Retired Navy SEAL Jason Redman to speak Saturday in Steamboat
February 14, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Jason Redman said his 21-year career as a Navy SEAL was unique.
"I was really young," Redman said about joining the Navy at 17. "I probably had a very immature and arrogant view of what it means to be a part of an elite unit."
It all came to a head in a humbling experience in which he almost was kicked out of the service, Redman said.
"I had to prove I could do this job and prove I could be a leader."
And through 11 years as an enlisted Navy SEAL, 10 years as an officer and a recovery from a severe injury, Redman gleaned lessons in leadership that he poured into his book, "The Trident."
The Steamboat Institute is hosting a talk by Redman from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Strings Music Pavilion.
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Redman said Friday that his talk would focus on leadership, overcoming adversity and patriotic values.
"We're at a time where people need to get out there and step up," he said.
"The Trident" isn't a typical Navy SEAL book, Redman said. At its heart, it's a story about his journey.
Much like the book, his talk Saturday will include stories about firefights overseas but also will tie them back into lessons that apply to people at large.
"Human dynamics are the same regardless of who we are," he said.
Principles such as teamwork, communication and leadership apply the same ways to everyone, and Redman said he lives by six tenets, which he'll elaborate on today. One of them is lead always.
Even when he was lying in a hospital bed recovering from multiple wounds to his arm and face in 2007, Redman remained positive to help lift the spirits of the other wounded soldiers around him.
Redman said he planned to spend 30 years in the Navy, and even though his career didn't end the way he wanted, overcoming adversity led him to what's now his mission: Wounded Wear, a nonprofit organization that offers clothing, clothing modifications and empowerment activities for veterans.
Redman said he wants people to buy into the idea that hard work can lead to success. It doesn't guarantee success, and it might not look like how we imagined, he said, but the American Dream exists without long-term reliance on government programs or assistance.
"We're going through a hard time in our country," he said.
After two wars and a slow economy, an attitude of defeat can trickle down through the nation.
"Some people are starting to believe we can't do this on our own," he said.
There are no limits, Redman said, for people who don't buy into demographics or stereotypes.
"There's millions of examples of people that have broken out," he said. "It's through education, through hard work and a willingness to overcome adversity and knock down those walls."
It's through individual responsibility, encouraging others and not buying into what Redman said was the negative messaging of the political system.
"Politics was built around compromise," he said. "I don't see that happening."
Redman said he will talk about how SEALs are trained to look at doors and walls and break through them no matter what stands in their way.
"You come up on adversity, and we don't just turn and walk away," he said.
It's a mindset, Redman said.
"People don't give themselves enough credit," he said. "Sometimes a lot of people make their greatest gains when they're uncomfortable."
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