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Combat Story

Jun 3, 2023

This episode is brought to you by the OSS Society. Use the link below to register for the Tuesday, June 13 · 6 - 7pm EDT 'Oh So Social' Conversation between General Jim Mattis and Dr. Michael Vickers. They'll discuss Vickers upcoming book In By All Means Available: Memoirs of a Life in Intelligence, Special Operation and Strategy and his remarkable career.

This episode is also brought to you by 4Patriots Survival Food Kits. The kits are compact, sturdy, water-resistant, and stack easily. They have different delicious breakfasts, lunches, dinners. You can make these meals in less than 20 minutes. Just add boiling water, simmer, and serve.
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Today we hear our first Combat Story from a member of the Air Force’s aerial special operations community: Mike LaFeve. Mike was an MC-130 Navigator in the Air Force’s 8th Special Operations Squadron (8th SOS).

The MC-130 is an incredible airframe and we dig into it’s configuration, aircrews, and mission sets in this episode. The platform is specifically designed to support the special operations community with airdrops, delivery and extraction of special operators, refueling, combat search and rescue and so much more, including something called the Fulton Recovery which is straight out of a James Bond movie. 

In this episode we go through Mike’s first deployment immediately following 9/11 in what can only be described as the Wild West of Afghanistan. We’ll do a second round interview in which we delve into several more deployments and the varied mission set as the battlefield becomes more established.

I hope you enjoy this detailed behind the scenes look at a very cool airframe from someone inside the cockpit 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 Mike LaFeve Online:
- LinkedIn:


Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
01:00 - Guest Introduction (Mike LaFeve)
02:00 - Interview begins
02:23 - Influential Media
04:29 - Desire to fly
05:57 - Childhood
08:15 - Family Military history
09:08 - Deciding on the Air Force
14:59 - Air Maintenance Officer
20:18 - OSS Society
21:24 - Difference between Navigator and Pilot
29:20 - Heavy instead of Fighter
32:35 - Path to MC-130 and Special Forces
36:28 - In depth look at the C-130s
40:35 - 4 Patriots
41:58 - Aircrew and Mission sets
46:57 - Flying at 250 feet at night
51:00 - Retired plane-escape system
53:46 - Special Ops during 9/11
01:05:42 - Time in Pakistan
01:19:57 - First operation of the War
01:28:26 - Time in the War
01:32:20 - Texas 12
01:42:23 - ODA teamleader
01:46:47 - Last mission on first deployment
01:50:58 - Sentimental item
01:52:33 - Would you do it all again
01:56:35 - Final thoughts
01:57:54 -  Listener comments and shout outs