Militarily Speaking Ep. 58 Surviving the Iran Hostage Crisis with Rocky Sickmann from Folds of Honor

This episode contains subject matter around wartime events that some audience members might find disturbing. Listener Discretion Advised.

“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes military community who they are.

We — with guests like you — will help the military community not only navigate their finances but also military life. We chat about both good and bad financial practices and provide some insight along the way. We’ll share strategies to help people get ahead, discuss military benefits that members should take advantage of, and more – all working towards the goal of helping people become more financially independent.

On the show, we’ll also preview and talk about how to take advantage of military specific services, such as loans and mortgages, and help members prepare for important milestones such as PCS moves and the transition to civilian life. Finally, at the end of every episode, we have a bit of fun with our Military Minute. That guessing-game segment features military history, hobbies, a bit of pop culture. Correct guesses by listeners could result in a donation to charity of individual’s choice.

Welcome to the "Militarily Speaking" podcast with Tom McLean and Jodi Vickery.

In this episode of “Militarily Speaking,” Tom and Jodi, are joined by Rocky Sickmann, representing Folds of Honor, shares his dramatic journey from U.S. Marine Corps service to becoming one of the 65 American hostages during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. He also speaks of his current dedication to Folds of Honor, supporting military families through educational scholarships.

“Militarily Speaking” is a podcast produced by Armed Forces Bank that is dedicated to the military lifestyle and all the things that makes the military community who they are.


Ep. 58 – Surviving the Iran Hostage Crisis with Rocky Sickmann from Folds of Honor

 Jodi starts by providing an overview of Rocky's impressive background. Graduating from Washington High School in 1976, Rocky immediately entered the U.S. Marine Corps. His life took a dramatic turn in 1979 when, just 28 days into his duty at the American embassy in Tehran, Iran, Rocky became one of the 65 Americans taken hostage. He remained a hostage for 444 harrowing days before being released in 1981.

 Rocky's military career is marked by numerous accolades, including the Prisoner of War Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Award of Valor, and the Good Conduct Medal. After his military service, Rocky transitioned to a successful career in the private sector with Anheuser Busch InBev, where he spent 34 years.


The Unforgettable Story of Iran Hostage Crisis

 Rocky takes the listener through a vivid retelling of his experiences during the Iran Hostage Crisis. From the chaotic morning of November 4, 1979, to the nerve-wracking moments of mock firing squads and intense interrogations, Rocky provides a gripping account of the psychological and physical challenges faced during his 444-day captivity.

 He recounts dramatic moments like the failed rescue operation, Operation Eagle Claw, that cost the lives of eight servicemen and the psychological torment of mock executions. Rocky's resilience and the hope instilled in him by his family, faith, and country shine through in his narration.


Life After Freedom and the Path to Folds of Honor

 In 1981, Rocky came home to a hero's welcome. The emotional journey of reuniting with family and adjusting to life post-captivity was no small feat. His resolve and determination to make the most of his second chance at life led him to his role at Anheuser Busch InBev and ultimately, to Folds of Honor.

 Folds of Honor, founded by Lieutenant Colonel Rooney, provides educational scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members. Rocky's dedication to honoring the sacrifices made by these families is palpable and resonates deeply with all who hear his story.


Cherishing Memories and Impacting Lives

 Tom and Jodi delve into the profound impact that Rocky's experiences have had on his outlook on life. He cherishes the moments spent with his family, understanding deeply the sacrifices that allow these memories to be made. Rocky passionately speaks about the importance of education for the dependents of military personnel and first responders, a mission that drives the initiatives of Folds of Honor.


Giving Back Through Folds of Honor and Personal Ties

 Rocky describes his ongoing efforts with Folds of Honor and their partnership with Anheuser Busch. From charity events to educational programs, Rocky works tirelessly to support military families, ensuring that the legacy of those who sacrificed is honored through education and support.

 Rocky's incredible journey from a high school graduate in a small town, through the terrors of captivity, to becoming a beacon of hope and support for military families is nothing short of inspirational. His story is a testament to resilience, hope, and the unyielding spirit of service.


For more incredible stories and to support the mission of Folds of Honor, please visit


Military Minute

Jodi introduces the Military Minute segment of the show, beginning by closing out last episode’s Military Minute.

  • Last episode’s Military Minute: What is the nickname for a fly fisherman? And what is the birthplace of fly fishing?
  • Answer: A trout bum and the Catskills
  • This week’s Military Minute question: Which movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1979?
  • Watch for Facebook and Instagram posts about this episode.
  • Answer with the correct answer and you plus a charity of your choice can each win $50.
  • After a winning selection, Military Minute participants are eligible for another selection after 12 months.


Tom closes the episode by asking listeners to go to and subscribe to the show, as well as leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

 Join us to hear how to better navigate your finances, military life, and the crossroads of the two.