MYKEL HAWKE is a U.S. Army Special Forces "Green Beret" combat veteran with over 20 years of combined military, government contracting, and survival experience. He is the star of The Travel Channel's series LOST SURVIVORS and formerly starred in Discovery Channel's hit shows, Man Woman Wild and One Man Army (Discovery Channel), as well as The Outdoor Channel's, Elite Tactical Unit. Hawke is the bestselling author of a language book, two critically acclaimed survival manuals to include Hawke's Special Forces Survival Handbook, and has a new survival book and kit for kids. He is also co-author of the Jake Tyler thriller series, which is based on his personal experiences. He is the founder and President of SpecOps—a global media, training, and adventure tourism company and has his own brand of survival knives and products. Hawke supports veterans and veterans causes as well as many humanitarian organizations.
Photos Credit: The Discovery Channel
Hawke began his career in 1982. He first served on Active Duty, then in Army reserves and in the National Guard. Hawke was a Sergeant First Class (SFC) as a Special Forces Medic (18D), Special Forces Communicator (18E) and Special Forces Operations and Intelligence Sergeant (18F). He recently retired from the U.S. Army Reserves—with over 25 years of total service and 12 years on Active Duty. He retired as a Special Forces Captain (18A), also known as a Green Beret Officer. He was assigned in a billet for Major, to U.S. Army Special Forces Command (USASFC) located at Fort Bragg, NC, home of the Green Berets to support 3rd SFGA before he retired in 2011).
As a Sergeant, Hawke was a Jump Master, earned numerous foreign jump wings and, for a short period, he was a Recruiter for Special Operations (Psyops and Civil Affairs) in the Reserves. As an SFC, he had attended Infantry (11B) Advanced Non-Commissioned Officer (Senior Sergeant) School. Hawke was also certified as a Paramedic (NR-EMT-PM), Scuba Diver (Cape Fear PADI), and attended training in Skydiving (Green Beret Sport Parachute Club).
After Hawke left active duty to attend college and raise a family, he worked many jobs such as bodyguard, private investigator, and paramedic. Because of his love of training and deploying with his Special Forces brothers, it took him eight years to earn a four-year degree! He also took numerous breaks from college to do contract work, long before it was known to the general public. Hawke worked in combat zones as a contractor for US Government Agencies but never claimed to be any of these OGA's; he always claimed to be a contractor only, differentiating his status so as not to intentionally mislead anyone. He worked in places like: The Oil Wars of Azerbaidjan running a Combat Medics School and War Clinic; The Drug Wars of Colombia as a Jungle Base Security and Combat Search and Rescue operator; The Unrest of Haiti as an Aviation Project Manager for the US and UN QRF, MedEvac and VIP Transport; The Diamond Wars of Sierra Leone as the Manager for Air Ops providing QRF into battle and Medevac out of battlefields; The Iraqi War as the Country Manager for Special Operations Medics for multiple US Companies all over Iraq.
As a contractor, Hawke has worked for most of the big companies providing training and services all over the world. Examples of training includes:
And many other projects, always as a US Contractor for the US Government or in the interest of the US Government.
As a soldier, Hawke also did overseas tours in Western and Eastern Europe, S.E. Asia, and all over Latin America.
During his time in the military, Hawke missed Grenada and Panama due to other deployments, was mobilized for Desert Storm and served in Afghanistan, answering the call to duty right after 9/11. Hawke also did overseas tours in other locations where hostile shots were fired, but these we not declared wars: small conflicts like El Salvador, border actions in Turkey, and even some attacks on our trainees in Thailand. When 9/11 happened, Hawke was immediately mobilized for war, sent back to SF School as an officer and then sent to combat.
Hawke went on to serve as a Special Forces Team Commander with the Guard and then served in the Reserves as an Operations Officer with SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND-SOUTH (Latin American Theater), then he served with THE UNITED NATIONS, KOREA, AS A SPECIAL FORCES LIAISON OFFICER before returning to Retire with SPECIAL FORCES COMMAND, FT BRAGG, NC.
As an Officer, Hawke attended Medical Officer School (70B), Infantry Advanced Officer School (11A) called Infantry Career Captains Courses (ICCC), and Civil Affairs Advanced Officer School (38A). He also completed the Advanced Officer School and Combined Arms Support Service School (CAS3). While he was a young officer, 2LT, he briefly recruited specialty officers such as Doctors, Lawyers, and Chaplains for the Army Guard.
At 9/11, Hawke was a single parent living with his two teen sons and working in L.A. as a Segment Producer for ABC when he was called back to active duty. He spent 2 years serving in the Global War On Terror (GWOT). During this time, he went back through the Special Forces course, sixteen years after the first time, to earn his S.F. Officer Qualification and go on to serve as Commander of the Afghan Militia Forces and later as a Team Commander. He also served as the Executive Officer (XO) for the 18A Committee at the Special Warfare School (SWC) and as an Assistant Operations Officer (S-3a) at 4th Training Battalion (4th BN, SWC) all while on ACTIVE DUTY.
During his career as an Officer, Hawke also attended some select Special Forces training such as: Anti-Terrorism and Force Protection Instructor (AT/FP Level II), Peace time Government and Hostage Detention (SERE 245, PG-HD), Personnel Recovery (JPRA 102), Survival, Escape, Resistance and Evasion (SERE, Level-C).
So Hawke is a COMBAT VETERAN, defined as serving in the UNIFORMED ARMED FORCES during TIME of WAR IN THEATER and ON A DECLARED CAMPAIGN, earning the medal which is only authorized for SERVICE MEMBERS deployed on orders and in uniform. This status is not eliglble to contractors even though many contractors see heavy combat action to their credit and honor. Hawke is very sincere about this status as he has seen combat as both a soldier and a contractor and would not want to dishonor any of America's Military by claiming a status that is not authorized. Likewise, even though Hawke was awarded by the US Department of State as Small Contractor of the Year for his service in Haiti, he has never claimed to be State Department or any Other Government Agency. Hawke's merits are documented on his six different DD-214's verifying his service to country, and he actually did do over twenty good years of service in order to EARN his official RETIREMENT.
Hawke's claims to combat experience is all documented and on official record, and while he did one "black" contract, most of his contract work was "grey" or "white," and all of his military service was "white" as he preferred the honor and honesty it permitted. Before 9/11, combat tours were prized, and he chased everyone he could get. As Hawke says, "Gone are the days of the quiet and unknown wars," and he salutes all the young warriors,special ops and conventional, active and reserve, contract and civilian, who answered the call, went in harms way, and gave for their country. As he also says, "Here is to the future, we are only as good as our next mission."
Hawke is proud to continue to support his S.F. Brethren and sends prayers out for his fallen comrades, their families, and those still serving in harm's way. Mykel Hawke supports the Special Forces Association and is a member of his local New Orleans Chapter XXX (30); he also supports the Green Beret Foundation.
Hawke has developed two survival knives with TOPS, the Hellion Survivor 2020 which is a heavy blade, and the Elite which is the exact same unique design but slightly smaller and lighter. In collaboration with Smoky Mountain Knife Works, Hawke has produced his own MYKEL HAWKE ® brand of knives and survival products with an ALL AMERICAN line in development and a new line of SPECOPS products coming soon. He continues to develop other unique products, many of which are first of their kind. Hawke has written two books on survival, both published by Running Press: a large Reference Manual covering a lot of philosophy and supplemental information, and a Field version with strictly practical information included. He has also written a universal language guide (A.G. Hawke, Paladin Press) and is working on a number of new books.
Hawke founded and runs an adventure training company, Mykel Hawke's SpecOps, (www.specops.com) that uses survival for a variety of teaching purposes such as: Corporate Leadership, Family Counseling, Couples Bonding, Singles Mingling, Troubled Teens, Professional Level Safety, Remote Medicine, Elite Military Prep, TV and Film Crew training, Cast and Talent skill provision and advising, Production Company support and development.
Mykel Hawke currently stars in The Travel Channel's new series, LOST SURVIVORS. He formerly starred in The Discovery Channel's two hit series, MAN WOMAN WILD and ONE MAN ARMY, as well as The Outdoor Channel's series, ELITE TACTICAL UNIT.
Hawke began his TV career quite by accident. He started a Medical company to work in War Zones after Desert Storm. The work was intense, so he began a tourism company for his team to get down time working in Costa Rica running children's programs. That's how MTV's Road Rules Central America found SpecOps and asked Mykel to help develop the program for their season finale. Hawke ended up representing SpecOps in a dual role as a bad guy and the good guy on MTV Road Rules in 1998. He then did some consulting for Danish TV in 1999, Boot Camp in 2000, and Fear Factor in 2001. After his first TV appearance, he worked on numerous productions as set medic, security, translator, and producer. He was mobilized for two years after 9/11.
Once Hawke completed his tour of duty, with the raised profile of Special Forces in the media, he was asked to do a number of other shows as on screen talent. Between 2004-2005 he appeared as a subject matter expert in survival, warfare, leadership, medicine, and special operations for TV shows such as Tactical to Practical, Healthcops, Britain's Worst Boss, and Forever Eden. He appeared in the 2006 movie Dirty Sanchez as himself. In 2006, he also filmed an episode of the Discovery Channel's I Shouldn't Be Alive: Science of Survival in which he taught survival in the Amazon jungle.
In 2007, he appeared as the Resident Expert on survival for the BBC's series about community survival, Castaway Exposed, and was featured as a survival camp instructor on The Simple Life Goes to Camp. He appeared as an interrogator and fitness trainer for Kimberly Stewart in Living with Kimberly. In 2008, Hawke was a fitness trainer for Kyle's Academy in the U.K. and appeared on Fox's Reality Revealed, Behind the Scenes of Paradise Hotel 2 as the set Medic and Security, which aired in the U.S. A now-frequent guest on Channel 5's The Gadget Show, Hawke appeared in 2008, demonstrating new survival technologies, and on the show Fifth Gear, where he was test driving old and new military jeeps. Both shows aired in the U.K.
In 2009, Hawke was involved with a new reality series about survival for the Discovery Channel released that spring. He was on the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern in June, in which Andrew learned to survive and hunt for his own food in the Mexican jungle. During the summer, he helped out on Kourtney & Khloe take Miami on E! and was a recurring guest on Big Brother's Little Brother in the U.K. Hawke was also on ABC's Good Morning America with Chris Cuomo discussing Family Preparedness in August.
Hawke continues to make occasional appearances on many shows on which he has previously appeared, including The Gadget Show and Big Brother's Little Brother in the U.K. and Top Chef and Extreme Chef in the U.S. Hawke also helps others from the Special Ops community in media.
Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual, a beautiful and comprehensive hard-cover edition, was published by Running Press in 2009. It quickly sold out of the first print and was followed in 2011 by an abridged, soft-cover field edition, Hawke's Special Forces Survival Guide. Kirkus Reviews lauded: "Eminently readable, this lean, no-nonsense survival guide from the star of the Discovery Channel's Man, Woman, Wild is stocked with real-world advice on how to survive virtually any disaster."
In his first book,The Quick & Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast, published by Paladin Press under the pen name, A.G. Hawke, Hawke shares a unique method for learning languages he developed early in his military career. Hawke also contributed two chapters to The Dangerously Fun Book for Boys Who Never Grew Up also published by Paladin Press.
Hawke has published other articles and photos of combat from tours in Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe with Soldier of Fortune magazine. He has been featured as a Special Forces Operator in other magazines such Backpacker, Esquire, Maxim, and Playboy. An article about Hawke's combat was featured in an official military magazine called The Grizzly. He has also been featured in a book about warfare in Africa called War Dog, The Modern Mercenary in Action: Fighting Other People's Wars' by Al Venter. Hawke has said about the book that he was "honored to be counted as a small man among the other truly great men who fought in those forgotten wars."
In 2010, Hawke co-authored In the Dark of the Sun with Kim Martin. Based on him, the book is the first in the Jake Tyler thriller series. The two of them are currently at work on the second.
Hawke was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky and, as an "Army brat," grew up mostly in the southeast in places like: Fort Monroe, VA; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Benning, GA; Fort Hood; Fort Carson, CO.
He is a 3rd Degree Blackbelt in Aikido and a 1st Degree in Judo. He has also studied Wu Shu and Wing Chun Kung Fu, Karate and Special Forces Combatives. Hawke enjoys hiking, camping, shooting, fishing, and all types of outdoor activities as well as teaching, reading, writing, and music. He is an enthusiast in all forms of primitive hunting methods (only for survival food ) as well as having an interest in Native American Knife and Tomahawk fighting techniques.
Hawke grew up very poor and survived on the streets as a teen, which is why he is into survival. He was kicked out of junior high school for fighting against bullies, which is why he joined Special Forces to help others. He never attended high school because, as the eldest, he had to take a job to help his mother support his siblings, which is why he is keen on education. He uses his Master's Degree, education, and experience to help others and is pursuing his PhD in order to one day run a full-time camp for kids—his dream job when he retires. If he ever grows up!
Hawke is married to TV Presenter Ruth England. They have a son and reside in New Orleans, Louisiana. Hawke is also proud to have two grown sons, a grandson and granddaughter living in the U.S.
Ruth England and Mykel Hawke met on the set in Jamaica, very much like the story in the film, The Bodyguard.
Ruth was a TV host for the U.K.'s most popular travel show, Wish You Were Here. She was selected to be the host of one of FOX's biggest budget reality shows to date, called Forever Eden. When she arrived, she had no idea she'd be meeting a real knuckle-dragger and her future husband.
Hawke had been a single parent living with his two teen sons in L.A., working as a producer for ABC, when 9/11 happened. After being mobilized for two years as a Special Forces Officer and service in Afghanistan, he was released from Active Duty. When his Executive Producer friends heard of his return to civilian life, they offered him a job as Head of Security and Chief Medical Officer. He was on his way to be a U.S. Government Contract Project Manager in Iraq and found the five-star hotel and gourmet meals in the tropics to be a bit more attractive than the MRE's and G.P. Medium tents in the sands, so he took the job overseeing over a hundred people on set. He had no clue he was about to meet such an amazing woman.
They met walking on the paths around the set and...suffice it to say, they were smitten; spent time together in the country of each and with each other's families, and decided to tie the knot. They were married in the U.K., had a child, and now reside in the U.S.
What you saw on season one of the series Man, Woman, Wild, is their relationship after seven years of marriage with a young son.
Thank you for watching both Season 1 and Season 2 of Man Woman Wild where they demonstrated 22 different ways to start fires, make shelters in every climate, and survive in any terrain on the planet. For those of you who bought the DVDs, downloaded the episodes or watch them frequently online like Netflix, the support is appreciated; they hope you will be watching new shows on a new network in the near future.