We had the good fortune of connecting with Aric Gray and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aric, how do you think about risk?
I believe that risk-taking can be minimized with proper planning and training. Many take unnecessary risk based on multiple factors, i.e., inappropriate activity, lack of information, lack of funding, and the cost at which many companies sell their services. Take a celebrity or family office who uses their friends, or only take the word of mouth of another. Does that individual or team have the proper training, have they been tested or tried, and have years of experience. As we say in Special Operations, you can be trained but not certified, certified, but not experienced.

My life has been full of risk but in a controlled environment. The military teaches us principles and standard operations procedures. These are what’s called “mastering the basics.” I have deployed globally as a team member, and as a lone operator, the risk tolerance is different for each, but the process is similar. Families, businesses, and organizations experience unexpected risks; these events can cause a loss of life, drive unexpected costs, and bring undue stress. Risk management or planning allows families and organizations to prepare by minimizing risks before they happen. 

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

I started this career over 30 years ago as a young infantry soldier in the US Army. I went to Desert Storm at 19 years old and was chosen as a Bradley Fighting Vehicle Gunner, which at the time was the position of a sergeant (E-5 or above); I was only a PFC (E-3). The short experience in the Gulf was only the beginning. From there, I was promoted to Sergeant fast and went to US Army Ranger School. Ranger school is a leadership school but also a great test of intestinal fortitude. I learned everything about tactics and leadership, but most importantly, to never quit. From there, it was Macedonia and Bosnia, until I was running down the street on Ft. Hood, Texas, and saw the Special Forces Recruiter sign.

In the Army, we wear all certifications on our uniform; however, I was in our physical fitness uniform, so I had nothing on my sleeve. The recruiter looked at me as though I would waste his time and told me to come back later, believe me, I knew why. So, after getting showered and changed, I went back, and now I am wearing a Combat Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, and combat patch. His first question was, “when do you want to go?”

I chose 18B Special Forces Weapons Sergeant and went to the Qualification Course (Q-Course) and passed. However, because I already spoke German conversationally, due to being married to my wife and her family, I did not have to attend language school with my peers; instead, we went straight to 1/10SFG(A), and shortly after, I was in Kosovo Air war conducting Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) missions where I was part of two rescues, one was the stealth bomber.

After the Kosovo Air War, was when me and my family went back to Ft. Bragg so I could reclassify as a Special Forces Medical Sergeant, which I passed. After that we went back to Germany, and I was invited to join the Commanders In-Extremis Force (CIF). In this unit, which is now disbanded. We were designed to “provide options to rescue people under threat, to recover sensitive materials such as weapons of mass destruction components, to provide humanitarian relief, or to address other short notice requirements. It was in this unit that I got into the war in Iraq.

After this, I spent time in charge of the US Army Special Forces Sniper School (SFSC, formerly Special Operation Target Interdiction SOTIC). From there, I went to an Intel Unit in Washington DC for five years. After that assignment another mentor brought me over to the US Department of State, where I became the Office Director for Protective Medicine GS-15. At the State Department, I developed a true passion and understanding of diplomacy and what our country can, will, and won’t do for the American public abroad in crisis.

Those five years of global travel, responses to crises like detainee situations, Ebola, Covid, and other medical and security issues, gave me the zeal to want to bring that knowledge to the American public. So far, the transition hasn’t been easy, but I am still learning and continuing to try and educate one customer at a time.

Covid slowed momentum, and we have had to reinvent ourselves and our brand. I was taught never to quit, but we all know the early years of business are challenging. Along the way, I have learned a lot about business and people. We haven’t had that breakthrough moment yet, but I am optimistic it will come. I contract medical and security work across the USA to keep my skills sharp and stay abreast of the latest trends. We have also picked up some smaller clients here in the Houston area. Ultimately, Houston has a significant market, and I want to be of service, bringing 30 years of government and private sector knowledge to the oil and gas Industry in security and medical components. 

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

That is hard for me. I work a lot, so I don’t have time in the city.

When we lived downtown, our favorite places to grab a bite were Osso & Kristalla, Bovine and Barley and Irma’s Southwest.

Exercise at Hermann Park or take a walk (we love the Medical center area and Museum District) and Buffalo Bayou Park.

The people of Houston are great. It is diverse, full of culture, and very intellectual. In addition, Houston has a significant international business culture, and I believe it to be one of the fastest-growing cities in America.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

So many in my life that have a profound effect on who I am or want to be. I believe that God is the foundation of my life, provides me strength when things are tough and when you’re all alone on this planet.

My father. My dad (Pastor Charles Gray Jr) is a Vietnam vet and pastor in Dallas, Texas. As a young man growing up, I wanted to be a soldier, like him (minus the preacher part, lol). He never over-emphasized religion but explained its guiding principles. He told me that the military is an excellent place for young men to become better men. And never held me back from anything.

My wife of 30 years (Sabine Gray) puts up with all my deployments, being absent from life events, and my entrepreneurial spirit, and I know that hasn’t been easy. 

Website: www.grayghostprivate.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gra_ghost_g2/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aric-gray-46741872

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrayGhostG2

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/gray-ghost-solutions-houston

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvpLrRqjSi3T4Ot31Y6x5bg

Other: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMdCq5krq/ https://www.linkedin.com/company/gray-ghost-solutions/?viewAsMember=true

Image Credits
Aric Gray

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