JOB ENVY: Former Navy SEAL Now Helps People Push Their Personal Limits

career
Adam La Reau is the co-founder of O2X. He also founded and runs a program to build resilience in children with cancer called One Summit.

Name: Adam La Reau


Branch of Service: U.S. Navy

Location: Boston

Title: Co-founder of O2X

Years in Service: 11.5 years

Adam La Reau, a New Jersey native and former Navy SEAL, is co-founder of O2X, an active lifestyle company focused on providing people an experience to push themselves to their personal limits and achieve their best. The company organizes base-to-peak mountain races that go on and off trail, over natural terrain while preserving the mountain and giving back to local communities. O2X also aims to educate members on the science behind physical training and nutrition, as well as facilitate corporate, athletic and military team development.

On his path to the military

At a young age, La Reau knew he wanted to serve in the military as an officer and attend a service academy. After researching the SEAL teams, he was immediately hooked. He was accepted into the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and had an incredible experience serving more than 11 years in the U.S Navy. While it was an unconventional route to get a commission and go to SEAL training, he says he wouldn’t change a thing.

“Serving my country as a Navy SEAL was an honor. I lived out my dream,” says La Reau. “I had an opportunity to work with an amazing group of men who have sacrificed a lot for their country. It was a humbling and rewarding experience.”

His path after the military

After separating from the military, La Reau attended Harvard Kennedy School to get a Master in Public Administration. “The Harvard Kennedy School encourages a commitment to serving others. It was a great fit for someone transitioning from the military,” La Reau says. “I wanted to learn more about making an impact outside the military and I focused on social entrepreneurship, which seemed the best way to accomplish that.”

Combining his education and military experience, La Reau set out to co-found O2X  in Massachusetts with three close friends, who are also military veterans. O2X fosters “a spirit of environmental awareness and sustainable living” through a national series of mountain races and eco festivals.

Having successfully transitioned from the military to the civilian realm, La Reau says that he finds having the right people on your team is the most important component to any organization.

“Selecting the right team is critical --- people who are problems solvers, resilient, trustworthy, and have integrity,” he says.

His advice for transitioning veterans  

When first beginning to transition out of the military, La Reau says it is important to be patient; not everything is going to happen for you all at once. He also says, “Talk and learn from other veterans who recently transitioned. No matter what you have lined up --- school or a job --- it’s not easy to transition. The important thing to remember is that you’re highly sought after and your skills are transferrable.”

Most importantly, La Reau warns not to settle.

“Don’t do something you feel you need to do, do something you’re passionate about and find somewhere to give back again. We are all never truly happy unless we are sacrificing for others.  A lot of people need help --- reach out and make a difference.”

Lauren Katzenberg is the managing editor of Task & Purpose. 

(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

Three U.S. service members received non-life-threatening injuries after being fired on Monday by an Afghan police officer, a U.S. official confirmed.

The troops were part of a convoy in Kandahar province that came under attack by a member of the Afghan Civil Order Police, a spokesperson for Operation Resolute Support said on Monday.

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Marine Maj. Jose J. Anzaldua Jr. spent more than three years during the height of the Vietnam War. Now, more than 45 years after his release, Sig Sauer is paying tribute to his service with a special gift.

Sig Sauer on Friday unveiled a unique 1911 pistol engraved with Anzaldua's name, the details of his imprisonment in Vietnam, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" accompanied by the POW-MIA flag on the grip to commemorate POW-MIA Recognition Day.

The gunmaker also released a short documentary entitled "Once A Marine, Always A Marine" — a fitting title given Anzaldua's courageous actions in the line of duty

Marine Maj. Jose Anzaldua's commemorative 1911 pistol

(Sig Sauer)

Born in Texas in 1950, Anzaldua enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1968 and deployed to Vietnam as an intelligence scout assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

On Jan. 23, 1970, he was captured during a foot patrol and spent 1,160 days in captivity in various locations across North Vietnam — including he infamous Hỏa Lò Prison known among American POWs as the "Hanoi Hilton" — before he was freed during Operation Homecoming on March 27, 1973.

Anzaldua may have been a prisoner, but he never stopped fighting. After his release, he received two Bronze Stars with combat "V" valor devices and a Prisoner of War Medal for displaying "extraordinary leadership and devotion to his companions" during his time in captivity. From one of his Bronze Star citations:

Using his knowledge of the Vietnamese language, he was diligent, resourceful, and invaluable as a collector of intelligence information for the senior officer interned in the prison camp.

In addition, while performing as interpreter for other United States prisoners making known their needs to their captors, [Anzaldua] regularly, at the grave risk of sever retaliation to himself, delivered and received messages for the senior officer.

On one occasion, when detected, he refused to implicate any of his fellow prisoners, even though severe punitive action was expected.

Anzaldua also received a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his heroism in December 1969, when he entered the flaming wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that crashed nearr his battalion command post in the country's Quang Nam Province and rescued the crew chief and a Vietnamese civilian "although painfully burned himself," according to his citation.

After a brief stay at Camp Pendleton following his 1973 release, Anzaldua attended Officer Candidate School at MCB Quantico, Virginia, earning his commission in 1974. He retired from the Corps in 1992 after 24 years of service.

Sig Sauer presented the commemorative 1911 pistol to Anzaldua in a private ceremony at the gunmaker's headquarters in Newington, New Hampshire. The pistol's unique features include:

  • 1911 Pistol: the 1911 pistol was carried by U.S. forces throughout the Vietnam War, and by Major Anzaldua throughout his service. The commemorative 1911 POW pistol features a high-polish DLC finish on both the frame and slide, and is chambered in.45 AUTO with an SAO trigger. All pistol engravings are done in 24k gold;
  • Right Slide Engraving: the Prisoner of War ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor and "Major Jose Anzaldua" engravings;
  • Top Slide Engraving: engraved oak leaf insignia representing the Major's rank at the time of retirement and a pair of dog tags inscribed with the date, latitude and longitude of the location where Major Anzaldua was taken as a prisoner, and the phrase "You Are Not Forgotten" taken from the POW-MIA flag;
  • Left Side Engraving: the Vietnam War service ribbon inset, with USMC Eagle Globe and Anchor engraving;
  • Pistol Grips: anodized aluminum grips with POW-MIA flag.

The top leaders of a Japan-based Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet squadron were fired after an investigation into a deadly mid-air collision last December found that poor training and an "unprofessional command climate" contributed to the crash that left six Marines dead, officials announced on Monday.

Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Super Hercules and one Marine onboard an F/A-18D Hornet were killed in the Dec. 6, 2018 collision that took place about 200 miles off the Japanese coast. Another Marine aviator who was in the Hornet survived.

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A former Army soldier was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday for stealing weapons from Fort Bliss, along with other charges.

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(U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Airman 1st Class Corey Hook)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Department of Veterans Affairs released an alarming report Friday showing that at least 60,000 veterans died by suicide between 2008 and 2017, with little sign that the crisis is abating despite suicide prevention being the VA's top priority.

Although the total population of veterans declined by 18% during that span of years, more than 6,000 veterans died by suicide annually, according to the VA's 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.

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