Grady Powell was born September 15, 1987 in St. Louis, Missouri. Grady comes from a military background. Both his father and grandfather were in the military. His father was a Vietnam Green Beret and his grandfather was in the 11th Airborne Division during WWII. Grady followed in their footsteps and is a former U.S. Army Green Beret himself. He passed selection at just 21 years old making him one of the youngest soldiers to have made it into the elite Special Forces. His time in the Army took him to both Iraq and northern Africa.
Powell originally attended the University of Missouri on a full scholarship ROTC. He spent three semesters there studying graphic design. However, when he began to see the effects of the War on Terror, he wanted to serve his country. He dropped out of college and joined the military – a decision he has never once regretted.
Powell served with distinction in the Army for five years. His training led him to become an expert in small arms, evasion, field medicine, and urban survival. When he retired from the Army in 2012, he went backpacking through Europe to deal with the transition. While in Germany, he got a call to appear on a TV show. He competed on the NBC series Stars Earn Stripes. Grady, alongside his partner Eva Torres, ultimately won the competition. Two years later, he competed in Ultimate Survival Alaska, a survival race for a National Geographic series. He was also a host on the popular Discovery series, Dual Survival in the seventh and eighth seasons. Most recently, Grady was part of Fox’s American Grit with John Cena.
In addition to appearing on television, Grady has also spent time training military, law enforcement, and civilians in tactical skills like defensive firearm implementation. He has also been responsible for running protection detail for U.S. dignitaries overseas.
Grady best known for his time on survival television shows. He shares his wisdom and advice with viewers, hoping to encourage them to get up and do something. He wants to focus on the survival mindset.
He strongly believes that mindset is more important in survival than any skillset or equipment. While survival shows often share tips and show viewers certain skills, Grady is always trying to remind the audience how crucial it is to keep your head in the game. He doesn’t want you to give up.
He has shared stories of pushing his body to physical limits while training in the Army, and then pushing himself even farther. Powell recalls having a broken bone or illness, and having to continue on. Naturally, his body was giving out and he felt like he couldn’t go on. But instead, he would force himself to have a positive mindset. He wouldn’t give up, but would push forward. It is things like this that made him so successful in the military.
Another piece of advice from Grady is that you should always be prepared. This includes being aware of your surroundings. You should know where potential exits are and how you can get to them. On the other hand, something you shouldn’t do, is become too absorbed in your phone. If people are talking on their phones, wearing headphones, or texting, they may not notice a potential threat nearby. He points out that if you’re going to be in a situation where you may need to move quickly, be sure to wear appropriate clothing and footwear.
Being prepared also means keeping your body in good enough shape to run away if necessary. Powell stands at 6’ 3” and 210 lbs. While he doesn’t obsess over a strict diet or aesthetic weightlifting, he is sure to stay in shape. He maintains a level of fitness where he can run and carry gear should the need arise.
We can see the effects of his never quit attitude and fitness level when he is on these survival programs. He demonstrates his abilities to hunt, hike long distances, endure extreme weather, and most interestingly, work with a partner.
He credits his ability to work with others to his time in the Green Berets. They were sometimes in situations where they would have to build armies with soldiers who didn’t like them or may not even speak the same language. But when they had a common goal, they could work together. Powell brings these skills into survival situations. Oftentimes his ideas will differ from that of his partner, but teamwork is crucial to survival.
One issue he has with survival TV is that the producers often want to focus on entertainment rather than reality. Grady feels that in a real survival situation, where you wouldn’t have producers to pull you out should something go wrong, he would make different choices. He may not make such an elaborate shelter. Instead, he may conserve energy and calories by making a more barebones structure. Grady worries he may be a hypocrite for appearing to advise viewers to do something he wouldn’t. But he also understands that some people are just watching the programs for enjoyment.
He clarifies that he never gives incorrect or bad information. He just explains that sometimes the television programs leave out the hours and hours of the survivalists doing nothing. Or the literal days of hiking through terrain. That’s no fun to watch, but with it cut out, the survival experience does not seem as authentic.
He uses his time on television to try and encourage a positive survival mindset. He strongly believes that your attitude can make or break you in any situation, but especially in survival. Grady Powell definitely sounds like a guy to take advice from.