Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist Chinese government outlived the Japanese effort to conquer China, but at a terrible cost. After defeating Japan in concert with the Allies, Chiang’s government faced the formidable leadership of Mao Ze Dong and his Communist guerilla army. Mao husbanded his resources during the Japanese war to outlive the Nationalist government and the two sides renewed a brutal civil war.
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The Taliban had fled the center of town as we inserted, however as time passed on target they began to regroup in several compounds on the outskirts of town and started to engage us with harassing fire. As extraction approached the fire intensified and by the time the last helicopter of our extraction package landed we were engaged in a decent gunfight. Unfortunately, the final extraction bird overflew the designated, and relatively protected, landing zone and landed in an exposed area approximately 200m from a cemetery in which several Talibs had taken up fire positions. The following video is of our chalk running to meet the extraction helicopter as it sits exposed in open ground. The operator who sustains the gunshot wound is the one who I kneel immediately next to. As luck would have it he chose the split second before he was shot to stand and turn to board the helicopter, causing the bullet to rip through his buttock and exit the front of his thigh, whereas it would have likely struck his head if he had remained kneeling.
At age 18 I volunteered for the Infantry and was soon after sent to Ramadi, Iraq in 2006. This was the most volatile time of the Iraq war, and I found myself, arguably, in the most contested city of that campaign. This tour showed me that there was a deeper purpose to me fighting under the American flag.