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Combat Story

Jun 10, 2023

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Today we hear the Combat Story of former Special Forces Green Beret Eric Neal. In fact, you’ll hear many combat stories in this episode as Eric recounts his four deployments to Afghanistan in just four years from 2010 to 2014 in very kinetic environments, losing many friends and brothers in arms along the way and learning so much about himself. 

Even Eric’s very first combat operation (which jump into in the first two minutes of this episode) was as chaotic as they get with multiple aircraft supporting his ODA going winchester (running out of ammo) trying to suppress the enemy. He would be involved in operations we’ve heard of previously - in one case carrying the bodies of the soldiers we lost in Extortion 17 - and many events we have not heard of, to include one of the largest VBIEDs in the post-9/11 era on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, that wounded over 70 soldiers and local nationals. 

Eric experienced so much of this combat and loss in his mid-20s and, as he mentions, some of these moments are still with him today. It’s hard to imagine one person could experience this much combat in one lifetime, let alone in just four years and I hope you enjoy this gauntlet of trial by fire, literally, and the combat operations and insights he shares, as much as I did. 


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 Eric NealOnline:
- LinkedIn
- Gritr sports
- National Medal of Honor Museum

Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
01:01 - Guest Introduction (Eric Neal)
02:25 - Interview begins
02:48 - Background with Darrell Utt
04:24 - Medal of Honor recipients before award
06:17 - The importance of 3rd Group
07:55 - First mission outside the wire
21:27 - 4Patriots
24:29 - Childhood and joining the Army
30:00 - The Football Coach 
34:54 - Path to Special Forces
39:42 - Combat Story Merch
39:58 - Gaining confidence
43:38 - The Q-course
49:34 - The drive for combat
50:58 - Hazing 
56:13 - Loosing a team leader
59:01 - First deployment stories
01:03:14 - First deployment afterthoughts
01:04:49 - Second deployment  
01:13:31 - Being on Comms during missions
01:15:16 - First mission back after IED
01:18:33 - A tragic situation
01:33:05 - Second deployment afterthoughts
01:36:47 - Third deployment
01:40:56 - Dealing with losing teammates
01:42:20 - Fourth deployment
02:02:57 - Courageous acts
02:06:56 - Sentimental Items
02:08:17 - Would you do it all again
02:09:28 - Final remarks
02:10:54 -  Listener comments and shout outs