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The Fire Pit

Lore, Adventure, Stories of Fortune, Books, Entertainment, Veterans’ Issues

Our ‘Death Angels’ Helicopter Crew Flew Against All Odds in Iraq

by Fred A. Ganous, SGM, USA (Ret) The departure point was LZ Washington in downtown Baghdad, which stayed busier than the Atlanta airport. The pilot in command was a Chief Warrant 4 who was well-trained in his aviation duties. He saw a convoy of five U.S. army vehicles come under …

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Baptized by Fire in Vietnam: The Day I Became a Real Marine

by Ronald Winter, The War Horse Ask any Marine if they can remember the first day they actually became a Marine and you likely will be told it was boot camp graduation day. Whether it was Parris Island or San Diego, only when the senior officer in the graduation program proclaims the graduates …

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These Sky Soldiers Had to Fight Their Way Out of a Bog Before the Mud Ate Them Alive in Iraq

By John Spencer Editor’s note: This is an excerpt of the book “Connected Soldiers: Life, Leadership, and Social Connection in Modern War” published by Potomac Books and available for purchase at Amazon here. The excerpt describes 2LT John Spencer’s experience jumping into Iraq as a platoon leader with the 173rd …

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The Flying Legend, ‘Black Sheep’ Col. Pappy Boyington

by Katie Lange  Editor’s note: SOF publisher Susan Katz Keating knew Col. Pappy Boyington in the 1980’s when he frequented the Nut Tree airport in Vacaville, California. Here is a story of his life in uniform. Colonel Gregory “Pappy” Boyington was one of the service’s greatest and most legendary pilots. …

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‘Warrior Brothers’: This US Special Forces Unit Was Adopted by the Nez Perce Nation

By Greg Walker (ret), USA Special Forces “Now you become part of the Nimiipuu people and we welcome you” — Spiritual leader Horace Axtell SPALDING, IDAHO — Under the shade of cottonwood and locust trees rustling in a stiff breeze, the men of Company A, an airborne Army Special Forces unit …

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‘The Deer Hunter’ Came to Town on a Cold Night in Denver

by Jack Hawkins Released in Los Angeles in 1978, The Deer Hunter was already becoming a legendary film by the time it hit “flyover country” a few months later. I was between girlfriends, a gung-ho “seventies copper” usually “drunk on adrenaline” from the endless barfight calls (or still depressed over …

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‘Pursuit,’ a World War I Flying Adventure, Marks Soldier of Fortune Fiction Debut

by Chris Crowther Editor’s note: For the first time since its founding, Soldier of Fortune presents fiction. The following is an excerpt from a novel set in World War I: PURSUIT, by British author Chris Crowther. He notes about writing the book: “I drew on my own 42 years in …

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Four Marines and a Night on the Town: What Possibly Could Go Wrong?

by Al Hagan The night started off fairly typically, just four Marines in a car, going out on the town to slam down beers. And it was innocent for most of the night, drinking and shooting pool.  I’ll call my companions Mike, John, and Steve, to pick some random names …

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