Fly Fishing & Healing Trauma with Eric Hastings
A few months ago I was sitting at home, scrolling through Netflix and came across a documentary titled, Not Yet Begun To Fight. The film was incredible and inspiring.
It centered around Colonel Eric Hastings and a foundation he started several years ago called, Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, whose mission is to, through fly fishing in Montana, create positive change in the lives of post-9/11 combat veterans.
I found Eric’s email, we scheduled an interview, and here we are.
What Eric’s doing with his foundation, and the passion with which he’s doing it, coupled with the inspiring way he’s touching the lives of combat veterans, is what this podcast is all about.
Eric is a Bozeman, Montana native who graduated from Bozeman Senior High School. Although he was offered a full scholarship for music to Missoula, he turned it down, knowing that the only place he truly wanted to go was Montana State College (now MSU).
At the encouragement of his father, Eric enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1960 at the age of 17. He wanted to be an aviator and knew that the Marine Corps was the connection he needed. Eric graduated in 1964 with a degree in history, philosophy and English, also earning his officer’s commission and marrying his high school sweetheart in the same year. Eric ended up attending every level of military school imaginable and earned two master’s degrees along the way.
After attending the necessary military schools, Eric moved to Hawaii where he learned to fly the F-8 Crusader, an airplane he fell in love with. He then learned to fly the A-4 Skyhawk, which he flew for the majority of his career, including the 168 combat missions in Vietnam.
After his tour in Vietnam, Eric was sent to several places around the world, eventually reaching the rank of colonel. Remarkably, he was the chief of staff for Marine forces during Operation Desert Storm, in 1990-91.