“We performed several false landings under the cover of moonlight. I wasn’t a cherry, had been in a few firefights… Hit a few IEDs, took plenty of mortars.. but the fear of running into the unknown off the back of a chinook in the middle of the night was terrifying. The fear soon turned into exhaustion as the flat ground turned into steep hills, as the night turned into day, as the platoon stopped to rest after every hill rather than every hour.
A 48 hour mission turned into a week long operation. We ran out of food and water shortly after the 2nd day and resorted to sucking the liquid from baby wipes, saving pee bottles (just in case) and contemplating the possibility of finding a local animal to eat and cook (the commander strictly forbid fires). Our first airdrop resupply was commandeered by a local Taliban patrol due to being dropped too far from our location. The second made it and the Gatorade never tasted better… the boys back in HQ added ACU pants, smokes, MREs and other quality of life things for us.
There was nothing quite like fighting at the apex of exhaustion, hunger, and raw emotion. We had already given 110% and each one of us had to dig extremely deep to find that extra determination and motivation to keep pressing on. It took us a long time to secure an exfil due to the insane slope of the mountain and sparse vegetation.
One of the choppers went down and they wanted to make sure we crossed our T’s and dotted our I’s before any other chinooks were sent to the area. As a 21 year old watching a JDAM get dropped on our fallen angel through night vision is something I’ll never forget…
Our unit lost several good guys during that operation and a day rarely goes by where they don’t weigh on my mind in some way.”
-Anonymous US Soldier. 2-35 Infantry. Pech River Valley, Afghanistan. Operation Hammerdown, 2011
This story was documented by Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.