A Marine’s Desert Storm life lessons

James Sisco, a combat tested leader and seasoned executive with a 23-year military career as a Reconnaissance Marine and Naval Intelligence Officer, is the special guest on this week’s episode of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast.

He is the author of The War Journal: A Young Marine’s Discovery of Critical Life Lessons from Desert Storm.

To Sisco, his motivation in writing his book was to help people. One evening he received a phone call from a fellow Marine that justified his efforts. “He was in a really dark place and thinking about committing suicide. But he said, ‘I found your book and I have found purpose and meaning.’”

The book focuses on Sisco’s experience largely from Operation Desert Storm.

“I was a pretty seasoned, salty guy,” he explained. “From a training and preparedness perspective, I was ready. But if you remember back then, in 1991, Saddam (Hussein’s) army was huge. He had just invaded Kuwait. He had been at war with Iran, he had gassed the Kurds, There was a lot of concern with the size of his army using chemical and biological weapons. We were ready to go, we were motivated with regard to the environment and the threat.”

The book offers a rare depiction of the adversity and hardships experienced by Operation Desert Storm veterans. Sisco highlights a story from the book about Mike. He and Mike had an altercation, then a few minutes later an accident with a hand grenade ended Mike’s life.

“It was a very popular scene, almost like ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and the beach landing,” Sisco said, describing part of the book. “The next scene would be where I would go through his personal effects, separating the personal effects from his military gear.”

What he found in Mike’s wallet compounded Sisco’s emotions. What did he find? Check out this week’s podcast.

Also on the episode, co-hosts Jeff Daly and Ashley Gutermuth riff on:

• A new Amazon documentary “The Blue Angels,” which chronicles a year of the elite Navy flying squadron.

• American Legion Bryan, Texas, Post 159’s participation in Walk Across Texas, a fitness program. Commander Tom Marty often wore his Be the One shirt on his daily 4-mile walk. “This gave Tom an opportunity to talk about the issue of veteran suicide and the Legion as an organization.”

• The deployment of 1,500 troops to the U.S.-Mexican border.

Check out this week’s episode, which is among more than 170 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.