The Protectors® Podcast

#469 | Jack Stewart | Reality, Fiction, and the Unknown: A Riveting Dialogue | Author of UNKNOWN RIDER

November 20, 2023 Dr. Jason Piccolo Episode 469
The Protectors® Podcast
#469 | Jack Stewart | Reality, Fiction, and the Unknown: A Riveting Dialogue | Author of UNKNOWN RIDER
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Have you ever pondered the mysteries of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs), or what some would call UFOs? Well, strap in for a gripping conversation with our guest, ex-fighter pilot and author, Jack Stewart. Our discussion takes flight as we traverse the enigmatic world of UAPs, fueled by Jack's firsthand encounter during a training mission that led to a classified Pentagon briefing. As we navigate the increasing reports of these phenomena, we also place our radar on the vital topic of mental health in the military and law enforcement.

The journey doesn't end there as we chart Jack's unique writing process and the influence of his military tenure on his book series. Discover how he harnesses the power of storytelling to shed light on misunderstood subjects, and brace yourself for the tantalizing prospect of UFO inclusion in his future narratives. Further along, we're joined by fellow authors Jack Carr, Brad Taylor, Don Bentley, Mark Greaney, and Taylor Moore. They share insights into their latest books, collaborative endeavors, and the importance of effectively portraying the valor of our nation’s warriors through compelling narratives.

Finally, we set our sights on the horizon and the exhilarating collaboration of an uncharted writer. We speculate on their potential work and eagerly anticipate a possible face-to-face interview. Through the blend of reality, fiction, and the unknown, we hope to spark your curiosity and intrigue. Buckle up for this fascinating episode – it's a ride you won't want to miss!

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Make sure to check out Jason on IG @drjasonpiccolo


Speaker 1:

I like that. We're gonna stop with this. We're gonna start with this. Top Gun Instructor Colt Bancroft has just catapulted off the USS Abraham Lincoln, his F-35C Joint Strike fighter, trailing blue and yellow flame as he climbs into the night sky off the California coast. When he is sent to investigate a series of mysterious lights floating dangerously close to his aircraft carrier, disaster strikes. His jet becomes unresponsive as it rolls inverted and enters a nose-dive aimed right at the aircraft carriers, unsuspecting escort cruiser. What follows is a tale of heroism and betrayal, spycraft and suspense and aerial combat. Again, it's an unexpected adversary. To clear his name and unmask a traitor, colt must survive a dangerous game of spy versus spy, where trusting the one person could cost him his life. To stop the enemy from hitting their ultimate target, colt must use every ounce of skill and training, and it cover the identity of the unknown rider. Now, that is definitely not Ray Porter. But hey, welcome to the show, jack Stewart. What's up, brother?

Speaker 2:

Man, that was fantastic. I'm doing good. How are you doing?

Speaker 1:

I'm doing great and I'm glad you, I'm glad it started off. I'm glad it's like that, because I think UAP is brother. But when you're thinking like UAPs and then you're thinking, hey, you know what this might be, some spycraft? Huh, where are we going with this brother? Are we where? This is a thriller? This isn't science fiction, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it's not science fiction, but I mean you touched on exactly UAPs is, you know? Is what I kind of based that on. There was an article I read a couple of years ago about basically the same thing happening strange lights circling a Navy ship off the coast of California and I thought it was fascinating that the article had the FBI getting involved and they were trying to find out what the source of these lights were. And so I decided to figure out you know for myself what they were, and so I made them be something which will be unveiled in the book if you read it. But yeah, it's pretty, pretty interesting.

Speaker 1:

Well, you know UAPs. I can't even say it's science fiction anymore If everybody's saying hey, they're real. Well, the other thing, too is like drone technology is crazy. Like there was like, like what do you call it synchronized drones now, like oh man, dubai and everything, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I've I mean, I haven't seen anything to that scale, but I went and saw a Metallica concert and this was several years ago now and they had these drones flying all around them doing different, different things above their head on the stage and I thought it was pretty fascinating. I thought it was pretty fascinating.

Speaker 1:

So I, you know, I, I I'm so obsessed with that obsessed. Okay, the truth is out there. Okay, we're like David to Coveney here in X-Files. But now the thing with talking to you, too, is you came from that background. You know, you were a fighter pilot and you've seen things. I'm sure you've seen things. Now, have you disclosed on air that you've seen things?

Speaker 2:

Yes, I have, I have said it. There's only one incident where I saw something that couldn't be described like with known technology, and I have talked about it. My wingman and I, after doing a training sortie over the Gulf of Mexico, we saw something. Both of us At first, like when I saw it, I just sort of dismissed it, like okay, that's, you know, just a glare off the canopy or something. But when he said it I was like okay, there really was something there. And so we went back and we talked about it, we tried to debunk it. I mean, we had the models out on sticks and we're moving them around going okay, if it's, if you were here and I was here and we couldn't figure it out. So we filled out a report that made its way to the Pentagon and the next day we were given a classified brief from the Pentagon on these UAPs and it was. It was pretty, pretty interesting experience. I mean, you know, I wish I had some really good footage to show. Maybe I'd be, you know, called before Congress or something. But yeah, it was just pretty interesting.

Speaker 1:

Well, there are so many pilots, so it's not like it's like you know one or two people and you know you kind of debunk them if they, you know, check their drug tests and their psych backgrounds and stuff. But like when it's like a massive amount of pilots, it's very interesting. And how many people do you think you know personally that have seen something they can't explain?

Speaker 2:

I mean, personally, I probably know one or two, you know, but one of the things that that brief that we got showed was the amount of reporting and how it has increased. And they're trying to remove that stigma of, you know, the tin foil hat, conspiracy theorists, kind of things that are trying to get people to report it because, you know, as the military, like, we need to know what is flying in our airspace period, whether it's alien, whether it's foreign, whether it's, you know, just space trash just floating around the air. I mean we need to know what it is. And so they're trying to to to, you know, remove that stigma so that people will actually report this and we can actually get to the bottom of it.

Speaker 1:

I love the idea that you know stigma, you know, especially come from the military and LEO and everywhere else we've been. Stigma is one of the biggest things to get through and like at one time, like you said, the tin foil hat to conspiracy and everything. You don't talk about stuff like that and now we could talk about stuff like that. Now we could talk about like everything else. And the other thing I want to talk to you today was about mental health. You know, you just transition after decades in service, yeah, coming from, like you know, the pointy tip of the air and that must be, you know, a very interesting form of, like you know, in one way, stress relief, because you're not dealing with it every day, you don't have that type of pressure, but then you're like, huh, that was a big part of my life, that was my identity for so many years.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, definitely. You know. I think I think a lot of people have said this before, but you know, when you come from the military to going to be a civilian, you have, you know, taking your entire identity, all your. I mean you wake up, you know what you're going to put on, you know what your clothes are going to look like that day, you know where you're going to go, you're told what to do and all that is now gone and you have to sort of figure out your own way through life. And if you, you know, you've been doing that since 18 years old, that's a big, big. But I was fortunate that in my case I did the reserves for the last 11 years of my career, so I had kind of one foot out the door already. Half the time I was having to figure out myself what close to wear and what to do, another half I was being told. So it was a little bit easier for me, but still it is a big part of your identity For me. I'm a fighter pilot and now I'm a has been fighter pilot, just an airline pilot now, and so I'm just trying to find a new identity and there's some stress involved in that and it's one of the things that I think.

Speaker 1:

You know I'm going to stop you right there. You found your new identity.

Speaker 2:

I'm working on it.

Speaker 1:

I'm working on it. You're not even working on it. I mean, you have Ray Porter and now the book sounds like it's going to be amazing. I can't wait to listen to it. I swear I'm like. I'm like. This narrator thing to me is like, because I do a lot of the rocking and I do a ton of road trips, you know, I'm always on the road and I don't have a lot of time to sit and read and when, a lot of times when I sit and read, it's like a nonfiction or something where I could. You know, I'm either reading it to write an article or I'm reading it like to get some sort of knowledge base. I don't have a lot of time for fun reading, not that not fiction is not fun, but I love listening to books. So now you have Ray Porter, which was one of the premier. Like you know, he just did about Andrews and Wilson's sons of Aller. Did you do that? Yeah, he did them. Yeah, he did. And then all sorts of other awesome books. So it's going to be interesting to see how he blends your character's voices.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's. You know I got to listen to the audio files before they came out and it was funny because, like I'd say, the first couple of chapters you know, I was just in. First of all, it was an odd that that Ray Porter was reading my words, because I've been such a huge fan of his for so long. And then I started. Then I started critiquing the writing. I'm like, oh man, I just said that, but after I, you know, just kind of put that in the back burner and just enjoyed the story. I really got into it and he did such a fantastic job. I, I mean, I can't say enough good things about it. And in fact, you know, I tell people almost like, if you want to think I'm a good writer, please buy the audio book and listen to Ray, do it, because he can make even the worst line sound good.

Speaker 1:

Now, and you know, when you read, I mean listen you know I can always navigate between read and listen, but when you're listening to him and when you're listening to a lot of these great narrators, you're in, you're immersed, you're in the, you're in the story and you're like huh, this, I see where this is kind of going now, but then you're like huh, maybe I don't. And like he throws you around, cause I just listened to Andrews and Wilson Sons of Valor III and it it throws you off a little bit. Here and there there's a lot of different things going on and you're like huh, okay, maybe I'm, maybe I'm wrong about what's going on with this book.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I mean it adds a whole new element. Listening to it versus reading it, and I find both enjoyable. I'm always listening to an audiobook, I'm always reading something on my Kindle, and then I usually have a hard cover that I'm reading as well.

Speaker 1:

You know, there's one thing I do want to talk to you about today is like I, you know, I think I haven't made like an official announcement like hey, you know I'm doing this, but I'm writing my first fiction book. And it's going to be more. It's not going to be like a thriller book, it's going to be more like the crime mystery type book with some thriller elements in there. But writing to me is like the first, you know. I first started off I'm like, okay, I'm going to write a thriller, then I'm going to do this and I do that. And then I'm like, huh, I should really base it off of who I, you know who my protagonist would be if it was quasi made of me. And I can kind of see that with the way you're, with your way you're writing your books. Is this, you know, quasi you, in a weird way, are the people you've encountered throughout your career? Yeah, and as I'm writing, do you do like, hey, I'm going to write chapter one, I'm going to write chapter two, or do you skip around a lot?

Speaker 2:

I definitely don't skip around. I always write chronologically from start to finish. Now I may, when I'm done, go back and add things later, just to, you know, make it more clear. But I don't have a clearly defined plot from start to finish, to where I can just go. Hey, I'm going to write this chapter at the end of the book right now. It's just for me too many things can happen between what I am right now and then, that all that good writing could just go out the window, and so I just don't even try. But I do have a loose idea, you know, I kind of know what the inciting incident is. So, like an unknown writer, these, these lights, that, and then you know, colt Bank rough, losing control of his aircraft that's the inciting incident. I kind of know that. And that book in particular, I didn't really know where it was going to go, but I knew, you know how I wanted, like what kind of scenes I wanted at the end. But I wasn't sure how it was going to get there. So I didn't even bother trying to write the end. I just start to start to finish, which you know as a writer, at least for me, I enjoy it, it's. You know, I'd rather sit down, figure out where my story is going rather than turn on the TV and watch, you know, a series. You know I'd rather. I'd rather figure out what my characters are doing.

Speaker 1:

I like that because I started doing that and I'm like, so I used to always like tell people, ok, when you're writing nonfiction, you need to do like a mind map, because nonfiction is like, hey, the truth is out there, the facts are out there, you really just need to write about them and then you could write. You don't have to write in congenital order, but with with the fiction book, I find the same thing. I'm like I started writing chapter one. I'm like, oh, where are we going with chapter two? I'm like, oh well, this is new, you know. It's like, ok, maybe I could do this and this and this. And it's like, huh, it's really cool to think about. You know, writing some wrongs in your past or you know making some things different and like how you wish things worked out and how you wish this and that. Oh, absolutely. It's such a cool experience to write, man, and even if I never get published, at least I'm writing like something that I enjoy doing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, and that's, you know, kind of writing wrongs like you're talking about. That's one of the things that I wrote, a book called Pony Up, which and introduce this concept of what's called light attack, and it's not a new concept. In Vietnam there was a squadron called VAL for the Navy, the black ponies, that flew the OB-10 Bronco in support of naval special warfare and and the boat teams in the Macong Delta, and it was just for a few years. After the war the squadron was disestablished and that whole concept of light attack went away fast forward to the war on terror, and there were some high, high ranking people in the Pentagon that basically asked, asked the special operators, what is it you need? And they all kind of said you know, we need this light attack, we need a dedicated air support for us. And so then NSW started a program called imminent fury, flying the super to Kano. The super to Kano is a Brazilian made airplane, and so then you had Politicians that were saying, well, now you can't lease a Brazilian made plane if we have an American made plane. You know that. And so it ended up being a political thing. The program got scrapped, even though it was very successful. So so calm a few years later started a program called combat dragon 2 and they took the OB-10. They they got him from NASA, I think, and but they had started at the Marine Corps went to ATF and a few other places, ended up at NASA. So calm took them, converted them, upgraded them and they deployed it in an operational evaluation, and again very successful. But Congress again gets in the way of everything and doesn't give the warfighter what they need, and so I'm seeing all this frustration and so I said you know what I'm gonna do it, and so you know the series of my books ultimately ends up there. It ends up with the resurrection of VAL 4, which is was a concept that I came up with of having a navy F-18 pilot strike fighter background and the pilot in the front seat and the back seat and Navy SEAL is JTAC qualified that can call on air strikes and stuff like that.

Speaker 1:

So and that's a cool thing about authors like you and a lot of people In this space is like having that background and you could write about it, you know, but you're you're like enthralled with it, like you love it, like it's like part of your blood. So when you're writing about it, you could tell, and you know some people they could take a dry topic and make it really really like just awesome. And Some people could take a dry topic and keep it really dry because they have no idea what they're talking about, right, but like when you just have something that you just like damn, and F-35, we're gonna do this, we're gonna, you know, we're gonna bring up possibilities, uaps and admit you just don't know where it's gonna end up. And I like stories like that. Now, before we jump on to the next big announcement or the next big topic, let's read. Let's read some of these. I love these. From espionage to dogfights, this is a Mach 5 DBU. Brad Taylor, retired special forces officer in New York Times, bestselling author of the pike Logan series. I gotta get. Throw a little Brad Taylor in there, you know I mean yeah, here we go. A Stuart firewalls of throttles with the first sense, keeps the afterburners howling until the end. Don Bentley, another New York Times bestselling, author of forgotten war. And then another one of my favorite authors, strongly evocative of classic Clancy, intensely pace and skillfully plutted. Mark Grady, number one New York Times bestselling law after the gray man, I love a brother, oh, and Taylor Moore there we go leaves readers breathless by the end, in the hungry for the next book. Taylor Moore, author of firestorm, that's another book, another series I've been listening to and I just I was like you know, sometimes I'm like, yeah, listen, and then I'm just hooked. And it's not like your typical thriller too, it's just like. His books are like, just really Solid yeah. You're in Texas, man.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, taylor, taylor is such a great guy too, if you you know, when you speak to him he's just so humble, so soft-spoken, and it's almost surprising the stories that he tells, because his books are really good and they, they have a lot of action. It just doesn't fit with his personality Because he's just such a nice, quiet guy.

Speaker 1:

And the thing about it, too, is like it's different action. It's not like your stereotypical Shoot him up, gun him up. It's like slow burn, and then there's action, slow burn, then there's action, there's twists. Yeah, there's always twists and his and I'm really, I really enjoy that. But you have something else going on right now, man. You just you're gonna be, you teamed up with Chad Robichaux.

Speaker 2:

Robichaux, yeah, yeah, he's. He got got connected with him through Jeff Wilson. You know, anders Wilson, I was. I was flying one day and he you know Jeff texted me and said hey, do you want to, would you call, consider co-authoring a book with Chad Robichaux. And I'm like who? I didn't know he was. So I, you know, do a Google search and I'm like man, this guy has done some really impressive things. And you know, we we had served in the same same command with Jaysock and different times didn't know each other, but you know, at least kind of ran in the same circles. And so I, I reached out to him and and we just started talking and immediately before we even started talking about you know what books will be about, we just hit it off. I mean, he is such a genuine human being who has been through so much and and given so much back and continues to get back, and that's that's his focus is on. You know Mighty Oaks Foundation, which he started is is focus on treating veterans with PTSD and and and that's you know it was near and dear to him because he suffered from it. And you know he tells a story where he was in the closet and he had a gun in his hand and pictures of his family, you know, laid out in front of him and it was the end. And then his, his wife, knocked on the door and he got mad that she interrupted him, trying to kill himself, you know. And so To see him now and to hear that story, you, it's obvious there's a transformation and it's obvious that he is very passionate about this topic and, and so I was like this is a guy I want to work with, and so when we started talking, and One of the things that he did with JSOC was advanced force operations, which not a lot of people know about. You know, most of our military thrillers that we read about special operations are the guys kicking indoors and double tapping terrorists, and you know these, these teams that do all this really cool high-speed stuff. But what you don't see is that one person who goes in undercover to whatever country that is Sets up you know safe houses, sets up, you know some sort of infrastructure you know of of vehicles and Interpreters and all this.

Speaker 1:

Everything that needs to happen for that operation to succeed is what basically a fo is, and yeah, I'm reading that right now, like so as you're talking, I'm reading an article that Ryan sec put out was like to do that. This is from Chad. To do this, I term my focus developing a fiction series in which a main character followed a similar career path as mine. Like me, foster Quinn was a force recon marine who found himself with the JSOC task force. Like me, he left the uniform military behind but stayed on as a singleton, a fo operator, hunt down the most vile terrorists on the planet. And, like me, he did so while navigating complex politics, lies and deceit his own inner battles and a family at home. Through this series, I came to give the reader a front row seat into the physical, emotional, spiritual sacrifices our nation's toughest warriors make, and To do this successfully, I needed the partner with someone who could help convey these sacrifices To a reader in a way that was both compelling and challenging, but also entertaining. After talking to several writers, I found Jack Stewart Jack is not only an incredible writer, but I like my demand who reached a pinnacle of his field and in the US Navy as an aviator and top gun advisory instructor. And now you're on a protectors pie. How do I get these?

Speaker 2:

Yes, how do I?

Speaker 1:

get these. Yes, jack's a great show you just. I see New York Times bestseller in your future brother. I do.

Speaker 2:

I mean, you know, that would obviously be fantastic, but it's, it's. It's. It's funny because this series that you know, my series was starting with unknown writer. Love that series, it. But it's it's a more of a techno thriller. It I really, you know it's. Obviously there are really good characters in it, I think, and there's that interpersonal conflict which I think is so necessary in a thriller. But it leverages a lot of the tools and the weapons and the ships and the planes and all that stuff. The series that I'm doing with Chad, it's so emotional. I mean we're working on Book Two in the series right now and I just sent him my latest cut on one of the chapters which was very difficult for me to write because it's at home fostering his wife and there's a conflict there and it tore my heart because I know what most of our guys in the military go through when they have to leave home and leave their families behind. And it was just, man, it was hard, it was hard to write. So two totally different, you know, I think both are going to be extremely entertaining and there's full of thrills. So any thriller fan I think we'll enjoy both. But one is super emotional for a reason you know. So yeah, I love it, brother.

Speaker 1:

I'm looking forward to it. You know, if there's one thing I love doing with this show is I love supporting authors you know, solid authors, and I'm trying to figure out how many times you've been on a show as either a co-host or a guest, maybe once co-host a bunch of times right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, a handful of times.

Speaker 1:

And then I was trying to get Aima Dare. I'm going to give her a shout out to the gentleman that she had an appointment this morning and definitely going to have to have you back on again. I love having you as a co-host, but I also love having you as a guest. I'm so excited for Unknown Writer. I'm going to purchase the audiobook and you know what I do with Audible is I do actually do like the three credits a month or whatever. Yeah, I do the same thing. I'm like it's for one, it's cheaper, and two, it's like I can roll through audiobooks like it's nothing. And that's where, like I keep talking about Sons of Valor, because I just came back, I took a trip out to North and South Carolina and I'm like I finished the whole thing. I'm like back and forth, I'm like 14 hours in a road. Okay, we got this, yep, and it's like I love it. Man, I'm super excited for this one man.

Speaker 2:

Yeah Well, thank you very much. You know, and I always love coming on the show you do such a good job and obviously love listening to it too. You've got some, you know, really unique perspectives on different topics that are completely unrelated to the thriller. You know writing world, which you have effortlessly, you know put yourself into, but just you know other things. You know with the human trafficking and you know experiences as a law enforcement agent. I mean, you know, I really enjoy listening to the show.

Speaker 1:

I'm looking forward to having you back on, brother, and you know what I love doing lately is getting on the road and doing in-person interviews, so I got to roll out to Texas sometime and just sit down behind the mic, yeah absolutely.

Speaker 2:

You're welcome anytime.

UAPs, Mental Health, and Identity Discussion
Writing Process and Military Fiction
Authors Discuss Collaborative Project With Officer
Unknown Writer's Exciting Future Collaboration