Culture

How Leadership at BRCC Shifted From Government Service to Veteran Service

June 24, 2022Logan Stark
BRCC Service

Omar “Crispy” Avila stands strong. Photo courtesy of Black Rifle Coffee Company.

Black Rifle Coffee Company was born from a desire to be free of government service. The founders of this company reached a point where we needed to replace a commander’s intent with personal drive. We needed to move away from our reliance on government and get back to what it means to serve, and we needed to reinvigorate a relentless pursuit of happiness.


That’s where BRCC comes in: We’re a community built on hot, brown water that extends beyond a typical corporate company’s capabilities. Our mission has never strayed from that ethos.


After the horrific handling of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, it is apparent now more than ever that the individual pursuit of purpose and liberty cannot, and should not, be wholly reliant on the government.


brcc service
Gates to Kabul airport became deadly chokepoints for crushes of refugees. The Taliban, says Jariko Denman, continued to send crowds to the airport, adding to the crush. Photo by Jariko Denman.

In August, we saw a torrent of individuals flooding to help get people out of Afghanistan. Not because they were told to but because there was an intrinsic calling every individual felt to be a part of the solution. Jariko Denman was one of those individuals.


Jariko was on the ground in Kabul working back-channel communication lines to coordinate the removal of Americans and Afghans. He described the scene as a death metal show with one exit — and the arena is on fire. After 15 trips to combat zones as an Army Ranger, Denman said the situation was worse than any deployment he was ever on. Yet there he was, on the ground, risking life and limb to pull good people out of a shit situation.


In addition to the international blunders that we have seen unfold over the past year, the health care system specifically designed to serve veterans — the Department of Veterans Affairs — continues to fail the American veteran too often. There are only so many depressing hospital visits mixed with improper care that our community can endure. What is working is the heroic work ethic that is ingrained into many of us who served, repurposing that mindset and applying it toward our communities and ourselves.


Jariko
Master Sgt. Jariko Denman in a picture from his first deployment to Afghanistan in April 2002. Photo courtesy of Jariko Denman.

Omar “Crispy” Avila was blown up in Iraq, resulting in burns covering more than 80% of his body, an amputated leg, and hundreds of surgeries during his ongoing recovery. It’s something that Omar will be dealing with for the duration of his life. He is in a constant tepid state of recovery, and he needs solutions in order to live a good life. At 35 years old, it may seem on the surface that he has plenty of time to figure this out, but as a former athlete powerlifter, Omar doesn’t have time to wait on a broken system in order to live a pain-free, productive life.


That is why he went on a trip to Colombia to receive stem cell therapy in a capacity outside of what is currently available in the United States. Months after the treatment, Omar is in a better state than he has been in years.


The overarching themes here are atypical to how we are traditionally trained to think. If the last 18 months have taught us anything, it is that we need to carve out capabilities and concepts outside of how we existed in the military. The mindset we have adapted inside BRCC is one we hope others will see and aspire to. We hope that you, as an individual, can exist in circumstances where you are only limited by how creative you can be in pursuit of your desired existence.




This article first appeared in the Fall 2021 print edition of Coffee or Die Magazine as “The Caffeinated Life.”


Read Next: Secret Mission to Kabul: The C-17 Crew That Launched the Afghan Airlift



Logan Stark
Logan Stark

Logan Stark is the VP of Media for Black Rifle Coffee Company. A Michigander by birth, Logan joined the US Marine Corps shortly after graduating from Greenville High School. He trained as an infantry assaultman with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines out of Camp Pendleton, California, and later completed deployments to Okinawa, Japan, and Sangin, Afghanistan, as a scout sniper. After his time in the Marine Corps, Logan earned a degree in professional writing from Michigan State University. While at school, he directed a film titled For the 25, which focuses on his deployment to Afghanistan. This project led to him being published in USA Today and The New York Times‘ “At War” blog … and, ultimately, his role with Black Rifle Coffee Company.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Military
‘Butter Butter Jam!’: Troops Loved, and Hated, the M249 SAW

For nearly 50 years, the SAW has played a major role in America’s wars. Now it’s being replaced by new weapons.

February 8, 2023Mac Caltrider
Coffee Or Die Photo
Military
Space Force Vows ‘Above and Beyond’ Cleanup of Maui Spill

Brig. Gen. Anthony Mastalir, the commander of the U.S. Space Forces Indo-Pacific, said a team will t...

February 8, 2023Associated Press
Coffee Or Die Photo
Military
Navy Releases First Photos of Chinese Balloon Recovery

In the newest images released by the Navy on Tuesday, sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Group...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks at the Pentagon in Washington, Nov. 16, 2022. Lawyers for a group of Navy SEALS and other Navy personnel who oppose a COVID-19 vaccination requirement on religious grounds want a federal appeals court to keep alive their legal fight against the Biden administration. Congress voted to end the requirement in December 2022, but vaccine opponents note that commanders can still make decisions on how and whether to deploy unvaccinated troops, under a memo signed last month by Austin. AP photo by Susan Walsh, File.
Military
Vaccine Litigation Lingers After Lifting of Military Mandate

Lawyers for a group of Navy SEALS and other Navy personnel who refuse to be vaccinated for religious...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Armed Forces Service Medal
Military
Who Earns the Armed Forces Service Medal?

The Department of Defense honors heroism in combat in many ways, but there is also an award — the Ar...

February 7, 2023Noelle Wiehe
Soldiers carry the coffin of Eduard Strauss, a Ukrainian serviceman who died in combat on Jan. 17 in Bakhmut, during a farewell ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. AP photo by Daniel Cole.
Intel
Russian Forces Keep Up Pressue As Ukraine Anniversary Nears

Russian forces are keeping Ukrainian troops tied down with attacks in the eastern Donbas region as M...

February 7, 2023Associated Press
Chinese spy balloon
Military
Blown to Bits! Chinese Spy Balloon Blasted, Plummets Into Sea

The US Air Force downed the Chinese balloon that's been soaring over the US.

February 4, 2023Carl Prine
germany, european union, ukraine gas reserves
Intel
Ukraine Wants To Store Europe’s Strategic Gas Reserves

Ukraine maintains 12 underground gas storage facilities with a total capacity of about 31 billion cu...

February 3, 2023Nolan Peterson
  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
  • Request a Correction
  • Write for Us
  • General Inquiries
© 2023 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved