Combat Story (Ep 19): John Stryker Meyer | SOG Operator & Team Leader | Green Beret | Author


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By Ryan Fugit. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

John "Tilt" Stryker Meyer was a pioneer in the special operations community who served two tours as a MACV-SOG operator (what many might call the original Tier 1 unit) and team leader in Vietnam. John led small covert Spike Teams “across the fence” on clandestine operations into Laos and Cambodia in what many now refer to as the secret war in the Vietnam conflict.

John shares what it was like joining this covert world, signing a 20 year secrecy agreement, and how the aircraft that brought him to his first FOB then loaded a small special ops team that was never heard from again.

It was an ominous start, to say the least. In one unbelievable battle, John describes the enemy stacking dead bodies in an effort to get an elevated firing position on John’s team. In another, the enemy uses a tactic where they get so close to the U.S. positions that aircrews won’t be able to drop napalm rounds.

John has three books that chronicle both his stories and those of his fellow SOG operators (listed below) and he’s been featured in various interviews, including several with Jocko Willink, and is currently building his own podcast with Jocko to tell the stories of other members of the SOG community (can't wait!). John and Jocko are also collaborating on a video game based on SOG missions.

It’s amazing John lived through the experiences he shares with us and he’s a living testament to the courage so many showed in Vietnam.


Show Notes

  • 3:53 - “Pushing things a little bit” as a kid. The book, The Green Beretsby Robin Moore influenced John’s decision to join Special Forces.
  • 12:45 - John’s path from enlisting straight to Special Forces.
  • 14:57 - An “offer” to join the elite.
  • 16:55 - “We go to the safe house that night…” (Reference to MIKE Force and Project DELTA )
  • 22:55 - First “gut check” while flying in a South Vietnamese H-34 helicopter into his FOB. Spike Team Idaho gets on the helo as John gets off.
  • 27:11 - Description and composition of a “Spike Team” and the “One-Zero” call sign.
  • 44:11 - First contact in Vietnam at “Echo 4” that includes hours-long firefights against an enemy stacking dead bodies.
  • 55:55 - First confirmed kill.
  • 59:46 - Carrying a grenade as a last resort to avoid being taken prisoner.
  • 1:20:00 - Being so close to the enemy that they “touched” John’s boot in the middle of the night.
  • 1:23:44 - A Thanksgiving mission to find THREE NVA Divisions.
  • 1:42:57 - What did John carry for good luck?
  • 1:43:56 - Would you do it all again?
  • 1:46:34 - Exciting news for what John is working on now, including a new podcast hosted by John to interview other SOG members that Jocko will then share on his social media. Also a video game coming out based on SOG.

46 episodes