• Michael Gasser

Episode 1 - Major William Denn and Major Patrick O'Donnell

Updated: Mar 25, 2018

In the first episode of the podcast I sit down in Vail, Colorado with two long time friends, Will Denn and Patrick "OD" O'Donnell. Will, OD, and I met our Yearling (sophomore) year at West Point, spent 3 years as close friends and fellow cadets, and have stayed in touch regularly since.

Will commissioned as a classmate of mine in 2006 as a Second Lieutenant in the Armor branch of the US Army. He led both tank and infantry platoons in Iraq fighting alongside the Kurdish Peshmerga in Mosul from 2007-2009. In 2010 as an Intelligence Officer he served as a combat advisor to the Afghan Security Forces in Regional Command East in Afghanistan. Following his tour in Afghanistan Denn commanded an Military Intelligence Company working with the National Security Agency. Denn completed his Mater of Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School, graduated as the honor graduate at the US Army Command and General Staff College, and completed the School of Advanced Military Studies. William Denn is a US Army Military Intelligence Major currently serving as a Planner on the division staff of the 82nd Airborne Division. Denn has written for the Washington Post and Boston Herald, and several policy and military journals, and is a member of the board of directors of the Council of Emerging National Security Affairs.

Patrick commissioned with us in 2006 as a Second Lieutenant in the Aviation branch of the US Army. After graduating from the Aviation Basic Officer Leadership Course and AH-64D Longbow flight school, he served as Attack Helicopter Platoon Leader and Battalion Adjudant at Hunter Army Airfield, GA and from 2008-2009 and COP Spiker, Iraq. O'Donnell then moved with the unit to Fort Drum, NY and served as an assistant battalion operations officer and battle captain from 2010-2011 at FOB Salerno, Afghanistan. He deployed again to Afghanistan as an Attack Helicopter Company Commander from 2014-2014. Patrick served as and Attack Helicopter observer coach trainer at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA and most recently graduated from the US Naval Test Pilot School: Rotary Wing Curriculum in July 2017. He is qualified as a pilot in command on the AH-64 Apache, OH-58 Kiowa, UH-72 Lakota, and UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters. Patrick O'Donnell is an Army Acquisitions Corps Major currently serving as an Experimental Rotary Wing Test Pilot.

On this first episode of the podcast we bounce around on subject matters talking about media interviews, partnered capacity operations with Iraqi and Afghan Forces, the decision to attend the United States Military Academy immediately after 9-11, and post traumatic stress and moral injuries that service members carry with them forever.

This episode is different that those that follow in that it is typical of conversations we have that draw on our experiences vs tell the specific story of either guest.

Thanks for listening.