20 Episode results for "incongruity media"
22 | Davies
"Realized what he was doing. He was trying to get your name office. This. And so from profit fifteen feet above him standing over him. I shot him probably four or five times until he stopped moving many veterans remember combat as a profoundly raw experience a time in their lives where they're will their bravery in there for Jill. You're right out there without any cover some of them learn that it's possible to kill without remorse and without malice, but it's impossible to kill without consequence. Even when the consequences satisfaction or the sense of a wrong righted killing something that stays with the person for the rest of their lives coming to terms with. It is something wrestled Davies discovered is just a part of the process of coming home. You know, I think if most people were to take step back and just tried to for a moment fathom the idea of going to a third world country in having to take lives that were taken by your hands. And then coming back and trying to adjust to the social warm. The more people could realize why PTSD is having such a tragic affect on soldiers returning from combat. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away. And the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed from wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? bristle DV's was bound set of high school just shy of graduation for fighting. And it nearly kept him from joining the military, but in two thousand six the army was struggling with enlistment numbers and his recruiter became a fixer and Davies became a soldier. He joined with three of his high school friends. Josh quick, Andy, Harris, and Chad cook the arrived, the basic training together, but the ended up being deployed separately. And his attorney out babies was built for the infantry. He excelled in basic training and went on to join the one hundred eighty seventh airborne infantry regiment, a group called the rock Assange, and they were getting ready to go back to a rack at the end of two thousand seven it wasn't until joining that regiment that he got a good sense of what being in the military was going to be about for him. I thought it was gonna be a bunch of young gung ho patriotic ready to fight people looking to serve their country. But it wasn't the infantry consists of you know, people like me that had gotten in trouble people did weren't educated enough to do. Anything higher than infantry people that were just looking to jump in the military to gain their views or citizenships to the US people looking to escape struggles of being born and raised in the ghetto. You quickly realize the infantry is a pretty big mixed batch of individuals all with their own complications struggles coming into it. You realize you know, that even the world different will come from different backgrounds that we're all the same. So the raucous on Stu train like nobody's business. It's frustrating. Every other brigade there is getting off in normal hours. We're you know, majority of times, we don't even get weekends. We train all through the weekend. But I was comfortable with that idea. And you know, I've figured the more training the more beneficial be in combat you're eager to prove yourself worthy. You don't wanna be Jerry anymore. And so yeah, I was. Definitely definitely ready to get through. Or at least. I thought it was. There's a lot to this disconnect between the new cherry infantryman in the combat veterans on the surface. There's some fraternal harassment. Sure. The cherries get the shit details generally get pushed around by their peers. But there's also something deeper the people who've seen combat understand just how ignorant and psychologically unprepared. The newbies are for what they're about to do. It's something that those in the know only feel like they can communicate by making things harder on the ignorant as with any life altering experience. Combat only makes sense from the other side and the only way to get there is to crossover we're in Iraq less than a month trying to provide security for yield to clear this roads start pushing the perimeter out more followed by a group of engineers and supply that we are providing security for you know, we'd go ten minutes up. I d g would take care of it that needed. We'd continue mission heard a huge explosion catastrophic idea. Hit one of. The trucks the other platoons providing security moved into trying to try and save like the wounded. But the truck was destroyed so massively that. Yeah. I think it killed. Three of the individuals that were in that truck. So meanwhile, while they were doing that we pushed forward made it to the location in which we were trying to set up a guard tower with the engineers about an hour and a half went by we got complacent we all met up in front of the humvee to discuss what what are going to be doing afterwards. And that was that was when we got lit up by a Michigan fire on her position myself into other guys were sitting on the hood of the humvee. The turret gunner was still in his seat. I remember talking to him and just the first burst mission gunfire. Hit the humvee that we are sitting on at actually have a picture the the guy that was in the dirt gun if it wasn't for that bullet proof glass right in front of his. I mean that changed his life entirely standing out in the open during a gun fight. It takes a second to register that you're being fired upon especially the first time it happens, of course, mass what trainings for although as he's telling the story might seem like it took several seconds to respond realistically. The response was immediate muscle memory takes the driver seat. So the brain can focus on response. You make yourself real small trying to figure out where it was coming from saw engineers running all over the place. You know, when do jumped in the bucket of a front loader realize real quickly where the fire was coming from one of the two forties opened up in their direction. Third fire with lamb for. I remember my squad leader being like you have a grenade launch. Scher and dislike I mean, you do a good amount of training with the grenade launcher on your rifle. But at the same point, you're not a sniper with the dancing, and you know, you're lobbing grenades. Three hundred meters down range, and there are people out there. So yeah, I did I started dropping forty millimeters. You adjust my fire machine guns were talking. We started bounding across a field. You stop in through mud. You know, that's pretty much, you know, almost need de with grass growing out of it for a good amount of it. You're like this provides no coverage whatsoever. We made it to the house kicked in some doors. I just remember thinking like holy shit. This is this is real there's people running from you. And you don't realize like is that the guy that was just shooting at me? Or is that somebody that's just like holy shit. There's Americans shooting in this direction. You've you're seeing people in you have your gun pointed directly at there. Because you don't you don't know the answer to that. They're scared. You're scared in you know, that first time you just don't know to do. You're like. What time is it appropriate to squeeze the trigger on my rifle. People have already died today. We almost died bullets are flying. And we have fifteen fucking months to go by this point in the worthy. Insurgents knew what the response times were. They knew they had a maximum of ten minutes before support showed up so they took their shots and lift a fight another day, but kicking in a door to a strange house with absolutely no idea. What was on the other side? Davies finally understood the disconnect between people who seem combat and those who hadn't he could've found anything upon entering that house from a booby booby-trapped to a hostile to victim one of the grenades. Launched added earlier, he said that would have been the absolute worst throughout his career throughout the careers of many of these combat veterans. The ambivalence isn't about killing it's about serving the bad guys from the regular Iraqis, which isn't all that easy yet. It was on the the entry control point. I was on guard. That's a good amount of your deployment which. I don't think a lot of people realize when they joined the military is that a good eight hours of your day. Sometimes it's going to be spent in a guard tower with one hundred vigil on other individuals looking at the exact same sector. There are times you're just praying for some that happened. I mean, you got a six pack of rip. It's the the army provided energy drinks, a pack of sabes can of Copenhagen and you're just moan through it. Because you just trying to stay awake at eight hours to kill every day. Most people can tell their their life story NATO. And then you have that for fifteen months. So, you know, you realize like the problems that that all these people are facing back home in loved ones and their wife cheating on them or leaving them or people just abusing the general powers of Terni. And all the things you like all these soldiers just dealing with so much going on back home. And all the meantime, you're trying to to stay alive and keep other people alive as well. The ios on the. You know, how to vehicle in you, just go through what you're training toes? To started show show of shoe treads show, try to show way my hands frantically. This vehicle wasn't stopping run started gaining closer and closer. Even remember the guy that outranked me that was behind the fifty cows. Just kind of looking at me like to you know, after he had crossed pretty much the barrier of which we designated to be safe. I just opened up on the car and at St. to a whole what's out there for a moment. And I and my weapon drawn trying to figure out what was going on. Also in the card is written reverse and took off back. The way came in two days, later female suicide bomber detonated herself killed two of the Iraqi army incidents, featuring female suicide bombers were on the rise by two thousand eight reports at the time with women who are widowed orphaned or both were more easily recruited and more likely to go through with the attack since this attack at followed. Aborted one so closely. The assumption was that they were related and the Iraqis wanted payback as frustrated as the American forces were by attacks on the road. The Iraqi army and police were on the receiving end of suicide bomb attacks regularly and their responses were nowhere near as measured as the American response. What's smart kicking off two thousand nineteen by planning out, which rolls your business? These to higher for you know, what else is smart starting off the new year strong by going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash. This is ward hire the right people. Unlike other job sites, ZipRecruiter finds qualified candidates for you. It's powerful matching technology scans thousands of resumes to identify people with the right skills education and experience an actively invites them to apply for your job. So you get qualified candidates fast. That's why ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now, my listeners can try Zip Recruiter for. Free at this exclusive web address, ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. If you love the show show your support to it. And to ZipRecruiter by going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash t h I s I S W A R. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. One of the tricky things for US soldiers whose mission was to train and support. The Iraqi army and police was that the Americans occasionally we're stuck between their own rules of engagement, those of the Iraqis has Iraqis mustard following the suicide bomb attack babies and the rest of the platoon were just along for the ride the fill like, they know everybody. But at the same time, I think that makes them a lot more vulnerable to be susceptible to somebody to be able to come in see what's going on given. And you know, I mean, that's pretty much. What happened a female? Suicide bomber came in American forces tried to stop Iraqi commanders were like, oh, no, no, no problem. No reason the wait for a female US soldier to come here. She she entered the based at native yourself killed two high ranking officials they wanted to do it immediate mission jumped in the humvee loaded up with them. We went to house. It was the family. The immediate family of the woman who killed herself a lot of shouting law. Punching. I mean, we were pretty much ordered that this country we operate by their rules, and they they took two to men and execute shot him point blank in the back of the head. Now that was what the fuck just happened like as legal like do. We should we have stepped in to play like how the fuck do. They get away with something like that. They just went and found that young woman's father and brother and kill them and those another big wakeup call. Yeah. Allocco three minus floors. Was that justices was that revenge? You know, being a private it's not like you get a say in it anyway. So another day down another day closer to home. And you know, it's also, you know, calls into question like how much a much trust you really have in in the Iraqi army, it's complex. There's no doubting. Balancing outrage with action taking the time to separate yourself as a warrior and not a street criminal in the heat of the moment, that's a personal choice. It's not administered of policy. It's a distinction that wasn't lost on Davies he had kicked down doors and he had killed enemy soldiers. But he tried to remember to keep that balance between his civilian humanity and his professional duties watching the Iraqis, execute, a family retaliation only solidified has resolved. Keep those two things very separate. I don't think people realize how full on a news going on over there. And the things that are that are everyday challenge is most people would never ever found them to assert sheer simplicities of life, and the fury that we live in every day having to worry about getting mortared rockets and ideas going out every day wondering, you know. This might be the last day that was one of the biggest things being eighteen years old there, you kind of accept the fact that you might not come home. In fact, there's the, you know could probability that you might not come back home, especially in the country. And I think that's one of the major components that truly makes the soldier. I think the other one is compassion to good feeling having people this around you in knowing that they would do everything in anything to save your life. Ethics. That's massive. And being able to take take steps that you never would have thought you had the courage to do and then the other being compassionate because if you're out there kicking in doors and slam in heads, and you know, destroying people shit thinking, you're Billy batte 'cause you're the guy with the gun in their hand. I mean, you just making more enemies for everyone. I sure as hell no that you know, if if a if I was somebody kicking my door sit there, but stroke, my dad, completely brutally. You know rampage Mayan tire house the first thing, I'm probably going to do afterward. Kill join whatever fighting forces is going against them. So I think that's major thing for soldiers to have, you know, be courageous would be compassionate as his fifteen months in Iraq came to an end Davies returned home with an eye on finishing out his contract and moving on with this life. But that's not the way things went the rock. Assange were slated to be deployed to Afghantistan and Davies who'd been elevated sergeant set about training his squad trying to prepare them as best as he could for combat although his contract was set to run out before deployment Davies figured he'd be stop lost which meant that. He'd finished the tour Neff ghanistan and then get out, but that was the year President Obama ended stop loss and he had a decision to make. So a whole script was flipped their like, you gotta get out. I was like what can I extend for the deployment like definitely not. Yeah. When those this no way, I was gonna turn my back on on the men that I just trained from not knowing anything to go to war billing won't best of luck. You know, a taught you everything I know so. Pretty much estimate. What do I need to do? They said you have to reenlist for minimum two years during me so walked in signed up for two more years to go to Afghantistan with these guys. Davies didn't confuse Iraq with f- ghanistan even for a second. But is prepared as he was for the conflict and the demands there was still so much more to Afghantistan than he had expected. We were ordered to a place called waza Kwa Afghanistan, which was insanely different from Iraq Afghanistan, where we were in the beginning was desolate looking it was a huge mountains in loose slate. Rock out a whole lot of of like foliage or anything like that. It was a it was definitely a lot more barren look in getting there we replaced the unit that had just recently lost Bo bergdahl, and they had a bad taste in their mouth about him. That was kind of a weird twist in in everything they were pretty upset. They had lost guys on missions looking for him in two thousand nine private Bo bergdahl was captured by the Taliban held for. Five years before being released he pled guilty to desertion in two thousand seventeen and was dishonorably discharged. But he didn't do any time. The Paktika region of Afghantistan was away more relentless than patrolling in Iraq. And over the coming months Davies in the rest of his group would learn new levels of endurance in the mountains of Afghanistan. The I in Afghanistan was next level. They were everywhere ones that I remember the most wall in the was quote, providence was in route to a location where we knew was high amount of enemy activity and the truck that I was in ended up in countering in ID's needing under the vehicle I was in the bag doing you know, what I shouldn't be doing. My home off was eating a can of tuna or some shit. I thought that our driver drove off a cliff. I remember like just huge explosion almost in the yelling out what the fuck just drove off the cliff, but it didn't take very long before. I realized that was an ID the entire EMMY TV was completely covered in smoke into. Bree people are seriously her in the and I'm the only one for some reason, you know, still conscious, but it was just like, you know, you're just rounded by a bunch of unconscious bleeding soldiers in, you know, I think it just immediately might whole everything in me was just like I didn't one I need to get this door down because he can't really move around with, you know, five people in the back in the door came down. They opened up on us with small arms fire in mortars. They had us in the low ground in big mountainous terrain. I think the medics truck was probably a hundred meters away. Diff- thirty driving guys dragging him across dome flyer to get him to the medic. It's pretty insane. How how much your body can perform under those types of scenarios knowing that? In a not only are their lives the risk, but yours is well some of them could stagger. Some had to be drug. I just knew that getting to the medic was a the best hope for them. And then as soon as I was done just assessing the situation in figuring out. What could a what could get out of this situation? Heroism is kind of an odd concept especially in situations. Like this from the outside. We often hear people who've done extraordinary things dismissed suggestions that they acted heroin. But it kind of makes sense when you look at it after all the options were to give up in wait to die or to take some positive action. But there are plenty of stories about guys who do give up who in the grip of fear merely. Stay in place in hope for the best alternatively. There are guys who take charge an act because they can see clearly that there's no point in hoping for the best when it's possible to affect an outcome. I just knew that they were accurate with their fire. In the they had fortified fighting positions. Trying to designate exactly where the fire was coming from was Justice confusing couple soggy enters into gunners directed their fire toward when receiving contact from the mountainside and ran all the way back to the truck grab the sixty millimeter mortar couple cans, ammo and ran out. Now just had tunnel vision. If we're going to stop receiving contact that was kind of our option was we needed that mortar too. And it was in the that was blown up and I had to get back there. And if I did, you know that that gave us I glimpse of hope and just fucking made it rain on that whole hillside probably went through I can't Emam of in less than a minute. You know, wasn't even really assessing where my grounds were impacting just. Knew that had to be done or going to be a lot more casualties shortly. After that, they're either killed or broke contact was able to call nine line medevac, get the wounded medevac out and on their way back and was awarding army commendation medal with valor that day for saving lives. The twenty five men about Valerie's it suggests something more real maybe or more meaningful than heroism heroism is all about the act. It's a way that we described the acts of genuine, bravery and courage. Valor is a little bit different. It's a perspective away not just of acting. But of looking at the world valor is the temperament of courage strength of both mind. And will that is the motivating factor behind acts of heroism this perspective was as much a part of Davis's decision making. When he worried about GRA needing civilians in Iraq. As it was when he let lose all the Heli could muster on those attacking forces in Afghanistan and before he was done with this. This final tour of his career Davis would have his courage and his resolve pushed to their limits. 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More about how ADT can design and install secure smart home. Just for you that AT dot com slash podcast. Just a little more than five months into the tour. The rock Assange had been rendered combat ineffective. Having lost too many trucks. They were relegated to foot patrols and without regular air. Support often would have eighteen hour long firefights that would end within just packing it in and heading back to base eventually they were moved to the Ghazni province near Pakistan. The mission was the same. They were doing light infantry patrols with no trucks. But this time they were doing it in a city. This is where definitely switched from ambush was like that to being just beauts on the ground with your platoon. The contact was nonstop. It was pretty much every day. Our fall was getting rocketed on the regular. We would go patrol, and it wasn't Milia question of whether we were going to come into contact or not it was just when we had our little fob. And then we had another fall that we ended up naming a cut fourth. Because he he was killed while serving there. So we named it. Now, I think it's called fob Mary, but we are trying to build up that location as you know, to expand the bubble, and we are constantly going on missions throughout their think. One of the biggest ones that I remember specifically was pretty much the nearest Kalat to our base. So we didn't really expect much to occur. But we went there we met with the the local shake their my squad and another one we're told to go up on the roof dolls provide security. We were sitting up there for little duration time. We were then told to come down withdraw from our position. I and we got down and another topic of conversation rose, we're ordered to go back up on the roof. Sorely after one of my guys was like, I'm pretty sure these guys coming in PG's on their bag rest over to their side for three motorcycle strolling on our position that would. Definitely armored. They're definitely how to to weapons systems on. It's pretty rare that dumb luck is your ally. When you're US soldier in Afghanistan, but there's a certain satisfaction. When it happens Davies radio to check. Whether there were any Afghan national army forces in the area. And there weren't it. Didn't take too long to figure out what was going on the platoon had arrived on foot and would be leaving the same way the Taliban fighters got word when they'd be leaving. And they were rolling up to set up an ambush this on a platoon that already had had significant losses for mountain ambushes, sometimes the gods just smile on you, probably the only circumstance in which I feel like we had the upper hand ambush somebody in mmediately when they got the call the looked up. They saw they went for the weapons we're able to kill two right off the get go. One of the guys jumped over like a short, mud wool. I started lobbing forty millimeter names over the wall. We were told the ceasefire and we saw this guy stand up. I drew down on him. In my platoon was like don't shoot he doesn't have a weapon anymore. He kind of started stumbling around and all of a sudden, you know, you just kind of disappeared in everybody was just left wondering what the hell this to happen. We figured he had to like fallen down. A well my platoon sergeant told me and my squad to go clear the area to the body. The finders had been less than fifty meters away when the fights started. So it wasn't a long walk to their position. But it sure was a tense one. This could have been just an initial force with a replacement platoon behind it. And even if this small force was the only one that was on its way to the ambush the bodies had to be bagged up. And sometimes they had additional explosives wired to them. Then of course, there was a guy who disappeared to consider. You know, you have your weapons at the the high ready, you know, highs on target. You don't know if these guys are dead or not everybody's drawdown. Keep is on the on the outer perimeter watts for anybody fleeing in watch for more enemy to roll in our on our position. So everybody's on extremely high alert adrenaline pumping. I mean, you just came in contact in super close this entity. So as we approached I told one team to check the the bodies that were already killed at told the other team to go up the alleyway to look for anybody down further, and I went up to the well impaired over and follow the guy at the bottom of the well, he was mumbling something I couldn't really understand. And he was he was fumbling with his best in in within fractions of second. I realized what he was doing. He was trying to get your name off of his us. And so from property fifteen feet above him standing over him. I thought him probab-. Four or five times until he stopped moving. You know at that point. We had radioed in Q r f. To come give a support, and then you have to bag up all the body. So we started bagging them up. And they're like somebody's gotta go down there and get that guy and the they're like what you killed him. Go get him God down there. Try to be careful as possible trying to assess if if you'd had time to to set up any type of explosive devices that I couldn't get him out of there. There is no way for me to physically be able to pick this guy up in climb back out of this. Well, by then cure f-. It got there was some trucks. They drop down a winch cable from the trucks. I wrapped around this guy had to ride him. Right. Him up almost like an like an elevator. There's no way for me to climb out of there. So standing on this body, while the winch cable tightened up, you know, I could here. Owns breaking. And. In blood? You know exiting. The whole that were put an by me count amount. We got the cable off of him. You had. You know, two pistols, six grenades plethora of different amunition for weapons systems. Detailed maps of Intel tons of money. And bag mop and headed back to base. There was a lot less satisfation than Davies might have expected. And there was no celebrating at all had the platoon left. At the appointed time, they would have taken significant casualties traveling on foot across that open landscape and having the opportunity not only to avoid that ambush. But to actually get all of the guys concern certainly was victory has Davies puts it they stepped on the battlefield to take our lives. We took there is instead are never killed a person under those circumstances never stood over someone took their life. Definitely was a little different concept to trim triumph try and father. But you know, about two weeks before that one of my good Buddy's bales was machine gunned down took a couple rounds through his back. You know, I think you kinda just a justify the loss of their life with you may have just got the guy that just. Killed your friend or shot up, your friend, or you know, killed cut forth. So you know, there's it's a it's a good mix of motions as tour came to an end Davies was ready to get out. He joined as much to set himself on the straight and narrow as anything else and had only reupped to be there with his guys. He had spent the first five years of his dull took either fighting training or partying falling into bad habits and getting into a little trouble Davies actually had been arrested on his first mature leave for leading the police on a chase. But he scored a judge who let him return to his platoon as it turned out without the army, though, he didn't have a good plan for how to get by. You're leaving some of the best friends you ever had in your life. I didn't really have a plan upon getting out. Like, my my assumption is that I would go to college and probably become a firefighter like my father. You know, that was kind of my my main thing is you have this whole concept that you're supposed to get out and make millions. And and build an empire. You know, what is success? And the, you know, thankfully, I made a decision to go ahead and take two years out of my life to where I was just gonna go enjoy myself enjoy the country that I had fought for and get out in fee different places in do what I wanted to do. And what he wanted to do apparently was get into extreme sports. He fell in with a group of kayakers, and eventually turn pro touring the world on the sponsorship, circuit, those two years made a world of difference in his life and gave him some insight into how he could continue to serve both his country and the people who had fought for it. You know, just kind of catapulted me into turning the chapter on my life still being able to find the same exhilarating uncertain adrenaline rush through a more healthy productive lifestyle. You know? I just thought shit would have more veterans could figure this out the amount of impact that it would have on them. Am better their life will physically mentally in. And I'd met other veterans in the sport in we'd always discuss that one of my buddies Chad cook on than I told you about rigidly that I grew up with join the military with a he'd got out in the, you know, unfortunately, he he ended up taking his own life in. That's when I knew some had to be done from needed to change in just kinda dedicated my life to helping others line, the same outlet that helped me tremendously Peavy started. And now runs an organization called PTSD veteran athletes. It's a nonprofit that funds the gear in the travel, and then provides combat veterans training and extreme sports. We send them back with their gear it's theirs to keep so they can continue to pursue that new positive direction in life that just give you that clarity that mental escape that that relief that I feel like every veteran needs, you know, I think if. Most people were to take step back in just tried to for a moment. Fathom the idea of going to a third world country in having to take live that we're taking by your hands. And then coming back in trying to adjust to the social morm- that the more people could realize why PTSD is so having such a tragic affect on soldiers returning from combat wrestled Davies joined the army in part because it with an outlet for his teenage aggression a productive way to channel negative energy into positive over. The course of his five years in the army though, he didn't channel enough. And in fact, he collected more in that process, though. He developed new senses a sense of valor and of service and of brotherhood. So that by the time he left the army it made perfect sense that he would learn to channel those things as well. Next time on this is war. Start hearing chance down the bomb hill, and there's more and more coming and it sounds like there's five hundred down there terp, he's very nurse to. Hey, where the guy saying says a man is you're saying death to America. I could see the fear overwhelm. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with the story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branch of service as well as a brief description of the experience that you would like to share if you like the show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.
30 | Jimenez
"As we're running out there. We feel the machine gun around skipping through like the side of our legs like over our heads. Like, it's not Ernie Jimenez, join the military because he saw it as the career opportunity of a lifetime. He joined the marines because he wanted to fight as an infantry assault. And he got plenty of opportunities to test is metal and right from the first he got a good hard. Look at what it is like to have no choice, but the face down your fears are was super scared. And I was like my nineteenth birthday is literally four days away from now. And I'm like, I don't even know on her make it. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away and the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either kill or be killed and original podcast from incongruity media. This is Anthony Ryuzo and this. Is war? Father wasn't thrilled about the prospect of his son joining the marines just as a war was getting underway him and has convinced him of the benefits service disciplined money for college all the things the US military's known for. But as a seventeen year old man is only impression of military service came from call of duty even with the discipline and education of boot camp, he really just wanted to blow things up in as loud away as he could. I really wanted to play with machine guns and explosives and stuff like that. So I join the country if you're going to join the marines, you might as well join for women Rene's are like known for and that's going to fighting, but I chose the be an infantry assault man because I wanted to handle C four and stuff like that. And then we got the train in the small, which is a shoulder fell. Fire purpose assault, weapon explosives and the javelin missile. The anti-helicopter antitank missile as he trained in the weaponry Jimenez developed a steady hand in an accuracy with both blowing open doors for breaching and shooting rockets that would serve him well in Iraq. Although we still had no sense at that really was in his future into three training wasn't as pointed as it would become so although he knew how to use the weapons in urban combat technically he wouldn't have a deep understanding of the ins and outs until he hit the ground, which was something that still is an abstraction Jimenez, his company was cruising around the Pacific waiting for something to happen as much as they were doing anything else. But the time between when they got the call when they rolled into flu was amazingly fast. We deploy to Japan. Okinawa japan. We were supposed to go on like Westpac. We were in the middle of field exercise, and then we got called back early. And then they put us an auditory umn. And they told us, hey, guys, we're gonna go into I rack. So then we sailed there took forever. And when we got there does when they told us like, hey, we're going to be part of this huge attack on the city of Lucia, and we're gonna go against the force of three thousand five thousand terrorists. And that's when we all got brief in the recall, like, Lance, corporal underground where you hear all these rumors and like through the grapevine, and that's how we would get things and be like, okay. It's gonna be this days me this the finally they came and they told us they said aride like. We're gonna go in and we're going to stage November seventh we're just sitting out there. So we got the call the push in. We didn't know the impact that we're about to like throw on the city yet until nighttime hit and they said we're going in we got into the tracks. And we started going to the city, but I they had to blow. It's a bunch of charges like stuck together? And they blow a berms. So they launched one of those the berm and us when we started going into the city, and that's when we heard our first casualties over the radio the first battle of Lucia operation vigilant. Resolve was mostly a show of force launched in response to the killing desecration of blackwater contractors, the second battle was to be more than that. It was to be a complete routing of insurgents with the plan to literally go house by house, capturing weapons and fighters, but in a six or so months since the first battle at ended the insert. Urgency had been digging in and waiting as we're van seeing. They started shooting mortars and rockets at us the whole sky, look like like a Star Wars movie just tracers star, and they came and they shot rocket in the hair one of our tracks. The driver died and two of our guys guy hit I think only the driver in the gun died, and our guys there were just really wounded like the couldn't find any more. So than they got medevac doubt. We heard all that and the radio in all of us were like dead silent. We were like, wow, we're stuck in this like the sardine can and we can do anything. We're just bullshitting at first. But then once we heard the casualties we're trying to figure out who it was before we went in the gave us a number. So we roll on all our camby's like see for our company, Charlie company. And that's how they were gonna identify us. Every got hit. Or we died or anything they want to say our name. They would identify by that number. So over the radio, we heard the number and we're like, whoa. Who who is is like, do, you know whose number that is and in all of us were like, let's go let's go when you go in we need to go in if we were just sitting ducks here mind, you we have a full combat loan and the jammed us all into this little armored vehicle, and we're all stating on top of each other stuff. Like, we're sitting there for a couple hours until like all the smoke cleared, and then finally we pushed in and when we pushed into that berm as soon as we walked out where I'm like knee, high mud as soon as we got there. We just met resistance boom, boom there. They're shooting down that us shooting everywhere. It was very chaotic marines objective with a nearby mosque filled with fighters and a weapons cache, but the resistance was such that there was no way that could make it through all that mud without taking an unacceptable number of. Casualties. Instead, they cleared. A nearby house to hold up for the rest of the evening him and his blew off the door and cleared the front room, and then he cooled his heels while the rest of the guys finished clearing the rest of the house known was home. So they bunk down for the night as best they could. There was a break in fighting in a soon as the sun came a boom, it was crazy. They're shooting at us from everywhere. The running now from everywhere for trying to take down the house, and we were just up there holding physician just boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. I got the shoe my first rocket in combat there, and I just shot a bunch of buildings full of insurgents just machine guns down on us, everything in the tanks rolled into the middle city and just started wrecking havoc on all these houses shooting at us. There is genuine rounds being shy ad positions on houses there is. There's rockets flying everywhere. Their machine guns blazing everywhere. It was it was not. Then finally, we go downstairs and advanced to that mosque after the onslaught from the tanks in the rockets the mosque fell without incident and the marines collected a massive cache of weapons that continued clearing-houses into the early evening. This is how the battle of flu go for the next week or so with marines clearing his many houses as they could before choosing to rest in for the night, we set up in a house and we kept giving pop shots from somewhere. But we couldn't now down where was nighttime hits. And we see a bunch of people running on the street me, and my friend rag among were on post. He's on the machine gun on the saw. And we radio in really is there marines patrolling because they look like it was marines patrolling. They're like, yeah. Yeah. We sent out a patrol, so don't shoot, right. And then we see them in the house kind of like robes because we're seeing them through our night. Vision goggles, we call again. We're like, I don't think these marines. And then they're like, all right shoot. We didn't get a chance to shoot them at all because they disappeared somewhere. After that in the morning. We started getting more pop shots. Like, boom, boom, boom. Like whizzing by our heads. Command decided to best tactic was to have some arena jump into the house next door where they could get a better bead on the building that was firing down on their position him and his friend. Aaron Pickering was among the guys on that team. He left across the Jason balcony to take up a position in the building next door when they jumped over the balcony, they immediately I heard shots fired. And I heard Cormon up. I was like all struggle was going on. What can I do the hell I can do anything? And that's when we just heard more shots. And then everybody inside got stuck in a room. Acept pickering. He was already shot up. I didn't get to see any of it. Because. All now side, then we called our third flew tune to come in eight us, and when they came the terrorist leaned over the window and shot, one of our navy, Cormon, doc woods, I was right on the ledge watching the whole thing. And I'm pretty sure he died soon as he got shot, and then they advanced into the the house, and they're still trapped. They're still trapped in there. And they're all trapped. One of our senior marines Hernan went up the stairs. And he got shot in the chest. But his plate saved his life. And he had like no scratch on there pushing through the call for a d nine bulldozer. It's like this heavy-duty craziest bulldozer. I've ever seen the come over and hit the side of the house. Maybe the wall would fall down. And we could see the insurgents when the denying bulldozer came and hit the wall. The wall came down on one of the means I was inside the house onto actually and broke one of their femurs. I believe and we just hear bunch of screaming screaming because the walls coming down the wall fell on him and broke his femur and he screaming in the screams. I I heard those screams on my dreams forever. There were like the craziest creams I've ever heard when the wall came down me and ragamuffin my friend Raritan unloaded on these guys. Like unloaded made them Swiss cheese team was sent up to the grab a Pickering and Pickering wasn't with us anymore. Dow was on the Marine Corps birthday training will get used to combat a lot faster than you think it adjusts your fighter flight mechanism. So that you're prepared to respond to an attack with the kind of precision you. Never would have believed you had there's no way to train for dealing with loss though, where with the quiet times between when you're fighting or battalion commander came and heard about that always wanted to be in the action, and he came in with a big old cigar mouth. And he was saying is a fine day Janse as a fine day. And everybody's looking at him running to kill him because we just lost two of our friends, and he sitting here saying the fine day visits, the Marine Corps birthday. But I guess he he felt that it was his job the chairs out for some reason. But when something like that happens, you cannot cheer anyone, you know, you have to push through you're still morning, and you're not going to want to talk about at all. That's when you realize that you're not finding for any country. You're not fighting for the Marine Corps. You're fighting for your friends the guy next to you is your fighting for because you love him. And he loves you in. We all. Want to survive? Go back to our families and die hit us, really hard. That was our first like boom back to reality. Like, you have to survive this though. So I kept telling myself, you have to survive Cerny to survive this with the marines at the beginning of a battle that would stretch into almost legend, and has had no idea how hard that would be or how often he would have to shove side loss, our apprehension just so he could get the job done, but within hours of catching their breaths. 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That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash. T h I s I s w AR ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Taken almost all of you valuable highground influenza and the only way for the marines to deal with that fact, was take the buildings back or to take them down as an infantry assault. -ment Jimenez was responsible for breaching in the first case and rockets in the second right after the happened. This said, hey, Ernie. There's a bunch of guys shooting at us like across the way, which was like three blocks away. And they said you have to go destroy the house. I was super scared. And I was like I don't know if I'm going to make it. I don't know if this is my last, Dan, the biggest thing that was going through my head was my birthdays in four days, and I'm going to spend it in this shit. Hope I was just like, please. Let me make it to nineteen at least they put two bulldozers in this empty field. And they told me go behind the two bulldozers. And I was like so you want me to run into a middle of an open field under machine gun fire to shoot as this is all that. I'm thinking like, okay. Okay. So I run out there. And I feel like a slow motion. Like, boom, boom, boom. And I told myself before I ran out there as soon as my knee had surround shooting the rocket. I didn't go out there loan. I went out there with my senior marine wreck Nagel, and we both ran out there, and we shot the rocket. We destroyed the top of the house when we ran back, and they're like, oh, you got to do it. Again. We're like what and mind is were running out there. We feel the machine gun around skipping through like the side of our legs like over our heads. Like, it's nuts. Then we run out there again and the same thing machine fire for somewhere else and skipping through the sand going above me. And I feel like everything's in slow motion. And those two rockets destroyed the houseful of light had to be like released ten to twenty people that were shooting down that us during the days of intense fighting everyone gets their chance to overcome their fear and do what? The mission requires whether and how well they take advantage of that opportunity is something that not only earns the respect of the other marines, but also gives others courage. That's what I meant is getting at when he talks about fighting for the guys he was serving with behaving in a way that shows everyone you are ready to do what's needed. It was just like one huge firefight after another. We would send out patrols to clear houses and on one of those patrols we got hit like really hard. They're shooting at us from house may be two blocks away from us. We clear the house and the house was while it was wild me. And my senior Johnson were sent to clear a house next door to it. So we set up a rocket position. So we go up and we'll win all the way to the roof, and we're sent up rocket physician. So as something went crazy in the house. We're going to just destroy it. I saw the whole thing. Like like, I was watching a movie they go up the stairs. And all of them are in about Guinea, they just met heavy fire. And one of our senior Rainsy's, huge, huge guy from Illinois, Kurtz. And he he wrecked. A guy like salt him in half. When he went up to clear and the guy popped out with a grenade, and he was gonna blow up and he like kicked off in and sprayed him. And then the grenade went off and stuff unle. They all got trout on me and Johnson. Do anything we fire? We're gonna hit one of them if we shoulda rock everyone's dead. You know, does when you see like what heroism really is. When you see a man do that. And you see him Pfeiffer his life up there. It's is it was actually like magical. You never really see true heroism and seeing like with your eyes like every day. Everyone's doing something crazy. It's is inspiring. After nearly two weeks of constant battle the marines. Established a firm based they named after Pickering Jimenez, spent the remaining months on loan to. Different units. Since his skill sets were in such high demand. Although he likes to joke that assault. Enter the smartest because if they survived the first room, they don't have to clear anymore during those last two months influenza, he would come to learn that being an assault and definitely had its downsides. It was mostly emissions out declare certain sectors, a lot of patrols we had to go like supports for clearing and stuff. But I guess I was like a favorite psalm it because I was sent to the other platoons to help them in. I never got to go back and kick a bath or anything. So I think I went like forty sixty days without about in the same clothes too. Because they kept saying like all okay, you're gonna go with second or third platoon. Okay. You'll go for I tune in and help them until I finally said something, hey, like, everybody's gone back in have still wearing the same clothes when we started in Finally, I guess bag by. Myself. Finally, they got word that the tour was getting ready to close out. And there was a kind of collective sigh of relief Jimenez, had another two years left. So he knew he probably wasn't done with combat. But at least he would be able to put flus behind him and go back to a world with hot, meals and showers. We got sent back to al-assad without we're going to go back on ship there. Oh, we're done. Like we had a unit take over for were done. Yeah. They said, hey, Iraqi elections are coming up. We need to go supports all these little towns. So they could go vote we go sent to this weird like town by the Syrian border the marine base out there. Like firm base was called camp Korean village. As couldn't have been less thrilled with the assignment, not only would he be stuck on this detail supporting the Iraq election, but he was sent out ahead of the rest of the platoon. He'd been attached with these same guys for nearly the entire time and having to do the menial work while the rest of them, flew out on helicopters, really. Dragged him down I flew in the morning because I was tasked to do a working party. And they told me like, hey, you're going to go set up tents and stuff our super bummed out. Man, you're gonna make me work like that you don't and we landed in set up tents and stuff and we went to sleep. I have one of my best friends Ephron Moreno came and told me. Hey, heavy see my pack, and I was like on on what you're talking about. His like, I'm pretty sure that the other helicopter blue Moreno had been asleep on the second shopper. But some of his gear was on the first he probably had held up hope that maybe was just a dream and the easiest way to confirm that was if he found out that his gear made it, but it was a half-hearted wish at best and before too long. They got the news. The CO comes in and tells us we hey, guys when you talk, and we all go out, and we all held around and toes. The the other healer Hilo went down. And there is no survivors. All of us were like crying and hugging each other because we just went through this crazy battle in then all of friends die on helicopter corP, Steven Johnson. With whom as it cleared that house and flew to provide rocket support lance-corporals Murad Ragam off and Ronald burden who had helped him turn the insurgents into Swiss cheese when the bulldozer knocked down the walls in all thirty marines and one sailor died in that crash men. He had fought with house to house with whom he'd spent a few good times that made the tough times a little easier. Like, we said you can't train to deal with loss. But after two months and change fighting flew the best you can do is Doerr and hope to complete the mission. The next day. They make us sift through all their gear and the gear full of melted. Skin and stuff like that. And does like one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. One of my. Close friends rather than how special helmet that he bought it was like a special forces home. And when I saw that I couldn't control myself because it was part of his like scalp was still there. And I just I just one of the up everywhere and cry in everything because how are you going to get the people that were attached to their friends to sift through their gear? The see why what was usable. That's all dark, the Marine Corps. We were sent to still do the mission. And we went, and we did the mission with the very few people that we had and the mission was a bus. There was no one voted. We went out there. And we guarded stuff for no reason after that we just flew back. And we're all thinking still we're still haven't really grasped that all our friends has died because we were sent out so quick to this mission. It wasn't just a lack of time to process the tragedy that stuck with Jimenez. It was also the injustice of it. These were some of the toughest guys he knew guys would fought fearlessly house to house influenza. They had earned the right to go home. If anyone had. But that's the thing about combat. It isn't fair. It's fickle. Sure. Training and commitment can help you stack the deck. They can make you able to protect yourself and your buddies from anything in everything except chance as a man is prepared to head back home. This deepen Justice kept him completely off balance. When I got back to the airbase. I went to my friend's tent. He's embroiled company, and I ask for our friend that died when we first got to fluke. I knew that he was dead. And I went and I asked them, hey, whereas boa, and my friend digman you like kinda like hug me and said, we all your dead because they said the most Charlie company died, and then he. Told me Volvo died in October. And I just hit me there while I'm not you in here right now. It was very crazy because then you start talking to your other friends that were we're into and they all got saved by little little weird like things. So one of my friends, the one that asked me for the pack. He put his pack in there and was going to sit in there. And then they told them like it's two full here. So then he went onto the other helicopter one of my friends was in there and he had to go pee. So he got out of his seat when and Pete on the side of the helicopter, and then they told my, hey, gone the other helicopter, so that pissed saved his life. And then you start thinking like man, this is so like crazy. We all got saved by little things. Little coincidence things that you can't control everyone that that I loved out there. And I felt like the all died for no reason for an Iraqi. Election that had no merit. No nothing chance cuts both ways. But in this case there was little satisfaction that when Jimenez was assigned rear party duty. He didn't even have the energy to complain whatever's going to happen was going to happen. He started partying when he finally got to Okinawa. And kept it up all the way back to the states. Once when he was home drinking like Marini said, hey picked fight with three guys. He didn't remember why in retrospect, he realizes that. He was pretty much just a walking ball of anger and aggression at the time Jimenez did end up doing some mandatory counselling before getting sent to Afghantistan, but all that was left for him. Now is to finish out a service and call it quits. Was pretty numb the honest like a let's get this deployment done. So I could get out of the Marine Corps. Like, let's let me just power through everything and get out and get our everything's gonna be better. Everything's gonna be better. We went to Asadabad Afghanistan to be honest. Deployment was like nothing to me compared to where we just went through because everyone shoot each other from far distances did not like almost face to face with their pop shoddiness from mountains and shooting. Rocky Mountain warfares way different the only bad part about it was it was physically demanding all our command. They were pokes there were like, they weren't infantry. So like they wanted us get haircuts in the middle of Aghanistan into shave and stuff and like this combat who cares about us though. That's why would again trouble when I got banished out there for two months, and I lived on an outpost with two other marines for two months and the Afghans special forces there Likud list once over. Because I would always give money to the local kids. Go get me, food, and cokes and stuff Jimenez, his last two months of combat deployment where like a loud, violent camping trip. Asadabad was not the corn gall valley and being banished to the small outpost just meant he had to endure the occasional long distance attack and engaged. Likewise. But when he wasn't fighting. He joked with the local kids learned how to kill and clean, chickens and just waited to be cycled out. But coming home wasn't what he thought it would be. I was living with my dad. I was still trying to come in grips with like, my friends dying having a culture shar getting out of the Marine Corps when you are in new fantasize getting outright when I leave is gonna be this. It's gonna be and then when you actually leave life hits you right in the face near like, whoa. I have to get a job after school after list that you know, and I have to do it. Someone was telling me I have to do it. That's when you start getting a little lazy tried holding down a couple of jobs, and I would just quit that's one. When I started having trouble sleeping, and I would sleeve one to two hours night, and I wouldn't be able to function. They're in the day. I wouldn't be able to fall back a sleep. Both having crazy nightmares about everything. And then I started getting survivor's guilt and the same. Why why did I survive? Why why am I here? Why do they have to die? And I mean since I got how we've had like at least one or two suicides a year with like friends or acquaintances of ours. I always all struck when something like that happened because they all look happy and stuff, and I've talked to some of them, and then they go, and they do it. And that's one thing that I think we need to fix this. People are coming back from war and feeling like lonely feeling like. They don't belong him in his try to handed college, but he wasn't sleeping at all. And ended up withdrawing from more classes than he completed. He was having trouble staying employed as well mostly though, he felt bad about just hanging around. His father's house waiting to feel like doing something. So we got help the VA helped me out along. My former doctor was one of the leading experts and PTSD. She did a great job with my meds and stuff like that's how I got back into school. And then the real person that saved me was my wife. She was like my missing link where like she made me feel like I was person again instead of right this walking mess having a support system with like my family, and my wife and my kids like really helps. And I know a lot of people don't have that. I have a happy ending the most thing to get. And I I can't complain. In the real world. Where people go to work and shit chat. Jimenez is found a sweet spot. He works at a company. That's veteran heavy which is only. Plus most important though, Ernie Jimenez, got the supporting needed from his family and friends even through the early dark times after he got home. Eventually he pushed through to the light. But it isn't something that he takes for granted. He knows he's alive and other guys aren't and that's a responsibility. He takes very seriously. Next time on this war and have point. I just picked up Mark nineteen I shot it until we didn't have any left of that. And then I picked my saw, and I shot that until I didn't have any ammo the meta that calico came in. And it was it was really bad. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with a story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branch of service, and a brief description of the experience that you'd like to share. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now, you can also follow us on social media at this is war. You also can find show notes photos and more background on each episode at this is war dot com.
24 | Dang
"Was killed by RPG in an ambush. And so after that, I tried the Marine Corps. We've Angie's his natural inclination as it is a dangerous one on the face of it. It's a way to balance the scales to bring equity in a world that doesn't treasure fairness. But the tough thing about revenge as it is a journey, not a destination. It's a process that often requires you to trade in the best most human parts of yourself for the promise that one day, you'll be made whole the thing. Is revenge stories very rarely, and well, you know, kind of wrestled just for a little bit on the ground try to pull the gun away from him. But yet it's slung around his neck, and I had a hard time trying to pull it off of him. And I had my Tomahawk just hanging around my waist, and so I grabbed that and use that against them. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away. And the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either kill or be killed from wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? Hi, this is Anthony from this war. And we've got some really exciting news. You can now listen to new episodes of this war completely ad free exclusively on Stitcher premium. In addition to our adversary shows, you also can listen to tons of other. Wondering shows like sort and scale or American history tellers, plus with Stitcher premium you get access to hundreds of hours of ridge content. Audio documentaries and exclusive bonus episodes from some of your other favorite podcasts. If you're one of those people who likes to skip over ads anyway, Stitcher premiums, probably a great solution. You don't have to hover with your finger over the thirty seconds or fifteen second button. You can just listen through the whole show uninterrupted sign up now for a free month of Stitcher premium by going to Stitcher premium dot com slash wonder and using the promo code wondering. Then once you signed up just download the Stitcher app for Android and start listening. That's Stitcher premium dot com slash wondering. And the promo code is. Wondering does? Byu N D E R Y. Andrew dang wanted to be a pilot, maybe an astronaut, but a childhood illness. Excluded him from pursuing that program. His brother Anthony, you'd always teased him that he would listen the marines just to show him up. But after nine eleven Andrew who is the older of the two decided that he wanted to enlist in the marines be the first one to go to war. We had a knock on our door late at night super late, and there was some two policemen and two marines dressing, their their formal uniforms. I I thought I was in trouble. You know, I was doing all kinds of dumb shut school. And it's my mom and my mom came by. And she immediately knew and she dropped down her knees. And they said, I'm sorry. But your son has been killed in action. He was killed in the first battle of Ramadi two thousand four years with the second battalion fourth marines. He was a part of the quick reaction force for their battalion. He was killed by RPG in an ambush. And so after that. Joined the Marine Corps. Andrew dang was one of the first people from the bay area who have been killed in combat since the Vietnam war and the reporters were relentless eventually his mother couldn't stand the constant attention. Or really the fact that our oldest son was gone. So she moved away leaving her younger son to couch surface way through senior year while waiting for his chance to go fight. There's no doubt that Anthony dang wanted payback. But he also wanted to get money for college. So that he could continue his brother's dream of becoming an aerospace engineer following in his brother's footsteps also got him noticed during boot camp at MC are de-. There was an assembly, you know, pretty much on how to be marine, you know, and how to be a member of the armed forces, and they had some other drill. Instructors. Come in one of them asks, you know, who here has a sibling, that's Marine Corps. You know, who's who's a marine, you know, and I a couple of others raise their hands. You know, and he pointed me out, and he says you what's your name? I said recruiting, you know, he pulled me aside and told the whole class. Because he was my brother's Jilin structure, and he knew that he had been killed in action. And then he just started to remember him. And that you know, Andrew was really good. But everything he did. And he made the ultimate sacrifice that point really stuck with me because it gave me another boost motivation. Again, it reminded me why I was there. His recruiter told him that there was a wait list for the infantry. So dang enlisted is a small arms technician for expediency sick couch surfing for another year wasn't something that appealed to him. And he was sure he'd be able to find his way into the fight. You see small arms texture attached to all manner of units in the marines. But dang wanted to be attached to a combat unit. His hope was to perform regular marine duties like patrolling during the day, and then come back and clean and maintain weapons in the evening. It wasn't an ideal situation. But it was the best way for him to get into the war as fast as possible. I felt that I didn't quite fit in with a lot of the people a lot of people joined certain non-combat jobs because they didn't want. Go to combat, you know, and here I was the only person here that really wanted to go to combat. I was getting real tired of it just the daily grind of his training and not not being deployed, and you know, every time a unit will go to the field. I go out with them. There was an opening for an armor. They need an armor out in out in Iraq. And man, it was it was crazy almost like a that calling. And finally came they asked for volunteers. And I was only one that volunteered. So I ended up getting being an individual augment and get flown out to Iraq. After that. That was in early two thousand six for every story about things going well for individual augment. It seems like there are ten for people like dang who got to Iraq on order, but wasn't able to connect with his unit. This feels especially true for jobs like his where you're not really part of the unit in any way. So you're not really missed. He was still trying to connect with the unit to which he'd been assigned when he was temporarily attached to an MP battalion. I landed in L to. Autumn which is just outside of habent. There was a was a convoy that when had to go out to all the side, we were just helping provide security we're seriously in the middle of nowhere. You know? It's just a desolate road. We were the second vehicle in the line and the first vehicle that driver e swerves and then jumps out and he's telling us the stop stops up. You know, and we stop just a decare away from a pressure. Switch and we backed up by crazy. The we we call the to come out and blow that thing up on the way back in that same area. We ended up hitting an idea we just it was it was kind of just in the middle of nowhere. We were just sitting there was up on the it. And the other thing went off. And I just remember the the front end of the vehicle to smash me in the face vehicle front end lifted up, and I got launched out, and you know, just woke up on the pavement, and at first I was just kind of dazed and confused, you know, just trying to get my bearings was. Until everyone was kind of rushing over to me that I realize I got blown up. You know? I was fine. You know, my ears ringing like a motherfucker. It was all just kind of real fast and sudden, and you know, we we had some a bunch of shrapnel hit the window and cracked up the windows and stuff. But yeah, wasn't that bad. The big one was the pressure. Switch one. I think that they were planning on us coming the other way. So that we would blow up the the smaller one, and we would ran over the large on, you know, the vehicle still work and everything. So we ended up coming back. All right. So my time with the MP's was pretty tame for the most part. It wasn't until I ended up going to Ramadi after that in which things got real rough just about two years after his brother lost his life fighting in Ramadi dang would get his opportunity, but he was going to a place that was much worse than the one brother visited dang arrived. Just as the second battle of Ramadi was already popping off in about to escalate joining the three eight the group he was opposed to be with right from the start. The battalion had already lost a bunch of guys would lose more the entire. Engagement would cost marines nearly two hundred fifty casualties including seventeen dead. It was the capital of the insurgency and the three it was tasked with taking and holding the center city against a well supplied and highly motivated enemy from March to November two thousand and six it was one of the most dangerous places in the world. And it was precisely where dang wanted to be working out of camp blue diamond, which was a converted palace. The marines were practically under siege. With daily rocket mortar and small arms attacks on their base out on patrol. It was even worse. The senior guy in the far team was Ryan is corporal and used he had been deployed multiple times already, and he was in the battle of Lucia in two thousand four so he had a lot of combat experience. You know, this other guy his name was Joe corP as well. And this was his second deployment, and he just had two kids. Very recently the youngest junior whose a nineteen year old kid named and we call them butters always seem that there's always a butters and everybody. By our team because there's always one guy this is super innocent. You know, he just had a newborn to newly married. We were driving through the city just doing patrol, and we hit ni- as soon as the idea blew up underneath us. We were under fire at the same time. You know, we exited the vehicle so we can get into firing positions shoe back corporal, Joe what the time was the one yelling at us. So after we got hit by the I, E D And Bergen fired on corporal, Joe, the yelled out ambush, and we tried to fire back. But at the beginning, it was a lot of confusion where we get fired from you just hear really loud snaps, and then the thuds on the vehicle when you know, when they're hidden all over you. It was really hard for us to get into a position where we could be affective. So we kind of just moved in on the building Joe was yelling, you know. Get that building, you know, move up, and we just followed him really, you know, he knew what he was doing. Doing other teams were inbound dealing with casualties and trying to gun down the enemies on the roofs, and in the windows danged never breached door during combat he'd heard horror stories about guys kicking open doors only to be faced with the enemy waiting with an RPG K. He stacked up with Joe and butters in the three of them breach the door, and they set to clearinghouse we all kind of you know, flooded in. And there was a pretty large room the foyer area Joe proceeded to go into another room butters went into another. And I hit up another one. But the one that I was in. I remember barrel of a gun was like near my face. But it was peeking around the side of the door. And so it wasn't pointed directly at me. So when it was in the doorway, but it was sideways, you know. So I knew there was someone there. I grabbed it just instinctually, and it's hard to say, what was running through my mind because I was wearing on period instinct at the time, you know, kind of wrestled just for a little bit on the ground amid try to pull the gun away from him. Yet. It's slung around his neck, and I had a hard time trying to pull it off of them. And I reach for anything. I could you know, try to get my nine mil. But it was it was too strapped in you know, and I had my Tomahawk is hanging around my waist. And so I grabbed that and use that against them. Remember yelling, something I think, I think I just yelled other. You know, I got one, you know, those about it. And then we kept on clearing, and you outside member just hearing the loud, the heavy guns. Just go into town on people on the rooftops. Not from the time. The first shots were fired. Until the house was cleared was maybe a couple of minutes at most dang said it felt like ours with the house cleared in the outside ambush beaten back dang Joe and butters headed back to the truck to assess the damage as they emerged from the house. They saw the Cormon pulling Ryan's body from the truck corP have been killed in the first moments of the attack. But none of them had realized it. Hiring could be pretty time consuming. He posted job to several online job boards. Only to get tons of the wrong resumes than you have to sort through all of those resumes. Just to find a few people with the right skills and experience those job sites that overwhelm you with the wrong resumes. They're not smart. That's why you should do the smart thing. And go to ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Unlike other job sites. Ziprecruiter finds qualified candidates for you. It's powerful matching. Technology scans thousands of resumes to identify the people with the right skills education and experience, and then it actively invites them to apply for your job. So you get qualified candidates fast. It's no wonder that ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. If you love this show show your support for it end for ZipRecruiter by going to zip. Recruiter dot com slash t h I s I s wer. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Loss is part of the deal. Everyone knows that intellectually some people survive in some people don't there's no point in trying to reconcile the wise. That's not to say that the effort isn't worth it. But on a form team. One guy missing is a lot a missing leader emphasizes the loss, not only because of whatever institutional knowledge he has but inspiration and also motivation. So under look up to and be confident in someone who's very presence indicates that all is well with the world, or at least that it can be her member when I saw him, and I was thinking to myself as when my brother looked like when he died, you know, is what happened to him too. And I remember thinking, oh man someone's going to have to go to his family's home. And they're gonna have to tell them his his wife and his kids his mother that he's been killed in action. And a remember. Stomaching a lot of that emotion. And it didn't really hit me until we got back to our who teaches we religiously played Tiger Woods golf on on like a community XBox in and his avatar came up and the best one really hit me that he was gone. You know, going back out again, it was a mix of emotions, you know, you're you're angry and afraid, but no one never says anything he was kind of quiet. Remember, we're in the Chow hall. You know, no wanna bring it up. Everyone was kinda quiet. We're kind of pissed off at ourselves for not doing something about it. I kind of blaming ourselves as if we should have been the one to go. I mean, I definitely felt that way, you know, Ryan had a kid and a wife, you know, I had nothing. I had. I had. No, nobody no, my family left me. And my friends were, you know, not really round. I remember everyone getting care packages to and I. Everyone will get packages from their families and loved ones back home. And I got nothing losing Ryan only amplified the closeness that he felt with the other guys on the team Joe and butters maybe specially because it felt as if he didn't have anything to lose that. No one would miss him. He started to fixate on their safety. Sometimes there's nothing you can do. But sometimes he thought there is dang resolved that he wanted to be the one taking the brunt of the risks. If they were going to keep spending their days kicking in doors. He wanted to be the point man, he told the others is much as they resume their mission. There wasn't a fight over it. I said, hey, I'm gonna wanna take point from here on in. If that's what you guys and no one really objected to it Joe had a kit and saying with butters, you know, they don't want to be the ones to not come home to their families. It wasn't a it was something I wanted to do anyways. And they're not going to say no to that made me scared shitless. You know, it was not I knew it wasn't a bright idea. But I'd much rather. Have it be me than let's say butters because he probably would have. Had to take point since he was like, you know, the junior guy, and, but you know, he'd always be talking about his kid and showing pictures and stuff if he died, I I wouldn't want wouldn't be able to live with myself that it's just so hard. And if he died, and I could prevented by taking point I wouldn't let that happen. I wouldn't want that to happen that notion of you know, trying to look out after them it did come from. My brother, not only will my brother would have done. But it's also the memory of what happened after he died. You know, I didn't want someone to go to their homes and tell their newborn son daughter that you know, your father's killing action. I didn't want that to happen to anybody else. It just made sense to me that if someone were to go at much rather have it be me because these guys had families that go home to and I had nothing to go to throughout the summer and well into the fall US forces worked to pacify Ramadi block. By block at one point attacks on the government center were so regular ineffective that the military leveled all of the buildings around it as the only way to thwart snipers trying to assassinate the governor. And whoever else they could get in their crosshairs. When intelligence reports showed that the hospital had been taken by insurgents, the US mounted a massive assault on the entire area again clearing block by block to retake the hospital. It was one of the only times we had to work jointly with other branches of the military. I remember navy seals were out there. Some army units were out there, and we're fighting alongside them taking over critical pieces of ground. So I knew it was a big deal. Because normally if it was just small things, we kind of just dealt with their own command butters was a huge, dude. And he carried the small with them, which is a a reloadable rocket launcher. Sometimes we would have to use it. Because a lot of times when we try and call in like a j dam or something some from the air like an airstrike or something on a on a building which. As a ton of enemy combatants in it. They would just tell us to fuck off. You know? So we had a small with us and sometimes we'd have to use that. Instead one time butters had to use it. I remember one time distinctly he shot the ground Iki kind of missed a little bit. And it deflected off of the ground and hit an adjacent building. That was next to the target that we were trying to hit, and you know in the rubble there was just. You know, just civilians in it. And it was difficult to see, and it was very difficult for butters because some of them were children, you know, and. I can tell it probably reminded him of his own child at home. And I ate away at him. And I knew that kind of messed him up in the head a little bit. Sometimes there are no good solutions and nothing to do. But keep fighting impress on the US took the hospital in July and from then through the rest of the summer dang and his team kicking in doors and clearing-houses taking prisoners when they were able. But there weren't a lot of people surrendering you have to remember a kite ahead, essentially declared this their capital and they were putting up proportional resistance. It was going to be a long difficult summer filled with days of clearing houses and very little rest and lots when we cleared homes. We'd have to stay there for a long time sometimes, you know, hours throughout the night. And so we would just hang out and eat Emory's and just just chill out until you know, morning until it's ready to storm the homes again, you know, and one time we were kind of rushing it a little bit because we're getting real tired. You know carrying around these all his gear running house to house in breaching doors gets real fucking tiring. Real fast. Joe? And I were up on the rooftop just waiting for everyone else to clear their home. So we can just get back. Get back to it. Yeah. We were just talking to same. What we're going to do next and just complaining all tired. We wear now fucking audit. It was you know, then Joe got shot decided nowhere to crack in the air. And I was like what the fuck was that? And then he fell to the ground. And then there was a ready blood all over the place. He was shot pretty bad, but he was still alive as soon as he was shot in the neck. We were under a lot of fire from almost every direction. I couldn't really tell we were indoors. And I can just hear you know, impacts all around us. I dragged him downstairs a little bit. And then got butters to help me move them. A remember Joe was just said, I just wanna see my kids. One more time. Dying right there. Just from bleeding out. You know, this is really the crux of it. This pressure of action danger and responsibility in the face of terrible loss with Ryan. And now Joe gone. The formante fire team was down to two guys dang and butters. And neither of them. Could take a moment to comment on it or reflect or even really knowledged the weight of the moment because it had passed and the enemy was relentless making it out of the house alive was all that was left to them to do it. Feels like you're being hunted. You know, it's very strange by Phil very constrained. Like, I was trapped almost you know, I couldn't get out. We couldn't really change buildings because we're getting fired on from all directions by small arms. There's a sniper that wouldn't allow us to stay in one place for too long. We were kind of hopeless and trying to just take people our as they got close enough, but really had to rely on the other teams that come help us out. Because at that point, we were kind of trapped butters. Set up at a window, and we're kind of moving back and forth because if we stay in the same window the eventually just blast you to that window. So we kind of change physician here, and there it was getting pretty crazy. And I remember joking before that, you know, I'm not going to be on el-jazeera and my head cut off. So I'd always carry like an extra nine mill round in my pocket. Just in case. I if anything happened just blew my own brains out, and we were getting to the point where we were running super low on ammo. And I remember, you know, figuring in my pocket that for that round to get that thing ready. But. Good thing. You know, the rest of the teams, you know, they came and helped us out and when all the dust settled. Joe's just there. You know, he was still gone, and it was hard as hard to swallow that in reality. We had a fact out, and I stayed for a little bit. And we kind of waited for you know, other teams to come in and take our position. And then we headed back after that happened. We didn't go over much more butters was cycled out with the three eight but dang still had a couple of months left on his tour. So he was attached to third recon out of Camp Schwab Okinawa. These are the guys he was training with before he came to a rock the move felt appropriate. Dang was still a bit of a loner floating from Simon to a Simon. But seeing familiar faces was really something he needed at this point. He joined the third recon up in flu which mostly been pacified by this time and spent the rest of his war chasing down bad guys with them. The last time I went out on an operation. It was a raid. They're pretty high level operators. We had to go in and breach a home. Of for some critical intelligence or something. There was like a high value target in there. But I guess they were already ready for us because the places I kind of booby-trapped a little bit as soon as we were we arrived on site. And they started firing at us. I got shot right in the chest. And I thought I thought I got mortally wounded someone said man down, you know, and they just dragged me out, and I just got a ton of spoiling like all in my arms and legs and thought I would I was actually hit sprawling is where around impacts the plate. And then it fractures into a bunch of pieces in those little pieces. You know, they they kind of fragmented into you did have some scrapes and stuff. So I was somewhat confused because I didn't know what the fuck sprawling was either. You know, the doc keep make green lights some good. And so I got back into it. They finished clearing the house. The high value target wasn't there and a few weeks later dangles back in Okinawa cleaning and repairing weapons, but a lot of what he was doing felt a little meaningless as an individual augment or I a dang hadn't really come back. With company he Rives in Okinawa. The same way he arrived in Iraq on his own. This podcast is sponsored by ADT. 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But I didn't go just went back to work. I just want to the armory and worked on my guns. You know, I didn't feel I was something to be proud of like I didn't feel like I contributed enough for some reason. I wanted to be the one to die. I didn't want my friends that I it was really hard to swallow the reality that these people with families and kids they're the ones who died and me with nothing with nothing to lose. I'm the one that's revived. It was it was hard. He will should be applauding the people who didn't. It back. You know, I felt that I shouldn't have came back. I felt that I I should have died there in some sense part of me did Andrew's plan had been to enlist for four years. Get a degree with the GI Bill in aerospace engineering, and then make a life out of that since dangling plan was to follow in his brother's footsteps. That's what he did. Anthony dang spent the rest of his time in the marines helping train people for been combat. He also underwent some psychiatric evaluations. They gave him a PTSD diagnosis, but he blew it off. Sure, he had some of the symptoms, but not without reason. It was something he knew he'd have to work on his own. Anyway, I I worked at Sony testing video games. I was ridiculous everyone. There was a so young and house like this old combat. It was really hard because I felt that I deserve more. I ended up leaving that job for better paying one devils more in line with engineering, but it was not what I thought would happen. You know, ideally, I thought would get out of the military, and I would get a a good. Paying job. And when I came back, and I was living in Redwood City. I was staying with one of my high school friends, and I thought I could just slip back into that reality of being friends with my friends from high school and living with them and everything would be all right, again just rewind the clock play it back from where it was. But it didn't turn out the way I came back. And I was just so different. I grew so differently from everybody else. Like, so many veterans who came back at this time dang had to deal with way more than just reintegrating. It was the end of two thousand eight and he was going to school and looking for meaningful work at the height of the financial crisis. He drifted a little further away from his friends, and what family he had left and descended into a life of silence and solitude for as long as he could stand to combat veterans or really getting left in the dust. And I felt that I had been abandoned I had to go to the VA a bunch of times, you know, to to get my head straight and everything before right before the. Today's like thanksgiving was coming up soon in two thousand nine I attempted suicide and the psychiatric personnel on the VA gonna wind and they brought some police over and restrain me and they had like an ambulance come over. And they put me in the ambulance into took me to the Paul wall VA center where they had like a psychiatric ward. And they took my shoelaces off which is fucking weird and put table because I guess people can hang themselves with shoelaces. I guess it was strange. It was like I had to go to prison felt like a prison at a take their medication. You know, they they closely monitored me throughout the day and night. It was hard to live especially during the holidays. And during thanksgiving, my friends came by in propping thanksgiving dinner, which was nice of them. I had to lot of them when I told him that there. I'm in there because you know, I told him I flipped out on my psychiatrist, and they put me in there. I didn't want to tell them that. I. Suicide or tried to say and when I got out everyone's still treated me differently. They treat me like a job. You know? Like, I they had to be careful what they say around me. And all that stuff, you know. And it was it was difficult. So I moved away after that moved away to San Diego plied for different degree something in more in line with what I wanted to do dang wanted to work in public policy advocating for veterans. He knew his experience wasn't completely unique. He also finally had found that he couldn't really live Andrews place anymore than could live in Ryan's or Joe's. Instead he wanted to try to find a different way to honor them thinking about them. He worried the butters maybe was having the same kinds of troubles that he was and he decided to reach out they see these people as just disposable tools of policy, but they don't really see them as people, you know, these are people with families, kids wives, husbands, probably two thousand ten or so. So I thought I'd find boaters online talk to you know, because I and I felt that maybe he's struggling to you know, I should reach out to him. See what's up, I found them through Facebook. And I and I talked to my central message. But then I got a message back from his wife, and he told me that butters committed suicide of your back. So those really hard to swallow as well, it changed a lot. I thought I was alone. I thought I was only when those going crazy, you know, all just me. But I realized I wasn't the only one though suffering from it. I felt that I let him down big time. Because had I just talked to him in the beginning. Right. When I got out, maybe he wouldn't have done it. So I definitely do feel some guilt when it comes to butters doing that. I can only do the best. I can for sure. But I also have to live for not not just my brother now for, you know, Ryan Joe and butters, you know, they they've all gone. I feel that they drive me that they need to live for them and do something in their name. Because if I just let it die right there. Let it be and live my life. You know, and just be fine. It's not a need to make it worth it. All. All this pain, all this suffering. You know, it needs to be worth something needs to mean. Something dang it. Come to understand that honoring his brother and his comrades wasn't as much a matter of vindication. As it was an opportunity to let their sacrifices act as a kind of fuel for the new person he would have to build even though he decided that he wouldn't live as brothers life in the way that he had hoped when he enlisted he could still find meaning in all of the loss. The first thing he had to do though was relinquished his vendetta and come to a new understanding about what his service and his life. After service is supposed to mean. I went there thinking that I could release my rage give my pound of flesh, you know, for Andrew, but it was just so much more loss, and so much more pain that brought me than in did piece. It made me see more people die that. I didn't want to die in those people it really stuck with me, you know, from that point on, you know, I couldn't just. Live for myself and my own notions of vengeance. Or whatever today, he's got degrees from San Jose State and Harvard where he went after he understood that public policy and not aerospace engineering was the key to living his life while still doing what is brother would've wanted dang hopes to head to Washington DC and see if he can do something a little more concrete to help not only combat veterans, but also the enlisted who may be asked to join their ranks. I don't think there is a happy ending not yet at least. But I think that the sacrifices by my brother, Ryan, Joe and butters they pushed me into trying to make things better for all all those service members who maybe later on don't have a voice, our choice, if they have to be deployed to a combat zone because I think a lot of people don't bring that perspective, but there's a real human element to these people on the ground even five years ago. I feel that I wasn't sure of my direction whether I was making a difference or not, but I can see that. There's a there's a little bit of light that I have a chance to. Make some changes if I can get a position that allows me to do. So, but it's just getting that chance. That's the difficult part. You know, someone finding someone to give me that chance is going to be hard. But keep trying you know is you know, it's what my brother would have done. And that's the tough thing about living for someone who's no longer with us. Lots of people never get the chance to seek revenge and even fewer who do seek it. Eventually learn the lesson that it's a pointless exercise a kind of misplaced attempt at honor. If we want to honor someone the best way to do it is to keep their memories alive in our actions to pick up the best parts of their world view and keep them as our own not so much. So we can walk in their shoes. But rather so they can continue to advise us in a way long after they're gone. Next time on this is war raised up to fire at him. I was thinking this is a car bomb coming right at me is what I'm thinking. And that's exactly what it was. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with a story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com. If your dates and branch of service, and a brief description of the experience that you'd like to share if you like to show, you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving us a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.
28 | Cheek
"Yeah. Guy turned around and the front of his face was missing all had was the bottom part of jaw. And this guy was so on drugs. He took a knee reloaded is a K took three steps before he dropped. And we're like wait thought we're fighting zombies when you join the marines specifically because you want to train and have that training tested. You do your best to prepare. So you can live up to the expectations. You set yourself during the eight years, he fought as a marine infantryman Stephen cheek used every inch of that training in more because for him there had to be a life after the war that he could be proud of his well, Jeremy's only nineteen years old and one of my good friends and see pitcher in the inside of his helmet of Helmand his wife on new they'd been together since high school a manages hit me right in the gut. I'll say he can't he can't die. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away and the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed and original podcast from incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? Sometimes you get an idea that you just can't shake for twelve year old Stephen cheek that idea was that he would be the first person in his family to join the military, and he would become a marine infantryman that was in the late nineties after the September eleventh attacks he was only more convinced that he needed to join fight his parents at signed him up for early entry. But his joining wasn't something. They were thrilled about or took lightly, especially as the war in Iraq started up it became the dominant theme in the cheek household, especially once I joined we as a family, sit there and watch. I remember the six o'clock news that before it became a twenty four hour news cycle. They would talk about the number of wounded and killed in action throughout the week. And sometimes they post the names on the little banner at the bottom. I don't know a lot of mixed emotions of being able to go. Join and I was nervous that the war was gonna be over very quickly. And I was going to miss out. I think my family was nervous at. The same time hoping that the war would be over very quickly. So I would miss L, but they knew my mom was made up and nothing was going to keep me from, you know, joining cheek attended his high school graduation only because his parents insisted in his head. He already was in Paris island. He trained in his spare time for his career on the ground with marines and showed up to boot camp ready for whatever they were going to throw at him. But bootcamp during wartime isn't at all what he expected and it built him up in ways he hadn't counted on. I think my experience boot count was different than maybe those a couple years before me some of my drill. Instructors had just come off. Deployments me. No. They saw the seriousness of what war was like. And so David they were more geared towards teaching us and stead of just, you know, the whole kind of harass and your break you down build you up. We still had that aspect of it. But there was more of a teaching that came along with it because they knew exactly where they were sending us. Fairly soon. Upon graduation, the marines all about history, and they're teaching you to the history of the Marine Corps. You know, you're about to play a part in that there's a war going on. And you're training for that. You know? Yeah. No one's going to probably actually remember your name, but you're going to be going down in history and phase at the Marine Corps. And this very exciting thing to think about understanding his place as part of marine history would turn out to be a huge motivator for cheek throughout boot camp. The fact that he was part of something special never was far from his thoughts. He and the rest of the recruits have been kept up to date, and what the marines were doing in the second battle of flu show, which kicked off right around the time. He got to bootcamp mostly they were worried that they would miss the war. But by the time, they got their chance. It was clear that the war was by no means over in influenza when they started opening back up the city to everybody a lot of insurgents came in and occupied the city again and due to the unit before us. Not patrolling the streets that wasn't that that security presence. So then surgency built up again when my unit took over psych, we stirred up the hornet's nest again and after a couple of weeks of observe in our tactics, and how we would patrol they began to really unleash things on us Faluja, a very very crowded area. It's not like a city that you would see in the US with him to these massive skyscrapers or anything. But since it's so condensed the streets are narrow and everything we knew something was about to happen. When we go into a heavily populated area and see that that whole area has been cleared out. And so we knew right off the bat to expect something we didn't know whether to expect an ID or an ambush, so you become super vigilant even more than what you already were. We start looking more towards the ground honestly, just expecting. And so when the machine gun bursts rips off, then you like all right? Well, it's machine gun fire. And I thought my head. As relief. Like, all right. I don't have to watch my feet anymore. Like, I gotta fight enchants. I can't I can't fight back with an eighty. But if there's some insurgent punk that shoot nut me, then you know, I got a fighting chance with this one people are yelling back and forth at each other trying to locate the fire and not specific since by the time. We located the fire and returned fire. Everything pretty much died off was over. None. None of us got hurt as very very easy combat experienced a slip into the for sure they weren't also easy day to day influenza marines, either we're patrolling the chaotic streets standing guard on the converted train station. They were using for bass or acting as a quick reaction force where q r f sometimes a Q r f is the same thing as having a day off, but many times, especially as the marines tried to maintain the uneasy peace influenza. There was nothing further from the case one time just complete chaos for Fortuna went into this building. And they were doing surveillance along one of the main roads. And they they stayed in the build way too long somehow there was a blind spot from where their surveillance in the building where the insurgents set up an ID on exit route that that the marines took we had navy seal team in the area that was operating. Those will when fourth petunias leaving the building they hit the I eighty couple of guys got shrapnel and a soon as that happened that the team kinda got the squad kinda got split in half. Half was across the street already in this old car lot where they sell us cars and a couple were in the street wounded, and then the other half was in the building still trying to get out. And then, you know, all all hell breaks loose. The they begin to get caught in a l shaped ambush would machine gunfire and AK fire at the same time. The navy seals got hit. They had a wounded guy. And they're trying to bring them to four platoon of four platoons calling us to come in and help them out. Our job was to get wounded out of there. We we arrive. Five and we want to set fire superiority, which means we just wanna hammered the enemy as fast as possible put as much rounds on their position as fast as possible. So we can get the wounded over to us. So for this quick reaction force. I'm not so much in a fight and forces, I just shoot as accurate as fast as I can said the wounded can get there. And then we're gone with the wounded you don't wanna be that guy that holds up the convoy because they can't find you because you ran off. So we're we're return far like that. We don't even get all the truck into the wounded is there and we'd get out to help load the wounded a less experienced headquarters platoon also had responded, but opened fire on the wrong building where the fourth platoon hold up. Cheeks squad were sitting back to back along the length of an old humvee waiting for the casualties to make it back to the truck and firing at the insurgents who had taken positions on the surrounding rooftops as part of the ambush. So we started changing fire with the enemy and the navy seals are coming back way through trying to bring their wounded. So four platoon had got some of the wounded and the center of that building, you know as pure chaos. They're they're working on the wounded in the center of the build in half of their teams outside abandoned car lot. You have headquarters shoot the marines. You had the insurgents shoot nut the marines. You have us Trond up deescalate some of this. And then here comes the navy seals wanted. Their wounded four platoon is set up a booby trap on the back door with a stun grenade in a smoke grenade. They come through the back door, which was booby trap. So they hit a stun grenade, which the first two guys, you know, they get stunned and their days. Ing fused. And they don't know what happened then they hit the smoke grenade which begins to fill up the whole entire building was smoke while they're sitting there trying to work on their wounded. And I remember the craziest seen sergeant matter was a squad leader in this dude was animal on the craziest. Toughest marines. I've ever met. Sorry matter taken shrapnel from the initial AD bless right in the face assays. He's bleeding down his face. Missed his I because he was wearing his eye protection and Coppola shot in the butt sergeant matters carrying COPA and sorry matter takes round through the guy and then around through the neck, and he comes over and drops off cove in our home V as argue matters, just laughing and we're looking at him what he's he's a lunatic. He's literally running across the street carrying cope Lee. And he's got blood pouring down his face. He takes two rounds to the body. Hey, he rips open his camby's, and he looks down at a stye. And sees you know, that the bullet missed missed his tattoo, and we're saying, you know, sergeant matter you gotta come with us your wounded and he's like, I'm not leaving. He just runs back off into the abyss. You know, back into the crazy firefight with the wounded secured in the firefight starting to turn cheek in the rest of his squad. Brought the casualties back to base. There's always some satisfaction and excitement after a firefight where the casualties were minimal guys took shrapnel on a couple got shot, but everyone was up around again in a couple of. Days as two thousand five turned into two thousand six things would get worse influenza, and they would get worse for the marines. Cheek would be reminded that hard won knowledge from setbacks is much a part of the marines history as were any acts of communal valor. But the incident from January seven two thousand six is the one that gave him the greatest amount of perspective about his place in the marines. And the marines of mission in Iraq. We were going back to camp bar Horea where they had some satellite phones, we're going to be able to use. And I and third squad. We're going to go out and patrol that morning. And then, you know, we're all going to rotate, and as we get their remember them saying, hey, we're going river city and river city is someone is either been hurt or killed in the area a member start at Ray. Pulls up in a humvee, and he comes running out and he's Intel he's kinda crying a little bit. And he comes up with my squad leader. Hey, we gotta go. I'm like, all right. He says I I tune or I squad third squad. They've been hit. They take some casualties going out there. And we're going to go help them. We're in the back of this high back home V open-top. I don't really know. What's going on? We're speeding down the road. I mean, we're trying to blow through checkpoints on camp bar RIA, you hear fire. Just intensifying the closer that we got. And then right before we're about to get their member. Commanding officer called us all things said no comeback to base stats aren't race stops the humvees and this alley where mad where we're trying to understand like why we getting called off this is our platoon. I so we get back in there actually there by this time. So I'm seeing one of my best friends. We still talk every day to this day Jonathan I remember seeing him. Teared up a lot of lot of senior guys who you think, you know, as a junior guy, you think they're invincible, and you see these guys, you know, just huddled up crying. And then that's when it kind of hits you like all, right? You know, it's a lot worse. Some what maybe we thought. Then then he start noticing guys aren't there? See, you know, my friends like Jared, Jerry Jacobs's and their wares. Jared was just staring at me with a blank face. That's not until coupla hours later when you give these guys their space that you start finding out what really happened no amount of satisfaction after victory compensates for losing guys. Even when you gain extra experience and knowledge as cheek would it is a paltry payoff worse. There is no good solution, a retaliation only anger to be tucked away for next time. January two thousand six and with the war now turning into something that looked a lot more like an occupation attacks on US forces increased as he Al Anbar province continued its descent violence hearing the story of how the fight went down. Did nothing to take the marines minds off of just how dangerous emission they had taken up. We face a lot of sniper fire on on that deployment. And that was the worst. We had this this sniper tame that is kept harassing us and the entire deployment. And as they were Petroleum corP Strom was shut bus Knipe, and he he was killed instantly. He fell down into the middle of the street, and as a as the squad trying to gather their barons trying to see what happened, you know, everyone just darts you move and take cover and they'd found a found a door that opened up to a house the marine start running into that house and trying to set up. Security and start making a plan to grow and go grab lunch from as they're doing that Kearns on a couple of other guys starts laying down bass afire. Jared goes out there to go. Grab lunch. Stroman Jerry get shot as he's as he's trying to drag on Jared is killed as well. And then our doc doc Ingles goes out there. And he he starts dragging wanted the guys, and he gets shot his will goes through his right arm comes out his arm goes through his chest comes out his chest and goes into his left, arm and comes out. And luckily it was so far forward. It just went through all muscle. And this by this time four foot tune came out there as a quick reaction force third squad was trying to reach them. But third squad got pinned down with a sniper farm machine gun fire. They were only a couple blocks away. And they were they couldn't reach him for platoon comes out, there is cure f-. And as they're coming out there. PFC Brown was coming around the corner. Corner nother sniper shot him and killed helmet Stanley as well said four platoon get stuck and they're they're trying to loan him. And and one in the vehicles, and that vehicle get shot and disabled and this the same just pure chaos marines trying to get closer and closer to the marines that are down. And this one squad of you know, eight guys been dwindled down to four year. You know, corporate Erickson got shot in his sappy plate a know. Your entire squad gets cut in half within thirty seconds. Then you can hear the fight all around you this, you know, this build enough and no one can reach. You didn't even take that long? Whole battle was over very quickly. All that was left for cheek in the rest of his platoon was anger and outrage and dealing with that took effort and perspective. Our captain calls off patrols for the rest of the day and marines were very very mad about that. Because all you won't. Revenge. I mean to be quite honest. You just wanted to Nollie the city. You don't care you. You just won't revenge. You won't someone to pay. And and retrospect looking back not as a nineteen year old kid anymore. I think the captain made the right call because he knew exactly what we wanted to do when we didn't have the upper hand at that point. And I think that's where all the anger came came from as you know, we're marines we trained for this. We we overwhelmed. The enemy we always win. And that day, we didn't have the upper hand. And as a very humbling experience, I'm still hot about it. Now, if makes any sense, you you also know that they're they're people in that city that needed our help, you know, we we interacted with the civilians a lot, and then surgency was Driss just as cruel to them, but they can protect themselves. Like we could than it have training. They have weapons, you know. So you don't blame them. We were there to protect an. To help them. No. You don't make stupid decisions like that. No one ever did you won't to. But at the same time, you realize it's not gonna do any good. It's not going to bring anybody back. So they waited they did their jobs, and then the marines were finally floated to go home. Although cheek didn't believe he was going home until his feet touched American soil, Yuna focus on going home. Because even though you're three days away. You gotta you gotta make it three more days. And if you start getting in that mindset and drop your guard, then you're not going home. Therefore, you have no decompression time. We go straight from fighting on our very less day to an America couple days later, and we turn a weapons and that the armory and they got us and formation, and we're marching down the road to this field house where all of our families are at in the streets are line, and they're holding up signs for you. And you hear people cheering and. You feel proud and guilty. I mean, you're proud that you get to come home, but you're guilty because you came home and others and guys that didn't come home their families there too. And they know their sons aren't there? But they're they're still support us a very hard to see some your friends parents there when your friends aren't aren't the ones coming home. I went back to South Carolina went home, some parents than some family, and you know, they want they wanna know what's going on. And they've been watching the news. And it's not that they're desensitized to it. But they don't. It's a whole different story watching on the news and seeing the numbers, and the names come across the screen than it is you know, that number name was was your friend that was laying in the street. You know, really fillet talking about it at that. Tom side grew up a grew up a preacher's kid and lived a pretty conservative life, never drank before my life. And that's that's how spent my time off was alcohol use by massive amounts of alcohol with your friends and try to process things. So you just you just try to focus on these guys didn't make it. And for some reason. I did Anita get as much life in as possible for the both of us his at the same time. You know, you're going, you know, you're the point again right back to it. There were a couple of upsides on the new deployment. I he was a senior guy. Now, a squad leader who could help orient the new marines to the reality of twenty first century warfare. Cheek was proud of an impressed by the senior marines during his first deployment. But the reality was that they were in many cases using Vietnam era tactics that were situated some place between ineffective and counterproductive. For example, rather than using suppressive fire to retrieve the dead or wounded marines now relied on massive amounts of smoke. Canisters? The Iraqi police also were a new wrinkle, although they were nowhere near as well trained in quipped as the US forces cheek found them enthusiastic about fighting off the insurgency more important. They played a significant part in what would turn out to be one of the biggest wins for the marines on cheek second, deployment and Sassari. Ray says hey, said there's a factory in the heart of Luger, they're making, you know, vehicle born eighties, and we're gonna go hit this factory. And so the whole plan was our little six. Man, marine team was going to go hit this guard shot supposedly there was an insurgent guard shot like about a block away a lookout that was supposed to blow. This factory if marines or coalition forces came near it while like everything else in the marines. The intelligence is always wrong. So we get to this compound instead of it being the guard shack, it is the actual factory that they sent my team to at first we don't know that we are actually walking into a major ambush the massive compound had seen better days. Three buildings were laid out in anelle shave with an unguarded gate in the front and a hole in the rear from a previous incursion. The six-man man marine squad split up into three teams Chee-Chen Kearns staff. Sergeant Ray in Hudson and gain in Campbell more than enough for the trigger man, but woefully underprepared to run into the more than dozen insurgents inside the factory as they were walking around cheek in Kearns noticed wires coming out of an old donkey cart and leading into the building. When they went. A follow the wire all hell broke loose as I look up to the rooftop this three story building. I see about six or seven insurgents lean over with a case. And I can't even get the words out to give corns a heads up before. They just start raking far down on us. Take off running to the corner of the building a c Kearns take off running right beside me. I hear car and scream. Hey, falls down by this time. I'd made it to the corner the bills like I gotta go back form. I don't have a smoke grenade or anything homemade to cover my movement. And I'm separated from everybody says that turned the corner to go back for Kearns a make it about five or six steps. And I bumped chest with them. He he had just fallen down hit tripped. And screamed when you get trip scared me the death and at the same time other insurgent start porn out the back of the building. We're gonna Ray in Hudson. We're out and has gone. He ran Hudson or turn in the corner. They bump chest with two insurgents like literally bump chess with them. And then sergeants their guns jammed and gunny Ryan Hudson shot shot these guys. Probably about twenty times piece right in the chest me and corn start fighting our way back over to where they're at the compound backed up to eight hundred meters of open trash field and the insurgents made for the broken part of the wall. They're intending to escape they had the marines dead to rights outmanned two to one with the element of surprise and the high ground, but they were also drugged up on qat a leaf that had kind of an amphetamine effect and probably were way too jumpy to think that clearly so they started to egress across the eight hundred yard eight hundred meter trash-filled. And we just picked them off. I remember we're laying beside two of the dead bodies that gunny Ray in Hudson has shut foreign on the rest of their friends, but all these guys were on cut. And this one guy was running across the field and cars were shooting them in the bottom of the back. And then the back of his legs and member gain walked up machine gun bursts, straight from the bottom of this guy spine to the back of his head. Barely clearly see and my scope this guy turned around and the front of his face was. Missing. All he had was the bottom part of his jaw remembers specifically just seeing his teeth. And that's all I can see. And this guy was so on drugs. He took a knee started unload his AK reloaded his AK took three steps before he dropped. And we're like we we thought we fighting zombies. The two bodies that staff. Sergeant Ray in Hudson originally shot and what the heck was going on. They were reaching for something pocket. We shot him. Again, they called fire and come to find out of the twelve bodies. We covered seven of them had suicide vest on and one of our trace around call called his vest on fire. So that Raqi police came in and it up being one of the largest vehicle borne suicide factories found in Iraq to this date. It was a huge victory for the marines or at least for their morale. The Iraqis got credit for the mission. But they wouldn't let the marines take the bodies opting instead for public display of jus-. What the new Faluji was going to be like if they had any say about it. The Iraqi soldiers gutted the twelve dead insurgents and hung them from the street posts. It didn't do a lot to quell the violence influenza. But it didn't courage the marines by showing them just how fed up the Iraqi army was with the insurgency. so much of the time between battles waiting that. It's easy to lose track of how much danger really is out there. But even when you're in the middle of a city wracked by violence, doing your best to set aside the threat in your mind for just a couple minutes at a time is an important way to stay sharp without getting over raw. But influenza in two thousand and seven those minutes were few and far between we had this one building that we all keep in the center palooza. It'd be a whole squad of us thirteen or fifteen marines. I was a team leader at this time. And I remember one of my guys my team Jeremy thing fee was relieving meal and post I'm coming down off the roof to go play cards with some of the guys staff sergeant Ray and some of the other guys downstairs and not fifteen twenty minutes past them. We hear loud smack sound like a bullet just hit the wall right beside me. And then remember here in machine gun on the roof star opening up and start yelling that Jeremy was hit. Then having gear on ran upstairs with corporal matter. And we start crawling across the roof and Jeremy's trying to crawl dust a little bit. He's kind of reaching out a drag down off the roof. Drag them down the stairs to the story that we were on a began cutting away as close and the first thing we do is we take off his vest, and we see a hole in this plate. So I'm looking around, and I don't I don't, you know, he's he not even really bleed in much at all and see a little and dention in the top part of his chess a little bit of blood not much at all. I mean wouldn't even feel like a cap to cope, and I'm telling them, I know there's the bullets in him, then they don't believe me and a sees tournament pill to consensus was that a piece of his plate had been shipped off in the Jeremy just had had the wind knocked out of him. But that didn't feel right to cheek first off. There was bulletproof glass. On the rooftop lookout. Second marine should have started to come around by. Now, if it was just a minor injury already halfway through his second tour and flew cheek had seen a ton of gunshot wounds. Entreated a bunch of people in the field. He cut open the man's vast saw that there was a hole in the sappy plate and no exit wound. Jeremy's back and knew what he had to do a search treating for a second chest wound. His chest starts weasing went to a few of the medical classes and think as long was starting to collapse. So a starting doing what they say to do taking plastic enough put over his wound start taping it off. And as I'm doing I'm trying to trying to keep them calm. It takes off his helmet while I'm working on as throws his helmet on the ground or someone those helmet on the ground SIA pitcher out of his helmet. Jeremy's only nineteen years old and one of my good friends and pitcher in the inside of his helmet of Helmand his wife on new they'd been together since high school Amana just hit me right in the gut off. He can't he. He can't die. So I'll take that picture out of his helmet. A hand at toll. I tell them just just focus on the cure f- gets there with a medivac convy, Jeremy guess, putting the home v. I guess he flatlined on the ride there. Then he flatlined again when he went into surgery, he ended up making it he had a couple of surgeries how to have part of his lung taken out. He still deals with a ton of problems right now at the moment, you're just all training training and adrenaline. You're sitting there, you know, you're not thinking about this is your friend. You're not thinking about what's going to happen. You're just focused on the problem. That's a hand. But when I saw that picture full news and became real. And so you try to put in the back your mind. I mean, heck half the reason I handle the pitcher. So I didn't have to look at it. I keep my months straight to get it out of my view. So he can look at it, Chico. Ready had had something of reputation for field medicine. So sometimes he was referred to as an honorary Corman. Immorality, though, it just tied back to the seriousness with which he performed his duties. He says he just happened to be lucky enough to be paying attention when they learned about sucking chest wounds in combat medical training. But the truth is deeper than that cheek liked being marine any liked being good at it. When he had the chance to go to Afghantistan as an adviser helping another unit train up the Afghan national army. It was just another challenge to relish buzzed very excited about this deployment. We're finally getting to go to Afghantistan. I was gonna be a fourth tour received were patrolling around, and we get caught in L shape down Bush as starts off with our PG's getting fired at us and then machine gunners. Open enough on our flanks and it was during the rainy season. It was terrible man's light Tron to fight on a stairmaster. You're just flooded fields. And you got you got mud pass your ankles, you know, halfway up your shin. There is no cover. You're just an abandoned cleared out filled. There about ditches every fifty yards and you're trying to. Make your way to a ditch. And you're trying to high step it through this mud while you're being shot is just as miserable. The ambush dies off really fast. Only lasts a couple of minutes. So we're walking back to the base. This kid in front of me once COPA rack on it Nome on most of these guys. I just got attached to kilo once couple rack install stepped on a booby trap de right in front of me a member. Everybody wanted to rush tool right off the bat had to tell them. No. You don't wanna rush up to them because these little toe Popper ides's where everywhere a slowly workup Iraq in thal, and he's missing the bottom part of his right leg right off the bat part of his right arm. Barely hanging on his left legs barely hanging on a so I'm trying to put Turner kits on them. And normally goes like this suffering that much trauma. They lease be passed out. But Racquetball wasn't pastel. He sitting there screaming and the whole time while he's all screaming. His four is a Dr Pepper is the weirdest thing in the world. I guess it's just the. Trauma, put four five Turner kits on rack and bowl. The stop all of his bleeding is the whole time. He's yelling. He's like give me a f- Dr Pepper right now. You know, just Cussing at me screaming for Dr Pepper sitting there trying to tal- tone. Dude. There's we'll have a freaking Dr Pepper Mantelet. We're in the middle of Afghanstan. He's got blown up like there's no freaking Dr Pepper, so far some ever saw the dude in this last time I ever saw the only conversation we ever had was you know, I'm scared. He's about to be a triple amputation ease. Yelling at me for Dr Pepper on to some guys who keep in touch with them. And he's doing good Afghanistan was a completely different animal from Iraq. The enemy state to fight more often in the soldiers were more experienced on both sides working with the N A was a dicey proposition though, especially for cheek as an adviser. He had fought alongside some of the best the Anna had to offer but working with that army could still be something of a crap shoot. Not only. Do you have to train them in? In your life and their hands, and they don't speak your language, but you're also trying to keep the peace between the Afghan army and the marines. There are some guys in the Afghan army that they weren't the best. And I'm about to go do a mission with my buddy Jonathan's platoon. I think he was second platoon, and I had suspicion of this Afghan army platoon commander because normally I wouldn't tell anybody I would set up patrols, but as part of training them I had to start showing the platoon commander how to plan out patrols and patrol routes and everything and wants to started doing that always got ambushed. So I tell that marine platoon commander like, hey, I'm pretty sure my a platoon commanders Taliban. So we set up Trump we made up a fake patrol route. And he says we're going to actually go a different way and see if he said of ambush force and see if we can come in behind that Taliban and everything, and so I tell him this is the route that morning before we go to step out. I was like, hey, the marine Lieutenant changed up things and the platoon commander got very upset. Very mad at us that he was out of the loop that things got changed up. And sure enough man, we snuck up behind this ambush, the has four. So when we get back confront him. And he gets very mad. He pulls out a pistol. And he's pointed at me in the marine platoon commander some of the marines raise their rifles at him. And the other don't know go on what's going on. So a couple of them raise their rifles at the marines. And we're like this, you know, Mets can standoff everyone's got gun just pointed at each other. But some of the AMA knew that he was Taliban one of them snuck up behind him and hit him over the head knocked them out. We arrested them he know by that time to other a when they saw their own guys do that they put their weapons down. We told them. What was happening? I never had a problem. We all had a good working relationship. After that. We ended up finding out that he was high level Pakistan, Taliban that came over to Afghantistan to f- trait. The and they you know, I'd had other I'd been shot at multiple times. And you know, I'm cleared houses. And. Delusion stuff, but to be held up like that. No. I'd never had something like that happen. There's a little bit of fear. But the fear comes afterwards when you look back on like man at any point Tom that do could have shot me. But the same time your initial reactions just anger you like man this dude is going to try to shoot me. Like, this is messed up like, yeah. That's not a fun situation. Cheek was in Afghanistan again as part of his re up which was a combined effort to be able to earn a living again as the US economy collapsed in two thousand eight and to keep his marriage together the second aspect of that plan failed. And by two thousand twelve cheek was no longer married. In fact, he wasn't going to be marine much longer either. I was going to stay in and be a drill instructor. But in two thousand twelve a lot of marines weren't allowed to stay in the Marine Corps anymore. They just didn't let us reenlist solid known since I was eighteen a wanted to do at least for twenty years retire. It was tough at first. But then as soon as I got out and tasted freedom os. Okay. With. With it. My house over in Afghanistan applied to a college and and got accepted and big career change. So I went from eight years deployments. Marina intrigue to a mess. OC pastor now at a church here in Louisiana. So my my undergraduate degree was an Christian ministry. And honestly, my faith is what got me through five deployments to. I'd walked away from God. Especially during my first and second deployment trying to reconcile things and yet heavy into alcohol for a couple of months there. That's definite. What a held onto especially when I got out. And I see friends struggling a lost twenty seven friends close friends during those deployments. And I'm almost close to that number right now with how many friends have committed suicide from the marines as well. I really try to reach out to guys and let them know like there's more out there. There's no sense in it struggling with depression or PTSD, anxiety, suicidal thoughts. Like, you know, you have to be proud of your. Service. You have to appreciate what you did. But at the same time, we all knew it we're signing up for like I joined the marines to fight on join to protect America. You know? Yes. When I saw the twin towers and tenth grade get attacked, I was very angry about the same Thomas be realistic that people from Iraq weren't gonna come over here on big warships and invade America. And started battle over here. I joined the marines to fight I trained, and I wanted that training to be tested because I wanted to know if I could handle it when I was over there fault for the guys to the right into the left of me known was going to north Augusta, South Carolina and killing Stephen sheiks family, and I've fought so my brother and my sister or kids later down the road one half to fight you do it. And then you go back into the shadows. We're not owed anything, I don't see any point. And dwelling all my past services in the past. I keep the memories of all my friends that died I keep those memories alive. But the best years still ahead of me. I'm not gonna live another sixty years ago when an reminisce on the days of when I was twenty two years old. That's a sad life to live because I've met so many guys that moved forward and done even better and greater things with their life. To people often. Join the military to get a sense of being part of something larger than themselves. But it is the attitude of service the spirit of excellence that makes up that something larger Stephen cheek is working on his doctorate of ministry and continuing to strive to stay part of something bigger to strive for personal excellence and to serve something larger. Next time on this is war, and it wasn't one or two. It was the tire. Billy was coming out onto the street. And I'm running down the middle of it. They were closing in around me. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with a story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branch of service, and a brief description of the experience that you'd like to share. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now, you can also follow us on social media at this is war.
29 | Higens
"And it wasn't one or two. It was thin tire. Village was coming out onto this street. And I'm running down the middle of it. They were closing in around me when Davin Higgins got into counter intelligence, the twin towers still were standing and the job mostly involved running assets and hotspots as a way of keeping tabs on potential threats. But when he found himself in Iraq in the early days of the war on terror running assets took on gency, he couldn't have imagined before because in Iraq. There always was a ticking bomb somewhere, I hear this loud explosion. I automatically knew what had happened. I knew his abomb. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away and the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either kill or be killed and original podcast from incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? Devin Higgins, left college to join the army in the late nineteen ninety s he already was married, but the demands of work and school meant he didn't see his wife Rebecca that often. So he balked when an army recruiter approached him at first he didn't wanna trade not seeing her much for not seeing her for a year at a time during deployments, but the recruiter short him that the worst case scenario would be a six month stint in the Balkans. So he signed up to be a counterintelligence agent or CI and upon finishing his training moved with his wife to Germany at first. It was just like the recruiter said and in September two thousand one Higgins found himself deployed on a mission in the Balkans would nine eleven happened. I was part of an ad von for K for Wieder at a dock because that's where we were actually going to bring equipment in and out of coastal phone started ringing, and we're like what's going on. There's probably fifteen twenty of us in a bunch of phone started ringing about the same time. And they said there's been a terrorist attack. So my colleague either team. You see I guys there at this time we jump in our car and we'd run back to the hotel. And we watch CNN. We watched the towers fall. We watched the second plane run into the tower. Well, were twenty people we don't have any guns. We don't have anything at all. We don't have any way of protecting ourselves. The Bulgarian military actually come over takeover, the hotel and secure it for us at that time. We get orders. There's a lot of US contractors out there. They come down and say, hey, you guys need to go out and find all that Americans there and tell them where they can go to get if they feel threatened to come to safety where we're at. So we're in the middle of this town wandering around finding all Americans throat telling them where we're at in case, they need some safety. It was kinda crazy to know that we were the people out there trying to gather everyone out we were twenty four twenty five year old kids. I remember driving back to the hotel. And I was thinking his Malaya's has got a reputation. And history of taken over airplanes. This has got to be his blah. And by the time, we got back there things have been kind of clarified and came out that it was out Qaeda. I'm a white guy, and my colleague was Hispanic. So he kind of blended in with the Bulgarian people. But they knew I was American. So whenever I stepped into a hotel or things like that all eyes turn to us Higgins had a knack for developing local sources, he was good at working with translators and making connections and introductions as a way of creating kind of information stream or information infrastructure that he could put to good news. As Afghantistan was about to kick off Higgins was helping the air force coordinate logistics, putting them in touch with people who could get their bombers refuelled as the war on terror prepared to get underway. But by the end of two thousand and three he and his family were back and forth. Collins they were going to start their new lives there when he got the call after only thirty days back in the US Higgins was bound for Iraq and his duty stace. Was stands out for me. The most is the way I viewed people in Iraq. I went into Iraq with the mindset that if you're not helping me your hindering me, you're going in with pure authority. There wasn't any local police. There wasn't a local city government or anything like that. We were everything. And so I go into if a raid, and if the guidance or my question has came up we're taking him back to my detention center, and I'll have more time within there. I didn't have to ask any permission. It was my option and that kinda sorta power can become intoxicating you have complete control of this guy. He doesn't do anything without your, okay? If you do not check yourself, then you can get out of control. If you wanna get intelligence you have to give him the right motivation to talk to you torturing someone. Isn't getting intelligence. They will tell you whatever you wanna hear to stop that pain. It doesn't increase our mission. At all you've got to go in there with a specific goal and go towards that information the process, generally would go like this Higgins would accompany guys out on patrols when they cleared houses. He would interrogate the people they've found sort of any paperwork and see if there was anything promising. His approach was simple, given the patrols were happening. Anyway, they may as well be pointed. So we often tried to provide command with an actionable lead to start today, and from there, sometimes they would get more Intel to use his hope was as simple as plan catch bombmakers and discover weapons caches, but in the early days of the war knowing whom to trust could be a real problem. I'm always suspicious of someone that is kind of working with us. I always hung out within terp enters when we hired local nationals at the bazaars and stuff I hung out there because I knew those way our insider threats we hired. A bunch of interpreters right off the street. We didn't have any those are the only ones we could find we weren't prepared to go entire hack. So anyone that spoke English and Arabic. We hired. I did the screening on them. And eventually I caught one for giving information to the insurgency. And then I got another one I sent him to add a grave after a while. I started name I'm like, you're going to be three four five and six and eventually sooner or later, I think I ended up catching six out of the eight that we hired right there. This one interpreter he was screening people that were supposed to come directly to us. He was taken pitchers of all of us. I've been building this case for a long time. But because this interpreter was such a good friend of the command element. He was there interpreter I had a really walked lightly on how I was going to approach this. If I make his life miserable. He's gonna make my life miserable. So how do I tell him that his interpreters handing information off to the? Bad people, and we need to take him in for interrogation. The best political solution was to highlight the threat in his reports and have that threat removed from above commander to commander before anything bad happened. So that's what he did navigating rock in those early days was a real problem because it was money to be had it wasn't unusual for interpreters to play both sides against the middle. And there was little choice. Americans had Higgins needed interpreters. Everyone was conducting vetting process at breakneck speed for him. The easiest thing to do was to watch them closely and to make it clear that the benefit of working with the Americans had a million more upsides than taking their money and then spying on them. I was at the city hall, and I was talking to this real douchebag. I mean, I hated him. And if I would have stuck around a little bit longer than I probably would have had him back in my held in facility. But he was like the city planner, and we were just setting there talking NASA. Now, there's no problems here. This. Is a good city. There's no insurgency by took my body armor off and my helmet off. And just kind relaxing their listened to be s this guy went on for about five minutes. How great this city is and an RPG hit right behind as it broke the class and stuff so spread all over us. And I I lost it. I grabbed my helmet, and I swung. It hit middle of his desk. I broke whatever was on there. And then we walked out at that point Siab's had a an e seven that was an arranger as I just differed everything to him. I go running out there with my team. He's like, hey, I need to take that corner. You take the specialists in he had a saw. So we went over there and secure that corner the compound, and I'm looking up, and I see all these buildings that over there over us. And I was like man if there's anything up there were dead, and they go chasing the people at the PG, and that was kind of the problem with being account intelligence officer. After the invasion Higgins, sometimes was attached to armed elements. And sometimes he wasn't when he wasn't there always was a looming danger of being out there and small parties. Like the wondering this attack striking that balance though between the big or small group was mission specific sure, but also it was opportunity specific, and when you guessed wrong, you could be caught out all on your own with only interpreter you hoped that you could trust. In addition to coming along on raids and patrols Higgins would go out with the command element when they were visiting local officials, he would cut a deal with whichever commander was going out saying that he would take care of whichever reports needed writing and provided an extra interpreter and exchange for being allowed to tag along the commanders mostly were checking in on government officials to see what 'rational or logistical support the US could provide but Higgins already knew that the officials were way more interested in the support. They could get than any information. They could give the local police chief is going to give you the party line. But it's not him that I really wanna talk to because I don't want the party line. I want the truth. And so while they're in they're talking with the local police, I'll kind of just step out. And I talked to the secretary he's on the here's all conversation. He's the one that knows everything. And that's the person I wanna run when in there and talked to and I kind of said, hey. I'm looking for information on this. And he says I work for you now. And I was like, that's right. His village, by the way, every time we went in there. We knew something bad was going to happen that these guys hate us. And so he's like, hey this house right here. This guy is a bad guy. Next time we came back. We ended up cord on inserting the entire village Higgins, eventually caught a ride with an element that was heading out to the police secretaries home village MS some special forces guys on the way who are on a ten gentle mission. He got the heads up from them that they'd been looking into a house in that neighborhood as well. It wouldn't take him long to confirm everyone suspicions. But by that time, there wouldn't be much could do about it. And it was just my translator. I at this time. So we ended up going talked into this house and the security was right next to this house. So I tell the the soldier there say I'm going in this house if you guys pull out just yell at me, and I'll move with you go in there. And I. Star talking to these guys and they point out the same house. And I'm there for fifteen minutes. I'm like man, this is Ben kind of long time what's was going on. So I look out the window, and there's no security the soldiers gun shit. I'm here by myself with my translator. And my translator is old and fat. I get around the corner and they're God. I can't see any of them. And I'm in this town in this town that would probably rather chew me than talk to me. They were just coming out of the houses and on the sidewalk, and it wasn't one or two. It was thin tire. Village was coming out onto the street. And I'm running down the middle of it. They were closing in around me. And as time progressed they were slowly getting closer and closer to me. And I was like man if they bum rush me, I'm done. There's no way I can stop them all out get one or two of them. But then I'm I'm captured. I I don't know what I do. And I read enough stuff and seen enough. Videos that I knew I didn't wanna be captured. I can't let them get too close. So I'm shoulder my web and waving around making sure these guys get outta my way they keep on getting closer. I see a home v and his probably about two three hundred meters away. And I was like men. All right. Let's do a three round bursts. If I can get their attention as like man, if I do it three round burst. They may think I'm engaging and turn around and unload on me. That's not a good idea. I don't want to be killed by fratricide either. So they pull off and all right. Second plan. I'm going to get up to the main road. I'm going to stop whatever we Hickel. I see. And I'm going to have him drive me to the police station. I'm gonna grab my source and at this point Burnham, it's my life or there's so I and I'd get him and have him take me back to the fob. And then we get up to the main road, and I see the convoy it's all lined up. And so I'm running I'm like just because I see him doesn't mean they're not gonna take off. I'm running to catch up with it. They finally see me. They don't take off. And I step. Into the home V, and they take off that was one of the scariest moments over there. I thought for sure I was going to be that guy burning sources and something Higgins took lightly, especially since it was tantamount to taking out a contract on a person. But sources often were in at least as much for the money for the cost. Oftentimes a lot more. He was perfectly happy to have gotten a GPS reading on the house and Senate up the ladder for future raid consideration, but he was much more. Happy to have been spared. The tough decision of revealing one of his sources sometimes though sources reveal themselves out of greed or stupidity or bit of both. And there's just nothing for it. But to step away and try not to get caught up in the blowback. So there's a lot of different people out there that are trying to find information and run sources and things like this. And this one guy I turned him over to a different agency and the kept on coming back east started going all over the place asking for money. And this is like man, you're gonna get yourself kill. He was seeing some other places just being loud and wants money. I told him not to come see me ever again. It was probably about a oh two weeks later. He ended up calling us and saying, hey, they're here. They're gonna kill us coming protect us. So I go down to the talk. And I was like, hey, can you run a patrol through here, and we didn't have a patrol anywhere in the area from what I heard they ended up throwing grenades through the house and stuff like that. He was injured. You gotta understand. I can't go out by myself. There's no way one humvee is going to be let out of the fab once you start playing multiple fiddles end up making a lot of noise, and sooner or later, you're gonna get caught. And that's what happened to him. You do your best to protect them. But he was his own worst enemy. That's what we don't want in a source. We don't want someone that's loud and invincible and willing to do their own thing. And that's why I kinda cut ties with him over the course of his tours as army counterintelligence Higgins saw. Both the long game and the short game when it came to fighting the insurgency at an operational level. Of course, there's nothing better than killing capturing insurgency, Taliban, or Al Qaeda leaders, but continued harassment was a close second disruption was among the most effective weapons in his arsenal. I've been chasing this guy for probably about six months leaves a bomb maker. I had a source that came out and said, I know where he's at he's at this house. I when talked to the commander, and I said, hey, if we want this guy, we gotta go. Now, we go hauling ass out there. We get to his house, then they stack they go in there and they start clearing the house while they're clear in the house. I'm stepping out in the courtyard, and they've got this big concrete wall around and there's the gate that we went in there. That's open. So while they're cleaning the house that my interpreters with them looking for documents. And and getting people out of the house. There's little kids and female size. Like men we missed him. And then some guys stuck his head through the gate. I was like what the hell. No one's. Going to stick their head through my gate. So I grabbed him and I slammed him up against the wall. And I have him send their and I only know a little bit of Arabic while I'm doing this. Another guy sticks his head through the gate. And by the time, I was done. I had four these people up against the wall and a have all their documents. My interpret comes out we ask a little bit more. It was one of those things do I keep them for just look into the gate or not. So I take pictures of them. I'll go and talk to another source and see what who they are. And things like that. We missed our target. We're like, oh, man. We missed our target. So he ended up going back. I call it my source, and and my se wasn't there and my source met me, and I showed him. Hey, I was like, hey, I just took pictures of these guys looking in the house is like that third guy that's solely on. I was like son of a bitch. I had him in my hands. He's there now. So we raised down there again to get him. And this is we're talking about fifteen minutes from time we left and by the time, we got down there. They're only kid. There we missed in completely. I'll I'll regret that. I'll never forget that guys named owed Suliman, and I chased him the rest of my tour their found out. He was up in Mosul working at the factory up there as a taxi driver. So I passed that information up to the guys up there. I hope the they got the guy sometimes a loss as a loss, but sometimes it can be salvaged. Remember counterintelligence relies as much on the long game. As it does the immediate reaction to fresh Intel more than anything else. It's putting together scraps into a larger picture that allows you to act Higgins said his main concern, always was to do whatever he was able to make US forces a little bit safer, but that also required patients the willingness to cultivate, sources absorb the little defeats and learn from them and then do your best going forward. Even when learning from your mistakes doesn't feel sufficient you take your wins where you can get them that way, you can keep the pressure on my source came out said, hey, I can positively. Identify these these people. So I go and talk to ten Colonel. Like, hey, we've got a plan. We've gotta get out to this village. But if we go rolling out in tanks, we shake the earth. They'll know we're coming, you know, from twenty miles away. We can't do this. I was like we got some eighty second guys here. Less fast rope them in cut off the city. So that we can get in there and get these guys, and they shot my ided down the they didn't wanna do that. So we jumped in tanks and tanks and Bradley's and everything else that rumbles as we go along, and we're driving out there. And I look out there and the burning tires size like son of a bitch. They know we're coming. We get out there. We cord on the the little village, and we move in our targets gone, but we end up they're finding rockets sniper rifles. We find the little yellow in LAN pamphlets. I mean, we didn't catch him. But we took out his entire. Armory? We had minds we had all sorts of different ide- materials from an operational perspective Higgins was on a two part mission. The first was to run sources with name and undermining the insurgency leadership and discovering weapons caches and bomb-making facilities. The other part was trying to reduce the number of insurgents who could infiltrate the nascent Iraqi police force and building police force from the ground up in hostile territory already is a very difficult task logistical issues aside, it was kind of like hiring interpreters at the beginning of the war. Experience told him it was easier to ferret out turncoats afterwards than it was to prevent them from getting in the first place, but the insurgency didn't want to just undermine the rule of law. It wanted to prevent localities from even having police departments which was a problem beyond the counterintelligence scope, we're Intel afar, and we were over at the police station and we're doing our screening. We're there for the week. So we're in our second date or so there's a big gaggle of them out there waiting to come in to be screened, and we don't let them set by our Frank gate. They were out, you know, forty fifty yards from our front gate, and I hear this loud explosion. I automatically knew what had happened. I knew as bomb within seconds Higgins through on his body armor and grabbed up to end fighting interpreters still not dressed headed out to the gate prepared to deal with whatever attack was coming. But when he got there it was way worse than he had worried. Was a two thousand five Iraqi elections looming. It already had been a really violent week in the region. This was the second suicide bombing in as many days and would be the beginning of an escalation of violence in Iraq. That would continue to feature attacks on police police recruits as he made his way out into the courtyard Higgins's primary concern was to make sure the rest of the compounds secure. I'm looking around and there were no guards at the gate. We take fighting position right there and men the gate, and then the medics run out and a couple other people run out there to help with the wounded, quite frankly at that point. I was more concerned about a secondary attack coming through the gate and killing everyone inside we're probably there for a minute two minutes at the most until more people arrived. And then we ran out there is it's weird. What your mind remembers when we were running out there? It's not like in the movies where you'd have people just screaming. And and crying and things like that. That's not how it was. They were moaning you. Just see these little movements of moaning and stuff. It was. It was weird. I remember thinking why am I not getting any traction? Why am I slipped and all over the place? I know I'm in San, but why am I slipping and I looked down and I'm stepping on flesh slip on human body parts as I'm trying to get out to that's one of the one of the things that you just try to forget Higgins kept moving toward the epicenter of the carnage. The chaos continued swirling around him though with evacuations. It was starting to back down a bit. His job wasn't security though, nor was it medical evacuation. His job was to see what he could find out about the explosion and see whether it could be traced back to any of the bombmakers. He was already hunting. So we get out there and the medics have these people on stretchers already taken in as body. Parts or just all over the place. And this one guy starts walking towards me. And all you know, we're amped and everything like that. So I showed her my eighty two and I'm like, I'm yelling at him to stop. Of course, it's an English. So he doesn't understand. So I'm start using my air bacon. I tell him to stop and get down and stuff like that. It was probably, you know, within a second or two that I was going to start unloaded on this guy. And he's he stops. He gets down. And by that time. I my interpreter gets out there. And I start asking was going on. And he tells me that his family was in that group has brothers his father and his uncle's, and he pointed to mall, and they're like, they're all dead. He's like the only reason I am alive is because I was tired and I sat down we ended up finding the face of the guy. That was a suicide bomber it's weird because his head popped off and his job was gone. But his. Face was still there. The top of his skull was all there, and we were able to take pictures of him and send it forward of who. The suicide bomber was the bomb killed thirty applicants and injured. Another forty mostly men just standing in the sun hoping for the opportunity to become cops in an increasingly lawless area. The face gave them something to go on too often in the intelligence game. It can be a futile chase. When a big part of your job is trying to prevent these things from happening to try and follow. These threads of information to a place that keeps suicide vests off the backs of people learning to use them. It can be especially frustrating Higgins, seriously had considered making the army as career he loved doing counter intelligence, but the grave scandal broke about halfway through his first deployment. And that kind of changed things. One of the toughest parts of it for him. Right. From the beginning was knowing that people he sent there because he suspected they had vital information. Never really got a good chance to give up the Intel. What can you do? I'm name quite sure how to describe this. You work so hard to get the Intel and because you wanna give the lion Eunice the best intelligence possible. But they they work against you almost it wasn't like the army was working for the army if they weren't there. Helping me out they were just hindering us grave was a horrible thing. I will never say that grave was great. It didn't enhance anything for us. It hindered us it made people hate us even more if they would have done it correctly. They'd be looking for intelligence and not being seduced bastards. After a while. They came down on interogations quite hard hit everyone of us that did any kind of tactical questions or interogations were like, well, what can we do? Do now for us to do a proper interrogation sometimes that takes time. But we don't have that time we have fourteen days with them or sometimes even less, but it may take fourteen days to actually build a report with a guy. And then you just have so many of them if you use fourteen days on one that means you're not talk into fifty others. So when we sent it to the next level, that's where they have more time and then grave if someone goes Daba grave, and they're doing this and not actually looking for intelligence almost throw your hands up in the air and say, what can you do the response from inside the army was ham handed and missed the point they were looking at their house in order shore. But just as with the plan to invade but not secure translators in advance the way they approached it was scattershot and with predictable results after Abu Ghraib. Basically what happened is that anyone that had any kind of connections with Intel? Negations or detention operations, see ID came and talk to you. They treated you like a common criminal. And that was another thing that just kinda spurred me to get out of the military. Is you want me to do a job? But then you treat me like a common criminal for doing. You asked me to do job. You set my parameters I follow guidelines. I do you ask of me. And then you treat me like this. I love my country. I still wanted serve my country. And so I ended up going down to four watch hookah. I was an instructor down there at the school house, hopefully trying to give the next generation of C. I and humid collectors enough information that they can come out and be successful in the filled. I ended up getting a job in law enforcement. And so I I'm serving my country in a. Different capacity, dealing with sources turncoats and crooked. Politicians can take a real bite out of your humanity. Not just your ability to trust. But your ability to believe that there's even such a thing as altruism that nobody does anything unless there's a reward or a punishment attached. But Higgins carries with him. One of the great kindnesses soldier can receive a reminder that for the people at home. What he does really mean something we walked off the plane, and they just had a line of people share us on end tell you Steffan into Stephan on US soil is the best feeling in the world. That was back when cell phones weren't as prevalent, and when you did get a cell phone you paid by the minute. This one guy picked me out of everyone said, hey, here's my cell phone. Call her family. And I'm like, I sure I mean, I don't wanna use up your minutes or anything like Kali family. Able comma wife tell him. And here nervous peon, Mike country. It was it was quite special. And then I found it was like, here's here's your MAC. I didn't wanna use your minutes is like take all the time. You want? So it caused by. Told her safe. It's home. And. That guy. I don't know his name. I can pick him out of him from Adam. But he's my hero everyone joins and serves for their own reasons. But what they have in common is the knowledge that there are those of us who respect the ideal the sacrifice that begins with putting up your hand and swearing to protect your country because we all know how many different endings that beginning can have. And we know that they know and that they do it. Anyway. Next time on this is war running out there we fill the machine gun around skipping through like the side of our legs. Like over our heads. Like, it's nuts. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with a story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branch of service, and a brief description of the experience that you'd like to share. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now, you can also follow us on social media at this is war. You also can find show notes photos and more background on each episode at this is war dot com.
19 | Avalos
"I'm from back fifty yards. My care. Had been blasted off me. My helmet was blasted off me and my weapon had broken into three parts. Landfall was destroyed. I'm initially called his when you enlist and take the oath of service, you take the oath by yourself. But you don't take it on your own the oath implicates, not only your family and friends, but also your future spouse and children, it implicates people you haven't met yet. And in the case of a distant enemy people. You may never meet when a soldier swears to defend the country in constitution from all enemies. There's no way to know how they'll be asked to answer that promise. And that is what makes it a courageous vow when Brian avenues joined the army in his mid twenties. He was on his own. But by the time he left struggling with the after-effects of traumatic brain injury. He would have to make use of a support system that spread well beyond the other soldiers with whom he served when I I woke up, and I I realize what was going on. I. Asked my dad one hundred times what's going on. What what happened, and he would tell me, and I break down crying ago, maybe a little bit Cami. What the hell's going on here? What happened and is she before tell me again, I'd break down crying. And that was probably the heart. The hardest thing for my parents and Kimmy is at they had to break my heart a good number times in short amount of time. When I came back. What is true bravery? What makes a hero the hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away and the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed from wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? You know, what's not smart using your relatives to fill in at work while you look for staff, but you know, what is smart going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash. This is ward hire the right person. Ziprecruiter, doesn't depend on candidates finding you. It finds them for you. It's powerful matching. Technology scans thousands of resumes identifies people with the right skills education and experience for your job. And actively invites them to apply. So you get qualified candidates fast. That's ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. It isn't much of a secret that serving in the military can fast track the soldier into law enforcement for people who feel like they're called to serve in that capacity. A stint in the military makes perfect sense. You learn to stay fit to use weapons and to keep a cool. Head under pressure for Brian Avalos. It kind of a no brainer. Avalos had wanted to be a cop since he was a kid his father had served as a marine in Vietnam. So for much of his adolescence and into his teenage years have a loose planned on joining the marines serving four years and then becoming a cop. But when it came time to graduate from high school, he discovered that he'd miscalculated so I left school and everyone graduate. I left a random jobs at I didn't see myself going here with so I decided that if I wanted to correct the mistakes that I made prior now is the time I actually went back to an adult school. So I got my GED or anything. So we kind of. Cool. Yes. Avalos realized he had wasted five years knocking around and generally not doing much with himself after taking a hard look at where his life was going compared to how it could have gone if he had just made the effort he enlisted in the army with an eye on becoming an MP, even though it looked as if the war was winding down Avalos hoped. He still could get in on the action. If he couldn't at least he would have a trade that he could be proud of. He would learn the ins and outs of policing and then apply them once his contract with the army was over by the time. He was most of the way through basic training, though that perception had begun to change you see growing up and threw all his dead end jobs, and even when he was in the adult high school, no one counted on him, and he didn't count on anyone. But that's not how it works in the army. It's taxing on the mind, and that I make a wrong step and good fucking get myself killed or worse. My buddies didn't ex- me killed even though I was older at the time. It's still a lot to take in. Okay. I'm training to go to war. I joined an in a time of war. So I knew very well. I'm gonna I'm gonna go to war, but still the fact of training to do it training to kill or possibly die. It's a ways on your little bit that that feeling of life is either can be taken real quick taken away from you taking away from someone else by two thousand and ten the protocol for training MP's had shifted early in the war MP still were being trained, primarily in garrison patrolling with combat training, not quite as an afterthought, but certainly not emphasized prior to the war on terror MP's focused primarily on being police officers and army bases by the time. Avalos started his MP training the focus had shifted to combat and as it came to an end he was excited about the prospect of going in fighting in Afghanistan. So imagine his surprise when he instead. Ted was shipped to Germany to be a garrison Cup. More surprising still was that. That was where he encountered his first fatality of the war. We're all the MP station, and we get a phone call that there was a dead soldier in the basement. He was hanging from the basement. So I'm I'm still pretty new so we're fly we fly over their final whereas at run downstairs, and I still see to this day. There's the wife neighbors. There was Khalil right around there. I don't know. There's there's pipes running everywhere this old World War Two barracks. So it's all really old and not necessarily a up-to-date type stuff. And there's a dog leash wrapped around their coming down guys hanging from it hanging from fucking rafters. It took me a second. I was like oh shit. Okay. So with officer the more we brought them down. We started doing anything. We could do to try to bring them back. We're doing chest compressions airway of all to no avail. I mean, the fucking the guy died he was he was long dead working pointlessly to support the pretense that a dead soldier wasn't a loss. Cause seeing the after-effects of combat the wounded as well as the soldiers who had ended their lives didn't dissuade Avalos that he had chosen the right path. He was dating another soldier Kim who had a son Anthony from a previous relationship, and they were starting to think about building a life together in the army rather than using it as a stepping-stone he saw that he could make a life in the army as an MP that he could make a life in Germany or really anywhere. He and Kim and Anthony could be transferred together, but deciding whether to make a career of the service or to use it as access to a better life after the army was a separate thing altogether from his desire to at least get into the fight to have his chance at war. So when a sister company returned from their deployment in Iraq and began gearing up to deploy to Afghantistan Avalos asks for. Transfer. So there I am about two years into the army now, and I'm like shipping I joined to go to war. I'm sure as hell not these guys go again when I've met I haven't been once yet at all. So I talked to some of the leadership my drill sergeant who was in basic was in our company, he showed our company. Komo's before that were at a welcoming get together for the news older come in. And there's there's just aren't Walker. He actually went to him to say, hey, I wanted to play with you guys. Can we see about changing and changing my orders? So I can go with you guys. And he held me on we switched it over. So I went from a garrison MP all of a sudden going to be going to comment on that his former drill sergeant would actively help him transition into a combat role. Only served to focus Avalos determination, Kim already had done a tour rocker self so she understood his need to get into combat. His mother was a little less sanguine about it. But what he hadn't told? Either of them was that he wasn't afraid of dying in combat being maimed or permanently disabled in combat though that was a thought he just couldn't bear before it, deployed birthing Intel will, you know, I'd I'd rather check out fucked up. I remember telling my mom mom. Don't worry. Don't worry. I'll be fine. I have a better chance of comeback. Just find there. I have more of a chance of getting killed on car accident than that than getting getting killed over there. Don't worry we find in fact, as he prepared to deploy getting killed was the last thing on Avalos mind. His father was an infantryman in Vietnam. And though he didn't talk about it much. He was clearly proud of his combat decorations. What wait on the younger Avalon was the notion that he might not get his chance to earn his own combat badge? And I knew that I could never get it wasn't I need to because they'd have that job. I couldn't get that. But I wanted a cab. I wanted to combat action badge and my squad leader. He who was a ranger that switched his jobs from infantryman to a cop. He had this the and I told him was like ace armory at some point. I want that little black dress to I want to know that we've done something here by the time they landed in Afghanistan in April of two thousand and eleven Brian Avalos would have more chances to get a combat badge than he ever could have imagined. You know, what's not smart job sites that overwhelm you with tons of the wrong resumes. But you know, what is smart ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Unlike other job sites. Ziprecruiter, doesn't wait for the right candidates to find you ZipRecruiter finds them for you. It's powerful matching. Technology scans thousands of resumes identifies people with the right skills education and experience for your job. And actively invites them to apply. So you get qualified candidates fast. No, more sorting through the wrong resumes. No more waiting for the right candidates to apply. It's no wonder ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US. This rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash t h I s. I S W A R ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Even when you're soldier in a war zone. There is a particularity to your first combat experience. It's been described as being shaken awake from does an emergency. When the shooting starts, you have a sense of what's going on. But the full realization is half a step behind, and there's no way to overcome that training will only get you to respond in the half. Second after you realize you're under fire before that you're on your own after it, though, it never happens. Again. The first time you take fire like the first time, you're blown up by permanently removes the confusion associated with a new experience from the equation. And it's probably just as well. We're kind of lost driving somewhere. I don't know where we're going, but we get lost. We turned around. We're we're going off road all of a sudden. And you you see shots these these these tracers coming at you. And your kind of like, am I see what I think I'm senior is this really happening and before. Are you can really realize what you're what you're doing? Or what you're seeing your automatically calling things up on the radio talking to your gunners on position area. Where's that? And then there's there's Ethel we had fifty Cal. He's just letting loose on fifteen. That's a sound. Never forget the fifty just humming above you. It's a bad as fucking weapon. The thought that follows the realization that combat has started isn't about how you're going to do. Those thoughts are for before you don't worry about safety or even about retaliation in a personal way. You let go of your own wants and worries and let muscle memory that automatic response. You've been practicing daily since you first set foot into basic training be your guide. So RPG gets fired. And it goes in front of my truck and behind the truck in front of us. It goes in between us and it hits a UP truck and detonates on the truck. So our medic jumps out a truck and stars bus now hold on to take care of the guys to care, the Afghan police, so we all immediately. Put down suppressive fire for him and cover him. And he was pretty banged up. He was he was pretty fucked up at the time. I look back there. And he's bloody. He's surprising night. Michigan body parts. Anybody looks out of it. So we've got we've got the Afghan. We gotta UP in the back of our truck are medic on the working on the stuff we break on our taking. We're going back to take this guy back to the hospital. The Afghan soldier was going to live and actually wasn't in awful shape. After he recovered, he returned to thank the MP's for helping save his life in the immediate aftermath of the battle though. Once they were safely back in the cop. The soldiers took stock swapping stories in coming to terms with the fact that over the course of a few hours there combat training went from hypothetical to practical. And with it came the confidence that's born of seeing just how well your training has served you and maybe a little something to pin on your uniform. We are kind of sitting. Talking and stuff and decompressing what we just we just went through when we all just went through am. I squire looks me goes. Hey, Ovallis, a little black thing. You just got it today. And I'm like, well, pretty cool. Yes. I was pretty excited. But. I don't know little Dino. We'd beginning a lot more. Eventually it was kind of more just a fucking get the get a monkey off our back. And okay now now we've experienced we know what's out there. We know what to do with it. We know how to handle for next time. So it was it was it was good that we got done with. We knew we can handle from then on knowing you can handle something and wanting to handle it are two totally different things that attack was just the first and what would be a regular day to day aspect of life on patrol in Afghanistan. And this spring turned into summer, it only got more intense by two thousand eleven the Taliban had a pretty good idea of how to harass US forces. They would try and pick off small parts of patrols and instead of engaging in firefights afterwards. They would disappear leaving the quick response forces running out to battle only to find the dead and wounded in destroyed vehicles. You know, it's frustrating. The fact that that they can see us. They know what they're gonna do. They they're they're watching us from. Who knows how far out and then they they attack. But you never see you never see a person. Really there's nothing really ever. Explain I can ever use to explain or even want to explain watching someone be blown up and blood pieces. It's a it's not something that is easy to even think about you. Just learn how quickly how quickly life can be taken away from anybody. I dunno on July fifth two thousand eleven staff. Sergeant Joshua a Throckmorton specialist, Jordan, see, Shuman and specialists Preston j suitor were killed by an ide-. But when he left his part of the QR f- responding to the explosion Avalos had no idea what he was going to find as they approached the wreckage he recognized it was one of his companies detachments, and he knew it was bad. He didn't find out how bad until later, and we found out who it was. And there was no contact to be done at the. Time everyone kind of broken contact. It's kinda surreal you're sitting there. I remember when we were still in in bog room, and I was bullshitting with wish human. We're just talking bullshit in in all of a sudden there I am at his wakened. He's not with us anymore. You started to think about what they're leaving behind? Sorry throckmorton. He was relatively new to to our company before we deployed. So I didn't know about him. I knew he was married and had kids. I knew Shuman I didn't I didn't know him. Well, or I knew him well enough, and I knew he was married with with a new with the new baby. And then a suitor he was with a younger guy. He was still a kid. There's three guys that are younger that not not fucking deserved a die yet, not not deserve to have their life ended their way too young to be gone. And I just I hope that their their children. Have a good upbringing and have a have a positive life. Not not a day goes by that. I don't think about those three and the sacrifice that they gave to us issues was a hard day for us suitor had been married in March just before they deployed to Afghantistan when someone's deployed, you know, that communications can be spotty. But for people in uniform, there's an additional knowledge to live with every time. There's a communications blackout which connotes an injury or death. All kim. Could do was hope that it wasn't Brian and wait to see whether she was right for his part Avalos, just try to keep his mind focused on his work and on staying alive you quickly. Remember how how precious life is? And how quickly it can be going. It's it's fast. And all of a sudden, you're back at it. And you can't you can't dwell on it too much because that's only gonna hurt yourself and other guys with you. So you got get back to work. And it's probably better that way that you don't have a whole lot of time to sit there into well and be sad and depressed and use. To work. They're always on your mind. And they're they're always in the back of your head and just praying to God that you don't become the the next one that's going to meet them mid tour. Leave couldn't have come at a better time for avalanches after five months of fighting losing his buddies and participating in what he often saw as the pointless exercise of training, Afghan police, most of whom didn't seem thrill to participate. It was good to get home. Avalos did his best to leave Afghanistan behind and had at least a little luck. But shaking off a war isn't something one does over the course of a long weekend. It was beautiful you to spend time with with normal people again and not be worried about where everything is. And we're you're fucking shit is and the guy over there is trying to kill you. And there's a bomb in the street. But of course, it's still going on the back of your head. Like fuck. Where's my weapon at you? Wake up. Okay. Where's it at? No, it's it's still there over here. Now driving you're looking and scanning the area since Avalos had a general idea when his mid tour leave started he and Kim and coordinated so they could meet in California. It had been a long five months for her especially since she was privy to the blackouts. But since you wasn't next of kin not on the list of people who would be contacted in case of an emergency. She very much was looking forward to seeing that he was safe with her own is there were a couple of travel delays. But eventually they were able to spend what would turn out to be the shortest two weeks of their lives. Together. The beach is one of her favorite places to be. So I took her to gorgeous, southern California beach, and we went to a lifeguard tower life, good tower, number eight talking's watching the water watching the sun, go down and stuff and. I can't stand up and kind of stretching I kinda go in front of her and kneel down, you know, go to bring the Kim you maybe man in the world and be my wife. Pain. Yes. She goes. Maybe. As she said it she started smiling. Of course, I will. I was like, oh, you gear a big hug. So I was I loved her gave her a kiss and she actually went back to Germany the following day. So we got to spend I don't know what twelve hours together as an engaged couple. And then she was on a plane to go to Germany. I was still in the states one more day. And then I was going. ESPN? It was one of the last memories Avalos would have before waking up in the hospital. He doesn't have any strong memories of boarding the plane to Afghanistan landing there or catching up with his platoon. There are snippets. But that's where his pre injury life ended as far as he can recall, the two months that followed have been almost completely erased by his injury. But he remembers getting gauged, which is a genuine piece of good luck. The story about the most pivotal moment in his life, though, the day that changed his life's direction permanently is something. He only heard about. It's a story told second hand with commentary. I love Dollar Shave Club has everything I need to look feel and smell my best. What I love even more is the fact that I never have to go to a store. That's because one the delivers everything I need right to my door and to keep me. Fully stocked up on what I use. So I don't run out. Here's how it works. Dollar Shave Club has everything you need to get ready. No matter what you're getting ready for. 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So what are you waiting for get your starter set for just five dollars now at dollarshaveclub dot com slash this is war, that's dollarshaveclub dot com slash? This is war dollarshaveclub dot com slash. This is war. Avalos returned to Afghantistan with vision for himself and the future. He hadn't really ever had before. No longer particularly interested in using the army as a stepping-stone he'd begun the process for becoming a detective in the MP's investigating felonies by or against army personnel. He and Kim would get married remain in the army and travel wherever they needed. He was confident in himself and in his future and anxious to get right back to work. He speculates. That's why he volunteered to lead a patrol on that day, August thirty first two thousand eleven we're told that a is in X location. Now, we had been in this area before and we knew with this shitty area, and it was really tied to drive through and just sucked. I was still a specialist, but I become a full team leader all the leaders got together. And we talked about the best way to to get there. It was my gun Ethel myself and Briscoe behind me, my other Gunnar prescrip-. Behind me. I elected for us to be up up on point day. I was trying to send a statement. I could handle this. I can take care of my guys that I was being a team leader that I handle this challenge. So I liked it from for my guys take point. So we're walking we're walking, and it was a command wire. So let me someone was watching us and they hit the button and the blast off today. Still it's odd to think about someone choosing to detonate him. It's a very personal completely dispassionate decision. All at once, the Taliban fighter didn't wanna kill Brian Avalos per se, but he definitely wanted to kill one specific guy in his line of sight. There was no use waiting for the next group of soldiers because it was quite possible. Avalos would discover the command wire if it got much closer the bomb was planted on the left side of the narrow road and Avalos took the worst of it. I'm thrown back fifty yards being kind to me. I was I landed. Muddy area. I want to say it was it was shit river. My vest had been blasted off me. My helmet was blasted off me and my weapon had broken into three into three parts. I'm initially called up his KIA my buddy lanning, call me of visit has KIA. And then he saw me moving in kind of struggling to breathe in girl girl, and I don't know Ethel. I've seen pictures of pretty bloody Briscoe behind me. He got the concussion of it that really got him and shook his brain up. But thankfully, I took it the worst. I'm just happy that I took the brunt of it, and the others you guys didn't I just know that I'm glad it was me and not them. This isn't Pravada or cliche of the we hear things like it all the time. But put yourself in his shoes. Avalos knows exactly what he went through to recover the difficulties. He still has years after the explosion that he still will have for the rest of his life oppose that with the. That brash and fresh back from RR enjoying a new leadership role and the promise of a married life to follow. You insist that you're fired team take the lead and survive, the attack unscathed how much more difficult would it have been to shoulder the burden of that decision to watch your guys blown to pieces or to see them? Go through the painful frustrating rehab, you had to endure just to learn to make yourself understood again or to worry about a young fiance who committed to marry a man who intended to make a life out of soldiering pain can be a lot easier to take than guilt today. Have a Lowe's jokes that the only time he got to fire his weapon during battle was when he squeezed the trigger after being detonated had it not been him. He would have done more than that the load myself Ethel gain, our medic doc O'Brien into one another truck and third dry is back to the Asian. We just came from. He's got to perform a emergency tracheotomy on me. He tells Ethel to hold my head. Home hold his head and he cuts my neck, and I've talked about it. And he said that fucking mess them a little bit that I can understand it's kind of fun creepy. So now my neck that I tried to I try to take myself out and just did a horrible job and failed. It's important to remember that Avalos said he didn't want to come back fucked up that he believed death would be better than permanent injuries like scarring, missing parts or a TB. I that screws with the way you process words. But if there is a common theme among people who have made the effort to overcome the struggles that are tied to living through the traumas of war. It's that no one understands their capacity for pain and recovery until they successfully endured it the same. Of course, could be said for the families back in Germany, Kim had no idea that the blackout was for Avalos since she wasn't next of kin Brian's parents were notified, but she wasn't. In fact, his parents had a sign a waiver just to get her visiting privileges. She rushed home as fast as she could upon arriving. She. Discovered that in addition to significant physical injuries Brian had severe brain damage, and it wasn't cleared. I if or how much he would come back from it. So I wake up and I realized that. I can't see him I left. I I can't really move my left my left arm. My backers I broke every bone in my left arm from the hand hand up shrapnel went through my I pro and cut the cord from an item brain I had broken my back, and I I had three compression Rogers. My back my spleen punctured and had a bunch of chipped teeth. See this is hard to say I had to make the choice to have my cut out an equally believe it's called because whatever was was in my was killing it. And they told me that they're worried that that disease will transfer my other my other. I my good eye and killed is. Well, so it's kind of a tough decision. But it wasn't easy decision. Okay. Let's let's cut the fucking dead eye out then and I'll say the say the good I have to have one either gonna know is. I wanted to surgery to have my I fucking removed still weird to say when I even though it's fucking seven years pass. Now, how could it not be weird to say very few of us ever have to utter sentences. Like, so I told them to cut my eye out more than that Avalos would spend the next few weeks relearning over and over from Kim and his parents that he was back stateside after being blown up. You can appreciate the urge to surrender over his two years of rehabilitation he had to find new ways of making himself. Understood and remastering basic tactics for walking as well as for conversation throughout the earliest parts of it. He worried about his relationship with Kim who had to go back to Germany to continue her own tour just as he hadn't signed up with the intention of enduring severe injury. Neither had she consented to marry a man whose injuries would be long term. And at the time where I'm predictable. Of course, Kim was in the army just like he was with the same os in the same attitude. The pair decided to have a double proxy wedding. He from his rehabilitation in Palo Alto, California. And she from her duty station in Germany once it was official. They both could be deployed together at Avalos new assignment at the warrior transition battalion in fort Lewis. He genuinely thought he would be able to reintegrate into the service and still hoped to be an investigator for the military police, but it didn't take too long to realize that his injuries would prevent that. What? Besides the obvious stuff the eye and the arm. The TV is would actually got me out of the army one hundred percents is by now from that. I know that I am different by when I talk, and I'm I stumble over words in mumble words, my brain is going so fast that it will come out quick enough. I can't slow down to talk normal easily. Understood. And that's that's a that's an ongoing learning experience itself. Right. There is how to handle. A situation what we can do to make things different or better, even as he tried to stay in. He knew it was a lost cause. And eventually he relented and left. The army Avalos was really uncertain about his future. He felt alone and more than a little out of sorts. But he was fortunate enough to be married to a soldier with no patience for self pity or for surrender. She doesn't let me use any of my injuries or my use anything excuse she older responsible and holds me accountable for all of my shit, which is good. Thank God, doesn't doesn't baby me or allow me to fuck cry about wine. Cryan she challenged me every day to be a better person and think I think are for that so much. I can never be the person she deserves and she. For the for the amount of she's done for me. I can never pay her back. She's helped me so much believable time. And again, we're reminded that we have no idea what we really would do given particular situations. We know what the president us wants for the future us. But by the time, we get to the future. We've changed enough to know that those two things aren't always the same adults eventually got into law enforcement has a corrections officer he's happy in his work. But the real victory is in his family. I think God that I didn't check out the day that did come back home. I left some things over there. But I wasn't I wasn't. I wasn't ready to be done with life. I had a lot of shit. Still ahead of me that I wanted to do and. I thank thank God. It wasn't killed at day before he went to war. Brian Avalos didn't understand how deeply he would need his family support. He didn't envision a life with kids or a spouse who is too tough to let him quit. It wasn't a future. He would have selected because he didn't know it was possible or even vailable to him. Nothing happened the way thought it would. But Avalos okay with that he understands that we all need support. The real challenge is enduring what it takes to recognize that fact. Next time on this is war. All I'm doing is running from body to body doing what I can. I do have the sense to roll the obviously dead over on their belly. So that I know not to go back to them. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with a story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branches service as well as a brief description of the experience that you would like to share if you like the show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.
27 | Hice
"We just kinda here the rounds ping around us bouncing off our vehicles. But then eventually, I see this caller at the end of this alleyway. I can see muzzle flashes coming from the windows. And so I tell everyone else, hey, light up that car. And so we all just start unloading Curtis. Heiss was one of the thousands of regular enlist es in two thousand and one people who are joining the military in pursuit of personal excellence social improvement or maybe even adventure, although combat deployments. Always around the table. He joined at a time when answering that call didn't seem as if it were going to happen when it did he learned quickly enough that losses a part of war. But that doesn't mean that it's easy to accept. I remember hearing someone Yale and opened my eyes and looked up and it was of toddlers yelling. And I couldn't tell what he was yelling. I could just kind of see his lips moving in here meal in something so loud in there within eventually I made it out to say sergeant reassess hit. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away. And the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed from wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? A question about whether Curtis Heis would join the US military from the time. He was a little kid. It was mostly what he focused on even joining the civil air patrol as soon as he was old enough. It gave his mother the impression that he would end up in the air force. But as he puts it the marine recruiter got home, I although she had some reservations high-seas mothers signed him up for the early entry program. I signed up during the summer of two thousand one it would have been between my junior and senior year of high school a lot of my friends in school already knew that I'd signed up for the military our members specifically being in homeroom that morning. So when that happened, of course, we all turned our TV's on was we're watching it there in the classroom. They all kind of turned around and looked at me as if to say, well, if you know where you're going both at the time, and in retrospect, he really didn't when you're seventeen year old future doesn't stretch much past the next few weeks. Heist didn't watch the news or consider the geopolitical implications of his enlistment. He. Just focused on becoming a marine in his mind. The US military was more about adventure in disciplined than combat the only further implications had to do with his girlfriend for home. His very enlistment was a problem. The possibility of war after that weighed much more heavily on her. I don't really know. Maybe I was a little too young into naive to really put all the dots together and realize that is specifically would be deploying somewhere in our member more specifically my girlfriend at the time. Who's now my life? She was really upset about it. She really didn't want me joining it. All course. I did. Anyway. And we almost broke up over it. And I was trying to convince her that it would be okay by saying, oh, it will just be an easy for years. I'll just do for years and probably stay stateside. And then I'll get out and it'll be done. And then September eleventh happened. She knew at that point. No, no, something you're probably going to be going somewhere, Afghanistan or something to look back on it. You know, in retrospect, I was eighteen years old, and I just was really more focused on training at that time the last part of two thousand one and the first. Part of two thousand two diverse and disparate crop of recruits. Sure, there was an enlistment bump in response to the September eleventh attacks, but it's important to remember that there were probably many people in the same position as Heiss young folks who had been committed to enlisting since they were children some with plans to make the military their career and many like heists who were open to careers in the military, but more focused on getting training and money for college as late as two thousand and two long after graduation and with the Iraq war looming his attitude about that really hadn't changed at all on. My MOS was thirteen seventy one which is combat engineer. I come from a family that works construction most of the guys on my dad's side of the family working construction, specifically brick masonry. And so if I hadn't joined the marines, that's probably what I'd be doing today and Saugus I kind of figured that. If I'm going to be Moran. Been maybe try to do something that already know. Anyway, I liked construction building things and the recruiter was showing me all these Xers in his book about marine. Building this building that and all that sounds sound. Like right up my Ali. And I remember when I think started to get a glimpse of what might be happening. Because while I was there at Camp Lejeune doing my comments near training, initially. My orders were to be at second combat engineer battalion, which is on campus soon. So I would I would have stayed there on the east coast, and I was really excited about that. Because knew that would have been a short ten hour drive home, and I could come home almost any weekend. I wanted to but by the end of our class just a few days before graduation mount orders along with the orders of a lot of other marines in my class. Got changed to first common is near battalion on the on the west coast at Camp, Pendleton, California as two thousand and two turned into two thousand and three the reality of the war still hadn't clicked with hice. He found himself in camp. Margarita a section of Pendleton where he and scores of other marines were waiting for their units sinement s- as a new marine it didn't strike him as very peculiar at the time. But in retrospect, there were an awful lot of unattached marines there for longer than there. Should've been hey, and his fiancee Julie were still trying to figure out how they were going to work their long distance relationship when the reality of the holding area finally was made plane. I remember this chief officer coming out and we're in formation standing at attention nieces, marines, the reason we haven't sent you all to your respective units. Is because you're units or either already in Kuwait or there in route to Kuwait, and you're gonna meet them. They're my fiance at the time she's expecting me to be working on getting home. So that we can get married. So I had to call her and say, we'll look that's that's not gonna happen. There were no seven month rotations, like there are now, you know, I think order said, however, long it takes to defeat Saddam's regime said you can either wait till I get home, and then I'll come home, and we can get married or you can fly out here. And if we can find a courthouse, you know, and work it out, we can go get married here in California, which ultimately is what we did. These are the kinds of details. That are often lost in the big picture run up to the war in Iraq, the personal logistics of unexpected deployment the chaos of what would normally be a pretty Monday. In process. Julie had changed her flight. Just so she could get to California early enough for a Saturday courthouse wedding her parents came in that afternoon and the new family spent the last few weeks of February together before heading back east all the while small groups of guys were flying out commercial to Kuwait and joining their units. Highs turn came in March two thousand and three where he found out. He'd be riding shotgun in the second wave of the invasion whenever that occurred every day there were rumors that the invasion was going to be the next day one day. It turned out that the rumors were true. I remember in the middle of the night being woken up, and you know, being told okay? You know, it's about to kick off. This is the real deal this time, and I remember in the dark staging all of our vehicles. So that when the convoy did take off it would be kind of an an orderly fashion. So new it was really happening. And we we lift our base in Kuwait and went to a staging area. Just immediately south of the border and member hearing the artillery shooting at them. And that's remember, then realizing, okay, this is real this is really happening. Remember driving into Iraq and it being dark. So it must have been in the middle of the night. Sing lots of fires. Some of the oil wells that were that had been burned and they were burning and so that was that was kind of an eerie sight, and then the burnt-out holes of tanks and Iraqi military trucks and things like that. And some dead bodies on the sides of the roads, the fact that they didn't shake me is what shook me most. If that makes any sense, I guess because you expect to be affected by things in a certain way. And then when you're not affected by them. It really kinda makes you question yourself like is there something wrong with you because you weren't affected? So that bothered me a little bit. The thing is when you're seeing your first war up close, you realize that there is no expectation that will match up with your experience. It's a long way from the lush greenery of central Tennessee to the desert's of Iraq. Plus, there's a surreal d to it heist spent the better part of his youth playing being in the military, but even with all. His preparation training. He couldn't possibly have known. What it would be like I remember meeting up with Ma fire team leader his name was lance-corporal Cun. He was from Cambodia he was really tall lanky. And he I was going to be in the m to forty machine-gun farting in our squad. I didn't know much about the two forty I'd gone through a little bit of training with marine combat training. So it's a little more with it. But I certainly wasn't an expert on it. But that's the fourteen I was going to be joining up with. And so I was going to learn about it whether elected or not we never knew when we stopped if we're only gonna be stopping for a few minutes, or if you hours or a few days, we didn't stop very much, but we'd stop for the night. And we got out and we dug are fighting holes. You know, we always got out, and we usually dug a hole to kind of sleep, and and it will fighting position again because you never knew how long it was going to be we often didn't dig very deep because the ground was very hard. And also again because we didn't know how long we're gonna stay. There we stayed the night there in the next morning. We got up pretty early and we had. Gone so far ahead of our resupply convoy that we didn't have a lot of Challe. Didn't we were down to like one day? We were trying to ration our water because the the supply chain was so far back behind us. Dr member our squad leader come into that morning is name was sergeant Duane Rios. And he was kind of giving us some intil. The until was that there was an Iraqi mechanized unit in this town, and that we were we expecting some pretty tough resistance going in there the marines mounted up their light, armored and Fibi assault. Vehicles. Also called Amtrak's AV's if the Iraqis did have a mechanized unit waiting for them, though, the Amtrak's wouldn't provide much protection highs in the rest of the engineers had been training with their mop suits in case of a chemical attack. It was April fourth two thousand and three and in addition to the threat of gas attacks. There was the prevailing belief that Saddam Hussein's elite Republican Guard would fight the last man as the marines pressed on toward the capital city that at least sounded true else. Swear in the battle US forces successfully taken Baghdad international airport, but US groundforce is headed for the capital where meeting more than a little resistance high. So ready had learned what before and after combat looked like before too long. He would know the worst of what during did as well. But so we were going through the city we were buttoned up you can hear all the combat going on around. You can hear all the hear the machine guns on your own vehicle shooting and all the other vehicles engaging. The enemy can hear all the explosions. There's a small window remember on the back of the av. You could flip it open a window. It's basically three inch glass with a metal plate that covers it up on the inside, and you can open up that metal plate and look through this vision block. I remember seeing the plumes of smoke in the burned burned out holes of disabled vehicles on the side of the road and stuff like that. So you knew that we were in the thick of it. But there's not much you can do about it. And one of the things you learn as marine is, you know, anytime you can take an opportunity to sleep or eat, you go ahead and do it because you never know. When you're going to get to do it again. And so so I tried to close my eyes and get a little bit of sleep. And I member from where I'm sitting in the vehicle looking up toward the front of the vehicle sergeant Rio was in the TC hatch area, and he's got his own little personal hatch that opens up and he can stand up out of that hatch and engaging with his weapon, and he was doing that. He was really kinda covering the left hand side of the vehicle since the turret was only really covering the right hand side. It is really loud inside the vehicle is really dark. I was a little bit of ambient light from a small little light. We had inside the vehicle, but I remember hearing someone yell and opened my eyes and looked up and it was on Tahoe. He was kind of the next in line in charge of below. Or spoil leaders are real corporate Taba was yelling. And I couldn't tell what he was yelling. I could just kinda see his lips moving in here meal and something because it's so loud in there. But then eventually I made it out to say certain reassess hit catching a quick nap in the middle of combat is a little easier when the war is outside. But all of a sudden the battle made its way inside. The amtrak. This wasn't just annoys a close. Call waiting to happen. Or maybe something you could move to the back of your mind. This was the war coming to call entering the relative safety of your light, armored vehicle and snapping foggy awake to the chaos and carnage all at once for a heist the reality of combat and the war in the Middle East. We're about to get a lot more personal. I wanna talk to you about care of of is a monthly subscription vitamin service that delivers completely personalized vitamin supplement packs right to your door. It works like this go to take care of dot com. 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There was a quote from the Faneuil Hawthorne, reminding me that happiness comes into gently only and today, I learned that some experts believe that the human eye can distinguish up to ten million colors. But for me, what it really is is a second of mindfulness taking a moment to think about something I otherwise might not have while trying to improve my health. Plus you can keep track of all your health goals with the care of app, which also helps remind you to take your supplement. If you've been thinking about starting a new health planner changing up your routine now is a great time to take advantage of this special offer for fifty percent off your first month of care of vitamins. Go to take care of dot com and enter this is war five zero. That's take care of dot com. And enter this is war. Fifty good habits can be hard to build care of can help keep you mindful of your health, go to take care of dot. Com and enter this is war five zero. Hi stepped awake from his light does in new. It was time to act minutes before he was being driven to his part of the war where he and the other engineers would do their own mission. But now that mission changed they had to react to the fact that sergeant Rios was wounded and deal with whatever came next as all the chaos of the invasion in the resistance exploded around them, we hold him back into our area, the vehicles more open area where the rest of us are all sitting and again, we have very little lie. But we're trying our best to find out where he's hit, and we're taking off all of his equipment and all of his gear found found out where the the wound is, and there's so much blood is just a lot of blood which made it hard made it hard to find out where the wound was and so eventually we did find it right below is right ear, and we knew that it was pretty devastating place to be shot. And the only thing you could really do was pressure to it. You know, we're taught a lot about. Combat life, saving and were turn it gets. But you can't but attorney get on a neck. They radioed for our Cormon. Course, he's in another vehicle, and so he's got to get out of his big when run to our vehicle. No, probably a couple hundred yards at least through the fire and then get into our vehicle and then try to work on reas. And I remember I was at the back hatch of vehicle where someone would come in or out. And I remember someone pounding on that back hatch and opened up, and it was our doc are Cormon plant Holloway. So Dakata hallway comes in? And he immediately starts working sorcery us. We tell him where the wound is. And he starts working on and trying to bring him back around because he was fading in and out of consciousness. So he starts working on him. And we're all just kind of watching. There's not really much that we can do someone else on the radio was working on a plan for us to meet up with an ambulance humvee. So that we could move sergeant Rios to that and a casualty collection point. So we met up at this kind of a t shaped intersection and by this time. Doc Holloway realized that he he couldn't bring ordinary us back. He just lost too much blood in that in that short period of time. And and he he was dead corporal Montalvo took command. But there still was so much to do. Remember the push into Baghdad his underway. There is no returning to base. In fact, there's really no base to which they might return they'd been sleeping in holes in the desert the night before highs and the rest of the unit headed to rendezvous with the ambulance humvee at the casualty collection point. So they could send Sargent Rios back home to his family and continue pushing forward where at this t shaped intersection there's two and three storey buildings around us were in the middle of some town not gonna I don't know the name of the town myself and the other security guys, we jump out of the vehicle, and we're kind of looking all the windows. Rooftops for anybody who might be shooting at us. And it's early quite right now, the guys that are carrying Oreos his body kind of carrying him in a in a poncho ladder sort of a makeshift stretcher, and they go to put him in the in the back of the ambulance v. And it's full of Ben. And wounded marines, and they can't they can't put him in there. So they gotta put him back in vehicle. It didn't take too long to understand that the only solution was to have choppers come into a vacuum. All the casualties. The best marines could do continue pulling security while they waited for support in the meanwhile, they were exposed during this lull in the fighting, but the quiet never lasts long and the marines knew it couldn't last much longer when the shooting started. Then they weren't completely surprised. We did start taking fire from an alleyway there in that that sort of t shaped intersection that we were at and so we're getting shot at at first. We don't know exactly where it's coming from. Everybody's kind of looking around. We just kind of here. The rounds ping around us abounding offer vehicles. Luckily, no one's hit. But then eventually I see this car at the end of this alleyway. I can see the muzzle flashes coming from the windows, and so I'll tell everyone else. Hey, you know, light up that car? And so we all start unloading on this car in a couple of minutes the firing stopped. And that was it that was other fighting going on around us adjacent streets that wasn't directly affecting us. But it was. You know, kind of added to the chaos, and I remember at one point the H one Cobres flying over in shooting some of their rockets to some of the houses around us. And that was that was pretty exciting. We kinda, you know, Shelton for them, you know, 'cause at the Calvary had arrived right after that happened and the firing kind of Dodd down. That's when the H Forty-six came in and landed on the street right there, and we were loaded up sergeant reassess body onto the helicopter along with the other dead wounded marines that were in that humvee, and then they took off and we got back in our vehicle and drove to wherever the next spot was that we were supposed to stop. They didn't dry for very long, but they drove fast high talks about bouncing around in the back there in the dark wondering what the next mission was going to be trying not to focus too much on Rios in retrospect, there might have been something of a hurry to catch up with the rest of the detachment which had continued on. Or maybe the speed was more related to the post firefighter Drennan either way when they reached their destination the engineers. Weren't going to get any breaks. We're all just kind of their client, you know, in our own thoughts until we finally stop. And when we finally stopped they opened up the top hatches. And then our back hatch is also opened and is the first time that the light is being let inside the vehicle, and we can kind of see everything that's happened. We can see the blood everywhere, and sergeant reassess gear and his his clothes that we'd cut off, you know, laying there, and that's the first time, you know, really all kind of sank in. You know, what just happened standing there at our back hatch? I remember seeing our platoon sergeant gunny flaming. And I remember him kind of looking in the door and making contact with each of us and also kind of setting the situation, and he knew what had happened, obviously, he had heard all the traffic on the radio. But it was his first time seeing it all as well. And and I remember him just saying get out and dig your fighting holes for a second. I remember being mad about that. Like, are you kidding me? I mean, do you know what just happened and on things as get out and dig your fighting holes, but later on looking back on it at realized, you know, he had a job to do in his job was to protect us. And he was doing that. For a reason he knew that for us to sit in there and look at that and dwell on. It was not good that we need to get out and get back to work, you know. But at the time it just after going through what we just went through. It just seemed like a and of a cold response. But I totally get it. Now in retrospect, and it was more than just teaching them. The put reaced death in the background for the time being it was a reminder that they were marines and combat and that there was no place for breastfeeding. When there was work to be done. And there was plenty of work for the engineers. They were attached to the first battalion fifth marines as it headed toward Baghdad with each object of the one five ruled through there were caches of weapons that needed destroying walls at needed breaching in those early days of pacifying the city but much like the initial invasion itself. Winning Baghdad wasn't the difficulty the US had worried it would be we got to one of Saddam's palaces right there on the river. And I remember they called for the engineers to get out and do their thing which was to breach the gate to the palace. And I remember we got out. And we were looking at it in one of the officers from one five was there with us. And he was asking us. Okay. What can you guys do and kind of explosives you're gonna use all this stuff? And I remember our machine gunner. Mitchell was his name, and I remember him just pushing the gate, and it just opened. So very well. Say palace is not just one building. It's really a walled compound with several buildings and these are big beautiful elaborately built buildings, but they've been bond like one half might be standing in the other half was just rubble. You could tell that. It was a nice place at one point. But it had been pretty well blown up, and you could also tell that it had been looted to a certain extent a lot of the furniture been taken out and air, conditioners, stolen and things like that. But in little pockets of resistance lift in the palace to that were shooting at us. They had to be cleared out ten days. After sergeant Rios was shot Baghdad fell in the marines were setting patrol basis and fortifying their positions highest and the rest of the engineers joined up with their company and DNA and started building semi permanent presence there. April turn to may. This Dom Hussein's statue was toppled President Bush made his mission accomplished speech aboard the ABRAHAM LINCOLN and on may tenth his nineteenth birthday heist. Was homeward bowed on the USS Anchorage. It was really really nice. My wife was there. She had driven out with her brother and got us an apartment and met me there in California. It was just felt safe. I guess for the first time in a while we didn't deploy again until February of four it seems normal now for marines to have these back toback deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. But at that time, it wasn't we expected to go over there for the initial invasion in two thousand three do our thing defeat Saddam, and then leave and for the army or the coalition to handle it from that went on. We didn't expect to have to go back there. We found out we were going back for that second tour. It was in our member it was in December of two thousand three we wound up leaving in February of Ford. Yeah. It was pretty upset. Whenever had to tell her that. I was going back for a second deployment. And by this time, the war had changed even on the ship ride home from their first tour, we could tell by watching the news that the war was shifting to into something else into an insurgency new in you were hearing already stuff on the news about insurgency. Although I didn't know what that meant. Exactly. But we can tell that. It was something different. We found out the area that we were going to was town called palooza. I'd never heard of Lucia didn't know where that was our do remember on the way over there. We were flying we stopped at a base in Germany, and we came across some soldiers armed gas who I think we're headed home from Iraq. And they asked us where we were going, and we sit flu I remember. They both looked at each other and looked back at us and said, and you guys be careful that places crazy by early April two thousand four operation vigilant. Resolve which would become known as the first battle of flu would be underway and really set the tone for the rest of the war in the years since the conflict began as heist it said. Things had shifted. And there was a different war being fought in the Middle East, a greyer war than anyone had expected with different rules and approaches and tactics. I have been surprised during his first deployment at how difficult. It was to tell the insurgents from the civilians arriving back in Iraq would find the difference was no clearer. In fact, if anything it was more cloudy. Bubbling over with Saddam loyalists and foreign fighters who had come into support the insurgency against the American and coalition forces skirmishes, increasingly where a problem and the enemy was learning to make better use of ID's bowl to disrupt the allied forces trying to take the city and to intimidate the nascent Iraqi army on the ground heist and the rest of the engineers were tasked with clearing ID's, and helping prop up the Iraqi army, you know, it was just kind of a fight waiting to happen. And you had some army there already and they had a few run ins with locals. It just was kind of breeding up to be this this really big fight. And it just so happened that it happened. When we got there at we were we replaced a group from the eighty second airborne while we were doing our left seat right seat. Within is win. The blackwater GAAS were killed. They were just driving through the city, and they were ambushed and they killed him in. They burn their bodies and drug into the streets and strung up hung. From a bridge there influenza. So that's that's when we had our a real out to what flu was going to be like, the blackwater contractors were killed on March thirty first and the response from the US was almost immediate ambushes or something to be expected during a war. But the audacity of the aftermath made a deliberate and significant response from the US military absolutely necessary. It was just unacceptable for the insurgency to have that kind of unchecked control over the streets. Flu had to be pacified either by the Iraq security forces or by the United States, the US planned in executed operation vigilant. Resolve the idea was take control of the city and disperse or destroy insurgent forces within it retaking fluids to be a joint effort that included a significant role for the Iraqi army our job into nears was kinda two part. We were going to build a bunch of machine-gun posts, we loaded on trucks drive them to the edge of the city and the Iraqi military they were going to man those and then the engineers we. We're going to splinter a into our squads and attached to our infantry companies, and basically be attached them throughout the rest of the operation. The you know, the morning operating was going to kick off we loaded them up. And we drove him to the edge of the city. We went under this trestle. The road starts curving around to the left, and we started unloading the bunkers it's dark. It's maybe two or three in the morning, and we start getting shot at from these houses across the road. And they're probably I don't know two or three hundred yards from us at this time, and I'm a machine gunner now, I'm assigned to the into forty machine gun, which is mounted on a Trump hod in the back of our vehicle with the bunkers and stuff. I've gotta stay there on the gun to provide security that was engaging the firing from the houses. So we're shooting at him. And remember at one point we were told to stop we were told to cease fire, which we didn't quite understand that ordered the time. But it's because they had a a c one thirty gunship overhead, and they were gonna use the AC one thirty to engage these houses. And so they did. So we ceasefire AC one thirty opened up which was awesome was like the fourth of July. And so he starts. Unloaded on these houses the shooting stops. I remember during the firefight. I can see the silhouette of a marine, and I don't know exactly what it is. Because I can't really make out his face or anything because it's still dark, but I see the silhouette of this marine running to my left and he's running toward the enemy. You know to get closer to them. He's running up to the edge of the road where the the ditch is where the road kinda roses up. And I remember wondering myself with was he doing he's by himself? He's not he's not a whole bunch of means just one a hurt call for a Corman, you know, in the Cormon go over there, and they're working on this guy and see him carrying him off a few minutes later in a stretcher, and I found out later that morning that that was or pulled Tyler Fe, he's a marine from our platoon, and I found out later that he did that he was shot through the neck much like real wasn't two thousand three and to make it even more weird. It was a year to the day the siege of losing through the potential for humanitarian disaster into sharp relief about a third of the town had been evacuated, but they were still an unacceptable number of civilians mixed in with the insurgents by me. May the siege would come to an end in the US would be planning operations phantom fury, which would kick off the second battle of flu later that year high and the rest of his platoon were withdrawn to village outside the city eventually back to their base, and then home once they're highs plan on getting married and closing at his days as marine stateside. But that wasn't gonna happen after coming home. We went home on our thirty day block leave that actually three of them means that were ima platoon 'cause they were only at the same time. One of them was Steven Hayes. The other one was Jerod Brown, and then just door knocker and Jerry Brown and just door knocker from West Virginia and Stephen Hazel from Kentucky so relatively speaking. They were close by to Tennessee. And so they came to the wedding. So that was cool and they were all in the wedding. So they got to see my family and meet them. And until then it was all just talk. We'd all swap stories about where we were from our our families. But now we're actually getting experience it with each other. And that was pretty cool. We went back to. California and our member Julianna flew back together and Jerod Brown met me at the airport in medicine airport and drove us back to our apartment. He said, hey, our company is not slated to go back until like, April may of oh six and he and I were both going to be getting out in like May June of six, and so we took that to mean that we probably wouldn't deploy again, because they, you know, they would they wouldn't send us over there with only a month left in our enlistment just to send us right back. So we thought will were good. I mean, we can just skate out the rest of this time. But after being back stateside for a few months, they realized that Charlie company was going to be going back to Iraq, much sooner. And they had a bunch of marine to getting ready to get out, and they wouldn't have enough time to deploy. So they they moved a bunch of the marines from Bravo company, myself, included and injured Brown. Lot of the other marines in Bravo company. They moved us over to Charlie company because we had enough time to deploy one more time. To to go with Charlie company. So I went back a third time with Charlie company. I remember that being pretty devastating news for both of us, especially when we thought that there wouldn't be a third, and then there was going to be if there was any upside at all to this third deployment, it was that high felt as if he were ready for it. He knew how things worked in Iraq. He had been in enough danger and enough gunfights than he understood how he would react under the pressure of battle. If anything it was the quiet. The bothered him the most I don't know if you ever really get used to it. It seems like to me always wound up being a little bit better after the shooting started to me. Some of the scariest times was always when you're driving into what you think is going to be a firefight. And then it doesn't happen or the those few minutes right before the firefight starts, your heart is pounding. And you just know that it could happen any minute something could happen. And it's just that's the most intense moment. But once it starts, you're training kicks in. And you just do exactly what you were trying to do. It's almost like you're on autopilot for me. That's when I tended to. Down. But it was those few minutes. It was at -ticipant leading up to it that was the worst. But the the part of a rack that we were going to also much different. We were going to Alcom Iraq, which is on the Syrian borders, extreme western Iraq. And it was known for these and my first deployments hadn't really had a lot of ID. So this was something totally new this time instead of relieving arm unit. We were leaving another marine unit. It was a a reserve unit with him. But I remember when we got there seeing the motor pool full of just blown up humvees and trucks. The engineer spent much of their time on mine clearing detail hunting and digging out ID's just convoys could make it in and out of their area of operation or a oh. And when they were heading out for patrols the marines. Founded just made more sense to cut a new road to the desert that to try and deal with the heavy main roads in that area but their day to day mission required. They walk along with a metal detector in front of the convoys looking for ideas, digging them up destroying them after a while. The frustration was. Palpable. We'd come across you'd you'd hear the paying, and you would just kind of gently starts sweeping Assad the dirt with your hands armor, this one time we came across an artillery round. And so we just kind of keep sweeping the dirt around from it. And we would find it was two or three artillery rounds. And they were all connected to a man-made or like a homemade pressure plate. Are remember thinking is found these things some jerk actually took the time to dig this hole and put this thing together and put it in here to kill me. And it became very personal to think about all the work that this person did or people did to go through all that work to kill me, and my and my fellow marines, and it just it just made you so mad thinking about the maliciousness. You know, eventually the company commander decided that enough was enough and executed a plan called opperations steel curtain a joint effort with the army Rangers. The mission's aim was to clear the outcome region of I eighty. Factories by establishing a network of operating bases clearing houses in ridding, the area of all the bombmakers, or at least of the bomb making material the operation wasn't as apprise though. And the insurgents were waiting. Fortunately, they got their timing around. We must have caught the enemy off guard. They must have expected us to go from east to west. But actually what we did is we went out to can't Gannon's on the western border. And we went from west to east kinda throw him off guard as we went through from house to house, they had basically rigged entire houses to blow. They would take artillery rounds, and they would stash two or three in corner of this room into three and a corner of that room in that room and just throughout the house. There might be ten or fifteen artillery rounds hidden throughout this house in the corners buried under rubble, and they had wired them all to one central detonator some kind of a like a cell phone or something like that. So they could just call it. And then blow the whole house up at once because they knew marines typically break down the door go in and clear the house room to room. And so they knew that they could wait till like a whole squad. Marines got in. There and detonate the whole house and kill every marine in that squad. All at once. So as we go in through these houses, we've found a lot of those that were rigged up in that way. But they weren't completed. They might get you know, seventy five percent of the way done. We did find some though that were completed our member that we were working closely with some army E OD goes, and they had one of those signal jammers, and as we were inside this house, and as we were finding all these are Tillery rounds in finding the detonator and really kind of putting the pieces together. I remember going out to their humvee to get some some explosive because we were going to basically blow up this house, you could see their signal jammer actively working it was actively blocking that signal as they were trying to detonate it while we were in that house. They were trying to blow up the house on us while we were in that activates what we call the pucker effect that really makes you onto your life. 'cause to just know that if that if that jammer hadn't been working, it would blow up the whole house and all of us in it. We got all the rounds up. And I think there were a total of fourteen. Tillery around this house. It was is a huge three story house inside the city. We worked together with the guys, and we blew it up. I can't tell you how many houses we found like that. At least ten but to see a whole house blow up like that was really impressive. And to know that we were able to catch it before it killed any marines was felt even better if he had been on the fence before the move to squeeze an extra deployment out of him confirm that heist was done as marine, but like a lot of young people who are single minded about joining the military. He didn't have a good sense of what life would look like after he'd become an engineer with an eye on getting into construction after his military career. And while he tried for a while after coming home construction just didn't hold much appeal everything that I looked at regarded agree of some kind. And so until then I really hadn't planned on going to college. It was never really on my radar. But I thought the GI Bill can't hurt to try a started going to a little community college close by I like school much better as a twenty two year old than I did as a teenager that. Daytime classes had more of your eighteen year old read the hassle of people. It was frustrating. Because a lot of them didn't really care, and you could tell they didn't care. They were only there because bond. Daddy, told him the had to be there and Bondi were probably paying for it too. And they were just there because they had to be much the same way I wasn't high school. But then also did take a lot of night classes to and the night classes, you didn't have as much of that you had a lot more of your working people pe- people like me who were little older who work during the day and went to school at night. And so that was kind of a different crowd. Isis experiences a common one and worth considering for just that reason after earning his degree. He took leadership positions in his church in communities learning to focus disciplined, endurance. He learned in the military as he reintegrated into civilian life. His promise to serve when there wasn't a war on hadn't been affected by the coming of war. Just as a commitment service lasted well passes time as marine situations may change, but the promise of service is enduring. Next time on this war as got turned around and the front of his face was missing. All he had was the bottom part of his jaw. And this guy was so on drugs. He took a knee reloaded as a K took three steps before he dropped. And we're like we thought we were fighting zombies. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with a story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branch of service, and a brief description of the experience that you'd like to share. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now, you can also follow us on social media at this is war.
25 | Graves
"I see his hand sticking out of the rubble, and I just Graham by the hand and pull them out. And I'm in I'm in pants, no shirt. No shoes. No socks long before enlisted in the army Samuel graves developed a work ethic that separated him from his peers, he preached whatever job he was doing with exceeding his own expectations. As the only goal. It's the kind of attitude that people who count on you learn to appreciate pretty quickly throughout his military career. He benefited from equal parts hard work and dumb luck. But at the end of the day, the difference between chance and fate isn't that significant because once you step onto the battlefield close calls or given their the known unknowns. I raised up to fire at him. I was thinking this is a car bomb coming right at me. And that's exactly what it was. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away. And the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed from wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? Hi, this is Anthony from this war. And we've got some really exciting news. You can now listen to new episodes of this work completely ad free exclusively on Stitcher premium. In addition to our ad free. Shows you also can listen to tons of other. Wondering shows like sort and scale or American history tellers, plus with Stitcher premium you get access to hundreds of hours of original content. Audio documentaries and exclusive bonus episodes from some of your other favorite podcasts. If you're one of those people who likes to skip over ads. Anyways, Stitcher premiums, probably a great solution. You don't have to hover with your finger over the thirty second or fifteen second button. You can just listen through the whole show uninterrupted sign up now for a free month of Stitcher premium by going to Stitcher premium dot com slash wondering and using the promo code wondering. Then once you signed up just download the Stitcher app for Android and start listening. That's Stitcher premium dot com slash wondering. And the promo code is. Wondering w. N D E R Y. Samuel Greaves. Didn't exactly joining army because he was out of options, but he was running out of direction he'd spent three years at Troy university in Alabama running track. But college just wasn't his thing. He ran up some debt and knew he needed a life reset which was something the army offered after that the decision was easy. His father had been in the army and the signing bonus. Plus, the kind of focus that comes with becoming an infantryman was all he needed to sign up for four years in the army was my twenty seventh birthday, and we were going to be meeting the recruiter that day. So I was getting the mourn putting a pot of coffee on parents have will TV in the kitchen turned on just in time to see the second plane hit at anything about this gonna cause a war. You know, we didn't really know what was at the time. But still got ready went down to the recruiting station and me and my bra. Went down there and recruiter was driving us up to Montgomery, Alabama where the met station was where we take our final os. And and they were gonna ship us to forbidding where imagery basic training is it was going just like that. And we got about halfway Montgomery in the recruiter. Got a call saying all the bases locked down. So we turn around went home. And they said, we'll let you know when it opens back up when we get back to normal business or whatever. So when home had dinner with some friends, and buddy deal, and he's like, you know, you still feel good about this decision. You know, they were gonna pay me. And they were going to do all this when there was no war. I can't really go back on my word just because you know, things change basic trainings, not too difficult for twenty seven year old former athlete who's been working at physically demanding jobs for nearly a decade. The waiting was a problem though. It isn't a grave was in any rush to get to the war though. He would do his job when the time came. It was more that since it was the end of summer. There was a bottleneck in processing add to that the effect of the September eleventh attacks on the army superstructure and the bottleneck only got worse the fourteen week process. Continually was pushed back so that although he arrived in September graves didn't graduate basic training until February two thousand and two he deployed to Germany than Kozovo where the US peacekeeping mission was well established by the time. It got to Iraq in February two thousand four his unit was part of a well oiled machine primed for the fight. So we went to Ford offering base called breastfeed Mora to do missions. We had to travel in every day and later on when things got pretty bad. We ended up moving right into the city. So that we were right there. He figured out pretty quick what the batter is were. And win stuff was about to go down. Because. The streets would be pretty busy would be going through. And then all of sudden, everybody starts disappear. And he just knows about having. We were on a road called heat. It was where we went when we're looking for a fight basically straight start to clear out kinda wondering what's going on. Because you know, there's our first contact. We're just working our way down the road on the other side of the road from where I was at a grenade got thrown from over a fence or something in exploded next one of our guys little ways off, and we got lucky, you know, he just took some concussion from it. I mean, he continued on the mission. We moved a little further down the street. We started taking fire in you know, we didn't know how many we were dealing with. So without knowing that really we just kinda peeled back weighed in advance on the soldiers. I mean, the people were fighting didn't wear uniform zones always hard to tell what was going on. We went forty days in a row. Oh that we got into a firefight. Samara was SUNY city loyal to Saddam an insurgent hotbed these people were highly motivated to get the Americans out breastfeed. Moore was on the outskirts but graves squad was in the city. They were supporting a special forces contingent that it established a base in the city centre during those highly Connectik weeks, they would block off the street with Bradley's while they patrolled just to prevent vehicle borne idea tax in the middle of the day patrolling everyday was a critical part of the mission because sometimes patrol as a patrol and sometimes it's a faint that conceals a bigger mission. Like a raid on an alleged weapons cache. Well, we went into this house, and we searched it in like attached to that house was like an empty house. We found a big RPG's and a bunch of weapons and stuff. So we started interrogating or questioning the house next door or that was attached to in. He finds stuff then you can't prove. This anybody's the just that's the way it was. I mean, I mean, how do you know, if it was there's not probably was. But there was no way for us to prove we had e OD unit. He was crazy a member we called him to come in and blow up the ordinance and I -member him muttering. I'm gonna blow every damn window in this neighborhood. And he hooked a ton of C four up to that thing. And we blew it in place. I don't know if we blew all the windows. I just member him saying that there was a multi part mission and attempt at winning hearts and minds while also working to stamp out the insurgency, which made it a doubly dangerous assignment. The insurgents didn't wear uniforms, except when they were infiltrating the Iraqi police so soldiers never really knew whether they could trust the people they were working with moreover in the middle of the city that was essentially at war with itself, the US was trying to help make a plan to rebuild the city's infrastructure. Unfortunately, there was no way for them. To be all things to all people. We got hit by a ton of car bombs truck bombs, whatever we ical born ID's. We are on a mission. We had blocked off this one St. we were talking with a local leader about doing some work on a school. So my company commander was in had gone in with him with my squad to take a look at the school. And we had the Bradley's blocking off areas in Constantino wire out. But there was a wall around the school. So one of the Bradley's on the east end. Like, it was pulled up there in like like it. So if somebody was coming behind that wall, he wouldn't see to the last minute while had been inside the school talking. I'm like, all right. I'm gonna go check positions on outside and just go check out the area and make sure everything's all. Right. So a member me in Stutzman we walked out, right? When we walked outside this core bomb. It comes barely around that corner goes around the Bradley. It goes right through that concertina wire. So it is literally heading right for me and Stutzman die raised up to fire at him. I was thinking this is a car bomb coming right at me. And that's exactly what it was the Constantino RAB wire wrapped around the inside of the tire in it jerk the wheel to the right in it ran into a house that was there. And then it blew up and killed a couple of people in that house, including child even though we we were there trying to do something good by fixing up school. And we were just coming into the area. We got you know, because this happened in these these people died, you know, it was it was our fault, basically. And that's that's that's what we had today. With a lot of times, we went into it with the best intentions as soldiers. You know, we thought we were going in there trying to you know, the right thing try and make their life better. But you know, by the end, all we. All we cared about staying alive. We you know, what what they thought by. Then was the last thing on our mind. It was a weirdly escalating game of cat and mouse with the soldiers working to discover insurgents and destroy their caches of weapons and the insurgents trying to carry out attacks while moving or hiding their weapons both sides dug in the city and its residents were caught in the middle. It's important to remember that Samara was at the time much like Faluja, but with fewer foreign fighters and the Americans were tipping the balance of power from the Sudanese to the Shia with every successful raid. They also weren't making a lot of friends with the unsuccessful ones. We knew we were going in noggin doors on a mission. You know, we would go in at night, or whatever, you know, a lot of these places had gates on the houses and stuff. So, you know, as a team leader, I probably had hop that gate open it from the other side to let the other guys in and then we would run to the door lineup on the door as a team leader. At carried a shotgun. Done that we would blow the doors in a lotta times with at least early. That's what we did until we found out that just kicking a man was allowed easier than blown them in. And I blew the door in with shotgun. And then we kicked it in after that when we went in the door. There was a guy laying there he had a pellet in his leg. But he's laying there with a screwdriver like he was waiting on us to come through the door. I think the door we went in was leading into the kitchen. Most of them had flat top roofs, and you could go up on the roof. So we would go in. And then we would search the whole house all the way up to the roof. We would bring everyone in to one room that was there, and we had interpreters that worked with us our Lieutenant or the commander was there. Whoever would begin the questioning in why we searched for whatever we were looking for, you know, we're going into this house. I mean, I don't blame him for protecting it. So I don't know. I don't think we found anything in there. So you know, I. The shot a guy in the leg that probably wouldn't do anything. But that's what the Intel was, you know, the constant fighting may the local government rethink the strategy, and they asked the Americans to keep to their compound and let local take care of security whether this was just poor shortsighted governance or an explicit attempt by the government to preserve the insurgencies debatable in the coming years. The she would rise to dominate the Sunni minority and Samara would be played with -tarian violence for his part graves was set to do whatever was asked of him part of it was his age having had real responsibility before entering the army. He knew that setting yourself to your work was easiest if you focus your pride less on your compliments and more on the job to be done. He also just wanted to be good at what he did. And he was going to get his chance to demonstrate it plenty of times in Iraq right before door one nine. We started taking fire mortar started coming in our, geez. Small arms fire. Sorry coming in. So you know, we had trained through this with them. Why were there we had finding positions on the rooftop everybody had assigned positions, and it was to nine man squads that had been you know, were from my union and then an eight-man SF team against two hundred. Now, we were in a very fortified compound. So my position was in the motor pit at that time. I was a team leader. I also went around all the positions check on all the guys. So I was moving a lot from position to position from all the fortified positions just to make sure they have ammo that nobody's injured that they're good. They got water. They know their sectors of fire, and they're scanning, you know, if somebody needs to be relieved I can do that as well. Even though it was a squad leader craves didn't have any more combat experience than the other guys in the squad's there, and certainly not as much as the special forces guys, but he was older and if not calmer at least a lit. A bit more focused on the job at hand. All through the night. He moved between firing positions reminding the soldiers who are outmanned nearly ten to one that they still were part of a well-trained well-equipped brotherhood and just like they trained if everyone stuck to their job and had enough nerve they would get through the night, just fine. And so they did. So we here in at least five or six fighting positions on the roof, and each one of had some sort of heavy machine-gun or bigger or we had a couple of that had sniper rifles in. We were talking to the outside to the base outside. Just saying, you know, we probably need to get some more ammo in just just in case something happens. Again, mean another guy, Nick Sanders. He was the Bravo. Team leader. I was the alpha team later at the time when we came off of one hundred percent protection, which is what we were at when the battle was going on. We say most guys the bad. There was a couple guys. Stayed up positions. But we started breaking down and cleaning all the heavy guns because they get carbon buildup once you fire a lot in and they were fired a lot. We are just coming on where we were going to try and get some sleep and boom a whole pops off again. So most of them were coming from buildings that were often the distance it went on for two nights. So basically, we fought them until almost daylight and it kinda died down. And then the same time the next night. It started back up again, with the exception of one guy who lost a piece of his ear to an RPG blast. There wasn't one American casualty at the base during those two days of fighting part of it can be chalked up to dumb law, which was the insurgents main tool when it came to mortaring, but another part of it came down to a well-chosen fortress. Expertly defended graves has a certain amount of pride in having directed much of that keeping his guys alert and on task and rested and supplied as he moved from fire. Position to fire position occasionally providing relief. So all the positions were sharp keeping the enemy at distance where chance was their primary ally wasn't an accident. But still without the ability to go out, everyday patrolling the SF base would be untenable within a month. The army would extract to a national guard base outside the city where they would watch as the enemy began fortifying the city of Samara. Hiring can be pretty time consuming. He posted job to several online boards only to get tons of the wrong resumes. Then you have to sort through all of those resumes. Just to find a few people with the right skills and experience those job sites that overwhelm you with the wrong resumes. They're not smart. That's why you should do the smart thing. And go to ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Unlike other job sites, ZipRecruiter finds quality candidates for you. It's powerful matching. Technology scans thousands of resumes to identify the people with the right skills education and experience, then it actively invites them to apply for your job. So you get qualified candidates fast. It's no wonder that ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. If you love this show show your support to it end ZipRecruiter. Her by going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash t h I s I s wer. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Graze received. The bronze star for his performance during the attack on the special forces compound, he also was elevated to sergeant partly stemming from that night, but also because of his work ethic. You see the word was out that he could be counted on. And as they saw the political solution for Samara begin to come apart. It was critical that everyone be ready for anything. They hadn't been in Iraq national guard compound for long before the difficulties of sitting outside the city became a mistake -able, and once they pulled us out, and there was no presence in the city and surgeon started setting up minds and given traps for us for if we came back into the city when we were training that Iraqi national guard, and we also had sniper position basically set up on top of the building over watching the bridge to take out anybody trying to set a flow belli's is on the bridge me. And Nick Sanders the other team leader we're on watch that night on the sniper position. And so we had a fifty Cal machine gun and a fifty Cal sniper rifle in the position some nightside's that we could see onto the bridge with them. And you know, we were bullshit and talking and every once in a while we look through the night vision and check out the bridge and just make sure nothing was going on. All of a sudden, we started taking fire overhead trace around started flying over our head, and we jump on stuff and Nick starts firing at where it was coming from. And he ended up shooting the guy, and he fell in to the water and got caught in the damn they pulled him out of there. The next morning, and it was an Iraqi policeman. We knew a half of the policemen. Were insurgents that same guys we were working with during the day was who you're finding at night the police came to our compound and kind of made a big deal the following morning in. We basically sent him on their way the disconnect between the Iraqi police the Iraq national guard and the US forces. Vacillated between comically irritating and outright dangerous. The Iraqi national guard was notorious for disregarding fields of fire so much. So that during firefights, it could be difficult to tell whether they were shooting at American forces on purpose or out of Ignatz grave said the most fear he ever felt on the battlefield was when the national guard was mixed in beyond that there were problems with desertion and graft, but just as with their battlefield incompetents distance between dereliction of duty and abetting the enemy. Sometimes was a blur. This was one of the greatest frustrations for a lot of the US military. It wasn't merely that the Iraqis ignored their training. It was the fact that the consequences could be so disastrous when they did the following day. So we were in this compound that was not set up. How it should be? Like normally we we said a barriers where you can't like drive straight in. You gotta go through a maze to get in. You know? So you can't get like a running start at something and drive a car bomb in there is just a piece of Constantino y. Fire across the gate, and it was the Iraqi national guard guys were manning the gate, this Iraqi police truck shows up with the Iraqi policemen in they opened up the gate form he hits the gas. He comes barreling in any runs into the building trying to go through the wall into where we were at. But it hits the wall in the tires to start spending. Once he couldn't get into the building. He reached on to the dashboard in. There was a couple of wires. He stuck the wires together in it blew four hundred pounds of explosives so blue in both wall. So it blew in all the first room blue in the second wall going into our room and then the roof collapsed on top of us. I was sleeping. It felt like I was getting tackled by somebody basically there was thirty eight of us inside the building. If the truck had made it through the wall as a plan appears to have been it likely would have killed all of the soldiers inside. Shouts of. Alarm rose up as the rest of the people at the base rush to respond, but just as the recovery effort began it was clear that a defensive one would be needed as well where I was sleeping in the second room. I was right next to the wall. But right in front of my head was like a small frigerator like a three quarter size for Dreyer that had like water and stuff in it. So when it blew it in that fridge, like protected my head from the wall getting blown in and all this shrapnel. So it protected me once with it coming in. So I got knocked off this car what the wall blown in. But the fridge took a lot of the impact. And then the fridge fell on top of me, and when the roof caved in it protected me again, it was a coordinated attack. So as soon as that blue not even a couple of minutes later, they counted at thirty eight mortars came flying in our PG's third flying in small arms fire came firemen. There are to ask. Pex of training one develops your muscle memory and keeps your approach solid, but there's another maybe even more important aspect, the one that ties UT responsibility people who live up to the second one like graves tend to rise in the leadership ranks. They don't ask what they need to do. They observe what needs to be done and an added to what they know they already have to do. But to have this kind of sense be the first thought reaction when you wake up under a pile of rubble still is pretty impressive. I was able to pull myself out. I didn't get knocked down. I'm basically, the only one inside this building in the rubble that's conscious. And I knew that this guy might converse was sleeping in the bunk right next to me. So you know, it's like a dust cloud because it's like concrete debris like in particles floating in the air. I see his hand sticking out of the rubble in. I just Graham by the hand, and I'll pull them out, and I'm in I'm in pants, no shirt. No shoes. No saw. Fox. So I grabbed him walked through the rubble take them to the other side of the building. And people are that were not in the building or starting to come over and help and finding position we're trying to set a security because now mortars are starting to fly in. So we're, you know, not only are we going crazy 'cause we just got hit by this bomb. But you know, we're under attack told a guys to to guard the entrances and lay converse down go back into the building. And a member I saw some shoes laying there some boots, and I put on these boots, and they are both left foots. So I'm walking around with these huge boots. That are not mine that are both left feed. I see a weapon sticking out of the rubble I-, I sling the the rifle put it over mush older in. You know, we started pulling guys out of there in setting up a casualty collection point, you know, other people are starting to help to and but I pulled like six guys. Out of their sergeant witty who was my squad leader he had like a piece of concrete with rebar and stuff sticking added on top of them in a member. This guy Patrick was saying I can't get it off of him. Not came over not just pulled it off of them. Certainly great leader great guy. He was little bitty. He was probably the easiest guy. I carried out of there as the rest of the soldiers beat back the external assault graves continued returning to the building for others. Even though they were on their own base. They had to do the same kinds of immediate triage. They would have to do on the battlefield save the wounded first than worry about retrieving the dead. It's the kind of thing that teams obvious on the face of it. But it's a little harder and practice a member mean guy were trying to dig a guy out that was in the front part of the room and a member I cleared out around his head and the top of his head looked fine. But when I touched his head. It was soft. It was like jello that guy. He we're like trying to pull them out. And I'm like, he's dead. We got to move on and get somebody else. I remember the guy was like we gotta get out. Gotta get him on I go we're going to get him out. But we gotta get the guys that are live out. I this guy is not alive. That's just coldness of war. I mean, all those guys got pulled out. But you know, you just have to wait. You gotta do when the dust cleared five US soldiers were dead in about twenty including graves were wounded to put the attack in perspective. It had been less than two weeks since Iraq took its first post-war shot itself governance as he attacked came to an end, though graves wanted to stay on shrugging off what he thought was just a knock in the head. But standing there wearing two left boots with a broken rifle hanging off of his bare shoulder. He didn't make much of a case for being completely fine. He got packed off with the rest of the injured. 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I have one with my name on it, an inspirational, quote or a piece of trivia or daily challenge for example yesterday. Packet suggested that I send a text to someone using an emoji. I never had before today. I learned that everyone has unique tongue print, but for me what it really is second of mindfulness taking a moment to think about something. I might not have while I'm trying to improve my health. Plus, you can track your progress with the care of app that helps remind you to take your supplements and tracks your progress. If you've been thinking of starting a new health plan or changing your routine now as a great time to do it. Take advantage of this month's special New Year's offer for fifty percent off your first month of personalized care of vitamins. Go to take care of dot com and enter this is war fifty. That's take care of dot com. And enter this is war five zero good habits can be hard to build care of can help. Keep you mindful of your health, go to take care of dot com and enter this is war five zero. The battle it ended. But there was still work to be done. Although he could not stay and help with the rest of the cleanup effort or the armed response. Grace found a way to make himself useful on the way to the hospital. Certain witty is in shock. He's having like these fits where he like he's laying there, and he's breathing funny. And then he'll just all of a sudden go. And he liked would sit up and I'm trying to hold him down. We're trying to drive to the main base. And I remember there was an oxygen bottle like at the top of the bunk. So he's like sitting up, I got my arm across his chest. And as he sits up, I'm like pushing them back down and every time I push them back down his head is hidden this auction bottle. So it's like he'd come up and pushing down and go. And then I'd push him back. He'd come up again. I push him down. So it was almost like comical and basically, converse and Sanders. I was with them. Sanders had took an a bunch of travel and stuff he was all scratched up and cut up. And I think his head might have been cracked open converse. The first guy pulled out he had a new thorough. She had collapsed long. And you know, they all got Pat step. Remember, I got there, and they were in like beds when I walked into the ten or whatever it was that they were all set up in. I just pulled up a chair in between them and sat there, and I was there for a while. And they're like have you been checked out yet? I'm like now, but I'm fine, and they came and and they said your head's cracked open cleaned it up while sitting there and put a couple of Staples in Hasely, it was kind of nice because we were there and the nurses were like asking if we need anything. I was like, man. 'cause I need. I'd love to be able to tell I know this is in the news. You know, my parents don't hardly sleep as it is because we're here, and I was able to Email my dad and just say, look, I can't say much. I was in what happened. But I'm fine. You know, when I can I'll call you this owing safer now. And you know, they're just made me feel good graves had deployed with his brother Joe, but the two were stationed separately the commander got word to Joe that his brother had made it. Okay. Still. There was this overriding concern about the survivors of the attack. This wasn't a battlefield incident. Really or an errant mortar. The guys who were supposed to be guarding the gate while they slept failed to police they were working to support and train turned on them again. And again, it was a kind of environment where you should be a little anxious. They made all of us, you know, a little while after that talked to a couple of Nino psych. They came in. 'cause we went through a traumatic experience or whatever they talked to us as a group, and as individuals when we were talking they were just they were asking some questions, and I was like, you know, I appreciate everything you're doing. You're just trying to make sure that we're all right or whatever. But these guys that right here. This is this is how I'm all. Right. This is this is who's going to get me through. I mean, you know, they become your brothers. You know, we don't talk all the time still. But with social media and stuff this day, you can kind of keep an eye on what guys are doing, you know, they post pictures, or whatever, you know, there's a lot of guys that I went to war with at our have issues in men. I understand, you know, I don't have that problem. But you know, you just want to help them any way. You can you know as him wars hard thing. Not everybody takes the same way. I think being older going in. I was mentally more prepared for the reality of it. And like my brother, Joe, he has some issues with it, you know, PTSD issues, and he has trouble Dale on that sometimes. So, you know, the reality of his wars wars horrible thing. One thing that they did learn from the attack was that the Iraqi government was losing even the pretense of controlling Samara the insurgency had complete control of the streets were so well dug in that they were able to launch coordinated attacks against American Iraqi forces outside the city by September. It was clear the city had to be retaken my squad on our platoon, or whatever we were like the tip of the spear. So we were like the first one's going in. And we were trying to go in silent. We are on the ground with no Bradley's or anything with us a member we're going down this road. And it came to like a t intersection in on the end of the road. It was like storefronts that we were coming up on. We were taking fire from the top of the building across the street. So we're laying down fire my first ours. Is there and he's like come on with me? We're going to go across the road. Throw a grenade on the on the roof. I'm like, all right. Let's go. So I literally come off of my street come around the building and take one step out into the street in an RPG comes flying down the street and literally bounces a couple of feet in front of me. In skips down the road. It's supposed to explode on contact. It skipped down the road about fifty yards. And then blew a. I'm ever we turn right back around. And my first one goes, I think I can throw it from here. Threw it from there through it on the roof and fire and stopped. It went known for like two days. I mean, we had spots where we stopped in kind of found a sideline. I mean, it got pretty crazy. But that's the one thing. I remember about that we did a ton of house clearing for like two days straight, and we took the city back over and then from then on there was always a presence in the city again. So that that wouldn't happen again. At least while I was there having into disservice so much older than most of the others graves was a little bit better able to put things into perspective for himself, at least that was probably part of his success. The other part of it though was that because he had spent so much time nearly a decade working before joining the army. He had a completely different sense of what was important graves. Didn't have anything to prove except to himself wanting to be a good soldier drove all of his decision making, but focusing on cheating excellence by competing against himself. Was part of his personality long before he joined the army. I was accepted in as a leader pretty quickly. No matter what it was I want. I wanted to be the best at what I did. I was a soccer player. I wanted to be best player. I ran track of state champion in the mile. I wanted to be the best at that. You know, sometimes my priorities might have been alive. I should've tried to be the best student. But at you know, eighteen or whatever you realize how that your parents are right? How damn important on his, you know, but you know, as a soldier I wanted to be the best soldier that. I could. So you know, I just tried hard. And I'm I'm so easy going. So even as a sergeant I was a little different, you know, my leadership style was a little different than I was more. You know, most of them, you know, in the army. Everybody calls you by Sargent or by your last name in everybody. Call me Sammy, our company commander would do it. And. You know, how that's how known just 'cause that was well known. I try to be a likable person trustworthy in hard working do things right way in being older having that competitive in wanting to be a leader type thing it it worked well in the military. We just had a really good unit and. You know, a lot of guys come back problems and stuff. I think that I'm able to I'm able to live a great life. Great family. Great kids. Great job. You know, do I think about it? Sometimes. Absolutely. But you know, a lot of that's because we brought everybody back with us alive. You know did guys get injured. Yeah. A lot of us. But it's a lot easier to sleep at night when you know, all your friends made it back if he had any regrets after that first tour, it only might have been that he hadn't enlisted earlier graves had a taste for the army for the Camry and the order in the meritocracy whether he would have had a similar career if he enlisted eighteen is anybody's guess, but at thirty choosing to be a professional soldier is a way tougher call to make when I got in. I was open minded I was like, you know, either way it's gonna be good for me. I said either I do my four years I get out and have money for school. And all my bills are paid off. Maybe I've put some money away. Or a stay in for twenty and make a career out of it going to war, man. It is hard on your body. Just being an infantryman in general is hard on your body. So I was like I can get out now at thirty one in. That's still a decent age to go back to school or get started career start a family, whatever in as a imagery man you in your head. You can't go to another job. You can't be the alpha the frontline guy and then become the support guy in the back, and I just couldn't see doing it to forty seven. So I didn't want to end up serve until I was forty and then get out at forty with no retirement, and then try and start a career or family or whatever how beat up. My body was already. I was like I think it's probably best. 'cause I love I love the job a love doing it. But I also knew if I stayed in than I was. Going to be deploying every other year, or at least. So it just for my situation. I just felt like getting out. And so that's what he did him one of his buddies opened a bar for a while. But as he said being the only sober person around a bunch of drunks was no fun. Plus his buddy decided to reopen head back to war. So they sold the place graves already had had an immense amount of luck on his tour. So it was a little surprising that he had some left. I closed the bar when no clue what I was gonna do. And I just lucked into out fishing with a buddy one day we picked up his wife on the boat. She started asking me what I was gonna do. And she was the office manager for an environmental consulting group. He said man, you'd be perfect for what we do. So man, I fell in love with it. And I've been doing it ten years now. And I went back to school for it. I got four classes left to finish. I take him online. You know, work fifty hours a week. I got a two and the three year old and wife, I work on the road. Try and do as much school work on the road at night. So I spend time with my family when I get home on the weekends. And I love it. I got a great job make good money. My family can get everything they want because of it. And I just been lucky they say luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and there's probably something to that. But it certainly is an all of it luck has to do at least a little bit with being recognized knowing that sometimes you get breaks and favors you didn't deserve. And sometimes you don't get the ones you think you did most important. It's the attitude of not counting on luck. That seems to bring it graves both made his own luck in benefited from chance without trying. But neither of those changed the way he approached being a soldier when you see the effort putting in the work as the end of what you're doing luck is secondary. And whether it comes or not you can sleep knowing that your work stands on its own one way or another. On this is war. When the grenade was called he stayed right there. Right. By my side, you know, at at the cost of his own life. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know, one with a story to tell breach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branch of service, and brief description of the experience that you'd like to share if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving us a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.
20 | Buzard
"All I'm doing is running from body to body doing what I can. I do have the sense to roll the obviously dead over on their belly. So that I know not to go back to them fetters often talk about missing the war in bewildered terms in terms, they know civilians can't really grasp in terms, they barely grasped themselves. It's about more than just the adrenaline rush. Or the danger though that is a significant part of it. It's a rare opportunity to be used full to literally save lives to be found to people. Otherwise would be strangers by the very responsibility of keeping one another safe. Daniel dockyard had been working paramedic long before he deployed in his late twenties, but his first taste of combat medicine opened his eyes to the possibilities. And meaning that providing aid has a war zone. Meanwhile, you know, I look up in the. Three where the kids are selling ice intestines hanging from the trees. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away and the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed for wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo and vis. Is war? There are job sites out there that will send you tons of the wrong resumes to sort through. That's not smart. But you know, what is smart going to ZipRecruiter dot com slash? This is war to hire. The right person. Ziprecruiter doesn't depend upon candidates finding you it finds them for you. It's powerful matching. Technology scans thousands of resumes identifies people with the right skills education and experience for your job. And actively invites them to apply. So you get qualified candidates fast. That's why ZipRecruiter is rated number one by employers in the US this rating comes from hiring sites on trust pilot with over one thousand reviews and right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address ZipRecruiter dot com slash this war. That's ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Sometimes a calling is in clear, even after you think you've heard it from the outside. It looked as if downhill bazaars calling was just to do something else. Something better than whatever. He already was doing. He joined the national guard right out of high school rose through the ranks of bit went to airborne school. And then just dropped out. It was a different guard back in the nineteen nineties one that maybe didn't have the level of professionalism. It would be forced to develop over the next decade bizarre to joined with the hope of becoming a ranger. But as it turned out the expense of the school wasn't something. The national guard was willing to cover by nineteen ninety four bizarre dropped out of the guard and returned to Alaska to go to college for fire science from there. He balanced around a little bit before ending up in paramedic school in Jefferson City, Missouri. I was coming off of work on an ambulance in Missouri that morning and my relief that day was my. Surely my paramedic instructor. She was cool because we did shift change like six AM, and I'd been out all night running calls, and she was the one that would just take over the shift, but let me sleep. So I wake up around seven thirty eight o'clock in the morning. I walk out that's her and her partner and just ahead guys. What's up and her partner looks at me do shut the fuck up any points at the TV and the first towers on fire, and I look in the second plane hits part of him wanted to drop everything and just go there as much for the potential adventure as for the opportunity for retaliation. But the reality was he was already approaching thirty. He had a wife and a job and wasn't even sure if he was still welcome in the army after dropping out of the national guard, but by two thousand and three bazaar found himself living in New Mexico and fighting a restlessness and slogging through a failing marriage all of a sudden twenty nine didn't seem too old to be joining the army, plus. As a paramedic. He figured he already was as well trained as he needed to be to work as a medic in the infantry. He could a deal that would let him reenlist without penalty and prepare to deploy to Iraq. I started asking around in the guard units and stuff is anybody slated to go. And they said, yeah, we're standing up this MP company, and we need medics in average army line medic is an EMT basic, whereas paramedics have a lot more anatomy and physiology. And I had a few years worth of experience in some big cities adrenaline calls. I had years of experience from Alaska and stuff culminating all up into this. I'm already significantly older than most of the people in the unit. There were very few maybe ten out of one hundred eighty people that had any frame of reference for combat experience. I didn't have the combat experience. I had the medical, but it was completely different. Currant treatment type, you know, if I go to a multi car crash, I got my radio, and I call for more help and more ambulances show up with more people and more resources, and it's very easy. But then I'm in a war zone. And it's me and me alone. And I've got a care for all of these guys and more often than not as luck would have it turned out that I ended up working on the local significantly more than I worked on our own guys. It would be another eighteen months before he was on his way to Iraq though, in the meanwhile, it was training on weekends and getting things in order for his deployment. He still was running calls in Los Alamos, fighting the occasional house fire and responding to accidents and other emergencies truth be told bizarre liked the assignments the thrill of running a call of coordinating care at a multi car pile up. He had a taste for that adrenaline rush that he really thought would serve him well in combat by the time, he boarded a flight to Kuwait. On March fifth two thousand five annual bizarre was ready to test his metal. But the first death. He had a deal with actually happened. Stateside, I'm sitting on the tarmac. I've got my phone. We're just waiting for the word load on the plane, and I'm calling everybody in my phone, and I'm talking to everybody because I don't know what I'm walking into. I'm not come back. I'm watching the news. I know what's going on. And there's a fair chance that I'm going to die, and I get to my brother Montes name and skipped over him. Because I said man, if I call him he's going to want to talk to me for like, thirty minutes. I'm trying to give everybody two minutes, and I didn't call him well somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, I presume while I was flying over there. My brother shot himself that night by the time word reached him who's art and the rest of the MP unit already were on their first mission, delivering home vs from the base in Kuwait to another one where they could be up armored czar had grown up and what we? We've come to call a blended family of his father's eight children. Monty was the one he and most grown up with. He had to say goodbye to his brother and then to his family for a second time before making his way to Baghdad and catching up with the MP's. He got to the beast just as the left seat right seat. Training was coming to an end. I remember the first patrol that. I went on we were running our show, and they're telling us, you know, how to do it. And I remember I showed up for patrol. I'm going to be the only doc going out and a show, but my pants unbalanced. And basically, okay, I'm not in a garrison environment can relax a little bit. And this West Point ring tapping Lieutenant starts tearing my ass up. Oh, you just throw all the standards out the window just because you're in combat at setup and immediately have a disdain for the active duty granted their opinion of the national guard was earned by the national guard. For having subpar performances now that changed drastically over the next eight years, remember, especially during the earliest years of the war in Iraq, many of the national guard members were not only not prepared to be sent to war. But also were in training at the levels that everday soldiers were once it was clear that the war in Iraq was going to be this long. Drawn out affair the national guard started being used as stopgap measure by two thousand five the army also had lowered its enlistment standards to meet the demands of the war as relieving forces taking the place of regular army, many of whom already had had a few combat tours and all of home are on the verge of finishing one. There was suspicious that the guard wouldn't be able to cut it and that any gains the army might have had might not be sustained. But it would only take a few weeks before the national guard MP's got to show that they were both ready and able to take care of themselves as well as the people that they were there to support we were. At an Iraqi police station. It must've been somewhere around may think of five. So I got a couple of months in. I'm starting to get my feet underneath me. I haven't really treated much and we hear an explosion. And it's close. So we hop in our trucks, and we drive onto this underpass. I'm in. I'm always in the middle truck. As the lead truck comes out. He slams on the brakes we have to take action to not run into the truck in front of us and go around as we edged up the hill. All I see across four lanes of traffic with it. Big median our bodies strung all across the street, and I was like holy shit. Where do I start my civilian side says call in the cavalry, call every available medic truck? But that isn't an option. It's me. And i'm. And I have just a sea of dead and dismembered people laying across many lanes of traffic in two thousand and five the plan for rebuilding. Iraq seems simple enough recruit and train in army and police force that could help stabilize the country, and then protected on its own the difficulty was though that in two thousand four the war had changed I with the capture of Saddam Hussein and most of his upper echelon there was something of a power vacuum bringing fighters from neighboring countries and inspiring insurgents already in Iraq second as the American coalition presence began to look more like an occupying force in less like a liberating one Iraqis who had been pro American, or at least not anti American began to falter as he looked out over the sea of bodies of the dead dying and injured a detail caught his eye and in a flash bizarre had a sense of the scene. There was a great. A big group of men trying to join the Iraqi army because nobody had jobs 'cause we had turned their entire country upside down that was the only job and all these men are lining up in not lining up because they refuse to stand in the line. They just conglomerate around trying to get in to where they're taking outlook. It's and baking in the sun around noon. One o'clock a group of them decide that well, we're not going to stand in this group. There's some kid selling ice cream across the street, which was right near a playground. The carnage at the playground was at the outer edge of the kills zone and its implications. Weren't lost on booze art as he turned to the rest of the casualties. Lots of times we picture. Mass casualty cinematic -ly using our closest touch tone to try and get a sense of what was going on. It was what bazaar done before encountering his first. But as he says, even the grittiest war films with the most accurate portrayals. Don't get at the scene the heat and the smells and the SC. Screaming and the utter chaos of an uncoordinated response to a surprise attack. I start putting turn gets on where I can. I'm doing what I can for who. I can main while the Iraqi police are there with a bunch of trucks, and they are quite literally grabbing anybody that's alive and loading in in the back of the truck like cordwood and turn off to the closest hospital. All I'm doing is running from body to body doing what I can. I do have the sense to roll the obviously dead over on their belly. So that I know not to go back to them. And these guys are pulling security a couple of them jumped in because they were all combat lifesaver trained, and they were doing what they could just put some turn it gets on and try to get him out. And then somebody from that playground start shooting at us, the impugn it had just three trucks with staffing appropriate for the kind of training and support they'd been doing. There are no extra dismounts just guys to run the Trump provides. Oppressive fire and to deal with crowd control with the soldiers out trying to help the Iraqi wounded it took longer to dispatch the attack than they would have preferred. Moreover, even though the shooting itself wasn't deadly the soldiers drove off the attack in short order, it hampered the triage and evacuation effort, and it was a very much. So kind of a blur. I don't know how much time lapsed. I don't know how long it all too. But when it was all done and all the bodies have been picked up and all of the extra parts that were unassociated with a particular person were collected. I'm bloody all the way up to my elbows all the way down the front of my pants. I'm just I'm covered in blood. There's a walks up with his bag of hand sanitizer and leader bottle of water and starts pouring it into my hands. And basically I'd take a roadside math trying just get all of the caked on blood off of me. And I reach in my pocket and grab mechanic open. Hagan put a dip in my. Mouth and have a big drink water probably the whole leader. And then as Lagos EM. So battalion wants an estimate of how many people you treated. And I'm like, the fuck am I supposed to know? And then I had a great idea. Everybody were sandals and many of them were blow out of their sandals. So I could basically count up all the sandals that I can find on the ground, and, you know, divide by two in that might give me a guess. Meanwhile, you know, I look up in the tree or the kids are selling ice cream intestines hanging from the trees, and there was two pair of very small sandals. I don't know where there's kids went. But you know, I don't know twenty seven to thirty five I really don't know. And that was my first introduction into the war and really earning the title as doc. This was the first in what would total more than five attacks in Iraq that day may eleven at least thirty people at the police station were killed in another thirty five wounded in a day would see more than. Sixty overall deaths and more than one hundred fifty casualties at the height of a week of insurgent violence all around the country standing there amid the blood soaked streets as the MP's re collected themselves and continued their day. Doc Bouchard knew something significant had happened. But he didn't really get the full import mostly because of the massive loss of life. But also because of the context setting aside the horror of violent death, and the temperature and the, smells and all of those things that make the aftermath of an event like this soul crushing dockyard had a little inside that would develop into passion in the ensuing decade. He felt most alive treating people in desperate circumstances. 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By the time. He was deployed to have kenniston Bussard had been ready to go for some time after coming back from his deployment to Iraq. Everything about his job. As a fireman and paramedic just kind of him house fires which used to get his adrenaline pumping bordered on tedious. He spent all of his spare time and not an insignificant amount of money taking up first motorcycling, and then skydiving skydiving quickly became a passion. It was quiet and it felt dangerous all at the same time. It was exciting. It allowed him to get that rush that he missed from combat until he could go back again. And he tried to go back whenever the opportunity presented itself. When we rolled out the wire, it was like a weight was lifted off of me, and I was back in my environment. That I knew that I was comfortable in. It was kind of twisted comfort that now I'm back on high. Caller. I'm back in my environment. I'm back in my element. All right. Let's do this adrenaline junkie isn't quite the way to put it. It wasn't the danger of combat necessarily. Although that certainly was a factor in stand. It was the effect. He could have as just one person he could save people's lives who otherwise might have died. He could look back and say that he had a particular accomplishment, and rightfully be proud of it. The trouble is though taking that kind of pride in your work. Also means suffering the consequences when things go the other way, we're just getting up to speed, you know, convoy speed as we're leaving the wire, we're not two miles away from the entrance to the gate and the flash boom happens. I'm on the right hand side of the truck. Avi bid has driven out and driven underneath the second truck engineers, truck and detonated pick that truck up. Ten feet in the air, and it pushed it over like fifteen feet. And it's immediate, you know, panic and confusion, everybody's stepping on each other. Everybody's trying on the radio. Everybody's trying to figure out what's going on. I'm just waiting for grids to say, let's go the lead truck, they think that an ID has just gone off near the convoy. So they're trying to get out of the kill box. And they step on it and leave. I dunno is just a well-timed breach of protocol. But I keep up at the precise moment where there's finally a break in the radio. And I all I say four to seven is hit its mobility killed about that time grids says dot grab your shit. Let's go, and I run to all the cord length that I had and then I get pulled backwards by my head 'cause I've got a headset on and I'm like oh shit vehicles on fire that field tanks ruptured and nobody's getting out of the vehicle, and I'm kind of focused on getting to these injured guys in this truck. 'cause this is bad. I've got enough experience. This is going to be bad as cribs and Bussard moved toward the truck. They can see that it's on its side a crowded started to gather, and there's still no movement from inside the truck which was carrying the commander sergeant cribs takes charge of security gathering up guys to do crowd control and directing the remaining trucks into a defensive mode. Booze turns toward the kill them ramp and starts to get to work demand is concussed but can find his feet and helps establish a perimeter as bizarre turns his attention to getting into the truck. I try to go in the gunner's hatch hole and my kit was too big around for me to get in the hole. So I start my kid off. I handed my rifle to my interpreter. Joan try to go on the whole I can't get in far enough to be able to find out what's going on. And then I kind of have thought unless the whole whole is rack the doors on open and the back. Well, I go to the back and the guy that was getting switched out all of his gear. In the back of that truck. And I'm basically crawling over all of his gear now mind, you the truck is on fire all of this elapsed in about under a minute. I've got somebody in the front of the truck screaming, bloody murder, losing his mind. I've got to get up there. Well, I know somebody's alive. The man who is screaming was the driver. He'd climbed up and was sitting on top of the door of the overturned truck. Looking down at his friend and colleague, Alex, French French was lying motionless with his head wedge between the door and the bulkhead. The driver had checked out the T C, Alex French his helmet was stuck between the bulkhead and the driver's seat as I'm getting close. I noticed that his m nine pistol is bent in the holster and his rifle had been positioned on the outside of his body in between him and the door and his rifle was bent from the bear from the tip of the bear. To the bottom of the stock. The whole thing was bent like a bow. And his pistol was as well, which told me that this guy has absorbed eighty lot of kinetic energy. He's tore up on the inside pretty bad is is glassy Agdal restorations. This is not going to go. Well, but I'm going to give him one hundred ten percent. We get his head freed up, and basically we just kinda slit her straight out on on top of the gear onto a spine board. All I've got with me at this point is my point of injury kit. So I get my simple airway, and I go to stick it down his throat. So that I can start breathing for him. And so I I try the king LT can't make it work tried to straighten it out try again can't make it work. Just choked it over my shoulder moved to plan b all I have is a scalpel and a tube to stick a hole in his neck. So I bust that little kid out. And I go to cut a hole in his neck. I can't I've never used this style. Scou-? Apple before that's got a guard on it that I couldn't figure out. So I go back focusing my efforts on figuring out how to work this guard. So I figured out and their team medic hopped in with the q r f because it's their this guy's friends. Helicopters inbound, I've done, I started Ivy. This other medic shows what can I do? And I'm like man, the airway, you know, I've got that secured. Let me finish my assessments and she were at and stuff in the helicopter lands, and we're getting loaded up on on a letter to transport him. I give them a quick little report. And I knew when we were getting ready to move him that his chances of survival were very very low. It's a long ride back to the base after a serious casualty even when you only have to travel to miles longer still is the time between when you hang up your gear for the day and the next mission. On mission. There's really nothing to consider you do your job. You be there for your guys stay vigilant and stay safe in the quiet of the aftermath though. Keeping your mind clear is a much less simple prospect, we kind of role in the role in the gate and everybody's looking at us because we're the guys that were just outside the wire they got hit with beaded drop home kit wash myself off and dribs the team sergeant ses get some food whatever just take the after noon, do whatever you want. I said I'm gonna go to the gym for a little while I'm gonna go try to work this out in my head. And he was like, all right, whatever. And I don't know an hour later. He comes and finds me at the gym. And I'm just trying to pound out my emotions grip stops me any said certain French died as a result of his injuries. And I kind of. Choke it down. I didn't know this guy. Well. I'm just really just met images part of our brigade we were doing a joint mission, and I gave it one hundred ten percent. But I don't think that. Even if the guy were to be hit like that. And immediately magically put into a surgical suite that he would have been able to survive that kinda hit. I mean, it was a Toyota Camry station wagon with about eight hundred pounds of explosives in picked up thirty five thousand pound truck and put it ten feet in the air and blew it over fifteen feet, you know, bent, his rifle and his pistol. That's a pretty big hit. But we take it personally. Even though we training. The can all be saved. And that's probably the hardest pill to swallow for the job. Proudly speaking with the exception of mortar attacks barracks tended to be markedly safer them being out on patrol. But in Afghanistan where green on blue attacks started getting a little bit more prevalent. There always was some tension on mixed bases. The soldiers did their best to shake it off. After all it just is impossible to stay vigilant. All the time I was on the phone with my if you will my surrogate mom and neighbor from New Mexico, whoever allowed this is I don't know what a couple of Afghan leadership and their soldiers would would go in and talk to major or whoever. So seeing an Afghan go into our who were the bulk of our guys were wasn't really out of the norm. There's no moon the generators off, and I'm standing outside talking on the satellite phone. I hear our feral dogs that we'd adopt. Did all the dogs were barking, which these dogs didn't bark, and they were attacking this Afghan which really didn't even raise a flag because the Afghans rollers throwing rocks at the dog. So it had been raining. It was muddy out and he's got all of his kid on. I'm fifty yards seventy five yards away from him. And I'm watching him. And I'm watching all of my dogs are all of our dogs attacking this guy. And I'm like kind of chuckling I was talking and. The rapid fire thoughts were holy shit. A mortar just landed where that guy was standing. And then the rational thought was wait. They have a hard enough time just hitting the cop in the first place. What else could cause that that mother fucker blew himself up? I run to my tent throw my Satphone on the bed grabbed my aid bag and I proceed down the west side of the building. And there's like this dusty haze all down the hallway, everybody's yelling and freaking out. If there's an upside to an attack like this. Instead there are medical facilities right nearby. Seeing that the evacuation from the scene already had begun Bussard grabbed up two of the walking wounded and limp them down to the first aid station where he began doing triage, remember, though, this is a fob not a proper base helicopters were already inbound to take the seriously wounded on for critical care. I'm giving everybody, you know, quick little once over triage and. Setting them down on a bench deal with you in a minute minute or two laters. I'm weeding my way through they bring in the headquarters. Platoon sergeant Gary wear on the litter unconscious unresponsive on his back. His right is hanging out of his head. And his jaws is locked shut. It's called treasonous. Usually, it's an indicator of a brain stem injury or a brain injury. He doesn't have any limbs missing. I'm starting. I'm doing an assessment. I'm running through this just at light speed. And. So I gotta control this guy's airway. He's not leaking. He's not bleeding to death. But I gotta get his airway under control really quick and with his jaw locked shut. So to speak. I got two choices cut a hole in his neck, which I had just done two or three months earlier on a different cigarette. And I got the Ivy going I got this other firemen bagging breathing for him. And I've got the correct doses. Drawn up. I've got syringes in both hands is I'm taking steps across to the litter to grab the IV port. Gary sits up with his right eye hanging out of his head. I mean, he's gone from completely unconscious to sitting straight up confused, and he kind of looks around with his good eye and his right is dangling, and he kind of looks around. And he goes that mother fucker blew me up thirsty, and he's got all sorts of little. Eighty bitty holes all down his torso in the front of him. And I think I remember like piece of his calf was missing he has taken the brunt of this explosion where had seen the bomber coming and was suspicious as he opened the door to check on the would be assassin. The bomber had to make way for it and detonated focusing the blast at the wall instead of down the hallway had the bomber made it into the barracks. There would have been a lot more damage than there was instead some guys got sent home with injuries, but they did get sent home even sergeant wear Bussard used a sharpie marker and he wrote right on the patient. What was done and what's still needed to be done before loading him up and send him off on a helicopter later. He would discover that the surgeon use those notes to save whereas life and even was able to save his I. I don't like to know the details of my critical patients after the fact, I have a hard time processing those things. I know that I did everything that I could I've never reserved any effort in keeping an American soldier alive ever. And I'm proud of that. But I do carry with me the ones that I gave one hundred ten percent to that. No matter what in my conscious brain. I know that might not they would not have survived despite my hundred and ten percent. But as my team sergeants aren't ribbons what said said after Alex French got killed in. I know you're gonna take this personally. And you can't but certain French died as a result of his injuries. Well sergeant wear didn't. This is war is sponsored by ADT can design and stall smart home. 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Just for you that AT dot com slash podcast. Because most of us will never be a primitive place with only primitive care. It's really hard to get a sense of just what a combat medic does and sees day-to-day flesh wounds, sprained ankles and all kinds of minor injuries piled in right, along with traumatic ones can alter your perception, not that it reduces your sponsor or your level of care quite the opposite. But it can new personal response. Until after the fact by the time he was done with his third combat tour boozer was angling for a spot as a flight medic, mostly because of his battlefield experiences. But also because of his mass casualty skills he relished the chaotic assignment of being able to fly into a combat zone. Pick up the seriously wounded and keep them alive between the battlefield and the operating table. It was something he felt was right up his alley. But now I'm in a position that is very much. Exactly what I wanted. I have now been given the opportunity. To do the most good for the most people in the best position. I think for me because that's all I ever wanted to do was help people out that were sick and injured get them back to their families. They were outbound to pick up some guys who are concussed after an M wrap explosion. When Mae got redirected one of the guys cleaning up the scene of the explosion had stepped on an IUD. He was critical. There's no moon the gun gunship escort was firing infrared rockets they fire rocket and from a distance, and it would burst over our heads. And it would burn in read some things that we could see because we had night vision on and I remember landing in this dry riverbed and seeing an off to the side, and I exit left side of the aircraft. And I'm walking out of the rotor disk, and I'm waving 'cause I'm told that this guy's a triple T. I'm waving the the litter crew in under the the rotor disk, and they. Slide him in on the deck of the aircraft. I remember the canister sixty four's just fired had burned out right as they were approaching the rotor disk, so it's like turning off a flood light. And then the next canister opens up in the blink of delay. Is this guy goes by me, the new canister opens up and I get a good look at him. And he's fucked up bad. He's missing both of his hands. His right arm. His radius one of the bones is exposed there's no muscle. It's bert. It looks like a bone claw from the wolverine movies. His owner is shorten back near is elbow. He's got nothing there. His left. Arm is missing below the elbow. His left leg is just riddled with shrapnel ground medic got all the tournaments on did a great job of controlling the bleeding. And we got there quick. And we don't have a long flight. I really. Spent most of the flight getting my ass kicked by him. My crew chief Terry Mills was trying to breathe for him. We find out much much later while he all he's got are just basically exposed bones for four arms, and he's stabbing me with his broken Ono radius. That's Burt in the body armor in near my kidney stabbing me with it. Know that he's not lucid he can't find out much much later after the fact after he's gotten back to the states and recovery he wanted to wipe his the blood off of his face, but he didn't have any hands, and I can still feel him jabbing me in my body armor underneath my flight gear in my right kidney with his right radius. But he lived he lost his left leg, which I had a feeling he was going to both of his arms, and I think in two thousand twelve I I was told this didn't verify that. I was the only flight medic to successfully keep alive tripoint PT. But I can't take all of the credit for it. Because it was the ground medic that got the turn it gets on him. I without that we would have had nothing and he's alive and back in the states. And that's another one of those that. I mean, I'd like to wish him well and. But I can't ever see that guy again because I'm not going to see him as he stands today. I'm going to see him and feel and know what went on in the back of our aircraft and carry enough of those images around long enough, and it wears. You do your job and you put it away. Sometimes you do it for a decade sometimes longer for doctors yard four combat towards had begun to take their toll shoulder injury from earlier on in his career would prevent him from reopeing flight medic rather than go back to garrison worker training. He led his contract expire made his way back into civilian life. Teaching skydiving was art can be prickly. He's the kind of guy who is unapologetically aware that people aren't ambivalent about him. But his friends are friends, and they stay that way for a reason. So it wasn't just a matter of chance that in dealing with the disconnect between critical life and death work and day-to-day civilian life Bussard found the right combination of support as he turned his head toward the future. He had and still has a network of support people. He served with friends in the skydiving community, his wife, Diane and more recently. But also crucially his friend, Odin, Odin, just new. He knew what his purpose was he didn't have to guess he was he was put on this earth to be my dog. And. More than one occasion. I might have consumed too much alcohol gotten upset about the things that we're talking about. And had those thoughts to put a gun in my mouth new and Odin completely unprompted would get up in my lap and just lick the tears off my face. And we've just got that connection. He's mine, and I'm his and. You know, it's not really a joke. Wood working dog has signed on his vest. Whatever says do not separate from handler. You can't separate him. From me. I am his I'm his responsibility. And he takes his job very seriously. The thrill of the fight might have brought doc who's our to the army, but his unconditional will to help to provide what aid or at least to bring what comfort he could developed pace with any desire to be in the fix things. And when you think about it. They're kind of the scene to fight death at the margins with only the smallest satisfaction from success and tons of regret from failure knowing that the winning is in the doing and having given your all sometimes enough to get you by. Next time on this is the rocket propelled grenade hit this tree sensually exploded. And I was in the fireball. I remember just there's this white flash. In this incredible heat. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know one with the story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates andbranch service, as well as a brief description of the experience that you would like to share if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.
26 | Moore
"I stuck my leg across there to hold the gate from swinging shut on my rifle in his soon as I got the gate push all the way back open with my right leg. I took it three round burst from an AK at the bottom of what we think about services the idea that we don't get to do what we want. We have to do what is needed for the better part of nNcholas Moore's career what you might call the glory of battle is overshadowed by the darker aspects of war and the trappings of a service to a cause greater than yourself. When the grenade was called he stayed right there. Right. By my side, you know, at at the cost of his own life. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away. And the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either kill or be killed from wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? Nncholas more caught a break when he enlisted in nineteen ninety nine his planet been to enlist get some money for college. And then figure out what to do with his life. His recruiter suggested he go in his arranger rather than as an infantryman saying that based on his personality he'd be miserable. Doing anything else? A little more than two years later. He was standing information at the ranger indoctrination program when they got the news that the country was under attack September eleventh was we are not only the fact that the towers came down, but ranger school is a closed course. So you don't get to see the news, or, you know, talk to people as things are going on. And so we're standing outside in formation and the time hacks come and gone for when we were supposed to leave. And so we kinda start wondering what's going on? You know, the instructors come out, and they ask if anybody has family in New York City that works at the World Trade Center, somebody said, well, what why and I said, well, somebody just cra-. The plane into it. It was kind of a heart sinking moment because you know, the the biggest fear that any ranger from arranger retain has is actually happening. You know countries being attacked. We're going to go to war, and I'm stuck in ranger school the innovation among the guys in the indoctrination program was such that within days Colonel sent along word than anyone who flunked out on purpose to get sent back to their battalion would be banned from ever replying to ranger school. It was October when they watched operation rhino in the invasion of Afghanistan commence on television. Third battalion guys devastated to have missed out on it. But more was with the second and celebrated along with the first because their battalions were still at home. And they only had about a month of training left. The unfolding war on terror sent them into the field with a sense of urgency. Few ranger classes before them had known. But by the time more to have ghanistan. The war seemed over Operation Anaconda had sent the Taliban into hiding so the Rangers just patrolled in stabbed a couple of basis, and then we're rotated out pretty much without incident. By the time. He was redeployed for the invasion of Iraq more just hoped. He'd have the chance to see some action before the war in the Middle East was over the company commander says you got about four hours to get cleaned up. And and packed up. We're going to another area an American convoys been, you know, shot up. There's an American POW in hospital. He come back in and you've been out for, you know, twenty four hours. Plus, you're like all I wanna do is go to sleep. And now, you're telling me, I four hours pack for this next mission. It's like, oh, yeah. That's a cruel jokes are a lot of what we were. Basing are off of was the amount of resistance at the marines were getting and they were saying that there was possibly up to five thousand fighters in the city still. That's why the reins were held at the at the bridge. So you know, we were going in front of that. So it's like, okay. Well, you know, could turn into Mogadishu gunfight trying to get in an around the hospital and secure it down. You know, we have a standard load lists that we carry for munition and everybody started kind of beefing that up and going to little heavier. We call it the good idea fair. Research to get in there and say, oh, you need to bring this and you need to bring that. So now, we're throwing clay more on people and strapping everybody down with more joke the specter of being caught short for a prolonged urban gunfight remains a real concern for the army Rangers as long as you have enough bullets. You can do without food. But you don't want to lack the firepower the downside as they would discover that you have to lug everything. So it's a balancing act between the good idea fairy and the practical concerns involved with carrying twenty to thirty extra pounds as he discovered on later tours. No matter whether you guess higher low, you often end up, wishing you'd guessed the other way. But when it comes to a POW rescue, you really can't be over prepared. We just established are blocking position we were clear through the house side, come in through the gate and on the left. There's a little carport. The laundry lines were up in the dish dashes were kind of floating in the slight breeze that was blowing in town and see muzzle flashes. Coming through the other side of the clothes and at first I thought. I was like, okay. Well, is that somebody shooting at me, and you know, or they breaching a door inside with shock done and then third round came. And I was like dope that somebody outside shooting in me and fired a burst back in. My team leader comes running over to my side of the building. And he's what are you shoot net? And I was like nobody's shooting at me. And he pokes his head around the corner in the fourth round comes. And he fires a couple rounds back. And then we we both go down the alleyway to clear the little bit of blood and trails up over the back wall. And that was the end of it. Well, I mean as we're getting everything established, you know, everything with the seal team and getting just getting her out by the time. We were even starting to establish our blocking positions, they're pulling the helicopters in and there s fell in her out. So now, we're doing holding down the routes waiting for the guys from first battalion who had driven east town and kind of loop around and we're coming in from the north to try and avoid all the roadblocks barricades and stuff so to get in. So we're holding everything down while they're collecting the remains for the other members from. Her convoy the whole thing from start to finish only lasted about three hours a little disappointed in the far as the gunfight site of ghost. But on the other flip side of that. What what the the letdown was with that? You're there was overwhelming swell pride amongst everybody that you know, this is the first POW rescue in over forty years. And we got to be part of it. What followed was another two years of uneventful deployments. It seemed as if Moore had found himself in the wrong country. Every time something interesting happened in retrospect, Afghanistan was just digging in. It was something. He kind of got a sense of during his first tour in that country during operation winter strike, which stood out more for the awful cold and unforgiving conditions than for any accomplishments. More remembers to things stick out, particularly the first was that whenever someone talks about the suck. That's what he thinks of the second was just how isolated area they had come to hunt. Bad guys, really? Was there really decentralized up there, and it's very true? Able and clannish. So we start going up there. You know, the the first thought was that. Oh, well, the Russians are finally coming back up in here. And that was kind of the running joke is that oh the Russians are are still here. And then they find out that we're Americans, and they think that we're over here and we've chased the Russians away, and it's like no the rest has been gone for like ten years. So the last ten times it snowed. They haven't been here. So that was kind of like the recurring theme every time we'd bump into new village. Everybody's like, oh, you're here to get rid of the Russians like no they left on their own. They did it like ten years ago. That's kind of when when you look ghanistan to the end of two thousand three early two thousand four that's kind of the last time where they actually were still happy that we were there. And then starts the okay. Will you guys have chased the Taliban away the al-qaeda's gone? And and you know, now, we don't want you in our country either. So, you know, now, we're gonna start fighting you because we want you to leave to more would have been happy to accommodate from his perspective. Whatever action there was had to be happening someplace else, he got married. And continued training and deploying short uneventful bursts for most of two thousand and five and then while finishing up a tour and the corn gall valley. More got pulled into another action that would take its place in US military legend and lure so to five ended up going to Afghantistan way. Didn't really do a ton of anything. We may have done maybe ten missions on the were like, oh, this thing is finally started in because we're hearing all this stuff that's going on in Iraq. And all the fun that those guys are having an, you know, they're offering temple is really high. And we're over here like waiting in the kiddy pool when we get the word that the seals are going to go out and they're gonna conduct. What's called the operation Red Wings, and they're going to insert a four-man reconnaissance team up in the cone are and try and gather some some firsthand intelligence, we all kind of we're puzzled at you're going into co NAR, and you're taking a form in seal team. Doesn't really sound. Like, the smartest decision. They launched the mission on the twenty seventh and knows on eventful for them all the way through the morning of the twenty eighth and the Nega compromised by some goat herders in the mountains and started a a running gunfight for for that seal team seals Michael Murphy, Matthew Axelson, Daniel deeds, and Marcus Latrell were missing out of contact. Command. Scrambled a quick reaction force to support an or extract the team, but that mission went sideways well with the special forces helicopter being shot down all sixteen aboard were killed more. Who had just been elevated to squad leader heard all of the news at once the Rangers tasked with recovering the helicopter crew and the eight navy seals aboard. And then continuing the hunt for the four seals. We'd lost contact the time line called for a twelve to twenty four hour mission. But the rain pushed back the initial response overnight by the time, it was all said and done more in his ranger platoon would be in the field for much longer. Than that. Hiring used to be hard multiple job sites. Stacks of resumes. A confusing review process, but today hiring can be easy. And you only have to go to one place to get it done. Ziprecruiter dot com slash this is war ZipRecruiter since your job to more than one hundred of the world's leading job boards. But they don't stop there. With their powerful matching technologies recruiter scans thousands of resumes to find people with the right experience and invite them to apply for your job as the applications come in ZipRecruiter analyzes each one spotlights the top candidates. Sue you. Never miss a great match. Ziprecruiter is so effective that eighty percent of employers who post on ZipRecruiter get a quality candidate through the site within the first day. And right now, my listeners can try ZipRecruiter for free at this exclusive web address, ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. That's ZipRecruiter dot. Com slash t h I s I s wwl are ZipRecruiter dot com slash this is war. Ziprecruiter, the smartest way to hire. Part of day to day ranger operations. So on some level. It made sense that the original mission plan was for twelve to twenty four hours. They needed to account for the sixteen servicemembers who'd likely were lost in the crash and get the bodies or the casualties extracted. Then it was just a matter of catching up with the four seals if they were still alive and exfiltrated them from the scene and back to the base. But people don't realize that when helicopters get shot down in Afghanistan, even in Iraq. It's not that we're not going to put troops back up there, and we're not going to send helicopters backup there. But we have to put all the pieces together to support these lift assets to get in there people go why did it take, you know, six hours to launch the the second rescue effort? Well, we just had a helicopter get shot down. And you know, we can't just fly an unescorted helicopter up in there and put troops on the ground. You're on on one of the most important missions that you could you could be on you know, as combat search and rescue. Is sounds like it's this horrible thing. But I mean in actuality, you're you're the guy. That's going in to make sure that her injured alluded get medical attention. They get flown out. And that you know, guys that are killed get to come home. Things started going wrong before they were even on the ground. There was no good landing zone. So the Rangers had fast rope out of the back of the helicopter sixty to eighty feet down to the rugged heavily tree to rain from there. It was a race in the wet slippery hilly dark to the helicopter. They still could see burning in the distance. The crash was more than twenty four hours old and the four seals were missing for something closer to thirty six the Afghan fighters had long since bugged out and the Rangers could see their campfires on the distant ridges. They noted their positions for later time for now the platoon had the mountains dangers in the missions urgency as their enemies, you'll even then we still had some some injuries of system guys that probably should have been medivac. But there was not a way to so they had to deal with you know, the the sprained ankles, and we had one guy with a broken arm that should have. Been medevac. But you know, you can't land helicopter, and they just did one hundred foot fast rope. So, you know, he's wearing just a splint on his arm and luckily for him, he's radio operator. So he just needed one hand took us most of the night to get there. I think we got there about an hour before the sun came up. Nobody was left alive. Everybody had had died in the crash because the helicopter turned into a fireball when it got shot with an RV g. So it was just recovered the sixteen bodies at the crash site. And they started collecting the remains up in bagging and moving them back up onto the right as the sun came up, and I would say probably about lunchtime. They were they were done. The next problem was to get the fallen and the guys who'd been injured on their way to the crash site home Moore's team just returned from a master breaches class before their deployment. So they grabbed up some charges and set to creating a clearing where one hadn't been the work took hours just before nightfall they were able to put the dead and the injured on a helicopter turn their minds to answering the next big question. What happened to the four navy seals? So we still don't know the fate of this seal team that's lost. You know, they've dropped out of comes. And they've never come back in and reestablish communications. So, you know, are they alive or dead is the radio shot? It does the Taliban or al-qaeda do they have control their equipment? And they're missing with this. Or so do you see the variables of all the things that are are kind of playing with this decision to? Okay, we're going to send about fifteen man ranger element. We're gonna go down the mountain, and we're going to figure out what this is. And of course, the lovely mountain rain starts to come in. And it's rained on us all night long. And so guys are slipping and sliding down this narrow little trail and. Just kind of it was a miserable day is what are those ones? Where like if you don't find something to laugh at is horrible. So we everybody's slipping and falling and we're laughing at each other. And it's kind of you know, trying to take the misery out of it. Eventually one of the guys lipped off terrace and was spared. A two hundred foot follow his death by allege the Rangers called tonight, but without cover and between the adrenaline and the relentless rain nobody really slept. They had only been in the field twenty four hours at this point. But it was clear they were nowhere near completing their mission. The forward observers continued marking the campfire positions of the Afghan fighters across the valley. They would get there before it was all said and done in the morning. They called for resupplying got word that a special forces detachment was catching up with them. So they held fast drying their close as best. They could before linking up with the SF guys in heading toward a nearby village. The special forces team wanted to approach the village elders and ask about the seals. The Rangers wanted to start kicking in doors in. In the end. They split the difference with the SF guys heading down to have tea and the Rangers kicking in doors. I hate to use the term this a typical Afghan village in the mountains. It's you know, terrorist construction. So, you know, my house might be on top of your house. Has it starts to go down? The ridge not really big. There might have been they be twenty five structures in the village. Well, I mean, we only kicked in the doors on maybe eight to twelve houses, and then Jason called on the radio and said there were three people coming up from the from the bottom of the draw at this point. We we kind of knew that somebody had survive because there was this note that had reached the base at Asadabad. So as all of this, you know, us coming off the ridge all this information starting to dump down at the same time. It's getting disseminated us. So we knew that there was one confirmed Americans -vivor. So when you see a six foot tall person in Afghanistan with a big big black beard, and bushy hair. And it's not, you know, Brown skinned individual like the. Afghans are then you're like, okay. Well, we got him. So we stopped smashing indoors. And and we said sorry. And if you want some money for your smashed indoors come out here and talk to these guys, and they'll pay you sorry. The Rangers mission had been successful so far. But it wasn't a triumph by any means. They'd recover the bodies of their fallen comrades and located a portion of the missing seal team, Marcus Latrell, whose own struggle would be recounted in the book and movie lone survivor, but the longest most difficult part of the mission still was in front of them the SF teams medic in our medic where we're treating Marcus for his injuries. And you know, started trading some intelligence of you know, where where were you guys at you know, what happened how did all this play out? And then the ultimate the the question comes down is, you know, well, you guys were f- two days ago. You guys were four-man reconnaissance team. Now, there's just you. Where's everybody else? And is one of those, you know, he just kind of said there did it was like, oh, okay. But where and he's you know points up to the ridge. And he said, I don't know man, we were just in a downhill gunfight and. I ended up by myself. So they're I mean, they're up there somewhere as kind of one of those frustrating moments for us because you know, it's like, oh awesome. Sin needle in haystack. The mountains of ghanistan present a particular challenge, especially when you're conducting a search in addition to the awful weather. There are these rocky crevices with treacherous footing and severe inclines where you can walk miles up cover less than half that distance laterally. Moreover, since you're looking for any evidence at all the going is incredibly slow and just as with that last body recovery mission. It's a question of success without victory. So we got Marcus out. And then the next day the remaining portion of our platoon started pushing down off the top of the mountain, and we started cleared from below the village up through the bottom of the draw and till we bumped into each other. And did you find anything we didn't find anything in kind of? They took a break. We took a break. And we're just gonna you know, the top half of the climb. They found the first two remains. They founded by accident. One of the guys lost his footing and slipped in this little washout and ended up face down on top of both of. And so then it was you know, he got freaked out. And then he said, okay, I found two and so then they had to figure out there on the side of the mountain, and it's a really steep up there. I mean, so then it had try and figure out how to get these two guys back to the top. So they had to wrap them up in ponchos and try and make litter out of some some sticks and logs and things that they had found and kind of drag these guys back to the top. And then call another medivac in and do basket retrieval to to get them off the top of the ridge because it was gonna take too long after the Jessica Lynch rescue more was involved in the hunt for the guys on the fifty two most wanted he'd been back and forth to Iraq and Afghanistan on multiple tours and missions that were more or less accessible. But what sticks out with him more than the firefights clearing-houses in enduring the sub that was the day to day, the desert's of Iraq and in the mountains of Afghans, STAN and the guys who didn't come back, and what that took the Rangers provided muscle for the delta and seal team special operators who they refer to his secret squirrel guys when you're working on the edges like that. Though. There aren't a lot of half successes. It's often either triumph or disaster. More had been arranged for a decade when he got his turn to be put tune sergeant overseeing actions on what was shipping up to be another relatively uneventful tour in Afghanistan. The weren't Iraq was over. And there was a significant push to clean up enough ghanistan as well. Bin Laden was dead. And other leaders were in the crosshairs Afghanistan was popping with special forces running missions. And the Rangers were there to provide muscle and support is needed. Then on August, six two thousand and eleven extortion. Seventeen was shot down carrying members of seal team six and their dog along with some Afghan. Soldiers. It would be the deadliest night in special forces history. More in his platoon who were involved in the assault on objective lefty grove were in mid chase. When they got the news Il drunk drop are targeted extortion. One seven moved to recover, you know, secure the crash site again and recover the thirty eight kills on on that crash. You know, I already in my mind, I know it we're walking into, but I'm I'm the only guy in my platoon. That's there when on the ground for the one in two thousand five dealing thing that you could do is figure out which squad has the guys that have been around the longest and the guys that are the most mature that can handle what you're about to walk into Menendez skysurfer to get fatigued, and you just have to trade him out with other guys, but you try to limit the amount of guys that you have to expose to that you know, to the to the lease amounts possible. Retrieving those sixteen bodies six years before made more uniquely qualified to run this mission. But. The foreign fighters who shot down extortion seventeen. It was just luck. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time still he knew that his toughest is Rangers were this was going to be a mission that stuck with them. I think the biggest off striking moment for most of the guys was not when we actually got to the crash, and it was one of those oh, no moments. If he will as gifts on the radio when we rounded this thing in the whole night sky just lit up with this fire in the distance. And and you know, what it is. And and you're still, you know, forty five minutes away from it. I mean, the flames are licking up out of the out of the bottom of this creek twenty five thirty feet, you know, just straight up things are still exploding ammunition. Still cooking off from the fire in the heat. Fuel cells are exploding that haven't ruptured yet from the helicopter. Everybody wants to run straight to the fire. And you know, it's it's great. But you have to kind of say, well, this is a crash and people get thrown from crashes took an hour for them to cover the distance moving fast. As they could down in ID heavy road and hoping for the best rather than marching through village. They took a shortcut through a field. Again. The idea is to move as fast as possible to the recovery site without taking your eyes off the road getting into a firefight and having to be rescued at this point or having to deal with additional wounded only increases the burden on the whole regiment. Plus, you essentially have to hand over your mission to someone else, and then the mission takes longer the last thing more wanted was for his guys to be out there one second more than necessary. But I was turned around and come back and give some more guidance and direction the last feel so exploded, basically knocked everybody down laid me I'll over thirty feet away from it late me fly back and doc and Andrew took a couple of small pieces of shrapnel to the to the leg and went to to the small of the back. Andrew got a blister on his back. Docket a piece of shrapnel stuck in his calf their personnel. As tight as they can get, you know, as long as they can stand the heat, and they're they're starting to collect some of these guys that are on the outlying edges of the fire instead of just sitting there staring at it like a campfire dine out, you know, we're trying to as fast as we can safely as we can, you know, start collecting these these remains to get accountability. Whether you're in combat or performance search and rescue. Sometimes there are some tough choices you have to make. And they stay with you. There also were some tough choices that people make on your behalf. Those can be the toughest ones to push through by the time. The fire died down each of the men and Moore's ranger platoon would walkaway different person. This podcast is sponsored by ADT. This Israel protection when it comes to something as important as your family's safety. You deserve real protection. From ADT. Real protection means the nation's number one smart home security provider is standing by. 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Just for you ADT real protection. Time. And again, when we hear stories of the people who've served, it's easy loose sense. The vast nece this is a small number of soldiers well trained, and well armed but still on their own in the vast wilderness, and sometimes technology just can't do the job alone. The only thing for it is to put one foot in front of the other news, your hands and your brains solve problems and endure hardships. And do the best you can when there's no good option as a set to recovering and sending home the remains of the seal team, each ranger understood the solemnity of the moment, and the responsibility, they bore the hardest part of the whole thing was that the dog handler he had grabbed the dog as a helicopter gotten shot. So it started to spin he grabbed the dog to hold onto it. He's responsible for for control in the dog. So his natural instinct when yield would something happens like that is to to grab the dog to keep it from becoming a flying object inside the helicopter and then after the crash east. Still holding onto it. And so you know him and he died holding the dog. So that was the hardest part was you know, how do we take this individual and this dog in separate the two. So you know, it becomes one of those. It's just because one of those really just bad decisions that you have to make yield a you have to tell somebody. Hey, we have to you know, they have to be separated. And there's you know, it's better to. Break the dog in half than it is to tear somebody's, you know, a an American servicemembers arms off. So we ended up having to grab the dog weather the back legs in the front legs. And kind of folded him until it just broke. The Rangers have been on the ground for thirty two hours by the time. They got the bodies loaded and their relief arrive, but there was going to get a lot longer still given the recent shootdown they couldn't be exfiltrated during the day. They sprinted up the mountain to the ridge from where they could be safely X failed. Fifteen minutes before the sun broke, ten minutes later, they were on the chopper and in another ten they had put back down at the base. But it was a different base than they had left an empty or one. The seal team commander was on the hill copter. He flew into exile with us just a ride, and he wanted to talk everybody, you know, about what had happened, and we just kind of stay there. We let him say what he needed to say the buses were there for us to get onto ride back to the camp from the flight line. And I just said, hey, just. Just take a minute. And you know, just think about what has just happened in in. You know, if you know, if you need a minute just kinda just take a minute because there's no there's no shame in in anything that you know, I've asked you to do or that you've done. I mean, it should be extremely proud of yourselves. And you know, it's okay. If you know nobody's going to hold it against somebody cafeteria there. I I think most guys was we were okay. When we got off the helicopters when we got back to the camp in like walking into a ghost town, thirty three people or not there anymore, and there's nobody walking around outside. There's there's nobody standing outside drinking a Cup of coffee having a conversation laughing joking throwing a football than the support personnel. Start coming out of the dock, and they start, you know, wanting to their all in tears because they lost all their friends, and you're here, and they wanna give you a hug, and it's just it's it's an emotionally awkward moment. As kinda. The only way that I can describe this feeling it's just like, and I have no idea what to say to you. But you know, they say thank you for what you've done to, you know, mixture their friends came home. And thank you just doesn't feel like the right words by the time. His career was over nNcholas more had been in the Rangers for dozen years deployed for a significant amount of that without a scratch worth talking about like so much else. When it comes to the chaos of battle, though, that's just a matter of dumb luck one way or the other though it had spared him on previous raids. Chance was not his ally on his final incursion. That's October eighth. We get a pretty decent target for what we call mid level pipes Weirs just the idea weapons facilitators is usually what they are. They can give you the intelligence for the guys on the top of the pyramid that they can tell you how to get the guys on the bottom. The building cluster we only had like about a twenty five percent chance of hitting the right building because it was four compounds and they all shared stale shared walls. So you know, we took a swing on the first building where we thought. It was actually at and it turned out it was wrong. And so we move down the alleyway a little bit more started kicking in doors trying to get a sense of which would be the next one kicked open fella ranger specialist Ricard's, Sarah and a couple others. We're following along providing cover and security. They were setting up for the raid with the doorway propped open more a second just to make sure everyone was set. So now, we have an open door. So I get a gun barrel in their third squads shows up right behind me. Just like ten seconds later. Cerro. Says off on my on my right? And he's pulled security on more doors down the alley from us, and Sean Sean on the other side of the gateway from me. And he's got the rest of the squad there with him. He had been holding the gate door open. So he let go of it. And it started swing shut, you know, instinctually. I stuck my leg across there to hold the gate from swinging shut on my rifle. And as soon as I got the gate, push all the way back open with my right leg. I took it three round burst from an AK one round through the right thigh one round through. The right arm and the third one skip through my helmet. You're the first round impacted in my leg, and it just felt like somebody hit me with an eight pound sledge hammer on a full swing. It was just total shock and just pain my leg hurts so bad. I didn't even know I'd been shot in the arm as I'm getting spun around. I knew I'd gotten shot through the helmet people say, well, you know, what was that like as well, the light cert- to go diem, and that you get tunnel vision. And so I'm kind of knocked a little stupid if he will. And I slide down the wall, and I sit down and it's like, oh, okay. I know supposed to do something. Rangers train almost the exact same level of intensity with which they deploy. That means exhaustion, and hunger and extreme weather aren't anymore problem when the rounds or live than when it's a training exercise, but getting shot as different story you see regularly engage in casualty play pretending to be wounded and self applying field dressings, but having gone more than a decade without a scratch. Reality of the wound in the fog of action said more back for a second eventually found his turn it and got it on around him the firefight. Just intensified just a minute. Maybe a minute or two gone by in my perception of time, you know, get the call that you know, grenade has been thrown out in the alleyway. And so it's like, well, I kid stand up and move. So all I can do slight over and lay on my left side and let my my rear end get hit. And you know, I couldn't feel anything because my leg was numb from from heaven been shot. So I knew I'd got hit in the in the leg by because there was no way to not get hit by because there wasn't that much space out there, and all I heard was moaning in the night was Sarah said had gotten a hit with the strap NL and he had fallen down from it. And he was laying kinda just off my feet in the alleyway. And there was a lull in the, you know, gunfire kind of cease there for a minute or two Garrett had been standing right there. Neck. To me. And he asked me could I walk. I said the ACA wall just stand me up and docks coming down to help. And, you know, ask me if I'm okay? And I said, no, I'm fine. Just help Cerro's. I started, you know, making my way out, and I just remember, you know, looking down in the moonlight and seeing this enemy fighter in the alleyway. Who's who's dead in my mind? I'm like I'm only been sitting on the ground for a couple of minutes where did he come from? And actually, it's about ten minutes. I got about halfway to where I wanna go in my leg. Start falling asleep and our other medics coming in. And he's asking me if I'm okay? And I said, yeah, I'm okay. I can't feel my foot though. And I don't wanna follow my face. So give me a shoulder to hang onto and doc sits down and looking be over. And they said, well, you need another turn kit 'cause you're still bleeding all could do with him because hurt really bad and than by that time Sarah says coming out, and he was way worse off than me. So I was telling Dr, you know, go help barrows. So I'm banged up. I'm still trying to direct the. Fight that's going on trying to move elements around doing okay, as you know as a casualty. I knew that it'd been shot and was kind of messed up, and I didn't really start to panic about anything until they cut my arm off me, and they took my radio's away. And I I was just, you know, the reality of of everything kind of solidified in my mind that you know, I'm about to get medivac out here. The Rangers had more than a dozen purple hearts awarded that night and two silver stars was for Sean who was shot in the arm and kept fighting until an Apache helicopter took down the entire compound with hellfire rockets. The other one was awarded to specialist. Ricardo. Sarah's posthumously Cirrus state right there and said of taking cover when the grenade was called he stayed right there. Right. By my side. You know, at at the cost of his own life to pull security on those two doorways into make sure that you know, nobody would interfere with the casualties. We had where I was. And then afterwards, you know. That was probably the hardest part was meeting his his family not because I didn't want to. But because you know, that's that can go one of two ways, you know, they're going to be proud and accept the fact that you know, what their son did, and, you know, an embrace you or they're going to hit you. And so when you have to try and explain, you know, all of this happened, and I survived, and he didn't it's it's just always kind of one of those those hard hard things. It went really great. You know, his dad was a vet and it served in the army and the eighties. So his dad, you know, alternately knew what is son it signed up to do when a son signed up to be a ranger. And he said, I, you know, unfortunately, you know, he's not here. But you are and he did his job. And he did what he was supposed to do. So I can't be you know, I can't hold that against you. That's you know. Oh, that's just the way things happen. And you know, he said, I'm just really proud that. He didn't he didn't let himself down. Although he technically served another tour. More spent the first part of it behind a desk, the assignment exacerbated his wounded infection set in more had exactly no plan for life after the army. He had signed up as a life or before the war on terror even started and had been confident that he'd do twenty years. He was six years shy when he was medically retired. That's kind of the hard part for when guy sign up to be in the military, and they get injured and going through the process of rehabilitation and trying to come back on duty. And then they say, no, you're going to be mid boarded. And then it's you know, you kind of just get dumped out and here you go. Hope you were smart enough to figure something else out. I started working through the VA system. And you know, my west started putting out a lot of things that I was trying to hide that I didn't have short term memory issues, and you know. A lot lot worse issues with my leg than than what I like to to lead on with people in Sioux. Now, I'm a hundred percent disabled from the VA, and I draw disability from social security more was invited onto a television show called grateful nation with Tim able and during the production historic captured the host attention from their more started working with another veteran on the book run to the sound of the guns and account of Moore's life of service. The toughest thing for so many people transitioning out of the military is finding away for their life to continue to mean something special to be extra ordinary. The disconnect is it's hard to do extraordinary things in day to day America, but holding close that sense of living up to a higher set of ideals and finding a way every day not to let yourself down. That's a challenge worth meeting. And for now, that's the best plan that nNcholas Moore has. Next time on this is war. And so we're getting shot at at first. We don't know exactly where it's coming from. But then eventually, I see this caller at the end of this alleyway and can see the muzzle flashes. Coming from the windows. Are you a combat veteran or do, you know, one with story to tell breach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your dates and branch of service, and a brief description of the experience that you'd like to share if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving us a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.
23 | Waage
"See so that the spectral images are bound back, and we go down and clear pass this wall, and there's a by on the ground from leading soldiers in Afghanistan to kicking down doors as part of the ranger regiment. Eric wadis career was marked by violence and close calls. He had the kinds of tours that can wear on your humanity. If you take a moment to stop and think about it. But if you just keep running and fighting you can avoid dealing with for quite some time. The thing about leading though even in the United States army is that sometimes you have to negotiate. And when you do you may want access to a little of that empathy worked so hard to keep buried or start hearing chance down the bomb the hill, and there's more and more of them coming and it sounds like there's five hundred down their mind turbulent. He's very nurse to. Hey, where all these guys saying says a man is saying death to America. I could see the fear overwhelm. What is true bravery? What makes a hero a hero tested by the worries of what's happening at home, thousands of miles away. And the reality of what you're facing here. And now when your life is in danger every second and it's either killed or be killed from wondering and incongruity media. This is Anthony Russo. And this. Is war? Like hell to get into West Point excelling in sports to sweetness chances of acceptance and then doubling down on that effort after the towers fell in the beginning of senior year, Iraq, kicked off not long after and the military college transform during his five red-shirted years as theoretical became practical. Combat veterans started returning to update the tactical curriculum with freshly learned experience garnered from fighting insurgents, but the curriculum wasn't the only thing changed as I alumni. And then colleagues started dying the first graduate who is killed think. She's an oath to grab or Walker sort of a big deal for the academy. There's a moment of silence at lunch and know, it's four thousand cadets same time in Erie sort of impact is very impactful at the time and the bagpipes came out like ten o'clock at night, and we all turned off our lights and had candles, and they played amazing grace and such a big deal. And I was just sort of the beginning after that over the four years. We start having these visuals for the most part, you know, any big orchestrated morning for them Usov rolled with it you and your peers. Your friends or how you get used to? People dying pretty frequently that you're close to like a lot of infantryman while you played rugby at West Point. You get close to the other guys literally and figuratively. So when they start deploying in dying while you're still in school battlefield costs become much more real than in the classroom, but coming to terms with a career where your colleagues died regularly didn't so much dull his sense of laws as get resolute in his mind to think otherwise would be to miss the point of being a leader during wartime people were going to die under his command that often felt inevitable doing his best to restrict the number and the severity of casualties among his men, and to take that responsibility. Seriously was the best he'd be able to do is in one three two injury. Just come off at the point a fifteen month, deployment, the senior NCO at least in my platoon or not NCO's at a time when they were deployed, so they had a very fast in the Comey commander had been killed. The last appointment the law firefights seen a med smell of. Violence, and they they were pretty hardened folks. By the time, I got there and all of them were younger than me. So a challenge. So I you know, I p l. Allies Itchen to to get out and experienced that. And it took some time. I wasn't trying to chase folks down to get Diane won't put people wrist. But no, I really hoping for that to happen because there is some credibility that you get once you get your combat infantry badge and whatnot. He knows a riot passage. You've been tested your mouth contested mountains of Afghantistan were cold and quiet when he hit the ground with the hundred thirty second at the end of two thousand eight broadly speaking the mission was to set up a forward operating base in use it as a springboard to train the Afghan national army and police as it set trying to pacify the region the hope had been to make the AMA the face of the mission establishing it as the primary military force. We're up on this wiscon- hill. We're not sleeping that much because we're always Colin security, again, just a few hours sleep, and I remember sleeping in my little seeping bag every night praying for the sun to come up to warm warm up surf fucked up thing about this. Hills. I was a cemetery all around it an information operation standpoint. Like, a cyclops standpoint, this is probably the worst place to have this patrol base is pretty disrespectful in retrospect. And I got a call from my commander. Go clear this route for some future operations, I had to leave a an element. Top of this hill about half my guys on top this Hilla, some heavy machine-guns nine left with about twelve or fourteen guys and a couple of machine guns. We don't have any kind of technical Clements. Clear this route for ID's, we're doing all visually. There's lots of irrigation systems, which are form these natural trenches were walking down this road. I hear pops I hit the deck. Now hear my saw goner blazing. At this trench, no fucked up, I got a little bit grand. 'cause I'm like it's on man. Had this AMP guy next to me. I mean his round coming right next to my guys. So I jumped on this, dude. And so Russell to the ground and tell them to shut the gun down because he's about to cost frat on my guys. We hop into the trench line. They essentially skirt out using these trench lines out to some dead space behind a wall and had hopped on motorcycles. And just like got the hell out of there. They skyway. So it's really sort of climactic, but it was my first real real firefight. It certainly wasn't going to be his last setting aside the tensions that have been mounting between the Afghans in the US troops since the invasion. Con hail held a particular place in local lore in the early eighties. Not long after the Russian invasion Soviet troops established a presence. And as the story was told to Wadi arranged a meeting with seventy two village leaders. People have influence in their social circles from teenagers to old men. The Soviets bound the men when they arrived and executed them in the half built jail at the foot of the hill. The jail never was completed the bullet hole riddled foundation served as temporary building for gay and his men as they established the base around the cemetery flew seventy seventy-two green flags to memorialize that dead. This wasn't a place at treasured foreigners and certainly not one. Where negotiating with foreign forces was considered wise or even useful. So as new faces started showing up in the village after that first fire fight pensions, only could have heightened after all it already was a hill for spilling blood. I'm sleeping inside. This little foundation. We have five gun trucks stroke around the top of this hill. And I start talking to my, hey, you know, we're getting some feedback from the local was at the Taliban have been essentially spraying graffiti all around the village. So I go and I link up with some local police and get them to go on patrol does to sort to scrape off all this graffiti, this pro-taliban graffiti, and then we hear the first pop and a lot more pops in we see this team guys bound into this wall about two years away in say star engaging us, and this is riot dustman. The sun is just going down the mountains. Then we start here in pops from the bizarre, which is Ryan perpendicular to the hill. And there's guys on top of these roofs. On the bizarre who are engaging us. So now again hit from two sides. Now, here's some pops from the side down by the hill. When we see we start receiving some RPG round this cloud cover start coming in. It's not too thick this time, we think there's probably like thirty dudes platoon size element that was attacking us at this point. I'm not afraid because we do have a ton of ground-based fires were not necessarily bad situation. My guys in the gun position. By this wall. We're using 'em fourteen. Which are these essentially just a rifle to start popping these guys off on this roofs, and they're still this pocketed dudes who are who are getting pre it fires. And this is all happening fifteen minutes while Geico for air support without a good sense of what was going on in the field crossing all that dead space between them and the enemy stronghold was asking to get ambushed. Unfortunately, the cloud cover had continued to thick. And then there was none of Alabel. This was a problem that he would have to solve himself. Sometimes he enlisted like to joke about West Point officers about their no at all add. A tutor the way they carry themselves. It's not much of a secret and something the officers get comfortable with as long as they're good at their jobs while he was good at his job. Any wasn't a know it all which is why he went to his NCO for a plan because in the heat of battle. There's almost nothing more valuable than an NCO. Who knows his stuff? I go this composition. I had this very competent. And Mark Camacho. My hey, man, we run these dudes right now guy recommendations, and he says by style this foundation, we go along this relying get serve a parallel to this wall. We're gonna be pre exposed when we do this. And then we inflate fire just like Killys dudes behind this wall. His sort of scariest time 'cause I can see the muzzle flashes of these AK's like fifty meters away from me, and I can see him popping off point at my other guys up on top of the hill if they turn their hips around and looked at me with her AK's. They just got us all down previously. So we get there. We all get set. Can we start laying down just rifle on this wall? We see these spectral images are bound back. We go down. Clear pass this wall. There's a by on the ground puddle, and all I can hear is the sound of a cell phone ring Israel. I turned by over look at. He's got the sort of like Mona Lisa smile staring up. His eyes are open. We caught him with some price and five six are you his I damn blow out the back of his head surrogate must arou- around up in his brain. But he was he was definitely dead. We clear it try find gun there is no gun there. So that's concerning. We need some sort of evidence that we're in a firefight to agree and also Benita always this guy civilian was just in Iran spot there on time. But right now, the fog is starring close in off at this point in time. We thought his body, and we put it in a humvee drive off the top of this hill. We're trying to see if this is you know, he has this body is an individual who was registered hander stone. Call by now rigmarole saying any star stiffen up. Most of my guys are trying to use Emory heaters to warm his hands up. So we can see if we impose fingerprints. That's going on. You know, Tom. I commander says, hey, we're starting to get some signal intelligence that there's a Ellum about four, dude. Driving up from from chart to take revenge on the guys you kill tonight. Like, okay, we got four more guys come to get us. Right. When that happens like, we just get involved in this fog. That's thickest piece. You can't see anything. My thermals aren't working through there. You couldn't see five on your face. So I just have our guys go there fine position gun positions. Hold tight. We have no air support. Can't get any by. We take casualties. Can't see shit, man. Everything just closing in on you. We having kind of obstacles or barriers protecting us to prevent folks from coming up for the next three hours. Everyone's on edge, like no one sleeping, raw Gan ready for this node into some close combat the dead man wasn't in the system whether he was an unlucky recruit or an innocent bystander was something and his platoon didn't know and wouldn't. Find out what they did know was that the anger and the outrage over this man's death had swelled, and they wouldn't be fighting Caliban fighters, but rather angry locals in the heat of recounting that story just now. Eric Wadi misspoke. There weren't forty guys on the way to kill them. There were four hundred. This podcast is sponsored by ADT. This Israel protection when it comes to something as important as your family safety. You deserve real protection. From ADT. Real protection means the nation's number one smart home security provider is standing by there for you. When you need them. Real protection means having a safe smart home, a home custom fit to your lifestyle with everything from video doorbells to surveillance cameras that stream to your phone to smart locks in lights to carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. If you're trying to self monitor your home security, why be glued to your phone twenty four seven when you can have best in class monitoring professionals from ADT that Israel protection real protection means helping keep you safe on the go in the car, or when your kids are at school with the ADT go app and has s button set up custom automations, unique to your home to automatically do things. Like lock the doors and set the thermostat when you leave. You can even close the garage door. Or from virtually anywhere that Israel protection. No matter how you define safety for you, your family or your business ADT is their visit ADT dot com slash podcast to learn more about how ADT can design and install a secure smart home. Just for you ADT real protection. Walkie was leading twenty five or so members of the best quip best trained military forces in history. There was no question they had superior firepower and also the high ground, but there were no battlements not unless you count the terrorists. No obstacles between the bottom of the hill and the top except the rounds. The soldiers could unleash at thousands per second with a number of deficit of nearly twenty two one feared did start to creep in. This is what makes a leader keeping your guys cool before during and after the fight making sure the passions. Don't create tactical errors with deadly consequences around four in the morning, right before the sun showing up start hearing chance down the bomb the hill, and there's more and more of them coming and sounds like there's five hundred down their mind, his very nurse to the guy saying says a man is you're saying death to America. I could see the fear overwhelm as he told me that. So I got like four or five hundred due to the bomb. Hill. And this piece you thick fog pure starring trying keep our shit together. This point in time trying to keep people calm over the radio. I mean is the team mentality? That's going to get you through it. But them know that we're all going to work together to get through this and it just word to incarcerate Hasley. And then the situations there's nothing like no magical so Rable that we could have done thank to to make the situation easier. Just hold hold the line. And you know, definitely was not me. This is the NCO's working together as a team to reassure everyone that we're gonna make it through this getting right at toss. Grenades out the turrets try to clear any kind of salt that gets close up to us. 'cause that'd be the problem is that they could get really close to us. So right. You know, we're hearing these guys and then start seeing these buys walking slowly up the the dog legs of this trail up to top of the mountain, and you know, the Sima threatening about four or five men. You know, the, Dan look armed at all. When. Walking stick? And that's about it. And then this elder comes up to me. And with my Tiffany says there are four hundred men down there that wants kill you. The fact that they were talking at all showed that they were open to negotiation through the interpreter he tried to strike a conciliatory balance emphasizing that they had been fired upon reminding the old man that they both knew there were a number of Taliban getting shelter and aid in the village. And is settling as he was able while impressed upon the elder that yes, there were just twenty five of them up there. But they were really really well armed and that even if they were over run, certainly it wasn't something. The rest of the army would let pass the fog would hold forever. Afterlife three mentioned Gauthier Shen the village elder seem satisfied, and we eventually came to conclusion that we call local Representative from Kabul become come down and do investigation. The fuck me up the most was at the end day out. No, he's good or bad guy. But his buys up there on this hill. The only thing we found was a and then he had. Like turn-up which uses snack. It was the brothers calling. The man that was killed having a few. He was okay, his brothers come up, and they are looking at me with the most hatred. I've ever experienced in my life, and they're screaming at me and telling me that I murdered their brother who's just very intense emotional situation. Talking's guys, you know, right or wrong. Read just killed their brother. He's a father of six kids or what? So they gathered by. Yup, they carry him down to the bomb. The hill. We still hear the chance of death to America down the bottom. And then right when they get to the bomb the hill assigned finally completely breaks the mountains, and as the fog's or dissipates across the plane. We see the backs of four hundred dudes welcome back towards the village. And now it's a sign of relief. You know, we made it through a night. No, we're so vulnerable. We had no support is all in us. It could've gone south real real fast. First, and we probably have all been killed alternately. We we ended up getting some intelligence out. We we killed a guys night died now Oklahoma Spital after there there have been brought from the battlefield to the hospital, and they all died the false accusation, wait on him. And it still does the larger point dealder made or at least a one watt took with him. Was that part of the village's rage did have to do with the man being killed? Sure. But the other part of it was fueled by the fact of the occupation itself. The Americans wouldn't have been fired upon if they weren't there when there's that much anger in impotence. It is short a boil over. Also, the tour would have to finish without him. While he was ordered to relieve another commander farther up the Kunar valley before he left. He was able to negotiate an additional four hours per day worth of generator fuel for the village. It was something at home in between Simon's. He got to learn what apps were and then how to use them metaphorically, anyway, come home to the United States and like nothing. Go on and people you clap and you walk the airport. Huge disconnect. I remember technology changed so fast at that point in time like I left. No, the end of two thousand eight thousand nine people were talking about these things called smartphones or iphones, and I come back a year later in everyone has smartphones or they're ubiquitous and I felt like while I was gone, and I just been living black hole for several months. They know me when my wife, we went down and visited my family in Tennessee visits her family, and sort of like you had this war application in your brain. And you have all you know, you have all these applicators empathy application, you have this war application, you have all these apps, but when you're overseas you on your war app, and then turned off when you come home and turn the war off. I got home. But sometimes. Found sometimes that -plication is always just running the background, especially these days. And you may not know it's there, but stuff I run. Sometimes the pops up you sorta let it run. I try not to get too invested in it. So. Sometimes it's like a rotating door, and you can't stop while. He's a experiences from showing up, but sometimes you can keep the door closed and used to your best attract keep a close heading back to the Kunar province. He switched his war back on and set to his work back on con- hill, they would eventually establish then demolish a more permanent base over the next decade or so and wadis new role. He'd be an interim company commander coming in a second in command just in time for the regular commander rotate home, his tactical role would become bigger picture, but also way more personal fortress the combat outpost to which he'd been assigned was under constant harassment. And right from Winnie arrived. It was clear that there was no safe place in the compound, I got his little shack. This little shed that had like two computers on Skype in with a wife checking up with understood kid next muse prior like nineteen years old and Hughes Skyping his family. And as I'm walking back office. We get hit Iran to the command post by remember using this camera. I saw this. Four or five RPG's launch from this fine desertion as you seem to float though, the air like six meters away, eventually like get closer and closer. And closer all is crazy in slow MO my puckered up because I knew these things your head right towards us like you up, and you squeeze your by gathering like us for the impact and just hope another shrapnel get you you feel the the wall. Shaken Hugh impacts went out of common by the thing about this one was I heard that we had taken a casualty. The firefight was peering out. We weren't take as much fire. So Iran to the the hut where this kid had been there's blood all over the floor. And he's laying out gravel we got on. And he's like screaming he's holding his head crime for his mom, and I go up got this gash probably about size of pinky parallel. Tos eyebrow? Mike, man, he must have cost him that shrapnel. But he's crying. No porno. We call the caz avec. No, we'd found out that the bullet had actually gone from the back of his head burst out for head. We go back into this hooch where he'd had been sitting the I've been sitting right next. Before and there's this round lodge into the computer screen that he had been looking at in the Bullhead just like gone to the back of his head gone out of his forehead in lodged into computer screen. He shoulda died. Like, I I saw a picture of them are coming manual to go visit them after the deployment the top of the skull had been removed. He had a lot mental difficulties in constant pain. But you know. This was like eighteen or nineteen years old. And you know, he had to live with this for the rest of his life and his family had to live with this for life. It's it's a shame. You know after being there so long sir questioning sometimes was the juice worth the squeeze from investing in in this this fight. And were there for the right reasons that starts that those kind of thought start lingering up on your the regular company commander took it upon himself to visit that young man in the hospital stateside in his absence while he was acting company commander handling day-to-day tactics. Administration. Nineteen year old Brian Wolverton was killed by a mortar round not long after arriving at fortress. It was to have been his first combat tour. His family was notified by the same knock at the doors, so many military families receive in all of them dread. As acting commander personal condolences fell to Wadi of all of the duties he had a discharge during his career. This was among the hardest. I never knew here's a signed her company. So I had to do the administrative fashions also do the company morning we had to do the ceremony. Also, call his mom. I got the phone the first time, and I called her that that day like took just so much, and I tried calling her and she never picked up so thankful that she did not pick up so thankful, and then I thought I'll try again so a day or two later, I try again and. She picked up, and I felt like I was gonna puke talking to her 'cause you sort of you know, sort of sort of coal call. I guess started talking about her son. She started crying mealy is just again is just very painful like this new guy comes on board is immediately killed or wounded the culmination of his life and that little section of the Hindu Kush. It wasn't that dramatic and that sort of shame. We're wasting young lives for these mountains. May may not be worth. It had been fewer than five years since West Point all but stopped when Laura Walker was killed in action before it left school while had resigned himself to the truth that violent death was not only inevitable during war, but eventually numbing as well. When he arrived the previous winter, he marveled at how cheap and brutish life enough ghanistan was, but then it got a taste of the violence day lived with Wolverton died in August two. Thousand nine a particularly violent month in a particularly violent year. Wadi had six months left on his first tour. They would be difficult ones punctuated by deaths close calls and injuries. That would follow him through the rest of his time as an officer. There's just patrol towards the end of the point they've been driving around the route next choice. They got hit by a near ambush. It was an RPG six or seven. I think in these things are armor-piercing they create this sort of Bolton bolt that huge the armor of vehicle bounces around inside. And this kid Patrick wasn't signed to my unit, but they got hit right next to us. He had been injured in brought him into the cop. They're all Stein. In the leader of this unit was like you had it is no saving private Ryan moment where huge disorder. Comatose just like staring off into the distance. And he wasn't really helping too much. So I go pull this kid out of the vehicle I grabbed onto his legs when I grabbed onto his legs of home out his legs came off amber looking down at the legs. And I know if you look at like you ever do ribs, and like a slow cooker you can source e the bone on the edge of the meat source sticking out. I remember looking at like source seeing that when I pulled his legs out. So I fell down on ground like holy shit. Dia pulled from his hips. Try like cradle his legs, which still serving the sleeves of his pants on my shoulders to pull mouth, AVI ical, we put on the stretcher again into the the our metal building is all pasty pale the sweats coming off, but he's smiling. He's just drugged up. He's trying to be a hard ass, and I see him dying. I and the blood just porn out like a faucet. Do another turn kit on his leg to try to a second one on the staunch the blood. I guess his left leg blown off completely and his right leg had a piece of sin. You kept it attached. And dude, I on how this guy survived is like any other war. No a decade earlier beyond with you of definitely been toast. But you made it now we evacuate on the aircraft's and he lost both his legs and whatnot, but survived that's like shit. Like that just kept coming in doubt can start to undermine your resolve. Which makes everything a little bit more dangerous for everyone though, he wasn't registering it fully at the time as his tour war on Wadi was burying whatever doubts. He had and using them as fuel to keep on moving for him. It wasn't so much the danger as it was the responsibility while he was comfortable with his own performance and putting his own life on the line. But watching comrades and civilians alike. Lose their lives without a clear view of completing an objective eventually would take it's toll by the time. He was done with the verse tour. Logging knew he needed a different kind of day to day. Even if it was a little bit more dangerous. kind of deployment at often can be as soldiers last Waga had done his combat tour taking command and seen as much as he needed to see of the day to day of the war on terror, but he didn't want out. In fact, he was home for a total of five months before he redeployed he spent three of them getting into the ranger regiment for contrast, most officers do chew in the regiment rotate out and then go back directly after his first tour. Eric Waddy spent the next five years on constant rotation between the placements with the regiment and training. So a lot of the ranger stuff. I also feel too comfortable talking about because they are still heavily involved in that region. The world the ranger is they have a lot of assets the most confident enlisted soldiers that I've ever met acted with. But yet the main job that they do is to kill people. They all go out and conduct currency. They go out. They hunt folks down for the most part and the really good at it. But with that every organization has its flaws regiment, again have for all its compensate does have some some issues that are sort of socio with their line of work in the military. It was the fun time. I've ever had working with them because they're mission set. Just the kind of people is working with I pre- nice probably above average in ten division as officer. I came to ranger is probably mediocre at best with a call. Even Digital's is working with you here. Salot their their their national treasure based off the institutional knowledge, they have at the in the lie work that they do in retrospect, I probably should not have deployed with them as soon as I got back from that first year of Afghanstan because I don't think I was emotionally prepared to go into that live work so quickly, and I happen to process everything I had experienced that first year, of course, while you didn't have to resign. He could have taken some time away as many. Officers do but that wasn't the point for him, especially given the difference between his fifteen month regular army combat deployment and his five years kicking in doors with the Rangers. There is no going back. Besides he knew he owed his wife, and and some ways he owed his father to buy had twin boys after my second or third deployment. You know? I talked my wife everyday, she's crying every single day knowing regiment, we do allow training traveling. So I'm gone most of the time it definitely caused a lot of grief for my family at that point in time. My father made alive career decisions based off want to be a present father in the present husband, our family, and I wasn't doing that for five years. Definitely not for five years just seeing her cry so much and seeing the no my children look at me like who's this guy just serve. Now. It's not the father be the husband. I wanted to be except for the multiple em- fatty attempts to get him to stay on. Some capacity the transition out with simple enough, the tough part for him though, has been making it in the civilian world relating to people trying to take first world problem seriously when that were app of his is still running in the background while the other apps are slow to boot up, you know, that the people I work with are very driven. Do I think that culturally this organization relies heavily on empathy working with your subordinates with your co workers? That's harsh thing because I have had to that empathy app. I talked about earlier effing has not been running for a long time. So I've been I had to turn that on recently. It's a drain the battery pretty tired trying to be pathetic all the time. I think I pretty epithet before I joined the army, and then even before I went to combat, but now serve it's challenging to get back empathy is thing made up of layers you start by recognizing another creature than another human being then a person with wants and needs. No, one can endure a half dozen years of with. Missing extreme violence and receiving and inflicting pain at every turn if they contemplate how everyone involved is feeling it's not just impractical. But it's psychologically impossible the best. You can do is look around at your family and into the mirror and see creatures than humans than persons and resolve to work to be the kind of guy who cares about those kinds of things. Next time on this is war try to pull the gun away from him. But he added slung around his neck. I had my Tomahawk just hanging around my waist. And so I grabbed that and used that against him. Are you a combat veteran for do, you know, one with a story to tell reach out to us at stories at this is war dot com with your gates and branch of service as well as a brief description of the experience that you would like to share if you like to show you can help support us by visiting our sponsors or by leaving a five star review wherever you're listening right now. This is war was written by me, Anthony Russo and produced by incongruity media, executive producer Hernan Lopez for wondering.
Important Announcement - The End of Sword and Scale
"I just got off the phone with wondering, and I'm very sad to announce that we are no longer a wondering show in fact without advertising, we're no longer show at all after this recording. I have a call with my staff to let most of them know, they're being laid off today that means no season two of Mon Stroh. No more. This is war. No, more sorting skill rewind. And as it stands right now. No, more sorting scale. That's it censorship actually works. You get a mob to rally against you intimidate, those around you anyone who associates with you. Because you've been deemed a bad person who says bad words, the mob can sensory through intimidation through boycotts and other tactics. Just because they don't like what you say. How you set it? What Tony used? What words you used? I've been saying that for years there is a culture war going on right now in the United States and pretty much all over the world. It's not enough for this particular group of people to scroll pass something they don't like to unsubscribe from it. No, that's not the point at all. It's not about controlling what they hear is individuals. It's about controlling what you hear what all of you all of us here or see or say or think your words are no longer your words. Whether you think they are not there the words of the mob of the state, your individual liberties have been given up for the sake of pretending you're more virtuous than you are for the sake of appearances right now as it stands. This is the end we'll keep putting out plus episodes on patriot. On until we moved to our own platform, and then continue putting out episodes behind that pay wall, but certain scale the free show and all of the other incongruity media shows are coming to an end anything that was ad-supported is over now because of Aaron minke from Lor and Robbie Chowdhry from undisclosed who led? This boycott against me and my company because they didn't like certain things I said there have been many accusations against me over the years because I believe in independent thought, an independent speech. I don't talk like them. I don't say things in the pre approved way. They want me to say it. And when someone tries to tell me what to say, I tell them the fuck off while they don't like that. They don't like having their power challenged. So they attack your character. They used. Things that are out of context, especially screen shots to prove what a misogynist pig. You are never mind context never mind telling the actual series of events or circumstances behind these screen shots. Now, just collect them all and put them in a place where you could point people to a public forum such as read it, for example, where you can show people that it's on the internet. It must be true. That's what they do. And they do it to public figure after public figure that doesn't to- their line. So they went after my advertisers. And scared enough of them to drop me. But that wasn't enough. Then they went after wondering not just the company as a whole but individuals in that company, and guess what it worked, and I don't blame them. There's only so much. You can take so much pressure. You can take. I know other podcasters that have been attacked just because they're friends with me they've been personally attacked just because of their association to me as an individual because I've been deemed a bad person. I don't fall in line with their bullshit. I make inappropriate jokes. Sometimes I reposed memes that some people might find offensive everyone takes everything so seriously and loves to virtue signal about it online even a fucking joke. Name that I didn't even create it takes a particularly special individual to try to get a podcast or fired because they didn't like a reported joke name, but that's what people like Aaron monkey and Robbie Chowdhry are all about virtue, signaling online pretending they're better than everyone else. Acting like they're more and more. Oil more enlightened. Well, there you go. Maybe they are. Maybe I am an asshole. And I'm an asshole that you will no longer be able to hear because of these virtuous people now right now, I don't know what's going to happen. I wanted to come on here and tell you why we're not going to be putting out shows anymore and also to let you know that they're still away for you to support us again right now, it's still on patriots were moving off that platform because of this very reason we don't want someone pressuring patriots somehow to drop us because they've been offended by something. And that can very well happen. It could very well happen that were dropped off of patriarch kicked off Twitter kicked off of every platform out there Facebook YouTube, you name it because again, we don't fall in line with this common modern day thinking that you have to say things a certain way that you have to keep repeating the party line. That's just how I am. I don't let anyone else control might words. And so here we are. Where my words have now been silenced. Censorship. Works you go after someone online you get a mob behind you. You can take them down. Just like Aaron mckie and Robbie Chowdhry did to me. So that's it. Congratulations. You've silenced another free thinker. Good job. Now, you can go get offended by someone else. And silenced them to your work is never done is it enjoy your little battle. I'll see everyone else on patriotic. And thank you to those of you still listening.
Dec 10, 2019
"Hello and welcome to sword and scaled daily. I'm your host Ryan Williams. It's Tuesday December ten and this is your daily true crime report coming up on sort and scale daily. A San Antonio man has been charged with aggravated assault after after breaking his girlfriend's jaw in three places and carving his name into her forehead law enforcement have recaptured. Three out of the fourteen who escaped a Tennessee juvenile detention facility on November thirtieth. Two of the escapees are accused. Murderers finally Alexandra. Sandra Richardson a twenty year. Old Kentucky mother has been charged with murder and driving under the influence of drugs last Monday. Richardson drove her vehicle recalled with her two sons in the backseat around a closed road sign and onto a flooded bridge. The car was swept away into the creek bed and fully submerged in Richardson. Youngest son twenty month old cars McAuliffe with swept away in the current and unresponsive when rescued by emergency personnel on Tuesday ignite Carson was taken off life support and Richardson was subsequently charged with murder. All this and more coming up on sword would end scaled daily Uh Debussy Twelve San Antonio reports that nineteen year old Jacob. Jackson Hildreth was arrested on Friday and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with his Thursday attack on his girlfriend. Twenty two year old Catalina Adalina Morales Morales told ABC twelve that Sheen Hildreth met on facebook and had only been together for three weeks on Thursday afternoon during an argument about the relationship. Hildreth grabbed her by the neck and punched her ten times in the face then per a police. Lisa Affadavit Hildreth carved his first name into Morello's forehead. The assault left Morales with three jaw fractures needing days of Hospitalization Morales told ABC twelve. The she believed Hildreth intended to kill her quote. He was going to put me in a closet until well. He decided what to do with my body. Jacob Jackson Hildreth. WHO's Mugshot boasts? A stern look in his covered face. Tattoos has to outstanding warrants prince one for burglary assault and one for strangulation assault against a family member. He was taken into custody on Friday night and is being held held without bail. Our next story brings us to Tennessee. Authorities have apprehended three of the four teenagers who escaped a youth detention facility in Tennessee on November thirtieth the teens escape Davidson County juvenile facility on November thirtieth after after being left unsupervised while they were on work duty cleaning an area of the building when their supervisor was called away to address a fight on another level for for the teens slipped into an elevator managed to convince the controller to take the elevator to the ground floor and ran out through the front door a video video released last Tuesday by the Davidson County. Sheriff shows the teens exiting the building three of them wearing bright yellow vests. The teens were seventeen year old Morris Marsh. Sixteen year old to Korea's right fifteen-year-old Calvin House and seventeen your old brandon carruthers two of the teens. Moore's marsh and to Corey is right or accused. Murderers Decor IUS right has been charged in the murder of Cholula. It's a twenty four year old Nashville musician and lead singer of the band. Carterton your Litz was shot and killed in an alley behind his home after refusing to hand his keys. Over to a gang of teen robbers five miners have been charged in connection and with your legs. Death including twelve year old and a thirteen year old has been in detention since he was arrested for the murder and was involved called in a serious violent incident while in custody along with the thirteen year old boy who was allegedly involved in the murder to corey us right attack the security dirty guard and stole his pass so the two could gain entry to a restricted area of the detention facility where severely beat another inmate Calvin House and Aquarius right were arrested on Tuesday in the parking lot of a Madison Tennessee apartment complex. They both tried to run But we're apprehended houses. Mother cousin and friend have since been arrested after providing him with shelter food and Technology Gee police have also arrested rights. Fifteen year old girlfriend in charge her with criminal responsibility for facilitation of felony accessory after the fact harboring fugitive tampering with evidence and lying to the police law enforcement told CNN quote. She aided rights ability to remain at large between the time of the escape from the Juvenile Justice Center and writes apprehension Tuesday night in Madison Morris. Marsh was arrested in Nashville on Friday December. Sixth as he was driving with his older brother to meet their mother marshes mother and brother have both been charged with accessory after the fact and his brother was also charged with felony evading arrest. The last remaining fugitive live seventeen year. Old Brennan carruthers is being charged as an adult in a two thousand eighteen armed robbery. He has been added to the Tennessee. Bureau of Investigations most wanted list. And there's a twenty five hundred dollar reward for information leading to his arrest after the break A.. Kentucky mother who drove her vehicle onto a flooded bridge leading to the drowning of her baby was charged with murder. Now for our final story on Wednesday twenty-eight-year-old Alexandra. Richardson of Bowling. Green Kentucky was charged with murder in connection with the death of her twenty month old son Carson McAuliffe on Monday December second emergency personnel were dispatched Alexander Creek in Brownsville Kentucky after receiving a call about a submerged vehicle. Richardson told authorities. She she was in the car with her sons a seven year old and a two year old. Richardson said she did not see the road closed. Sign ahead of a low water bridge leading her herded drive onto the bridge and her car to be swept into the creek. The courier journal reports that Alexandra. Richardson told first responders she. She Got Carson out of his car seat and started swimming while holding him but he was then swept away from her hands. Alexandra Richardson and her seven-year-old son managed to climb out of the creek emergency personnel using boats found Carson floating in the water alive but unresponsive he was taken to Bowling Green Hospital and later flown to Vanderbilt Hospital where he was put on life support. Richardson and her seven-year-old son on were also taken to the hospital for treatment. But were quickly released the sheriff of Edmonson County and one of his sergeant's went to interview Alexandra at the hospital. ospital according to Edmonson voice. Richardson admitted she knew the road was flooded. But because she had driven on the bridge while it was flooded in the past she thought the water was shallow enough to do it again. The sheriff also said Richardson admitted smoking marijuana and methamphetamine. Shortly before the accident accident after obtaining records of Alexandra's medical records the sheriff learned the both drugs were discovered in her blood tests that were taken after the accident. Wa- Carson was in the hospital. A woman believed to be Alexandra. Richardson posted pictures and messages about the event to a facebook facebook account under the name. Alexandra Sasha McAuliffe these posts included several images of child with a neck brace who has seemingly aiming Lee hooked up to medical instruments the posts have since been removed or blocked but screen shots can be found online. The Sheriff of Edmonson is in county has announced the intention to obtain a warrant for the posts. We are saddened to report the last Tuesday at eleven forty PM. Carson was taken off life support on Wednesday law enforcement searched Alexandra's residents which she shares with fifty six year old William Liam subtle. They discovered a used methamphetamine. Pipe containing a white residue in a garbage bin in the bedroom. As well as a small amount of marijuana Alexandra Richardson has a previous two thousand fifteen arrests for manufacturing methamphetamine. At the time she was also charged with with controlled substance endangerment to a minor because a three year old was present at the scene. Richardson and subtle were both arrested on Wednesday the arrest records obtained by WB KO states that Richardson drove around the road closed. Sign Shane Doyle. The sheriff of Edmonson County told the Edmonson voice quote. We have been working the case nonstop since the accident took place on Monday night. We know that Richardson was under the influence influence at the time of the accident. And we know she was aware that the road was flooded when she made the decision to drive through with two children in the car. What we didn't know at the time was whether we would be charging her with assault or murder? Sadly the child has died and we're proceeding accordingly. Alexandra Sandra Richardson has been charged with first degree murder two counts of first degree wanton endangerment and operating vehicle under the influence of Drugs Williams subtle who shares a home with Alexandra. Richardson was also arrested and charged with first degree wanton endangerment in addition Shen they've both been charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia due to the results of the search of their residents. They are both being arraigned. An Edmonds and District Court today Tuesday December tenth. That's it for today. We'll see tomorrow and until then stay safe you sort and scaled daily is an incongruity media productions. Your host was Ryan Williams Research and writing by Gar Iraq executive producer. It Mike Buddha. If you like the show subscribe and leave us a review. If you'd like to write us with feedback or suggestions use the email address daily at sword and scale L. DOT COM
Feb 28, 2020
"Hello and welcome back the sword and skill daily. I'm your host Ryan Williams. It's Friday February. Twenty eighth coming. Up on certain scale daily. A longtime employee of Molson coors is identified as the shooter in Wednesday's mass shooting at the company's Milwaukee campus which left six people dead including the shooter the suspect in the murder of a Florida woman whose body was discovered in the trunk of a car in Tennessee on Wednesday. His turned herself into police. Finally in South Florida a woman allegedly tried to murder her three children before two of them stopped her all the more coming up on sword unskilled daily Wtmj reports that the suspect in Wednesday's mass shooting at the Molson coors facility in Milwaukee has been identified as fifty one year old Anthony Farrell. He's believed to have shot and killed. Five Co workers before killing himself at around to eight. Pm on Wednesday police received. I report about a shooting at the Molson coors campus also known as Miller Valley minutes later corporate management sent text and email alerts all employees directing them to find a safe place to hide more than a thousand employees rather facility when the shooting began all of the victims were employees of Molson coors. The campus was surrounded by police. Swat teams and FBI agents and remained on lockdown until nine thirty PM. Initially the only details available about the shooter was that he was Molson coors employees in uniform. Who used to handguns and the killings on Thursday the identity of the shooter was revealed the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Feral was a licensed electrician with twenty years experience. Seventeen of which as INCOR- employees a CO worker who asked to remain anonymous told the Journal. Sentinel the FERAL had a longstanding feud with one of the victims according to the anonymous coworker. Feral had a habit of watching movies on his iphone during work hours. Which another electrician complained about. This feud escalated with too often arguing and accusing each other of going into each other's offices and stealing tools tampering with computer equipment. Again according to this source the coworker that Farrell had problems with one of the victims in Wednesday's shooting Farrell who's African American also believed. He was suffering from racial discrimination at work. The anonymous co worker stated that things seem to take a turn about a year ago and Farrell began accusing his co workers of breaking into his house. Quote bugging his computer and moving chairs around. The CO worker. Also told the journal Sentinel quote. I was like. Are you serious? Anthony what we all kind of joked about it saying we should maybe get him in aluminum hat. Things just started getting really weird but he was dead serious about it. Another coworker. Keith. Guys told the newspaper quote. I never had a clue. I talked to him a couple of days ago and he seemed finding me. I had no idea there was a problem that somebody could snap like that immediately. Following the shooting many news outlets shared false information that the shooting was committed by an employee who had been fired earlier in the day. I Made Threats. An individual had been fired earlier and had made threats before leaving but he had no connection to the shooting. Wtmj discovered that ahead of the shooting. Feral worked his entire regular shift. Then at the shift change he went and obtained the guns from an unknown location and then returned to his work. Place we will keep you updated as more information becomes available. Our next story brings us to Tennessee. The Tennessee reports that twenty seven year. Old Courtney Gibson wanted in connection with the murder of Florida woman and a Premier has turned herself over law enforcement in Wilson County Tennessee at six. Am on Thursday. Gibson had been a fugitive since Wednesday when the body Prima veer was discovered in the trunk of a Red Kia forte which was parked in Lebanon. Tennessee thirty-six-year-old Anna Prima Vera was last seen alive. Last Friday in Titusville Florida Primavera was renting a room in the house of saying. Move Wing. The suspect Courtney Gibson was hired as a babysitter for wings child. According to W F TV news nine authorities believe that on Friday Premiere Confronted Gibson about injuries and bruises. On the child's body. Deputy Chief Taught Hutchinson told News. Nine quote evidence shows the victim was violently killed inside the home right after getting home with the Child. The killing thought to have taken place between seven. Pm and midnight after the alleged killing Gibson left the house leaving the child behind despite the fact the father was out of town video recorded by doorbell camera shows Gibson driving way in the early hours of Saturday morning with a mattress on the roof of her car. The mattress then fell off and she ultimately burned it on the side of the road. Primitive Yours family reported her missing on Sunday. When police came to the House to investigate her disappearance. Her mattress was missing. The also noted that the child had multiple injuries for which the Father Wang had been taken into custody but according to Hutchinson Quote Gibson is definitely a suspect in the injuries to the child after learning. That Gibson had familial ties in Tennessee. Florida police contacted local law enforcement and provided them with details of Gibson and her car on Sunday. Police found Gibson at her parents. Home in Lebanon Tennessee. More than seven hundred miles away from Titusville. She refused to answer the questions or permit them to search your vehicle without a warrant. They return on Wednesday having procured a warrant and found an parameters body in the trunk. Gibson was no longer in the house. She had left right after being confronted leaving her car and self behind. There was a national manhunt for her and she was described as armed and dangerous before turning herself in on Thursday. She has not yet been charged after the break. A South Florida mother allegedly attempted murder her three children before two of them fodder off now for our final story of the day thirty-one-year-old Islands Carmody of highly of Florida has been charged with three counts of attempted premeditated murder for allegedly trying to strangle her three children during the incident. That took place on Saturday two children fodder off the Miami Herald reports. The carmody lived with her three children a twelve year old boy a nine year old girl and six month old baby and her boyfriend. Rainy Montano Montana was the biological father of the baby and the stepfather of the older children on Saturday. According to the arrest report Montano return home from work around nine thirty PM. He and carmody argued and they went to take a shower. It's alleged that once he was out of sight carmody took the baby into the same bedroom as the older children. Turn off the lights in the room and locked the door. She told her two older children to get into bed and put the baby on the edge of the bed. The children told investigators they heard. Carmody them over the phone that she just killed a six month old baby they saw that carmody was choking the baby with her elbow on the infant's throat. The arrest report says that the nine year old quote immediately gets up and pulls the defendants hair Pfizer arms and kicked her doing everything she can to save. The baby's life. Her twelve year old brother joined her and fighting their mother. Meanwhile Montano alerted by. The commotion was trying to enter the locked room. The twelve year old boy opened the door and let Montana win at this point. Carbonate had allegedly switching trying to choke the baby with her hands and her nine year. Old Daughter was still fighting her. Montano trying to get the baby away from Carmen Altay and during the struggle the baby fell to the ground and hit her head. Montana grabbed the child and ran out of the room he later told investigators that the baby was unconscious. Fled with her. The two older children try to follow Montano and escape with Carmont allegedly chasing them placing the boy in a chokehold. He managed to free himself from then. She allegedly grabbed her daughter. And throw it to the floor by your hair before trying to choke her. Until in the child's own words quote. She could no longer breathe and thought she was going to die. She eventually managed to escape. When officers arrived at the scene. Communautaire refused to speak with them. Rennie Montano told. Cbs Four Miami but he thinks Carmen. Naughty suffers from postpartum depression quote. Ever since she gave birth she was changed. Kurbanov mother told the outlet. My daughter has actually been having psychological problems since two thousand eleven. She had postpartum depression before and she was not prepared to have kids. I've called the police before on her psychological help. They've come but I've never taken her away. She needs psychological. Help permanently is being held without bail and is forbidden from any contact even indirect with her children before we go. We've an update on a case. We've been covering last Friday February twenty first. The convicted murderer of British backpacker grades mullane was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. After Seventeen Years Twenty one year old grace mullane went missing in New Zealand on December. First two thousand eighteen after going on a date with a man later convicted of her murder the following day her body was discovered stuffed into a suitcase at the Y. talker ranges at trial. The twenty eight old killer pleaded not guilty Clinton lanes. Death was an accident during rough sex that she had requested he was found guilty November. That's it for today's episode of sort and scaled daily. We'll see you back here next week. And until then stay safe. Sort and scale daily is an incongruity media production. Your host who's Ryan Williams researching and writing by Garba Rock Executive Producer? Mike vide if you like the show subscribe and leave us a review if you have any feedback or suggestions use the email address daily at sorting scale DOT COM.
Nov 29, 2019
"Hello and welcome the sword and scale daily. I'm your host Ryan Williams. It's Friday November twenty nine and this is your true crime report coming up on sword and scale daily a California father allegedly murdered his wife and three children over the course of a week and then drove to a police station with the body of his oldest son in the vehicle a US District Court rejected a request. It's for resentencing by Idaho Inmate Tori Adams Sake Adam sick and his accomplice. Brian Draper both sixteen in two thousand six when they murdered their classmate estimate. cassie Joe Stoddard. Finally in Dunedin New Zealand thirty two year old doctor. The nods Kantha was found guilty of the murder murder of sixteen year old. Amber rose rush all this and more coming up on sword and scaled daily On Tuesday November twenty. Sixth Police Lisa California released information regarding fifty-three-year-old Shin Car God who has been arrested and charged with four counts of murder in the October deaths of his wife and three children. The victims were named as forty six year old. Jodi Sean Carr Sixteen Year Old Gari. Hong God thirteen thirteen year old niece Shawl God and twenty year old Rahmael Shankar in spite of allegedly confessing to the crimes and God has pleaded not guilty three perkasie our news. Three Sacramento and good allegedly killed the first two victims on October seventh and a third October eighth in in the family residence in Roseville California a city just on the outskirts of Sacramento then suspected that he drove around Northern California with his oldest son Forum Schenker law enforcement alleged that he murdered in car on October thirteenth near the Oregon California border on October Fourteenth and God drove his vehicle containing his son's body to the Mount Shasta police station. He told officers there were three more bodies in Roseville and they notified the Rosedale Police Department. Who then discovered the crime scene? The victims cause of death has not been released. Investigators said and God confessed to the crimes but did not give a motive. The AP reported that Hung God was an unemployed data specialist. who had in the past worked for a number of Bay area companies tax records show? He faced a one hundred. Seventy eight thousand dollar. I R S lean in other news a US District Court on Monday rejected Tori Adam. Six requests for resentencing thing Tori Adam. Sick is serving life without parole in Idaho for the two thousand six murder of sixteen year old. cassie JOE's Stoddard Adam. I'm sick was sentenced to life without parole when he was still a teenager and his appeal for resentencing was in part based on the later Supreme Court ruling that denying even the option of release to juvenile offenders is not constitutional per the AP There are eight thousand inmates in Idaho. Only four of them were sentenced to life without parole as juveniles and therefore were due to have their sentences reexamined on September twenty second two thousand six Tory Adam sick and his accomplice. Brian Draper both sixteen at the time. Murdered their classmate. CASSIE JOE's stoddard. Who was house sitting in? Poke of Taylor Idaho. Adam sick and draper who had earlier that evening. Watch movies with stoddard waited until they were sure she was alone in the house and and then viciously murdered her the evidence against the two included damning video. They recorded themselves discussing the murder during the planning stage and in the immediate aftermath clips of this video are available on Youtube and revealed at the two saw themselves as budding serial killers intended on killing again not regretting their actions on the tape. The boys talk about serial killers. Ted Bundy the hillside strangler the Zodiac and at one point in the video Adam six says those people were amateurs compared to what we are going to be during the video draper mentions that they had planned to commit a murder eight or nine times before but could never catch the victims alone. Adam sick and and draper were both convicted of first degree murder in two thousand seven and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole following the Supreme Court decision. The the juvenile's cannot be sentenced to life without parole. Adam stick apply for resentencing in two thousand seventeen his sentence was reaffirmed by the Idaho. Supreme Court Adam sick appealed the decision to the US district cord who decided to leave the ruling. The Idaho Supreme Court intact after the break a New Zealand doctor found guilty of murdering sixteen year old. Amber rose rush in her bed to prevent her from exposing exposing him as an alcoholic molester. Now for our final story on Wednesday thirty two year old the nod scandal was found guilty of the two thousand eighteen murder of sixteen year old. Amber rose rush rush in Dunedin New Zealand Court reports the Otago Daily Times. According to the prosecution scant a hospital doctor who drank heavily emily and socialized with teenagers murdered amber rose because she threatened to ruin his reputation and his career ambers mother discovered her body under pillows in her bed on the morning of February third. Two thousand eighteen. When police spoke to her mother she mentioned and her daughter knew a man named vinny nod? Investigators soon learned about a heated text exchange between amber rose and vinod. That took place the same. Tonight is the killing. The Nod Skanska became the prime suspect on February fourth. When officers? I interviewed the young doctor. He he pretended he barely knew. Amber rose rush several times during the interview. He noted he was quote stupid to hang out with teenagers. He suggested that amber rose had killed herself later that same day the nod Skanska was arrested for her murder after his young accomplice turned on him and he was later charged with murder and four counts of threatening to kill and pleaded not guilty to all charges. You might ask yourself why a young doctor actor would murder a teenage girl. The reason lay finance scandals lifestyle. SCANA graduated Medical School in two thousand sixteen and and transferred to Dunedin in two thousand seventeen. He moved into an apartment that soon became a well known party. House were underage drinkers. Were a common insight at first. It seemed possible. That scandal was just letting off some steam after years of sober study. However during the trial friends described griped how he came to consume ever larger quantities of alcohol? An ex girlfriend testified that by the end of two thousand seventeen scandal was drinking quote Kamara or less nonstop. He preferred to have others drive him so he could continue drinking. Uninterrupted as scandalous drinking spun out of control he behaved in cruel and crass ways leading old friends to drop out of contact scandal was increasingly surrounded only by teenagers who idolized him. The drugs the alcohol the car and the money he provided one of those adoring teams known during the trial. Only as witnessed thirty two introduced scant to amber rose scandal became infatuated with her in early. January two thousand thousand eighteen amber rose told a friend that scanty had sexually assaulted her while she was asleep. Shortly thereafter scandal aggressively. We proposition amber rose for sex in exchange for money and she stopped socializing with him during the trial. Witnesses testified that amber rose was not the only girl not had molested on February second two thousand eighteen. The nod scant the message amber rose to complain. The she'd used his credit card to buy something online amber rose wrote back. You're lucky I don't go into the hospital and tell them you turn up to work. Drunk supply minors with alcohol. Touch them without consent. Grow Up Vinnie. You're thirty for F. Sake for nod replied you know. I didn't mean in it. An upset amber rose then shared a screen shot of part of the conversation to instagram. Were witness thirty. Two saw it and alerted Skanska. You can't contacted amber rose again demanding. She removed the post. Amber rose replied that she intended to follow through on her threat to go to the police in their last exchange of messages happen at eleven. Twenty five PM. Amber rose rush did not know that the nod Skanska was on his final warning at the hospital after showing up drunk to meeting six months earlier and attempting to treat a patient while drunk scancen nearly lost his job and only any managed to hold onto it by lying to administrators telling them his mother had just died. Amber Roses information could put an end not only to hospital job Bob but to his medical career scanty decided he had no time to waste at eleven forty PM dressed in all black wearing gloves armed with a knife he picked up witness thirty two who drove him to amber rose. Russia's house vinod scandal broke into a room and stabbed her six times in the neck. Nick severing her carotid. Artery scanner return to the car holding the bloody knife. An Amber Rosa's bone and driver's license amber roses uses blood was later found in the passenger side of the car and on scandal shoes after getting witnessed thirty to help him dispose of evidence. Scant that threaten threaten to kill witness thirty to his parents and his cat. If you talked to the police ultimately the threat was not effective as witness. Thirty ready to testify against him in trial on Wednesday the nod scandal was found guilty of one count of murder and four counts of threatening to kill decision that provides them small comfort to the rush family their morning not only the loss of their daughter but also the loss of her mother Lisa Ann who took her own life a few months after the murder scandal sentencing is scheduled for March six. That's it for today. We'll see you next week. And until then stay safe soared and scale. Daily is an incongruity media production. Your host was Ryan Williams Research and writing by Hagar Barack executive producer. Mike Day if you like the show subscribing leave us a review. If you'd like to write us with feedback acker suggestions. Use the email address daily at sword and scale DOT COM
June 01, 2020
"Hello and welcome back to sword and skill daily. I'm your host Ryan Williams. It's Monday June first. Coming up on. Certain, scale, daily. Two bodies recovered from the Arkansas River. have been positively identified as those of missing Oklahoma toddlers, miracle and Tony Crook. The bodies of two missing persons from Arizona found buried inside a car on an empty lot in Iowa Finally charges were brought against former police officer Derek Shaaban in connection with the killing of George Floyd. All this and more coming up on sword scale daily. Last week. The bodies of two toddlers were recovered from Oklahoma waterways. On Friday Tulsa. Police chief Wendell Franklin announced that the bodies have been positively identified as three Miracle Crook and her brother two year old Tony Crook junior who've been missing since last week. Chief Franklin stated quote. The DNA analysis does confirm that those are two children. TJ and miracle that were in the water and recovered. Miracle Tony disappeared from the shoreline of -partment complex in Tulsa on Friday may twenty second. They were last seen in security footage, walking through a whole chain link fence and climbing on the steps that lead to Mingo Creek, a Manmade Creek, the runs through the grounds of the apartment complex. The Nisha Willis. The children's mother remains in custody. She's facing two counts of child neglect after a former conviction of a felony and one count of assault and battery on an officer. Chief Franklin previously stated that she was not cooperating with the investigation. Based on the criminal complaint against her the Tulsa. World reported the Willis was on probation of time of the incident. She did not have legal custody of children. On Thursday night Willis allegedly broke into the apartment where they preside and assaulted a caretaker who was with children. The following morning. The caretaker left the children with Willis mid morning. Surveillance footage show that the children were at a convenience store. Th Willis around eight thirty A. M.. When the caretaker returned that night with legal guardian. They reportedly found Willis intoxicated passed out on the couch. The caretaker in Guardian called the police and the investigation began. On Friday she franklin, said quote. It's saddening, but also from our perspective were elated that we're able to bring closure, and this is closure because we're able to actually locate those two and bring them home to their families. When asked if charges against Wilson admitted in light of the children's death Franklin said that this was not the time to discuss it. Our next. Story brings to. In April, we reported that forty five year old David, baton and stepdaughter twenty-eight-year-old Lisa. Landry disappeared from Chino. Valley Arizona. On Thursday law enforcement discovered their bodies inside a buried car in Evansville Iowa. The Arizona Republic, reports of the bodies were inside a blue, two thousand thirteen Subaru forester that belong to Landry. Although police have already announced the discovery formal identification is pending the medical examiner's approval. Baton Landry in Landry's twenty four year old boyfriend Mitchell meeks were last seen on eighteenth in Arizona. They were reported missing on the twenty second. That same day officers with Chino Valley, please search batons, residents, and found evidence of foul play, which led them to determine that at least two of the three people missing were deceased. On the twenty fifth and Twenty Sixth Chino, Valley detectives found baton and land cell phones discarded near Route Eighty nine. Investigators learned that at one point. All three were in Landry Subaru driving to Iowa. On the twenty eighth meeks was discovered in a rural property in Black Hawk County in Iowa. And investigators announced that Landry were likely dead. The search for them continued as did the search for Larry's vehicle, which investigators believed was still in Iowa. MINX was arrested on federal. Probation Warrant and has been in custody ever since. On May second, but she valley please said that he was refusing to cooperate with the investigation. He since return Arizona to. Face the probation charges. Last week search on an empty lot. At the end of a road in Evansdale was launched after law enforcement received a tip that evidence related to the disappearance could be found there. Chino Valley Detective Lieutenant Ray Chapman told the Prescott courier quote. We received information on the location of the vehicle, and the FBI used their equipment to locate it. It took three days to fully honoured the vehicle this weekend. Local Radio Station K. O. E. L. Am. News announced that a Waterloo man was arrested in connection with the deaths of baton and Landry. Forty two year old Alan Tucker was arrested on Saturday on two counts of abuse of a corpse. Means is not yet been charged in connection with the deaths, but please publicly named him as a person of interest. After, the break one of the Minneapolis. Police officers involved in the death of George Floyd, was arrested and charged in his killing. Now for our final story of the day. Over the weekend, the demonstrations in protest of the death of African American Man George Floyd spread across the nation and even the world. Floyd died last Monday after being handcuffed and restrained face down and held down on the ground by four Minneapolis police officers. The death was caught on camera witnesses. In, the video, one of the officers Derek Shaven as seen kneeling, unfolds neck for more than eight minutes ignoring the Maine's please. They cannot breathe and is about to die. All four officers involved were fired on Tuesday. One of the protestors demands is that all four former police officers involved in the death to face charges. On Friday that the main was partially met with the arrest of Shelvin. Derek Chevette in a nineteen year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department was arrested late on Friday morning. He's been charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. The Star Tribune reports. The shovel was booked in Ramsey. County jail and is being held in isolation. He's the first white officer to be criminally charged in the death of a black man in Minnesota history. He has since been placed on Suicide Watch, which is a standard in high profile cases. Although, the alleged crime happened in Hinton County. Shopping is being held in Ramsey County jail because of the threats against the Hennepin facilities. Chevron's bond has been set at five hundred thousand dollars. Many including Ben, crump, the lawyer representing the Floyd family are not satisfied with the charges against Shaaban. They argue that the charges against him are to light and that the three other officer should also be charged. Ellie Hoenig a former prosecutor. Legal analyst for CNN wrote based on the criminal complaint against Shaaban she dumps the commitment of the prosecutor's Office to getting justice in this case. A charge of third degree murder means the defendant committed act quote imminently dangerous to others and evincing depraved mind without regard for human life. The maximum punishment for third degree murder is twenty five years in prison. Honing believes that given the facts of the case charge of second degree murder carrying a maximum penalty. Forty years would be more appropriate. For that charge, it needs to be proven that the defendant kill the victim without premeditation. The criminal complaint states the shopping kept kneeling of Floyd's neck for eight minutes and forty six seconds to minutes past when one of the officers tried and failed to find a pulse. Hoenig believes that given those facts. second-degree murder can be proven. She also notes that the prosecutors admitted some affords words from the account of the event. For. Example, the complaint is not mentioned. The foy told shopping quote. Don't kill me and I'm about to die. These are the most critical statements to this case. Because they showed Shaaban was notified of the mortal danger, floyd was in and still persisted. She if the shows the desire to go out on the defendant. Hoenig is also concerned because according to the complain. The autopsy found the Floyd of a combination of coronary disease, police, restraint and potential intoxicants. Honi queries what potential toxic even mean, either the talk screen shows drugs or it does end. The vagueness suggests there's no proof of any intoxication. So why mention it unless in an attempt to take away from the culpability of the defendant? Finally, she stated the existence of prior. is relevant to the murder charge. Murders contribution to the death sufficient for legal responsibility. Even at the victim was already sick. However HOENIG. The charges can still be added an amended as the investigation proceeds. The statement has been echoed by local authorities. Mike Freeman the Hennepin county attorney told the Tribune the he anticipates traveled will also be. Three other officers involved to Tau G. Alexander Krung and Thomas Lane although he would not comment on what charges will be. and Keith Ellison the Minnesota Attorney General told Fox News quote. We're very early in this process very early. It's not uncommon to amend charges. It's not uncommon to add defendants. Fox News was also the first to report. The shopping informed may have known one another as they both worked two security guards for nightclub. The club's former owner Maya. Santamaria told the outlet that she did not know if the two new one another, although they had worked the same events in the past. Santa Maria said Shove worked security for the club regularly for years whereas Floyd. Only began working last year and only worked at events organized by African American promoters. She said that on nights where the club attracted a primarily African American crowd shoving would treat patrons aggressively without reason quote, he would everyone instead of apprehending the people who were fighting. He would call back up the next thing you know. They're be five or six squad cars. I told him I thought this was unnecessary to be. Pepper sprayed the knee-jerk reaction of being afraid. It seemed overkill. Concern did voice my opinion, but police officers have a wave justifying what they do. That's it for today's episode of SORTA and scale daily. We'll see you back here tomorrow. then. Please stay safe A. Sort scaled daily is an incongruity media production. Your host was Ryan. Williams researching writing by Hagar Barack Executive Producer Mike. If you like the show subscribing, leave US review you bite. The writers with feedback or suggestions. Use the email address daily at sworn scale DOT COM
Dec 2, 2019
"Hello and welcome to sort and scale daily. I'm your host Ryan Williams. It's Monday December. Second and and this is your daily true crime report coming up on sort and scale daily a Hawaii man. WE'LL BE EXTRADITED TO UTAH to face charges. Ages in a case of what law enforcement is calling extreme cyber stalking in South Korea. Former K pop stars junk June young in Troy Jong Hoon were found guilty of gang rape and both have been sentenced to five in six years in prison finally the former CEO of of Amazon Mexico. Juan Carlos Garcia is wanted for questioning by the Mexican police in connection with the killing of his estranged wife April Peres. SA- gone on all this and more coming up on sword in scale daily Forty four year old Lauryn Okamura. The suspect in an extreme stalking case in Utah was arrested on November twenty. Second in Honolulu Hawaii Okamura was indicted in Utah Hall last month on charges of cyber stalking interstate threats and transporting people for the purpose of prostitution the charges stem from a harassment campaign. Okamura launched in November two thousand eighteen against Walk Gilmore and his adult daughter both Gilmore's reside on the same property. Pretty quiet neighborhood in Salt Lake. City Utah over the course of a year. Okamura sit more than five hundred strangers to the Gilmore's address including food deliveries tow trucks plumbers locksmiths prostitutes and drug buyers. Salt Lake City. Police responded to the House more than eighty times between November two thousand eighteen and February two thousand nineteen eventually a patrol car was permanently. Posted stood on the block. Walt Gilmore was driven to post a large sign in front of his house reading alert. If you've been asked to provide any services to to this address please call the Salt Lake City Police. We are all victims of this scam. In January. The Gilmore's received an order of protection action against Okamura. However according to the Salt Lake Tribune this did not stop the harassment? Visitors and March included to Idaho proteins. Who communicated with quote? Walt Gilmore Online. The teens drove to Utah to deliver fishing equipment. They believed he had agreed to buy another victim of this online. Scam was a handicapped man who has gone into believing Gilmore drive with him to Portland. In addition Okamura sent waltz daughter hundreds of tax taunting her and threatening her life although Okamura has been the main suspect since January his use of sophisticated encryption and multiple APPs meant that it took months to collect sufficient evidence to indict him even after for. The indictment was issued on October second. It took nearly two months to arrest Okamura because he does not have a permanent address or a job. The Honolulu Star advertiser reports that on November twenty first team of Utah. Police officers accompanied by F. B. I.. Agents arrived in Honolulu Honolulu to arrest Okamura. After a fifteen hour search he was finally located and arrested in Honolulu. Supermarket Okamura Okamura has waived extradition to Utah Information regarding the connection between Okamura and the victims is being withheld but police have stated needed that some prior relationship does exist and they were not chosen at random. Okamura's lawyer told the Star advertiser. The her clients wife died earlier this year and he is suffering from grief. Our next story brings us to South Korea. K Pop stars ars thirty year old junk. June young and twenty nine year old Choi Jong Hoon were convicted of gang rape this Friday reports the Japan Times Jiang a solo singer songwriter. Who launched his career on the television show superstar K and Choi a former member of Korean boy band N. F. T. Island were both found guilty of gang raping to victims on two separate occasions in two thousand sixteen? In addition John was convicted of recording encounters without his partners consent and sharing the videos with other singers on a mobile phone chat room in two thousand fifteen so the Telegraph quotes the verdict stating that junk and Choi took part in gang rape of victims. who were intoxicated and unable to resist junk? jun-young is being portrayed as the gang leader in a scandal that has implicated multiple other young Korean pop stars including not only Choi but also lead jong-yon from seeing blue and see younger from the Band Big Bang which made forty four million. US dollars in two two thousand sixteen. The crime of making porn using spy cameras has become widespread in South Korea where it is called Mocha this. This includes cases where spike cameras are installed in bathrooms or changing rooms and also cases where sexual intercourse is taped without the consent of one or more of the participants per the South China morning. Post since two thousand seventeen there have been more than sixty five one hundred cases of hidden hidden camera crimes reported. It's become so widespread that a special police taskforce has been created to respond to hidden camera crimes. The vast majority of these offenders are male. The victims are sometimes subjected to blackmail with the offender threatening to release the video and undamaged their reputation. The case of Junk jun-young is merely a very visible example of general epidemic. And not the first of such crimes crimes in November K pop star Goo Hara is believed to have taken her own life last year. An ex blackmailed view threatening to ruin her career by leaking intimate footage of her. He has since been convicted of blackmail shortly before being arrested in in March. Jiang made a tearful public apology for his crimes. Meaning the spike ham recordings and accusations of rape were not yet made public and announced announced his retirement from entertainment. Choi did the same sangre retired after admitting among other things to watching the videos on a chat room in two thousand fifteen and is due to join the military instead Jong enjoy were sentenced to six and five years in prison. The sentences are being criticized as being too lenient despite being about twice as long as the minimum penalty for rape in South Korea. which is three a years? The two will also have to attend eighty hours of sexual violence rehabilitation and are banned from working with children in the future you after the break the former. CEO of Amazon Mexico is said to be the main suspect in the killing of his estranged wife. UH-HUH now for our final story. The a former CEO of Amazon Mexico Kwan. Carlos Garcia has been named as the main suspect in the Monday killing of his estranged wife. ECOMMERCE ECOMMERCE executive April Peres. Gone Garcia was the CEO of Amazon Mexico from two thousand fourteen to two thousand seventeen eighteen and has more recently worked for other e commerce ventures April Peres Saigon was killed in Mexico City on the afternoon of November twenty fifth. She was sitting in a car with her attorney and two teenage sons. When a motorcyclist pulled up to the passenger side and shot April twice through the window doc? She was struck in the head and neck area and died in the hospital. Later that night Abra Peres gone and Garcia were in the middle of an acrimonious Monja. Divorce able press gone was also assisting in the prosecution of Juan Carlos Garcia for allegedly assaulting and attempting to kill her in January of two thousand nineteen according to April. Her husband attacked her with a baseball bat. While she slept in her bed he continued to beat her and was holding a knife to her throat. When one of their sons walked into the room? This interruption stopped the attack and per April saved in her life Garcia was ultimately charged with attempted femicide which is the crime of murdering a woman because of her sex in Mexico. Those accused of femicide are not eligible for pretrial release. Accordingly Garcia spent the year being held in custody pending his trial which has not been scheduled however in November two judges determined that the charges against Garcia should be downgraded to domestic assault and Garcia was subsequently released on November eighth following the January attack Abras cigane filed for divorce from Garcia Zia. Gain custody of the couple's three children and moved from Mexico City to Monterey almost one thousand miles to the north. She was in Mexico Exco City on the twenty fifth for custody hearings and was heading to the airport when she was attacked. A relative of the victims told Alpi that the family certain that Garcia is behind the murder quote. He had the money to pay a hitman. The attack was directed solely at her and she had no other enemy me in the World Peres. Saigon was in Mexico City for legal hearings. meaning that Garcia's lawyers would have known about her presence. It is speculated acculumated that Garcia could have gained this info from his attorneys per the Telegraph. The couple's daughter Ana Cecilia has posted images of her father to her twitter account with the caption the face of a murderer and also wrote that her mother died after years of fighting against the violence inflicted flicked on her by her father. The Mexican media is also treating Garcia as the main suspect although the Mexican police have not named him mm-hmm because they do not release names during active criminal investigations. Garcia was not at his house when police arrived to question him and his whereabouts. It's are still unknown. Amnesty International reports that there are more cases of femicide in Mexico than in any other country in in Latin America per the U. N.. Ten women are murdered in Mexico every day in grim irony. A large protest against violence against women was being held in Mexico City on the same day as the murder on Friday November. Twenty ninth. The two judges who were we're involved in reducing the charges against Garcia were suspended following the murder in a news conference Mexican President Oscar door promised the the chief justice of the Supreme Court will review April Peres. SAGAWA case. That's Today we'll see you tomorrow and until l. then stay safe soared and scaled. Daily is an incongruity media production. Your host was Ryan Ryan Williams Research and writing by Gar Iraq executive producer. Mike Buddha if you like the show subscribe and leave us a review. If you'd like to write us with feedback or suggestions use the email address daily at sword and scale DOT COM
The Butcher | Aftershow
"Wow. So we did it. We did it. We actually put this thing together this this was an ambitious project from the very beginning. And we're here, and we're here, and if you're listening to this we've launched yes. Yeah. We've lost. Who knows how it's doing? Hopefully, very well. Like. And you're saying that because we're we're having to record this a few days before launch because we made the decision to actually put out the entire first story on the first day followed very quickly by the second story. And so after each individual story, which consists of two parts we're going to have a little after show like this where we actually talk about the behind the scenes and our process for how we put this episode together. And there was no shortage of work here. No there wasn't. It was a nonstop for months and months and months, but it was super enjoyable and definitely different than anything. I've ever done in my entire life. It was the wild ride, man. Still is it is different. That is for sure. And one of things I did want to talk about is how it is different. And how it's different from both your show dark topic and my show sword and scale. Yeah. Well, I'll tell you when you first sent me you sent me your first draft of arm in right in the beginning there. And I remember listening to it and getting back to you and saying while this is this is the best thing ever heard, and that's not blowing smoke. I still feel that way about it. Both of us have this storytelling vibe that we're trying to be almost similar to like a Robert stack from unsolved mysteries or rod sterling from the twilight zone, and that's why we work. So well together, I think but what you did hear rate of the gecko. What I caught was like, man. This guy's telling a bedtime story. Almost you know. Yeah. It's it's really Lulling me into it. I'm not falling asleep. That's for sure. But I mean, I'm really getting into this. It's immersive. Yeah. And that's the one thing I really wanted to be able to create its. A little challenging to be able to put a listener into this world and get them to create the images of what it looks like in their own mind. Yeah. Exactly other doing their part as well with their imagination. And that's what any good book will do for you. Right. And in the past radio shows and all that podcast too. But like you said, it's almost like a movie play going through your mind. And what really struck me is that. When I first heard it. I was like I I've been searching for this. I didn't know I was searching for this. But I've been searching for this like an immersive true crime podcast puts you in the shoes, not only of the victims of the killer themselves and unapologetically explores the world to there is you know, and and that that sounds risky. It sounds like something that would be off putting and it is, of course at times. But it's not in the spirit of justifying the crimes like I've said before it's in the spirit of explaining his best. We can how we imagine killers came to be. You know, there's a whole new perspective when he stopped being and just try to understand, and that's a risk that we're taking here. And I think I think it will pay off. My name is Evans e woman. This is Evan. I am a producer at incongruity media months before Jack. Luna became involved in monster. Oh, we are busy at work imagining what this new show could be monster was different from certain scale. Because it's a singular focus certain scale comes at the story from multiple different angles and gives you all the details. Montrose approaches it from the mindset of the killer. You're you're in the killers shoes you step into their life their hometown, you're living in their home. You're growing up with them. And then you're also reliving some of the most gruesome acts of humanity at first I didn't know exactly how he would pull this off. I just knew we wanted to create something unlike anything we'd ever heard before. We wanted to create a podcast that we wanted to hear when Mike I approach me about this. I, you know, my first thought was you know, whatever you want boss will do it. But once I actually started getting into it. I was a little hesitant. Just because of how you know sick and twisted. Some of this subject matter can be and you know, sometimes I found myself a little a little lost down the rabbit holes. We say, so I think as much of a part of Arman that I became or as much of a part of me that Arben McCain you can since then through the storytelling in the beginning. We wanted to pick some of the most disturbing stories that we could find, and there's a lot that we can't share on sort and scale because certain scales clip based so we took these stories usually from the far corners of the earth. We couldn't share those either due to the language barrier or due to the last. Lack of audio or due to the age of the story, and we wanted to share these. So we had to recreate what happened without the aid of existing audio to develop an immersive seen. I wanted to be able to give the audience everything that's going on not just you typically narration of inside the mind of the character. But I also took the sights and sounds and the harder to convey, smells, even for instance, the train scene in the beginning when we're introducing burned the trains coming in from a distance as we're describing the similarities in color between the grey sky in the silver train. The sound starts to build in the background of the train wheels and the engine, and then you hear the hiss of the breaks. And before you realize I mean, you're in the episode your burnt your. Standing next burned on the track waiting for that nine o'clock train to castle. That's what I enjoy about this show is that it's so immersive because of the layers of audio and music, and you're not listening to it. Your feeling you're living it so every time I found myself in a place with this character. I'd ask myself. You know, what do you see would you smell? What you feel is it cold? Is there a taste in the air? Those little details. Really pull in listener those little details. Create the story. I remember being forced to go outside to get things done these days questionable. Introvert can stay indoors in order. Just about anything they need, right. Karen, Karen came in the mail a couple of months ago. She's a real doll. I call her my forever sweetheart. But lately, she's been a little quiet. Too, quiet. Garrod wanna say, hi, I know what it is. It's your hair, isn't it? How the hell was I supposed to know that beat use would make it purple? I'm not a professional, but I found a way girl Madison read my friends with fading ends and questionable roots. This is how we can get this done from home that got her attention. She just fell at share their up, see daisy care bear. There used to be two options. Head over to the salon and dropping him certain amount of money to get the right color or grab a box from the drugstore and pray that you did it right Madison Reed. Clients rave of how their new hair color is changed their lives for the better women. Love the results gorgeous, shiny multidimensional looking hair. This is great hovering game changing color. You can do at home. What makes Madison Reed haircut unique is that it's crafted by master colorist who blend nuances of light dark cool and warm to create over forty five gorgeous, multi, tonal shades. Find your perfect shade at Madison dash Reed dot com. Monster listeners receive ten percent off plus free shipping on the first kit by entering the code months. Tro, that's M O N S T R U, oh code monster at checkout for ten percent off plus free shipping on your first purchase. That's madison. Dash Reed dot com. Promo code months stroke at checkout. So in monster. We told stories from vastly different parts of the world stories that really didn't have a lot of vailable audio. And that was a bit of a challenge. Yes. It was. But it ended up being a strength forest because without having some of the information that gave us the, you know, it was it was left available for us to to fill in those spaces on our own make good guess at it, right and educated guess with what we had. And you know, this particular story there there really wasn't all that much. I mean, and you didn't need it you need what you need to know is that he had a farm house. You know, he had access to the internet his parents passed away, and he was close to them. And that he wanted to eat a man, and from there, you know, you have them sitting there cracking bottles of wine and setting the mood and all that kind of stuff, and and his intimidation leading up to what was actually going to go on it kinda wrote itself. It's a it's a great story. It's amazing. I always thought that I need boatloads of information to be able to create an episode for my podcast turns out you just need enough. You know, you need to know what the crime was he needed a little bit of background information. How it finished? And you could do the rest. That's what we've done. And this first episode about Arman is much more graphic than a lot of the rest of the series. Yeah. It's it's a real punch in the gut. Yeah. I mean, like I said, I didn't write this Tyler bell who the two of us in writing almost all the other episodes any. No, this is let's be honest. This is very homo erotic or. No, it's like, and I can't take any credit for that enforce him a huge fan of homo erotic fiction. That's what I hear. Yeah. I just you know, I'm glad it and had to put my spin on this one like Tyler. And I we've worked together quite a bit. When I walk into the rooms that he's created, you know, the rooms of which is my part to adjust accentuate or tidy up. It's always familiar, but with what you guys did with Armand. I would have walked in and been like, you know, what the fuck are you guys doing in here? You know, all over the room. You know, like this is fucking madness. This is crazy. It's just and I'm not, I'm not homophobic. Don't get me wrong. I mean, I grew. I actually grew up around a lot of a lot of gay people. But that's a lot of homo erotica going on this story, man, it's wild. And I didn't have to turn it off for that reason. I had to turn off just for how like you said how graphic it is like chewing chewing somebody's penis off of your teeth. Like holy fuck, dude. Or trying to one of the challenges that I had because I did a lot of the editing this one, right? And like, you said Evan wrote the majority of it, but there's a lot of editing that had to occur because when I got it there were so many different ways that the word penis was described. Right. That it it was it started to feel almost comical in a way, even though it's there's nothing really funny about this story. But it's it got to that point where I mean, there's only so many ways you can describe. A dick and. And they were all in this story originally, and it just started to feel a little. Like inappropriately comical. Yeah. Just because I guess Dick's are funny. Not when you cut him off your victim and burn them. And they look like a frigging overcooked hotdog and all that stuff globally and go too far that way, so my my fiance's shift, and I asked her how do you cook steak specifically if I wanted to cook, I don't know a bull penis, and she said, it would be really sinewy. And I said I'm stealing that word, and it is in the it's in the episodes, sinewy, Google it. If you don't know what that means. It just means to is all get out. So so there's a situations where I I'm not I'm not a good cook. Like to dabble, I would try to convince someone coming over to my house that I am good cook. But imagining cooking human flesh, let alone a phallus that was difficult. So basically, I just kind of try to imagine something else and describe it in a horrible way. So I mean, but if you think about it cooking any slam me. It's kind of gross. So you can I mean, if you just put your put your mind into that into that set the blood and the the flash in the just it's it's it's primeval burning and cooking flesh. I dunno. So you've heard you've heard the term. It's it's so believable. It's got to be true. I didn't make that up. That's the actually the meal he had the Princess croquet potatoes. Which is apparently a popular way to prepare it in Europe. I had to look up. You know, exactly what that is. And it just seems like regular potatoes to me. So I just imagine, you know, his, you know, this guy lives alone. He's got a giant house. He's lonely. He goes in the kitchen. He cooks a meal offer himself, and he sets the table. And he's you know, if he sits he sets the table for one with the best dinner where I magic, you know, like when you're when you're alone, and you're stuck in that repetition that grind that. He had at that point. It's life get up go to work, come home. See the neighbors. You know, go home go to bed wake up do all over again that you know, you probably cope with that. Loneliness some strange ways and extravagant dinner parties by himself is one of them. You know, when you look at the story the way that we did from arms war perspective. Suddenly you have a coming of age tale. Like, a love story, almost you know, these two in a strange way, we were soulmates not based on love. But based on what their fantasies were, you know? And yes, we could explain for bird's eye view. What went down on that farm house and have a pretty compelling episode? But. Like, he said, you know, sitting at the table with Armand as you set the table lights a candle and quirks. The wine really drives home how how normal he was. But how home and his fantasies were were way out there. And there's probably very few arm and Mavis out there in the world, you'd think right? Well, there's there's probably very few of either of these characters, and I like what you said about it being sort of a almost a just tragic love story because it's true. I mean, these two people there's probably only one of them in the entire history of the universe. And they found each other through the internet one who wants to eat someone and one who wants to be eaten. I mean, what are the odds? What are the very low? I mean. Yeah. I mean, a lot of them the he was reaching out to online they had the fantasy part of it. They weren't actually going to go through with it. But you know, burn was was willing to go, and you know, at some. Ear almost start to wish them all the best. You know, you crazy kids go for do you grab life for the balls? Or, you know. Well, I mean, you're doing it with your teeth there, buddy relaxed, but whatever makes them happy. You know? That's how I felt. I don't know if I lotta people will feel that way. But I had no problem with it. You know, they're both into it messed up as it sounds. I look back on it now. And I kinda think about him fondly. I mean eight a guy, but if you watched in read as much about him as I did preparing to write this episode, especially his posting Carson nation interview. I don't know. He's just a likable guy. I mean, he's a little creepy. I mean, especially if you know what he did. But I wanted to portray him that way. Because I thought it was a little more a little more disturbing to the listener. By the time, you get to the end, and you find out exactly what he's been planning on doing. And how he goes about doing it. It's disgusting in its own right? But at that point in the story, you've almost developed a sympathy for him his loneliness burned on the other hand is not a sympathetic character. There's a line in the story where he says he's accustomed to lying, and he covers up the fact that he's leaving and going to be with Armin his subversive lifestyle was hidden from everyone he knew so by the time you meet him and he's running away from his dad his boyfriend his career, essentially disappearing. He's not a very like. Character. Even though he's the victim any, and, you know, he might typical story arc you know, that would be the sympathetic character. I'm glad you said that because I was about to ask you, how do you feel about? Let's say Arman who is. I mean, technically the killer here. D- d-, feel empathy form at some point. Yeah. I mean, I don't know if empathy form, but I just feel the same way. I feel like anybody who has any different fantasies than I do like, I'm not a homosexual. But I don't care if you if you like men are if you like women, I really don't care if you're into eating people and you're into being eaten go nuts. I mean who wasn't any of my business? They were both willing participants. You know, that's that is truly my opinion. So I take it you see this more as a cyst suicide then murder. I don't think the burn was even I mean know if he really wanted to I guess he wanted to die. It's not so much. He wanted to die. He wanted the experience that the most intense possible sexual experience that he could possibly have. And the most intense just so happen to include him having to die. So I think his fantasy was assisted more. So than his suicide to be honest. You know, you know, you want those scifi movies with his Topi and futures. And and there's there's a societies like like the society he belongs to and that's where you know. Maybe maybe it's okay. If somebody gave him permission. How do I feel about it it certainly disturbing? And I think that's the worst part is where does he go from there from my basic research about criminal minds it always escalates. And so I'm intially his one rule of willing. Participants would be broken and even in the story. Even in the story. He he run he starts running out of burned way before he thought he would. And immediately starts rolling the internet looking for, you know, new participants. If he couldn't find one, you know, the next step. This is an unwilling participant. It's it's it's it's a it's a very interesting case man, it is in is. It is one that makes you wonder what how you really feel about. How far how far you go with being tolerant of of some of the fantasies of others in your own mind. And and as a society, how far should we go to be accepting of someone else's fantasies when it can result in an ending this? Yeah. Yeah. Again, if burns okay with I'm okay with it. I didn't touch on the legality of it very much in this story because it's it's not really what what it's about. But that's the big question you're left with is. This was a willing participant. I mean in the United States, we had, you know, doctor Kevorkian this was assisted suicide, basically sure he did it in the most bizarre and macabre way possible hanging from the ceiling and quartering him like any other animal. You lied to slaughter murdered with permission, and they actually had to change the law in Germany just to be able to put this guy in jail. So he he was originally only. Charged or only sentenced to eight years in prison on some bogus charge that you know, they could come up with or the best charge. I could come up with was like manslaughter or something like that. But the ended up changing it, and so well, technically gross cannibalisms, not illegal and snow laws against it. At least not Germany say ended up changing the largest to be able to put him away for life. And that's where he is now. And who knows what he was thinking once his his penis was cut off. And he was bleeding out. Now, he maybe he was just afraid we don't know. Right. And that would be a shame arm and puts them out of his misery by like, you know, sticking it into a throat and all that. So if he wanted to go that exact way when we're not sure either. So he signed up for it though. He showed up he came to arm. You know? Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Well, I think that's going to do it for this one. And we'll see a here again in just one day one day for the next story hits you right in the mouth, bam. Bam. Enjoy. We'll see there. Moan stroke is an incongruity media production. The original soundtrack demonstrable is available on I tunes apple music, Amazon Google play Spotify. And just about everywhere else. You listen to music merch, such as t shirts tank tops and caps can be ordered at Munster podcast dot com. If you liked the show, please subscribe and leave us a positive review.
Jan 3, 2020
"Hello and welcome the sword and scale daily. I'm your host Ryan Williams. It's Friday January third and this is your daily true crime report coming up on sort and scale daily. A man working on his laptop at an Oakland California starbucks was killed while chasing a thief who stole the device. Two suspects have been arrested. The body of missing Texas Teen Robert Dunkin it was discovered in a trailer park in Midland County. Five teens are facing charges in connection with the killing an actress who had a small role in the movie. Captain America the first Avenger was charged with second degree murder in the death of her mother who was discovered dead in her olathe. Kansas home on December twentieth finally law enforcement in Baton Rouge arrested a suspect and three recent killings of homeless people. All this and more coming up on sort and scale daily. NBC News reports. The Oakland Glenn California Police Department have arrested two suspects in connection with the Tuesday. Homicide the victim whose name has not yet been released working on his laptop at a starbucks in East Oakland at around eleven thirty in the morning a suspect approached him. stolas laptop ran outside aside and got into an SUV that was parked around the corner. It is not yet known whether the driver was waiting for the suspect witnesses. This told the outlet that the victim was holding onto. SUV's door when it drove away and he hit his head on a parked car. One witness said quote. It was like his arm was up and his head was being dragged against the concrete. It was awful. Maria Chan who owns the florist shop across the street from the starbucks are bucks told. KTLA quote. He was bleeding only from the head his face was purple and blue. The man was taken to a nearby hospital hospital but succumbed to the injury sustained to his head later the same day on Wednesday police arrested two suspects in the death which has been in ruled a homicide. They're still looking for a third suspect. Our next story takes us to Midland County Texas. This seventeen year old Robert Dunkin was reported missing on Friday December twenty seventh after he failed to return home for the weekend following tip. Investigators found his body on the afternoon of December thirty first on Thursday. The Midland County Sheriff's office announced. They have arrested arrested. Five teenage suspects in charge two of them in connection to Robert Duncan Staff. Two of the five are being charged with capital murder. Robert's mother silver knock told. CBS Seven. That Robert was supposed to meet friends on Friday night but did not show up. No one could reach Chen by phone until around. Two A M A friend who had been trying to reach him received the text reading Robbie's Mia Roberts relatives extremely concerned because they thought he had enemies however his mother told News West. Nine that first deputies did not take the complaint seriously seriously believing that Robert was a runaway. According to his mother they were reluctant to declare her son missing. She stated quote. It took me calling my son's grandfather before they even agreed to do a runaway report. But they weren't going to do a missing persons report a missing persons report. It was finally filed two days later on December. Twenty ninth when deputies. I talked to people who knew Robert. They told them he was fine. However however on the afternoon of December thirtieth they recanted? These friends told law enforcement that Robert's body may be in the area of a certain trailer park in Midland County. Deputies searched the location and found Roberts body around three thirty in the afternoon on December. Thirty first mm-hmm. The cause of death has not been made public on Wednesday. It was announced that five suspects were arrested in connection with Robert. Duncan's Ken's death two of the teens. eighteen-year-old Zaydan Hayes. In seventeen year old Larry West junior were charged with capital murder and making terroristic threats. Eighteen year old Helio Cadena was charged with murder. Eighteen year old row. Helio Vasquez was charged with tampering with evidence and seventeen seventeen year old John Hayes was charged with interfering with public duties. Please have also obtained an executed three search warrants in connection with this investigation investigation. According to the probable cause affidavit Dunkin was killed during a drug deal. He was allegedly selling the suspects marijuana when they allegedly stole the drugs and ran witnesses stated that Duncan pursued the suspects. They heard the sound of gunshots and never solve Robert Dunkin again. Our next story brings us to Kansas thirty eight year. Old Molly Fitzgerald an actress. What a small role in the movie Captain America? The first Avenger was arrested on Tuesday in Olathe Kansas and has been charged with second degree murder of her mother. Sixty eight year old Patricia Fitzgerald Patricia's body was discovered in her late. The home on December twentieth two thousand nineteen gene details of the crime have not yet been made public. The victim's brother told the Kansas City Star that Patricia was just moving back to Kansas After spinning decades in Houston Molly had a small role as start girl in the movie. Captain America the first Avenger and was also credited as an assistant assistant to the director on the movie in Two thousand eleven. She told a comic book. Publication quote being part of this production has been one of the best experiences says of my life on Thursday Fitzgerald made her first court appearance via video at the arraignment. She said she had a degree from the University of Houston and plans to represent himself at trial her next court. Appearance is scheduled for January ninth after the break police Baton Rouge arrest the suspect in the killings of three homeless people. The suspect lived within two blocks of the crime. Crime Scenes Hey I I just wanted to ask. How many of you have credit cards? I'm sure that most of you have at least one. If so you know there's no better feeling than paying them off off but you know it feels even better paying off those high interest credit cards getting a lower rate and saving money. That's what you can do with livestream. Did you know that the average interest rate for credit card is over twenty percent. That's crazy refinance your credit card balances and save with a credit card consolidation. Shen loan from light stream you can get a rate as low as five point nine five percent. APR With Auto Pay. The online application is quick and easy no waiting in online at the bank or being stuck on the phone with representative. It's so easy you can apply from your phone. You can get a loan from five thousand dollars to one hundred thousand dollars with zero fees. You heard that right. 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M. dot com slash scale subject to credit approval rate includes point fifty percent auto pay discount terms and conditions apply apply and offers are subject to change without notice visit light string dot com slash scale for more information now for our final story on Thursday the Baton Rouge Police Department announced the arrest of a suspect in three homeless almost killings that took place in the last two weeks. The killings were investigated by Special Multi Agency Task Force W AF mused nine nine reports that the suspect is twenty nine year. Old Jeremy Anderson who lives near both crime scenes the first victims were discovered just before one PM. On Friday December thirteenth fifty-three-year-old Christina Fowler and forty year old Gregory Kerkorian found shot to death near the North Boulevard Bridge still bundled in their blankets. Although there is no formal confirmation local news outlets reported they were shot at close range. The third and final victim fifty year old Tony Williams was discovered on December twenty seventh on the porch of a vacant house on North Eighteenth Street investigators. Investigators believe all three victims were killed in their sleep. There appears to be no racial motivation. As the first two victims were white and the third african-american can American according to local paper. The advocate the area where the killings took place attract a lot of homeless people because of the proximity of several shelters and other social services on December twenty seventh the Baton Rouge police chief Murphy. Paul said at a press conference that investigators believe the killings were related and had created a special task force to aggressively investigate crimes. Keith Murphy also stated that the Baton Rouge police least department was working in cooperation with the homeless community and the organizations that serve it to spread the word of the danger. He warned homeless people. Not The sleep on the street while the killer was still loose at the same news conference pillar more the East Baton Rouge District Attorney stated quote despite these these people being classified as homeless. These are very active aggressive investigations. These are real people that have real families real lives and so all the detectives know that and they see that and they take this work to heart. Michael Koldo the director of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul Shelter altern Baton Rouge told W AF be the organization was working to add more beds and provide emergency accommodations on Wednesday night. Read the suspect twenty nine year. Old Jeremy Anderson was arrested at his home without incident citing court documents. The advocate reports that Anderson was arrested after a witness came forward and told authorities that he had confessed to the crimes. The witness also stated the Jeremy Anderson owned the nine millimeter handgun consistent with ballistics evidence recovered at the scene. The arrest report indicates that investigators started by tying Anderson listen to the third killing and then gathered evidence that connected him to the first two murders. More evidence was found in a search of Jeremy Anderson's home which just so happens tends to be located within two blocks from both crime scenes on Thursday chief. Paul told the advocate that during his initial questioning quote doc Anderson made incriminatory statements that placed him at the crime scene. The Arrest Warrant States the Anderson confessed to killing Christina Fowler and Gregory Kerkorian and the first victims Anderson has to prior arrests one from two thousand thirteen for illegally carrying a weapon and one from two thousand fourteen gene for battery stemming from a domestic incident. That's it for today's episode of Sword Scale Daily. We hope you have a fantastic weekend gained. We'll see you next week and until then stay safe soared. End scaled. Daily is an incongruity media production. Your host was Ryan Williams Research and writing by Garba rock executive producer. My Day if you like the show subscribe and leave us a review. If you'd like to write us with feedback or suggestions use the email address daily at Sword scale dot com.
Dec 4, 2019
"Hello and welcome to sword and scale daily. I'm your host Ryan Williams it's Wednesday December fourth. And this is your daily true crime report coming up on sort and scale daily. A Wisconsin woman has been arrested in connection with the two two thousand six murder of her husband in Holland. Command is on trial for fatally stabbing his American roommate. A talented drummer who was studying at university in Rotterdam finally in Oregon a man who was convicted of the two thousand and one murder of his girlfriend. Alfred has his conviction overturned after a judge ruled that the state crime lab did not disclose the existence of potentially exculpatory DNA. Evidence since in the case. All this more coming up on sort and scaled daily The Wo- saw County Daily Herald reports reports that on Monday December. Second Sixty five year. Old Cindy Scholtz. Jude's was arrested for the two thousand six murder of her husband. Fifty eight year old Kim. Joo She's being held on one million dollars cash bail and will be charged with murder. Police considered the death of Kim. Jud homicide from the start for years the Marathon County sheriff's department said they had a suspect in the death but insufficient evidence for an arrest on the morning of August thirtieth. Two thousand six around eight. Thirty am Cindy Schultz. Jude's called nine one one and reported finding her husband Ken. Jude's dead in their home. In whole Wisconsin. Ken Jude's worked as a pharmacist. His marriage to Cindy was his the second and he had four children with his first wife. Cindy Scholtz Jude's told investigators. She spent the nights sleeping in an RV. On the couple's bulls property and did not see who killed her husband. Medical examiners found that Kim Jude's was shot twice in the chest with a twenty gauge shotgun and and died overnight. Cindy reported the same shotgun stolen from their home that same evening during the investigation Sunni gave inconsistent statements about her schedule on the day of the homicide and was considered a person of interest in the case. Police also argued argued that Cindy had a financial motive to kill her husband. Ken Jude's had a one million dollar life insurance policy of which Cindy was the beneficiary three. The couple also had joint property which subsequent to Kim's death Cindy sold for two hundred thousand dollars investigators. Here's believed that the couple's marriage was rocky and divorce was possible. In which case Cindy would have been cut out of the policy in February every two thousand seven. Police received an anonymous letter containing information about Kim's death. Also in two thousand seven. Kim Jude's children from his first marriage filed a wrongful death suit against Cindy in civil court. They were requesting to return of the payment of the life insurance policy policy. The suit was dropped. In two thousand ten following a settlement over the years semi maintained her innocence telling the WHOA Sauk County Herald in two thousand thirteen. I don't feel I am a person of interest in my husband's death. Most of the money went to the kids. money-wise money-wise my husband and I together would have earned more in two years than I ever would have gotten from his death and I still would have my husband since since two thousand six. Investigators believed they had strong circumstantial evidence against the suspect but needed more evidence to charge them. It is not not clear. What if any new evidence law enforcement have now but in two thousand sixteen to detectives were newly assigned to the cold case one of them? I'm full time Cindy Scholz. Jude's is next due in court on December thirteenth in other news the Netherlands Orlands Times reports that man is on trial in Rotterdam for the two thousand eighteen murder of his American roommate. Sarah Papin Heim He. He faces ten years in prison. An institutionalization at a psychiatric treatment facility if convicted twenty one year old Sarah Papin Heim of andover. Minnesota was a gifted drummer who played with several bands in the twin cities area. She started studying psychology full-time at harassment's psomas university in Rotterdam in two thousand sixteen following her brother's suicide she focused her studies on suicide prevention. She and the suspect in her murder. Twenty four year old Joel shelling a cellist. Lived in the same university apartment complex and bonded over their love of music. They're living quarters. Were separate but they shared the same kitchen and bathroom. Shelling was reportedly depressed socially isolated suicidal and Sarah was one of his few friends. Even shellings condition worsened. Sarah who was committed to suicide prevention attention did not draw away in early December. Sarah told a friend about his behavior. That friend reached out to the disturbed served. Persons Hotline and Mental Health Professionals came to interview Joel showing twice but determined. There was no cause for concern a few days as later. Papin Heim text another friend. That showing told her he wanted to be a serial killer which she then reported he was due to receive another other visit for mental health professionals. On December Twelfth Papin himes body was found in the top of the bathroom she shared with Joel shelling. She'd been stabbed twenty seven times and cut ten times. Sarah had been due to return to Minnesota to visit her family over Christmas break. Joel shelling fled the scene after the killing but was arrested when he disembarked from a train in over sixty miles from Rotterdam Joel. Shelling was examined by team mental health professionals who found that at the time of the murder he was disconnected from reality due to the combined effects acts of several mental disorders including autism schizophrenia and psychosis the trial which will be decided by a panel of three judges began on Wednesday November twenty seventh per the Netherlands. Times Joel showing told the cord that on the day of the murder. Uh He went to Papin himes room to talk to her. He claimed he was angry about a recent conversation that you had. During which he told Papin Heim he was going to kill L. himself. And according to Joel shelling she replied do it then he claimed he has little memory of the rest of the altercation. He told the judges ages quote. I wanted to talk to her. I was angry with her. A struggle arose at the door and she bit me then. I saw blood on the wall and saw her lying on her back. When a judge asked Joel shelling why he killed Syrup Papin Heim? He said he did not know. After the break. In Oregon Man's two thousand ten conviction in the death of his girlfriend has been overturned a judge overseeing the case ace ruled that a police crime lab did not disclose potentially exculpatory. DNA evidence in the case Now for our final story in two thousand ten Nicholas macguffin was convicted of manslaughter in the two thousand death of his girlfriend. Fifteen year. Old Leah Freeman on Monday. December second in Oregon judge overturned the conviction ruling that the state crime lab violated mcmuffins is rights when they did not disclose the discovery of an unknown males. DNA on the victims shoes. The World Coups Bay reported that Leah Freeman. Eamon was last seen around nine pm on the evening of June. Twenty eighth two thousand on central avenue in her hometown of COQ. He'll per boyfriend then. Seventeen year. Old Nicholas macguffin had dropped her off at a House Party and was supposed to pick her up later but she left before he arrived at first. Police considered Leah Freeman. Run away on July third. One of her shoes discovered across the street from the local high school will. The shoe had been spattered with freemen's blood and as of two thousand one. The crime lab identified trace amounts of DNA belonging to an unknown male. Oh mixed in with her blood Leah. FREEMEN's other shoe was discovered on Hudson Ridge. Thirteen miles away on July fifth. Her body was found not far from there on August third. The case went. Cold and Leah. FREEMEN's family accused police of botching the investigation and from the start for one. Investigators did not collect evidence immediately from the location of the Party. Freeman attended the night. She disappeared even though they went by the house looking for her. By the time they decided to collect evidence the party debris had been cleaned up and any evidence disposed of it would later come up that they failed to follow up on some evidence they did collect the day after the disappearance macguffin failed a lie detector attacked test leading police to consider him. The main suspect. In two thousand ten the case was reopened and in August two thousand ten and mcgovern was finally charged for the murder of Leah Freeman. At the time he had a child of his own and was working as a banquet chef at a local hotel talent casino. He pled not guilty during the trial. The prosecution portrayed the relationship between macguffin and Leah Freeman As fiery and said that they argued shortly before her disappearance. The prosecution claimed that Freeman was strangled. And that macguffin transported reported her to the woods in either his or his parents car. No physical evidence connected to Leah. Freeman was found in either car which the prosecution Russian said was because of the cause of death. The state medical examiner found. The cause of death was strangulation based on the lack of evident proof of another another cause of death. The remains were skeleton is D- And there were no evident knicks or damage to the bones nor were their apparent holes or cuts to her clothing thing however the highway bone typically found broken in cases of strangulation was intact. The defense hired a private forensic analyst. WHO found to cuts consistent with the knife on Freeman's tank top in sports bra per the location of the cuts Freeman would have been stabbed in the area under her sternum explaining the lack of damage to the bones during the two thousand ten trial it was also revealed that that in two thousand police found a receipt at the crime scene with the name of another local Boy Raymond Lewis who was sixteen at the time of the murder on it and Raymond Lewis was interviewed and he explained away the existence of the receipt by saying he frequently went to the Ridge go hunting and muddying however as the defense pointed out in two thousand ten there was no hunting or muddying going on at the Ridge during the summer of two thousand law enforcement did not investigate investigate Louis any further and never searched his car or home? Oregon is the only state in the union that allowed non unanimous jury reverts on all offenses except for murder per oregon public broadcasting. The jury McGovern's two thousand. Ten trial could did not come to a unanimous verdict on murder and he was eventually convicted on manslaughter in two thousand eleven in a decision that was split tended to macguffin was sentenced to ten years of which he has served. Nine macguffin continued to proclaim his innocence represented by Attorney Janice Perko of Portland based nonprofit group the forensic justice project in analyst hired by protocol when over the original case files and discover that in in two thousand the state crime lab discovered. DNA from an unknown male mixed in with Freemen's blood on her shoe the DNA recovered was not not a match for macguffin however the discovery was not disclosed to the defense because the amount of DNA discovered was small and in two thousand one one an internal policy allowed employees to use their own discretion when it came to disclosing small amounts of DNA based on this lack of disclosure. Sure as well as other complaints per call asked for post conviction trial in front of a judge. This request was granted in August. Two Thousand Nineteen and during this hearing Paul ream the lawyer representing the Oregon Department of Justice defended the lack of disclosure the O. P. he be quotes. Reams is saying this was a different world back then. They were very cautious because they did not know all the stuff that was out there so so they were cautious and conservative in what they put in the report. The judge dismissed this defense stating that. Although this may have been policy in two thousand one the case did not go to trial until two thousand ten and significant advances in detection of trace amounts of DNA occurred in that ten year period by two thousand eleven. There's no doubt the result should have been disclosed at the time. The Oregon Department of Justice Has Intel December thirtieth to appeal appeal. The judge's ruling barring such an appeal the case will return to the Coosa County district attorney. Who will have to determine whether to dismiss the case Or retry it. Before we leave you. We have an update in the case of Anaya Blanchard. Who went missing from Auburn Alabama on October twenty third and whose remains were recovered last Monday outside of Montgomery on Monday December second it was revealed held that per the autopsy? Anaya died as a result of a gunshot wound. Investigators believe that only one person Abraham yezid. I was involved in her kidnapping and murder zied. Who is already in custody charged with a nice kidnapping is visible and surveillance footage from the convenience store for where Anaya Blanchard was last seen? Moreover a witness saw him force Anaya into her own car on Monday. The Lee County District Attorney announced that he will be charged with Anaya Blanchard's murder and they will be seeking the death penalty two other men Antoine Antoine Fisher. Who goes by his nickname? Squirmy and David Johnson junior have been charged with assisting Ez after the fact and hindering prosecution police believe that Fisher helped Z.. Dispose of evidence and provide transportation for him. Johnson lied to police about whereabouts whereabouts and his sons robes e to Florida where he was eventually arrested. That's it for today. We'll see tomorrow and until then stay safe. It sort and scale daily is an incongruity media production. Your host was Ryan Williams Research and writing adding by Hagar Barack executive producer. Mike Day if you like the show subscribe and leave us a review if you'd like to write us with feedback or suggestions. CBS use the email address. DAILY AT SWORD AND SCALE DOT com.