A veteran’s path to fulfillment as an entrepreneur

Former Army infantry officer Nick Palmisciano, an “aspiring stoic,” talks about his entrepreneurship, “overcoming failure” and more as the guest on this week’s episode of The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast.

Palmisciano, a member of American Legion Post 6 in Chapel Hill, N.C., served in the Army for six years. Among the many hats he wears now is assisting with bringing Afghanistan allies safely to America. “If you land one Afghan in the country, it’s a huge victory,” he says. 

After his service, Palmisciano got an MBA from Duke University, had a great job at a Fortune 100 company and was “doing all the right things but it was the least happy part of my life.”

So he started making T-shirts as a hobby. And in 2006 he pivoted and started Ranger Up, the first military lifestyle brand, which kicked off a decade and change of veteran entrepreneurial endeavors focused on digital marketing and social media. 

After tossing away his six-figure salary and chasing his dream, Palmisciano almost declared bankruptcy and got a divorce. “But I felt alive, felt fulfilled.”

Ranger Up eventually became a leader in the veteran community, with such strong support that it has consistently landed in Internet Retailer’s Second 500 since 2012, selling over $100 million in T-shirts. 

“You have this idea you have to be a certain way or the life decisions you may have to be acceptable to other people,” he explains. “The idea of doing what you are supposed to be doing, according to society, makes a lot of people miserable.” 

He is now the chief executive officer of Diesel Jack Media, which has created advertisements for The American Legion. In researching, visiting and filming the ads, Palmisciano learned a lot about the organization. 

“In some of these places, the Legion is the town,” he says. “Without the Legion, there is nowhere to have post-football game celebrations, or a place to vote. The Legion is the center of town.”

Additionally, co-hosts Ashley Gutermuth and Stacy Pearsall also:

• Discuss the military’s connection with modern feminine products.

• Highlight an industry that VA is actively recruiting for.

• Set the record straight about inclusivity at American Legion posts in “Troll Patrol.”

• Reveal which well-known fast food joint once sold bubble gum flavored broccoli.

Check out this week’s episode, which is among more than 220 Tango Alpha Lima podcasts available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google Play or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available at the Legion’s YouTube channel.