The Green Beret Who Never Slowed Down After The Military

career
Manny Parra (right) participates in parachute resistance training with Luis Loya (Left) for the launch of Revive Fitness App.
Photo courtesy of Manny Para

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.

Manny Parra smiles at his graduation from University of San Francisco in 2015.Photo courtesy of Manny Parra

While at the University of San Francisco, Parra took advantage of three financial programs: the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill (including the Yellow Ribbon Program), federal student aid, and private scholarships. This allowed him to attend an expensive private university without dipping much into his savings. A small amount of time invested in applying for grants and scholarship paid off big.

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.”

Little girls everywhere will soon have the chance to play with a set of classic little green Army soldiers that actually reflect the presence of women in the armed forces.

Read More Show Less

U.S. military officials may have abandoned their dreams of powered armor straight out of Starship Troopers, but the futuristic components of America's first prototype combat exoskeleton could eventually end up in the arsenals of both U.S. special operations forces and conventional troops.

Read More Show Less

SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper pressed South Korea on Friday to pay more for the cost of stationing U.S. troops in the country and to maintain an intelligence-sharing pact with its other Asian ally, Japan, that Seoul is about to let lapse.

Speaking after a high-level defense policy meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Jeong Kyeong-doo, Esper also said the two countries must be flexible with their joint military drills to back diplomatic efforts to end North Korea's nuclear program.

But he stopped short of announcing any new reduction in military exercises that North Korea has sharply condemned.

Read More Show Less
Turkish and Russian patrol is seen near the town of Darbasiyah, Syria, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. (Associated Press/Baderkhan Ahmad)

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia landed attack helicopters and troops at a sprawling air base in northern Syria vacated by U.S. forces, the Russian Defence Ministry's Zvezda TV channel said on Friday.

On Thursday, Zvezda said Russia had set up a helicopter base at an airport in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, a move designed to increase Moscow's control over events on the ground there.

Qamishli is the same city where Syrian citizens pelted U.S. troops and armored vehicles with potatoes after President Donald Trump vowed to pull U.S. troops from Syria.

Read More Show Less

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

U.S. Army weapons officials are testing an experimental drone armed with a multi-shot, 40mm grenade launcher to destroy enemy targets hiding behind cover.

Read More Show Less