Oct 2, 2021
Today we hear the Combat Story of Dr. Dan Pronk, a former Australian SAS doctor who completed four tours to Afghanistan. Do not be fooled by the doctor title, Dan was on the front lines conducting hundreds of operations with the elite SAS.
This is the first of two interviews with Dan.
Before the military, Dan was a triathlete and lived what he described as an average Australian upbringing. The military put him through medical school, but he wanted to be part of the elite SAS and fought for years for a chance to just get to selection, which he eventually did.
Since leaving the military, Dan has gone on to an executive role in medical management, as well as co-owning the multimillion dollar company TacMed Australia and founding several other entrepreneurial startups.
He’s written several books, including Average 70kg Dickhead: Motivational Lessons from an Ex-Army Special Forces Doctor, and Arterial Tourniquets: For Police Officers, Law Enforcement and other First-Responders. He just released a third book with two fellow former SAS operators called Resilience Shield.
Dan’s also a motorhead with a love of high performance cars, leading him to own a classic Ferrari and Lamborghini. He also created Delta Automotive that builds these limited edition classic sports cars.
Dan was referred to me by another SAS leader as “legend” in the community and I hope you enjoy this first of two Combat Story rounds with Dan as much as I did.
Find Dan Online:
Website Resilience Shield www.resilienceshield.com/
LinkedIN Dan Pronk https://www.linkedin.com/in/danpronk/
Instagram @danpronk www.instagram.com/danpronk/?hl=en
0:00 - Interview begins
1:07 - Dan Pronk bio
2:13 - Interview begins
9:00 - Tough schooling and getting beaten with a cricket bat (for both Ryan and Dan)
10:25 - Dan’s family military history and father who was an Army helicopter pilot
13:50 - Dan’s rebellious stage, triathlons, and tough cars
19:30 - Running and that release
24:50 - “Maneuvering” myself into an elite group
29:15 - Extrinsic motivation of being a triathlete rather than being an intrinsically motivated soldier
32:30 - Shifting from college and triathlons to medical school and the military
38:15 - The “lightbulb moment” to join SAS
43:50 - Why is SAS sending doctor’s through Selection?
47:10 - Motivational moment of being doubted
49:05 - Darker and harder moments of Selection
55:45 - What’s it like being a Selection-certified doctor in SAS?
59:20 - First deployment with SAS as a Task Force asset
1:02:35 - First mission outside the wire as a doctor AND the gunner on a vehicle
1:06:35 - First time I got shot at “accurately”
1:10:35 - Another mission and being in contact with snipers on quad bikes and more vehicles going against the Taliban
1:12:55 - No indication of PTSD starting to seep in
1:15:10 - Another deployment to Afghanistan in 2011 (reference to the Drug Enforcement Agency aka DEA's Drug Flow Attack Strategy Team or FAST)
1:16:44 - Difficult mission and a “turning point” for Dan. “We’re playing for keeps now”
1:26:45 - Dan’s background in the Emergency Room and working trauma