Restrepo and The Last Patrol

I watched “Restrepo” earlier this evening after a friend’s recommendation to me. It’s a fantastically done documentary that follows an Army unit over the course of a year long deployment in Afghanistan’s Korangal Valley. It’s pretty raw and heart-wrenching, but it’s a fascinating look into the war and what it’s doing to the people we’re sending over there.

Also, I recently read a piece by Brian Mockenhaupt, writing for The Atlantic, following the deployment of another Army unit in the Arghandab Valley (“The Devil’s Playground”) region of Afghanistan. It’s equally raw and shares some of the unimaginable horrors of the war.

A thunderclap rocked the tree line, and the concussion punched our ears and rolled through our chests. Beside us, along the canal, a cloud of smoke and dirt billowed 100 feet into the air, far above the trees, against a cloudless blue sky. “IED! IED! IED!” a soldier barked over the radio. Knollinger, leading the element along the road, ran into the field between the road and the canal, toward the explosion, yelling into the hand mike clipped to his vest. “I need a sitrep! I need a sitrep!” Soldiers answered, one by one, save for the two snipers with the patrol. “Viper 4,” Knollinger said. “Are you okay? Viper 4!” Sgt. Christopher Rush responded, dazed, his voice slow. “No, I’m not okay.” Beside him, his partner, Specialist Christopher Moon, lay in a crater five feet wide and two feet deep, his legs missing.

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