Navy SEAL Cade Courtley interview, ‘Surviving Disaster’ for Spike, Sept. 1

There are numerous reasons to tune into the latest reality survival series from Spike, the biggest is the engaging host Cade Courtley, a true American Patriot and a bonafide Navy SEAL who teaches you, the viewer, useful information for surviving plausible terror scenarios in this post 9/11 age.

Navy SEAL Cade Courtley literally guides through ten edge-of-your-seat episodes;
the series premiere airs Tuesday, September 1 (10:00-11:00pm ET/PT) with the first episode dedicated to a simulated plane hijacking.

You will find yourself wanting to take notes.

The premiere episode “Hijacking” was loaded with information I had never thought of, nor realized about what to do if you had to assume a pilot role in the event of a suicide hijacking of a large commercial jet. 

There are important things we all need to know that will buy you time, and everyone’s life on the plane to keep from being shot down by NORAD ordered F-16’s sent to end the suicide mission. 

You will learn the correct frequency to turn the radio to “911” the tower and have a real pilot instruct you on how to actually land a plane.  This is after Cade shows the viewers a detailed plan on defeating armed adrenalin-filled terrorists, and organizing a group of strangers to work in tandem effectively. 

“Surviving Disaster” takes worst case scenes and makes them tangible, believable and educates the viewer on how to take everyday items, survival skills and develop deep focus to overcome the moment.  The show asks us, ‘what if, on the daily subway commute, a bio weapon is released?  Or a fire is blazing in the 12th floor office and the only way out is blocked?’

You can keep your head, and think critically during the most awful events imagined.

Cade Courtley is a terrific teacher, and his gaze is mesmerizing when he is talking to you through the cameras; it is as if he is talking directly at you, not an easy accomplishment.  

Navy SEAL training gave Courtley a wealth of survival skills knowledge and has instilled in him a life-long pursuit of personal excellence. When you’re in someone’s presence that is like this, it is inspirational.

Each week, Courtley equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones in unique situations.  Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. 

While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley gives hands-on instruction, and swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes.  Unlike any other series, “Surviving Disaster” may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

Other disaster-themed episodes are: Nuclear Attack, Home Invasion, Fire, Avalanche, Lost at Sea, Hurricane, Bio-Chemical Attack, Mall Shooting and Earthquake.

About Cade Courtley:

Born in Ohio, Courtley was raised in Colorado and completed his formal education in San Diego, entering the Navy afterwards.  His SEAL training prepared him for any imminent danger for a living, conducting clandestine missions from the sea, air and land that include counter-terrorism operations, special reconnaissance and unconventional warfare. 

A standout Naval Officer from the beginning, Courtley was the Class Leader in his BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training and was chosen to attend the elite SEAL Sniper school, a privilege given only to a select few.  While on active duty, he served tours in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Southeast Asia, where he led highly classified, high-risk operations.  He continued this high-risk profession with several tours to Iraq in the private sector.  His strong background in military Special Operations has given him the unmatched skills to survive and adapt in the direst of circumstances.    

You may also remember Cade from “Combat Missions,” the USA series produced by Mark Burnett. 

Monsters and Critics had a chance to chat with Cade Courtley at the recent TCA’s in Pasadena, California about this new series, and his background.

Cade, this is a really interesting series, I would classify it as a documentary and found myself taking notes.  Can you give me an overview of survival scenarios you cover for the season, after Hijacking?

CC: We deal with what could be called the “worst day of your life” from a Home Invasion, Fire, Nuclear Attack, Avalanche, Bio-Chemical Attack, Lost at Sea, Hurricane, Earthquake and my favorite – Mall Attack.

Obviously Navy SEALS must be peppered constantly with questions about your actual training.  How long was the process to become a SEAL for you? From boot camp to battle?

CC: If you are incredibly lucky and make it through the training pipeline without getting injured, you can go from Day 1 of SEAL Training (BUD/S) to combat ready in about 30 months. 

Or if you break your leg 3 times and get your skull fractured like I did, you can add at least an extra year to that.  But it was worth it!

In the premiere episode where you educate fliers on how to handle a worst case situation, you assumed the leader role immediately.  In a real situation, how do ascertain who the proper “leader” is for judgment and keeping cool and focused?

CC: I have always found that the “leader” in the true sense of the word steps up when the sh*t hits the fan.  He/she will present themselves, and get others to follow.

I was under the impression flights still had armed Marshals on board anonymously, now you have me scared we have become complacent again post 9/11.  Are the Marshals still in force?

CC: The Air Marshals are still very involved in the security of our flights. And for them to be effective, it is best that people not know who they are and exactly what they do, which is why we decided to remove them from our scenario.

What is the best weapon in a woman’s purse?

CC: One of the most effective and common items a woman has in her purse is a set of car keys.  Placing them between your fingers and going to work on someone’s face or neck would inflict pretty serious damage to an attacker.

What is the biggest myth and misconception about Navy SEALS out there? The puppy killing story?

CC:  We would never kill puppies. Really the biggest misconception that I am constantly reminded of is that SEALs are a bunch of knuckle-dragging apes. 

In my last platoon, everyone had a degree and two of my “enlisted guys” had their masters. The kind of guys that make it through SEAL training are incredibly intelligent, able to conduct operations in countries that are hard to pronounce and make enormous decisions when radio silence is required. 

Simply put – the kind of guy that will get it right 100% of the time without asking how.

In your opinion, what is the most imminent danger we as a country face in a future “disaster” or event?

CC: I personally think a major Pandemic (outbreak) presents the greatest threat. It is blind to who it attacks.

Outside of the SEALS, which special forces do you respect and admire based on their record, training and reputation?

CC: I will now and forever buy drinks for the boys of the Army’s TF-160 Special Operations helicopter squadron. 

Their motto: “Any time, anywhere, any weather, plus or minus 30 seconds.”  And they did.  Thanks again guys!!!!!

Tell me how you came to this series,, did you pitch it? Did someone pitch you?

CC: Back in 2002, I was part of Mark Burnett’s TV show called “Combat Missions.”   On the set was a PA that, fast forward, would become a creative executive at Spike TV. 

I was in Iraq as an “independent contractor” when I got an email from him asking me if I wanted to be in this new show called “Surviving Disaster.”  

I told him I was a little busy, but he convinced me to send him a two minute tape introducing myself. So from a HUMVEE at full speed, I gave an intro and said “if you want me, make an offer, otherwise leave me alone.” 

Just then an IED coincidentally exploded somewhere in the distance.  Needless to say, I got the gig.  80 degrees in Los Angeles beats 120 in Baghdad any day.

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