Matthew P. Eversmann
First Sergeant, US Army (Ret.)
Matthew Eversmann is a testament to the true nature of war and American heroism. His actions were immortalized in the epic film Black Hawk Down (portrayed by actor Josh Hartnett), which tells the heroic account of a group of elite U.S. Special Forces soldiers sent into Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993 as part of the United Nations peacekeeping operation Gothic Serpent. When a mission to arrest the bloodthirsty, genocidal Somali warlord Mohammed Farah Adid goes terribly awry, young Army Rangers and veteran Delta Force soldiers are forced to fight side–by–side for their very survival. Outnumbered a hundred–to–one and completely surrounded for eighteen hours in the most hostile district of the anarchy-stricken Somali capital city, they must rely on their relentless training –and each other, until a Ranger–led rescue convoy could fight their way in to retrieve them.
As a battle–tested survivor and hero of that mission, Eversmann brings to life the values of perseverance, sacrifice and teamwork that enabled him to endure the horrors and challenges of brutal urban combat, despite incredibly daunting and seemingly overwhelming life–or–death odds. He has taken the lessons from the experience and has interwoven them with compelling narrative, allowing the average American citizen to comprehend and appreciate the creed by which he and his fellow soldiers lived: “Never shall I fail my comrades … RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!”
Eversmann enlisted in the Army as an infantryman in December 1987, and was stationed at Fort Drum, NY, with the 10th Mountain Division. In 1992, he reenlisted and was assigned to the Third Battalion, Seventy Fifth Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, GA. He spent eight–and–a–half years in the Regiment, serving as squad leader, weapons squad leader, battalion air operations sergeant, battalion liaison sergeant, and platoon sergeant. He also was the officer in charge of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Pre–Ranger Course that helped train future leaders to pass the grueling Army Ranger School. While serving as a sergeant in the Ranger Regiment, Matt traveled the world on military assignments; from Panama to England, Korea to Egypt, he met with and trained soldiers from around the globe.
Eversmann has attended countless military schools, including Airborne, Ranger, Sniper, SERE School (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape), the Primary Leadership Development Course, and the Army’s Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course. He was also the Leadership Award winner at Ranger School in both the Primary and the Basic Courses, and graduated from the Master Fitness School, Jumpmaster School, Special Operations Tactics course, and the Equal Opportunity Course. Eversmann wears the following awards and decorations: the Army Service Ribbon, the National Defense Service Ribbon, eight Army Achievement Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, a Meritorious Service Medal, the Ranger Tab, Master Parachute Wings, Royal Thai Jump Wings, British Jump Wings, Egyptian Jump Wings, and the Expert Infantryman’s Badge. For his distinguished service in Somalia, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
In August 2000, Matt was awarded an honorary bachelor’s degree from his alma mater–interrupted, Hampden–Sydney College, in recognition of his outstanding and meritorious service to his country. He recently returned to the United States after serving fifteen months as part of Operation Iraq Freedom, and retired with honor from the Army as an Infantry Company First Sergeant following 20 years of active service.
He continues to serve others in his civilian capacity as the founder and president of Freeman Phillips LLC, a personnel development company whose simple goal is to inject values–based leadership ideals into every facet of American enterprise. Audiences hear not only the story of Black Hawk Down, but more importantly, a message of hope –a message of how success, and indeed survival, came to a brave group of young Army Rangers because of their selflessness, courage and sense of duty. These values are championed into every organization as the backbone of successful leaders and teams.
Eversmann has lectured all over the world on his experience in Somalia, and has given presentations to soldiers at all levels; from officer candidates at Fort Benning, to colonels at the Army War College, to cadets and faculty at West Point, Annapolis, and the Air Force Academy. His speaking engagements have been wide ranging; from small Midwestern colleges to Fortune 500 companies. The list of his presentations to the professional community is impressive, having appeared before audiences at Ford, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Goldman Sachs, Merck, RAND, USA Today, and many others. He also routinely trains professionals in our nation’s law enforcement community.
Matt has lectured at many colleges across America, including Penn State, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech and Ball State. He has also worked with student–athletes of all ages: from middle school children, to numerous high school teams in Maryland and Virginia; from collegiate programs at Johns Hopkins University, to the US Military Academy at West Point. Everywhere he has been, with every team he has spoken to, Eversmann’s message of values and toughness resonates well with student–athletes.
Possessing excellent communication skills, Eversmann has represented the United States Army on Larry King Live, on Dateline with Stone Phillips, and on Fox Sports, along with Heisman Trophy Winner and Rhodes Scholar General Pete Dawkins, discussing NFL Star–turned–Army Ranger Pat Tillman’s tragic death in Afghanistan in 2005. During the production of Black Hawk Down, Matt spent time in Hollywood and Morocco assisting Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Director Ridley Scott in their screenplay adaptation of author Mark Bowden’s bestselling book by the same name. He has been interviewed in the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times and many local newspapers throughout his career. Matt is also a published author, having written “The Battle of Mogadishu,” published by Random House in 2005. Today, he continues to write on leadership in his weekly BLOG “Dynamic Leaders” at freemanphillips.blogspot.com.
Eversmann brings reality to every class, seminar and keynote speech he delivers, all of which are rooted in three fundamental core values: selfless service, moral courage, and commitment. From twenty minute pep talks, to full–day training exercises, Matt custom tailors every event to reflect the composition and make–up of his audience. No two are identical, but all are equally compelling and thought provoking, and his positive attitude is infectious as he challenges those in attendance to think more of their peers, and the organization as a whole, than of themselves. A proven leader, Eversmann’s recipe for success in the face of adversity instills a productive, optimistic mindset, leaving audiences believing that if he and his fellow soldiers could emerge victorious from using them, then the same formula for Ranger success can be applied to any organization.