This is War

This is War

By Sword and Scale

A raw look at the combat and homecoming experience from American veterans who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This Is War” chronicles the trials of combat vets both abroad and at home.


Introducing - Sword and Scale Nightmares

Introducing Sword and Scale Nightmares! True Crime for Bedtime. Your nightmare begins now...The first three episodes will drop on 3.2.23 at 3:23pm EDT. In the meantime, please take a moment to subscribe on your preferred podcast listening platform...SUBSCRIBE NOW: Podcasts: Podcasts: Music: Casts: Addict:
27/02/2313m 23s

45 | Dunning

Justin Dunning wanted to tell the story of guys he cared about who were lost, as many of the people I’ve interviewed for this show have, because he wants it known.Google “Killed in Iraq” or “Afghanistan” and you’ll find thousands of links to thousands of obituaries and each one of them affected the people who served with them. Sometimes in this series we have named the fallen, other times we haven’t our of respect for the wishes of the people closest to them, but what is critical to remember is that their friends and comrades remember their names and keep their stories alive.Episode SponsorsBespoke PostNorton360 with LifeLock
11/12/1937m 55s

45 | Sabins

Control often feels like safety. You have a weapon, some buddies and a mission and feel like the only difference between living and dying is execution, but there’s always also luck, or chance. For Jeffrey Sabins, learning to deal with the lack of control, over both his life and the lives of others was a lesson in humility and patience because even when you’re no longer worried for your own life, you want to live up to your promise to be a protector.Jeffrey Sabins' blog: From Tumor 2 AutismJeffrey Sabins' Amazon Author PageThis episode was sponsors:KeepsNorton with LifeLock
27/11/1945m 43s

44 | Ardito

For someone who joined the Army specifically to get into combat dealing with an unseen enemy is more than merely frustrating, it can introduce the insidious notion of pointlessness into your life. When there’s no enemy to fight back against, the best you can do is hold on, be prepared to take care of your buddies and pray you get a chance for some payback.Episode SponsorsBespoke PostNorton360 with LifeLock
13/11/1934m 58s

43 | Didier

There isn’t one factor that makes combat so transformative. Instead it is a combination of reactions. To external peril and internal aggression, to personal empathy in the face of the horrible, to your expectations in light of your experiences. For Nate Didier, a lot of the transformation came from seeing the world as it was and losing something of a sense of what it could be.Episode Sponsors:ZipRecruiterKeepsNorton 360 with LifeLock
30/10/1947m 48s

42 | McConnell

We often think of endurance in terms of the physical, how much we can do before we’re out of our depth, but things like psychological and emotional endurance contribute so much to our experiences. David McConnell’s 20-year military career was a test of his physical endurance, but it wasn’t until he retired that he learned about the other kinds.
16/10/1937m 36s

41 | Vande Hei

Joining the Marines seemed as unlikely as it seemed natural for Casper Vande Hei. He was a small guy who always had something to prove. The thing is, no matter how much fight you have in you, or how much you think you have to prove, if you don’t find a way to keep your anger in check, eventually you’re going to burn out. Episode sponsors:Zip RecruiterHello FreshMyBookie
02/10/1943m 45s


MonstruoPodcast.comFrom the collective minds of Jack Luna (Dark Topic), Tyler Bell (The Westside Fairytales) and Mike Boudet (Sword and Scale) comes Monstruo, the most disturbing podcast ever made.  Nine stories, carefully crafted, one year in the making.  Each two part episode of episode of Monstruo delves into the the most heinous and depraved killers ever to walk this earth.  Told from the perspective of the individuals who were unfortunate enough to be there, and using highly-immersive audio-drama-like presentation, each story uncovers the motivation of these human monsters.  The presentation of Monstruo consists of two 30-minute episodes followed by an after show where the hosts and creators chat about the story in their own words and further explore the details of each grizzly case.SUBSCRIBE NOWApple Podcasts - - - - - - -
19/09/1927m 50s

40 | Christiana

Sometimes, we want something so desperately that it colors everything we do. Sometimes we even get it. When you get down to it, getting what we want and keeping it probably drives most of us, makes us endure circumstances we otherwise might not and accept consequences we never could have imagined. In the end, though, we have to reconcile everything we do with its cost and come to terms with that price, whatever it happens to be.
18/09/1940m 9s

39 | Luetjen

Traversing the distance between what we think we want and what it will take to make us happy is a journey we often don’t know we’re on until it’s near its end. Even then, we often find it impossible to accept what truly makes us happy, because we didn’t understand what we truly wanted in the first place.Episode sponsors:Zip RecruiterBespoke Post enter the promo code WAR for 20% off your first boxMybookie enter the promo code WAR to double your deposit up to $1,000.
04/09/1943m 56s

38 | Horn

As a student, Dwight Horn felt called to enter the ministry but as a Navy Chaplain, he volunteered to follow the Marines to whom he was ministering into battle because he felt it was his duty. Just as Marines don’t want to let one another down during the most dangerous physical times, the chaplain couldn’t let his Marines down during the crisis of conscience that comes after fighting house to house in a war zone.
21/08/1939m 39s

37 | Ohrstrom

We all have a little quit in us, it’s the practical voice of doubt, the one that comes up with perfectly acceptable reasons about why it just makes more sense to give up. Sometimes that voice can’t be argued with or ignored, but there’s a quieter voice, one that whispers things like “try one more time” and “there’s got to be another way.” Hearing that voice isn’t as easy and following its advice can be just as trying but if we’re lucky it can be just as persistent, and when it is, it can be very, very effective.
07/08/1942m 36s

36 | Hunt

Choices open and close doors to our futures, they both can help define who we are and hold us accountable to the person we want to be. Most important, though, they can’t be unmade. Once Andrew Hunt chose to join the National Guard all of his decisions were based on honoring his oath, but what he would come to discover is that living up to your choices means accepting the person who made them.
24/07/1937m 25s

35 | Pettijohn

When you’re responsible to make sure the mission gets accomplished, there’s no greater tool than cool-headedness. For Brandon Pettijohn leading Marines in Afghanistan provided the opportunity to coordinate big picture responses to very specific crises. Once he discovered that dispassionate coordination was the key to being effective on the battlefield, applying it when he got back home allowed him to keep serving well past his last day as an active duty Marine.
10/07/1938m 45s

34 | Riess

There’s no question that combat changes a person, but the kind of change can be both subtle and far-reaching. You learn to internalize fear, angst and doubt but not necessarily to redirect them, and that’s exactly what can make a person a good soldier.
26/06/1938m 30s

33 | Ames

The transition into combat is a difficult one by any standard. No matter how sufficiently trained you are there is no substitute for reality to give you a sense of how you’re going to respond under fire, and how well you can coordinate with the rest of your team. For Daniel Ames, that kind of responsibility put him right where he wanted to be, even when it led to dangerous places.
12/06/1945m 42s

32 | Campbell

The endurance that the military teaches can be carried over into civilian life, but it’s tricky. In the military you have to endure because it’s life and death. Outside the stakes don’t seem as high on the face of it, but they are. After all, the life and death struggle combat veterans endure is tied pretty directly to a quality of life they’ve come to expect at home.
29/05/1936m 35s

31 | B. Davies

Combat isn’t about glory, it’s about serving the mission and doing what needs to be done to achieve an objective, but there’s still something particular about the bond combat veterans form forged in circumstances that most people can’t really comprehend.
15/05/1936m 45s

30 | Jimenez

Ernie Jimenez joined the military because he saw it as the career opportunity of a lifetime. He joined the Marines because he wanted to fight. As an infantry assaultman during the Second Battle of Fallujah, he got a good hard look at what it is like to have no choice but to face down your fear.
01/05/1932m 46s

29 | Higens

Counterintelligence officer Davin Higens talks about his pre- and post-9/11 experience running assets, the difficulties of chasing down bombmakers in the early days of the war, and the complications for interrogators in the wake of Abu Ghraib.
17/04/1933m 40s

28 | Cheek

Steven Cheek joined that Marines specifically to train and have that training tested. During the eight years and five combat tours he served as an infantryman, he used every inch of that training and more. Because for him, there had to be a life after the war that he could be proud of as well.
03/04/1938m 57s

27 | Hice

Curtis Hice was one of the thousands of regular enlistees in 2001, people who were joining the military for the pursuit of personal excellence, social improvement and maybe adventure. Although combat deployments always are on the table, he joined at a time when answering that call didn’t seem as if it were going to happen. When it did, he learned quickly enough that loss is a part of war but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept.This show was sponsored in part by Care/Of.
20/03/1939m 50s

26 | Moore

From the rescue of Jessica Lynch through the recovery of Extortion 17, Nicholas Moore’s Ranger career was punctuated by historic episodes of valor and endurance. The author of Run to the Sound of the Guns shares his story on this episode.
06/03/1939m 8s

25 | Graves

Long before he enlisted in the army, Samuel Graves developed a work ethic that separated him from his peers. He approached whatever job he was doing with exceeding his own expectations as the only goal. But when I arrived in Iraq, he saw how big a part chance played in war. Show sponsored in part by Care/Of:
20/02/1942m 28s

24 | Dang

After his brother was killed in the first battle of Ramadi, Anthony Dang joined the Marines in hope of getting revenge. But, as he found out for himself in the second battle of Ramadi, there is no satisfaction in killing, only in living.
13/02/1935m 52s

23 | Waage

From leading soldiers in Afghanistan to kicking down doors as part of the Ranger regiment, Erick Waage’s career was marked by violence and close calls. He had the kinds of tours that can wear on your humanity if you take a moment to stop and think about it. But if you just keep running and fighting you can avoid dealing with it for awhile.
30/01/1932m 32s

22 | Davies

It’s possible to kill both without remorse and without malice, but it is impossible to kill without consequence. Even when the consequence is satisfaction or a sense of a wrong righted, killing is something that stays with a person for the rest of their lives.
16/01/1938m 39s


The heart of a man is...
09/01/199m 18s

21 | McPadden

Ray McPadden, a newly minted officer, takes command of an infantry platoon for deployment to Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, where he discovers just how deeply your first deployment can influence the rest of your career, what he can endure and, most of all, what it takes to be a leader.
28/11/1837m 28s

20 | Buzard

Daniel “Doc” Buzard had been a working paramedic long before he deployed in his late 20s, but his first taste of combat medicine opened his eyes to the possibilities and meaning that providing aid has in a war zone.
14/11/1842m 20s

19 | Avalos

When you enlist and take the oath of service, you take the oath by yourself, but not on your own. The oath implicates not only your family and friends, but also your future spouse and children, it implicates people you haven’t yet met and, in the case of a distant enemy, people you may never meet.
31/10/1836m 19s

18 | Satterly Part 2

Tom Satterly fought in the Battle of Mogadishu and ran the “Mogadishu Mile” as part of his first deployment as a Delta soldier. It was the first in a special operations career that spanned into the War on Terror, including the capture of Saddam Hussein and combating the new enemies who tried to fill the power vacuum the toppled leader left. In the end, though, is the question of how a special forces operator copes with reintegrating into a society that doesn’t need specially trained soldiers.
17/10/1839m 7s

17| Satterly Part 1

During one of the most storied firefights in recent U.S. history, nine special forces soldiers held a house in Somalia, guarding one of the Black Hawk helicopters that had crashed during a routine operation.In the first of a two part series, retired Delta operator and author of “All Secure” Tom Satterly talks about his induction into the unit and the first combat experience in what would be a 20 year career spanning from the Battle of Mogadishu through the height of the war in Iraq.
03/10/1843m 0s

16 | Jensen

Even when you spend the better part of your adolescence dreaming about warfare, and your teens preparing for it, there still is an unnavigable distance between theory and practice, especially when there isn’t even a war on. You attack enemies that aren’t just phantasms, but phantasms without nationality or goal, just representatives of the vague threat you’re trying to thwart. But when the war and the enemy are real, it is nothing like you possibly could have imagined.
19/09/1843m 5s

15 | Knapp

Cowardice and recklessness are opposite reactions to the same inclination: putting your wants before the needs of the people you have promised to be faithful to. With Daniel Knapp it is more than that. There is an element of wanting to both emulate and get the respect of those above him. But for Knapp the people above him aren’t the people in charge, they are the people who are better Marines than he is. Those are the people whose approval he craves, because he knows what it means to get it.
05/09/1837m 31s

14 | Mitalas

The flag-draped coffin is one of the most enduring symbols of war. It is a reminder of the cost and also of the responsibility that young men and women take on as part of their service to their country. Brandon Mitalas enlisted in the Marine corps reserves for selfish reasons, but by the time he had sent 226 marines and sailors home under the stars and stripes, he truly understood the weight of remaining always faithful. He also understood something else: Sometimes it isn’t about you.
22/08/1836m 8s

13 | Lyon

Most of the time when we do something, we’re either doing it for us or for someone else, but in the case of our duty, things can get a little less clear. You see, when duty is the thing we’re doing we kind of are doing it for everybody, to live up to a promise we made that we would fill a specific role in our society. Kenny Lyon was all about finding roles and filling them. Whenever he could see the world as a set of instructions, he could follow along nicely, and that got him pretty far as a Marine. One of the toughest requirements he had to meet, though, was figuring out how to go beyond instructions, to see them as a template, but to make your life your own. Doing that takes its own particular gift.
09/08/1839m 57s

12 | Baskett

Kristofer Baskett was 19 years old when he arrived in Iraq. He had enlisted in the Navy with his sights on underwater demolition but a little more than a year later he was a corpsman doing his best to fit in with the more seasoned Marines to whom he had been attached. The thing is, when you enlist and accept your trajectory there isn’t much more you can do than go with it. As a Navy corpsman Kristofer hadn’t expected to be doing much fighting, but he learned quickly that combat was a school all its own.
25/07/1845m 14s

11 | Siren

From early on in her training, Vanessa Mahan learned that being an aviator is more than just a test of strength and stamina, it also requires an unrelenting will and focus. What it requires most of all is the ability to shoulder the heavy burden of life and death for dozens of people every time you’re on a mission. On each approach timely action against the enemy ends in casualties or at least a routing on their side. Untimely action can cost American lives. But when you strap in and take off, all you have is the focus and training that brought you as far as you’ve come and the fortitude to try and push it farther.
11/07/1842m 30s

10 | Shelton

When Shane Shelton had to delay his entry into the special forces to go and fight in Afghanistan the only thing that buffered his disappointment was that he would get the chance to fight. He had joined the army with an eye on putting his physical prowess to good use, but as he would come to find out, being in top physical condition is secondary once the shooting starts. Keeping a cool head and believing in your mission and in your battle buddies, especially when things get bleak requires the kind of mental toughness you can only perfect once the bullets start flying.
27/06/1845m 1s

9 | Jones

Training is a way of honing skills, of teaching your body to think without you, so you can concentrate on the crisis at hand, but you can’t train character, you only can amplify it. For Cody Jones the commitment he made to himself was part of a larger perspective, a way of lining up the world so that it made sense easily and immediately. When you give yourself a couple basic rules but then live up to them without fail, that’s what makes you reliable. At the top of Cody’s list was an injunction that doing things right was more important than anything else.
13/06/1848m 58s

8 | Lydy

Fighting has to be somewhere in your nature if you want to be part of a warrior class. Notions about having the killer instinct probably are overstated because killing isn’t always what circumstances requires of a warrior. The will to fight, however, is more than a mere prerequisite. For Kara Lydy, fighting was a way of life from early on. Overcoming adversity was a part of her day to day routine nearly from her moment of birth. But when you come up fighting, you can get the impression that toughness and hard work are enough, that being a superior soldier is all that’s required of a member of the American military.
30/05/1845m 31s

7 | Garcia

Violence is a necessary part of combat, and that is something every Marine understands when they step on the yellow footprints that first day of bootcamp. Few people crave it outright, but they all accept the very real dangers endemic to service, even when they join during peacetime. Once the war is on, though, it becomes necessary to embrace the danger and the violence and lose your sense of self for the greater good. But really accepting your mortality is on some level  the easiest part. Acknowledging the mortality of your brothers and sisters is another thing altogether. After all, protecting yourself is only valuable insofar as it helps you protect others. Right?
16/05/1846m 35s

6 | Alotto

Duty is above the letter of the law. It’s a way of calibrating what you want to do with what you’re responsible for and matching that up against how you see yourself as a person. Joe Alotto had wanted to be in the military since he was a little boy. Having become a soldier he knew his duty primarily was to hold himself accountable to the expectations his fellow soldiers had of him, and the expectations he had of himself. When you’re a soldier, though, sometimes you have to bet your life that you’re doing the right thing, and that your comrades are as well.
02/05/1858m 16s

5 | Post

Being under constant assault in a war zone wears a person down in both expected and unexpected ways. Sure, it wears you down physically, psychologically and emotionally, but it also can wear down your soul, taking chips out of your humanity.
18/04/1851m 49s

4 | Freeman

What do you do with rage when you don’t have any place to point it but inward? When there is no satisfaction in revenge and no way to put things right? Marcus Freeman spent nearly a decade as a combat medic, fighting the insurgencies in both Iraq and Afghanistan with his healing power as much as with his weapons. But some wrongs can’t be righted, they only can be reckoned with. And when you can’t do the reckoning, the price you pay can be tremendous.
04/04/1852m 49s

3 | Stormeski

“My training just kicked in.” We hear that a lot. It calls to mind decisiveness and instinctual reactions to uncommonly dire circumstances. For an Army medic, it’s about worst case scenarios and hoping on some level that your expertise rarely is called upon.
20/03/1848m 2s

2 | Rumley

Many of the men and women who enlist in the armed forces do so knowing they might die, but somehow meeting death face to face still comes as an absolute surprise.
13/03/1847m 6s

1 | Mearns

Ian Mearns did two tours in Iraq. The first one was bad, the second one was worse, but his greatest challenge was dealing with the leftover fear, rage and anger once he got home.
13/03/1848m 54s

Introducing This Is War

This is Bravery. This is Heroism, This is Patriotism. This is War premieres on March 13th.
27/02/183m 2s
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