We have Danny Lane. He’s a former Marine Corporal who has quite an interesting story that he has put into a book called Some Gave It All. He was twice wounded in Vietnam and received two Purple Hearts. He’s done a lot of things including becoming a nine-time national martial arts champion.
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Giving It All: Surviving Vietnam with Danny Lane
I am here with Danny Lane who is a former Marine Corporal who was twice wounded in Vietnam and has received two Purple Hearts. He’s the co-author of Some Gave It All: Through the Fire of the Vietnam War. He’s also a retired police officer, detective and bodyguard. He’s guarded high-profile clients. He hooked up with Chuck Norris many years ago. He’s become a national champion in martial arts nine times. It’s nice to have you here, Danny.
Thank you for having me on your show.
You’re welcome. I know that Mark Bowser had been interested in your story. You co-authored the book. I wanted to talk about your book, Some Gave It All. It’s important to get a little backstory before we get into that. I mentioned about what you’re doing, but your whole backstory would be great for people who don’t know you.
After I got out of the Marine Corps, I got into law enforcement within weeks. I continued to try to save the world, which I was on a mission to. As I was doing law enforcement, I knew I had a commitment to learning more martial arts than I did in the Marine Corps. Nightly we were in life and death situations out there, even in law enforcement. I started training in martial arts and one thing led to the other. I become a competitor. As a beginner, I started getting into the competition. We do all the ranks. Eventually, I got my black belt. That was back in 1970. I fought competitively for many years.
I ran into Chuck Norris in 1980. Ten years later, Chuck wanted me to start working out with him. I went to California and we spent a lot of time together. I’ve been a member of his organization ever since. We developed a long-term relationship as an instructor, a student, and also friends. I’ve been with Chuck ever since he did the movie The Octagon back in the old days. After retiring from being a police officer, I got into bodyguarding in Manhattan and other places with high-profile clients, entertainers and corporate executives. I continued to have my investigation firm with my wife. We do high-profile cases. I’ve done over 200 murder cases as a private investigator. I testify as an expert in different types of trials. We have that going.
A few years ago, I met Mark Bowser. Mark became a student of mine through my online training videos. I have an online training course where people can learn from a distance. Every once in a while, they can hook up with me in person and train. They use my videos or they submit videos to me. I found out that Mark was an author and had some successful books. He sent them to me. He pitched on me writing my story about Vietnam, me being a cop, all these cases and things I’ve worked in. I shied away from it in the beginning because it was painful, my past, of talking about the war. I never spoke to anyone about it except the counselors at the Veterans Administration, when I had to go for counseling in the post-traumatic stress debriefing sessions that we had. I’ve never told my wife about it, my family and my kids. Nobody knew what I did over there. They knew I was there and got a few medals and come home. A combat soldier usually keeps it within himself most of his life. He convinced me to try to write my story. He had a publisher, which is Made For Success Publishing in Seattle and reviewed my synopsis. They signed me to a contract. I had no choice but to write.
You said you just ran into Chuck Norris. How do you run into Chuck Norris?
I look back at my life, even in Vietnam and stuff, and I look at things or never by accident or by coincidence. Things and times that you meet people, you have to be at the right place at the right time. Meeting Chuck Norris, I was down in Virginia, going to the beach. I stopped by Chuck Norris Karate Studio, which I knew Chuck lived in California. It was one of the studios that they were using his name to see how it was set up because, at that time, I had several martial arts studios myself. I met the owner. His name was Bill Marr. He was a businessman. He had turned this a studio into $1 million business. It was fascinating how he was running it.
He took a liking to me and called Chuck. He said, “You didn’t meet this guy. He’s a cop. He is a martial artist. You should meet.” One day, the phone rang and I picked it up. The voice on the other side said, “Is Danny there?” I said, “This is Danny.” He said, “This is Chuck Norris.” I said, “Yeah, right.” They’ll be pranking. He wasn’t a big star at that time but everybody knew him. He’d done a few low budget movies. In a martial arts field, everybody knew him. He said, “I want you to come to California and work out with me.” I said, “Okay.” We arranged that, and we’ve been together ever since. That was in October of 1980.
That came after the amazing story that you shared in the book. I want to get into the book because you’ve put a lot into this. It had to be difficult to tell the story and you’re trying to help other soldiers. Can you give a little background of why you wrote the book in that respect?Things are never by accident or by coincidence. Click To Tweet
There are several things. My wife suggested I write it out as part of my closure, as part of getting it behind me, getting it out on a page, facing it and conquering it. She knows that it bothers me every day. It was affecting the way I live, the stress that I carry, the anxiety I carry, the shortness that I have at certain times, the seclusion I do when I don’t want to be around other people. It’s all indicative of post-traumatic stress, which I’ve been suffering since I came home in 1969. I’ve been trying to conquer it for many years through the Veterans, through medication, through traditional psychologists. It never does go away.
I said, “I’ll start writing this story.” It took me two years to write it because, one, I wanted it to be authentic. I looked at into the Marine Corps Archives online and called the Marine Corps people in Washington DC. I got permission to use a lot of privileged information on a lot of the missions that we used. I reconnected with some of my squad who was still alive. I was able to retrieve, that’s in the book, authentic pictures of me and my squad in combat. Those are in the book. I want it to be something that people can learn by. The whole message of the book is what we go through. Some gave it all by giving their life there in Vietnam. Also, the ones that come back suffered even more because they had to face this every day of their life. That’s why the suicide rate is so high. They estimate 20 to 22 veterans a day are killing themselves. It’s because they can’t live with their story. They can’t live with themselves.
That’s staggering numbers. It’s incredible when you’re looking at these pictures that you mentioned. I am looking at your site. DannyLane.com/VietnamWar is what I’m looking at. There are a lot of pictures from that time. Who’s taking these pictures? Isn’t it unusual to get this level of pictures from 1969?
The other main character in the book, the Greek, who was my best friend and we were in boot camp together. We made it the all way to Vietnam together and entered the same fox hole. He had a little Kodak Instamatic camera. Unknowingly to the other Marines and me, he was snapping or somebody else was snapping pictures with his camera. He was sending them home to his girlfriend. When I got to do the book several years later, I went to Cleveland to meet with him and his wife. They told me the story that he was sending these home and she was developing. She saved the pictures all these years to be in the book.
Let’s talk about the book. Let’s talk about the story because this is quite a story. I’m going to let you share what you told in this book because a lot of people will find this moving. You went through an unbelievable ordeal. Can you share what people can expect from the book?
I’ll read a little brief synopsis. It’s out there. If you go to Amazon.com, they have a good synopsis on there. Also, Chuck Norris has an endorsement of the book. He tells about what his review was that he did on Twitter and other sites. “It’s about a highly decorated Marine in front of the hardest battle of his life 38 years after he returns from war. As doctors rush to save his life, his unbelievable journey into the abyss of Vietnam unfolds, giving you a front row seat to the intense action, courage, sacrifice and survival these men endured. You will experience the ferocity and scars of the battle; the deep bonds of brotherhood; and the stinging, delirious, cold sweat of fear that hangs persistently over the jungle canopy. Instead of a hero’s welcome, he came home to a country that didn’t honor him and a government that wanted to forget about him. This is a gripping story of Corporal Danny Lane and other young Marines that stood the faith with God, the Marine Corps and America during the most astonishing and painful times that no one would want to endure.” That’s pretty much the story.
Can you give us your first-person perspective of how you ended up in the war and how you ended up with the Purple Hearts, a little bit more about the actual war part? People would find it interesting.
In 1968, they instituted a draft. I turned nineteen in January of 1969 so, immediately, I got a draft notice to go to the military. The draft notice was to report to the Army. I’m an adopted kid. My stepfather, Oliver Lane, was a Marine. He had passed away a few years before this all happened. Out of respect for him, I went and joined the Marine Corps. I said, “I’m going as a Marine.” I joined up in May of 1968. I got sent to Parris Island in a boot camp and went through military training regiments. Within six months, I was dropped in Vietnam, ready to go and to end the combat as a nineteen-year-old kid.
The two Purple Hearts I got awarded, you get wounded a lot over there, but they had to be extreme to get a Purple Heart. The first one was on May 31st, 1969. I had been in combat on two other missions. Many people died and many people had been wounded, but this was the first time I had gotten a Purple Heart. On May 31st, 1969, I’ve been suffering for a couple of months from malaria on a previous mission. I’ve lost about 40 pounds. I wasn’t sleeping well. Every time I did go to sleep, I had this vivid dream that I could see myself at my funeral. I saw myself lying in the casket with my Marine Corps blue uniform on. I saw some of my squad members and some of my family members. My grandmother was there and some of the people I went to high school with. I could see this and hear the eulogy being read, “May 31st, Danny Lane was shot and killed in Vietnam during combat.” I couldn’t shake this dream for months. It drove me crazy.
On May 31st, the Platoon Sergeant knew that I was having this dream. He said, “You don’t have to go out there.” We were on a mission and we dug foxholes. We stood there and waited for them to show up. We tried it out in the jungle in the middle of the night. That’s pretty much how it goes over there. I said, “No, I’ve got to go. I’ve got to beat this. I’ve got to face it. I’m either going to die tonight or I’m going to be there and get this off my chest.” That night, we got hit hard. The kid right next to me got shot and killed. I only got shrapnel from a rocket that hit by me. I survived and I never had that dream after that. I felt the kid next to me, which I write about in the book, was probably my guardian angel and took that bullet for me that night because I had this premonition that was the night I was going to die. Unfortunately, he died in my place.
It’s something hard for people who have not gone to war to even imagine. We see movies, we see things, but that’s so different from actually living it. What is your outlook or opinion of what the preparation we put soldiers through? Did you have a different insight as to whether you would have signed up again or the draft? I’m curious about your insight on all of those issues.
I would go again, simply because it taught me so much. It taught me the character; it taught me discipline. It taught me dedication and hard work ethics. It taught me how to be a leader. All of the things I accomplished after I got out of the Marine Corps and going to war, even though a lot of them were hard and I’ve suffered a lot from it and still suffering, it made me who I am. As I look at these young soldiers and people out there, I support them 100%. They’re well trained. They have the equipment. Anything that holds them back is the restrictions of the government. Also, everything is videotaped. These soldiers have cameras on their helmet. They’re going to be judged with everything they did. It would be hard to be a soldier and also a police officer because of the technology that’s involved.
In Vietnam, we had what we call a free-fire zone. Anybody in it, whether they were old men, women, children, pigs and roosters, they were subjects to be killed. It was a free-fire zone. If you’re in it, you’re probably going to get shot and killed because we’re in places where they were embedded with all these people. We didn’t know who was the enemy, most of the time. Unfortunately, a lot of innocent people got killed. That’s part of the atrocities that I committed too, killing innocent people that we didn’t know. In Vietnam, it was a little different than now because I went there as an individual. The only person I knew was the Greek. His name is Sotere Karas from Cleveland, Ohio. We went to boot camp together in our recruit training and right to the foxhole in Vietnam. We didn’t get close to people. We were trained never to get close to people because they may not be there the next second. It happened all the time. You’ll be walking on a tree line and we get ambushed and people go down all around you. You’re still standing and fighting and going through all that.
I became a squad leader after so many months over there. A squad is for fire teams. They consist of four people each. When you’re leading a squad, a lot of them get killed. Most of them got two and three Purple Hearts. We were highly decorated. A lot of people didn’t stay in your unit very long. It’s either they got killed or they got wounded and you never saw them again. You didn’t become good friends. You didn’t have great relationships even though you were spending a lot of time out there in the jungle with them. It’s a different world. You lose track of time. You lose track of where you are. You stop caring after a time. You just live to fight another day. That’s your ambition.
How long were you there?
It was for thirteen months.
What help did they give you when you came back? You said you’re dealing with post-traumatic stress after many years and a lot of people have that same experience. Is there anything that you suggest that we should be doing differently to help vets? What do they offer and what could they offer?
When I came back, I got into San Diego in late December of 1969. I came back on a ship with USS Iwo Jima. It took me 30 days to get back with 511 Marines. We came off the ship. There was no news for people there. They put us in some transport vehicles, took us and debriefed us for about three to five days to make sure we were put back into society. They offered nothing in regards to health mentally because post-traumatic stress wasn’t named or become a big issue until about 1983. For the first thirteen years or so, I was back. I was suffering all this anxiety and all these emotions that I didn’t know what was going on with me. I was a cop at that time. I was a young cop. I was over aggressive. I was always on watch. I was always on duty. I couldn’t get enough of it. I got into martial arts. I was training five and six hours a day. I had to wear myself out to go to sleep.Discipline, dedication, and hard work ethics teach us how to be a leader. Click To Tweet
Unfortunately, as most people have with those symptoms, when I wasn’t training and working out, I was drinking. I was staying awake, hanging out at bars and doing things that were stupid because I couldn’t sleep. Through the period of time, if we go through my years of being back, they started treating me and putting me on different medicines like Prozac and things like that didn’t help. I couldn’t get on a lot of medication because I was in law enforcement. Part of my therapy was my martial arts, where I was working out all the time, teaching, learning and competing. I used that as my therapy to get over the anxiety and the pain of what I was going through and put it behind me. When I retired from competition and I had gotten older, I couldn’t work out as much. Those little things came creeping back in.
Did you do martial arts because it distracted you mentally from what you were thinking about or just the discipline? I’m curious how it helped you.
I used it as an outlet, the physical training, but the mental and psychological training too was good. Primarily, the adrenaline rush, I got it by getting in the ring and facing somebody else. Once you’re in combat and you have these automatic weapons and you have jets coming in, you have helicopters, there’s nothing that can recreate the rush and the adrenaline that you have in a combat situation, or if you’re going into a tree line with a machine gun and they’re firing at you. It’s like in the movies. There’s an emotional rush that you can’t ever duplicate. I’ve spent most of my life, after I came out of the Marine Corps, in law enforcement and martial arts, trying to recreate that adrenaline rush that I got there. It’s like an addiction.
You hear a lot of astronauts. After they’ve gone up into space, now that they’ve seen such a rush, it’s hard to replicate. Some of them get into alcohol and other issues. In that respect, there’s no way to replicate that when you need that buzz, even if it was a negative thing you were experiencing at the time.
If it wasn’t getting in the ring and fighting somebody else or going through a door with somebody with a gun on the other side, or me riding my motorcycle at excessive speed or doing rappelling off of rock cliffs. I did anything that would give me a rush. I used to day trade on the stock market every day to watch the ticker tape, see if something was going up or coming down. At one time, I got into sports gambling for the rush, to see if I could win or not. I knew that those were personality traits that I had to break. I wondered why I got into them. It was all about training and fueling myself with this anxiety I had that I couldn’t get over. I’ve tried to understand myself, and why I did this all of the years.
Unfortunately, it caused me a lot of problems in my family and in raising my kids. These years, Gina, my wife has told me to write a book and put it out on the page and face it, I’ve become more calm, more able to function in social settings and living a happier life. My wife always asks me every day, “What is it you’re really after?” I keep telling her, “Peace.” She says, “Only God can give you peace.” This book is a God-driven book on how I was led through my life from one thing to the other, how things didn’t happen by accident, but they were all preplanned for me. I just followed the plan.
Why do you think it was a plan?
After I got out of the military, I went right into law enforcement. Law enforcement led me right into the martial arts. Martial arts led me right into being with Chuck Norris. The thing when Chuck Norris hired me into being a bodyguard. Everything seems like it was laid out there, a clear plan that one thing led to the other. There were things that I never planned before, “I want to grow up. I want to be an astronaut.” I never did that. When I was a kid, I never had those aspirations of growing up and being anything. Everything happened to me as I went through life.
You were a police officer. I was interested in that because you were talking about post-traumatic stress. Don’t you have to go through a certain amount of mental testing to become a police officer? How did that come about? When you got out of everything and you were stressed, do you think it was okay to be a police officer with that background? Did it impact you?
When I came on, I had been home a couple of weeks. I had turned 21. They hired me right away. There were probably about fifteen or sixteen veterans come on to the police department. At the same time, there were Vietnam veterans. We had a good young police department at that time because we had seen it all and done it all. We didn’t overreact. They could count on us to do the job. I wasn’t part of a psychological makeup back at that time. The only thing they questioned me on was, “Did you smoke marijuana while you were over there?” I said, “I tried it a few times.” My mother used to smoke a lot and I would cough. I was asthmatic as a kid, so I didn’t like smoking. That’s one thing I’ve never done, is be a smoker. I told them, “I did try marijuana a few times, but I didn’t like it.”
As you’re seeing people who are on drugs though, as a police officer, and you understand the “chasing the dragon” thing, I’m curious, did that give you empathy for them? Where you more lenient on the drug people? You know that they’re trying to get maybe that adrenaline, dopamine and rush for whatever their reasons are. How did that impact you as a police officer?
I didn’t arrest anybody unless I thought they deserved it and was a danger to the community, like drinking and driving and minor drug stuff. I’d rather take somebody home than put them into jail and call them a lot of trouble. If they were a drug dealer, those people need to go down because they’re well organized. They’re ruining a lot of people’s lives. Close family members and people like that have been affected at all this drug use out there. Back in 1970, most people were doing a little bit of marijuana and drinking a little bit. I worked on the night shift. My job was to take down the bad guys, protect the city and the citizens out there. I didn’t deal with little petty stuff. In fact, I got reprimanded a lot of times because I didn’t write enough speeding tickets. They put me out on for a week with a radar gun to punish me because I was not writing enough speeding tickets. I came back after the week and I didn’t write any speeding tickets. They say, “How can you be out there for a whole week with a radar gun and not catch anybody speeding?” I said, “It’s amazing. Everybody was a little banged along.” I had become a cop to arrest bad guys. That’s why I became a detective and got into homicide. I want to take down a bad guy. I didn’t want to get grandma going to church going a bit fast.
You talked about the 200 murder cases. You testify in trials. What was the most interesting murder case you had to testify?
I have had a lot. I have one that made me leave the police department. The story was supposed to be in this book, but the book got pretty long, so maybe in my next one. I was a detective and I got a call that there were some gunshots fired in a certain neighborhood, which is known for gunshots being fired. I was the first one who arrived on the scene. I came in. There was a girl lying on a heart-shaped bed with blood coming out of her head and a gun lying beside her body. I checked her pulse. She still had a pulse, which means she has been shot within a few minutes or even seconds. I came to find out the boyfriend had shot her who I later arrested. He acted like he was gone, came home and found her like that, that she committed suicide. The whole stage was set up to look like it was a suicide, that she killed herself.
The gun wasn’t in the right place. There was a fingerprint on the blood on the gun. The blood splattered from her head wasn’t consistent with hers heading up in the bed shooting herself. It was consistent with somebody putting a gun to her head while she was sleeping. There were all kinds of things that unfolded. However, when I got into that can of worms, this involves some high profile people in the city, including a high-ranking police captain, some city officials, a bank president, and so forth. I uncovered a drug ring. It was running drugs into the area out of Columbia to South America. This girl had all the information. She had given a statement to the FBI about all this. There was a hit put out on her to get rid of her. I unfolded all of this, brought all these people to justice. I had the police captain arrested. Even though he didn’t get convicted, he flew with my suspect out and hid him after I got an indictment.
I went to trial three times over a period of six years. His trial was made to look like I was crazy and I made up all this stuff. It was me against everybody in that city. We got hung juries all three times. After the third time, I had a personal confrontation with the police captain who was dirty. I almost ended up shooting him. Two of the other officers saw me with my gun and ready to shoot the police captain and they talked me out of it. They got ahold of me and said, “Don’t do it. He’s not worth it.” I ended up leaving the police department at that time because I had lost my heart. I lost my drive to be a cop. As God would have it, I got a call from Chuck Norris. He was in Chicago, filming Code of Silence in 1985. He texted, “Danny, do you want to come up and be in a movie?” I went from one thing, almost killing this cop and probably going to prison myself, to going up to Chicago to get in Chuck’s movie.
I’m envisioning Bruce Willis playing you in this movie as you’re talking about this story. It could be a movie. Have you thought about making any of yours into movies?
If you recheck Norris’ endorsement, Chuck said, “I hope it’s made into a movie.” I am developing the screenplay. I’ve written several screenplays. It’s almost finished. If you have anybody that wants to have a look at it, the screenplay is almost ready.Everything is fast, digitized, and online now. Click To Tweet
Hopefully, it’s somebody reading this. I have a lot of people who read this. I’ve had some producers of different shows on. Your stories are interesting. You were a bodyguard to high-profile clients. Can you talk about any of those? I’m interested in what that’s like to be a bodyguard for those?
It’s like being a fish out of water. A friend of mine, Tom LeBrun, used to be a bodyguard for Whitney Houston and some other people like that. He also had a high-profile client in Manhattan who was the president of LEI Jeans. He had testified against the mob there. There was an active hit out on him. When Tom was spending more time with Whitney Houston and Bobby going on tour and stuff like that, he asked me if I wanted to take this assignment in Manhattan, bodyguarding his client. The client lived in California, but every once in a while, he would call me in. His corporation was in Manhattan. I have never done that type of bodyguarding. I’ve traveled with Chuck on a number of times. I did some bodyguarding with The Temptations with a friend of mine who was their head bodyguard. I had never been a bodyguard where I have to set up the travel, the transportation, the hotels, the schedule and do everything. You’re not just a bodyguard, you’re the briefcase carrier.
I’m from West Virginia but my wife and I live in Kentucky now. I’m a hillbilly type of kid. One of these guys said, “Can you do this?” I always say, “I can do it.” I figure out a way later to do it. That’s how I’ve done my whole life. I flew to New York. I got there early and got to the airport. He flew in first class. He came in under an alias. He didn’t come in under his name. He got off the plane first. He came out of a different thing. I was on a tarmac with a bulletproof and bombproof limousine waiting for him to get in. He got in and we went to this hotel. We signed in under alias names. Everything is always incognito with these people. As we were traveling around Manhattan, he still continued to go to the finest Italian restaurants, to social places. People knew that he was in town if they wanted to kill him.
I told him I was concerned. I said, “We’re out in public. I’m your bodyguard, but I think you’re making yourself vulnerable.” He said, “That’s alright.” The thing about it is I didn’t have a gun with me. In New York City, you can’t carry a gun and you can’t even get a license. What I had was the numbers of some New York City police officers and a DEA that I knew up there. They said, “If you need help, just holler and we’ll be there.” If you need help, it’s going to be too late for them to help you. This went on for several years. Everything went pretty good. I started distancing myself from my client a little bit because if he wanted to eat at a table with all his associates, I would sit over at another table or over to bars. I was thinking, “If they’re going to come in and shoot him, I’m not going to be sitting right beside him.” He was not listening to my advice. We went back to the hotel. We stayed at Saint Maria most of the time. There was a breach in his room. Somebody said, “Two of your daughters came by and got keys.” His daughters were in California, so we knew somebody had gotten into his room. I had to go sweep it for any bombs or booby traps. We had to move to another hotel. That was the closest we got.
Is this somebody we would recognize? Can you tell the name?
His name is Mel Geliebter. He sold the company LEI Jeans. He sold it to somebody some years later.
You’ve done some interesting things since you’ve been back, the bodyguarding and the winning of all these national championships. What is that like to be a nine-time national champion? What do you have to go through to get to that level?
Like other corporate people, you have to have a plan of action. You have to set out your strategy. When I first got my black belting, I started competing with black belts. Those people had been black belts and champions for many years. I had to pay my dues. I didn’t win a single tournament for three years. I learned every time I lost. I’ve learned why I lost. Either they were better than me, they were faster than me, they trained harder, or the judges liked them more than me. You had to take all of that in consideration and learn from your losses. You try to overcome those to achieve your success. I had a plan of action to get there. It was one of those things I had to do.
I set the goals for myself, winning a national championship, win a world championship, get on the cover of several top martial arts magazines around the world, get into a movie, and do a video series. All those things came about, but it’s over a period of many years. As many setbacks that I had, I had many successes as well. Everything starts with a dream and it’s the desire. It has become a burning desire to do these things. You can’t say, “I desire to be this,” because a lot of people change their mind. You have to have this burning desire to achieve whatever you want. You have to come to the determination to do it. What do you have to do? You have to dedicate yourself to doing the training and go through all the physical, mental, psychological and spiritual training to get there. You have to have the discipline to continue it. You have to have this motivational drive. Finally, you have to achieve your destiny. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
You mentioned the training videos and how you had met Mark. What do you have in your training videos?
First of all, I did a training series for Chuck Norris’ system to teach younger students from white belt all the way to black belt. It’s called Champion Karate. It’s a curriculum type of videos. My second video series is called War Zone. It’s police and military tactics, where you get down to taking people to the ground, submissions, choke outs. My latest video series is called The Danny Lane Fighting System. I took the best of the best techniques out of all the things I’ve learned in my 51 years and put them together in a complete system of four levels for people just like you. You can train from the very beginning with level one and go to level four in about eighteen months and then accomplish the things you need to learn and do to protect yourself on the street.
I’ve taken some martial arts classes. I know a lot of women who take self-defense type of things. I could see these videos would be helpful. I’m curious about how you learned the business aspect of how to sell your online programs and all that because that’s not your background. Did you find that part challenging?
I started developing websites back in ’94 when the HTML was still in and we had to write the code. I started developing some websites. I worked for America Online back in the ’90s. I worked with the Martial Arts Worldwide Network. We were the first people to stream live video of the Ultimate Fighting Challenge to the world and do Live Chat and stuff. I run part of it along with Michael DePasquale who lives in New Jersey. I had a technology background, so I produce all my videos. I put them online. The new system, Danny Lane Fighting System is getting ready to be launched. Everything is digital now. People with their smartphones, they can go there and log in. All my different techniques are on different levels. You click on them and train. When you feel like you’ve accomplished that, you move on to the next technique. You click done and move. Everything is fast. Everything is digitized. Everything is online. I program them all and upload them and still build my own website to do my own marketing.
It doesn’t sound like you’re retired to me. Didn’t you say that you were retired?
My wife and I are retired. We still have our private investigative firm. We also have a real estate company. She’s a retired teacher. She also has a catering service. She’s a certified wedding planner. We have all kinds of ways to make money and all kinds of ways to stay busy for sure.
You mentioned money. I wanted to say that a share of the proceeds from your book is going to be donated to Kickstart Kids, which is Character Through Karate. Can you explain how you picked that particular place to donate?
The Kickstart Program is Chuck and Gena Norris’ charity. It used to be called Kick Drugs Out of America. For many years, Chuck had these programs. It’s been part of a charity where we have our instructors teaching in the schools in these different cities. These students that get in our program, they have to stay off drug, they have to make good grades and they have to stay out of gangs. We have a lot of programs in the school, mostly in Texas where Chuck lives. We’ve had those for years. These kids graduate. They stay off drugs. They stay out of gangs. It’s to help these children. A big percentage of the proceeds goes to his charity of Kickstart Kids.
I also am an ambassador for Mission 22. That’s a veteran’s charity. They help people that are suicidal. They help people who were better to get back on their feet with service dogs and things like that. I’ll be at a book signing in Las Vegas with Chuck Norris, July the 11th, 12th and 13th at the South Point Hotel. You’ll see Mission 22 on one of the pictures I sent you. Mission 22 means 22 veterans a day are killing themselves as a result of not being able to handle what’s happening to them. We’re the owner of that one. We’re committed to helping veterans. A part of my proceeds goes to them. If anybody buys a book on a Mission 22 website on my website at SomeGaveItAll.com, a percentage of that goes back to Mission 22.
You mentioned suicidal issues of people having it. You mentioned something about a train. Do you want to tell that story?
I’m here self-confessing. I had thought about it, planned and done everything over the years, even when I was in law enforcement to commit suicide. Even though when things are going good for you and maybe there were bad times, your mind can play tricks on you. Your mind can drive you to these different levels of wanting to check out. I deal with it all. The things that I’ve accomplished in my life had been probably as a result of me suffering from that post-traumatic stress. It was so much anxiety. It motivated me to do these other things to stay busy, so I wouldn’t think about the devil popping out on me again.
My book opens up. It’s all based on a true story on September 29th in 2006. I had been suffering for about four or five months in some viral infection where I was deathly sick. I lost about 40 pounds at that time. I was paranoid. I was having flashbacks and night sweats. I was a mess. The doctors had me on some medication to try to offset all that, but it wasn’t working. At the same time, I developed a case of shingles that I went through. It was painful. Everything was happening to me. On this particular night, it was around 11:00 at night, as I look back at the medical records, I have walked away from home on September 29th of 2006 with nothing on but a pair of shorts, barefooted and no shirt, no nothing, no cell phone. I ended up on the railroad tracks nearby. I was standing there. A train got ready to come. I would have been run over if this homeless person hadn’t pushed me off the track. When he pushed me off the track, I laid there and somebody finally called the police. The police came and got me into the ambulance to get me to the hospital.
My book is based on about twenty days of my life in 2006. While I was in the hospital, the doctors were trying to run all these tests to see what was going on. They finally found that my brain was swollen, that I had some viral infection like meningitis. They couldn’t put their finger on it. As they were trying to find out what was going on in my mind, my story unfolded in Vietnam, of what got me there. Sometimes you walk away wondering, “What made a guy get to this point, that he’d be standing on the railroad tracks, waiting for the train or even accidentally getting run over by a train? What happened to him previously to get him here?” That’s how the story unfolds.
I can relate to the meningitis part of how horrible it impacts if you ever had that. You can have these experiences that it’s hard to explain to somebody else. The lining of your brain is inflamed. That would be a natural thing to make somebody not think the way they normally would. That’s an impactful beginning to the book. I’m wondering who you would think would be the typical person that would be interested. Who are you targeting this book to? Is this a read for anybody interested in any storytelling thing about the war, or is this aimed at veterans? Who do you think would be most interested in your book?
Surprisingly, when I do personal appearances, women are my top readers. It’s for anybody who wants to learn about survival, brotherhood, the will to live, anybody who has been suffering post-traumatic stress from any type of situation, being a victim of a crime. It’s what you had to go through in order to survive. Anybody can read this. My will to live was stronger than me almost dying 100 times. I can look back in Vietnam and even as a cop, I could have been killed like anybody else hundreds of times. It just wasn’t my time to go. It’s also a spiritual type of journey. I put my life in the hands of God. If it’s my time, I’m going to die no matter what. If there’s a bullet behind me or if there’s a rocket behind me, you stop being afraid.
It was the same thing when I was laid in the hospital in 2006. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know where I was. I hardly knew my children. My son became my surrogate in the power of attorney. They discharged me from the hospital and Veterans wouldn’t take me at that time, thinking I would never recover. Another year and a half after I was discharged from the hospital, I was back working and doing myself. I recovered myself. They never ever found out what was wrong with me. That was one of the things that they can get from the book is how to overcome, how to stay focused, how to keep coming back and in living your life, you can overcome anything with determination, persistence, love from your family and love from your wife. Through the years, I’ve been more spiritual because I look back and I couldn’t have made it without somebody watching out over me. I’m not a real big family person. I don’t have a big family. I was adopted. Without my wife’s guidance and her love, I wouldn’t be here.
You have embraced resilience. Cheryl Hunter had been on my show. She had been raped and left for dead in Europe. She tells her story of resilience. It’s a great TED Talk. There are a lot of people on my show, who’ve had these horrible things happen, and yet they come back and they find a way to help others. That’s what you’re doing with all of your writing and everything that you work on. A lot of people would probably like to know more. We’ve shared a couple of links here and there, but is there any last links you’d like to share for people to find out more about what you’re doing and get your book?
The book, there are a lot of data, previews, interviews and other information on the book website, SomeGaveItAll.com. You can order there. If you want to order the book and order an autograph, that is where you order the ones that I autographed and send out personal messages. They can get it on Amazon, Books-A-Million. Every bookstore has it in audio form, Kindle form, and eBook form. It’s in every format that’s out there. It was number one for a while on Amazon so it’s easy to find. If they wanted autographs and personalize, go to the website, SomeGaveItAll.com. More about me is on DannyLane.com. You just put my name in Google. There are two Danny Lanes. There’s one that’s an artist in England. There’s one that’s a martial artist. That’s me. They can contact me that way.
I found you by Danny Lane Marine, so that holds up as well if anybody hasn’t had a chance to take a look at what you’ve done. We talked about your story a little bit when Mark Bowser was on the show. This has been an amazing story that you shared. I admire your resilience. I appreciate you being on the show. Thank you so much, Danny, for joining me.
Thank you for having me. I look forward to seeing it online. I look forward to the future.
I’d like to thank Danny for being my guest. We get so many great guests. If you’ve missed any of them, you can go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com. I also wanted to direct anybody who’s interested in more information about Cracking the Curiosity Code or the Curiosity Code Index Training and everything that goes along with that, you can find that all at CuriosityCode.com. I hope you enjoyed this episode and that you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Some Gave It All: Through the Fire of the Vietnam War
- Made For Success Publishing
- Champion Karate
- War Zone
- The Danny Lane Fighting System
- Martial Arts Worldwide Network
- Kickstart Kids
- Mission 22
- Cheryl Hunter – Past episode
- Amazon – Some Gave It All
- Books-A-Million – Some Gave It All
- Audio – Some Gave It All
- Kindle – Some Gave It All
- Mark Bowser – Past episode
About Danny Lane
Danny Lane is a former Marine Corporal who was twice wounded in Vietnam and has received two purple hearts. He is the co-author of Some Gave it All: Through the Fire of the Vietnam War. He is a retired police officer and detective, and bodyguard high-profile clients, and hooked up with Chuck Norris has worked with him for 39 years. Became a 9-time world national champion in Marshall arts champion.