BY FREDA MIKLIN
Now a fellow in community safety at the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University, Jimmy Graham served in Benghazi, Libya (he was on a short leave when the 2012 attack occurred) and Afghanistan as a Navy SEAL. During his time as a SEAL, Graham was awarded certifications as a Sniper, Joint Tactical Air Controller, Range Safety Officer for Live Fire, Dynamic Movement and Master Training Specialist. While in the Navy SEAL reserves, he became a CIA protective officer, where he served for seven years.
Regarding the American withdrawal from Afghanistan just undertaken, Graham agreed with President Biden that it was time to leave Afghanistan, but, he said, “Not like that.” He told The Villager, “I understand the relationships that have been built there in the past 20 years. There’s a lot going on with our country, everyone knows that our country is weak and irresponsible. I would have left with a message of strength. In suburbia, living a life of luxury, we don’t understand the language they speak over there. What they understand is that if you leave with people hanging off your airplane, they will call that a victory.” He continued, “The plan was to leave on September 11. I would have taken everyone out slowly. There are atrocities happening right now. The people who just worked with you will suffer a horrible fate.”
Graham wanted to be clear about the fact that, “I’ve been hearing people say that the Afghanistan effort for 20 years was a waste. “You don’t get to pick that when you serve. That strips the honor from anyone who served there. It’s a hard country.” He pointed to an important accomplishment of the U.S. deployment over the past two decades, “We did keep an operating base that served to stop terrorism through our efforts.”
After completing his military service, Graham and his wife formed Able Shepherd, LLC in 2012, where they train law enforcement at all levels of government as well as EMS, fire department personnel and security guards. Graham told us that, “Now it’s grown into communities and individuals. We work with churches, schools, and others in the community in seminars or active shooter training. The principles I learned in the CIA and in the SEALs work everywhere. I train people how to defend their lives, whether it’s a soccer mom or a police SWAT team. “If you attack, I go forward, not backward,” he told us. Able Shepherd LLC has trained 13,000 people including over 500 first responders.
Graham has also started a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization called, “Standinthegapinitiative.com,” that provides free resources to people who need it, including seminars in safety techniques.