Combat Story

The Making of a Navy SEAL Sniper | How to Overcome Struggle & Find Success | Sam Mackey - Round 1


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Today we have our first of a two round Combat Story as we delve into Sam Mackey's extraordinary journey from a rebellious youth to a Navy SEAL and, after retiring with 20 years in the service, to a successful entrepreneur. His early years were marked by selling drugs and legal troubles, finding purpose in a love for boxing and eventually joining the military. This decision, fueled partly by a need to escape legal issues, led Sam on a transformative path of discipline and self-discovery.

Sam's time in the military was challenging yet formative. His first attempt at BUD/S training was unsuccessful, leading to a stint in Italy where misadventures and personal growth went hand in hand. However, Sam returned to BUD/S more mature and focused, eventually joining SEAL Team 8. His first combat experience comes in Iraq, where he first grappled with the harsh realities of warfare with an intense gunfight marking a significant shift from training to real-world operations, highlighting the need for quick, tactical decision-making and adaptability. 

Stay tuned for Round 2 where we cover even more of Sam’s time downrange and the entrepreneurial skills he develops in the teams that translate into his current work on Outsider, an outdoor lifestyle brand with high quality products, alongside former NFL QB Jay Cutler.

Many thanks to Ari for connecting us with Sam! And now, please enjoy this inspiring episode with retired Navy SEAL, Sam Mackey.

👇 Show Notes:

00:00 - Introduction 00:31 - Guest Profile: Sam Mackey 01:48 - Start of Interview 05:32 - Fighting Growing Up 10:31 - Legal Troubles 14:17 - Joining the Military 16:50 - Mentors 21:46 - Hello Fresh Ad 23:09 - Taking Accountability 24:03 - Deciding Branch of Service 27:47 - Boot 33:26 - Path to Teams 41:00 - BUDS 49:47 - Time In Italy  01:01:45 - 2nd BUDS 01:04:29 - West Coast Team 01:15:29 - First Call After Making Teams 01:23:12 - First Time Downrange 01:29:51 - Loadout Advancements 01:32:25 - Feeling Coming Back Home 01:33:08 - Listener Feedback

🔗 Find Ryan Online: - Ryan’s Linktree - Merch - Instagram @combatstory - Facebook @combatstoryofficial - Send us messages at - Learn more about Ryan - Intro Song: Sport Rock from Audio Jungle 🔗 Find Sam Online: - Outsider

This episode was sponsored by HelloFresh! Go to and use code combatstoryfree for FREE breakfast for life!

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