60 Minutes opens with Dakota Meyer and how this brave man ran through a gauntlet of fire 5 times to help his fellow soldiers. When asked why he did it, he responded, “people were there that needed my help.” Artillery was held off because the site was too close to a village. Those artillery commanders were found to be negligent in their duties. Meyer had just a split second to act and he acted immediately by running into a hot fire zone to help his brothers. Meyer jumped on the gun turret of a truck as he and his buddy, Rodriguez Chavez, went in to help multiple times saving Afghan soldiers and Americans. Helicopters finally showed up over an hour into the battle. Meyer made a last ditch run into the fire zone to get to his fellow Marines. The four were already dead.
Meyer is asked about how he felt when he found his fellow Marines dead after such a long attempt to save them. He says he failed because he couldn’t get to them in time. He doesn’t consider his efforts heroic because his buddies didn’t make it. Not one of the officers, who held back fire, has been disciplined other than a letter of reprimand. The area in Afghanistan is still unsafe today and Meyer says nothing was gained by the original operation.
Next, the Troops First Foundation helps take wounded warriors back to the battle field to try to get closure in their troubling journey. Matt Bradford was blown up in 2007 by a roadside bomb that caused him to lose his sight and both his legs. His last sight was shrapnel heading to his eyes. The biggest problem these guys seem to face is that fact that they left their friends behind to fight. Steven Cornford suffers form PTSD and has nightmares and other social problems. He was wounded while assaulting a machine gun nest and watched his commander bleed to death right on the battle field. This man carried his fellow soldier 1 mile to get help. His last memory is of the doctors saluting his dead brother in arms. He was just 18 when this happened and can’t shake the thoughts that someone was killed trying to help him.
The trip back to Iraq takes these men back to a time when they were proud. They are greeted by fellow soldiers still on duty. Program director Kell says these guys didn’t leave Iraq but they were taken from Iraq. These trips give soldiers a chance to leave Iraq like they should have by saying goodbye to fellow soldiers and it takes them back to the field hospital. The soldiers also get to see the progress in Iraq like schools being built and infrastructure getting better like they promised. Cornford gets to face his demons and he hopes it will help him be less angry with his loved ones. The program is ending for Iraq but will continue in Afghanistan.
Five sets of brothers are serving in Afghanistan together despite the unwritten policy of not letting brothers go into harm’s way together. This policy was enacted after WWII and 5 brothers were killed while serving on board the same ship. The Bean brothers actually fought the government to be able to go into combat together. They had a little ammo in the fact that family members were former high ranking officers and they even produced a letter from their mother and father saying these guys should go to war together. The Bean brothers got what they wanted but they couldn’t be in the same squad or go on the same missions. Now 5 sets of brothers serve in this unit.
These guys talk of how they take care of each other. One says his mother went ballistic when she found out both had joined up to serve. The Taliban has changed tactics to using huge roadside bombs to do their dirty work. Five of the brothers were hit by a roadside bomb. They all survived even though the armored carrier they were in flipped into the air from the blast. All five sets of brothers have finished their tours and are back home now.
That is the show for tonight. We here at CMR wish to thank all the men and women who have fought and given us the freedom to be writing this article.