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Combat Story

May 27, 2023

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Today we hear a remarkable Combat Story from longtime Special Forces Green Beret and 18D medic, Ryan Neel, who spent close to 25 years in the Army, most of that in Special Operations, to include nine deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo.

We spend a lot of time on Ryan’s combat experiences in this episode, starting right away with the story of how Ryan nearly died on his first Iraq deployment. I found Ryan through Darrell Utt (who many will recall from our interview #74 at, who was a former Green Beret alongside Ryan. Oddly enough, both Darrell and Ryan share the same “Alive Day” as they both nearly died on the same day in April 2005.

Darrell described the event in the following way: “Ryan was 15 meters away when a tanker truck rammed through the gate and detonated 500 gallons of diesel fuel, 20 x 155mm HE Artillery shells, and ¼ metric tons of TNT…despite having multiple types of injuries and being trapped in his room while it was on fire for 2 minutes, his teammates kicked the door down and after a quick self-assessment – he proceeded to provide medical treatment to four SF brothers, two interpreters, three Peshmerga guards, reset security, and directed Iraqi & US reinforcements…And, yes, he has the actual terrorist video footage of the attack!”

Ryan provides a very real and honest perspective of what 15 years of combat does to a person and family and I am sure so many people will connect with his feelings and perspective. I hope you enjoy this one 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 Neel Online:
- Indeed


Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
00:58 - Guest Introduction (Ryan Neel)
02:42 - Interview begins
02:55 - Darrel Utt and sharing an Alive Day
19:10 - 4Patriots
20:30 -  Alive Day continued
28:05  - Being a Parent and Husband
37:04 - Recruitment and the path to the Army
41:12 - Family history and reception on joining
44:50 - Influences to joining
47:15 - Going Green Beret
51:23 - Time in Kosovo 
01:02:59 - Skirmish on the border
01:08:43 - First Deployment with Special Forces
01:22:14 - Missions leading up to the Alive Day attack
01:25:16 - A tough operation #1
01:33:35 - A tough operation #2
01:41:14 - Patching up a Soldier
02:07:32 - Impacts on Home life
02:25:44 - Sentimental items
02:29:43 - Would you do it again?
02:32:24 -  Listener comments and shout outs