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Combat Story

Dec 26, 2020

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Todd Opalski is a retired Marine (NCO and Officer), Scout Sniper, Force Recon Operator, Delta Operator, Special Operations Commander, and entrepreneur. After 26 years in the military, he lived the startup experience in Silicon Valley before standing up Camp Zen Commando, a Costa Rican retreat to help people optimize their lives and be prepared for the uncertainties of tomorrow.

If you love the Marine Corps or The Citadel, you will LOVE this episode. In fact, the Marine Corps might just play this on a loop for potential recruits because Todd makes it hard not to want to sign-up.

Todd shares lessons that can be applied to young and seasoned officers, new recruits enlisting today, and civilian leaders trying to break through. He has an infectious positivity that makes you envious of his outlook on life.

He truly was part of the elite Tier 1 units, successfully completed Marine Force Recon selection TWICE, loved Ranger School so much he said he would do it again, crossed the berm into Iraq, fought in Fallujah II, and then lived in the special ops community for years in the post-9/11 era.

Todd is a true professional, leader, and inspiration.

0:00 - Intro
3:40 - “Hard work ethic. Show no emotion. Eat all weakness. That made me a perfect candidate for the US Marines.”
5:58 - “Very Tactical” fishing with dad. “First exposure to military ops.”
7:56 - “Fear of failure.”
8:20 - “Studied Combat...But I never studied Peace.”
12:00 - Marine inspiration and signing up.
13:40 - “You stupid kid.” Todd’s dad after hearing Todd was going into the Marine Corps.
19:55 - First look at Scout Snipers.
22:11 - Working for Colonel John Ripley, who promoted Todd to both Corporel and Second Lieutenant.
24:18 - “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.”
24:54 - What makes the Marine Corps sniper training the elite?
30:08 - Acquisition of basic skills from Infantry to Scout Sniper to Force Recon.
39:44 - Going back to school at The Citadel.
40:40 - Marine Officer Training MCDP-1 Warfighting.
50:20 - First deployment going into 2003 Iraq.
53:56 - “Leadership is all about anxiety management.”
59:00 - Led Back to Special Ops
1:03:35 - Invited to Delta
1:07:44 - Create Relationships, Not Networks
1:11:00 - Spiritual Brokenness as the biggest blocker for Transitioning Vets.
1:18:23 - Building Camp Zen Commando.
1:20:45 - Learning a New Language and Skill
1:29:02 - The Challenge of Command. Pushing back on leadership and then being second-guessed by your team. How to lead through that.
1:30:45 - Marine jokes while at Delta Force.
1:34:57 - Hiked the Appalachian Trail
1:41:07 - Always carried an American Flag and his Ranger Tab.
1:41:27 “Tough times don’t last. Tough men do.”