Ben Kesling

The Wall Street Journal Correspondent, Former Marine Corps Infantry Officer & Author of Bravo Company

Understanding war and the never-ending effects it has on veterans coming home from it is what this week’s Team Never Quit Podcast guest, Ben Kesling, lives to convey. After having joined and served in the Marine Corps as an officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ben went back to school to become a journalist and put his war experience to use reporting for the Wall Street Journal as a foreign and combat correspondent. Because of his experiences, Ben has a unique perspective on the effects of war and spends his time focusing on veteran n affairs and domestic security issues.
Ben also authored the book, Bravo Company, telling the inside story of the war in Afghanistan through the eyes of the men of one particular unit, whose war didn’t end for those soldiers when they came home. Bravo Company follows the men from their initial enlistment and training, through their deployment, and on to what has happened to them in the decade since.
An interesting side note: Ben Kesling is a two-day Jeopardy! champion.

In this episode you will hear:

  • To know that you’re talking to someone who’s been there and understands what you’re dealing with opens up a whole world.
  • Being in Iraq and Afghanistan helped me immensely because I was able to see those things and understand what soldiers were dealing with.
  • In my book, Bravo Company, I wanted to tell their story. I didn’t want to tell my story.
  • When you go to the VA, you’re treated as an individual, and we almost forget that we were part of a unit.
  • The reunion that Bravo Company did brought them all together to remind them that they are members of a team. Strength to the group brings strength to the individuals.
  • One thing we can do for each other is to have graciousness and empathy. We all carry the same weight, though some are more publicly known.
  • There’s the trauma we go through just by living our lives.
  • [Melanie]: That’s why we started Team Never Quit. It’s persevering through hard times.
  • No man is an island. We’re not doing this on our own.
  • You need people around you who love and care for you and to call you out on your bullshit.
  • A burden is not a curse. It’s what life gives you. It can be a curse and a blessing.
  • Anytime we try to do something by ourselves, we must remember we’re members of a team.
  • [Marcus]: The irony of life: Some people will have a skillset that you won’t possess.
  • Thru my book, I hope that people who have never served can understand what it’s like to be in combat.

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