James Hatch: Touching The Dragon

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Show #209 | Guest: James Hatch | Show Summary: James Hatch served with the Navy SEALs, where he rose to the rank of special ops Senior Chief. He fought in 150 missions, including service in Iraq and Afghanistan. He earned four Bronze Stars with Valor. But it was when he broke into tears over the death of a service dog by enemy fire that he came to national attention.
Hatch was testifying in the trial of Bowe Bergdahl, who abandoned his post in Afghanistan, then was captured by the Taliban. As he joined the dragnet to find the missing soldier, Hatch said later, he knew Americans would be killed or hurt. He turned out to be one of them. Sprayed with the same AK-47 fire that took down the service dog at his side, Hatch swirled into a maelstrom of pain, surgeries, amputation, and alcoholism. He found his way back with hard work, love of friends and family, and – fittingly enough – by founding a charity to care for retired service dogs. James Hatch tells his story of his struggle and recovery in Touching the Dragon, And Other Techniques for Surviving Life’s Wars. Anderson Cooper says it “reveals with such honesty and openness, the ‘second war’ that Jimmy and other special operators must fight when they come back to a society that seems so alien to them, a society completely divorced from the purity of combat.”

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