3:34 | 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.
Keywords : deployment orders National Guard
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.
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.
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.
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
Thermal imaging had been around for a while and Geoff Farrell was very familiar with it. GPS, however, was new and expensive, and no one was familiar with it. Both were integral to the swift victory in Desert Storm. Before his deployment he declined a dose of an experimental drug that was supposed to protect against chemical weapons and he wonders if that drug contributed to Gulf War Syndrome.
Bill Pearson had been to Vietnam twice and returned unscathed, but the Army wasn't done putting him in danger. He was assigned as an aviation consultant to Iran, advising the Shah's air force on it's supply of American aircraft. The day he arrived, martial law was declared and it wasn't long before there were mobs outside trying to burn down the building. The embassy was no help. Escape seemed impossible.
After his last tour in Korea, Jim Bolan was assigned to Special Forces. No volunteering needed. Everything was highly classified and they began training with no real system in place. Different units were then combined to form the 1st Special Forces Group, based on Okinawa.
After his Vietnam tours, Jake Jacobson served in Thailand and the Philippines, among other places, with different Special Forces teams. After almost thirty years of service, he retired, but was soon in Saudi Arabia training Bedouins. He didn't care for that job. (Caution: coarse language.)
It was a lousy assignment. Jim Bolan was one of the first Special Forces officers and, after Vietnam, he wound up in a training unit with no jump slot. Prodded by his wife, he went to Washington to dust off his most valuable inside contact, who was now the Army's Chief of Staff.
Bob Stewart was more nervous going to Vietnam than he was going into space the first time. You could get maimed in combat but in space you were either A-OK or completely gone. He made two flights on the space shuttle and, along with Bruce McCandless, made the first EVA with the new MMU, the Manned Maneuvering Unit.
After the Challenger tragedy, NASA mission specialist Bob Stewart returned to the Army where they made him a general. He worked at the Strategic Defense Command, a legacy of Ronald Reagan's SDI program. At some point the Army wanted him in Washington DC, at which point he promoted himself to ski bum.
He repaired radios in the Marines, but Norman Kling was now an electrical engineer working at McDonnell Douglas. When he tried to get his Marine Reserve commander to recommend him for a commission, the answer caused him to leave the Reserve.
Bob Stewart arrived in Houston as the first active Army officer to become a space shuttle mission specialist. After a year of classes, he was given a technical task, develop the shuttle's entry flight control system. The first flight was scheduled for two years out but he had to give management some bad news.
Returning Marine Norman Kling had his eye on college when he got home from the Pacific. He entered the electrical engineering program at Washington University in his home town of St. Louis. He had a soft spot for the Corps in his heart or maybe it was his head. Either way, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve.
After the battle, the men of the 2nd Armored Cavalry did humanitarian work for the Iraqi civilians, then it was time to return to Germany. For Geoff Farrell, a feeling of unreality set in on the flight home. How do you decompress from combat? At least those who fought in this war were not going to experience the humiliation that Vietnam veterans had faced.
Bob Stewart was walking on air. He just got a call from NASA that he was accepted as a mission specialist on the space shuttle program. He was going to be an astronaut, but first he had one more flight in his capacity as an Army test pilot.
When the cease fire was declared, American units had not yet reached Baghdad. In his command track, Geoff Farrell had the graphics on his screen to guide him right in, but it was decided we would not go. Looking back to that critical moment, he reflects on the decision.
Lt. Geoff Farrell was sleeping in the command track when he heard it on the radio. We were at war with Iraq. His armored cavalry unit crossed from Saudi Arabia into Iraq where they were greeted by friendly children in the middle of nowhere.
Some of his pilot friends were recruited by the airlines but Bob Stewart had other ideas. He became a test pilot. They got the money but he had the fun. He was instrumental in bringing the Apache and Blackhawk helicopters into the Army's fleet of airships.
Jake Jacobson had been to Korea three times and then spent a year in Japan with his airborne Pathfinder unit. After that tour and a short stint at the 82nd Airborne, he transferred to Special Forces. He was made a communications chief and assigned to Okinawa.
He considered it the finest education available. Geoff Farrell went to West Point, where he soaked up all the history and knowledge available there. He was assigned to Europe, where he patrolled the German border as Soviet Communism was dying. There was a brief period of jubilation when the wall came down, then they heard about Saddam Hussein.
The rumor was that the Iraqi's Soviet made tanks were superior to ours. Geoff Farrell had this on his mind while rolling across the desert to engage them. Just as they got near, a sandstorm came up. Then the Iraqi artillery began to fall. Then the first Iraqi tank was destroyed, shattering the myth.
It was a shakedown. Bob Ratonyi saw that he had to go off the trail and around the soldier collecting the money. Along with six others, he was making an attempt to escape communist Hungary after the brutal putdown of the Hungarian Uprising. He stumbled through the dark and found a group of peasants, but they were part of the operation, too. Part 4 of 4
They had prepared for the wrong war. Geoff Farrell's armored cavalry unit was going to the desert to confront Saddam Hussein, but their vehicles and uniforms were green and all their training was for fighting in European forests. Once they got to the staging area in Saudi Arabia, they adapted well.