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Combat Story

Jun 17, 2023

This episode is brought to you by the OSS Society. Use the link below to register for the Tuesday, June 13 · 6 - 7pm EDT 'Oh So Social' Conversation between General Jim Mattis and Dr. Michael Vickers. They'll discuss Vickers upcoming book In By All Means Available: Memoirs of a Life in Intelligence, Special Operation and Strategy and his remarkable career.
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Today we have a unique Combat Story from long time veteran, CIA officer, and policy maker: the Honorable Mike Vickers. Mike spent 10 years in the Green Berets with 10th Special Forces Group as both an enlisted Weapons Sergeant and Officer, including command of a counterterrorism element operating in Europe during the Cold War. 

He then transitioned to one of the most impactful jobs in Cold War history as the Program Officer overseeing the covert action program to fight and ultimately defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan. His first assignments in the Agency before going to training were in stark contrast to my own as Mike went directly to a war zone (a story we begin the podcast with because it’s so unique) with nothing but his polo, linen pants, loafers, operational cash and a firearm!

Mike would go on to very senior levels in the government, including the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflicts, and Interdependent Capabilities where he played an instrumental role in so many facets of our national security policy, to include pioneering drone capabilities to target Al-Qaida around the world and helping get the necessary support for the raid to kill Bin Laden.

I found this to be a fascinating piece of history and one that Mike details in his book, By All Means Available: Memoirs of a Life in Intelligence, Special Operations and Strategy. I found Mike thanks to Frank Gargon, who - along with MIke- is helping to raise funds to support the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society in building a museum in honor of intelligence and special operations professionals. With that, please enjoy this front row seat to so many historical events over the past 40 years.


Find Ryan Online:
- Ryan’s Linktree
- Merch
- Instagram @combatstory
- Facebook @combatstoryofficial
- Send us messages at
- Learn more about Ryan
- Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle
Find Michael Vickers Online:
- Learn more about Michae:
- Purchase By All Means Available:
- OSS Society Conversation with Jim Mattis tickets:
- OSS Society:


Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
01:01 - Guest Introduction (Ryan Rogers)
02:48 - Interview begins
04:00 - Unusual beginning at the CIA
09:40 - On the ground in Greneda
13:36 - Growing up and focus on the CIA
17:29 - Underachiever to Multitasker
19:20 - OSS Society Conversation Ad
20:22 - Time in the Army
23:48 - Serving along side Vietnam Soldiers
27:21 - Advantage of Special Forces training to CIA
29:03 - Chance encounter with Gina Haspel
30:34 - Homebased and the Covert Action Program
34:41 - Afghanistan Covert Action Program Officer
39:28 - 4Patriots
40:47 - Stalemate in Afghanistan
41:43 - Plan to infiltrate Afghanistan
45:00 - Secret partners
45:48 - Escalation against the Soviets
50:10 - Soviet withdrawl from Afghanistan
53:38 - A covert mission
56:17 - Afghanistan war post 9/11
01:01:13 - Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations, Low Intensity Conflicts, and Interdependent Capabilities 
01:07:30 - The Drone Program
01:12:02 - On the ground in Pakistan
01:13:53 - Secretary of Intel
01:17:52 - A challenging mission
01:21:42 - Building confidence in the Bin Laden raid
01:29:49 - Sentimental items
01:31:03 - Do it all again
01:31:53 - Plan B
01:33:02 -  Listener comments and shout outs