Robert A. Trivino’s book A Warrior’s Path: Lessons in Leadership introduces readers to the journey of a man who would reach the pinnacle of the US special operations world after serving in the US Army’s 18th Airborne Corps, 75th Ranger Regiment, and as an operational member of the Army’s most elite special missions unit. Born and raised in Northern New Mexico as part of various Pueblo Indian tribes, his family also spent time in Sonora, Mexico with his father’s Yaqui tribe. Trivino’s first time leaving home and getting on a plane would be when he left for Army basic training in 1988.
His upbringing in a warrior-based society along with lessons from his parents about being a true warrior would soon resonate with him as to what it meant to be a good leader.
Helps his people when help is needed.
Fights for his people, when necessary, without thought for his own life.
Protects his people, when necessary, without thought for his own life.
Most importantly, puts others before himself.
A Warrior’s Path begins with Trivino’s childhood and the many hardships that his family faced, but also the important lessons that he was afforded in the process along with the special bond that he developed with them. He goes on to discuss his early enlistment with an air defense element in the 18th Airborne Corps and his involvement in Operation Desert Shield. Upon returning from that relatively uneventful deployment, Trivino was informed that his job was being phased out. If he wanted to stay, he was told he could become a cook, truck driver, or mechanic. Trivino chose the fourth option, Army Ranger.
As the book progresses, it details his time in Ranger school and the difficulties of showing up to his first platoon to a less-than-warm welcome by his team who were skeptical about an NCO with no real-world Ranger experience being their new team leader. With hard work and dedication he proved himself to his team and soon earned their respect on his way to becoming the 75th Ranger Regiment NCO of the Year. With support from his command, Trivino would then try out for the Army’s elite special missions unit.
After entering the selection course in 1995 and passing, Trivino would spend years building his skillset which included becoming a sniper but most importantly a good teacher. After the World Trade Center towers fell, the excited realization sunk in that as part of his elite unit he would be one of the very first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan as part of the War on Terror. It was time to use everything he had learned up to this point in order to keep him and his small team alive. As the war progressed, he moved up from team sergeant to senior leader and would eventually retire as a Sergeant Major and the senior enlisted advisor for a multi-service special operations organization. Currently Trivino owns and operates Evergreen Mountain LLC, a company that provides leadership and tactical instruction and solutions for a variety of organizations in the military and law enforcement.
Trivino’s story is fascinating, exciting, and an important piece of military history, but my favorite aspect of his book is that he includes his Key Leadership Lessons at the end of each chapter. They do a superb job of keeping the focus on the what the book is all about – leadership. Those keys are specifically tied to lessons learned up to that certain point in his career. Never one to settle or rest on his laurels, they show how he continued to develop at each stage in his storied career. A Warrior’s Path is well-written, entertaining, and educational. But just as importantly, readers should make note that they are getting a look into the life and service of a man who has done things that even other special operations veterans admire – all while being humble and pointing his successes to the men around him and lessons learned from his own failures. This book is one of a kind in terms of leadership lessons. If you read and apply those lessons, it will be a reliable compass for your own path in life.
All photos courtesy of Robert A. Trivino