Randy Couture talks about his time in the Army

Randy Couture talks about his time in the Army


What was it that made you join? I was a 19 year old kid, just found out that
my girlfriend was pregnant. Holy shinikes! I sat down with Randy Couture. The weekend we caught up he was being inducted
in the US Wrestling Hall of Fame, but he was nice enough to make some time for me. So Randy, Thank you. Thank you for not just sitting down with me
but rolling with it when we were interrupted by staff and when the electricity went out
and for everything you’re doing for veterans. Thank you. Now if you haven’t seen Regular Veteran
before that’s not surprising. This is a new channel/ page thing. I’m Skot and I’m giving you tips, tricks
and tutorials on how to make the most out of your veteran status. So without further ado
I had to figure out how to support a new family, I already sold my car, I literally didn’t
own anything I went and took the test (ASVAB)with the recruiter see what I was eligible for,
it came back that I was eligible to do whatever I wanted and at that time they were offering
a $5000 enlistment bonus for anybody that qualified for Air Traffic Control. Ronald Reagan just had fired all the Air Traffic
Controllers. Ronny did what? “The union demands are 17 times what had
been agreed to $681 million. This would impose a tax burden on their fellow
citizens which is unacceptable. It is for this reason that I must tell those
who fail to report for duty this morning, they are in violation of the law and if they
do not report to work within 48 hours they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.” All the military guys got out took those civilian
jobs which were pretty lucrative jobs left a huge void in the military for ATC
Every branch has them, we all hate them acronyms they’re the bane of my existence ATC happens
to mean Air Traffic Control I’ll be back for the next one
They left a huge void in the military for ATC, $5000 was a hell of a lot to me at the
time so I went ahead and signed I was on delayed entry this was in December of 1981. They put me on 6 months delayed entry. I was scheduled to leave the next October
of 1982. So I spent the rest of the summer working
on a golf course and preparing for the birth of my son in August. I actually met your son last night we chatted
for a little bit he’s really awesome. Yea great kid, smart kid, smarter than I am. That’s what you want, that’s what you
hope. Oh absolutely, so he was the reason kinda. I had to find a way realizing it would very
difficult for me to go college and stay in school and the same was true what was gonna
be my new wife, I chose to join the service. So you chose Air Traffic Control and waited
until that position was open and went in the Delayed Enlistment Program. Are you reliant on that electricity? No you’re still going 
Alright It’s a little darker
That was impetus for me making the decision to join was to support a family. That’s why you pick the job cause the bonus? Yea the bonus was a huge thing to me I had
family Something I joined cause the bonus
Went to Basic Training apart of the delayed entry issue was a backlog of basic trainees
it was the peak of the Cold War and a lot of people joining. So there were back loggers original slated
to go to South Carolina Fort Jackson they end up pushing me to Fort Bliss Texas, went
to basic at Fort Bliss AIT at Fort Rucker Alabama then my first duty station was Germany
and It was an accompanied tour. Okay so they went with you? My wife and young son were, until went over
there and found an apartment they wouldn’t cut orders so I spent about 3 months there
by myself looking for an apartment it was not easy, it was a long waiting list for on
base housing. Where were you in Germany? I was in Hanau, West Germany. Okay I was in Ramstein. I was in Fliegorhorst Kaserne which now the
Cold War is closed it’s no longer operational. I rolled in there, took me a while to find
an apartment. Finally found a really crappy little apartment
in the back of a junkyard basically and the orders were cut and they came over. Alright your wife came over your son came
over and then you were in Germany you started wrestling for the US Army team right? Eventually. Was that there? I started wrestling on the club team in Hanau
and traveling to different bases around Germany wrestling in tournaments around Germany eventually
they had what was equivalent to State Championship it was European theater championship, US Army
Europe, and I ended up winning freestyle championship and second in the Greco championship and I’ve
never wrestled Greco until I showed up in Germany. So it was a whole new thing for me and that
got me a chance to try out for the All Army wrestling team. That took about it was about 2 years there. The first 2 years were both in training and
kinda working my way to getting a shot at the trials 
Okay and how did affect work you wrestling? I had to get TDY orders
TDY is kinda a weird acronym. Some people say it means Temporary Duty Yonder
some people say the “Y” from TDY comes from the “y” at the end of duty but no
one really knows and it really doesn’t make sense it really just means your leaving home
and they gotta sign permission slips. The more you know. Not to go wrestle in country, in theater. But when I eventually got the chance to go
to the All Army team trials I had to get my unit commander to sign off on it saying it’s
okay you can go you can go spend the next 8 weeks this particular year it was Fort Dix
New Jersey for the wrestle offs and see if he makes the team. He was a West Point guy he loved football
he love athletics anyway we did a lot of athletic stuff in our unit so he was like “heck yea
that’s cool” they let me go and ended up making the team which again he thought
that was a great thing. I spent 6 months away from my unit and my
family. I sent my wife and son back to Seattle where
we grew up that 6 months while I was away wrestling with the Army and Army team. Alright, you were in for a total of 6 years? I was in for a total of 6 years, I spent 4
of those six years wrestling for the Army team. I actually didn’t do a lot of Air Traffic
Control after that, I’d come back to unit for 6 months in the fall wrestle for the club
team, wrestle on the circuit in Germany, do my job basically and January time frame would
roll around the trials would roll in again once you made the team you automatically get
a chance to tryout again and I continued to make the team every year after that so I won
inner service championship and that stuff. Was it your successful in those trials that
made you get out a purse wrestling? The decision to get out of the Army in 1988
and not re-enlisted was a huge decision for me I’d since we were staying Germany I had
another child, my daughter was born there in Frankfurt, I was doing very very well on
track to make the national team and get a crack at it make the Army team in 88 which
was something that I thought was gone when I was having a kid so it was a big deal for
me to make a decision like that, how was I gonna continue to support my family now I
full of fire with this dream. I could actually make the Olympic team so
I really had to make a decision what I wanted to do we left Germany in 86 I extended my
enlistment to get to the 88 trials that’s why I was in for 6 years I was actually only
signed up for 4. So I extended my enlistment, wanted to experience
it stateside duty station anyway, they station the All Army wrestling team at the time at
Fort Campbell Kentucky we left Germany, PCS’d PCS is the easiest acronym, permanent change
of station you’re either permanently changing your station or your temporarily doing so. To Fort Campbell. And then your job was strictly wrestling? Well I ran into rubar, I had to get TDY orders
I was in the 192nd Air Traffic Control company which was a tactical Air Traffic Control company. My base in Germany was both tactical and fixed
base we airfield with a 3000 foot runway it was one of the biggest runways in the folded
gap which was strategically located in if there was an actual war so we had that fixed
base operation we also had the tactical equipment where we went on reforge exercises and set
up landing zones for pilots and all that. The 192nd was apart of the 118th Airborne
Core and they were only a tactical unit they only went out in the field and setup LZ’s
and stuff for operations. That commander was like “by god we trained
you as an Air Traffic Controller you’re gonna be a damn Air Traffic Controller. “ he would not sign those TDY orders by
that time in 86 I’ve already won a couple inner service championships it was working
into the rankings of the national team so the All Army coach, Coach Winter had to go
to D.o.D basically get me reassigned to a garrison unit that’s a fixed unit on base
that helps run the infrastructure of the 101st Airborne, I got assigned to the sports department
high was a cake walk job, I literally engraved trophies intramural football and soccer and
inventoried all the equipment in the sports office. They wanted you to come wrestle so they gave
you whatever job you wanted. They reassigned me to the 101st Airborne garrison
unit and that freed me up, that commander didn’t care he was like “yea sure” so
I spent my last 2 years there at Fort Campbell in a sports department and continued to wrestle. So you made that decision to get out… Well every year there’s not that much going
on in international wrestling in the fall, okay after the world championship the Olympics
happen at the end of summer. There a very big low, all of us wrestling
guys are just sitting in our units at Fort Campbell still training on the mats everyday
and one of the guys was like “hey the an open college open tournament coming up at
Thanksgiving down at UT Chattanooga let’s go down there and wrestle.” And I was like okay! So a bunch of us went down to UT Chattanooga
over thanksgiving as a kick off of the collegiate season, there was an open tournament, but
it was collegiate rules and so I had to make 190 at that time I was cutting to 180 so 190
was a cake walk ended up winning that tournament 2 years in a row at 190 and all these college
coaches were like “who the hell is that kid? Where did he come from? He just kicked the shit out of my 190 pounder
I’ve never seen him before” How old were you at that point? I was 23 going 24 
So 23 and had 2 kids? Yea so all these guys start asking questions
you know guys like Larry Christoff, Southern Illinois university and Clemson a bunch of
those schools come to that Southern open and they found out I had 4 years eligibility I’d
never matriculated so the phone started ringing and I was also at that time breaking in at
the first I had placed top 3 at the nationals starting kinda making the national rankings
as well same thing college coaches are like even though it was Greco college coaches.. I was wrestling freestyle as well college
coaches were like who is this guy and thats when I ended up having to make that decision,
talked to Floyd a lot about it you know obviously he was still coaching he would have loved
to keep me in the service I was one of his guys that was winning and doing well but he
understood the gravity of the situation and the opportunity for me to take a college scholarship
and a get a college degree so he supported what I ultimately decided to do and actually
steered me towards Oklahoma State he had done a stint here and still held water at the Hall
of Fame and knew about the heritage of Oklahoma State wrestling and all that he said if I
were you that’s you belong that’s where you need to go and I took a visit here I took
a visit to Bakersfield I took a to visit Clemson and you know the pros and cons started the
checklist the sales meeting where am I gonna go and I chose to go to Oklahoma State
So obviously you had a long career after that UFC and such but what made you start the GI
Foundation? Well in… obviously 9/11 changed our worlds
and having worn the uniform I have an understanding the training the commitment that the service
members take when they sign on that dotted line there was a part of that was like I’m
re-upping I’m gonna go re-enlist this what I trained to do this is where I was at I also
knew that wasn’t very realistic it wasn’t until 1996 I got the chance to go to Iraq
and spend 12 days on the ground with Rich Franklin with soldiers there fighting and
see what was up and the next year 97 I got to go to Walter Reed, Bethesda and D.C. this
was when Walter Reed was still standing and go to the Fisher house meet a bunch of family’s
that were there, soldiers that were fresh off the battlefield going through getting
fixed fitted transitioned and it was there that you know walking in to those wards meeting
those mothers wives sisters dads and brothers in those rooms with those guys I was man we
gotta do something these guys are struggling they are in transition sometimes up to 2 years
some of them. Moms losing jobs wives losing jobs cars and
hawk just the stories I heard were remarkable I was like how in the hell so it just didn’t
compute I couldn’t fathom it and filed for a 501c3 I said we are gonna raise the money
we’re gonna try to help as many as these people we can help that are stuck in this
situation that are in transition and we started the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation. We’ve been operating the foundation with
my gym staff and many of my friends and family for 10 years now and there no overhead they
all volunteered most of them already worked for me anyway so I don’t pay anybody they
do it cause they love it cause they love the events they love the cause they love what
we stand for and 100% of what we raise at our events goes to a soldier and his family 
That’s really amazing because I know that that’s something difficult for the nonprofits
that they have to build an infrastructure so they can get the resources out to people. Yea we are in a unique situation with Natural
Couture Inc my cooperation and Xtreme Couture mma my gym the clothing company and all the
stuff I already built through fighting I didn’t need , I had infrastructure I have a COO I
got a VP that’s great at tech stuff and graphic design also we get new shirts and
posters and cards whatever we need just comes out the machine that I already had built from
fighting so that’s our only expenses what those things cost us to put together these. It’s started a motorcycle poker run, then
we’ve done golf tournament we’ve done 5k runs we’ve done country concerts the
motorcycle poker run has been our long standing go to we just had our 10th motorcycle poker
run last weekend and we raised $13000 we had 170 bikes show it was amazing day you know
that night was our 6 annual country concert with Mark Wills and Stoneys Rockin Country
the gave us the venue they keep the liquor and we get the tickets for the event Mark
was fantastic and we started with Gary Allen 6 years ago other country guys Joe that Nichols
played for us Gary Allen’s a few times Craig Morgan a few times Darryl Worley a few times
we’ve just had amazing talent American Young just amazing folks donate for the most part
Air Lewis donate their time their talent their energy towards this cause. That’s remarkable it’s amazing to see
why you’re doing the money that you’ve raised and the lives that you’re obviously
changing with that is, it gives me chills. Pretty amazing huh? I love that you get to learn about him and
the military all at the same time the next video that will be is a quick tutorial on
how to sign up for your GI Bill benefits. You wanna get tips trick and tutorial on making
the most out of your veteran status come right back here. Regular Veteran! BOO-YAH. I got a little excited there just come back
to Regular Veteran.

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