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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.”
Top Navy official calls out government lawyers for spying on legal team of Navy SEAL accused of war crimes
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
Those really sweet, hand-held drones that the Army bought in January were finally put to the test as they were fielded to some lucky soldiers for the first time at the beginning of May.
For many people, millennials are seen as super-entitled, self-involved, over-sensitive snowflakes who don't have the brains or brawn to, among other noble callings, serve as the next great generation of American warfighters.
Retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven is here to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.
Supreme Court refuses to hear yet another challenge to the controversial Feres Doctrine on military medical malpractice
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear a wrongful death case involving the controversial Feres Doctrine — a major blow to advocates seeking to undo the 69-year-old legal rule that bars U.S. service members and their families from suing the government for injury or death deemed to have been brought on by military service.
FORT IRWIN, California -- Anyone who's been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army's National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It's known as Painted Rocks.