Archive for April, 2011

Today I wanted to remind all our men and women who are serving in war torn areas that their sacrifice isn’t for nothing and that most good American’s appreciate what they do to keep the rest of us safe and free. I personally want to thank all of you. You are truly living by my motto: “You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard“.

Some of you may not understand what that motto means. It is a Special Operations Motto. It was posted on the wall of my team room when I was in Special Forces in Panama way back in 1979. It doesn’t necessarily only apply to military hardships and training. It basically means that if you want to accomplish your dreams you need to work hard. Good things don’t come easy. You may fail sometimes but you can always pick yourself back up and try again. Don’t give up. When things get hard just remember “You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard“. I have said this so many times over the years to my kids, coworkers and everyone around me. It was my way of encouraging them to keep working hard and not wimp out. Things are not always going to be easy in life but you can get through it.

To read about my experiences and how I applied my motto in my own life you can purchase my book at


I have given many lectures across the United States on the events of my near-death accident. Everyone seemed so interested and wanted to know more. Many would come to me and ask if I was writing a book. I had kept a daily journal for many years on all the things I had done and really only meant my writings to be for my family. As time went on and I experienced more life-changing events, I decided to share some of these stories by publishing this book.

One of these stories is particularly difficult for me. The events of January 23, 2007, with the deaths of five of my brothers in arms, one being my sibling, made me look harder at my life. That day wasn’t just about the five who lost their lives. It was a day that affected many who were involved in many different aspects of that day. This was a very hard day for many brave men who survived but have the horrible memories of losing their close friends. Survivor’s guilt is a terrible thing. Unless you have experienced it, you can’t understand the true extent of how it can affect you. I hope this book will help those who still suffer from it.

I have spoken with many of the brave men who were there that fateful day and many of them feel responsible in some way for what happened. They are all going through the ‘what-ifs’. What if they had done this, or what if they had done that? What if they hadn’t run out of ammo? To all of these brave men I would say, “There is nothing you could have done differently that would have made a difference. It was no one’s fault. You all fought hard, brave and without hesitation. It is an honor for me to have worked with all of you. Remember, God is in control, not us.”

You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard is a motto after which I have patterned my life. This is my story, growing up in conditions of extreme poverty in a small town on the outskirts of Sacramento, California called Rio Linda, and the many adventures and experiences I had after leaving home to serve my country in the United States Army.

Even after all the negative comments I received in school, mostly based on my minority background, who would have ever thought this young boy from Rio Linda would have grown up to meet with and brief a King, Ambassadors, Prime Ministers, Generals, and the President of the United States not to mention the many diplomats and VIPs across the globe. In my youth I made a promise to myself that I would show everyone that they were wrong about my family and me.

You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard to me means you must never give up no matter how difficult your circumstances may be. As you read this true-life story you will see how this motto has kept me from giving up when hard times have seemed unbearable. From those early days in school when I was told by adults, who I was supposed to look up to, that I would probably flip burgers the rest of my life, to the time I spent many months in the hospital recovering from a helicopter crash that killed my best friend, and doctors telling me that my flying career had come to an end. I was also told my chances of walking normally again were not looking real good, and if I did it would not be without some kind of walking device. In reading this story, you will see the many opportunities I had to live by my motto.

I hope you will enjoy reading this book and when life seems unbearable, I hope it will inspire you in some way to apply my favorite motto, “You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard,” which has carried me through some of the most difficult times in my life.

This book is based on my memories and the daily journals I kept over the years. There is no intention to embellish anything to make the story sound better. All the events and information about people and organizations mentioned by name in this book are not classified. This information can be found readily on the Internet. I have focused on the experiences in my life and not on the tactical procedures of the military or organizations I worked for. Conversations with certain people may not have taken place at the time or places mentioned in the book but did take place and were inserted to keep the storyline flowing. This is only a fraction of the many stories my family has heard me tell over the years. It is a true story of my life.

Dan Laguna

Dan and his wife Deonna at the Ops Gear Booth for the Book Signing

You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard Book Signing Event was held at the the Gun Show at the South Town Expo Center in Sandy Utah on Saturday, April 9th. Thanks to Ops Gear for letting me sign books at their booth. It was a great day and we met a lot of nice people. I wish now that I would have thought to get a group picture of all the Ops Gear employees with me. They are a great bunch of people.

We want to thank everyone for their support. For those who couldn’t attend the Gun Show and Book Signing Event you can order my book “You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard” at:

I just had the most wonderful evening. Deonna and I got to meet the greatest bunch of guys. I spoke at the Wounded Warrior Retreat in Park City, Utah. I was supposed to give them encouraging words to help them with their struggles but it turned out that I am the one who benefited most from this experience. It was truly an honor to be amongst these young heroes who have given so much for their country. It would be an honor to stand next to them in defense of our country. I wish them all the best and hope our paths will cross again someday.

Dan Laguna is honored to be speaking to the Wounded Warriors in Park City, UT on April 7, 2011 at 5:30 PM. It will be held at 1000 Ability Way in Park City, Utah.

Dan Laguna is the author of  “You Have To Live Hard To Be Hard One Man’s Life In Special Operations“.

Come take this opportunity to meet Dan Laguna and talk to him in person. Dan will be doing a Book Signing at the Gun Show on April 9th at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, UT (9575 S. State Street).  He will be at the Ops Gear Table from 9 am to 5 pm.