The journey home from the frontlines of war
August 2nd, 2010
10:11 AM ET

The journey home from the frontlines of war

CNN's Barbara Starr follows injured soldiers from the war zone in Afghanistan to the U.S. in an exclusive look. Watch Part 1 above and then continue the journey in Part 2: The price the wounded are paying and Part 3: Injured together, coming home together

"Godspeed. How is your pain?"

Capt. Katherine Gardener leans over a wounded soldier to murmur words of comfort.

This quiet 29-year-old Air Force trauma nurse is watching over several young wounded soldiers lying on stretchers in front of her.

But we are not in a hospital. We are on a C-17 cargo aircraft at 40,000 feet in the middle of the night.

We have just taken off from the front lines of the war in Afghanistan with dozens of wounded troops on board, many on stretchers. One young soldier lies unconscious on a ventilator, with a military physician at his side.

This is an air medical evacuation flight, a flying intensive care unit that brings the wounded out of the war zone to safety.

James Dennis was hit twice in the same day by roadside bombs and taken to the hospital at Bagram Air Base. Then he got hit in a mortar attack.

Gardner and her medical colleagues make this run from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan back to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Ramstein, Germany, each week for initial care. Then, a second flight carries the wounded who are ready to leave Germany to military hospitals in the United States.

CNN was granted exclusive access by the Air Force to join this air evacuation flight and then another flight from Germany to Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. It would mean 41 hours of continuous travel with no sleep for me and my producer, Brian Vitagliano, who carried a small hand-held camera to capture the images and thoughts of the wounded and the medical teams that care for them.

It is not easy for Gardner and the others who see the impact of mortars, rockets, roadside bombs and gunshot wounds on young bodies. For many of the troops she nurses, there is the initial psychological trauma that comes with being physically injured.

"It's hard to read what they have gone through," she told us. "They're so young - I mean, they are 10 years younger than I am."

But their young age belies their experiences in the battlefield, Gardner said.

"It's just amazing what they've been through and that they are alive and they are making it back home," she said. "I could never have guessed the sacrifices they have gone through."

Spc. Mathew Came, 21, is one of those soldiers. We found him onboard lying on a stretcher, being given morphine for the pain of his abdominal wounds, which were visible. Came, a young medic with the 82nd Airborne Division, was on patrol in eastern Afghanistan, tending to other wounded soldiers, when a bullet hit him in the bladder.

As he was given more pain medication, he calmly told us that when he got hit, his buddies went right to work.

"Right away I just went on to talk them through what we need to do, and it all went pretty smoothly," he said.

During World War II, the wounded were first extensively treated in overseas field hospitals, and it could take up to three months before they arrived home. By the time of the Vietnam War, it was down to about a month.

Today, with the ability to medically stabilize the wounded quickly and get them onto air evacuation flights, a wounded soldier could potentially be back in the United States three days after being hit.

It’s a balancing act. Troops must be stabilized enough to be able to withstand the long flights even if they are on a ventilator. But some are so critically injured, the military will try everything to get them home so their families can say goodbye. Since the war began, four troops have died on the way home on medical evacuation flights.

Just getting home can mean everything to those wounded in combat. Army Spc. James Dennis told us he was just waiting to hug his two small daughters. He showed us a prayer good luck charm he wears around his neck, a gift from his children.

For Dennis, that charm has worked. Just a few weeks before we met him, he was hit twice in the same day by roadside bombs and taken to the hospital at Bagram Air Base. Then he got hit in a mortar attack. Today, he is on the flight back to Germany. During the few minutes before being loaded onto the plane, Dennis told us the care from the medical teams eased his worries.

"These people here are awesome. They did their job," Dennis said. "I respect these guys a lot. I have no worries."

Once we got on the second flight, from Germany back to the United States, there were lots of smiles. For some of the troops, the best part about going home was that they were going home together.

We met three soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. They had served together for months. Their armored vehicle hit a 300-pound roadside bomb. After they were initially rescued and treated, all three were put on our flight on stretchers so they could be flown back to Fort Campbell together.

"We've been together the whole trip," Army Spc. Aaron Nuckolls told me.

With a badly injured leg and back, lying on his stretcher, he pointed to the back of the plane and said, "I know my two guys are back there."

Back there, we found buddy Pfc. Mike Garcia with two broken vertebrae, a broken knee and a broken ankle. It had been his first tour of duty. His big concern: his buddies.

"That's what makes it personal, because we go over there, we are such a small group to begin with," Garcia explained. "And we see pretty much nobody else for the year we are over there."

Garcia said the ultimate bonding of brothers in arms comes when they get hit.

"I can tell you one thing: I am happy with them. I am grateful for them. They helped me out a lot when it happened," he said.

The third man on the team couldn't talk to us.

Staff Sgt. Benjamin McGuire's jaw was shattered in the attack and was wired shut. But we didn't need him to speak in order for us to understand the heartfelt feelings of this soldier at being evacuated out of the war zone with his buddies.

He simply wrote on a pad, "It means a lot that I was able to stay with my soldiers."

I asked if he really thought it helped. He leaned up in the stretcher to write one more time: "Yes ma'am. Without a doubt. In my mind it made my injuries seem not so bad."

soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. milenkovic

    Seriously, Air Evac Nurses and MDs for Congress. Not the Frigging lawyers and bloodsuckers that inhabit it.

    We'd be far, far, better off !!!!

    August 4, 2010 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ruth

    I just wanted to share that in this emotional piece, you may be able to see pillows that our injured service members are using while they're being transported. It's an idea organized by a wonderful person at a local hospital in the Chicago area (Highland Park Hospital) and made by several Girl Scout troops who volunteered their time when most troops are off in the summer. We are touched to see that our Girl Scouts are able to help give our service members a small touch of home, and we're most grateful to the person, whose name I don't have, came up with the idea to help in this way and to make this all work. The pillows were made with a lot of love and with the help and contribution of many who organized and donated fabric and time.

    August 3, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Army Wife

    These are without a doubt the best and bravest patients in the world!!! They care more about the person in the next bed than their own injuries and only complain when they are told they have to go home and take care of themselves instead of returning to continue their missions. No matter where my career leads me I know nothing will compare to this amazing experience. It is an honor and a privileged to care for the wonderful men and women in our military. Thank you all for your service!

    -a Landstuhl nurse (and very proud Army wife)

    August 3, 2010 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruth

      It makes me cry to think about what they've sacrificed to fight for us. And, it grabs my heart even more to know that when they're injured they're thinking about the other person who's injured. It just shows me that we're all in it together. People care in places that we may never know. We're never alone. And the love is always there. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and so does my family. We have a special connection to Landstuhl. My late father-in-law was stationed there for 3 years with his family, including my husband who was only 8-10 years old. My husband now has a rich love of history, country and world humanity because of his time there, and I treasure it for our family now.

      Yours truly, citizen, supporter, and someone who is always thinking of all of our servicemen and women, all of your families who are now taking on this role in our generation, and the road you'll be travelling when you all come back.

      And my hope is that we remember that when they come home, we learn that even though they may not be talking about how they feel, that they are more likely than not to be suffering, and they don't have to suffer in silence. We can learn how to best help, and we can find out how to do it because even with our best intentions, we may not have been in war situations or in different situations, and we need help to help our loved ones.

      August 3, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jennifer

    Holy cow, those are our pillows!! Our Girl Scout troop was one of several who worked many hours sewing pillows for the wounded soldiers being flown from Afghanistan to Germany. The girls were so excited to be able to make our soldiers a little more comfortable, and so proud to have helped. This article will mean so much to them!!

    August 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Frederick Rederick

    I hope no extremist rallies are blocking the way for are brave men and women who thought in Afghanistan.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Netherland Washington

    To James Dennis – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. I hope your baby daughter slobbers all over you. I hope your wife gives you the biggest kiss ever... and then some. George W. Bush, shame on you for what you've done to men like Dennis! President Obama, thank you for bringing them home! But I'm sorry they are coming home this way.

    August 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris@Ramstein

    ... don't forget that even though what some of these people say are offense to the military, their families, and Americans in general... its part of what we fight for. There are a lot countries around the world people don't share the freedom we have in the US to speak our mind regardless of who shares it or how offensive it is. Though I do find some of these comment offensive I remind myself that this is the freedom I am fighting for. The freedom to not be oppressed by the government and have all our comments censored. The freedom to speak our minds regardless of who shares our opinion... to speak out in complete ignorance while only viewing the information to support our own views. This is what makes America great. We have the freedom do be as great or as insignificant, as smart of as dumb as we want... though offensive as some comment may seem... this is the freedom I fight for. Those of you who hide behind the internet and try to offend those that serve or their family members... hear these words. You are what we fight for. Freedom.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Ok, but the fight for freedom was a story of the past, a bright one, but now is quite different. I appreciate the possibility the CNN give me to post my comment. I like also the free market sistem that allows me to be independent. I also see some comments offensive for the truth and for the Islamic people. Islam is a complex reality with some internal fighting since a long time ago. I see a lot of follower without a clear leadership, while the Chistian have several supposed leader without true followers.

      August 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. AirForceDoc

    I am currently serving in Afghanistan. Everyday we perform surgeries on Americans, coalition forces, Afghan nationals and "enemies of the peace". The operating rooms run 24 hours a day. We are doing are best under austere conditions. The men and women serving in the hospital are selfless and tireless. There is incredible talent in the Armed Forces Medical Service. I was in the OR when CNN did their report. Most of us tried not to be on camera because that's not what it is about. Thank you for your support (everyone). We look forward to coming home.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      If you are not a fighter but a pure doc, as a coluege I support you. I had a medic girl friend who went to Afganistan with Emergency before the war with no weapon and admired her courage.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. amused

    No, we are very lucky there is not a draft, as more lives would be at risk if he ever passed basic and made it there. All the more reason I'm proud as hell of my wonderful husband and his friends-who just got back from the Korengal Valley in May. Man, so many people on this thread are so clueless. It is difficult to even wrap my head around the opinions here. I urge everyone to go check out Restrepo for a little true to life insight.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. amused

    Is David the pen name for Fred Phelps? Haha. I cannot stop laughing at your ignorance.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  11. Denise

    I have a son who is currently in Afghanastan as a Medic. When he left in May, he said he was going to take care of and bring our boys home. He has been in the Air Force for 20 yrs. and loves what he does. I hope all Americans know that these men and women are doing a wonderful job of caring for our wounded as if they were family, as truly they are family to each other in such unsettled times. God Bless all of our troops, and may God bring them home safe to their families.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jack

    I'd like to call attention to the last vignette in Ms. Starr's report, Staff Sgt. McGuire's statements that, "It means a lot that I was able to stay with my soldiers ... Without a doubt. In my mind it made my injuries seem not so bad."

    His words convey more than the comfort of being evacuated with comrades-in-arms, they capture the heroic essence of NCO and company grade officer leadership at its best in today's Army. The operative words are "my soldiers." SSG McGuire clearly means that by being with them he feels that he is in some way still taking care of his men, fulfilling his purpose.

    I have two serving sons, both captains with multiple tours to Iraq or Afghanistan, and I cannot count the times I have heard them, their peers, and their NCOs voice similar thoughts. These men, few older than their late 20's, love and care for their troopers as surrogate fathers and older brothers. It is inspiring to see and hear. His obviously heartfelt expression of that ethic makes SSG McGuire a true hero to me, but I'm certain that he would be uncomfortable if I ever were to meet him and call him that.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  13. salerno

    I agree with David. Many US soldiers may think doing something right becouse there is a lot of manipulation made by the government. The military is NOT the best part of USA. USA has wonderful people with a lot of culture that are underuppreciated.
    It is very sad tha the only way a woman can be appreciated is if she joint the military. They suffer a lack of consideratin in your country.
    The defence of freedom was a story of the past, a very good one, but now is very different. I am proud my father was a desertor I am proud having avoided the military becouse I don't want anyone to give me orders, especially if killing is involved.

    August 3, 2010 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
  14. shgwend

    David-obviously you have offended many, sounds like some other comments are a little boastful with too much pride mixed in there . I would be humble if I signed up for a war, came home at the incomplete end of it having taken any lives. during the war. Life is precious, I'm for pulling out of there. All the loss of life on both sides doesn't seem worth it @ this point . These soldiers coming home need a loving homecoming, they will never be the same.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. BTDT

    I'd thank CNN very much not delete my comments since they express ideas other than these tired conservative viewpoints on how "great" this war is.Since I see absolutely no glory in this obnoxious war,I still don't think that's a very good reason to be censored.That's the way they did things in 1930's Germany.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Air Force Strong

      Good posting BTDT.

      August 6, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  16. Mike Durham NC

    My sister Marty is a USAF flight nurse serving in this war zone, leading a medical trauma team helping our wounded servicemen to get medically stable so they can be flown out of country. To all our brave servicemen and women, thank you for serving our country and keeping us safe & for fighting terrorism.
    To my sister, you are my hero, I am so proud of you, stay safe and thank you for taking such good care of our soldiers, these sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers who are away from their loved ones.
    Love you Sis. Mike.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Alan

    Thank God for these brave heroes. May they heal quickly and completely and know how much my family and I appreciate their dedicated service to our country. I also want to thank the amazing work of those Air Mobility aircrews and medical technicians who take to heart their mission of bringing our wounded troops home quickly and safely. I am proud to be an American in part because of the sacrifices of all our servicemen and servicewomen; their families; and their friends/co-workers.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Lees

    Know what's more sad than 570 soldiers being injured last month in Afghanistan? The fact that so many people want to forget what this story is about and, instead, talk sh!t on the military men and women who serve. You know what I think about when I see the numbers killed and injured? I think about the young men and women who aren't in my college classrooms because they're too busy serving our country...and I think about how unprepared and immature a lot of my students seem compared to them. It's too easy to forget our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen and post a bunch of conjecture about who started the war, who's at fault for not getting us out, and how wrong it is. Grow up; we're there and that's the situation. Rather than diss our troops, how about supporting them instead. Be wait, that might mean that you have to get off your a$$ and move away from that comfortable chair you're sitting in.

    Love and support the troops. They deserve our appreciation and respect.

    August 2, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  19. JB1

    I just watched the 3 minute segment CNN allowed for the reporting of the first installment of "The Journey Home". I am extremely upset that CNN allowed such a limited time for the reporting of this all important story. Yes, there are 2 more segments to be shown, but I'm sure they too, will have very limited air time. These wounded warriors have fought, and almost died, fighting for our country, not to mention the dedication of the medical personnel who care for them. Shame on you, Wolf Blitzer, and CNN, for not giving these heroes the honor due them.

    August 2, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Tim

    David, tell me if there was a draft, and you were of age, would you go? Or try to defer, or better yet, run off to some foreign land? I am the father of a Marine, who happens to be there. I don't like it anymore than you. People join the service for many reasons, my son's was about 9-11, and frankly, people he knew in college like you. He felt he had a higher calling, and thought he would find it in the military. Everyone of the people supporting that theater of war are some of the bravest, most dedicated people I have ever met. They are doing what they have been ordered to do – policy is set by the politicians, not the military. Those brave men and women however have to carry out orders on the decisions made. And in case you missed it, this was started by terrorists who had safe haven under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. The Bush administration asked for Bin Laden and were bascially told to go to hell.
    While I don't agree with our adventurism in Iraq, which I don't think was correct. What the US is doing in Afghanistan is correct. The terrorists and those state sponsored organizations that support them HATE everything about us, for many reasons – some to me are legitimate, but some are not. Killing over 3000 innocent people in NY, Washington, Pennsylvania, Ghana, Bar Es Slem, in Yemen, and NY earlier in the 90's is not provacation, I don't what is.
    Make no mistake about it David, if one of the terrorists saw you on the street, they would slit your throat just because you are a westerner, and have the right you have to express your opinion, which by the way, their twisted version of Islam doesn't support.

    August 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      Well stated Tim... I could not agree more.

      August 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Dennis1020

    Heroism takes many forms, from those young men and women serving on the front lines to these medical personnel serving on the flight lines. From this old Vietnam combat veteran (5th Special Forces Group), I salute you all and wish you and your families and comrades godspeed.

    For those on this thread bringing politics and stories from the Vietnam era into the discussion, stay focused on this story and respect the efforts and dedication of the individuals highlighted in the story. ADD seems to be running rampant.

    August 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Beck

    To Dan, David, and all other jerks who say they have no sympathy for our soldiers I wish you the worst in your life ever! To Peggy Smith you are wonderful. I have a son who served 2 tours came home safe both times and I pray for his safe return again if it should happen. I am so thankful for these angels who take care of our wounded! I am floored by the American people who put down these brave soldiers. They really do have problems! Even my 3 yr old Granddaughter would say " They're mean ". A child would know the difference in a caring person to one of them. To Katherine G. and all the others on that transport plane you are nothing but the very best!

    August 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      I agree... Dan represents the worst type of people. The one tries to compare his worthless life to the ones who make a difference. I've been deployed four times. I'm prepared to deploy more if needed. That's the great thing about NOT HAVING A DRAFT... you get to serve with those who choose to be here!

      August 2, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Get off of it,U.S.Army-overlord and you too,Beck.This right-wing mumbo-jumbo gets awfully old!!!

        August 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Allen Wollscheidt

    Larry Valecia : YES, INDEED ! ! !

    August 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Helen

    I wish all the soldiers well and hope they continue to receive the treatment they need – both physically and emotionally

    August 2, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Allen Wollscheidt

    It is ALL a terrible and utterly UNNECESSARY waste primarily of our soldiers lives but also of our national treasure.

    We need to assume the turtle mode and dare anyone to touch us. Global – Schmobal Thank your corner Corporation and the Corporate/Financial Aristocracy who are trying (and so far succeeding grandly) to steal our country from its people in order to enslave them, in the GoP/Cons-style ! ! ! THEY are the enemy ! ! !

    August 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • joecatmo

      I think they touched us....9/11? USS Cole? US Embassy?

      August 2, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  26. David

    I have NO Sympathy for the soldiers. There was no draft. It is their own decisions to go fight for a useless war. If they die or are injured, it's on them. We should not be there. How many more years and deaths will it take? If another country came and took over the US, would you not have hate toward that country? It's sad, but maybe if more and more die then we will finally leave. We have already had more Americans killed overseas than 911, not to mention billions and billions and billions spent. Oh yeah, we also kill their innocent men, women, and CHILDREN while we are there. We need to fix the shambles the USA has fallen to before we start policing other countries. You all know it's true, somebody needed to say it.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • joecatmo

      Wow, does that mean you have no sympathy for the police that get killed in action? Thats a volunteer force too. The nurse in the story is 29, so did u ever think she signed up before 9/11? I know math is tricky but Im sure you figure out your unemployment check every week. If another country attacked here Im sure you would be the first one in line to Mexico. No wonder you want the border to stay open.

      August 2, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • David

        Police are doing their job in this country, they are not being the world police in another country. Try to stay on topic here if you can.

        August 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      Spoken like a true coward... then reposted many times like a idiot!

      August 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • shgwend

      I hear what youre saying But if you don't have sympathy for your countrys troops who do you have sympathy for? In ww2 your country's soldiers blood was shed for your freedom today.Ultimately to win the war against terrorism, there's a high price to pa y with loss of life on both sides. Medi-evac crews should be commended, they see a lot of suffering. Be thankful, maybe your calling is in the medical field, not in the battlefield.

      August 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Air Force Strong

      David,I totally agree with you.We need more people like you to blog in here instead of all these conservative fanatics.Thank you!

      August 2, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      David, you are moron. You are here typing what you want, hiding behind a computer screen. You wouldn't have the balls to go up to any military and say you have no compassion for them. The military are fighting for your freedom, so you can believe what you want and say what you want. You are not wrong in doing that, but you are a disgrace for having no compassion.

      August 4, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        ON THE CONTRARY, it is right becouse WE HAVE COMPASSION that DO NOT WANT the soldiers fight for us !

        August 5, 2010 at 5:19 am | Report abuse |
      • LotusRainforest

        Why would anyone risk going up to a marine and say something bad? You know your typical soldier has a bad temper. This isn't about being able to defend yourself against a marine. It's about voicing their own opinion, while they don't want to get harmed. I don't care what that guy/gurl said, but why should they get harmed? Is it necessary for them to get beaten? Why? Then there's no freedom of speech if they can't speak out without retalitation. Don't respond with violence just because your cheesy emotions for the country made you angry. That's why they won't go up to a marine and talk to them – they aren't there for the fight, they are there for the argument. Get it? Good.

        August 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      You're a callous person. These young people are serving our country out of pure patriotism. Actually, neither you nor anyone else knows whether our men and women serving there are not the deterrent for terrorist attacks on our country. There hasn't been a single successful attack on our country since 9/11. No matter what the reasons are, these young people deserve our respect and our full support...definitely not our disdain or your insults.

      August 4, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Rufust T Firefly

    What is wrong with some of you people? This story has nothing ... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ... to do with your own personal political views of Bush, Regan, Obama, Vietnam, etc. Regardless of our own personal beliefs about war and politics the fact of the matter .. the REALITY of it ALL ... is that these brave and honorable men and women are giving of themselves in the name of our nation! We owe them honor, respect and tolerance for jobs that swore an oath to fulfill! Let this story be told for what it is and PLEASE blog your politics somewhere else! This is not the proper forum for your own personal battles!!

    August 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  28. CEM

    Thank you for this article. My son-in-law was recently injured iby an IED in Afghanistan and thankfully has returned home. This news story will let me understand a little better what he saw and experienced while serving with the Marine Corp.
    And, please.....whatever your views/opinions on the our troops. These young men and women were not drafted....they volunteered for what many of us would not want to do. Respect them for that. I do.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Sharon R

    Thank God for the Angels who care for our soldiers when they come home from Landsthul. Our son, a combat medic, was injured in a house explosion in Sinsil Iraq that killed the 7 men with him. He survived the blast but only had ad 5% of surviving his injuries. He was flown to Balad and then to Landstuhl. He received the best of care and we were constantly updated on his condition. He was there 2-3 weeks before his lungs and open stomach wound were stable enough to fly to Brooke Army Medical in San Antonio. He was in a medically induced coma for 4-5 weeks. I stayed at BAMC for 2 months while he underwent surgery after surgery, but they all saved him, each and every medic, nurse or doctor that touched him did their part to save his life. He still is dealing with TBI and PTSD but every day gets better. God Bless them all for the caring and compassion they give our soldiers.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Dan

    Hello, I have NO Sympathy for the soldiers. There was no draft. It is their own decisions to go fight for a useless war. If they die or are injured, it's on them. We should not be there. How many more years and deaths will it take? If another country came and took over the US, would you not have hate toward that country? It's sad, but maybe if more and more die then we will finally leave. We have already had more Americans killed overseas than 911, not to mention billions and billions and billions spent. Oh yeah, we also kill their innocent men, women, and CHILDREN while we are there. We need to fix the shambles the USA has fallen to before we start policing other countries. You all know it's true, somebody needed to say it. Period.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Retired Army

      Dan, why don't you blame your favorite Republican President, George W. Bush, for getting us in this mess in the first place! You should show some respect for those who are currently wearing the uniform and have worn the uniform so you can live in a country that defends the freedoms you have! You are a sorry piece of crap!

      August 4, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  31. Linda J. Hoggarth

    Hey, CNN, the soldiers may fly into Ramstein Air Force Base, but Landstuhl Medical Center is in Landstuhl, Germany. I should know-my youngest son was born there. Get your facts straight.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Kate Graves

    One of the awesome medical folks in the picture is my daughter, Dianna. She is a Critical Care Air Transport nurse and is standing on the right side. This is her 4th tour–the first 3 were in Iraq, this tour is in Germany flying the wounded soldiers back to America. I cannot even begin to tell you all how proud I am of her and everyone who serves this wonderful country.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      You have every reason in the world to be proud of your daughter. Every American is proud of her and everyone serving with her. May G-d bless them and keep them safe.

      August 4, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  33. JJ

    This is war! This is what happens when you enter a foreign country with guns and randomly shoot at innocent people. it's a natural reaction for people to shoot back and defend "their" city. Not to mention all the innocent babies and women and men who are killed everyday due to these wars. What about them? Where's their story? Let's keep this in perspective. These wars are wrong and will end very soon with us looking bad.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  34. brendan

    hate the wars, support the troops. simple. let's keep the GOP out of the white house and we wont have to worry about anymore nonsensical corporation-inspired warfare at the cost of american lives.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Allen Wollscheidt

      EXACTLY ! ! !

      August 2, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Justin

    I am with the 445th AES, I LOVE THIS JOB!! It is very rewarding!! Looking forward to watching the tribute to AE!

    August 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  36. TBM

    I would like to say thank you to the medical staff that comforts these men and women on these flights home. I am a form military member of 6 years, husband served 22 and father and brother both served over twenty years and my son is in Afghanistan. I pray everyday that he does not get injured and he comes home safely, but after reading this article I know that the medical staff and his buddies will do their best to ensure he makes it home. Thanks to everyone who served or is serving I will not forget the sacrifice..

    August 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Chris

    God Bless our sevice members!!

    August 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  38. Patricia Redstone

    This kind of suicide is painless
    for I'm a yankee doodle dandy
    And O my grave shall warmer sweeter be
    For I spread democracy over seas
    Fight them over there
    So we don't have to fight them here.
    Over there! Over there!
    And we won't come back till it's over over there!
    And let each perform some part
    To fill with joy the warrior's heart
    And we'll all feel gay when
    Johnny comes marching home.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Georgia Goad

      Patricia, when I read the words to this old "battle song" in WWI and especially in WWII...I can see the women here in the US in the 1940's wearing the bandanas to protect their hair while working in our factories building planes, tanks and whatever they could do to do help our men overseas. Those wonderful USO clubs where our soldiers, all branches of the service, could relax, dance and just enjoy being with friends and fellow service people to escape the daily rigors of war. Thank you for printing that.....Georgia

      August 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Constance Rust

    I have a son due in from Iraq soon. He has been gone for a long time. My heart goes to all the soldiers and families and prayers to them. The "no mad look on James Dennis's face in the photo of this article will stay with me for sometime. I am praying James will recover and angels will surround him the rest of his life. THe sacrifices are very heavy to keep us free.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  40. AirForce Mom of deployed daughter

    I am very proud of each and everyone service member whether they are deployed or stationed at their home base. I hope that all of our troops receive the respect they are due and continually pray for their safe return home. My daughter is at Bagram and is a single mother of 3 children – I am proud of her service to this country and pray for her to come home safe. I cannot wait to see this show and the wonderful people who help our injured soldiers.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  41. Patricia Redstone

    Reality Check: Most of these boys join the military because they can't get a job or go to college – either because they can't accepted or because they don't have the funds – Then they're indoctrinated into military life. Many of these young men, like the one first mentioned in the article with the abdominal wounds join the navy corpsman program to get medical training that will help them get a job when they get out. But that program requires that they train for combat and then they send them off with marine units (marines BTW, hate all military personnel except corpsman because corpsmen are the #1 target for the enemy – ever seen M*A*S*H?) because they see them die all the time on the battlefield at a higher rate than marines.

    Here's another unreported military story: High recruitment numbers come from emancipated foster children. According to several studies (Harvard and the VA confirm this) those who have been fostered for even one year have a 60% percent higher chance of suffering from PTSD – also they their PTSD is more severe.

    Get on the ball, Press.

    There is a direct connection to the poor and disenfranchised of the USA and those coming home in these medical flights.

    It's not about patriotism ... it's about the economy and propaganda.

    August 2, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda J. Hoggarth

      Excellent post, Patricia Redstone! You hit the nail right on the head!

      August 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • CEM

      My son in law was recently injuried. However, he didn't enlist because us couldn't find a job, was disenfranchised or whatever you think. He has a job with our state government and owns his home. He joined because he felt it was the right thing to do. As do many of his friends....and yes they are all educated and employed.
      Be careful when you use statistics to justify your own views. You lose credibility.

      August 2, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Patricia Redstone

        I was raised in a military family and all my family members have served or are still serving ... I'm not young, so I know what I'm talking about. The military depends on the poor to fill it's ranks. Farm subsides to landowners boosted enlistment of tenant farmers and their sons during the Korean war ... so it's not about statistics – its about history. Certainly some do join out of idealism, patriotism and family history – but most recruits come to the military out of desperation ... need for medical insurance, income, a roof over their heads. One family member joined in the early 50's because he heard the guys got three square meals a day. When the economy is bad, recruitment goes up regardless of whether or not we're at war – that's a stable, verifiable statistic and it DOES have meaning and bear witness to a war-driven economic strategy that feeds on it's poor. That's why conservatives argue that war is good for the economy but funding education sabotages the economy.

        August 2, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
      • CEM

        "Most of the boy..." You're generalizing. And they're men, not boys.

        August 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • Georgia Goad

        Way to is so ridiculous how some people just put our service men and women in the catagory of not being able to deal with society, are uneducated etc. They weren't drafted against their wishes either. The love your family has for their/our country is what led them to the recruiting office. Fantastic....I know you are proud of them as all of us should be for doing such a brave thing. Kudos to them all.....Georgia

        August 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      Did Pat Tillman join because he could not "find a job?" Don't speak about things you know nothing about. If you have never served in the military you don't know what the lifestyle is about.

      August 2, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Patricia Redstone

        "boy" comment response" – obviously no disrespect intended though my dad and uncle joined as 15 year-olds.

        "Pat Tillman" comment response – Are you really making the argument that Tillman is an example of the average recruit?

        August 2, 2010 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  42. CityJailer

    This show will be a hit on RAGHEAD TV. They can have a drinking game......if they are talking with a wounded man and he says where it happened and it was your bomb that did it, everyone else has to take a drink. We don't want to see our wounded. Thats That.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Proud Mom

    Our son is a registered nurse and a Captain in the Air Force Reserves. Last year he was deployed to Iraq for several months, and this summer he spent his 2 weeks of active duty at Lundstuhl in Germany.

    He and his team are responsible for caring for casualties as they are transported from hospitals and loaded on transport planes. The stories he brought home with him are so tragic........but everyone is determined to provide the best medical care possible to our wounded warriors as they make their way home from the war zones.

    Can't wait to watch this program tonight!

    August 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Chris

    I read a comment on here about the Soldier coming home to a lack of employment opportunities. This isn't entirely true. The Army has established the Wounded Warrior Program, AW2, in that they have counselors that will help find jobs and the men and women there are extremely dedicated to the cases that come across their desk. They helped me out in so many ways and if you know any Soldier I would mention it to them just in case they feel through the cracks somehow.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  45. beasterdamas

    As we turn within we are so grateful for their service and committment to our Freedom...Bless all these souls that they should be reunited with their families...

    August 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Joe - CA

    God bless you all and thank you for your service to this great country.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  47. Alan

    Thanks all for your service!

    August 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Peter McConew

    Thank you all, now we can burn cheap gas. What they don't show all civilians that die without any medical assistance. Oh wait they are not Americans, so you don't care.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Ralph

    Hea Amy, maybe you are right about America's involvement in Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan,ect. Maybe we should let the TALIBAN provide for all those people. Maybe if the United States cut off all monetary aid to those countries they would be better off. Hea AMY...I don't think so.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Ralph

    Hea Amy, maybe you are right about our involement in Viet Nam, Iraq,Afghanistan,Pakistan, ect. Lets let the TALIBAN take care of all the people in those countries. I'm sure after the United States ends the cash train the people in those countries will be begging for our help! Or maybe you have a better idea how to stop the next 911.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Diane Smith

    The first thing that struck my mind as I saw this picture was how much money and suffering could be saved if the people of this planet could only get along with each other. WAR! WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

    August 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Darrell

    Maybe I'm missing something here but aren't these posts supposed to be about the brave men and women who were wounded in action and those who are charged with their care? My hat is off to the wounded warriors and those who care for them.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • George P.

      God Bless every soldier who is out there fighting or homeside pray for my battles saftey comeing home and being abroad

      August 2, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |

    I treasure each and every U.S. Soldier, who is fighting so we will not have to wear chadors and pray to a god of Islam. But a word also to their families, who suffer along with them when they are injured. I am usually pretty good with words, but they mean very little here. It's easy for me to write while I am (safely) here by my computer. I owe these people everything. sanjosemike

    August 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  54. Mel in Mesa

    As the mother of an 82d Airborne trooper injured in an attack on his compound outstide Kandahar, I want to thank the flight crews, the nurses and doctors, and especially his fellow troops that dug him out and treated him immediately following the blast. My son feels the same as Pfc. Garcia: He feels he should still be in Afghanistan to help and assist his buddies, he feels like he has abandoned him even though it wasn't his decision to be flown home for recovery and recuperation. Thank you to all our military members for everything you do for freedom everywhere!

    August 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel in Mesa

      Sorry- meant to say 'abandoned them'...

      August 2, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  55. a vietnam vet

    i have mixed feelings about this type of story. first the media wanted in at dover where the bodies of our kia are brought stateside. now they re wanting to do a piece on the wounded. these military men and women deserve the highest respect we can possible muster for them. so i have some reservation about the media poking their noses nothing sacred???

    August 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • George P.

      in todays world i really don't think so, we get just as much respect as you did then, we hardly get a thank you anymore, people and the media can be sickning

      August 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • AF nurse

      As a flight nurse who does this job, I do think it's important for americans to see what the sacrifices these brave men and women have given. So many have forgotten about the war and that people are actually dying and suffering. Although I would agree the media did not do justice to the actual story of how the AE system works and all the people it entails to bring these soldiers home.

      August 3, 2010 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  56. Air Force Strong

    why must you all turn this into a this side/that side argument? All this article is saying is how they help the troops get home as safe as possible after being injured to numerous extents during the fight. Stop turning this into a "bush did this" "obama did that" b_ _ _ _ fest and post that stuff where it applies, in a blog, or a chat room, or a conference room, or among those that are having that conversation. Not here, not where it does not apply to C-17's bringing people home safely. My father and uncle are veterans who may have only served 4 years army infantry but I am Air Force and aiming for a total of 20-30 years. Though I've only been in 1 year last month I am more than happy to serve and do what I can to help those who are injured and serving alongside myself and before myself. So take your drivel and put it somewhere else.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mel in Mesa

      Thank you for your family's sevice and thank you for your service! You are part of the elite 1% of our population that supports and protects freedom for everyone.

      August 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Air Force Strong

        Thank you for your support on the home front.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Air Force Strong

        Quit impersonating me,Phunnie boy!

        August 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Doug

    What a story.. got me chocked up... As I see these stories and pictures, it weird, but each one of these guys look like angels to me.. Such innocent sweet faces.. I wish them all the best.. Let's just hope our government stands by them for the long haul !

    August 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Mike

    Hats off to all the flight nurses. I've done this flight, it sucks. From what I remember the nurses were always there, checking on us, even fulfilling my morphine induced request of holding my hand as I fell back asleep.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  59. SFC Mike

    Having helped to unload our wounded in San Antonio immediately after Operation Just Cause, slipping on blood and scared for the young Airborne trooper I was helping to move, I was awe struck to see the flight medics, nurses and doctors waging war against death with courage, skill and prayer. I will never forget and you dear reader should never forget the flight crews, the medics, the flight nurses and "docs" who stand the watch and fight the good fight for your sons and dauighters and possibly for my daughter, should fate catch up to her. When you watch this report, look into the faces of those men and women who care for our wounded and say a prayer that they may recover from the stress, learn from the experience and draw strength from one another and continue to vanquish death while above the clouds.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  60. McArthur

    send them home...never gone to win -rather lose face then losing more lives.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  61. USTRANSCOM Public Affairs

    This is truly an amazing story of the perseverance and dedication of the men & women who serve our wounded warriors every day. Make sure to check out DoDLive for another perspective on the unique aspects of aeromedical evacuation from Colonel Larry Riddles, USTRANSCOM Command Surgeon. His blog entry on DoDLive, "Medical Monday: USTRANSCOM, Moving at the Speed of Life" gives a personal account of what he & his team do on a daily basis to transport those wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq to safety and medical treatment.

    Check it out:

    August 2, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  62. TSgt Mike Sircy Ret USAF

    As a former member of the Landstuhl Medical Center, I can say first hand that the men and women stationed there are first class. They give it their all day in and day out. From the Cole bombing, to 9/11 to this war, these men and women are definitely there to serve their country and assist the injured in any way possible. As I said the day I retired to these people, Aim High and Be All You Can Be! They have done so and continue doing so on a daily basis! Thank you each and everyone from a former staff member of Landstuhl! Keep up the great work and may God bless each and everyone of you. You truely are not forgotten and an angel in so many peoples lives!

    August 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  63. George P.

    Any soldier out in the field will most likely have some kinda of trama, weither it is a physical or mental. We join knowing the costs, of our lifes. We're out there protecting the people and country we love. We are all we have out in the field, I wont know what it feels like untill next year but i know that the only person that i can trust is the soldiers that might give their life for me or i give my life for them. To have peace and love, you must fight for it.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  64. esky25

    I was evacuated from Kandahar Air base on one of these flights back in 2004. Although the morphine was blurring much of what I saw, the very nice lady taking care of me was quick to react when I would wake up in pain. The plane was packed full of people on stretchers and guys sitting along the sides who were able to walk. I actually wasn't too mentally and emotionally bothered by my injury,and was over that a few months later. The more traumatic part was seeing all the carnage around me as I made my way through the hospitals and clinics. I can't imagine seeing that week after week. Thank you to all the personnel who get us from the battlefield to home. They never get the credit they deserve.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Chloe

    If it wouldn't have been for Katherine Gardener and her staff my brother would not be here today! It is because of people like her and progrmas like this that our death toll is not more, Thank You so much you have no idea what it means to know that because of this I have my brother! That my new son gets to know his uncle!

    August 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  66. AJM1

    This is about the military men and women who selflessly fight our Nation's battles and about the tireless efforts to keep them alive when they fall. It is also about America's commitment to put forward the resources, time and effort to ensure they have the best care. Something we should all want them to have. Having piloted many of these MEDEVAC missions in the C-17, I can say shamelessly that I am proud to serve with these amazing Americans and honored to serve. Grind your political ax as you will, but never pass up an opportunity to thank a veteran that you still can!

    August 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Chris in Ohio

    THANK YOU to all armed forced members, wherever or whomever you are. Your courage, dedication and selflessness in defending our nation is to be applauded. YOU have made it possible for us to live in the best country in the world, for my children to grow up (let alone free to make their own decisions). Your actions make it possible for your fellow Americans to sleep safely at night. We owe each and every one of you more then we can ever repay.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Erin

    If you don't like the wars we are fighting, vote for a different president and different Congress. The soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan (and those that fought in Vietnam and other wars) are the same people who would take a bullet for you if a war ever came to our doorsteps. The sacrifice they are willing to make should never be taken for granted.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Julie

    It doesn't matter why they are there... but they are... and welcome back. I spent my time in the Army scared to death and missing my family. The men and women serving with you help you get through it. There's a bond unlike anything else.

    Care about your soliders!! Do something nice for a vet 🙂 even though most will never bother because they are too busy or don't belive in the war. STUPID people.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Carlos Santos

    I feel sorry for these kids that come back wounded, FOR NOTHING, they've accomplished NOTHING. They made NO DIFFERENCE except the fact that now they're either crippled, wounded, blinded, limp, amputated. for what? In the end after all the receptions and "glory" ultimately it'll be each one of them dealing on a daily basis the bureacracies of our veteran doctors, hospitals and staff, trust me the worst of the worst personnel. Name me a single VET from any war that is better off after their "heroic" journey, people forget and just like our previous war vets, they'll be forgotten to live with their pains and aches for the rest of their lives ALONE.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Air Force Strong

      this article has nothing to do with that, and nobody is asking about supporting WHAT they do, but it is support for those WHO do, and to support them. You don't have to support what they are doing, but support them in why they do it. And it's easy for you to sit there and type all that, when you're not the one smack in the hard middle of it all. But do you know how it feels to just be walking through a store, and a random little 5 year old will break away from his mothers safe hand to just run up to you and hug your waist and say "thank you" and run back to his mother like nothing happened? No, so sit there and type all your slanderous thoughts and all about how we do nothing for no outcome when in essence it's those of us who fight to help you keep that freedom.

      August 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • AndyTheGameIventor

      I am generally opposed to war, and while I agree that the Vets who come back form war are not often better off, society is. Imagine if the soldiers in WW2 had not been there. Many came back, and many did not, but they all accomplished a great deal for mankind. In that respect, what they do is the definition of "service".

      August 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Soldier309


      I have served in the military for 19 years. Was RIFfed in 1999. I would gladly go to Afghanistan tonight but at 48 they turned me down. I was a medic and a nurse. With this wealth of experience, which you seem to know nothing of, I know these men enlisted, fought, were injured or killed, for many reasons:

      1. Those who fought beside them.
      2. So we wouldn't have to fight them in the United States
      3. So your children won't have to fight them
      4. So our families may know at least we tried to do something rather than NOTHING.

      But most importantly, they enlisted so we wouldn't have to depend on you to do the honorable thing and step up for those who cannot defend themselves.

      If you are unwilling to do that then please be quiet while we mourn our losses and treat our wounded. You're assistance is not required. We need NOTHING from you.

      August 4, 2010 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • wjlbc

        Well said, thank you.
        Marine wife, Air Force Daughter, Navy Granddaughter, American

        August 6, 2010 at 7:04 am | Report abuse |
  71. nurserachet

    As a former USAF Flight Nurse during Nam, I flew in C-141's from Clark AFB to Hickam and on to Travis with my loads of patients. I believe it was the most satisfying nursing I have done in my career. I am so glad that the medical crews are being recognized with this program. They certainly deserve it. And to the young people who are fighting, my heart is with them and their families.

    And Welcome Home! to them and to all who have served.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Carlos Santos

    Really sad that peole still believe that we're actually protecting our "freedoms" no one ever threatened our freedoms, not in Vietnam, Korea, Iraq nor Afghanistan. Please open your eyes people, this is the same BS that the govt feed to us as an excuse for every war we've initiated. How can we give BILIONS in aid to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and then years later when they don't fit our cause then we turn the other cheek and invade them? and completely obliretate them? Can anyone tell me what freedoms of ours are endangered? . . . . . . . NONE i thought so. I served but be for sure that none of my kids will serve the military, and I'm taling to as many parents as I can convince to not allow their children to be part of the "red" army. . .

    August 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • George P.

      you would never know how it feels for our troops my team mates are out there, people like you make soldiers sick the people who protest at funerals, how would you feel if someone you loved died for a "Stupid" cause and people threw things and cust at you while you try to give final respect?

      August 2, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously?

      Seriously? 9/11. Taliban sponsored Al-Queda.

      August 2, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  73. JTA

    What most of you fail to realize is the aftermath of what happens after these incidents happen or occur nothing is worse then being in Iraq and waiting for a missing to come back and finding out your friends did not come back they were injured and evac'd out to another location with no one knowing how they are doing or where they are going or when they are comming back or if they are.... sitting waiting and waiting for them to get to Germany so someone can get word back to the units to say hey they made it they are stable or what the condition is. I had to wait 5 long months to get home and reconnect with friends who were injured sitting in Iraq wondering and waiting and wondering how their family is taking it are they going to be okay and then come home and find out the Army has decided they can not longer be in the Army they are being medically discharged when this was all they had done their entire lives...

    August 2, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Thebuzzardman

    Everything has to turn into a left\right wing spitting contest. There was a time when people of all political persuasions honored thier soldiers and repsectfully agreed to disagree with one another. I guess those days are gone. And no, don't go blaming each other for "who started this horrible political dialogue". Lots of people are participating in it, and it's just wrong

    August 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Steve Harmon

    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13 KJV

    August 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • sofia little

      that is real love

      August 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  76. John Sullivan

    It really is hard to separate out the feelings this article sparks. What brave people to go into into battle. What caring and competent people who take of the warriors injured in battle. But no one forced this people to go fight. They signed up of their own free will. Too poor to do anything else? Maybe. Still brave. But are they keeping us free? I don't think so. Will the taliban take my freedoms? No, only if I let them. But I respect these troops. They are the "tip of the spear". They carry out our civilian government's foriegn policy. They do the job they signed up for. They do a job I can't do. They asked for the training to do this job. Do they make me proud to be an American? Yes. But so does the person who stands up and questions if what the warriors do is right. That person swims against a very strong and alluring tide. Unthinking patriotism is easy. It makes one feel good. Who can be questioned for "supporting the troops"? By saving these troops is war made too easy? If no one dies why not keep fighting? The unnmanned drones are turning killing into a very real video game. There is no fear. No danger. No harm. What is the cost but of dollars when a drone goes down? The operator comes off duty and drives home. All of this comes to mind.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Mr. Fed-Up

    Regardless of your political views or affiliation, no one should ever put our men and women in between them. It is not their decision and if you read the message of this article, not a thing has to do with the Obama, Bush, Clinton, or Regan administration. if you have a politcal view or dislike something else, go blog about it. Quit disgracing articles like this, at least journalists are making an effort to show the other side of the war, our soliders and what they are up against. Yes war is messy and devasting, but so can this petty round of political mud throwing. Grow up and pick the appropriate venue to discuss your views. I have my own, but will not taint this story with those, just as all of you should not!

    August 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Kraig Rasool

    It is hard to imagine the pain that these soilders are dealing with....nothwithstanding the emotional truama that settles in.
    For some its a little heart-warming to know that they have loved ones back home who will tend to their every need....but
    what about those soilders who are alone in the world no one to come home to except a hospital bed and nurses and
    doctor which is certainly enough to bring the wounded back to normal...However when the time comes for the emotional
    toll there has to be that support of family and close knit friends, they are the ones who know your every step and will
    tend to the healing process in a different but needed way... This is where my concern lies...not taking anything from the
    doctors and nursed who see this 24 hours a day, but the cirlce of love and support also lies within a strong unit of
    family and friends..Once again my thoughts go out to those who are wounded fighting to keep freedom and peace alive
    for all of us.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  79. David Barrett

    This story seems to be an attempt to recreate the real life behind the scenes story that was told more than two years ago in "Fighting for Life" about military physicians and the return home of injured service personnel. It has won numerous awards and was been shown at West Point, the Smithsonian, the White House, and many other relevant places. That doesn't mean this story shouldn't be told in other ways, but the origins are relevant as well. If you're interested, here is the website:

    August 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  80. NavyNurse

    I had the honor of bringing our wounded from Andrews AFB to NNMC Bethesda for 2.5 years. People driving on the Beltway had no idea as they sipped on Starbucks that the bus next to them carried the bravest women and men in the world who have their lives shattered just days before. The comeraderie they showed to each other and the teamwork that the Army-Air Force-Marine Corps-Navy team displayed to take care of these wounded warriors made me so proud to be a Navy Nurse. They were more concerned with getting back to their buddies or if their wounds would impact on their future in the military – they were not worried with the pain or the missing arm/leg. It's easy to bash the President, the economy, the war, taxes, jobs and your cable bill. Serving these folks brought into perspective that all of that was just crap. All of us were dedicated to giving these folks a smooth and pain-free ride to Bethesda/Walter Reed. They deserved it. Your job is to respect them as they continue on in service or as wounded vets regardless of your politics. Semper Fi, guys! I was honored to ride with you and hope you feel better soon.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      Thank you for your serves NavyNurse and helping to bring our heroes back to recover and be with their families.

      August 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • AF Flight Nurse

      Thank you for your service! To think that I may have given you report as we landed at Andrews :-). These men and women that I cared for since 2001 as a Flight Nurse have truly changed my life and they are the "heros" of this world! I have deployed to numerous locations flying our wounded home and will deploy again in the future to fly our Aeromedical Evacuation Missions. No one will ever understand unless they have been there and meet these men and women. They are amazing and they are always more concerned about their "battle buddies,"

      August 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  81. bob

    I rode this train home two years ago (and recovered as best I could). God Blessed America with her defenders and healers, and their supportive families. God Blesses America with our arrogant and humble citizens. Why are we blind to our countless fortunes? (human, I suppose). I miss you when I am away, and thank "ya'll" for being "you."

    August 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  82. SSG

    I worked on the weekend cleaning Lundsthul Military Hospital in the ICU ward. I was there when they bombed the towers in Saudia. I helped those injured board the buses taking them home. This really hits home. Sad on one hand and glad on the other. We appreciate all of them. This is America's war. We paid for the guns and bullets. No one is to blame. Let's just finish the job so we don't have to go back 10 years from now.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Mark

    It would be nice to see even more coverage of these heroes, instead of all the time wasted on Snooky, Heidi/Spenser, Lindsay, and the rest of the "celebrities" who clutter our airwaves and children's heads!

    August 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  84. BarryG

    I flew C-141 Starlifters (the plane the C-17 of this article replaced) during the Vietnam war. I remember two different flights where we brought back the wounded to Travis AFB hospital in Northern California. This article brings back many memories from the past. Gret work by CNN.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew Lubin

      Right,BarryG.CNN did a great job in deleting my comments while letting you right-wing fools vomit your ignorance all over the place!

      August 3, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  85. Bill-H

    Do I like the war, no. Do I think we should be over there no. We have asked the solders to go over there so we owe them everything we can give them as a country. The extraordinary care describe here along with any care they will need in the following months and years. It's going to be expensive but we owe it to them for what they have done.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |


    August 2, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      I have NO Sympathy for the soldiers. There was no draft. It is their own decisions to go fight for a useless war. If they die or are injured, it's on them. We should not be there. How many more years and deaths will it take? If another country came and took over the US, would you not have hate toward that country? It's sad, but maybe if more and more die then we will finally leave. We have already had more Americans killed overseas than 911, not to mention billions and billions and billions spent. Oh yeah, we also kill their innocent men, women, and CHILDREN while we are there. We need to fix the shambles the USA has fallen to before we start policing other countries. You all know it's true, somebody needed to say it. Period.

      August 2, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • CEM

        Maybe you should thank them for enlisting. Thank about it.....there is no draft because of the men and women who enlist. Otherwise, you might be over there.

        August 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • David

        If there was a draft for a reasonable war, yes I would go. But no, I would not go for this war. Why would I risk my life for a war that makes no sense at all. That is the stupidest thing ever.

        August 2, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Patton

        Very well stated,Dan and Dave too.It's nice to know that we still have some intelligent people blogging in here.Thank you both!

        August 3, 2010 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
      • marianna68

        I am a US soldier. I have yet to be deployed but if I go, I go and I feel that people who condemn thoseof us who voluntarily put on the uniform do not understand what we stand for. I have served 17 years plus and will continue to serve as long as I am needed.

        August 4, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Mike in KC

    Thank you CNN for continuing to cover the Iraq and Afghan wars that have sadly dropped from the radar of other news outlets.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  88. John

    I don't recall this article saying anything about Islam. It's about the courage, compassion, and love these folks have for one another. They join together as a family though they are not blood related. Some of you people really diminish what these people have gone through with your arm chair comments! Regardless or who agrees with the war or not, these folks are there fighting. Some joined because they were flat broke and had nothing, others joined to save money for college. There are so many reasons people are there. Where's the respect?

    August 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • sofia little

      There is a strong bond between soldiers and it brings tears to my eyes to see the compassion they have for one another, that they truly have each other's backs. Brothers and sisters will they all be regardless of what people say. They're definitely fighting the real war while we're back home fighting different personal wars. A little compassion goes a long way and a bond like theirs goes further than blood.

      August 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Georgia Goad

      Way to go John, couldn't have said it better myself....kudos me darlin'...GG

      August 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  89. james brown

    let's see which of the ten christian principles we're living by.

    thou shall not kill?

    thou shall not steal?

    thou shall not lie?

    thou shall not use Lord's name in vain?

    thou shall not lust over someone else's gals?

    August 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • james brown

      yup, we're the greatest christian nation, alright.

      August 2, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jim

        Just shut up and go fishing somewhere else. Not everyone is Christian, and you can't just lump all Christians together. So stop fireing your shotgun to see who you can hit and argue with moron.

        August 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Sandra Lovett

    My son was flown home from Iraq on a C-17 like this one and I thank all of these medical service people for their kindness and concern for our injured service men and women. As a mother who has come through the hallway to the door at Walter Reed and seen the soldiers standing at attnetion beside gurney's waiting for the white Walter Reed Ambulance I can tell you that tears welled in my eyes and my heart broke to see the wounded being so lovingly taken care of.

    August 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Georgia Goad

      Ms Sandra, reading the article about these young men coming home on a C-17 that had fought together, wounded about the same time and coming home together, then reading your comment about the honor payed to your son and other wounded soldiers at Walter Reed just made my heart swell with pride. It takes a soldier to truly understand another soldier and understand the respect they have for each other. Today, they brought home a 21 year old soldier who went to war in June and was killed a few days ago. He lived in a neighboring community and the streets were lined with flags, veterens of other wars as well as this one, neighbors...not a dry eye among us...paying respect to this precious life snuffed out way too soon. I am so happy you have your son, I know you will love him and keep him close to your heart.....the soldiers that came home on this hospital plane have a long road to recovery, but they will do it together. I think it is called 'brotherhood'.....Georgia

      August 5, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  91. james brown

    everyone shall live with the consequences of one's choices and actions.

    August 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Tom4650

    First it was the H19,then the Huey, then the Blackhawk, and then the SAMCU insert, then the Nightingale DC9, and now the C17 Medical ICU. The strides made in Medical Evac are staggering yet so encouraging. Just get them home quick and alive. The Army and Air Force Medical Services are doing a fantastic job. Sure beats what I lived through. Bless you all in what you do for "our best".

    August 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Carley

    It is not Obama or Bush who get any credit for the successes or setbacks in Afghanistan. It is the Stanley McCrystal's and Dave Patreaus' who get the credit for their war plans. Bush and Obama are simply told battle plans as what military experience does Obama have? None! Leave the war to the military. Obama can say he wants a full military pull out in 2011 well if we do that, and the country is not stablized then they will implode and on top of that, if insurgents and Al Queda members are not taken out 9/11 will be a walk in the park people. In order to suceed we will suffer losses, there will be injuries and deaths, but that is war. My hat is off to those brave soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afganistan and Godspeed to each of them. My prayers are always with them and those that help them in their time of need!

    August 2, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  94. B Schatt

    I read about these flying hospitals and care center and the people who work in them and I cry. I am so thankful that they are there to care about and for these young men who are critically injured. I wish that I could help them, but I don't have that particular skill set.
    And then I read how Angelina Jolie is concerned about N. Korea. What a contrast. One of the deepest concern for these young men and one who is stretched so thin she doesn't have any perspective today.
    Kind of like the Senate and the House and the President. None of them can see an apprenticeship program to cover hundreds of jobs, paying people to go to school and learn a trade/profession, and obtaining the ability to be hired at a well meaning job. We'd rather have many more miles of asphalt covered highways, paying relatively few, and brag about how we are "growing" the American economy. No perspective.

    August 2, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  95. Carole Clarke

    The best thing is they are coming home. Afghanistan is a hard nut to crack – ask Alexander the Great, the Brits and the Russians. A friend emailed me a 60-slide show on those women who are forced to wear that blue burka. I didn't realize it was designed by their men to distort their vision, prevent them from running or hearing properly. They are required to re-identify themselves constantly to their own children when outdoors because all the women look alike. There were some photos of parades of women in dusty gray ones that make them look like legions of shabby ghosts. I didn't realize their women cannot ride in the inside of taxis but must ride in the trunk with the lid propped open. It's not religious, it's tribal and meant only to control females. Jeesh. I thank God I am an American. Welcome home guys!!!

    August 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      All good points. I agree that the majority of Americans are ignorant when it comes to the cultures of of people in this world. Although I personally do not agree with Islam, or what it stands for, I don't hate anyone who worships that, I am more grown up than that. I don't hate someone becasue of their religion, just what they do with it. There are extremist Mulims, TONS of Christians, and Jews, however you don't ever see to many Hindi, or Buddhist around (at least I haven't I could be wrong.) I just completed my third tour in Afghanistan (been everywhere from the South all the way to the North in that country). Although some of the views differ, it is not a true fact that "they" Afghans don't want us there. Of course there are the select few, just as we have in our own country who don't fully understand what is happening there. There are even some vets of both conflicts (Iraq and Afg) who feel are being there is wrong. Most of these people probably never verntured outside the wire in a combat roll. They didn't get the feel of the people there. Now to the women. There is MUCH respect for the women in Afghanistan by the normal men. It's these Taliban, and other people that treat them like S*@%. I have been in many compounds in Afghanistan with the women there. We respected them. We were not allowed to search them (as men) because that would violate them, respectable. MOST of the women there are educated. Not in the sense of the United States or World education, but they know things, they are smarter than the media, or anything else you read or watch or hear put out. One thing is certain, if someone they know is bad, they are some of the first people to tell you. They want change. I am not talking rights like women in the US have, but they are sick of having war in their country. They along with their children are the majority killed when it comes to a market bombing, car bombing or other stupid incident that happens there. I can't say much for the men that follow the extreme side of things, but the men, women and children I had interaction with on a near daily basis in 8 different provinces that were normal, value life, and have values and morals, they just have been stuck in a downward trend for so long, all they knew before we got there was killing. We are giving them hope that someday their children can grow up and know a different country, a different world. So unless you have not just been there (Afg or Iraq) but you have actually been in the streets and homes of these people, you don't know how they feel and all you hear is media BS or hearsay from someone else who was there, that could be upset they spent a year of their life there. If anyone joined after 9/11, they knew the possibility of going somewhere to do something, so they should stop complaining, or get out. Just my two cents.

      August 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Thank you for your lesson Yacobi. Now I know who you are but they cannot understand.I wish the best for you and for all the Muslim. We have a lot to learn from the islamic. I can add that the veil for the women as well the prescription to be a step after men (and do not speak to much) is a christian prescription as everyone can see in the "Epistola di San Paolo ai Corinzi).
      I wish the best for you and for your people.

      August 3, 2010 at 8:11 am | Report abuse |
  96. Karen

    Thank you for this article. These young men and women don't believe we think about them as we go about our day to day business. So many don't want to think about it. We need to keep our wounded on the forefront of the American conscience. Make it close up and personal. Hire a vet, help a vet, give to veteran's organizations. Let them know that we want them and we value them. Give them time and space and allow them to adjust. Know that you will never understand or comprehend what they have experienced. Honor them more as the headlines and news articles fade away.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Dalton

      Thank everyone who is in support of my fellow soilders out there right now, if i could i would still be out there with all of my brothers and sisters who are fighting for our freedom, you know that everyone says that freedom is free but if you really get into the depths of it, every one of our brothers and sisters that have lost their lives while fighting for this country know that it is not so free, So i apprecate what everyone is doing inorder to help our troops who are still fighting for our freedom. There are some that will never live to see that free life ever again. So send out a prayer evertime that you think about a soilder. There are those ones that never come back. Thank all of the soilders out there!

      August 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Georgia Goad

        You have our prayers, Dalton, as well as my family, our friends and especially our churches....God Bless every man and woman who wears a uniform for our United States....Georgia

        August 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • sofia little

      No matter the war nor the time, each and every one of our soldiers put their lives on the line for us. For those who died, God bless their families and for who live on, God bless and Thank you for your courage, strength and devotion for what you believe in. Every soldier is a human being and deserves to be honored for fighting to protect our right and freedom no matter if it is from another country or from within our own. My father fought in Viet Nam, but was on one of the Navy ships so he didn't see as much as others did, but I am thankful that he came home because I was just a baby then. I can't imagine the turmoil or mistreatment any soldier had to endure from the enemy or from homeland, but thank you and I support our troops 100%. For all the families and children missing your soldiers currently at war, continue to pray for their safe return.

      August 2, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Barshay

        Beautifully put....

        August 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Is that right,Barshay???

        August 3, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Allison O'Connor

    Ralph, thank you for your service.

    This is a great article. I also look forward to the series. My husband is in Afghanistan. I appreciate anyone who is supporting our troops.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike in KC

      We very much appreciate and admire your husband's service!

      August 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ProudUSAFWife

      Thank you to you too for all of the sacrifices you have made and continue to make every day.

      August 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • George Patton

        Will you right-wing nutjobs kindly shut up??? How old this crap gets!!!!!!

        August 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • USAF

        George Patton DON'T READ IT THEN!!!! I love hearing the proud Americans speak. To Ralph and the other vets thankyou. To all of you bashing us now keep enjoying that freedom of speech we'll keep enjoying providing it. What's old George is people like you who just want to bash everybody on here ALL THE TIME. We dont exactly want to go into war you know that wasnt our goal in life. There are MANY reasons we joined the service. But our country called upon us to go take care of a job and we will not back down from the oath we took or turn our back to the thousands of innocent lives that were taken from us.

        August 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Georgia Goad

        To you ProudUSAWife, I can speak for a lot of women right now, we definitely are praying for your husband and hundreds of other of our soldiers who are in this war.....we are with you and pray for you as well as many other service wives who are waiting for their husbands to come home. Makes me wonder if this George Patton (where did he get this great name?) person was ever in harms way by being in the service himself? Hang in there Proud, we are proud also.....Georgia

        August 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    He sure is doing a better job than Bush did... It sure is a shame they will be coming home to a place where there aren't any jobs!!!

    August 2, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick4usa

      The illegal aliens will make sure of that.

      August 2, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ryan

        Yeah because once all of the illegeals are gone our boys returning home can get jobs at landscaping companies mowing lawns. Or maybe picking fruits and veggies someplace. Don't blame the illegeals, blame the greedy corporations sending jobs overseas and the greedier unions forcing the wages so high they had to do that.

        August 2, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        I can't stand when people act like they're above doing manual labor. I am a white male, college graduate, and I funded my entire 4 years of college by doing landscaping work. I have been yelled at, mean-mugged, and even had things thrown from cars at me by hispanics while doing landscaping work around D.C. Illegals have found a comfort zone doing manual labor, , but if they all left tomorrow, happy, legal U.S. citizens would step in to fill the void.

        August 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      You claim that Obama is doing better than Bush. All Obama has done so far is move the war back to Afghanistan, he promised change, and all we (myself being a 2-time Iraqi Freedom Vet) got was a change of scenery. God I can't wait for November!

      August 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Peter Harrison

        Josh, have you forgotten that this war was also a "left over' from the Bush era? Had this war received it's due attention, as compared to the excursion into Iraq, than maybe we would not be in this mess.

        August 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • SSG

        Son, I served for 12 proud years. Went to war leaving a 4month pregnant wife behind. Don't blame your commander in chief. We all wanted revenge for 9-11. Just shut up and do your job. We appreciate our warriors whether they are doing their job or just a show of strength. "It Shall Be Done"

        August 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jason

        Josh, I am doubtful you are a 2 time vet, but I'll let you live out your fantasy. Regardless of what your personal views are on our president., he is trying his best to deliver on all his campaign promises. I am a father of 2 boys who are coming back thanks to this presidents efforts and I along with my boys will pay our respects to the president and the democratic party come November. He can't do it alone.

        August 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Also a soldier

        I'm a 21 year vet. I don't think Obama moved the war, I was in Afghanistan in 2001. That's the war we should have been fighting all along.

        August 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Phil


        you really think Obama can take us out of two wars in less than 18 months? Combat for US troops is nearly done in Iraq.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Evan

        Do you think Obama could just snap his fingers and end the war in Iraq? This is the fastest draw down of combat troops in American history. 18 months and people are already saying Obama isn't fulfilling his campaign promises! Wake up people, can't you realize Obama volunteered to take on two wars a failing economy and much more, for us.

        I would also like to add, there is a difference between disagreeing with a war and supporting our troops. A few of you have tried to compare that fact that someone doesn't think we should have ever been in Iraq and that the war was unfounded and misguided to them not supporting our troops or being unpatriotic. If ANYTHING it is the exact opposite. They are supporting our troops by questioning why we went to Iraq (A question we still can't answer). If I can not bring back my cousin, who gave his life for this country in Iraq. Then I will try my best to prevent it from happening to anyone eles... So don't you dare question my support for our troops.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Debij

        @Josh – I don't think you even got as far as one whole tour. But I'll humor you on that. Don't you think that if Obama could bring home all the troops right this second that he would do it??? No one's getting a change of scenery – Afghanistan was going on long before we went into Iraq the second time. (If Bush the first had gone in for Saddam when we were there the first time, I don't think there ould have been a second one – but I digress.) That war has been going on. And if you really want to look at it under the correct light, Obama inherited BOTH wars from the Bushes.

        August 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • MatthewG

        @ Debij

        Re your comment: "If Bush the first had gone in for Saddam when we were there the first time, I don't think there ould have been a second one – but I digress."

        I would agree that Saddam was a very bad person – but Bush I did the right thing in stopping the advance. It told the Arabs that we were not there for the oil – or to gain a vassal state. This in and by itself disproved Bin Ladin's claims on 9-11. In fact it took a great deal of courage to do what he did. Where he messed up was not helping the revolt that he encouraged about 1 year later. In general Bush 1 did a good job as President.

        August 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • shane veteran

        Whatever you say. I enlisted knowing my life was being used for the greater good. I love america.No matter who is president I would happily go back into combat cause that is what soldiers do. Remember that.

        August 4, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  99. Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

    At least they are getting a better reception than the ones that came back from Vietnam!!!

    August 2, 2010 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • RAG

      At least that is the narrative put forth by the media. In fact no one got spit on and maybe 2 or 3 people were called "baby killer" (probbably correctly – we killed a lot of babies in Vietnam). It's time for America to face facts and dump these myths.

      August 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tina

        And you know this how? Were you there? I was and and I did watch how the soldiers of the Vietnam era were treated when they came home.

        August 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Rich in GA

        I highly respect what is being done. I am a disabled vietnam vet but quite mobile. My last duty was in CA and we were in many fights because we were spit on and screamed at. I left CA and it never happened again, they do not protest on the farm. LOL

        August 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • larry wi

        No one got spit on when returning from VN! You should have been walking next to me after landing at LAX in 1969, not only was a spit at, I was slapped in the face by a Woman whose son had been killed, she was mad that I made it back, and no we didn't know each other!

        August 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in KC

      Sad but true. Our Nation has finally awakened to the fact that our Vietnam Vets deserve respect and admiration just like all other Vets that went to war to protect our freedoms. Thank you to ALL veterans!!!!!

      August 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nate C

        It's very simple Amy. The Vietnam war was a proxy war that was about controlling and stopping Soviet expansion of influence. The Afghan war is about stabilizing and improving the country so that it no longer is a safe haven for terrorists to set up training camps to train people to commit terrorist acts. You really can't see how achieving these goals would improve our security?

        August 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Biggy

        I do appreciate what the soldiers are doing. In response to Nate C's reply to Amy, I would think to protect our security we should be dealing with Pakistan, that's where all the terrorists we know of generated from, not Iraq not Afghanistan and definitely not Russia.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • Anthony Cataldo

        A lot of American blood has been shed that allows you to voice your opinion like you do....

        August 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • EEB

        Amy: There is a distinct difference between supporting specific policies and supporting troops who are serving overseas, and continuing to support them when they return, injured or not. In my way of thinking, there is no reason to belittle the sacrifice of soldiers by conflating their service with what you call the BS from the decision-makers.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Zahir

        @Biggy. Pakistan is where the terrorists came from? Do you know that the US has always and presently knows full well where the training camps for the terrorists/freedom fighters/jihadists who fight against India in Kashmir? Back in 96 the US instructed Paki to close all of them down and they were for 2 years. Then they were given the go-ahead again and the watchamacallems started doin their thing again. The fight in Pakistan has always been in the US's control. You're talking about Pakistan but its obvious you know nothing about the relationship between the two intelligence communities. All the US has to do to stop the war against Kashmir is make one call to the Paki President.

        August 2, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Debij

        @Biggy – Yemen is the worst. Personally, I'd like to see some of these countries who are majority Muslim do something. It doesn't have to be sending troops in so that Muslim is fighting Muslim, but if their clerics and other holy people started telling these people who are following people like bin Laden that Allah isn't interested in that kind of "help", and that they won't be going to "paradise" for blowing themselves up, maybe they can start calming things down over there.

        August 2, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mike in Tn.

        Agree, Its long over do....Its really SICK when the country you love and defend treats terrorists, illegals, and criminals better than its own Veterans...WAY OVER DO !!!! //// America awakens...YES..about T I M E

        August 5, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • blackHat

      Stories about veterans returning from Vietnam to crowds of protestors who condemned and even spat upon them are largely complete fabrications (and poorly though-out fabrications, at that), created by media personalities and pro-war propagandists attempting to smear the anti-war movement. When nobody could conjure up any truly reprehensible actions on the part of anti-war protestors, they simply made up the most inflammatory story they could think of.

      The reality is that most people protesting the war were sympathetic to the soldiers themselves–especially draftees being sent overseas against their will–it was the government they had a problem with.

      August 2, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sgt.B-MACV69-70

        I am a Viet Nam veteran who will watch this series with interest. I just think it is too bad that these fine young men and women will be treated so badly by the VA after they get out of the military. Thank you Sen. James Webb, D-Va.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • LennyC

        What planet did you come from or were you even born then? I was in the military from 1969-1974. Although never actually deployed to Vietnam I was deployed elsewhere and when I returned to the states in uniform I was subjected to profanites and threats. My own hometown of Boston with it's significant numbers Students for Democratic Society (SDS) members turned me away and I forever swore off living there again. The reason we are hearing so much about all this now is because the media did not cover the service men and women being mistreated then. We were all an afterthought in the big scheme of things, but I am and was very proud to serve....nothing can change that!

        August 2, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • Thomas

        I have spoken with many Vietnam Vets, my uncle being one of them. He was spat upon he was cursed.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • jim

        blackhat, were you even born yet?? This is about as uniformed a post as I have read. the anti war protesters were just as much anti soldier. I think today there is a little more respect for soldiers even for those opposed to the conflicts, but in the late 60s and early 70s that certainly was not the case

        August 2, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Debij

        What planet were you on if you were even born then? I watched what happened. My father didn't even serve in Nam – he was in Thailand, and he only worked on airplanes and I saw people call him names and stuff like that. My dad went in the Air Force when it was still the Army Air Corps and made the decision to go AF when it split – so he didn't go in during Nam – he was already in there. I know what the difference was as I lost an Uncle in WWII, and have been told that when someone died during WWII, the community rallied around the family. Everyone who went off to WWII, whether they came back or not, was considered great and couregeous. Anyone who went to Korea was treated similarly. However, with Nam, possibly because it was the first to be televised and reported from extensively in almost real time, the people who came back were mistreated. Even some military families were treated badly.

        Unfortunately, the VA isn't that much better and some of the guys coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan are being given the shaft too. Imagine, if you weren't physically injured, but your brain was injured from the concussion of a explosion, they were calling it a "pre-existing condition" which invalidates it as a war injury.

        August 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mr Wolf

        blackHat- as one of the vets who were spat upon, I can CLEARLY tell you that 'fallacy' is not what I'd describe how spitting on returning vets should be characterized. I witnessed it, it's been directed at me, and just because it wasn't in the MFM doesn't mean it didn't happen.
        Don't believe me? Try this story here:

        August 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chuck retired SFC, US Army

        Both video and audio evidence are readily available. Perhaps you might want to Google Video's of Viet Nam protests before you make yourself look like the ass you are. You spout your nonsense very flamboyantly but its still just b.s. You think you are educated and know what your talking about, but those that lived it, know your full of yourself and if your eyes are blue.. its only because you are a quart low.

        August 4, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Let's not bring other wars into this story. This is a story about advancement in medicne and technolgy

      August 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chris

        How can we better evaluate advancements in trauma surgery and military field medicine if we dont compare it to other wars? It's the most obvious benchmark to bring into the conversation.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Georgia Goad

      Hi Larry, you certainly are right about the reception our boys are getting now compared to the Vietnam. My brother, Jimmy was a army sargent in Vietnam, tank battalion. He went from an open happy 18 year old when he joined to an alcholic when he returned, wife left him while he was in combat, friends weren't friends anymore. He died an angry young man of 40, needing a liver that was damaged then. He was drafted and did his duty for his country, not wanting to go into war, but did. I sure do miss him. My nephew went to Iraq to armor plate our guys humvees to try and make them safer and fought when he had to help our soldiers stay alive. He lived through his tours and returned to a country proud of his efforts in the National Guard in Iraq. Such a difference. So sad....Georgia

      August 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  100. ralph vitagliano

    I cannot wait to watch this series. I know first hand just how hard both Barbara and Brian worked to bring this story to air.As a Viet Nan vet i can relate to my fellow soldiers feelings returning home.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike in KC

      Thank you for your service Ralph!!

      August 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill T

      I want to see this myself. My son was evacuated to Landstuhl and then made the C-17 flight after almost a month. He is still recuperating and it will be good for him to see what he and his family experienced while he was in a medically induced coma. The people that cared for him on every step of the way were exceptional Americans. Each treated him as though he were their brother or son. The aircrews and medical personnel and the sometimes forgotten volunteers are all "Soldiers Angels". Love to all of them!!

      August 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Connie

        I hope your son is doing well...I can't imagine what you all went through. My son leaves in a few short months.

        August 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mel in Mesa

        Bill, I thank your support of your sons decision to be military! I hope your son is doing well and you are able to see him soon.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • EEB

        I am sending love to you and your family, you all must be very brave.

        August 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jim G

        @Ralph, Thanks for your service.
        @Bill T, thoughts and prayers to you and yours! Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

        August 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Scott S

        I too have made that flight from Landstuhl to Walter Reed...when my son who was serving in Afghanistan became ill with viral encephilitis almost 2 years is a miracle he is alive today...Made hats off and prayers for all that helped him...As a retired service member truely makes me proud to be an American

        August 2, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Blessed

        Bill we are blessed to have soldiers like your son, may God Bless him in his road to a full recovery. Thanks to him for his courageous service and acts of selflessness. To David, your post was harsh and unecessary.......its because of our soldiers that you are able to sit back and type so freely expressing your arrogant opinions and thoughts. Ya so lets just all sit back and do nothing and wait for the government to implement a draft. Not when you have brave soldiers like Bills son ready and willing to make all the sacrifices without letting it get as far as a draft. To say you have no sympathy is quite frankly disgusting. I will pray for you.

        August 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • steve

        Although they are from different services the wounded brothers in arms are just that..our brothers. The care given to the soldiers sailors and marines is the best anywhere. The great thing about the US armed forces they put the care of the wounded above all else. I have had the honor of taking care of the wounded for more than 13 years now....the best thing i have ever done. God bless the US service members.

        August 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • David

        My post was not harsh. It was the truth. But hey, sometimes the truth hurts...

        August 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        May GOD be with you and your Family while GOD heals Your Son!!! I thank you for the sacrifice You did for Your County!!! I just PRAY to GOD that He has a full recover any real soon...

        August 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • diann

        your son was well taken care i hope. i am part of the group that meets them at their first stop in the US. we do our best to treat all our fellow brothers and sisters with care and love.

        August 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • caliguy58

      Thank you very much!!!

      August 2, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Scoot s: May God Be with You and Your Family too!!! These times must be hard on You also??? Anyone that has some one in Their Family over in either Afghanistan are Iraq has My PRAYER too!!! I was in the Army Nation Guard from 1959 to 1965... I lose a lot of My Friends ( BROTHERS) in that War!!! For some reason GOD made it so I am still alive today... But it sure doesn't make things easier for me!!! I do everything I can to make things better for Those fighting for Us now... That is My way to show GOD that My Life was worth saving!!!

        August 3, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Steve the Army and Air Force are dieing in both Wars too!!! Why just mention them???

        August 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debij

      Brian, thank you guys so much for doing this and showing us this side. Unfortunately, the side we usually end up with is the ones who don't make it – I live near Dover AFB. I am in awe of my 76 year old mother who volunteers at the USO in the lounge and has seen some of these kids going over, and she also goes in when notified of bodies being received, so that she can help give a little food/drink etc comfort to the escorts, honor guards, and the families of those who come to pick up their loved one.

      August 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        May GOD Bless Your Mother!!! We need all the help when we get back from where ever we were!!! It was really sad how the People treated those that fought in the Vietnam War... Those that fought there are still not being treated the way Hero should be care for!!! That is the sad part of it all... I wish there was People like Your Mother there then!!!

        August 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        Hey you,Phunnie boy.Will you stop using my name??? It makes me look like an absolute idiot!!!

        August 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jayne

        Wonderful woman! Have you seen the coverage of other exceptional Americans, many vets and many not, who live near Bangor, Maine? They greet soldiers hitting American soil for the first leg of their journey home, no matter what the time of day, and many are older WWII vets! I so wish I lived nearby so that I could participate in something that should be done for EVERY one of our true heroes. God bless them all. And David, get a better outlook on life; you'll live longer....

        August 9, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Nelson

      David- YOU may not have any sympathy for the soldiers who have been wounded or killed in action. But YOU owe them a Thank You for putting on that uniform “voluntarily” to protect YOUR freedom of speech you use to bash the very people that allow you to voice your ignorance. Unlike you they have a sense of duty, honor, country and patriotism that YOU will never have the backbone or guts for. Fix this country? I have travelled to 87 countries and nowhere in the world has it as good as someone who was blessed to be born in America. David, if you were born in Afghanistan and voiced your opinion about the Taliban the way you have about America and our troops, you would only get to do it once. Sleep tight David, knowing brave young men and women are protecting ignorant, selfish soles like YOU all over the world. God bless every person who wears the uniform of an American soldier, Sailor, Airmen and Marine, VOLUNTARILY!

      August 2, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

        It is no sense talking with People like Him... He has so much hate in him He is a lose cause!!!

        August 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
      • ArmyWife

        Amen Tim! My husband has been to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once and it always amazes me the comments some people make while my husband, along with many other husbands, dads, brothers, and uncles, are over there fighting for these idiots right to post this crap!!

        August 3, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
      • Air Force Strong

        Come on,Army Wife.Enough of your right-wing bla-bla-bla already!

        August 4, 2010 at 6:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Bob Ramos

        Tim.....I agree with your posting 1000%. But since there are only 100 AQ troops in Afghan, does it not make sense to acknowledge that the Afghan people are the ones that have to decide who they want as their leader(s) – the Tabliban or the Karzai administration – and not us? Also, in a recent Newsweek article, Talian leaders stated that had they known AQ plans for 9/11, AQ would have been stopped by them. I have yet learned where the administration has proof that the Taliban would let AQ back in.

        BTW, I am a service disabled vet.

        August 5, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
      • LotusRainforest

        It's easy to be narrow-minded and ignorant and using freedom of speech as a poor argument to manipulate other narrow-minded and ignorant people. Do you realize soldiers have nothing to do with the freedom of speech? You can fight for it all day and night and you still won't have the freedom of speech unless if the leaders of your country decide to give it to you, okay? It doesn't matters who died, how many went into battle. It all matters what politicians give you. But before you start arguing, please learn how to make an argument. Manipulating others with "without soldiers, there would be no freedom of speech" is not a proper argument. Btw in Afghanistan there is a freedom of speech. You can always talk about Americans. Really. Do you honestly think that the Taliban will come after you for saying something bad about USA? They love it whenever someone says something anti-american!

        August 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      There are 2 different condition between now and then!!
      1- When we got home the People hate us!!
      2- There wasn't so many People unemployed!!!

      One is better but the other is worse!!!

      August 3, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Larry Valecia, Calif.US Army Forever...

      Tony_Homeless_VA.pdf (653KB)

      August 3, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • nomoregobldgk

      It is a strange piece of Americana that we profess to admire our brave servicemen and women yet we fail to honor our commitment to them and their family once they return home. If a war is poorly managed it is those in Command that should be held accountable and not those whose duty it is to carry out their orders. Can you tell that entire Camp Lejeune thing is still stuck in my craw (if you have a short memory check out My Turn to Say W T F at apage in the life)

      August 5, 2010 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
    • nomoregobldgk

      It is a strange piece of Americana that we profess to admire our brave servicemen and women yet we fail to honor our commitment to them and their family once they return home. If a war is poorly managed it is those in Command that should be held accountable and not those whose duty it is to carry out their orders. Can you tell that entire Camp Lejeune thing is still stuck in my craw (if you have a short memory check out My Turn to Say... at apage in the life)

      August 5, 2010 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Rent

      I was a medic at the 91st Evac Hospital in Viet Nam for 15 months, so this report brings back lots of memories. Many wounded by boobie traps then (now roadside bombs and/or IED's). No matter the name, the results are the same. – many young men seriously wounded – many times loosing limbs. What a terrible cost of war. Let us hope that soon we can "support our troops" by bringing them home.

      August 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
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