Carmen Gentile

Editor's note: Carmen Gentile has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and been featured in the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, USA Today, Esquire, and many others. This is an excerpt from his first book, Blindsided by the Taliban, released March 6, that chronicles his time downrange as an embedded war reporter.

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Photo via Army Recognition/YouTube

There’s a quote from “Iron Man” that’s always stuck with me. “They say that the best weapon is the one you never have to fire,” quips Tony Stark while unveiling his badass new Jericho missile to the U.S. military, mere hours before the ambush that will eventually lead him to develop the Iron Man suit. “I respectfully disagree. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once.”

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U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle

For Ryan Pitts, the Medal of Honor is a reminder of the sacrifices made by the 48 American soldiers he fought alongside during the Battle of Wanat.

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