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Combat Story

Mar 4, 2023

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Today we hear a fascinating Combat Story from an active duty and currently serving F-15 Eagle fighter pilot, Ryan “Stinger” Fishel whose been involved in some of the most recent combat operations we’ve talked about on the show, including Syria and Iraq in Operation Inherent Resolve fighting ISIS.

Ryan has an absolutely remarkable story of how he found his way to the Air Force that included a Forest Gump-like path of hustling and fighting for any flight time he could get in the civilian world, to include incredibly risky and sketchy flights shuttling aircraft from the US to various countries in the Caribbean. At one point, Ryan was living out of his car and working in a grocery store deli before a moment on a beach changed his perspective on life.

I would ask you to please listen through Ryan’s story to get to the cockpit because it makes what follows (his exploits inside the aircraft) so much more special, to include an air to air shootdown in hostile skies of a drone, a stand-off and near international incident with a Russian fighter, and dropping danger close ordinance literally in neighboring buildings as friendlies were fighting ISIS.

I am so excited for you to hear one of our best combat stories with insight into the fighter pilot community I’d never heard of before from a long time Combat Story listener and active duty pilot and hope you enjoy it 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 Ryan Fishel Online:
- LinkedIn

Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
00:55 - Guest Introduction (Ryan Fishel)
02:15 - Interview Begins
02:22 - How Ryan met Ryan
04:22 - Taking advantage of Podcasts and Veteran stories
05:53 - Callsign Origin
07:20 - The role of a Flight Weapons System Officer
08:55 - The role of a Fighter Pilot
12:39 - Suprising people become a Fighter Pilot
14:21 - Determination to become a Fighter Pilot
15:41 - Training route
17:05 - Childhood
25:35 - Living out of the car after highschool
32:37 - Path into Aviation
43:29 - Selling airplanes
51:18 - Black Diamond Jet Team
56:42 - Path to the Airforce through OTS
59:09 - Trainings and tests that put Ryan ahead
01:01:36 - Advantage and disadvantages through intesne training
01:04:40 - 9/11
01:06:40 - F15 Jets
01:10:38 - Being the 'new guy from flight school'
01:17:18 - Sharing oral history
01:20:42 - The best roast jokes
01:23:21 - First combat mission
01:31:12 - Processing pulling the trigger and danger
01:39:56 - Crazy radios and the road to flying F35s
01:59:05 - Dealing with aftermath stress of combat
 02:04:14 - How to deal with mortality
02:11:44 -
02:12:43 - Sentimental item
02:13:58 - Would you follow the same route
02:15:03 - Envisioning the next 10-15 years
02:16:36 -  Listener comments and shout outs