I’m a former Navy Seal and VIP Vacation Safety Advisor
- Mike (not her real name), 40, is a former Navy SEAL whose company provides vacation security for wealthy clients.
- Mike’s team inspects harbors and yachts, finds secure restaurants, and background checks on local staff.
- Here’s what her work looks like, told to freelance writer Claire Turrell.
Mike spoke anonymously due to privacy concerns. His identity has been verified by Insider.
I used to move US special forces troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. As a Navy Seal, I received the Bronze Star in Iraq and a Bronze Star with V for Valor in Afghanistan. Now I move wealthy families around the world on vacation.
The idea for the Servius Group came after my co-founder Ethan (not his real name) was on vacation with a wealthy family at the Monaco Yacht Show. Family and other guests were traveling between the yachts in a small boat, and he was shocked when one of the guests revealed he was carrying $ 1 million in cash in his bag.
In the summer of 2020, Ethan and I decided to start a business that would hold a vacation with special forces trained security. Our team is made up of former Special Forces members, such as former Navy SEALs, Rangers and Marines. Each team member has completed 10-12 combat rounds, so they are masters of risk mitigation. We are also multilingual – I personally speak English, French and Farsi.
We start working for clients a month before their trip.
We check routes, find English-speaking doctors, and see where the U.S. Embassy and the nearest police stations are. We send an advanced team to their destination and make sure the restaurant you choose is not in a dingy part of town. We are looking for the red flags.
We also monitor the personnel working on the sites and monitor the private jets. And if a VIP family is enjoying a vacation on the coast or on a lake and their teenagers are using jet skis or cars, we tag the vehicles and track them for the parents. We also offer cyber protection for the bank accounts and identity of our clients.
When we travel, we look like a member of the family.
We do not wear overalls or headphones. Although our services are expensive, we can make travel insurance for our customers cheaper. When you walk into a chain known for hacking on a $ 200,000 vacation, it helps to have ex-Special Forces members on board. We protect the family, but we can also protect the contents of the yacht – some of our clients’ yachts have multi-million dollar art collections on board.
Our first clients came through word of mouth, and we now work with Embark Beyond luxury travel advisors to support their VIP guests.
While some of our clients just want to relax on the beach, others want a life changing experience.
We have a client who enjoys scuba diving for three months at a time. We dived with him in French Polynesia where it is common to see humpback whales and manta rays. Safari is also very popular with our customers – we have been to Ivory Coast, Mozambique and South Africa. We have even reached clients on charter yachts from the South Pole.
We recently provided security for a bachelor party that took place on a yacht in Miami. The men wanted to spend the day on the boat sailing and visit a few clubs at night. And no, we left no one behind.
If they want to go to Everest Base Camp, as one of our clients recently did, we will first do a baseline assessment of their physical capabilities to find out they can meet the challenges. physical demands of the trip.
If we have a guest who has never skydived before, we will put them in touch with a special forces instructor. And if this is your first scuba diving, our ex-Navy SEALs will be by your side with a safety line. But if it is skiing, it would be more fun for the customer to book professional lessons. Are you going to find a former Special Forces member on the nursery trail? No.
The job only gets tough for us when unexpected guests join in, but we’re used to dealing with last minute requests.
As former Special Forces, we are trained for extractions. We once had a client who found themselves in a dangerous and vulnerable situation, so they contacted us and requested an extraction. We took them out of this place, collected their valuables from elsewhere in the world, and took them both to a safe place.
So far, there has only been one request that we have not been able to accept, and that is to take 15 guys to South America on 24 hours’ notice. The government said it was too short for visa approval.
We try to help our clients as much as possible, but there are two things we will not do: we will not help buy drugs and we will not be photographed.
Our clients can hire a ski guide or scuba diving instructor to accompany them on their trips, but they want to hear our stories. A ski guide may be an expert, but he has never been deployed to combat or attended a tribal meeting in Afghanistan.