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Combat Story

Feb 11, 2023

Today we hear the Combat Story of Brian Slade, a former AH-64 Apache pilot and serving Air Force Search and Rescue pilot with multiple combat deployments both taking and saving lives.

Brian moved out of his house at the age of 15 and learned to make it on his own and carries the same conviction and passion in almost everything he does. He’s written a book called “Cleared Hot: Lessons Learned about Life, Love, and Leadership While Flying the Apache Gunship in Afghanistan and Why I Believe a Prepared Mind Can Help Minimize PTSD” that goes into greater detail about his combat experiences.

Brian showed me the gun tape from inside his cockpit after his front seater was shot in the leg, he lost an engine, and lost flight controls and it was amazing, bringing back the feel of the aircraft and the borderline chaos of radios during a gunfight. 

We spend time in this episode on how to remove the weight and burden of what Brian aptly calls the ‘insidious backpack’ that many of us carry from experiences down range or just at home, which is part of a larger effort he’s supporting called Trauma to Triumph to help others deal with this burden.

Brian and I definitely geek out on aviation lingo, aircraft, flight profiles, and emergency procedures and I hope you enjoy this discussion of chaos in the air and overcoming the associated burdens on the ground 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 Brian Online:
- Brian's Instagram @brian.slade_
- Brian's Facebook
- Brian's Linkedin
- Cleared Hot book:

Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
00:53 - Guest Introduction (Brian Slade)
02:15 - Interview begins
02:54 - Difficulties in highschool 
05:32 - Combat lesson learned through sports
17:47 - Father figures
21:45 - Trauma from a young age
23:58 - Road to enlistment
26:38 - Transition to flying Apache's
30:33 - Hovering and Apache Pilot training
39:27 -  Brian's time in the National Gaurd
41:23 - Afghanistan deployment
44:50 - Power Margin of the Apache in Afghanistan 
46:17 - First tough engagement
57:03 - The relationship between air and ground forces
59:15 - Kinds of trauma
01:06:42 - Toughest moment in the pilot seat
01:14:20 - Guntape
01:16:26 - Toughest moment resumed 
01:33:41 - Transfer to the Air Force
01:38:01 - Retirement coming
01:39:29 - Any sentimental items
01:41:40 - Would you do it all again
1:42:44 -  Listener comments and shout outs