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Combat Story

Nov 11, 2020

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Tom Satterly is a Command Sergeant Major (retired) who spent 20 years in the Army’s elite Delta Force (aka “The Unit”). His 25 year Army career took him from the storied Battle of Mogadishu (Operation Gothic Serpent aka “Black Hawk Down”) and the capture of Saddam Hussein in Operation Red Dawn.

He rose up through the ranks in Delta to leading troops through multiple OIF deployments executing multiple hits per night for months at a time. 

The brutal fighting and optempo took a toll on Tom as he lived and survived with Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) for years. After retiring, Tom and his wife Jen created the All Secure Foundation (, which assists special operations active duty and combat veterans, and their families, in recovery of PTS through education, awareness, resources for healing, workshop retreats, and PTS resiliency training. 

His book All Secure: A Special Operations Soldier's Fight to Survive on the Battlefield and the Homefront chronicles his trials and experiences from combat to treatment and provides some insight into the secretive world of Delta Force. 

He and Jen and their work can be found at: Website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.

Show Notes

5:07 - The decision to join the Army on the way to a John Cougar Mellancamp concert.
15:59 - Influence of a Hungarian Platoon Sergeant and exposure to unique training with the French, Germans, and Swiss.
18:31 - The decision to become a Green Beret with an unusual twist of stolen valor (17:54).
22:56 - Finding the way to Delta Force.
27:15 - The psychologists at Delta noticed the desire to keep climbing the next mountain.
30:26 - Handling missing Panama and the Gulf War and wanting to test your mettle.
33:10 - Surviving “The Long Walk” and Delta selection.
44:01 - First combat experience was in Mogadishu felt like the movies, until October 3rd (Black Hawk Down).
49:48 - Description of Battle of Mogadishu aka Black Hawk Down.
56:31 - Thinking “this is it” and coming to peace with the idea that you might not make it out alive.
57:31 - Running the Mogadishu Mile with no cover and no ammo.
1:02:04 - A description of the physiological aspects of PTS and the tipping point. How to stop being angry all the time (1:02:48).
1:06:51 - Resiliency training to help pre-combat SF recruits prepare for what’s coming in combat.
1:10:48 - Becoming a leader responsible for other’s souls.
1:14:20 - Still judge myself everyday. Making mistakes is even worse. 
1:16:41 - Starting to slow down and have the younger operators take a weight off.
1:18:32 - The reality of near death experiences and how luck plays into your life.
1:20:14 - “War is disgusting.”
1:21:41 - The future of the All Secure Foundation and moving to online content and virtual therapy.
1:24:03 - Would you do it again?
1:25:04 - Jen Satterly’s book Arsenal of Hope will be coming out in February 2021.