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Archive for September 9th, 2014

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Into the Fire: A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War

This is the story of the first living Marine recipient of the Medal of Honor in the post September 11th era of conflict.  Dakota Meyer gives us a first hand account of the battle of Ganjigal that led to his award.  It is one of the more tragic battle from the war in Afghanistan.  Then Corporal Meyer was a Marine sniper that was assigned to a unit that was involved with training the Afghan army.  Like what people expect of Marines, Meyer wanted to be in combat and was always willing to go into danger but that caused some of the higher ups who were not of infantry background to be cautious around Meyer.  In the unfortunate battle that led to the death of his team mates, the commanding officer overseeing the operation to train the Afghan forces put him in the back of the movement babysitting some humvees while his team led from the front into a valley that eventually became the site of a huge firefight.  Meyers tells it as it is and does not hide the ugly reality of those who failed to perform in combat.  Readers will be angry to read of the Army’s tactical operation center’s decision not to allow artillery to be employed when Meyer’s forces were being hit by intensive enemy fire.  Readers will also be upset when the promise of air support arriving in fifteen minutes was never relayed to proper channel—and when the personnel on the ground called on the radio to check up on the help they were lied to that the air support would arrive in another fifteen minutes.  Political correctness was the driving force of those who were higher up in the chain of command refusing the help that Corporal Meyer and those with him so desperately needed.  Meyers does not run away from telling the truth and even identifies specific officers for their failure in leadership.  This failure also included a certain Army platoon commander who was suppose to be the Quick Reaction Force but gave excuses from going in to help support those under attack.  Yet the battle also brought out the best side of the American military as well.  Meyers’ account of the Marine sergeant who drove his humvee into harm’s way to find Meyer’s loss team deserves recognition.  Then there is the Army captain Sweeney who took command of the situation on the ground and went back into harms way again and again.  Corporal Meyer himself put himself at risk multiple times with his driving motivation of finding his loss team mates.  This is an incredible story of a Marine who sticks to the line, “Never leave a man behind.”  The crushing part of the story is when he found his team members—all killed by the enemy and whom never got to have the opportunity to even fire back.  This is an intense read not only for the action but also for Meyer’s account of coming back home and feeling like a failure for letting his team members die.  I totally enjoyed this book and I even read this work all in one day.  I recommend this work to everyone in order to appreciate what warriors like Dakota Meyer went through in serving the United States and the Afghan Army in the war on Terror.

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