So I just hit go and published my interview with Johnny Walker. He’s now a citizen and free to share his real name. But I’ll leave that ball in his court. I wouldn’t be so keen to share my name if I had ISIS and the likes dreaming of laying me to rest.
So Johnny started out as just another kid with a dream. Except this kid was in Iraq and was carrying around a American dream. Hanging with his buds, he fed his dream a steady diet of Kenny Rogers, the Harlem Globe Trotters, and John Wayne films. He liked a bit of mischief so his parents pushed him to play basketball. He used it to study America, and soon his dream of living in the USA became an all consuming fire. Tall and driven, he became one of the better players in the city. He became a star highjumper too. However far away, his dream somehow always seemed within reach. But all that changed when Saddam Hussein, as he puts it, “started acting like a crazy moron.”
Iraq went to war with Iran. And well, things got bad.
Money and food became scare. Bodies rolled into the city. But as he did with sports, Johnny found a bridge. He married the love of his life. Working long hours as a truck driver and equipment operator, his American dream began to fade into background. His focus was now on his family, and victory a daily trip home with a piece of meat for the dinner table. But luck again would find Johnny. The day the American’s arrived at the start of the Iraq War, Johnny felt hope. He touched his dream again.
One fateful day after drinks with an uncle who would be killed at the hands of ISIS, he ran into three women arguing the Military Police. Johnny saw a bridge. Having a good way about him and a basic grasp of English, he helped both sides avoid an incident. He was hired on the spot. Somewhat of a natural at this stuff, the Sargent soon set him up with an interview with the Navy SEALs. When he looked up the word in the dictionary he wondered what he’d got himself into. “Sea going animals?… Who are these people?” After a shaky interview where he understood little, but nodded yes alot, he asked “did I get the job?..” “Indeed,” the interviewer responded. Ashamed to admit he didn’t know what “indeed” meant, he shuffled sheepishly back to his unit. They asked, did you get the job. “Indeed,” he said. His pals broke into uproarious laughter. “Well holy shit,” he thought. “I guess I got this job too.”
Johnny, who describes himself as lucky, landed the job as an interpreter for the Navy SEALs. He’d got on to a hell of alot more. But the story of how Johnny made his luck is much more interesting. Parts magic, mystery, and superhero tale, Johnny’s tear to reclaim a savaged Iraq while becoming an American citizen is truly epic. Love, guts, grit, wit, terror, hope, and reckless courage, he bares it all in this episode. His mission to find freedom not just for family, but two countries is about as real as it gets for an American story. At least for those Americans who remember how the country was built. Listen as Johnny tells the story of how fought for love of two countries and two families, his own and the SEAL brotherhood. And somehow came out winning his American Dream.
Be prepared folks, Johnny tells it straight.
Johnny is a NY Time’s best selling author and former interpreter for the Navy SEALs.
Episode Page: bit.ly/jwalker-lp
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I'm a vet turned therapist and now media co founder. Basically I seek out truth stories. There's the lies we tell ourselves and those we inherit from the world. I deep dive the life stories that challenge that slippery space we call truth in between. Mostly that means I interview the weird kids now adults redefining our world, or complicating it.