Shawn Ryan: The Journey of a Navy SEAL, CIA Contractor & Podcast Host

From serving the nation to living a life of a civilian

Key Takeaways

  • During his 14-year career spanning the Navy and CIA, he completed over 20 combat deployments across 14 different areas of operations.
  • Ryans is involved with Veteran Advocacy Services, which helps servicemembers handle the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • As an instructor, Ryan emphasizes creating a fun yet effective learning environment focused on fundamentals over advanced tactics.

Shawn Ryan is an American former Navy SEAL, CIA contractor, entrepreneur, podcast host, and military instructor.

The 57-year-old is the founder and CEO of Vigilance Elite, a tactical training and consulting company.

Early Life & Military Career

Shawn Ryan enrolled in the United States Navy at age 18 with the goal of becoming a Navy SEAL.

After successfully completing Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, he served with SEAL Teams 2 and 8, deploying to multiple conflict zones worldwide, including Iraq and Afghanistan, as part of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

After leaving the Naval Special Warfare Community, Ryan continued working as a CIA contractor, participating in undercover operations worldwide.

During his 14-year career spanning the Navy and CIA, he completed over 20 combat deployments across 14 different areas of operations focused on counterterrorism against groups like al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS.

The Shawn Ryan Show

In addition to Vigilance Elite, Ryan is the creator, host, and producer of the podcast The Shawn Ryan Show.”

The show is dedicated to preserving history by featuring unfiltered stories from guests who experienced heroic events and significant issues firsthand.

Guests range from military veterans to cultural figures and more.

The podcast has expanded into assisting veterans with transitioning to civilian life and entrepreneurship, raising over $1 million through crowdfunding for these efforts.

Ryan is also involved with Veteran Advocacy Services, which helps servicemembers handle the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Start of Vigilance Elite

In December 2015, after retiring from military service, Ryan founded Vigilance Elite to provide tactical training to civilians, law enforcement, and military personnel.

The company aims to teach the skills and mindset of Navy SEALs to those seeking to defend themselves and their families against threats.

Approach To Training

As an instructor, Ryan emphasizes creating a fun yet effective learning environment focused on fundamentals over advanced tactics.

He aims to build true weapons handling and shooting proficiency through muscle memory drills.

Ryan believes remaining vigilant through proper mindset and basics can help civilians escape threatening situations.

He advocates minimalist loadouts and advises against overreliance on gear or accessories.

For concealed carry, he personally uses a Glock 43 with minor modifications.

Overall, his advice to new shooters is to prioritize proper fundamentals over attempting advanced techniques too quickly.

In Case You Didn’t Know

  • Shawn Ryan is a father to a two-year-old son named Sunny.
  • Shawn Ryan has been married to his wife, Katie Jean Williams, for over four years.
  • His wife, Katie, is an Affiliate Broker at Tyler York Real Estate Brokers, LLC.

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