The Remarkable Journey of Jason Everman: From Rock Star to Special Forces

Christian Baghai
3 min readJun 6, 2024


Jason Everman was born on October 16, 1967, in Ouzinkie, Alaska, but he spent much of his early life in Washington state. Known for his introspective and quiet nature, Everman found solace and expression in music. His passion for the guitar quickly established him within the Seattle music scene, a hub of the burgeoning grunge movement in the late 1980s.

Rocking with Nirvana and Soundgarden

In February 1989, Everman joined Nirvana as their second guitarist. Although he funded the production of their debut album, “Bleach,” his contributions were not recorded on the tracks. His tenure with Nirvana was brief; he toured with them but was dismissed in July 1989 due to his moody and withdrawn behavior.

Everman’s next major musical stint was with Soundgarden in 1990, where he played bass, replacing Hiro Yamamoto temporarily. He contributed to the band’s cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” on the “Loudest Love” EP. Despite his skills, his time with Soundgarden was short-lived, and he was let go due to similar issues that plagued his time with Nirvana.

Transition to the Military

Everman’s journey took a dramatic turn in 1994 when he enlisted in the U.S. Army, inspired by a Navy SEAL friend and seeking new challenges and purpose. He joined the 2nd Ranger Battalion, embracing the discipline and structure of military life. His initial service period was during a relatively peaceful time, marked more by training than combat.

Becoming a Green Beret

After his initial service ended in 1998, Everman traveled through the Himalayas and spent time in a Buddhist monastery, finding parallels between monastic life and the military’s structured environment. However, feeling unfulfilled, he re-enlisted in the Army, this time aiming for the Special Forces. He successfully completed the rigorous Special Forces Qualification Course and became a Green Beret, serving with the 3rd Special Forces Group.

His deployments took him to various global locations, including Afghanistan and Iraq. These experiences were profoundly transformative, exposing him to the extremes of human nature and the brutal realities of combat. Everman reflected on these experiences as deeply insightful, revealing both the worst and the best aspects of humanity.

Academic Pursuits and Post-Military Life

In 2006, after leaving the military, Everman pursued higher education. With a recommendation from General Stanley McChrystal, he was accepted into Columbia University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy in 2013. His academic journey was part of a broader personal challenge, balancing his roles as an artist, soldier, and philosopher.

Everman never fully left the music scene. In 2017, he co-founded the band Silence & Light with other military veterans. The band dedicates its profits to supporting members of the Special Operations Community, the military, and first responders. This endeavor allowed Everman to blend his passions for music and service, creating a new platform for his artistic expression and philanthropic efforts.

Reflections and Philosophy

Throughout his varied and challenging life, Jason Everman has continuously sought purpose and growth. His journey from the highs of rock stardom to the disciplined life of a Special Forces operator, and finally to academic and musical pursuits, highlights his resilience and versatility. Everman reflects on his military experiences as deeply transformative, offering profound insights into the human condition and the duality of human nature — both brutal and selfless.

Jason Everman’s story is a testament to the power of reinvention and the relentless pursuit of meaning and purpose in life. His journey continues to inspire, bridging the worlds of music, military, and academia in a unique and impactful way.