November 5th, 2010
10:00 AM ET

Inside a firefight on a mountain

Sixty troops from the 101st Airborne suddenly found themselves surrounded by Taliban in the middle of the night at Combat Outpost Marga, a dusty patch of dirt in the heartland of the insurgency in eastern Afghanistan. With Taliban rockets, mortars and grenades slamming into the base, the men used every weapon they had. At the same time, six of the soldiers were at a lone observation post on top of a steep mountain just outside the gate. Thirty more Taliban crept up the mountain and overran them. The soldiers survived by shooting, running and tumbling down the mountain as they ran out of ammo. The deeply shaken soldiers give their first hand account of this extraordinary tale of war and survival ... and walk the ground with CNN's Barbara Starr just a couple of days after the fight.

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Filed under: Daily Developments • Taliban • Troops
soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. rme

    Wow...some of you are unbelievable! Hats off to the troops fighting a war in a god forsaken area. Maybe we don't need to be there but America needs to continue to stand behind out brave men and women who live this everyday. Why? Just look around you! I have a son in the 101st who is combat infantry. I can't be any prouder. Also, don't forget these boys and girls during the holidays. Send them a little something to let you know we care and we are thinking about them. The 101st...the best. The Band of Brothers! Light them up boys!!

    November 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      What of bunch of right-wing mumbo-jumbo!!! Did any of you graduate from high school? Contrary to your posts,there is no glory in this obscene war!!!

      November 5, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel

        do you understand that this war hapened because liberal people like you were in the whitehouse when Bin Laden first tried to topple the world trade center and failed? What did he do about it? He shot a couple tomahawk missiles and that was it. Clinton was too scared to have any other country dislike him that he sacrificed the safey of all Americans. He allowed Bin Laden to regroup and come up with a better plan to bring down the World Trade Center. Going to war is not fun and is not glorious, however, at times its necessary and Afghanistan was/ and is a necessary war. Just be happy that men and women have given their lives so you can post your unrealistic views on this blog.

        November 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve Campbell

        A weasel like you would probably know nothing of glory and honor. My son currently serves in the 101st. The men on that outpost were his men. He is just now catching up with his unit and will be out at Margah in another month or so and will rotate in and out of there and FOB Boris.

        The first question in our catechism asks "What is the cheif end of man?" and the answer is "To glorify God and enjoy Him forever". As a Christian solider my son's sole purpose in life is to glorify God in all that he does. He is also honoring his parents in the way he conducts himself whether at home or on the battlefield in Afghanistan. He is in the military because he believes this is the life that God has called him to. He believes he is defending his country and his family and ridding the world of those who would destroy our freedoms if given the chance. We hope we see him again and cherish every e-mail, letter or call we receive because we know that any one of them could be the last on this side of heaven.

        Glory is what awaits those who have put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for we will all die and none of us really has much of a choice of just how that will happen. Where will you spend your eternity.

        November 16, 2010 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Green Hornet

      So proud of these guys, not draftees as we were back in the Nam.
      Charlie Company, 2nd Btn., 506th Inf. The Black Spade Battalion.

      Osama it's the Finals......Come out and play

      CURRAHEE !!!

      November 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Green Hornet

        Is that you Ernie Beatty,spewing your right-wing ignorance under my call-name this time? I'm Green Hornet and I am ashamed of what we're doing over there where we definately don't belong in the First place!!!

        November 8, 2010 at 5:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Ccospc

        Green Hornet, Im currently in Charlie Company 2-506th. It changed about two months ago from Charlie to Fox. These are my friends and it pains me to think that there are people out there who just dont understand what we go through.

        November 8, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • dan hart

        where do you get the idea that vietnam vets were all draftees ?

        November 10, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    * 4 airplanes.

    November 5, 2010 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. brown

    Use more mines on the mountain.

    November 5, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Bear

      Hey just a pointer that the United States doesn't deploy mines because of the risk to civilians after the conflict is resolved. Thank God none of the Americans were hurt. The sergeant on top of the hill was heroic, he should expect to get some serious medals for his actions.

      November 5, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve Campbell

        Gen. Petraus did pin a Silver Star on the Sargeant. You can catch that story on Clarksville Online which carries a lot of good articles on the 101st. You don't make CNN I guess unless it is the Congressional Medal of Honor.

        November 16, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ferrall W Black

    Way to go 101 st. I lost a son , one month and one day before his 20th birth day with the 82nd Airborn.
    GOD BLESS AMERICA. I fly the American Flag in my back garden here in south Wales. I do wish I could come out and relieve you. Ferrall&Rose (Rebel&Redcoat)

    November 5, 2010 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • rme

      I am so sorry for your loss. The 82nd and 101st have sufferred alot on this campaign. My son is there with the 101st now. Great outfits and I know you are proud of what your son stood for. I am! My heart goes out to you.

      November 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Muslim boy.............Thank God for you. It is very good to talk the truth .

      November 6, 2010 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      FerrallW Black........take care Sir. you gave your precious one to save the country and its citizen. I am in tears as I am not strong like you. My son is also in the Military.

      November 7, 2010 at 3:09 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      I'm sorry for the Sacrifice Your Son did for You and Your Country!!! But their is nothing better than giving Your life to help others... I lose a lot of My Brothers making that Sacrifice!!! I wonder why I was one that was able not to join Them... I feel guilty because of it!!! You should feel better that He gave His life for what He believed and the Brothers He fought with... Sure things would be better if There wasn't any War!!! But the World isn't that way... So We need People like Your Son to help make it that way!!! He is With GOD for what He did... Because GOD Loves Those that fights GODS causes...

      November 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    If bush never started this war there would be many more terrorists planning and carrying out attacks against the western world with many more innocent live lost!

    November 5, 2010 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy..... Lafayette.. you are correct. President Bush had no other choice than giving back to the attackers with a language they understand. These al queda is operating under the sick moral of Bin . Only God should decide about the non believers. Not bin or his pets.

      November 6, 2010 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        If Bush really wanted to do that He would have kept the Troops in Afghanistan instead of starting the Iraq War!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • njt320

      Terrorists will get in this country no matter what.. if you had a family member in this stupid war you would think different.

      November 14, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ted

    If Bush had never started this war, these soldiers could be with their families and not having to fight for their lives for no reason.

    November 5, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • MAK

      Ted, stfu, Bush started the Iraq war, not the Afghan war, Osama did, and these guys signed up to fight and kick some ass, at 80 dead, I think they did some damage, Keep it up boys!

      November 5, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
      • tamade

        MAK, stfu, Bush started both Iraq and Afghanistan war. I'll even say our Congress joined the bandwagon. When did Osama become the President of the United States? When did Osama become a member of Congress? Stop drinking tea from the tea party too much and pay attention to your politics before you make stupid comments.

        November 5, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        no Tamade stfu, im pretty sure bush didnt use two planes full of civilians and destroy the world trade center that resides in Afghanistan. no mother****** osama bin laden coordinated and successfully attacked the world trade center, not once, but twice. bombed our embassy in Africa, killed 17 sailors in Yemen. please spare me the "bush is evil and started this war" retoric. bush acted on a terrorist attack that was worse than pearl harbor. Pearl harbor started wwII. bush prevented WWIII.

        November 5, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Joe

        While the President can call for war, only Congress can make a declaration war. Didn't you all take a US government class in high school?

        November 5, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
      • MaryM

        Mak-Thank you! Bush did not start the war in Afghanistan. UBL attacked us first and had been plotting his attack for years.

        November 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        Will you cut it out,MaryM? There is no glory in this obscene war nor is killing any great accomplishment. Let's just get out of there and give the country back to the Afghans!!!

        November 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • NoWar

        Whoever won the last election was left with what Bush started whether it be the failing economy or the wars going on right now. Obama had to continue what Bush started or he would be called weak for his entire term and al Quaeda would've used that to theri advantage.

        November 5, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • Mnementh2230

        MAK, Bush started the Afghanistan war shortly after the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks. We've been there for longer than we've been in Iraq. Don't take my word for it go look in *any* news archive.

        Get your facts straight, please.

        November 8, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
      • Steve

        Wow! Do you idiots not realize MAK said OSama, NOT OBama?? He is saying Osama made a devastating attack on US soil which started a war, Bush (thankfully) stood up for us, and our country. Obviously Congress agreed with that decision.

        November 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Tamade: Bush only started the Iraq War... It was Carter that started the Afghanistan War!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        No War: Bush Sr didn't finish Desert Storm and because of that Bush Jr went back in!!! If Obama wouldn't have finished what Bush Jr started in Iraq both wars there would have been useless... Not Obama has to finish the War that Bush Jr should have finished if He didn't start the Iraq War We didn't need in the first place!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Check your facts sir! Bush didn't hijack 4 airplanes and try to commit mass murder with them. This is a war that they want. They want to blood on non muslims or they want the world to convert to their form of islam, thats why they bomb their own mosques! They glorify death so I say we give them death from the air, land and sea and we dont stop untill the thought of attacking our country, our allies and our way of life is inconceivable! So shelf your ignorance and thank a veteran the next time you come accross one!

      November 5, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
      • BillyTrout

        Bush did it, God bless our Troops. And maybe not Bush but what about that creepy little penguin of a vice president, he must of had something to do with it.... noone can prove anything because big brother has grown too strong. War Vets deserve respect and thanks, but americas government has been stooooopid the last ooo 70 years or so. two cents sukka.

        November 5, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • janjooa


        let them enjoy for another two decade, so they can be well trained for killing people at home ha ha

        November 5, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Mnementh: I wish You would learn Your History right before You try to say anything!!! Bush Jr did not start the Afghanistan War because of 9/11... It was started by President Carter!!! If Bush would have kept the Troops there instead of starting the Iraq War it would have been over a year after He stowed the Election...

        November 9, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Steve: The only reason Congress agreed was that Bush and Cheney lied about the Weapons being there!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        The part I don't understand is!!! The way the two buildings feel... You think it would have feel top to bottom!!! Not from the bottom to the top instead... That is the part I don't understand!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • Spelling for idoits


        November 19, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Ted. Our Soldiers is an all volunteer force and knowing and willing to fight on the behalf of the afghan population that suffered greatly under the Taliban rule. They are prepared to be from their families and their families are prepared as well. These Soldier can say they stood up for a group of people and ultimately effecting their life and their children's life.

      They sacrifice themself to serve others rather than themselves. That is what makes our Soldiers so unique compared to Average American Citizen.

      November 5, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        You wanna bet,chris? Some of them are young and still believe war is fun and games. They need to be taught that war is horrific and without any glory or romanticism,especially the unnecessary ones like the one we're fighting now!

        November 5, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....


        November 9, 2010 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
      • Doug

        Chris, as a soldier I agree with you 100%. Bledsoe also has a point. Soldiers are not routinely taught the horrors of war. Some do think it's fun and games. But BLEDSOE, they figure it out the hard way, first hand, on the ground.

        November 9, 2010 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        They wouldn't understand that because They never been in the Military!!! They are to busy finding a way to stay out of the Service... Israel is the only Country that has the right idea!!! Every one in Israel has to be in the Arms Service when They become 18 teen Years old... That doesn't matter if Your Rich, Poor are what religion!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Steve Campbell

        My son is a second, soon to be first lieutenant with the 101st and will be at COP Margah in the very near future. In fact some of the men involved were his platoon, he has just not caught up with them yet as he was late in arriving in Afganny Land. In response to Bledsoe, these young men are all well aware that war is not fun and games. They know it is serioius business and why they are there. They are all well trained volunteers and take their jobs very, very seriously.

        November 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Green Hornet

        Mr. Campbell:
        God Bless you and your family.
        Please thank your son from us old guys who understand. So long as the "Band of Idiots" continue to play with us over there, they won't be over here. We have tremendous respect for those guys. Not draftees as we were. They chose to be in harm's way to sustain our very Blessed way of life and defeat evil.
        CURRAHEE !
        2nd Plt., Charlie Co., 2nd Btn. 506th Inf., 101st Abn Div. (Ambl), Republic of Vietnam 1970-71

        December 5, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Ted,I totally agree with you. Thank you.

      November 5, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Bedso: Is that what You really think We joined the Service for??? Sure We matured will we were in the Service!!! But it didn't mean it was because We were immature... I know I and My Friends joined because We wanted to help Our Country!!! In 1967 I wanted to go to Israel and fight over there too... There was a lot of Jews that was in the Service that wanted to do the same thing!!! But They refused to let us...

        November 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Bush accepted Bin 's invitation . I think Bin did not know Bush will pay an attention to his invitation and send lots of gifts to his buddies and him. Party is still not over.

      November 7, 2010 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Patriot

      And we could all be happy and no puppies or kittens woudl ever die, and all would be right with the world! 😀 Where did you learn this crap? Do you realize that the world is NOT a nice place all the time?? Do you know there are people here with me right now (Deployed to Afghanistan) who want you & your family dead for no reason??? Where do people get the idea that -no one else- wants to force their ideas onteh world? You stand up for what you belive.... and you stand up for those you belive in, or you are not worth much at all. Don't like the US's foreign policy? vote, Don't like that most people disagree wtih your opinion? move. Dont come here whining.

      November 9, 2010 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
      • American

        EXACTLY. People never cease to amaze me. The article is about soldiers. Whether or not you agree with this war is not to be discussed here. It is to praise the soldiers for giving us a few less terrorists to woryy about. Get over yourselves and thank these soldiers!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Your right about Bush taking the Troops out of Afghanistan to start the Iraq War!!! They would never been able like they are fighting us today... We almost had the War won back then!!! That is the problem... The Presidents and Congress didn't listen to their Commanders on the front lines!!! Otherwise We would have won both the Korean and Vietnam Wars both... The only ones that fault the Wars right were was WWII, Desert Storm and now Iraq and Afghanistan!!! Because the Presidents listen to Their Generals...

      November 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Bush started the Iraq war not the Afghanistan War!!! If He would have left the Troops in Afghanistan instead of taking Them to Iraq... This Country and Afghanistan would have been better off today!!! I personally think if Bush wouldn't have stolen the First election 9/11 would never have happen..,

      November 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • lance

      why doesnt your hero the ghetto prez pull the troops out if bush got us there ?

      November 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • njt320

      Amen to that Ted, don't see Bush's princess daughters enlisting. It is time to bring out troops home!

      November 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    These guys deserve a Medal of Honor

    November 5, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Sami

      God bless the heroes and have them return safe to their families.

      November 5, 2010 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Anon


      November 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Johndro


      November 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marine GySgt

      The Army lads did a good job, but a Medal of Honor for any of them? No. They did exactly that, thier job.
      Your Mk-19 wouldn't jam if properly PM'd and taken care of. And if you let them get to your MRAP you already let them get too close or had a poorly setup LP/OP in the first place.

      November 9, 2010 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
      • Doug

        I agree with you on the MOH thing right now. We don't know what will come out of the LP/OP portion. The MRAP was at the main FOB. There's no way they had it up the mountain. As for the MK-19, I suspect they will find out in pretty short order if it was a malfunction or a maintenance problem. Right now, I think that's 50/50.

        November 9, 2010 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Andy

        Right on Gunny, you tell them. B/C I'll bet my measly salary against yours that you or any of the Marines you were responsible for ever had a weapons malfunction, EVER! The MK-19 wouldn't jam if properly PM'd??? It's the most jamtastic weapon in any of the services' inventory!!! I am sure everybody here would love to here of how every one of your "patrols" went with out any speed bumps in them at all. Botom line, things happen in the heat of combat that just can't be controlled no matter how much you do preventive maintenance and how many times you conduct your PCC's and PCI's (Pre-Combat Checks and Pre-Combat Inspections for those not familiar with military acronyms).

        November 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Hec

        weapons still jam, even with proper pm. I don't think you're really were or are a Gunny.

        November 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Oso

        Roger That

        November 9, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • Green Hornet

        More right-wing bla-bla-bla. It never ends. CURRAHEE!!!

        November 9, 2010 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • RetiredMP

        Are you kidding me? PM'd properly? No Gunny I know would ever make this statement. You're a fake!

        November 9, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        They are the only ones that deserve the Medal Of Honor!!! They are doing the hard part to make things right there including the training...

        November 9, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Knock them down

        Marine GySgt is more right than wrong ..and yeah he reads just like a gunny ...

        November 9, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |

        Really Gunny? Since the 19 will jam just to do it and since you are not on the ground there, save your armchair generaling and when the Marines are perfect then you can talk out of the side of your neck, those troops did a hell of a job breaking out and making it back. And you know ,we as the ground pounders are put in places and situations that are not perfect but we have a job to do and that is why they pay us the big bucks. And yes I am on ground in the 101st and yes I know these troops and yes they did a hell of a job for a bad situation and remember Gunny Mr. Murphy is always there especially at night under fire, been doing these since '85 and I have fumbled a time or too.

        November 10, 2010 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
      • dan hart

        gunny you are so doesent sound like they were that ready how the hell do the taliban get that many people around them jn that open country anyway god bless them...i was a grunt and a member of 1st force recon in i may be a little dated but cmon man who set up the lp/op they really must do it different

        November 10, 2010 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Buck

        Gunny, to me it seems like somebody with real world experience would consider the real probability that the weapon jammed several times because the soldiers did not have a supply of LSA ( that's special lubricant for the grenade launcher ). Considering the soldiers fight for their lives with these weapons and understand the importance of maintaining them I personally consider it more likely that logistics failed to deliver. So think twice before you impune those soldiers.

        November 20, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        Doug – You are wrong about the MRAP, and have clearly never been out here to COP (not FOB) Margah. They'll find out soon enough if there was negligence to blame with the MK19, but I'm not in a position to speculate.

        November 21, 2010 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
      • Sean

        Ya doug the MRAPs were up on the OP it wasn't exactly a mountain. And yes after they abandoned the foreign fighter did use the weapons systems on them before the OP the foghters and the MRAPs were destroyed by a danger close mission

        July 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      I have talked with the Army National Guard that will be going there in Dec. for Their 4th Deployment!!! May GOD keep watching over Them as They protect those needed protection...

      November 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • LarryKegel(US Army)

        Hey people,I didn't post that sorry comment above. Some jerk keeps on trying to discredit me!

        November 10, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • ROSE


      November 10, 2010 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
      • steeeban

        get your facts right,,, i was there and only taliban died that day

        December 16, 2010 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerry

      my older brother is in the 101st and deployed you damn right every one of the soldiers deserve a medal. Bring our troops home safely, god bless

      November 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve Campbell

      The Sergeant did receive the Silver Star from General Petraus and others were decorated. You still might be able to pick up that story from Clarksville Online which carries good coverage of the 101st.

      November 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • temugen

      Do you know what that is . You don"t get it when forced to retreat- geeze ...

      November 25, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • temugen

      Do you know what that is ? You don"t get when it forced to retreat... geeze .

      November 25, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |