I was deployed as part of OEF 11.1 and was part of convoy security. I was a gunner for most of the deployment, and use ranged from .50 cal to Mk-19. We were on a high profile mission, so we encountered IED hits almost daily. We averaged about 2 per day of a 2 week convoy for a solid 7 months.

Edit: Also here is a video that I made from my deployment. http://youtu.be/93JM6lnpjno

X-post from /r/CasualIAMA


Comments: 1835 • Responses: 57  • Date: 

mlp-r34-clopper428 karma

how do you know the IED weighed 60lbs before it went off? or is that the post detonation weight?

MahanUSMCR639 karma

We had an Air Force EOD team attached to our convoy. They did what was called a post-blast analysis.

falconerchick358 karma

Thank you for your sacrifices. I dated a Marine for a year, L. Cpl Niall Coti-Sears, an extremely talented musician who was deployed to Helmand Province in 2012. Unfortunately he crossed paths with an IED and died that June and I never really got over it, just try not to think about it I guess. We kept in touch over email and he described what it was like and while I try to imagine it, dream about it, there's no way I'll ever understand what it was like for him being there. Anyway... just wanted to say thank you again, from the bottom of my heart. I never knew if he suffered or if it was instantaneous, my mind just can't fathom it. I never thought it would happen to him for some reason.

My question is, were there any fun times? I know that sounds crazy, but was it possible to have enjoyable and meaningful moments even at war that you look back on fondly? Sorry if the question's inappropriate. I've always wondered.

-Johnny-8 karma

I was deployed to oef 11 and i was also a gunner for a security element. We had a amazing time. The mist fun ive ever had honestly. Some parts sucked but everyone i was deployed with misses it. It was a great experience. I honestly suggest talking to a therapist and seek help. It will help you nd make you feel sssooo much better.

MahanUSMCR5 karma

Who were you attached to?

PvtFobbit331 karma

On a scale of one to ten, how much do you want to give me your jalapeño cheese spread?

MahanUSMCR270 karma

A solid fucking 11. Had enough for my next two lives.

Svusoccer55286 karma

How was your transition from Marine life to civilian life. Also, any funny or interesting stories?

MahanUSMCR608 karma

Im still in the Marine Corps. Been in 6 years, all of them in the reserves. The transition was a little abrupt coming back from Afghanistan, because I within 1 week i was out of Afghan and home. I really struggled when I first got home. It was hard realizing that the whole world didn't stop when you were away.

Svusoccer55191 karma

Do you plan to go into active duty?

MahanUSMCR459 karma

No sir. Furthest thing from my mind. Just not my thing. I have a wife and child, and full time job, and I'm still able to serve my country. Its a happy median for me.

Svusoccer55141 karma

That's understandable. They still offer benefits to reservists right?

MahanUSMCR242 karma

Eh. Partial retirement benefits. Thats about it.

AlmostTheNewestDad142 karma

You're probably eligible for some education benefits. I'm an administrator now, but I was also a Marine. How many days of active duty have you accumulated?

MahanUSMCR159 karma

I lost track but about 3 years

MahanUSMCR70 karma

But not consecutively 15months at the longest.

loodog264 karma

Did the IED taste like dirt and pennies post spank? It's the only way I have found to describe it.

MahanUSMCR334 karma

I have never heard this description. As far as I remember, there was just dirt every fucking where.

jemandtheholograms210 karma

My boyfriend was a marine for four years and encountered some pretty rough stuff. I want to be able to talk to him about his experiences but I'm not sure where the line is for what I can ask. I want to be able to understand where he is coming from but I don't want to prod too much and make him uncomfortable. I know he has hit two IEDs and been in some serious combat situations but I haven't gotten into it too much detail about it. As someone who has been there and knows what it is like, do you have any thoughts on it? Is it something better left not spoken about? I can say my bf has PTSD from it so maybe I need to be careful on what I bring up but I want him to be comfortable discussing stuff. Any thoughts would be much appreciated. Thank you for your service and this AMA!

MahanUSMCR330 karma

I have struggled with this for a while myself, and this is why I started this AMA. I have had a problem with being able to open up. Thats my New Years Resolution. But to answer your question. I would suggest just to stay supportive, and maybe even attempt counseling, if he wants to. Because i was forced on multiple occasions to attempt counseling and you get no results that way. He will talk if he wants to. Maybe ask smaller questions. Pick but dont prod. Look through some of the other questions on this AMA for an idea where to start. Asking about funny moments or just some good buddies, might help open the door to deeper talk. I hope this helped and I'd gladly answer anymore questions (after I wake up in 4 hours)

colleenlawson148 karma

Top 5 things a deployed soldier would like to find in a care package?

-- and --

Your personal thoughts on they way the women in your unit are treated there?

11AWannabe233 karma

Dip. The military fucking loves dip. Even if the guy doesn't dip he will use it trade for stuff that he wants.

Edit: Thanks for the gold.

MahanUSMCR16 karma

This is true

MahanUSMCR176 karma

Smokes and or dip. (Use or currency) jerky. Baby wipes! Cant stress this enough. That was my shower majority of the time. (When your sweating, which is a trick statement because thats always, sand sticks.) And its the best on the fly cleaning kit ever designed. Socks were a biggie for me. I got some huge package from school kids in texas, riddled with SOS pads and socks (clearly not intended for me) and i started just throwing away old socks after use.

As far as woman we had about 4 in my platoon. They all pulled their weight for the most part, but I honestly just avoided them, because after being away from everything for months, they tend to become a distraction to guys in the platoon. But that was a personal feeling. I think we had 2 that hit IEDs, and they managed just fine.

Xanethel33 karma

but I honestly just avoided them, because after being away from everything for months, they tend to become a distraction to guys in the platoon.

I find this interesting. Do you mean as a distraction because of sexual tension, or feeling the need to protect them more than males?

Just asking because I'd assume that males can be as much sexual distraction to them too.

MahanUSMCR55 karma

And I'm almost positive that this is the case. And yes I meant as a sexual distraction.

PlzDieHipsterScum122 karma


MahanUSMCR85 karma

No fucking way. Whatsup brother. Who is this?

GruntOrama50 karma

I was also in basic with you guys. This is Lambert.

MahanUSMCR40 karma

Holy shit! How's it hanging brother?

GruntOrama25 karma

Not bad, finished college, got a job, got married. Shit has been going. Glad to hear you are still alright.

MahanUSMCR18 karma

You too man. Its a crazy small world.

ClosetLink90 karma


MahanUSMCR169 karma

Honestly what I tell everyone is to never half-ass. But it sounds like you got shit squared away, so just don't lose your drive. Push and become the best.

Dougie123475 karma

Do you stay in contact with any of your buddies? My father was a Marine in Operation Desert Storm in the early '90s and he talks to some guys every once in a while.

MahanUSMCR96 karma

Thats about how it is for me too. Being a reservist I deployed with people from all over, so there was only one other guy that came from my unit. I still keep in touch with him, and see him every so often, but the truck team I was with, haven't said 2 words to each other...not sure why.

Swarlolz74 karma

Did you ever blare team america world police theme song?

MahanUSMCR95 karma

We sang it quite regularly. Lol.

bazingabrickfists63 karma

Describe the feelings of getting hit by a big explosion?

MahanUSMCR138 karma

Surreal. I was the last truck of 150 truck convoy, so the odds in general are just an insult. All i remember is that it went black, and everything was muffled. Let me rephrase that. Imagine a super sunny day, and then within seconds complete overcast. That kind of black. The cloud of sand shot at least 40 feet in the air and completely covered everything. It didnt clear up for at least a min or two. I just remember yelling checking on the other guys in my truck. Scary stuff.

bazingabrickfists40 karma

What type of vehicle were you on? Throw you around?

MahanUSMCR85 karma

I was in an MRAP. I surprisingly didnt go anywhere. The only big thing is that our radios blew right out of the cradles.

rasty4259 karma

My uncle was a civilian engineer on the MRAP project. Honorary K-Bar on the wall and everything. I'm glad to hear this. I'll pass it along.

MahanUSMCR23 karma

They were so great that they tried to replace them with more all-terrain versions (MAT-V) and we stuck with the older ones, because they were safer, and ironically enough, handled better in off-road terrain.

YesWeCam0124 karma

Holy shit you cant be serious you were the 150th out of 150 vehicles. Do you really think luck had anything to do with it or do you think the terrorists (or whatever the politically correct term, or does anyone really care?) is actually ment to hit the last truck. I know you have had to think about this. Or do you think the device wasn't functioning correctly. This 150/150 stat has to be the most interesting thing I have ever heard on reddit and I am really interested in a response. Thank you for your service.

***Ignore bad grammer its 3;15 am here

MahanUSMCR38 karma

Honestly I have lost sleep over the thought of how this happened. It had to of had my fucking name on the thing! The EOD guys said it was a crush box (crush box being a device that can be driven over multiple time before det) that was really old, and took more hits that obviously intended. But maybe it was because the day prior all we did was blare old 'Nam music over a loudspeaker! And they were annoyed or pissed! Lol I truly don't know, and i suppose I never will.

Fliptherain58 karma

Do you ever meet afghans who grew up in the US? What's it like getting to know them considering you were deployed there?

MahanUSMCR131 karma

I have never met an American that immigrated from Afghanistan, but I would love to sit down and swap stories about customs and language. And Have some chai. The best tea on the planet.

DeliveredByOP39 karma

Loved the video. Is your last name Mahan by any chance? Could you perhaps be from Texas? My grandfather left my dad's family when he was young and started a new one in Texas. Would love to meet a relative, even if only distantly related.

MahanUSMCR18 karma

Sorry. Not that far south, but yeah im a Mahan

3372bobd35 karma

Advice for future officers?

MahanUSMCR88 karma

Be enlisted first. And where I honestly want to leave it at that, I'll go a little further. Ever heard that the best criminal makes the best police officer? Its because where everyone else just learned about it, he has firsthand experience. And trust me any one you lead will respect you more for it. It s a harder route to take, but it will pay off.

3372bobd16 karma

Do you think that matters as much as far as pilots go?

FlyHerk85 karma

Former enlisted aircrewman here, currently going to the Dark Side, so I can answer this one.

In my experience, Officers are one of two types of individuals. You've got

  • a) The Marine Officer who respects the Marines under his charge as human equals, but understands that he must play the role of a Marine Officer, ever responsible for their lives and wellbeing.

  • b) And then you have the quintessential college grad douchebag boy who for some reason has a superiority complex and complete hard-on for the fact that he is responsible for young American lives. This guy will refer to his Marines as "retards who couldn't graduate college" to his Officer buddies.

I have seen both shades of Marine Officer (pilots included) who were prior enlisted, and not, however, the majority of Marine Officers who were prior enlisted fall into group a).

It seems to me that the douchebag prior-enlisted Marine Officers forgot where they came from while away at college, or (most-likely) at TBS. No matter what though, there will always be a hierarchical difference between enlisted and officer. Like it or not, Marines (officer and enlisted) are bred completely differently; one being a hate and rage fed monster, the other an educated and noble man of honor whose sole purpose is to control the chaos of his Marines' bloodlust.

Memories_of_You36 karma


MahanUSMCR9 karma

My take though is that if your the PFC getting shit on by that douche Lance, then when you get commissioned you can spot out these type of flaws, and conduct yourself higher.

Mirrorminx34 karma

How old is too old to join the military? Would you recommend it as a midlife career path?

MahanUSMCR59 karma

The Marine Corps cutoff age is 27. Im not entirely sure about other branches but I'm pretty sure the National Guard takes at least mid 30's. I would suggest it to anybody wanting a dramatic change in their life.

whoisyourhero33 karma

Who is your hero?

MahanUSMCR82 karma

My brother and honestly anyone that has served. I thank them for their service just the same. What they stood for, is what I stand for now.

chris_m_h32 karma

Why did USA go to war in Afghanistan?

MahanUSMCR58 karma

They looked at us wrong. Lol Thats is honestly a deep question, and I'm not the person to answer that.

Frag_Bait_Beta30 karma

Best part of the deployment? Worst part? Favourite pokemon?

MahanUSMCR125 karma

And probably charmander. Old skool.

MahanUSMCR101 karma

Worst part was prolly when we had an Afghani truck break down right at the back end of the convoy. We had about three trucks post security, while the rest of the convoy kept pushing (we had our Army RCP moving, and once they go we try to keep it that way. Because when they stopped it took hours) and we had Mechs work on the truck. About this time we started taking fire from a compound about 900 meters out. In the video link posted, near the end, when a round hits the turret is when that all started. It felt like forever, and the worst part was that our convoy was jammed up in the front, and wasnt able to support us for a while. That and there seemed to be miss communication about what was happening and I guess most everyone didn't even know it was us getting shot. So we had a nice volley of fire going and then my .50 cal went down. Had no way of fixing it at that moment, so I had to pull up my M-16, which is not effective at that distance, but its best to keep up the fight. After a while, we had about 10 trucks come back and we tore that place apart. But I honestly didn't think i was going to live to see the next day.

MahanUSMCR74 karma

Best part. Don't think there was a "best part", but some of the more memorable moments was being able to interact with some our Afghani drivers that we escorted. Being able to sit down and drink chai, eat goat (that we watched get killed, skinned and cooked only hours before.) and swap stories in some very broken Pashto.

MintChapstick29 karma

Did you ever want to go to Afghan? Do you know anyone who did? I don't see why anyone would want to go there and risk their life. Also, thank you for your service!

MahanUSMCR56 karma

My brother was in Iraq during the Invasion, and I always admired what he and so many others did. And why Afghanistan was prolly on the bottom of my list, its what I signed up for.

Black-Ninja-Man24 karma

What's your take on sexual abuse or whatever in the defence forces? Thank you for your service. (I am curious is all)

MahanUSMCR67 karma

I mean sexual abuse Is a definite zero tolerance. No matter where you are. I know the statistics are rising in the military, and specifically in the Marine Corps in the last couple of years. But we have gone through a lot of changes, that being allowing homosexuals to openly serve and opening up a lot of more jobs for women in the military. Some people, especially that were in before all this, its hard to adjust to this new age, and I am one. It's not that I'm insensitive or even abusive, its just mot the Corps I was raised in. And I could see how that could stir up alot of feeling among people. Not that I'm trying to justify any of this, but just a matter of observation.

anangrysalarian11 karma

What reserve unit you in? I am in CLB 451 out of orlando

MahanUSMCR18 karma

We are a detachment under CLR-45.

youngeggs10 karma

Would you say that more soldiers die of IED explosions or actual combat with the enemy?

MahanUSMCR23 karma


This link should show exactly those figures, as I cant say for sure. But just a hunch, IEDs are a much bigger threat. They work in small numbers and would lose in an outright fight with us.

roh88806 karma

Army Vet here, 2 deployments totaling 28 months in one country, 2 IED blasts, shrapnel wounds, and a fuck ton of migraine headaches.

Would you rather fight a 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?

MahanUSMCR4 karma

Def one horse sized duck! I'd rather focus on one single target, than multiple. Look at the way Russia fought WWII. They just bummed rushed a superior force and eventually over came. Thanks for the great question, the laugh, and your service!

honusthegrif6 karma

Thank you for your service. Do you feel that your work over there has had a positive impact on the locals?

MahanUSMCR46 karma

I think so. We personally contracted local Afghanis to drive fuel trucks for us, to give them so work other than growing opium. We helped to stabilize an area that has been at war since pretty much forever, and we tried to establish some law and order. The biggest problem is that they are not willing to stand up for themselves. You honestly can not force people to believe in a cause. So no matter what we have done, its all for nil if they don't see it through. We opened the door, they need to walk through it.

frogman20155 karma

I cant wait to go fulfill my duty. I am waiting to graduate high schoo then i am off to basic. What is your MOS in the Marines?

MahanUSMCR16 karma

Im a 0621 which is a Field Radio Operator. Honestly I never once touched a radio while over seas. I fell into a Provisional Security Platoon, so we just became gun trucks for our convoys.

rmpocock-37 karma

go to fucking college.

MahanUSMCR27 karma

I don't remember this being a Tell me Anything.

He_Went_2_Jared4 karma

First off, thank you so much for your service.

One of my buddies wants to sign up this summer and he loves packin' lips and shootin' the shit. I was wondering what is your downtime like?

MahanUSMCR15 karma

Over seas? Smoking, bullshitting, jerking it, playing pranks, betting away all of our money on cards and dice, dreaming of all the things you could be doing, telling drunk stories, and fantasizing about seeing your girl again.

McRumpled3 karma

Semper Fi man. What unit are you with?

MahanUSMCR8 karma

A reserve comm detachment part of CLR-45.

rogersam3 karma

Glad you came out of it okay. Were you in an mrap when you got hit? Was deployed with a convoy security company in 2014. Luckily everyone came back. Thank you for your service.

MahanUSMCR16 karma

And thank you for yours. Yes I was in an MRAP. Took the hit like a champ. Ill try to dig up some photos. Our tire, bumper, fender, etc was laying is some farmers field about 40 yards out.

Ginger-Turtles2 karma

In highschool, want to join marines. Any regrets after the accident?

MahanUSMCR6 karma

Not one brother. I would never take a single second back of my time in Corps. It changes a person, but for the better.

mlp-r34-clopper2 karma

Can you put something on the youtube channel so we know that you are indeed the guy from the video? something like "hi reddit, ama?" or the like? otherwise the mods might pull this for not strictly providing proof.

MahanUSMCR9 karma

Im new to reddit so your going to have to explain a little more.

mlp-r34-clopper6 karma

we need a way to know that you, the guy posting here, are the same guy that shot the youtube video. so just put some text on the description of the video referring to this AMA, so we know the guy who controls this reddit account is the same guy that controls that youtube account. For this sub you have to prove your claims. The video more or less proves the guy who own that youtube channel served in iraq. Now you just need to prove you and he are one in the same.

MahanUSMCR12 karma

There ya go. Thanks for the heads-up.

MahanUSMCR8 karma

Lol ok thanks, I'll get right on that.

frogman20150 karma

First off thank you for your service. I am going to be a future corpsman, was there one attached to your unit?

MahanUSMCR36 karma

We had about 3 to start out with, then they started pulling the junior ones out of the BAS and sending them on missions to give our other Corpsman a break. A corpsman is a Marines best friend!

Recklesshavoc-1 karma

High Profile Mission? 😄 Boot.

MahanUSMCR8 karma

Im not fucking SOCOM. Just meant for our battalion we had some bullshit mission that involved a lot of officers and they were always up our ass. A little more what you were looking for?