SITREP 013  **Correction** We have eight Green Berets running for Congress.

SITREP 013 **Correction** We have eight Green Berets running for Congress.

18 Series Bag Company               SITREP 013                        11 February 2022

The feedback from SITREP 012 has been amazing. We at 18 Series Bag Company are proud to support Green Berets and other Special Operators who are continuing to respond to the call of service. After receiving two emails after I posted the last SITREP, I realized that we don’t have six Green Berets running for Congress. 

We have eight.

Chris Castelli for North Carolina, Congressional District 7

Chris is the stereotypical Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), born and raised to believe in God, patriotism, hard work, and public service. Chris and I have never met, but after two decades in service to Special Forces, I can unequivocally attest to our LTCs in SF. I imagine that most of them were high school quarterbacks, wearing the school jacket, and great hair.  Always great hair.  

Chris' Army career began as a fresh new Lieutenant in combat in Mogadishu, Somalia. Five years later, Chris donned his Green Beret in 1998 and as fate would have it, America would call upon its best Soldiers for the next two decades.

Typical of our breed, Chris has five combat rotations. During these rotations, downtime between adrenaline-highs creates the necessary time to reflect on what's been left behind. Reflection provides the time for one to begin to deeply understand why America has always been destined for greatness. In part, it’s because of people like Chris, choosing to hang up his uniform and continue service to this great nation.     

Chris has a solid platform that will serve the constituents of North Carolina’s 7th District well. Protecting voter rights and advocating for universal voter ID and ensuring a secure electoral process. Chris also wants to protect his constituent’s civil liberties (to include the 2nd Amendment) and from governmental overreach. As a devout Christian, Chris will protect the unborn. I wish you the best brother.

Charles Bookwalter for Indiana, Congressional District 4

Another former Special Forces Medical Sergeant is running for Congress in 2022. Although Charles Bookwalter had served in the National Guard, Charles enlisted into the US Army on an 18 X-ray contract. The number 18 identifies the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of the Special Forces, the X-ray indicates the Soldier has not been assigned a unit. 18 X-rays enter the US Army with little to no prior experience in the Army. The pipeline for X-rays is long and arduous, having to continually prove themselves to cadre and peers alike and averages between two and three years to complete. Soldiers signing up for this Pepsi challenge have no idea what it takes to earn a spot on a legendary SF Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA, or A-Team), once there, proving themselves only begins. 

Upon completion of the Special Forces Qualifications course in 2009, Charles was assigned to ODA 1225 (2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)). This experienced detachment put Charles to work as the team medic, proving himself worthy of his place on the team. Charles deployed to the Shindand area in Western Afghanistan. Their mission, to conduct Village Stability Operations (VSO), meant training, fighting, and living with the locals. To Charles’s dismay, I laughed as he explained their daily diet of goat and potatoes, I had never done that mission. Yet again, Charles had to prove the worthiness of his team to the Afghans they were training. Afghans get to vote on who they support. We only assume their support, but that is not always the case (as we saw in late 2021). As the medic, Charles immediately took medical care of the village residents proving the benefit of the American involvement in the area (the Afghan government provided little to no assistance to the region). Rapport is built and earned through empathy, something that this Hoosier exemplifies. He understands people’s needs. 

His platform is empathetic of Indiana’s 4th District. Federal overspending has raised the cost of goods in Indiana, disproportionately hurting the State. Charles feels that government overreach is happening in public schools as well and he wants to invest in the students, not the systems. Charles is also a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, something second nature to a kid growing up in Indiana, but also protecting the right for future generations of Hoosiers. Charles also advocates for fair and secure elections, a tenant of the American way of life. 

Charles Bookwalter is proving himself worthy yet again, this time, to the Constituents of the 4th District of Indiana. Brother, I wish you the best. 

I would be remiss not to add the next two Congressional candidates. We began building our brand around our commitment to service. We are Green Berets who are building the next evolution in purpose-built bags. Our core competencies as Soldiers are the foundation upon which everything else is built. However, if there is one characteristic of a GB, it’s that we can make friends anywhere. While the Army provides the venue, our brothers and sisters within the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), and Naval Special Warfare (NSW) help us defeat the toughest challenges together. I’ve also made lifelong friends with a lot of them.    

Eric Hohman for Texas, Congressional District 28

One such Special Operator that I served with at Panzer Kaserne, Germany, is Eric Hohman. Eric and I served together at C/1-10 SFG(A). Eric was attached to our unit to provide his expertise as a Combat Controller (CCT). Eric was always the level-headed expert in a Company of high-functioning Special Operators. Always the professional, Eric brought his best in everything that he did.   

An Air Force Combat Controller (CCT) is an FAA-certified air traffic controller who provides combat support on missions by establishing air control. Put into real terms, being a CCT on the ground with a Special Forces team means that CCTs are right in the mix with everyone else. During a gunfight, while the rest of us are getting high-five selfies like Dutch and Dillon from Predator, CCTs are stacking aircraft at different elevations based on the capabilities of each aircraft, ensuring bombing-runs are coming and going in the right directions, and keeping the great Americans in the air updated on what is happening on the ground. Mind you, this is all happening while bullets are zipping overhead. You fight and win because of the CCT with you.

Born in Mexico, Eric’s parents immigrated to the United States in search of the American dream. Eric is a Texan, through and through, joining the military at age 20. He clearly understands the crisis at the border, with 179,000 migrants apprehended at the border in January alone, Eric supports securing the border and supporting border patrol, locking down illegal immigration, stopping the recent increase in fentanyl smuggling operations, and human trafficking. Eric is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, law enforcement, and first responders.

I’ve linked him up with the retired Special Forces network in Texas, hopefully, we can make something out of that. I knew it then as I do now, Eric is a dedicated and committed family man, a great American willing to do what it takes. Best wishes brother, get that two scoops!

Casey Gray for Texas House, District-81

I virtually met Casey through a mutual friend in 19th SFG(A). Casey had transferred to 19th Special Forces Group (A) and had been selected to attend the Special Forces Qualifications Course after a successful enlistment as a Special Boat Crew Operator in NSW. I didn’t know this until much later, but Casey and I were stationed at Panzer Kaserne, Stuttgart, Germany at the same time. Special Boat guys are tough dudes, Casey is no exception. Casey graduated from Ranger school, class 0803. He has overcome disabilities that would have left other men crippled. After a CH-47 helicopter crash ended his Army career, Casey spent the next four years fighting through surgery after surgery to regain lost function. In 2015, Mr. Gray retired from the US Army at 100% disability. He now spends his time assisting other Veterans through the transition process. As I said, he’s a tough dude. You want Casey to advocate for you, either at the VA or in Texas State House.   

Being a Texan, energy independence is at the top of Mr. Gray’s list of priorities. The Permian basin in West Texas produces the majority of energy in the US but realizes little of that hard work in the district. Casey rightfully wants a portion of the tax revenue, derived from the energy created in District 81, brought back to West Texas. That seems to make sense but that’s Casey. Casey’s type of ground truth advocacy is what the constituents of West Texas need.

Casey is also a strong believer in the American dream, something he see’s slipping away from the district’s older residents who are on a fixed income, “We literally MUST stop taxing people to their deaths.” We are indebted to our previous generations for what they’ve made for us, reducing the heavy tax burden on our older residents will help prove it. 

As a West Texan, Casey is also very knowledgeable about the shared border with Mexico. Casey strongly supports Border Patrol, a border wall, as well as meaningful immigration reform. His campaign also advocates for a simplified tax code, health insurance, and medical reform, VA reform, protection of the 2nd Amendment, and is 100% pro-life. He’s as Texan as they can get. 

Best wishes brother, your proven history provides you the foundation to advocate for your entire district. 

In 2022, we have a handful of verified men looking to help right the country. Not in the 2022 definition of verified with the blue checkmark. I mean, battle-tested men who carry with them decades of service to this Nation, each personifying character and integrity, perseverance, and will. That, to me, is the REAL blue checkmark. Across the country, counties and states are beginning to ease the COVID restrictions that they placed on their residents. We shouldn’t be fooled. Reducing local restrictions isn’t to lessen the frustrations, burdens, and hardships that these prohibitive restrictions have created, we are coming up to mid-term elections in a couple months, and the hope is that people forget (are we all at SERE school feeling the warmth of the prison camps benevolence for allowing us to eat?).

None of these men are fooled, that’s part of the reason they’re running.

It is no wonder that the men on this page, along with Tony CowdenJay CollinsJason BaconTyler AllcornDerrick Anderson; and Joe Kent; continue to illustrate SOF core values to the Nation. Good men are needed now, more than ever. They are authentic to the core.

As a mentor once told me, “Push until you get hypoxic, then pull back a little.”

Always Forward. - Matt 

Next SITREP - SEALs in Congress

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