I love podcasts. I love having such a varied mix of people producing them. Who doesn’t love learning something new while being simultaneously entertained? So, I wanted to share what I consider to be the five best military podcasts out there. I hope you guys find the same value I do in these podcasts and their content.
To expose any bias I might have, Jack Murphy and I worked at the same company for a while. We never worked directly together, but I got to meet him a few times, and it was always a positive experience, yet was infrequent enough that I doubt he remembers it! However, I like Jack and his reporting, so the Team House was a natural listen for me.
The Team House is hosted by Jack Murphy and David Parke. Jack and David were both Rangers and Jack went on to become a Green Beret. Parke went into contracting, but now they are back together. Episodes typically have them interviewing a member of an elite military force, maybe a spy, or even some clandestine private military contractors with some shady interests. The podcast doesn’t strictly revolve around the military but also dives into the world of intelligence.
The production of the early episodes is a little rough, but it’s improved vastly over time. They seem to reinvest any money they make from the podcast into making it better. Give them a listen if you want an in-depth analysis and interviews with some extremely interesting people.
Recommended Episode: From Delta Operator to Professional Mercenary
The Shawn Ryan Show
Shawn Ryan is a former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor who has hosted a YouTube channel for what seems like forever. His YouTube channel offers a mix of content, but the podcast, The Shawn Ryan Show, is what we are highlighting today. The Shawn Ryan Show gets an eclectic mix of guests on the show, this includes guys from the military, like other SEALs, Green berets, and more.
He also interviews musicians, like deadmau5, journalists, CIA targeters, politicians, like Chris Miller, the former secretary of Defense, and more. This mix of guests tells stories you won’t hear anywhere else.
Episodes typically last 90 minutes or so, and they are often broken down in the YouTube channel for shorter listens. The production is top-notch, and the interviews are often conducted very well. Interviewing is a skill, and it seems like Shawn keeps getting a bit better at it as the podcast matures.
Recommended Episode: Don Graves – World War 2 Marine Survives Iwo Jima with Flamethrower, Grenades, and Pistol
Veterans Chronicles is a historical podcast that takes veterans and asks them to tell their stories. It’s a simple but important premise that creates a living record of their stories and lives that could be easily lost and forgotten otherwise.
Rarely does the narrator pipe in to provide additional context: it’s just veterans talking, telling their stories, and reliving their pasts, which can be both painful and hilarious. We have a 100-year-old World War II Marine telling stories about Saipan and Iwo Jima; we get soldiers from Vietnam, generals from multiple wars, and even a few nonvets with interesting stories. The episodes are between half an hour and an hour long and are well-produced.
Recommended Episode: LtCol Rob Riggle USMC, Liberia, Kosovo, Afghanistan
Zero Blog Thirty
If you want a more humorous take on history, veterans issues, and war stories, then Zero Blog Thirty has you covered. Zero Blog Thirty is presented by Barstool Sports and has a laid-back vibe. It’s described as the online bar of the VFW, and I think that fits. The presenters vary between a Marine staff sergeant a lance corporal and a West Point-trained captain.
The podcast isn’t just crude jokes, as they do take on more serious issues, but they don’t ever shy away from being blunt about them. They aren’t shy about pointing out the military’s, politicians’ faults, and everyone else’s faults. They are capable of securing some awesome interviews, including the sergeant major of the Marine Corps, Jon Stewart, Kyle Carpenter, and even Chick Donahue of the Greatest Beer Run fame.
They cover a ton of subjects, and while I don’t always agree with the hosts, and to be fair, they don’t always agree with each other, I still enjoy listening. Check it out, but be warned, it’s not always family-friendly. The episodes run from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.
Recommended Episode – Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps on Snipers, Tanks, and Leadership Failures
The Unauthorized History of the Pacific War
The last military podcast on the list is Unauthorized History of the Pacific War which has become the go-to WWII nerd podcast for me and a couple of friends. The Unauthorized History of the Pacific War is a podcast hosted by Seth Paridon and Bill Toti.
Seth has been a historian for 20 years and for 15 of those he served as the chief historian for the National WWII Museum. Bill is a retired submarine commodore. The two of them together provide perspective from two very important ends of the spectrum.
Their podcasts are deep dives into all parts of Pacific War history. Occasionally, they get guests to further explain events, technology, battles, and events. It’s all educational but also entertaining and the two presenters are great at avoiding getting into that dry and boring territory.
Recommended Episode – Gung Ho! The Ture Story of the Makin Island Raid
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