9:03 | 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.
Keywords : Kuwait Kabul Camp Phoenix Bagram Air Force Base Ghazni Afghanistan Waghaz Smell chow
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.
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.
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
It was near anarchy in Budapest following the fall of the Nazis. Many were starving surrounded by rubble. Bob Ratonyi was overjoyed when his mother returned from a labor camp but then he watched as communists turned Hungary into a Stalinist dictatorship.
Once Bill Greinke was made the intelligence officer of a battalion in Berlin, he began to have a lot of fun playing cat and mouse with the Russians and East Germans. They would pelt the cars driving around to gather intelligence with snowballs and the occasional bottle.
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.
The student led march to the parliament building had been exhilarating for Bob Ratonyi and he got up the next morning to go to his classes but there were no streetcars running. Then he saw two dead Russian soldiers in their vehicle. The peaceful march had turned into the bloody Hungarian Uprising. Part 2 of 4.
When Bob Ratonyi heard that a good friend had fled the country after the Hungarian Uprising, he decided to do the same. He recruited another friend and they began to plan their escape. Their group of two expanded to seven and they naively set out for the Austrian border. Part 3 of 4.
John Le Moyne never had a bad assignment. That's the way he looked at it, anyway, and it had a lot to do with the excellent leaders he encountered throughout his career. They helped him crack the code on how to win the trust of soldiers.
During Operation Just Cause, John Le Moyne was assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as a liaison officer to other agencies. In this capacity, he was able to observe some high level command operations that were very impressive. It was only a short while after this brief conflict that Saddam Hussein began to make noise in the Middle East.
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.
John Le Moyne had come in to Saudi Arabia leading an advance team. Starting from scratch in the desert, in the summer, huge operating bases were established. The locals were amazed at the way the Americans adapted to the environment. It was during this conflict that many innovations in troop care and comfort were devised.
For Geoff Farrell, who fought in Desert Storm with the armored cavalry, it was obvious. It was technology and training that ensured victory. We had a lot of it and the Iraqis had very little. Our weapons had a longer range and, when a sandstorm came up in the middle of a battle, we had GPS and thermal imaging.
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.
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
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.
It began as a simple student march in Budapest permitted by the communist government. Overnight, it became a bloody uprising. Bob Ratonyi was an eighteen year old freshman who was swept up in the moment. It began a course of events that would lead to a brutal crackdown and to his eventual escape to the West. Part 1 of 4.
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.
On the spur of the moment, Bob Ratonyi sent a transcript to MIT. He'd never heard of it but one of his professors said it was one of the best engineering schools in the world. As a Hungarian refugee in Canada, he was unaware of it's reputation and he surely could not afford it. When he was accepted, he faced a hard choice. (Caution: coarse language.)
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.
It was all propaganda, everything on the radio and in the newspapers. That was life in communist Hungary as Bob Ratonyi was coming of age. He urged his mother to take an offered post as the party representative at her factory so she could take advantage of it.
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.
He was free. Bob Ratonyi had made it out of communist Hungary into Austria. His first stop was a refugee camp, which was overcrowded. He made it to Vienna with the help of a Catholic charity and, once there, he made straight for the American embassy. Unfortunately, the quota for refugees had been met. He had three choices, Australia, Sweden and Canada.
His time with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood was the best time of his Army career. Bill Greinke bested a well known commander in a war game and he went on splendid maneuvers in Europe at the Fulda Gap. Then he moved on to specialized training in media and information.