Thank God for good First Sergeants

This video is making the rounds on the internet right now, and I wanted to share it here with some commentary. It shows a combat outpost in Paktika province (my old stomping ground) getting “accidentally hit by one of our own aircraft’s 500lb bombs.

 

There are several key things about this video I wanted to point out. The first is for those that think women “deserve” or “belong” in the infantry. I am not sure if this is an Infantry or Cavalry unit, but it does not matter. You can tell from this video and from movies like Restrepo this is no place for a female. Not now, NOT EVER.

Second is this is what it means to be living at the tip of the spear. There is no Green Bean’s Coffee house, Flour or KBR cooks, or PX. This is an outpost built with sandbags, hescos, 2x4s and plywood. This is the home for these guys. Not everyone lives like this, and in fact I would say 98% of those overseas don’t live like this for their entire tour. Sometimes soldiers go in and out of this type of place every few weeks or months. I mean they have to get a decent shower sometime don’t they?

Lastly I would like to point out that the First Sergeant (1SG) is credited with saving lives in the story accompanying this video. If you read it at http://www.armytimes.com/article/20140218/NEWS/302180020/Video-500-pound-friendly-bomb-dropped-too-close-soldiers-Afghanistan you will see they state the 1SG knew this airstrike was going to happen and made everyone get into what we call “stand to”, which means everyone at the ready, in their fighting positions with all their protective gear on. I am sure some guys bitched and cried as they were forced to get out of bed and go get in their fighting positions, but I bet they were glad they have the 1SG they do afterwards. This is a prime example of “hard right” vs. the “easy wrong”.

 

Outlaw Platoon, Part II

I have already posted my review of Sean’s book Outlaw Platoon and put up the first special trailer that NRA’s Life of Duty put together. Here is the second part of that series they have produced. If you haven’t read the book yet, I hope this video along with the first and the soon to be posted third will convince you to go out and get a copy right away. Once you start, you probably won’t be able to put it down.

 

 

In 2006 Lt. Sean Parnell and the men at Third Platoon had deployed to one of the most dangerous area of Afghanistan, less than 10 miles from the Pakistani border. Their mission was to seek out enemy positions and thwart the movement of insurgent forces, into and out of the save haven of Pakistan. And was to disrupt and destroy this network at all costs. On June 10, they were under a fierce assault by the Taliban and enemy insurgents. RPGs and Mortars rained down on them, and machine gun fire seemed to come at them from all directions. If they didn’t get help soon, the outcome looked grim for Sean Parnell and the men under his leadership, known as the Outlaw Platoon.

American Badasses; Outlaw Platoon

When I first heard about the book, Outlaw Platoon, I knew it was one I wanted to read for several reasons. One was because it was about Afghanistan, two was because it was from the time I was there in 2006-2007 and the most important reason was because it was about my area of operation.

The Outlaw Platoon was in 2/87 INF (Catamount) of the 10th MTN Division. The same exact Battalion that the Afghan Army soldiers I was embedded with, were partnered with. I earned my 10th MTN combat patch from these guys. I served shoulder to shoulder with them and fought with them.

The author, Sean Parnell, and I first met when I interviewed him on my old radio show, You Served. Since that time he and I have talked several times and got to hang out together. I consider him a friend and I think he feels the same way. We get it, we get each other and we understand what both went through because we ate the same dirt together. I am sure I have stood in the line at chow with him and his soldiers but never knew it. I have been to FOB Bermel and know that area well.

I will have the book review for Outlaw Platoon out this week, that I promise. In the mean time I encourage you to watch this NRA Life of Duty video of Sean and his platoon. I will post part two when it is released. Spare the 20 or so minutes it takes to watch this to get a glimpse of what this platoon went through.

 

 

69 years since Operation Overlord

Operation Overlord, also known as D-Day happened 69 years ago today. This video created by the US Army in 1969 and hosted on the NRA Life Of Duty site is a tribute to this famous day in our country’s history. The original Army piece was 28 minutes long, but Life Of Duty has condensed it into about 6 minutes.

These were warriors that truly exemplified what it meant to be courageous and brave.

NR-LOD-SM

 

June 6, 2013 marks the 69th anniversary of “Operation Overlord” – the D-Day invasion where more than 160,000 allied troops landed on a 50-mile stretch of French Coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France in 1944. The invasion led to the deaths of more than 9,000 allied forces, but the victory resulted in a significant turning point for Europe’s history. Today, we would like to honor the allied forces that participated in the invasion by sharing a film created by the U.S. Army in 1969. In this film, the drama and battle action of the landing at Normandy is portrayed along with the fierce combat that took place to overcome “Fortress Europe” (compliments of the National Archives).

 

Video of the Day-Frog Dog

This is a great video tribute to not only a warrior Seal but his selfless and loyal military working dog. I don’t think most of America realizes how much our military relies on dogs in its day to day operations or how vital they are to not only neutralizing the threat but also saving American lives.

Enjoy…

 

Video of the Day- Honoring the Fallen

Another short, but very touching video tribute to our fallen. Not necessarily profiling a historic battle or place, but the feelings and impact are the same regardless. This is only a few minutes long and well worth those few minutes on this honorable weekend.

 

A great tribute video for Memorial Day

H/T to my close friend, Michelle T., for making me aware of this tribute video. It is produced by Crye Precision (makers of Multi-Cam) and Dillon Aero (makers of mini-guns), two of the best things the Army owns in my opinion.

As we transition into this honorable Memorial Day weekend, I would like to kick off my series of tribute posts with this video.

Enjoy….

 

Still missing Tim Hetherington, two years later

Below is what I wrote about this day two years ago. I am amazed that it has been two years since Tim was stolen from this world and from everyone that knew and loved him. As I said several times in the original post below,  the only solace I have is he did die doing what he loved.

This week, someone I consider a friend, and a very close friend of Tim’s, Sebastian Junger released a documentary about Tim called “Which way is the front line from here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington” on HBO. A close friend of mine watched it and told me how emotional it made him and how much it moved him learning more of Tim’s background. Just reading his words about the film brought out pains in my heart. I haven’t watched it yet, but know I will need to soon one day. I am so glad Sebastian made this, and I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for him to do it.

Many knew Tim through his imagery, but few were lucky enough to know him as a person. I will always cherish my time talking to him in person, on email, the phone or on Facebook.

Even though it is a day for me to celebrate, it is and always will be a bittersweet day. It will be a day that the world as a whole had a little something stolen from it.

The flag in front of my house is at half-staff for you today brother!

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The Trailer for “Which way is the front line from here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington”

 

I had been planning this post since yesterday. How was I going to blog about my birthday. My thoughts were to write about how 42 years ago today I took my first breath and saw my first light at Ft. Bragg NC to a young military family with a father home on emergency leave from serving as a Green Beret in Vietnam and a country girl mom who had grown up a lot in a short 10 years of marriage.

It was not common for soldiers to get to come home from war in Vietnam for the birth of their child, but since my mom had lost two other sons at birth, I was high-risk and they brought him home from the jungles of Vietnam or Laos or Cambodia or wherever he was at that time.

Yes I was gonna write a little about how Bouhammer came to be in this world and celebrating my birthday today with my family on a beach in South Carolina.

But all that changed a couple of hours ago when I saw a note on Facebook by my very good friend Matt Burden from Blackfive.net saying that a recent, but good friend of mine, Tim Hetherington had been killed in Libya.

As I sat by the pool in the warm sun, next to my wife while my youngest son swam nearby it was like someone had dropped a bucket of cold water on me from the top of the hotel. I sat right up and I think I let out a “you have got to be F@#$@ kidding me” or something probably close to that. It was just last night I was checking Facebook in the hotel and saw a posting from Tim saying he was in Libya doing what he loves to do, video and capture images from the war front so the rest of the world can see a glimpse of the horrors of war. When I saw his posting last night I dropped him a note asking him to be careful. More than likely it was too late, but who knows.

All I do know is that for a day last summer I got to be in his presence and do a great screening of RESTREPO in Albany, NY. Then we went out afterwards and closed a german pub together. He, Brendan O’Byrne from Battle Company, and my two team-mates from Afghanistan Prophet and Puss. Since that time Tim and I stayed in pretty good contact with each other, calling, emailing and texting every so often. He kept inviting me to come hang with him in NYC but the problem was he was usually never there when I was. I will miss that we never got that opportunity.

When he came out with this book INFIDEL, last year he made it a point to send me a signed copy. Needless to say that book and his words will be forever cherished.

Lastly I guess the only thing I can say and try to keep this on a positive note are that a mutual friend of Tim’s and mine and the reason I even got to know Tim sent me a very kind note with some great quotes from Tim that he said about me. She will never know how much that meant. I am forever grateful for that. I would also like to highlight again something my wife said today and that I mentioend earlier in this posting. “He died doing what he loved to do.” I guess in the grand scheme of things and with all the dumb ways to leave this earth that there are, there is no better way that that. In fact I am sure all of man-kind wishes for that to be the way, going out doing what you love to do.

God Speed my friend, you will surely be missed.

Tim, me and Brendan after the screening of Restrepo in Albany, NY