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Escaping Afghanistan: How a Navy SEAL Saved a Family of Fourteen | Navy SEAL Dan O’Shea | Passion Struck Podcast
A survival story from operation Pineapple Express

This is a true story about the operation “Pineapple Express” and helping Afghani allies in escaping Afghanistan. In this Passion Struck podcast episode, John R Miles interviews Navy SEAL Dan O’Shea on how he guided a family of fourteen to safety, successfully evading the Taliban. Dan describes the harrowing details of their 96 hours of terror and what it took to get the family safely to the Kabul airport. This is just one story out of more than 700 people the “Pineapple Express” helped save.

“As the Intel is coming in, I realized that more and more people are not getting through the wire unless you had an official government letter. Everyone had an American passport. And even then, they were getting turned away. I knew the challenges for him to save his whole family were almost impossible.”

Dan O’Shea

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63: Escape Afghanistan: How a Navy Seal Saved Fourteen | Dan O’Shea | Passion Struck podcast
63: Escape Afghanistan: How a Navy Seal Saved Fourteen | Dan O’Shea | Passion Struck podcast

What Is Operation Pineapple Express?

During the last weeks of the pull-out from Afghanistan, a collection of hundreds of former military special operators, former law enforcement officers, and media correspondents who served in the War on Terror guided Afghan special operators, interrogators, enablers, and their families out of Afghanistan via what became known as the “Pineapple Express.”

This group was formed because the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense forbid uniformed U.S. military to venture outside the Kabul airport’s perimeter to collect Americans and Afghans who sought U.S. protection. These men and women honored the code that you never leave a soldier behind and the commitment that was made to these courageous people who served along the U.S. and our allies. During their cause, they guided hundreds to safety and eventually escaping Afghanistan.

“There was no higher calling in the military than to be called upon to rescue fellow American military members or citizens. It is what makes this country the superpower it is. If you are an American citizen and anything ever happens to you, rest assured, this country will do everything in its power and send some of the best trained forces in the world to try to bring you home safely and administer justice to those who do us harm. That is what it means to be part of an elite unit: to bear the responsibility and to lead men who have this unique yet deadly capability.”

– Jason Redman from his book “Trident”

Escaping Afghanistan Episode Highlights With Retired Navy SEAL Dan O’Shea

In this powerful episode, John R. Miles and Navy SEAL Dan O’Shea discuss getting involved in Operation Pineapple Express. He tells the incredible story of survival as he guided an Afghani Allie, who is an American Citizen, and his family of fourteen escape Afghanistan and evade the Taliban over a 96-hour window of sheer heroics.

He talks about his decision to become a Navy SEAL, the biggest lessons he learned from going through BUDs, the organizational structure of the teams, his tour of duty in Iraq where he participated in over 400 hostage rescues, as well as his experience in Afghanistan and those Afghanis who served alongside him. Why he is adamant about never leaving a soldier behind, he ends by discussing the Frogman swim he founded to benefit the wounded and fallen Navy SEALs and their families.

New Interviews with the World’s GREATEST high achievers will be posted every Tuesday with a Momentum Friday inspirational message!


  • 0:00 Dan O’Shea Teaser
  • 1:09 Introducing Episode and Dan O’Shea
  • 6:36 His path from the Naval Academy to BUDs
  • 9:38 How he learned your attitude is everything
  • 11:31 Competing in the ECO-Challenge (World’s Toughest Race)
  • 13:00 Explaining the organization of the SEAL teams
  • 14:56 His time coordinate hostage rescue in Iraq
  • 20:04 Examples of High profile kidnappings
  • 23:07 His time as a counterinsurgency advisor in Afghanistan
  • 25:38 The Green Berets from the movie “12 Strong” on ever of 9/11
  • 29:42 How the Afghani interpreters risked their life for Americans
  • 32:53 The origins of Operation Pineapple Express
  • 39:33 Honoring his promise to the Afghani Allies he served with
  • 42:30 The story of how Dan O’Shea saved a family of fourteen in escaping Afghanistan
  • 101:58 How his employer Equitus is supporting Pineapple Express
  • 105:13 Founding the Frogman swim and its purpose


I am a SEAL. We have a combat record; we’ve never left a man behind on a battle ever. That’s our legacy.

When you go to combat with someone, that’s a relationship on a brotherhood level that you can’t compare to anything.

We’re doing this to honor the promise we made to these people, these Afghan partners who risked their all for us, and they understand leave no one behind.

– Dan O’Shea


Commander Dan O’Shea, a retired Navy SEAL, had more than 25 years of special operations experience, including multiple Middle East (Iraq/Afghanistan) and Africa tours following 9/11. Commander O’Shea graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1991 and has a Master’s in Executive Leadership from the University of San Diego. A subject matter expert in Islamic terrorism, counter-insurgency (COIN), and hostage rescue operations, O’Shea was a COIN advisor for the Commander International Security Assistance Force (COMISAF) Afghanistan from 2011-2012.

O’Shea established and served as the Hostage Working Group (HWG) coordinator at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, from 2004 to 2006. He expertly managed the inter-agency coordination of more than 400 kidnapping incidents. Arriving at the height of the hostage-taking campaign that targeted more than 50 foreigners per month. By the end of his tour, foreign kidnappings in Iraq were in single digits.

O’Shea is the Co-founder of the Tampa Bay Frogman Swim that has raised more than $6 million for the Navy SEAL Foundation supporting Navy SEALs wounded and killed in action since 9/11.





Quote by Navy SEAL Dan O'Shea about helping Afghani allies in escaping Afghanistan through Pineapple Express


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