217: Jeff Struecker Podcast

October 8, 2021

In today’s episode of ‘Finding your Summit’ podcast, host Mark Pattison, former NFL Player, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and mountaineer, who has climbed the Seven Summits, speaks to guest Jeff Struecker. Jeff talks about his 22 year old journey in the US Army and discusses his fear of dying — and what went down when his platoon tried to rescue Black Hawk Down. They also discuss the current situation in Afghanistan. These episodes are all about people overcoming adversity & finding their way.

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Episode Highlights

  • 2:32 – Mark says that he is always fascinated when he talks to somebody like Jeff Struecker who is so accomplished within their field.
  • 4:14 – Jeff discusses how he ended up joining the US Army.
  • 6:56 – Jeff states: his first two years in the US Army were absolutely miserable. He made mistakes, but then after a year and a half, he started to understand how significant this job was to the future of the country.
  • 8:57 – Jeff shares that the more questions he asked himself about what happens to us after we die and where do we go, the more anxious and terrified he started to become.
  • 10:56 – Mark asks: “Was there somebody who sat down & helped provide those answers for you?”
  • 12:37 – According to Jeff, if you’re getting ready to start a career in the military, don’t use that approach of: go, get shot at, and see if you’re really over the fear of dying or not.
  • 14:13 – Jeff shares an incident of when he got shot for the first time in the invasion of Panama.
  • 15:23 – Jeff states that we may not be here — and the person that we need to talk to may not be here tomorrow. So, don’t take for granted that we’re going to have a chance to settle stuff tomorrow.
  • 19:29 – Jeff suggests that if there’s a challenge in front of us, go for it, tackle it, and don’t let anything hold us back.
  • 21:39 – As per Jeff, when we’re facing fear, we can either turn and run from it, and it will chase us for the rest of our life — or as intimidating and overwhelming as it may seem,  just turn around, face fear eye to eye, stare it down, and see what happens next.
  • 23:18 – Mark questions Jeff about what it was like for him to go back and relive that moment.
  • 25:24 – Jeff said to his friend Kenny, “If the two of us go to Somalia and we get in a firefight, this is going to be a total disaster.”
  • 27:13 – Jeff shares the Somalia incident – while they were there, everybody got to the point where they all realized there was a good chance they were all going to die in the next few moments.
  • 29:24 – Mark asks Jeff what is it about that particular region that makes it still so dangerous for Americans to come in?
  • 31:19 – In Jeff’s view, the most dangerous factor in Somalia is a group of Islamic terrorists called Al Shabab. They have basically blown up and killed anybody who has tried to bring law and order to Somalia.
  • 34:42 – Jeff mentions that it doesn’t matter how long he has been in the Army or what the army offers him next, he is going to just walk away when he feels it’s time for him to retire.
  • 36:08 – Jeff points out that he has strong emotions about Afghanistan. He did nine different combat tours in Afghanistan in the army, and he spent more time in Afghanistan than any other country in the world by far, except for the United States.
  • 38:00 – They discuss how the president of Afghanistan got on an airplane and flew away, instead of standing his ground fighting to protect his country.
  • 42:33 – Jeff says that the secret behind the book is that he basically used his stories from the Best Ranger Competition, from Somalia, from Afghanistan and Iraq.

3 Key Points

  1. As per Jeff, we should not take things for granted. We’ve got stuff that needs to be done. We need to go out there and take care of those things, settle those things, because we might not have a chance tomorrow.
  2. He also says that it doesn’t matter how good we are, when we are fighting those kinds of numbers, we know all of us are going to die.
  3. If there’s some weirdness between us, go figure it out, get it straight and don’t waste any time because we may not have a chance tomorrow, states Jeff.

Tweetable Quotes

If you didn’t own farmland, you didn’t have a future in this small town.” – Jeff Struecker

I didn’t have any answers for, and didn’t even know who to talk to to get those answers. That’s really what made this become a borderline obsession.” – Jeff Struecker

But the prayer was basically: Jesus, I believe you’re real. I need you. Will you forgive me? Will you change me? But more than that, will you take away this fear of dying?” – Jeff Struecker

My first combat experience, though, did cause me to start to realize how short human life is.” – Jeff Struecker

You just never know when your number is going to come up.” – Mark Pattison

You know, be the best version of you, and go after those different things.” – Mark Pattison

You don’t have to be the kind of person that runs from your fears, because they will chase you for the rest of your life.” – Jeff Struecker

But the reason I go back (and my wife, to this day, thinks that I’m clinically insane for doing this) is just because my friend says: I need to go, and I need you to go with me.” – Jeff Struecker

I had this personal policy that I was going to stay in the army as long as I could stay.” – Jeff Struecker


Resources/ Links
Jeff Struecker: Website

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