“One of the most beautiful days in my life…..”


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Day 6, 2JUL16. 100 Mile Wilderness (contin.)MILES: 16.9


CAMPSITE: Cloud Pond Lean-to


– Grueling day tackling the Chairback Mtn series which consisted of four sequential hilltops over a 15 mile span. Plenty of ups/downs over less than cooperative terrain.

– Tomorrow looks relatively flat compared to today. Goal is to finish the 100 mile wilderness and be in Monson tomorrow evening.

– “Pain is a choice”
Day 7, 3JUL16. 100 Mile Wilderness (contin.)
MILES: 9 (as of 1108 EST)


– We’ll be arriving in Monson, ME tonight. 10 more miles to go!! 

– “Bark is beautiful”

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D-2: Appalachian Trail Final Gear Layout

The ~2,000 mile southbound trek from Maine to Georgia begins June 25 at Mt Katadhin, Maine. I’ll be updating this page regularly during my journey when coverage and time permits. 


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Costa Rica AAR

I’ll have my Costa Rica Trip After Action Report downloaded in a few days at http://www.toddopalski.com for future reference for those that want to travel there.

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“Leaves of Change”

As Fall leaves surrender to the change in season, so must we continually surrender our hearts to the constant change around us.  For change to occur, a choice must be made – a choice to fully surrender one’s heart to the way one seeks to become. Only then will one be fully transformed.

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“Yungates Diet and Lifestyle Plan”

The beginnings of the Yungates Diet and Lifestyle Plan.  The Yungates staff is growing and we’ll be fully operational soon!  For now, begin eating healthy and living right!

Seize and Embrace life!


Yungates Diet & Lifestyle.docx.

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“Caveman vs. Spaceman. CHAMELEONIZE and WIN!!!!’

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CHAMELEONIZE or DIE! The people, teams, and organizations that set themselves apart in today’s environment, or what I like to deem, “Today’s Battlefield” do one thing exceptionally well… CHANGE! They know how to rapidly change to their environment (battlefield) in a PRECISE and EFFICIENT manner. A business leader once told me, “When the environment (battlefield) around you is changing more rapidly than you can keep up with, you’re destined to go bankrupt and ultimately fail… “ I couldn’t agree more…

I spent my fair share of time in the military on both the conventional and unconventional side of the house, and the organizations (and individuals) that were a cut above all others were those that were able to change RAPIDLY, PRECISELY, and EFFICIENTLY, without getting stuck in processes, procedures, and “how we use to do things.” One of my most memorable periods was time spent in a training organization that was still conducting the same “cookie cutter template” training as they were doing 20 some odd years ago with the same evaluation metrics (if you want to call them “metrics”) being employed. The training was reminiscent and near exact of the training I went through as a Private First Class 20 years prior. I often asked myself, “Shouldn’t we be at an execution level a little bit faster than we were 20 years ago??? Why does it seem like forever to execute this particular mission? “Six hours is still the standard???? Shouldn’t we be down to two hours by now??” Hmmm…. It got me thinking…

Well, the good thing is, change did occur, but in the wrong manner… Years ago we relied on transparencies (“TPs”) on an overhead projector to deliver the message, which was something called the “Concept of Operation” (NOT operations order). You were handed ten “TPs” and you drew and wrote your concept of operation and had 30 minutes to get your “buy-in” from the Supreme Commander in front of an “executive review sounding board.” Now we present elaborate 135 slide PowerPoint presentations that take in upwards to 1.5 to 2hrs in length to brief and illustrate where each person is at during each phase and stage of the operation. Outside contracted consultants that serve as “mentors,” who haven’t been “in the fight” for decades recommend the most off the wall ideas to add to the madness…. My most popular “mentor” recommendation and “Great Idea” always being, “Commander, you HAVE to add a slide to depict that action so everyone understands.” Really??? Does the Colonel or General really need to see the sectors of fire of a machinegun position on the objective??? Hmmm… “Not really…” Leave that gnat’s ass bleeding detail to the NCO…the “manager on the floor.” Worry about SYNCING and RESOURCING the fight Big Fish, and let the “floor managers” work the intricacies on the ground; TRUST them to do the job! If you haven’t trained them at this point to do so, you’re probably behind the power curve anyhow and may want to “wave off” on this high profile MRE Resupply mission. This “need to know gnats ass details” now results in the small unit leader, aka “Lieutenant” spending more time being a Graphic Artist and getting images “sexy” than rehearsing and ensuring mission critical equipment is resourced. But, we continue to spend more time in “pre-pre meetings prior to the pre-meeting prior to the meeting” to get the presentation perfectomuendo. Another great “speed bump” is the infamous Execution Checklist… a mystical type creature that annotates each play and movement of a particular mission or task. I’ve seen chapters in SOPS/desktop procedures dedicated to line-by-line items of code words, numbers, and colors. It was always a “giggly” moment watching operations folks add a special code word for one event or another… senior leaders would create stuff just to say they created it but were never around in the Operations Center during “actions on” to even see it employed. Use SIMPLE, CONCISE, PLAIN LANGUAGE!! It’s 2015 and radio nets are covered these days! ISIS does not care about the code word “Greenbayfudgepackers” or “Insertion Complete!” BUT, we are a product of the environment… and will continue to do things the way we’ve always done them until CHANGE occurs. Remember, “People don’t fail…leaders FAIL.” Change starts at the top….

“EFFICIENCY is a key component of SUCCESS.”

“He who gains fire superiority in an efficient manner…WINS!”

“Mission Centric Training vs. Environment Centric Training”

“Cutting Edge” or “Tier One” teams and businesses train their people to execute for a particular environment, not for a specific mission or METL (mission essential task list) like the majority of conventional organizations fall prey of doing.  This to me is where it all begins… training for a particular ENVIRONMENT, not necessarily a mission, task, or assignment. In today’s age…being able to “pull the trigger” across a vast spectrum is a given… you better know how to execute when the time arises. But what is even more quintessential is training and preparing your people to THINK and subsequently PERFORM in today’s battlefield…one that is comprised of six characteristics that I will delve into deeper in later articles. A battlefield that is: RAPID, DIVERSE, GLOBAL, ASSYMETRIC, SENSITIVE, and PRECISE. If you can train and prepare your folks to perform in such environment, you’ve solved >50% of your issues. Holistically training your people for a particular environment is what I believe the key to success is on “today’s battlefield,” whether on an individual or business level.

Of course, this all comes down to change and before change occurs something must happen first. “CHOICE” is what often comes to mind for the first thing to happen. In order for CHANGE to occur, a CHOICE needs to be initially made. Yes to choice and I couldn’t agree more, but I take it back to a couple more steps because I believe it goes a bit deeper than just making a choice. I’ve seen a lot of people not able to change not because they can’t make a CHOICE or DECISION, but because they are unable to do two things…. ACCEPT and DETACH. My recipe in order for change to occur is the following:

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I will be the first to admit, for the longest time, I was not willing to change a particular method of doing something. It was what I knew and I became passionately connected to “my way of doing this and that.” My approach to physical fitness is a fine example…. I kept doing the same workout time and time again and plateaued without taking my optimum performance to the next level. I wanted to change but was unwilling to DETACH myself from that particular method that I became accustomed to performing because I got COMFORTABLE of doing what I always did and was hesitant in accepting a new way of doing things. Similarly, I saw a lot of commanders fall in love with their plan…. They would spent hours and sometimes days developing an elaborate plan and then last minute prior to execution the situation on the ground changed…BUT they failed to ACCEPT the change in situation (the TRUTH), DETACH themselves from their old plan because they had a love affair with it, and CHOOSE a new plan that was more beneficial for all.

I think this recipe holds true for a lot of things that we want to change but feel we can’t. Make sense??? Another example is marksmanship programs…. I’ve witnessed some marksmanship programs degenerate because they failed to institute new approaches to training, or increase the standard, or implement “changes” that were relevant to “today’s battlefield.” Yes, you can be extremely FAST and have all hits within a 8” plate, but how PRECISE are those shots???? Today’s battlefield is precise and one needs to be able to repeatedly deliver those shots consistently in the same manner time and time again in various conditions and under extreme duress. Why? Because in today’s world there is minimal margin of error, if any, on today’s battlefield… whether you’re talking business, government, or military operations and you only get one chance to get it right. So, you better get it right the first time….

Some things to remember:

  1. In an organization, change starts with LEADERSHIP. Remember, “People don’t fail, leaders FAIL.” I use that in a “setting your people up for success” manner and can be applied to team, organization, and community.
  2. Prior to change occurring, you need to be able to ACCEPT/UNDERSTAND the current playing field/situation/environment. Do your homework and analyze!
  3. Once you ACCEPT and UNDERSTAND, you must emotionally DETACH yourself from the old ways of doing things… “Don’t fall in love with the plan…IT WILL CHANGE!” No plan survives enemy contact.
  4. Chameleonize! Change and adapt to the environment of today and tomorrow. Don’t train/prepare for yesterday….
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“True Warriors….”


Of my 26 years in the U.S. Marines, I had the distinct honor and privilege to serve with some of the finest gunmen and hunters of modern times. The men that set themselves apart were those that personified professionalism at all times…the “true warriors.” They embodied the virtues and principles of mind, body, and spirit. They were extremely humble, unassuming, calm, calculated never hasty, cool, quiet, engineer of their trade, and more than anything…disciplined. In all things, they set the standard of EXCELLENCE… they gave 100% in all challenges and opportunities encountered…mental, physical, and spiritual. The average would call them “obsessed” or “extremist,” but in reality, they were maintaining the STANDARD and not accepting status quo or compromising the standard of EXCELLENCE. Not one considered himself a “hero,” “special,” “operator,” or “elite XXX.” They always considered themselves a soldier of arms first and servant second, nothing less, nothing more. Most of them liked being called “grunt” and took pride in being a basic infantryman. They were dutiful servants of their team, unit, family, Country, and their God. When times got tough, they didn’t make excuses…but ATTACKED! They never felt sorry for themselves or considered themselves a “victim” of a particular circumstance or “the system”. They SUPPORTED their leadership at all times. If there was a problem, they figured it out; if they didn’t know the answer…they would seek it. They were PROBLEM SOLVERS and leaders of INNOVATION and INITIATIVE. Terms such as “hope,” “try,” “maybe,” “never,” “no,” and “perhaps,” were foreign and unknown words to them. They were PREPARED and constantly ready…. Practice, rehearsals, attention to detail, studying, were all continuous actions 24/7; ALWAYS ready for an ambush or mission at a moments notice. When they squeezed the trigger it was with “certainty” and precision. Their measure of success wasn’t derived from the amount of “confirmed kills” they possessed, number of medals earned, number of jumps/dives, paddles adorning a wall, schools attended, deployments/rotations conducted, or rank achieved. But their measure of success was how they contributed to their team, unit, family, Country and God in each thing they did everyday….

Because of their virtue and principles, these “true warriors” will NEVER be known to the masses… no movies, no books, no unnecessary publicity. They will continue to live being a selfless, faithful, and loyal servant to humanity and making this world a better place to live in. I’m grateful for having served with such men and extremely thankful for their leadership, mentorship, and comradeship along the way. The walk and journey never ends….


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“The Next Fight…..”


I’m starting a blog as another median to share ideas, generate thought, receive feedback, learn about myself, and to connect with people from various and diverse backgrounds. My goal is to share some things I learned with you after spending over 25 years in the military with the hope of improving your lives (and mine) through enhancing efficiency and looking at life from another perspective. My focus areas will be: fitness & health, leadership, teamwork, and just plain ole’ life in general.

We all approach our daily life in a different manner, and for me, I’ve always approached it from a “maneuver warfare & doing battle” manner, per se. How you approach things and problem solve is entirely up to you, but I firmly believe, that each day we live, we encounter internal and external forces that want to defeat us in one way, shape, or form…whether those forces are physical, mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, etc.

Bottom-line, if you’re not PREPARED to do battle, you increase the risk of defeat…

We are our own worse enemy! Today’s world is more complex and distracting than ever before and to succeed and claim victory, we need to be PROPERLY PREPARED to do battle every second, of every minute, of every hour of each day. I look forward to sharing some simple but EFFECTIVE tactics that will assist you in surviving today’s battlefield…

If anyone has any suggestions or great and whacky ideas, please let me know. My first post will be in a few days and will be titled, “The Six Characteristics of Today’s Battlefield….” These Six Characteristics are just as relevant on the home front as they are in business, community, military, or government.

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