Episode 373 Aaron Futrell Missile Attacks, TBIs, and New Beginnings Transcript

This transcript is from episode 373 with guest Aaron Futrell.

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 Drive On. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Aaron Futrell. Aaron is an army veteran whose life took a dramatic turn following a missile strike on Al Asad Air Base in January of 2020. Aaron’s story is One of resilience and determination as he navigated the challenges of recovering from a traumatic brain injury and transitioning to civilian life after being medically retired from the army.

And despite facing adversity, Aaron has channeled his passion for fishing into a Successful business venture and remains committed [00:01:00] to giving back to his fellow veterans through volunteering opportunities and as is evident by the fact that he’s on this show right now and chatting with us today. So welcome to the show, Aaron.

I’m glad to have you here.

Aaron Futrell: Oh, it’s good to be here. How’s it going?

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, good to have you here. Um, so I want to maybe just jump into the situation that, that took place, um, on Al Asad Air Base, uh, back, back in 2020, um, take us back to that moment, you know, kind of what happened, where were you in relation to the missile strikes? What was going through your mind during the attack?

Um, I know You know, for folks who have been deployed, who’ve been on bases that’s been attacked, they probably could relate to some of the stuff that you’re about to, to share, but you know, what was the experience like for you?

Aaron Futrell: Alright, let me set the stage a little bit. Tensions were kind of running high. It was January 2020. Um, [00:02:00] uh, Donald Trump just killed General Soleimani a few days earlier in a missile, in a, like a drone strike at a Baghdad International, so we’re kind of, um, that was end of 19, if I remember directly, and then I’m watch, you know, I’m, I’m in our talk on New Year’s, watching demonstrations at, at the U.

S. Embassy, watching the drone feeds, watching, you know, them throwing Molotov cocktails at our embassy, um, demonstrations out front. Um, that was. Working the night shift, so that was a fun way to bring in the new year, you know. A firework’s throwing Molotov cocktails at us, so like, yeah, that’s, that’s fun. So, you know, next week, you know, uh, I was in a medevac unit, so we’re flying helicopters, so we’re getting all the S2 reports, uh, for the non military people, that’s like all the intelligence reports, and they’re talking about, like, all the stuff that’s going on, like all the Iranian line militias with their anti aircraft, um, batteries all over [00:03:00] Baghdad, all over, all over other parts of the desert that we could be flying if we get a phone call to go pick up somebody.

So, you know, all of our pilots are on edge. We’re all on edge cause you know, the area is kind of hot right now. So. I’m leading all the way up to, like, January 7th, which is the day before the missile strike, and I’m working, of course I’m working night shift, I wake up at like 4 o’clock in the afternoon, I go out, and everybody is going crazy, everyone’s running around.

And my staff sergeant, she comes out of the TOC, runs past me and is like, They just told us to pack a four day bag, we’re getting out of here. I’m like, What? And she’s like, We’re scrambling the aircraft. I’m like, What’s going on? And then I go in and my captain says, Hey, the up crews and the birds are getting out of here, but [00:04:00] you and the mechanics and all the ground crew are staying, so I need you to come on shift early.

Right. Okay, dude, let’s go. I go get Chao, come back, hop on shift, and the up crews that are being in the aircraft, they fly out and there. So they told us, you know, from 11 o’clock to 0 3 in the morning, something’s gonna happen. We don’t know what. We’re just like, okay, sounds like fun. know what’s going on.

Scott DeLuzio: The typical intelligence, no?

Aaron Futrell: yeah, like Um, we find out later that people above us knew it was going to happen, but it never really trickled down to, you know, we’re the, we’re the farthest unit down, down the, down the totem pole. So, you know, we’re, you know, uh, detachment level. So it’s, you know, how, you know, word never really trickles down.

So they knew at battalion level what was going on, but they [00:05:00] never, it never really made it down to us until, you know, things started getting crazy. So,

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And so, you know, little, little. Too little, too late, uh, with the intelligence reports and getting that to you, um, to the folks who might need to be on alert for stuff like this, uh, you know, a little bit too late, right?

Aaron Futrell: they just, they just told us get to a bunker. And I’m like, okay, we have these, uh, like, we have these bunkers for, like, uh, mortars, mortar attacks, you know, in our AO. So we’re like, okay, we’ll get to the bunker. These are our bunkers that they have, you know, because they have, they’ve had a few mortar shots, mortar attacks.

They’ve had one. The month before where some guys fired some mortars from the desert, they ran over, you know, you know, you’ve been deployed, that happens, you know, every couple months some guy gets a little squirrely and decides to shoot a couple mortars at the base and run away. So, you go to the bunker for a few hours, hang out with your buddies, and then everything’s cool.[00:06:00]

But, so Like, okay, is this what’s going to happen again? They’re going to shoot some rockets from the neighboring town and, you know, show of force and then be over? We don’t know. So, but scrambling aircraft, we thought it might be a bit, a little bit bigger deal than, than that. So 11 o’clock, well, 2300, we get to the bunkers, we hang out there.

And we just sat there forever, like, and it’s getting to be about 0 3 in the morning, and our, uh, our, uh, captain, he decides, like, you know what, I’m gonna go see if there’s anything’s come over, uh, MercChat, to see if we’re good to go, if nothing’s happened, if they changed anything, so he goes back into the TOC, and him and our maintenance officer, he’s a, I think he’s a W 4 at the time, but anyways, um, It’s pretty much they leave and it’s pretty much right after they leave over the loudspeaker you hear, um, Incoming, [00:07:00] incoming, incoming, take shelter, take shelter, take shelter.

And it wasn’t maybe 30 seconds after that, the first missile strike strikes. It hits 500 meters from us, from right down the flight line. Just Boom. It’s like the loudest sound you’ve ever heard in your life. Take the loudest firework, multiply it by like 500. It’s loud. Just boom.

Scott DeLuzio: Sure.

Aaron Futrell: As soon as that hits, the maintenance officer comes over, he jumps on me, because I’m like the first one outside the door of this bunker, and it’s like one of those HESCO bunkers with like sandbags and concrete, so it’s not one of those heavy duty bunkers.

So he lands on me, and he goes, they just hit Bravo Ramp, which is where, uh, 160th, where they kept their birds right next to the farp, but they were all, all their birds were gone, and as soon as he said that, the second one [00:08:00] hits, which is 500 meters in the other direction, um, down on Charlie Ramp, it goes boom, as soon as that one hits, like five seconds later, is the one that hits our ramp, which is Voodoo Ramp, hits boom, which is 100 meters away.

So, That one hits. Um, like the whole, all the, they are, it’s like the air just goes black with like dust and debris. I feel the blast wave just like smack me in the face and it’s like everything’s just kind of, it doesn’t, I don’t get, I don’t black out, but everything kind of goes fuzzy for a second and I just go, what the fuck?

And then, and then the maintenance officer’s like, are you all right? I’m like, yeah, I guess, I think so. I’m like, that was close. He’s like, yeah. And as soon as we look up, we can see flames and smoke coming up over to through the crack in the door of the bunker. And as soon as we look up, that’s when our captain comes over [00:09:00] and jumps on both of us.

He’s like, that thing just knocked me off my feet, man. And it was like, are you all right? He’s like, I don’t know. I think so. And then we just sat there for like a second. We don’t know. I’m not sure how long. I was like, I can look back and see the drone footage and know how long it was. But then he’s like, you lose all concept of time.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Time doesn’t exist in a normal sense in that kind of situation. It’s, you have no concept of time. Everything is, is all out of whack.

Aaron Futrell: that’s the next one hits is boom. That one’s another 500 meters over by the chow hall. Or, yeah, I think that was by the chow hall, and then it kind of just goes silent, and we’re just like, contemplate what happened. So, we’re sitting there, we got smoke rolling through our bunker, um, we got, we can see fire, and we’re like, did that just hit our ops?

And we’re just like trying to figure out what happened in this, and while that’s trying, while we’re trying to figure out, we start hearing round, [00:10:00] like small arms rounds start popping off, just like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. We’re like, is there a ground assault happening? So we’re kind of freaking out. And then we realized, no, no, that’s the small arms that we had stored in our hangar that are cooking off in the fire.


Scott DeLuzio: Oh, okay.

Aaron Futrell: like, oh, okay, that’s better. Okay. We’re not being, we’re not being run over. We’re not being overrun right now. That’s just the small arms. And then we’re like, okay. Hit the hangar. They didn’t hit our ops. It was a little bit farther away than we thought, but still our hangar is burning and It was like, oh Jeez.

Okay. They hit our hangar. And so we’re figuring out, okay, that’s where they hit. And about that time, it’s probably, we’re guessing 10 to 15 minutes. We hear over the loudspeaker again, um, Incoming, incoming, incoming. Take shelter, take shelter. And then another three or four, uh, missiles hit. And it goes for the next three [00:11:00] hours.

Well, I think it was actually two hours. So every 10 to 15 minutes, um, two or three, maybe four missiles would impact. Um,

Scott DeLuzio: for that, for that whole duration, there was like basically a continuous barrage of, of, uh,

Aaron Futrell: from zero three in the morning to zero five, every 15 to 20 minutes, sometimes a 10 minutes, there’d be three to something. Missiles would impact the base. I think there was a total of total of 18 missiles hit the base. I think 11 of them, um, detonated

Scott DeLuzio: Wow.

Aaron Futrell: right now, but some of them, the first, the first set of them were the closest to us.

I think there was another one that detonated 500 meters and a couple of them were detonated, but then like a thousand meters and a couple other ones between like 800 and 700 meters from us, but [00:12:00] the one that. It was within a hundred and then I think three were in 500 meters of my position. And to get you the size of these missiles, you got to imagine three telephone poles like strapped together were the height of it and they had a thousand pound warhead on them. So

Scott DeLuzio: that, that impacting, so you being in, I’ve, I’m familiar with the type of bunker that you’re describing, the concrete and the sandbags and HESCO, uh, you know, kind of walls going around it, uh, you being in one of those, if that, if there was a direct strike on one of those, it wasn’t going to do much.


Aaron Futrell: it would done out.

Scott DeLuzio: yeah, you would, they would have just had to dig through more stuff to find you basically at that point. Right.

Aaron Futrell: yeah, the, um, the crater that it left, um, on the, uh, on the flight line, um, it went through 16 inches of concrete. And then it had left a 10 foot crater, 35 feet [00:13:00] in diameter.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. That’s what I thought. Yeah. It wouldn’t have, uh, I mean, you’re, you’re protected from, you know, shrapnel and other debris that, that maybe is flying through the air at that point. And that’s, you know, it’s good that you had that, that ability. Um, but, but a direct strike, you’re, you’re,

Aaron Futrell: yeah, yeah, we would have been dead. There’s I don’t even know if they would have been able to find pieces of us.

Scott DeLuzio: Right.

Aaron Futrell: But, yeah, it protected us from shrapnel. It may have protected us from some of the blast wave, but I don’t even know from how much of that, probably some of it, but it definitely, the blast wave and the concussion went right through it because of the way it was facing.

So, like, everybody in the bunker, well, we had, yeah, we had two different bunkers that people were in and everybody got a traumatic brain injury that was there. So, yeah. How many were in, like 24 people in the two bunkers, something like that, maybe, give or take two of them, give or take two or three.

Scott DeLuzio: and [00:14:00] so you were saying that as you’re in there, some of the other folks were asking, you know, are you okay and everything? And you, you sort of felt like you were, you were okay. You

Aaron Futrell: Oh, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: get hit by any of the blast or anything, but you got the shockwave. Um, when was it that you started realizing that, you know, there was a TBI, there was something going on that, that wasn’t quite right?

Aaron Futrell: Uh, you don’t realize that until like, it was like the next morning and um, it’s like cause you got adrenaline going

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah.

Aaron Futrell: the next day and then it’s like, then we got evaluated by our medics and flight surgeon and then you took the, they have like a whole TBI test that you take and everybody’s like, Oh, maybe we’re not as, we’re not as good as we thought we were because that’s like, they call that, it’s like the The Hidden Injury.

It’s like, you walk around, you don’t really, if you have a look at you, you look, you look perfectly fine, but it’s like, you know, you know, but you’re, there’s, there’s [00:15:00] stuff, there’s stuff not right upstairs sometimes.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Yeah. It’s almost like taking a, like an egg and just shaking it up real, you know, it’s not going to be quite right when you, when you crack that shell open. Right.

Aaron Futrell: Oh, yeah, it’s like, and you know, and they said the older you are, the more a TBI affects you. Like, if you’re younger, sometimes, You as much. It’s like, and the more like, if you played football earlier in life and you’ve had a bunch of concussions, A TBI is gonna affect you even more. And of course everybody’s brain injury’s a little bit different.

And so, and when, from talking to my neurologist, it’s like everybody’s, everybody’s different. You don’t know how it’s gonna affect every single person. So it’s something they’re are still learning about.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And, and it’s a lot of stuff, especially with, with, uh, military folks like yourself who have suffered, uh, from a TBI. Um, there’s a lot of research being done trying to figure out [00:16:00] Like what can we do about this and how can we help reverse some of those effects, uh, you know, if possible, but you know, what, what can we do to, to at least make it better for someone like yourself who has suffered from something like that.

And, and so, so tell us about, you know, some of the challenges that you face, you know, maybe during the recovery process, um, you know, and because you were medically retired from the army because of this, um, You know, so it was obviously a significant, uh, impact to you. What was, what were some of the challenges that you faced and how did the, that recovery process look like for you?

Aaron Futrell: Well, I started out, I ended up, um, they almost evacuated me to Germany because I was having migraines. But I ended up staying on and finishing out the deployment. Um, but I, you know, ended up Going into concussion protocol, which was like three days in a dark room, pretty much sleeping, doing absolutely nothing.

They said brain rest. [00:17:00] Pretty much. They gave me some medication and I slept for like 18 hours. No phone, no books, no reading. You just laid there in the dark for three days. It’s. Yeah, it’s not fun. It was

Scott DeLuzio: no. I mean, it sounds like, Hey, you’re, you’re on deployment. You get to just kind of rest and relax, but it’s not really relaxing. It’s like you gotta just be doing nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Aaron Futrell: I did nothing for three days, and it kind of made my headaches a little bit manageable, and then so it cut my, you know, the pain in my head down from a seven to like a three or four, and then I was able to, you know, kind of Limp through the rest of the deployment because, you know, you know, as a soldier, it’s like, you don’t want to let your unit down.

You don’t want to, you want to, you want to. So I toughed it out for the next, you know, ended up being, we got extended a month because of COVID. So instead of a nine month deployment, it was a 10 month deployment. Because our replacements were a month late because they all [00:18:00] had to quarantine to get to Fort Hood before the, you know, so they could start their training since I was a guard unit.

Guard unit and then then when I got to Fort women on the way back I had to quarantine a month before I could even go back to home to Ohio So there was it was yeah, so ended up being almost By the time I left home It was almost a complete year from when I left home before I got back home to Ohio I was a few days.

I think it was a few days shy of a year that I was gone.

Scott DeLuzio: And so, so the, the, these missile strikes, they, they. You know, they, they hit this area, complete destruction for, you know, basically whatever it hit, right. You’re talking about a 10 foot crater going through all that concrete and everything like that. It’s definitely traumatic. Um, everybody involved was impacted in one way or another, whether it was, [00:19:00] you know, from a TBI or other types of injuries, um, and.

You know, you, you toughed it out. You toughed out the rest of that deployment. Um, I, I got to imagine that was not an easy thing to do to, um, to go through a, um, uh, you know, that type of an attack, having those, those effects on you, on your, your brain, and then still having to continue to operate and do your job.


Aaron Futrell: Oh yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: you know, you gotta have to. Almost learn how to do your job with the condition that you have. It seems like that, that, that would be a difficult thing to do. It’s almost like, you know, throwing you in the deep end with, you know, uh, you know, without knowing, knowing how to swim almost. Right.

Aaron Futrell: kind of. It was like, good, good thing I was, I’m real, I was really good at my job. So that was part of it. So I was able to, you know, my job part didn’t suffer. So that was [00:20:00] good. I was good at my job, so I was able to do that, but it was kind of being thrown in the deep end a little bit, so I was able, the good thing is, I was on shift work, so my, my job was operations and I sat in the ops tent and waited for a call for the medevac, plus doing, you know, other, other things, doing briefings and all that, so my job over there wasn’t extremely, like, physically taxing, so I sat there and waited on phone calls and COVID in, you know, kind of was a blessing as it shut down everything in Iraq.

Scott DeLuzio: So, uh, you know, in, in addition to your company that you started, which, you know, I think it’s great that you, uh, started this, this business. Um, it’s not always easy. Uh, Whether you’re starting a business from scratch or buying a new business, not always easy. It’s kind of a gamble. You don’t really know what it is that, uh, you’re, you’re getting into.

And, um, you know, it looks like in this case, it’s working [00:21:00] out for you. So that’s obviously a good thing. Um, so in addition to that, you’re. Also volunteering to take out other veterans, uh, to go hunting and fishing. Um, and, and you, you do some volunteer work with that. Um, what is the, the organization that you volunteer with and how, how does that, uh, all work as far as, you know, getting veterans out there to, um, to go hunting and fishing?

Aaron Futrell: Um, the organization that I volunteer with is called the Fallen Outdoors. They’re a national organization and they’ve got teams, I think, in 32 different states. Um, so, and the purpose of it is just to get veterans outside and out of their heads. So, and like, um, the outdoors is healing. So, it’s like just, and kind of a personal story, um, like the, uh, um, the missile strike was very trying on me, you know, being, um, You know, bombarded for [00:22:00] two hours and then the whole deployment afterwards, which was still pretty, pretty crazy deployment.

I ended up going to, uh, Taji, which got rocketed a few times while I was there, then to Baghdad International on the BDSC and the, and the, uh, with the embassy. And we were getting rocketed probably two or three times a week while I was there. So it was like pretty, pretty intense deployment and then coming back.

Um, I came back in October and the first thing I did, I went fishing and caught a nice bass and a real nice pike five minutes from my house right out of the river and it was like, Oh, this is, this is what I was missing. It was, it was, it was normal. It was like, it was something that made sense. And then I was able to go deer hunting and I, I killed a nice eight point buck.

It was the same thing. It’s like, this is right, this is the way things are supposed to be. Being outside, enjoying God’s nature, [00:23:00] and it makes sense out there. It’s like, over in Iraq, things don’t make sense. You know, people are trying to kill you, um, you know, people are dying, and it’s not, things aren’t right over there.

But back here, in nature, things make sense. So, and, every time I go in the outdoors, I go hunting, I go fishing. It’s good for the soul, and it’s good for healing, and it helps me. So, I do that for other veterans. So, not only to help myself, but help them. So, I do what I can. So, if I’m going fishing, and I have time to take somebody with me, I try and take somebody with me.

And, if I’m able to set up a hunting trip, sometimes those are a little bit more difficult to coordinate. I’ll try and get somebody to go, you know, go rabbit hunting, go squirrel hunting, go deer hunting. Just coordinate to go spend time in the outdoors with somebody. And that’s what the [00:24:00] organization does.

It’s like, if you can go take somebody out in the woods, go take somebody out in the river, go take somebody out on the lake, and just spend time with them, get them from sitting in, you know, sitting in their apartment, sitting in their house, and just being, from getting them out of here and outside, it can do a lot for them.

Cause it does a lot for me. So that’s what the organization does. And they try and get you to

Scott DeLuzio: You know,

Aaron Futrell: go ahead.

Scott DeLuzio: Oh yeah. So I had a guest on real early when I started this podcast, probably the first maybe dozen or two dozen episodes, somewhere around there. And he was talking about how the outdoors is his therapy. It’s his church. It’s his, uh, you know, it’s his, just his gym. It’s his, it’s his place where he just goes and gets revived.

Right. And that sounds like what you’re talking about too, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Aaron Futrell: Definitely. It’s like, um, I try and get out there as much as possible. And, and even if it’s [00:25:00] not hunting or fishing, you just going out there and going for a walk, walking through the woods. I have a bunch of trails in the town where I live in and just going and walking down them, you know, by the trees down by, you know, I have a river that runs.

right through our town. Just go walking by the river. It helps. It’s just getting a little bit of fresh air, a little bit of sun. And it’s just, I think the outdoors makes a little bit more sense. And it just, it revitalizes you. And just, and I think a lot of the reasons veterans end up. You know, taking their own lives is because they spend up too much time locked in their house, locked in their rooms, thinking about things.

And if they just got out a bit more, I think they would feel a little bit better and just get up and walk around and just do some.

Scott DeLuzio: I, I think that there’s something powerful about [00:26:00] movement, uh, and, uh, physical activity. And I’m not talking about, you gotta go, you know, bench press a thousand pounds or anything stupid like that. Like, like just doing something with your body physically. And it could be, it could be, you know, gardening, it could be, uh, you know, uh, painting, or it could be something That you’re, you’re using your, your mind in a way that’s different than like what you’re saying when you’re just kind of stuck in your, your home and you’re, you’re.

Mind starts wandering and you start thinking all these, these different things, even just going out for a walk, you know, as you’re walking, you’re, you’re looking at different things that are around, uh, the area that you’re in. If you’re walking, you know, in your neighborhood, you’re looking, you know, for, you know, maybe traffic as cars are going.

Around a street that you might be crossing and you got to pay attention to that. Are you looking out for, you know, your neighbors to say, say, Hey to them as you’re walking by, if you’re out in the woods, you’re, you’re looking around, you know, to, to see where’s the next safe space [00:27:00] to, uh, you know, put your foot as you’re walking on maybe a rocky trail or something like that.

And your mind isn’t really thinking of all those other things because you’ve got other stuff to worry about when you’re out doing that kind of stuff. And, and it’s, it seems like it’s helpful from, from what I’ve. Heard, you know, obviously talking to you, but also talking to other people. It’s helpful to, to kind of just switch how your mind is thinking.


Aaron Futrell: Oh yeah, it’s like, and I think even just using your body, it’s like using your muscles and get blood flowing through your body is good for your brain. So, you know, and my brain needs all the help it can get these days.

Scott DeLuzio: You know, that’s, it’s, it’s just a, um, you know, a way to change the way you’re, you’re doing things. When you’re in a routine and you’re stuck in a rut and, uh, you’re doing the same thing over and over again, and you’re getting the same results that you’ve always gotten. [00:28:00] It’s like, well, okay, you got to go change something and go do something different.

Right. Um, and so. Maybe you haven’t gotten out and, and moved around, or you haven’t gone outside and, and done anything physical outside, maybe give that a shot, like get off your ass, go outside, you know, go for a walk, you know, something simple like that, or, or, you know, hook up with someone like you who could take the person out fishing or hunting, or, um, you know, who knows, bike riding or something, anything, uh, just go and do those types of things, um, and, and get out Change the environment that you’re in, uh, and hopefully that’ll, that’ll turn things around or at least, you know, help you start moving towards the right direction,

Aaron Futrell: Right now there are so many veterans organizations out there trying to do something. And you can find a veterans organization for just about anything right now. There’s, I know, like, there’s, some of my friends do motor, that are, like, there’s combat and motor, motorcycle, but, um, I don’t ride, I don’t ride a [00:29:00] bike, but I know friends that ride bikes that go ride with motorcycles.

There’s guns that fix cars, there’s probably, you know, there’s probably veterans You know, gardening association or whatever. Um, I don’t know. You can probably find a veteran’s group for everything because if there’s a veteran likes to do something, he started an organization that promotes it. It seems like, you know, there’s probably a veteran’s knitting club,

Scott DeLuzio: You’re, you’re absolutely right.

Aaron Futrell: you know,

Scott DeLuzio: You’re absolutely right. I’m sure there is, uh, you know, there’s, there’s all sorts of things from,

Aaron Futrell: Oh

Scott DeLuzio: of life, all, all different, uh, types of, of things. Uh, you, you. Kind of, you know, joke, like, I bet you there’s a veterans gardening club, and there is.

I had them on the show, uh, you know, a couple years ago. And so it’s like that, that kind of stuff exists. Um, you know, and maybe, you know what? Maybe they’re, they’re focused in a certain area of the country. Maybe because that’s where they got started and they’re not big [00:30:00] enough yet to expand to other areas of the country.

But hey, guess what? If that’s the thing that you’re into, If there’s probably other veterans in your area, that’s into it too. Why don’t you start it? Like, why don’t you just, and it doesn’t have to be like a formal organization or anything. It’s just like, Hey, a bunch of people, let’s. Let’s meet up, go create a Facebook group or something and, and have those people join and say, Hey, we’re meeting up at, you know, this place, we’re going to do whatever we’re going to be, you know, knitting or something, who knows?

Like, whatever the thing is, just find your people.

Aaron Futrell: oh yeah, and there’s plenty of veterans out there that, you know, so they’re people that understand you, understand what you’ve been through, and people that you can talk to. It’s like, you know, my father in law’s a Vietnam veteran. I think he talks more to me about, um, the Vietnam War than he’s ever talked to his daughter, nor he’s talked to his son.

Because he’s like, he’s like, because he knows I get it a little bit even though, you know, [00:31:00] he was a Vietnam grunt who’s seen crazier stuff than I have But he at least knows that hey, I understand a little bit. Yeah, he’s he’s seen some crazy stuff. So

Scott DeLuzio: Well, and I, I gotta imagine though, he’s not, he’s not taking your experience that you, that we just talked about a little bit earlier, uh, he’s not taking that for granted either, because that, that was, um, that was you seeing some shit too, so, like, you’re, you, he gets it, you know?

Aaron Futrell: Oh, yeah, so it’s like it’s the same thing He’s like he there’s a little bit of a little bit of brotherhood there that you know is like We understand each other and we can talk a little bit about things that other people don’t get. It’s like, I know.

Scott DeLuzio: right.

Aaron Futrell: And so it’s good to be able to talk about is like, no, I try and talk to my wife about some things, but I know there’s some things that are, are difficult for me to talk to her with that.

I can go, I can go down the street to the [00:32:00] local VFW and talk to somebody I’ve never met about things that it’s hard to talk to, you know, somebody that you’re close to just because. It feels, you know, they get it.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s right, yeah, and, and, you know, a lot of times I think some guys, they don’t want to burden their families with the darkness that they’ve seen. You know, they, they feel like they might be a burden. They’re not, um, because I’m sure, you know, their, their loved ones

Aaron Futrell: Oh, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: you know, ready, willing to talk to them about this, this type of stuff.

Um, and they, they feel that way. They feel like, Hey, you know what? This guy’s also been through this. I can talk to this person a little bit easier. Hey, you know, if that’s what you need, go find your people, you know, go find. And, and if those people are not already in a group, like, like, uh, you know, an organization that already exists.

Figure it out, get, get those people together. Uh, I guarantee you there’s people who are into some similar things that you’re into, like, just like with you, with, you know, [00:33:00] hunting and fishing and that type of stuff, I guarantee there’s folks in your area that you can find that would. Not mine, getting together with other like minded people to have those types of conversations and, and enjoy each other’s company.

So, you know, get out there, find them, you know, that’s, I think that’s the, the takeaway from all of this is, is

Aaron Futrell: Oh, yeah. Oh,

Scott DeLuzio: and do that, those activities that, that help you help you help each other, really.

Aaron Futrell: yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. So, um, before we wrap this episode up, um. I want to do a segment. I like to introduce a little bit of humor, uh, in, in the episodes and kind of make, make some people laugh. Uh, I got a segment, I like to call it, uh, Is It Service Connected? Um, and it’s sort of like America’s Funniest Home Videos, uh, military edition.

And we watch kind of a funny video of a service member doing something kind of, kind of [00:34:00] stupid. Um, and sometimes they, they slip, they fall, they get, they get a little mildly hurt, but nothing, nothing too major. Um, you know, you know, we’re, we’re not. We’re not looking at, you know, explosions and rockets going off and all that kind of stuff, but we’re, we’re just looking at, you know, trying to have a little bit of fun and, and yeah, we can laugh at each other and it’s all good.

So let me, let me, uh, pull up this video here so that, that you can see it. And, uh, we’ll, we’ll take a look at. At this, so right now for the audio only listeners, it looks like we got, um, you know, kind of an obstacle course. You got a couple of soldiers, uh, water underneath and they’re standing on a really wet log, which is probably not the, uh, the best idea, but Hey, that’s where they’re at.

So let’s see what happens when, uh, we start this video. Okay, so we got a couple soldiers there. One of them is not quite sure. Yeah, she didn’t even attempt to grab the bar. And then the other one that we’re looking at, she’s ready to go. She’s going to take this leap, grabbing this bar, [00:35:00] grabs it and then flat on her back in the water.

That actually, that actually looked pretty rough, um, the way she landed. Um, that was, I was from a pretty decent height because she was grabbing on and her feet kept going. And she was, she was almost parallel with those bars and then she came straight down. That was, I don’t know, that was maybe, uh, you know, eight foot drop or so.

Um, that could cause some damage, I would

Aaron Futrell: Oh, yeah. And she was only, like, four foot three.

Scott DeLuzio: I know, yeah, she looked pretty short and, you know, you know, luckily she was able.

Aaron Futrell: give her props for trying, though. She had some spunk. Oh, yeah.

Scott DeLuzio: I mean, and she, she got the, she got the lift off of it, that log, which, um, probably wouldn’t be all that easy. I mean, I’m, I’m like 6’1 so I like. I might just be able to reach out and grab the bar and that it would be pretty easy for me, uh, to grab it. But, uh, you know, for someone like that, she was pretty short and that she had to jump pretty high.


Aaron Futrell: I’m [00:36:00] doing this. She’s like, yeah, we all started with those people that, like, thought they were taller than they were.

Scott DeLuzio: But you know what? Hell, I, like you said, I’ll, I’ll give her credit for, for just trying because, you know, the, the other person to, to the right of the screen, uh, standing there thinking about it and then just kind of hop down. It was like, nah, I don’t think I’m going to

Aaron Futrell: I know my,

Scott DeLuzio: which she probably was right.

Aaron Futrell: I know, but I would say that’s definitely service connected from the VA.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, I mean, there’s got to be some back or neck injuries or maybe even she hit her head. There might be a TBI going on in there too. Um, who knows? That water looked pretty filthy too. So, you know, probably get a mouthful of that. That probably wasn’t the best idea either.

Aaron Futrell: her, uh,

Scott DeLuzio: who knows?

Aaron Futrell: her chiropractor’s thankful for her because she’s probably, uh, be visiting him quite a bit, but

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.

Aaron Futrell: no, no,[00:37:00]

Scott DeLuzio: Well. Uh, Aaron, thank you again for taking the time to join us. I really do appreciate it. Um, you coming on and sharing your story and sharing it with the other folks who, um, who might be going through something similar, you know, they, they’ve got service connected related injuries and they’re trying to figure out how to navigate, uh, Navigate life after, uh, these traumatic events.

So, uh, thank you for coming on, sharing your story and giving, uh, uh, setting an example and giving a little bit of hope to those who might, uh, feel, feel kind of lost and hopeless. So thank you again.

Aaron Futrell: you’re welcome.

Scott DeLuzio: 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.[00:38:00]

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