Ex-Delta Force Operator and Green Beret Dale Comstock – A Modern Day Spartan

Dr. Dale Comstock is an ex-Delta Force operator, Green Beret, and 82nd Airborne LRRP who spent 35 years combatting U.S. enemies abroad as a member of the Army Special Forces and as a mercenary working with America’s allies targeting high-value terrorists, their leaders, and financiers. He has been decorated twice for Valor in combat and has been at the tip of the spear in every conflict where America’s special forces have been deployed, from Grenada and the invasion of Panama (where he and his team raided Modelo Prison to rescue American Hostage Kurt Muse) through to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. Dale has a Master’s Degree in Business and a PhD in Alternative Medicine, holds black belts in Jiu-Jitsu, American Open Karate, and Extension Fighting, is a former professional boxer, MMA fighter, and competitive bodybuilder, and has been featured on the NBC TV series “Stars Earn Stripes” and Discovery Channel’s “One Man Army.” He is also the author of American Badass – The True Story of a Modern-Day Spartan.

Dale grew up in a warrior culture, on a military base in Germany with his mother and father, a 20-year veteran who served in Vietnam. Upon his father’s retirement, the family moved to San Francisco when Dale was 16 and the culture shock was significant. Having gone from being in a highly disciplined environment to the carefree streets of Fremont, California left Dale feeling like a fish out of water. Still maintaining the mindset of a regimented soldier’s son, he became a lone wolf who spent his time lifting weights and making few friends, however, with a palpable need to get back to his soldier lifestyle roots, he decided to join the military after an Army recruiter pitched Dale the dream of becoming an Airborne Ranger, That decision crushed his parent’s hopes that he would one day graduate from college and their disappointment weighed on Comstock who vowed to his parents that although he was now enlisted, that he would indeed get his degree one way or another.

After joining the Army in 1981 and finding out that Ranger school slots were limited and that he wouldn’t have a chance to get in at that time, Dale joined the 82nd Airborne, and after he and his platoon won the DIvision’s ARTEP (field evaluation) they were selected out of 15,000 paratroopers to become the first Long Range Reconnaissance Platoon since Vietnam. While there, Dale had a chance encounter with a Delta Force Operator that would change the trajectory of his career forever, after a rare sighting of what was considered America’s secret weapon, a member of the covert unit of warriors who were hand-selected as the best of the best, he was determined to find out if he had what it took to join the ranks of the military’s elite special forces.

Dale would not only go on to become a Tier One Operator as a member of “The Unit,” he would also become a U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret, all while making time to fulfill the commitment he made to his parents year’s earlier to get a college education by earning a Masters Degree in Business and a PhD in Alternative Medicine. As a relentless high-achiever, the words spoken to Dale by his Command Sgt. Major early upon completing the Delta Force Operator Training Course and being assigned to an assault team with the additional responsibility of becoming the team’s breacher (which demanded subject matter expertise in ballistic, explosive and manual entry techniques), would reverberate at the core of his philosophy for years to come … “Selection is a continuous process, and just because you are here today, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a job here tomorrow. If you don’t put out 110% effort every day, then there is no place for you here. Immediately I rogered-up and vowed to meet everyone’s expectations every day I was there” 
Dale’s moniker as a “Modern-Day Spartan” was given to him by his friend Senator Allen West, however, the spirit of what it means to be a spartan warrior was borne of the crucible of Delta selection which tests the mind, physical endurance, and abilities of the individual as no other special forces unit does … “If you look at the SEALs, they’ve got BUD/S. Look at (ARMY) Ranger School, the Special Forces (Green Berets), you look at all these other military units, and when you go through the selection process, you go through as a group, so you could be weak and you’re (still) getting help from the rest of the guys that carry the ball, or become empowered when you see other guys to your left and right, giving their all (and) you kind of bleed a little bit of the energy from everybody else (in order) to keep going, it’s easy to hide among the crowd. The difference with the Delta selection program, (is) you don’t go through as a group, there’s no team effort, there’s no group events, everything’s an individual effort, you’re isolated, and you’re, you’re given very limited instruction, you’re told what to do, but not how to do it, or how fast to do it. You don’t know what the minimum standards are, I’m just told you do the best you can. And the CADRE on all these different courses, classes, are stone-faced, there’s no emotion, there’s no discourse, you’re not even acknowledged by your name. You’re assigned a color and a number, so you’re basically Mr. Anonymous, so you do the best you can and you don’t know what the best is, you don’t know if it’s good enough. And so what happens is, when you do this day in and day out, day and night, and you go as hard and fast as you can and hope that it’s more than the minimum, and that kind of pressure physiologically will wear down, then the psychology steps in, when your body starts going, it’s draining mentally and it’s debilitating, you start to doubt yourself start, (you) start getting emotional, (and) all these questions start going through your head, you ask yourself why am I doing this, you know, why am I hurting myself, and what they’re doing is they’re letting you break yourself down physically, they’re not breaking you down. you’re breaking yourself down. (And) if bad enough, you’re going to do the best you can, and in that process, you’re going to physically start destroying yourself. And when that happens, your mind starts to go behind it and you get to a point where your body is useless. And, the only reason (you’re) still functioning is because your willpower, your mind, tells you to keep going, pick one leg up, but find other ways to keep going, just keep going, just keep going … and every other day it gets worse and worse and worse. And then before you know it, you’re this, walking psychotic, maniacal creature, you’re almost like a zombie. Does it work? Oh yeah, I can tell you right now, I don’t care how big and bad and how mentally tough you think you are. It will break you down. I’ll put it in perspective, selection is twice a year, (they) canvass (the) entire military looking for applicants, and in my particular class, there were probably 110 candidates, of the 110, six of us completed the course, (and from the) six that completed the course, three of us were selected. At that time, I was the youngest guy ever, at the age of 23. Most guys were about 33. So delta selection is I will argue by far the hardest process in the world, just look at the numbers, the attrition rate, and people ask what kind of man does The Unit select? Delta Force doesn’t select the best man, (they) select the right man. And that’s the difference, you go to SEALs and it’s the best guy, the guy who makes all those minimum standards, who can run the fastest, jump the highest, who cAN swim the longest. But Delta, it’s not really about how physically fit you are, it’s how mentally fit you are. They’re looking for a thinker who’s a shooter, not a shooter, who’s a thinker who’s a shooter, right? It’s the right guy. with an above-average IQ that can make mature professional responsible decisions.”
Dale would go on to serve in combat in every major conflict the U.S. Miltary has entered over the last 35 years, and beyond this, his passion for what he did in taking down high-value targets as part of special operations and the Global War on Terror would see him chase the thrill of what he saw as the final frontier as a warrior, being a Soldier of Fortune, where the effort is truly individual, as unlike being part of the military, Special Forces, or the highly independent Delta Force, there is no back-up, no cavalry to save you if things go belly up, as a mercenary, you truly are on your own.
“I was a Long Range Reconnaissance Scout in 82nd Airborne Division … and when I was in the army, everybody would say that the Green Beret is next level, and then every Green Beret out there thought that the final frontier was to be a Delta Force operator, because that was a ceiling and there was only so many guys that could make it there. And then after I got there, I heard that the Other Government Agency (OGA) … was the final frontier and it was to some degree because it was even more difficult than getting into Delta. And then I realized there’s actually one more final frontier to the ultimate sort of warriorhood if you will, and that was being a mercenary. So I say that because in the military and the government you always had you had topside support or you had backside support or you had Big Mill to come in and back you up if you got in trouble you had medical air support, where as a mercenary, at least in my case, you don’t have anything but what you bring to the fight or what you can buy off the black market and, and so there was no air support, no medical support, there was no QRF (Quick Reaction Force) to come and get you out of trouble, you were out there on your own, it was mano a mano, you and the bad guy basically had the same equipment, no matter how primitive it was. It came down to your warrior skills, who had the better skills, who was the better strategist, who was more tenacious in battle, (that’s) who was gonna win. So to me I thought that was the final frontier, you know, do away with all the high-speed equipment and go to combat with just the basics that the most elementary fighters out there would have to go to war with, and let your skills be the determining factor of winning or losing the battle, so to me was the ultimate final frontier, and I felt like that was about as close as it got to being a Spartan or a Gladiator, so it really came down to your physical prowess, your mental prowess, your skill sets, compared to the other man, and in case of being a mercenary, I’m talking about terrorists. I didn’t, I didn’t go to war with soldiers, my job was to go after terrorists, high-value targets, and the guys that were financing terrorism, high-level guys that need to get spanked.”
The price one pays for being steeped in a world of extreme violence, no matter how tough the individual, has not escaped Dale, and although combat itself has not caused him the trauma typically associated with PTSD, he does anguish over the innocents and children whose lives have been taken as the inevitable result of war. In Dale’s case, a child died while he was rigging an early warning system of IEDs in the area where his men were being continually attacked by the Taliban after an Afghan man sent his son out to collect unexploded ordnance – the boy died after stepping on one of Dale’s booby traps. After receiving word that the father was sending out another son to continue scavenging, Dale almost killed himself trying to disarm the system he had set up after the area had been bombarded by enemy mortars.“My PTSD … doesn’t stem from combat in the form of fighting, and dying, and I might get killed … my PTSD,  and this you’re going to find probably find this shocking. It’s not what people can expect to hear from me … seeing dead kids, seeing dead women, seeing women and kids screaming for their lives as you’re kicking in your doors going after the old man, it’s those types of things that cause my PTSD.”
However, his passion as a warrior, as a man obsessed with testing himself in life and death situations, and with giving his all to everything he does, has extended far beyond combat and the realm of elite Special Operations, as Dale has successfully pursued excellence as an entrepreneur, professional boxer, competitive bodybuilder, martial arts black belt, MMA fighter, and television star. His dedication to being a high-achiever has also given genesis to his view of success as a science, a set of principles integral to accomplishing at a high-level physically, mentally, and spiritually. The methods Dale has developed and come to rely on in pursuit of his goals go far beyond the pop psychology and positive mindset mantras of most modern-day gurus, they include an adaptation of Maslow’s self-actualization theory, autogenic conditioning, and what dale refers to as kinetic molecular theory.
“I am one of 2% of the population, I have achieved everything I’ve ever set out to do. I am living the dream fulfilled what I’ve always imagined I want, I’m doing it, doing it. You know, how cool is that? And am I done? Hell no. Because you know what, you have to keep setting you kept keep setting goals, right? And that bucket list. I keep doing that. And why do I keep adding to the bucket list? Because I’m like a shark, I stop swimming. I drown, so I got to keep moving.”
Chasing excellence, while being in a position to call his own shots is truly where Dale feels most comfortable, his ideals demand critical thinking, an ambitious nature, and a never quit mindset, qualities he has passed down to his children who he has raised since birth to become “superhumans”. – “My kids are all driven and I enforced that in my family, I didn’t allow them to be lazy or slackers. Like I was taught in the military, and like my Dad taught me, I passed that on to my kids, there’s gonna be a little bit of regimentation in your life, you’re gonna have to learn a little bit of self-governance, self-leadership, you know. And so I told my kids from the time everyone was able to understand I told my children their mission in life, my mission in life was to raise the bar very high and I expected them to go over that bar, that was their mission to be better than me. And, I raised a really high bar. I don’t know if they’ll ever reach it. It’s pretty high. Right? I told them your mission in life is to be better than me at everything. And I said, your mission in life is also to raise your kids to be better than you. Every generation should be better than the last one. I said that’s how one day Comstocks will rule the world. We will be superhuman beings … we’re gonna be generations and generations of high achievers. That’s the mission.”
Today Dale lives what many would call the ultimate lifestyle and what he calls the dream, living in Bali, an island paradise off the coast of Indonesia, where he owns a security company that trains and contracts out explosives and narcotics detection K9s. He also has a performance coaching business with partner and former special operator and Discovery Channel star of Dual Survivor, Joe Teti. However, the temptation to jump into battle is always there …
” You can’t be a soldier forever, although I try to be a soldier forever, my last full combat deployment was in 2015 2016 and I enlisted in the army in 1981. So I’ve been going at it for a long time. And the reality is that lifestyle is so ingrained in me, I have such a lust for it, that anytime I’m given the opportunity to go back down rage, and, you know, call it trigger time, I’m more than happy to jump on that bandwagon and go knowing how risky it is because it’s just one of those things, you just got to keep going back to the well take a drink, and, sure, one of these days I might fall in that, well if I’m not careful, but I’m getting a little older, and my priorities are starting to change. I’m focusing more on my business, my business development, my family, my children, and more importantly, I’m just focusing on being a happy man. I have a lot more freedom, and I’m not constrained by the mission, I’m not constrained by the leadership and what they need me to do. I am the leadership, and I do what I do when I do it.”


More Podcast Episodes: