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Although Brian lost both of his legs while serving in Army, he didn’t let that deter him from finding a mission where he could continue to make a difference in the world. Brian ran for and is now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Florida’s 18th District. In this interview we avoid politics and focus on what it’s like to work IN politics, as well as why Veterans may want to consider this as a career path.
For listeners who enjoy this episode, be sure to check out:
BTU #70 - Emily Cherniack: How New Politics is helping veterans of both parties run for office - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-70-emily-cherniak-how-new-politics-is-helping-veterans-of-both-parties-run-for-office?rq=emily%20cher
BTU #250 - Navy Veteran to Congressional Candidate (Josh Welle) - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-250-navy-veteran-to-congressional-candidate-josh-welle?rq=josh%20welle
BTU #316 - Navy to Nebraska State Government (Jason Jackson) - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-316-navy-to-nebraska-state-government-jason-jackson?rq=josh%20welle
BTU #66 - Sean Barney: Purple Heart recipient to Congressional Candidate - https://beyondtheuniform.org/blog/btu-66-sean-barney-purple-heart-recipient-to-congressional-candidate?rq=barney
Brian Mast is a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Florida’s 18th District. After high school, he followed in his father’s footsteps, enlisting in the U.S. Army where he served for over 12 years as a member of the elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as a bomb disposal expert. While serving, the very last IED Brian found resulted in sustained catastrophic injuries, which included the loss of both of his legs. Following retirement from the Army, Brian continued his work in counter terrorism and national defense as an Explosive Specialist under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He also volunteered to serve alongside the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to show support for the freedom Israel represents throughout the Middle East and the world.
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There is so much to appreciate about today’s interview. First of all: diplomacy. This is the first interview I’ve done around diplomacy, and I started off in the deep end of the pool, to say the least. Gary went from Air Force Officer to the US Ambassador to Oman. He had an incredible career in which he was involved in monumental work around the world. However, what I appreciate most about Gary is the humility and specificity he brings to this interview. It’s not just about why Veterans may enjoy a career in the foreign service (and, by the way, Gary makes a pretty solid argument for this). It’s the texture he brings to the conversation, of finding his own career path, starting over again in foreign service after earning his MBA and working in the corporate world, of being diligent in learning a new craft and working his way up… after having done just that in both the military and the corporate world. It was a privilege to be able to learn from Gary, and I hope you enjoy this candid and enlightening conversation.
About Ambassador Gary Grappo
Gary Grappo is a Distinguishe Fellow at the University of Denver and the CEO & Founder of Equilibrium International Consulting. He served as the United States Ambassador to Oman from 2006 to 2009, and previously Grappo was Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counselor of the United States Mission in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He served in the US Air Force for over 8 years, and holds a BS in Mathematics from the United States Air Force Academy, an MS in Geodesy and Survey Engineering from Purdue University, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.