Lessons from a Delta Force Operator’s Story
by Marshall McGurk
People now see veterans publicly admit their struggles alongside their triumphs more often. Scot Spooner struggled with poor education and upbringing, troubles with the law, alcoholism and post-traumatic stress. He is a decorated veteran of the Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, successful business owner and father. He details his struggles in a short book: “Your Life.”
The book takes less than a day to read yet I find myself referring back to it every few days. The chapter on terminal uniqueness reminds me to eliminate the pity party when life isn’t going as expected. The chapter on courage encourages me to identify my feelings and actions through only two emotions: fear and love. I’ve found living this way is simpler than delving into hundreds of different feelings or emotions. For example, “I have fear about my transition” or “I love myself enough to leave the Army and pursue other ambitions.” It provides clarity and reduces self-imposed complication in decision-making. Scot came to his transition decision point at the 17-year mark by the way.
As I go through my own personal growth journey, I take strength from his message about surrender. Recovering from addiction requires surrender. Maintaining a disciplined life certainly involves surrender. Taking responsibility and identifying the life you are meant to lead requires surrender as well. While some readers may find Scot’s beliefs on God or the law of attraction different from theirs, the message of surrender resonates.
If you don’t believe people grow and change, read this book. Scot is living proof that people do grow and change when they set their mind to do so. If you want something different for your life and don’t know where to start, read this book. It is a jumping off point to delve deeper into your own life. We all have our baggage, be it from childhood or combat. What we do with it and how we react to it with our gifts and talents is something “Your Life” can help you figure out.
For leaders, this book reminds us that our soldiers are not perfect; they have flaws. They will need help and not just in the form of UCMJ. Take time to learn about addiction, take time to learn about personal growth. Each person who discovers their path and purpose will benefit the community, and that is always a good thing.
Marshall McGurk served nearly five years with the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) after a stint with the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized). He enjoys scotch, cigars, good books, foreign films, and critical thinking. He is passionate about international relations, domestic affairs, and successful veteran transition. He serves in the Army Reserve. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.
This first appeared in The Havok Journal January 16, 2019.