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Combat Story

Jun 24, 2023

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Today we have a fascinating Combat Story from Matt Stevens, a Troop and Squadron Commander in Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU, the unit many know from the Bin Laden raid and the Captain Phillips rescue. 

After tours with SEAL Teams 4 and 8 and one rotation with a SEAL Delivery Vehicle (SDV) unit, Matt successfully assessed for and was accepted into DEVGRU. He and his Troop deployed to Afghanistan immediately following 9/11 and supported efforts in the south of the country, on the “giving end” of things as Matt so aptly describes it. 

Matt was, unfortunately, intimately involved in the aftermath of Operation Red Wings in 2005 while serving as a DEVGRU Squadron Commander that included all the tactical and political challenges that come with that leadership role.

Today, Matt is the CEO of The Honor Foundation, a non-profit that helps elite warriors like himself successfully transition out of the military and into a civilian career. Part of the process for veterans in the program is how to manage your identity post-military, which so many of us struggle with, and Matt shares some of the tactics the Honor Foundation uses to help in this effort.

I hope you enjoy this front row seat to stories from a leader in one of the elite Tier 1 elements of our military 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 Matt Stevens Online:
- LinkedIn
- Learn more about Matt
- The Honor Foundation
- Instagram @honorfoundation

Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
00:45 - Guest Introduction (Matt Stevens)
02:00 - Interview begins
02:07 - Missions after 9/11
09:20 - Lobbying to get mission sets
12:03 - The Honor Foundation
18:49 - 4Patriots
20:07 - Childhood
23:59 - Deciding to join the Military
29:12 - Playing the clarinet
31:30 - Deciding to go the SEALs route
34:29 - Working alongside older Veterans
36:09 - Welcoming as a Junior Officer to SEAL team
38:51 - Jump to DEVGRU
46:22 - Measuring up to the competition
47:39 - Family reaction to going DEVGRU
 48:44 - First mission set in Afghanistan 
55:07 - Difference between training and live Ops at night
58:30 - Operation Red Wings 
01:16:39 - Moral during Operation Red Wings 
01:25:44 - Leadership position complications
01:29:32 - Experience with high ranking officials
01:31:24 - Advice for identity after service
01:44:39 - Sentimental Items
01:45:21 - Would you do it all again
01:47:01 - Final thoughts
01:47:12 -  Listener comments and shout outs