SEALs in Congress

SEALs in Congress

18 Series Bag Company               SITREP 014                      11 February 2022


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams

This week I’m taking one more shot at writing about a couple of great Americans running for Congress. I spent time last week reflecting on why I am writing this blog as frankly, it does little for our 18 Series Bag Company. However, I had to remind myself that it’s not just about building bags for operators, it’s about helping and guiding, as well as broadcasting awesome efforts when I can.  We are more important than hardware.

The SEALs, much like SF, have gone through a bit of an identity crisis because of the weight of missions during the GWOT. Back-to-back-to-back deployments created a culture of operators only knowing a single mission set. Leave no mission behind was USSOCOMs motto for several years. In thinking about that, I realized that the consistency in our lives was not the mission, as it slightly changed each time. The consistency for us has always been the operator. Time and time again in American history patriots have stepped up in times of need, and this is no truer than for the men in the United States Navy SEALs.

Eli Crane for Arizona's 2nd District  

I first heard Eli on my buddy Kyle Lamb’s ‘Team VTAC’ podcast (16OCT21). I was impressed with Eli’s down-to-earth personality, “freedom is only one generation away from extinction”. After his time on the teams, Eli left the military and opened his own company, Bottle Breacher making .50 caliber bottle openers. Eli is a faith-oriented family man who is pro-life and pro-second amendment.  Eli’s platform focuses on election integrity, border security, lower taxes, less regulation, and pro-growth policies, “The more money that Arizonans get to keep in their pockets and the least government involvement, the better. I recently read a post from a representative in Arizona where he suggested impounding trucks (taking part in the trucker convoy) and giving them to smaller companies looking to expand. What amazed me the most was that this gentleman wasn’t a politician in Venezuela, he was in the 7th District of Arizona. I hope you crush it, Eli.  Arizona is my home state, they deserve better representation. 

Brady Duke for Florida’s 7th District 

Our paths have likely crossed but I don’t personally know Brady. What I have researched, however, is that Brady is a man of strong faith. After his time served on the SEAL Teams, Brady attended a Christian Ministry and traveled extensively, mentoring military families and opening their own para-church ministry. It can be said with high confidence that Brady is Pro-Life. In reading about Brady, I stumbled upon a quote from him that I’ve sent to my family, who I ironically used to call ‘The Free Folk’ based on them being north of the wall (in the series Games of Thrones), “Anyone who thinks that the Constitution and Bill of Rights don’t matter, look no farther than the treatment of the peaceful protestors of the freedom convoy in a supposedly free nation.” Brady, my Canadian family will read this and wish that they were in the 7th District of Florida. Best wishes, Brady. 

Ed Thelander for Maine’s 1st District  

After serving faithfully for 21 years in the United States Navy, Ed Thelander retired to Maine but couldn’t stop being Ed. After retirement, instead of putting his feet up and drinking well-deserved margaritas, Ed decided to become a small businessman, volunteer firefighter, and Reserve Deputy Sheriff, on top of being a devoted husband and father, and veteran advocate. “We have to tackle the apathy in this country, only 30% of veterans currently vote!” Ed is concerned about transferring the national debt to his children, offering to stimulate the economy, and not just providing hand-outs, rein in out-of-control spending, and inflation. Ed is also concerned for border security and election integrity. Ed’s position on education is simple, “Competition breeds excellence, and school choice keeps us all doing the best we can.” I wish you the best in your run for 1st District, Ed.

Derrick Van Orden for Wisconsin’s 3rd District

Derrick and I served in Stuttgart, Germany, at the same time together. While I was being all that I could be at 1-10 SFG(A), Derrick was at SOCEUR planning contingency operations. When my unit responded to the call in Benghazi, Derrick was the man on the other end of the phone doing whatever it took. Not long after that, Derrick retired from the United States Navy after 26 years, 21 of them as a SEAL. Retiring to Wisconsin, and true to Derrick’s nature, he and his wife started a small business. Typical of his nature, Derrick wasn’t satisfied with only being 75% engaged in retirement life so he attended law school (got the picture yet?) to get his effort closer to full capacity.  Derrick’s laser-like focus on his district is clear, get the kids back to school, rebuild the economy, fight tax hikes, improve the quality of healthcare and reduce costs. As a veteran, Derrick gets his healthcare directly from the VA and will continue to do so as a congressman! Derrick supports fully funded law enforcement agencies to ensure safe communities, term limits in government, and strong border security. This guy’s not just about knee-slides and great hair, Derrick is a leader amongst leaders. He’s a solid American who earns the respect of those around him, me included. He will represent Wisconsin’s 3rd district well. Best Wishes, Derrick.

Morgan Luttrell for Texas’s 8th District 

Texas has always fascinated me. Texans love Texas, and Texans support other Texans. I can’t think of a better example of that than in Morgan Luttrell.  There are reasons that residents of district 8 support Morgan, yes, he’s a Texan, but he’s also a fighter.  After graduating with a Bachelor’s in psychology, Morgan spent the next 14 years as a Navy SEAL. A helicopter crash in 2014 ended a promising military career, and Morgan medically retired from the US Navy. After the Navy, Morgan went to Graduate school and earned his Master’s in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience, focused on Brain Injury. After Grad school, Morgan worked for the Trump Administration in the Department of Energy as a senior advisor. 

Morgan’s platform was formed through his upbringing in traditional Christian Conservative values.  Do yourself a favor and check out his whiteboard Wednesdays on Facebook. The last one was on fire, but his discussion of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), the Alvarez Family, and the lack of leadership in his district, you begin to find out that his passion in securing our southern border and support for law enforcement is at the top of his list. Best wishes on 1 March, Morgan. 

Ryan Zinke for Montana’s 1st District 

If you want to emulate a great American, look no further than Ryan Zinke. After leading men in SEAL Teams for 23 years, Ryan served two terms as a State Senator, twice elected as Montana’s Congressman, and served two years as U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Mr. Zinke was credited as the driving force behind the United States achieving American energy independence and becoming a net exporter of energy for the first time in more than 60 years. Ryan is also the first Montanan to serve in a Presidential Cabinet. 

His tried-and-true platform of low taxes, conservation and public access to public lands, energy independence, limited Federal government intervention, keeping our promise to veterans, protecting individual liberties, and the Sovereignty of Montana’s Tribal Nations, is difficult to argue. These issues are important to the constituents of Montana’s 1st District, and that’s why they need him in Washington. Mr. Zinke is also the chairman of the SEAL PAC , an organization dedicated to supporting and electing American leaders. A great initiative. Your history and foundation will provide the strongest representation offered to the 1st District; I wish you the best.   

All these men are stepping up and taking leadership positions within their community. They are running to represent their constituents; it takes a leader in the community to do that. I think that this is why I’ve enjoyed writing about SOF Congressional candidates. These men have proven to step up in a time of need, especially when it wasn’t comfortable. A consistent factor that has tested true throughout the entire two decades of war, is leadership. Our missions have all changed as we’ve been attempting to reclaim our roots but the one thing that we never forgot was the tenants of leadership. That’s why we have nine Green Berets (Calvin Wimbish, FL-10) and five US Navy SEALs running for the US House of Representatives. SOF creates great leaders, and the country needs them now more than ever. 

Now that the wars are over and our warriors have come home, they find themselves in a place that is vastly different from the one when they joined. Like the nine Green Berets, these five Navy SEALs have recognized a void in leadership at the National level and are stepping up to prove themselves yet again. I’m in awe that all these men have chosen to continue to take on the Country’s toughest challenges.  All the best to these great men.

Always forward.  - Matt

Next SITREP - The capacity for mayhem makes him a good person


  • Bert Webbe

    In many ways serving your country after you have left the military can be quite a challenge too. I think that one issue that is so very important to ALL vets is the current Fubar is the modernization program for the VA and DOD. The current vendor, Oracle – Cerner has stumbled again and again over the last few years in trying to provide a system that serves our veterans in a timely and efficient manner. It is failing. And it is failing so badly that certain are trying to stop the program in its entirety. We can’t abandon the effort to improve and modernize the system, we just have to look to an alternative solution. Healthcare in the US is like a Rube Goldberg design. The VA needs something disruptive and simple. That solution is available. A vet who has designed software for over 30 years accepted the task to unravel the mystery of the healthcare mess when his brother a Seal Team Leader was struggling while trying to find treatment for his wife who was dying of cancer. The maze of doctors, tests, treatments, and trials was frustrating and confusing. The software designer told his brother the Navy Seal that the system was corrupt. The more complicated a system is the harder it is to explain. If it can’t be explained, you can’t question it. Since our engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan the challenges to serve our veterans have gotten more difficult and more complicated. Increased awareness of Agent Orange and other issues that affect veterans have strained the system and created problems that have created challenges that put our veterans health in danger. Senator John Tester from Montana is leading the charge against settling for a system for the veterans that is more of the same. A veteran wants a chance to show a solution to the VA that is more comprehensive that any existing system today and much, much , simpler to install and run. Oh, it is also much cheaper. And, he wants to GIVE it to the VA. Now what?

  • Ed Thelander

    Thanks for taking the time to focus on our continued serves. There are a lot of vets stepping up one more time, because we need to! I have always served but I have never done this. So I take ownership for the condition of our country and our government. Now it is time to step forward one more time. If you can run for office you should. Not everyone can run. If you can’t then you need to find and support candidates. You can volunteer, spread the word, like and share posts, write editorials and yes donate financial. We can not do this alone!

  • Doc Brad

    Great write up, Matty!! Really enjoyed reading about these great Americans continuing to serve their country. Thanks!

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