AT WAR |
November 16, 2007
Name: 1SG Troy Steward
Posting date: 11/16/07
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog url: bouhammer.com
In March of 2006 I met a guy who I was at first very skeptical about and was not sure I could trust. He was an embedded reporter, and we in the military typically have to be wary of such people. However, it did not take long for me to come to consider him a true and damn good friend, a Great American and a hell of a Patriot. His name is Scott Kesterson (that's him on the right) and he accompanied the Task Force I was with, spending three months in pre-deployment training and one year plus on the ground in Afghanistan.
During the train-up time at Camp Shelby, Mississippi our paths crossed a few times and he seemed like a nice guy, but it was not until after the 20+ hour flight around the world that we really got to know each other. At some point during my tour I was in Kabul at Camp Phoenix and Scott and I spent two or three hours just talking. Talking about our past, what we were currently going through, and a little about what we hoped the future would hold for us. It was here that I learned that Scott had been a Lieutenant in the Oregon National Guard (the same Brigade that was in charge of our Task Force), and had worn the uniform and walked the talk.
It was also during that meeting that he showed me several pieces of footage he had shot since being in Afghanistan, and I was truly amazed. There was no doubt that this guy went to where the action was and lived in the same harsh conditions many of us ETTs (Embedded Training Teams) had lived in. This was not a guy reporting on what was happening from headquarters, but from out in the trenches.
Scott told me that the end goal of his tour was to create a documentary, and that he was there in Afghanistan completely self-funded. I remember thinking "What balls this guy has, to put it all on the line for something that is not a sure thing, and could make him completely broke, not to mention dead."
After I got back to my FOB I told my teammates about him and put my name on the line for him. I told them all to give him the utmost respect if they were to ever run into him, not to fear him and to openly talk to him. I knew that if they did (regardless of their feelings towards the media) they would end up feeling the way I did. I mean, there was no other full-time embedded journalist of any kind in Afghanistan. They were all in Iraq.
I was fortunate enough to run into Scott many more times. During one period while I was away from my FOB for weeks at a time running missions, I let him stay in my room while he was visiting there. I kept in very close contact with him during the rest of my mission and since the mission ended, and I am eagerly awaiting the release of his documentary At War, which is scheduled to be released at the end of January 2008.
I don’t think the actual method of release has been confirmed, but I know that Scott and his Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winning producer David Leeson are feverishly working on this topic. I think it will be released both on the large and small screen, and with 2008 being an election year I am sure it will be very popular. As Scott has personally described it to me, “This will be a documentary like no other." I believe him. All you have to do is watch the two trailers below, and you will be impressed. The goose bumps climb up my back as the music, audio and video easily transport me back to the filth, stench and death of Afghanistan.
Many people have written me emails over the last year and a half to thank me for writing my blog. They say it helps them feel like they are there, or helps them sort of understand what their loved ones go through. Let me tell you, the effect of a blog cannot compare to that of the footage Scott has shot for this documentary. If you truly want to know what it is like to be at war in Afghanistan -- or in any place for that matter -- then you owe it to yourself to see At War.