The horrors of war are perhaps the most terrifying of all, as Discovery demonstrates with ‘Taking Fire’.
This Halloween, many children will inevitably wear costumes displaying themselves as soldiers. They’ll go from house to house and receive a trick or a treat.
Then, at the end of the night, the children will return home and remove their “fatigues” (as the old timers call them).
“Taking Fire” will not be a phrase the children will yell into a radio. The smell of blood and dirt will not fill their noses. The sounds of war will not effect them aurally. Most of all, they won’t have to safely transport a fallen hero to an aid station while simultaneously dodging small arms fire.
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Many civilians fail to comprehend the mind of a veteran. The mind formulates an image through senses and processes it. One of those senses is vision. Though their processed thoughts are not recorded, Taking Fire allows us to “see through the eyes of veterans”; with the use of helmet and hand-held cameras. The veterans themselves put their minds on display through honest commentary.
Members of the 101st Airborne deploy to Afghanistan’s Korangal (or Korengal) Valley in May 2010. Also, many of them are privates. Because of this, complacency can set in, as SGT Chris Adams would say. Less than a week later, the men commence Taking Fire. This becomes normalcy in the valley of death.
The following was excerpted from the documentary series’ website:
"Their combat footage plunges viewers into the heart of the action, giving a visceral experience not captured by news reports or traditional documentaries. Deeper still, their unmediated rushes reveal personal struggles with the dilemmas, confusions, joys and sorrows of war. The men leave the States seeking adventure, inspired to serve their country. What they experience in Afghanistan changes them forever."
Four men lost their lives while Taking Fire was being filmed in the Korangal: PFC Benjamen G. Chisholm, PV2 Charles M. High IV, SPC Carlos J. Negron, and SPC Brian Tabada. All the men and women who have given their lives to serve our country shall never be forgotten; and we owe them the utmost respect and gratitude. Our veterans who are still alive to provide their professional knowledge of war experience are owed the same amount of gratitude and respect as well.
Taking Fire (Image: Discovery)
Our veterans need assistance, whether they like to admit it or not. We can’t act like they adapt back to normal civilian life. I don’t care who you are – or how tough you may perceive yourself as being – but no human can endure the horrors of war and not be affected. Some vets deal with their issues differently. However, the fact of the matter is that something in their lives needs to subconsciously replace a thought or a memory; and no it is not easy. But, it was war in itself that changed their way of thinking. As Belgium’s King Baudouin I said, “It takes 20 years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only 20 seconds of war to destroy him.”
For instance, imagine you are patrolling a potential hostile territory. Small arms fire commences from a ridgeline above you. Your platoon’s return fire is proving ineffective. In order to not go black on ammo, support by fire is called in. Once the targets are neutralized, a small cave in the ridgeline is inspected.
Only a woman is left alive. Beside her lie the members of her family, who have all perished – only one of them being an original target. The Sergeant, who called in the support, will now forever associate the idea of family with the one he devastated.
Taking Fire is a five-part documentary series on the Discovery Channel. The conclusion is scheduled next Tuesday at 10:00PM eastern/9:00 PM central. Full episodes are available on the DiscoveryGo App.
Have you seen Taking Fire? Were you perhaps involved in similar situations while a member of American Armed Forces? Be sure to comment below and return to 1428 Elm for all your horror news and entertainment.