Podcasts for Soldiers: nine you should know about

By Joe Lacdan, Army News ServiceOctober 30, 2023

Sgt. 1st Class Osvaldo Equite, left Staff Sgt. Jarred Woods,  prepare to record a podcast featuring Sgt. Maj. Craig Collins, Department of Curriculum Development at the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, to discuss his article "Project Athena in Action," at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on Nov. 16, 2021.
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. 1st Class Osvaldo Equite, left Staff Sgt. Jarred Woods, prepare to record a podcast featuring Sgt. Maj. Craig Collins, Department of Curriculum Development at the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, to discuss his article "Project Athena in Action," at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on Nov. 16, 2021. (Photo Credit: Chago Zapata) VIEW ORIGINAL
Chago Zapata, managing editor, NCO Journal, Army University Press, takes part in the NCO Journal podcast at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on Sept. 21, 2022. Dr. Larry Golba joined the podcast virtually to discuss his article, "Transition from Soldier to Leader." Dr. Golba is a Research Psychologist for the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. NCO Journal staff discuss published articles with their authors, taking a deeper dive into their work.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Chago Zapata, managing editor, NCO Journal, Army University Press, takes part in the NCO Journal podcast at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on Sept. 21, 2022. Dr. Larry Golba joined the podcast virtually to discuss his article, "Transition from Soldier to Leader." Dr. Golba is a Research Psychologist for the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences. NCO Journal staff discuss published articles with their authors, taking a deeper dive into their work. (Photo Credit: Sergeant 1st Class Osvaldo Equite) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON — From war heroes’ stories on the front lines to discussions on leadership, Soldiers have a wide palette of podcasts available to them.

Organizations across the Army have adopted podcasts to share local services and events while podcasts from service-wide publications such as the NCO Journal focuses on broader Soldier topics like transitioning to civilian life. Soldiers can conveniently stream episodes on or off duty, while working out or traveling.

The Army News Service looks into nine growing podcasts from across the Army.

NCO Journal and the Sergeant’s Time podcasts: What began as supplemental content for NCO Journal articles and stories has expanded to regular episodes with topics that vary from career advice, tips on building Soldier camaraderie, and talks on future combat operations.

The NCO Journal podcast provides relevant advice for Army NCOs as well as leadership lessons. The publication fields submissions from the Army’s senior NCO academy staff, NCOs and civilians. For instance, the program hosted a discussion on transition assistance for Soldiers retiring from active duty. The NCO Journal hosts have also held talks on ending NCO misconduct.

“We're trying to diversify and make it more all-encompassing, more approachable for all NCOs,” managing editor Chago Zapata said. “Everything that we do in the NCO Journal we look at it through the eyes of the NCO. Does this article have any bearing? Or does it provide any sort of for depth professional development opportunities for our audience? We have a chance to dive deeper into it in our podcasts.”

Zapata, a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant, expanded the programming to a second podcast, titled “Sergeant’s Time” to feature guests of different ranks and backgrounds who do not submit articles. Guests will include the Recruiter of the Year and Drill Sergeant of the Year winners with retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey slated to be featured in the first episode.

Former host of "The Spear" podcast Timothy Heck interviews Medal of Honor Recipient Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee during a recent episode. The podcast, hosted by the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy, is one of dozens of podcasts available to Soldiers and all audiences.
Former host of "The Spear" podcast Timothy Heck interviews Medal of Honor Recipient Master Sgt. Earl Plumlee during a recent episode. The podcast, hosted by the Modern War Institute at the U.S. Military Academy, is one of dozens of podcasts available to Soldiers and all audiences. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Spear, Modern War Institute, West Point: Already renowned for its harrowing accounts of Soldiers in combat, “The Spear” ranks as one of the Army’s top podcasts in listenership. Timothy Heck, deputy editorial director, wanted to diversify the program further.

Heck featured Soldiers of all ranks, genders, and career fields, including logisticians and public affairs officers, and even included troops outside of the Army. Heck, now a former assistant West Point professor, noticed episodes focused heavily on Operation Enduring Freedom and the war on terror.  
He then began featuring stories from the Vietnam War and World War II.

“There’s more to the Army, and there’s more to combat than the 11 Bravo [infantry] experience,” Heck said. “So, let’s look there. I wanted to make [the podcast] more than just the Global War on Terror.”

In the Spear’s episode “Across the Fence” on Sept. 27, Heck interviewed former Army Green Beret John Meyer, who went on secret missions in North Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Meyer volunteered for Special Forces training in Vietnam, where eventually Green Berets would join indigenous Soldiers in an eight-year secret war.

Heck spent time as a Marine Corps artillery officer and did one tour in Iraq before becoming a military historian. His featured guests included Medal of Honor recipient Earl Plumlee, Navy Seal Rick Witt, and Army Rangers.

Heck added that the podcast’s audience grew in part to episodes that focused on the Russian-Ukraine conflict and the U.S. contributions to the war. Last spring, Heck interviewed the chief of the Ukrainian Army’s chaplain corps.

The Marne Report, Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia – Fort Stewart’s local weekly podcast has slowly grown after initially having a small following. Hosted by Molly Cooke, the Marne Report updates Soldiers and post residents on local events including holiday celebrations and fitness competitions.

The episodes offer tips on deployment preparation for Soldiers, as well as back to school advice for families, and interviews with installations commanders and leaders.

Topics range from discussing respite care for the family members of deployed Soldiers to anti-terrorism awareness tips.

“A really cool thing about this podcast is that we've got interests across the board from active-duty service members to their family members,” Cooke said. “So, it’s a broad range of topics.”

FORSCOM Frontline, Army Forces Command, Fort Liberty, North Carolina – FORSCOM’s podcast focuses on the command’s mission of bolstering Soldier readiness and tells stories of troops on the frontline. The program features topics unique to the command, including FORSCOM’s recent Best Squad Competition but also delves into subjects that impact the whole force, including improving quality of life and suicide prevention.

Frontline publishes two episodes a month and most recently featured the Golden Knights, the Army’s demonstration and competition parachute team. The podcast has posted interviews with Olympic Gold Medalist Amber English, a member of the Army’s World Class Athlete Program as well as an explosive ordnance Soldier who was featured on the Food Network.

Some episodes offer advice including one that discussed how to identify scams and fake social media profiles of prominent military members, while another offered testimony from a holistic health and fitness officer.

Leader Up, Army Management Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas – The “Leader Up” podcast, hosted by the Army Management Staff College, focuses on Army civilian professionalism and leader development.

Episodes feature commentary by Army senior leaders including James Helis, director of the Army Resilience Directorate.  Helis discussed how Soldiers and civilians can build resilience by learning coping skills to plan, set goals, and maintain positive attitudes to prevent harmful behaviors.

“If you’ve got the coping skills to deal with the challenge, you’re less likely to turn to unhealthy alternatives; to substance abuse, to [suicide], to acting out in the workplace,” Helis said.

The podcast also tackles broader Army topics including the service’s digital transition to streamline its data processes.

Then-Spc. Garrett Dacko and Cpl. Kyra Pearl, 11th Corps Signal Bde., interview guests on Fort Hood’s Great Big Podcast, while host Samantha Harms, Fort Hood Public Affairs, controls the levels during a podcast recording Monday at III Corps Headquarters. The podcast celebrated its 100th episode Dec. 2, 2021.
Then-Spc. Garrett Dacko and Cpl. Kyra Pearl, 11th Corps Signal Bde., interview guests on Fort Hood’s Great Big Podcast, while host Samantha Harms, Fort Hood Public Affairs, controls the levels during a podcast recording Monday at III Corps Headquarters. The podcast celebrated its 100th episode Dec. 2, 2021.
(Photo Credit: Courtesy photo)
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The Great Big Podcast, Fort Cavazos, Texas- Derived from the installation’s “The Great Place” nickname, “The Great Big Podcast” explores the mission and achievements of Fort Cavazos’ local units including the 1st Cavalry Division. However the podcast features a diverse array of topics that not only caters to Soldiers but the larger military community.

The weekly program, which launched on Dec. 16, 2019, also delves into topics such as the prevention of domestic violence, domestic abuse and suicide. The episodes feature a variety of subjects, from the role of a first sergeant to how Soldiers can contribute to the Army’s antiterrorism program and environmental sustainability.

“The Great Big Podcast is unique truly because of the focus that we take when it comes to telling the Army story," said Samantha Harms, command information chief. "So often you only hear about the typical topics of being a Soldier — trainings, weapons, deployments — which are covered in our podcast.

"But it is important to remember that a Soldier is human first ... We tell the story of services on the installation, the reminders of how the Army operates for that young Soldier or to inform the public, share intimate stories on domestic violence to remind people that they are never alone, and so much more."

Episodes have discussed the impact of Army civilians in service modernization as well as leadership development. One episode featured the impact of the Army on the Texas-based rock band Bowling for Soup.

"The community we have here in Central Texas is something that is quite special," Harms said. "It is filled with service members, retirees, veterans, Department of the Army civilians, contractors and people who truly work hard to constantly better the place they live in. Our podcast reminds them that we are here for them too."

Breaking Doctrine, Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, - The Army’s flagship center for doctrine located outside Kansas City, Kansas focuses its “Breaking Doctrine” podcast on current and trending topics related to doctrine; the fundamental principles that guide the military’s actions toward national objectives.

For example, a recent episode examined recruiting challenges as the Army looks to rebound from recruitment shortfalls. Gen. Johnny Davis, who leads Army Recruiting Command, answered questions on how Army recruiters could better appeal to potential candidates for military service.

Another episode performed a case study on a dangerous combat operation maneuver called passage of lines. During the operation, a stationary force creates a pathway for another force to pass its position.

Episodes ranged from exploring how the Army shifted from active defense to the most recent operational philosophy, “AirLand Battle,” which stresses air and ground theater operations to intricacies of the Army Field Manual 3-0. The manual establishes the doctrine for multi-domain operations, the service’s operational concept.

The Army Soldier for Life Podcast, Soldier for Life – “Army Soldier for Life,” which connects Soldiers and families to assistance programs, offers advice on permanent, change-of-station moves and the transition to civilian life.

The podcast, hosted by Lt. Col. Ismael Ortiz Rivera, Soldier for Life employment director, also discusses financial tips for Soldiers, career development for military spouses and career skills programs.

Additionally, episodes highlight eligible healthcare for Soldiers once they retire. The program featured episodes that explored various career opportunities including the Secret Service.

The Army Soldier for Life program works closely with communities to encourage opportunities for veterans to keep ties with the Army.

The High Ground, Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama – USASMDC’s podcast offers news of the command, which provides space and missile capabilities to joint services and partner nations while supporting multi-domain operations.

One episode discussed how members of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade Operations Team in Colorado Springs, Colorado, perform a critical national security mission. Under the guidance of a presidential order, the 100th Missile Defense Brigade defends the U.S. from the threat of intercontinental ballistic missile attacks.

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