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Acknowledgments and Credits


One of the central themes to my upcoming book, The Phoenix Project: Hard-fought Wisdom to Win, is the concept of the “Spirit of the Phoenix Project.” That Spirit is the people that have supported my path and the reason I am still alive today.


I have achieved nothing on my own, and I owe everything to the various mentors across all areas of my life (personally and professionally) across the Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual planes of existence. 


They are the reason this book came to be written and now published. They are the ones I credit with helping me identify the correct “problem.” That credit is exponentially more significant regarding the upcoming release of The Phoenix Project in January of 2021.


The full acknowledgment of those that have helped inspire and guide this book (and The Phoenix Project) will be available in the print version and found at The web version intends to be a living document not to be restricted by word counts and to anyone perhaps found in the ashes of further discovery down the road. Thank you to all, and hopefully, you will look back and realize I was worth the trouble; or, at a minimum, kept things interesting.


To all of those that supported the publishing of this book, Un-winnable Wars: Finding Victory in the Ashes, and to all of the people who were and continue (many without their knowledge) to be “Essential Personnel”, in helping The Phoenix Project: Hard-fought Wisdom to Win, become a reality (January 2021).


To all the men of Task Force 300, in particular those of Charlie Troop, whom I had the honor to command for almost a three-year period. These books are a direct result of the “Hard-fought Wisdom” they taught me.


To my daughters, Addison and Camille, who keep me in check constantly.


To Kara, who is 90% patience and 90% inspiration… yes it adds to more than 100%, it is called the “Unicorn Effect”.


To my father, Master Chief Petty Officer (Retired) Paul Stewart, U.S. Navy who showed me what true service to one’s Nation means.


To my grandparents, Paul and Daisy Stewart, who kept the flame alive for a relationship with my father.


To all of my Ranger School instructors (R.I.s), who taught me how to suffer and “embrace the suck” (Class 03-02).


To Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Bell, my first Ranger buddy. And to his brother (and mine) Robert Bell.


To the Chain of Command of 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Airborne), for giving the first opportunity to learn to be a “Leader of Men”, specifically to the boys of 3rd (Blue) Platoon, Bravo Company, J.C. White (my first company commander), Wylie Hutchison (my first sergeant), and James Champagne (my Battalion Command Sergeants Major) who had every right to suggest to the Battalion Commander that I be fired on a daily basis, but for whatever reason did not.


To Lieutenant General (Retired) Robert Caslen, the godfather of my youngest daughter, the ultimate mentor in all aspects of life (currently the President of the University of South Carolina).


To Christy A., Jay C., Bruce A., Scott S., and all of the other “Emotional Plane” of existence mentors that taught me how to be “human” again.


And last but not least, to Richard and Cherye Bell, who taught me the definition of “Unconditional Love”, and the ones who made the initial investment in, The Phoenix Project. They somehow were able to see it before I did, and had it not been for them I would likely not be alive today.


Rangers Lead the Way!!


Jesse R. Stewart


Description of Un-Winnable Wars:

Finding Victory in the Ashes

The only pain that exceeds the loss in war is realizing the “Hard-fought Wisdom” accumulated during battles fought, remained left behind in the ashes of defeat. Society in mass is experiencing pandemic levels of an “inability to deal with discomfort and struggle,” after loss and/or setback on all levels.


However, this mentality has been rampant across history, especially when recording critical information, lessons, and knowledge from unconventional warfare. The critical lessons that could save a future generation, or more importantly, prevent future conflict from ever happening, are simply left.

Shortly after victory in total or “World Wars,” the “Victors” (and authors of most documented history), find themselves soon consumed by an “insurgency” riddled with unimaginable levels of complexity.

Historically, “Unconventional” warriors rise up to “Counter the Insurgency” often against great odds with limited funding, minimal leadership (with knowledge of tactics), and minimal support from the established “Conventional” leadership generally resisting change.

Un-Winnable Wars: Finding Victory in the Ashes, is an attempt to connect the author’s experience commanding in a Counterinsurgency War, together with the research, understanding, and application developed in the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College’s “Art of War” Fellowship Program.

Analysis of the following attempts that connection:

  • Past wars (up to Iraq and Afghanistan) and countries (such as Great Britain) that codified standing “unconventional forces” 50 years before the establishment of U.S. Special Forces.


  • The origin, development, and “codification” of U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam and their crucial contribution in developing the Civilian Irregular Defense Group during the Vietnam Conflict. 


  • The research of hundreds of historical case studies, many requiring the author to travel to Europe to obtain access, simultaneously conducting several hundred in-person oral history interviews from “Unconventional Forces” of various countries to be recorded, cataloged, and made available for future generations studying Counterinsurgency.


  • Subsequently providing analysis and assessment to the leadership to the author while he served under the Art of War Program to include General Stanley McChrystal, Lieutenant General Robert Caslen, and Dr. Daniel Marston.


The resulting knowledge in this book, along with other recent studies on unconventional conflict extends beyond the battlefield and military.

J.J. Thomas (Olympic Medalist) and Lucas Foster, U.S. Professional Snowboarders, highlight the similarities of mindset and application to that of the U.S. military (especially Special Operations Forces) based on recent connections to veterans.

Their contributions to this book in “developing, collaborating, and delivering this ‘Hard-fought Wisdom’” increases the chance to keep the knowledge relevant, alive, and not forgotten.

That contribution is significant for two reasons:

  • First, make the knowledge available for anyone in need of a “third-door” or “unconventional” solution to various situations and people, therefor offering relief to the often concern of a U.S. “Civilian-Military” divide.


  • Second, mitigate the need for another 26-year old Company Commander during counterinsurgency operations to lose 14 Rangers in a six-month period, only to realize the knowledge and answers to fight this type of battle was there all along. Still, the wisdom was rarely documented, available, or acknowledged by those who write history.

Next time you see a Professional Snowboarder, you might want to think about thanking him or her, for their service. Just a thought.


Rangers Lead the Way!!!!

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