A Visit to Charlie Mike's Pub

By How Miller

Charlie Mike is phonetic for “CM,” which in army lingo is Continue Mission. Lew Chapman served as a Commo man at my A Camp and left a little before I became a Medic there. After spending the better part of the day touring the JSOCM training center and giving our fun lunchtime presentation on what it was like back in the day when we were called 91Bs and 05Bs, it seemed only fitting we should CM at Charlie Mike’s Pub a little outside of Fort Bragg. We were joined by Mike Jones who had been our host for the tour and presentation.

It was a happy coincidence that, while planning my trip to Fort Bragg, I noticed a link on SOF.NEWS that brought me to an article published by CoffeeorDie.com. It mentioned that a couple of instructors from JSOCM were mentoring willing students on Wednesday nights at this pub. So, while talking with Mike Jones, he enthusiastically agreed to introduce us to them.

I had read an excellent article at CoffeeorDie.com “‘We Didn’t Know Jack’ — With Beers and Jokes, 2 Retired Green Berets Mentor a New Generation” by Jenna Biter. It made me want to see the process myself, and Lew agreed. Mike Jones met us there and introduced us to Mike Jackson. His partner, Rick Hines, had been pulled away for another engagement.

Mike and Rick have some topics to highlight at each evening get-together. They are designed to cover what can be the difference between success and failure. The mentoring can range from challenges in the training process to how to fit in with a new team or how a difficult combat medical situation was handled. It has been described as no B***S***. Just telling it how it is, or was.

This night, it turned out, Lew and I were the topic. We didn’t have any visual aids, other than a few Sentinels, but sitting face to face around a big table, drinking beers, invited both jovial and meaningful dialogue. We were again treated royally, reprising some of our lunch lecture and fielding many questions about situations we ran into and how we handled them.

It was a great bunch of guys, all going the extra mile to succeed at the school and their chosen profession — Special Operations Combat Medic. There were both Navy and Army personnel there, including an NSOIDC candidate, Green Beret candidates, and others. Their attitudes made it obvious that they felt they were getting something good out of coming there on Wednesday nights.

Hanging out at Charlie Mike's after a session, left to right, Lew Chapman, Unk, Mentor Mike Jackson, with two students opting for a security pose.

The ambiance probably has something to do with that as well. The side of the bar we gathered in had some large tables that had SOF logos “lacquered” into the tabletops. It was hard to find a piece of wall, or even ceiling, that was not covered with SOF — mostly SF displays. There were pictures of units, of missions, famous Green Berets, and even one of John Wayne. There is a display case filled with different berets and models of aircraft hanging from above. Many of the pictures have signatures. Each item could start a long conversation about the past, and frequently did. People were anxious to point out different favorite pictures.

Left to right, Mike Jackson, Lew Chapman, and a patron pointing out a picture he is enthusiastic about. (How Miller)

Left to right, Mike Jackson, Lew Chapman, and a patron pointing out a picture he is enthusiastic about. (How Miller)

But all of those are merely window-dressing for the center of the displays. There is a large section populated by pictures of each Green Beret that has fallen since the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. That was the opening salvo on the decades-long Global War on Terror (GWOT). America’s response was headed by Special Forces, starting with the Horse Soldiers of ODA 595, and their sister team ODA 555. Other ODAs were soon to follow, and with the help of lots of others were able to lead the Afghans to victory over the Taliban. Special Operations Forces, mainly Green Berets, were front and center of much of the action. There were many who served multiple tours, some served many tours. That is hard on a soldier and his family. It is difficult to say if that contributed to extra casualties, but it definitely increased the odds.

Their portraits are brought down on the anniversary of their deaths, and that evening, memorials are given. These were Green Berets who, according to a previous owner of the pub, Bob Hash, ”If they knew they were going to end up on this wall, they would do what they did anyway.” These were men who willingly risked their lives to accomplish the mission. As you might imagine, those are very emotional moments. Ben Hines of Military Times made a video about Charlie Mike’s which includes a memorial ceremony and an interview of Bob Hash, which you can watch on YouTube.

The heart of the pub, and all it entails, is the current owner Tracy Guthrie. Born to Green Beret James Hinkle while he was serving in Bad Tolz, Germany, she has been a part of SF ever since. She even ended up marrying Green Beret Arlo Guthrie.

The pub was opened in 2006 by Michelle Curtis in memory of her dad, who was also a Green Beret in Bad Tolz, calling it Charlie Mike.

Left to right, How Miller, Tracy Guthrie, and Lew Chapman. (How Miller)

Left to right, How Miller, Tracy Guthrie, and Lew Chapman. (How Miller)

Tracy has an infectious smile and a caring attitude. When the opportunity came along for her to buy the bar and keep this legacy alive, she was heartbroken feeling that she would not be able to buy it. Eventually she succeeded anyway, and she goes above and beyond to care for her SF Family. A bar is a place that brings out the stories of people who have had their psyches wounded. In this day and age, she is careful to look out for people that might be reaching the end of their ropes, and she has found and helped some.

She does this while skillfully catering to the other half of her customers who are not related to SF at her corner neighborhood bar. After many of the mentoring group had meandered out, Lew and I went up to meet Tracy. She was all smiles and told us about herself and the bar and the wonderful crew she has. If I lived near Fayetteville, I’m sure it is a place where I would like to spend some time. She sent me a letter she prizes, by Jimmie Hallis, the Curator of the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, NC (click to read this letter).

Charlie Mike’s Pub has entertainment, including Karaoke, and great food, with a Thai theme, and is a short drive outside the base down Riley Road at 195 Starpoint Dr, Fayetteville, NC.

About the Author:

How Miller has served as the editor of Chapter 78’s Sentinel since January 2021. Read How’s Member Profile to learn more about him.