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The Fire Pit

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

General (Ret) Scott Miller: In the Battle of Mogadishu, We Had Extreme Trust in One Another Amid Chaos

by General (Ret) Scott Miller No matter what happened out there, everybody was going home. In the midst of a dangerous and at times dire fight, that provided a calming level of peace. Over the years I have not written much about the Battle of the Black Sea, nor the …

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Chesty Puller: A Legend Among Marines

Editor’s note: As the Marine Corps celebrates its birthday, what better way to say cheers than to tell the story of one of their favorite heroes, the legendary Chesty Puller. Lieutenant General Lewis “Chesty” Burwell Puller, colorful veteran of four World War II campaigns, Korea, and expeditionary service in China, …

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When the Lance Corporal Met His Match Against Gummy Bears

by Mitchell “Taco” Bell Back in 2005, I spent a tour living in an old Iraq bathroom in the control tower on Al Taqqadum airbase.  Great place, you get a bit smell tone deaf to the room, but it was better than tent living. We received a ton of care …

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Alone Against the Taliban: Mad Dog Platoon and the Battle of OP Nevada

by Susan Katz Keating The Soviets called it Chernaya Gora: Black Mountain. That is where a unit of elite Spetsnaz forces met their deaths in Afghanistan, atop a remote observation post overlooking Kunar. I learned about the treacherous place in 2015, while researching an article for the Army National Guard.  …

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The Mortar Team: Our Slow, Easy Day in Iraq Turned Suddenly Deadly

by Cliff Wade Iraq, 2007 Much more often than not, our missions in Iraq were meticulously planned out well ahead of time. However, there were occasions when opportunities were presented that did not allow enough time for applying the proper troop-leading procedures, and we just winged it.  One such instance …

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Eerie Silences and Strange Time Warps: The Weirdness of Life Aboard a Submarine

by David Chetlain, The War HorseI spent 18 months in training before reporting to my first submarine. I learned a lot about damage control, sonar, electronics, and how to distinguish a sperm whale from a humpback whale. But nothing prepared me for the disconnection from Earth that distorted my perception …

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‘The Phantom’ Fouled the Latrine; We Had to Find Him Before Sarge Flushed Us All Down the Toilet

by Heath Hansen It was 0530 hours the morning our first sergeant kicked open the door to our tent, and told us to “get the fuck outside and form it up!” Late the previous night, we returned to base from a 10-day mission in Afghanistan. I could see through a …

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‘I Miss the Battlefield’: A Warrior Longs for the Clarity of Combat

by Jim Lechner Editor’s note: Army Ranger (Ret) Jim Lechner wrote the following hymn to comradeship and patriotism – an essay that reverberates among those who long for the lost clarity of war. A veteran of multiple Special Operations missions, Lechner was wounded in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in …

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A Jeep, a Soldier, Some Booze, and One Very Rough Night in Camp

by James Woods Editor’s note: Reader James Woods sent this story about his father in law, who had an interesting time one night after dark during WWII. My father in law was assigned to the HQ company of an engineer unit as a driver during WWII. The unit was going …

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