Grady Powell
Grady Powell

Most Americans today know about the ’66 British Invasion, when the Beatles and the Rolling Stones landed on our shores and started a musical revolution. But few remember that, in that same year, The Ballad of the Green Berets topped the charts for five weeks and was 1966’s No. 1 single. This writer remembers it well, and the 45 RPM single still sits prominently among his collection of vintage vinyl. And when John Wayne starred as the Hollywood version of a Special Forces commander in Vietnam, he forever established the Green Beret soldier as an American icon.
Epitomizing the modern soldier is Grady Powell, a five-year veteran of the Green Berets. Since getting out of the Army last year, Powell keeps busy. He’s the head weapons instructor for Asymmetric Solutions USA and a spokesman for General Tire. His tough-as-nails persona and movie star looks won him a role in the show Stars Earn Stripes. Teaming up with celebrity Eve Torres, they won the overall competition.

MY FIRST GUN: It was a Marlin .22 bolt-action rifle. You can’t beat a .22 long rifle. Basically, you shoot it for free. I paid $100 for it and got it from my buddy. It still has the cruddy paint job that was on it when
I got it. The paint covers up the scope,
so I don’t even know what brand it is.

MY MENTOR: I can’t really say I had a mentor growing up. My instructors through the Bravo course were very influential. Since then, Chris Kyle, he was a very good friend. He taught me patience. He had a whole hell of a lot of patience.

SHOOTING SCHEDULE: I shoot every week. Now, I’m an instructor in Potosi, Missouri, training people to shoot at Asymmetric Solutions USA. There are a lot of people buying guns these days because it’s a cool thing to do, so I’m training people to know how to handle firearms. My father is buying a lot of guns, too, and I told him “I’ll teach you how to be proficient will all of them, but you’ve got to leave them to me in your will.” I gave my girlfriend a Glock 19, and I take her shooting every weekend.

FAVORITE SHOOTING: I used to be big on speed target shooting, but I don’t see the point of that any more. I like dynamic shooting, through houses. That’s practical. You’re not going to get too far shooting standing in a static position. The other day I took a bunch of IDPA guys shooting and they did real good at stationary targets. Then I took them through a house, and their groups were measured in feet.

INFLUENCES: Firearms in general. As far as security goes, I always carry concealed. Shooting is stress relief. In my house, there are weapons placed strategically throughout.

GREATEST SHOT: When I was on my team (in the Army), we would do long-range training. I’d have to say hitting steel at 1,500 yards with a .300 Win Mag. I had never done anything like that before.
IF I ONLY HAD ONE: That’s hard. I‘ve got to be honest: I love my Marlin .22 bolt action. If there were zombies attacking us, then it would be an AR variant.

ADVICE FOR A YOUNGER YOU: You’re doing it exactly right. I’m just kidding. Have a lot of patience. Anybody can charge through situations and find their way out, but take your time and think your way through and save yourself a lot of heartache.

IN ANOTHER LIFE: “If I had not entered the military, what would my occupation be today,” is a good question. I was born with the military in my blood. My father was in Special Forces. If I hadn’t gone in the Army, I would probably be a graphic designer. That was my major in college. I guess that I would be a troubled artist. I got a full scholarship ROTC at Mizzou.

BIGGEST ADVENTURE: When I got out of the military, I backpacked through Europe for a while. I slowed down and took things one day at a time. It helped. Life is too damn short to take it too fast. We get one shot at life, and I want to do it right.

Chris Kyle, because we wouldn’t stop laughing. Everybody knows he wouldn’t miss. It would be wonderful to spend just one more day with him.

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