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Combat Story


May 18, 2024

Today we have a Combat Story first with Greg Shaffer, who spent a career in the FBI as an Agent, SWAT member, and Hostage Rescue Team (HRT) operator. He also started his career leading a patrol boat team in the Coast Guard before moving over to the Bureau.

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In this episode, we talk about the selection and entry process to both the FBI and HRT, the origins and mission of the HRT - which numbers fewer than 500 members since its inception in the early 1980s, one of the most successful surveillance and bust operations you’ll ever hear against the Bicycle Bandit, Operation Black Widow, border security, taking down targets and the hunting the deck of cards in Iraq with Delta Force and more. 

Greg now runs Shaffer Security Group that provides executive protection, active shooter response, investigations, firearms training and more. He also wrote Stay Safe: Security Secrets for Today’s Dangerous World, which provides practical lessons on mindset, situational awareness, and self-defense.

It took us too long to have our first Bureau agent and HRT operator on the show and we’ll absolutely be looking to have more. With that, please enjoy this hilarious but inspiring discussion with former FBI Agent and HRT operator Greg Shaffer.

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⏰ Show Notes:

  • 00:00 - Intro
  • 00:46 Guest Intro: Greg Schaefer's Journey from Coast Guard to FBI
  • 02:27 The Threat Landscape: Border Security and National Safety
  • 05:14 The Significance of a Special Painting: HRT Brotherhood
  • 08:10 Choosing a Career in Law Enforcement: It's in the Blood
  • 08:57 From the Coast Guard to FBI: A Path of Service
  • 16:00 The Rigorous FBI Selection Process
  • 28:34 First Steps and Early Successes in the FBI
  • 40:10 The Dynamics of SWAT Operations
  • 45:10 The Mental Toll of Law Enforcement Work
  • 45:49 Undercover Challenges and Mental Separation
  • 46:35 Comparing Military and Law Enforcement Stress
  • 47:17 The Importance of Mental Resilience
  • 48:19 Transitioning to HRT and Selection Process Insights
  • 48:44 Sponsor Break: Mint Mobile's Offer
  • 49:58 HRT Selection: A Grueling Process
  • 54:26 Tactical Training and Surveillance in HRT
  • 55:36 The Origins and Mission of HRT
  • 01:01:14 Challenges and Operations with HRT
  • 01:13:12 Public Perception of Law Enforcement
  • 01:16:36 Writing a Book on Active Shooter Survival
  • 01:26:37 Reflections and Advice for Future Generations

Greg is a former FBI agent, SWAT team member, and HRT operator. Discover the intensity of his career, including in-depth insights into high-stakes operations such as the Bicycle Bandit and DC Sniper cases. Greg discusses the complexities of HRT selection, major national security concerns, especially regarding border security, and the adrenaline-fueled world of elite FBI missions. Learn about his background, transition from the Coast Guard to the FBI, and the indispensable qualities required in law enforcement. This narrative provides a compelling look at true crime, FBI operations, and military strategies.