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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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SEALs in Vietnam: The Bitter Loss of a Friend at War

by Capt. Larry Bailey, USN (Ret) As recounted in the average personal memoir, war is most frequently depicted in combinations of heroic actions, cowardly misdeeds, triumphs of the human spirit, and the like. It ain’t always so, however; fact is, much of war is not dramatic – it’s just sad, …

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‘The Mother’: A Soldier’s Haunting Encounter in Iraq

by Cliff Wade Iraq, 2006 We found ourselves in the home of an Iraqi family during a massive clearing operation in an area characterized by terrain varying between urban landscape, farmland, palm groves, and small villages. We had been clearing routes of improvised explosive devices all morning. We had been …

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Psychedelic Therapy: These Combat Veterans Say It Turned Their Lives Around

by Greg Chabot Politicians have no clue what the true cost of war is. For more than 20 years, warfighters have been deployed to hot spots around the world in the fight against terrorism. We now have an entiregeneration of warfighters who have known nothing but combat deployments. This takes …

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The Enemy Lay Bleeding in Iraq – and the Spanish Photographer Was Watching Our Every Move

by Cliff Wade Iraq, 2007 Every now and again we’d get an outsider attached to our unit on missions. Sometimes they were enablers who proved to be assets, other times they were regarded as interlopers who got in the way. One such instance sticks out in my mind over others: …

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You Shot Down a Spy Balloon? Here, Hold My Beer: A Pilot’s Story

by Mitchell “Taco” Bell So you shot down a spy balloon, huh? Here, hold my beer… Somewhere back in 2002, I was flying from LGA to Toronto Canada on the daily shuttle in the F-100 Fokker Barbie Jet. It was a typical cold rainy and miserable winter time day in …

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At War in Iraq, I Faced One Last Incident Before I Went Home

by Greg Chabot The beginning of February 2005 was a busy time in Baqubah. Insurgent activity had picked up considerably, keeping all of us at the Police HQ on our toes. With the end of the deployment coming, I had tried multiple times to extend my tour but was denied. …

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The Bachelor Party: A Marine Raced Against Time to Detach a Stripper From His Camaro

by Al Hagan In the early 1980s, I was in the Marine Corps, and a friend of mine who had gone into the Armywas getting married. We’d grown up together, and so I and others – lots of military – journeyedback home for the occasion. Naturally, this required a combination …

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