Who Is Ryan Bates, the Navy Seal from 'Toughest Forces on Earth'? 4 Things to Know About Him

By Klein Felt Posted:
Ryan Bates, Toughest Forces on Earth cast members

Audiences are itching to know more about former Navy SEAL Ryan Bates after his appearance in Netflix's Toughest Forces on Earth

The streaming documentary series takes audiences behind the curtain on some of the world's most demanding military outfits, telling the stories of the men and women those outfits employ. 

Bates appears as one of the show's three military representatives, describing his experiences as a former U.S. Navy SEAL. 

4 Things To Know About Toughest Forces on Earth Star Ryan Bates

Ryan Bates with wife Dianna Dahlgren Bates
Ryan Bates and wife Dianna Dahlgren Bates

Ryan Bates Was a Navy SEAL for 12 Years

Before appearing in Netflix's Toughest Forces on Earth, Ryan Bates worked as a U.S. Navy SEAL for 12 years. 

During his time in the military, Bates was deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Philippines on several tours of duty. 

 He started as a rescue swimmer for the military outfit, describing the experience on The Bad Beat Podcast

The former Navy SEAL reminisced about the "hard school[ing]" needed to train as a rescue swimmer, remembering about half of his class dropping out as it was too intense:

"It's honestly pretty hard school. So, you have to go down to Pensacola, you have to go through air crew school first. The you have to go through RSS Rescue Swimmer School, and its just shitloads of swimming. I think we started with 50 peoples, and you end up graduating with 25. So, it's pretty high attrition rate. But I crushed its and ended up going into that."

Bates continued, telling the story of one of his biggest rescues in the water. He described "a place in the middle of the [Persian] Gulf called Kamansky" where smugglers would come out of Iraq and sometimes enter international waters:

"I did [have to go rescue people]. There is a place in the middle of the Gulf called Kamansky. It is where, before the Iraq war, there were a lot of smugglers that would come out of the S.A. and K.A., the two Iraqi rivers coming out. And when they were smuggling, they would hit two areas where they would cut into international waters, and if they cut into that, you would bring a team in whether it be SEALS, Coast Guard, or FAST Teams, and they would take down the smugglers and bring them to a place called Kamansky which is like a holding pattern of hundreds and hundred of ships in the middle of the Persian Gulf."

During a particularly stormy night when Kamansky-based troops were dealing with some of these smugglers "a bunch of [ships sank]," forcing Bates into action to help save "200 people" who were stranded in the water:

"And a storm kicked up one time and a bunch of them sunk. I think at one time there was 200 people in the water and we got some rescues during that. It was pretty cool."

Ryan Is an Entrepreneur

Since his time on active duty, Ryan Bates has become an entrepreneur starting several businesses. 

His various ventures include being the owner of Poseidon Applications Group, The Blind Buck Bar, and Globe Bar and Kitchen. 

He is also now the owner of Canoe Club USA, an ammunition and clothing storefront. 

Bates started Canoe Club in 2021, during the ammunition shortage, because - as he described it on The Bad Beat Podcast - "[he] could get it" in a time when other people "could not:"

"Canoe Club USA, I got into ammo about two years ago when the ammo shortage happened and alot of people could not, but could get it, so I started a company and pretty much crushed it through all of COVID. Now it is pretty much self-running, and we have a good customer base. If you guys need ammo, I have got shit-loads of it."

Ryan Got Arrested After Filming Netflix's Toughest Forces on Earth

After his appearance in Toughest Forces on Earth, Ryan Bates was arrested. 

The former Navy SEAL was taken in by Malaysian authorities in June 2023 after empty ammunition magazines were found in his luggage as he attempted to fly home to Las Vegas from Kuala Lumpur. 

Bates claimed the magazines were from his time filming the Netflix series, but police held the U.S. veteran nonetheless. 

After being held for several days, Bates was finally released on bail on July 1, 2023, but was not allowed to leave the Southeast Asian nation until the investigation was complete. 

Ryan Is Married to Dianna Dahlgren

Ryan Bates is married to former model and business owner Dianna Dalhgren. 

Dahlgren owns the clothing brand Salty Honey, specializing in high-end women's lifestyle clothing. 

The pair also have a two-year-old daughter, Penny, who was born on May 22, 2022. 

How To Follow Ryan Bates Online

Fans looking to keep up with Ryan Bates online can follow him on Instagram (@frogman5326). 

Toughest Forces on Earth is streaming now on Netflix. 

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- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.