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Stars and Stripes
Military Veterans and hosts Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy bring you stories and topics affecting our mlitary, servicemembers, and veterans. Listen to the stories that matter, this is Military Matters.
4 days ago
Afghanistan, China, Covid, and #wokemilitary
It's our season 4 wrap-up! Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy discuss the stories covered this season from the Afghan evacuation to our "woke" military story. Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and send us your thoughts and story suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Jan 6, 2022
The CIA and the Afghan Evacuation
Mick Mulroy is a former CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for the Middle East. In this interview with Jack Murphy, Mick discusses the CIA's efforts to rescue Afghan allies as the Taliban reseized the country and why it was so important to the agency to do so.
Dec 30, 2021
Task Force Pineapple
Retired Special Forces officer Scott Mann shares the incredible story of veterans helping their Afghan partners find their way out of Afghanistan as the Taliban retake the country. These veterans accomplished this harrowing task from their kitchens, cars, and front rooms! Find out how in this episode of Military Matters! For more information on Task Force Pineapple go to www.taskforcepinapple.org Also, check out SOFcast's episode "Reflecting on 9/11 and Afghanistan", available everywhere you listen to podcasts.
Dec 16, 2021
Fast Take: The Mission to Save Our Allies
Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy discuss last week's episode about the broken State Department visa program that foreshadowed the debacle that was their NEO operation. Also, the Tim Kennedy situation and why did the military need civilians to do their job for them? Share your ideas or hit us up with a tip at MilitaryMatters@Stripes.com.
Dec 9, 2021
The mission to Save Our Allies
With the Taliban now in control and U.S. forces withdrawing, Afghans desperate to find a way out turned to U.S. veterans they had served alongside for help. Some of those veterans heeded their call and went to their rescue. Save Our Allies Coalition's Chad Robichaux, Nick Palmisciano, and The Diplomat's Catherine Putz take us into the story of a broken immigrant visa program, a high stakes rescue mission, and the tragic story of how busloads of orphans were left behind...
Dec 2, 2021
Quick message about this week's episode
In order to tell the next story about the recent Afghan evacuations, we need a little more production time, so we won't have a new episode for you this week. In the meantime, I highly recommend you check out our previous episodes The Battle for Kunduz and its accompanying Fast Take: Kabul Embassy, the Taliban, and the Fall of Afghanistan. Thank you for your patience!
Nov 16, 2021
Fast Take - Great Power Competition and the rest of the DoD
Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez discuss what Great Power Competition or GPC means to the military outside of SOF and why this will matter to you! Follow us on Twitter @stripesmmpod or send us your feedback to email@example.com
Nov 9, 2021
Great Power Competition - Where does SOF fit in?
The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has signaled a new era in military operations and presence, but we aren't alone. "Great Power Competition" or GPC isn't just some new set of buzzwords, it's a shift in how the DOD will do business in a world of near-peer adversaries. What does GPC mean for today's military? How will it affect SOF operations? What will tomorrow's war really look like?
Oct 28, 2021
Fast Take: UFO’s, “El Diablo” and cursed housing!
Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy talk about the listeners' ghost stories from last episode, talk about their own experiences with the supernatural, and we share three more stories from our listeners! From lights in the sky to deadly phantoms! Subscribe today!
Oct 21, 2021
Restless Japanese spirits and a melody from beyond the grave
It's that time again for another Haunted Military Matters! In this episode, we bring you three real ghost stories from our listeners. From roaming spirits of Japan to a ghostly melody from beyond the veil, listen if you dare... Follow Military Matters on Twitter @stripesmmpod and visit stripes.com for your daily dose of news!
Oct 12, 2021
Fast Take: Nazis, the occult and us?
Military Matters hosts Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy discuss the previous episode, an interview with Dr. Eric Kurlander about the Nazi fascination with the occult. Could the desire to live in a fantasy world happen again? Subscribe today and share this podcast!
Sep 30, 2021
Pseudoscience, the occult and the rise of Nazi Germany
What do vampires, werewolves and Nazis have in common? Jack Murphy talks with Dr. Eric Kurlander, author of "Hitler's Monsters: A Supernatural History of the Third Reich" about the Nazi obsession with the occult and how Hitler convinced a country to abandon science for the allure of mysticism. Subscribe today and never miss an episode!
1 hr 3 min
Sep 21, 2021
Fast Take - Future War: China with Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez
Hosts Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy discuss the three-part Future War: China series and how the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan might have changed the game. Does this generation have what it takes to take on a near-peer adversary like China? How will cyberwarfare play into this? All that and more on this Fast Take.
Sep 14, 2021
Future War: War with China...
We return to the third of our three-part future war series on China. Jack Murphy talks with Roger Cliff, a research professor of Indo-Pacific Affairs at the U.S. Army War College and the author of "China's Military Power: Assessing Current and Future Capabilities." You can find Cliff's book on Amazon and everywhere you purchase books. Follow Military Matters on Twitter @stripesmmpod
Aug 31, 2021
Fast Take: Kabul Embassy, the Taliban, and the fall of Afghanistan
Former U.S. Special Forces service member and current intelligence professional, Daniel, was recently evacuated from Afghanistan. Daniel shares an insider's view of the Taliban's take-over of the country, the chaos at the US embassy, and how it all went so wrong. Follow Military Matters on Twitter and Facebook You can follow Rod Rodriguez on Twitter @rodpodrod and Jack Murphy at @jackmurphyrgr
Aug 24, 2021
The Battle for Kunduz
Jack Murphy brings us the story of the battle to save Kunduz from the Taliban and why a Doctors Without Borders hospital was destroyed. Jack talks with Special Forces Medical Sgt. Joshua Middleton about the heroic efforts of the Afghan Commandos and the dismal failures of the Afghan National Army that were the precursor to the recent fall of the Afghan government back into the hands of the Taliban. This story was inspired by the book "Eagle Down: The Last Special Forces Fighting the Forever War" by Jessica Donati. You can follow Jessica on Twitter @jessdonati
1 hr 10 min
Aug 17, 2021
Fast Take: Afghanistan, Chinese espionage, and what does a won war look like?
Hosts Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy discuss the recent events of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. There are some serious tie-ins to any future war with China that can't be ignored. What does a victory over China look like? Is Taiwan the next Iraq or Afghanistan? Follow us on Twitter at @stripesmmpod and shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Aug 10, 2021
Future War: Chinese Espionage
This is part 2 of 3 in our Future War series on China. Jack Murphy and the co-author of "Chinese Communist Espionage: An Intelligence Primer," Matthew Brazil, tackle the topic of Chinese spies and how the winner of a future war could be determined by our respective nations' spymasters. You can follow Matthew Brazil on Twitter @matthew_brazil
Aug 3, 2021
Fast Take - Future War: China with Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy
Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez dive a little deeper into last week's episode on the rise of China. Check out "Future War: The Rise of China and US National Security implications". Leave us a comment on social media! Like, Listen, Subscribe, and Share!
Jul 27, 2021
Future War: The Rise of China and US National Security implications
In our first of three episodes on China, Jack Murphy and our guest, former CIA analyst and China expert Gail Helt, discuss how today's China came to be, why Taiwan is so important, and how the coming years of relations with China will decide whether or not we go to war. Follow Gail Helt on Twitter @ghelt and Miltary Matters @stripesmmpod Email us with you questions or comments at email@example.com
Jul 20, 2021
Fast Take-Woke with Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy
Last week's episode about Woke, Critical Race Theory, and the military has hit a lot of nerves. Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez discuss the episode, the feedback, and Jack's perspective on this politically and socially charged topic. Like, Listen, Subscribe, and Share this podcast!
Jul 13, 2021
What is WOKE and Critical Race Theory?
In this episode, we're getting to the bottom of what exactly is "woke" and "critical race theory" and what any of it has to do with our military! Guests: Brian "BK" Kimber, former AF Pararescueman and host of World News with BK Dr. John Witte, professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin Madison. And the departments of political science in the Robert Lafollette School of Public Affairs Link to World News with BK
Jun 10, 2021
Q-Anon, the murder of an SF soldier, UFO's, and Jim Gant's take on Afghanistan
Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez talk about the stories they covered in Season 3, from the death of SF soldier Mark Leshikar to QAnon and the Terrible Game. We also discuss what Jack thinks of the UFO report coming out in June, and he also shares a special message from Afghan war veteran Jim Gant. All that and more on the season finale of Military Matters.
1 hr 1 min
May 17, 2021
A former West Point cadet vanishes without a trace
Maura Murray's disappearance 17 years ago has left investigators and her family confused and dumbfounded. She was a former West Point cadet with dreams of becoming a nurse. Then one day after exhibiting strange behavior, she vanished. Jack Murphy talks with her sister, Julie Murray, about one of the first disappearances of the social media age to capture the attention of the public. What happened to Maura Murray?
May 10, 2021
Fast take: Service members vs. the vaccine
Defense One reporter Elizabeth Howe joins Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy to discuss the reaction to last week's episode, some of the strange arguments they've heard against getting the vaccine, and some "conspiracy" theories behind what some think the vaccine REALLY is. Follow us on Twitter @stripesmmpod and don't forget to share this episode.
May 3, 2021
Service members vs. the vaccine
A surprising number of service members have gone public stating they're not taking any of the COVID vaccines. This week, Military Matters talks with an ER doctor and U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Dr. Kamal Kalsi, Defense One reporter Elizabeth Howe and the director of the Bi-Partisan Commission on Biodefense Dr. Asha George. Are you getting the vaccine? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 hr 34 min
Apr 26, 2021
Artificial Intelligence, coming to a battlefield near you ...
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and virtual reality are slowly becoming integrated with our warfighters. But what role will AI play on the battlefield of tomorrow? Jack Murphy talks with the vice president and director of studies at the Center for a New American Security, Paul Scharre. Paul is also a former Special Operations reconnaissance team leader in the Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion and the author Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War. Follow Paul Scharre on Twitter @paul_scharre
Apr 19, 2021
Virtual Reality Warfighters and a $21.9 billion deal
The Army has signed a $21.9 billion deal with Microsoft to integrate its HoloLens with the Army's Integrated Visual Augmented System, or IVAS. Is this technology going to change the way we fight? Will we forget how to train in the real world? What does the future of VR look like? Guests Palmer Luckey, Anduril Garth Smith and Gareth Seburn, Meta VR Kevin Cornish, Moth+Flame VR Tony Isaacs, PLW Model Works
Apr 9, 2021
A Tenant Bill of Rights and dead infants on Fort Bragg
Does the DOD's "Tenant Bill of Rights" actually do anything for military families living in privatized housing? Is the military just bad at environmental testing, or is there more? Could the deaths of infants on Fort Bragg have been prevented? We talk with Sarah Kline, military housing advocate, and Leigh Tuttle, a military spouse who has seen first-hand some questionable practices. For more information on the Military Housing Network go to https://militaryhousingadvocacynetwork.org/ If you have a tip, lead, or story idea email us at email@example.com
Apr 1, 2021
Black mold and lead in military housing, and the law letting it happen
Toxic lead and black mold in military housing. A mother’s horror story of how her children suffered the effects. Families have been hurt, and the military is locked into 50-year leases with privatized housing companies. You’ll be shocked at the law these companies are hiding behind to avoid lawsuits and their responsibility to our service members. Jack Murphy unravels this story of neglected military oversight, insane legal loopholes and the families left to suffer the consequences. Go to Stripes.com, use promo code PODCAST and get 50% off your digital subscription.
Mar 25, 2021
Why the DOD won't punish sexual predators with Katie Chorbak
Katie Chorbak, founder and president of Our Sister's Keeper Movement tells us why she believes the DOD doesn't actually punish sexual predators. She points to a "zero tolerance" policy that has been repeatedly been ignored. Chorbak also shares the current state of the #iamvanessaguillen bill. Is civilian oversight needed? Should veterans and service members be able to sue the DOD over negligence? Send your ideas and opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Twitter @stripesmmpod This episode is also available on YouTube.
Mar 19, 2021
Sexual Assault & Harassment in the Military
We talk with online personality and Army Sgt. 1st Class Astin Muse about her reaction to the Marine TikTok video that rocked the DOD and the Corps. Then Jack Murphy takes us into the bizarre story of a military sexual assault victim who found herself behind bars instead of her perpetrator. Go to www.stripes.com and use promo code PODCAST to get 50% off your digital subscription. Leave us a 5-Star review and share this podcast. You can find us on Twitter @stripesmmpod
Mar 11, 2021
Fast Take: Interview with Lamia Taylor
Lamia Taylor is the wife of Mike Taylor and the mother of Peter Taylor, both currently being held in a Japanese prison awaiting trial. Mike and Peter's case was largely ignored by government officials despite Mike's service to his country as a Special Forces Officer. Lamia talks to us about her frustrations with the case, how Mike and Peter are doing now, and what's next.
Mar 4, 2021
Special Forces veteran and son extradited to Japan
Former auto industry mogul Carlos Ghosn was smuggled out of Japan in true Hollywood heist movie fashion while awaiting trial for corporate fraud. Now Special Forces veteran Mike Taylor and his son Peter have been extradited to Japan in connection with Ghosn's evasion of Japanese authorities. Japan has a long track record of inhumane and even brutal treatment of foreign prisoners, and the State Department knows this. We take you into the story that has rocked the headlines from the US to Japan. How did this all start and where could it end?
Mar 3, 2021
Fast Take: Military legacy, the wrong breaching formulas and TBIs.
Jack Murphy and Rod Rodriguez discuss what it means to pass on our military culture and skills to our children, why the explosive formulas for breaching are wrong, and we talk TBIs. Do you have a tip or story idea? Email us at email@example.com You can find us on Twitter @stripesmmpod
Feb 18, 2021
The Terrible Game
Dan Tyler Moore knocked out President Theodore Roosevelt's eye, fought Nazis with the OSS and invented a modern-day ballistic helmet. That is to say that Dan Tyler Moore the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd accomplished those feats respectively. Jack Murphy talks with Dan Tyler Moore III about his family's amazing legacy of almost 100 years of service to this country. We also talk about how to derail a train! Link to Jack Murphy's article "Special Ops has a broken culture with explosive breaching that can lead to TBIs" http://bit.ly/Jack-Murphy-Breaching-Story Follow us on Twitter @rodpodrod @jackmurphyrgr Email us with your comments, feedback, or tips; MilitaryMatters@stripes.com
Feb 11, 2021
Forensics expert Paul Ciolino discusses the case of Mark Leshikar
Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy are joined by forensics expert Paul Ciolino to discuss the death of Special Forces soldier Mark Leshikar. Paul discusses the facts that were shared in our last episode from Mark's sister and widow. We also share new information about Mark's shooter that raises even more questions. Do you have a tip or idea for a story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow us on Twitter @rodpodrod and @jackmurphyrgr Leave us a review and share this podcast!
Feb 4, 2021
The Death of Mark Leshikar
The recent deaths of Army Delta Force member William J. Lavigne and Army Veteran Timothy Dumas are being investigated as homicides. Their deaths have brought attention back to another fatal shooting Lavigne was involved in, the shooting of his best friend and Special Forces soldier Mark Leshikar. Jack Murphy takes us into the life and death of Mark Leshikar, we talk with his sister and widow uncovering details never before revealed about this mysterious case. Missing evidence, redacted reports, and a witness who's only now able to speak out. This episode is brought to you by Navy Federal Credit Union. Leave us a review and share this episode. Follow us on Twitter! Here's a link to Jack's original article.
Jan 28, 2021
"He was wearing a Confederate flag..."
Rod Rodriguez and Jack Murphy discuss the controversial last episode. We answer your criticisms and feedback. Also, CEO of Triple Nikel and retired Green Beret Ruben Ayala shares the personal story of his own SF Soldier wearing the Confederate flag. What he did and didn't do about it... All that and more on this perhaps not so Fast Take... Find us on Twitter @militarymatters You can also follow Jack Murphy @jackmurphyrgr and Rod Rodriguez @rodpodrod Go to Stripes.com use promo code PODCAST and save 50% on your digital subscription This episode is sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union, go to www.navyfederal.org for more information.
Jan 21, 2021
Extremism in the Military
In this episode, we talk with Shannon Foley Martinez, a former neo-Nazi, about radicalization and extremism in the U.S. military. Before leaving the movement, Shannon knew up to thirty soldiers who were part of the white supremacy movement. She discusses how she radicalized, and how service members she knew did the same in this episode of Military Matters. Follow Jack Murphy on Twitter @jackmurphyrgr and Rod Rodriguez @rodpodrod Go to www.stripes.com use promo code PODCAST and save 50% on your digital subscription This episode is sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union, go to www.navyfederal.org for more information.
Jan 14, 2021
Season 3 preview
Military Matters welcomes aboard Jack Murphy! He's our new co-host and producer. We talk about his work on QAnon stories, UAPs, and what we have cooking for Season 3 of Military Matters. We also have a new email address so shoot us your story ideas and comments at MilitaryMatters@stripes.com
Jan 7, 2021
The Capitol Under Siege
January 6th, 2021 thousands of Trump supporters took to the capital of our nation. What started off as a peaceful protest turned ugly as protests turned to rioting as hundreds of people stormed the Capitol building where the electoral votes were being counted. Lawyer, veteran and former Department of Homeland Security senior counselor Kevin Carroll takes us into what this means for our nation, will the President be held accountable, and what could happen going forward. Follow Rod Rodriguez on Twitter @rodpodrod Go to www.stripes.com use promo code PODCAST and save 50% on your digital subscription This episode is sponsored by Navy Federal Credit Union, go to www.navyfederal.org for more information.
Dec 17, 2020
Death at Fort Hood
In this Season 2 Finale, we revisit the murders at Fort Hood under the light of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee's report. What we uncovered is tragic and could have been avoided... Follow Rod Rodriguez on Twitter @rodpodrod Go to cheap tickets.com/military and get 18% off hotels offer valid for active duty service members, veterans, military reserves, and the national guard. Save 50% on your digital subscription at Stripes.com, use promo code 'PODCAST'
Dec 10, 2020
The Fort Hood Report
Stripes reporter Rose Thayer helps us make sense of the "Report of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee". This jaw-dropping report has already resulted in numerous disciplinary actions. How bad is it? Worse than you think... Follow Rose Thayer on Twitter at @rose_lori and Rod Rodriguez at @rodpodrod
Dec 3, 2020
New Social Media and Section 230
As the elections winded down thousands of Servicemembers and Veterans migrated away from Twitter and Facebook to MeWe and Parler, but why? And a recent Tweet from President Trump puts Section 230 back in the spotlight. What is Section 230 and how will that affect social media as we know it? Guests: MeWe CEO Mark Weinstein, Life Flip Media Co-Founder Eric Mitchell, and actor Vincent "Rocco" Vargas Go to Stripes.com, use promo code PODCAST and save 50% on your digital subscription! This episode is sponsored by Cheap Tickets. Go to cheaptickets.com/military and get 18% off hotels, offer valid for active duty service members, veterans, military reserves and the National Guard.
Nov 26, 2020
Happy Thanksgiving 2020
Just a quick message from our family at Military Matters to yours. Don't forget to go to Stripes.com and save 50% on your digital subscription, just use promo code PODCAST!
Nov 19, 2020
Fast take: Time for some inspiring stories from the US Army
In a year of COVID-19, strife and division, there's nothing like some positive news. The inspiring stories, for example, of 2020 U.S. Army Soldier of the Year, Sgt. James B. Akinola, and the brand new National Museum of the U.S. Army. For more information on The National Museum of the US Army go to https://thenmusa.org
Nov 12, 2020
Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs): A National Security Threat
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Christopher Mellon and the director of the documentary film "The Phenomenon" talk with host Rod Rodriguez about how UAPs aren't just about lights in the sky, they pose a real threat to our national security. Subscribe to the Military Matters podcast today! Save 50% on your digital subscription when you use promo code PODCAST at stripes.com Click here for The Phenomenon Film
Nov 5, 2020
Revisiting the use of the military amid election-related chaos
Uncertainty over the result of this week's presidential election has given way to legal action, demonstrations and even violence. In this tense time, the Military Matters podcast looks back at interviews from one of last season's episodes on the use of the military to handle episodes of civil unrest. National Guard units have been called up or put on standby across the country to contend with election-related discontent, just as they were employed in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. Hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris look into why and how elements of the U.S. armed forces were sent to contend with the situation and what the ramifications could be. To find out more about the impact of those developments on justice, the use of our military and the intersection between civil and military authority, Rod and Des talk to lawyer, veteran and former Department of Homeland Security senior counselor Kevin Carroll. The hosts also talk with Sgt. Maj. of…
Oct 29, 2020
Fast take: A very haunted Military Matters
Noises in the night. A haunted library. With Halloween right around the corner, host Rod Rodriguez shares more of listeners' own stories of spooky happenings in this eerie fast take episode of Military Matters. Listen as host Rod Rodriguez relates tales of unsettling events in a World War II-era infirmary and unexplainable phenomena in a library where the reminders of decades-old trauma still linger. And in a medieval town in Germany famed for malign spirits, soldiers collect evidence of a malevolent presence in a story to make your hair stand on end! Subscribe to the Military Matters podcast today!
Oct 22, 2020
Spooky service stories
The specter in the Spectre. The terror in Tonga. Just in time for Halloween, host Rod Rodriguez and guests share their own personal tales of frights, spirits and other paranormal events in this eerie episode of Military Matters. Rod, former Army officer Dean Bundschu, former Marine and "To the Point" host Eric Mitchell, and an Air Force veteran named Mike relate spine-tingling tales of aggressive apparitions, ghosts in a gunship and bivouacs where things go bump in the night. And Navy veteran Jennifer Marshall, host of the CW's "Mysteries Decoded," shares a lingering, otherworldly experience that began when she investigated a house that was the scene of famous murders. Poltergeists and other paranormal phenomena rule the night in this episode that will prepare you for this haunted holiday season. Subscribe to the Military Matters podcast today!
Oct 15, 2020
Fast take: How do extremist ideologies find a home in the military community?
In this fast take episode of Military Matters, host Rod Rodriguez discusses feedback we've gotten since the QAnon episode and explores possible characteristics of veterans and service members that make them so vulnerable to extremism. Rod talks again with journalist and former former Army Ranger and Green Beret Jack Murphy, who shares his perspective on the QAnon community and his experience with former military colleagues who have become absorbed in the movement. Rod and Jack discuss the prevalence of extremist ideologies among service members and veterans, particularly within the special operations community. Does entering military service make a person more susceptible to extremism? What role does racism have in this phenomenon? What are the potential ramifications for national security? The Military Matters podcast is working to find out the information that is important to you. Subscribe today!
Oct 2, 2020
QAnon – exposing extremist views within the ranks
In this episode of Military Matters, host Rod Rodriguez explores the murky world of QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory that falsely claims President Donald Trump is fighting a shadowy cabal of Satanist pedophiles. To find out how child pedophilia rings, Pizzagate, and the existence of a deep state made their way into the mainstream consciousness, and also to learn about the conspiracy theory’s links to the military and veteran community, Rod talks with QAnon Anonymous podcast co-host and Washington Post contributor Travis View, as well as with journalist Jack Murphy, who is a former Army Ranger and Green Beret. Rod and his guests talk about how QAnon started, how it incorporates a wide range of differing conspiracy beliefs, and why it appeals to veterans and members of the military, including those with ties to the special operations community. Does QAnon have potential for stoking extremist violence? Why do it and other extremist organizations work to recruit service members…
Sep 8, 2020
Unidentified aerial phenomena part two — the engineer's take
In the most recent episode of Military Matters, host Rod Rodriguez explored unidentified aerial phenomena and what the Defense Department knows about those unexplained encounters. This week, he finds out from an expert about the facts that can be gleaned from those encounters. Rod talks with Steve Justice, director of the aerospace division of To the Stars... Academy of Arts & Science. He is an aerospace engineer who spent 33 years at Lockheed Martin's fabled Skunk Works — an elite organization that has been at the cutting edge of U.S. defense technology. Justice tells how he became involved with the controversial subject of UAPs, and how the subject for years has drawn the attention of other aerospace pioneers — including Kelly Johnson, the founder of the Skunk Works. How does an engineer break down the information that is presented by a UAP? What factors make the sighting unusual? How does what was observed compare with known technology? And what effect can fear have? If ther…
Aug 24, 2020
Unidentified aerial phenomena — what are the facts, and are they a threat?
UFOs have long been a staple of science fiction: aliens and flying saucers, aerial technology that dwarfs anything that is man-made. But when video footage of unknown objects recorded by Navy fighter pilots was released publicly in 2017, all that changed. To get to the bottom of what the Pentagon has found out about interactions with unidentified aerial phenomena, or UAPs, Military Matters host Rod Rodriguez talks with Luis Elizondo, the former head of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Intelligence Program, or AATIP, and is now a member of To the Stars... Academy of Arts & Science. Elizondo talks about his previous work for DOD studying phenomena that exhibited characteristics outside the parameters of conventionally known technology and trying to find explanations for what was observed. He also tells of his struggle within DOD to share what AATIP learned. What does it mean for the DOD not only to acknowledge UAPs' existence, but to set up a task force to detect, analyze and catalog UAP…
Aug 14, 2020
Fast take: Updates on slayings of Fort Hood soldiers
So far this season, the Military Matters podcast has looked at recent homicides of soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. This week, host Rod Rodriguez and guest host Christine Bartruff bring you updates with the latest news in all three cases. Find out about arrests linked to the slaying of Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, whose body was found May 18 in a town not far from Fort Hood and his burned Jeep was found a few miles away the same night. In the case of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was killed on post in April, a memorial service has been planned and legislation has been proposed that would change the way sexual assault and harassment are reported in the military. Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales had disappeared and had been listed as a deserter before his remains were found in June. His mother had struggled to have him buried with military honors, but he finally was laid to rest last week. What are Army and Fort Hood officials doing to deal with the recent spate of violence and misconduct at the post?…
Jul 31, 2020
Soldiers' deaths and Fort Hood's silence
Fort Hood, Texas, has seen a shocking number of soldiers killed in recent months and in this episode of Military Matters, the podcast looks at two of those cases — the homicides of Pfc. Gregory Wedel and Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans. Host Rod Rodriguez talks with Gregory Wedel's mother, Kim, about her struggle to get information from police and Army officials about her son's case, and, after learning of the discovery of his remains, the agonizing effort she has endured to have his classification as a deserter rescinded so he could receive a military burial. Defense lawyer Stephen Karns, a former Judge Advocate General officer, also helps shed light on the ins and outs of desertion cases and talks why he finds it surprising that Pfc. Wedel's command decided to take that course. Rod also talks with Thomas Berg, the stepfather of Pfc. Brandon Rosecrans, and why he remains hopeful that authorities will find those who left his son shot and dead in his own burning Jeep. There remain many que…
Jul 17, 2020
What happened to Vanessa Guillén?
The brutal killing in April of U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén at Fort Hood, Texas, has garnered wide attention and has put a spotlight on the military’s continuing struggle to combat the scourge of sexual harassment. But largely overlooked has been the struggle her family has faced in trying to get help and answers since they first realized something was wrong — within hours of her disappearance. In this premiere episode of the second season of Military Matters, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris talk with Natalie Khawam, who is the lawyer for Vanessa Guillén’s family, and Stars and Stripes reporter Rose Thayer, who has been covering the case since its start. The Military Matters podcast team finds out how Guillén’s family first suspected something was wrong the very day she disappeared and how their first push for help the following day included an interaction with her killer. The hosts also find out how the unusual response her family has gotten at Fort Hood has led…
Jul 10, 2020
Season two preview: The slaying of Spc. Vanessa Guillén
Next week, as the Military Matters podcast returns with the start of our second season, we will focus on the case of Spc. Vanessa Guillén, whose disappearance April 22 from Fort Hood, Texas, garnered the attention of officials and celebrities. Tragically, remains discovered in late June in woods not far from the Army post were determined to be Guillén’s. Her family is devastated, a suspect is dead, and a possible co-conspirator is in custody. Many questions remain, including how the military handled Guillén’s family’s claim that she was sexually harassed, and how the investigation into her disappearance was conducted. Eﬀorts by Guillén’s family to bring attention to her disappearance also shed light on the disappearance of other soldiers from Fort Hood. As we enter season two, Stars and Stripes’ podcast team wants to cover the stories that matter to you.
Jul 3, 2020
The Other Side of Vincent Vargas
You may recognize Vincent “Rocco” Vargas from the Article 15 crew and from television and movies. What you may not know about are his struggles to be a dad and an actor and the sacrifice he’s making today in order to fulfill a promise to himself. Rocco opens up about his struggles with PTSD and what keeps him going. To learn more about Vincent “Rocco” Vargas go to https://vincentroccovargas.com You can find VetStory at https://connectingvets.com or search for VetStory wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. SEASON 2 of Military Matters is coming soon! Subscribe and share this podcast!
Jun 23, 2020
Military Matters fast take: What's in a name?
In the wake of protests seeking racial justice following George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police, Military Matters podcast host Desmon Farris looks into U.S. Army posts that are named for Confederate generals and why the Army continues to honor men who fought against it. Alongside the protest movement, calls have increased for the removal of Confederate statues, military leaders have moved to ban the display of Confederate imagery, and numerous officials have joined a push to rename installations that honor men who helped lead the armed insurrection against the Union in support of the institution of slavery. Millions of people of color have served in the military, sometimes at installations that are named for men who tried to keep their ancestors subjugated — Fort Hood, Texas, Fort AP Hill, Va., and Fort Bragg, N.C., are among 10 such installations. In this fast take episode, Desmon looks into the history of some of those Confederate leaders and how their names wer…
Jun 10, 2020
Special edition: The Army goes to Washington
In the wake of George Floyd's death, America continues to be roiled by protests and authorities' response. Military Matters podcast hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris look into why and how elements of the U.S. armed forces were deployed to contend with the situation and what the ramifications could be. To find out more about the impact of those developments on justice, the use of our military and the intersection between civil and military authority, Rod and Des talk to former Green Beret and Connecting Vets journalist Jack Murphy, as well as lawyer, veteran and former Department of Homeland Security senior counselor Kevin Carroll. The hosts also talk with Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston about what he wants his troops to know during this tumultuous time. Stars and Stripes' podcast team is working to get the information that matters to you. Subscribe today! Thanks for listening to Military Matters. Season two is coming soon, so stay tuned for updates. *Correction: A refer…
Jun 2, 2020
Fast Take: Using Troops in Domestic Policing
Troops could be deployed stateside to cope with the unrest gripping the nation after a Minneapolis man died in police custody. Military Matters podcast host Rod Rodriguez examines the laws that govern the use of troops in peacekeeping efforts on U.S. soil. What is the Posse Comitatus Act, and what does it allow? What law enforcement roles could federal troops fulfill, and what are the potential dangers? How much authority does the president have to use troops this way? Stars and Stripes' podcast team is working to get the information that matters to you. Subscribe today! Thanks for listening to Military Matters. Season two is coming soon, so stay tuned for updates.
May 22, 2020
Season Finale - Information warfare
In the season finale of the Military Matters podcast, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris shed light on the murky world of information warfare. Message manipulation can take many forms, it can be employed on any topic and it can be directed at anyone. It is used to alter our decision-making process and can have wide-ranging influence on our choices: what products we buy, which candidates we vote for, how we respond to a health crisis — it even can impact national security. How can disinformation, misinformation, censorship, social media and news media all play parts in how facts are presented and potentially distorted? To find out, the hosts get insight from industry experts including Dr. Rand Waltzman, deputy chief technology officer of the RAND Corporation, Dr. Michael Shermer, who is a science writer and founder of Skeptic magazine, and Bob Reid, senior managing editor of Stars and Stripes. What can you do to recognize and protect yourself from disinformation and misinformati…
May 14, 2020
Coming soon: Season finale – information warfare
As we near the end of the inaugural season of the Military Matters podcast, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris offer a look at the topic for next week's season finale, information warfare. Rod and Des examine what message manipulation might look like and find out from industry experts what we should beware of and how we can be prepared. Stars and Stripes' podcasters are working to get the information that matters to you. Subscribe today!
May 7, 2020
Military Matters Review: Breathing with COVID-19
In this review episode, Military Matters podcast hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris talk some more with one of last week's guests, retired Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Juan Lewis — also known as the Fired Up Chief — about how his recovery from COVID-19 is coming along. Lewis is continuing to improve, but he's not yet able to go home from the care facility. He talks about his current health status, what it's going to take to be able to go home, how long his doctor says his overall recovery is expected to take and what the full measure of that recovery might be. Lewis also talks about the value of keeping a positive mindset while battling the disease, as well as the importance of following CDC guidelines as states and communities look to loosen restrictions to restart the economy. Stars and Stripes' podcasters are working to get you information you need to help you get through this worldwide crisis. Stay safe, and subscribe today!
May 1, 2020
Breathing with COVID-19
As Military Matters podcast hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris dig further into the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, they find out what it's like to fight the disease; they learn about ventilators — why they're a political lightning rod, why they're needed and what they mean for patients; and they get the story behind an Air Force veteran's innovative, new ventilator. Rod and Desmon talk with retired Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Juan Lewis, known as the The Fired Up Chief, who has been receiving treatment since last month after being forced into intensive care with a severe case of COVID-19. Lewis is winning his battle with the disease, but at a cost. You’ve probably heard about ventilators in the news — how few we have, how badly they’re needed, and that some folks have said we don’t need as many as we think. But what is a ventilator, what does it do, and how is it used to treat patients with COVID-19? Rod and Des talk to a nurse with more than 30 years of experience, b…
Apr 23, 2020
Military Matters Review: Vets helping other vets with mental health care
Military Matters podcast hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris continue to look at the mental health impact of the coronavirus pandemic by talking with Ellsworth Williams, a 24-year Army veteran, about what his organization, Veterans Counseling Veterans, is doing as we maneuver through and beyond the isolation induced by COVID-19. After seeing shortcomings during his internship at the VA, Ellsworth founded Veterans Counseling Veterans, a network of mental health professionals who are veterans or spouses of veterans, as a way to help fellow veterans in need find assistance from the folks who understand best what they’re going through. The network also reaches out to and tries to educate the veteran and service member community on the mental health issues that are important to them, such as suicide prevention or sexual trauma in the military. How can you manage the challenges that arise from the COVID-19 isolation? What challenges could you face when it's over? And where can you go…
Apr 17, 2020
How COVID-19 is affecting mental health for service members and veterans
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world indoors with no clear end in sight. Military Matters podcast hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris talk to two mental health clinicians, both veterans, about how the isolation and uncertainty have impacted the mental health of veterans and service members across the country. Rod and Des talk with Dr. Carlos Garcia, a licensed clinical psychologist and Marine veteran, and Dennis Higgins, a mental health counselor and Army veteran, who share what effects they're seeing in the veteran community as the new coronavirus has shaken virtually every aspect of people's daily lives. Is the tele-health approach to care working? What is being done for people who live in unsafe environments? And what can service members do for their own mental health while we shelter in place? Find out these things and more in this week's episode. Stars and Stripes' podcasters are working to get you information you need to help you get through this worldwide crisis. Stay…
Apr 9, 2020
Military Matters Review: Coronavirus and finances
In this episode of the Military Matters Review, hosts Desmon Farris and Rod Rodriguez dig into the financial impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the military community. Rod and Des talk to Lacey Langford, a veteran and financial counselor who is known as the Military Money Expert, to find out what service members and their families can do to get through the crisis, which has catastrophic effects around the globe. Langford offers advice on money management and how to identify good financial practices, particularly for households that have lost income through job loss. How is the military community adapting to the crisis? What changes should you make to your financial plans? If you’re getting stimulus money, what should you do with it? Learn about all of this and more in this week’s Military Matters Review. Subscribe today!
Apr 3, 2020
Coronavirus relief efforts for service members and veterans
As coronavirus cases and deaths surge around the globe, Military Matters podcast hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris find out what is being done to help service members and veterans amid the pandemic. Rod and Des talk with top officials of each of the relief organizations of the different service branches — Army Emergency Relief, the Air Force Aid Society, the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance. The officials discuss what their organizations have to offer and how COVID-19 has affected the ability of people in need to reach out to them. The hosts also talk with Connecting Vets reporter Abbie Bennett to find out how much funding the VA is getting from the CARES Act stimulus package and what are they doing with the money. Stars and Stripes' podcasters are working to get you information you need to help you get through this worldwide crisis. Stay safe, and subscribe today!
Mar 26, 2020
Military Matters Review: Influencers
In this episode of the Military Matters Review, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris jump back to the topic of military influencers in a visit with one of the earlier personalities to hit the social media sphere, former Army drill sergeant John Burk. Rod and Des interview Burk, an entrepreneur and influencer known in part for his often-controversial videos, who gives his thoughts on the world of military and veteran influencers. Burk talks about the evolution of his social media presence, how becoming a public figure has changed his life, why he is careful about what products and brands he endorses, and his take on businesses that make overt appeals to prospective customers’ anger or sense of patriotism. Rod and Des also talk about Burk’s stance on whether increasing the public's awareness helps address the problem of veteran suicides. Are you thinking of becoming the next internet star? This week’s guest offers a unique perspective on the matter. Listen as our podcasters fi…
Mar 20, 2020
Military Matters Review: Coronavirus
In this episode of the Military Matters Review, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris continue the discussion from last week’s special edition podcast on the coronavirus pandemic. Rod and Desmon talk with Dr. Asha M. George of the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense, Connecting Vets reporter Elizabeth Howe, and Stars and Stripes reporter Kim Gamel, who shares what life is like in South Korea, one of the countries hit hardest amid the pandemic. Rod and Desmon go over the latest stats on coronavirus infections and deaths across the nation and the DOD. They also find out what this and previous White House administrations could have done better to help safeguard the country against a pandemic. And they learn what this and future administrations need to do to prepare for the next pandemic, because it’s not if, it’s when. Listen as Stars and Stripes’ podcasters take on this urgent, global issue. Subscribe today! Links Bi-partisan Commission on Biodefense: https://biodefensecomm…
Mar 12, 2020
Special edition: Coronavirus – what you need to know
In this special episode of Military Matters, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris shed light on the coronavirus that is causing major upheaval around the globe. What is the coronavirus? Is it as deadly as the flu? What does it look like if you have it? How is it impacting the DOD community? U.S. Army emergency room doctor Dr. Kamal Kalsi, reporter Elizabeth Howe from the online news organization Connecting Vets, and Max Brooks, the author of “World War Z,” share their expertise and research to explain why the virus is causing concern, what the military and the VA are doing to respond to it, the reasons for its rapid spread and the ways it can make the military vulnerable. Listen to find out how this virus will affect our military and military families, what it has to do with information warfare, and how you can do your part to help combat what the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic. Find out about all of this and more with the Military Matters podcast from Stars…
Mar 5, 2020
The rise of the military influencer
In this week’s episode of Military Matters, hosts Desmon Farris and Rod Rodriguez examine influencers among the military community. While doing everything from funny skits, political rants, showing off their physiques, lip-syncing and dancing, veterans and service members are becoming increasingly visible on the internet. Black Rifle Coffee Company co-founder Mat Best, Sgt. 1st Class Astin Muse, and actor and Navy veteran Jennifer Marshall share their experiences and tell of opportunities and potential pitfalls in pursuing internet fame. Rod and Des find out what it’s like to be the face of one of the most well-known veteran-owned businesses, how being Facebook famous might have saved an influencer’s life, and why you should think twice before you decide you want to be an influencer. Find out about all of this and more with the Military Matters podcast from Stars and Stripes. Subscribe today! rodpodrod dpodfarris stripesmmpod
Feb 27, 2020
Military Matters Review: Military gamers
Continuing the discussion from the most recent episode of the Military Matters podcast, hosts Desmon Farris and Rod Rodriguez dig more deeply into the military’s outreach into the eSports community.. Rod and Desmon look at whether the U.S. Army eSports Team is having an impact on recruitment and whether the cost is worth it. They also examine the world of eSports itself and how it is similar to other competitive fields, particularly at its highest levels. Listen as Stars and Stripes’ podcasters take a deep dive into this fascinating topic. Subscrbe today!
Feb 20, 2020
Military gamers – Army's eSports team aids recruitment effort
OK gamers, in this week’s episode of Military Matters, hosts Desmon Farris and Rod Rodriguez delve into video games and how the Army is extending its recruitment outreach into the gaming community through its eSports team. The hosts and the eSports team’s leaders discuss how and why the team was formed, what it can do to engage with gamers. Also, eSports team members talk about how they joined, their experiences and their training. They come from a wide variety of occupational specialties, and there’s even a Green Beret on the team. Find out about all of this and more with the Military Matters podcast from Stars and Stripes. Subscribe today!
Feb 13, 2020
Military Matters Review: Military fitness 2.0
Continuing the discussion of military physical fitness assessments from the most recent episode of the Military Matters podcast, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris talk with Megan Reed, deputy director of public affairs of the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training. Rod, Desmon and Megan talk about the purpose behind the design of the new Army Combat Fitness Test, its gender-neutral approach and key differences between the ACFT and the fitness test it is replacing. They talk about the Army’s ongoing effort to integrate the ACFT into a holistic approach toward soldiers’ well-being. They also discuss the reasoning for having different assessments among the military branches, as well as the influence the Army’s effort might have as the other branches develop their own programs. This topic has a wide impact. Listen as Stars and Stripes’ podcasters take a deep dive. Don’t miss it!
Feb 6, 2020
Military Fitness 2.0 — Tailoring training to today's needs
This week’s episode of Military Matters delves into military fitness, particularly the various branches’ efforts to revise their physical training and standards to meet the demands that service members face on today’s battlefields. Hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris talk to officials who have been involved in revamping the fitness programs; they discuss the recent history of the programs and how the science of fitness and the unique demands of each branch have impacted the development of new methods and assessments. Tailoring fitness programs to occupational requirements also has come into focus, as has a push to prevent fitness training-related injuries. Which branch is the most fit? Which is the least? How much does it all cost? The answers might surprise you. Subscribe today so you don’t miss it.
Jan 30, 2020
Military Matters Review: Red Flag Laws
Continuing the discussion of red flag laws from the most recent episode of the Military Matters podcast, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris respond to listener email and talk once again with Jake Charles, a lecturing fellow and executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University.
Jan 23, 2020
Red flag laws – are veterans & servicemembers vulnerable to these laws, can they be abused?
Hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris talk about red flag laws, also known as extreme risk laws, and the implications they can have for gun owners. Rod and Desmon talk about what red flag laws are, the intent behind them, how they’re being used and the potential for their abuse. They also discuss the Second Amendment, gun control, suicide, and mass shootings. To separate the facts from the fiction, the hosts talk to experts in firearms law and gun safety, including retired Army Capt. Chris Marvin, who is a founding member of the Everytown Veterans Advisory Council; David Salvin, who is an attorney in California handling firearms-related and criminal-defense cases; and Jake Charles, the executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke University. This is episode is locked and loaded. Subscribe today so you don’t miss it.
Jan 16, 2020
Military Matters Review: Cannabis
Hosts Desmon Farris and Rod Rodriguez look back at the inaugural episode of Military Matters, which focused on cannabis. Desmon and Rod talk about the response the episode has received and the misconceptions that persist about the controversial plant, which is being legalized in an increasing number of states. The hosts also discuss ongoing research into cannabis and why it's so difficult, why the Department of Veterans Affairs and others refrained from weighing in, and the plant's potential medical and addiction complications.
Jan 7, 2020
Cannabis – what are the facts, and can it be helpful?
Welcome to Military Matters, the podcast that explores issues important to service members, veterans, contractors, and the communities that support them. In this debut episode, hosts Rod Rodriguez and Desmon Farris focus on cannabis and shed light on what it is, what it isn’t, and what it could mean for the DOD and for veterans.