I remember wrapping the $4 disposable Walgreens camera with OD green “hundred-mile-an-hour-tape.” I knew if I was caught with it on any mission I would likely be kicked out of Ranger Battalion. Before our platoon left Bagram Airfield, I knew this day would live in the beating heart of my war’s history. I took the risk.

Photo 1– first light on the first day (we infilled the night prior) just before we stepped off on a 3-day foot patrol to recover the SEALs we hoped were still alive.

Operation Redwings Remembered

Photo 2– we sat on those ridge lines scanning for any sign of movement amid the seemingly endless mountains. 

Operation Redwings Remembered

Photo 3– very close to where we found Petty officer second class Matt Axelson’s remains. 

Operation Redwings Remembered

Photo 4-the first days movement. There’s no more accurate way to describe the terrain other than “fucking steep as fuck!” We got in a short tick shortly after I snapped that one. 

Operation Redwings Remembered

Photo 5– my good friend Antouine “Cass” Castaneda, sitting overwatch at the end of day 2. RIP my brother. You don’t have to listen to those gun runs anymore.

Operation Redwings Remembered

Photo 6– the living conditions of the locals.

Operation Redwings Remembered

Photo 7-my friend Russel Tassin on overwatch.

Operation Redwings Remembered

Following this deployment, I got drunk and passed out in the back of his truck. I woke up at Disney World. It was a rather memorable weekend.

 

*Photos courtesy of the author