How Bergdahl's stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit's operations - We Are The Mighty
Podcast

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake speaks with Jimmy Blackmon, the author of Pale Horse, a book about his time commanding an Army aviation task force with the 101st Airborne Division at the height of combat in the Afghan War.

Set in the very valleys where the 9/11 attacks were conceived, and where 10 Medals of Honor were earned.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations

These are the stories of the pilots behind the lethal Apache helicopters who strike fear into the heart of their enemies as they work with medevac crews who risk their lives to save their fellow troops. We get an understanding of how warriors learned selflessness and found the closest brotherhood they ever known through the crucible of war.

Jimmy was also in the area when Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl decided to go for a stroll in Afghanistan.

“Every soldier out there has a mom and dad that loves them and they all make stupid mistakes at some point,” Jimmy humorously states. “Thank goodness I didn’t decide to go for a walk in Afghanistan.”

Related: These are the best military movies by service branch

In this episode, we talk on a wide-range of topics including:

  • [1:25] Jimmy’s reaction to the controversial Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl’s sentencing.
  • [5:00] These are the predicted events that might occur if Bergdahl did receive jail time.
  • [6:55] Jimmy explains went he meant in by writing the chapter in his book “the plan begins to unravel”
  • [10:55] How Operations Officer Jack Murphy worked with a team of Chinooks and Black Hawks on the battlefield.
  • [14:00] What was going on in the troop’s mind when Bergdahl decided to abandon his post.
  • [18:00] This is the average timeline to begin a search for a missing troop on deployment.
  • [22:00] Jimmy’s final thoughts about all the service members that are still affected by this case.

Also Read: How to stay fit and not get fat after you get out of the military

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Managing Editor

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran and Editorial Coordinator

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Articles

Podcast: Name the B-21 and the OV-10 Bronco is back


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Last week the U.S. Air Force tweeted to the world that it needs help naming its newest bomber, the B-21 Long Range Strike Bomber. (What could possibly go wrong?) Well … we discuss the possibilities and provide examples where crowdsourcing failed. We also discuss the OV-10 Bronco’s comeback and what it means in the fight against ISIS. And on a lighter note, we talk about which service branch we’d join knowing what we know about the military today.

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode

• [1:45] CENTCOM dusts off Vietnam-era aircraft to fight ISIS

• [7:25] Here’s what it costs to fight ISIS (so bring your wallet)

• [7:35] These are the Air Force’s most expensive planes to operate

• [8:00] Articles about the A-10

• [13:00] 9 reasons it’s perfectly fine to be a POG

• [14:15] 32 terms only airmen will understand

• [18:40] The awesome callsigns of the pilots bombing ISIS

• [19:50] Watch these 5 vets admit what branch they’d pick if they joined again

• [36:00] Airmen have the chance to name the Air Force’s newest bomber

Music license by Jingle Punks

  • Lightning Ryder
Podcast

That time Sen. Mitch McConnell was fooled by ‘Duffel Blog’

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You might think that, somewhere along the way, someone in the staff of a senior senator from Kentucky would have figured out what Duffel Blog really was. Instead, in 2012, a concerned constituent actually had the Senator’s office send a formal letter to the Pentagon concerning Duffel Blog’s report of the VA extending benefits to Guantanamo Bay detainees.


What Duffel Blog is, on its face, is a satirical news website that covers the military. At the very least, we all laugh. We laugh at the brave Airman who sent his steak back at the DFAC and the Army wife who re-enlisted her husband indefinitely using a general power of attorney. We laugh because the stories’ absurdities are grounded in the reality of military culture.

Duffel Blog and its writers are more than brilliant. What it does at its best is play the role of court jester – delivering hard truths hidden inside jokes. In the case of Senator McConnell’s office sending a letter of concern to the Pentagon over a Duffel Blog piece, the site was hammering the VA, equating using its services to punishing accused terrorists in one of the most notorious prisons in the world.

We laugh, but they’re talking about the VA we all use – and we laugh because there’s truth to the premise.

Paul Szoldra is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Duffel Blog, former Military and Defense Editor at Business Insider, and was instrumental in the creation of We Are The Mighty. He’s now a columnist at Task & Purpose.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
Szoldra speaks the the Got Your 6 Storytellers event in Los Angeles, Calif.
(Television Academy)

Speaking truth to power is not difficult for Szoldra, even when the power he speaks to is one that is so revered by the American people that it’s nearly untouchable by most other media. We live in an age where criticizing politicians is the order of the day, but criticizing the military can be a career-ending endeavor. You don’t have to be a veteran to criticize military leadership, but it helps.

“If you go back on the timeline far enough, you’ll find a lot of bullsh*t,” Szoldra says, referring specifically to comments made by generals about the now 17-year-old war in Afghanistan. “And I have no problem calling it out, highlighting it where need be.”

Szoldra doesn’t like that the top leadership of the U.S. military exists in what he calls a “bubble” and can get away with a lot because of American support for its fighting men and women — those fighting the war on the ground. Szoldra, who left the Marine Corps as a sergeant in 2010, was one of those lower-enlisted who fought the war. When he writes, he writes from that perspective.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
Szoldra as a Marine in Afghanistan
(Paul Szoldra)

“If we’re talking about sending troops into Syria… I wonder what does that feel like to the grunt on the ground,” Szoldra says. “I don’t really care too much about the general and how he’s going to deal with the strategy, I wonder about the 20-something lance corporal that I used to be trying to find IEDs with their feet.”

His work is thoughtful and, at times, intense, but always well-founded. Szoldra also does a semi-regular podcast with Terminal Lance creator, Max Uriarte, where they have honest discussion about similar topics. Those discussions often take more of a cultural turn and it feels more like you’re listening to Marine grunts wax on about the way things are changing – because that’s exactly what it is, with just as much honesty as you’d come to expect from Paul Szoldra and his ongoing body of work.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
Szoldra and Max Uriarte record their podcast.
(After Action with Max and Paul)

If you liked Szoldra on the show, read his work on Task & Purpose, give After Action with Max and Paul a listen, and get the latest from Duffel Blog. If you aren’t interested in the latest and just want the greatest, pick up Mission Accomplished: The Very Best of Duffel Blog, Volume One at Amazon.

And for a (potentially) limited time, you can get the Duffel Blog party game “WTF, Over? The Duffel Box” by donating to the game’s Kickstarter campaign.

Resources Mentioned

3 Key Points

  • The very best of Duffel Blog
  • The times Duffel Blog articles were mistaken for real news
  • Duffel Blog’s new party game

Sponsors

  • Audible: For you, the listeners of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out some of the books and authors featured on Mandatory Fun. To download your free audiobook today go to audibletrial.com/MandatoryFun.

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Catch the show on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

hauntedbattlefields

Spooky military ghost stories and urban legends


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There’s a lot of death in the military; that’s what happens in wars — people kill each other. Whether it’s by partaking in the fighting or as a result of collateral damage, it is inevitable.

According to popular myth — mostly what we’ve watched during all those Halloween specials — people become ghosts by suffering a violent or unfair death. By this reasoning, bases and battlefields are gold mines for spooky military ghost stories.

Join us for a ghostly episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast where we explore the lost souls and vengeful spirits roaming military bases and battlefields in the afterlife.

Hosted by:

• Logan Nye: Army veteran and Associate Editor

• Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and Senior Contributor

• Tracy Woodward: Benevolent smartass and Social Media coordinator

• Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

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Selected links and show notes:

  • The 5 best military ghost stories
  • That time US soldiers pretended to be vampires and ghosts to scare the hell out of the enemy
  • A bunch of US troops think they saw Bigfoot in Vietnam
  • The 6 craziest military myths
  • 5 wild conspiracy theories that turned out to be true
  • [02:00] Logan’s Stonewall Jackson hometown ghost story.
  • [06:50] General Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold’s haunted house at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
  • [09:50] The reason why there’s a lot of military ghosts stories at the Air Force museum.
  • [10:55] The military ghost story about the “Hop-along,” a Korean/Vietnam era H-19 Sikorsky helicopter whose seat is still stained with the blood of the pilot who died in it.
  • [14:30] The ghost story about the B-29 Superfortress “Bockscar” that dropped the second atomic bomb — “Fat Man” — over Japan during World War II.
  • [15:30] The ghost story about the B-24 Liberator downed over North Africa.
  • [16:20] The Nazi ghosts roaming the Air Force museum.
  • [17:45] The ghost story about the B-24 Liberator “Strawberry Bitch.”
  • [20:00] The dreadful feeling visitors get around the “Prisoner of War” exhibit at the Air Force museum.
  • [22:50] The urban story about aliens at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
  • [30:05] The ghost story about “Mad” Anthony Wayne.
  • [37:15] The never ending battle at “Little Big Horn.”
  • [39:50] The ghosts haunting Warren Air Force Base.
  • [41:45] The ghosts haunting the USS Hornet, an old Navy aircraft carrier turned museum.

Music license by Jingle Punks

  • Heart Beats 1
  • Grave Hunter 001
Podcast

The reason Russia says it wants to nuke Norway over a deployment of 330 Marines


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Norway recently invited 330 U.S. Marines to its country for winter warfare exercises and Russia went all nuclear over it.

Frants Klintsevitsj, the deputy chairman of Russia’s defense and security committee, said on national TV that a nuclear strike was on the table over the Devil Dog deployment.

But how much damage can 330 U.S. Marines and their personal gear do? We did a little research, and it turns out Russia’s response might have been spot on.

Join us for an entertaining discussion of Marine Corps history and learn about its fearsome reputation.

Related: 15 quotes from Gen. ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, slayer of bodies

Hosted by:

Guest appearance:

Selected links and show notes

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
Free to enter. 5 will win. Ends November 30, 2016

Music license by Jingle Punks

  • Drum March 90
  • Beat Meat
  • Pride
Podcast

7 amazing badass war prisoners who defied their captors


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Imagine being a prisoner of war (POW) at the hight of a major conflict. You’re hundreds of miles away from the closest allied territory and thousands of miles from home. Are you prepared for months or years of hardship and torture? Will you give into being a propaganda prop in exchange for food and better treatment? Will you plan an escape?

In this episode of the WATM podcast, the boys of the editorial team discuss how a handful of badass war prisoners handled their captors and made the best out of their terrible predicaments.

Hosted by:

Selected links and show notes from the episode

• Referring WATM articles:

• [00:42] Horace Greasley, the ballsy POW who broke out of prison to visit his girlfriend overnight and then sneak back into his own camp. Editor’s Note: The original wording of our first post on Greasley incorrectly stated that he was Czech and our discussion in the podcast reflects this. In actuality, Greasley was a draftee in the British Army.

• [02:00] Horace Greasley: 6 unbelievable military love stories

• [05:50] Nazi POWs in Arizona: Papago Park housed captured Nazi Kriegsmarine U-boat commanders and their crews. It was the POWs from #84’s compound 1A who would trigger the biggest manhunt in Arizona history.

• [08:40] The only prisoners who can be forced to work are junior enlisted under the Geneva Conventions.

• [12:25] The Nazi POWs made a boat in a U.S. prison camp.

• [16:05] Tibor Ruben: Holocaust survivor escaped his Korean War prison camp every night to forage for food for fellow prisoners.

• [19:20] George H.W. Bush escapes prison camp and avoids being eaten by Japanese soldiers: That time Japanese soldiers cannibalized US pilots in World War II

• [21:40] The WATM boys discuss the work detail they would choose if they were captured.

• [25:15] Douglas Bader: Double amputee begins his escape attempts while his second prosthetic leg was still damaged.

• [28:30] French general escapes an inescapable prison to celebrate Hitler’s birthday.

• [29:47] The British soldier who escaped The Gestapo’s “unescapable” castle.

• [33:15] Special Forces officer beats up his executioners and escapes with the help of his beard

• [35:25] Hippies identify 1st Lt. James N. Rowe to Vietnamese captors

• [35:30] Jane Fonda: The real story of Jane Fonda and the Vietnam vets who hate her

• [40:20] A senior officer in “Hanoi Hilton” beats himself with a stool and cuts his scalp and wrists to resist North Vietnamese propaganda attempts.

Music license by Jingle Punks

  • Contagious Instr-JP
  • Heavy Drivers
Podcast

Why a new sidearm replacement is a big deal to the troops


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Firearms technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the last 20 years. While civilians and law enforcement have taken advantage of new designs, the military hasn’t been as quick to adjust.

In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast we discuss the military’s plans to find a pistol replacement, the role of today’s battle rifles, and why ammo matters.

Hosted by:

Guest:

  • Christian Lowe: Executive Editor at We Are The Mighty
    • Christian is a veteran reporter and digital editor with nearly 20 years of experience covering the U.S. military at home and abroad. He deployed six times to Iraq and Afghanistan as an embedded reporter and has covered all the services in the conflict zone, on base and in halls of Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. Christian worked previously at Army Times and Military.com as well as a stint in the firearms industry as Editor in Chief of Shooting Sports Retailer and Tactical Retailer magazines. He’s a competitor in IDPA, USPSA and 3-Gun Nation.

Selected links and show notes from the episode:

Music licensed by Jingle Punks:

  • Off Switch
  • Downtown Dollar
Articles

Dale Dye wants to make this epic World War II movie with veterans


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Dale Dye wants to make the “air version” of “Saving Private Ryan,” and he wants to film it with as many military veterans as possible.
“If you think of the first 18 minutes or so of ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ ” Dye said, “This will be that but airborne. This will be guys coming out of those aircraft and sky full of tracers.”
 
Dye wrote the script for “No Better Place to Die” from a story he’d studied during his active duty days. He felt the story perfectly exemplifies what Americans troops can do when they come together after everything goes wrong.
 
It’s about the 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers during the D-Day invasion and their contribution to winning the war. If it weren’t for these troops, the German’s may have pushed the allied beach invasion back out to sea, according to Dye.
 
While the filmmaking world knows him as Hollywood’s drill sergeant, Dye has reserved the director’s seat for himself.
 
“Given what I’ve done in my 30-year career the only way this going to get done right — the only way this is going to blow people right out of their seats — is if I direct it because I know how,” Dye said. “I know how to do this cool.”
 
As for hiring veterans, Dye is looking to fill on and off camera roles to make a filmmaking statement.
 
“My absolute promise is that I’m going to make this movie with as many veterans in front of the camera and behind the camera as I can find,” Dye said. “That’s the way I’m going to do it. I’m hoping that it will serve as a showcase to Hollywood. It will show them the talent that’s out there and what these folks can do. What they bring to the table and how motivated they can be, and I want to demonstrate that.”

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran and managing editor

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran and Podcast Producer

Guest: Captain Dale Dye

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
Captain Dale Dye at We Are The Mighty

Before Dale Dye was making some of our favorite military movies, he was fighting America’s wars overseas, eventually retiring as a Marine Corps captain. Having been around infantrymen all his life, he knew we were badly represented on film. The majority are intelligent, creative, and full of heart.

He felt the image of the dumb boot blindly following orders was a grave disservice to those brave service members who had risked and often gave their lives so that our nation could survive and prosper. So he looked for the best medium available to reach the hearts and minds of the public to spread his message — film and television.

Articles

These simple luxuries can make your next deployment tolerable


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Blake, Tim, and Chase speak with stand-up comedian Mitch Burrow about what simple luxuries we wished we had while on deployment.

Mitch is a Marine Corps veteran that served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. He then started a career in manufacturing before realizing that it sucked. Now, Mitch has found his true calling in acting silly on a stage in front of strangers on a nightly basis.

Related: Dale Dye wants to make this epic World War II movie with veterans

Being forward deployed without the amenities that service members are used to from back home can suck. While some military branches have chow halls with an all-you-can-eat menu, others are forced to eat highly-processed foods from heavy duty plastic bags — a.k.a. MREs.

Although we wish for the most part that our livelihood will remain the same while on deployment, it’s the simple things service members miss the most.

Also Read: This is how drunken shenanigans influence pilot callsigns

So what unique and simple amenity would Marine veteran and stand-up comedian Mitch Burrow liked to have had while deployed? His answer was simple.

“A data plan.” — Mitch

To follow Mitch or check out one of his shows visit his website: Mitchburrow.com.

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran

Chase Millsap: Marine veteran

Podcast

How the Vietnam War shaped the modern day U.S. Air Force


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In this episode of the Mandatory Fun podcast, we talk to former Air Force Chief of Staff, General Merrill A. McPeak, who served as a military adviser to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council, and the President.

He’s also a career fighter pilot with more than 6,000 hours under his belt, including time as a solo pilot with the elite Thunderbirds.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
The salty and well-respected Air Force Chief of Staff General Merrill A. McPeak (Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

The General currently has three books out, Below The Zone, Roles and Missions, and Hangar Flying, about his time being ringside during one of the most tumultuous moments in recent history: the Vietnam War, where Gen. McPeak was an attack pilot and high-speed forward air controller.

In this episode, we talk on a wide range of topics, including:

  • [1:35] The Mandatory Fun crew introduces General McPeak and his epic resume.
  • [4:00] How allied troops managed to set traps for their North Vietnamese enemy.
  • [7:00] The general discusses what it was like kicking off Operation Desert Storm.
  • [10:30] The reasons behind why air doctrine changed since the Vietnam War ended.
  • [13:45] The general breaks down the stats of the fighter pilots who have been shot down.
  • [21:00] What it’s like flying in an Air Force air show in front of political VIPs.
  • [28:50] What influences the general had on Ken Burn’s PBS Vietnam documentary and what it was like working with the filmmaking legend.
  • [34:35] How the Air Force attempts to retain it’s outstanding and well-trained fighter pilots.
  • [35:30] What things the general loved about being a fighter pilot.
  • [45:15] The importance of having nuclear weapons on station.

Hosted By:

Blake Stilwell: Air Force veteran

Tim Kirkpatrick: Navy veteran

Orvelin Valle (AKA O.V.): Navy veteran

This podcast originally produced in December 2017.

Podcast

What every boot needs to know before partying in the Middle East for the first time


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If you’ve ever moved to a new city or transitioned to a different school as a kid, you may have experienced culture shock. The ordeal could be disorienting, but it probably wasn’t long before you made new friends and adjusted to your environment.

Now amplify that times 100, that’s what it’s like for some troops visiting foreign countries for the first time.

In this episode of the We Are The Mighty podcast, we discuss why partying in the Middle East is so darn hard.

Related: These comedians entertain troops worldwide with the ‘Apocalaughs’ tour

Hosted by:

Guests:

Music licensed by Jingle Punks:

  • Goal Line
  • Tribal Line
  • Private Dick
  • Dance Party
  • Looks That Kill
  • Istanbul Nights
  • Freaky Funk
MIGHTY HISTORY

The story of the slave who survived the Alamo

The attack on the Alamo in 1836 was not a 13-day siege and slaughter as often portrayed in film and television. Don’t get me wrong – the defenders of the mission-turned-fortress were killed en masse as Mexican troops stormed the structure. It’s just that not everyone inside the Alamo died that day.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
Maybe standing in the open wearing the brightest clothes isn’t the best idea.

That’s how we came to know of Joe — just Joe, any other names he had are lost to history now. Joe was the slave of William B. Travis, the commander of the Alamo during Mexican dictator Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s siege of the Texian fort. But no one knows exactly how Joe got there. No matter how he ended up there, he was one of many slaves and free blacks who fought or died at the Alamo.

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Joe was a stalwart defender alongside Travis and other Texians. When the din of the fighting died down and the Mexicans firmly controlled the fort, Joe was shot and bayoneted, only to be saved by a Mexican field officer. Because Joe could speak Spanish, he was able to be interrogated afterward.


All that is known about Joe after the Alamo is that he was questioned by Santa Anna and then later questioned by the Texas Cabinet. A little more than a year later,
Joe escaped to Mexico on two stolen horses.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations
One supposed photo of Joe, the slave and survivor of the Alamo.

That’s where attorney-turned-author Lewis Cook picked up the story. His first book, called
Joe’s Alamo: Unsung, is a fiction-based-on-history account of what came next, after the Alamo, and after Joe escaped.

Cook was waiting to go to medical school when he discovered Joe’s story and was compelled to write about the Alamo. Cook discovered the Alamo was more than a bunch of white, male landowners fighting for Texas. The fort was full of women, minorities of many color, and followers of many religions. So, he set out to tell the story of the Alamo, a story that, he believes, belongs to all of us through the diversity of its defenders.

In his book, Cook tells a different story from what is commonly told in textbooks, film, and TV shows. It includes recently discovered facts about William Travis, Susana Dickinson, Davy Crockett, and Joe himself.

Resources Mentioned

Sponsor

Audible: For you, the listeners of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out some of the books and authors featured on Mandatory Fun. To download your free audiobook today go to audibletrial.com/MandatoryFun.

About Mandatory Fun

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Share your thoughts about this episode on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

Articles

How going to war brings out the best and worst in people

Sebastian Junger is not a military veteran. He makes that clear, but he sure sounds like one. Maybe it’s because he’s covered conflict zones from Sierra Leone to Nigeria to Afghanistan as a journalist. It’s safe to say he’s seen more conflict than many in the United States military.

If there’s an expert on modern warfare and the long-term effects of those who live it, that person is Sebastian Junger.


He sees war and its effects through the lens of an anthropologist. This not only gives him the perspective to look back on his homecoming—and the homecomings of U.S. troops—to see the problems and abnormalities with how societies deal with their combat veterans, it allows him to put those ideas into words. Some words returning and transitioning veterans may not have ever known to use.

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“We try hard to keep combat at a distance,” he says in the new PBS documentary Going to War. “But when we talk about war, we talk about what it means to be human.”

In Going to War, Junger and fellow author Karl Marlantes (Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War) examine the paradox of fighting in combat: how the brotherhood and sense of purpose contrast with the terror, pain, and grief surrounding the violence and destruction. It starts with the training. Whenever young men (and now women) are placed in a situation where they would be fighting for their lives, the training would diminish perceptions of the individual in favor of the group.

“If you have people acting individualistically in a combat unit, the unit falls apart and gets annihilated,” Junger says. “So you need them to focus on the group. The training, beyond firing a weapon, is an attempt to get people to stop thinking of themselves.

This is not just the U.S. military. This is every military around the world.

The United States is “orders of magnitude” more capable than most. What the U.S. is having trouble dealing with is what comes after its veterans return home and then to civilian life. For returning vets, sometimes the problem is returning to an unearned hero’s welcome.

Only about ten percent of the military will ever see combat. Those who don’t still get the welcome home, but feel guilty for feeling like they never did enough to earn that accolade.

For those who were in combat, the experience of being shot, shot at, and watching others get killed or wounded is a traumatic experience that our increasingly isolated society doesn’t handle well.

How Bergdahl’s stroll in Afghanistan affected a unit’s operations

When veterans leave the military, separation becomes a more apt term than we realize. Our wealthy, individualistic modern society rips military veterans from their tribal environment while they’re in the military and puts them back into a cold, unfamiliar and far less communal world.

Junger thinks a fair amount of what we know as PTSD is really the shock of a tribal-oriented veteran being put in an individualized environment.

Going to War did a fantastic job of capturing the experience of fighting in a war and then coming home,” Junger says. “For me one of the most powerful moments wasn’t even on the battlefield.

Junger goes on to describe what, for him, is the most poignant story out of a slew of emotional, true stories of men fighting nearly a century of wars:

“A young man, a Marine describing his final training, a ruck march. They had heavy packs and the guy had an injury so he couldn’t walk very well. Another guy comes along and carries his pack for him, so the second guy is carrying 160 pounds maybe, and says ‘If you’re not gonna make it across the finish in time, then neither will I. We’re gonna do it together or fail together.’ And that is the central ethos to men in combat in the military.”

For more of Sebastian Junger and his thoughts on war and the men and women who fight it, be sure to download or listen to this podcast. If you still can’t get enough Junger (and we totally get understand), check out his amazing books or our previous podcast with him where we talked about his latest book, Tribe.

Going to War airs on PBS on Memorial Day at 9 p.m. Eastern. Check your local listings.

Resources Mentioned

Sponsors

Audible: For you, the listeners of the Mandatory Fun podcast, Audible is offering a free audiobook download with a free 30-day trial to give you the opportunity to check out some of the books and authors featured on Mandatory Fun. To download your free audiobook today go to audibletrial.com/MandatoryFun.

About Mandatory Fun

Mandatory Fun is hosted by:

Share your thoughts about this episode on Twitter at: @MandoFun and on our Facebook group.

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