Michael Durant: In the Company of Heroes
- Former Blackhawk pilot and prisoner of war
- Recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, POW Medal, and many others
- Emotionally-charged, powerful, and motivating account of teamwork and survival
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Little did retired Chief Warrant Officer Four, Michael J. Durant, know when he entered the United States Army in 1979 that one day he would be the target of a Somali-fired grenade launcher, a prisoner of war (POW), and the subject of an acclaimed book and a major motion picture, Black Hawk Down. Durant was the pilot of Black Hawk helicopter Super Six Four that was fired upon and subsequently brought down during a combat operation in Mogadishu, Somalia, on October 3, 1993. After a horrific street battle, he was overrun by a crazed mob, captured, and held prisoner for 11 days. He was badly injured, suffering from gunshot wounds and a broken back, leg, and face. His image as a POW was seen around the world on the cover of TIME, Newsweek, US News and World Report, and all other television and media outlets. The events of that day were recounted in Mark Bowden’s best-selling book, Black Hawk Down, and Ridley Scott’s Academy Award-winning movie of the same name. Today, Durant is the New York Times best-selling author of the books, In the Company of Heroes and The Night Stalkers, and the president and chief executive officer of Pinnacle Solutions.
The story of Black Hawk Down is a tense one, but Durant, exclusively represented by Leading Authorities speakers bureau, turned his experiences into a powerful story of survival and motivation. He talks vividly about his experience as a soldier and as a hostage and what it has taught him about being an American and a leader. Durant takes the unique lessons he learned and turns them into compelling insights for personal and professional growth and shows companies and individuals how they can succeed through better planning, motivation, and adaptation despite the obstacles they may encounter. An inspirational speaker, he illustrates the power of teamwork, leadership, and change through awe-inspiring stories, captivating visuals, and heart-racing accounts of life in the line of fire.
One Of A Few Good Men. Following basic training, Durant attended the Defense Language Institute, and got assigned to the 470th Military Intelligence Group in Fort Clayton, Panama, as a Spanish voice intercept operator. He then completed helicopter flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Upon appointment to Warrant Officer One in 1983, he completed the UH60 Blackhawk Qualification Course and was assigned to the 377th Medical Evacuation Company in Seoul, Korea. His next assignment was with the 101st Aviation Battalion, where he performed duties as an instructor pilot, and he learned the importance of leadership at an early age. Durant joined the 160th Special Operations Group in 1988. Assigned to D company, he performed duties as Flight Lead and Standardization Instructor Pilot. He participated in combat operations Prime Chance (Persian Gulf in 1989), Just Cause (Panama invasion in 1989), Desert Storm (Liberation of Kuwait in 1991), and Gothic Serpent (Somalia in 1993).
Leading & Motivating From Experience. A master aviator and a highly decorated soldier, his awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Star with Valor device, Meritorious Service Medal, three Air Medals, one with Valor device, the POW/MIA ribbon, the Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Purple Heart. Durant was also inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 2008.
In The Company Of Heroes. The story of Black Hawk Down is a tense one, but Durant turned his experiences into a powerful story of survival and motivation. He talks vividly about his experience as a soldier and as a hostage and what it has taught him about being an American and a leader. Durant takes the unique lessons he learned and turns them into compelling insights for personal and professional growth and shows companies and individuals how they can succeed through better planning, motivation, and adaptation despite the obstacles they may encounter. An inspirational speaker, he illustrates the power of teamwork, leadership, and change through awe-inspiring stories, captivating visuals, and heart-racing accounts of life in the line of fire.
Leadership, Organizational Effectiveness, Applying Lessons Learned, & Surviving Adversity. Durant offers a fast-paced look at US Special Operations. He includes a brief overview of this unique organization and a discussion of the fundamental elements that put the individuals in it at the very top of their game. Emphasis is placed on organizational effectiveness and the role of leaders in taking responsibility for both the short term and long-term success of any organization. In addition to leadership, other key areas of emphasis include providing the proper resources, processes and procedures, training, planning, and continuous assessment at both the organizational and individual level. The UN mission in Somalia is used as a case study to highlight how integral each of these areas is to the success of any undertaking. Lessons learned are discussed, as well as an overview of which of these lessons can be applied to other organizations. As the sole survivor of the firefight at crash site two during the infamous Blackhawk Down mission, Durant also has the unique first-hand insight into the personal challenges involved in preparing for and surviving the extreme. His personal story of survival highlights the discussion. Following the presentation, the audience is encouraged to participate in an optional question and answer session, and with prior coordination, Durant can easily place more emphasis on any aspect of the presentation to support a specific focus or theme.
“We love him. I watched his presentation in November and thought WOW! So when he came to Scottsdale I thought well, what the heck I'll sit in again. Double WOW! It is such a compelling story and delivered it with just the right mix from someone who has been thru a horrible experience, come out the other side and used it to live a full, exciting, positive successful life. I can't speak for his feelings personally but I can tell you our audience was spellbound with his demeanor. He is so professional, so generous, so thoughtful, need I go on. And most of all he has turned this experience into a business model that works for anyone smart enough to listen. I loved that our execs and our guests referred to his points time and again. He is a pleasure to work with, easy going, adaptable,etc. etc. And a real honest to gosh hero to boot! I can't wait to have him back in February! Excellent.”
“Mike was truly a delight. After he spoke our group was speechless. After he left the room I turned around and you could have heard a pin drop. When he was introduced they gave him a standing ovation and when he was finished they did the same. I was so honored to meet him. Tell him that our group truly enjoyed his talk and was forever changed by it. Thanks for checking in – I hope he enjoyed his time with us.”
Topics & Types
First Female Four-Star General, Retired Commander of U.S. Army Materiel Command, and Author of A Higher Standard