shit, just don't pay attention to what other people are doing. Keep yourself happy, be good to yourself, be kind to yourself and rate yourself back yourself. Um, it's very easy in this day and age, man, we got, you know, you go on to your phones, you go on to the computer and there's just all these people that appear to be absolutely smashing it, billionaires, awesome cars, be good to yourself, rate yourself and back yourself three things I'd probably say in this in this situation because it's very easy to feel shit with, with everything that's in your face.

Yeah, for sure man, I want to add to that point as well. Um I pretty much go to the go to bed at the same time every night and I always turn my phone off at nine o'clock every night. So that kind of last hour before I go to bed is my wind down time. I'm minimizing my lights. I'm, you know, cooling the room down. Um, you know, I'm kind of, I might do a little bit of meditation before before bed or whatever, um, and kind of preparing for sleep because sleep is an investment for your next day, your productivity the next day, you know, And then first thing in the morning, you know, I get up, I have a coffee, I watched the sunrise on my balcony, I'll do some meditation. Um, and then I'll like right down in my diary for the day, I'll write down all the shit that I need to get done, um, that I'm getting paid to do and then I write down all of the other shit that I need to do, that. I want to do for myself. It might be training. Um, it might be a little bit of tan time by the pool whilst I'm going through online client calls. Um it might be editing a podcast or you know, doing my anatomy and physiology course or something like that. So, you know, to add to that is, you know, I don't use my phone the last hour of the day or the first hour of the day um to get a good night's sleep and then I'm proactively setting my day up to kick off the day.

So I know exactly when I've got free time for myself so that I can have some chill time there and I'm scheduling that in. So time management is an important one as well. And again it gives you that structure, it gives you that purpose and it gives you that understanding of what you're shooting for that day and then you can allocate time to the most important things. So, great point mate. From here, I want to transition into your military career now. You joined at 17 um and you did two deployments to Afghanistan. Was it your first deployment where you had your troops suffered 30% casualties. Yeah, correct. So I deployed at 18, I think I believe I was the youngest of the regiment to deploy, but there was a lot of it, a few 18 year olds on the tour anyway. And yeah, they've sent casualties first tour within within my platoon. Fuck man. That's that's crazy dude, you guys are in Helmand right? Yes. Make correct. So we in Helmand province, which for those who don't know is like the southern southern central part of afghan but it's quite punchy and there was a lot of lot of fighting there purely because it was sort of where all the farming was and where there's farming, there's where the drugs are grown, so that's where they make their money.

This is why it's the contention. Yeah. Was it like 80, of the world's heroin originates from the poppy fields in Afghanistan or something like that? Yeah, for sure. And I think the average rate wage is $2 a day, you start selling heroin or selling Harry for the Taliban that bumps up to $10 a day. You know you, you tell someone you're gonna multiply their their yearly income by five. It's not hard choices that. Yeah. Yeah exactly. Now let's discuss what's what was your role on that first deployment. So my tune was a record platoon for the battle group. So we were we're basically in a place called Mr carla were based on vehicles called jackals which were like open sort of all terrain buggy type things really cool platform, quite open and exposed and fuck man, we were cold in the winter but they're awesome vehicles. We switched between using those and then patrolling on foot, but essentially it was a winter tour. So the weather was bad, we were up in the mountains anyway, so the weather was bad, it was cold and then for that for us it was I.

E. D. Season, so improvised explosive devices, um not much kinetic fight and it was just playing cat and mouse, they just dug themselves in. We also have the issue of where the Russians were there. There was a big Russian presence in Mr carla. So obviously not then, sorry, back in the eighties, but a lot of their minefields with the heavy weather just migrated so the mudslides and stuff like that. You just have minds just washed in across the road. So we hit a couple of those without even meaning to. And that caused that caused a few dramas, You know, a lot of guys got hurt from those on top of them having to fight the taliban. So, fuck man, that's crazy. Now you returned back to the UK and then you did your snipers course. Now talk to me about why you did your snipers course. You you mentioned that you saw the effect that they were having on the enemy on your first deployment. Let's discuss that. Yeah, for sure. So, like I said, my first tour, my troops sustained 30% casualties. So one in three of us had life changing injuries or died. Um, Tough for wasn't too tough for an 18 year old story because I was just naive to it. I thought that's what it was. I was almost like that young and stupid that it didn't, it didn't register it didn't even fathom think if I had gone on that tour now at my age, I'm 29, it would have a completely different effect on my life now and my mental health.

So still a young pup mate. Yeah, you just, I just went into it like thick. This is how it is man. Um Sweet, let's roll. Yeah, yeah. So I noticed there that we didn't have much of effect on the enemy. We just got hammered for six months. You know, I didn't even see a taliban fighter that talk, I just dealt with casualties and we went out on the ground and I spent a lot of time wet and cold and trying to trying to find this enemy that never really getting it and just getting hammered. So I saw the snipers were having an effect and they were killing the enemy. Um and it's something that I was interested in any way, it's everyone, It's a cool job, right? So as soon as I got back, that's what I was dependent. That's what I was determined to do. I don't want to leave the army, but like fuck was going to go back to afghan and have it all like that again, where I had no effect on the enemy and I just spent six months grafton still, you know, in the wet and cold, you know, I wanted to get out there and start throwing the punches so that was my aim as soon as I got back and I was lucky enough to get a slot or get a chance to get a shot at the title, I wanted to get back. Mm let's talk about that because I did Iraq in 2000 and seven, East Timor 2008, 2000 and nine actually did my um most of my snipers course in East timor in a peacekeeping mission and then I did um Afghan 10 4011.

So I did some of my snipers course in East Timor because it was a peacekeeping mission. We're actually running courses over there, man. But I did my range qualifications in Australia before we went over there. Um now that is one of the most fucking difficult things I've ever done in my life. The snipers course man, it was set up for us to fucking fail and prior to getting on the course we had to be nominated by our hierarchy. R. N. C. O. S. That were like, these dudes are good fucking soldier. He'd be a good fit for either reconnaissance or snipers and I got recommended for snipers. And uh we had 20 of the best soldiers in the battalion that lined up for the sniper. Of course we did pre course over two weeks and just got fucking hammered man and then they got whittled down to seven soldiers. So seven soldiers started the course and only three passed and I only passed after my after a retest once of course had actually finished and we'll talk about the different gates that we had to pass going through that course. But um talk to me about that process for you leading into that and then through the course as well.

And then we'll talk about some of the things that we had to do, some of the requirements that we had to tick off the list to become qualified snipers. Yeah, for sure. So similar. We don't have a pre course. We call it a selection, but that was three weeks 25 of us got on the course and then I think 15 of us past that, so we have 15 get through and then those those lads then get put on to the next following courses the course itself Believe 10 or 12 of us started and four of us past So again. But you know, these 12 that start the course have already gone through a three week selection and they've been whittled down from from a high number of guys. So, um, that was tough. Hey man, I thought I was going to fail that course from start to finish. Um You know, even even I gotta hand in my badge at the end. I still didn't believe that I passed because that's just how the Ds treat you, isn't it? You just don't get, they don't give anything away. Um Me personally, I I need a bit of encouragement If I'm doing something well, I need to know I'm doing something well and someone go even if it was a good job and then I know I need to keep cracking at, at that direction at that pays, but otherwise, you know, your head plays games and doing the right thing, you second guess yourself all the time and I'm happy I learned that lesson so young young, but it played, it played wreaked havoc on my mind for sure.

Yeah man, like you said, like, I think the first two or three weeks of the course, like it's so fucking hard man, and you're literally set up to fail. Like the DS, the instructors are like making everything so fucking difficult that nobody passes, man. And everyone's like, holy fuck man, like how are we ever going to pass this course? And every single person is doubting themselves? But I think that's part of the test as well. It's like, let's see how these fucking dudes react when we make this so difficult, that not a single person is passing a single thing and let's fucking smash them for a couple of weeks. Let's add pt on top of that. Let's see how they perform when they're sleep deprived. Let's see you know how they deal with fucking, essentially losing and not winning anything man. And I think that's a big part of the mindset and building that mindset capability. Talk to me about some of the, some of the emotions and thoughts that went through your mind going through those first couple of weeks, of course, especially make for sure. I think that's a big life lesson there is you are losing every time. But what you don't realize is you are getting better.

What we didn't realize was the standard was creeping. They were keeping the bar set to a point where we would always lose, but we were getting better and then when they bring the bar back down to the level, you need to be able to pass the course all of a sudden you get it. But they don't do that till the end of the day. And if you can relate that into a life lesson, I think you'll do very well. There's a lot of situations you can apply where you think you're not doing well, but you are getting better. You are there just keep pedaling. Um, is the one tip I would say from, from all of that. Yes. The first couple of weeks, go on, sorry, go now. You go the first couple of weeks we, we just do ranges. It's just rangers, rangers, rangers, so we're doing all our shooting were firing out too long distances. Um, and there's the first sort of time you get really hands on the sniper rifle, you're doing that in a day. But then in the night time, you do a night navigations. And these night navigations are with your four kits, you carrying £60 you're in your gillie suit. Um, you're trying to crack, you can't go on tracks. You know, you have to go across country every time because you're doing it tactically. Um, it's just all these little things like you're getting snagged on, you're getting snagged on bushes and you're trying to rattle through.

It's two in the morning and the emphasis is get this done. The sooner you finish, as soon you go to bed because you're still up at six to start shooting on the rangers the next day, I can't remember once running through a training area in Wales, I've fucked up from the first checkpoint. So I was already catching up on, lost time. I running for a wood block and I run through a harbor area and infantry between harbor area and they're like, stop and I'm like, fuck off. And then they stand to, then they stand to and then then the section commander within that there is like may seriously stop. And I was like, fuck off, carried on running, hit a trip flare. So I hit a trip flare and now that this thing's going up, they're all looking at me and I'm like tangled up in this like wire. So I keep going, keep going. I'm like, fuck off. And then as I turned around and ran straight into a barbed wire fence and impelled myself well. And I just laid there while this like the tune of infantry recruits just look at me laughing right whilst whilst the trip flesh slowly burned down and then once it burned down and you can see me, I started to unravel myself and walked off with my head down. This was like week one yeah and then you get there the DS was like fail All of that, I'll come back in absolute shit state.

Yeah two minutes over Maloney file. That's fucking hilarious man. Um Let's talk about some of the some of the gates that you have to pass. Like you know I've explained the different components of the snipers course to a few people. Not too many people have heard these stories but you know you it's being a sniper is not just about being able to hit a fucking target at distance. Like you need good soldering skills, you need good field craft, you need you know good camouflage concealment, you need good um navigation experience, both static navigation and um mobile navigation. You know we also needed to be able to draw, we also needed good observation skills, we needed to put all of that together, we need to judge distances. You know there's so many different things that come into play and you know some of the gates that we had to pass where um obs lanes I'm sure like a lot of this stuff is is you know similar for you guys but obs lanes where you know you you sit down in location, you'd have your spotting scopes and your your rifles with their, with their um with the scopes on them and you have like A left of arc and a rider bark and you'd have 15 minutes to draw what you saw in front of you.

Now we have to do that because for the most part when you get in location overseas, like that becomes your range card where you're identifying you know, certain features that you use as reference points, that you have distances too. So you can call on to a target very fucking quickly. Now we would have our left of our car right of arc and then there'd be whatever like 12 pieces of equipment within those left and right of arcs no closer than 15 m, no further than 200 m and you would spend, you know, a couple of minutes in each position, drawing, drawing. Sorry, you draw the whole scene and then you spend, you know 15 minutes in each position observing through your spotting scopes trying to find fucking pieces of equipment like and you could just see like the tip of a a toothbrush sticking out of the ground at fucking 170 m and you'd have to draw that in and you'd have to identify and you'd have to judge the distance to it. Um and that was probably one of the hardest things for me man was one, I fucking draw like a child, I can't draw for shit man, some of the boys were like putting this artwork together and you know, I would look at their their you know, they're sketches, I'm like holy fuck, I know exactly where everything is, but mine were terrible, but we need to be able to do that because if we, you know, pass the course, we end up in Afghanistan and we need to draw what's in front of us because the cameras have gone down or they're wet or you know, they're not operating or whatever, like you still need that skill, you know, talk to me about, talk to me about your experience with that.

Yeah, for sure went on with you, I was terrible at drawing. Um and I remember my first drawing like my first observation and I handed it in and he was like, I knew I handed in and walked away and he's like literally the muscle to its like maloney fucking get in now and I'm like roger um and essentially, but they're right, like you said, the cameras go down, snipers work, you know, in front of the front line, your first guys to get eyes on the enemy, You know, you finding essentially that picture is gonna get sent back to the to the battle group commander to the colonel and he's gonna launch his operations of what you've drawn of the enemy position And you know, it's got Johnny H5 in in the corner, it's not it's not on at all. So yeah I I struggled with that hugely um on the obstacles they used to do with us. They'll be like yeah so this is here and I still can't see it, I'm looking at it with my spotting scope and I still can't see it. Then they put a giant orange card behind it to highlight it and I still can't fucking see it like but again your eyes are a muscle, you train, you get better. But what for me was that it was the overload the progression of the course.

So you spend the first three weeks shooting and you know you try really struggling to achieve those standards, you achieve them and then they're like well this is the bare fucking minimum because taking the shot at the bare minimum before you take that shot, you've got to have your navigation, you've got to have your cannon concealment, you've got to have this to even get in a position to take the shot. So you know you come off a bit of a high and again another life lesson. You've got this massive high because I just passed my shooting then you brought straight back down to earth because guess what? I didn't get a shot off for the next six weeks because I never got to the fucking position until the final fucking week where you then start it starts to click and they lowered the standard again you get there. Um Yeah yeah that's that's a great point, man is like taking a shot is the fucking easy part. You've got to you've got to locate the enemy first, then you've got to get within range in position without being seen. Then you've got to judge distances and then fucking hit the target and then be able to you know not be seen and get yourself out of there. You know it's fucking that's that's like that's the stalk and we'll we'll culminate with the stalk.

Um But let's talk about the individual components. I spoke about the Obs lane um Talk about another component might be cam and concealment. Like just explained to the listeners what the campaign concealment drills are. Yeah so camouflage and concealment says exactly what it says on the tin. And the rule we used to work was that you have to survive like a two minute walk past. So you were camouflaged to the point where someone would walk past you. An enemy soldier could walk past you within two m and you wouldn't realize you were there. Um then that you know going on from that you've obviously got what we call a 3 60 battle. So you've got thermal cameras, you've got I are all these little little things that you need to sort of at least think about and consider when picking a position to hide and you can't just hide behind a tree or a solid object because you still need to be able to observe the enemy at all time and take the shot. So you have these we call they call them arcs so we have a two minute are you have two minutes, you know almost like hide and seek. It's got like hide and seek for grown ups in two minutes. You run off, get in a position, hide and then he, the guy turns around and he sees you can spot you, then you have a five minute arc where you get a bit more time and etcetera etcetera.

This is how you're building up, but again you just failed failed, failed failed, failed just getting kicked in the teeth every time to the point where you're like every weekend I drove home from that course and I was like I'm not fucking coming back on sunday, you know because we used to get there, try and get at weekends off because the blokes would just be snapped, Get out of camp. Expend some time at home, forget about um you know, put some clean clothes on, we have the same uniform for nine weeks. The stuff we stalked and we didn't wash because we wanted to smell bad, we wanted it to, you know you want to be part, I know a bloke who got failed on a stalk because they smell um baby powder, there's not the baby powder and all that shit that he used and they could they could smell it and they were like, this is a tactical fail. You know, this is not what sniper Dallas, He doesn't have fucking freshly baby powder feet. You sent a senseless foot powder senseless. Um for example, you know, you're just an absolute tramp, which I did quite enjoy, but you need to have a break. The mental aspect, super stressful bro, Super stressful.

Like you're failing fucking everything. Now, the another thing I want to talk about is the static navigation. So um, we would get dropped off in location um, without our rovers and Um, the instructors would be like, all right, boys pull your maps out. This is your grid square, you're somewhere within this one km range. Um, you've got 15 minutes to give us an eight figure grid, which is within 10 m. And you've got like, I don't remember what the thing is. Like you need to be within 10 m. If you're not, then that's an audit. That's an automatic fail man. Once we've done that, we, you know, and they say you're here and you have your map, you'd have your compass, compass and you do some map to ground. Um, you know, navigation work, you look for high features, you do, um, you know, triangulation of your area. You change that from map to grid and then you'd have to, you know, Try and identify exactly where you were within 10 m and then After that that was the easy part.

All right now, you know where you are now, we've got a target over there. You need to tell us how far away that target is judging distances. You need to be within 15% man. You know, that was fucking cool. I love doing that shit. But it was really hard. You need to be really solid with a map. You need to be really good with your judging distances. And you know, we didn't have laser range finders or anything like that. It was like you had to use your map and you had to, you know, go map to ground and go, well this is a re entrant here. There's a high ground that's roughly um you know this elevation um there's a feature there and you kind of plot your point on their, you'd make an X and then you'd measure that out and you go that target is at this fucking at this distance and you had to be within 15% or you could use your maths, I can't remember how we used to do this, but you could literally look through your scope and the radicals within the scope And we'd use certain maths or numbers or whatever to say, well this target fills up this many radical. So it must be and I know that targets roughly 1.8 m or whatever. So that means the target at this distance.

Um So that's the static. Now talk about the mobile native. What's the things that you guys had to do? Yeah. Um what I love about this though, touch one other subject is all of these different subjects complement each other. So when you start getting a little bit better at your static map, you know, next time you're on a stalk you have the appreciation of the contour lines, you read the ground better or your mobile now becomes a little bit better and we don't realize is that at the beginning is this just another shit show where your shit at everything. But as they start to go and it's another lesson in life as things start to go unravels more and more and you build momentum and before you know it is nicely woven course comes together and it's a really good thing to see. But the mobile, not all of us were at night and may, they used to fuck with us man. I think if they know you're I think no matter how good the courses, so if you have a course of guys who could all navigate, they will still make sure that they fail, sort of up until the last final week or you know whatever because we were looking for a little like glow sticks or silom, you know, there's about an inch poking out the ground at night and buried in a hole by a tree next to a fucking like savage badger that you couldn't get near um with all, it's all, it's all bearing and pacing and you have guys, you know, the instructors throughout the night as well walking the main tracks to make sure you could go on the tracks, but I'll tell you what that course that taught me is not how to black stuff.

I'm not going to say that, but risk versus reward and owning the risk. So if I was behind on time, right, and I know I know the consequences, I get caught on the track, I will fail the course. I'm cheating. Um I know there's people out walking, you know, checking these tracks if I'm behind on time, I'm on the track, so I'm going to fail the course, right? So so def definitely fail the course or maybe fail the course. So I'm running on the tracks when I see someone, I break off, I'm taking cover, I'm getting down and I think that mindset and that what that develops is what you want, you want, you know, snipers can't always be by the book and go doctrinally, you need to think outside the box, you need to be cat and mouse out thinking your enemy and this is what the mindset, you need 100 on operations and I think the instructors knew that I think they made it so hard that we had to cut corners because a lot of you, you try and be a perfectionist and you can't be sometimes need to make sacrifices, you just need to get there and achieve your aim, it's not going to be pretty, but you need to get there again, another lesson in life, but definitely a good mindset change my mindset tactically that nothing is perfect.

You need to sometimes just fucking get there, it's not gonna be pretty, but you've achieved your aim and you've got there at the end, you got over the line. Yeah, yeah, 100% man. That brings back um something that the lead instructor said when I was on my courses, we got to a certain point of the course where you know, I was fucking I was sleeping on a stretcher man at the back of one of the, one of the bases that we had in timor under a top and it's fucking monsoonal rains bro, like we're getting we're getting rained out all the time, so we're always wet. Um but timor was really fucking hot, super hot man, so we're always damp, were always wet. Um but at one point of the course, we ended up going to one of the bases and there was a mess there and the lead instructor was like, all right, you guys are on ration packs, these are the rules, blah blah blah. But then he also like right at the end, he kind of lowered his voice and he goes, you know, but if you're not, if you're not going to be a little bit of a dodgy cunt, you probably shouldn't be on this course and he just walked off and we're like all right sweet and we're just fucking swiping meals left right and center man and we're just like you know just grabbing whatever we could to make our stay a little bit more comfortable.

Yeah for sure make your feral rats on our final exercise for sure. We were like we were sneaking out and like stealing, stealing like leftovers where they had takeaway and stuff like that. Um Not gonna name names but for someone who watches this is gonna have a smile on his face. I know dudes who have ordered pizzas right, they've snuck out of the O. P. At night, run to the edge of the training area, got pizzas and then come back in and going back into routine but balls make babies right. Um That causes full of stuff like that, that course is full of stuff like that. Yeah for sure. You've got to be like that. And remember on our final exercises we got we got hit hard and classic ends within a big extraction on the fire. We were working towards a fence line and the D. S. Who was the instructor was following us was sort of like knowing that we were fucking up um And it was like trying to hint us or guide us and they're like you going towards a fence line, you're gonna get cut off and it's going to be index little did they know that we've gone out and we'd cut holes in the fences in particular areas so we can just get straight through.

So it was like bang, bang, bang bounded and then we just dropped all, got through this fence, pulled the wire back down and extract it out. And you know, that was the moment where the Ds looked and he's like, you little cunts, like my job here is done. You know, my job here is done. We made these feral thieves of the night. Yeah, 100% man, that's that's a brilliant story bro. Um, but to wind up the snipers course, like it culminates with a stalk and the stalk is essentially a combination of all of those skills and drills that we just spoke about. So what happens is you get dropped off in location, The Ds goes all right, you've got 15 minutes to tell me where you are and then boom, you've got to give an eight figure grid. Alright, sweet, now, you know where you are, Your target is in this for Cindy and they'll give a six figure grid within 100 m here and then they go, this is your left of our, this is your right of our, you've got two hours to get into location to get two shots off without being seen and then extract.

So you have to do a map Recchi figure out the route that you're going to take in, get into location and you're camping, you're camping up your gillie suit as you go with, you know, um Whatever vegetation from the area that you're working in and you have to get into position and dude, like I would fucking crawl like 100 m to get into location. You know, find the target, you build your position, get into some cover, um get some concealment, have a little bit of depth, find some shade. Um and then you get your shot off and you'd have a target sitting on a chair and you take a shot and we're obviously firing blanks. And then as soon as you take that first shot, the target is one of the instructors. They turn around with their binoculars and they're looking for you. And then there walking the other instructors over with their radio, trying to fucking find your location and they'll try and find you for a couple of minutes and they'll go all right, Ready to take another shot. And the instructor that's standing next to you, goes sniper within five m or whatever.

You take your second shot and they're fucking looking directly at you and you've got to be able to get that shot off without giving away any signature whatsoever. Then they continue walking that um walking the other instructor around trying to find you. If they see anything that's a fail. If you get sand that's a foul if they don't, then it's like all right, the target turns around, they have a look through your scope, they have a look through your barrel and they go, give me a distance And again you got to be within 15, All right, cool. Now you've got to extract, You've got three minutes left to extract without being seen, man. How does that, how does how does that feel for you talking about that again? I've got fucking nervous talking about that man. I think of presenting uh they asked exactly the same. We must go off the same model. Uh what it is is getting in position. It's hard enough taking the shots hard enough.

Then he stands 10 m or within five m of you and within five of the sniper and you got to take that second shot and he's not just shooting at anyone. You're shooting at a sniper instructor, he knows exactly what to look for and he knows the ground. He's done this story a million times. He goes, well, I'd have gone there. It's fucking hard man. Um We also we have another bit as well where once they check, they check for stick shots, so they look down your site, but he also holds a little bored up his face to check that you're not blagging it so you can have a good point. I forgot about that. Yeah. So then you know the blackout for on a white background and that will be held in front of his face to show that you have seen the target and you have to report that. Um this is tough and as if the instructors weren't tough enough already on the stalk, they seem to turn even more strict because this is the bread and butter. This is, can you be a sniper, sniper is going to get into position potentially. You know, you always the old school classic that it was a V. I. P. Or some sort of high rank in general. You know the stories of Carlos Hathcock in Vietnam and stuff like that. You know, crawling for days waiting for the winter change in order to to not telegraph the grass when he called through.

Um, absolutely the epitome of sniping, but it's tough and I'm not gonna, I won't lie. I did not pass a stalk until the final week. I failed every single one, got two different levels and as I said, I was getting better the whole time, but you know, hadn't passed one. We have this big board as well. So you come back at the end of every day and it's like, you don't even have a name. Actually just a cool science. I was bravo five and bravo five, red, red, red, red, red, red and you're like, fuck man. And they're like, you need to fucking up it because it's bad week next week and you're not the standard and you're like, you know, you know, go on that weekend with your head in your hands like what the fuck, I just want this week to get over it, I can give a fuck about pageant by now. I just want the course twinned. Um we have real tough, there's a, there's a real good story of a stalk ali who you met when we come back to Thailand last, he's on a stalk, right? And he's called into position and we had like garden snares, he's like cut his way into like this big form bush and he made his cover and he's awesome and he's about to take the shot and he can feel with gilly hat is catching on the form, so he pulls away from it and he's like, fuck man, what the fuck is that going to take the shot again?

Gilly hat keeps getting caught on this one for and it's gonna lift his hat off, he looks to his right and there's a fucking snake biting the brim of his helmet because he is resting on all of the baby snakes, he looks down, he's on a nest of snakes and the mother is biting his fucking hat trying to get him off. So he gets up, he sprints out, he's like what? He hates snakes or he absolutely hates snakes, he's like what the fuck he's like, and they're like, they're like what's going on if you got an injury and he's like no, there's a fucking snake in there, nearly fucking bit me and the DS literally was like fail, take your hat off back to the start point, give me a break, poor bloke. Um yeah, that's, that's probably the worst stalk story I've had witnessed. That's that's that's a far worse story of the mind. I I ended up failing a stalk because one of the boys, like I came across one of the boys who like fucking broke his leg man in front of me, like going down these massive re entrance in timor some of these fucking re entrance like canyons bro and he was like walking across the log in the water or something and like slipped and got his fucking foot court and like snapped his leg man.

So I was like running up the fucking hill to where the target was and I'm like, we need a Blackhawk in here to extract this dude. They're like fail true question would you have stopped if it is your final batch test talk? Oh fuck probably not. I don't know, I don't know man, I don't know, I don't want to, I don't want to speculate, no, no, no, it was all about, it was all about the boys and it was all about the boys as much as it was like a super fucking um individual course, like we still looked out for the boys and you know, I think they were looking for that as well, they made it really clear like you can't help each other out. But then you know when we were helping each other out and patting each other on the back and trying to bring each other up when people were failing and shit like that. Like we could tell that they were like all right, cool. These are the kind of dudes that we fucking want man. Like we're going to test, you can tell you that these are the rules, you can't help each other out but we also want to see you guys, you know fucking stick together and you know, come out the other side. Yeah, I know the U. S. Marines, you do everything compares. I think I believe they do a lot of more more shit with pairs which I get it because when you go on operations or when you operate as a sniper, you always in a pair.

However, I think our model is better because you need to know that that individual next to you is capable of achieving the standards. So the individuality on course needs to be done. I think you know that this man achieves it and this is why we have the brotherhood and you know that the man next to you has done the same as you not. He was paired up with you know Carlos Hathcock who dragged them through, you know um I do agree that I think are models a lot better. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Um cool mate let's transition into your next deployment because obviously that those sort of skills are gonna fucking set you up for your next deployment to Afghanistan? Um 2013. You went there as a sniper now. Talk to me about your role on that deployment. Yeah, so we were something called the brigade reconnaissance force um sort abbreviated BRF essentially. There was a bit of a selection to do to get into that role before you went on operations. So you'd like to say it was not the best soldiers, but the guys who are a bit more motivated and wanted to leave their units to go and do it. So um a lot of us went into that and essentially we stayed in the main camp camp bastion.

So he had better living living conditions, wifi food, jim, that sort of thing. But our main role was to launch on time sensitive information or intelligence Or specific intelligence on on what the Taliban were up to with in Helmand province. So if there was a patrol base who was getting particularly, you know, smashed or having a hard time of it, we'll look into it and realize that say there's 30 foreign fighters in the town down the road, we'd go and land by helicopter and raid that town. So every time we went out and got dirty or, you know, when we were out on patrol, we went out and had an effect on the enemy. So it's a very rewarding job. You know, How many times have you been out in an eight hour patrol? Nothing's happened and you're fucking tired, your hungry and you're naked and you've not really seen the enemy or it was just nothing happened that day. Every time we went out we had we acted on were either taking munitions off them and denying them or we were actually whacking the taliban and getting involved. So it was a very rewarding job. A good job to have an afghan.

Mm Nice. Let's transition. Fourth of july 2013. Yeah, So fourth of july um my last operation before we come home in our two weeks R and R um stupidly made a joke that morning as the last one, what front of us get hit And they were like, why did you say that? And so you're not really, you're not superstitious, are you? A nighttime raid? So we left at like one in the morning, landed at three and essentially we're going to clear an area called the actual, which had supposedly been cleared by the afghan army the week before, but we knew it was a hotspot and we knew they probably hadn't cleared it because they didn't report many casualties and we knew this place was a fucking hellhole. Like we knew we were going to fight. So you landed at three and then we sort of inserted and encircled Jack chow. Um and waiting for the sun to come up? as soon as that for us, we weren't allowed to kick doors down until till daylight. So first light we go straight through the door. Um the aim there was to sweep through myself with with a sniper grouping, we were gonna sort of picked up, looked on the map, so exactly where I wanted to go, I want to go in this building here, it's perfect range, it was elevated.

Um I felt like it was well defendable. Everything felt good. I was completely happy with the plan. I wouldn't have changed. I mean, even hindsight, I wouldn't have changed the plan to be honest with that particular operation with the intelligence that you had. Yeah, for sure, man. Yeah, exactly that, yep, yep. So uh as the sun's kind of cresting shots start ringing out. Yeah, so straight away as soon as the sun come up we're starting getting sporadic fire. So we knew that was gonna happen, right? We knew that she was gonna be a fight. The issue was we've we've gone in and encircled Jack child. So you'd be, you know, you'd be forgiven you like cordoned off cordon cordon off the outside. Yeah, sure, facing in, so you'd be forgiven for thinking that behind you was relatively safe. So you know, I'm looking to face inwards, cover the guy's going in, start getting sporadic fire from behind us where we've just fucking been straight away. There's an issue there because they're obviously just either outflanked us or out encircled us or why they're doing that, why they're not defending what we're clearing essentially.

Look, looking back, what happened is I've set up on a building called Old school house, which was like the taliban schoolhouse where they teach their teachings to two young kids a madrassa Yeah, all of that sort of stuff, Sharia Law, that type of thing. Um and it's a bit of a symbolic building to them that as well as we know, sort of with terrorist culture or especially with the Middle East snipers aren't like snipers are seen as assassins, they're not muslim Law sort of sort of within warfare, snipers aren't called dudes, they're they're high priority targets because we're not seen and then we kill people essentially that isn't it, You know, you know when a sniper comes out on the ground in afghan to do one thing, one thing only, it's not hand up biscuits and water. So seeing a sniper on the roof, my own fault. Again, probably again an elevated position with the building being such a cultural interest, it was obvious where I was and it's not too hard to see. We had good cover there. But yeah, looking back maybe, maybe that was a bit too over.

Um and we we started to get sporadic fire, Nothing to worry about, we were holding it fine. Um and there was a dicker who was with, I'd say 240 m out, which you know, as you know with a sniper rifle is not much at all. Um but he didn't have a weapon. He was definitely dicking us. So I ask permission to shoot or to engage him and we weren't under enough fire to shoot. The rules of engagement were under said stated that we can't shoot Vickers. K no dramas that people that are spotting and passing on information, things like that for people that, sorry guys, that dicker is essentially um an afghan with binoculars around his neck and a radio and and he's not there. He's not there to do anything other than called positions. This is one of those times where as we went in women and Children left. So you know, anyone left inside the town is, is bad. You know, he's there for a fire or he's there to cause you problems or issues. He's not, you know, the women and Children left, which means the taliban know this is going to be a hairy day. Yeah. Um So yeah, I've asked to engage him. That's not happened.

Uh and then the boys, I mean it was just drugging as normal. The plan stays right. This this is afghan. You just, yeah, let's let's just pause there for a moment because um you know you fucking know that that dude is there observing your location, passing on information and trying to get a gauge of where all of the like your forces are the coalition forces, right? So then he can pass the information on to other people who can coordinate an attack, right? Just because they don't have a fucking weapon. It doesn't mean that that they're not, you know, they're not fucking hostile operating against you. They're not hostile. Exactly. So, um just for people at home that are listening, it's like, you know, we do have rules of engagement, but fuck man, like some of these guys have been there for a long time, fighting for a fucking long time. They know the rules of engagement. So they're going to fucking bend the rules or they're going to work those rules to their advantage whenever they can. And you know, man, as soon as you go into a location, atmospherics deteriorate all the women, Children fucking, you know, get out of there, you know that every single fighting age male that's there is there for a fucking fight.

They're trying to kill someone for sure man, they know what they're doing. Hey, they know that you say about the rules of engagement. They know them better than we do. They know exactly our rules of engagement. I've seen guys put weapons down behind a wall, turnout, walk out in front of us literally in plain sight within 100 m, I can hear what he's saying and his weapons behind the wall. Um hey, and we can we can we can no longer we can no longer longer engage them because if we do, we have now fucking killed an unarmed civilian for sure it's got Environment, it got to the point where we have something called X pray that we would spray on someone's hands because when we got come under fire we get to a point where we were just about to assault the position and all they do is check the weapons or hide them and then run away. Then it walk out the bushes 10 minutes later and walked past us as if nothing has ever happened and where now we're on the position. So you'd say, hey, come here and he'd say, well I'm just a farm or whatever. So we spray this expert on his hands and it would come up that this spray and different colors come out different colors that you you know, he'd been firing a rifle in the carbon on his hands and the chemicals that was one way of proving.

But this is how blatant they'd be because they know our rules of engagement better than we do. They know them inside and out and they play us to that. So this is this is where we're at. I'm now looking at this guy a lot. I'm trying to see if I can see just the tip of a weapon putting it over the top of that. You know, again, observation coming in here from the snipers course. Um not exploiting the rules of engagement at all. But applying them with them with minute detail is what I'd say. Um turns out we didn't get of course, you know, you know that you know that dude's fucking hostile. You're just looking for something some something incriminating. So you can be like, all right, let's take that dude out. Let's fucking reduce their capability. Yeah, for sure. I'm looking to lawfully kill him. I'm not looking to unlawfully kill him, but I'm at war and when he fits calls engagement, I'm gonna I'm gonna take him out and yeah, so that said we didn't get that and hey, the operation goes on. This is just my little my little bubble on my corner of this operation. So big. The bigger picture is everyone cracks on. Uh and they did. And it's almost as if they got just outside their own weapons range.

So as in our guys, we're just out of the way that they couldn't cover where I was. And we got hit, we got hit hard on on my corner. 15 firing points is what's reported when we look back at the footage and stuff like that, which fuck is pretty fucking loud. Me when it's at you. Uh that's a heavy rapid fire. It sounded sounded sounded pretty loud. I didn't know what the fuck is going on. I couldn't hear Ash who was right next to me. I couldn't hear what he was saying. Couldn't hear what I was saying. Um and you just you just what you do in that situation and you just want the world to swallow you up. Uh huh mm mm So what happens then? You're returning fire, you're on the radio, you're reporting this higher. Yeah, correct. So I'm on the radio and trying to get a grip of the situation. One of the boys, ash had a machine gun, he starts rattling off of that and as you know, my five round magazine in a bolt action sniper rifle is not good for anything in a sustained contact like that. Um two minutes in the red fires picked up and then bang uh here Ash almost like split second before sort of the beginnings of the word fuck I believe around fist in front of his face uh and then straight plowed straight into my neck, so in one side out the other um and it was like someone just set the reset button on me, I've been hit by lightning and it was like sort of windows fail.

I'm a bit like what the fuck? Um She sent you sprawling across the roof and then you ended up on the ground on your feet. Talk to me about that. We'll tell my listeners that story. So the we're getting shot at hard, I've just been hit, instant reaction is one of the kinetic energy of being hit is throwing me a little bit and I just rolled, I just rolled, it rolled. I just rolled with my rifle, which is to get the fuck off that roof. Um fall off the roof, we're talking about 10 ft high here. So I would have done myself some damage and I land on my feet and I'm like, how the fuck have I managed that? Two seconds later, I can just hear and like a really like piercing scream and look turn around and I've landed on a baby goat. So this goes got snapped in half and all four legs brought out and if you innocently trying to grace some food and 100 kg meathead comes planning down from the roof. Absolutely ends. It's fucking day. Mhm. Um But all you can hear after that for the rest of this day is the screaming of the goat. And it's, it's like, it's the one thing that haunts me from the day I said it before, it's the one thing that haunts me from that day is that fucking goat.

Um Just so innocent, bless it. And here we are. Life. Life throws 100 kilometer that you sometimes. Uh huh. So you land, you've landed on your feet, You've been fucking shot. You killed a goat on the way down and you're like, what the fuck did I just get shot? Like there's blood coming out? Like what's going through your mind? Yeah, So I think instantly made I'm dead. I think I think you get shot in the throat. I believe you got two minutes to live. I believe if that jugular gets hit the main artery I'm breathing and then I said, I'm breathing and I was like, well I'm fucking talking so I'm not a medical expert and I'm especially not when I'm panicking, I can feel two holes in my neck. Blood is pissing out. And also, you know, the Camelbak, hydration pipe, the hydration things, I don't get back. One of the pipes had had taken eve of shrapnel or bullet, so that's been severed on my on my on my body armor. So I've got water pissing down my chest, which I obviously can't see. And I believe his blood.

So I'm like, this is barking heavy, like, so I looked up Cash and I'm like, Ash, how bad is it? And he's a strong man Kunio, He's got strong Mancunian accent, he's like May. And I'm like, yeah, she's like, how bad is it I need medical words now, is it pissing? What's And he's like, that's straight for your fucking neck. And I'm like, yeah, it is, God, I gotta get something more from you here now, I'm starting to panic. He was great and the fact that he wasn't panicking too much. He was more giggling to be honest. I know this sounds really unprofessional, but it's like that dark humor, people laughing, contact people laughing situation, especially like idiots, soldiers who were like, you know, pack mentality. You think it's funny, right? You're like fucking crack, thump. And you're like, oh fuck that one was close. Yeah, where's it coming from? Meanwhile you've got a middle parting, your hair has been centered and you're laughing about it. But hey, that's how we cope, that's how we get through it. But yeah, he sort of made me feel a little bit better. Um and then I was sort of, I just imagined I was on borrowed time right now if I'm gonna die, I'm going to go out with a bang.

Um This is what we did. This is what we are trained to do. This is why I wanted to come back out after my first tour. We know all the casualties we took. So it's time to fight. You know, you know, you want to get out there, you all you want to do is go to afghan, this is it. You know, you gotta put your money where your mouth is, so get aggressive, get up, get punching. Um and that's what we did for a couple of minutes. Um a couple of minutes of pure panic, A couple of minutes of hard fighting, a couple bits of not knowing what the fuck was going on because I'm trying to gather where these positions are. I went out to a doorway and there was about three or four taliban within 100 m of that doorway about to punch in. I'm with a bolt action rifle. I've got, we had a camera crew with us again, codes? I'll get you on the footage after this actually, yeah, I've got a camera crew with me who who at first weren't being very helpful. They're just trying to film me. I'm like, how about you dropped the camera and get that fucking rifle up because dudes grenades over the wall. You start putting some rounds down range, you fuck it. Yeah, fuck sake.

So that I did have five minutes of panic and real fear. Real fear, real real acceptance. I was going to die. I thought I was dead. You know, I won't lie to you. I thought I got a couple of minutes so we went out with a try to go out with a bang and I'm panicking and what are you gonna do if I fucking pardon? You know, he's got to deal with the firefighter's gotta deal with me. five minutes in the medic comes running through the door. He in actual fact has heard me say on the radio, the personal radio and without even asking the groups, the group and he was with he just went bottom off. So has been shot and he started running and the boss is getting over the main radio but he said on the P. R. R. And west just started running. I believe it was about 4 500 m full kit 40 50 degrees Celsius through Taliban firing points. He's running past the taliban that shooting me. So they must turn around look and being like, what the fuck is this fucking off another. Yeah, he came straight in, cracked his classic joke every day is the legs day because he was a PTR train us physically before we went out to deployment and he was always hammering our legs. But every day the next day was completely calm, looked at me uh and said straight away, I've got it, I've got you, he's like, don't this goes is fine.

And for me mate after that, no panic. This is like I said, the man next to you, you know, is a good caliber. He says it it's done, it's so for me mate, they're genuinely was not a panic after that. He said I was fine. Um Ash, Ash, Ash next to me, the gun, machine gun um a couple minutes after west got in the rest of the section got in um so all sorry for the, for the guys who aren't military, the rest of the soldiers that I was covering came back and then we took over that compound. It took over the building started breaking down our started dishing out target indication, started getting a fire back and you know from, we mentioned earlier copes, you have the worst days of your life and the best days of your life that day I went from probably one of the worst moments of my life to one of the best moments of my life. The rest of that day was awesome man. That's what we went out to the afghan to do, We have an awesome firefight, we we fucking you know did some damage, we've got a good scrap and with all these boys just you know I look around them with all these guys who are the ultimate professionalism at the highest level, they're going to operate at absolutely killing it, being brave, you know, and just getting getting aggressive because one of the boys has been hit and it was me and you know to experience that there's not many humans that do experience that there's not many soldiers that potentially experience that especially you know now guys were not deploying as much very privileged to have felt that level of that high, you know it's almost like I say it's like a drug, I'm very experienced to have experienced that, it's fucking pretty cool.

Yeah man that's fucking that's an amazing story bro, I'm just wary of the time bro. Do you need to run? There's so many things that I want to ask you, I've got all day, I've got all day, sweet man yeah go for it may give me a minute, I'm going to go for one as well. Yeah cheers to that man, no worries bye. So all this goes down you get extracted by helicopter, there's a funny story um that goes along with that which we're not going to get into. Um but if you want to listen to that, you can go and listen to the instructions sold separately podcast, which is the the interview that you did with the Swiss eight boys. I'll have that link in the show notes. Um, so from there you go home for three weeks. Your mom kind of raises you up a little bit. Don't fucking do that to me again. And then you're back on the ground in Afghanistan. Yeah, so I've got three weeks at home, essentially got operated on in afghan, um, sort of cut my throat open and cleaned it all up.

Saw the extent of the damage and what the bullet had done had stitches, went home as soon as the city's came out, that was me fit to deploy again. Don't get me wrong. The unit said, you don't have to come back out. You know, you're more than one to stay at home. And for me, that would have been the worst thing to do because I have been isolated from the guys. We still have three months left of the tour. You know, lads got hurt, you weren't there. I think I have been in a very different state mentally. All I wanted to do was get back to normality, get back with the boys. And it's not, not because I love war, it's because that's that's where my family was the tribal was, you know, and that's where I wanted to be in this time. I wanted to get through it with them not sat at home, I say it myself. So that's what you're fucking trained for man, all those years. All of those years, exactly about all of those years that you put into, you know, sacrificing, you know, christmases and New Year's and birthdays and weddings and funerals and fucking all of those things in your life, man, like that's your that's your title shot for sure, For sure. You put it a lot better than I could have made. It was like I said all those years training you, that was my tour, this is my time, this was this was the World Cup, you know, only comes around so often and it turned out to be my last World Cup.

So really glad I managed to get back out, landed at say lands at night and then I woke up the next day in afghan and my troop wasn't doing opportunity wasn't due to go out and for a couple of weeks, but for another week I think because we only just got back from our and our um there was another troop going out all its troops and they were like we need an extra sniper, you're prepared to volley. I said, yeah, I said, yeah okay, I'll go on that, they're like yeah, they're going out, you know, in the morning shit. So within 24 hours have been afghan I was I was back on a helicopter going on another assault and I'm not gonna lie to you make that, that was a little bit ropey for me, I had to have a long look in the mirror, a nice cold splash of water on my face and just, you know, this is fucking it. What you do now is is everything you've been going off about, You know, you know, sniper this and you think you're a good a good operator fucking prove it. So for me, that was my little battle and I'm not, you know, I did struggle. The first contact I then came back into, you know, come under fire again.

I was I was very wary mate, because before I thought I was invincible, Unbreakable and all of a sudden, felt vulnerable and you're still getting up on roofs and still suppressing positions exactly what happened before and before, you know it when it comes incoming again, you're back in that situation where you, last time you got hit. So it was tough, but it wasn't an issue because the guys I was with again in the unit was operating with just made it. So it wasn't an issue. I was with some really good lads who, you know, would always cover my arson and you just don't want to let the side down to be honest. Um so, you know, work through it, but it was definitely a journey for sure. Yeah, man, Maybe that's a that's a great point. It's something I haven't really experienced. Um unfortunately in the civilian world since I got out of the army in 2012 is like you know I went from these fucking high level operators working with snipers. Um I actually got taken out of snipers and put back into a rifle company as a section commander because they're like you know we need to spread the knowledge and experience blah blah blah, you know, so I was like this is not for me, I want to be a fucking sniper and we're not deploying anymore, so I'm gonna I'm gonna get out, I'm gonna go and do my own thing.

But since then 2012 man, I haven't met um you know people with the same professionalism that I can rely upon no matter fucking what bro and that's something that's a lot of dudes struggle with and that's definitely something I struggled with. And I haven't really, I still haven't really found my tribe of people that I can rely on for absolutely anything. Um Now let's talk about uh well kind of come back to your transition process in a moment, but before you left Afghanistan on that deployment, you had one of your mates killed on operations? Talk to me about the emotions that went through you um and how you how that affected you and kind of was there any aftermath to what happened there or was it just kind of crack on and I'll deal with this later on. Yeah so um yeah good good friend of mine jay got got killed on our on our last operation before coming home. So I think you know we it was on our way back, we got ambushed literally on the extraction got caught out, you know really heavy rate of fire and while whilst half the ladder extracting um myself and jay were giving covering fire and then as myself and jay went to extract, he got hit, he passed away.

Um The issue for me was that was my last, so I said to you before I got an okay well after I got shot because I came back out to afghan have three months to sort of get back on it. I went back to the actual in those three months fucking killed load of dudes, you know that was my the score was settled. The issue there was I came back off that operation was dealing with jay's death and then they took my rifle off me and they're like yeah you're going home now and within a week I'm back home and I'm fucking sat in my living room, you know what I probably I would have liked to have done is saying there for another month and just had the operation, you know I've done a couple of punch operations, give them a bit back or just not just almost felt like you're running away um and that that soul day is why I've had issues if I've ever had issues, it's been that Soul Day because how do you deal with that? You just feel it's my first death that I've been intimately involved with with regard to a soldier of my own with my own unit. We've had it in the past, you know neighboring squadrons or companies and stuff like that or afghan.

So a lot of afghan soldiers but you know someone that I knew that I was involved with so to then just be home within a week and you just have this world round of emotions anyway, you know you just turn the washing machine on so to speak. But just before you put the washing machine on, someone's put some spicy shit in there and that's now getting mixed up. So for me I felt really hard to deal with it and I didn't I didn't know how to deal with it makes you honest, I'd say maybe still haven't dealt with it, but I understand it now is what I would say. Yeah man, that's a great point. It's like there's not really any decompression period, it's just like you're in Afghanistan, you're fighting, you know, you're dealing with you know, casualties, injuries, deaths and then you're back in Sydney street and dude, like when I got back from Afghanistan made like I was I was with a girl for a couple of years and I was I was with her whilst I was in Afghanistan and I remember like one day we're out for for for brunch and um you know, she ordered whatever eggs Benedict and coffee or something like that and like she blew up man because and she called the waiter over and like started fucking abusing this waiter for her coffee not being hot enough man and her poached eggs not being cooked correctly, and I was just like just staring at her like are you fucking serious?

You know, like coming from that environment, back to this, I guess the bubble of a life that a lot of people live in man and you know, I mean, I don't want everyone to experience that, but you know, having some sort of process for transition process of decompression process for soldiers coming from that environment back into the civilian world, like you know, that needs to be looked at in a little bit more detail and something needs to be put into place and you know, that goes for the transition process out of the military because you come back from deployment and you have pretty much no process your back in civilian world and then that's kind of extrapolated when you go from the military into the civilian world and you know, you don't have any transition process, you're not taught, you're taught how to be a fucking soldier, you're taught how to go from being a civilian to a soldier when you join the army and that might be, you know, six months up to 18 months, two years of training, depending on what what call you go to, what role you do, but going from military to civilian, there's no transition process and you're not taught how to integrate back into society and you're not taught like, you know what, some people, you're not going to be able to rely upon and you're not going to have the same camaraderie and you're going to have to kind of fend for yourself.

And here's some tools to deal with managing your mind and your emotions and you know, all that type of stuff. Talk to me about some of the, I guess, I don't wanna say issues, but some of the the difficulties that you face when you did transition from military to civilian, what year was that? And talk to me about that process. So I left at the end of 2017. And just to add on to your point codes, you 100% right. And any training you do get about leaving the army is given to you by people still in the army. So the fact that, you know about leaving the army, like they're still in, you know, they haven't gone through what you literally just have to do it. So I struggle. I've been very lucky. I got into a good job straightaway. So again through someone I knew, but I got something to, you know, had money coming in. So I didn't have that worry. and it was saying that I could stick my teeth into the issue I have is what you you said, you know, I expected everyone to be at the standard that it was in the army, I left Working with a great team before that, I had snipers, so I thought if I asked one of my mates or I could 100% depend, on anyone.

you can't do that in, in the civilian world, you can't do that in life, but with the military loud, you could, so that was a hard lesson. There was a couple of situations there where you fucking you're like fucking out the loyalty side of it, um and also I went into a freelance world, so you're fucking fighting for work and that's ruthless, so, you know, being a good blow doesn't fucking help you, you know, someone's trying to take your work, um there's there's a lot of that, so I struggled with that side of things, and I normally if you having a shit time, like I said, and you're in the block, someone spots it straight away, what's up with you, or, you know, you sat at dinner with all the lads, you know, you just sort of looking at your food, what's up with you, you don't have that when you're at home, or when you when you leave the army and your your home alone, what you do is you go home alone and you and when you don't have this understanding of why you're feeling bad, you just sit there and sort sulk and it gets worse or you drink or you know, people do drugs or you just go out and do shit. That's not good for you because you're trying to get a release. Um Something I found as well that is that I went when I did realize that having an issue is I went 100% the other way.

So I was trying to hit the gym three times a day around work not drinking anything, trying to eat healthily and your then setting yourself too much. I think that's just as unhealthy being obsessive. The other way. I think you need to do, the trick is to wind down, not put the same amount of energy into something else and that's just as obsessive and just as harmful. Yeah, that's it dude, like if that pendulum swings too hard in one direction, you know, it's going to swing hard in the other direction. So um you know, managing those steps that you put into place is is super important man for sustaining those results long term. Yeah, that's an awesome way of putting it. Make the pendulum. Yeah, I like that a lot. Like you said you you put that amount of energy into anything that's not on this center line. Um it's not gonna happen, it's something as well, I'd say to people I know you, we spoke about earlier on, but so people who are struggling, you set these goals is don't be too hard on yourself if you don't achieve the goals because I used to try and set myself, I'm gonna do this this this in the gym today and then I wouldn't do it because I haven't achieved it, I felt like shit and you've got to be, I think part of that is being realistic with your goal setting of course, but also if you don't achieve it, have a step back, this isn't the end of the world, you know, you've still been progressive productive today, you've done well etcetera.

Um Yeah, yeah, that's that's a good point, man. I do go into like goal setting and creating consistency and motivation, direction, shit like that. And some of my very first episode. So if you guys are interested that go and listen to that um First two weeks of the podcast is all about like building foundations, fundamentals. Um But make what I want to go into now is how you learned about uh the information that you had been nominated for the conspicuous gallantry Cross, which for those listening at home is um the second highest gallantry award um in the british military, so for Australians it's the equivalent to the star of gallantry. And for americans it's the equivalent to it's either the Distinguished Service Cross or the silver star I believe. Yeah, so I was on a course to get promoted. So section commanders battle course I think you so for you guys would be the course you have to do to become corporal right within infantry.

I was on that and the this I'm from the household cavalry right? So I get called donkey all up wherever I go, we work forces on the ceremonial side of things. So I turned up to this course and the sergeant major's like fucking donkey wallop you know I'll give you two weeks and put to jacket in and fail. And I was like okay lovely nice one cheers dickered. Um So I'm midway through a class in during this course and they're like maloney out your kernels on the phone and I'm like fuck two things. I've been out on the piss that weekend and got in a fight and being a bit of victor. The other thing is a load of us were smashing a load of shit like test test boosters in the gym and stuff that I we weren't sure was maybe going to pass the CDT if we've got C. D. T. So you know and I was like shit these are two things I thought it was gonna be. So I get pulled in um pulled into the office and he's like uh yeah maloney kernels on the phone. Yeah goes on. He's like yeah I'm on it. I'm very happy to tell you that you've been awarded the conspicuous gallantry cross. Congratulations have register citation yet, but I'm like, ok, I got the phone and I'm not gonna lie.

I had to google what CDC was. I didn't know what it was, completely caught me, caught me off guard. So I get told that get pulled off the course straight away to go and do like a media day thing with all the afghan guys. So I had to go next door to that sergeant major and he's like, he's like maloney's like to tell me a fucking you know, your jacket. And I was like, no, I'm often the piss uh in London for a week. I'll catch you next week for the next exercise. Yeah. And then like he went to throw his fucking pace to keep me in the OC is like, yeah, maloney has been a water CGC is gonna catch up next week. Was like that he's going to get on a piece of prince harry. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So yeah, that's how I got told. But yeah, I had to google it first and I don't know, I don't know what it was and it was totally out of the blue. I didn't expect it. Yeah. Talk to me about like the emotions that you went through when you were told that um one. But then um you know, as that information started sinking in and then leading up to actually being presented with that award by her majesty, the Queen of England. Yeah. Initially I thought I didn't think it was about getting shot.

I thought it was about potentially when, when I mentioned when, when jay passed away. So when, when you actually get to read the citation, you realized had a very different feeling about it had never turned it down, but I didn't think I deserved it by any means because essentially got bailed out the shit that day by my guys. Um where's the medic? He got, he got a medal also that day for that day, but there were 10 blocks on the ground that day that saved my ass and I would have nominated or given my medal too without a shadow of doubt. So had a bit of a weird feeling about it. Um I wasn't gonna turn it down. It done my career a lot of favors. And the main, the main, the good thing about this medal was I went to Windsor Castle to receive it from her majesty, the Queen. Um my mom and my dad who had been through and my little brother who had been through the shit with me, you know, for 10 years in the army going off to all these places away all the time getting injured, then going back out, they got to dress up, come to Windsor Castle, meet the Queen and see the sun getting middle. So for them, it was closure on it and a nice way to end I think because from there, I didn't really go to any dangerous places and You know, sort of did in structural rules and stuff like that's 100 glad I got it.

Very proud to have got it from the queen, it was good height for the regiment, good height for the labs on that tour. But you know, personally there are, there are 10 boys that should have got it over me, my opinion for what happened on that day. Yeah man. Uh and I've got something similar as well. Um I, when I got back from Afghanistan, I actually like got stuck into the gym and rugby training and stuff like that because there was the Defense Force World Cup coming up at the end of the year and I think I got back from afghan like june was maybe a week after my birthday or something. Um Defense Force World Cup was kicking off at the end of the year, you know, teams from all over the world Um playing in Defence Force World Cup in conjunction with the Rugby World Cup in 2011 in New Zealand, so I got stuck into that. Um got selected for the team, went to Canberra played down there uh and then top four teams went to New Zealand. Um so I went to New Zealand played over there with the Australian team away for two months man, I was pretty much getting paid to be an athlete and you know, after getting back from Afghanistan, I was kind of like, all right, this is my time to let my hair down and get a little bit loose.

And I was with the rugby boys, Obviously I'm training and shit like that and playing games, so I still had to perform, but I was also let my hair down and having some fun with the lads. Um So yeah, anyway, I get back from that trip and I get a letter and I've got a letter in the mail um saying you've been nominated for the commendation for gallantry, which is the fourth highest um award in Australia for gallantry. And I was like, what the fuck is going on here? So, um it said like you need to get in contact with these people by this date and that date has already passed. So I was like, oh, that's kind of weird. So I rang my mates and I was like, hey boys like this is this is um the letter that I've got in the mail. It's like really fucking bizarre, don't know what's going on, and they're like, what are you, what are you gonna do? And I was like, well, date already passed, so whatever, I can't accept it, and they're like, you're a fucking idiot, call them up, tell them what happened, blah blah blah. And I was like, well, I don't want to accept it. Like, you know, shit happened on the ground and I was johnny on the spot, You guys fucking you guys pulled your weight, you did what you need to do. You know, anyone could have fucking got that medal or you know, a number of books could have got a number of different metals on that day or those days um that they were that they were talking about and they're like, well if you're not gonna accept it for yourself, accept it for the team at least.

And I was like, yeah, fuck you make a really good point, you know? So, um I kind of understand where you're coming from, man and and you know, it's it's most guys that have been awarded are just like I just fucking did my job, you know, and other guys did their fucking job as well and we did what needed to be done to get the job done at the end of the day, um let's talk about your achievements since you've got now the army, we've talked about, you know, some of the the maybe the not the issues, but some of the difficult things that you face. Let's talk about some of the things that you've achieved that you're proud of since getting out of the military and embarking on your civilian life. Yeah, for sure. Okay, for me, the best thing I've achieved is you see that, you know, you said when, when you came back from africa and you went for a coffee and people getting upset over things that wouldn't be, I believe I've managed to maintain that perspective.

My girlfriend says she's like, you you're quite chilled out, but you know, I didn't realize how chilled out you actually were and and I say this because I have managed to keep that if I'm not getting shot at people aren't dying um there isn't, the stress is probably not worth getting upset about. I know I don't work well when I get myself upset, I'm the best when I don't give a fuck about stuff. So what I'd say here is the, my proudest achievement is my perspective on life now, I've gone for a rocky time pay and I've had some bad times I've said to you, but where I'm at now, I'm happy, I know what I need to be happy, it's not all about earning loads of money and etcetera, it's I know what I care about, you know, the sort of, my closest friends and family, as long as they're happy, my perspective on life stays how it is. I'm pretty set to be successful in life. That's this is my opinion and I'd say this is where I'm at, you know, and only in the last six months I'd say that, but but for sure, yeah, man, that's a very well put it like that, it gives you, it gives you perspective, you know, um my ex girlfriend, I was with her for five years, we'd go travelling for 2 to 34 months every year, we closed our business is down, go traveling.

I'd come to tiger training Thailand for a month and then meet her whatever in, you know, in Hawaii or something and then we go traveling or whatever did this for like four or five years. And it was funny man, because she would always say like, she'd be kind of disappointed when she'd say, hey, you're really excited for our trip, we're about to go on this three month trip in a couple of days time, and I'm like, I haven't really thought about it and you know, she would kind of get pissed off about it and you know, she's like, what's what's wrong with you? Like why are you, why are you not excited about this stuff? And I'm like, you know, I've got so many things that I need to so many loose ends, I need to tie up over the next couple of days, like, I'm going to focus on that stuff now, I'm going to be in the moment rather than living in the future and obviously I need to prepare for that. But once I've done all the preparations, I need to tie up loose ends, I need to fucking be here and now and do the shit, get the shit done that I need to do, but after a couple of years of this, I finally figured out a way to communicate it to a, you know, I'm like, I'm like, what's the most, the most exciting thing you've ever done in your life. And she's like, skydiving and I was like, all right, well on a scale of 1 to 10, How exciting was that?

And she's like, less than 10. I was like, well, your level tan skydiving is a level six for me. I'm like, the most exciting thing, exhilarating thing I've done in my life has been a fucking firefight where someone's trying to take my life and I'm trying to take their life and I'm like, that's your reference point, right? So, you know, going on a holiday is not that exciting for me. I mean, obviously I'm going to fucking enjoy it whilst I'm there when I'm on the ground, but I'm not looking forward to that. Have you had many experiences like that? Yeah, for sure. You raise a really good point. Um is yes, like you don't struggle to enjoy stuff. I enjoy it, but like, you know, it's, you look around and you're not normal or what you'd say would be integrated and normal. Um My my my take on this as well, it's like in the army, you don't show emotion. You don't show happiness. You don't show fear or sadness. So it's almost like something goes through your head and you feel it and then you decide whether to express it or not. So, you know, you are excited about that holiday. It's a good holiday?

Like, you know, you just said to me now it was a good holiday um but I'm not gonna start jumping around about it because that's not what we do and I think we, we take that for granted that that is still bred into us man. Like there's some sad times where I've, you know, inside, I'm like that is sad, you almost like a robot, but you're still here, it's just exactly the same, I think especially when you're in a relationship where you've got communicate a lot more and especially emotionally involved if you need to Yeah, it's something that um that will come up and people don't understand and it's really interesting to hear you say that and your your experience of that for sure. Yeah man and dude, like I absolutely agree with what you just said of being able to kind of just chill man, just be yourself, be in the moment and not, you know, create stress or anxiety or anything like that because you're constantly looking for the next thing or you're looking back in the past or whatever you're comfortable in your own skin, you know exactly what your values are and I think that's a big thing, like you fucking spend your entire life trying to figure out who you are and what's important to you and you know, some people never find that in their entire life and they're floating through fucking life man, you know those people there on a difficult road, you know, but some people, they go through these experience, they have these life changing experiences and you know, it either it either shapes you or it breaks you, You know, you can choose how you perceive those events, you know, and it takes time to condition yourself to doing that, you know, you can't just say, well I'm just going to fucking think positive about everything that comes up, like that's not the case, but you need to try and look for the positives in everything, every single situation and try and take a positive out of everything, man.

I spoke about this recently on on a podcast about My reflections for 2020. Um you know, I had a I had a couple of mates commit suicide um you know, I had, you know, a number of, a couple of mates died as well, a number of kind of shitty things happen, but you know, I look back at the people that I lost and I appreciate the time that I had with them, and I'm like, you know, I've got those memories forever and unfortunately we can't make any more memories, but I've got those memories that I had with those people and you know, as shit is that is and as shitty as that sounds to try and do like you fucking have to do that man, because that's the only way that you can manage your mind is condition yourself to try and be grateful for anything man every single fucking day? Yeah, for sure. And you know, the stoic philosophy of it is out of my hands. So why am I getting stressed about it? I can't change it. Um, definitely there's a book called Win or learn that coach governor. It's kinda McGregor's sort of head God, the title is win or learn regardless of the book.

Um, that sort of highlights. That is you can win. Yeah. And that's a positive. But you know, even even, you know, you get broken or jocko talks about all the time. Good, You failed good because you, you now look at points, there's always a positive it and it also is it always perceived as a positive is maybe not, but it can be perceived as something that's going to move you forward and make you better than you were yesterday. Which is what, you know, maybe what we all may be trying to achieve. So, um, yeah, for sure man. He said it's perception and just if it's not out of your control while you're getting stressed about it, why are you letting it affect you and your family and your unit and what you're about? Um mm hmm May I want to start winding up. Um, I'm obviously aware of your time. We've been talking for a fucking long time. Like I said, we could continue this conversation for another will end up being a joe Rogan for 3.5 hour episode? Yeah. Getting beers from the fridge. Yeah. Um, have you had any outstanding mentors or coaches or you know, anyone in your life that has had a significant impact on the man that you are today.

So this, this is the question you highlighted to me before we did this and I'm glad you did because I thought, I thought about it a lot. Um, I had, I had a lot of mentors in the army of just what you do because of the rank structure, right? You're always striving to be the one above and stuff like that. This is, this might be perceived as a bit of a like soft answer here, but my take on it is this like I said, I've worked quite hard over the last couple of years to, to understand who I am, what I want and, and my perception how to be happy. Um, so if you ask me now who my role models are saying in a very good position in life is I don't need to look up, I look left and right. If I'm gonna have trouble, I, you know, I consider you a good friend. I could, I could think what would coach do here. I've got my friends left and right. You know, I'm not going to name names, they know who they are, but I am. I keep good company. I've got good friends from my time in the army and from who I choose to keep. Now. I don't choose to keep this company because they're good people, I don't my role models of what they're doing. I just need to look left and right and see, you know, they're all killing at work or there's a situation here with a relationship with my girlfriend that I talked to him about and I think again for me this is a sign of, in my opinion, a huge success for myself because I just left the right man.

I've got good people around me at all times. Any advice, I guess it's gonna be sound advice in any opinion. I hear, I'm probably gonna think it's pretty decent. So for me, I've worked hard, you know, to, to get to this to this stage, but you know, keep good people around you. You're not gonna go far wrong. You don't need role models. You don't need to look on instagram. You don't need to look for motivational videos on youtube. You just look left and right and you've got your boys. I think a lot of military guys need, can think of that and remember that that you don't have. You don't have to look too far. I fucking love that answer man. Never above you, never below you always beside you brothers by choice. Uh the name of this podcast is live train perform, which stands for live Life to the fullest train to your potential and perform at your best, what does that mean to mean to you? For me it is as we touched on before, you don't look at whatever anyone else is doing, whatever you're gonna do and you believe in and what you've been brought up or what your values are, do them and do them well. If you're going to be chimney sweep, be the best chimney sweep you can be, if you just, if you're, if you're role in life is to be someone's father or you want to be a good boyfriend or you want to be a UFC fighter, just be the fucking best you can be, hold your hand up, head up high every day and if you were a role model for someone, so you had a son, what would they think?

You know, just try and if you think like that every day, then I think that you go too far wrong. May I love it man, I really appreciate your time brother. Um much love, much respect to you man. Hopefully we can catch up in the near future. Um, I will have your head up and all the organizations that you're working with, linked in the show notes. Um any feedback for this episode. Much appreciated guys. If you're sharing it on your stories, make sure you tag myself and Mosul, we can share it as well. Um Brother final points mate. Uh it's been really good to catch up and I'll be out to Thailand probably with the head up boys at the very first opportunity. So we'll be seeing you very soon, mate. Love it brother. Let's catch up soon. Peace And there we have it guys. My interview with Simon Maloney. This was one of my favorite interviews that I've conducted so far. I really enjoyed it. If you did as well, please make sure you share it with your friends and family. If you do put it on your social media stories, please make sure you tag myself and mo Our links will be in the show notes, Any five star ratings and reviews are much appreciated.

Much love guys piece

Simon Moloney CGC (Conspicuous Gallantry Cross)
Simon Moloney CGC (Conspicuous Gallantry Cross)
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