May 27, 2022

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

An Interview with Spotter Up Writer Jason Silva, US Marine and Retired Police Officer

5 min read

I want to say thanks to Jason for taking the time to answer my questions.

  1.     Where are you from originally?

Born in Sacramento, raised in Reno and the SF Bay Area and now living in Colorado.

  1.     Tell us about your line of work.

I enlisted in the Marines in 2000 as in 0311. After OIF 1 I returned home and was hired at Richmond Police Department in California. While there I did everything from patrol, detective, SWAT and a few other awesome assignments in between, I volunteered for just about everything I could. Unfortunately, I had some pretty bad knee injuries that culminated with a partial replacement and the City retired me. From there I did some security contracting at Dropbox and soon found my way into Salient Operations Group. The president of the company, Mitchell McAlister, gave me a shot on the company’s first job. I was the first time in a long time I felt part of a team again, it was awesome. Now I work contracts for them when needed and manage contracts when asked.

  1.     How did enlisting in the military or (law enforcement, etc.) change you?

At the time of my enlistment, my friends were getting heavy into drugs and I would party a lot, work dead end jobs with no direction. I knew if I stuck around in the environment I would get caught up, so I joined. My ultimate goal was to go into law enforcement when ready and having that goal kept me on the path to achieving it.

  1.     What three words best describe your personality and how does it translate into your business or line of work?

Humble, driven and willing. I could break down each word, but basically, they describe that I don’t believe in my own hype, that makes me willing to learn and accept criticism and make myself better. I am driven to learn new things, skills and ways to improve my team as it relates to the work I am doing, I really enjoy being in a team environment, leading or following I do my best in a team.

  1.     What is your favorite food?

Pretty much anything my wife cooks, she kills it in the kitchen.

  1.     Favorite song and how did it affect you?

Now, this is tough, I love music and it has had a huge influence on me throughout my life. Right now, it is split between Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers” and Chris Stapleton’s “Traveler”. Every time I hear Wildflowers all I can think about is my daughter, Everly. She’s two and a half and her personality is described to a T in that song, my kids are my world. Traveler really describes me, always going…

  1.     What kind of music do you listen to when you work out?

Anything heavy, mostly rock, if its dark, raw and loud, I am all about it.

  1.     Anything on your bucket list?

See the countryside of Japan and learn more about their history.

  1. What is your training philosophy?

Train the way you play. I was huge on this in the military and LE. I don’t like to waste repetitions and I always trained with the gear I used on the street or in Iraq. I remember before we deployed, a bunch of guys bought brand new fancy expensive gear a week before we shipped. It looked cool and it made things easier or more comfortable. However, I refused to buy it because I hadn’t trained with it at all and I was comfortable with what I had.

That one time I pushed my fire team leader a little too far and he had to take a moment to talk to Jesus. Luckily, we were in a nice part of Camp Pendleton and he had a pretty view.

  1. What motivates you?

Being the best example I can be for my kids. And show them its ok to fail, but learn from it and do better.

  1. What is your biggest weakness?

I am too critical of myself at times.

  1. How do you challenge yourself at work?

Do something I don’t want to do.

  1. What’s your advice to folks?

Life is too damn short, don’t be an asshole.

  1. Future Plans?

I hope to do more security contracting and get involved in training.

  1. What do you tell yourself when things look bleak?

All my problems are 1st world problems. I have seen true suffering and looked into the eyes of evil, I overcame worse so I just put on foot in front of the other and keep going.

  1. Any last lesson for our readers?

Ask questions, find what works for you and just do it. Work on your weaknesses, don’t ignore them.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Mattis giving 1st Mar Div a speech before we stepped of to invade Iraq

  1. Who is your hero in life?

My pops and my mom. I have learned a lot from them either directly or indirectly.

  1. Tell me about things that didn’t go the way you wanted it, and how you moved on to a better success. I mean, really, what is your biggest failure to date?

The one thing that comes to mind is my time at Dropbox. I was recruited for a job I really wanted to do and it was sold to me as something it turned out not to be. I still tried to do my best but in the end, it did not work out. I put my personal business at risk to purse a great opportunity, however, I learned the hard way how things work on the civilian side and I failed. But that is ok, it made me better and gave me a perspective on what not to do as a manager.

  1. What has been your biggest success to date?

My biggest success is my family. It is an ongoing process that I strive to be successful at every day and I do not take the opportunity for granted, ever.

  1. What mental or physical areas did you personally struggle with and how did you overcome them?

I was at the top of my game just a few years ago at RPD, everything ended quick for me and finding myself mentally and physically after has been the hardest thing by far. I have overcome this by surrounding myself with solid people who have given me chances to be a part of something bigger than myself again. This led to me finding a new role in life and an identity outside of military and LE.

Jason Silva enlisted as an 0311 prior to 9/11 and served in OIF 1 with RCT-1, he also held secondary MOS’s of Range Coach/PMI and was an Assault Climber. Upon returning from Iraq he was hired at Richmond Police Department in California, there he served just over 10 years.


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