This week Jim and I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with the founder and COO of Horse Solider Bourbon, retired Army Master Sergeant and Green Beret Scott Neil. Scott along with his special forces teammates of Task Force Dagger were some of the first to respond after the attacks of 9/11. Forced to adapt to the treacherous terrain of Afghanistan where they would ride into battle on Qatgani horses. Now if that doesn’t make the hair on your skin stand up then you might just need to take a sip of their bourbon. Yes after they retired and traveling across America they fell in love with craft distilling and started the now successful brand of Horse Soldier Bourbon which pays tribute to their warrior legacy. Be sure to listen in to our episode… a salute to Horse Soldier Bourbon.
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The interview had me thinking back to my days serving in the Army where sometimes we were asked to do the almost impossible. It made we wonder what makes an American want to serve their county. Makes them go to the ends of the earth, freeze, roast, starve and make sacrifice after sacrifice for years of their life for the idea of freedom. Then the thought of where I work and the glory of our volunteer force came to mind. Today I work down the hall from a Military Entrance Processing Station (This is where every Sailor, Soldier, Airman, Marine and even Coast Guardsmen start their military career). I started my journey at a MEPS in Dallas Texas in 1991. I see day in and day out young men and women line the halls of the 4th floor of the Federal Building ready to ship out for basic. I am always in awe at what they are about to sacrifice. That idea of freedom they will protect with their very lives.
Not all will make that same sacrifice, some will only serve 4 years and return home to their families, others will serve 20 to 30 years sacrificing almost everything to make the world a better place and then there are those that will never see home again. They will make the ultimate sacrifice for that sacred idea of freedom that we as Americans love so dearly. From all walks of life they line the walls. Short, tall, from cities and from farms. They have come to serve. Some for a better life and some escaping bad situations at home. They will all be asked to do the same things Scott, Jim and I were asked to do. To swear the following oath of enlistment.
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” Once again if that doesn’t make the hair stand up on your skin, then you might just need a larger pour of horse soldier bourbon. It almost brings me to tears every time I hear someone take the oath.
That is the beauty of our Nation. As Scott and Jim said so well, these young men and women will one day return home to build a future. To have the driving determination to overcome almost any obstacle put in their way. Their military service having taught them how to adapt and overcome just as the horse soldiers had done in Afghanistan over 20 years ago. Those Horse Soldiers are doing the same today being outsiders of the distilling industry. Scott and his team have had to make sacrifices, most certainly have had to adapt their plans and overcome many obstacles to launch their brand. That why it’s not hard to fall in love with this bourbon. Their story is compelling, but their bourbon backs that up with something truly special. I cannot see the future being any different for these badass veterans. Their new home of Somerset Kentucky will be a distillery that you will want to pay a visit to and the bourbon will surely taste just as good if not better.
So with that grab a glass, a bottle and pour a healthy dram. Raise it in a toast to all of our fallen American Heroes, then listen as Jim and I take another trip down The Bourbon Road with Scott Neil of Horse Soldier. Cheers
P.S. As its football season and I served in the Army like Scott, GO ARMY beat NAVY.
Mike (Big Chief)
One of your best articles to date. Thanks for recognizing the military and great bourbon! This article ties them together nicely in an informative way. Nicely done!