Hi Reddit!

I’m Josh Vandenbrink, and I spent 15 years as a U.S. Air Force Pararescueman, including some time with the CIA/OGA. Over my government career, I deployed to combat 21 times, between Afghanistan, Iraq, and Africa. I’ve since started my own company designing and manufacturing original artwork such as the metal flag that I made for Joe Rogan (the one that hangs behind him in his Podcast studio). I’ve included some pictures below for those interested.

I’m looking forward to my first ever IAmA, so Ask Me Anything!

Proof: https://imgur.com/a/f48ZgOl

More pics:






My appearance on Fox News: https://www.foxnews.com/us/military-veteran-making-steel-us-flags-shows-his-mettle

My website: www.1NationDesigns.com

**edit** Thanks for all the questions. I'm headed out now. Will check back later and try to answer any new questions.

Comments: 170 • Responses: 48  • Date: 

hightechhippie21 karma

Let's get right into it,. What did you do in the CIA ?

Josh_Vandenbrink18 karma

Hahaha Sorry, I'm just thinking about how I answer this honestly without a thousand follow up questions... that I have to skip. I filled a very similar role as being a Pararescuemen in the military.

ZeroBullshitMan9 karma

Band-aids for marines?

Josh_Vandenbrink9 karma

Yeah I put a few band-aids on marines...

Nathan_P_Charles3 karma

Who is most realistic spy hero?

Mitch Rapp

Jack Ryan

Scott Harvath

Dewey Andreas

Josh_Vandenbrink10 karma

I'm not sure who any of those dudes are except Jack Ryan... who is awesome and super entertaining... and totally unrealistic as a character but I do like John Hoogenakker's character. That dudes on point.

loki_racer12 karma

What one piece of kit do you recommend to civilians going into the backcountry?

Josh_Vandenbrink12 karma

What's up dude? I actually wrote an article in Recoil/Offgrid on this exact thing.... I'll try to get the link up

loki_racer15 karma

Since I know your reddit-fu is weak, I assume your google-fu is weak. I found it: https://www.recoilweb.com/preview-shtf-ifak-vs-med-kit-57345.html

Josh_Vandenbrink11 karma

hahaha dick... thank you

Josh_Vandenbrink6 karma

That's actually a different article... I'm looking now...

mitch2you803 karma

It’s paywalled after. “Have a IFAC at the range or on your person if you concealed carry”

Josh_Vandenbrink2 karma

I have it on another computer. I'll try to make all of my old tactical articles downloadable from the homepage on my website.

TheSweetestKill11 karma

How did Joe get your flag? Did he find you organically, or did you reach out to him?

Josh_Vandenbrink15 karma

It was really cool actually. He found me on IG when I was really new. He bought my 11th flag I ever sold. When I got his DM I was sure I was getting catfished by a fake Joe Rogan account. haha

kevin_2_heaven10 karma

Have we ever or are we currently working with extra terrestrials?

Have you ever had any paranormal experiences?

Josh_Vandenbrink15 karma

DUDE, zero foreplay huh? haha

No idea! But I fuckin hope so... and that Bob Lazar resonates with me and I hear bullshit stories constantly...

A-Random-Crow6 karma

What are some prerequisites that you have to complete before joining the CIA? Also, thank you for your service!

Josh_Vandenbrink13 karma

It depends entirely on the job you are after... I think the requirement for a security possible is high school diploma and then obviously it goes up from there. For me, my military experience got me in above and beyond anyhthing else. The typical role that people think of would be like a case officer and that is a 4 year degree min. But there are so many cool jobs in science and tech that have varying requirements that seem super fun if you can survive in DC for the first couple years on GS7 pay...

DickweedMcGee5 karma

Pararescueman vs Navy Seal. Who's tougher?

Josh_Vandenbrink14 karma

hahaha solid question.... is it a fight to the death or a dance off?

Jumlee775 karma

How much can I get a flag for?

Josh_Vandenbrink9 karma

The flags start at $180 and go up from there- I have more sizes and designs on the website. (link in the description above)

quaintpants5 karma

Did the CIA smuggle cocaine into the country to sell in the ghettos to finance black ops?

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

Which country?

IEatSnickers4 karma

In to the US, stuff like this is what he's asking about

Josh_Vandenbrink11 karma

You know it's funny, when I started with them I hoped there would be read-in on UFOs, Kennedy, and Contra (seriously) ... but they don't do that class. Not trying to be shitty, just can't answer that with more then open sources guesses...

Jaw43058MKII4 karma

Hey there Josh! As someone who wants to enlist and go CCT in the Air Force, would having a background in competitive swimming and track assist me in the training process?

I don’t know if the question makes sense, but I’ve been heavily considering CCT and I would like some input from someone who has experience.

Josh_Vandenbrink8 karma

Competitive swimming is the biggest advantage you can have in most selections...

Jaw43058MKII2 karma

Okay that’s a relief then. What times should I be shooting for swims? I understand a lot of the water conditioning is more than just doing laps and the like, however what would a good 500 time be if you can remember?

As it currently stands, my 500 is sitting at a 6:20 something, my 100 Free is 56 secs, and my 50 Free is 24-ish.

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

Your times are great. I always tell guys not to over think it and train too hard heading in. I remember seeing guys show up day1 smoked mentally.

When I went in I just surfed the last month before going in and I'm really glad that I did because I was excited to see the pool for the first couple weeks of selection and I think that made a difference for me.

Dank_Matmo3 karma

Why exactly is swimming such an advantage? Is it actually due to the conditioning that comes with it or do most selection processes demand a strong swimmers as candidates? Thanks again 🤘

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

Swimming is the great equalizer. It's hard to smoke high level runners in a group or team setting... but the pool is hard for everyone. Also, you can die being held under water... there's no real fear component for the physical fitness stuff...

Jaw43058MKII2 karma

That's good to hear and thank you for responding. I'm about to graduate then attend community college for my Associates degree before joining. So that means I have a good 2 and a half years to go, but I just wanted to make sure I was in the ballpark and improve much more physically before I made the decision to enlist.

Thank you very much.

Josh_Vandenbrink3 karma

Sounds like you are right on track... Hit me on IG any time with questions or if I can help you get there... it's @ Parajumperjosh

OnlySleepsWithAFanOn3 karma

Okay, so 100 hairless chimps vs 1000 11-year-olds. Who wins?

No weapons.

Josh_Vandenbrink6 karma

I have my money on the chimps if weapons are off the table.

RLR_13 karma

Did u do anything with the Indian armed forces .. if so how was ur experience with them ??

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

I didn't but I always heard great things about them. They are doing some solid work these days. Hats off to those boys

Maxttack3 karma

Did you ever meet and CIA GRS guys, if so what were they like...?

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

Yeah, I worked with them a fair bit. Very good dudes. They have one of the hardest pistol quals. in the game... if not the hardest. The movie 13 hours is the best dialog Ive ever heard of a GRS team room. The shit talk and banter is spot on.

AzurLaneRangerSexper3 karma

Were you part of a PMC the CIA used as a front for their operations?

Is there animosity between the CIA and DoD special forces?

Were you or anyone you worked with ever a victim of chemical weapons or have to take precautions against chemical weapons?

Did you ever work alongside Iraqi Security forces? If so were they diverse between multiple ethnicities and religions or homogeneous between one?

Did you ever work with Latin American security contractors in the middle East?

Did you ever have to use "Soviet" equipment because of problems being supplied American equipment?

Were you ever deployed deep into ISIS occupied territory during the Iraqi Civil War?

Did you get a cool nickname that was used instead of your real name?

Sorry for all the questions, i'm doing research for a novel I'm writing.

Josh_Vandenbrink8 karma

  1. No
  2. No
  3. No
  4. Not Iraqi's
  5. yes
  6. Yes
  7. No
  8. Yes (Preacher)

Not sure that helps...

[deleted]3 karma


Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

Is that the same as Ayahuasca? I hear Joe Rogan talk about both and I feel like they are interchangeable...

OnlySleepsWithAFanOn3 karma

Ayahuasca is made of 2 things that contain DMT.

DMT is a hallucinogenic chemical that people have been using for thousands of years to talk to machine elves.

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

hahaha Are you on DMT right now?

Josh_Vandenbrink4 karma

I never have but they are starting to do some amazing therapeutic stuff for people with PTSD using DMT and mushrooms. So I'd be game for learning more.... mostly because I love elves.

OutdoorRink3 karma

Let's just get this out of the way....how much do those flags cost?

Josh_Vandenbrink3 karma

They start at $180 for a 12" x 24" one and go up from there. I have tons of different sizes and designs, so I recommend checking out the website (link in description above) for all the different prices. The flag Joe Rogan has (XL) cost $2,199.

babishcloudz2 karma

With the current administration do you think that military spending is too high or too low? Also if it's too high then where should the extra funds go to?

Josh_Vandenbrink9 karma

I'm a libertarian so I say all government spending is too high. I think that the unit funding model is flawed and forces people to waste shit loads of money at the end of every year to insure the next years budget... Id fix that non-sense for starters.

Squatchy132 karma

Do you think there is a role for nuclear weapons in today’s conflicts?

Josh_Vandenbrink9 karma

Well they are the greatest weapons ever created and I would argue that they define almost every aspect of modern global politics, not just conflicts. So their role is defining the playing field whether they are in use or on the shelf.

Squatchy132 karma

If you could select any one person from history to resurrect and make Them President of the USA for 8 years who would it be?

Josh_Vandenbrink8 karma

President Lincoln. He held our country together through harder times then these and did it by crossing party lines and by assembling a bipartisan cabinet... I feel like we could use more of that these days.

Deusselkerr2 karma

What’s a function of the CIA most people don’t know about? Not necessarily something covert, just something not talked about?

Josh_Vandenbrink8 karma

So this is one that I think is interesting to know. The Department of State publishes travel advisories on just about any country you could hope to visit and the agency helps with those... so they are actually really good to check out if you want to travel abroad..

Josh_Vandenbrink6 karma

Man that's a great question... I'm thinking...

MeatballsMothman2 karma

Did you eat better with the PJ's or the CIA?

Josh_Vandenbrink7 karma

CIA, hands down. When I was a PJ we would be on alert in country so we couldn't even go to the chow hall. THey would bring up "murmites" (yeti cooler looking things from the 1970s) full of rice and beans. Then when I was with the agency we had a private chef for very small group of us because we couldn't go out. The chef was a professional chef from South Africa... and he'd have these amazing breakfast sandwiches ready for all of us at any hour. Like, imagine famous chef-quality food, just always ready. He's a friend to this day

2Poop2Babiez2 karma

Advise for landing a career at the CIA?

Josh_Vandenbrink6 karma

Yeah I hate to say it, but when I was with them they really cracked down on fast tracking resumes for friends. So equal opportunity policy. So they made every single applicant go through the website to make it far. So it's a tough deal getting in. Funny enough, I knew a bunch of people there that were there because they applied for the CIA and FBI at the same time and the agency called first. haha

MommyMomMum2 karma

I have a close friend (26M) going through the pipeline after some heavy specialized training. How can I support them?

Josh_Vandenbrink8 karma

I love it. I can only speak for me but when I was in the pipeline I wanted a break mentally and "calls home" for me were a chance to escape the grind. But everyone wanted me to re live training on every phone call. I'd say send them funny memes and shit and take the time to tell them about back home and life...

The_Millicent2 karma

I’m glad the folks here now know you made that flag that is behind Joe Rogan in his podcast studio. Are all of your former cohorts over achievers in civilian life? It seems like the high-speed guys just NEVER come home and chill. So many of you guys go balls out and start businesses. How did you get started messing around with manipulating rust on metal?

Josh_Vandenbrink2 karma

haha Well thanks for the support. I think that some of us are just wired wrong. lol

I know 8 Pararescuemen from my years in that are about my age that are now Medical Doctors... so I find myself feeling like the under achiever

neoconfection2 karma

What is the perception of the Navy SEALs within the US SOF community, especially considering their recent controversies (drug use, murder of a fellow SOF member, Chief Gallagher, etc)?

Did you have an opportunity to work with the Canadian Armed Forces? How was it?

Josh_Vandenbrink2 karma

I'm not really sure honestly. I have great relationships with a bunch of seals but I'm not in to hear the scuttlebutt around the water cooler... but I can't imagine it is any more negative then usual haha

neoconfection1 karma

Thanks for your response. What about the second part of my question re: Canadians?

Josh_Vandenbrink1 karma

I've trained with some Canadian units but I was never operational with them. In training they were super solid. If I remember correctly I fumbled the first drill we ran together... haha

Sodpoodle1 karma

How do you feel about the proposed switch to SWOE contracts for AFSOC vs the current? Also A&S vs old indoc?

Josh_Vandenbrink3 karma

When I came into the Air Force in 2000, I enlisted because there were no officers in Pararescue... then the first officer was on my indoc team. When I finally finished the pipeline, I was stationed in Valdosta, GA. They gave me an ACC patch and then days later they said take it off, we're AFSOC now. And then like a month later they said put the ACC patch back on... that was 2003. So this has been going on for years. Who knows where this stops....

mitch2you801 karma

What is the biggest “expectation vs reality” for someone just starting the pipeline to someone finishing their first tour?

Josh_Vandenbrink8 karma

I can't say this loud enough: LEARN YOUR MEDICINE

There is not time in the rest of your career to fit yourself if you miss learning it in the pipeline. Everything else in the pipeline, like jumping, is shit you'll get better at the rest of your time in. But your medicine will only get worse. So start at the highest level humanly possible and it will set you apart from your peers.

Squatchy131 karma

After your military career what activities you do now bring you the most peace/joy?

Josh_Vandenbrink6 karma

I'm a dad now... best thing I've ever done and they are the reason I go to work everyday.

I appreciate that question. Thank you

bigman571 karma

Is there a moment or mission that you are most proud of from your time as a PJ?

Josh_Vandenbrink1 karma

There is a write up on google for a mission I was on in 2011 that I think of from time to time.

theprayingmanisx1 karma

What situation that you lived through because of your job in the CIA most keeps you up at night? Lol deep I know. Keep being awesome!

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

Honestly there are a couple men that I miss more then I can explain. I think about them constantly...

labledcrazy1 karma

Are you a freemason or a part of any other cult?

Are you aware that the cia has been doing fucked up shit to it's own people since it's creation?(mkultra, project montauk, importing drugs into its own country, etc)

Oh, and thanks for linking rogan to the cia.

Oh, just for fun, yer obviously still a spook right?

Josh_Vandenbrink4 karma

haha Rogan's been with the agency since long before I met him...

labledcrazy-3 karma

I know.

What are your thoughts on an organization that was formed to protect it's people torturing said people with programs like:


Operation Seaspray

Operating Mockingbird

And also your thoughts on the fact that the cia deals drugs to it's own civillians?

Josh_Vandenbrink8 karma

Did you just listen to Time Suck Podcast with Dan Cummins? He just covered both like a week ago... are you a Space Lizard?

Norgeroff1 karma

What color is your toothbrush?

Josh_Vandenbrink3 karma

Red, White, and Blue...

Dacountofmontecristo0 karma

What's the coolest job in the military, or perhaps the best route to get there? I'm enlisting at 30 (Canadian though), and even though I'd like to join the US military it seems like a difficult bureaucratic task and I would rather get started sooner than waiting to get a green card then 5 years permanent resident before I can do the cool things.

Josh_Vandenbrink5 karma

I think being in special operations is hard to beat but I did that and I've never flown a jet... so these days I say fighter pilot would be really hard to beat.

Upper-Dance-10 karma

How many nations have been destroyed by the CIA in your estimation?

How many of those have you taken part in?

Josh_Vandenbrink6 karma

That's an interesting question for sure... I can promise "nation destroyer" is no where on my resume

Upper-Dance-13 karma

But "Assistant to nation destroyer" definitely is, and you seem to be super proud of it.

Josh_Vandenbrink15 karma

Are you saying that I'm destroying the world but you can't resist dumping an Office TV show reference??? Interesting priorities...