Phil Campion (AKA Big Phil) is a former soldier, author, and TV personality.
Big Phil Campion
I was born fearless, I had to be as I was given up for adoption early on and while I went through the system of abuse and indifference with the foster and care system, this is not what defines me.
Leaving school at the ripe old age of 16, I had no qualifications, but I was able to get on to a Youth Training Scheme, though what I really wanted was to join the army and become a soldier.
So, I did and joined the Royal Hampshire Regiment and I loved it, but I wanted more.
So, in 1997 I became one of the very few soldiers in the British Army to take and pass both the Royal Marines Commando course and the Parachute Regiment’s infamous P Company to earn my right to wear the famous Red Beret, the “Maroon Machine”.
But I wanted more because I was driven and knew I had much more in me.
So, I passed Selection and joined (‘badged’) 22 SAS (Special Air Service), the UK’s top-tier special forces unit, serving with D Squadron.
I left the army with the rank of Staff Sergeant, and in my army career, I served in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, and West Africa. I took part in Operation “Certain Death”, or Operation Barras (officially) with the successful rescue of hostages taken by the West Side Boys in Sierra Leone.
But this still does not define me.
After the army, I joined the “Circuit” of private security contractors, mercenaries if you want to call them that, and hustled for the big money contracts. Sometimes working solo, sometimes leading over 100 men and in some of the most hostile war zones on the planet.
I invented a USB dog tag, UTag, for keeping essential personal and medical information on beyond just an army number and a blood group.
Still, this does not define me, and I found myself realizing I didn’t need more, what I really needed was to give.
I wrote a biography, Born Fearless in 2011 and I was stunned, truly surprised when it became a bestseller. More than that, it led to a series with Sky TV, “Big Phil’s War”. And now, I have a seat at the table as a radio and TV commentator and occasional host, plus I get the odd speaking engagement too, and it’s all a lot of fun too let me tell you!
More books followed, including trying my hand at fiction (but based in fact and my experience) with “Steve Range” and the Blackstone 6 team.
But these books, radio and TV appearances still do not define me, nor does the “I’m a celebrity” status that goes with it.
None of these have filled the need I feel personal today, nor for all these years.
The need that defines me is not to be challenged for the sake of a challenge – I have done that, and I’m still not satisfied. I mean, if you can do the Marines, the Paras, and SAS Selection and still feel you are not being challenged enough in life then you have something seriously wrong.
And I did have something seriously wrong: I was wrapped up in what could I do, what could I get, how much money was there for the taking.
And then it dawned on me.
I discovered the real need in me: the need to give back and to put back into life more, much more than I have ever taken or ever could.
As a boy, I joined the CCF (Combined Cadet Force) and that led me to the army, so I looked at how I could help and this is why I became the champion for the ACF (Army Cadet Force). The army helped me, and you might not like it, but for some kids, joining the military is a way to get out of some of the most horrific and brutal situations for them in civilian life.
I know personally, the price that is paid by our serving men and women, which is why I have founded Born Fearless, and participate wherever and as far as I am able in fundraising for veteran charities and causes. I’m happy to help any charity or voluntary organization to raise its profile even if it means taking one on the chin in a boxing ring!
The thing that defines me is my need to give. To my family, to the military and veteran community, to wider society, and especially for those kids who are also born fearless and looking for a better way and a better life.