Episode 270 Jason Pike Combat Veteran on Overcoming Adversity And Achieving Career Success Transcript

This transcript is from episode 270 with guest Jason Pike.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Jason Pike. Jason is a decorated combat veteran with multiple deployments who serves 31 years in the US Army, starting off as a private and working his way up through the ranks, through the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He’s also a author of the book, A Soldier Against All.

Which we’ll get into in just a minute. Uh, but first, welcome to the show, Jason. I’m

Jason Pike: glad to have. Hey, I’m very honored to be on this show. I really am. And uh, so thank you for giving me the opportunity. I really do.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh, for sure. And I’m, uh, [00:01:00] as we mentioned before the recording started, I’m always honored to have people come on the show, sharing their stories and just pulling back the curtain on a bit of their personal lives because, uh, you know, there’s a lot of trust involved there and you know, you and.

Uh, we both serve. And I, I think it just goes to show just, you know, how much trust we have in, uh, other veterans and other service members and just how much we, we do trust each other with this type of stuff because, you know, you telling, telling your story doesn’t matter. You know, what went on in your background, um, you know, it is a personal thing and you’re, you’re entrusting me and, and the listeners of this show with, with that story.

And to me that’s, that’s a big thing. So I don’t take that lightly either. So, For the listeners who maybe aren’t familiar with you and, and your background, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Jason Pike: Well, you said it really good. I started from the bottom, just not as a private, but academically challenged and, uh, from the National Guard.

National Guard was [00:02:00] nasty girls, that that was a lower area of the military. So I started from junior college. I, I went, you know, I did, everything was from the bottom. I had to work my ass up in multiple ways. And this is a book, A Soldier Against All Odds that I wrote recently, and it’s a story of inspiration and hope for anybody, uh, really, uh, military or not military who might be in a funk and might need some help.

And, uh, some funny stuff, some really, uh, ridiculous stuff. Bizarre everything , so, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I, I like how. You got, you got a little bit of humor in there, but it’s real stuff that happened. It’s, it’s the stuff that happened to you and, and working your way up from the, from the bottom. Um, I, I think is a, just a testament to like your resiliency and your, uh, just your, your attitude towards, uh, probably life in general, I would imagine.

[00:03:00] Just saying like, okay, I’m at the bottom now. I’m looking up at where I want to be. Uh, and I’m just gonna keep climbing until I get to that point. And I know, uh, officers who begin their, uh, careers as enlisted, as enlisted soldiers seem to be in my book anyways, unicorns, because I think I only knew like one or two, uh, officers during my time in the military who started off as enlisted and then ended up as officers.

Um, but the officers who were the ones who. I found related, uh, the best to the enlisted soldiers were the ones who, uh, made that transition. Uh, so talk to me about that transition, how that took place for you.

Jason Pike: Okay. I really, I just looked at, you know, going into the military as a way out of, I couldn’t go to college, so I didn’t look at it as a, as a career.

I said, easy paycheck, go get some experiences, go over, maybe do something, drink some beer and things of that day, well, whatever. I just looked [00:04:00] at it as a way to get a paycheck and maybe, uh, you know, that was the option and. I really didn’t think about becoming an officer until I got out of basic training and to me that was pretty much hell, hell on earth for me.

That was in 1983. I was a field artillery soldier and it was, if you’ve seen the movie Full Metal Jacket, that is exactly what the damn thing was about. I mean, the barracks, the language, everything, full metal jacket, if you, that basic training scenario was there and I. I was the wor, I was one of the worst privates.

I really was. Uh, I, I had a learning problem from diagnosed at age seven, and it felt like to me I was drinking water through a damn fire hose and I, I just wouldn’t get. And so, uh, so that’s where it started. And then when I, I had a lot of crazy things that occurred in basic training. It’s in my book. And, uh, when I [00:05:00] got out of basic training, I thought, I, I felt that I could probably do anything to me.

Well, that,

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, and that’s an interesting thing too, because a lot of times people go into basic training, not, haven’t done anything with their lives up 17, 18 years old. Right? There’s not really a whole lot of time that you had the opportunity. Stuff with their lives at that point. Um, but by the time you get out, you have this confidence that like, I can tackle the world now.

Like I could do just about anything. If I went through that and I survived that and I able to do that, I could do just about anything. So, yeah. That, that does make sense. So after that, you, you kind set your sites on the officer

Jason Pike: group. Well, it was a tran it was a slower transition. Yes. I had a lot of confidence and that the first time I got laid was after basic training because I did, I had so much confidence.

So it, it, it was manifested in different ways. So, uh, so yeah. Um, so I started slowly to think I might wanna become an [00:06:00] officer. Yeah. Because, You know, all the things that enlisted people do is you are working with all these minor little details and things, and, and I, I looked at the pay chart and I saw E six.

With 12 years in is making as much as a young buck. Second, Louis second Louis lieutenant and, uh, said, well, how do I become that ? So, so I started looking at the paycheck and I saw officers coming out of their, well, they come outta their office, their officers, and they come and tell soldiers who or their, you know, their first sergeants or they come tell their platoon sergeants.

What to do. And I said, well, shit, you know, I, I’m starting to think, you know, shit flows downhill. It’s better to get up the hill. And then, you know, I, I thought I was thinking of that too. There was multiple things I was thinking about as this transition occurred. It’s probably within, after basic training, after about a year or two looking at this stuff.

So yeah, that’s kind of started, that’s how my thought process were at the time. Yeah. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: I, I, I think. [00:07:00] Probably speak for a lot of enlisted soldiers. I was enlisted myself and we, we oftentimes we’ll look at that and say, you know, they’re, we’re doing a whole lot of work down here and not, the pay is not quite as good.

How do I get up to that? Right. Um, it, it definitely makes, I think a lot of people probably can wait to guys. With all the jobs in the different position that you’ve had in the military, I gotta believe that you used a lot of stress and, and trauma throughout the experience that you, you deployed several times.

Uh, how did you manage, cope with all of that, uh, that stress and everything that you dealt with, uh, during

Jason Pike: your, your time in the uniform? Well, for the most part it was very, very exciting to me. Um, and, and very valuable to me. And I enjoyed a lot of the, especially the overseas deployments. Now, um, in the book, I’ve got it detailed out.

I was a lieutenant colonel. I was [00:08:00] sort of a senior person when I went through the most stress I’ve ever had in my entire life. And that wasn’t even in a combat. That was in South Korea, and, uh, I went under a federal investigation for espionage against the US government. And a lot of people wonder, you know, I’ve got this detailed out, I, what did you do to piss these people off?

I, I didn’t do anything. Well, I, I walked a different walk. I, certain things, I probably pissed some people off saying I didn’t wanna do this and I didn’t wanna do that. And I look back in hindsight and it was just, I don’t know if you’ve heard of gaslighting or throwing somebody under the bus or a back statter.

Those are different terms, you could say. Uh, they threw some hazy accusations at me, and I was way long in my career. I, I had a rat, I had a lot of medals and this, this crap happens sometimes in the military. Uh, it, I mean, it happens like maybe [00:09:00] you’re, you have some friends, uh, maybe a group of buddies that when someone says something behind your back that’s wrong, that’s false, that take that to the 10th degree and it’s a federal investigation, that’s totally bullshit.

That’s what happened to me. That gave me a sucker punch and bottom line is I’m innocent. I was innocent back then. I’m innocent now, but I went from there. That was, uh, that was South Korea, and so that was the biggest Suncor punch I’ve had. And then of course I have been deployed to Afghanistan and things like that.

I wanted to get that a little bit outta the way. Cause in the book it’s, I’ve been arrested multiple times, and, uh, but, uh, and I, I tell you what’s my fault, and I, but I’m gonna tell you what’s not my fault, and that’s why I wanted to be so honest in this memoir, is to show you what I’ve done right, which is a lot, mostly, and then what I’ve done wrong, but show you all the crazy things that have [00:10:00] happened that make this book interesting for.

Scott DeLuzio: Well, and it is interesting too because I think, you know, coming from an an enlisted guy’s perspective, uh, sometimes you look up at the officers and, um, they either are the total like dirt bag officers who doesn’t know anything about anything or they’re the officers who are squared away. They look like they got everything under control.

Uh, but then every once in a while you get somebody like your stuff. You clearly can see that they,

Jason Pike: they’re getting thrown under the bus

Scott DeLuzio: or something that maybe dead May they didn’t do. I don’t, we don’t know. But, um, but in your case, something that you didn’t do and we, you’re taking all this heat for something that, with a non-issue, nothing that, that even needed to be brought up.

Um, and it’s like, so what the hell’s going on with this thing? What, what happened?

Jason Pike: Yeah, exactly. So what happens sometimes a lot of people don’t, well, I’m gonna, I’m [00:11:00] trying to think of that soldier that’s looking up to me as a senior person, what happens a lot of times being thrown under the bus as a senior person, even if you have the Medal of Honor, it doesn’t matter what you could, there’s a procedure.

I didn’t know this until it happened to me, but if, if you don’t, if there’s a group. Sergeant said, don’t like us. Command Sergeant Major, or there’s a group. Sergeants or civilians, even civilians that are working for the government that don’t like a particular officer. What they can do is use, you know, you’ve heard of these hotlines a hot, there’s a hotline for everything.

There’s probably a hotline for burning down a car. I mean, there’s hotlines everywhere. So there was a subversion and espionage against the US government hotline. So if there’s somebody, and there’s sexual assault hotlines, there’s various hotlines, so you can use these things to screw with someone, to, to really screw with somebody.

It’s called an investigation, right? So, uh, yeah, they, they threw some hazy shit out there, [00:12:00] threw a hotline, said I was, uh, selling secrets or passing on information from the us from the US government to to foreign nationals, which was total bullshit. Uh, criminal investigation. C i d, criminal investigation division got involved, military intelligence got involved.

Uh, it was considered a secret, but, you know, these things have a tendency to leak out. My sec, my security clearance was challenged. Nothing at the bottom. At the end of the day, nothing happened. I’ve got it detailed out and there’s a lot of stuff there. So lo, you might read the Army Times and it someone’s being investigated that this, that, but it was total.

But what it does is it hurts that person and it hurts that person’s family. And even if it’s. I know I didn’t do it, , I know I didn’t do it. If, if they had anything on me, they would. But, uh, you know, that was a big punch and that was the most difficult chapter to go through. Of course. Um, I did go to Afghanistan.

That was just a, I was trained for [00:13:00] war. I wasn’t trained for a federal investigation on false bullshit. So .

Scott DeLuzio: Right, right. Exactly. And the military does a great job training soldiers to be soldiers and do your. In a combat environment and that, that type of thing. Uh, but yeah, the, that’s administrative type thing as far as the investigation goes and all that, you get very little training on that type of thing, if any at all.

Right? No, they may, if you have very little training, no training, uh, because that probably makes their job a whole lot easier to just close the case and move on when you’re not, uh, informed of, you know, what? Able to do or not do in those situations. So, um, so tell me about, you said that was probably the most stressful thing, uh, going through that.

How did you cope with that and overcome all of that, uh, through that?

Jason Pike: That’s, that is a tough one to [00:14:00] answer. That was very difficult. Um, at the time I had to hold on to my family, uh, hold on to my wife and my daughter. And, you know, they, they were on my side. Uh, I had, I had some officers that were on my side.

They were, they wanted to be a little bit distanced from it because it was just such a wicked accusation. There’s other things that I can’t get involved in right now. You can read the book that were also, so when that didn’t work, there was other things that they threw out there. I I, I’m not prepared to talk about that at this point, but what with that, with that particular, with that particular accusation, subversion of the espionage against the US government, Um, the, the, I, I eventually got transferred to another place in South Korea from that one, uh, an office to another office.

That, that helped a lot. But your family, your friends, uh, whoever you call your friends, you need to hold on to them. If I did for the first time in my life as [00:15:00] Lieutenant Colonel, I did seek, uh, professional, uh, counseling, which I was kind of embarrassed to do because I can handle anything. I’m strong, I’m Army, and why do I need help with a c?

but I did that. Um, and you know, you, you, you, you, physical fitness, uh, whatever it takes. And it’s really, that was the hardest part. I, I had been through a lot of things in the military, , but that was the biggest punch, which was, uh, not even war. It was not war, it was in South Korea. And so, uh, but uh, that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s how I handled it.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. And you touched on something, I don’t even know if you realize that you touched on this, but, uh, just. Mindset of, I’m a soldier, I can handle anything, I, I can deal with this. Uh, that’s the mindset that an awful lot of soldiers have. And not just soldiers, but Marines, sailors, airmen, every, everyone has that type of attitude.

And that’s, I think a lot of [00:16:00] what prevents people from going to get the help that they need. Um, but now we have. A leader, uh, lieutenant Colonel in the Army who’s gone and sought out this counseling. Um, and I know for me, when you see somebody lead from the front that way and say like, Hey, you know what?

Something’s not right. I need to go get this thing. It’s like, okay, now that almost is like freeing. Like it gives me permission to go and do the same thing if I’m seeing something’s wrong with myself. And it’s refreshing to hear people who do that, especially when, when they’re still in uniform, uh, to go and get the help that they need, right?

Because mm-hmm. . Yeah. A lot of times people are, are concerned, you know, am I gonna lose my security clearance? Am I gonna lose my job? I’m gonna get transferred to do something else. Uh, you know, all those types of things people are concerned about. But at the end of the day, if you’re not operating at your a hundred percent peak [00:17:00] potential, you’re not as effective of a soldier as you could be.

I think everybody wants the most effective soldiers out there, right? So, so let’s, let’s get the help that we need and get this, uh, this problem nipped in the bud before it becomes an even bigger issue. Right?

Jason Pike: Yes. I mean, I went into an anxiety attack. I’ve never had an anxiety attack in my life. When this stupid crap was going on, I started shaking and my mind was racing and.

I went in there and they put me on e kg and, uh, I’d never had an anxiety attack until this, I mean, so, yeah. And so I said, well, I gotta, I gotta, I’ve got, I’ve gotta find some help. I got, I’ve gotta find, I mean, my, my, my, my, my, your family’s gonna be really good help and support, but then also you might want to try the things, and it might just be a counselor.

It could be other ways of, uh, of trying to find out, oh, an answer to whatever your problem is.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that’s a good point too, because you’re right. I mean, counseling may not be for everybody. It, [00:18:00] it’s certainly a great option, uh, that a lot of people, I, I certainly recommend people give it a shot. Um, but you may try it and be like, I am not comfortable talking to somebody about all this.

But there’s other things out there, and I think that’s important too, is, uh, just keep going, keep trying the, that next thing until you find what works for you. Um, just keep. Persevered through this

Jason Pike: problem, right? Yeah. And one, one of the things that helped me, uh, I had that one big punch we talked about with the federal investigation.

And then my dad’s, my dad died, and uh, and then I was gonna go to Afghanistan. So I was probably at the, so that investigation held on in my head, like, you may have something, but then I come back outta Korea. My, my dad dies that I’m in hell right there. I’m in a double hell. I’ve got this. And then, oh, by the way, while your dad’s dying, we’re, we’re sending you to Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, okay. I can handle that, but now I’ve gotta leave. I was in a [00:19:00] mental state, so I don’t know. I, I, I did go to the counselor again, and. Uh, I, I, and I, and I jumped on an elliptical, well, I, it was by accident. I was doing this, and, uh, I jumped on this elliptical that goes left, right, left, right. You’re just working out.

And then I started to see visions. I started to see photographs and, and then I started to cry and I started to laugh. And I started to get angry and I, I worked out, I thought I was gonna break that elliptical because all these emotions were, and I felt that I was being relieved that way. That’s just one, I just did that by accident and again, like you might wanna experiment and I, I that, and so that really helped me.

Because before I went to Afghan, I, I was right at Korea investigations, stupid stuff. Dad dying. That’s hell. And then now I’m going to Afghani, I’m gonna leave my support system, which is my family. And I was like, and, and I’m in hell. I I, I don’t even know if I can go to Afghanistan with my mental condition like this.

Uh, [00:20:00] Afghanistan. I can take that, I can handle that, but it was my mental condition from those two events that was like, oh, man, what, what do I, what do I do now? I, I, you want me to lead troops like my in combat with my little state? I was like this. Uh, so, uh, I had, I don’t know. I, it, it was a tough time. I, I almost thought about going to mental health to say, and I, I believe mental health would’ve proved me to give me a waiver, a medical waiver, to get out of Afghanistan because of my mental condition at that time.

And, uh, and I did think about that and I did. And they said they would approve it, but I. Then I talked to my uncle. My uncle says, what would your dad think about you doing that? And he would, of course, that would be no and that would not be a good thing. And so I decided, ah, shit. And my commander says, man, you know, so I said, ah, shit.

So I said, man, I’m I, I’ll just go to Afghanistan. I’m gonna tell the troops that I, uh, my dad died. And, uh, They’ll probably, and they did understand it. And uh, but [00:21:00] uh, yeah, that was a very tough time and Afghanistan was like, again, it was a minor, minor aggravation of getting away from my support network to go lead troops when my, when my mental condition was not that well.

But, uh, that’s kind of the, the big. Big punch right

Scott DeLuzio: there. Yeah. So, so while you were in Afghanistan, you’re still dealing with this mental state that you’re in, right? You’re not, it’s not ideal mental

Jason Pike: condition, right? Yes, it was that way. I mean, my, my, my first sergeant was saying, sir, did you remember what you just said?

Or, or do you remember what, what to do was like, uh, and I, and I knew that I was just hanging on. What IEDs, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombers and stuff like that. Uh, okay. Okay. Okay. I know we trained on this stuff, but I just keeping up to trying to figure out, sir, are you, are you okay? Are, are you okay?

And, and, and it was in Afghan and it was in Afghanistan. My mind was, Going back, uh, you know, before they, and so it wasn’t that, it was just other things that were already on my [00:22:00] mind. Yeah. So yes, it was a, it was a tough time. It was a tough time, and I had a good, I have good soldiers. They supported me. They knew my father died.

I didn’t tell them about the bullshit of Korea in the investigation, but because it took me a while to even figure. Expressed that part. And, uh, but they just said, oh, his dad died. And I said, yeah, yeah. But there was more than my, it was much more than my dad dying. So, no. That, yeah. I, I, uh, but they, you know, you take care of your left, you take care of your right.

They take care of you. My soldiers take care of, they took care of me. Yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, yeah. And it’s, it’s basically just having that good support network of those, those good soldiers who were able to kind of take care of you while you’re there. Now, did you find any particular thing while you were over there that helped you kind of clear your mind and, and kinda get through that?

Or, or was it just something that you were, you were kind of suffering with? Right, the

Jason Pike: duration of it. And again, yeah, so like in, in combat, there’s a whole lot of boredom. There’s a whole lot [00:23:00] of nothing going on, and then there’s just a little bit of stuff going on. So what I did during the day, and, uh, I would work out and I would go alone and process.

I rem I was in Shindand Airbase. And I’d walk around the air base with these two weights and just process the, uh, memories and things of the past. And it was a processing mechanism. And, uh, so yeah, I, I would do that a lot. And, uh, uh, so that helped me out. Uh, we had Skype at that time. It was, uh, and uh, and I would talk to the family members back home.

He connected with them always with the internet and, and Skype. So those were two of the things that I did when I was in Afghanistan with that.

Scott DeLuzio: And it seems to me like exercise is a, a big component for your wellbeing. Your, not just your physical wellbeing, but your, your mental wellbeing as well. Uh, you’re talking about, you know, just going town on elliptical and just going, going, going and then walking around with those weights.

Um, and that’s a huge thing I’ve noticed [00:24:00] myself. I skip, you know, if I just don’t work out for a week or something, or, or even just a few days, I, I notice at the end of that time period, like I’m, I just feel like I am dragging, like this is, I’m not in a, a great place after that. Um, then after, you know, getting back into the, into a gym or running or whatever it is that I’m doing, getting some physical energy out and, and moving, I, I feel a little bit better and it starts to turn into the right direction, you know, um, you know, Still have issues that I deal with, but, but it makes it easier to kind of cope with some of that stuff and it just, Sometimes you don’t even want to get outta bed, but sometimes you just have to kick your ass outta bed and, and force yourself, right?

Mm-hmm. .

Jason Pike: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. And, you know, just walking the dogs. So say if you walk with a dog, you have dog therapy, and then you have walking, uh, that’s a good deal. And then you have, maybe you have some nature around you, uh, or some park or whatever, you know, it could be flyishing, it could be bicycling, it could [00:25:00] be various things that, whatever’s fun and that you enjoy to.

Uh, to get out there and then just do that. Um, and there’s, there’s no silver bullet for it. You know, you might wanna experiment around and don’t worry about what everybody thinks. Don’t worry about that. Just go, you’re doing it for your own health and your own wellbeing and your family’s wellbeing. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh yeah, absolutely. And when you’re not a hundred percent there, if you’re, you know, for the listeners, if you’re, you’re a, a father or a mother or you know, even just spouse, husband or wife, whatever. If you’re not a hundred percent, then you’re not being a hundred percent there for your family who needs you to be there because they’re, they’re gonna have their own bad day from time to time.

They’re gonna need someone to lean on and, and confide in and all that kind stuff. And if you can’t handle anyone else’s bullshit at that point, uh, if you can’t handle it, uh, you know, what good are you doing to them? And so you [00:26:00] need to be able to take care of yourself and get. Like mentally. And that means doing things like, like you just mentioned, go get outside, go walk the dogs, go fishing, go get some energy out, go do something physical.

Um, you know, if that’s what’s gonna help you. But, um, sometimes people see some of those things as being selfish. Oh, I can’t take, you know, a few hours to myself to go fishing or whatever. I, I can’t do that, that, that’s just too selfish. Well, okay, fine. But, um, you’re also. Not taking any time for yourself to do anything, and now you’re, you’re less of, um, you know, less effective as a father or a husband or a mother, whatever, uh, whatever your title happens to be, you’re less effective.

So like, make the time, put it in the calendar and say Saturday morning, I’m go, I’m getting up early, I’m going fishing, like, or I’m going to the gym, or I’m going for a. You don’t have enough time in your day. Wake up an hour [00:27:00] earlier and just make the time. You know, get that, get that time in for yourself so that way you can be present for other people, right?

Jason Pike: Oh yeah. And um, in my book that I wrote about, there are so many ways around a situation, whatever situation you might be in. There are certain ways, if you think about it, that you can get around it. Well, I can’t, well, well, I can’t. Okay. We, there, there, there are certain ways, well, I don’t, like, let’s just say in this conversation, oh, I don’t like to fish.

I don’t like to ride a bike. Well, I don’t like to. There’s so many things out there. We just, I haven’t said the right, we haven’t said the right one, so there’s a lot of things you could possibly try. And if you don’t like it, just try it. My mom says, my mom says, you don’t like this food. Just try it, and then you can decide later.

That’s kind of why

Scott DeLuzio: it’s, it’s just like that. I’ve had situations with my own kids where [00:28:00] they looked at some food that came out and they’re like, I’m not so sure about this. And it’s like, well, just give it a try. Try, and they’re. I can’t believe it. I actually like this. This is good. And it, you know, it’s something, you know, a little bit, little bit funky, a little bit, you know, obscure whatever.

And they, they try it and they’re like, oh, good. You know? Um, so yeah, new thing to try. I mean, I did that myself with, uh, with artwork and painting. Uh, I didn’t pick up a paint production info, you know, in elementary school, whatever. I never really painted. Someone was talking to me about some of the benefits that they sell, you know, for their own PTSD and stuff.

And I, I was like, well, what do I have to, you know, maybe I spend a couple bucks on some art supplies and I tried out and it sucked and I hate it. I just, it then who cares? But I tried it, uh, and I found out I actually enjoyed it. I found myself just kinda getting lost in it and all the, the worries that were in my head were just gone while.[00:29:00]

Focus on, on that thing, so Yeah, exactly. To, to your point. Exactly. Just try it and see what happens. And, and that way you can, you can improve yourself while, um, you know, being there for other people as well. Right. Oh,

Jason Pike: yeah. Um, next week, uh, well later, next week, I’m in the veterans event. I’m, I’ve got va, I’ve got the veterans benefits and things.

I’m. And they’re, they’re having a, they’re sponsoring a ski, not just skiing, but winter activities in Aspen, Colorado. And, and, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s a winter sports clinic. They have, so this is for veterans that like to do things in the mountains and snow, snow skiing, uh, snow building or whatever, skiing for me on skiing, fly fishing, whatever.

And then, but then the Veterans Administration also has a summer clinic for folks who like to do things in the summer in San Diego, which, Kayaking, biking, surfing, blah, blah. They’re trying to give you a taste. And then there’s, [00:30:00] yeah, so they’ve got all these activities. This is just with the va, so the Veterans Administration.

I know a lot of people don’t like it. I mean, there’s good VAs. There’s bad VAs, just like there’s good car mechanics and good, you know, bad good ones and bad ones, but, They’re, they’re looking at these things, creative arts, uh, and when you get a certain age over the age of 55, they got the Golden Age games where that’s where I’m at now.

So they, so they, they, they, so they say, well, you know this, and it’s a con. They consider this medical therapy to go out and do stuff, and they put it in your medical chart. Oh, he went out skiing and he went down the hill. Okay. He, that’s it. That’s so, uh, so that, that’s how far at least the VA thinks about what we’re just talking

Scott DeLuzio: about, you know?

Exactly. And it, it does make a, a lot of sense because it does have a lot of benefits and I, I think if people just got off their asses, got outside, did something, uh, again, you don’t, you may not know what that thing is for you yet, but go try something. You don’t like that first thing? Cool. [00:31:00] Now you’re one step closer to finding the next.

Move on to the next thing and just keep trying things until you figure it out. Um, and that’s, that’s really, I think the, the only way that you’re gonna get to the point where you are starting to see some sort of healing. You could go to all the counseling and all the therapy in the world that you want.

Right. I think ultimately it, a lot of it is gonna be tied to your, your physical, uh, physical energy as well. Get, get some of that energy out and, and just go out. And do something. I mean, it could be gardening for, for , it could be anything. Just get out there and do something. Right. Do something. Yeah. Mm-hmm.

So I wanna talk about your book mentioned throughout episode. So, but I talk about as, uh, what the readers can expect, the book, and really who the target audience is for the, the book, uh, for, uh, who, who’s gonna read it and, uh, what they can get.

Jason Pike: They’re [00:32:00] gonna get out of it, inspiration and hope in any phase of their life.

So they’re gonna look at someone who came from the bottom in various, various different ways. They, they, you, you might think you’re from the bottom. Uh, well, okay, so, uh, I was from the bottom and, uh, so, and then I worked myself up and I had lots of problems. So it is an inspiration like. Just climbing the ladder and just going through all the arrests, all the, and I know everyone has their skeletons.

I put my skeletons out there for you to guys to say, well, I might, I might not be as bad as, but, but, so you’ll see how I went through these and how we were talking about different ways around situations that you get involved in. That’s it. It’s everything. Girlfriend problems to shooting up cars and, you know, getting arrested, uh, and, and getting in trouble in the army.

Getting ass chewings in the ar. It’s, it goes on and on and you can look at it and think, well, I’m not as bad as that guy [00:33:00] maybe, and if he can do it, maybe I can do it. That’s kind of what I’m thinking, that maybe some inspiration and hope.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And I think a, a huge part of it and part of the reason why this podcast exists is just because there are people out there who feel like they’re all alone.

They, they’re the only ones who’ve forgot these problems going on in their lives and nobody else has problems. Everyone else is showing their a game out on social media and everything like that. And that’s all you ever see is the a game out there. And, and so you get in the back of your head that’s like, well, I can’t compare to.

Well, of course you can’t because you’re only seeing the A game. No one’s out there posting their, their worst days or their, you know, the, the, your, your mediocre days. It’s like, oh yeah, I, I got like half the stuff on my to-do list done today. Yeah, that’s, that’s great. No one’s posting that. Right. So of course you’re not gonna live up to that.

Cause that’s not real life. That’s, that’s just random. Snippets out of someone’s life. That just happened to be [00:34:00] great stuff. Um, and so when you see somebody like this, somebody who rose up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and had some setbacks along the way, had some skeletons in his closet, like, okay, well, you know, if he could do that, All right.

Well, maybe, maybe there’s some hope for me out there yet too. You know, maybe I can do that too. Right,

Jason Pike: exactly. I mean, I don’t think, like, uh, you know, when I wrote, when I started to write this book and, uh, how many colonels in generals wanna tell you all their crap, all the shit they went through, what I’m saying is like, There’re, you know, I went over here and I conquered half of Iraq and we did it with all blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

But I’m coming from you to a point of view where I wrote, so I, I, I didn’t wanna have to start from scratch because I wanted to find a memoir that was sort of similar, where I didn’t have to start from scratch, but, We couldn’t find that. So, so we had to start from scratch. And, um, I, I put everything I could into this [00:35:00] book.

It damn near killed me. It was a hell of a, a task to do. I had help, but, uh, uh, but reading and writing, uh, like I’m an author, right? So I wrote a book, but there are a lot of tacos, but it’s, it’s a good book. But, uh, but I, I fail English. I failed the first grade. I failed. That is my worst subject and I’m talking to you about a damn book.

So what I’m saying is I went against the odds with this damn book. So I, I think that, um, I think that you’ll, I think a lot of people will come away with this. I’ve got an audio book, which is there, uh, as well with my own voice here. So, uh, but, uh, but yeah, that’s, that’s kind of what I’m, I kind of got off track.

No, that’s okay.

Scott DeLuzio: I, I kinda liked how you were going with that though, because I know when I wrote my book, I was thinking to. That my English teachers from high school, if they, if they’re whoever, whichever one of them are still alive, if they’ve ever found out that I wrote a book, it would probably kill ’em because I was such a terrible English student that [00:36:00] they’d be like, how?

How did he figure out how to write a book? Like string all of those words together and come up with something that actually sounds, sounds pretty good. Like how did he do that? And he couldn’t do that while he was sitting in my. Where did I mess up? ?

Jason Pike: Well, yeah, I mean, how do you do, how did you do that? I mean, that, that, that question with me was with everyone.

How did you, how did you get that? So that was, everybody was asking that same question. How did you. Do that. And I said, well, you know what? I keep having to answer this and I keep thinking about these questions. Everyone’s asking me, I’ll just write a book to answer the questions of how I did it. And so, uh, that’s why I went to this book because there were so many people saying, how in the hell did someone like you?

It doesn’t ask like, you do all this stuff. I say, I don’t know. I, I really don’t know. I, I just kept on trying , my dad taught me to keep trying and just keep on working at it. There, here, this is why Now. Now, if they say, well, how, what? How did you do it? Why? Here’s the book. Oh, I don’t wanna read the book. So, no, that’s kinda how that works.

Yeah. [00:37:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I mean, In that persistence and re refusing to quit on things that are, are, is how people get stuff done. Because everybody has setbacks. Everybody has failures. I mean, Michael Jordan didn’t even make his high school basketball team. I mean, let, let’s look at that as a, a setback. Imagine if he just says, oh, you know what?

Basketball must not be for me. You know, one of the greatest players ever played just wouldn’t have played basketball. Like, come on. Um, you know, like that type of stuff happens to everybody, but you just keep going and you keep pushing through. Figure it out. Figure out. And that, that gives you that resilience and that it’s, it’s really a muscle that you have to learn how to flex.

Uh, that you, you have to work it out. Um, cause if you let yourself quit and let yourself just get back, that muscle starts the atrophy and you don’t get to use it, um, you’re gonna end up in a point where you just won’t keep trying. You’ll tried something once and then you’ll be like, ah, you know, it didn’t work out.

And I, I’m not gonna keep trying. Then that just be turns into, [00:38:00] uh, a situation where you just won’t do anything, uh, that you’re not already comfortable with. And, and then you’re not gonna grow at all from that point. Right. So, so yeah, keep pushing through. And I, I think that’s, that’s a good message, uh, coming out of this book.

Um, is, is that just. Resilience. Um, just resilience through and, and, and get it done. Get the job done,

Jason Pike: right? Yeah. Oh yeah. I mean, a lot of people like to talk about that term. You know what, I’m up shit creek or I’m neck deep in shit. Well, you know, that’s a term we use, uh, you know, to think that we’re in a bad situation.

But with me, I’ve literally been in shit. I’ve almost drowned in it that night in South Korea. I’ve got it detailed in my book of how that happened, but no, you know, in the military we have to, uh, land nav or land navigation, finding your way around with a map and a compass. It’s kind of a soldier skill. Uh, there was this badge I wanted to have and so.

I, uh, it took me three times, but [00:39:00] it took, I failed twice. I got it on the third, but on the first try, I failed. I fell into a, a cesspool, a pool. It was in, near the dmz, the diarized zone of, uh, South Korea. And, uh, I was walking along rice patty and I knew it was there. I could smell it. And so I’ve tried to stay away.

But I fell into, I slipped and I fell into it, and I was going under, and I was in neck and I was literally neck deep and a lot of people, uh, like to think of themselves. But I was there and I thought I was gonna drown. I thought I was gonna die. Um, Uh, you know, my, my feeling was, you know, I’ve never had a wife, I’ve never had children.

I, I, I, I don’t, I, I don’t want to die this way because, I mean, my last name is Pike and they’re gonna call, I’m gonna be pooping. Pike dies in Curia Pike dies. Poop and, and poop and, uh, south. And I was thinking of that. I was thinking, uh, I haven’t had a, I was into my late twenties and uh, I sent, I eventually caterpillar up out of the ship [00:40:00] pool onto.

And I low crawled out. Um, once I got out of the, uh, uh, saved myself from drowning or going into the, it was a quick sand type of material. I got out, laid on my back, looked up at the stars and said, why does this shit happen to me? And um, I was just like, oh my God, what do I do now? I didn’t know. I didn’t, I didn’t want anybody.

And then I had another problem after I got out of the poop, uh, out of the, of the shit hole. I thought, well, I ha how do I. Not let anybody know about this because I don’t wanna be known as Pooping Pike or the it’ll, I’m as a lieutenant land nabbing at night and I fell into shit. This is gonna be, I mean, they’re gonna remember this forever.

And, uh, so I’ve gotta hide it. I’ve gotta save my face, and that’s what my next problem was after I got out of that. So, I started walking toward a light, uh, uh, at the time, I, I didn’t know if I was walking toward heaven or hell, but it, it happened to be a Korean family, a a a farmer’s family out there on the rice, [00:41:00] on the rice field.

I, I walked toward that family and, uh, . I said, I’ve gotta somehow find a way to get out, uh, as far as save my face and clean up. I knocked on the door and I said, It’s a Korean ani. I’d run a little bit of Korean over there. Mostly it was hand waving and they looked at me and they said, I, ooh, that means oo ooh, ooh.

And I go, and then, uh, they told me, well, they, they motioned me to strip naked. I stripped naked in front of a total stranger female there. And, uh, I gave her all my stuff. And, uh, they hand to me that they would bring it back to me the next morning. They’d wash it up. And so, I walked back to camp about a mile or so, naked, butt naked, barefoot, naked.

And uh, I had my ula and so I walked back to camp naked and, uh, I, uh, I cleaned up and everybody else was out there looking for points. So I saved my face and I’m, for the most part, no one really knew about that. There was [00:42:00] two when I fell into shit, there was two, two things went right. Number one, I got out of the.

And number two, I found some help to save my face and save my embarrassment because I didn’t wanna be called pooping pipes. So, uh, I prevented those two things. Now, I failed on that, uh, event, but uh, I eventually got it. It took me two other tries to do that. So, no, I mean, we all talk about being in a bad place, but I was in a really bad place there.

Scott DeLuzio: I mean, you were literally caught with your pants down . Oh yeah. .

Jason Pike: And so, yes, yes. So this book is a, it has a series of events of bam, bam, bam, bam. And, uh, so you’ll, you’ll see those and you’ll think, oh wow, okay, this guy, this dumb ass can do this. I can get a, I can get out of bed and do something. Yeah. So,

Scott DeLuzio: right, right.

And. Yeah. So I mean, these stories, I think the, these personal stories make it the story that much better, uh, because you, you get to see the insight into the reality of the [00:43:00] situation. Like, what were you thinking? Okay, you, you climbed out of it shit. Now it, now it’s like, what’s next? How do I stay base here?

Um, I mean, lieutenants don’t exactly have the bus reputation when it comes to land nav. So , you know, that. That was probably the first, uh, first thing I would be thinking of is like, oh man, I’m not doing, doing this, uh, very, very good, uh, justice here. But, um, but then having yourself covered and shit, that probably doesn’t help either.

Um, mm-hmm. .

Jason Pike: Oh, no. It’s just very embarrassing. Very, very, uh, I, I, I couldn’t even talk about it for years. Uh, yeah, and then it just like, again, like a little things that are traumatic to you sometimes you just can’t express. It’s a great story and, uh, uh, but it just took me a while to, to be able to articulate that damn thing like, like many other, right?


Scott DeLuzio: and so you get, get people out there, they’re gonna be reading this book, and they’re, they’re gonna see the reality of these situations. Not [00:44:00] always pretty, a lot of times ugly, and you just roll with the punches and you just keep pushing forward. Situation was unexpected. You did not leave that day thinking to yourself, you’re gonna be covered in shit.

How do I, how do I deal with this? Right? But you, you adapted and you figured out some solution to the problem and you moved on and, and you figured it out. So, um, you know, I, I think it’s, uh, definitely a great story. I do, I don’t wanna give too much more away from the book to make stories from the book. I do want people to go out and get a copy.

Jason Pike: Yeah, that point. Yeah. And there’s audio as well? Audio as well. It’s on Amazon. Yeah. Yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Okay. I was just gonna say, let people know where they can go get a copy of the book, but, so Amazon is, is probably the best place, right? Yeah. Um, and I will have a link to that in the show notes for listeners and uh, and.

Is there anywhere else that people can go to get in touch with you, learn a little bit more about your

Jason Pike: background? Yeah. Jason [00:45:00] hake.org. J a s o n, Jason Hake, p i k e.org. You’re gonna see my website and, uh, well, and on the, on the, of the website, you’ll see I’ve been into shit literally, and I got out and so that’s kind of the story of the book, really.

So yeah, Jason pike.org and Amazon, uh, or you could just type a soldier against all odds in your browser. You gotta find out. So, yeah, that’s, that’s the best way to find out about me. And, uh, yeah, I, what I’m really needing is reviews and reviews. I’m, uh, I like to see my competent. I’m, I was number two. I was number two, army bi biography.

According to Amazon , it was Tuesday. So, uh, now I’ve dropped down to 14, but, uh, I like keeping on trying. I wanna keep, I wanna get number one. And so if you can give me a review, you. That’ll just help one more little thing, and it’s free. You don’t have to read the book, you don’t have to read the book, you don’t have to hear the book.

Just, Hey, I heard about this dude on, uh, on, on the show. And uh, it sounds pretty cool. That’s all. Give a five star, [00:46:00] it helps me walk up that little ladder that I’m always trying to climb up. So, uh, That’s where you can go.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. I, I know, I know what that’s like. The, the first few weeks after my book came out, I, I think I was on Amazon constantly just clicking that refresh button.

Just seeing, seeing if there’s new reviews and new, it’s crazy what the star rating is. I probably wasted so much time doing that. Just, just checking that out. But, I probably could have spent more time getting people to write the review, so I, that way I, I wouldn’t have to, you know, keep doing that. But, um, but anyways, it’s been, uh, an absolute pleasure speaking with you today, learning a little bit about your background and your story.

Um, and, uh, for the listeners, uh, the book again is a Soldier Against All Odds, uh, on Amazon’s go take a look at that book and uh, definitely leave a review, five star review for the book. Um, and. Yeah. Thank you Jason again for taking time, Kalana

Jason Pike: short. Thank you. All, all, all the money goes to the vets. I’m donating everything to the vets, wherever you buy or whatever.

Uh, and and I’m very [00:47:00] honored to be on the show. I, I feel very special to be on your show. I want you to know that.

Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. Well, thanks again for taking the time to join us. Looking, take care, looking forward to see how many more reviews do you, you end up with .

Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

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