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AUSA’s Army Matters Podcast

Assn. of the United States Army

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AUSA’s Army Matters podcast amplifies the voices of the Total Army – one story at a time. Join hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey every other Wednesday as they interview the modern chroniclers of the Army experience to discuss inspiring leadership stories, current issues faced by soldiers, and our military families’ journeys.
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2LT Alma Cooper will be representing Michigan at the Miss USA Pageant this August, but she’s definitely NOT your traditional contestant. A 2023 graduate of West Point, she is a Knight-Hennessy Scholar currently completing a graduate degree in data-science at Stanford University, focusing on body mass index research that could aid the Army’s recruit…
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Thirty years ago, audiences around the world were introduced to Forrest Gump and his Army commander, Lieutenant Dan Taylor. For Gary Sinise, who played Lt. Dan, it was not only a major moment in his acting career but also in his relationship with the Army and the military. Since then, he’s raised millions of dollars for veterans, met with Wounded W…
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It’s a simple yet powerful creed: “Leave no Soldier behind.” At the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), every single employee takes this to heart and spends their days trying to find and identify the remains of American Soldiers who have been lost overseas. In this emotional second episode of a two-part series on the DPAA, we speak to researc…
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In September 2021, Medal of Honor recipient Father Emil Kapaun was finally buried near his Kansas home, seventy years after his death in a North Korean POW camp. It took years of research and work to discover and identify his remains, and it was the work of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that made it all possible. This group of resear…
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On March 26th, a cargo ship slammed into and destroyed Baltimore’s Key Bridge, killing six people, and creating unimaginable chaos. One of the key responders to this event has been the Army Corps of Engineers, led by COL Estee Pinchasin; it has devoted all waking hours to clear the federal waters and to aid in the recovery and investigation process…
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In 2020, Army Special Forces veteran and entrepreneur Ruben Ayala realized that a lot of top military-themed retail brands had become politically polarizing. So, he—along with three fellow vets—decided to create Triple Nikel Clothing, a military and hip-hop-inspired line that embraces community and diversity. Four years later, the company is thrivi…
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As a child, MG (Ret.) Antonio Taguba knew his father had been involved in the Bataan Death March – but it wasn’t until the older man’s dying days that General Taguba learned the full extent of it. That conversation inspired him to play a leading role in shining a spotlight on this dark moment of WWII, eventually leading to veterans of the battle an…
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In 2015, five Army spouses at Fort Bliss decided to organize a dress swap that would provide women with gowns they could wear to functions that were often cost prohibitive, like military balls. That swap turned into a huge event, and now the organization, Operation Deploy Your Dress, has a home in thirteen Army bases in the United States and German…
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MG (Ret.) Gregg Martin had a distinguished career, serving in various deployments and eventually heading the National Defense University. But, over the course of that career, he slowly started to develop manic tendencies, which became more and more pronounced, eventually leading to his forced resignation, staying at a VA psychiatric ward, and recei…
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After a career undertaking secretive operations in the Special Forces, in August of 2023, SMA Michael Weimer was sworn into his new position and took his turn in the spotlight as Sergeant Major of the Army. What, in the first six months of his term, has been his most difficult assignment? Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey s…
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LTG Telita Crosland decided at the age of five she was going to be a doctor, and her later studies at West Point became her first official step into the field. Her thirty-year Army career has involved a great number of highlights and appointments, and she now heads the Defense Health Agency (DHA), overseeing the healthcare for almost 10 million cit…
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Comic book writer Chuck Dixon has produced more issues of comic books than any other living author today, most notably telling the stories of superheroes Batman, Robin, The Punisher and John Rambo. But his work on AUSA’s Medal of Honor comic series has allowed him to bring actual historical heroes to life to incredible effect. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Lesl…
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COL (Ret.) Greg Gadson originally attended West Point to play football, but quickly realized he wanted to be a Soldier for Life, and he was commissioned upon his graduation in 1989. His 25-year military career saw him serve in every major conflict of the past few decades, bringing him to many places, including Kuwait, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanista…
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While stationed in Germany in 1980, Dr. Rory Cooper was hit by a bus and paralyzed from the waist down. Responding to his condition, he decided he would devote his life to helping veterans and disabled individuals worldwide through the invention of new wheelchair technologies. Host SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey and guest co-host LaSherryn Duncan sit down w…
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Matthew Weiss had a successful business career but wanted more, so he gave it all up to join the Marines. Curious as to why so few of his Gen Z cohorts were doing the same, he did some research for a better understanding and developed it into a book titled, We Don’t Want You, Uncle Sam. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit…
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AUSA's Army Matters podcast amplifies the voices of the Total Army – one story at a time. Join hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey every other Wednesday as they interview the modern chroniclers of the Army experience to discuss inspiring leadership stories, current issues faced by soldiers, and our military families’ journeys…
  continue reading
 
Call of Duty is one of the largest ever video game franchises; one of the reasons for its success is its attention to detail—which is thanks to the military veterans behind it. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit down with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III creative director, Dave Swenson, and military consultant, Mitch Hal…
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Over the last decade, Esports has grown into a billion-dollar business, with gamers and fans all over the world. Tapping into this popularity is the Army’s Esports Call of Duty team; these Soldiers not only go up against other gamers—they also spread the word in that community about their lives as Soldiers and the benefits of service. Hosts LTG (Re…
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Every December, thousands of volunteers from around the country place wreaths on millions of graves of fallen servicemembers—in cemeteries across the United States—thanking each one individually. This initiative was started by Morrill and Karen Worcester in 1992; from there, it has grown to include an annual event, a radio station, an educational g…
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In 1963, LTG (Ret.) Robert F. Foley graduated 497th in a class of 504 students at West Point Academy. Only a few years later, however, he was valiantly saving his battalion’s troops in the middle of the Vietnam jungle. That act of bravery earned him the prestigious Medal of Honor, the first of countless highlights over his 30-plus years in service.…
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Every month new enlistees around the country begin Basic Combat Training. And while it’s grueling and hard for them, it often also is for their parents at home in other ways. Dealing with a wide range of emotions can be difficult – especially for those with little-to-no knowledge of how the Army operates. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (R…
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Starting from very humble beginnings in the segregated south, LTG (Ret.) Arthur Gregg rose through the ranks in his thirty-plus year career to become the Army’s first-ever African-American, three-star General. He blazed the trail for generations of soldiers and officers, and his accomplishments were honored earlier this year with the renaming of Fo…
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When a rumor circulated around Fort Drum, Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Mario Terenas took to Instagram to dispel it, racking up tens of thousands of responses. That led him to realize the power of the social media platform to really connect with his soldiers, making him a better leader in the process. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.…
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In July of this year millions across the country were blown away when the 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus appeared on the talent show America’s Got Talent, impressing the judges and making it to this month’s semifinals. But the Chorus has been around for decades, telling the story of the Army through song and performance. Hosts LTG (Ret.…
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In October of 2022, SGT Alison Weisz won the World Championship in the Women’s 10m Air Rifle Competition, becoming the first American woman to win the title since 1979. Not stopping there, she’s currently spending her days training at Fort Moore for a chance at winning gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.)…
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Army recruiting. Climate change. Community service. AI. These are all important issues, and in the second of our special two-part series we continue speaking to four top ROTC. and JROTC cadets to get their thoughts on all of these topics – and more. Guests: Catherine Blotevogel, Georgetown University ROTC Cadet Kyle Fernandez, Bowie State Universit…
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Many of today’s Army leaders started out as cadets in ROTC or JROTC. Well, what do the youth in the program today think about the Army and the world itself? In today’s episode – the first of a very special two-part series – we sit down with four top cadets to get their thoughts on their programs, the benefits and difficulties of service, what the A…
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In July, 1973 then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird announced the U.S. military would fill its ranks with volunteers, not draftees. In the last fifty years over 11 million volunteers have signed up, making the All-Volunteer Force a model recruitment process for the country. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit dow…
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Most people know Robert Irvine as a celebrity chef and television host. But not everyone knows he got his start in the British Royal Navy at age 15, that he runs 11 businesses employing over 5,000 people, and that he spends a large amount of time every year meeting with – and feeding – troops around the world. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and S…
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John McManus, one of the most prolific chroniclers of Army history, has just completed an acclaimed trilogy of books about the Asia-Pacific battles in World War II. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit down with McManus to discuss his last book, To the End of the Earth: The US Army and the Downfall of Japan, 1945, lessons …
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In early 1945 a predominantly all-black, all-female battalion was sent to Europe to do the impossible: ensure delivery of 17 million pieces of mail to aid morale across the continent. They succeeded, but it took over fifty years – and the work of many – for the exploits of the “Six Triple Eight” to be recognized. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie. C. Smith a…
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MSG (Ret.) Darrell Utt has overseen many brave missions in his life, from ones as a young child that put food on his family’s table to tracking down war criminals as a Green Beret. Today he oversees the operations of the in-progress National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington, TX. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit down …
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When the Department of Defense decided to examine the renaming of its bases in 2020, it turned to Brigadier General (Ret.) Ty Seidule to vice-chair its Naming Commission. Not only is BG (Ret.) Seidule Professor Emeritus of History at West Point Academy, but also a southerner. He grew up in awe of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, but eventually ha…
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Actress Jill Wagner (Teen Wolf, Wipeout, numerous romance films), was raised in a military family, and reunited with an old boyfriend, Major David Lemanowicz, while on a USO Tour in Afghanistan in 2015. It was just one of multiple meet-cutes for the couple, eventually leading to their marriage, and upcoming spy thriller Paramount+ TV series, Liones…
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What does the next generation think about the world today? About service? About their own anxieties? Well, perhaps the best place to start is to chat with this year’s Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Military Youth of the Year Award recipient, right? Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit down with award-winning speaker Ahsha …
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Brigadier General (Ret.) Anne Macdonald is an Army trailblazer in all senses of the word: part of the first gender-integrated class at West Point Academy, the first active-duty combat arms (aviator) female to be promoted to General Officer, and the current President of the Army Women’s Foundation. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Da…
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When people think about the stressful and difficult parts of Army service, home life isn’t always given a great deal of thought. And yet, finding a balance between your unit and family is perhaps the most important part of a Soldier’s life. Host LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and his very special guest co-host—his wife, Vanedra Smith—talk with Californ…
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In 2012, former USMC Sergeant Paul Szoldra started a website satirizing the military. Over the last eleven years that site – The Duffel Blog – has entertained hundreds of thousands of people both within and outside the military. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie C. Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit down with Szoldra to talk about the effectiveness of satir…
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After thirty years of heroic service, Colonel (Ret.) Kenny Mintz decided to undertake an epic adventure in 2022 – a walk across the United States, going from Washington, D.C. to southern California. The path allowed him to retrace the route he and his single mother drove when he was a child moving across the country. Hosts LTG (Ret.) Leslie Smith a…
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For the past forty years, Daryl Davis has befriended members of the Ku Klux Klan and convinced (directly and indirectly) over 200 to quit the organization. How has he accomplished this? And how can everyone apply this technique to their own life? Hosts LTG (Ret.) Les Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit down with Mr. Davis - along with Chaplain (MG)…
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MSG Tim Kennedy was living a life without purpose until he joined the U.S. Army and then became an MMA fighter. Those two organizations allowed him to channel his aggression and led to a career as a top-ranked fighter, Army Special Forces sniper, television host, human trafficker hunter and entrepreneur. Series co-hosts LTG (Ret.) Les Smith and SMA…
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From the battlefields to the barracks to the boardrooms, Army Matters will find the best individuals and stories to entertain and inspire you. Produced by the Association of the United States Army. Subscribe and follow now. Recommendations for future topics are welcome via email at podcast@ausa.org. Disclaimer: AUSA’s Army Matters podcast primary p…
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Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of the ever-present Bass Pro Shops, one of the world’s largest outdoor retail chains, makes his very first podcast appearance in today’s episode. New series co-hosts LTG (Ret.) Les Smith and SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sit down with Johnny to chat about how his father’s involvement in WW2’s Battle of the Bulge inspired him …
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Military spouse. Mother. Behavioral therapist. And AUSA Volunteer Family of the Year. Amanda Tomasura has spent the last fourteen years aiding her communities; she sits down with host Holly Dailey to discuss the importance of giving back to the community, how putting teens through boot camp can be an incredibly positive experience, and perhaps her …
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Lt. Colonel Jacob Helgestad was fast asleep in Kuwait when someone knocked at his door in mid-August, 2021. “Hey, Sir, we gotta go to Afghanistan.” Within 24 hours Helgestad’s 625 troops were landing at Hamid Karzai International Airport and in the thick of a mass evacuation. Host Colonel (Ret.) Scott Halstead speaks with Helgestad about how he had…
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After a painful medical diagnosis, Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Ret.) Chad Butters and his wife Jodi decided to change their lives, leading them to pursue their passion about the outdoors, faming and starting a distillery. Host SMA (Ret.) Dan Dailey sits down with Chad at Eight Oaks Distillery, drinks in hand, to talk about Chad’s Army career, some sou…
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What makes a battlefield hero? Is it upbringing, training, and being placed in a specific situation? Or a combination thereof? Host Joe Craig sits down with Dr. Raymond James Raymond, author of the book Elite Souls: Portraits of Valor in Iraq and Afghanistan, to discuss five heroes he profiled. Learn how their moral courage led them each to saving …
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For almost two centuries, women were not allowed to join the U.S. Military – yet millions served. Now with almost 20% of the military being female, the Military Women’s Memorial is celebrating the three million women who have served the Nation in both peace and war -- since before the founding of the Republic. Host COL (Ret.) Dan Roper sits down wi…
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Throughout Master Sergeant (Ret.) Cedric King’s Army career he always faced challenges head on. His biggest obstacle, however, took place in 2012 when he was injured by an IED device and lost his legs. But rather than feeling sorry for himself, he accepted it and is now a triathlete, author and motivational speaker. Host Colonel (Ret.) Scott Halste…
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