Some people thought I should do an AMA, talking about it is cathartic for me and the questions help me think about things in ways I wouldn't otherwise. I was with Chosen Company, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington were embedded with our sister company Battle and went on to make Restrepo etc. Their AO (area of operations) was in the Korengal valley while ours was a little ways over in the Wygal Valley. We were involved in a lot of intense fighting and large battles, two of the men in Chosen company were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions during those battles. Our last mission was to a village called Wanat. At dawn we were attacked by 200-400 enemy fighters and by the end we had lost 9 men in my platoon and 27 were wounded, myself included. It was one of the deadliest firefights of either war.

E: I really appreciate everything, the interest means a lot. I did my best to answer everyone but I feel like a zombie right now so I think I'm gonna rack out. A bit embarrassing that everyone I know saw this but whatever haha. If I got anything wrong then let me know, I tried to stay in my lane. EE: Sorry some douche bag went through and downvoted everyone.

EEE: Heres a video of some silly shit from the early parts of the deployment

Light winds and soft landings.

  • Matthew R. Kahler, 29, of Granite Falls, Minnesota

  • Jonathan P. Brostrom, 24, of Aiea, Hawaii

  • Israel Garcia, 24, of Long Beach, California

  • Jonathan R. Ayers, 24, of Snellville, Georgia

  • Jason M. Bogar, 25, of Seattle, Washington

  • Jason D. Hovater, 24, of Clinton, Tennessee

  • Matthew B. Phillips, 27, of Jasper, Georgia

  • Pruitt A. Rainey, 22, of Haw River, North Carolina

  • Gunnar W. Zwilling, 20, of Florissant, Missouri

  • Sergio S. Abad, 21, of Morganfield, Kentucky

award papers for proof: (if you want more let me know)

more verification:

Comments: 817 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

CantonaTheKing178 karma

I show Restrepo to my 12th grade classes in order to give them some idea of the war in Afghanistan and the men who serve there.

Do you feel that the movie is fairly accurate in its representation? [If you've seen it.] Also, if you had to explain in as few sentences as possible what your experience was like there, what would that/they be?

I'm looking for first-person accounts to provide to my students in order to give them some perspective.

And: glad you're back. Hope you're better. Thank you.

chosen_few322 karma

Yes, it's very accurate. I've seen it, I was on Rock Avalanche and I'm in the book "War" that Junger wrote.

It's rough. Walking those mountains every day wears on you, the constant threat of getting shot wears on you, the boredom wears on you. The brotherhood keeps you alive, not only that it makes it the happiest time of your life. The fight gets in your blood and you love it, then someone you love gets hurt and you hate it. It's a constant shift from the absolute best feelings a human can feel to the absolute worst.

docalypse105 karma

Hey Chosen Brother,

I was the medic in 1st platoon. I don't really have any questions for you specific to Wanat, but I just wanted to say hey.

How are you holding up man? If you need to sort shit out, or need an ear, PM me and I'll shoot you my contact info. I was a little late to the battle on QRF, but I remember experiencing plenty of that battle even after we got there. It helps to talk about that stuff, but even more when both truly understand wtf really happened.

chosen_few24 karma

Haha I'm alright, how you been brother?

two_off84 karma

What were your reasonings / inspirations for originally enlisting?

chosen_few258 karma

I uh, liked to party. I made some really stupid decisions in high school. Started dating an extremely jealous college chick who was convinced I was banging chicks in the bathroom or some shit so she'd always come pick me up. Ended up just stopped going and stayed with her, then dropped out. 10th grade. I started feeling really shitty, it was hitting me that I really was worthless. I had done nothing, I was doing nothing but living off this crazy bitch. I was crazy liberal back then, I'd have NEVER joined the army. I could NEVER kill someone, that's not me you know? Then one day I woke up, looked around and decided to do something. I loved my country (that's why I hated on it so much, I wanted to "fix" it) and the way I looked at it - it might as well be me out there getting shot up instead of someone worth a shit. If I could fill one spot then that felt noble to me. A lot of it was I wanted to actually take care of this girl I was with, I wanted to support her and give her shit. So I enlisted. Bitch left me right before basic saying "I can't wait 3 months".

mysoldierswife56 karma

Do you feel like it gave you your confidence back?

Also, do you ever think about wanting to deploy again?

chosen_few86 karma

Hm. Well yea I guess it did. I mean I didn't have any reason to be confident.

Yes, every day. I got medically retired though and it's really not easy to get back in, I've tried quite a few times. I thought I was over it but nostalgia creeps in and I feel like a made a huge mistake getting out

coolnoah67 karma

What's your scariest story to tell with it?

chosen_few230 karma

I mean that's Wanat. It felt like the world was exploding. Hundreds of RPGS slamming, dishka fire, rpk, pkm, ak grenades everything. The world just fucking erupted. The adrenaline and love for my dudes carried me through it, I just wanted them to stop getting shot for fucks sake. The radio was blaring, you couldn't keep track of the casualties, it seemed like fucking everyone. When I made it up to the OP, it seemed quiet. I don't know, still maybe - just a little ways away was just this massive fight so it's not like you can't hear it. Everyone up there was dead except for Pitts who was really fucked up, just there alone holding it down. The stillness scared me, it just felt wrong. Then some rpgs and machine gun fire hit us all. A couple guys were thrown over a sandbag wall and the guy with me was I mean...mortally wounded and screaming and I realized I couldn't feel my leg and my hand didn't work. That's when I was the most terrified I have ever been in my life. Those seconds before I snapped out of it was just blank terror. I knew I was going to die and I wasn't ready, I was still 20. But you snap out of it, keep fighting and make sure that shit doesn't happen you know?

Thenewalexander44 karma

How were the afghan soldiers in that firefight?

chosen_few140 karma

they hid and sometimes shot wildly in the enemies general direction.

Cadetsumthin45 karma

I'm sorry...but those guys were worthless. I could never trust them.

OnBathSaltsAMA57 karma

The only time they actually aim is when they're shooting US DoD personnel on the FOB.

chosen_few31 karma

ASG murdered our platoon sergeant.

CaptainSnacks13 karma

If it's not inappropriate to ask, what happened to the guy that killed him? I can't imagine y'all were very happy about it.

chosen_few25 karma

He ran, never saw him again. It was the middle of the night and we couldn't find him. I'm pretty sure I heard somewhere that they caught him but I can't say if it's true or not.

BetweenTheWaves16 karma

Could you perhaps give us an insight into the combat capabilities of the Afghan soldiers? Were they properly trained? Did they seem just as terrified in some of that combat?

chosen_few22 karma

No, they weren't properly trained. They could sometimes work a gun and sometimes point it the right way. There were a few that were good but by and large, worthless. Yea, they were scared as fuck and they showed it.

I think a lot of the problem was discipline and the corruption in the ANA. Officers didn't get there because they excelled at anything or were competent, they got there because their family had money. Their guys knew it and didn't respect them at all. It was just a clusterfuck.

iceax4 karma

How did it happen that there were hundreds of fighters able to ambush you, was it an intelligence or recon slipup or something else?

chosen_few7 karma

Terrain more than anything else. If you went there you'd see it immediately. We had to build it where we could, were there was an area big enough and someone would sell us the land

mysoldierswife63 karma

How's your unit been since then? My husband is Army, and they're losing more guys now that they're home (suicide & alcohol related), and have nothing good to say about the VA. What's your experience been?

chosen_few106 karma

I don't really fuck with the VA. I went once, they did some in processing crap then scheduled my appoint for a billion years later. I just never went back

Actual-Situation57 karma

I recently sat next to a former SF man who was seriously wounded and almost died (as in should have died but miraculously survived). The past 8 years of his life since have been marked by extremely high risk activities, he has nearly been killed several times in amateur car street races, adrenaline sports, etc.

My question is - after your experience do you feel that you also may have a bit of a "bug" for adrenaline - or a need for it? Do you think that your assessment of risk/reward has been altered by your experience or (if you don't know) are you concerned about it?

chosen_few98 karma

Nope. I really want to live, for like fucking forever lol. My outlet was always more through drinking and sex. A lot of my guys are like that though, hell a few are SF now

WheelyBob13 karma

Do you still jump ever?

chosen_few16 karma

nah that shit's expensive

Memphians48 karma

Since the stories of the interpreter visa problems have gone viral, do you have any anecdotes of an interpreter that you or your team worked with? Do you know what happened to him/them?

chosen_few106 karma

Yes!!! I've stayed in contact with one of my terps since then. He actually got to the States about a month ago. Wonderful guy, I couldn't be happier.

LordPoshington41 karma

I gotta ask - what was it like to come home after being in that firefight?

chosen_few164 karma

I'll be honest, it was weird. I didn't go straight home though, I got out of the hospital as soon as I could. Refused IV pain killers since you can't leave if you're on them*, pestered the shit out of the doctors, I mean I got out pretty quick. I took a bus from Landstuhl Germany back to Vicenza, Italy which is ~10 hours or so. As soon as the bus pulled into base all the guys that were left and not escorting bodies home were there banging beers on the bus screaming at me to "get the fuck off that bus airborne" lol. Being in the hospital and being away from them killed me so I was ecstatic, one of the best feelings in my life. I didn't process what had happened right away, I don't know I just couldn't. I partied my ass off, hobbling around the streets of Italy bleeding everywhere haha. Then it starts to creep in, the drinking got darker - I started getting angry and mean. I started breaking down and pushing people away. Things just got really dark for a minute. I guess when the smoke cleared I realized something had broken, I was harder and colder than I was before. It makes you see the world differently, at least in my case it did.

LordPoshington24 karma

Thanks so much for answering! You said that you were injured - do you mind telling us how/where?

chosen_few54 karma

in and out through the shoulder, could have been a bullet or shrapnel. big chunk of shrapnel hit my right calf, some other shit hit my left thigh and some shrapnel broke my left wrist.

zzerocool39 karma

Would you ever consider taking MDMA as a method for treating PTSD?

chosen_few187 karma

only if you're buying

TroubleshootenSOB35 karma

Did you do the 250ft tower at jump school? Seems like the fucking thing is always broken as I hardly find anyone else who also got to do it.

chosen_few36 karma

haha it was broken for me too

E: they were using it, I saw a dude from one of the earlier classes hung up there running back from lunch. wasn't reassuring.

entropyincrnt35 karma

I was also in Chosen Company on that very same deployment, I was in 1st PLT Weapons Squad, under SSG D(his rank at the time) when we first got there (things changed), which platoon/squad were you in?

I've also done this kind of thing with a large group of my friends, so I get where you're coming from. Also good on you for sharing it with the Reddit community. Hope you're doing well man. Chosen Few, Airborne.

chosen_few30 karma

Did you hit me up on facebook?

E: We made out in DC right?

EE: nvm I forgot you were passed out for that. disregard

entropyincrnt10 karma

We did more than make out bb ;)

chosen_few3 karma


jaykyew32 karma

What was your opinion of the documentaries? Did you think that they accurately portrayed what life was like for you guys over there?

chosen_few67 karma

Restrepo is by far the most accurate thing I have seen as far as what our experience was like. I mean that's Battle Company, but we were just a couple klicks away. The mountains look the same, the living conditions were the same so it really hits home for me. I know a few of those guys pretty well and they all agree that it's extremely accurate.

DanielFdC26 karma

How do you cope with having been in such a fight? Besides ama-ing on reddit. Did you feel fear during the fight or are you in a zone?

chosen_few43 karma

I was in a zone. There wasn't any fear until I got hit, the slapped the adrenaline right out of me and it took a few seconds to get my shit together and come back to the fight. Even after though I was just fighting to survive and not out of the...hell battle lust is a good a phrase as any, that carried me before.

nerdpowerACTIVATE5 karma

I was just wondering, how exactly did getting hit take the adrenaline out? Most people feel more of an adrenaline rush when being hurt/wounded. Was it because of the severity if the wound?

I'm not American, so I don't really feel like I can say thank you for your service, but it's still very powerful(and inspiring? I don't know) to read all this. So I guess I might as well say thank you anyways

chosen_few14 karma

The best way I can describe it, or find something somewhat analogous would be, say you're all amped up and freaking out and then someone slaps you really hard and it jerks you back into reality. Does that make sense?

battle_hard25 karma

You know I served with the 173rd 2/503 Battle Company for 2 1/2 years for part of OEF 9 and 10. Was Chosen, Cocaine Company when you were there as well?

chosen_few29 karma

Welllllllll we may have started that when we got back. Lots of strippers and coke there for a while haha. One of our dudes ended up getting caught and kicked out, he actually passed away in a car accident a few years back. Sad stuff.

princemyshkin8622 karma

You mentioned, "I was a crazy liberal back then". Has being in the military changed your personal politics?

chosen_few93 karma

Absolutely. I didn't know what the fuck I was talking about. Once I got there and saw it with my own eyes, I mean I definitely changed my personal politics. Still pro choice, pro gay marriage and all that but I've shifted much farther right

Springpeen20 karma

Did you have much interaction/cooperation with Canadian forces? If so, in what ways did you cooperate, and what was your opinion of them as individuals and as fighters? I have several friends in Canada that served in Afghanistan and have always been curious of the interaction between different coalition forces.

chosen_few43 karma

I'm sorry nah we were pretty isolated. It was just our guys there, there wasn't anyone else around. I did talk to a few Australians in kuwait when I went on leave that were really fun dudes. I didn't get a chance to serve with any of the other countries armies but I've always heard good things.

skankman15 karma


chosen_few203 karma

we don't talk about the ana -_-


iceax7 karma

Was drug use among your afghan fighters a problem? I have heard that they smoked opiate-laced hash constantly and simply refused to stop.

chosen_few6 karma

Yea it was definitely a problem. I dont mind smoking, I'm not exactly a stranger to it. Its not appropriate in a war zone

OdoyleStillRules18 karma

What was it like getting the Bronze Star? Did you enlist like many other young men do, hoping to see the shit and be a hero, or were you just hoping to do your time and get out?

chosen_few39 karma

Man, I ended up leaving while they were doing the paperwork. I was at Walter Reed and it got sent over there. Motherfuckers lost it. I never got "awarded it", I just got the paperwork and then ordered my own from the national archives. Which I've since lost. I don't give a fuck about it really lol

A little of both. I really just wanted to do my time and get out, do what I could and not let my guys down when they needed me. The first little while when we got in country though nothing fucking happened for us and I got a little ancy, I just wanted to get it over with and know what it was like. It uh picked up soon enough though haha

Supersuntoucher18 karma


chosen_few79 karma

"fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck" when I had to get up on the truck to reload the mk19 there were rounds hitting the glass next to my legs, all around me really. I knew for a fact I was going to get shot in the asshole. I thought about my obituary saying I died from a gun shot to the asshole.

the hardest part was when it was all over. reading the names of the people who had died.

GiveMeTheTickleStick17 karma

In Restrepo they showed their CO meeting with the local elders to try and rebuild relations in the community, did your company hold these meetings as well and did you find that they helped your standing in the area? Also how much, if any, contact did you have with surrounding US forces?

chosen_few32 karma

Definitely. Pretty much what we did most of the time, and yea I mean some shuras (the meetings with the elders) are more productive than others. We only have so much to give, food, blankets, building projects etc. The food and blankets we'll give really anyway, it's not that a big a deal and it just a sign of good will. The building projects and shit though, what they really want and what can actually help them - we just can't do if the taliban/aaf/enemy whatever are just going to blow it up or kill the people we give the contracts to. We need their help to make it safe enough, but they also run the risk of getting their throat slit. It makes it hard and over the years it just gets harder and more complicated.

iamliztaylor16 karma

I don't have a question but what a small world. My brother in law was in Chosen Company before this event and then was with the 81st (?) Scouts. (Or 82nd?)

chosen_few26 karma

Nah, I can't say I knew him. Like Cav Scouts? I don't know anything about them other than they wish they could be infantry lol (just kidding).

We have Scouts though too and they're really squared away dudes. Work in smaller teams, our makeshift SF teams kinda. You've gotta be on your shit to get to go to scouts. If that's the case then probably 82nd.

MD8215 karma

First thank you for serving. Second how similar is the modern airborne to say something like Band of Brothers? What type of planes do you use and is it the same parachute deploys as soon as you're out the door?

chosen_few24 karma

yes, it's pretty much exactly the same. We didn't do a combat jump or anything. The person below you isn't quite correct. The 173rd did a combat jump into Iraq but it wasn't into contested territory or anything, it was a secured air base. Also there was one in Panama I believe. The 82nd gets real pissy about it because it's not a "real" combat jump lol.

I was never there for a combat jump though

PharaohJoe10 karma


chosen_few20 karma

not quite true. the 173rd jumped into Iraq and there was a jump into Panama. My 1SG during the deployment was actually on both so he had two mustard stains

Sketchin6915 karma

How many men did the American forces have in that battle against 200-400 Taliban?

chosen_few29 karma

about 40. 42 I think. We were also at the bottom a valley and they had the high ground. It was rough

just_some_tech12 karma

First of all, I want to thank you for your service. What you guys do is difficult, dangerous and often, I believe, under appreciated. So, Thank you.

You mentioned in a reply to LordPoshington, that you realized that something had broken, and that you were harder and colder than you were before. Is this something that troubles you? Do you miss being the way you were before this happened, or do you see it as a change in yourself that you accept and carry with you?

Also, do you believe that you have access to any and all resources you may need to help you deal with life afterwards?

Thanks for doing this AMA.

chosen_few25 karma

In a way I guess I miss it. I don't laugh as easily, I'm not as goofy as I used to be. I think it happened for a reason though, life is kind of a bitch and I think I can accept that a lot easier now. It's who I am, I don't know..I don't think I would want to be the way I was before.

Yea I mean there are tons and tons and tons of resources. I've met some really awesome people that have helped me out and to the point where it's my own responsibility. Not to mention those places are so goddamn backlogged with shitheads who thought they heard a mortar somewhere so now they need money and a hug.

MisterWonderfool11 karma

First and foremost, Thank You.

How was the food while you were deployed?

chosen_few29 karma

haha not that bad. Mostly we got what are basically big ass MREs that our cook would heat up. MREs can be pretty fuckin good, they're not the t-rats or whatever from vietnam. Hell we got this giant ass bag of frozen hamburgers and the mountains of afghanistan get cold, really really cold so they stayed frozen. A buddy had one of those multi fuel camping stove things so I ate nothing but hamburgers for like a month.

LiberAnimus3 karma

Did you have a chance to eat the cow that was stuck in the fence? Haha

chosen_few9 karma

Haha no but we did go to the Korengal to do a joint op mission and we heard the story from the guys in the dfac (cafeteria thing). It was pretty funny seeing it play out on Restrepo

We did eat a cow but we cheated and bought the cow first.

TrxpThxm9 karma

First of all, thank you for going to fight on behalf of those who won't/can't. I sincerely appreciate your service to our country. You mentioned in a previous post that at one time you would never be able to join the Army, let alone kill someone. This may seem voyeuristic and/or morbid but I noticed in a lot of combat footage the fighting is distant; did you kill any bad guys up close?

chosen_few16 karma

Yea Wanat we were close, hand grenade range. One guy breached the wire at the OP, he got himself very dead. Our first platoon at ranchhouse and then on nov. 9th fought up close too.

Armymedic06048 karma

I went to AIT with Restrepo. He was an awesome friend and brother. Many good times at the river walk with hime! And ? So the bot doesn't remove this again?

chosen_few3 karma

That's awesome man, I never got the chance to meet him but I know everyone who did really loved him a lot.

drifli7 karma

Have you read "The Outpost" by Jake Tapper?It is about COP Keating and took place in 2009. Pretty sure it is a valley or two over from where you were.

chosen_few6 karma

I haven't, COP Keating sounds familiar though

Healing_touch7 karma

I wanted to start off by saying thank you for your service. Not everyone can be a hero, but volunteering to be in a possible hostile environment isn't something everyone is willing to do. I appreciate the sacrifices servicemen and women have made over the years, personal, career or limb and life. From a daughter of a long line of military men, I mean it deeply.

When did it ever start to get real? Like was there a time when the danger felt far off and non immediate?

What was something the experience gave/changed for you? Do you look at certain things differently now?

If an average joe like myself were to approach you on the street (assuming we knew you were military) how would you like that conversation to go? Some people appreciate the thanks while others seem almost offended.

Thanks for the AMA! Stay strong (:

chosen_few16 karma

The realness came and went for me. You just kind of do it. I really think humans can acclimate and adapt to an incredible amount of shit. There were times though were I was a 19-20 year old kid again and I'd look around like "holy shit, I'm in Afghanistan." It comes in waves I guess. Getting ready for missions, waiting on the flight line for the birds to come in were the most nerve racking times, and it would be that way until you landed somewhere and hopped out. Then you were in it and couldn't really afford to think about that stuff.

Haha and I don't know. I do appreciate that people care, I'm not going to get offended because someone was just trying to be nice. Haha you'd say thanks, I'd say thanks and then we'd smile and go about our days having had a nice interaction with a stranger. People that get pissy about that are weird to me.

mrkarateman7 karma

I'm in Army ROTC right now, I just watched Restrepo the other day. Can you offer me any advice? Either about officers you worked with, both good and bad, or just a better understanding of life in the "Real Army." Thank you for your service.

chosen_few14 karma

haha I think these guys got it. Listen to your NCOs, they know what's up.

_bount6 karma

Could you describe your first time in combat?

chosen_few14 karma

I'll try. We hadn't seen shit, Battle was getting into it a lot. Able company was getting into it a lot. We ended up with the first "shift" at the battalion fob and nothing happened there. Then we just went on a patrol one day, ended up staying out at an abandoned house, my squad pulled overwatch on the ridge above it. It wasn't my turn for guard so I was asleep when it started, I opened my eyes and heard a few explosions and saw tracers shooting over me. I layed as flat as I could, got my shit on, grabbed my weapon and moved to this rock outcropping for cover. There were a few more rpgs, some gun shots but I honestly couldn't see where they were coming from. Didn't fire a round. I was sooo mad at myself lol.

It's not a real exciting story I guess haha.

WheelyBob4 karma

What was the biggest fuck-up logistical fuckup from someone up the chain that you guys experienced?

chosen_few10 karma

speedballs were always a clusterfuck. it's basically a bodybag filled with ammo, water, mres, batteries, whatever. They fly in with a blackhawk and kick it out the door. We needed water, we got batteries. We needed mres for 20 people we got mres for 9 and the other element got mre's for 20.

Not to mention I'm almost positive they were trying to hit people with those motherfuckers

johnstanton4 karma

It's not hard to notice that the term "hero" appears overused, without much sense of proportionality.

For example, a soldier takes fire and is randomly shot and killed, and his friends, family and media will invariably deploy the term. A comrade might stay forward alone to provide covering fire while his platoon strategically withdraws, carrying their wounded. He too may be labelled a hero. Another might fall on a grenade thrown into a foxhole, in order to minimize the casualties, and they too could be labelled a hero.

But it seems to me that the term becomes diluted and therefore superficial and meaningless if it's just deployed willy nilly for each of these three very different scenarios.

If you recall, in Junger's War, he has this discussion, which he ends with a description of a historic Fire Chief, who characterized "heroism" as something that occurs when people sign-up to be fire fighters, cops or soldiers, and that everything else beyond that is simply doing the job.

What kinds of conclusions do active duty soldiers come to when discussing what constitutes a hero?


chosen_few15 karma

I think the term "hero" is entirely subjective. For me, I think if you die in service to my country then you're one of my heroes. You don't have to agree. You may see it as diluted or overused but when I say they are a hero to me, I mean it. It may seem that way to people after more than 10 years of war but the sacrifices that are being made right this second are just as great as the ones that were made at the beginning. The public getting bored with it doesn't change anything at all.

crispsix4 karma

Did you know Josh Brennan?

chosen_few4 karma

I didn't. My platoon sergeant was very good friends with him though. It was tough watching him deal with Brennans death. He ended up getting killed also.

alent12344 karma

were you stationed in vicenza? is it still SETAF or did they rename it? some of the old times i served with are now civilians on base

chosen_few4 karma

I don't think it is. If I'm not mistaken they changed to AFRICOM and they moved the base. This was all happening as I was leaving though, I wasn't really there for it.

Wopasaurus4 karma

Kinley or Cristal??

Burn or Rip Its???

Asking the hard-hitting questions here...

chosen_few3 karma

I only know rip its!

Solid_s0ap3 karma

In Restrepo and parts of Korengal, some of the dudes mentioned that Chosen got hit hard, was that Wanat they were speaking of?

Also, what do you find most difficult dealing and fighting in that elevation compared to light infantry ops on lower terrain?

chosen_few8 karma

Yea, probably Wanat. We had a few really large battles though. Wanat was by far the biggest and worst for the battalion though

johnstanton3 karma

One of the themes that Sebastian Junger explores in War is the age-old issue of European armies, documented up till now from the time of Roman legionnaires, and no doubt the armies of Hannibal and Agamemnon prior to that, where the ranks are largely populated by the poor, the disaffected - those escaping something or hoping for something more, and certainly having nothing left to lose.

The narrative is that those with the least to lose are encouraged to choose a perilous path essentially to ensure the prosperity of the wealthy, who are so focused on their own self-enrichment that they barely have any consciousness of anyone else.

Junger describes young, small-town men with little education or means, trained and shaped to be effective in a hilltop fire base, who, if they survive to return home, are jettisoned by an apparently uncaring society, and left to fend for themselves, with no real means to transition the enormous gulf beneath their feet.

Thus has it been with every army, after every war, forever.

I'm not pointing fingers at the U.S. military here, because, again, this is an age-old issue, one that still exists today certainly in the U.S., in Canada, and in Britain, and perhaps to a degree in the other NATO states (who however may have more sophisticated social supports).

It sometimes feels as though we have learned nothing about war and its consequences for our soldiers, over the last two thousand years.

The age old notion of you-broke-it, you-own-it surely applies. There is no way that governments can justify homeless veterans with PTSD. At a minimum, every veteran should be on the military payroll while they transition at a reasonable rate to civilian life. This should include retraining, education, and incentives for businesses hiring vets.

The cost of war is more than guns and ammo, and we have to start budgeting for the real cost...

Do veterans have discussions on this theme? What is their prognosis? Given the seemingly inadequate supports afterwards, do they feel its been worth it?


chosen_few6 karma

I mean I don't know. "young, small-town men with little education or means" doesn't describe a lot of our guys. My guys came from every walk of life you could think of. Now some are economists, going into politics, business owners, chemists, nurses, SF guys, police officers, dudes are going to Berkeley, commercial fishing boat captains, one dude just bought a lovely house in a picturesque italian village, business consultants flying all over the world, the list goes on. I mean yea some guys have a rough time but a lot are doing extremely well too. There are resources out there if you want to look for them. Some dudes really need help but it's a mistake to think of us as all broken, poor and desperate.

bozobozo3 karma

What is your favorite dinosaur?

chosen_few5 karma

brontosaurus. how can they be that big and still look cuddly?

TheGreatestPanini3 karma

Favorite patriotic song/cadence?

chosen_few11 karma

I'm not even sure what the name of it is, "airborne ranger" maybe? My buddies in a foxhole etc. Then Ol king Cole, there were some great ones in airborne school but I think they were the just the sergeant airbornes personal ones, I haven't heard them since.

And blood on the risers of course

Also, I feel really dumb talking about cadences. I used to hate them sooooooooo much.

TheGreatestPanini2 karma

Why did you hate them?

chosen_few7 karma

It's like getting an army tattoo while you're in the army. It's just...kinda dorky. Now that I'm out I miss em

Sig4863 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA man. I come from a Military family and my best friend is a new butter bar in the Marines.

Firstly, Thank you so much for stepping out there and putting yourself on the line for others. It may never seem like that's what you did, and from what I've read of vets they are always hesitant to feel that way. But you certainly did do just that. I cant thank you enough for that.

Whats your current outlook on the idea of folks joining the armed services?

Thank you again for your time today and for your service.

chosen_few4 karma

More power to them. Do your research and make sure you know what you're getting and what you're getting into.

CuriousMischief3 karma

As the friend left at home, how can I help returning vets? What was the biggest help to you?

I have several friends who are currently on tour in the middle east and Africa. One is actually a Load Master and has transported your unit more than once. The other is first cav, infantry. I know the Load Master has seen some shit. The Cav guy is on his first tour but things are escalating.

I feel kind of useless, because there is no way I can understand without experiencing it, but that's not gonna happen.

chosen_few4 karma

Just be a good friend. You said it, there's no way you can experience it and that's not really requirement. Understanding it isn't a requirement. If you're just good friend then all your bases are covered in that aspect you know?

legsleeves2 karma

What MOS?

chosen_few3 karma


thatguyfred2 karma

Did you have any TACP/JTACs with you or was it JFOs and ECAS? If you had any with you what did you think of them in general?

chosen_few5 karma

We had JTACs, they rarely ever went out with us or anything. Honestly they were a pain in the ass IMO. We just had to go through them to get fixed wing air support approved. I don't see any reason why our FO's couldn't have gotten the training to deal with fixed wing and we could have saved a lot of time. I'm sure they're great dudes, I met one that did go out with us on a conop and he seemed like a good dude. I liked him anyway. In my experience is was just an extra that we had to go through to get the air support we needed.

IrishEv2 karma

why did you join the airborne? if you could go back would you still join the army? would you chose a different MOS?

chosen_few8 karma

Because someone once told me "If you ain't airborne, you ain't shit". Haha it looked kinda badass so I decided I was gonna do it. If I went back I would do it again in a second. and fuck no.

ZXRider2 karma

Did you ever come across any Iranian troops and if yes how were the interactions with them?

Were you ever stationed in the Persian Gulf and if yes is it as hectic as the media makes it seem?

Thank you for your service.

chosen_few7 karma

Nah man, I'm sorry. Neither one

vazod2 karma

What do you do in your free time now? When you weren't paratrooping. And what goes through your mind as your paratrooping into combat?

chosen_few5 karma

Haha well I never jumped into combat. when jumping i pretty much thought, at least the first couple times "1-2-3-4...oh god is it open? why isn't it open?" whoosh "thank fucking god".

My free time consists of netflix I guess? Going to the park with the kiddo, on the weekends I try to get us out to something cool; an air show, the zoo etc.

metalone1872 karma

hey bro do you know Aaron davis? He was my room mate when I was in the hospital. He got hurt in that battle.

chosen_few7 karma

Yep! I love that dude. He's cool as shit right?

Seannypoland1 karma

Did your ex bitch get an sti or std since? I hope she did.

chosen_few1 karma

nah she got married. She really had the most wonderful tits I think I've ever seen. That's rude haha, nah we're just not good together, I'm not upset anymore. Wish her the best

tlocfym1 karma

I've heard several rumors that the observation post in the Wanat valley was scheduled to be closed, and that this closing was delayed due to assets being reappropriated to search for Bowe Bergdahl.

Do you know if there is any truth to that? Do you have any particular feelings about his actions?

chosen_few5 karma

I'm gonna say it's not true. I mean there wasn't a post in Wanat. Our mission was to set one up for the incoming unit.

kmoh741 karma

First off, thank you so much for your service. I thought Restrepro was a great movie and saw how deadly the Korengal valley was. After facing death in the face, do you have a bucket list that you want to start knocking off?

chosen_few16 karma

Yep but it's all weird sex stuff so I don't think I should go into details.

No, I don't know. I just want a quiet life, it's just me and my son these days so just being able to give him what he needs. Watching him grow up happy, see where he wants to go with his life and help him get there.

shenanigans9251 karma

What advice would you give a 28 year old wanting to enlist or go to OCS? Would you say do it or that its too old?

chosen_few1 karma

Hell no, not too old at all. some of our best guys were older, hell honestly the older guys are usually better.

the_anus_is_on_you1 karma

Why is it OK for you talk about your time in the military while this guy is getting in trouble?

chosen_few2 karma

I wasn't on a secret operation, I wasn't in a special forces unit and my fights have been dissected by the media a million times over.

mRNA-1 karma

Thank you very much for doing this AMA, and especially for your service and your sacrifice to our country. I would like to ask a few questions,

  1. What builds camaraderie the most, other than surviving/helping each other during a firefight?

  2. What is your favourite/or best MRE?

  3. What were some unexpected reactions from villagers? I hear that it takes them a while to trust American/Foreign soldiers, even though we mean well and try to do the best for them.

chosen_few1 karma

  1. living together, working together, partying together, training together. We did everything together. By the time Wanat had happened we'd been inseparable for almost 2 years. Our platoon was really close. We all actually got to meet up in July for Pitts Medal of Honor, best time I've had in years. It was like we had never been away, just immediately we picked up where we left off

  2. Chili Mac, obviously.

  3. The interactions with villagers varies wildly from village to village. One village you're laughing and joking around and smiling, a 1000 meters down the road at the next village they all go inside and shut the door and the kids throw rocks.

karmanaut1 karma

Could you please provide additional proof? There is nothing to show that the papers in your images are actually yours.

Edit: in addition to what is posted publicly, OP has sent some additional proof to the mods.

chosen_few5 karma

Yea, anything at all you need. I didn't really want to put my name out there and they're digital copies. If you give me a second I can take some pictures and send them to you if that would be ok?

karmanaut4 karma

Sure, if you'd like confidential verification that would be fine. You can send the pictures to the mods here. The easiest thing would be pictures of the medals and papers and all that with a note that says "Reddit /u/Chosen_few" or something along those lines.

Sorry for the suspicion, but we've seen a number of attempts to impersonate military veterans with copies of paperwork found online.

chosen_few5 karma

I don't even know where my medals are man, I got these coins at Pitts medal of honor ceremony though

Definitely though and I appreciate it. Ill send some stuff to the mods as well