Hi this is your host, Pete Blum. Welcome to American Heroes Network! Our core mission is Serving the Brave Men and Women who have Sacrificed to Ensure our Freedom. You will hear true stories from those that have served, learn about Veteran organizations and resources, and gain hope for your future knowing American Heroes Network, your community, and other Veterans are here and at the ready to serve and help you and your family. We will talk about the hard topics like PTSD/TBI. You will also hear military history, inspirational stories, learn about networking with the community, and more. So come join us and be part of our family.
Today’s guest is a Marine Veteran who transitioned from the military and into law enforcement. He has extensive experience with handling and training canines in various roles. He is also a personal fines trainer and started his own gym. He is the Owner of Iron Strength Barbell. I would like to welcome Iansun Hyrst.
You can follow Iansun here
Iansun thank you for serving and how are you doing today?
Also on today’s podcast I have Army Veteran and Co-Host for American Heroes Network Steve Deaton. Welcome Steve and thanks for joining us.
Steve: Tell us about your parents, your childhood.
Pete: Iansun tell us about when you joined the military, your rank, what job you did while you served, and what was life like in the military for you.
I was in the Marines from early 1993 to late 1996 stationed in California at 29 Palms 3rd LAR HQ. Life was very simple and we, as a nation really had no major conflicts during that time. Which later in life lead me to working Overseas as a civilian.
Steve: Was transition from the military easy or hard for you?
It was extremely easy. I joined the Marines with the intent of getting into Law Enforcement. I knew I wasn’t going to college and figured the military would be a goods steppingstone. Near my last year I was hired as a Reserve Officer and was already in California POST academy at the Collage of the Desert to become a Police Officer and upon my discharge I was hired by Palm Springs PD. However, my father passed away and it forced me to return to Southern Oregon to help my family.
Pete: Tell us what happened after you moved to Oregon.
I was hired as a reserve police officer in Phoenix Oregon and quickly got hired full time. I attended the Oregon Police Academy and after a short time in 1999 I completed 320 hours of basic K9 handler course (Los Angles Canine Police Canine Association) and then certified with the Oregon Police Canine Association. I conducted K9/Tactical operations for police department with a dual-purpose K-9. (Narcotic Detection and Patrol).
In 2005 I left the police Department originally for a year for a leave of absence and was hired with Triple Canopy/Vohne Lich Kennels as a dual-purpose Bomb Detection and Patrol handler. I completed course with 300 hours of Patrol/Tracking and Explosive Detection training, deployed to Iraq to assist Special Forces units in South Iraq below Baghdad to help locate weapons cache, Improvised Devices (IED), locate Motor Launch sites and in raids of insurgents’ apprehension. Our mission proved to be too successful and we ended up training Operators to use our K9’s I was selected to stay and assist.
In 2006 I was hired by EODT, Inc as Force Protection/Security Specialist K9 Trainer. I supervised the K9 Quick Response Force capability by providing K9 and supervisory security at Entry Control Point to Tadji Military Training Base and then Shield Military Base. I also conducted Close Protection of Base Commander, visiting Official and Dignitaries, Quick Response Force to all security situations. During that time, I completed a 120 hours Kennel Master Course to help manage the K9’s in Iraq.
I left Iraq in 2007 to return to Law Enforcement. However, at that time Departments were not hiring as much and I was not able to find work. I sold Health Insurance for the next 2 years. This was a very hard time in my life not financially but mentally going from hard charging to behind a desk and golfing a lot with clients.
In 2009 I was hired with Ronco and completed another 120 hours of Patrol/Explosive Detection course at HCDC, in Texas near San Antonio. I then deployed to Afghanistan and provided K9 Security in searches, security patrol at Multiple Forward Operating Bases throughout Southern Afghanistan. Then I was hired by the State Department and was selected to be Deputy Program Manager to the K9 teams.
Then after a year I returned to South Afghanistan as a Regional Trainer and did day to day operations, records, training, validation and conducted certifications throughout RC South and East.
After my return I struggled to find work and became homeless from an unexpected divorce. I finally plugged myself head long into the fitness world. I became a certified personal trainer and many years priors I had worked in the High Schools as a strength and conditioning coach which made the personal training easier. It was a good release and a way to be structured again. I then started my own gym. Dog Pound Fitness. A play of words with my K9 career and an idea of like-minded veterans to work together to stay focused and have that missing brotherhood we all yearned for. As time passed, we evolved into Iron Strength Barbell. Iron Strength Barbell provides powerlifters, Strongman, and Heavy Athletics a place to truly reach their competitive and personal goals. Many of the members are veterans.
Steve: Tell us about Iron Strength Barbell’s mission.
We have focused on quality verses quantity. We want our members to be in a place that makes them want to be there and feel a sense of ownership. We all work together in making this happen.
Pete: Has your military experience helped you survive in the civilian world and do you feel like you fit in?
Definitely gave me a good basis to build my work ethic and professionalism from.
In my line of Law Enforcement and Security it was a natural progression into it and had no issues.
Pete: What were some of the challenges you faced in returning to civilian life?
Going in-between my careers the biggest challenge is the lack of adrenaline I was got from my assessments. I still maintain a good rapport with co-workers who for the most part have shared similar style lives and can share and know exactly how they feel.
Steve: How do you connect with the community?
At this time, I am low key. Previously I was very involved in social organization, orders and civic groups to share K9 operations and uses.
Pete : What are you doing to help other Veterans?
My contact with Veterans has been in the Powerlifting environment. Many of my members to my gym at veterans.
I still have many contacts in the Private Sector. Most of my former Co-workers are in the private sectors. We are all old.
Steve: What action items would you give transitioning Veterans in order to be successful?
If previous Military Working Dog Experience the natural progression would be in Law Enforcement, TSA, Department of Defense, State Department or explore Private Security opportunities.
Pete: How can people contact you if they want to reach out?
As a Security Contractor, Iansun served as a K9 Trainer/Supervisor, Kennel Master, Deputy Program Manager and Patrol Explosive Detection Dog Handler with several companies. Iansun was responsible to train and supervise security personnel and K-9 staff. Iansun has trained and worked dual purpose detection and apprehension working dogs and preformed site, convoy and dignitary protection services. Iansun successfully deployed to Multiple Iraq and Afghanistan location where he supported the US 101st Air Assault Group, 3rd ID, 2nd Cav, 3/2 Striker, 863 Eng Bn, 63rd Eng Bn, US 4th Group Special Forces and NATO Coalition forces in their force protection mission.
Iansun is an experienced athlete with a demonstrated history of working in Fitness facilities and health industry. Skilled in Power-lifting, Strongman Heavy Athletics, and Fitness. Strong entrepreneurship professional with a Certificate focused in Strength training United States Powerlifting Association.
Thank you for listening!