Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Green Beret Who Never Slowed Down After The Military
Manny Parra doesn’t have a personal motto. However, if he did, it would be “Go hard.” This 29-year-old former Green Beret has managed to leverage every opportunity to push himself, out working and out learning his peers. This approach led him to starting his own fitness company, Revive, which makes it easier and cheaper for people to find and join group exercise classes.
Ten years ago, Parra was lacing up issued boots for the first time. Five years later, after multiple deployments and over 75 combat missions, he finally took off those boots and charged headfirst into the next chapter of his life. His time both in and out of uniform offers practical tips for others who want to transition successfully.
Parra lives in San Francisco, where he moved to attend the University of San Francisco after getting out of the Army in 2010. He also decided to break into the tech scene as early as possible. This led to a full-time marketing job with a startup that had recently gone through the well-known Y Combinator incubator.
That meant long days and even longer nights. Parra took things to the next level.
“I remember taking a full course load [16 semester-units] with full time work [40 hours a week] and periodically flying across the country to work with Fortune 500 companies,” Parra told me recently in an interview.
He didn’t slow down at all when he got out of the military.
While in school, Parra’s work schedule sometimes kept him from taking tests at the same time as other students. That meant he had to convince his professors to give him special treatment if he wanted to avoid flunking out of school.
The solution? Building rapport with every teacher from day one so he could call in favors when needed. Parra didn’t accept the standard role of a student; he built something that worked for his goals.
When Parra graduated from Special Forces Qualification Course in 2007, he only spent four weeks at his new duty station before being shipped to Iraq.
“It was a surreal experience,” he recalled, “going from training, which felt real, to combat which was actually real.”
But Parra survived, and that same intensity helped him build Revive from a business plan he pitched in a college class to a fast-growing startup that’s currently working at Runway, a prestigious San Francisco-based business incubator with a sub-10% acceptance rate.
Now comfortable in his role as chief executive officer of a health and fitness startup, Parra can see how his military experience prepared him in many different ways for this difficult work. “The fast pace and dynamic environment are intense,” he said. “It’s sort of like being back in the Green Berets. Well, without all the guns and explosions.”
That doesn’t mean he recommends every veteran start their own business, though. Pursuing an education after leaving the military is the best way to figure out what to do next, according to Parra: “The particular path I chose is extremely risky and isn’t cut out for everyone.”
For some brave U-2 pilots, life on the ground just can't compare to flying a 64-year-old spy plane to the edge of space, but some airmen need that extra rush.
For Capt. Joshua Bird of the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, he seemed to have found that rush in cocaine — at least, that's what an official legal notice from Beale Air Force Base said he did.
A shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida has left four people dead, including the gunman, law enforcement officials said at a Friday news conference.
The shooter and two victims were killed at the base and another victim died after being taken to the hospital, said Chip Simmons, deputy chief of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.
Another seven people remain hospitalized, including two sheriff's deputies who engaged the gunman, Simmons said at Friday's news conference. One was hit in the arm and the other was shot in the knee. Both are expected to recover.
(Reuters) - A Black Hawk helicopter went down in central Minnesota on Thursday, killing all three soldiers on board, after it lost contact with the Minnesota National Guard during a maintenance test flight, Governor Tim Walz said on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.