5:45 | While training to fight in Iraq, 2LT Pinkerton relives getting married and the loneliness that followed as he prepared for war.
Keywords : training Iraq security marriage wife Kuwait M240 machine gun Baghdad Iraq Sunni Triangle
2LT Pinkerton describes why he enlisted in the army and a frightening experience in airborne school.
2LT Pinkerton describes why he stopped training for the Army's Special Forces and how he became part of his brigade's elite security detail.
While training to fight in Iraq, 2LT Pinkerton relives getting married and the loneliness that followed as he prepared for war.
All the excitement of a C-130 flight to Iraq doesn't prepare 2LT Pinkerton for the death of a soldier killed hours before returning home.
2LT Pinkerton relives shocking explosions and indirect fire that awoke him one night and what happened when his brigade set up counterfire.
Assigned as an officer's driver in the lead truck, 2LT Pinkerton describes how he felt the moment after riding over a live improvised explosive device (IED) that miraculously didn't explode.
2LT Pinkerton dramatically recalls what happened after an explosive projectile slammed into an army truck injuring two buddies and killing an officer all the soldiers respected.
2LT Pinkerton tells of a harrowing experience during Operation "Black Eagle" when Iraqi forces unexpectedly struck, killing his friend.
2LT Pinkerton reflects back on a memorial service for a fallen friend, and describes how a bagpipe ceremony, a colonel's heartfelt words, and the army rangers honored their comrade.
2LT Pinkerton remembers going home for "R and R," and seeing the first signs of victory after returning to Iraq.
Massive warheads slam into 2LT Pinkerton's compound killing several soldiers and destroying the chow hall. He describes how some soldiers had to adapt, and what he did to help on their missions.
As action in Iraq slowed down, 2LT Pinkerton spent hours working out and studying for a promotion. He describes the excitment of learning that he was going home, and helping the 101st Airborne replacements.
Unable to sleep for two weeks before heading home, 2LT Pinkerton remembers why he slept on rocks near the airstrip, sold a lot of his belongings and volunteered to pack up the plane.
The amazing feeling of coming back home from Iraq was just part of a surreal experience for 2LT Pinkerton as he landed in Dallas. He vividly describes how he and his fellow soldiers were greeted by Texans when they landed.
After staying at home for awhile, 2LT Pinkerton gets "the itch" to go back to Iraq, and explains why it's the right thing to do.
2LT Pinkerton relives the sheer terror of being hit by a powerful explosion on the way to Baghdad. Not knowing if he was badly injured, he describes the frightening moments before he found out.
2LT Pinkerton describes being examined by medics and pulling practical jokes on a comrade, after their truck was hit by explosives. He laughs as he shares what he did and why.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.)