8:11 | Tony Kimbrough had a tough time growing up, between foster care and moving between states. After 9/11, he found himself joining the South Carolina National Guard while attending the Citadel where he trained in Military intelligence.
Keywords : Louisville KY Atlanta GA Citadel VMI 9/11 Military Intelligence (MI) National Guard Marcus Cohen Duwayne Young
Tony Kimbrough was tasked with setting up an antenna in Zana Khan which should have been a straightforward assignment, until a Humvee broke down at the worst possible time.
Training at one of the most prestigious military schools, the Citadel, was a bit of a challenge for Tony Kimbrough, and despite a slip-up in front of a renowned General, he made it through.
It is one thing to be in years of college and training, but when Tony Kimbrough finally got orders to deploy overseas things got quite serious.
In late 2006 Tony Kimbrough arrived in Afghanistan to assist in training of the Afghan Police forces. He recalls his first impressions when he was boots-on-the-ground, down to what was being served for food that evening.
Tony Kimbrough's mission in Afghanistan was to serve in the embedded training teams in Afghan villages. They were to train up their local police forces so that they could better defend against the Taliban. This involved developing relationships with all sorts of people in the community, but the looming fear of the Taliban made things difficult.
On Tony Kimbrough's first mission, he recalls a few mistakes they made on their way to Waghaz. On their way back, they broke one of the biggest rules and took the same route back which led to them hitting an IED.
Tony Kimbrough reflects on some of the training he received and how it helped him deal with the toughest parts of the war.
Before going on R&R, Tony Kimbrough ran into an old friend from training. Upon his return, things had gotten quite chilly in the mountains of Aghanistan.
One of the more memorable events of his tour was when the 82nd Airborne required support in the rescue of Korean Missionaries in Afghanistan. Tony Kimbrough recalls the planning, intelligence, and execution of their return to safety.
Tony Kimbrough recalls one small-world event while on an overwatch assignment.
Tony Kimbrough gives his thoughts on some of the misconceptions about small-arms in war movies, as well as the harm faced by fellow servicemen by a multitude of weaponry.
It wouldn't feel like home without a dog, but one dog in particular made it a little more complicated for Tony Kimbrough and the others to keep other dogs around.
It was by narrow chance Tony Kimbrough avoided getting hit on his way out of country. Luckily, he was able to make his way back to the world, but being back is a battle unto itself.
Tony Kimbrough, CEO of the Veterans Empowerment Organization, talks about his nonprofit organization and their mission to help rebuild the lives of veterans. You can find more information about getting involved at www.VEOHero.org
Jon Keen was helping unload casualties in Asadabad, Afghanistan when he saw his platoon sergeant among the wounded, a sight which seared his memory. It was difficult for the Afghans as well. The dead children he carried from helicopters is another forever memory. During this time, two Medal of Honor events occurred in a large operation called Rock Avalanche.
He had only been in country for a month. Larry Draughn was supposed to be training with a drone, but when he heard that his unit was going out, he insisted on going with them. They found twenty IED's before he found the wrong one. (Caution: strong language.)
Mike Barno noticed there was suddenly a SEAL unit on the base near the Pakistan border. Then there was an order that everyone had to wear body armor all day. Something big was going on, something that would bring some closure to the 9/11 attacks.
Qalat is a village in Zabul province that was in the area of operation for the 618th Engineer Support Company. The job for Adam Keys and the others was to locate IED's built and hidden by the Taliban. You look for any anomaly, anything out of place, but when you are foreign, everything looks out of place.
Justice details a too-close-for-comfort interaction with a vehicle-borne IED. The IED came as a complete surprise and the entire F.O.B. fell into what Justice could only describe as “chaos” immediately following the explosion. She suffered several injuries and had to work with the nurses back in Bagram and depend on the friendship of comrade Colonel Ellison to come back from the injuries.
Mike Barno was leaving a class at the Citadel when he noticed students had gathered around the television in the student center. They told him a plane had just hit a building in New York. As they watched, a second plane hit and from that point forward, everything changed.
Only days after an IED blast nearly killed him in Afghanistan, Larry Draughn was awake and flattering nurses in a hospital in Germany. A man in a suit came in and he had the president on the phone. What happened next caused a bit of consternation. (Caution: strong language.)
Fishing tournaments and training for hand cycle marathons have kept Larry Draughn busy since he was grievously wounded in Afghanistan. He relishes the time with his family and enthusiastically supports the growing movement for veteran reunions. (Caution: strong language.)
Adam Keys describes the various methods of building and detonating IED's used by the enemy in Afghanistan. His unit's job was to find these things. Back at the base, you might get a little time to watch some DVD's of the latest TV shows.
Larry Draughn got to his base in Afghanistan in the middle of the night. He knew it was gong to be a rough time, but when the sun came up, it was absolutely beautiful, a stunning countryside. Then the dirty business of patrolling began.
His determination to recover from his severe wounds surprised his doctors. Larry Draughn quickly got free of the IV's and took his son to a baseball game. In less than a month, he was discharged. No one had ever recovered that quickly. Then he determined that he would meet the airplane when his unit returned form Afghanistan.
After the IED sent him flying, Adam Keys was talking and yelling for his buddies. He doesn't remember any of it and only knows this because he was told bout it. A long recovery began in hospitals back home and even they gave up on him but his mother never did.
Britney Alexander was born and raised in Louisiana and had a dad who was an Army figure. Because of her great love for her dad, she wanted to enlist in the Army just like him. She talks about where she was on 9/11, her basic training at Fort Jackson, and Fort Lee where she had her training to be a cook.
Following the September 11th attacks, the path to war was unclear. General Dick Myers describes the weeks following from his position as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Interview conducted in partnership with the Eisenhower Foundation as part of their Ike's Soldiers program. https://eisenhowerfoundation.net & http://ikessoldiers.com)
One thing about the Army, you make tons of friends. That was a great part of training for Adam Keys. Not long after that was over, orders came for Afghanistan, so he married his girlfriend and flew off to join the buildup ordered by President Obama.
Leading men in war is a difficult task for many, and leading many men through wars in two countries is not something you can prepare for. General Myers reflects on the weight of making decisions at the level at which he served. (Interview conducted in partnership with the Eisenhower Foundation as part of their Ike's Soldiers program. https://eisenhowerfoundation.net & http://ikessoldiers.com)
In contrast to Fort Lee, at Fort Hood Alexander found that she did little to no cooking whatsoever so she could prepare to go to Afghanistan. Once she had flown overseas, she was stationed at Shindand Air Base and was tasked with all of the mundane jobs no one else wanted to do, in addition to cooking the food, such as being put on Quick Reaction Force duty.
They were looking for a giant IED that was over a thousand pounds. Adam Keys was on the ground team that day and that meant he had to exit the vehicle and sweep the area. What he didn't know is that they were parked right on top of what they were looking for. As he stepped from the door, the bomb was detonated.
Alexander remembers being put on Quick Reaction Force duty, which essentially meant that she aided in one of the first lines of defense of the Shindand Air Base. When she first got there it was in the middle of the Islamic month of Ramadan, a very peaceful time in which there was little to no fighting from the enemy. Once that time ended, however, she was surprised to see that violent mortar attacks started up again.
What would be the positive memories of his time in Afghanistan? For General David Barno, the best thing was seeing young officers blossom into senior leaders. He had a quiet, lone homecoming and then a radically different operating environment, the Pentagon.
At long last, Britney Alexander was allowed to fly back home to American soil. When they finally landed in the US, they were met with all kinds of cheering and applause from the people waiting for them. Instead of getting deployed to Afghanistan a second time, she was forced to step down after discovering the effects of a hip injury she had gotten. Soon after, she took a job as a truck driver and decided to go to business school, with plans to start up her own truck company later on down the line.
Mike Barno recalls his experiences with local civilians during his tour in Afghanistan. The dental officer had staunchly pro-American Afghan translators in his company. The Afghan Army dentists weren't very friendly but the children from the nearby school sure were.