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May 27, 2024 64 mins

In this special Memorial Day episode, Lisa welcomes Sean Parnell, a decorated veteran and author, to discuss the significance of Memorial Day and the lessons learned from the war in Afghanistan. Parnell shares his combat experiences, the bravery of his platoon, and the heavy toll of war on soldiers. The Truth with Lisa Boothe is part of the Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Podcast Network - new episodes debut every Monday & Thursday. 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
So it's a memorial Day, and obviously on moremorial day,
we take a moment, We take a day to remember
the fallen, to remember the heroes who have paid the
ultimate sacrifice to defend this nation, defend our country. We
honor the families who have lost loved ones in the
pursuit of freedom to protect this great country. But beyond
taking the time to remember, shouldn't we also reflect? And

(00:26):
shouldn't we also reflect on mistakes that we've made as
a country and things we could change moving forward, and
being more judicious with the lives of our military men
and women. Shouldn't the people in charge shouldn't their sole
duty with our military men and women be to avoid casualties,
avoid sending them to unnecessary wars, so that we have

(00:49):
less men and women who have to pay the ultimate
sacrifice in the pursuit of freedom. So that's why I
wanted to do this Memorial Day. Not only honor the
fallen and honor their bravery, and honor the people who
give everything this country that they love and that we love,
but also take a time to reflect. And one of
those wars is Afghanistan. You know, it was the longest
war in American history twenty years. We lost so many

(01:11):
service members, so many service men and women in Afghanistan.
So what are the lessons we could learn there, What
should we take from that and do differently moving forward?
And who better to talk to than Sean Parnell. He
is a former US Army airborne ranger who served in
the legendary tenth Mountain Division for six years, retiring as

(01:32):
a captain. He received two Bronze Stars, one for valor
and a Purple Heart as well. He wrote the New
York Times best selling book Outline Platoon, and he also
wrote Man of Ward. Outlaw Platoon details his sixteen months
in combat in Afghanistan. Sixteen months in combat in Afghanistan.

(01:52):
While he was there, his platoon repeatedly was outnumbered, repeatedly outgunned,
and they displayed such tremendous bravery, to the point that
over eighty five percent of his platoon received Purple Hearts
for wounds that they incurred in battle. Sean was also
injured in battle, day in and day out, fighting for
freedom in the mountains of Afghanistan. He was twenty four

(02:15):
at the time. Can you imagine being twenty four and
leading a platoon in the mountains of Afghanistan, day in,
day out, outnumbered, outgunn fighting bravely and fearlessly next to
your brothers in the military and in the Army. So
we're going to get Sean Parnell's take on what lessons

(02:38):
we should learn from Afghanistan, what we could be doing
different moving forward, and how we can truly honor, to
the best of our abilities, the men and women who
have paid the ultimate sacrifice and the pursuit of freedom.

Speaker 2 (02:50):
I hope you enjoy this conversation.

Speaker 1 (02:51):
He's an absolute hero, and he's an absolute badass, Sean Parnell,
Sean Hearnell, you are such a badass and such an
American hero. It's an honor just to have you on

(03:13):
the show. So I really appreciate you taking this time.

Speaker 3 (03:15):
Oh well, thanks, Lisa. I don't know if i'd call
myself a badass, but I was in the Army for
a time and I was surrounded by badasses every day,
so I guess I was pretty lucky.

Speaker 2 (03:25):
I'll call you bad ass. I'll be the one.

Speaker 1 (03:27):
I'll do it because you can be humble. I will
take the humility out of it for you. You know,
we're recording this before but this is going to air
on Memorial Day and obviously a day to honor the
individuals and so many who have paid the ultimate sacrifice
and the name of defending freedom, defending this great country
that we love. But shouldn't we also take this time

(03:48):
to learn lessons from, you know, wars like Afghanistan, and
also use it as a time to be more judicious
in sending our military men and women to war.

Speaker 3 (03:58):
I think so, I mean, and you know, I think
I think it speaks directly to the importance of you know,
warriors coming back, you know, American men and women who
fight our wars coming back and being involved with regards
to where our country goes and the decisions that we
make pertaining to the future of America and the wars

(04:19):
that we get ourselves involved in. You know, after I
spent time in Afghanistan back in two thousand and six,
in two thousand and seven, we were there for what
like twenty years. You know, it's a long long time
that I think most of America, America, it's difficult to
wrap your mind around that length of time, you know,

(04:41):
And so I feel like, you look at what happened
in Afghanistan and all the blood, the treasure that we
spent there. Right after twenty years there, you look now
and it's like, well, what do you have to show
for it? You know? And look, I tell you this, like,
I'm proud of my time in Afghanistan. I don't regret

(05:02):
it for a second. I joined after September eleventh. One
of the best experiences of my life was serving this country.
So I am not a victim in any way. I'm
a volunteer and I would do it all again in
a heartbeat. And I'm proud of what we did in Afghanistan,
you know. But I and critics, critics would say, you know,
when I say, well, what'll we have to show for

(05:23):
critics would say, well, look, I mean, you know, look
at what you do, what you built for the Afghans.
You wells in the villages. You know, little girls know
how to read, and you know, boys are part of
the economy now and they understand what what freedom, freedom is,
even if it was just for a brief time. And
I would just say that, yes, that is all true,
but I would rather have my friends alive, you know.

(05:46):
And you look at what's happening today and the Afghani
things in Afghanistan just collapsed what like less than a
year ago, Lisa, right like August twenty twenty one, And
it seems like you have members of Congress on both
sides of the Aisle, in the House and in the

(06:07):
Senate that are clamoring to go right back into the
fight in Ukraine, which from a geopolitical standpoint is it's
far more complicated than Afghanistan. Without even taking a breath
after the Afghan War and saying, wait, is this really
worth it? Should we take time to hit the reset

(06:28):
button as a country and figure out if, if this
fight is worth Americans dying for, Because that's the question
that American moms and dads need to ask themselves, Lisa,
is like, is Ukraine so important that you are willing
to sacrifice your son or daughter for that. If the
answer to that question is no, then we shouldn't be

(06:49):
doing anything for Ukraine. And look, Lisa, I feel bad
for the people there. My heart aches for the civilians
and children who are caught in the middle. Like this
is not me saying like we should ignore it completely,
Like nobody, like a few people in this country understand
that the humanitarian disaster and people stuck in the middle

(07:10):
of the flight than me. I get that, But but
again I would say I would rather have American sons
and daughters alive. You know, I think we need to
take care of ourselves here at home a little bit. First.

Speaker 1 (07:21):
We just see politicians, you know, beating the drums of
war with Ukraine, and Joe Biden said something today about
Taiwan about you know, you should take military action. But
you just hear these politicians and it almost there's a
callousness to it, to be honest, because it doesn't take
into account that, as you pointed out, it's would they.

Speaker 2 (07:41):
Send their son or daughter?

Speaker 1 (07:42):
You know, it just it doesn't take intoccount Like I
just lives, American people should be the most important to us.
That lives, the precious lives our military men and one.
It should be the most important to us, and it
just doesn't. It doesn't seem to be the case. And
it makes me sad.

Speaker 3 (07:57):
Look, you're right, Lisa, I mean, you're right. It's I
think part of the problem is that you you only
have zero point four percent of the people in this
country who served this country during Iraq and Afghanistan, so
twenty twenty years of war, so longest period of war
in American history, only point four percent of the country
actually experienced what it means to protect and defend freedom.

(08:22):
And so I think as a result, you have, you know,
most of America, ninety nine percent of America who enjoy
freedom on a day to day basis in this country,
and you have less than half of one percent who
protect it. So there's there's a significant gap between those
two groups. And I think that's part of the reason why,

(08:47):
you know, you have politicians who really never served anything
but themselves for the majority of their lives, talk so
callously about sending American sons and daughters into the fight
because the reality is they don't have any real understanding
of what that means for American families who are actually
doing the fighting. Like, for example, when I got back
from Afghanistan, a sixteen month combat deployment, sixteen months, like

(09:11):
four hundred and eighty five days, It's like if you
had a kid, it's like, have a good first grade year,
have a good second grade year. I'll see you on
your way to third grade. That's crazy, you know. And
you know, we got back, we hit the reset button.
You know, most of we weren't even back for a
couple of weeks, we already had to go right back
down to Fort Polk, Louisiana. So we got back home,
hugged our families, went back to do trading down to

(09:33):
Fort Polk, Louisiana, and prep for another combat deployment to
Afghanistan that was nine months later. I mean, it's an
incredibly heavy burden that we that we place on a
very very small percentage of Americans, and most of the
time our politicians are unaffected by that. But I guess
it sounds cool when you're up there at the podium,

(09:53):
you know, hey, of China invade Taiwan, like We're going
to get involved militarily, with no real understanding in the
geopolitical consequences or the all out for the American people
or how that would affect people who serve. I mean,
it's it's just irresponsible, especially Lisa, when you consider just
how much suffering there is here within our own borders

(10:14):
at home that I think a lot of our attention
should be focused on.

Speaker 1 (10:18):
Well, and I think President Trump really changed at least
my thinking on foreign policy because what he was able
to show us is that you can be strong, you
can flex muscle, you can deter the bad guys without
setting troops, without invading, without beating the you know, the
the drum beat. For Warren, you can do it like
he did when he was sitting with President she, you know,

(10:38):
having chocolate cake, telling him he's sending fifteen done tamahook missiles.

Speaker 2 (10:42):
This ye it right.

Speaker 1 (10:43):
It's such a fall or remove or striking these peace
deals on the Abraham Accords. It just changed the way,
you know, I thought about things because he just showed
us a different path.

Speaker 3 (10:52):
He really opened my eyes to you know, there there
is a different way, you know, and when you're in Washington,
I mean really, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, there
there is group think right where everyone sort of thinks
the same way about a lot of things. And I
think that's why you hear a lot of people talk
about the uniparty, you know, where you have you know,

(11:14):
people like you know, as ideologically different as Adam Kinsinger
and Ted Cruz both talking about the importance of defending Ukraine,
to even certain Democrats talking about the importance of defending
our ally Ukraine even though they're not an ally. You know,
it's like you see, you see these certain groups of
people that think alike, Lisa, And what I always admired

(11:37):
about President Trump is it takes an unbelievable amount of
mental toughness to resist that type of pressure and group
think right and and Washington, President Trump was I mean, gosh,
at any given moment in d C. In the White House,
both Republicans and Democrats were fired up in anger at

(12:00):
President Trump for different reasons. And that's what I admired
about him the most. And that's ultimately why I think
the American people sent him there, Because there is a
level of dissatisfaction in this country that if people just
got outside the Beltway or New York City or LA
and they took a stroll through you know, Middle America,

(12:20):
they would feel that sense of discontent about the direction
of our country. And President Trump tapped into that. And
you look at what he was able to accomplish in
four years in the face of I mean, what that
man faced in the White House was criminal. It was criminal.
I mean, now we're learning of what Hillary Clinton did,

(12:41):
it was like maybe legitimately criminal, I don't know. But
the things that he was able to accomplish in four
short years I never thought possible. And you know, the
Abraham accorrors and peace in the Middle East. Never thought
that was possible, but he did it. And yeah, like
you said, it really opened my eyes to a new

(13:03):
way of being and that you know, we don't have
to deploy and get locked down and like it almost
become cliche now in these in these forever wars, but
that's really what they are. I mean, twenty freaking years
in Afghanistan is a long time. I mean twenty years.
I mean think about it like this, Like I'm forty

(13:24):
years old. That's half of my life. We were in Afghanistan,
like half of my life. The only profession, the only
thing that I've known is war in Afghanistan. Lost thirty
five plus friends there. I mean, that's a long time.
And I think what President Trump showed us was that
it doesn't have to be that way. We can still
have peace as long as we're focused on the right

(13:45):
stuff and focusing on ourselves at home. And unfortunately, a
year and a half of Joe Biden, he's unraveling that
pretty quickly.

Speaker 1 (13:57):
I mean, I never thought it could get this bad. This,
I mean, it's just it's really sad. But I but
I honestly think I think the turning point for him
was because you know, people thought he would restore order,
he do all these things, and obviously people like us
knew he wasn't going to do and he wasn't capable
of it. But his ratings really started to take a
nose dive after Afghanistan. And it was the disastrous exit,

(14:17):
the abandoning like the Bagroum airfield before getting our people out,
getting thirteen service members killed, leaving Americans behind, And I
think that was the turning point.

Speaker 2 (14:27):
And when that all was going down.

Speaker 1 (14:29):
You tweeted out that the Afghan toabacles on the suits,
not the boots. Talk about that disconnect in the military
between the suits and the boots and how that played
out with Afghanistan so disastrously.

Speaker 3 (14:39):
Oh, it was so frustrating to me. And part of
what I do like coming back home after I got
back from Afghanistan was there was realizing very quickly that
a lot there are a lot of men and women
here who serve this country that needed help. And you know,
there's a way in which you come back from war,
and war changes you and some pretty deep and fundamental ways,

(15:02):
and you get you know, you come back and you
meet and talk to your family and you feel like
your family doesn't know you because you've changed, and you
talk to your best friends. And there was a moment
for me like where I'm from Pittsburgh and so like
the first thing I do when I get back from
Afghanistan is like text my buddies, you know who I
went to college with and stuff. And like I open
up my like little flip phone and text them and

(15:25):
they text me back their address and like look at it.
Read the address. I'm like, oh my gosh, Like these
dudes are still living in the same address they've been
living at for ten years, and I just got back
from Afghanistan feel like a totally different person show up
at their I show up at their apartment. I walk
in and like they're like all sitting in the same
spots on the couch, like drinking the same Iron City beer,

(15:48):
talking about the same girl problems. And I'm like Simpson's
posters on the wall and family Guy magnets on the fridge,
and I'm thinking to myself, like, oh my god, like
nothing has changed here at home, but I'm a different
person in every way. And so if I was feeling
like that, there are probably millions of Americans feeling like
that who come home for more and just feel like

(16:10):
they're different, and maybe they feel like exiles in their
own country. And so I started doing everything I could
to make sure that, like the war is really what
I guess I'm getting to Lisa, is that the war
for a lot of veterans really starts when you get home.
And I wanted to just help veterans come home in

(16:31):
the most productive way possible and not just survive on
a day to day basis, but but really but thrive,
you know. And when I tweeted that about Afghanistan, about
it being on the suits and not the boots, was
really it was in that spirit, because I knew there

(16:52):
would be a lot of veterans thinking like, what the
hell was all this for? You know, why the hell
did I Why did I lose my best friend in
this country? Why did I go to this country and
sacrifice a piece of myself there? You know? Why did
we do all of this just to have some moron
in the White House throw it all away? Because I mean,

(17:13):
quite honestly, he's a bumbling idiot. Leadership matters, and he's
a commander in chief, so that the term commander predisposes chief.
His job at first and foremost an obligation to our
American military, and it was a dereliction of duty of
the highest order of what he did in Afghanistan. And

(17:33):
it's not just it's not just leaving Americans behind, which
is horrific, horrific enough, right, I can't even believe I
have to say this, but the sacrifice that twenty years
of Americans bled the ground red in Afghanistan just to
seed it back to the Taliban in a few weeks.
I mean, that's a that's a crime. It's a crime,

(17:54):
and it's it's gonna do unbelievable moral damage to people
who served there, that the ramstifications of which I don't
think we fully understand yet. And so it's just like
unbelievable to have to witness the fall of Afghanistan in

(18:14):
the speed at which it fell here in America after
having been there for twenty years. And again, never ever, ever,
ever would have happened under President Trump, or really any
American president that could speak in coherence sentences without having
to read off a sheet of paper. I mean, just unbelievable.
And you can't help but think, you cannot help but

(18:35):
think like I used to joke around in the campaign
trail when I was running for the House in the Senate,
well mostly when I was running for the Senate, but
about like just to utter incompetence. But I don't think
it's incompetence. I think it's I think it's intentional. I
think that this is you can't be this good. I mean,
he's Joe Biden in his administration, a bunch of Obama

(18:58):
appointees two point zero right back in the White House,
some of which are Sermont in the same cabinet positions.
It's like they're unbelievably efficient, ruthlessly efficient at destroying almost
every pillar in this country, I mean every pillar the country.
Like it's unbelievable that the level of which they're failing.

(19:20):
And I think Afghanistan was just one of those pillars.

Speaker 1 (19:23):
Well, I think we all just felt such amount of
shame with the way that we exited, just the loss
of military men and women, or those thirteen service members
and just leaving Americans behind. Quick commercial break back with
Sean Parnell on the other side, talked about sort of
you know, the challenge with coming home when you've been

(19:45):
at war like that out I'll say one of the
most rewarding experiences I've ever had in my career was
doing an honor ear flight for Vietnam war vets from
Wisconsin for Fox and Friends. And I went on this
trip with them, and I'll tell you it was just
such a movie experience talking to these like big, strong
guys who were just brought to tears of just feeling
the honor of having served because they didn't get the

(20:08):
welcome they deserved when they came home. And so just
doing the interviews with them and seeing these you know,
grown men and you know cry and just it was
just incredibly moving and I learned a lot from it.
It was just a really you know, humbling and just
incredible experience, you know, spending time with them and just
being able to bless them and being part of this
with the trip.

Speaker 3 (20:28):
Yeah, well, Vietnam vets are I mean, we owe them
so much, and obviously because as you mentioned, they didn't
have the welcome home that we did. And so much
of the reason why my generation was welcomed home was
because after like what these Vietnam what the Vietnam era

(20:48):
went through, they made themselves a promise and never allow
another generation to veteran to experience what they did, and
because of that, like we had by and large, a
very positive homecoming, you know. And when I talk about
feeling like an exile in your own country, I should say,
like almost everybody that you talk to says thank you

(21:09):
for your service. I am not again, Like, we're lucky
to live in a country like America and come home
to people that appreciate you. And that that is because
of Vietnam veterans who went through hell when they came back,
went through hell in combat, through hell, and they came
back and then but didn't give in. And they they

(21:29):
they made a promise to you know, subsequent generations of
Americans when they came home from the fight, and that
promise was to never allow what they went through to
happen again. And I mean, really, my generation is standing
on the shoulders of giants with them and World War
two veterans and Korea veterans before them. So yeah, we're lucky.

(21:52):
We're lucky to live in this country. But there's still
a lot of work to do, that's for sure.

Speaker 2 (21:56):
I can't imagine how it doesn't change you.

Speaker 1 (21:58):
I particularly some of this stuff uf that you endured,
you know, I know you very humbly. You know, didn't
take me saying that you're, you know, a complete badass
and a hero, But you really are. I mean, you
retired a highly decorated captain. You're awarded two bronze stars,
one for valor and a purple Heart. You wrote the
New York Times best selling book, Outlaw Platoon. It's about
your time serving as commanding the Army's tenth Mountain Division

(22:22):
in Afghanistan. As you mentioned, you served in combat for
sixteen months. You guys were repeatedly out numbered, repeatedly outgunn Yeah,
your platoon killed over three hundred and fifty enemy fighters.

Speaker 2 (22:32):
Why do you think your platoon.

Speaker 1 (22:34):
Was able to be so effective in the face of
so much That's a great question.

Speaker 3 (22:38):
I think when you look at the things that the
American military can bring to the fight, you know, like
we've got lots of cool and sexy technology, Like we've
got great guns and weapons, and we've got air superiority
helicopter and fixed wing aircraft and all that. Believe me
when I tell you all that really really helps. But

(23:00):
I think really our secret weapon was the love and
brotherhood that we shared for one another. You know, we
we spent a lot of time training leading up to
our deployment in Afghanistan, and I feel like I was
very blessed to lead one of the most diverse platoons
that you can imagine. And it's funny when you hear

(23:22):
a lot of these politicians talking about diversity in America
being a strength, and it's like, well, of course, diversity
is a strength, but not in and of itself. What
makes America so truly exceptional is that we unify beyond
like our many differences, right, It's not just diversity for
diversity's sake. And really, my platoon was a microcosm of

(23:45):
that strength. Like we had black next to whites, Christians
next to atheists, Democrats next to Republican, rich next to poor,
young next to old, or we were like as wildly
different as you can imagine. Yet there were no real
hyphen There were no hyphenated Americans out there in Afghanistan
patroling those those mountains. And it was the very fact

(24:09):
that I think we were able to put aside all
of our differences and unify beyond them into one cohesive
fighting force. That that that was what allowed us to
go through sixteen months of absolute hell. Sixteen months of
heavy combat and and make it. You know, you know,

(24:31):
we made ourselves a promise. I think what drove us
every day on the battlefield, Lisa, it was was the
fear of of not the enemy, but the fear of
letting each other down. You know. I would have soldiers
that would get that would get shot in the head.
A soldier that got shot through his helmet, his helmet

(24:53):
slowed the round down enough where it penetrated his skin
but not his skull, and skirted around the side of
his doll and back out the other end. And that
guy went back to the base, wrapped his head up,
and was back out on patrol twenty four hours later. So,
when you're when you're serving with men or Americans that

(25:16):
have that much like that, the level of toughness and
tenacity and dedication to duty that someone that someone like
that has, how do you fail somebody like that? Like
if you twist an ank, or you you take some shrapnel,
or you get maybe a shot, but it's a grazing wound,
Like how do you how do you how do how
do you not saddle up when you're surrounded by men

(25:39):
like I just described? And so it was the fact
that we were able really to unify beyond our many
differences in fear of letting each other down. That really
drove us to accomplish I think, extraordinary things and and
really I mean it, like my platoon really just accomplish.

(26:00):
It was just one unbelievable triumph of the human spirit
after the next. I mean, we were not like Navy
seals or anything. You know, we were light infantrymen. So
we were in the tenth Mountain Division and we were
light infantry. I mean, we were real well trained and stuff.
Don't get me wrong, but you know, we weren't special forces.
You know, the most of the jobs that a lot

(26:22):
of these kids had, like prior to carrying a machine
gun and the mountains of Afghanistan, the job prior to
the military is like high school shortstop. Yet these kids
were It's just accomplished unbelievable things. And I think it's
because we relied on one another, and that's what's what
allowed us to get through it all.

Speaker 1 (26:41):
And you're twenty four at the beginning right of this standing.

Speaker 2 (26:45):
I mean, how do you do that at.

Speaker 1 (26:47):
Twenty four and be responsible for all these brave men
that you just talked about I mean, what an incredible
amount of responsibility.

Speaker 2 (26:55):
I was an idiot when I was so so God
did you do that? But how do you know?

Speaker 3 (27:02):
I don't know. I don't know. You just you know.
I had a conversation with my mom, uh when I
got back from Afghanistan and maybe a couple of years after,
and my youngest brother, I'm the oldest of four, and
so my youngest brother was like like helping my middle
brother move down to Texas or something like that or
and my mom was like, Oh, I'm nervous that your

(27:24):
younger brother, Andy's gonna have to drive drive, you know,
his brother's car all the way down to Texas. And
I'm like thinking, like, ma, Andy's twenty three years old,
Like I think he'll be all right. I was leading
people in Afghanistan at twenty three years old, you know,
So I don't I don't know, you know, yeah, yeah,
it was just like it was just something that we

(27:44):
were laughing about it, you know, I don't after So
I think part of that, Lisa is like I was
a sophomore in college when nine to eleven happened, and
that that hit me that like, like it did millions
of other Americans, you know, And I think if you
live through nine to eleven, you can probably tell me

(28:05):
exactly where you were and what you were doing and
what you had plans to do that day. And the
only thing like I was kind of like a I
was kind of a screw up as a kid, Like
my grades were okay, but I didn't really know what
I wanted to do as an elementary education major. But again,
as a sophomore in college, I must have changed my
major a few times. Like, but when nine to eleven happened,

(28:28):
I knew that I wanted to join the army, go
in the infantry, go to airborne school, go to ranger school,
like be on the front lines of our collective response.
And you know, I just knew. I knew it in
my heart of hearts that that was that was the
path that God intended me to walk at that specific

(28:49):
moment in my life. And that's I think. I think
this is my faith in God and that that was
my purpose. I think that that's how I was able
to do it. And you know, twenty three, twenty four
years old, when you when I just feel like, when
you know what path you're meant to walk, and you

(29:10):
know that like, no matter how bad things get, this
is where you're supposed to be. I've got no regrets.
I just think it gives you a sense of clarity,
you know, about what you're supposed to do. And and
in my case, it was lead troops in Afghanistan at
twenty three, twenty four years old, you know, and as

(29:33):
horrible as that combat was, I mean, seriously, like we
we like anythink back to two thousand and six. You don't,
I don't know if you were doing stuff at Fox
back then. I sure as hell wasn't that.

Speaker 1 (29:45):
I mean, it was like a staff.

Speaker 3 (29:46):
I can't.

Speaker 2 (29:46):
I'm trying to think twenty four.

Speaker 1 (29:47):
I think it was like working on Capitol Hill doing
you know, like nothing of nothing like you were doing.

Speaker 2 (29:53):
It wasn't a note. I'll tell you how much you know.

Speaker 3 (29:55):
I don't know. I mean we're probably we're probably the
same age, you know, I am, so I'm a little
older than you.

Speaker 2 (30:02):
I'll take those couple of years.

Speaker 3 (30:03):
But you know, I don't know. I feel like it
was the path I was I was meant to walk,
you know, and you know, get back and you see
I was able to take a company command and then
did a Battalian Attachment Command, and so at the age
of twenty eight years old, I ended up being in

(30:25):
charge of like eighteen or nineteen hundred like people, where
I was in charge of training young soldiers to go
to war and taking care of the wounded when they
came home, and then looking after the families who were
left back at home, and then ultimately doing the casualty notification,
which was ten times worse than combat. So I've seen

(30:45):
both sides of the fight. I've seen I've seen combat
up close and personal, and I've seen the fallout here
at home. And what I was saying earlier is that,
like no one expected michaeltoon or are, experience in Afghanistan
leads to be like what it was like if you
think back to two thousand and six and if you

(31:06):
were a congressional staffer working on the hill or something
like that back then, then you know, the talk back
then was the Iraq War and whether or not there
were weapons of mass destruction there or should we should
George W. Bush send more troops to the surge in
Iraq or not, should we even be there or not?
So at the time, Afghanistan was just a stability and

(31:29):
support operation. We had no idea what we were getting
ourselves into, and man, like we just got thrown into
the meat ground. Or we were an eastern Afghanistan about
five clicks five kilometers from the Pakistan border. Our mission
was like about as simple as you can. You can
get find Asama bin Laden, close with and destroy the enemy,
that's it. And man, we just got attacked every single day.

(31:53):
We were outnumbered every single day. I mean my base,
my base probably we took four thousand rockets in four
hundred and eighty five days, four thousand, you know, hundreds
of direct fire engagements. We just sort of this like
got thrown in there. You know, so much of the

(32:13):
focus of this nation was on Iraq that we couldn't
even get up armored humbis because all it was going
to Iraq. Like we were supposed to come home after
a year, we got extended for four more months, sixteen months.
Why because the soldiers that were supposed to replace us
in Afghanistan got sent to Iraq and supported the surge.
So we were sort of like an afterthought and we went

(32:35):
through absolute hell and ultimately, Lisa that that's why I
wrote the book, because I thought to myself like, oh
my god, like nobody knows in this country, and nobody
knew how bad Afghanistan was way back in two thousand
and six. Nobody. And I just felt like it was
my job as the leader of that platoon to make
sure that the legacy of my soldiers that was kept alive.

(32:58):
And you know, even if Outlaw Platune ended up being
a word document on my computer that I emailed all
of my troops that like maybe once every ten years
we read through and drank beers or whatever like that
would be that's worth it. At least their experiences on
the page preserved forever. I didn't know that. I didn't
know that it would take off and become a bestseller

(33:19):
in its first week, and I was I feel like
I was also lucky. It was also maybe it was
a state when out Laul Patune came out. Do you
remember that story way back in the day where soldiers
at Bagram'm got in trouble for like burning a Koran
or something like that, and that was like all over
the news. It was like headline news for like a week. Well,

(33:41):
outlawl Butatoon came out at that exact time, and I
was like the young kid with an Afghania with a
new Afghanistan book, and you know how that goes on
Fox News stuff like that. Like I was a duke
guy with the books, so I was able to go
on there and promote it and the rest is history.
I was just, it was just it was just a
blessing to be able to have that opportunity own tell
tell the story of my troops.

Speaker 2 (34:02):
You had talked about.

Speaker 1 (34:03):
You know, obviously we had superior you know, equipment, being
the US, but you're on their terrain and you're in
the mountains. How difficult is it to try to navigate
that when you know you're you're on their home base, right,
you're in their mountains.

Speaker 3 (34:18):
That is that's another great question. It was. It was ridiculous.
I mean, it's another thing about Afghanistan. Like if you
want to go back to a time where Jesus Christ
walk the earth, had the AK forty seven, like the
icon walkie talkie type radio and a pickup truck, and
you've got Afghanistan there. When we were there, there was
like one paved road in the entire country, no running water,

(34:40):
no electricity, no economy. All all fighting age males would
do all the men in the villages that we were
around would cut down wood all summer and prep for
the winter, and that was it. That's all like there
was nothing, nothing, and it's just all tribal. And so

(35:00):
when we were where we were in Burmel, like Burmel District,
was that we were in the valley, our base was
in the valley, but fighting up in the mountains. I
mean we're probably at fourteen fifteen thousand feet there, you know,
in the Hindu Kush mountains. And so if you if
you're like a football fan, that's like playing a football
game at Mayahai Stadium times three. And the enemy that

(35:21):
we faced over there again, like you hear the media
talk about and you certainly saw this during the collapse
of Afghanistan, but the media talks about the Taliban as
if they're a monolithic force and they are not. I mean,
you have so many different enemy factions that you face

(35:41):
over there on a day to day basis, whether it's
the Heikkani Network or Hekmatia or al Qaeda or Taliban
or just crimes that happened on a day to day
basis like any other country. That like any other country
in the world. And as a young leader you've got
to like navigate all that somehow be almost like you know,

(36:02):
an ambassador, an American ambassador with a gun, you know,
ready on a moment's notice to either you know, fire
your weapon in defense of your troops or cradle a
baby in a village where you're doing a humanitarian distribution.
I mean, it was one of the most complex, rugged
environments that I certainly have ever been in. And you know,

(36:25):
you add to that the fact that all of those
enemy factions that I just told you about, like most
of those most of the enemy that we faced in
Afghanistan cut their teeth against the Russians in the eighties
and then fought in the Afghan Civil War in the nineties,
and then against us in a post nine to eleven era.

(36:45):
And you know, the average Afghan that we were fighting
had ten years combat experience on an eighteen year old
American private. You know, this was not a group of
farmers with pitchforks or some sort of bragtag insurgency that

(37:05):
they just mustered up at the last second. Now, the
people that we fought there, the level of tactical acumen
that they displayed on the battlefield on a day to
day basis was just as good, if not better than us,
And they weren't weighed down with one hundred pounds of
gear like we were, and they knew the terrain better
than we did, at least initially, because what you know,

(37:28):
as obviously, being in Afghanistan for sixteen months sucked something fierce.
It was horrible. But what was interesting is this, I
don't mean to sound crass, but we killed so many
of them over there that we were getting intel in
May of two thousand and seven that Pakistan families were

(37:49):
sick and tired of sending their sons into the fight.
They were no longer going to commit male fighters to
the war in Afghanistan. And what we saw is that
a lot of the new fighters that had replaced the
older ones that we had killed didn't know the terrain
as good as us. So it was a real odd
dynamic where at first they were better than us, they

(38:10):
were faster than us, they knew the terrain, but slowly
over time, because we never broke contact, we never surrendered,
We always pressed the enemy. We would never give them
that moral victory on the battlefield. We just slowly whittled
away at their force and killed them one by one
to the point where at the end of sixteen months
we knew the terrain better than they did. And all

(38:32):
of this culminated in an attack probably in January. It
was early January of two thousand and seven. We had
built my Peltooia had built or my company had built
the first combat outpost. And I'm sure you've seen, like
you know, can't remember some of the movies' names that
the movie where you see in Afghanistan a combat outpost

(38:55):
getting overrun. Probably every year after I was in Afghanistan,
a combat outpost had been overrun, Lisa, and and like
I was highly critical of that strategy because like all
they would be manned with almost no combat power, with
like a squad and all they would they would just
be simply relegated to a defensive position. There and all

(39:17):
along the border of Afghanistan you had like a main
base with what they call cops, like combat outposts, and
it almost looked like a modern day version of the
magine O line, thinking like, well, if we have all
these bases along the border, there's no way the enemy
will be able to get bias and that's complete BS.
So anyway, like they tried to attack this base that
we had built, and we ended up kill killing I

(39:39):
think like two hundred plus fighters just in that one
engagement decisively because we caught them just prior to them
kicking off the attack. And I mean, I would wager
to say that from a strategic and tactical standpoint, back
in two thousand and six and two thousand and seven,
we had we had decisively won the fight in Afghanistan.

(40:00):
And then we shifted from a counter terror emission, which
the basic premise of a counter terror mission is going
after and killing the enemy, and through killing the enemy,
you secure the people to counterinsurgency mission, like after the
surge in Iraq. You know, I think there are the
strategists that would say that surge in Iraq was successful.

(40:21):
I think I would tend to agree at least that
in the moment back then, it was pretty successful. Well,
they tried to implement that exact same strategy in Afghanistan,
which is an entirely different country, and once we shifted
to counterinsurgency, we lost the initiative and Afghanistan went slowly
downhill from there.

Speaker 1 (40:39):
We've got more of a Memorial Day episode, But first,
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Speaker 2 (41:14):
The cost to put.

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(41:36):
five or go online to support IFCJ dot org to give.
That's one word support, IFCJ dot org. Take us back
to you know, June tenth, two thousand and six, your
your your platoon was out numbered by almost ten to one,
ended up leaving you with injuries.

Speaker 2 (41:54):
You know, talk about that day and what happened.

Speaker 3 (41:57):
So June tenth, we had been tasked, we're tasked with
finding a high value target, and we had been out
for a week up until that point. And we sat
up and what we call an observation post, and we
were just watching infiltration routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan. We
knew that this al Qaeda leader was using a cave

(42:21):
complex to navigate from Pakistan into Afghanistan, which is how
he was avoiding like our intelligence and reconnaissance and surveillance drones.
So we pershed up on the hill. We laid our
sites in on this cave site which which he thought
he was using, and set in for the night. Woke
up the next morning and all throughout the night I

(42:43):
applauded target reference points and confirmed them with our base.
That target reference point is like when you've got artillery
at your base, you want to be able to artillery
is basically like big guns, and you want to be
able to get those guns into the fight as fast
as humany possible should you make contact with the enemy,
and the best way to do that is not like
trying to plot it in the middle of a fight, right,

(43:04):
I think is the best military commanders would look at
a map and pick key terrain and say, okay, this
hilltop here is key terrain. If the enemy takes this hilltop,
they'll be able to attack us here easily. So I'm
gonna plot this hill it's target reference point one. And
then you can coordinate with the with the guns and say, look,
this is my target reference point one. When I say

(43:24):
fire TRP one, this is what I mean, and you
just you set in target reference point one through ten
prior to even leaving, and so I had been I'd
studied those throughout the night. The sun crested the hill
the next morning, and I remember walking out and looking
at some mountaintops to directly to our east that were

(43:45):
a lot higher than the one that we were on,
and I just thought to myself, that's not a good
tactical position to be in. And so I don't have
the man power to occupy those hills with troops. In
a perfect world, you would just occupy terrain that was
higher than you with boots. But I didn't have that.
I just had one platoon. So I figured I'd occupy
those hilltops by fire, and if enemy was watching us,

(44:08):
they would think twice about setting in there, because I
know that I have those positions dialed in. And so
I fired those target reference points with my forward observer,
watched those watched the rounds land on point and on target,
and I remember walking back to my truck and it's
just like somebody threw a veil over my entire world,

(44:30):
and I remember. I don't remember much, but I do
remember waking up in a smoldering hole about twenty feet
from where I had been standing, laying flat on my back,
and I couldn't see, I couldn't really hear, but I
could feel this stinging on my face and it just

(44:51):
felt like like like someone was slapping me. And as
I blinked my eyes open, I see one of my
team leaders, Tim Stalter, slapping me and trying to get
me to wake up. And I finally wake up, opened
my eyes. I look at him. He's got this big
smile on his face. I'm like, what do you smile at?
What's going on? He goes, Sir, He's like, you got

(45:13):
blown the f up, And he started laughing, like what
the hell is he laughing at? And I remember just
like looking beyond him at these trees, because we had
these big, huge trees up on the hilltop with us
that a lot of my men were taking cover behind,
and the tops of these trees that looked like they
hadn't been touched since the prehistoric era, they were just

(45:35):
getting blown to smithereens, like just crazy. And I remember
looking to my left hand, which was shaking, and it
just like kind of laying in the Afghan dust, and
I could see rounds landing between my fingers, like like
the level of fire that we were being hit with

(45:55):
was like nothing I've ever seen before or felt before
like it like I felt like laying there on the
ground with one of my souldiers on top, like if
I moved even one centimeter to the left of the right,
I'd get shot. And that's how heavy the fire was.
And I remember looking to my left and I see
my platoon Sergeant Greg Greeson, and his back is like

(46:15):
covered in blood and he's pointing to himself like saying
that he's hit. And all around my perimeter. I had
five gun trucks on the hilltop that day, and I
had twenty four soldiers on the ground along with one interpreter.
But all along the perimeter, at every one of my trucks,
almost everybody was hit. Like my platoon sergeant was hit.
He's my number two and chain of command. Squadly Er

(46:38):
Phil Baldwin was shot in the leg. He wasn't really
trying to deal with that injury, but he was trying
to furiously stop the bleeding of his team leader Bennett Garvin,
who was shot in the arm. I watched Mike Emrick
up on the up on his fifty caliber machine gun
up on a truck. He got shot in the head,
fell in the truck, popped back up without a salman on.

(46:58):
I mean, it was it all held was breaking loose.
Within sixty seconds of getting attacked that day, almost every
key leader in Mi Paltuna had been hit, including myself.
And as I sat up, like the stalter of the
kid that had brought me back sat me up straight,

(47:18):
and I remember feeling this like clear liquid leaking out
of my nose and my ears, and I didn't know
it at the time, but it ended up being like
serebral spinal fluid. I had fractured my skull very slightly
after getting blown up, and I just remember thinking, well, okay,
I'm not bleeding, it must be something else, and got
up and got back into the fight. And I'm trying

(47:39):
to figure out at this point, like how many people
were injured, how many of my trucks can drive, what
weapons systems are up versus down? How many rounds of
ammunition that we have left, Like I've got to get
the artillery at the base firing back on these guys.
I should be calling for air support. I got to
get back to my truck to do it all. Looking

(48:01):
at those hilltops that I had called for fire on, Lisa,
the enemy had emplaced three machine gun nests on each
hilltop that I called for fire on, So they had
six machine guns dialed in on our position, and they
were firing in what was like an X, like if
you had to draw an X over my hilltop. My

(48:21):
hilltop was right where that where the X intersected, so
they had us in a wicked crossfire. They were at
an elevated position, so they were hitting us with what's
called plunging fire, so they were arcing the rounds down
on top of us. The reason why people do that
is because if you're like taking cover behind a rock
or something, you want to be able to like drop
the round in on top of them. So it just
minimizes minimizes your an enemy's ability to take cover. And

(48:46):
I'm watching them hit us with plunging fire and thinking like,
holy hell, like how the hell do they know how
to do that, you know? And I'm watching the guns,
the support by fire positions that they had, the two
separate ones. They weren't just firing all at the same time.
One gun would fire and stop, the next gun would
fire and stop, the next one, you know, and so
on and so forth. And the reason why they did

(49:08):
that is because if they fired those guns on like
a cyclic rate, their barrels would melt. So they were
firing and letting their barrels cool like all the way
up and down the line. Again, never fought like that's
what we do, Lisa, that that's how we fight. And
so the enemy had hit my position with airburst mortars

(49:29):
to keep the head keep our heads down, while they
simultaneously in placed two separate support by fire positions, and
the next step is I'm trying to like unpack everything
that's happening. And really, like when you're in a moment
like that, it's like remember, like you ever look through
like a kaleidoscope when you're a kid, and you turn
the kaleidoscope and you see all those colors move around

(49:50):
like that, it's all sort of happening at once. That's
like that. It's like being like that. It's like combat
is like that, a million different things happening all aroun
around you, all at once, and I'm trying to figure
out what they're going to do, and I'm thinking, oh
my god, like I vower them, I'd attack, and no
sooner did I did? I think that they did from
both of those hilltops, two platoon size elements like forty

(50:14):
men plus so rushing down those hilltops and up to
our position. But it wasn't just like a human wave
attack again. They were one fire team moving, the other
one shooting, and they were bounding and with squad leader
like giving fire team commands. It was the craziest thing
I've ever seen. So I ended up getting to my

(50:36):
truck and calling for fire. I called for fire danger
close on our position, which essentially means like right on
top of us ourselves. The whole intent of that is
to just try to keep them off of us and
give give my men some time to react, reload, consolidate,
reorganize and fight back. And I'm watching these rounds land
with ruthless efficiency and like vaporize, like these guys as

(50:59):
they as they they bounced towards us, And it didn't
matter how many rounds landed, they had people to replace them.
It's just it was just an unrelenting assault in our position.
And they got so close to us that that we
had to blow clay More minds, Like we put claym
More minds in around our positions just in case, like
we're about to be overrun, so we're like blowing clay

(51:21):
More minds like people. All my squad leaders are saying
they're going black on ammunition. Every member of my platoon
is hurt. I've got all these casualties out there stranded.
You know. I'm watching my medic try to carry one
of my one of my squad leaders back to the
casualty collection point. He lifts up this guy. I watch
him get shot in the face. He falls down. I

(51:43):
think my medic is dead. He's this Jose Pantoha. He's
this kid from Mexico. He came to America because he
loved He loved the country and wanted to serve the country.
And I remember he got shot in the face. Was
even a citizen of the country, who's supposed to get
his citizenship July fourth, a month later, I'm like, oh
my god, he just got shot before he can become
a US citizen. But he got back up. The entire

(52:04):
left side of his face was completely destroyed, but he
got one of my squad leaders to the casualty collection point.
That was the kind of day it was, Lisa and
we That fight took probably eight at least eight hours.
We dropped probably eleven two thousand pound bombs and at

(52:26):
the end had to bring in a B one Strategic Lancer,
a B one bomber to drop like probably ten more.
And what had ended up happening, Lisa, was that I
called for fire on those target reference points earlier, but
it looked what we had come to learn is that
the enemy at night had planned to attack us, and

(52:48):
I had hit him just before they were going to attack.
And so it was like hitting a hornet's nest with
a baseball bat or something. They were already in position
ready to attack us. I just hit him before they
hit us, which I guess hindsight, being twenty twenty, I'm
glad that I did, because it would have probably not
gone as good for us as it did, as even

(53:11):
though it wasn't I mean, all things considered, it wasn't good,
but I would have much I was glad that we
attacked first, you know, and every one of my trucks
was destroyed. They had to be towed off the hill
top and got back to the base that day after
like that long, long firefight, and I think like every

(53:34):
member of my platoons got treated. We took another platoons
trucks and went right back out after the enemy. After
we got back, went right back out after them to
hunt them down. And we said in that night, and
we did. We hunted them all down and we got them.
We killed probably, oh man, we probably killed probably killed
like one hundred people that day, like bad guys tried

(53:55):
to attack us. And so but that's the kind of deployment,
that's the kind of employment that we had. It was
absolutely hell I look back on it, You're like, you
asked me, how did you do it? And the answer is,
I have no freaking clue. I can't believe I lived
through it. I can't believe I made it through all that.

Speaker 1 (54:12):
You know, Seana, as we recount this and as you
look back, and you know, talk about those times, and
you know, we talked about Ukraine going on now, you know, Taiwan.

Speaker 2 (54:22):
What should our lessons?

Speaker 1 (54:23):
What lessons should we learn from Afghanistan as a society.
What do you hope that politicians learn? What do you
hope the country learns from our time in Afghanistan?

Speaker 3 (54:33):
Just be more careful with America's sons and daughters. You know,
I I know, I know that freedom is worth fighting for,
freedom is worth dying for America. My god, if we
were attacked, I'd be the first in line, ready to
ready to fight back. But we should not be getting

(54:56):
ourselves locked down in these fights take twenty thirty forty years,
costs tens of thousands of American lives or wounded Americans,
people whose lives are changed forever. You know, if you
lose a loved one in Afghanistan, the ripple effect from
that is profound you have family members, moms, dads, sisters, brothers,

(55:19):
spouses that will never see that person again. And the
whole that that leaves in people's hearts, the void that
it leaves in their lives, is something that it lasts forever,
like every second of every day. And again, please don't
misunderstand me. This is not like a poor me thing. Again.

(55:39):
I would do this again in a second, but every
second of every day the war in Afghanistan is with me.
Doesn't mean that I'm broken, has nothing. You know, I'm fine,
I can handle it. I do it all again. But
it's it's like spywear on your computer. It runs without
you even knowing, you know, like my troops that I
lost in Afghanistan, and first thing I think about when

(56:02):
I wake up and the last thing I think about
when I go to sleep. And over twenty years in
that fight, lost so many people in that country that
I wish we're still here. And I think, what's even
more tragic than that is that in however many combat
deployments that my men went on, and they there are
some of my soldiers even went on combat deployments after

(56:24):
the one that I took them on. I mean, we
probably we've lost in my small unit, we've lost more
people to suicide than we have to combat. What does
that tell you about the way in which we take
care of our soldiers or are our men and women
who serve this country here at home. Not that the
VA isn't amazing, Like I'm grateful and glad that we

(56:46):
have the VA, but the problems that we face here
are far greater than you know, maybe going to see
a doctor or you know, being given some drugs in
a paper bag and hey, send on your way. You know,
I'll be high of a grateful nation. The problems that
veterans face here at home are largely existential problems, cultural

(57:09):
problems that I think America as a country needs to face.
And so what I'd like I'd like to see is
that I'd like to see our politicians be more careful
with America's sons and daughters. Number one. I'd also like
to see America like our country as a whole. And

(57:29):
that means like these little communities that we all live in,
like do everything that we can to recognize our men
and women and serve and that and I think it
needs to we need to go beyond like thank you
for your service. Like I think we need to to
bring these people like into a high school gymnasium and
have them tell their story if they're willing, in front

(57:50):
of a bunch of high school students, so that those
kids not only learn about what it means to defend freedom,
the legacy of that soldier and the people that that
person lost lives on in the and and the people
that hear that story. Like as I just think as
a society, we need to do more with regards of

(58:13):
bringing our our men and women home, and so yeah,
be more careful with America's sons and daughters in American
society getting in the fight from a cultural standpoint to
appreciate and love our bets.

Speaker 1 (58:26):
Well, that's why you really wanted to have this conversation
with you, you know, one not only to just you know, obviously, uh,
to honor that you know, those who have served and
have lost their lives serving this country and defending this country,
but really just sort of bringing awareness to what it
takes and what you guys go through and and why
we should be judicious and why we should be careful

(58:48):
with our people's lives.

Speaker 2 (58:50):
And I think are you know, our lives.

Speaker 1 (58:52):
Are the most or military men and women or our
own people, like their lives. That's the most important thing, right,
That's a most cherished asset. Like we left a bunch
of webs whatever behind in Afghanistan.

Speaker 2 (59:02):
Obviously that's a challenge, but it's.

Speaker 1 (59:03):
The lives, it's our people that we should cherish and
be careful with. And so you know, that's why I
really wanted to have this conversation with you about that.

Speaker 2 (59:11):
And again, your ir Pula two was sober. Over eighty five.

Speaker 1 (59:14):
Percent receive purple hearts for wounds they incurred in battle,
and I wanted to get you on this real quick
before we go. You talked about sort of that that
brotherhood that brought you guys together day in and day out,
didn't matter what you're facing. You know, you looked beyond.
It wasn't about looking at you know, race or religion
or any of these other things. You just saw them
as you know, your brother more or less. Right, And

(59:35):
now it's like we're sort of injecting all these things
in the military, whether it's critical race theory, whether it's
things like you know, gender pronouns and what kind of
impact does that have on our military?

Speaker 3 (59:47):
It's it's devastating. It's devastating because again it's not like
the military is not about diversity, Okay, like it, I'm
grateful to have intellectual diversity in my platoon or in
my units that I commanded. I'm grateful to have racial

(01:00:08):
diversity or people from a lot of different backgrounds, like
that makes us better. But the problem with a lot
like critical race theory being injected into the military or
some of these others, like I got these people with
their pronouns and their bios and stuff and all this
other stuff, and like, hey, do what you want to do.
But the military is about unifying beyond those differences, not

(01:00:29):
celebrating them. So anytime, Like, the whole point of going
through basic training, right, the whole point of it, Lisa,
is you go in there an individual. You know that
you come out a member of a collective team. The
whole point, the reason why you have drill sergeants screaming
in your face and yelling at you the whole time
is to whittle down, break down your sense of individual

(01:00:52):
self and teach you in a very like rubber meets
the road kind of way that the individual doesn't matter
here anymore. What matters is the collective, and you're only
as fast as your slowest person. And going to Afghanistan
the way that we did and experiencing the things that
we did, if that, if our dedication to our team

(01:01:16):
and our unit wasn't first and foremost, we would have
not survived. One hundred percent guarantee you, we would have
not survived. And so this focus on oh, like, oh,
look how diverse we are, because this is this is
is a strength. Yeah, kind of it is. But it's
only a strength in a military if you unify beyond it,

(01:01:38):
that's where the strength is. And so I think it's
I think it's dangerous. I think it's real dangerous.

Speaker 2 (01:01:44):
Is there anything else you want to leave us with
before we go?

Speaker 3 (01:01:47):
A lot of people You're going to see a lot
of people on Memorial Day talk about like, well this
isn't for barbecuing, you know, And I would just say, like,
you celebrate Memorial Day the way that you want, because,
you know, I feel like my soldiers who haven't been
who you know, who didn't make it back, they don't

(01:02:10):
get to celebrate at all, you know, And I think
it's incumbent upon all of us. I think it's really
our duty and responsibility to live freely and enjoy the
freedom that they sacrifice themselves to protect. I mean, of course,
you know if you get them in it, like you know,
if you're drinking a beer or walking on the beach,
or reading the book, or just sitting on your deck

(01:02:32):
or watching your kids play, like just say a sign
in prayer, and just for the men and women who
didn't come home. But you celebrate the way that you
want in America, because that's what the men and women
who sign up and volunteer to serve this country, that's
what they gave their lives to do. So just just
don't forget, never forget them, and have a good Memorial Day.

Speaker 2 (01:02:55):
Sean, it's an honor to have you on the show.

Speaker 1 (01:02:57):
You are a hero, and I thank you so much
for your service us here and just sharing what you
went through in Afghanistan and the braviy of your platoon
with my audience and me, And thank you so much
for coming on the show.

Speaker 2 (01:03:09):
I really appreciate it.

Speaker 3 (01:03:10):
Well, thanks for having me, Lisa, thank you so much.

Speaker 2 (01:03:23):
For listening to this episode.

Speaker 1 (01:03:25):
I think I was one of the most fascinating conversations
I've ever had with anyone in my entire life, And
I just think it's so helpful to reflect back with
Sean about what he went through with his platoon and
what show many people went through in places like Afghanistan
during a time of work. You know, we're either disconnected
from it, you know, when we're here in America and
we're living our everyday lives, and they're out there on

(01:03:45):
the battlefield fighting for freedom, fighting for their own lives
and the lives of the rest of their platoons. So
I think what better way to honor the fallen than
talk to someone like Sean. Forrenell, I hope you enjoyed it.
I loved it. I want to thank you guys for listening.
I hope you enjoyed the podcast. Tell your friends, tell
your family, you know, share on social media. We'd really
appreciate it. And I also just thank anyone who's listening

(01:04:07):
who has served or who is a family member who
has served, And if you have a family member who's
paid the old

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