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What It’s Like To Finally Understand The Realities Of War
Sebastian Junger is used to telling other people’s stories. The 53-year-old journalist has been documenting other people’s lives for more than 20 years.
Best known for his compelling coverage of the war in Afghanistan, Junger released a book called “War,” in 2010 that closely examines the nature of combat. The book follows his embed with a platoon of U.S. soldiers deployed in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. He and his colleague, the late photojournalist Tim Hetherington, were also nominated for an Oscar in 2010 for their documentary, “Restrepo,” a visual extension of Junger’s book.
On July 11, 2012, Junger spoke at an event posted by the Moth, a nonprofit organization that hosts live storytelling events around the world, sharing one of his own war stories. Junger’s story was recorded and released as part the Moth Radio Hour podcast series on Aug. 18, 2015.“I’m used to talking and explaining how things work. And then I started to understand that’s not what the Moth is. What you’re really doing is telling a story and allow people to understand something more deeply,” Junger says on the podcast, referring to crafting the story he shared that night.
Moth stories are some of the “most important, most defining stories of a person’s life,” according to producing director Sarah Austin Jenness. In this instance, Junger recounts the day he learned about the death of Hetherington on Twitter. Hetherington was killed by a mortar on April 20, 2011, while covering the Libyan civil war in the city of Misrata.
That same day, Junger received an email from a Vietnam veteran from Texas who he and Hetherington both knew. He references it as part of his Moth story. The email read:
Sebastian, I’m so sorry about Tim. But I have to tell you something. It might sound callous, I gotta tell you. You guys with your books and your movie, you came very close to understanding the truth about war. But you didn’t get all the way. The core reality of war isn’t that you might get killed out there. It’s that you’re guaranteed to lose your brothers. And in some ways, you guys didn’t understand the first thing about war. And now, Sebastian, you’ve lost a brother, and you understand everything there is to know about it.
Junger didn’t find the note callous. He agrees with the veteran’s perspective.
Junger has continued to grapple with the experiences he had in Korengal and with the loss of his “brother.” He directed a documentary released in 2013 by HBO called “Which Way Is The Front Line? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington” — a tribute to the career of the accomplished photographer. In the film, Junger references the email he received from the Vietnam vet about the reality of war.
Junger also released a second documentary in 2014 called “Korengal” that turned unused footage from his Afghanistan embed into the story of the relationships forged in combat. His most recent film, “The Last Patrol,” premiered on HBO last year and followed a 300-mile trek he took with two combat veterans featured in his previous documentaries, as well as Spanish photojournalist Guillermo Cervera, who was with Hetherington when he died. It was a trip Junger and Hetherington originally planned to take together.
You can listen to Junger’s full Moth story here.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
NAVAL BASE SAN DIEGO — A Navy SEAL officer accused of failing to properly report alleged war crimes carried out by one of his men was arraigned on Tuesday in San Diego.
After being informed of his rights, Lt. Jacob Portier did not enter a plea or choose whether he'd ask for a jury or bench trial, since his civilian attorney has raised questions over a protective order in the case.
Confessions Of An Apache Pilot: What It's Like To Fly The Military's Most Heavily Armed Attack Helicopter
Welcome to Confessions Of, an occaisional series where Task & Purpose's James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, billet, or a tour overseas. Are you in an interesting assignment and think you might have something to share? Email email@example.com with your story.
"Nothing is more powerful than a young boy's wish. Except an Apache helicopter. An Apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles. It is an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine."
While this Patrick Stewart quote may be from an R-rated movie about a talking teddy bear, it's remarkably accurate. After all, the old warhorse has been kicking ass since it was first adopted by the U.S. Army in the 1980s. Designed to get into trouble fast and put it down even faster, the AH-64 Apache usually comes bristling with ordnance, from an M230 chain gun firing 30mm rounds to Hellfire missiles and rockets.
In the words of Tyler Merritt "it's basically a fucking flying tank."
The Pentagon has identified a Green Beret who was killed on Tuesday by enemy small arms fire in southern Afghanistan as Staff Sgt. Joshua Z. Beale.
Beale was assigned to 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, according to U.S. Army Special Operations Command. He was killed during combat operations in Tarin Kowt, Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.
Coast Guard Commandant Blasts Government Shutdown That's Forced Service Members 'To Rely On Food Pantries And Donations'
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."