I once read that an individual Soldier’s ability to effect change on the battlefield is limited to the maximum range of his weapon.
That may have been more true in the dark days of sword and shield, but its spirit is just as alive today as it was in yesteryear.
In my experience, on the battlefields of Afghanistan, I found the fog of war can be just as limiting.
Despite the violence that I knew surrounded me, I was rarely at the center of the conflict. I often couldn’t see the danger stalking at the edge of my vision; but I could feel its presence.
At times my skin would crawl, or the hair on the back of my neck would stiffen; which was a sure reminder of the danger that lurked in the shadows.
There’s something special about standing alone in the black of night, in a place where the desert has eyes. It just makes you feel vulnerable.
The average soldier is haunted by the unknown.
Iraq’s conflict may have garnered more attention, but Afghanistan has birthed plenty of its own stories for the ages.
I’m a fan of non-fiction; wartime autobiographies, and military history, are just my thing. I enjoy the genre for many reasons; among those are the camaraderie I feel when I read it, and its tales of heroism. However, I think my greatest interest might be to seek understanding. Not of the political implications (although those are important), but of the things that occurred in that environment.
Despite the proliferation of high tech tools like Blue Force Tracking, much of what happened on the battlefield was a mystery to me; you see what you see, and you hear what you hear, but you stay focused on your portion of the mission. Everything else fades into the background.
That’s why I’m grateful for warriors like Major Bradley; and others like him, who feel it’s important to tell their tale.
Lions of Kandahar is a book that has been collecting dust on my reading list for quite some time; until recently when I scooped the digital edition up on Kobo Books (my favorite online bookstore).
Major Bradley’s book tells the story of his Special Forces team’s action on Operation Medusa, the largest offensive of its time in 2006. A story that’s particularly interesting to me as it touches on the action that occurred in Afghanistan’s southern desert while I was in theatre.
I’m six chapters in and have found it to be a brilliant read. A well told tale, insightful, and on a topic few people know much about. If you have the opportunity I highly recommend giving it a read. It may provide you a new perspective on the work of one our country’s greatest military assets; the Green Berets.