How ‘Hollywood Weapons’ Green Beret Host Terry Schappert Would Train The Rebel Alliance in ‘Star Wars'
But there's more to Terry Schappert than meets the eye. After earning an undergraduate degree in anthropology, Schappert enlisted in the U.S. Army, eventually earning the coveted green beret. In 1997, he left to pursue a career in acting, only to re-enlist after 9/11 as a Special Forces Medic, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terror with the National Guard's 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) before retiring this year after over two decades of service.
Somehow, in the course of defending his country, Schappert also found the time to consult and appear as an expert host on various television shows including The History Channel's Warriors, which he played a part in writing and creating, The Discovery Channel's Dude, You're Screwed, and, most recently, The Outdoor Channel's Hollywood Weapons, in which he and co-host (and IDF veteran) Larry Zanoff enjoy the enviable work of recreating iconic scenes from some of Hollywood's greatest action shows and movies, ranging from Predator to Jaws to the unintentionally schlocky fight scene(s) between Captain Kirk and the Gorn on the "Arena" episode of the original Star Trek series.
Yes, he made the cannon.
Terry Schappert starring in, "The Gorn Supremacy" pic.twitter.com/wBzp64nxPU— terry schappert (@terryschappert) February 22, 2017
Indeed, Terry Schappert is a nerd. A highly-trained, combat-ready nerd—a "Warrior Nerd," according to his friend Andrew Wilkow of Sirius XM—but a nerd nonetheless. We were lucky enough to have him visit us when he recently visited New York City, and discussed everything from the influence of Lord of the Rings on his decision to enlist (he reads from the book every night and quotes it in conversation), rail guns, whether or not it's possible to blow up a car with a well-aimed rifle round, and the superiority of The Empire Strikes Back to the other two films in the original Star Wars trilogy.
Towards the end of our conversation, we asked Terry how he, as a Special Forces Advisor, would have led and trained the Rebel Alliance in their insurgency against the Galactic Empire. Unsurprisingly, he had a lot to say on the subject. If he had shown up in a galaxy far, far, away, however, it's unlikely that more than one film would have been necessary. Here's how Terry Schappert would apply Special Forces tactics and training to the Rebel Alliance.
1. Build Team Cohesion
According to Terry:
"As an advisor to them, what you really want to do… you have to make sure that you get them into regular meetings where they can talk because you don't want that rebel alliance to fragment. You can't have them in (separate) camps where they (take the attitude of) 'fuck those guys, they suck.' You've gotta bring them together.
"You have to train them together so that they're used to working together. Interoperability. They've gotta work together, otherwise it's not gonna work. There's gonna be language training, there's gonna be cultural stuff, there's gonna be all sorts of live fire: actual exercises to get them to work together. You've gotta make sure commo is good: you gotta make sure they can talk. In movies they make it easy, but in real life it's a pain in the ass.
"In the Green Berets, we select guys that tend to be older. We're liaising for foreign governments—big people—and we have to make decisions that are pretty important. We want guys that have a lot of judgement. How do you define Green Berets? Green Berets are problem solvers. We'll have fun with the knife-in-the-teeth and that whole image—we have fun with that—but all it is is guys who've been through a lot together; they've been put through the crucible so they know they're not gonna quit, they're physically tough guys, mentally tough. 2) Build Morale and Combat Efficacy by Taking Down Confidence Targets
But first you've gotta be creative, adaptive… and the biggest thing is you've gotta play well with others. You've gotta be a good team guy. I don't care if you're the best shot in the world, if we can't work with you, I don't want you on the team. I can train any monkey to pull a fucking trigger; they trained me! But there's that certain something, that team thing… we live and die as a team. So that's the kind of stuff you'd have to do with a rebel force.
2) Build Morale and Combat Efficacy by Taking Down Confidence Targets
"What you want to do with (the rebel forces) is build them up slow and start hitting small targets first: I call them confidence targets. If you're a rebel force, you're already outnumbered, you're outgunned, you're out-everything. So when it comes to combat operations with these cats, that doesn't happen right away. It takes a long time in the real world, on the ground—generally speaking—before you can engage in an actual slugfest with somebody. So you target confidence targets.
Maybe we realize there's a radio tower the Empire is using to communicate on this planet and it covers this grid. OK, well, who's guarding it? 10 to 20 guys at a time, they rotate through, so you get eyes on them. Now you start getting the intel. You put dudes on the ground, snipers, intel guys: you get as much as you can about that. And you train: you mock up that radio tower in your training area and you rehearse… and you fucking hit it, you hit it and you build in contingencies and you build in timelines, you build in how to exfil, and then when you hit that target, you are so prepared and it is such a small target that you're not gonna lose."
3) Conduct Disinformation and Propaganda Campaigns
"You let the good guys know that the bad guys can be beaten and you just chip away at them. You take away the credibility of the Empire. That can be through some nasty things that actually might hurt the host nation. Let's just say you destroy a bunch of food supplies and then you put out a disinformation campaign that says 'the Empire took that from you' and then maybe we deliver it later like, 'oh, we got it back.' You're manipulating a lot of shit: it's a perilous path to tread. If you get caught, they're gonna cut your balls off and put them in your mouth."
4) Demoralize Empire Forces... and Be Patient
"You have to make sure that the locals know that you're the good guys and the Empire is the bad guys. They probably already know, but you also have to let the locals know that the Empire has weaknesses. They are weak They can be beaten. They can be taken down. And that's why you do these small targets: you demoralize them, you demoralize the ground soldier that works for the Empire because then they start thinking 'why the fuck am I doing this? I don't get paid shit. I get no respect. These people hate me. Every time I go down the road in that vehicle, there's a good chance I'm gonna get lit up. Fuck this.' So you take away their will. It doesn't happen fast: don't go after the Death Star yet.
For more from Terry Schappert, follow him on Twitter and check out Hollywood Weapons on The Outdoor Channel.
This interview was edited for space and clarity.