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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

Welcome to The Sandbox, a forum for service members who have served or are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, returned vets, spouses and caregivers. The Sandbox's focus is not on policy and partisanship (go to our Blowback page for that), but on the unclassified details of deployment -- the everyday, the extraordinary, the wonderful, the messed-up, the absurd. All correspondence is read, and as much as possible is posted, lightly edited. If you know someone who is deployed who might have something to say, please tell them about us. To submit a post click here.

AT WAR |

November 16, 2007

AT WAR
Name: 1SG Troy Steward
Posting date: 11/16/07
Returned from: Afghanistan
Milblog url: bouhammer.com

Framed_steward_at_war_troykesters_6 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.

Framed_steward_at_war_rifle_3 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.

Framed_steward_at_war_patrol_4 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.


For more information, visit www.atwarfilm.com or www.myspace.com/atwarfilm.

Comments

Wow! That is absolutely the best footage of the Long War that I have seen to date. What is it about American Soldiers and former American soldiers that so many possess such artistic merit. Those two previews are POWERFUL. Thanks for sharing this Troy.

Powerful...and terrifying. My daughter will be in Afghanistan in March...after having survived Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

I keep hoping that she won't re-enlist.

I am appaled at these footages. Glorifying war is the worst thing anyone can do. Especially when it is for purposes of making money. I feel sorry for the people in these wars, both the locals and the Americans, British, and Australians, and all other people involved. Shame, shame on the US military and governments involved in this awful war.

Hey Isabel,

I have got a tip for you. If you don't want to hear or read about war, then what are you doing on this site. Head over to the ACLU website and rant over there. This website is intended to do exactly what this documentary is doing, and that is spread the word so everyone can have a partial glimpse into what war is like. If you want to keep your head in the sand and not face the facts, then is your choice. There is nobody glorifying anything, they are simply trying to educate those who are ignorant to the truth.

scott kesteron is doing a great job balancing the testosterone rush of combat, with the grim and soul destroying aspect of war. AT WAR will be a kick ass documentary because it will thrill, disgust, anguish, and educate people of all stripes.
troy- aclu members are contributing to his film- i know this for a fact (i am and i did- hahahaha). go put the chains on the humvees, i hear there is snow in the mountains in paktika.... ;)

blackfoot zero

...I have no words, other than WOW!!! This will be shared!

When you understand the real history of the ACLU and what they do you begin to realize that the things they fight for are the same things you are fighting for - freedom to have diffent opinions without getting lynched - some opinions, at differing times, being more (or less) popular than others... I think we need all the "checks and balances" we can get. Being able to read this site is an amazing experience for me.

Afghanistan is a dangerous place you're luck to come back home.

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