Global War on Terror

Service Reflections of SGT Eric Andonian, U.S. Army (1992-2001)

Service Reflections of SGT Eric Andonian, U.S. Army (1992-2001)

Influencer #1: The military always fascinated me; my dad grew up in Tehran, Iran (an Armenian), and he served in the Persian Army (Iran, 1941).

He was a very proud American and loved this country, and I remember him taking us to Long Beach harbor (California) to see an aircraft carrier (the 1960s). That was an amazing experience (I can still visualize those torpedoes)!

Influencer #2: We lived through the hushed horror of Vietnam, and I think my parents kind of shielded us from it. I don’t remember ever seeing it on TV or talking about it. When I turned 18 (1978), my mom actually hesitated (slightly) when I jokingly questioned signing up for Selective Service registration. She talked about my staying with my friend in Canada if the next war was FUBAR like Vietnam. That surprised me because she strongly supported our nation and its laws.

read more
War in Afghanistan – The Fall Of Kandahar

War in Afghanistan – The Fall Of Kandahar

After the fall of Mazar-i-Sharif, Kabul, and Herat, Kandahar was the last major city under Taliban control. Kandahar was where the Taliban movement had originated and where its power base was located, so it was assumed that capturing Kandahar would be difficult. The city fell after several weeks of fighting to a force of local militia under Pashtun military commanders and their American advisers.  First Wave Of Aerial Attacks Against The Taliban In preparation for the attack of Kandahar, the first wave of aerial attacks against the Taliban was launched on October 7, 2001, at 6:30 pm local time. A group of United States Air Force (USAF) bombers consisting of five B-1s and ten B-52s took off from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. They were complemented by twenty-five United States Navy (USN) F-14s and F/A-18s strike aircraft from the aircraft carriers USS Carl Vinson and USS Enterprise in the North Arabian Sea. The Royal Air Force (RAF) and USAF provided L-1011s, KC-135, and KC-10s to...

read more
Fearless by Eric Blehm

Fearless by Eric Blehm

When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn't know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan - but he was ready. In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, "I'm not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me." Fearless is the story of a man of extremes, whose courage and determination were fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It's about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses, including drug addiction and persevered to reach the top tier of the U.S. military. In a deeply personal and absorbing chronicle, Fearless reveals a glimpse inside the SEAL Team SIX brotherhood and presents an indelible portrait of a highly trained warrior whose final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice. Adam Brown was a devoted man who was an unlikely hero but a true warrior, described by all who knew him as,...

read more
Service Reflections of LtCol Carl Reynoso, U.S. Marine Corps (1975-2010)

Service Reflections of LtCol Carl Reynoso, U.S. Marine Corps (1975-2010)

I was a Navy brat growing up in a number of Naval Stations in the Pacific: NAS Agana, Guam; Pearl Harbor NB, Hawaii; and NAS Sangley Point, Philippines. I always thought that I would join the Navy and be like my Dad, who was a Senior Chief (DKCS), but as I grew older, I started noticing that this other service was also on our bases. They wore different uniforms (khaki/trops/sateens) and carried themselves more professionally than Sailors, turns out they were Marines. I was also into reading history books at the time and read more and more about these Marines and determined that I just had to become one of them too. This really pissed off my Dad! Even though I was the son of a career Navy man, the Marine Corps mystique fascinated me. I always knew the Marines were different, better than Sailors. When I told my Dad that I wanted to be a Marine, he laughed and said I lacked the self-discipline it took to be a Marine. “You won’t last in the Marines. YOU? You can’t even hold on to a job, and you’ll get busted!” he often told me. As a teenager, I was wild, on the loose, vandalizing, and stealing (luckily, I was too crafty to be caught, which came in handy later in my career as a Recon Marine). I ditched school to surf and couldn’t hold onto any jobs. My life was spiraling down in an unhealthy direction. I was a long-haired surf bum who hung out at the beach, and although I was an Honors Student, I hated high school, stuff like that. I wasn’t into drugs or anything like that, but it would have only been a matter of time before something like that would have come along.

read more
The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper

The Outpost is the heartbreaking and inspiring story of one of America's deadliest battles during the war in Afghanistan, acclaimed by critics everywhere as a classic. At 5:58 AM on October 3rd, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating, located in frighteningly vulnerable terrain in Afghanistan just 14 miles from the Pakistani border, was viciously attacked. Though the 53 Americans there prevailed against 40 Taliban fighters, their casualties made it the deadliest fight of the war for the fight for the U.S. that year.  Four months after the battle, a Pentagon review revealed that there was no reason for the troops at Keating to have been there in the first place. In The Outpost, Jake Taber gives us the powerful saga of COP Keating, from its establishment to eventual destructions, introducing us to an unforgettable cast of soldiers and their families and to a place and war that has remained profoundly distant to most Americans. Reviews of The Outpost "The Outpost is a mind-boggling,...

read more
Service Reflections of CAPT Dee Norton, U.S. Coast Guard (1980-2005)

Service Reflections of CAPT Dee Norton, U.S. Coast Guard (1980-2005)

I graduated from Northern Arizona University with a degree in Law Enforcement. The Coast Guard was making all kinds of drug busts on the oceans and ports, which appealed to me. I wanted to get out and make a difference, and this seemed like a good opportunity.

My first assignment out of Officer Candidate School was to a 378 foot Coast Guard Cutter – Mellon, based out of Seattle, Washington.

read more
Service Reflections of OS1 Chris Walgenbach,  U.S. Navy (2004-Present)

Service Reflections of OS1 Chris Walgenbach, U.S. Navy (2004-Present)

Since many in my family were prior military, and specifically, the Navy, I knew that’s what I would do. I would hear my grandfather’s sea stories about WWII in school for Veteran’s Day and listen to my father talk about his time as a Sailor during the Vietnam War. Later I would find out about various uncles (and an aunt or two, no doubt) that had a military career (whether short or long), which further solidified my decision.

read more
No Ordinary Dog by Will Chesney, Joe Layden

No Ordinary Dog by Will Chesney, Joe Layden

No Ordinary Dog: My Partner from the SEAL Teams to the Bin Laden Raid is the powerful true story of a SEAL Team Operator and military dog handler, and the dog that saved his life. Two dozen Navy SEALs descended on Osama bin Laden's compound in May 2011. After the mission, only one name was made public: Cairo, a Belgian Malinois and military working dog. This is Cairo's story, and that of his Handler, Will Chesney, a SEAL Team Operator whose life would be irrevocably tied to Cairo's. The Story of a SEAL Team Operator Starting in 2008, when Will was introduced to the SEAL canine program, he and Cairo worked side by side, depending on each other for survival on hundreds of critical operations in the war on terrorism. But their bond transcended their service. Then, in 2011, the call came: Pick up your dog and get back to Virginia. Now. What followed were several weeks of training for a secret mission. It soon became clear that this was no ordinary operation. Cairo was among the first...

read more
Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior by Ric Prado

Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior by Ric Prado

It's not often we get a glimpse inside the secret world of a covert CIA operative, let alone one as storied as Ric Prado. Prado is a 24-year veteran of the agency, the equivalent of a two-star general, and a retired member of the Special Activities Division, where he and others performed covert paramilitary actions all over the world. His new book, "Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior," takes readers into the world of the CIA, covering the shadow wars the agency has conducted in the years since the end of the Vietnam War. It's a memoir and a recounting of a secret history, a behind-the-scenes look at some of the biggest headlines of the Cold War and the War on Terror. It's also a must-read for anyone interested in covert operations.  About the Author of Black Ops: The Life of a CIA Shadow Warrior by Ric Prado Prado's life of action started early. He was born under the Batista regime in Cuba and was caught in his first firefight at age seven, amid the Castro-led Cuban...

read more
Col Merryl Tengesdal, U.S. Air Force (1994-2017) – U2 Pilot

Col Merryl Tengesdal, U.S. Air Force (1994-2017) – U2 Pilot

Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Merryl Tengesdal is the first African American female U-2 pilot in history and is the first African American woman to fly the Air Force's U-2 Dragon Lady Spy Plane. She is the only black woman alongside five white women and two black men to fly spy planes. Merryl Tengesdal was born Merryl David in 1971 in the Bronx, New York. She excelled in math and science classes in grade school and high school and graduated from the University of New Haven in Connecticut in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering. She completed the U.S. Navy's Officer Candidate School in 1994. Merryl Tengesdal Served in the Iraq War And the War in Afghanistan In her first assignment as a Naval Aviator at Naval Station Mayport in Florida, Tengesdal flew the SH-60B Seahawk helicopter, a derivative of the Army's UH-60 Black Hawk. The SH-60B Seahawk is used for anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, anti-ship warfare, drug interdiction, cargo lift, and special...

read more
SCPO Mike Day, U.S. Navy Seal

SCPO Mike Day, U.S. Navy Seal

Senior Chief Petty Officer Douglas "Mike" Day was the first to breach a small room while on a house raid in Iraq's Anbar Province in April 2007. The moment he walked in, he felt like a sledgehammer hit him. It was the first of many bullets he would take in the next few minutes. The entire gunfight was about to take place inside of a 12-foot room. Day and his fellow U.S. Navy SEALs were tasked with taking down a terror cell run by al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the group that years later would morph into the Islamic State. With them was a team of Iraqi scouts on the hunt for a high-value target inside an AQI terror cell. They had shot down a pair of American helicopters, killing everyone aboard.  Mike Day's Attack on Terror Cell Run By Al-Qaeda in Iraq To catch him, they were raiding a suspect's house at night. This particular house they were raiding was full of enemy insurgents. The room he just entered contained three of those insurgents. They opened fire on him as soon as he entered...

read more
Lt. Michael Murphy, U.S. Navy (2000 – 2005)

Lt. Michael Murphy, U.S. Navy (2000 – 2005)

Lt. Michael Murphy was the Officer in Charge of the SEAL Team On June 28, 2005, deep behind enemy lines east of Asadabad in the Hindu-Kush of Afghanistan, a very dedicated four-man Navy SEAL team was conducting a counter-insurgency mission at the unforgiving altitude of approximately 10,000 feet. Lt. Michael Murphy was the officer in charge of the SEAL team. The other three members were Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz, Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell. Their assignment was to capture or kill high-value target Ahmad Shah - a terrorist leader of a Taliban guerrilla group known as the "Mountain Tigers" that had aligned with other militant groups close to the Pakistani border. The mission was in response to Shah's group killing over twenty U.S. Marines, as well as villagers and refugees who were aiding American forces. As the team carefully moved to where they hoped to find Shah, the SEALs were accidentally discovered by an...

read more