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Combat Story

Jan 21, 2023

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Today we hear the Combat Story of Ryan Rogers, a Marine Corps NCO who led Marines during the Battle of Marjah aka Operation Moshtarak which was a huge and intense International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) offensive in Helmand Province, Afghanistan involving 15,000 Afghan, American, British, Canadian, Danish, and Estonian troops, and the largest joint operation of the War in Afghanistan up to that point in 2010. 

The purpose of the operation was to remove the Taliban from Marja, thus eliminating the last Taliban stronghold in central Helmand Province. This was Ryan’s first experience of intense combat and we spend significant time on the fighting which began literally after stepping off the Chinook on the LZ. 

Many don’t know this about me but the Battle of Marjah had a profound impact on me personally in 2010 and was a primary reason I found my way to the CIA (which we touch on in this podcast).

After his intense combat experience, Ryan turned to drinking but then found his path and purpose, writing the book “The Lions of Marjah” about his experiences during this battle and co-hosting the Choices Not Chances podcast. 

This is a great one ya’ll. I don’t usually tear up during an interview but this one had me and Ryan in tears at one point talking about the relationships created down range. I know ya’ll are going to enjoy this one.

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 Rogers Online:
- Ryan's book Lions of Marjah
- Twitter @RyanRog98054437
- Choices Not Chances Podcast:

Show Notes:
00:00 - Intro 
00:59 - Guest Introduction (Ryan Rogers)
02:25 - Interview begins
03:45 - Choices Not Chances Podcast
06:22 - Ryan's childhood and inspiration on joinging the military
11:27 - Ryan's family's reaction to him joining the Marines
13:02 - Why did Ryan choose to join the Marines
14:22 - Training for the Marines
22:38 - Americans Evacuated from Lebanon mission
27:40 - Does Hunting experience help in the Marines
30:20 - First time you found yourself downrange
32:45 - The yearning for combat
36:51 - The origins of the Lions of Marjah book
42:05 - Operation Moshtarak
49:03 - Relationship with the brand new squad in combat
51:53 - Dropping in the center of the fight
01:04:40 - The days that followed
01:18:20 - Any particullarly hard missions
01:25:41 - Building the bonds of combat Veterans 
01:32:49 - The responsibilities of a USMC Squad Leader
01:38:19 - The transition out
01:42:33 - The emotional challenges of being a Marine
01:45:44 - Finding purpose
01:49:50 - Any sentimental items
01:51:00 - Would you do it all again
01:52:42 -  Listener comments and shout outs
01:54:33 - Sights Smells bring you back to combat
01:55:49 - Funniest memory of the time downrange 
02:02:19 - Advice to 18-22 year olds
02:05:48 - Best piece of advice during your career