I was deployed to Afghanistan last year. While we were there, a National Geographic team was attached to us, and they made a five part series called "Battleground Afghanistan". I am one of the featured Marines in the series. It airs Monday nights at 9 PM ET on National Geographic Channel. I figured people might be interested in the making of the TV series, Afghanistan, modern warfare, or anything else.



This is me on their website.



If that's not good enough, I can send the mods a pic of my ID.

Soooo ask me anything.

EDIT: I will be gone for an hour or so while I watch the new episode. Watch it with me on National Gegraphic at 9PM ET. I'll be back to answer more questions when the episode is over.

EDIT 2: I am back. I am a little drunk so hopefully I can answer your questions properly.

EDIT 3: Holy shit! There's a lot of questions. I'll try to answer as many as I can before I go to sleep.

EDIT 4: Alright dudes. It's almost 4 in the morning here on the east coast. I gotta get some sleep. If I didn't answer your question yet, I will get to it in the morning. As a matter of fact, anyone can leave any questions and I will get to all of them tomorrow. Gnight Reddit!

EDIT 5: Okay I'm awake. Let's answer these questions here.

EDIT 6: Alright, I think I got most of the questions down. If you want you can still post questions, and I will check back sporadically to answer them. If I missed your question, I'm sorry. You can PM me your question if you want and then I'll be sure to see it. Thanks Reddit!

Comments: 459 • Responses: 106  • Date: 

MarineSTA44 karma

Semper fi dude

brandonunisAMA49 karma


Nonsonemmenosollevo22 karma


brandonunisAMA23 karma


kace9132 karma


brandonunisAMA103 karma

How rarely you actually see the enemy. Most of the time they are shooting from 500 to 1000 meters away, and they use great cover and concealment. You'll usually be walking through a field, and suddenly you're being shot at. You hit the ground and wonder where the hell they are shooting from. That was 90% of our fire fights.

SomedaysFuckItMan37 karma

I can vouch for this. When I was doing patrols in Iraq or in a tower we'd come under attack with no precise indication where it was coming from, aside from "over there." Hiding in civilian houses or in the bush hundreds of yards away, you can't really engage them without laying waste to civilian property. I came to the belief they really didn't care about hitting anything and just wanted bragging rights that they attacked our FOB and lived.

brandonunisAMA22 karma

From what my buddies tell me, it can get pretty hairy in an Iraqi city.

Did you ever have to fight out in a city, or just out in open fields?

instasquid7 karma

Did you ever get to use the Boomerang system?

brandonunisAMA10 karma

Personally, as far as I know, I did not. We didn't get many chances to fight alongside mobile vehicles.

kace9111 karma


brandonunisAMA26 karma

A lot of times they just spray and pray. The accurate fires were either from RPK machine guns, or snipers. They can reach out and touch someone from a long ways away.

alexandrathegr826 karma

As someone aspiring to be a conflict journalist, I wanted to ask you: what is your opinion on conflict/war reporters, especially after your "Battleground Afghanistan" experience?

edited for clarity

brandonunisAMA113 karma

When they first were attached to us, I wasn't sure how to feel. I tried to keep my distance. After a while, they really gained my respect though. The Nat Geo guys we were with got shot at, just like we did. They had to walk miles and miles a day, just like we did. They had to carry a ton of weight on their backs, just like we did. And when the fighting started they snapped right into action, just like we did. And I never heard them bitch about it. If they had slowed us down, I probably would hate them. But they never did.

OG-Snoopy16 karma

Did the nat geo guys get guns for protection? And did they have any training?

brandonunisAMA38 karma

No they did not. However, one of the Nat Geo guys was a former Marine, so he would have definitely known what to do with it.

DocMalcontent17 karma

Not to hijack the line of questioning, but I was a journalist in the Army in Iraq. If you feel the need to get out there and get the stories told about people who wouldn't have a voice otherwise, more power and good speed to you. If you think you're going to be out there Rambo'ing it up with a camera instead of a rifle, you better be able to hold your own. Took days of sleeping in the same ditches and kicking in the same doors with the infantry guys before they quit looking at me like just another Fobbit going out on an adventure. Also, a hell of a documentary called "Under Fire: Journalists in Combat" about civilian reporters.

brandonunisAMA14 karma

Exactly. Go through the same hardships as the people you are filming and they will respect you.

I will have to watch "Under Fire: Journalists in Combat".

awesomemanftw22 karma

You and I have the same first name.

brandonunisAMA128 karma

Correct. I was originally named "awesome" but changed it to Brandon.

turminater19 karma

Do you think you personally made a difference there? And do you think the USA in general did or is it inevitable reverting back to what is was in the 90th?

brandonunisAMA44 karma

I guess time will tell. I can tell you that every battle that my unit was in, we won decisively. I heard the stats recently and it was something like this:

While my unit was in Afghanistan, 35 Marines were killed due to hostile fire. Since we left (last September), only 3 have been killed. And none in 2013. To me it looks like we put a pretty big dent in the Taliban. Either that, or they are just waiting for us to leave so they can attack the Afghan National Army. Only time will tell.

fhart16 karma

The US won every battle in Vietnam too. It really makes no difference to the overall outcome.

War is a racket. Nevertheless I respect troops on the ground; I just wish the political leadership reserved their use for legitimate threats to the country (which are extremely few and far between).

brandonunisAMA57 karma

I see where you are coming from. All I can do is spout off statistics that I know nothing about, and tell you my first hand experience.

And hope for the best.

ricog0421 karma

I hope a lot of people read your comment. As a marine vet who has also deployed to afghanistan, i also tried to explain to people that we are not politicians. although we do have a first hand account of what it is like out there, we have very little say in what goes on behind the scenes.

I share my experiences with people and give them my first hand experience of what happened. When they start asking me how i was able to do my job, i tell them i did it for the guy next to me who has a wife and kid. We just do what we're told. If they have a problem with it, talk to their congressman.

brandonunisAMA11 karma

Thanks for that. I completely feel the same way.

tasteecrans6 karma

This can't be entirely a coincidence and I thank you for that. My cousin is now SAFELY on her way home from her deployment in Afghanistan (Marines as well). I have no idea what she did there or where she was but her entire unit is coming home safely. Thank You!

brandonunisAMA18 karma

This brings a smile to my face. I hope I had something to do with that.

bunnytrox18 karma

What was going through you mind when you decided to join the military? And are you calm or freaked when your in a fire fight?

brandonunisAMA53 karma

I joined the military for many reasons. Ill try to boil them down to the main ones.

  1. After 911, I realized that their were groups of people out there that wanted to harm my friends and family. I wanted to try and help stop them.

  2. I wanted to challenge myself. I felt that if I could get through the Marine Corps, I could get through anything.

  3. I was a little bit spoiled growing up, and I didn't like that. I figured the military would make me independent. Uncle Sam pays for college so that Mom and Dad don't have to.

During my first fire fight I was kinda freaked out, but my training kicked in pretty quickly. It's like instinct at that point. After that you kinda get used to it, and eventually you learn to absolutely love it. Unless you're really pinned down and the rounds are hitting wayy too close for comfort. Then you're pretty freaked out.

bito893 karma

"Love it" in what way?

notanon6 karma

I speculate it's the adrenaline rush and associated endorphins triggered by fight-or-flight response. Similar to an adrenaline junkie jumping out of a plane or even a runner's high.

brandonunisAMA5 karma

This is pretty much it.

yDibZ15 karma

Thank you so much for your service. What was the hardest thing you had to give up to join the Marines?

brandonunisAMA86 karma

I missed my mothers funeral while fighting in Afghanistan. That had to be the hardest.

betshegivesgoodhelmt13 karma

Police that moooooostche!!!!

brandonunisAMA8 karma

Haha if you notice, during the missions I have a much bigger mustache then in the interviews. That's because we filmed the interviews at Camp Leatherneck. While there I got hit up left and right to "Police that moooooostche!!!!". So yeah I had to trim it.

fuerck13 karma

Do you feel that America should bring all the troops home from Afghanistan?

brandonunisAMA51 karma

I am not a politician or a General, so I don't really know the big picture. All I can do is hope that they have our best interests at heart. In my humble opinion, we can't keep holding the Afghan government's hand. They have to be able to have security in their own country without our help. Maybe us leaving will snap them out of that sense of security that they are in now, and they will start taking it more seriously.

hcottie11 karma

What is your impression of the Afghan National Army? Are they mentally equipped to take on the Taliban for years to come? Do they have the pride and confidence in defending their country against some of the world's most morally corrupt people?

brandonunisAMA40 karma

I honestly don't have many good things to say about the ANA. From my experience, they were undisciplined, and high 24/7.

About the worlds most morally corrupt people: Who do you mean exactly? I feel that half of the guys we fought were just farmers who needed more money. The Taliban gave them that money to shoot at us. Do you mean the higher level Taliban? They are probably just fighting a religious war that they legitimately believe in. I'm not sure that bad morals come into play too much here.

mann038210 karma

Thanks to you and all veterans, its greatly appreciated what you guys and gals do for us. No question, just gratitude.

brandonunisAMA9 karma

Thank you.

whatever19668 karma

I have a question. My friend went there and said that the natives were practicing homosexuality, but in an aggressive way. Men that is. I looked into it and even though the religious doctrine says not to, it seems that homosexuality is actually prevalent due to the sequestration of women. There was an detachment assigned to address STD and the locals told them that you got gonorrhea from mixing black and green tea together. What are your thoughts?

brandonunisAMA28 karma

All I can tell you is what I saw while I was there. From my understanding, the women are like property. If you have sex with a girl who you are not married to, it is a great sin against her father. You will be punished. However, if you have sex with a boy, or your buddy, it is not that big of a deal. They are not "owned" by anyone, and so no one is really offended.

In my opinion, it is completely unacceptable to treat women like slaves. I honestly have no problem with homosexuality, so I could care less wheather they do that.

Skidwell288 karma

I want to join he military after I finish high school any advise?

brandonunisAMA36 karma

Make sure you are joining for the right reasons. "Getting a ton of pussy" is why some people join and is not a good reason. You'll probably get a lot more in college.

Is there anything that you need specific advice with?

Skidwell282 karma

What branch would be the best to go into I am planing on serving 2-4 years

brandonunisAMA22 karma

From my experience, I would say the Marines is the most challenging. I'm sure there are guys from the other branches who would disagree with me, but that's how I feel. It depends on weather you want to have some training for the job force afterwards or not. I can't really put "fought the Taliban" on a resume.

space_monster8 karma

I can't really put "fought the Taliban" on a resume.

oh I think you can

brandonunisAMA16 karma

Please hire me......

migukin7 karma

I watch your show every Tuesday SGT Unis and it's awesome, really well put together. (Tuesday for me since I live in Korea)

As prior Air Force, I don't think anybody would argue the Marines is the most challenging.

I recommend the Air Force if you're planning on getting good training in a technical field then separating (like I did). I did almost 5 years and separated in 2010, and am now a contractor working for the DoD for good pay.

Honestly though, all branches are good, just make sure you have a plan. If there's a specific job you want to do, and one branch won't give it to you, try another. The marines in my experience will guarantee you any job you want if you have a high ASVAB score. Air Force is hardest to get the job you want. Even with a 93+ on ASVAB you still have to narrow it down to a couple, I got lucky I guess and got my first choice.

brandonunisAMA8 karma

Thank you for whatever you did in the air force. Maybe saved my ass a time or two.

Mr_Weebles6 karma

Honestly though, all branches are good, just make sure you have a plan. If there's a specific job you want to do, and one branch won't give it to you, try another.

This right here is fantastic advice. Also make sure you get any promises from your recruiter in writing. I served in the Navy with a couple guys who didn't get their recruiter's promises in writing and ended up in deck division. They swore up and down their recruiters told them they could pick a school while at boot camp. No one gave a shit what their recruiters told them and they spent their time in the Navy doing some of the worst work possible.

brandonunisAMA6 karma

I completely agree.

MeanEater1 karma

If you do decide you want to go into the military you need to make a decision. Do you want to be a Cool Guy or get Job Skills? Both sides have their pros and cons. You can opt to be a Cool Guy and have tons of stories and experiences. Or you can skip out on those experiences in exchange for career training (which you get paid for!).

Once you figure out what kind of job you want, see which branches will satisfy you the most. The branches have their pros and cons as well. "US Marine" or "Army Ranger" carry a level of respect, but you'll often be living like shit. "Airman" or "Sailor" doesn't carry the same level of respect, but your living standards will be much higher.

I don't want to start a Branch or job war, just trying to give a young guy some perspective, so if yours is different, please share! For full disclosure, I went Cool Guy and while I really enjoyed my experiences, I felt my Army years were "wasted" educationally/career minded.

brandonunisAMA6 karma

Pretty accurate. However, I'm not sure if "cool guy" is the right phrase. When I joined, I felt that if you were gonna join the military, what's the point in doing anything besides the infantry. Now that I am out, however, my resume is pretty bare....

ALTM4N7 karma

I was with Echo at the time, I'm curious; did the Nat Geo guys ever get in the way?

brandonunisAMA21 karma

There was one time we were taking a lot of fire and had to get out of the open. We had a pretty far run to make and one Nat Geo guy was lagging behind a little. I could see he was going as fast as he could, but he just wasn't in the same shape that we were in. That was really the only time they really slowed us down from what I can remember.

Ohhh and uhh... retreat?

ALTM4N7 karma

hell... I figured they would be as attentive as they could be. We went on some bs patrol near DC with the FET and I could tell the FET were going to be more in the way than the NAT GEO guys, I think one of them was a prior marine. I was curious though, because if I were them I would have been right on Marines asses. Guess the go-pros kept them from having to do that though.

brandonunisAMA8 karma

The prior Marine was Travis Ervin. He's the mama dog guy.

I never had a chance to work with the FET, however from what I hear, it wasn't very fun. It would have been nice to be able to search the females out there though.

ALTM4N3 karma

"nice", I preferred motor t. FET is just a little too butch for me. was he? I didn't recognize him even though I had met him in Bridgeport once. How did you five guys get singled out? Volun-told?

brandonunisAMA6 karma

There was seven of us. I guess they just picked people that would bring different things to the table. I was the TSE guy, and kind of a "terminal lance".

Sitin7 karma

How was the training for the Marines? Was there anything motivational you said to yourself to keep going?

brandonunisAMA9 karma

The training is pretty good. Sometimes you feel like you are training to fight the Russians in a conventional war. Other times it is very relevant to the current war (IED training etc.) Honestly, your tactics have to change depending on what region you are in. So sometimes you have to just figure it out once you get there.

I'm not sure if I said anything specifically to keep me going. What kept me going was knowing that there were a ton of people counting on me to do my job and make it home alive.

MeanEater5 karma

Pre-deployment month long STX- go patrol woodland area for your deployment into rural Afghanistan.

brandonunisAMA9 karma

Haha exactly. Or "watch out for yellow jugs!". First day you're there, you see 5,000 yellow jugs......

KaptainKoo17 karma

You always seem to be smoking cigarettes, do you feel they affect your pft scores, physical endurance in the field, or general wellbeing?

brandonunisAMA17 karma

Haha yeahh I'm a smoker. Honestly, I'd say most (95%) of the guys I was with either smoked or dipped. I believe it negatively affects pretty much every aspect of my life. However, when I was in high school, I thought I would look cool if I started smoking. Annnndd now I'm addicted to Nicotine. Working on quitting though.

supermight12347 karma

How did you feel about the fact that America armed the Taliban during the 80s to fight of the Soviets from invading Afghanistan and those weapons were then used on American troops?

brandonunisAMA17 karma

To be honest, I don't feel very good about it. I just hope that the people in power learned from their mistakes.

UglyandEdgy4u7 karma

Semper Fi and congrats on making it back safe. What battalion were you on?

brandonunisAMA8 karma

Thanks I was in 2nd Platoon Golf Company, 2nd Battalion 5th Marines.

ActionPlanetRobot6 karma

How often did your unit call in A-10s?

brandonunisAMA8 karma

I honestly have no idea. Most of the time we called in Cobras. If we ever did get an A-10, I didn't know about it.

benriz5 karma

had a few friends deployed to afghan and iraq, so I dont really have any questions. just thank you, Sgt. Unis, for your service and sacrifices you all have made so far in these wars. Oorah and semper fi, brother.

brandonunisAMA5 karma

Thanks man. And thank you to your friends in the service.

___David___5 karma

In your personal experience and based on your own interactions with the ANA and local elders, are the Afghans ready, willing, and/or able to handle their situation with the inevitable full withdrawal of US assistance?

brandonunisAMA7 karma

I guess my answer should be "I hope so", but I honestly don't think they can handle it. I would love to be proven wrong though.

MBeamer5 karma

Thanks for your service.

My question is: did you feel that all your needs were met? For example, did you feel that you were fed well, had all the equipment you need, medical care, provisions, entertainment, ability to stay in touch with family, etc?

brandonunisAMA14 karma

I guess I'll take your question one at a time.

Fed well: We were given plenty of MREs (rations) and we ate whatever we wanted to carry. Sooo I guess?

Equipment: The Marine Corps takes pride in never having the equipment we need, and still getting the job done. Soooo no.

Medical care: If you had something seriously wrong with you, the docs would get you fixed up. Sooo yeah?

Provisions: I really don't know what you mean. Please be more specific.

Entertainment: Honestly, somehow, the locals would always have a bootleg of a TV show that just came out a week before. Sooo yep.

Stay in touch with Family: While we were at Camp Leatherneck, if you wanted to wait in line for an hour you could call anywhere in the states. Sooo yeah.

LaDiDas1 karma

MREs or First Strikes?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

Were first strikes the big ones? Then both.

durrmaster5 karma

I was wondering what your view on the reserve side of the Marines is. I know many active Marines tend to dislike us and we play along with it (I was reserve and just got Honorably Discharged last month) but sometimes you can feel the hate they have toward you. Many of us joined the reserve because we wanted to be officers but we wanted to deploy also, never asked anyone while I was in and I figure you would give me you honest opinion.. Semper Fi!!! and thank you for everything. Edit: 2/14 not sure when you were in country but we may have run some HIMARS for you sometime.

brandonunisAMA16 karma

Alright honest answer:

Most active duty guys have to deal with bullshit every single day. Reserves only have to deal with it one weekend a month. For the rest of the month you're free. For this reason, most active duty guys look down on the reserves.

Personally I think everybody does their part. Are you doing as much as us? No. But at least you're doing something. And I appreciate that.

And HIMARS are fucking awesome.

josh08615 karma

I was in the unit you guys replaced. They told us you guys were going to be demilling and have a short deployment but you know how word changes. My buddy was one of your JFOs. I heard it got pretty hairy when you guys started combat operations. Just wanted to say glad you made it out and did you guys ever go back to the Triangle of Guilt? That would have been your WPNS Co's AO.

And I'll definitely try to catch the NatGeo show. It should be interesting to see places I recognize.

brandonunisAMA6 karma

Thanks brother.

We demilled Habib in Musa Qala after a couple months. Then they sent us back to Camp Leatherneck and we began Combat Operations out of there. Most of the ops were in the Zimindiwar area, by the Kajaki Dam.

AndySipherBull5 karma

Is Syria going to be a stand-up fight, or another bug hunt?

brandonunisAMA11 karma

I honestly have no idea. I do wish we would do more to help those guys out though. The media makes it look pretty bad.

InvalidArguement2 karma

Are you sympathetic to the Opposition fighters?

brandonunisAMA9 karma

I am, but I can say honestly that I don't know nearly enough about it. From what I see from the media, it seems that the government is extremely oppressive.

togebilp5 karma

What was the most terrible thing that happened to you in Afganistan? Did you work with any foreign units(Europeans, for example)?

brandonunisAMA11 karma

The most terrible thing that happened to me was that my mother passed away while I was out there.

We worked with the Afghan National Army all the time. We also worked with their Special Forces (I think they were called Tiger teams). On one operation we had a British guy with us, but I cant remember why or what branch of service he was in. I believe he was Special Forces though.

basshumpinyoface3 karma

Shitty man. Was her death sudden then? When one of my cousins was serving with the Marines in the Fallujah invasion his mom ended up on her death bed so they flew him to say his goodbyes and bury her.

brandonunisAMA2 karma

She had cancer for a while so I knew it was coming, just not when.

jon3265 karma

Maintainer here from Barksdale , not sure if our b52s ever laid down pown for y'all , but thanks for what you do !

brandonunisAMA5 karma

Thank you. I don't think we ever had B52s with us but I could be wrong.

USAF_DTom4 karma

I work Intel for the AF here in Hawaii. We directly supply intel in the Middle East.

Question: What is the general consensus of Comm/Intel guys by infantry? Is it a love/hate relationship, because we help, but not directly? Just hate? Just love?

P.S. Thanks for serving

brandonunisAMA5 karma

When the intel is correct we love you guys. When it's wrong we hate you guys. The mob is fickle?

drummerguy12344 karma

Would you recommend joining out of high school or wait until after college and enlist?

brandonunisAMA6 karma

Personally, I am happy that I joined out of high school. I probably would have failed out from partying too much if I went straight to college.

Now I am out and the government is gonna pay for college. On top of that, I have a bunch of money saved up from deployments, and I'm about to buy a house.

What worked for me might not work for you though.

supermav274 karma

Are you fueled by fear? What goes through your mind when you burst through a door in enemy territory?

brandonunisAMA3 karma

I guess part of it is fear, part of it is confidence in your training.

galviall3 karma

Yiu are one TRULY AMAZING US combat Marine Veteran.

brandonunisAMA8 karma

Thank you, but the rest are truly amazing too.

The_Third_Three3 karma


brandonunisAMA7 karma

0311 Infantry

ozzieoo3 karma

thanks for your service. When do you get to come home? Is it really that scary? Describe the mindset you have on a daily basis when you are out and around?

brandonunisAMA10 karma

I came back to the states last September, and I was honorably discharged last December.

It can get scary at times. It's very scary when you're on a helicopter and an RPG flies by.

Your mindset varies. You try to be alert at all times, but that's pretty much impossible. Sometimes you think about what you're gonna do when you get home, or about your friends. I guess it just depends on how dangerous the current situation is.

EDIT: Honorably discharged. I wasn't that much of a fuck up.


Why were you dishonorably discharged? Or was that a mistake.

migukin4 karma

I hope that was a typo... and if not, I hope he gets that sorted through the VA. Unless he did something absolutely absurd that's inexcusable that a war hero is getting a dishon.

brandonunisAMA6 karma

Sorry typo.

ozzieoo4 karma

I live in San Diego and grew up here. I was at Coronado dog beach today which is right next to the base on Coronado.

I have been around military folks, parents of friends, neighbors etc. most of my life. I don't know how you keep yourselves together in some of the situations I see on TV.

I think the public views the violent situations like a movie - kind of unreal. But having bullets whizzing my you is another matter entirely.

Thank you for your service and I hope you have a great future. Glad you made it home safe and sound.

brandonunisAMA3 karma

Thank you.

And Coronado is a very nice area.

askingdumbquestion3 karma

I only did a few years in the army, after I got out, I tried to start a family. Turned out, the ex was a total um... not cool person. I did a lot of reckless things, bad drugs, drinking. Pushed away what few friends I had. Lost my job, my house, and lived on the streets for a while. Only recently am I getting my life back together again.

So my question is, after you get out of the military, what do you plan to do with your life?

brandonunisAMA5 karma

I was honorably discharged in December. I am starting college in a month, and I'm going for cinema productions. I hope to one day be able to help make documentaries like Battleground Afghanistan.

And yeah I think I drink a little too much myself.

unkillable943 karma

Funny enough I was just watching that. Let me just tell you that you guys fucking rock, I have some buddies who recently graduated high school and are back home after basic, and they are still hearing stories about the ops you guys were pulling over there. So whether you feel you accomplished anything or not you can know you've got a bunch of young boots who think you're pretty badass.

On a second note, I'm in the Air Force so I'll probably never see any action on the ground outside perimeter duty on some airbase, so you guys have all my respect for going out in the dirt and getting shit done. I'm hoping to be an A-10 pilot so I can support you guys on the ground, I went through Marine Corps JROTC in high school and so I've made a lot of great friends within the corps and had a lot of good friends join up with more and more shipping off every year, so any time in the future I can help you grunts out I can't wait.

I don't know what your plans are regarding your future with the Marines, but if you're still in a few years from now hopefully I'll be able to blow some shit up to make you guys' lives a bit easier, and if not then good luck with whatever you move on to, oorah.

brandonunisAMA10 karma

Thanks. I am currently out of the Marine Corps and about to go to college.

One of my best friends is in the air force, so don't worry, I have plenty of respect for you guys too.

crackmasterslug2 karma

Sorry I'm late to the party. I mean no disrespect by this, but, how do you feel about the actions of Snowden and Manning? Do you agree/ with what they did either morally or practically, and how do you feel about their prosecution/persecution? Thanks!

brandonunisAMA6 karma

I feel that The government needs to be held accountable by the people. However, if by doing so, you are in turn hurting the people more, then you are a traitor.

Manning supposedly released names of undercovers. I realize he was trying to shed a light on some war crimes that happened, but I can't see how putting undercover in danger helped the American people.

Snowden was trying to shed a light on the NSA doing some unethical shit. Good on him. However, it is being said that he might have showed China how we spied on them. How is that helping the American people?

I will reserve judgment until all the facts come to light.

Rudee0232 karma

My wife and I just caught our first episode of the show and love it. She couldn't understand the speech your company CO gave when you guys got back to the rear. I said that I would expect nothing less from a badass CO. Tells you what you need to hear, doesn't sugar coat it, allows you a second to reflect on what you did before getting back to business as usual. Motivated this former Marine! You guys stay safe! Semper fi.

brandonunisAMA3 karma

Haha yeah he was a very badass CO. Thanks.

El-doctor-2 karma

As someone that is in JROTC and wants to join the marines or rangers, do you think that being in JROTC helps( besides the automatic private first class), does JROTC help?

brandonunisAMA1 karma

I was not JROTC. My school did not offer that program. Honestly, I can't remember a time where one of my buddies said "Well good thing I was JROTC". I'm not sure if it really helps, but I can't really see how it would hurt either. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

freakytone2 karma

do you think the US should exit Afghanistan in 2014? did you watch 'this is what winning looks like'. is that an accurate portrayal from what you experienced?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

I have not watched 'this is what winning looks like'. Where can I find it?

An accurate portrayal for me is Battleground Afghanistan because It's about us while we were out there.

I already answered your other question so I'll copy and paste it here.

I am not a politician or a General, so I don't really know the big picture. All I can do is hope that they have our best interests at heart. In my humble opinion, we can't keep holding the Afghan government's hand. They have to be able to have security in their own country without our help. Maybe us leaving will snap them out of that sense of security that they are in now, and they will start taking it more seriously.

bffire2 karma

How many idiots did you meet in basic? My brother was an airborne ranger and most of his stories were usually about how stupid some people he met during basic were.

brandonunisAMA5 karma

Haha well yeah there are plenty of guys in boot camp that seem to have a screw loose. Although, I'm sure I did a few dumb things in basic myself.

albertson102 karma


brandonunisAMA4 karma

I think that they should have some kind of reasonable cause, and probably a warrant, before they start using drones around here.

Drewtyler62 karma


brandonunisAMA6 karma

I've done a small part. We all are working to make the world a better place.

Nicksabeast1 karma

HOLY SHIT! I happened to have just watched an episode of this show earlier! I actually laughed my ass off because there was a particular scene where they said something along the lines of "we need to search this compound for insergeant weapons" and then when they cut to a clip of all of the guys moving into the walled compound you could hear a few seconds of one of the guys whistling the pink panther theme song in the background! It wasn't very long that you could hear it, but it was enough of the very iconic melody for me to catch on and have a laugh

brandonunisAMA1 karma

Haha. I wish I could take credit, but I can't whistle. One thing that most people don't know about Marines is our interesting sense of humor. I think it's hilarious, but others might not.

ghostabdi1 karma

In training how did you feel from going to learning to doing. For instance, handling your first grenade. Also, are the other types, flash-bang and smoke actually common throughout soldiers?

brandonunisAMA1 karma

I guess I was pretty nervous handling my first grenade in training. They do it "crawl, walk, run". Basically, you learn about throwing a grenade, then you practice throwing a fake grenade, and then you throw a real one.

Smoke is very common, but I've personally never seen a flash bang in action. I'm sure special forces uses them often.

jjeezy1 karma

As a former infantry marine I want thrilled with the idea of a tv show about our job. With the loss of lives its rather personal and im concerned that gets lost in the exciting looking clips of engaging enemies. How did your unit feel about the whole thing?

brandonunisAMA1 karma

I can see where you are coming from. I look at it this way: This show is gonna open a lot of eyes in the civilian population. Is there some TV executive somewhere getting rich off of our suffering? Yeahhh I guess. But i think it's doing a lot more good than harm.

esol91 karma

hey, i'm having trouble finding info on graduate school opportunities in the military. i will be starting my undergrad soon and have not signed up for ROTC. but i was wondering in the event that i did what opportunities might i have to complete graduate degrees while fulfilling my service? the graduate degrees can be anything from masters to PHDs to med school and law school. I f you don't know specifically can you please tell me where i might the relevant information? thanks

brandonunisAMA2 karma

I honestly have no idea. I'm just about to start school next month.

Maybe r/USMCboot can help you out?

southpaw751 karma

Semper Fi mac!

brandonunisAMA1 karma


barfo5591 karma

Firstly, I want to say thank you for your service. I just graduated boot a few days ago. If you could give one piece of advice to a new marine about being in the corp, what would it be?

brandonunisAMA1 karma

All I can do is give you my experience.

I got out of boot camp and I was very motivated. I was still giving the proper greeting of the day to anyone I passed. "Good morning, Sir!" or "Good afternoon, Mam!". This is not technically a bad thing, but I grew out of it quickly.

Once I got to the fleet, I expected everything to be better than boot camp. I was wrong. Back when I was in, hazing was not allowed, but it still happened. If I were you, I would expect it. It's just part of the Corps. They shouldn't make you eat dog shit or anything crazy, so it shouldn't be that bad. Just go with it unless they cross the line. And the line is whatever you're comfortable with. I'm not trying to condone these things, I'm just trying to be realistic.

And my last piece of advice is this: don't lose that motivation! I lost it pretty quickly, but I wish I didn't. Keep it going, and always be confident. If people see that you are confident in everything that you do, they will lay off of you.

Good luck.

ConservativeBias1 karma

Do you carry a Beretta M9/92FS and if so what do you think about it?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

I did not carry one in Afghanistan. However I did plenty of training with one (got myself a nice Baretta Bite). I think they kinda suck compared to a 1911. But hey, what do I know?

cahayla1 karma

I've recently started the process to enlist, and was amazed at how long it takes from the first paper work you fill out to actually starting basic. Anyway were you a commisioned officer? If so did you go to OCS? If you don't mind saying what was your ASVAB?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

I am a non commissioned officer. I believe my ASVAB was somewhere in the 90s (96?).

But who really gives a shit when you're a grunt.

Deadlyfatcow1 karma

What was your most say 'life changing' moment while on deployment?

brandonunisAMA3 karma

My mother passed away while I was in Afghanistan. I was given the option to go home for the funeral, but I felt i was needed more there. Still not sure I made the right choice, and it haunts me to this day.

DeuceBMG1 karma

Congratulations, I actually just watched this a short time ago and thought it was pretty intense that they showed what it's really like! I would hope that all of the US soldiers would be able to come home very soon! Thanks for sharing your AMA on here!

brandonunisAMA1 karma

Thank you for watching.

justamerica461 karma

Would normal civilians be surprised at the 'scenes' or atmosphere of combat? And I've always wanted to know, what drives you during a firefight?

brandonunisAMA1 karma

I'm not sure if they would be surprised. Watch the show and see how you feel.

What drove me during a firefight was the fact that the guys to my left and my right were counting on me. I didn't want to let them down.

bartbart1 karma

Have you seen Terminal Lance?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

I check it twice a week. Just bought Headcall on my kindle too. Probably my favorite comic of all time.

DatRagnar1 karma

Where in Afghanistan were you deployed and did you ever Co-Op with other foreign forces (Canadians, British, Danish etc.)

brandonunisAMA2 karma

I was in Musa Qala in northern Helmand Province for the first few months. Then we moved down to Camp Leatherneck and did combat ops from there. Most of the ops were in the Zimindiwar region of Helmand (near the Kajaki Dam)

I already answered your second question and I'll copy and paste it here.

We worked with the Afghan National Army all the time. We also worked with their Special Forces (I think they were called Tiger teams). On one operation we had a British guy with us, but I cant remember why or what branch of service he was in. I believe he was Special Forces though.

jcaseys341 karma

Be honest, why do you think we are over there? Is it really to kill terrorists and help the people over there, or are we not getting the truth?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

If there's some big conspiracy, I never saw any evidence.

I answered this before so I'll copy and paste.

The Taliban were in control of Afghanistan. They harbored Al Qaeda and let them get ready for 9-11. They imposed theirs laws, which basically made women slaves. We should try to make sure this doesn't happen again. Is it working? No clue. I hope so.

jpastore1 karma

I have several questions. 1. what do you think about the innocent people killed by drones? 2. what do you think about the wars? 3. How do feel about the home field being the battlefield and the development of internment camps?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

  1. I think that anything that kills innocent civilians is wrong.

  2. I already answered this one. Heres a copy and paste:

The Taliban were in control of Afghanistan. They harbored Al Qaeda and let them get ready for 9-11. They imposed theirs laws, which basically made women slaves. We should try to make sure this doesn't happen again. Is it working? No clue. I hope so.

  1. I'm not sure what you're talking about here. Could you be more specific?

derpasarous1 karma

Army vet here. I've only been deployed to Iraq only. Just have to ask another veteran...when you came back home...how did you turn it off?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

I guess through time and patience. When I first got back, I was kinda shitty, but I've been getting better. Time and patience.

clearedmycookies1 karma

Not sure if you are still answering questions or not, but any advice for the people that have never deployed and is about to for the final leg of the tour before we fully pull out?

brandonunisAMA0 karma

Just be careful dude. Be confident in your training and the guys that have your back.

novelty_spatula1 karma

What inspired you to join the military? Also, did the film crew have to carry weapons for protection?

brandonunisAMA0 karma

Inspired? I'd say 911 inspired me. The other reasons I joined weren't very inspirational.

The film crew did not have any weapons. We were tasked with protecting them.

classicorange1 karma


brandonunisAMA3 karma

Hahaha yeahhh it was a pretty dirty stache. Biggest misconception? I guess everything. It's not like in the movies. You're always walking in a straight line, and then you get shot at. At that point you hit the ground and wonder where they are shooting from. I guess most people wouldn't think it would be like that.

Xer01 karma

how did you prepare yourself physically for boot camp?

brandonunisAMA2 karma

My recruiter would get his poolees together once a week and we would do some pretty excruciating training. Honestly as long as you're in half decent shape, you should be able to make it just fine. Do a lot of running, just in case.

EvilTech51501 karma

Ok, I'm gonna throw out the requisite super oddball question.

Now that we have gays in the military, well openly, does this mean there will be a closer relationship with Afghans in light of the whole "Manlove Thurdsay" thing going down over there? ;)

But in all seriousness, after the truckloads of money dumped over there, do you actually think there will be any long term gains? To me it looks like those we helped get into power are nest feathering, socking away money in foreign banks and getting ready to get out of dodge once our military forces leave.

After that, it looks as if it will be another empire made of sand like in South Vietnam, pre revolution Iran, the Christian buffer zone in Palestine, and as most of the Saudi peninsula will be come the day when they tell us to get out in no uncertain terms.

brandonunisAMA3 karma

Long term gains? I really hope so. I hope that the Taliban never harbors a group like Al Qaeda there again. I hope there is democracy, even if that means they want to elect the Taliban. I hope women keep their rights and are no longer slaves.

Is it gonna happen? I don't know.

Silent_Thought631 karma


brandonunisAMA6 karma


random_grad111 karma

Did the camera crew ever get in the way, or were they pretty good about just letting things happen?

brandonunisAMA3 karma

I already answered this one. I'll copy and paste.

There was one time we were taking a lot of fire and had to get out of the open. We had a pretty far run to make and one Nat Geo guy was lagging behind a little. I could see he was going as fast as he could, but he just wasn't in the same shape that we were in. That was really the only time they really slowed us down from what I can remember.

They were pretty good about letting things happen.

kakallak1 karma

What is the most common misconception about PTSD?

brandonunisAMA3 karma

From what I know? How easily it is to be diagnosed with it. Not saying that the people who were diagnosed don't really have it, just saying that it just take a little bit of depression or insomnia to get diagnosed with it.

waaasobe0 karma

Why were you dishonorably discharged ? Do you feel that you made an impact in the work you did or, did you feel that what you had done was useless? Was the general population happy that you were there ? How friendly we're they ?

brandonunisAMA0 karma

Sorry typo earlier. I was honorably discharged.

I feel like my unit made a pretty decent dent in the Taliban.

The closer you got to a FOB (forward operating base) the happier the population was. Also the kids loved us. Maybe had somethin to do with the candy we gave them.

Some were friendly, some weren't. ALL the kids were friendly. I miss those little rascals.

etulfnicks0 karma

No question, just wanted to say thanks for your service

brandonunisAMA1 karma


OG-Snoopy0 karma

What are some things you have seen in Your service that you haven't seen anywhere else? For intense, in the movie jarhead the soldiers were walking through an oil field with geysers shooting out flames and i though it looked stunning and would be amazed to see things like that. On a similar note, what is your favorite war movie and which movie seemed the most true to what the military is like?(not a movie but band of brothers was great) Lastly, i'd like to thank you for your service and for taking time to do an AMA.

brandonunisAMA1 karma

I have also seen Jarhead, and I know exactly what you are talking about. Honestly, I have never seen anything as breathtaking as that must have been, but if you have ever fought your way through a poppy field in full bloom, then you have seen true beauty. The poppy plant sprouts some sort of flower on the top, and these flowers are either red, pink, or white. The area we were in was full of poppy fields, so you can imagine what it was like to fight through these shoulder-high fields.

Mikevercetti0 karma

No real question but I've seen the series. It's great. And from the son of a veteran, my sincerest gratitude for your service

brandonunisAMA1 karma

Thank you for your support. I wouldn't be able to do what I do without what your father did.

eulalia77170 karma

I don't have any questions, just want to say thank you for your service!

brandonunisAMA3 karma

Thank you for your support.

SemperSometimes110 karma

What's up devil?

Just wanted to let you know that those of us on the reserve side are glad you're setting such a fucking fantastic example for those to come. Semper Fi, and keep it real, motherfucker.


brandonunisAMA1 karma

Thanks and oorah.

kvt50 karma

Thank you.

brandonunisAMA1 karma

Annnd thank you for your support.

pinkerton_960 karma

What made you want to join the service? As a kid did you ever go, "someday I want to serve my country"? And thank you for your service sir

brandonunisAMA0 karma

Thank you for your support.

I already answered your question but I'll copy and paste it here.

I joined the military for many reasons. Ill try to boil them down to the main ones.

After 911, I realized that their were groups of people out there that wanted to harm my friends and family. I wanted to try and help stop them.

I wanted to challenge myself. I felt that if I could get through the Marine Corps, I could get through anything.

I was a little bit spoiled growing up, and I didn't like that. I figured the military would make me independent. Uncle Sam pays for college so that Mom and Dad don't have to.

Huplescat22-9 karma

I watched the first episode of the show. Guys are out on patrol in an armored vehicle when they spot two Afghani men strolling across a field, evidently carrying AK’s. They immediately identify them as Taliban. Then they freak out. The top gunner tries to engage them with his 50 cal machine gun, but the thing jams. The Afghanis continue on at their leisurely pace as the gunner grows increasingly frantic about his weapon’s malfunction.

Eventually, he gives up and someone starts firing an automatic weapon at the guys in the field… but the whole time he’s ducked down behind the armor just holding the gun up over his head and spraying like a lunatic. The locals are never shown shooting back and there’s never any indication of incoming fire, no pings off the armor, no one hit, nothing… just panic and insanity.

After expending thousands of dollars worth of ordnance, the Americans evidently killed the guys. But their bodies and their weapons were never shown. Nevertheless, conclusions were reached. Those guys were dangerous insurgents. I came away not knowing whether I had witnessed the madness of war, or just a badly staged propaganda piece.

NatGeo, as a magazine is still worthy, but this crap they’re putting on TV… a rogues gallery of shows glorifying various law enforcement agencies, and now the military, should put that venerable institution to shame.

brandonunisAMA6 karma

You did not watch Battleground Afghanistan. I'm assuming you were watching the show that is immediately afterwards called "Eyewitness War". We were not lucky enough to patrol in armored vehicles. We walked everywhere.

The thing I like about Battleground Afghanistan, is that it is not an opinion piece. It shows you what happened, and you can make your own conclusions.

You should check it out sometime.