IAmA U.S. Army soldier who served with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Charkh, Afghanistan who was part of the front line effort to find and recover two POW's in July 2010 and was awarded the Purple Heart for wounds received in action, AMA!


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EDIT: I woke up this morning and had a few more questions. While I'm no longer actively watching the AmA, If you reply I will try and answer your questions when I have time. Reddit is very large, and I have a lot of recycled and reposted meme's to look at.

Comments: 162 • Responses: 59  • Date: 

EditingAndLayout27 karma


Thank you for your service.

FreedomB2620 karma

Upvote for using a gif with an amazing beard!

Thank you.

ChickenBaconPoutine17 karma

How were you wounded?

And, excuse my ignorance, but why would there be Navy personel in a landlocked country?

FreedomB2616 karma

  • I received shrapnel to the right calve and the left forearm from a remote controlled IED blast. As a result of the concussive force, and the amount of weight I was carrying I also suffered knee injuries.

  • I believe they were welders / fabricators

EDIT: Clarification / formatting

DeadJasonTodd14 karma

I don't really have a question,just wanted to say thank you for your service.

FreedomB2614 karma

Thank you. It was my pleasure.

HansChuzzman5 karma

Have you been in contact with the POW's since?

What are your feelings/views on the situation in Syria right now?

FreedomB2612 karma

Unfortunately, neither of the POW's who were captured were rescued alive. Though both bodies were recovered and returned home to their families for a proper buriel.

As far as my feelings on Syria, I attempt to understand all potential sides on the matter. That is to say that I see both pro's and con's to either action, though I will say that I believe the voice of the American people needs to be heard and that I'm not so sure it is right now.

ConsistentlyLurking5 karma

Your not just a statistic to everyone. We appreciate you guys. 👍

FreedomB268 karma

I, and the rest of the military, appreciate it.

Though I don't think the 'statistic' feeling is something we get from the general populace so much as we do from the upper echelon of leadership. Both politically and martially.

Wrestlingisgood4 karma

First, Welcome home!

2nd. Can I see the puprle heart?

3rd. do you have any uplifting stories about the war?

4th. Were you scared being on the front line?

FreedomB269 karma

  • While the actual medal that was awarded to me (and the original document) are in a safe in my parents house (plug to /r/hattiesburg because I can) HERE is a photo of me in my dress uniform wearing the purple heart badge for a military ball.

  • I don't have any uplifting stories in particular, however I will say that to classify all of the Afghan (or any for that matter) as bad, is really just ignorant and that there are a lot of pretty nice people who I had the pleasure to meet. Except for the children...all of the children want pens and chocolate (That's a joke by the way)

  • To be honest, not as much as I probably should have been. The first few times you are fired upon, it's an extreme adrenaline rush, and yes, for a moment it can be terrifying. But after awhile you become strangely numb to the experience and the reality.

EDIT: Formatting...I'm new to this posting on Reddit thing.

ScruffyLooking75 karma

Where are your jump wings, airborne?!

Jk. For a leg, your alright in my book man. Cheers!

FreedomB262 karma

Hah. When I arrived at my duty station there wasn't enough time for me to inprocess, train up, go to Airborne school and then deploy. Not that they would have sent my soft body PV2 butt anyway. When we returned I had both an Airborne and Ranger packet in the works but my knee problems really began to rear their ugly heads and was unable to attend either of them.

It's alright though, someone has to clear the LZ for the lawn darts.

Potatoe_away2 karma

Why the CAB and not a CIB?

FreedomB261 karma

The CIB is reserved for people who either are, or were, part of the 11 series of MOS, 11B or 11C and is reserved exclusively for the infantry MOS.

There is some debate over whether or not the cavalry should have their own 'CCB' or 'Combat Cavalry Badge' but it's not going to happen.

redvag4 karma

Thank you for your service.

FreedomB266 karma

Thank you. I, and the rest of the military, appreciate your thanks.

alphabubba4 karma

What do you tell people who think if their good at COD they must be good at it?

FreedomB2614 karma

I don't. I laugh. It's a generally used term to scream at idiots that "This isn't F***ing Call of Duty!" and it's true on so many levels that they're still trying to find a digit to describe it.

i_noticed_you3 karma

I was in the AF for 5 yrs but never got the opportunity to deploy. Do you plan to go career? What are the little thing over there that blew your mind that we (most Americans) take for granted?

FreedomB262 karma

  • Probably not, no. While I loved the guys I was deployed with, and enjoyed my time serving in the combat-oriented environment, due to my injuries sustained to my knees I was forced to re-class to an MOS not of my choosing. Unfortunately I've really come to dislike the MOS that I was placed in and the environment surrounding it, this will probably be my last enlistment.

  • Honestly? Everything. The quality of life and in general just the culture and technological advancement of the region is so far behind what we consider the daily norm that it's unbelievable. Plumbing is not standard in most of the country, and usually consists of a large hole, or a drainage duct running out of a window and into the alley for 'interior' plumbing.

It's hard to really say a single thing, but in general I think there is a lot that gets taken for granted on a day to day basis.

wafflebottom2 karma

What was your MOS?

FreedomB262 karma

I was a 19D (Cavalry Scout - I'll save the google for some people) though due to our location we had limited usage of any sort of vehicle and walked more or less everywhere.

wafflebottom0 karma


FreedomB261 karma


AardvarkRapist3 karma

Why did you enlist in the army?

After being wounded, did your view of the army change at all?

(Did the VA actually pay up on your claim, not to get to political, but I hear they are not very reliable)

FreedomB264 karma

Growing up, the military in general was sort of a foreign concept to me and none of my immediate family served in any branch, so I remember seeing the crisp BDU's (the uniform before the ACU) and thinking how cool it was, as well as playing with my green army men figures as a kid. It sort of stuck with me into my adulthood. When I was 17 I obtained my GED (I was homeschooled...sort of), and at 18 I enlisted.

I wouldn't say that my views on the Army changed any after being wounded, but I will say that coming back and the care that you receive in trying to deal with the issues you have both physically and mentally sort of did. I lost a lot of respect for the illusion of grandeur and the healthcare the Army provides. The public opinion of military servicemembers having great free medical and being taken care of is really a myth.

As far as the VA claim, I've been lucky enough to not have to deal with them yet as I was also lucky enough to be able to continue serving after the injury. Though I'm scheduled to leave the service in a few months, so we'll see. Though I've heard horror stories.

EDIT: Content / forgot to answer questions. FML.

Falconalpaca3 karma

If you could do it all again, would you keep things the same or not enlist?

FreedomB269 karma

I think if I could do it all over again, I would still enlist. Almost without a doubt would I still enlist, it taught be a lot of good things and helped to shape and form me into the man I am today. What I would change is my choice to stay in the Army despite an MOS(job) change. I had the option to stay in and change MOS' or get out, and I chose to stay thinking that I would be able to help, train, and grow soldiers no matter the MOS. I was wrong.

slipperysalami3 karma


FreedomB260 karma

I was just part of the particular generation in which all of the recent history occured.

Had the stakes been any more, or less, I doubt it would have really influenced my decisions either way. Being a soldier was just something I had always wanted to do, and both the time, and necessity for troops was there. So I took it.

putt4fun3 karma

Thank you for your service. God bless you and your family.

FreedomB263 karma

Thank you. Really. It means a lot.

tankschmidt3 karma

Thank you for what you did. What can regular people do for wounded vets when they return home?

FreedomB265 karma

I think the best thing you can do for wounded vets as a civilian is just don't think they're okay - but in turn don't assume they're incapable. It's a complicated process for a lot of wounded soldiers and some have different ways of dealing with it. For the most part, I would try and treat them like any other returning service member.

If you're looking to help, there are a handful (probably a lot more than a handful in all honesty) of organizations who are geared toward helping wounded veterans and that might be a good place to start.

HaiImBrett3 karma

Recently I have been thinking about enlisting into the Air Force. I am 18, no one in my family wants me to, but honestly I feel as though it is the only option. I don't want to work at a dead-end job all my life, and college is just too expensive. I guess I have this thought that I can go, have them pay for all my schooling, and not have to worry. Also unsure whether to go active immediately or inactive for awhile. Could you give me a bit of advice on this?

FreedomB265 karma

Hi Brett(I assume your name is Brett),

To be honest, the Air Force and the Army are two very different beasts. That being said, your experience can also change drastically depending on what job you choose in any branch of the armed forces. In regards to your idea of the government paying for your schooling, the answer is both yes and no. While my experience is only with the Army, I believe it is more or less similar for all branches of the military in the fact that you have Tuition Assistance, which will pay for however much per semester hour while you are serving (as long as you are seeking to obtain a higher degree than whatever you have) and then the G.I. Bill (or it may be called something else in different branches) which is basically to say that they will pay for your tuition for 36 months and as long as you take whatever amount of credit hours is deemed to be a 'full time student' will also pay you BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) while you attend.

That being said - If I had to give you some advice, I would say go inactive, or better yet, join the Air Guard (if they have that in your location) because it is much easier to go from inactive, or guard, to a full time active duty service member.

If joining the military is something you really want to do, than do it. Research it, ensure that it is what you want, and then make the choice with every fiber of your being that it is truly what you want to do, at least for the duration of your contract. Speaking of contracts, don't sign a extremely long term contract at the beginning, I don't care what amount of money they throw at you. The fact of the matter is, you will never know unless you try, and you don't want to be forced to keep trying at something you may come to absolutely hate.

Best wishes.

OwningTheWorld3 karma

Thank you for your brave a noble actions. Thank you for keeping your fellow citizens safe.

FreedomB261 karma

Thank You. It will always have been my pleasure to do so.

ph3wbar3 karma

Whaddup badass! Thanks for humping heavyass packs around the desert and putting your life on the line for us. I got a buddy deployed in some hellish sandpit and it's cool knowing there's people like you out there looking out for one another.

How was it adjusting from typical 'Murican life to being a Sky Soldier in Afghanistan?

FreedomB264 karma

Thanks - and oh how damn heavy those packs got...

I went from 19 weeks of basic, had 10 days to relax, and then was shipped to Germany (where I was stationed) and within 4 months I was in Afghanistan, so to say I really had to adjust from typical American life to being a Sky Soldier (Tien Bien!) in Afghanistan would be an overstatement. Though it's a change to be sure.

On one hand, it's considerably more relaxed. You have less to worry about keeping up appearances and more to worry about staying alive and accomplishing the mission. I would say within the first month you're pretty well adjusted to deployment. I arrived in country during the winter, so I was lucky enough to acclimate from cold to hot slowly and not just be subject to suddenly 100+ degree weather.

What's harder is coming back from deployment and having to get back into a Prim, propper, razor-edged for all appearance purposes soldier. The two are truly almost night and day apart and sadly a lot of soldiers fail at being able to function in a normal 'garrison' (non deployed) setting.

ph3wbar2 karma

Yeah, I would imagine it's hard to care about appearances as much after an experience like that. I know it's not very developed out there, do you think that's affected the way you view materialistic things once you got back home? Seeing people who have so little and coming back to the glitz and glitter facade of the U.S. must have been more of an adjustment than going there in the first place.

FreedomB265 karma

That would be a pretty accurate statement, actually. Some of the problems you generally run in to as a service member coming back from any deployment, especially one in such an austere environment, is that you become more aware of how much people take for granted on a day to day basis and in a way it becomes very easy to become resentful toward the people who complain about things they do in fact take for granted.

It's like looking at the majority of the nations populace and seeing one giant 'First world problem' meme that you just want to slap in the face. Though after awhile, at least from my personal experience, you learn that it is simply how people are, and that everything you endured was to support their very ability to be so oblivious about it.

ph3wbar0 karma

Thanks for that thought out and honest response! Many countries have mandatory military service. If our policy changed from voluntary to compulsory, besides causing an uproar, it would surely be a wake-up call for a lot of people. Do you think that would better our society as a whole or is ignorance bliss? Do you have children and, if so, would you encourage them to enlist?

FreedomB261 karma

  • I would have to say that on the question of mandatory servitude, ignorance is bliss. There is a combination that makes our military the force it really is, one is that our defense budget is higher than any other country in the world, though the second and just a relevant is the fact that we are in fact an all volunteer Army.

In comparison numbers we are far from the reigning champ of numbers and yet time and time again we prove ourselves as a formidable force. A large part of that is that our armed forces not only do fight, but they want to fight. They volunteered to do what they do and that means that they will work harder and longer because it's something they chose, not something they're forced to do.

  • I have both a daughter and a son, and while I would not inherently stop my children from enlisting, nor would I encourage them to. I personally have a sort of 'I do so they will not have to' mentality about it. But if it comes down to it and either one of them wants to enlist and they have come to such a choice on their own accord? Sure, why not. I will do everything in my power to insure they are capably prepared in whatever way I can.

CrashRiot2 karma

Hey I was there for that as well. I served in a route clearance platoon out of Shank and spent most of the time they were missing setting up TCP's and clearing routes. My question is something I've been wondering since they were found.

Did you ever hear of why they were off base to begin with? I heard rumors, but they were often conflicting so I didn't know what to believe, if anything. Thanks!

FreedomB261 karma

No, we really didn't. The fact is that I'm not sure anyone by a few people really actually know. What I can tell you, is that they never officially released a statement saying what they were doing, what they actually did, or why they had the type of vehicle they had.

They are also unlisted in the POW record for for the Afghanistan campaign.

jdgabe242 karma

First of all, I thank you for your service to our country. My question is, how was your experience with the Army as a branch? Was it good or bad? What job did you have?

FreedomB265 karma

Thank You, it is my honor to serve.

The Army as a branch has both its' ups and downs just like any large scale business would and it depends largely on what type of person you are, and what you're doing and where you're at. I feel the Army in most cases has decent intentions, though what it really suffers from is an imposing pressure of correction and 'publicity' that sometimes proves to counter-productive and very limiting for the actual ground troops.

In garrison It is very (and I stress very) hit and miss as far as good or bad. There are a lot of decent people in the Army, and the military as a whole. Though there are just as many bad apples that people have disillusions about them being heroes and who often cause grief for the rest of the branch.

The Army is the largest force in our military, and frankly you don't get to the number it has without cutting a few corners. During the surge of the Iraq / Afghanistan starting campaign's there were a lot of allowances that really pushed the limits of Army standard and regulation, and unfortunately fast forward to today and a lot of those 'not so necessarily acceptable soldiers' have become leaders and can make for a very toxic style of leadership.

  • My MOS was 19D.

jdgabe240 karma

Thanks for the answer! It was really appreciated, I have been thinking about joining for awhile

FreedomB262 karma

I've said it before (and will continue to say so) - but if you're going to regret not doing it later in life, then do it while you can.

If you're on the fence and you're not sure, the guard or reserves is always a great option to test the waters before committing to a full change of life. It's very important to take the time to figure out what job(s) you will really think are worth doing so you don't get caught in the endless 'grind' of doing something you don't enjoy.


Did you go into the mission with an idea that you would get injured? Or just go in and get out with out anything bad happening? Also, thank you for your service.

FreedomB262 karma

The actual 'mission' was conducted over a span of about 5 days in which we were searching for the POW's throughout a large list of cities and villages. I knew it wouldn't be easy, and we averaged 2-3 hours of sleep a night for those 5 days, some times less or not all at once, but I didn't think I would be injured, no.

Most soldiers, especially in the situations that I was a part of, develop a minor case of what I like to call the 'Superman' complex. That is that you don't think about the fact that you can die, or be injured, just everything you've been able to survive, and I think that's the mentality for a large part of the deployed soldiers and is often part of what some soldiers find challenging when re-integrating with society.

EDIT: Grammar

beefat992 karma

Were you part of an elite military platoon/group?

Did you ever rescue those 2 soldiers?

How do you like Afghanistan, and do you think it will recover?

FreedomB264 karma

  • I was part of a small (less than 30) man scout reconnaissance platoon. During my time in Afghanistan, and during the POW rescue efforts especially, we worked closely (and often) with the Special Forces and Navy SEALs. We also had contact with foreign armies such as the Czech. Republic and one or two German KSK.

  • Sadly, no. Both sailors were recovered, though both had been killed. One had been dead since the beginning, and they were just keeping his body, and the other was killed later on.

  • Afghanistan, despite it's issues is actually a pretty beautiful place when you're not being shot at. Though I would like to think they will recover when we leave, I unfortunately don't think that will happen. I have decent hopes for their growing Democratic style of government, though to say they will make a recovery I believe is an overstatement. The taliban as a lot like the Mafia during the course of U.S. or Russian history, and will never fully be eradicated.

beefat991 karma

Were you allowed to leave camp and explore the local towns/villages?

Was the Taliban an ever present during you were there, or would there be times where it was quiet?

Do you (hopefully not) have PTSD?

FreedomB264 karma

  • No. The whole 'Hurt Locker' object is really not that common unless you're someplace that has been more or less docile like Kuwait. The closest to this would be patrols through the local Bazaar's (really large open markets)

  • There were times when it was quiet. The Taliban is usually fairly silent during the winter season though picks up heavily when it starts becoming warmer. They're always around though, in just more of a passive capacity.

  • I think every soldier who has experienced true conflict or turmoil on a deployment has some level of PTSD or another. For the first few months after returning I would jump / duck / flinch at any loud banging noise such as car doors being slammed, or someone dropping a piece of wood or closing a dumpster loudly, but most of that goes away with time.

Sadly PTSD is really an all too common thing that is still struggling to really be dealt with as a military on the very premise that unless you have it, it's hard to understand. I suffer from a small handful of differences that were effected emotionally by the events I was a part of and require sleeping medication to maintain a healthy sleeping schedule. Though socially, unless on a very rare occasion, nobody would be the wiser and I'm a perfectly 'normal' guy.

beefat992 karma

That must be terrible, do you (I don't want to offend anyone) regret serving?

FreedomB262 karma

Not at all. I knew well before I was ever deployed that when I enlisted what may be required of me as a soldier serving in a combat environment, and it is something that is required by few to spare many. I'm okay with the fact that I was one of the few, and hope that I spared many because of it.

I do feel sometimes that I shouldn't have stayed in the service and allowed myself to change MOS'(jobs) because I feel a little bit like Brett Favre tarnishing his legacy. But it is what it is, and in the long run I still feel that I help people on occasion.

beefat991 karma

Thank you for answering my questions! (You answered them better then I ever could've asked, Thank you)

FreedomB263 karma

My pleasure.

Jamx881 karma

Have you ever been in a position where you wanted to go out on a rescue and felt it was safe doing it but for whatever reason you superiour officers wouldnt let you? If so what were the circumstances and how did you feel about it?

FreedomB262 karma

This honestly happens more often than people probably realize. There have been multiple times we have sat and had to watch hostiles actually engage friendly forces who had no idea we were there, and that we could have engaged and saved the stress of a potentially deadly situation, but were told to not do anything by someone who wasn't even located in the same place.

It's a sad fact, but mostly depends on how the command is. Some will drop JDAMs(bombs from airplanes) at the drop of a hat, and some will never allow mortars to be fired, it all depends.

As far as how it makes you feel, it gets at you, and you feel like the command really doesn't have your back and it makes you think about how much of a statistic you really are in comparison to the 'big picture' - but you get over it, if you dwell on things like that it can really make you lose focus, and is potentially quite dangerous.

PriPhy1 karma


FreedomB263 karma

It was always something I wanted to do as a kid. When I was 15 I had visited the recruiter about it but ended up having a pretty decent job offer building and remodeling Wal*Mart's and model homes so it was delayed. At 17(almost 18) work got slow and I went and tested for my GED and enlisted.

I think the military is something that a lot of young men should really do. I don't think it should be mandatory, but it really helps to grow and mature young men as, well...Men. I chose to become a soldier because I wanted to do a part, even if it was a very small one. In the end, especially when you get toward the leadership element of being a soldier, it can be pretty rewarding. Part teacher, part warrior. It's a pretty cool feeling.

Dookiestain_LaFlair1 karma

If you get your legs blown off or are injured to no longer be combat effective, do they have a cirpple platoon where you can still sit around, wear the uniform and collect a paycheck for the rest of your life? Or do they kick you out?

FreedomB261 karma

Typically they have what is called the Warrior Transition Battalion. To save the lengthy explanation, they kick you out. The military pays a decent sum of money depending on the quality of life you may be limited to due to your injuries though covers whatever medical issues in relation to the injury for life.

It's a pretty cutthroat systematic way of eliminating people who are no longer of use, but the government doesn't forget them entirely and they are usually taken care of pretty well. At least from my experience.

Dookiestain_LaFlair0 karma

Thank you for your response. Speaking of cutting throats, does the Army still train infantry with bayonets and knives?

FreedomB261 karma

I know that when I went through basic training we were still instructed in the use of bayonets and basic hand-to-hand combat techniques. Though I heard that since the consolidation of most of the combat arms to Ft. Benning, that it's not a required part of the training.

deadlybacon71 karma

Was it hard at first to fire intending to kill? A lot of people seem to think that they can do it, but to me it seems like it would be hard to adjust to.

FreedomB261 karma

Actually, no. The thought of the consequences in that nature didn't cross my mind, at least not at first. I think given the severity and possible danger of the situations in which you have to return fire (because despite popular belief the U.S. forces typically do not shoot first) that you don't really have time to process it right then and there.

It's when you have the down time and you're sitting on your bunk, cleaning your weapon or when you finally return home that you have time to decompress and realize the depth of what was actually occurring on a day to day basis.

deadwalkingcg1 karma

How do you view our country? Im always so curious

about how those who serve our country end up viewing

the country durring and after service.

FreedomB261 karma

I love the country. I love America, and there's a very small pool of places I would like to live other than on American soil.

The country itself is fine, though like someone had said earlier in the AmA

"The most important thing for a soldier is to realize that you don't have the luxury of being political"

and that's pretty much truth. I believe that America and the ideals it was founded upon with the intentions our founding fathers had in 1776 was great, and for the most part I think we've done a decent job of evolving as a nation.

Though I think that sometimes American's tend to forget where we come from as a nation and lose track of what it means(or used to mean) to be an American citizen.

TL;DR - America is a great country, but I think people forget the very fiber in which the country was founded upon.

conrara1 karma

i see you liked the army dress uniform? if it was the uniform that caught your eye,why didnt the marine corps dress blues do any good?

FreedomB262 karma

If the dress uniform was an influential factor in my career choice, I probably would have joined the Navy.

Fact is, that when I joined the army the dress uniform looked nothing like it does now and was in fact 'the pickle suit' consisting of all green hues and a terribly uncomfortable fabric (which can also be seen in my photo). The new ASU (Army Service Uniform) is considerably more comfortable, and more 'sharp' in my opinion, I wasn't issued it, and purchased it on my own free will.

winginit211 karma

Did you get stress cards at boot camp? I've heard this rumor forever.

FreedomB261 karma

No. For awhile I was under the impression that they existed myself however the entire 'stress card' thing was a myth in itself. The closest real example of a 'stress card' was in the 90's the Navy gave it's recruits a card with resources in case it got 'too much' for them, but I don't believe it had any sort of effect to the extent that it is said to have in it's myth form.


Who is your favorite Naruto character?

FreedomB266 karma

I have honestly never watched the anime, so I couldn't offer a true opinion.

CheeseBurgerFetish1 karma


FreedomB262 karma

Thank You.

CurCur071 karma


FreedomB262 karma

  • I definitely would't say it makes me 'bitter' toward Russia, though having come in contact with people who were present during that time period it is a great example of different styles of engagement. A common misconception is that all of Afghanistan knows what is going on in Afghanistan, when really they don't. I had the opportunity to traverse to a few very remote locations where U.S. forces had never been before and we learned that they originally though we were still the Russians.

I think there is a definite standstill which may or may not have been heavily influenced by the actions of Russia, but at the same time had the Russian conflict not occurred, things definitely would have been different in the country, sure.

  • I think the Arab springs were bound to happen sooner or later. There's a lot going on with that and I won't lie and say I was able to follow it all as it happened, but I will say that it is really impossible to prevent in any situation unless you can somehow maintain a complete oblivious nature to what is going on around you. Would the U.S. not going in to the Middle East prevented it from happening? I don't think so - but it may have been prolonged.

  • It's been going on for a long....long....long long time, I think it's naive to think that it's going to stop anytime soon.

CurCur071 karma


FreedomB264 karma

Honestly? I think American's only care about Syria right now due to the fact that we're stretched to thin already and we haven't even officially wound down on the two wars we're fighting. Were we out of both Iraq and Afghanistan? I'm sure people would be all for it. Speaking from a personal standpoint, I really don't feel like going to war with another country any time soon, it has degraded us not only as a military but as a nation.

Flyone80 karma

Thank you for all you've done!

What is something you've learned during your tour that has shaped your character for the good? I guess in a sense, what life lesson did you learn that you carry with you?

FreedomB261 karma

I think one of the biggest things is Humility, it is easy to take things, and life in General for granted and being close to the end of it more than a couple times can really put things in perspective. Life is too short to be a douche all the time, but it is also too short to allow yourself to be walked over.

I guess in a nutshell is that Life is a pretty powerful thing, and having seen both sides of what can happen over the smallest of things? People really need to learn to enjoy it more and stop taking it for granted.

That, and that America, despite not being the former glory that it once was, and even though it may not be 100% what our forefathers intended when it was founded - really isn't that bad of a place.

EDIT: Grammar


With many areas of Afghanistan being remote and/or disconnected from other areas in terms of government structure, spiritual beliefs, customs, etc., do you think it's likely that Afghanistan as a country will ever again have ever have a strong central government that can provide the necessary elements for having a stable country?

FreedomB262 karma

It's possible, though I mentioned in another comment (sort of similar) that it was rather unlikely. The Afghan people as a collective are actually a pretty strong and what could be a very independent people but a large portion of what troubles the country, as well as various portions of the Middle East really, is the inability to get past differences.

America is a collective melting pot of religious and cultural backgrounds and we have a stable (generally speaking) central government. So it's possible, they just have to overcome their own inner demons.

anddrksaid0 karma

I've always been curious about the fitness aspect.

1) What type of shape do you have to be in before heading to boot camp?
2) How much do only a few weeks of boot camp whip a recruit into shape?
3) And finally, how do activity duty soldiers usually maintain their fitness levels?

Thanks a lot dude.

FreedomB262 karma

Happy to help sate your curiosity.

  • When I went, I was 205lbs at 6'0 and I can safely say that I wasn't in great shape and that most of that weight wasn't muscle. You don't have to be in great shape, but what you don't have in fitness you have to make up for in heart. I would recommend finding the standards for an APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test) and insure that before attending you could make at least a '200' on the scoring scale and you should be fine. Granted, anything higher is always great.

  • Having mentioned that I was 205lbs entering basic, I left basic at 160. When I entered they issued me a large uniform and when I left I had plenty of room in a set of mediums - it depends on the course, where it's at, and the drill sergeants who are present. Any MOS which offers OSUT (One Station Unit Training - it basically means you don't transfer to anything different from basic training for the 'teaching' portion of your training) is typically a bit more grueling of a process and focuses more on physical aptitude.

  • On active duty there are a few ways that it's maintained, for one you preform PT (Physical Training) every day usually from about 6:30AM to 7:30-8:00AM and the days typically alternate between muscular endurance and cardio exercises. It's also pretty common for active duty soldiers (especially single ones who live in the barracks) to attend the gym, but it's not a requirement.

WiskerBuiscuit0 karma

lots of MTT's ETT's(Military Advisor) from the navy was the SAR was it the ETT's that decided to go to the bazar on their own? if so I remember them I was an MTT that left shortly before they did that.

FreedomB260 karma

The real reason as to why they were in the bazaar is unclear, and will probably never be made public knowledge. Though yes, they traveled from their original place of duty (believed to be Kabul) through to the Charkh bazaar. Some say they were lost, but the mystery of that is that the main road leading into the bazaar passed right in front of the combat outpost.

In the words of Forrest Gump; "Stupid is as stupid does" though it's unfortunate they met the end they did. I wish that upon no soldier.

Thirdlegontheground0 karma

I'm very thankful for what you've done for our country, and I've really been thinking bout joining the military but I have had alot of people tell me not to.what do you think?

FreedomB261 karma

First of all, Thanks.

Second, I think you should do what you want to do. While the military isn't for everyone, and is far from easy, it can often times be rewarding as well. The way I see it is this, if you think you will regret not doing it when you're old, then consider doing it while you're able. The Guard or Reserve of any branch will allow you to test the waters per se without having to commit a ton of your time to the lifestyle. So maybe consider that.

If you do decide to join, research jobs for yourself, and have an idea of what you want when you go in to a recruiters office. Recruiters are salesman, and the military is what they're trying to sell. If you can't get a job you know you'd like, then don't do it. You will just be contracted to subject yourself to misery.

Thirdlegontheground0 karma

That is exactly what I've been needing to hear.thank you, keep fighting on soldier!

FreedomB262 karma

May the force be with you, young padawan.

jcaseys340 karma

First, I just want to say thank you for your service! What characteristics does a good soldier have before they get to boot camp?

Another question: You have said the rescue mission wasn't a success, but how many guys were wounded or killed on that mission? How do you feel about the fact that more men had to be wounded or die to save two guys that had been captured?

FreedomB260 karma

First, Thank you for your appreciation.

Second, From my own personal experience, in which I would consider myself a 'good' soldier, I showed up totally unprepared and with little to no knowledge whatsoever of what I was going in to. So it's definitely not a requirement to have any particular mindset, the drill sergeants are there to help build your mind as much as your body during the phase.

However, I would say that being attentive helps, as does being humble. Not only do instructors hate cocky recruits, but nobody else likes them either. If a soldier can show up, ready to learn and willing to do whatever is asked of him to absorb what knowledge is being taught by the men (or women) or are experienced in it, then it will help. Also, a level head will get a soldier far. There are plenty of times where I've seen guys who are either cocky or don't have a level head just snap and it's all because they couldn't just chill.

Boot Camp (or Basic Combat Training, or whatever it may be called in relation to whichever branch) is a game. It's not CandyLand - but it's very much just a game. The goal is to break the recruit down both physically and mentally and then slowly rebuild them into what they need to be. If a soldier can enter in knowing that nothing is personal, and realize that half of what will be said is said specifically for trying to irritate you and see what you will do under stress, then they will be fine.

IMBlackWing0 karma


FreedomB261 karma

I have unfortunately never actually been able to serve with the Canadian military directly, however I have seen them out and about and used to speak with a member the Royal Canadian Air Force rather actively. I believe the main issue with the perception that America thinks that Canadian forces are a joke is simple - American soldiers in general can be douchebags. There are a lot of overzealous (and inexperienced, as these two typically go hand in hand) soldiers who put down every military other than the USA's.

The biggest issue, is that for some reason I think a lot of American's forget Canada exists. While I know that sounds funny, I think it's relatively true. Unless you live in the northern US then you really don't interact with Canada in any form whatsoever.

In my opinion, the Canadian's are great soldiers. I've met a few and spoken with a few when not deployed and they seem like great guys who are perfectly capable.

I hope I've been able to answer your questions...eh? ;)

EDIT: Grammar!

MattMcMann0 karma

Did you ever work with special forces? What does regular army think of special forces? I'm planning on enlisting with an 18x contract after college.

FreedomB260 karma

I had the chance to work closely with the Special Operations community very frequently and the opinion of the SF guys really differs. It's mostly a 'first impression' sort of deal. For a lot of people I think it's very hollywood feeling, like 'OMG these guys are awesome, look at that, look at this!' - but really they're alright guys for the most part but in my experience they can be assholes.

The 18X is a interesting option, and I hope it is open to you when the time comes for you to enlist if you still show interest. As a college graduate you also qualify to become an officer, so you may want to look in to that as well. Should the time come for you to enlist and you do have access to the 18X option, just realize that it's not a sure thing, and if you don't complete all phases necessary to be selected, you will just be a run of the mill 11B Infantryman.

While on the subject? I have to say that Navy SEALs? Much cooler dudes than SF. If you're not dead set on the Army, and you really think you're gung-ho about being part of the Special Operations community, consider the Navy.

Delnehro-1 karma


FreedomB262 karma

Besides being blown up? lol

I would have to say the worst experience, I would imagine not just for me but for many service members is having to see any of your comrades in arms injured or worse, killed. Unfortunately during my tour I had the displeasure of experiencing both. I would say that is probably the worst experience and the longest lasting.

scratchyhat-2 karma

How were you wounded? If you got shot, Could you tell me what it felt like? Thanks so much for your service.

FreedomB263 karma

I wasn't shot, though I did receive shrapnel from an IED to both my forearm and my leg. The easiest and one of the best explanations I've heard so far is that it's like having a limb that has fallen asleep. It really didn't hurt at all upon impact and just felt tingly, hot, and numb. I didn't even realize I had taken shrapnel to the leg until I attempted to take a step and my leg buckled beneath me.

The days following the initial blast / wound are the worst. It's like someone gave you the deepest bruise you've ever felt and occasionally sticks a knife in it just for kicks. I was on crutches for three weeks, physical therapy for two, and finally able to walk with a mild limp thereafter.

tl;dr It doesn't hurt at first, but the recovery sucks.

Solo-Wing_Pixy-1 karma

Why did your arm & leg go numb?Was it from the adrenaline kicking in or some other scientific explanation?

FreedomB260 karma

I honestly have no alternate explanation other than the adrenaline. Directly after the IED blast there was a small to medium sized firefight of small arms (AK-47's, M4's, etc) so it was pretty hectic. Though it's a good question. Maybe a good ELI5? ;)

RoboticGoose-1 karma

How did your life change from not being able to walk normally? What kind of long term effects will this have on you (physically)? Why was the flag you were standing next to partially the confederate flag?Thank you for serving our country.

FreedomB260 karma

  • With time I've actually been able to make more or less a full recovery to being able to walk normal I'd say about...85% of the time. Occasionally I will find myself limping on it for one reason or another, though more often than not I'm able to function normally.

In the long term aspect, I wonder that myself. Due to the injuries not directly related to the shrapnel, but the knee damage itself, I'm not able to run without some form of pain. Before leaving for Afghanistan I was comfortably able to finish up to 10 miles at a reasonable pace, though upon returning from deployment I found that I could maybe only force out 1 mile before being in severe pain.

Climbing stairs is either hit or miss, depending on how my knees want to feel that day and at times can be excruciating or relatively normal. I suppose I will have to wait and see how it plays out, though for the most part I would expect a fairly normal livelyhood with my legs just being roughly 20 years older than I am in terms of reliability.

  • I mentioned somewhere earlier in the AMA that I was originally from Mississippi. The flag was a gift sent to me by my family because they thought it looked cool and it featured crossed sabers and a skull wearing a stetson which is an often associated trademark of the Cavalry. As for it being partially a confederate flag, it's just a design, no hidden meanings.

NemDeggers-7 karma

How does it make you feel to know that you're just a worthless pawn in the eyes of the elites?

FreedomB266 karma

As easy as it would be to downvote this comment into oblivion, I can offer a relative answer.

Being on the ground at the front line, it's easy to recognize at times that you really are, in fact, a statistic. Nothing makes you come to that realization then when you are being denied assets that you could truly use to assist whatever hostile situation you may be in.

But you don't do it for them. You strive on and continue to 'fight the good fight' (as they like to say) because not only do YOU want to come home, but you want to do everything in your power to bring the soldiers to both your left and right home as well. Because over the course of the last few months, years, sometimes maybe even weeks, you will at some point form a bond. That bond, formed in the muck and grime that you are a part of only because of the very principle that you are, in fact, a statistic, is very powerful. I continue to this day keep in touch with the soldiers I trained and the men I served with, even though many of them are either out of the military, or at various duty stations across the world because of that bond.

TL;DR - Everyone knows as a soldier you're a statistic, but you do it because you want to come home, and you want your friends to come home.

Falconalpaca0 karma

Your calculated response to an inflammatory comment just made me fist bump the air. You're awesome.

FreedomB261 karma

Relevant: http://imgur.com/YzUGOzU

Your comment made the air fist bump me for being awesome. Kudos. ;)

TL;DR - Thank You, =P

NemDeggers-4 karma

So you WENT (on your own will) to Afghanistan to kill some illiterate farmers to come back home?.

i seriously hope someone blows himself with a c4 next to you,you worthless murderer.

FreedomB263 karma

I love the smell of troll. You guys rock. ;)