A German officer provided a reminder Tuesday of battlefield bonds between warriors of different nations - in this case between two former enemies who are now close allies - Germany and the United States.
Participating in a video conference from Afghanistan, German Army Maj. Gen. Hans Werner Fritz described a day of fierce fighting in October when a suicide bomber killed a German paratrooper in northern Afghanistan and wounded many more.
U.S. medical evacuation helicopters - two Blackhawks - responded to the call, amidst heavy firing, the general said.
"As we say in German, there was a lot of iron in the air," Fritz said.
The American choppers loaded the wounded German paratroopers and took off. Only then, Fritz explained, did the American pilots spot the dead soldier left behind.
"And they came back - under fire. They recovered the soldier and they said that 'We are taking home a fallen hero,'" Fritz said. "And I can promise you, the German paratrooper, the German "fallschirmjager," they never forget that. This is the quality of the cooperation we are talking about."
Fritz and an American Army colonel were discussing progress in northern Afghanistan.