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War Stories with Preston and Sayre

War Stories with Preston and Sayre

By Preston Stewart
"War Stories" is conversational military history hosted by Preston Stewart and Sayre Payne. Storytelling military and historical events from WWI to WWII, Korea to Vietnam, and Iraq to Afghanistan, we bring on varied guests to help continue to document our warriors, both past and present.
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181: If It Flies....It Dies - Air Defense Artillery and Afghanistan Challenges with Ethan Long (Habitual Linecrosser)
Sayre and Preston are joined today by Ethan Long, commonly known online as Habitual Linecrosser.  Ethan is an active duty Air Defense Artilleryman, a combat veteran from Afghanistan, and is becoming a bigger and bigger name online within the veteran community.  We talk about some crazy things Air Defenders have to focus on, find out that we were just a few miles apart in Kandahar back in 2010, and how he's using his social media platforms to drive positive leadership. Check out his TikTok and the MilTok Discord server, linked below. Hope you enjoy! Habitual Linecrosser on TikTok MilTok Discord Server
01:02:55
January 24, 2022
180: From Guarding The Southern Border To Firing Rockets In The Middle East with Johnny Britton, Texas Army National Guard
Sayre and Preston are joined today by Johnny Britton.  Johnny is currently a field artillery officer in the Texas Army National Guard where he's certainly staying busy.  We talk about the challenges that Guard Soldiers face, balancing their military time with civilian careers, the variety of mission sets Johnny and his men are asked to accomplish and quite a bit more.  Was a lot of fun catching up with Johnny who I (Preston) was fortunate to have served with down in Texas.  He's got a lot of great insight not just into the National Guard but also, having worked for a while in a HIMARS unit, an understanding of where the Army's field artillery is headed going in to the future. Hope you enjoy!
43:46
January 17, 2022
178: Bob Hurt - Ft. Riley and Camp Hale During the Korean War
Sayre and I are joined today by my grandfather, Bob Hurt.  Bob grew up in Illinois and attended the U of I before being drafted into the Army during the Korean War.  He talks about the advice his dad, a WWI veteran, gave him not just about joining the military (avoid the Army) but also how to make the most of any situation he found himself in.  Bob got into the training at Ft. Riley, KS as well as some of the mountain training in Camp Hale, CO that went right up until the war ended.
01:30:47
December 29, 2021
178: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (originally published 12/21/2020)
Just a few months into the First World War, something beautiful happened.  Amidst the chaos, death and destruction, soldiers from opposing sides made time to celebrate Christmas.  With no formal ceasefire declared, the soldiers in the trenches took it up on themselves.  They began singing to one another and before long had exited the trenches to share gifts with their adversaries. The unofficial truce lasted in some places a day, in others into the new year but  not everyone was happy.  Many higher headquarters, upon learning of the fraternization put a quick stop to it and even ordered Christmas offensives in follow on years to prevent such a thing from happening again. The Christmas Truce of 1914 is one of the bright lights in the First World War, a sign of humanity amidst the horrible backdrop of war.
26:58
December 25, 2021
177: Remembering Dimitri Del Castillo, USMA 2009
Today Preston Stewart and Sayre Payne are joined by a group of Dimitri Del Castillo's classmates, Army rugby teammates and friends.  John Wagner, Jericho Jones, Tommy Sandonato, Andy Brigman, and Mike Fleming.  They talk about their time with Del at West Point, on the rugby pitch, during Ranger School and once everyone scattered their separate ways into the Army. 1LT Dimitri Del Castillo was killed on June 25th, 2011 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan while serving as a platoon leader with 2-35IN, 3rd BCT, 25th ID.
01:45:11
December 20, 2021
176: Listener Q&A - Did Afghanistan Change The Way We View Modern Conflicts?
Today's episode has Sayre and I diving into a handful of questions we received via Instagram, TikTok, or through the Discord server.   Send any questions or comments to the accounts below and we'll see if we can feature yours on the show! - Did Afghanistan change the way we see modern conflicts?  - How many dropped out of USMA or ROTC before graduation?  - How are VMI graduates viewed?  - Goals disconnected from reality on the ground in recent conflicts, what can we do to change that? TikTok Preston Stewart: https://www.tiktok.com/@prestonstew Sayre Payne: https://www.tiktok.com/@sayrepayne Instagram Preston: https://www.instagram.com/prestonstew_/ Sayre: https://www.instagram.com/sayrepayne/ Twitter Sayre: https://twitter.com/SayrePayne Discord: https://discord.gg/Fxqnyhtx
35:31
December 16, 2021
175: Joshua Mooi - US Marine during Operation Steel Curtain
Sayre Payne and Preston Stewart are joined today by Joshu Mooi.  Josh joined the Marines after high school and before long found himself in one of the deadliest areas of Iraq, Anbar Province.  Josh talks about working his way through boot camp, showing up to a unit that was on track to deploy and arriving in country a little under-equipped.  During the months Josh and his unit were in Iraq, they played a major role in combating the al-Qaeda threat that was encroaching on Baghdad through the Euphrates River Valley during Operation Steel Curtain. Josh has done a great job of documenting his time in Iraq on his Instagram page.  Worth checking out! https://www.instagram.com/jinxmooi/
01:52:54
December 13, 2021
174: Maria Goodavage "Top Dog: The Story of Marine Hero Lucca"
Sayre and I are joined today by former USA Today journalist Maria Goodavage to talk about service dogs and a Marine dog named Lucca.   Maria is considered one of the foremost author experts on working dogs after the publication of her critically-acclaimed New York Times bestselling books, Soldier Dogs, Top Dog, and Secret Service Dogs. Her latest book, Doctor Dogs: How Our Best Friends Are Becoming Our Best Medicine, has won hearts around the world. Maria has appeared on numerous national TV shows, including The Daily Show With Jon Stewart and Today, and has given talks about working dogs at the New York Stock Exchange, National Museum of the United States Air Force, and other notable venues. Read more about Maria and all of her work at her website below! https://www.mariagoodavage.com/
54:11
December 09, 2021
173: Listener Q&A - Viet Cong Weapons, Equipment Left In Afghanistan, Air Assault School & Combat Rotations
Today's episode has Sayre and I diving into a handful of questions we received via Instagram, TikTok, or through the Discord server.  Quite a few that we didn't get to today so we'll be back to get into some of the others before long.  Send any questions or comments to the accounts below and we'll see if we can feature yours on the show! - Did the Viet Cong have planes and helicopters? - What's going to happen with all the equipment left behind in Afghanistan? - How to prepare for Army Air Assault school? - Do combat rotations reduce effectiveness? TikTok Preston Stewart: https://www.tiktok.com/@prestonstew Sayre Payne: https://www.tiktok.com/@sayrepayne Instagram Preston: https://www.instagram.com/prestonstew_/ Sayre: https://www.instagram.com/sayrepayne/ Twitter  Sayre: https://twitter.com/SayrePayne Discord: https://discord.gg/Fxqnyhtx
45:32
December 04, 2021
172: MG (Ret) John Raaen Part II - First Hand Accounts From a Ranger at Normandy, Brest, and the Battle of the Bulge
Sayre and I are honored to be joined again by MG (Ret) John Raaen.  MG Raaen graduated from West Point in the January class of 1943 as an engineer.  Before long he volunteered for the Rangers and became a company commander in the 5th Ranger Battalion.  In this episode we pick up where we left off last time, June 6th 1944.   MG Raaen talks about the first link up with the 1st Infantry Division behind Omaha Beach, the quality of the German soldier, and much more.
02:19:60
November 26, 2021
171: Peter Cozzens "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation"
Sayre and Preston are joined today by author Peter Cozzens to talk about his most recent book, "Tecumseh and the Prophet: The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation". Peter Cozzens is the international-award winning author or editor of seventeen books on the American Civil War and the American West. Cozzens retired after a thirty-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, U. S. Department of State. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he served as a captain in the U. S. Army.  Cozzens's most recent book, Tecumseh and the Prophet, published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2020, was awarded the Western Writers of America Spur Award and was a finalist for the George Washington Prize. It has also been published in the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy.   His book The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West was published by Alfred A. Knopf in October 2016. It received the 2017 Gilder Lehrman Prize for the best work in Military History published in the English language, the Caroline Bancroft Prize in Western History, and--in translation--the 2018 HisLibris Award (Spain) for the best non-fiction work of history. The Earth is Weeping was chosen by Smithsonian Magazine as one of the top ten history books of 2016. It also made several other best books of the year lists, including Amazon, the San Francisco Chronicle, the London Times, and Newsday. The Earth is Weeping was also published in Italian, Spanish, United Kingdom, and Dutch editions.   All of Cozzens' books have been selections of the Book of the Month Club, History Book Club, and/or the Military Book Club. Cozzens’ This Terrible Sound: The Battle of Chickamauga and The Shipwreck of Their Hopes: The Battles for Chattanooga were both Main Selections of the History Book Club and were chosen by Civil War Magazine as two of the 100 greatest works ever written on the conflict.   In 2002 Cozzens received the American Foreign Service Association’s highest award, given annually to one Foreign Service Officer for exemplary moral courage, integrity, and creative dissent. He has also received an Alumni Achievement Award from his alma mater Knox College, from which he graduated summa cum laude. Peter Cozzens: https://www.petercozzens.net
01:11:22
November 22, 2021
170: MG (Ret) John Raaen - From West Point to Omaha Beach with the Rangers
Sayre and I are honored to be joined by MG (Ret) John Raaen.  MG Raaen graduated from West Point in the January class of 1943 as an engineer.  Before long he volunteered for the Rangers and became a company commander in the 5th Ranger Battalion.  We talk through his experiences at West Point when he learned of the attack at Pearl Harbor, the rigors of Ranger training and coming ashore on Omaha Beach on June 6th, 1944.
02:06:24
November 18, 2021
169: Only Time Will Tell - Generation Kill 7
We're back today to discuss episode seven of Generation Kill (The Bomb in the Garden).  This wraps up our discussion of this series on the invasion of Iraq in 2003. We get into the challenges of leadership determining when someone needs to be fired, if the Marines were set up for success when they entered the Iraqi cities and how to decide what 'hill you're going to die on'.
40:58
November 16, 2021
168: Baghdad to Kandahar - Army veteran Garth Landis
What better way to kick off Veteran's Day than to catch up with an old buddy.  Garth Landis was in basic training on 9/11, finding out from his drill sergeants that he was now in an Army at war.  He took part in the invasion of Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division and went back to Iraq a few short years later.  He then deployed twice to Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Once with Sayre and I in 2010 and then a few years later to help tear down some of the facilities there.
01:12:20
November 11, 2021
167: Ron Hudnell and the WWII Rangers
We're joined today by Ron Hudnell, who after graduating from West Point in 1969 completed Ranger School and went through Special Forces training before heading to Vietnam.  Ron's father, James Hudnell, served with the storied 2nd Ranger Battalion during WWII.  Ron is helping lead the effort to award to get the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the WWII Rangers which today is closer than it's ever been to becoming a reality. If you'd like to assist in seeing these heroes recognized, please consider contacting your Representative and ask them to cosponsor the House Bill H.R.3577 for the award of the Congressional Gold Medal to WWII Rangers! Ron Hudnell: ronhudnell@gmail.com WWII Ranger Database: www.rangerroster.org WWII Rangers and Descendants Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/294642590651711 WWII Ranger official organization:  www.wwiirangers.org
01:02:16
November 06, 2021
166: The Mission & The Men - Generation Kill Episode 6
Talking through episode six (Stay Frosty) of Generation Kill, Sayre and I get into the conversation around the men versus the mission.  Col Joe Dowdy's removal from command of the 1st Marine Regiment was highlighted in this episode by General Mattis.  We get into the 'no right answer' topic of how and when to choose aggressiveness over caution on the battlefield and just how important it is to trust in your junior leaders.
49:05
November 04, 2021
165: JD Huitt of The History Underground
Joined today by JD Huitt, the man behind The History Underground YouTube channel.  I've been a fan of JD's work for a long time and it was an absolute honor to chat with him for a bit.  If you haven't checked out his videos, they're worth a watch, link is below.  JD travels to historical locations and brings his viewers along with him in a way that makes you feel as though you're getting a personal tour from an old friend.   We talk about how his channel grew to the over 200k subscribers he has today, how the show has evolved and some plans going forward.  JD is just back from a trip to Normandy so we got to talk a bit about what he covered while he was there and what we all can expect in the coming weeks and months on his channel. This conversation was a lot of fun for me, hope you enjoy as well! The History Underground on YouTube
01:01:39
October 26, 2021
164: Just Get It Done - Generation Kill Episode 5
Today we talk about the fifth episode of Generation Kill (Burning Dog).  We talk about the civilian casualties in any conflict, especially this period in Iraq from 2003 to today and the absolute chaos that suicide bombers brought to the modern battlefield.   Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
01:01:56
October 23, 2021
163: Almost Home, But So Far To Go: Finishing Up In Afghanistan
John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on. He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.  In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror. John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.
55:34
October 19, 2021
162: Between a Rock and a Hard Place - Generation Kill Episode 4
Today we talk about the fourth episode of Generation Kill (Combat Jack).  We get into the always complex dynamic of gathering feedback in a leadership position but having to be ready when it isn't positive, giving pump up speeches ahead of an operation and the tough spot civilians find themselves in during war.   Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
51:52
October 15, 2021
161: Remembering Todd Weaver
In today's episode, I'm joined by Jacob Ivey, Bryson Shipman and Kyle Snook to talk about their friend, Todd Weaver.  Jacob, Kyle, Bryson and Todd were all platoon leaders together in D/2-502IN before splitting off to different companies just ahead of a deployment to Afghanistan in 2010.  They share some awesome parts of Todd's story from his writing letters to the families of his Soldiers to the deep conversations had right when they arrived in country. Early in the deployment, Todd and Jacob were sent to support 1-320FA in the Arghandab River Valley just outside Kandahar.  They talk about Todd taking on the new mission and how much he enjoyed being able to mentor and lead a new group of Soldiers in this challenging environment.   Todd was killed in action on September 9th, 2010, but it's clear in talking with his friends that he left quite the legacy and is still making an impact today. Jacob Ivey was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader in the Arghandab River Valley with B/1/320 during the 2010-2011 deployment to Afghanistan by 2IBCT, 101st Airborne Division. Jacob ultimately served for 10 years before moving on to the civilian sector where he lives in Gainesville, FL with his wife and children. Bryson Shipman was an Company Executive Officer in Zhari District, Kandahar Province with D/2-502 Parachute Infantry Regiment during the 2010-2011 deployment to Afghanistan in support of OEF X-XI. Bryson is still serving in the United States Army. Kyle Snook served 5 years as an Infantry officer with a deployment as a platoon leader to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment in 2010. He now works in healthcare entrepreneurship and lives in Denver, CO with his wife, dog and 1-year-old daughter.
01:42:42
October 12, 2021
160: Fire Support Base Ripcord - Vietnam Veteran Bob Leibecke
Was fortunate to be able to chat with Vietnam veteran Bob Leibecke to hear about his experiences leading up to and in the Vietnam War.  Bob graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1969 knowing that he was headed off to war shortly after he commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  After Ranger School and Jungle Warfare Training, Bob headed to Vietnam where he was assigned to C/2-506 IN, part of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. Bob's unit was at the center of an incredibly hard fought fight known as the Battle of FSB Ripcord that he gets into during the episode. Books referenced in today's show "Ripcord: Screaming Eagles Under Siege, Vietnam 1970" by Keith Nolan "Hell on a Hill Top: America's Last Major Battle in Vietnam" by Ben Harrison "Remembering Firebase Ripcord" by Christopher Brady
01:04:36
October 06, 2021
159: War is Nasty - Generation Kill Episode 3
Today we talk about the third episode of Generation Kill (Screwby).  We talk about how the fog of war is everywhere and even avoiding friendly fire can be a real challenge on a kinetic battlefield.  We get into how to break the tension during moments of high stress and how to work with a Soldier or Marine who maybe got a little trigger-happy. Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
49:21
October 03, 2021
158: A Scout in Afghanistan - Conversation with Gabriel Taylor
We're joined today by Gabriel Taylor who served as a scout in the US Army from 2017-2020 including a deployment to eastern Afghanistan.  We get into his hearing for the first time that he was going to deploy, the oddities of traveling around Afghanistan on civilian helicopters and getting used to the regular rocket attacks at his base.  
32:39
September 30, 2021
157: From Fallujah to TikTok - A Marine's Story That's Just Getting Started
Joined today by Terry Kim, a Marine combat veteran who is creating some really cool military tribute videos on TikTok.  We get into his background and what led him into the military as well as his time in Fallujah and how that impacted who he is today.  Terry gets into why he's spending his time focused on telling stories of our fallen servicemembers and why he thinks that's such an important topic today. Terry Kim is a US Marine combat veteran and content creator. He is known for his TikTok tribute videos for service members and their actions. The conversation was a lot of fun, hope you enjoy!
01:17:55
September 27, 2021
156: A Deadly Fight in a Confusing War - Hamburger Hill
Today I'm joined by Leon Schwartz to talk broadly about the Vietnam War and more specifically the Battle of Hamburger Hill.  Leon helps provide some insight into the history of Vietnam that is hard to find when just studying it from military history perspective here in the US.  We talk about the Soldiers interactions with locals, some terms they may have picked up along the way, how the war is viewed in Vietnam today and a quite a bit more.   - Brief background on Vietnam pre-1969 - NVA vs. VC - Body count strategy - Devastation on both sides on Hill 937 (Hamburger Hill) - Walking away, giving the hill back after that victory - Public perception changing in the US Leon was a History and English teacher for 10 years in Asia and the United States. He lived and taught in South Korea and Vietnam from 2011-2016.  After teaching, Leon has  worked in the maritime industry as a stevedore. Although he no longer works as a teacher, he maintains a strong interest and passion in all things history. He is from Baltimore County, MD but currently resides in Smithfield, VA.
54:18
September 23, 2021
Into the Fight: Generation Kill Episode 2
Today we talk about the second episode of Generation Kill (The Cradle of Civilization).  We talk about the challenges of walking the line between scaring your men and holding on a healthy amount of fear,  the challenge of identifying fighters on this new battlefield and the crazy high that comes after a firefight. Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
45:36
September 21, 2021
Excited For War - Generation Kill Episode 1
Today we talk about the first episode of Generation Kill (Get Some).  We talk about how unique this invasion was as the Marines faced a relatively modern enemy force.  How to empower those around you to bring forward ideas that can benefit the whole group and the awkwardness of having a reporter embedded in a combat unit.  A few other areas we hit on below: - Empowering your people to make suggestions - Getting ready for war not knowing if it's going to happen - How do reporters fit into combat? - The details they get right, sleeping during an invasion, downtime between spikes of activity Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
49:07
September 17, 2021
Simple Living at an Afghan Strong Point
John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on.   He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.  In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror.   John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.
55:18
September 15, 2021
Forged in Combat: American and Australian Troops at the Battle of Hamel
Joined today by Ross Manuel to talk about the Battle of Hamel, a unique fight in WWI where U.S. Soldiers fell under Australian command as innovative combined-arms warfare was being implemented on the battlefield.  We get into the background of the battle as well, some items below and more. - Why was Hamel strategic? - U.S. getting experience with Australian units - Success in combined-arms tactics - Private Henry Dalziel (Victoria Cross) - Corporal Thomas Pope (Medal of Honor) Ross Manuel is an avid Military History Enthusist who chronicles Australia’s Military History through his podcast ‘I Was Only Doing My Job’ as well as videos on TIkTok
56:04
September 12, 2021
Getting Them Out: Coordinating Evacuations From Afghanistan
Chatting today with Sayre Payne.  Sayre has been working hard over the last few months to coordinate flights out of Afghanistan for many interpreters and their families.  Started speeding up in July, got chaotic in August and now it's a totally different game.  He gets into the background of why so many civilians and veterans no longer associated with the US government jumped in to help, the challenges they ran into on the ground and where he thinks this is going from here. Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
53:05
September 09, 2021
Good Times & Bad - Zhari District, Afghanistan
John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on.   He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice.  In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror.   John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.
01:04:04
August 31, 2021
Welcome to Afghanistan: First Days In Country
John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on. He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice. In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror. John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.
01:01:14
August 25, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Episode 10 (Points)
Today we talk about the tenth episode of Band of Brothers (Points).  We talk about the interesting aspect of going from intense combat to peace in a matter of days or weeks and how some can handle that when others can't.  We also spend some time talking about the idea of legacy and how these elite warriors went home and picked up life right where they left off. A few other areas we hit on below:   - Emotions when they hear the war in Europe and then the Pacific is over  - MAJ Winters volunteering to fight in the Pacific  - Losing confidence after leaving the military  - Serving in a company of heroes   Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
47:31
August 21, 2021
What Happened? First thoughts on the fall of Afghanistan
Conor McNamara, John Wagner and I chat about the fall of Afghanistan.  We recorded this on the evening of August 16th, 2021 going off the information we had available at the time.    Each of us spent time in Afghanistan between 2010-2012 in a variety of roles all across the country. Between the three of us we worked with units from the platoon to brigade size, helped train the Army and Police, interacted with countless locals, and managed interpreters. This is a challenging topic with a wide range of emotions hit on in this episode.  From anger to sadness, frustration to confusion, there's a lot to unpack.  I think each of us are still figuring out our exact thoughts and hopefully talking through some of them helped a bit.     - Should the Afghan military had fought harder, could they have?  - Is this the Afghan people choosing their future?  - How were we so wrong in their fighting capabilities?  - Was leaving the right move? Conor was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer who served as a platoon leader during a twelve month deployment to Zabul, Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment during 2011-2012. He is now an attorney who has volunteered with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) for the past seven years, assisting former interpreters and Afghan support personnel with immigrating to the United States. John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.
52:51
August 17, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Why We Fight (Episode 9)
Today we talk about the ninth episode of Band of Brothers (Why We Fight).  We've entered the point in the series where the combat dies down in favor of some deeper topics around the overall war.   - Looting happening all over.  Is this different if it's a civilian or military installation?  - Casualty notes for Operation Varsity, was it needed?  How they're still heroes.  - Thinking about the future, it's always sunshine and roses.  Anything is better than war.  - Finding the concentration camp.  Did the US Soldiers know what to expect?  Did the local citizens really not know?   Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  
46:11
August 15, 2021
From West Point to Kandahar: Preparing For War
John Wagner joined us a few weeks ago to talk about the issue of getting interpreters out of Afghanistan.  Some of his personal stories in that episode really brought forward a different side of the war that we thought we'd try to expand on. He and I started at West Point together in the same 10-person squad, spent four years in the same company, before graduating and going off to Ft. Sill together.  From there we found ourselves in the same battalion in the 101st Airborne Division and deployed together twice. In this and following episodes, we'll be telling the normal stories we do when we're together.  Joking about problems at West Point, feelings around the deployment, and struggles through both.  Hopefully this can present another side of the 20+ year Global War on Terror. John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.
59:18
August 10, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: The Last Patrol (Episode 8)
Today we talk about the eighth episode of Band of Brothers (The Last Patrol).  We get into the challenge of someone coming back into a tight-knit group.  The mix of those wanting to see combat and those who have had enough.  And the act of Winters placing his men above the mission as well as his own career.  A few other areas we hit on below: - Rejoining a unit is never easy, no matter how much you were a part before. - How do you balance risk late in a conflict? - Does the mission make sense?  This isn't what the 101st had been used to in this war. - Winters making up that a mission went as planned so his men could get some rest and stay safe. Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
48:02
August 06, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Breaking Point (Episode 7)
Today we talk about the seventh episode of Band of Brothers (The Breaking Point).  This episode is leadership heavy, providing both stellar and poor examples throughout.  A few topics we dive into below: - Where's Dike?  A leader does have to be in multiple places, but he seems to always get it wrong. - When do officers shoot?  Lots of ways an officer is supposed to supplement the fight, but usually it's not with their own weapon. - Violence of action in the attack of Foy. - Commander's Intent and how the military executes operations. - Value in the men thinking LT Spears is the baddest dude in Europe. Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
54:31
August 02, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Bastogne (Episode 6)
Today we talk about the sixth episode of Band of Brothers (Bastogne).  Talk about a slugfest in the cold, hard to imagine the misery these warriors went through.  This episode is unique in that it focuses on a medic Eugene Roe, something that really brings to the front the suffering all around the small town.    - Dike: where's my foxhole?   - Doc yells at a guy for his arm wound, don't yell if it's not that bad   - "This is a combat patrol Doc, why don't you stay back"   - Seems like Roe never sleeps, always someone needing help in Bastogne   - Wounded seems positive (didn't die), but they'll live with that rest of their life    Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
48:31
July 28, 2021
A Life or Death Issue: Helping Interpreters To Exit Afghanistan. Personal Stories From Volunteers
Pulling in a few old friends today to talk about a topic that's been a major news item recently; getting former interpreters out of Afghanistan.  John Wagner, Conor McNamara and I were roommates at West Point and each spent time in Afghanistan.  Over the past 10 years, both John and Conor have worked to help get some of their former interpreters here to the US under the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program.  We hit on a few topics  -International Refugee Assistance Project  -Special Immigrant Visa Program  -Why there is a sense of urgency to getting these folks out  -What you can do to help  -Touching base and running into interpreters once they're here in the US  International Refugee Assistance Project  https://refugreerights.org  No One Left Behind   https://nooneleft.org/    Association of Wartime Allies  https://www.wartimeallies.co/  https://www.facebook.com/USwartimeallies Conor was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer who served as a platoon leader during a twelve month deployment to Zabul, Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment during 2011-2012. He is now an attorney who has volunteered with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) for the past seven years, assisting former interpreters and Afghan support personnel with immigrating to the United States.  John was a Ranger-qualified Artillery Officer who served as a platoon leader and a fire support officer during a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.  He also served as an artillery advisor to the Afghan National Army in the Kunar River valley for most of 2012.  He now works in medical device manufacturing with a startup called GT Medical Technologies, whose mission is to improve the lives of patients with brain tumors.
55:06
July 22, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Crossroads (Episode 5)
Today we talk about the third episode of Band of Brothers (Crossroads).  This episode revolves around a fight that could have well wiped out much of Easy company.  Instead, after prevailing, Winters is promoted to take over as Battalion Executive Officer.    - Life as an officer - paperwork from all directions   - Leading the charge, fix bayonets    - Going from PL to BN XO in 4 months   - Winters giving directions to his replacement   - Would a short R&R help?   Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
01:01:07
July 17, 2021
Cold War - The End?
This is part four of a series on the Cold War, diving into topics around the world to help tell this story of this complicated time in history.  Ian Richardson joins again with a focus this time on the Soviet-Afghan war and how that's viewed as a sort of book end to the history of the Soviet Union.   Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL. Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria
01:02:13
July 12, 2021
Cold War - Around The World (1962-1979)
This is part three in our series on the Cold War and joined again  by Ian Richardson.  Today's episode looks around the world during a time the US is heavily focused on Vietnam.  We get into the Sino-Soviet split and how that impacted decisions from Asia to Africa.  Ian gets into how close the world was to a nuclear war during border disputes between the USSR and China as well as many of the lesser known conflicts in Africa.     Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL.   Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria
01:03:38
July 12, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Replacements (Episode 4)
Today we talk about the fourth episode of Band of Brothers (Replacements).  This episode really focuses on a few days worth of fighting in and around the critical French town. -New guys are never good enough  -"could end the war by Christmas"  -Imagine being stuck in a war zone like these civilians  -101st is elite but tanks mean get out  -SGT Bull Randleman building his team Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
01:00:48
July 10, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Carentan (Episode 3)
Today we talk about the third episode of Band of Brothers (Carentan).  This episode really focuses on a few days worth of fighting in and around the critical French town.   - Luz kicks in door and sees a family, the potentially nasty side of war - Blythe freezes - Winters hit in the foot, the role chance plays in war - The line between tough and stupid - Spears: Accept that you're already dead - Different roles in the firefight  - Welsh asking for volunteers then one gets shot Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
59:12
June 23, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Day of Days (Episode 2)
Diving into episode two of Band of Brothers (Day of Days) Sayre and I again focus on a few key points in an episode that is largely combat focused.   -First time into the fight was D-Day, no ramping up -Landing and not knowing who's alive -Guarnere opening fire before Winter's order -Brecourt Manor assault, are leaders always out front? -Winters taking a drink with Guarnere, pros and cons Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
01:08:15
June 17, 2021
Band of Brothers Discussion: Curahee (Episode 1)
Diving into episode one of Band of Brothers (Curahee).  Sayre and I get into a few key points, listed below, as well as how the series impacted us to the leadership lessons still applicable today. -"it was a different time" people signed up and wanted to fight. -The hatred of LT Sobel in training -NCO's signing a letter saying they won't serve with Sobel -LT Winters to Compton, "never put yourself in a position to take from these men" -LT Winters helping his men into the aircraft ahead of D-Day Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
54:14
June 09, 2021
The Cold War: Turning hot (1949-1963)
Joined today by Ian Richardson to talk about the Cold War.  We talk about the first time the Cold War goes hot in Korea, overall US plans in the Cold War with NSC 68 and how the world may have been saved from nuclear armageddon by one Soviet officer during the Cuban missile crisis.   Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL. Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria
01:08:29
June 04, 2021
The Cold War: The Early Years
Joined today by Ian Richardson to talk about the Cold War.  We hit on a few topics from the time US forces fought Russians after WWI all the way through the USSR acquiring atomic weapons in 1949.   Ian is a Captain in the Army Reserve and formerly served as a Logistics Officer in Iraq in 2020. He is a published museum professional with nearly a decade of experience and a focus in 20th century warfare. He formerly served as the Historic Vehicle Coordinator for the First Division Museum in Wheaton, IL. Ian also runs an Instagram account displaying his collection of militaria, check it out when you get a chance @ivy_vine_militaria 
49:29
May 28, 2021
Afghanistan troop withdrawal
A lot of questions recently around President Biden's decision to withdraw all remaining US troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.  That's a complicated topic with a lot of emotion mixed in so thought it would be a fun conversation to pull my buddy Sayre Payne into. Sayre was a Ranger-qualified Infantry Officer and served as a platoon leader for the entirety of a twelve month deployment to Zhari District, Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment during the troop surge of 2010-2011.
58:08
April 27, 2021
Live Q&A 4/12/2021
This was a live Q&A on TikTok where I took questions in the chat.  We hit on a wide range of topics with a few WWII 'what-ifs', dazzle camo in WWI and more.  
30:26
April 13, 2021
Pfc William Soderman (9th IN, 2nd ID) Battle of the Bulge 17-18DEC1944
17DEC1944: As his unit moved to reinforce the lines, Pfc William Soderman headed to the woods with an armful of munitions.  Carrying a bazooka, several rockets, grenades and his rifle, Soderman hid in the dark as he waited for the coming German attack. Before long, a column of German tanks was coming up on his position.  Soderman waited until the last minute, stepped out and fired a round at point blank range, destroying one of the tanks.  Before he could reload, the remaining tanks powered past him to continue their advance.  Staying in his position all night through enemy artillery and machine gun fire, Soderman once again faced down a tank advance.  Running to get into position, Soderman stepped into the road fired once more and destroyed his second German tank, blocking the pass for the others. As Soderman moved back to resupply, he came across a platoon of German infantry.  Firing his bazooka once more, he killed three and wounded many more, forcing their retreat.  At this point, his unit began to withdraw but just then, another wave of armor pushed through the forest.   Soderman grabbed his bazooka and went forward to meet the threat.  He quickly fired another round destroying his third tank in 24 hours.  As he turned, he was hit and severely wounded by enemy fire.  After crawling back to friendly lines he was treated, evacuated and would survive the war.  For his actions in single handedly destroying three German tanks, Pfc William Soderman was awarded the Medal of Honor.   
13:47
March 18, 2021
TSgt Vernon McGarity (393rd IN, 99th ID) Battle of the Bulge, Krinkelt, Belgium 16DEC1944
16DEC1944: They didn't know it, butTSgt Vernon McGarity and his men of the 99th Infantry Division were about to face down the last major German counter-attack of the war. With temperatures hovering around zero degrees, the sky opened up and artillery fire rained all around McGarity and his men.  Wounded in the initial barrage, he moved back to the aid station for treatment but refused evacuation to get back to his men, who found themselves in a fight.  With their communications cut off, McGarity and the 393rd Infantry Regiment were facing the brunt of the German attack outside the town of Krinkelt, Belgium.   As the waves came on, TSgt McGarity braved the enemy fire to rescue multiple Soldiers, wounded and cut off from friendly lines.  After a day of fighting, he saw German tanks advancing to his position.  Taking a bazooka and running forward, McGarity fired at close range, destroying the lead tank and forcing the other three to withdraw.   Now running low on ammunition, McGarity ran through fire to a nearby ammunition dump.  Grabbing as much as he could carry to bring back to his men, some on their last rounds as the Germans continued to attack.  Noticing an enemy machine gun setting up to their rear, McGarity assaulted the position.  He quickly killed the crew and stayed in a position preventing anyone else from manning the automatic weapon.   Outnumbered in some cases five to one, McGarity and his men were eventually overrun and captured.  TSgt Vernon McGarity would spend the next four months in a POW camp before being liberated in April of 1945.  He would survive the war and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions right at the start of the Battle of the Bulge.  
19:29
March 15, 2021
PltSgt Mitchell Paige (2/7 Marines) Battle of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal 26OCT1942
26OCT1942: PltSgt Mitchell Paige was leading a machine gun platoon on Guadalcanal with the 2/7 Marines when they were tasked with reinforcing a portion of the westernmost lines.  Moving into position, Paige had his men dig in and prepare to head off any Japanese attack that was expected to kick off any moment. Late on the 25th, Paige noticed enemy lights in the distance.  He notified his men and readied for the attack.  It kicked off in the early morning hours of the 26th as Japanese soldiers charged their position.  As his machine guns hammered the enemy, some overheated and created temporary gaps in the line.  Some attackers made it through and were eventually killed in hand to hand combat. PltSgt Paige did all he could to keep his men in the fight and before long found himself manning an gun.  He was so focused on the attacking enemy fighters that it wasn't until his gun was shot out from underneath him that he realized he was the only Marine not dead or wounded from his section of the line.  He quickly ran back to his sister company to pick up another machine gun and returned to the line. Again laying fire into the enemy, Paige had wounded Marines help him with loading ammo and changing barrels.  Finally, recognizing a break in the attack, Paige seized the opportunity to end the fight.  He ordered the men around him to fix bayonets and he led a charge down the hill into the Japanese staging area.  Killing at least one with his MG that he carried, Paige and his team quickly found themselves without targets.  They had repulsed the attack, nearly 1,200 strong. For his actions that day, PltSgt Paige would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  He would earn a battlefield commission and retired as a Colonel in 1959. 
20:58
March 04, 2021
Sgt John Basilone (1/7 Marines) Battle of Henderson Field, Guadalcanal 24-25OCT1942
24OCT1942: During the Battle for Henderson Field on Guadalcanal, Sgt John Basilone and his unit came under attack from a 3,000 strong enemy force.  Commanding a section of heavy machine guns, Sgt Basilone held off the enemy attackers until on he and two Marines were left standing.  With enemy forces on all sides, Basilone was forced to fight through Japanese attackers in order to pick up ammunition resupplies to keep his guns in the fight. Despite the extremely close range fighting, Sgt Basilone kept up continual, lethal fire even repairing a machine gun in the midst of battle to keep the enemy at bay.  When he finally ran out of ammunition, Sgt Basilone used his pistol and machete to hold back the final Japanese troops until Marine reinforcements arrived.   As morning came, nearly all of the 3,000 enemy Soldiers had perished.  Likely over 200 of those coming at the hands of Sgt John Basilone.  For his bravery and determination in the face of the heavy enemy assault, Sgt John Basilone would be awarded the Medal of Honor.   Continuing service during the war and promoted to Gunnery Sergeant and was in the initial landings at Iwo Jima where he would again be decorated for heroism, this time with the Navy Cross.  GySgt Basilone would be killed during the assault on Iwo Jima at the age of 28.
26:05
March 01, 2021
Ltc Merritt Edson (1st Marine Raider Battalion) Battle of Lunga Ridge, Guadalcanal 12-13SEPT1942
12-13SEPT1942:  Commanding the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, Ltc Merritt Edson learned of a coming attack against the US lines.  Anticipating that it would come near an area known as Lunga Ridge, he petitioned his commander to reinforce.  The two disagreed so in turn, Edson asked that his men move to that sector for a little rest from the main lines.   Arriving on September 11th, he had his men start to dig in and prepare their defense.  Just as they were doing so, Japanese soldiers were making their way through the thick undergrowth in preparation for their attack. As the battle kicked off on the 12th, Edson moved back and forth amongst his lines, motivating his men, assigning sectors of fire and doing all he could to hold the lines.  If his men failed, Henderson Field could fall and with it, the entire US presence on Guadalcanal. As the sun rose after hours of deadly combat, Edson had his men reinforce their positions and prepare for what they all knew was coming, a second wave that night.  Just after 2100 on the 13th it kicked off, with nearly 3,000 Japanese attacking Edson's 830 Marines.   With some Marines falling back or being overrun, Edson consolidated their position and directed danger close artillery right against their position.  By morning, the ridge was covered with dead Japanese soldiers.  The Marines had held. For his actions during the fight that would come to be known as Edson's Ridge, Ltc Merritt Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor. 
30:37
February 22, 2021
Pvt Al Schmid (2/1 Marines, 1st Marine Division) Battle of the Tenaru, Guadalcanal 21AUG1942
21AUG1942: Serving in a machine gun section on Guadalcanal, Pvt Al Schmid and his team were called forward when word spread of an expected Japanese attack.  Schmid, suffering from a foot infection he didn't tell anyone about, moved into the defensive position in the late hours of 20AUG and waited. The Japanese began their attack shortly after midnight and as they began to cross the Tenaru (also known as Alligator Creek), Schimd's gunner opened fire.  As the Japanese poured over their position, the primary gunner was killed and Schmid stepped into his place, firing for the next four hours.    With his assistant gunner seriously wounded, Schimd loaded the machine gun himself and focused on keeping the weapon from overheating despite the constant need for its use.  Eventually a Japanese soldier lobbed a grenade into their position.  As it detonated, it wounded Schmid in the shoulder, arm, hand and face. Despite being blinded by the blast, Schmid continued to fire.  Guided by his wounded assistant gunner, Schimd continued to keep the charging Japanese at bay.  By morning, over 200 dead Japanese soldiers were found in front of his position.   For his actions that night, Pvt Al Schmid would be awarded the Navy Cross. 
21:11
February 18, 2021
Pfc. Edward Ahrens (1st Raider BN, 1st Marine Division) Battle of Tulagi, 07AUG1943
07AUG1942: Landing with A Co of the 1st Raider BN, Pfc Edward Ahrens was at the tip of the spear of the Allied offensive in the Pacific.  While his fellow 1st Division Marines landed across the channel on Guadalcanal, Ahrens and his brothers were tasked with taking the island of Tulagi. Coming ashore on Blue Beach, Ahrens and his men swept right to clear their half of the island.  Encountering minimal enemy resistance, they fought until nightfall when they set in their defense.   Around 2230 that night, the Japanese attacked.  Charging Ahrens position head on, they came, one after another.  As the Marine lines began to buckle, Ahrens held on.  Pulling enemy soldiers in to hand to hand combat, he fought throughout the night.   By morning, his commander began to survey the lines and came across Ahrens.  He was slumped in his foxhole, covered in blood with 13 dead Japanese fighters splayed around him.  Mortally wounded, the 22 year old Ahrens looked to his commander and said, "the idiots tried to come over me last night.  I guess they didn't know I was a Marine."  Ahrens died of his wounds shortly therafter. For his actions that night, Pfc Edward Ahrens was awarded, posthumously, the Navy Cross. 
25:22
February 15, 2021
LTC James Rudder (2nd Ranger BN) Point Du Hoc, D-Day 06JUN1944
06JUN1944:  Leading what many thought to be a suicide mission, LTC James Rudder and the men of the 2nd Ranger Battalion headed towards Pointe Du Hoc.  Allied planners expected a battery of 155mm cannons to sit atop the pointe, able to range the American beaches at Omaha and Utah.  It had to be taken out. Realizing they were headed to the wrong cliffs, LTC Rudder changed course but the delay would mean their coming ashore late.  Not only did that give the German defenders time to regroup after the naval bombardment but it also meant the reinforcements wouldn't be signaled in time and would instead head to Omaha beach.  Rudder and his 225 men were on their own. Firing their rope ladders and grappling hooks over the cliffs edge, the waterlogged mean began to climb.  Under fire, they pressed on until reaching the top of the 100' cliffs.  Backs to the wall, they pushed forward, clearing enemy positions at close range. At this point, Rudder realized the guns had been moved and in their place, sat telephone poles.  As they set in their defense, a few Rangers pushed out.  They found the guns just a short ways inland and quickly destroyed them before linking back up with Rudder and the main force The Rangers would be counterattacked multiple times over the coming hours but would valiantly hold on until reinforcements arrived on June 8th.  By that point, they had suffered over 75% casualties with fewer than 100 men able to continue the fight. For his leadership in this impossible task, LTC James Rudder was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  
24:50
February 11, 2021
CPT Ralph Goranson (C Co. 2nd Rangers) Charlie Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
06JUN1944: Tasked with clearing German defenses in the Charlie Sector of Omaha Beach, CPT Ralph Goranson and C Company of the 2nd Ranger BN headed to shore.  Told by LTC James Rudder that his was the toughest job on the whole beach, Goranson had a decision to make. If Dog Green was cleared, he would move up the Vierville draw and loop west to attack the German defenses before linking up with the Rangers at Point du hoc.  If that sector wasn't cleared, he would be forced to scale the cliffs overlooking Charlie sector. With Dog Green still heavily contested, Goranson and his men took to the cliffs, reaching the beach at 0645.  The two LCA's carried 68 Rangers and they came under fire as soon as they landed.  His unit already reduced to about 30 fighting men, Goranson directed his men to climb the nearly 100 foot cliffs.  As the first reached the top, they right away began their attack as more and more Rangers followed behind. Recognizing the damage WN 73 was causing on Omaha, Goranson made the decision to attack east rather than west towards his fellow Rangers.  Goranson found a fortified house that was hammering the beach.  He led his men in clearing the house and surrounding trenches.  Eventually they were joined by men from the 29th Infantry Division who had come ashore at Dog Green. For his heroic actions that day in helping to open the Dog Green sector, CPT Ralph Goranson would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. 
16:04
February 08, 2021
A/116th at Dog Green on Omaha Beach (06JUN1944)
06JUN1944: Set to land in the first wave, A Company of the 116th Infantry Regiment was tasked with taking the critical D-1 draw in the Dog Green sector of Omaha Beach.  The draw was the only paved exit off Omaha beach and well protected by three concrete strongpoints. A National Guard unit, much of the 116th came from Virginia, many having trained together well before the war broke out.  Additionally, A Co contained 35 members from Bedford, a small VA down of just 4,000. As A company sped towards shore, they watched rockets land nearly 1,000m from shore.  Add that misstep to the naval gunfire that didn't penetrate the German defenses and the bomber runs that dropped their payload too far inland.  The result?  A Co would come ashore on a near-pristine beach into the fields of fire of the waiting German defenders. Nearing the beach, the men of A Co felt the brunt of years of defensive preparations.  Multiple landing craft were destroyed with their entire crews aboard.  Those that did reach shore lowered ramp into devastating German fire.  Men jumped overboard to avoid the gunfire forcing many to quickly drown without firing a shot. The chaos of D-Day and Omaha Beach specifically makes casualty tallies difficult but it's estimated that within 7-10 minutes of landing, A Co was almost entirely wiped out.  By the end of the day, only 18 of 230 Soldiers from the company were not casualties.  19 Bedford men were killed in the opening minutes of the battle, a staggering figure for a town that size. In recognition of their sacrifice, the national D-Day memorial was placed in Bedford, VA.  
26:03
February 04, 2021
BG Norman Cota (29th ID) Dog White Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
06JUN1944:  Coming ashore with the second wave, BG Norman Cota landed in the Dog White sector of Omaha Beach on D-Day.  Rather than staying back and coordinating from the ships, Cota wanted to be front and center with his men, leading from the front. Once on land, and now pinned down by German fire, Cota famously declared to the commander of the 5th Rangers, "if you're Rangers, then get up there and lead the way!"  A phrase that would become the motto of the 75th Ranger Regiment to this day.   Throughout the morning, Cota led from the front, first through a breach in the wire, assaulting German positions, and motivating at every turn.  Despite at 51 years old being one of the oldest to land that day, Cota pushed inland, up the steep cliffs and through the German lines. By the end of the day, BG Cota had consolidated his team in Vierville and had helped lead the opening of the Dog White sector.  For his actions that day, BG Norman Cota would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. 
20:33
February 01, 2021
2LT John Spalding (E/2-16 IN, 1st ID) Easy Red Sector, Omaha Beach D-Day 06JUN1944
06JUN1944:  Headed towards Easy Red sector on Omaha Beach, 2LT John  Spalding and his men were dropped 200 yards offshore.  Wading ashore under fire, Spalding led his men to the relative cover just off the beach and quickly recognized the rest of his company was nowhere to be seen.  Fortunately for Spalding, he had landed on target and not in front of WN 62 where the rest of E/2-16 IN came ashore. Spalding identified a ravine leading inland that provided relative cover from the nearby defenders.  He led his men through the wire and minefields before destroying a German machine gun position.  From there he headed west towards WN 64, thought to overlook the E-1 draw. Again negotiating minefields, Spalding and his men attacked the outposts and by early afternoon had overrun the position.  Spalding's platoon of less than 30 had breached the German lines, knocked out a German strongpoint, and taken 17 prisoners.  Their work opened up the Easy Red sector for follow on waves. Spaldings route can today be traced right along the American cemetery on Omaha Beach. For his actions that day, 2LT John Spalding would be awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  
23:35
January 28, 2021
SSG Raymond Strojny (F/2-16IN, 1st ID) Fox Green Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
06JUN1944:  Coming ashore at the Fox Green sector of Omaha Beach, SSG Raymond Strojny of F/2-16IN, 1st ID wasn't where he expected.  Planning to assault the Easy Red sector, Stronjy and his men exited their craft face to face with strongpoint WN-61 in the heart of Fox Green sector. With his brothers falling all around, Strojny charged ahead to accomplish his new objective of clearing this beach.  Fortunatley a few tanks had knocked out a German 88mm gun in the strongpoint but a 50mm anti-tank gun remained.  That cannon quickly knocked out multiple American tanks and was devastating landing craft as they attempted to bring in reinforcements.   SSG Strojny had enough.  With his bazooka crew knocked out, he ran the beach to find another team.  Pressing them to fire, the reluctant gunner missed twice before being targeted and wounded by mortar fire.  Strojny picked up the damaged bazooka and ran ahead. Finding a suitable area to fire from, he loaded the bazooka himself, no small feat, and sent six total rounds in and around the 50mm gun position  Eventually an ammunition dump was hit and the ensuing explosion killed the crew.  This drew the enemy attention and Strojny was shot in the helmet.  Miraculously, the round traced the inside of his helmet and exited the rea, barely wounding Strojny. He continued to lead the attack, knocking out two more machine gun positions that morning.  With the two major weapon systems removed from WN-61, SSG Strojny had played a major role in opening Fox Green on Omaha Beach.  For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.  
26:42
January 25, 2021
1LT Jimmie Monteith (L Co. 1-16IN, 1st ID) Fox Red Sector, Omaha Beach 06JUN1944
06JUN1944: A platoon leader with L Company, 1-16IN, 1LT Jimmie Monteith was scheduled to land on Omaha Beach in the first wave.  His company was hammered on their way in and by the time they got ashore, were operating at close to 50% strength. Monteith quickly took charge and organized the remaining men behind a seawall where they had relative cover from the direct fire aimed their way.  Realizing they came ashore at the Fox Red sector, well off from their intended target, Monteith seized the initiative and got to work. He led his men across the open beach to the next covered position through machine gun, mortar and artillery fire.  From there they were pinned down by the German strongpoint WN-60, a heavily fortified bunker system with artillery pieces, mortars, machine guns and even a tank turret.  Recognizing it had to go, Monteith ran back through the open to link up with the few tanks that had come ashore. He escorted the tanks through a minefield until they were within range of the strongpoint.  He coordinated their fire with his maneuvering infantry until two machine guns were knocked out.  This allowed his men to move around the side and eventually overtake the position by 0900 that morning.   Advancing inland, Monteith and his men were hit by a German counterattack. He began organizing their defense and consolidating the position when he was struck and killed by enemy fire.  At the age of 26, 1LT Jimmie Monteith would give his life on Omaha Beach.  He would be awarded posthumously the Medal of Honor, one of only four that day. 
25:43
January 21, 2021
CPT Leonard Schroeder (F/2-8IN, 4th ID) Utah Beach, D-Day 06JUN1944
06JUN1944: Commanding F Company, 2-8 Infantry of the 4th Infantry Division, CPT Leonard Shroeder had long been preparing for the eventual assault on fortress Europe.  His battalion was tasked with leading the first wave onto Utah Beach, one of five key beaches of Operation Overlord.   Making their way across the English Channel, Shroeder and his men climbed down into their assault craft in the dark morning hours of June 6th.  As the naval and air bombardment finished, Shroeder's craft made a beeline for shore and at 6:28 a.m., two minutes ahead of schedule, his craft was the first to disembark on Utah Beach. Dropped with over 100 yards of water to wade through before dry land, Shroeder held his weapons high and charged ahead, moving as quickly as possible under enemy fire.  By the time he reached the sand, Schroeder was the first Allied Soldier to come ashore on D-Day. Leading from the front all morning, Shroeder was shot twice in the left arm but he didn't realize it until much later when he nearly passed out from blood loss.  He was evacuated for treatment and would survive the war. Shroeder went on to serve in the Army for 30 years, retiring in 1971 at the rank of Colonel.   
23:47
January 18, 2021
PVT John Steele (505th PIR, 82nd ABN DIV) D-Day 06JUN1944
06JUN1944: Jumping with the 505th PIR of the 82nd Airborne Division on D-Day, PVT John Steele found himself coming down near the middle of St. Mere-Eglise.  As a nearby fire burned, his fellow paratroopers were cut down helplessly as he neared the ground.  Working to avoid landing in the fire, his chute became tangled on the church steeple in town Steele dropped his knife when trying to cut himself down and entered a waiting game, would the Americans or Germans find him first?  A few hours later, two German soldiers found Steele, cut him down and took him prisoner.  After a few days in captivity he escaped and made his way back to American lines where he was evacuated for treatment of wounds sustained on D-Day. Steele would rejoin his unit, jump into Holland during Operation Market Garden and fight with his brothers through the end of the war.   In a wonderful tribute to the Allied forces, if you visit St. Mere-Eglise today, you will find a parachute with a mannequin paratrooper hanging from the church, just as Steele did the morning of June 6th, 1944. 
22:50
January 14, 2021
CPT Frank Lillyman (Pathfinder, 101st Airborne Division) D-Day, 06JUN1944
06JUN1944: CPT Frank Lillyman boarded his aircraft in late on the night of June 5th, 1944.  In a few short hours, he would be the first American Soldier to land in France, kicking off Operation Overlord. Lillyman commanded the Pathfinder Company of the 101st Airborne Division.  His daunting task was to lead a team that would land nearly 30 minutes before the main assault and mark the drop zones for the inbound pilots.  Entering enemy airspace, Lillyman's plane dropped low and at only 450 feet elevation, he and his men exited the craft into the dark Normandy sky. Landing at 12:15 on the morning of June 6th, Lillyman and his men got right to work.  Recognizing they were dropped nearly a mile from their intended target, they improvised.  Finding a suitable location, he and his pathfinders went about marking the DZ in the little time that they had.  A nearby church steeple caught his eye as a great location for their Eureka homing beacon.  After breaking the incredible news to the priest that he had been liberated, Lillyman's team set up the beacon and began their wait. The team then learned of an enemy 20mm antiaircraft gun near their landing zone that could devastate the incoming paratroopers.  Lillyman moved to the farm where a Frenchman pointed inside to the enemy location.  After eliminating the soldier, the sound of American aircraft could be heard in the distance. Lillyman and his pathfinders turned on their lights to guide the aircraft in and at 12:57 the first wave landed, the invasion of Normandy was underway.   CPT Frank Lillyman would be called upon later that day to again mark landing zones for the much needed glider troops and their supplies.  During these landings, Lillyman was wounded and sent back to England, ending his D-Day.   Lillyman would work his way back to the front lines and survived the war.  He stayed in the Army retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1968 and passed away in 1971.  
29:02
January 11, 2021
SFC Christopher Speer (1st SFOD-D) 27JUL2002, Khost, Afghanistan
27JUL2002: Serving as a medic with the Army's 1st SFOD-D in Afghanistan, SFC Christopher Speer was forward deployed as the hunt for Taliban and al-Qaeda leadership continued.  Just days prior to this mission, Speer walked into a minefield to rescue two wounded Afghan children.  After applying tourniquets, he hailed a military vehicle and got them to a hospital, saving both of their lives. Roughly a week later, Speer and his team were called to investigate a compound of interest.  The Americans were dressed in traditional Afghan garb to better blend with the population and decrease their odds of being detected.  As they neared the building, their interpreters went ahead to sort of 'call out' to those inside, hopefully securing a surrender.  Instead, the enemy opened fire and cut down the two interpreters. As they returned fire, a US Soldier ran forward to pull the two wounded interpreters to safety.  As grenades landed all around, Speer and his men poured down fire into the compound.  Over the next 45 minutes, they coordinated attacks from Apache's, A-10s and eventually ended the engagement with two 500-pound bombs from an F-18.   Speer and team moved forward to conduct a battle damage assessment and collect any available intelligence.  As they entered the bombed out compound a lone enemy survivor appeared and threw a grenade.  The detonation sent shrapnel across the room and severely wounded Speer in the head.  The medics got to work on both Speer and the attacker. Sent to Bagram and eventually Germany for treatment, SFC Christopher Speer would die of his wounds on 06AUG2002 at the age of 28.  
22:50
January 07, 2021
TSgt John Chapman (24th Special Tactics Squadron) 04MAR2002 Battle of Takur Ghar
04MAR2002:  Planning to insert on a mountaintop in support of Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan,  TSgt John Chapman's aircraft was hit by enemy fire.  Buckling from the explosion, PO1 Neil Roberts was thrown from the aircraft, landing near al-Qaeda positions while the Chinook was forced to land four miles away. Coordinating their pick up and reinsertion to the top of Takur Ghar, TSgt Chapman volunteered for the mission to rescue their stranded comrade.  As soon as they landed on the mountaintop, the entire seven man team came under heavy enemy fire.  Without regard for his own safety, T/Sgt Chapman charged forward, with Senior Chief Britt Slabinski close behind, and cleared the nearest bunker killing two enemy fighters in the process.  Now with a little breathing room for their SEAL team, Slabinski and Chapman began their assault towards the second bunker.  At this point, TSgt Chapman was shot twice and presumed dead by his teammates.  As enemy fire intensified, Slabinski made the call to begin movement back down the hillside to a more tenable position. Approximately 30 minutes after his team moved down the mountaintop, Chapman regained consciousness and began his one man stand against at least twenty al-Qaeda fighters.  For nearly an hour, Chapman engaged the enemy positions, fending off multiple charges and engaging in hand to hand combat.  With his SEAL team still sustaining casualties and heavy enemy fire, Chapman stayed out front providing cover as best he could.   Suffering from multiple wounds, Chapman's final act was to stand and suppress the enemy positions as reinforcements were nearly shot down and landed mere meters behind his position.  TSgt Chapman's sacrifice and continued determination allowed for the survival of his SEAL team as well as countless Rangers that landed with the QRF.  Without him bearing the brunt of the enemy attack, American casualties likely would have been substantially worse that day.   For his actions Technical Sergeant John Chapman would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first in the war in Afghanistan. 
24:49
January 04, 2021
MSG Anthony Pryor (5th SFG) 23-24JAN2002
23-24JAN2001: As American special operations forces continued their search for al-Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan, one target after another was hit.  Having already conducted their fair share of missions, MSG Anthony Pryor and his fellow Soldiers from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces were tasked clearing a site in Oruzgon, just outside of Kandahar. As MSG Pryor and his men approached one of the two target compounds they received enemy fire.  Quickly moving through the gunfire to cover, MSG Pryor and his men began clearing rooms, quickly eliminating enemy threats at every turn.  As Pryor and a fellow Soldier started to enter a room, an enemy fighter ran out, pulling the attention of Pryor's partner.  Now in the room himself, Pryor saw three enemy fighters firing out windows to his men outside. Working methodically, Pryor engaged the three men before a fourth was on his back.  The enemy broke his night vision goggles off, dislocated his shoulder, and was clawing at his eyes.  Without hesitation, Pryor grabbed the man and threw him to the ground, disabling him quickly in hand to hand combat.  As the enemy fighter continued to resist, Pryor pulled his sidearm and eliminated the threat. MSG Pryor recovered his equipment scattered in the fight and returned to his men to continue the mission at hand.  The raid resulted in 16 enemy fighters killed, 27 captured and a trove of valuable intelligence.  For his actions in single-handedly eliminating four enemy fighters at close range, MSG Anthony Pryor was awarded the Silver Star.  
17:17
December 31, 2020
T/Sgt Michael Stockdale (24th Special Tactics Squadron) 06DEC2001, Battle of Tora Bora
06DEC2001: Serving as a combat controller with the 24th Special Tactics Squadron, T/Sgt Michael Stockdale was working with teams from the U.S. Army SFOD-D in Afghanistan.  With word that bin Laden had moved into a mountain range bordering Pakistan, Stockdale's team along with their Afghan allies moved in. Holed up in what's known as Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan, bin Laden and al-Qaeda had built a substantial defensive network amidst what was already a formidable natural fortress.  In order to assault the defenders, American air power would be critical. The first three days of the fight would see T/Sgt Stockdale masterfully employing close air support in a devastating manner.  As the fight raged, Stockdale moved to the front lines to gain a better view of the enemy positions and started servicing one after the other. Working non-stop for days on end, T/Sgt Stockdale was regularly coordinating between multiple aircraft, sending targets, and aligning attack headings all while more aircraft came on and off station.  An incredible feat from a secure environment, Stockdale accomplished this in the midst of a deadly close-range fight. Over a three day span, T/Sgt Stockdale averaged 13 hours a day of uninterrupted air support, directing over 300 missions and 600,000 lbs of munitions.  This overwhelming firepower had bin Laden so shaken that he notated a last will and testament, found later by US forces. For his incredible skill in the midst of the deadly fight, T/Sgt Michael Stockdale was awarded the Silver Star.
22:24
December 28, 2020
Mike Spann (CIA) 25NOV2001, Battle of Qala-i-Jangi, Afghanistan
25NOV2001:  Johnny 'Mike' Spann was working in the CIA when al-Qaeda terrorists conducted their attacks on September 11, 2001.  Before long, Spann, a prior Marine, found himself on the ground in Afghanistan, searching for these killers. Spann was one of the first Americans on the ground in Afghanistan and immediately set about tying in with local forces from the Northern Alliance.  Spann focused on building relationships with local military leaders, specifically General Dostum, in preparation for the arrival of American Special Forces units that would hopefully turn the tide in the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Spann helped coordinate resources and relayed critical intelligence from the front lines as Dostum and his US advisors took the critical city of Mazar-i-Sharif in early November.  As the first major victory over the Taliban, this battle saw quite a few enemy fighters offer to surrender.  Of the new prisoners, Spann and his team pulled aside nearly 600 with suspected ties to al-Qaeda for further questioning to be done at a fortress known as Qala-i-Jangi. The prisoners were quickly moved during the night and placed in a cellar to be interrogated the following morning by Spann and his colleague.  However, in the chaos, many prisoners were able to sneak weapons in with them.   The following day, as Spann worked through the prisoners, asking where they were from, why they were in Afghanistan and more, shots rang out.  The armed prisoners were staging an uprising and Spann was caught right in the middle.  Fighting for his life, Spann emptied his pistol and rifle at close range before engaging dozens of al-Qaeda fighters in hand to hand combat.  Overwhelmed and outnumbered, Spann was quickly killed, the first American killed in combat during the war in Afghanistan. The Northern Alliance guards locked down the fort and as US and British special operators arrived on scene, the retaking of the fort began.  After a few days, with the help of American airpower, only a few dozen holdouts remained holed up in a cellar.  General Dostum ordered the cellar flooded with cold water, forcing their final surrender.  In all, barely 80 of the initial 600+ prisoners would survive the uprising.  
27:14
December 24, 2020
Christmas Truce of 1914 - Western Front, WWI
25DEC1914:  Just a few months into the First World War, something beautiful happened.  Amidst the chaos, death and destruction, soldiers from opposing sides made time to celebrate Christmas.  With no formal ceasefire declared, the soldiers in the trenches took it up on themselves.  They began singing to one another and before long had exited the trenches to share gifts with their adversaries.   The unofficial truce lasted in some places a day, in others into the new year but  not everyone was happy.  Many higher headquarters, upon learning of the fraternization put a quick stop to it and even ordered Christmas offensives in follow on years to prevent such a thing from happening again.   The Christmas Truce of 1914 is one of the bright lights in the First World War, a sign of humanity amidst the horrible backdrop of war. 
25:50
December 21, 2020
SGT James Robinson - Battle of Cam My, Vietnam 11APR1966 (C/2-16 IN, 1st ID)
11APR1966: Serving as a rifle team leader, SGT James Robinson and the rest of Charlie Company, 2-16IN were serving as Viet Cong bait during Operation Abilene in Vietnam.  The goal was to lure out the crack Viet Cong D800 battalion that was expected to be hiding in the area and when they were attacking Robinson's unit, the rest of the US, New Zealand, and Australian units would pounce. As Charlie company moved through the rubber plantations, they quickly found themselves face to face with the VC headquarters and fire erupted from all directions.  As his men began to fall, Robinson kept his cool.  He organized his men into a defensive perimeter and assigned sectors of fire.  After knocking out an enemy sniper with his grenade launcher, Robinson noticed two wounded Soldiers cut off from American lines.  He ran into the fire, treated the two, and helped them to safety. Again seeing a wounded Soldier, Robinson ran out into the fire to rescue him but was hit in the shoulder and leg in the process.  While patching his own wounds, he identified a nearby machine gun position that was hammering his men.  Now out of ammunition, he grabbed two grenades and charged.  He was quickly hit in the leg by a tracer round that caught his pants on fire. Robinson ripped off the pants and kept going, being hit twice more in the chest.  Before he fell, mortally wounded, Robinson lobbed the two grenades into the enemy position, destroying it.  With the machine gun silent, a helicopter lowered an Air Force Pararescueman to help with the wounded, A1C William Pitsenbarger.   Robinson's repeated actions across the battlefield that day saved countless American lives in a fight that would produce 80% US casualties.  SGT James Robinson would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
23:02
December 17, 2020
Part V - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (SGT Troy Jenkins, Dora, Baghdad)
19APR2003: About a month after crossing the berm into Iraq, SGT Troy Jenkins and his fellow Soldiers in B/3-187 IN were on a dismounted patrol working to provide security in the gap created after the fall of Saddam's regime.  SGT Jenkins had the difficult task of keeping his men focused and alert while presenting a welcoming face to the local Iraqis. On his second deployment after serving in Afghanistan, Jenkins was a seasoned combat veteran and knew well the dangers the lurked nearby.  Not much earlier, Jenkins had told his father he planned to exit the military because he felt his luck was running out.  With that in mind, one could expect Jenkins to hold back and play it safe, but that wasn't how he operated. As his unit moved through the Iraqi streets, a young girl approached them and began to turn something over.  SGT Jenkins noticed immediately that it was a unexploded cluster bomb.  These munitions are extremely volatile and the girl was on the verge of accidently detonating the device.  Without hesitation, Jenkins yelled a warning to his men and ran to push the girl away from the bomb.  Just as he did so, it detonated.   Miraculously, Jenkins was alive.  The blast had severed one of his legs and several fingers, but his men, alive because he shielded them from the blast, were able to treat him and get him out on a MEDEVAC.  As he was being loaded, some of his last words were to ask if any of his guys were wounded.   SGT Troy Jenkins would pass away five days later, a result of the wound suffered in the explosion.  His valiant act saved the life of the Iraqi girl as well as some of his fellow Soldiers.  
23:30
December 14, 2020
Part IV - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (PVT Dwayne Turner, Baghdad)
13APR2003:  Having fought with the 3rd BN 502nd Infantry all the way to Baghdad, PVT Dwayne Turner, a medic was serving on a work detail in a newly established operations center during the Battle of Baghdad.  As he and his fellow Soldiers worked, the enemy attacked.   At close range, enemy fighters lobbed grenades into the American position and opened fire with automatic weapons.  A blast from one of the grenades wounded Turner and threw him into a nearby vehicle.  Ignoring his own wounds, Turner leapt back into the fight and began searching for any wounded Soldiers.  PVT Turner quickly found one of his brothers with an eye injury and moved him to makeshift casualty collection point.   Rather than stay and treat the wounded, Turner handed them off to other medics and ran back into enemy fire, despite already having been wounded.  As he moved out from their covered position he was hit by enemy fire that broke his right arm but continued to bring in the wounded.  Now with the wounded Soldiers consolidated, Turner shifted to treatment and during this process was shot again, this time in the leg.   Now with multiple shrapnel wounds and having been shot twice, Turner continued to provide care for his wounded brothers until another medic sat him down to treat the wounds.  Turner would survive the deployment and be awarded the Silver Star for treating at least 16 American Soldiers in the midst of the deadly Baghdad fight.  
21:51
December 10, 2020
Part III - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (Sgt Scott Montoya, Battle of Baghdad)
08APR2003: Entering the third week of the war, Sgt. Scott Montoya and 2/23 Marines began their assault on Baghdad.  Montoya and his team moved up to support Fox company just as they were coming under intense enemy small arms fire from a sizeable enemy force. Taking charge and deploying the Marines, Montoya noticed a vehicle caught in the crossfire with a wounded Iraqi civilian inside.  Running through the deadly fire, Montoya reached the civilian and brought him to safety.  He then noticed a wounded Marine stuck in that same street.  For a second time, Montoya disregarded his own safety and ran into the enemy fire to pull the wounded Marine out. Twice more, in short order, Sgt. Montoya ran into the kill zone to pull wounded and dazed Marines to safety.  His daring actions that day saved countless lives as he moved between assaulting the enemy positions and pulling his wounded brothers out of the line of fire.  For his actions, Sgt Scott Montoya would be awarded the Navy Cross.  
26:38
December 07, 2020
Part II - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (1stLt Brian Chontosh, Al Diwaniyah Ambush)
25MAR2003:  Pushing north to Baghdad, 1stLt Brian Chontosh and the Marines in his CAAT platoon were leading the charge along Highway 1.  Expecting enemy resistance, Chontosh's platoon as well as Marine tanks, stepped out ahead of RCT-5 to clear the path.   Nearing Ad Diwaniyah, the Marines focused on a berm alongside the road.  Before long, the enemy attacked.  An estimated battalion sized enemy force opened fire at close range with RPGs, machine guns, and small arms.  All up and down the line, RCT-5 was engaged in close combat.   Positioned right behind friendly tanks, 1stLt Chontosh and his HMMWV were stuck in the kill zone and couldn't maneuver out.  Instead, Chontosh ordered his driver to push directly into the enemy fire coming from a nearby trench.  As the truck hit the berm, the .50 caliber gunner, Cpl. Thomas Franklin, began hammering enemy positions up and down the line.  Chontosh and two Marines leapt from truck and began clearing the enemy trench. Firing and maneuvering down the trench, Chontosh exhausted all of his rifle ammunition before switching to his sidearm.  When that was rounds complete he ran through two more AK-47s picked up from dead enemy combatants so he could continue to clear the Iraqi fighting positions.  After firing a captured RPG, Chontosh noticed an enemy soldier playing dead while trying to pull the pin on a grenade.  Noticing some unspent rounds on the ground, Chontosh picked one up, loaded into his rifle and killed the would-be attacker. With the trench cleared and over 20 enemy killed, Chontosh moved back to his truck to continue their advance to Baghdad. For his actions that day, 1stLt Brian Chontosh would be awarded the Navy Cross.  
29:35
December 03, 2020
Part I - 2003 Invasion of Iraq (HA Luis Fonseca, Battle of Nasiriyah)
23MAR2003: Serving as a corpsman with 1/2 Marines during the invasion of Iraq, Hospital Apprentice Luis Fonseca and his men were tasked with moving through Nasiriyah and taking the Saddam Canal Bridge. Having faced little enemy resistance in the first few days of the invasion, the Marines RCT-2 found themselves in a pretty steady fight as soon as they entered Nasiriyah.  Rather than turning to run, the Iraqi military and paramilitary units here decided to fight.  The city was divided by three bridges along the critical highway 7.  Despite the enemy resistance, the Marines cleared the first and second bridge and set their sights on the Saddam Canal.   Now between two bridges in an urban environment, the enemy sprung their trap.  Firing from all directions, Iraqi fighters hammered the Marines with machine gun fire as mortars and artillery rounds found their mark.  Armed with heavy machine guns and tanks, the Iraqi units held their ground and quickly began destroying American armored vehicles.  Soon, the call went out, 'Corpsman up!'. Without hesitation, HA Luis Fonseca ran to a burning vehicle that had been struck by enemy fire.  Under fire, he administered aid two the five wounded Marines, two of which were amputees.  He organized their movement to a casualty collection vehicle and stabilized the patients until that truck was disabled by enemy fire.  Fonseca again organized their movement and under continual fire, directed patient care and helped to load the casualties into a new vehicle.  Not able to carry all five, Fonseca stayed behind keeping his fellow Marine alive until someone could return to take him to the aid station.   Fonseca returned to his unit and continued to treat the wounded all the while, eventually making yet another trip with a casualty to the rear before moving back into the fire to be with his fellow Marines. For his bravery under fire, HA Luis Fonseca would be awarded the Navy Cross.  
27:24
November 30, 2020
PFC John Barnes (C/1-503IN, 173rd ABN BDE) Battle of Dak To, 12NOV1967
12NOV1967:  Serving as a grenadier, PFC John Barnes and his unit were attacked by a battalion-sized enemy force.  Outnumbered and taking casualties, Barnes noticed that a machine gun crew had all been killed.  Recognizing the importance of that weapon system in the fight, he ran through the kill zone, reloaded and began pouring fire into the advancing enemy.   In short order, Barnes killed nine enemy soldiers before having to pause to reload.  As he was doing so, he noticed an enemy grenade that entered their lines and came to a rest by a group of wounded American Soldiers.  Without hesitation, Barnes threw himself on the grenade and absorbed the full blast, killing him instantly.   In recognition of this brave act that saved the lives of his fellow Soldiers, PFC John Barnes would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
28:59
November 25, 2020
1stLt Alexander Bonnyman (2/8 Marines) Battle of Tarawa, WWII 20-23NOV1943
20-23NOV1943:  Serving as an executive officer for a shore party during the assault on Tarawa, 1stLT Alexander Bonnyman found his fellow Marines pinned down by heavy Japanese fire on the beaches.  Despite the volume of fire, Bonnyman traversed the open beaches to acquire flame throwers and demo equipment, organize his men, and lead attacks into the Japanese positions. By the third day of the attack, Bonnyman and his fellow Marines were held up by a strongly fortified bunker holding an estimated 150 Japanese fighters.  This strong point was inflicting heavy casualties on the Marines and had to be destroyed.  1stLt Bonnyman led multiple attacks to try to overrun the position, returning only to replenish his ammunition.  Finally reaching the structure, Bonnyman placed explosive charges at two entrances as well as the roof.   This act flushed out nearly 100 enemy fighters that were engaged by nearby Marines.  Having placed the last charges himself, Bonnyman was right on top of the enemy as they fled.  He held his ground and killed three before falling to a volley of enemy fire.  With this final structure cleared, Bonnyman's fellow Marines were able to finally break the enemy resistance.   For his heroic actions on the beach and clearing the path inland on Tarawa, 1stLt Alexander Bonnyman would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
21:32
November 23, 2020
Lucca (USMC Service Dog) Iraq & Afghanistan 2006-2012
In the face of a growing IED threat in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US military turned to man's best friend.  Working dogs have served throughout history but quickly became a key enabler for the troops on the ground in the Global War on Terror.   One of the most famous working dogs was named Lucca.  Lucca was born in the Netherlands and trained in Israel by the IDF before joining the United States Marine Corps.  Lucca was trained to operate off leash, ahead of her handler, to identify weapons and explosives before American Soldiers or Marines were in harms way.   Lucca deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan, running point on over 400 patrols.  A testament to her skill, not a single American servicemember was killed while she was on watch.  In 2012, Lucca identified a 30lb IED, notified her handler (Cpl Juan Rodriguez) and then continued her search for secondary devices.  In that subsequent search, she detonated an IED and was severely wounded.  Rodriguez ran to her side, applied a tourniquet and helped her into the MEDEVAC bird that was called. Lucca would lose one of her front legs to amputation but survived the blast.  With Rodriguez by her side, Lucca made a full recovery and was walking again a mere ten days after the explosion.   Shortly thereafter, Lucca was retired and adopted by her original handler, Sgt Chris Willingham.  In April of 2016, Lucca was awarded the Dicken Medal, considered the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valor in the British Armed Forces.  
28:02
November 19, 2020
Pfc Charles Roan (2/7 Marines) Battle of Peleliu 18SEPT1944
18SEPT1944:  Having landed with the 7th Marines a few days prior, Pfc Charles Roan was fighting his way across the island of Peleliu.  With his unit tasked to clear out any remaining Japanese soldiers from the southern portion of the island, Roan and his men got to work. His squad moved quickly through the dangerous terrain and found themselves a little cut off from the rest of the company.  As they began to withdraw back to friendly lines, they came under attack from multiple, dug-in enemy positions.  Roan and his squad took whatever cover they could find while the enemy rained down fire from above and behind them.  Early in the fight, Roan was injured by an enemy grenade but kept up the fight.   As the squad held on, Roan noticed another enemy grenade that landed amidst his men.  Without hesitation, Pfc Charles Roan threw himself on the grenade, covering it with his body and absorbing the full blast.  This selfless act would cost Roan his life but saved the lives of at least four of his fellow Marines.  For his actions that day, Pfc Charles Roan would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
23:14
November 16, 2020
2LT Raymond Zussman (756th Tank Battalion) Noroy-le-Bourg, France 12SEPT1944
12SEPT1944: Leading two tanks in support of an infantry attack in Noroy le Bourg, France, 2LT Raymond Zussman's command tank broke down.  Zussman, without hesitation, ran ahead of all US forces to identify enemy locations and designate targets for his two tanks.  Despite enemy fire focusing on his position from close range, Zussman continued to advance alongside the tanks on foot to help identify targets. Time and again, Zussman took off to recon the area ahead of their advance.  This incredibly risky gambit allowed him to relay the positions of enemy strongpoints and roadblocks that could be destroyed before inflicting maximum harm to his men.   Under Zussman's heroic leadership, 18 enemy soldiers were killed and 92 captured, many of those taken in by Zussman himself.   Nine days later, 2LT Raymond Zussman would be killed in a German mortar attack at the age of 27.  For his actions at Noroy le Bourg, Zussman would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
21:57
November 13, 2020
Frank Buckles & an ask of all veterans
The last surviving American World War I veteran, Frank Buckles passed away at the age of 110 in 2011 after an incredible life. Attempting to enlist in the military as the US entered the First World War, Buckles was turned away by the Marines for being too small, the Navy for being flat-footed but accepted by the Army.  Only 16 years old, Buckles incredibly convinced recruiters he was older despite looking young for his age, convincing a captain that he didn't have a birth certificate.    Asking to get to the front lines as soon as possible, he was told that being an ambulance driver would get the job done.  He went through basic training at Fort Riley, KS and quickly shipped out to Europe.  After a few months in England, he was sent over to France where he was assigned to escort an American dentist.  He was in that job when the war ended in 1918. After returning home, Buckles worked in a few jobs before landing a gig with a shipping company called the American President Lines.  In 1941 he found himself running the Manila office in the Philippines when the Japanese attacked.  Quickly, Buckles was taken prisoner and would serve 39 months in captivity.  After three long years, he and his fellow prisoners were liberated on 23FEB1945 and sent home.   After the war, Buckles purchased some land in rural West Virginia to farm and raise a family.  Buckles would stay involved in veterans affairs, especially those around WWI throughout his life.   When he passed away at the age of 110 in 2011, Fred Buckles was the last surviving US WWI veteran.  His death marked the end of an era.  
24:27
November 11, 2020
Pfc Hector Cafferata (F Co. 2/7 Marines) Battle of Chosin Reservoir 28NOV1950
28NOV1950: Serving as a rifleman with the First Marine Division in Korea, Pvt Hector Cafferata found himself facing the brunt of a Chinese attack at the Chosin Reservoir.  Early in the fight, his entire fire team became casualties, leaving Cafferata to fend off the waves of enemy attackers on his own. Holding the line, Cafferata ran up and down the perimeter, under intense enemy fire lobbing grenades and firing his rifle into the attackers.  Bounding across the hillside to distract enemy machine gunners, Cafferata killed at least 15 attackers and wounded many more, forcing the first wave to withdraw.  At this point, reinforcements arrived at his position.   Despite fighting without his boots or coat in the below zero temperatures, Cafferata used his entrenching tool to bat back enemy grenades as they entered his fighting position.  Eventually, one landed a short distance away but near some wounded Marines.  Without hesitation, Cafferata ran to the grenade, picked it up and threw it away, saving the lives of the men around him.  The grenade detonated in the air and seriously wounded him in the arm and hand.    Refusing evacuation, Cafferata continued to fight until he was struck by a snipers bullet and forced to receive medical attention.  Pvt Hector Cafferata would survive the war and in 1952 was awarded the Medal of Honor for valiantly holding the line during this, the opening phase of the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.  
28:28
November 09, 2020
PFC Silvestre Herrera (E/2-142IN, 36th ID) 15MAR1945, WWII
15MAR1945: Moving with his unit through a forest near Mertzwiller, France, PFC Silvestre Herrera and his men were pinned down by German machine gun fire. The enemy position was dug in and protected behind a minefield.   Seeing that his men were stuck, Herrera got up and charged, throwing grenades and firing his rifle as he went.  Herrera came upon the emplacement and quickly captured 8 German soldiers by himself.  Returning with his prisoners, his unit continued mission. Later that day, his men were again pinned down.  Once more, Hererra charged as he had done previously.  This time he stepped on a mine, shattering his leg.  Standing back up and continuing to advance on his one good leg, he shortly thereafter stepped on a second mine severing his other leg below the knee.  Despite his wounds and now bleeding out, Herrera laid in the prone position and began laying down fire towards the enemy.  Herrera suppressed the enemy position long enough for his unit to maneuver around and overrun the emplacement.   Evacuated that day, Herrera would survive the war and be awarded the Medal of Honor in August of 1945.  
21:25
November 06, 2020
PFC John Barkley (K Co. 4th IN, 3rd ID) WWI, 07OCT1918
07OCT1918: Serving as a scout with K Co. 4th IN, 3rd ID, PFC John Barkley was set forward of friendly lines, less than a kilometer from enemy forces.  Noticing that his communication wire had been severed just as a German attack materialized, PFC Barkley took it upon himself to halt the advance. Moving forward, Barkley picked up an enemy machine gun and moved into an abandoned, burned out French tank.  He gathered as much ammunition as possible and waited.  As the German artillery fire lifted, he watched as the enemy forces advanced all around him.  Waiting until the enemy forces were directly to each side, Barkley opened fire, completely halting portions of the attack. As soon as he opened fire Barkley gave his position away and that prompted a response from a German 77mm artillery piece at point blank range.  Miraculously, Barkley survived and waited once more as the next wave of attackers reached his position before again opening fire.   In stopping this second wave of attackers, PFC John Barkley allowed his unit to reinforce his position and hold the line.  For his actions that day, Barkley would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  
23:13
November 04, 2020
SP6 Lawrence Joel (1-503IN, 173rd ABN BDE) Vietnam War, 08NOV1965
08NOV1965:  Serving as a medic with 1-503IN during the Vietnam War, SP6 Lawrence Joel and his fellow paratroopers were in search of Viet Cong fighters when they were ambushed by a sizeable enemy force.  Outnumbered 6 to 1, the entire first squad was either killed or seriously wounded early in the engagement.  Without regard for his own safety, Joel crawled into the barrage of enemy fire to begin treating his brothers. Moving from one wounded Soldier to the next, Joel was struck in the leg by machine gun fire.  He quickly bandaged his leg and got back to work.  The fire was so intense that he was forced to lie prone while treating Soldiers, only his arm holding a plasma bag exposed to the deadly onslaught.  Struck again in the thigh, Joel continued to crawl forward, treating American Soldiers one by one.  Joel assisted at least 13 Soldiers before his medical supplies ran out.  When that happened, he made due and used a plastic bag to seal a chest wound, saving the wounded Soldier's life. Resupplied and ignoring directives for his own evacuation, Joel continued to treat his brothers until the 24 hour fight came to a close.  As the fighting stopped, Joel was ordered to seek treatment and was loaded on a medical evacuation helicopter.  He would survive the war and make it home to his family.   For his brave actions that day, SP6 Lawrence Joel would be awarded in 1967 the Medal of Honor, the first living black American Soldier to receive the medal since 1898.  
22:41
November 02, 2020
SGT John McVeigh (G/23rd IN, 2nd ID) Battle of Brest, WWII 29AUG1944
29AUG1944: Serving as a squad leader during the assault on Brest, France, SGT John McVeigh and his men were hit by a German counter-attack.  Having just started to dig in, his unit was starting to fall back as they came under intense fire from enemy small arms and flak guns.  The attack was so quick that the Germans were quickly right on top of the US positions and the American Soldiers, pinned down, were at risk of being wiped out.   The attackers were about to overrun two machine gun positions, the only things keeping the US in the fight.  SGT McVeigh, without regard for his own life, stood up and began directing his men's fire into the advancing enemy fighters, stalling the attack and keeping the machine guns operational, at least for the moment.  Seeing more German attackers almost on top of his men, McVeigh drew his trench knife and charged.  He quickly killed one enemy soldier and turned his attention to three more when he was shot and killed. SGT McVeigh's actions allowed the two machine guns to stay firing and were the only reason the German attackers were not able to overrun the position that day.  For his bravery and sacrifice, SGT John McVeigh would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
19:23
October 30, 2020
LTJG John Koelsch (Helicopter Squadron 2) 03JUL1951 Korean War
03JUL1951:  Serving as a pilot in Helicopter Squadron 2 during the Korean War, LTJG John Koelsch got the call that an American pilot was shot down behind enemy lines and needed rescue.  Taking off, Koelsch saw that the low cloud cover meant that he would be without air support if he wanted to actually find the pilot.  To see the ground, he had to move under the clouds.  That meant the fixed wing support would be unavailable if needed. Moving ahead anyways to save the pilot, Koelsch began taking enemy fire once he made it below the clouds.  Moving at slow speeds and unarmed, Koelsch and his craft made for an easy target for the enemy forces dotting the hillsides all around.  Eventually spotting the pilot, Koelsch set the craft down and began loading the wounded American.   In this process, the helicopter was struck again and was forced to crash into the hillside.  Fortunately, all three on board survived.  Helping his men from the wreckage, Koelsch led them into the hills where they evaded capture for three days.  He then led them towards American lines for six days before they were eventually captured and sent to a POW camp.  After being beaten and tortured for months, LTJG John Koelsch would die in captivity on October 16th, 1951.   For his brave rescue attempt and will to hold out during captivity, LTJG John Koelsch would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
22:39
October 28, 2020
SGT William Seay (62nd Trans. Co., 48th Trans. Grp.) Tay Ninh, Vietnam 25AUG1968
25AUG1968: Serving in the 62nd Transportation Company of the 7th Transportation Group, SGT William Seay and his men took off with a convoy of 81 trucks  to resupply the American units at Tay Ninh Combat Base in Vietnam.  In the midst of the route, the enemy struck, ambushing the column with machine gun fire and rockets.   As vehicles at the head and rear of the convoy were disabled, Seay and many others found themselves trapped with nowhere to go.  Their only option to fight it out until help arrived, SGT Seay dismounted his vehicle and took cover.  In short order, the enemy began movement through the kill zone to wipe out Seay and his men.  As they did so, a grenade was thrown that landed next to Seay under an ammunition trailer.  Without hesitation, Seay picked it up and threw it back, killing four enemy soldiers and saving the lives of the men nearby.  Seay did this once more that day before being severely wounded in the right arm. Continuing to fight and motivate his men to hold on, Seay noticed a group of enemy soldiers maneuvering on his position.  Although unable to use his right arm, Seay attacked, firing with his left as he went.  After killing the three attackers, Seay returned to American lines where he was later killed by enemy fire.   For his bravery that day in helping hold off the enemy attack until reinforcements could arrive, SGT William Seay would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
26:13
October 26, 2020
SGT Charles Wyckoff (C/1-508 PIR) Helmand, Afghanistan 06JUN2007
06JUN2007: Serving with 3rd Platoon Charlie Company, 1-508 PIR, SGT Charles Wyckoff and his men were on patrol in Afghanistan's deadly Helmand province right in the midst of the fighting season.  In the middle of the patrol, Taliban fighters opened fire on the exposed American element forcing Wyckoff and his men to take cover. From a covered position, Wyckoff identified a source of enemy fire from behind a nearby wall.  These walls in southern Afghanistan are thick and easily able to stop bullets.  If they were going to destroy the enemy fighters and be able to safely exit the area, someone would have to get behind that wall.   Without regard for his own safety, SGT Wyckoff ran across an open field to maneuver behind the enemy.  Turning the corner, he found himself mere feet from two Taliban fighters.  One was aiming an RPG at his men about to pull the trigger and the other turned to face Wyckoff with an AK-47.  Rather than save himself, Wyckoff ignored the fighter just feet in front of him to shoot the enemy with the RPG, killing him before he could fire it at his men.  Simultaneously, Wyckoff was shot and killed by the second Taliban fighter. Putting his men before himself, SGT Charles Wyckoff gave his life so that his brothers may live.  For his brave actions that day, Wyckoff would be awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross.  
22:42
October 22, 2020
Cpl Anthony Casamento (D Co. 1/5 Marines) Battle of Guadalcanal 01NOV1942
01NOV1942: Serving as a machine gun squad leader during the Battle of Guadalcanal, Cpl Anthony Casamento and his men came under heavy fire as they held the line near the Matanikau River.  Moving his element forward, Casamento set in his machine guns to most effectively provide covering fire for his advancing company, just a short distance behind him.   The Japanese fire was intense and accurate and before long the entire element, with the exception of Casamento were killed or seriously wounded.  Despite being wounded himself, Casamento took over the guns and continued to lay down devastating fire as the nearby Japanese forces concentrated on his position.  Casamento stayed on these weapon systems, destroying one enemy machine gun and suppressing another despite the overwhelming volume of fire aimed in his direction.   Eventually, the main body of the attacking force arrived to reinforce Casamento and push the fight into the enemy lines.  Casamento would be evacuated for his wounds and survived the war.  However, as there were thought to be no survivors from the engagement, Casamento's bravery went without recognition until 1964 when it was discovered that two Marines from that fight had survived and provided eyewitness accounts of what Casamento had done.  In turn, in 1980, Anthony Casamento was awarded the Medal of Honor.  
24:02
October 19, 2020
Sgt Alfredo Gonzalez (A Co. 1/1 Marines) Battle of Hue, Vietnam 31JAN-04FEB1968
31JAN-04FEB1968: Leading a platoon in Vietnam, Sgt Alfredo Gonzalez and the men of A Co. 1/1 Marines were called upon as the Tet Offensive kicked off and the city of Hue fell.  Asked to move to Hue to reinforce and clear out NVA and VC elements, Sgt Gonzalez and his men took off, headed for their first taste of urban combat.   Entering the city from the south, Sgt Gonzalez and his men were quickly attacked by an entrenched enemy raining down a heavy volume of rocket and small arms fire.  Without missing a beat, Gonzalez lept from his truck and began organizing his men to assault and clear the nearby buildings that were crawling with enemy fighters.  After opening a path for the vehicles, Gonzalez then saw a wounded Marine exposed in the street.  Running through enemy fire, Gonzalez picked up the Marine and returned him to friendly lines, himself being wounded in the process. Refusing medical evacuation, Gonzalez stayed with his men and went on to assault and destroy yet another enemy machine gun bunker that day.  Gonzalez would stay with his men and continue the fight for four more days before he was hit and killed by enemy fire on 04FEB1968.  For his incredibly heroic acts during the Battle of Hue, Sgt Alfredo Gonzalez would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
27:27
October 16, 2020
SSG Stevon Booker (A/1-64 AR, 3rd ID) Thunder Run, Battle of Baghdad, Iraq 05APR2003
05APR2003: Serving as a tank commander with A/1-64 Armor during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, SSG Stevon Booker and his unit were tasked with conducting a raid to test the remaining enemy defenses.   The attack, later known as the "Thunder Run" began south of Baghdad with aims of moving through main roads until they reached the newly secured airport.  SSG Booker and his crew were in the midst of this operation when they were engaged on multiple sides by enemy small arms and RPG fire.  Booker opened the hatch and began firing his mounted machine gun at the numerous dismounted enemy elements at close range.  Before long, his machine gun malfunctioned as the enemy forces pushed closer. Without hesitation, SSG Booker crawled out of his hatch, laid on top of the tank and began engaging targets with his rifle.  As enemy elements attempted to maneuver into striking position, SSG Booker destroyed one after the other, helping to protect his column of tanks.  As the column continued forward, SSG Booker remained in the prone position, completely exposed to the steady stream of enemy fire in order to ensure any dismounted targets were destroyed.   After fighting this way for five miles, SSG Stevon Booker was struck and killed by enemy fire but his heroic act helped to ensure the armored element was able to complete the raid and link up with friendly units at the airport.  For his actions that day, SSG Stevon Booker would be awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross.  
26:04
October 14, 2020
LTC Don Faith Jr. (1-32IN, 7th ID) Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, 27NOV-01DEC1950
27NOV-01DEC1950: Serving as the battalion commander for 1-32 Infantry, LTC Don Faith and his mean were spearheading the advanced through North Korea when Chinese troops entered the fight.  As they prepared for further advanced, they were hit by a sizeable enemy force, in what would come to be some of the deadliest fighting during the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir.   Set up on the east side of the reservoir, LTC Faith and his battalion fought hard for two days before being ordered back to tie in with the rest of Regimental Combat Team 31 to strengthen their defenses.  From the start, Faith continued to place himself in the most dangerous positions in order to best lead and motivate his men.  Just after linking up, the regimental commander was killed and LTC Faith took command of the 2,500 man force facing extermination in the brutal winter conditions. Recognizing they were surrounded, Faith organized a breakout in hopes of reaching the Marine lines west and south of their position.  The going was slow and deadly.  In order to push the advance, Faith's men had to clear the hillsides ahead of the element so as to not walk into an ambush.  Time and again, Faith led the charge up these hills into enemy fire to clear them out and make way for his men.  Rather than sitting in the relative comfort of his jeep, set back from the rear, LTC Faith refused to be anywhere but on the front lines, taking the same risks he was asking of his men. During one of these charges up a steep hillside, Faith was seriously wounded by an enemy grenade.  Refusing evacuation ahead of his men, Faith sat in a truck cab and maintained command as his unit continued their breakout.  As fighting continued, Faith was struck and killed when the vehicle approached an enemy roadblock.  Unable to recover his body, Faith was listed as missing in action and his family was awarded the Medal of Honor on his behalf in 1951.  In 2004 a US Army recovery team identified and repatriated the remains of LTC Don Faith and laid him to rest in Arlington National Cemetery. 
28:54
October 12, 2020
SSG Eric Shaw (C/2-327IN, 1-101 ABN DIV) Kunar, Afghanistan 27JUN2010
27JUN2010: Serving as a squad leader with C/2-327IN, SSG Eric Shaw and his men stepped out of FOB Joyce early in the morning kicking off Operation Strong Eagle.  With a goal of disrupting insurgent activity in the Ghaki valley, Shaw and his men were assisting the Afghan forces in what would be the clearance of a village called Daridam.   Moving on foot with a line of vehicles a distance behind them, SSG Shaw and his men moved into the deadly valley with their Afghan partners.  The Ghaki was known to be an enemy stronghold with estimated enemy fighters numbering in the hundreds.  As expected, as they neared the outskirts of the city, the Taliban opened fire.   The initial volley of small arms and RPGs seriously wounded one Afghan Soldier while Shaw and his men sprang into action.  As they sat in the open, Shaw directed his men to move back to the cover of the armored vehicles and ran forward, under fire, to pass directions to his Afghan partners.  As enemy fire intensified, Shaw and his squad regrouped behind the relative cover of the vehicles when he noticed that some of the Afghans were still caught in the open.  This handful of Afghan soldiers were caught in the open and taking fire from multiple sides, confused and not knowing where to go.  Without hesitation, Shaw jumped up in an effort to move through the wall of enemy fire to rescue the cut off Afghan platoon.  During this act, SSG Eric Shaw was hit and killed by enemy fire but his valiant effort saved the lives of that cut off Afghan platoon.   For his heroic act that day, SSG Eric Shaw would be awarded, posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross, the first in the 101st Airborne Division since the Vietnam war.   
25:08
October 09, 2020
PVT Marcario Garcia (B/1-22 IN, 4th ID) Grosshau, Germany WWII
27NOV1944: Serving as an acting squad leader with B Co. 22nd Infantry Regiment, PVT Marcario Garcia and his men found themselves pinned down by enemy fire near Grosshau, Germany.  In short order, the enemy opened up with mortars and artillery inflicting substantial casualties on the trapped American forces. Although wounded in the initial barrage, Garcia crawled forward on his own initiative until within short distance of an enemy emplacement.  From there, he hurled multiple grenades and assaulted the position, destroying the gun and killing three enemy combatants.  Still under fire, Garcia moved back to friendly lines and linked back up with his company.  Just then, a second machine gun opened fire, again pinning down Garcia's unit.   For a second time that day, Garcia assaulted through enemy fire to destroy the position, killing three and capturing four prisoners.  PVT Marcario Garcia would continue to fight with his unit and refused medical treatment for his wounds until the final objective that day was taken. PVT Marcario Garcia would survive the war and in 1945 became the first Mexican immigrant to be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Garcia became an American citizen in 1947 and passed away in 1972 at the age of 52. 
23:21
October 07, 2020
CM3 Marvin Shields (Seabee Team 1104) Battle of Dong Xoai, Vietnam 10JUN1965
10JUN1965: CM3 Marvin Shields and Navy Seabee Team 1104 was helping to construct a remote Special Forces base in an area of Vietnam known as Dong Xoai in summer of 1965.  On June 10th, while the base was still under construction, a large Viet Cong element struck, attacking on all sides. Heavily outnumbered, many American and South Vietnamese troops, including Shields were wounded in the initial engagement.  Without missing a beat, Shields stepped in wherever needed.  For the first three hours of the fight, Shields ferried the much needed ammunition through deadly enemy fire to the various defensive positions keeping the Viet Cong at bay.  Shields was wounded a second time as the enemy mounted a close range assault with grenades and flame throwers.  After four more hours of moving ammunition and wounded Soldiers across the battlefield, Shields volunteered to help one of the Special Forces Soldiers to knock out an enemy machine gun position.  After destroying the enemy team, Shields was killed as he returned to the safety of the US defensive position.   After placing himself in harms way time and again to keep his men in the fight, CM3 Marvin Shields would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.   To date, CM3 Shields is the only Navy Seabee to have been awarded this honor.  
23:27
October 05, 2020
1SG Aaron Jagger (C/1-37AR, 1st AD) Ramadi, Iraq 09AUG2006
09AUG2006: Serving as the First Sergeant for Cobra Company, 1-37 Armor, 1SG Aaron Jagger and his team found out in the summer of 2006 that their Iraq deployment was about to change.  Currently serving in a relatively calm area of the country, 1SG Jagger and his men were now tasked with reinforcing ongoing operations in the deadly city of Ramadi. Entering the fight in south-central Ramadi, 1SG Jagger and his men placed themselves directly in the insurgent path into and out of the city.  Engaged in near daily fights, 1SG Jagger and his men established a series of combat outposts to help secure the volatile city.  A major part of this initiative was called a census patrol where a units from 1-37 AR would focus on face-to-face meetings with the citizens of Ramadi to reinforce the Iraqi and US understanding of the human terrain and hopefully build trust with the local citizens.   These census patrols were conducted in the midst of a heavily kinetic environment.  While trying to win the support of the local population, 1SG Jagger and his men were always on the lookout for an enemy ambush or IEDs designed to kill American Soldiers in one of the deadliest cities in Iraq. On August 9th, headed back to COP Spear, the convoy passed through an intersection and a large IED was detonated under 1SG's vehicle.  The blast killed 1SG Aaron Jagger, SPC Ignacio Ramirez and SPC Shane Woods.  
25:05
October 03, 2020
SFC Junior Edwards (E/2-23IN, 2nd ID) Battle of Wonju, Korean War 02JAN1951
02JAN1951: His platoon responsible for holding a strategic hill, SFC Junior Edwards and his men found themselves in the midst of a vicious enemy attack.  Taking heavy machine gun fire from a nearby hill, SFC Edwards grabbed a handful of grenades throwing them as he charged the position.  Buckling under the daring assault, the enemy team retreated and Edwards moved back with his men. Shortly thereafter, the enemy again occupied the hillside so SFC Edwards once more picked up a supply of grenades and charged the position destroying the machine gun and killing the crew.  Just as he finished his assault, he was quickly driven back by small arms fire from nearby enemy fighters.   Once more, the enemy moved another machine gun into that advantageous position and began laying fire down into Edwards and his men.   SFC Edwards again resupplied on grenades and charged, destroying the second machine gun of the day and killing it's crew.  During this his third charge into a wall of enemy fire, SFC Junior Edwards was struck and killed at the age of 24.   His bravery in taking out multiple enemy positions that day saved the lives of his men who were in turn able to hold on and repel the ongoing assault.  For this selfless act, SFC Junior Edwards would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
16:38
September 30, 2020
PFC John Magrath (G Co. 85th IN, 10th MTN DIV) Italy, WWII 14APR1945
14APR1945:  Pushing ahead in what would be the last major Allied offensive in Italy, PFC John Magrath and his unit were pinned down by multiple German defensive positions just outside of Castel d'Aiano.  Armed with only a rifle, Magrath volunteered to assault the nearest bunker to buy his company room to maneuver. Charging through the gunfire, Magrath overran the position, killing two, wounding three and capturing a German machine gun.  He then took the machine gun and moved over open terrain to engage and destroy two further machine gun positions.  Continuing his one man assault, he identified a group of four enemy soldiers firing on his men.  Working his way behind the group, he cut all four down in rapid bursts.  From there, he was spotted by a final machine gun position.  Kneeling and firing his machine gun, Magrath destroyed this final position as well before moving back to American lines.   Having eliminated the forces that had kept them pinned down, Magrath and his company advanced forward.  Soon, they came under a heavy artillery barrage and quickly began taking casualties.  Again volunteering, Magrath ran into the storm of steel to collect casualties.  While he was doing so, PFC John Magrath was hit by enemy fire and killed. For playing such a pivotal role in the battle that day, PFC John Magrath would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
18:15
September 29, 2020
SSG Robert Miller (ODA 3312, 3rd SFG) Kunar, Afghanistan 25JAN2008
25JAN2008: Serving as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant, SSG Robert Miller and his team were conducting a patrol through the Gowardesh Valley in eastern Afghanistan when they came into contact with 15-20 Taliban fighters.  Miller, manning a Mk-19 automatic grenade launcher, engaged the enemy forces and assisted in directing air strikes to eliminate the threat. Following the engagement, Miller set off on foot as point man for a small element to conduct a battle damage assessment from the strike.  As the group, moving through a deep valley, neared the strike location, enemy forces all along the hillside opened fire.  Caught in an ambush from upwards of 100 Taliban fighters shooting down from covered positions, Miller and his team were stuck in the kill zone.   Without hesitation or regard for his own safety, SSG Miller moved to an exposed location to lay down suppressive fire, allowing his team to exit the ambush.  Maneuvering to engage the dug-in enemy forces, Miller was hit in the torso but wouldn't stop.  He continued firing and pushing forward, killing at least ten enemy fighters and drawing fire from the entire force.  As US and Afghan forces moved to a more defensible position, SSG Robert Miller was struck and killed by enemy fire. For sacrificing himself to allow his men to exit the kill zone, SSG Robert Miller would be awarded, posthumously, the Medal of Honor.  
21:15
September 25, 2020
Pfc Jack Lucas (1/26 Marines, 5th Marine Division) Battle of Iwo Jima, 20FEB1945
20FEB1945:  After lying about his age to enlist in the Marines at 14, Pfc Jack Lucas went AWOL from his unit in Hawaii in hopes of making his way to a combat unit.  After stowing away on a transport ship, Lucas made himself known and rather than face a court-martial, he was attached to Marine infantry unit set to go ashore in the coming days at Iwo Jima. Just barely 17 when he landed on Iwo Jima, Lucas survived day one of the deadly battle and was with four other men maneuvering through an enemy trench system when they were spotted.  As his rifle jammed, Lucas dropped to a knee to correct the malfunction and was the only man in the group to spot a grenade land in their midst.  Without hesitation, Lucas jumped past a fellow Marine to shove the grenade into the sand and cover it with his body.  As he did so, a second grenade landed nearby which he grabbed and pulled under his body as well.   The ensuing blast threw him into the air and peppered him with over 250 pieces of searing hot shrapnel.  His fellow Marines were sure he was dead and continued their mission but miraculously, Lucas survived the blast.  Shortly, as they were passing by, another group of Marines noticed Lucas and alerted a stretcher team to take him to the rear for treatment.   After 20+ surgeries and as full a recovery as was possible, the 17-year old Lucas was presented the Medal of Honor by President Truman.  Jack Lucas became the youngest service-member in WWII to receive the honor and the youngest Marine in history.  
27:15
September 23, 2020
Spec/4 Al Rascon (1-503IN, 173rd ABN BDE) Vietnam War, 16MAR1966
16MAR1966: Serving as a medic to a recon platoon in Vietnam, Spec/4 Al Rascon and his men took off to reinforce a sister unit under attack.  On their way, they were ambushed by a numerically superior enemy force that inflicted heavy casualties right away.   As the first few men fell, Spec/4 Rascon ignored requests to wait for suppressive fire and manuevered into the kill zone to treat a wounded Soldier, a machine gunner.  Placing his body between the Soldier and the enemy, Rascon suffered multiple shrapnel wounds as he treated and moved the patient to safety.  Hearing that the other machine gunner was running low on ammunition, Rascon again redistributed ammo and moved forward to retrieve the weapon and spare barrels left by the wounded Soldier. In the process, Rason was wounded again in the face and torso by grenade fragments but kept on moving. He recovered the equipment and handed it off to another Soldier that helped keep their unit in the fight. Disregarding his wounds, Rascon continued to search the kill zone for wounded Soldiers.  Twice more, he found Soldiers and used his body to shield them from incoming grenades, suffering more wounds himself.  Rascon refused aid until all of his men had been treated and evacuated.  It wasn't until he was placed on a MEDEVAC chopper that he finally allowed someone to treat his countless wounds.   Spec/4 Al Rason would survive the day and be recommended for the Medal of Honor. However, the citation would be lost and instead he would receive the Silver Star.  In 2000, after members of his unit lobbied for the correction, Rascon, now a MAJ in the Army Reserve, would be awarded the Medal of Honor.
18:34
September 21, 2020
Cpl Dakota Meyer (ETT 2-8) Kunar, Afghanistan 08SEPT2009
08SEPT2009: Serving as a part of an embedded training team in Afghanistan, Cpl. Dakota Meyer was tasked with maintaining security by a rally point as other members of his team pushed into a village named Ganjgal.  Expecting to meet with village elders, the element of US and Afghan forces quickly came under intense enemy fire from an estimated 50 Taliban fighters. Hearing that the US team was cut off, Meyer and another Marine took off in a vehicle to assist.  As their vehicle drew fire, Meyer manned the machine gun and hammered enemy positions despite rounds impacting all around him.  Each trip into the fight, Meyer identified and helped evacuate groups of wounded or trapped Afghan soldiers.  During these movements, he was in constant contact with the enemy, engaging some at point blank range.   After the vehicle took too much damage to return, Meyer swapped for a new truck and went back into the fight two more times.  Having already been wounded in the army, Meyer dismounted the vehicle near where he expected his cut off Marines to be.  As he neared the position, he spotted a Taliban fighter attempting to drag the bodies away.  After killing that fighter, Meyer began the recovery of his four fallen brothers.   For saving the lives of so many Afghan and American warriors during that six hour fight, Cpl Dakota Meyer would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  
25:50
September 18, 2020
SFC Thomas Payne (1st SFOD-D) Hawija, Iraq 22OCT2015
22OCT2015:  SFC Thomas Payne and his fellow warriors of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force), were deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve when they were tasked with a hostage rescue mission.  An estimated 70+ Kurdish hostages were being held by Islamic State fighters in the town of Hawija, Iraq.   The mission was moved to a top priority after freshly dug graves were identified in the immediate area.  Knowing they had to act or all 70 would be executed, SFC Payne and his men linked up with their Kurdish partners and began an assault on the compound. SFC Payne was leading one of the teams with the responsibility of securing the hostages from one of two target compounds.  Quickly moving through intense enemy fire, Payne reached the first compound and cut the locks to the door holding the hostages.  As the 40 hostages began movement to the evacuation helicopters waiting, Payne got a call that a man was down and an intense fight was raging next door. Without hesitation, he moved to assist. Climbing to the roof, Payne and his men engaged multiple enemy fighters before one detonated a suicide vest in an attempt to cave in the building.  With the remaining hostages now at risk of being trapped in the burning building, Payne made his move.  Despite heavy enemy fire, Payne twice pushed through the smoke and fire to cut the lock and free the remaining hostages.  As everyone exited the burning and collapsing building, Payne made multiple trips back inside to ensure that no man was left behind.   For continually risking his own life to save over 70 Kurdish and Iraqi prisoners in one of the largest hostage rescue missions in American history, SFC Thomas Payne would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  
19:55
September 17, 2020
PFC Desmond Doss (B/1-307IN, 77th ID) Battle of Okinawa, 29APR-21MAY1945
29APR-21MAY1945:  Serving as a medic with Bravo Company, part of 1-307 IN, PFC Desmond Doss had distinguished himself during the combat in Guam and Leyte before his men landed on Okinawa.  Doss was unique in that as a conscientious objector he refused to carry a weapon into battle.  Most medics would at least carry a sidearm to be used in strictly defensive means if necessary.   At the start of May, Doss and his unit were sent up to relieve a battalion that had suffered heavy casualties trying to take an area that became known as Hacksaw Ridge.  Having to scale a cliff to reach the dug in Japanese defenders, Bravo company climbed ropes and ladders before reaching the peak.  At that point they came under withering enemy fire, nearly decimating the entire unit.  As what was left of the company began a retreat down the cliff, their many wounded were stranded, unable to fall back. Rather than leave the wounded, Doss stayed behind and over the course of the next few hours, treated casualties, moved them to the edge of the cliff and lowered them down one by one.  Doss is credited with saving at least 75 American Soldiers that day.  As the fight raged for a few more days, Doss repeatedly placed himself in harms way in order to treat as may Soldiers as possible.   A few weeks later, on May 21st, Doss was ahead of friendly lines continuing to treat wounded that were a little cut off.  While there, he was wounded by a Japanese grenade but rather than call a stretcher team forward, he treated the wounds himself and sat tight for five hours until it was safe for them to advance.  While being moved back to the rear, Doss noticed another Soldier that was in worse shape than he was.  He quickly rolled off the stretcher to make room for the casualty. Shortly thereafter, Doss was struck by a snipers bullet that broke his arm.  Creating a quick splint with a rifle stock, Doss then crawled more than 300 yards back to the aid station where he was treated and evacuated.   For his incredible actions throughout the Battle of Okinawa, now CPL Desmond Doss would be awarded the Medal of Honor, the only conscientious objector in the war to do so.  Doss would live until the age of 87 when he would pass away in 2006. 
25:38
September 16, 2020
SGT Gordon Roberts (B/1-506IN, 101st Airborne) Vietnam War, 11JUL1969
11JUL1969: SGT Gordon Roberts was a rifleman when his platoon was called upon to help relieve one of their sister companies that was pinned down nearby.  As his platoon approached the enemy controlled hillside, they too were attacked by those same positions and were quickly immobilized by the volume of enemy machine gun fire. Seeing his men pinned down and recognizing that unless they reduced the threat, his sister company could be wiped out, SGT Roberts picked up and charged towards the first closest enemy bunker.  Firing as he ran, he overcame the position and killed the two defenders.   As he was alerting his men that the position was cleared, a second machine gun opened up with a round striking and destroying his rifle.  Without hesitation, Roberts picked up an enemy AK-14 and continued his assault towards the second bunker.  With rounds impacting all over, Roberts destroyed his second bunker of the day.   From there he pushed further into the deadly enemy fire to destroy a third emplacement with grenades before linking up with the adjoining company they were tasked with assisting.  As enemy fire continued to rain down all around, Roberts stayed with this unit to help evacuate casualties before making his way back to his platoon. For taking out the fortified enemy positions that were about to wipe out his platoon and a sister company, SGT Gordon Roberts would be awarded the Medal of Honor.  Roberts would survive the war and would exit the service after three years in 1971.   He would earn a direct commission in 1991, return to service and retired from active duty in 2012.
20:23
September 15, 2020