"5 minutes guys" The pilot yelled back to us.

"We got three of our guys that have gone black two SEAL and the other is an

Airmem Combat Controller" Captain Self said as he walked down the cabin of

the Chinook .I felt my buddy John grab my shoulder and yell "you ready kid".

The only thing I could say in this meekly voice was "Hua". That's when it


"This is Razor 1 we are taking small arms fire" the pilot said in a panic voice,

everyone else was in a panic as well as the Chinook rocked back and forth.

That's when it happen Sergeant Phillip Svitak dropped dead with a bullet in the

head. As soon as this happened all hell began; The Chinook took an RPG round

and the helicopter fell out of the sky. We were thrown around the cabin of the

helicopter like cloth in the laundry dryer, bullets holes and the beams of light

from them shot through cabin. Then nothing but blackness.

That is usually when I wake up to my small apartment room,

soaking wet in my own sweat and my heart pounding that it echoes

through the apartment. I set up and sit at the edge of the bed

and just think to myself 'why'. I look at my dog tags and stare

at the print:


Matthew P




I sit and stare at them for at least three hours and just watch

it dangle. The only comfort I find is in the drink, for hours I

drink my self in a coma and again slip in to that dream. Although

the dream is not even a dream, I wish it was a nightmare, but it

is no nightmare it is my memory and it's something I always have

to live with.

The war has not only a mark on me mentally but also

physically as my left hand is missing the pinky, and middle fingers. I

wish that's where it ends but I have small metal fragments in my right

leg stuck right inside the bone. The doctors said it would

permanent lose walking ability if it was next morning afterI

had drank my self to death and the phone rang, I stubbed to the living

room and answered the phone.

"Hello" I said in a very intoxicated voice

"Matthew, your drunks again aren't you. You know it was

hard for you but you need to grow the hell up Matthew" my

mother yelled

"Bye mom" I said

"You need help" she yelled as I hit the hang up button

But she was right. I need help because I starting to believe I suffer

from Post Tamatic Stress Disorder.

(P.T.S.D) in which my mind has gone

through a tough time and is having a tough time getting over that.

Having PTSD is like there pain that won't go away, it keeps old memories

manly the bad ones alive in my head. The friends, comrades and even some

of the enemy that I have seen killed in front of my eyes is something

that can't be erased. My fragile state of mind has cost me four

relationships, alienated my self from family, friends, and just the

outside world in general. From when I returned home to now non-stop

anxiety attacks, drug abuse, alcohol abuse everyday. I do this to my

self just to stop or forget the memories and just let go of all that is around me.

But that is when everything got worse. My friend Matt got up while everyone

was down, he got up and wondered outside when a crack from an AK-47 went off

and Private First Class Matthew A. Commons dropped. That's when Sergeant

Bradley S. Crose went to pull Commons lifeless body back in the wrecked

helicopter when an RPG round hit right next to him, killing him instantly. This

also gave John command of 2nd squad as a result.

"Matt! Matt get up! Can you hear me?" A voice echoed through out my ear

It was like a dream but not a dream, a haze of smoke and gunfire there was

nothing I could do at that moment but be in this desolation.

"On your feet man" John yelled and grabbed me by the shoulder and dragged me outside

of the wrecked Chinook.

"Is he hit?" Chris the medic asked

"No he's fine" John yelled

"Anderson is hit!" someone yelled

"He's gone" another yelled back

Speaclist Marc A. Anderson was reloading his M4 when a mortar round landed

behind him, killing him. I remember everyone was on defensive positions and

lighting everything up; this snow covered mountain was about to be our graves if

we didn't do anything fast.

"Matt. Here. Return fire man, bad guys to our eleven and one O'clock"

John said as he handed me my rifle and ran off to give orders to the rest of

the squad. The never ending gunfire scared me. I know I'm suppose to bea Us

Army Ranger but this is too much I don't want to be here anymore,please god

get me out of here.

Another night of these memories, these nightmares of the past.

Is it weird that I think about suicide? Or I want to driving my beatup

car into the ocean off Santa Monica? These thoughts gothrew my mind

on a daily bases, its like my conciseness isgiving up on me and

I'm giving into it. I sleep with a snubnose revolver under my

pillow and when I'm actually a sleepand not going into a

nightmare and I hear a sound; I jumpup and pull the revolver out

and point at it in the darkness.

My Army experience wasn't all bad. Like I loved everyone in

my platoon, there were best friends I would ever have. We

were Rangers to the end and to some it was that way. John

Mercer the guy in my nightmares is actually my best friend

and brother in law. My sister and he dated when they were

seniors in high school, I was a freshman at the time and

that was when life was 'good'. I partied and did so much

that I forgot that my education would take me farther, so

when senior came I barely passed and didn't fill out

applications anywhere so college was out of the question.

At this point in my life my sister was married and John had

gone to the Army and was a Ranger already. So since I screw

up my Senior year, my parents said it was to the military

for me they said it would "Build Character". So it was off

to Fort Jackson for Basic Training and as soon as you knew

I it graduated then was off to Fort Benning to RangerSchool.

Then I graduated at the top of my class. This is where I

met up with John again. He was with 3rd Battalion at the

time but then transferred to 1st Battalion with me and for

the time it was good. It was fun Private Torres would bring

glow sticks and at night we would have ourselves a little

rave with the best techno punk in 1st Battalion Corporal

Keller doing techno with his mouth. But that is when we

were deployed to I Afghanistan for 8 months, this was

A week has gone by and no dreamsor any thing of the sort

but I also got a job at the local warehouse for Target as a

Stock/Inventory Manager. So things have been looking goodfor me

and seeming to be a lot better. But still feel mypast creeping

up on me. John came by today and we talkedabout what happened

and what happened to me, to actuallytalk about it was actually

quite nice. Like letting a biglie out and you feel

so clean. But when we were talking itreminded me of the pain we

faced ay Takur Ghar and the more we talked the more I remembered.

"Alright I want 2nd squad to flank the right side of mountain!" Captain Self

yelled over the gunfire.

"You heard the Captain" John yelled as he gathered his squad to flank the


We ran up the right side of the hill, I noticed that it has been quite silent and we

gathered at the base of a rock formation.

"Okay, everyone the peak of the mountain is just ahead of us where going

call in the 'Medivac' and this will be our new base of operations. Hua?"John


"Hua" everyone replied

As we advanced it became a little eerie as things just didn't feel right like

something in that cold air was wrong and unsettling.

"Ay Parker that rock formation look wired to you" James asked

"Little bit" I replied to him as I fought the thin oxygen in the air.

Just at that second that 'Rock Formation' was actually the entrance to a

Al-Qaeda bunker. Unleashing a hail storm of bullets, we only had seconds to find

cover. Lewis and Paul were both it in their legs and they dropped fast

as they yelled in pain. Mike our medic as having a hard time getting to

them as every time he moved a burst of gunfire would hit his cover, it was

starting to look bad.

"Matt, James, Daven! Move up well cover y'all!" John yelled as he firedhis

rifle. We ran to the closes cover we could find and dove for cover, we were all

rather scared but we all had to take action.

"Okay Matt lay down some fire on the right side of the place as Daven moves up

got it" James said

I just nodded my head and pointed my rifle at the rocks where we were receiving

the gunfire from and took aim. That's when I lost all feeling everything was cold

and I could breath too well. A figure stood up with a rifle in hand and I pulled the

trigger. Dropping the figure fast and then I saw a JDAM(Joint Direct Attack

Munition) hit in the 'danger close' range and I dropped back down from the force

of the explosion. When the smoked cleared all hell broke loose as the AQ and Taliban

fired back and there was a frenzy of gun fire. At this moment I was numb to the world as I

selected my targets and pulled the trigger of my M4. That is when another airstrike hit the

them and all was quiet .When I got up shock off the shakes I had and met up with John

and five others an we scouted the entrance of the bunker when we noticed a

helmet with a bullet hole in it. The inside of the helmet was blood outlining it, we

all figured the worst and that he they have been dead for sometime. We searched

the entrance of the AQ's cave were we identified the bodies of our SEAL Petty

Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts and Airmen TSgt John A. Chapman.

"Assassin 1-Actual this is Assassin 1-1. You copy" John said into the radio

'This is Assassin 1-Actual go ahead 1-1" Captain Self said over the radio

"We got our boys sir. There dead" John said with a bit of depression in his voice

"Understood 1-1. The AQ are falling back and Night Stalkers from Gardez are

heading this way for Evac" Captain Self replied

"Anyone else hurt sir" John asked

"Senior Airman Cunningham is bleeding out. Doc Mitchell said he not going to

make it….you boys get back down here. Assassin 1-Actucal out" Captain Self replied

John and I talked about this for hours about Takur Ghar but the

thing isonce he left I stopped feeling better and started to

fall into depression again. The minute he walked out I got a

panic attack and ran for my pills, I forgot I was all out

medication so I resorted to my substance abuse. For hours

was vodka and shooting up, I felt disgusted with myself but

I felt more relaxed but this was wrong. That is when I started

crying and thrashing around I destroyed half of my

apartment; nothing was left untouched. The bed was thrown

on the wall, the tables broken and broken bottles

everywhere. There I was slouched in my chair in front of the

Television with gun in hand. I pressed it against my forehead.

Just then my mind shot back to Gardez a couple of days after the

battle on Takur Ghar's mountains.

Just days after we left Takur Ghar that is when my life really changed, short

range patrols around the city of Gardez was mainly what we did after the

operation. In a Humvee with my buddies just doing a normal routine patrol

around the city.

"Yo Matt bro. Did I ever tell you how my brother almost broke out of jail" Mike the

Medic said to me

"Your such a liar man" The Driver said

"I agree with the kid. Mike you are lying to us big time" James said

We all started to laugh and when a loud sound bang blew out my ears and my vision becomes hazy and I become disorientated. My door flys open with a John pulling me out of the Humvee, he pulls me in to a small ditch and calls out for help as two others radio in what just happen. Our Humvee had hit an IED (Improvised explosive device) the whole front of the vehicle had literally vanished. As I layed there I saw where I was sitting and where Mike the medic was sitting, his seat was fully engulfed in flames with a charred arm hanging out of the flames. They couldn't the drivers or Jame's bodies. I put my head against the hot sand and took a deep breath, that is when I noticed my left hand was missing my pink and middle finger, all I could do was stare at it. I cocked the hammer back on my revolver and thought about everything that I had gone through and how it would be a waste if I ended my life and how the guys who died would be disappointed in me. I took the barrel of the gun from my temple and put it on safety and dropped the revolver, and sat there in my chair and turn on the TV. CNN was on and they were taking about the on going operations in Afghanistan. I just thought to myself was it all worth it and was this a give or a curse I am force to live with?

Background : The Battle of Takur Ghar from March 4-March 5, 2002 was part of Operation Anaconda in March 1–18, 2002. Takur Ghar was a mountain in Shah-i-Kot Valley in which the nine Americans lost there lives. After a Navy SEAL and Air Forces Combat Controller went missing in Takur Ghar a QRF (Quick Response Force) of the 75th Rangers of 1st Battalion were to retrieve them. Enrote to Takur Ghar the CH-47 Chinook took heavy small-arm fire causing the death of the side gunner from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. At the same time an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) hit the helicopter. The surviving Rangers had to fight there way all day to overwhelming numbers of al-Qaeda and Taliban force. Three Rangers were killed in the process. Eventually the Rangers found the bodies of the SEAL and Airmen. Air Forces Pararescue men Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham of Camarillo California was wounded while helping other wounded Rangers but they were denied evacuation as a result Cunningham bled out and died on the spot. American officals believe that over thousand AQ and Taliban fighters were at Takur Ghar, and an estimated 200 fighters were killed .

U.S. Casualties


Petty Officer 1st Class Neil C. Roberts, born 1970, Woodland, California


TSgt John A. Chapman, born 1966, Waco, Texas

Senior Airman Jason D. Cunningham, born 1976, Camarillo, California


PFC Matthew A. Commons, born 1981, Boulder City, Nevada

SGT Bradley S. Crose, born 1980, Orange Park, Florida

SPC Marc A. Anderson, born 1972, Brandon, Florida


SGT Phillip "Spytech" Svitak, born 1971, Neosho, Missouri