Bootcamp trains veterans to be candidates

Event in Pinehurst

Brian Mast - Vet Candidate Training - Special Operations speaks

PINEHURST — A one-day training event for up to 25 military veterans interested in running for public office will be held next month in the Pinehurst area.

Special Operations Speaks, a political action committee founded in 2012, is the host of the one-day event called the Vets in the Fight Campaign Bootcamp. The event will take place on Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Calvary Memorial Church Activity Center.

The focus of the bootcamp is to aid honorably-discharged veterans interested in running for elected office by giving them access to political campaign advisers and tools to conduct a successful election campaign at any level.

“This conference is for veterans running for office for the first time who want to bring duty, honor and confidence back to the town square,” said Ken Benway, a retired U.S. Army Special Forces lieutenant colonel and co-founder of Special Operations Speaks.

Both Special Operations Speaks and the Vets in the Fight events are funded through donations.

“There are sponsorships available if someone wants to sponsor the tuition for a veteran to attend — they can make a $200 donation to do that,” Benway said. “There is also a Gold level sponsorship for $500 and a Platinum sponsorship of $1,000.”

Benway says they’ve seen interest in the event from veterans as far away as California and Washington state. The cost of the training is $75 per seat, and the price includes lunch, snacks and drinks during the day.

Joining Benway leading Special Operations Speaks are Colonel Richard F. (“Dick”) Brauer Jr. USAF (retired Army Special Forces) and Sgt. First Class David Miller (retired Army Special Forces). The trio has around 87 years of combined military service.

The idea for Vets in the Fight (VIF) sprang from a conference Benway’s organization held in South Carolina during the 2016 primaries. Near the end of that conference, then-Presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke to their group.

“Honorably-discharged veterans have got to vote. They’ve got to run for public office and they’ve got to hold government accountable,” said Benway of the VIF mission.

In the past, Special Operations Speaks has supported vets like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX-2), Rep. Michael Waltz (FL-6), Rep. Clint Higgins (LA-3) and Bryan Mast (FL-18), who lost both of his legs in an IED while working with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as a bomb disposal expert.

Veterans interested in attending, or those interested in sponsoring a vet, can contact [email protected], or text (910) 322-8095 for more information. Beginning Oct. 1, registrations will be accepted at

About A.P. Dillon 792 Articles
A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_