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Frontlines of Freedom with Lt Col Denny Gillem

Gary Pinkerton talks with Denny Gillem, 22 year veteran in the Army, first as an Airborne Ranger with two combat tours, for which he was awarded two purple hearts and seven awards for Valor

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Gary Pinkerton hosts Army Veteran, Denny Gillem. He was the first Airborne Ranger with two combat tours receiving two purple hearts and seven awards for Valor for his heroism. The discussion goes through current threats of the American way and what to expect with the next generation. Later Denny gives us an overview of his book, What the Smiling Ranger is about. He ends with what his Frontlines of Freedom podcast is about and the audience he serves.

Announcer 0:04
Welcome to the heroic investing show. As first responders we risk our lives every day our financial security is under attack. Our pensions are in a state of emergency. A single on duty incident can alter or erase our earning potential instantly and forever. We are the heroes of society. We are self reliant and we need to take care of our own financial future. The heroic investing show is our toolkit of business and investing tactics on our mission to financial freedom.

Gary Pinkerton 0:39
Welcome to the heroic investing show, a podcast for first responders, members, the military, veterans, and anyone looking to improve their financial future and gain some freedom with their time. We teach America’s heroes how to build passive income, build their startup business and safely grow wealth through real estate and other alternative investments. We have current and prior First Responders put protections systems and a team in place to help them build a life where they can focus on their passion, that service or product that they’re uniquely gifted to share with others, making the world a better place for all of us. My name is Gary Pinkerton and I co host this show with Jason Hartman. This is Episode 199. My guest for today is Lieutenant Colonel, US Army retired Denny Gillen, then he is the host of frontlines of freedom. It’s a military news and talk radio show that has been airing for over 11 years now than he is a graduate of West Point, graduated 1964 and was commissioned in the infantry. Dan he served in Vietnam as a member of first Infantry Division. He was a member of 101st Airborne Division also did time in Vietnam with that, and he was army advisor at the Michigan Army National Guard Danny is an awardee of the silver star for valor Distinguished Flying Cross soldiers metal Bronze Stars to purple hearts and many Army Commendation medals. He is a patriot, a really awesome host, an important show that digs into subjects of patriotism, trends and problems that are occurring in this great nation of ours. Please welcome, Lieutenant Colonel Denny gallon. Well, heroic investors, welcome back. And thanks again for joining us. You’re gonna love this interview today. It’s with Denny gallon Denny, I’m sad to say did not graduate from the Naval Academy, but he did the next best thing. He graduated from West Point. And I had to get that in the beginning before I forgot, we won’t talk about we are in fact banned. It’s part of the contract. Danny, we’re not allowed to talk about Army Navy, at least for another couple years. So jokes aside. Thank you, sir, so much for joining us here on heroic investing.

Denny Gillem 2:56
Hey, I’m glad to and by the way, I root for Navy Every game they play except one, when they play army, and I root for Air Force every game they play except when they play to army or Navy. So,

Gary Pinkerton 3:09
yeah, it’s such a winner we can pick on each other. It’s good spirited. We

Denny Gillem 3:13
can pick on each other. And we do. Yeah. But for brothers.

Gary Pinkerton 3:16
That’s right. So you were you were commenting how many years ago did you did you finish up there at West Point?

Denny Gillem 3:22
55 years ago, today, I became a second lieutenant. It seems like I just came back from my reunion. Some of those guys have gotten old.

Gary Pinkerton 3:32
Danny and I had an opportunity to speak for a few minutes ahead of time, there are a ton of topics that we could go over, we should go over probably, but we have 20 minutes. And so what I really want to start with is, you know, a comment that you were you were making about the threats to the American way and everyone who’s who’s listened to this show for a couple of times knows that, like everybody, probably all the listeners, I’m a huge patriot. I believe in an America but I really, really believe Even what the founding fathers put in place, there’s threats to that every day. Let’s dig a little bit into it. If you will you have your thumb on the pulse a little bit more than I do. Where do you see risks to the American way and what we all love and fight for?

Denny Gillem 4:13
To me, the very clear, biggest danger our nation faces is the hate that Americans have for each other. That’s not all Americans. And it’s, but the media is full of it. The people who are speaking out, too many of them, it’s closed minded hate, which means you’re speaking by your emotion, not your intelligence. Because you and I might totally disagree and not just the Army Navy game, but we could there could be some serious topic that we disagree on and still be friends. I disagree with you. You disagree with me. We agree to disagree. If we’re in politics, I don’t like what you’re doing. You’re my elected representative. I can either hate you or I can find another candidate to run against you at the next election and work to help that person. And that way, I don’t have to hate you. There’s no benefit to hating you unless you’re Hitler or somebody. That’s how politics has worked in the past. But all of a sudden in the last couple, three years, it’s I hate you. Anything anybody says bad about you? I will repeat as if it were fact. And name calling. Oh my gosh, how many times you heard somebody call a racist, and you ever defined the word racist? You know, if I’m a racist, that means I think at least one case my race is superior to some other race. And everybody in that race is inferior. Because that’s what a racist is. I think. That’s what the dictionary says. But we throw the word racist around and once it’s thrown, it’s assumed to be true. Yeah, that’s obscene. It’s destructive. And here’s the here’s let me get to the major point here. If you and I disagree on something, we can disagree and be friends. We are Army Navy game, right, but in other things, too. But the minute I attack your humanity now attack your facts, but attack your humanity by calling you names a racist, a bigot, a home of whatever. So, some kind of folk. Now, it’s hard to be friends again, because I have attacked your humanity, right? That’s how we, how about if I have a problem, I attack your facts. You can respond with your facts. And maybe we’ll agree maybe we won’t agree. And maybe just maybe we’ll each learn a little bit. That’s what America is supposed to be like. That’s what it’s been like. But while that really bugs me,

Gary Pinkerton 6:29
yeah, you know, two quick things come to mind is, you know, Robert Kiyosaki talks all the time about, you know, we go to war when people can’t stand on the edge of a coin and look at both sides can’t unemotionally just consider the other side. So, you know, you go to war when there are two people, two countries two factions, and they’re both right. And you’re in big trouble when that happens, right when when you get emotionally involved, when you’ve decided that I am not going to consider the other sides so Because I’m right, and therefore they’re wrong. And it takes a whole lot of emotional maturity, just intellectual maturity, confidence in yourself to be able to take the step into that foreign territory to actually consider the other side. So the other one was a comment from a mentor of mine, after the most recent election, the induction for President Trump, and how it was a change of power from completely opposite individuals that was nonviolent and civil, and actually, you know, pretty cordial, and only an America can you do that when it’s working? Right. But you’re right. Only in America also, can you get away with saying extremely, extremely hateful things at other people, and because of your right of free speech, you get away with it.

Denny Gillem 7:47
And my concern beyond that is, if I’m in one name, calling family a year or one another name calling we knew, and our kids suddenly serve in the same infantry unit, they’re not going to like each I would presume because they’re going to bring some of their parents bias with them. And yet they’re going to be in the same co Ranger infantry unit and their lives are going to depend on each other. We’re breeding distrust into the next generation. That’s scary from a national defense perspective.

Gary Pinkerton 8:19
Yeah. I mean, certainly it’s been there throughout a lot of American history, right, that, you know, there has been that distrust that’s that we learned from our parents and watching them operate. But it does seem like in a lot of places, it’s getting worse. I think that’s just the civil unrest side of things. I think it’s the bleeding down of the Americans middle class and people feeling hungry, feeling like they don’t have a way out of the box. You know, in a time of supposedly really good economic conditions here, there’s a whole lot of unrest. And I think that comes from that results in name calling, and people blaming others for their problems.

Denny Gillem 8:53
And part of that is we’re also losing our value set. It’s politically correct to attack Christians, but it’s not politically correct to talk about And Jews. But it’s not politically correct to say anything bad about Islam, though most violence in our part of the world has at least some ties there. And I’m not trying to blame everybody in Islam. I don’t mean to do that. But how about having some values? How about decency of loyalty and that kind of thing being important?

Gary Pinkerton 9:22
Well, it takes courage to do that. And it’s impressive to watch when it happens. It’s one of the things that I look back on my time in the military and really value just didn’t come across very many families. When I would visit somebody at their home or get to know those that worked for me. I didn’t find too many families where we had a poor value system. There was a little maybe, but they certainly are not a typical slice of the current American Pie

Denny Gillem 9:49
crew. And we got to look at where this can go. China is certainly the biggest power in the world next to us and it Your recollect is today and tenement square when there, the students had been protesting wanting more rights and it was the day the army moved in. And within 24 hours they killed or destroyed or arrested 10s of thousands of prisoner of Chinese citizens who wanted liberty. And that’s the threat if we get too strong as central government. That does happen. And that happened today in history in the 60s, so we got to be careful that they are our challenge and there’s a big threat there. We got to be aware of them and certainly they are the big influencer on Korea have been forever. Another aspect that’s a dangerous area. We need to look interesting enough. You look south of the border in Venezuela, it appears that Russia is pulling out of Venezuela. I have a funny feeling it has to do with some economic sanctions that they’re having to deal with.

Gary Pinkerton 10:52
Yeah, I think you’re right. I’ve been watching the same thing. It is very surprising. One of this is a little bit of a side note. Again, but what came to mind was a discussion I was having with my oldest son recently about how he was frustrated with with his civil government class and how it just it seemed like people were talking in circles and how it seems like, you know, in the studies that they’ve done that not a lot gets done in America. I said, Well, that’s a bit of an understatement. But there’s also some beauty to that. The three legged government that we created, that our founding fathers created is brilliant. And it seems like I’ve spent five years working in DC, and swore that if I could possibly not do any more I would do I would not do anymore. It frustrated me to know in the entrenched interests and and the slowness of everything, but there’s a beauty to not being able to move fast with those checks and balances. I mean, the most of and this is what I was telling him, I said, you know, if you look throughout history, the most efficient governments that could really get stuff done, they were impressive, you know, think of Germany under Hitler and Italy under Mussolini, and there’s millions of examples, thousands of examples, at least, where they got a lot Done, but it was not good in most cases.

Denny Gillem 12:03
It may have started out looking good, but it sure didn’t end up that way. Right?

Gary Pinkerton 12:07
Yeah. So the check, I’m a big fan of the checks and balances and maybe moving a little bit slower, maybe even a little bit more expensively. It’s super expensive to end up with concentration camps.

Denny Gillem 12:16
Well, I spent 15 years teaching American government of college. And I could not agree more with you. We need to return to our constitution as written. It’s a legal document that says what it says it doesn’t say what it doesn’t say. It’s not subject to somebody interpreting Oh, it really meant this, and that’s tomorrow, it’ll mean something else. Yeah. And if we can get back to the Constitution, our liberty and our freedom is pretty much protected. And even as abused as the Constitution is now, as you just pointed out, we live a safer life than most people in the world.

Gary Pinkerton 12:51
We do we do. I spent 30 minutes on an airplane recently, and head down. You know, I download stuff and say I’m gonna watch this on my next day. I read it, excuse me, and I just read a five or six page thing on the difference between Republic’s and democracies and how it Republic’s necessarily for capitalism, it was fantastic. It was stuff that I probably should have learned in your class, maybe did back then. But I needed a serious refresher. So I just, you know, I challenge everyone out there go read about that. It’s very simple. You can find it on Google. There’s a big difference. There was a very specific reason why our founding fathers wanted a republic. And it says it absolutely did not want it democracy. Absolutely did not. And that’s why we stand up and stated in the pledge every time but few people understand that and I think we don’t stress it, and obviously no stress in the education system enough.

Denny Gillem 13:46
So just as a coincidence, coming up, a month from tomorrow is the fourth of July. I asked students Why do we celebrate the Fourth of July What happened? Most of them had no clue. That’s the Declaration of Independence was passed by Congress on that day, Independence Day. I know very, very few people that have read the Declaration of Independence. A few have read the constitution or parts of it. Well, we got to do that. I mean, you and I took an oath to support defend the constitution, as did everybody in uniform? Have they read it? Do they know what it is? We took an oath to support and defend. That’s strongly encouraged.

Gary Pinkerton 14:21
I would hope so. I mean, even just, you know, the preamble, that would be a really good one, there’s some good, there’s some good important items in there. Well, so you wrote a pretty amazing book called The smiling Ranger life and career of an Army Ranger. And I’ve read excerpts, I have not read the whole thing. I want you to tell the audience what it’s about first because it probably the smiling part might lead them to it. And then a couple if you would a couple of quick examples.

Denny Gillem 14:50
It’s a story of me in uniform. It actually starts with high school ROTC and goes through my time at West Point and my 22 years on active duty Bit of post military time. And it’s mostly a series of short, funny instances that I live through. A few of the comments are not necessarily funny, but most of them are. I’ve never taken life too seriously unless somebody’s shooting at me. So I have a funny look at it. And there’s no theme. I sort of thought about it later is the ideal book to put in your bathroom because you can pick it up and read one or two or three pages and put it down and pick up read some other pages and other day. You’re not missing anything because there’s no theme. It’s chronological, but that’s the only thing and I’ve lived life can be seriously funny. One of the funnier things now wasn’t at the time. I was a company commander in the hundred and first Airborne Division. My company was the immediate reaction force for the nation, which meant we had to be one hour after somebody blew the whistle. We had to be a parachute issue ready to go anywhere, stay as long as necessary. One Saturday afternoon. blew the whistle. We were there, like 30 minutes, parachute issue is closed. So we knew it was not going to be any. It was just a just a drill, but that’s okay. And our new commanding general showed up and started yelling at us, because my troops were just sitting there in a truck waiting to be told what to do. And it was hot, warm, sunny day over snoozing. And they shouldn’t be cleaning the rifles, they should be doing this. And my new battalion commander showed up and got in the generals face now this is about a foot and a half in front of me and told the general to sit down and shut up that these guys, if their rifles weren’t already cleaned, and was already done, then I should be relieved. And they are already cleaned and soldiers should be sleeping now because it’s very truth. never know where they’re going to sleep next, and the general left to make an understatement. I was in shock. But the colonel was right. And looking back at that was pretty funny. I don’t remember the last time a lieutenant colonel told a two star general to sit down and shut up. He didn’t actually use those words. That was I don’t remember what the words were. I was too much in shock but He was right. By the way that Colonel had been my tactical officer at West Point. So that’s something I can relive almost instantly by closing my eyes and seeing the look on that General, as the colonel told him off. Wow. And instead only the colonel made Brigadier General. So therefore, I guess it didn’t heard of any. Well,

Gary Pinkerton 17:20
something tells me it was right. That’s why the gentleman stood up, walked away.

Denny Gillem 17:23
Wow. So there are instances like that, again, they weren’t necessarily funny at the time, but they’re looking back at them. They are funny. Yeah.

Gary Pinkerton 17:31
Well, it’s nice to be able to put things in perspective years later, when you look back on them. It’s also nice that we remember mostly the positive things and not the negative. That’s the nice thing about are some of those.

Denny Gillem 17:44
You were the commander of a ship, right?

Gary Pinkerton 17:45
Yeah, it was. Yeah. Summary.

Denny Gillem 17:47
D day. I just was rereading about it. There were 6000 ships and boats involved. Wow. You’ve got to be a pretty important person to be the skipper of a ship or boat. Can you imagine? Six, seven. I’m sure some of them were small fishing boats and stuff like that. That’s an amazing number all by itself.

Gary Pinkerton 18:07
That’s an incredible Armada. It absolutely is. Wow. I remember seeing pictures. I certainly didn’t see 6000 in those pictures, but it was just you can look like you can walk across them like stones on a street. Just getting in not to run into each other.

Denny Gillem 18:22
Yeah, I’m sure that was no minor issue.

Gary Pinkerton 18:24
Yeah. So Denny, you you run a radio show? That’s also a podcast, I guess. And you’re on coming up on 600 episodes. Tell us the focus. You know, I’m familiar but please tell the audience that focus of it and how they can find it because it seems really inspiring to me.

Denny Gillem 18:40
Well frontlines of freedom. frontlines of freedom calm is the website. We’re on 180 something stations, and we post a podcast after it plays. It’s a weekend show. place once a week. It’s two hours. We started our 13th year this month. So we just completed our 12th year 600 This show is coming up This month, again to our show, The theme is to talk about our military, the military, the veteran community, homeland, defense, foreign policy, things that impact on our nation and our people. It’s not so much you and I talk about our time in the military and sitting around the campfire kind of thing. It’s not that very much at all. It’s more of a discussion of challenges facing our nation, from every perspective, including the ones we just covered. Just now. I’ve had cabinet members and privates and corporals and wives and kids and officers of all ranks and politicians, and you name it. We get them on. And we try to not sell a point but encourage people to think about things. Yeah, I sell patriotism but it’s okay if you don’t buy everything I sell. So focus on well, National Police Week was couple three weeks ago, we had what holds Focusing on police. We’ve looked at racism and its impact. we wander all over the place. But it’s the military veteran foreign policy focus that we cover. It’s fun. And I guess it’s unfortunate. There’s so many things to talk about that affect our foreign policy and our defense situation. But there’s no trouble finding things to talk

Gary Pinkerton 20:21
about. If the listeners wanted to go and grab one or two of the top ones that you can remember, where would they go what you don’t have to get well, number of

Denny Gillem 20:30
lines of freedom.com and click on the shows. The two most recent shows podcast will be on the front page. But there’s a tag that’ll get that every show podcast, is there

Gary Pinkerton 20:43
any like you got you got to go back and listen to this one or anything like that, that a specific one that comes to mind or anything.

Denny Gillem 20:50
There are so many that the one National Police Week was I think, third week in May the show at the beginning of that week. was all about police. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that. I’m very pleased with how that came out. Because as we were talking before, police officers are not our brothers and sisters in arms, but they’re our first cousins in valor, because they got everyday and to defend people they don’t even know some of whom don’t like him. So I’m an admirer of cops and first responders. I can’t leave firefighters out the other folks too. Wow,

Gary Pinkerton 21:25
that’s awesome. Well, as I expected, our time came flying to an end already. Colonel Denny Gillen, US West Point graduate 22 years in the Army, Airborne Ranger to combat tours to Purple Hearts seven awards of valor. Thanks so much for joining us and letting us enjoy some of your past experiences and your words of wisdom. We know where to go to find you any parting words, Denny?

Denny Gillem 21:52
My final words we beat Navy?

Gary Pinkerton 21:54
Of course they can you go for it. I’ll let it right out. No, I’m just kidding. Thanks so much for joining us.

Denny Gillem 22:02
My pleasure. God bless you.

Announcer 22:05
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