Honoring Heroism: Untold Realities of War

In the pages of history, nestled between the triumphs and the tragedies, lie the poignant tales of those who bravely faced the crucible of war. These are the stories that transcend the boundaries of time, echoing through generations to remind us of the indomitable human spirit and the sacrifices made on the hallowed battlegrounds.

War, with its grim visage and far-reaching consequences, has been an enduring chapter of human existence. It has shaped nations, redrawing maps and rewriting destinies. Yet, amidst the geopolitical intricacies and strategic maneuvers, we must not lose sight of the individual narratives etched within the tapestry of conflict.

These are the accounts that defy the cold statistics and sterile summaries found in history books. They breathe life into the shadowy figures eternally etched on war memorials, transforming them into flesh and blood—mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, and lovers—whose dreams and aspirations were tragically curtailed in the name of duty.

It is within these war stories that we discover the true essence of humanity—the unwavering resolve in the face of adversity, the bonds forged under fire, and the sacrifices that echo through eternity. They encompass tales of courage, compassion, and camaraderie, but also of pain, loss, and the unimaginable horrors that test the limits of human endurance.

Through this blog, we embark on a journey that invites reflection and empathy. Together, we will traverse the battlefields, hearing the echoes of gunfire, feeling the weight of the gear, and witnessing the unbreakable bond forged between brothers and sisters in arms. But let us not forget the silent battles waged within, the invisible scars etched upon the hearts and minds of those who returned home forever changed.

In the stories to come, we will share stories from different eras and conflicts, shedding light on the unsung heroes who selflessly answered the call of duty. Their tales will be filled with both triumph and tragedy, resilience and vulnerability. They will remind us that war is not merely a sequence of battles, but a profound human experience with enduring reverberations.

So, join us as we embark on this journey of remembrance—a tribute to the brave souls who walked the path of war and left an indelible mark on our collective consciousness. Through their stories, we shall honor their sacrifices, and perhaps, in doing so, gain a deeper appreciation of the fragile nature of peace.

Together, let us honor heroism, weave the tapestry of memory, and illuminate the untold chapters of real-life war stories. They’re not all tragic. Some of funny. All are real and could turn scary in a moment. Here we go:

Here’s me and the boys in some courtyard in Ramadi, probably late 2004/early 2005. We were stacked in the street just outside the door, getting ready to enter the courtyard when we got lit up by heavy machine guns that were hidden in an adjacent alley. The guy on the ground was in front of me and got hit twice in the back just below the plate. That’s me on his back, Ka-Bar in hand, cutting his vest off so I can stop the bleeding. One of the bullets that hit him happened to be a tracer round and it must have hit his body armor and slowed down because it popped right out (almost like a pimple) into my hand. The guy, Sgt. Morton, made a full recovery but got sent home. I kept that bullet, cleaned it up and carried it with me until we got home. It actually fit perfectly on my dog tag chain. Then I gave it back to him.

– I went to TQ in 2019 and two Iran missiles hit the Iraqi army base part and our FOB. Plus, our fuel farm got blown up too. You can still see some of the scars in Ramadi and Fallujah, but it is better. The Iran back group Hezbollah are running the place now. Things started to get a bit chaotic right before the end of deployment, and they closed down the TQ post again. I am pretty sure Hezbollah is running a muck there now.

– We deployed mid 2006 until November of 2007 as part of a PSD task force. We were in Yusufiyah/ Mahmudia in the triangle of death. Our truck hit its first IED about 3 months in. (Our first convoy IED was 2 weeks in).

We were driving down this narrow dusty road and we heard a loud bang and dust and dirt flying all over the place. We had a THT military intelligence soldier with us and she was freaking out. “I’m hit, I’m hit!” I looked her over and checked for wounds/ bleeding, she was not hit.” The LT called up on the radio asking for our situation and our Platoon Sergeant who was riding TC, responded with, “Yes sir. No casualties, no injuries. But the IED took out our AC. It’s very hot in here, over.” LT chuckled. “Copy that. Be sure to look over your vic when we get back.”

– Same area, same time. We were in Gator Bayou, then Gator Swamp, then the Castle/Dragon/Power Plant.

My truck was hit by the supposed same crew that snatched up the 4-31 DUSTWUN boys. One month later to the day, on the same road less than a klick away. Luckily the IED didn’t knock me out, somehow, and I was able to return fire. Not effectively at all, at first… The concussion of the blast blew off the turret joystick, and when it hit the ground, it turned the turret 180, unbeknownst to me! When I initially started laying down fire, I was shooting in the entire opposite direction than that they were coming from, hahah. Luckily my TL/TC was still with it, and punched me in the leg enough to get my newly-deaf-ass’ attention, and got me to start shooting at the direction of the bad guys instead of just an open field, hahah. Luckily we had a guard tower with a PAS-13 close, so they could see the crew starting to move towards us, and lit them the fuck up while I was blindly shooting into the reedline (this time, at least in their direction) with cartoonish rage, hahah.

– Yea I was in 4-31 Polar Bears. From what I remember Delta company was doing guard and they got ambushed. One hummer had a grenade thrown in killing everyone inside and another vehicle they took prisoners and we searched everywhere for them. We were mainly held up in the Dragon Power Plant once we took that place over.

-My deployment was quiet. Very boring for the most part (thankfully).

So no shit there we were, last twenty minutes or so on our ECP, which was really just an overwatch position for an Afghan base our little slice of Americana was on. I’m sitting in the driver seat of our matv, and my battle is sitting in the back, passenger side. It was open top for the gunner, no CROWS here. We didn’t know each other too well, maybe a week at this point and were just shooting the shit watching the sun fall behind the Hindu Kush.

Then we hear an audible whistling noise and the sound of something landing in our vic.

There’s this half moment of stunned “did I just imagine that” shared between us before we get the fuck out.

In about half a second we were out of the vic, and find a couple of contractors laughing their asses off. Turns out they had thrown a nerf football and it landed right in the gunner’s hatch where the 240 was.

I’ve never felt such a gamut of emotions so quickly in my life.

– On our way to pick up a General at a JSS in Baghdad. As we were approaching our landing pad, heard a “Fallen Angel” call over the radio and we picked right back up. A State Department bird went down and caught fire. The crewman’s voice on the radio was of sheer panic and I remember his desperate call clearly, “I need help now, these guys (pilots) are dying.” I could hear the screams in the background of the call. We landed immediately, got our pax and told them we had to go ASAP. As soon as we were airborne, we got a hold of OPS to give us the grid of that bird and we made a plan on who was doing what. OPS unfortunately sent us the wrong direction and we didn’t get there in time to do anything. They didn’t make it, we just had to scratch that off and continued on our original mission. A very less chatty flight after that.

– On 26 November 2004, Private First Class Harrison James Meyer was serving as a Medical Aidman in Company D, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division while deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On that day, PFC Meyer’s unit was engaged in combat action against enemy forces in Ramadi when his disregard for his own safety and courage under enemy machine gun fire saved the lives of 5 soldiers. PFC Meyer’s selfless, courageous actions that day earned him, at the cost of his life, the U.S. Army’s third highest award for valor, the Silver Star Medal.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Silver Star Medal Bronze Star Medal Purple Heart Army Good Conduct Medal National Defense Service Medal Iraq Campaign Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Army Service Ribbon Army Overseas Service Ribbon Combat Medical Badge Parachutist Badge

Silver Star Medal Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918 (amended by an act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Private First Class Harrison J. Meyer, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Medical Aidman in Company D, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, 2d Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division, during combat operations in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM, on 26 November 2004, in Iraq. Private First Class Meyer’s disregard for his own safety and courage under enemy machine gun fire saved the lives of five soldiers. His valorous actions are in keeping with the highest standards of selfless service and reflects great credit upon himself, Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, Multi-National Corps Iraq, and the United States Army.

– I started writing down a lot of my memories from my time in the service 05-10. Seems like a lifetime ago, so I miss so many details. I deployed in 06 and was just 19. So clueless to life and the seriousness of it all. Seeing IEDs and bullets just snatch people’s lives away. For what? Some lie that we all believed. Sometimes the memories flood back, and I’ll get sick to my stomach, some times they come back, and I’m like damn that was pretty bad ass. I guess that’s the duality of man shit Joker was always talking about.

I remember being on a small kill team. My sector of fire was this canal path with tall tiger grass. Such a long, boring night like most of them are. I remember just staring into the distance, dead silent, full loom, cool summer breeze. The tiger grass starts to part, and I break into a cold sweat. I’m on a island, sure help is right there, but it’s gonna be my call on what happens next. I wait, I watched, grass is moving, somethings coming. It’s tense, I pee a little, I cuss under my breath… its a dog…. a freaking dog snuck up on our small kill team… what a trip.

Either way, that’s a hell of a story, and I’m glad it has a happy ending.

– Our cooks and other support troops were right there with us in the shit. Doing the best they could with what little they had. We wouldn’t have survived without those guys. I got nothing but love and respect for them.

-Iraq 2007. It was cold as fuck. We were tasked with setting up an ambush IOT take care of some problem locals.

We got in position the night before, maybe a half-mile away from the entrance to a little village that these clowns would be entering around dawn. All we needed to do was wait for daylight, give ’em the business when they walked through, and then leave, hopefully making it home in time for lunch.

We waited all night, silent and motionless, laying in snow ffs. Finally, FINALLY, the sun started to rise, and we heard the voices of men on foot approaching our position.

It was two old guys and maybe six cows. Not who we were waiting for.

The old guys were chatting and walked past without noticing us. Everything was good.

A cow spotted us.

This idiot cow then decides to come over and investigate. This piqued the interests of the other cows, and they decided to come over and check things out. Half a dozen cows began leaving the road and entering our palm grove. By this time, their human escorts have noticed and are heading back to our position.

The old guys spotted us. Heads lowered, eyes dropped, and they were back on the road in seconds, speedwalking tf out of there.

Our plans kinda fell apart, so we speedwalked tf out of there in the other direction. Made it back in time for lunch though, and I had a fucking cheeseburger.

– One of my very close friends was deployed in Syria, a few months in on her deployment, they were clearing this village middle of fucking nowhere in about ~2017

They were about ~450? meters from this mountain, very steep snow capped, crawling with ISIS and ex-FSA

About 3 AM, they get orders directly from a LT GEN that they need to withdraw 2 kilometres back and they have 20 minutes to get out as they are in range of A strike to neutralize the mountain

After a back and forth they have used about 18? of the 20 minutes.

As they are rushing back to their BMP, the night turns to day. The sun appeared on the mountain.

Everything glass Shattered, they hurry up and get the fuck out, they began to sweat from the heat, they were practically deaf, and most thrown to the floor

But someone is missing

returning to the village, their translator was crushed by a Destroyed SAA BMP thrown 200+ meters into the village.

– This was 09 and thankfully my deployment was uneventful for the most part but the thing that sticks with me is we would run routes from FOB Falcon to the smaller COB’s to refuel them.

One night we got back from our run with no issues. The very next day we heard a loud boom outside the gate. Turned out a VBIED went off on the main drag we would take. We missed it by less than 24 hours.

These stories go on and on. This is the source of all of this content. My thanks to all who posted.