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This NY Vet Went From Enlisted Marine To CEO Of His Own Startup
Brendan Hart wanted to be a fireman, not a Marine. As a New Yorker who saw the devastation of the Sept. 11 attacks first-hand, he felt a burn that all veterans can identify with: the desire to serve. He immediately tried to join New York Fire Department, but so did a lot of other people in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.The waitlist was several years, forcing Hart to reevaluate his future.
With local service out of the picture, Hart — now a 34-year-old entrepreneur living in Brooklyn — decided to enlist in the Marines. Despite his initial reluctance, he knew he made a great decision marching across the parade deck at his boot camp graduation in 2002. His entire family gathered at Parris Island to see this unlikely event.
“Their expression said it all,” Hart remembers. “I realized that, to those who loved me, I would never be the same man.”
Hart was selected for the elite fleet antiterrorism security teams, or FAST, unit. He quickly realized that he was going to be an unusual FAST Marine. Hart knew that military leadership was about much more than squad movements and overwatch, and he was determined to expose his Marines to more than the traditional training.
Before his team’s second deployment, Hart assigned them “The Great Gatsby,” and then report back on what they learned. “Gatsby is aspirational,” Hart says. “It was also about as far away as possible from our reality at that point. I wanted my team to know there is more to life than guns and war.”
After working on his education part-time in the Corps, Hart transferred to Dartmouth College once he left the Marines in 2006. At Dartmouth, he was immediately tested. He had to prove he could perform in a high-stress, insular campus full of over-achievers.
“I was the old guy in a sea of young, prep school-trained students.” Hart says. But something clicked during his first term. “I realized that I was motivated by fear — the fear that if I didn't do well academically and socially, other service members would not be afforded the same opportunity.” He didn’t want to deny others the chance to compete at this elite level, so he pushed himself even harder.
And, slowly but surely, momentum began to build. “My fear led to engagement, and engagement led to confidence,” Hart recalls. “Once you realize that you deserve to be at the table, there’s no secret that everyone knows but you, then everything changes. My mindset shifted from surviving to thriving.”
Hart credits his expanding circle of friends as a major force in his post-service success. “After I got out, I quickly learned that I did not know much about life beyond the Marine Corps,” he says. This realization pushed him to search for new knowledge. He read hundreds of books and sought out people with different opinions, a pattern that continues to this day.
Today as the CEO of Prosper, Hart supports veteran-led startups in the New York City area. He doesn’t like to use the popular term “entrepreneur” when describing himself, though. “Like many veterans, I’m a problem-solver and builder,” Hart says. “I love working with talented teams trying to build great companies. At a fundamental level, I’m helping them solve complex problems.”
Harts wants to see more veterans try their hand at entrepreneurship, but he cautions against false optimism. “Starting a business is not sexy,” he said, “It is brutal.”
But veterans are still the best group of people when it comes to creating the great companies that will propel American economic growth. Why? Simple, according to Hart: “Veterans possess near limitless raw horsepower, a necessary ingredient for success. You need hustle, a bias toward action, and willingness to learn. Building a company will take everything you have — physical, emotional, spiritual — and then some. We’re here to accelerate that process.”
If you are in the market for any size of military surplus vehicle, keep an eye on GovPlanet. The online auction house is about to start selling U.S. Navy and Marine Corps surplus M1161 ITV Growlers and seven-ton Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement trucks.
At least 4 American veterans among group arrested in Haiti with arsenal of weapons and tactical gear
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the employee behind a firearm company's Facebook page decided to goaded a bunch of Marines into destroying their brand new firearms? Now you know.
Vandals tried to burn a statue of a Confederate general. They got the founder of the US Army Airborne instead
A marble statue memorializing the founder of the U.S. Army Airborne was set on fire Thursday in North Carolina, and museum officials believe it happened because vandals confused it for a Confederate memorial, according to the Dunn Daily Record and other media outlets.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."