The Panjwai Podcast

The Panjwai Podcast

The Panjwai Podcast is an interview-based podcast series documenting the experiences of combat veterans in the Panjwai District of Kandahar, Afghanistan. The series seeks to explore a human, emotional, and accurate retelling of veterans' experiences. Guests range from enlisted privates, to senior leaders, helicopter pilots, special operators, support personnel, engineers, EOD, medics and other forces that supported or witnessed combat in the Panjwai District. Military history buffs will relish in the detailed descriptions of terrain and the history of the area, and fans of Serial and other documentary style podcasts will appreciate the attention to detail and highlighting of the human aspect of warfare on young soldiers. The Panjwai Podcast is the story of the grunts fight in a true Infantry battlefield. Season 2 Starts June 7th, 2021 with a detailed look at the Panjwai Massacre, committed by SSG Robert Bales on March 11, 2012 from his outpost VSP Belambai in Panjwai, Kandahar, Afghanistan. Episodes available weekly.

Episodes

June 13, 2021 62 min

In the final part of our three part series, Brandon and James talk us through the aftermath of the shootings as they returned to the United States and attempted to live out their lives. Then, they deliberately walk through what they think happened that night, and offer some shocking perspectives and revelations about the US Army's official story. This final piece of the puzzle will leave our audience stunned and shocked as to t...

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Season 2 continues with Part 2 of our Three part interview with James Alexander and Brandon Chong, who served under SSG Robert Bales at VSP Belambai in 2012. Episode 2 picks up where Episode 1 left off, with the soldiers of Bales' squad waking up in the early hours of March 11th to mass confusion. James and Brandon walk us through the events of that day, the hours and days to come, and the immediate aftermath of the Panjwai Mas...

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We're back! Season 2 Returns with Part 1 of a 3 part interview with former Infantrymen James Alexander and Brandon Chong, as they give us an unprecedented first hand account of the events leading up to and after the Panjwai Massacre in 2012. James and Brandon served under SSG Robert Bales at VSP Belambai, just west of FOB Zangabad in the Horn of Panjwai, supporting a Special Forces mission. James and Brandon talk to us about th...

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April 15, 2021 62 min

On this episode, hosts Luke and Curtis reflect on the experiences of making Season 1 of the podcast, as well as discuss the current events in Panjwai and Kandahar. We talk about our aspirations for Season 2, and generally converse on the topics of the Taliban, Peace in Panjwai, our military service and what we've come to appreciate most about this project. Stay tuned, because Season 2 premieres on May 17th, 2021!

 

 

Also Av...

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April 8, 2021 68 min

On this week's episode we speak to Dustin Smothers. Dustin was an infantryman with B/1-64 and served in 2nd Squad, 1st Platoon under SSG Nincehelser. Dustin talks to us about his experiences and the difficulties he faced, as well as perseverance. It was a privilege to have Dustin on as our final Season 1 guest . 

 

Check out the video version of the podcast at : https://www.youtube.com/thepanjwaipodcast

 

For maps, photos a...

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April 1, 2021 99 min

This week we sit down with Eric Boyce, a former 13F Forward Observer, or Fister, who spent his time as the Radio Telephone Operator for 1st Platoon, B Company, 1-64 at COP Sperwan Ghar in 2012. Eric talks to us about the difficulty in not getting to do his actual job (Fister vs RTO), the challenges of mental fatigue, and the day he was shot on a patrol in Skecha.

 

Check out the video version of the podcast at : https://www.youtu...

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March 26, 2021 145 min

This week we finish our conversation with SGT(R) Tom Evans by talking about two iconic missions from the 2012 Deployment. We talk in length about "Low Crawl Day" which serves as an all inclusive anecdote for combat in Panjwai in 2012. We then talk about the final major mission of the deployment, Operation Ghalra Sook, or "Throat Chop", where Tom's time in Afghanistan came to a close.

 

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March 18, 2021 71 min

This week we share Part 1 of a 2 part interview with SGT(R) Thomas Evans. Tom was a team leader, and briefly a squad leader for 1st Platoon, B Company 1-64th Armor at COP Sperwan Ghar in Panjwai, Afghanistan in 2012. Tom showed up as attrition was gutting our ranks, and brought fresh eyes and perspectives to a platoon that was beginning to struggle. In this episode, Tom talks to us about his experiences before Sperwan Ghar, how he ...

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March 11, 2021 77 min

This week we sit down with U.S. Army retired Sergeant Kevin Jaye. Kevin served in 3rd Platoon, B Company 1-64 at COP Sperwan Ghar in Panjwai, Afghanistan in 2012. Kevin shares his experiences before and during the deployment, including the day he stepped on a pressure plate IED and lost his leg. More importantly, Kevin talks to us about his battle on Capitol Hill, lobbying for the inclusion of In-Vitro Fertilization procedures in f...

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March 4, 2021 69 min

This week our guest is CW3 Avery Johnston, currently an AH-64 Apache Helicopter Pilot, and formerly an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Pilot. Avery, who served as an OH-58D pilot in 2012, talks about his experiences supporting the ground force in Panjwai and surrounding areas, how it matured him as an officer and an aviator, and how it shaped his future as an Army Aviator. Avery's insight into the war in Afghanistan in 2012, flying out of...

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February 25, 2021 56 min

This week we finish our conversation with our former Company Commander, U.S. Army LTC Brian Kitching. LTC Kitching served as the Company Commander of Bayonet Company, 1-64 Armor from 2011 to 2013. Kitching commanded the Bayonets as they served at COP Sperwan Ghar in Panjwai, Afghanistan during combat operations in 2012. LTC Kitching speaks about the uncommon valor that is surprisingly common in men in combat, the effect IED's h...

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February 18, 2021 90 min

This week our guest is our former Company Commander, LTC Brian Kitching. LTC Kitching served as the commander of Bayonet Company, 1-64 Armor from 2011 to 2013, and commanded the Bayonets while they held Sperwan Ghar in 2012. LTC Kitching speaks on his journey to B/1-64 and his experiences commanding his Bayonets at Sperwan Ghar, as well as some of the places his career has taken him before and after his time at B/1-64. It was a pri...

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February 11, 2021 114 min

This week we sit down with SGT(R) Eric Clark, who lost his leg and most of the fingers on one of his hands when he stepped on a pressure plate IED on August 23rd 2012. Eric talks to us about his experiences before, during and after the event, his recovery and his journey towards equilibrium with his military experience. 

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Episode Notes:

Semper Fi Fund/America’s Fund:

https://semperfifund.org/

 

Gar...

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February 4, 2021 57 min

We sit down with the combat killer himself, Miguel Perez aka “Juan Rambo.” Miguel was a young high school kid from Compton, California when he joined the Army. Months later he deployed to Afghanistan where he earned his moniker of Juan Rambo due to his tendency to go cyclic on the SAW in firefights. Needless to say he was efficient at suppressing the enemy. 

Miguel was shot through the arm later in the deployment. We talk about t...

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January 28, 2021 98 min

We sit down with Bravo Company's Intelligence Analyst Seth Price. We talk about how he ended up coming down to a line unit in a company intelligence support “team", and what he knew beforehand about deploying to Sperwan Ghar. Seth talks in detail about the difficulties of clearing the horn and how that helped shape the way he conceived and conveyed intelligence down to the platoons, as well as specific examples where Urgenc...

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January 21, 2021 95 min

 Glenn Phillips aka “Phil” sat down with us to talk about Panjwai and his experience with Second Squad. We cover life on the FOB, contractors, wild ideas about the functionality of the Army, among other issues. We breach the subject of fear and helplessness, how experience differ in a firefight, and the Gustaf/Gustav. We talk about our limited capacities in Panjwai and what we could do to alleviate that. Glenn gives us the latest o...

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January 14, 2021 123 min

Special Guest Stuart Nincehelser joins us for an in depth interview about his experiences before, during, and after the 2012 deployment to Sperwan Ghar. Stuart was a squad leader for 1st Platoon, B/1-64 in 2012.

Stuart is currently a licensed attorney and employed by the United States State Department. Stuart talked to us about his experiences as a squad leaders, the challenges his men faced, and the courageous acts of a pair of C...

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January 7, 2021 156 min

This week, the Panjwai Podcast brings on its first guest. CPT(R) Matthew Kohler was an Infantry Officer assigned as the Platoon Leader for 1st Platoon, B/1-64 in 2012. Matt came to his platoon midway through the deployment, and had to learn to lead in combat on day one. We talk to Matt about several specific events on the deployment, including the injuries to several of his soldiers, and he speaks of the valorous actions of his men...

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January 3, 2021 96 min

In this episode Curtis and Luke talk about their first firefight in Panjwai. They discuss the importance of the Combat Infantry Badge or CIB. They go into detail about that firefight, the results of the fight, and how to deal with the adrenaline rush. They talk about the complexities of fear and bravery in combat. They also address their scariest moments and close calls and the psychological effect they have on a soldier.

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January 1, 2021 93 min

The Panjwai Podcast launches with an inaugural episode featuring podcast hosts Luke Coffey and Curtis Grace. In this episode they discuss their own military background and history, how a mechanized unit ended up in Afghanistan, and orient the listener to the terrain of Panjwai and Sperwan Ghar. We discuss the topography and geography of Panjwai and some of its culture, the kind of fighting we saw, the difficulties of fighting in th...

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