Well, this doesn’t involve dancing with stars. Or singing with stars. Or just hanging with stars. This is combat with the stars! NBC’s new reality series, Stars Earn Stripes, kicks off Monday August 13 with the backboard of the Olympics and NBC has recently announced the military and first-responder service operatives that will be featured in this new series.
Per an NBC press release, accomplished and fearless, the special operatives will train their celebrity teammate and compete alongside them in a fierce competition that will benefit national veterans, service and first-responder charities. The impressive list of former and current military and law enforcement members spans a variety of disciplines including elite forces within the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, Marines Corps and local police.
The show is hosted by General Wesley Clark (ret.), former Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO, and television personality Samantha Harris (“Entertainment Tonight”). The premiere episode will air at 8pm EST on NBC before moving to it’s regular time slot of 9pm the following week.
The operatives include Dale Comstock, a former U.S. Army Master Sergeant Delta Force and Green Beret; J.W. Cortes, a former U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery; Brent Gleeson, a former U.S. Navy SEAL; Chris Kyle, a former U.S. Navy SEAL sniper and best-selling author of “American Sniper”; Andrew McLaren, a former U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant; Grady Powell, a former U.S. Army Green Beret; Tom Stroup, a SWAT Commander; and Talon Smith, a U.S. Navy Specialist.
They will be paired with previously announced celebrities Laila Ali, Dean Cain, Terry Crews, Nick Lachey, Todd Palin, Picabo Street, Dolvett Quince and Eve Torres. The eight competitors on “Stars Earn Stripes” will gather at a remote training facility where they will tackle complicated and difficult missions that are inspired by real military exercises. Each is paired with one of the operatives, who coaches them in their training and competes alongside them in the missions. From helicopter drops into water to long-range weapons fire, the competitors are will be tested physically and emotionally as they play to win and earn cash for a military, veterans or service related charity of their choice.
Check out the bios of each military and first-responder official below. Will you be watching this series? What do you think about the concept? Sound off below and join our forums to discuss!
Dale Comstock – A retired Master Sergeant who spent 20 years in the U.S. Army, Comstock was twice decorated for valor and spent half his tenure as a Delta Force Operator and five years as a Green Beret. After his retirement, he spent nine years as a freelance soldier in support of the global war on terror. Comstock currently resides in Panama City Beach, Fla., and is a vice president for a security consulting company, a university professor, martial arts instructor and competitive body builder.
J.W. Cortes – Cortes served in the U.S. Marines Corps for 13 years, rising to the level of Gunnery Sergeant. He is an Iraq war veteran, having served in the beginning phases of the war in 2003. Also during his time in the Marines Corps, he served at U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and in Canberra, Australia. He is currently an officer with the New York MTA Police Department and lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.
Brent Gleeson – A former U.S. Navy SEAL stationed at SEAL Team Five, Gleeson currently lives in San Diego, Calif., with his 6-year-old son. He has completed his enlistment in the service and is now a busy entrepreneur, public speaker, and co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Internet Marketing, Inc.
Chris Kyle – Kyle is a decorated former U.S. Navy SEAL and author of The New York Times best-selling book “American Sniper,” which details his experiences in Iraq. Kyle’s expert marksmanship during his four tours of duty earned him the nickname “The Devil of Ramadi” from the Iraqi insurgent forces. Kyle currently lives in Texas and runs a military training company, Craft International.
Andrew McLaren – McLaren, whose father was also a Marine and former Vietnam veteran, is a former U.S. Marine Sergeant. During his time in the Marines, he was with the Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team and served in Iraq and Liberia. He is currently a contractor for various governmental and security agencies. He resides in Staten Island, N.Y.
Grady Powell – During his time as a Green Beret, Powell served as a Senior Detachment Weapons Sergeant in the U.S. Army Special Forces. Powell followed in the footsteps of both his father, a Vietnam-era Green Beret, and his grandfather, a decorated World War II combat veteran. Powell recently completed his five-year enlistment in the Army and has since returned to his hometown of St. Louis, Mo., spending his free time traveling the world in search of his next adrenaline fix.
Tom Stroup – A current member of the Orange County (Florida) Sheriff’s Department and a SWAT Commander, Stroup is a five-time world champion of international SWAT competitions. He is a fitness trainer and he is also a Gold Medalist in the “Toughest Cop Alive” competition, a national competition held annually in Florida.
Talon Smith – Smith, whose father served in the U.S. Air Force, is currently a U.S. Navy Corpsman 1st Reconnaissance Bn, stationed in Camp Pendleton. He just returned from deployment in Afghanistan in April. Smith has nearly completed his enlistment in the Navy and is currently attending college and awaiting the birth of his first child.