Friday, September 23, 2011

Raw Unedited Footage from Afghanistan

There’s a new YouTube channel making waves throughout the military community created by an infantry soldier deployed with Bravo Company 2PPCLI in 2008. For the purpose of this interview I will refer to him as Scott C.


To view Scott’s YouTube videos click the photo below, also below the link to Scotts YouTube you will find the rest of the interview with this soldier who thankfully returned home to share his story with us.



Why did you create this YouTube Channel:

Scott: After showing some of the footage from my platoon to family and friends I realized how oblivious most people are to what it is actually like over there. I couldn’t believe that some people still thought Canada was just peacekeeping after all these years. I started my channel to spread the word further that Canada has once again built a strong, professional military force. I couldn’t believe the amount of messages flowing in from people in the US, the UK and even Canada, who didn’t even know we had a military! It is a great feeling knowing you are able to open so many peoples eyes to the reality of our mission in Afghanistan, and the sacrifices that so many have made and continue to make.


How do you separate yourself from what you’ve seen/been through to what your actual life is when you come home?
After I came home the previous 7 months in Afghanistan felt very surreal. For the first few months I found I was a little jumpy but to be honest it didn’t take long to get back to normal life. It really helped to have my family and wife Tara there for support. I think the hardest part was not having your buddies around you 24/7 and getting used to being alone again at times.

What do you say to people that say ‘It’s not our battle, we shouldn’t over there anyway?
It is very difficult to help people understand why our presence in Afghanistan is so important, because most people at home never get to see the good things we are accomplishing. We are not just there to fight the Taliban and that has never been out primary mission. Our mission is to provide aid to the people of Afghanistan and it was proven time and time again that they do want our help. Afghanistan is like any other humanitarian mission, but this time there is an opposing force that we have to deal with before we are able help the people that need it the most. An example would be trying to open a school for boys and girls in a remote village. After the school would open, classes would run while our forces stayed in the area for days or weeks. Once it was time to move elsewhere the Taliban would immediately move in, burn down the school, and punish those who had been attending. As long as the Taliban keep a foothold in those areas progress cannot be made.

Is there is one POSITIVE incident, that stands out above all others?
If I had to choose one positive experience that stands out in my mind above all the rest I would have to say it was when we had two brothers bring their baby sister in to see our medic. Two brothers, one around five, and the other closer to ten, carried their infant sister for at least a mile or two, to our remote outpost in the village of Haji in Panjwai. It was a really great feeling knowing that we had earned the trust of these people enough that they were willing to trust us with their children. We gave the boys clean water and some rations and they headed back home with a smile on their face and good news to tell their family.

if there was one thing that you would want people to know about Afghanistan that they don’t see on the news what would it be?
One thing I would want people to see more of back home, is the day to day life of what our soldiers live through on a daily basis while deployed. The other thing I rarely see on the news is the positive interaction between our soldiers and the local villagers. The children that come and sit down beside us and laugh with us while we are out on foot patrols. Most of the population in remote areas are very welcoming to our troops.

Keeping your cool in the line of battle VS. keeping your cool in a line up at the store or movies… Which is harder now?
This is a great question! I remember I laughed so hard when I saw the strain on the actors face in The Hurt Locker trying to decide on a cereal at the grocery store because it was so true. When you are deployed there are actually very few decisions that you need to make. Everything is very cut and dry for the most part and at the Private/Corporal level most decisions aren’t made by you. For 7 months your job is to protect your platoon members then protect yourself, that is about it. Any decisions you make for those 7 months are very easy to decide and the only thing you need to ask yourself is “will this put the members of my platoon at risk?”

How does one come back from there, doing and seeing what you saw, and have a normal life again. Doesn’t it haunt you and affect you life back home with your family and friends?
I found that after coming home it didn’t take long to realize how many trivial things most people worry about in day to day life. When you know that during this patrol you will be walking or driving down a heavily mined road, and inches will decide whether you will live or die, I find it hard to sweat the small stuff at home now. I think my tour brought my family as a whole closer together, but I also found that I just couldn’t relate to some of my closest friends I had known since kindergarten anymore.

What can you tell us about the Afghany Families. The real people?
The afghan people are very unique and I could not believe the hospitality they showed to us during patrols. Almost every patrol they would invite our platoon to come into their home (usually a 1-2 room mud hut) to talk about the needs of the village and give us tea and candies. We would literally take about 5 soldiers and go into their home and sit down on the floor with them and just talk and drink tea for 20 minutes. The children were amazing! I have never seen such happy children that had so little. They would always follow our patrol around asking questions or showing us their toys and games, which would usually involve a stick and an old tire.

What did you need the most while you were there that you could not get?
Honestly the CF is doing an excellent job getting packages to the troops. In our situation we could not always receive our packages because we were deployed so far from the main base and cut off by a mined road. However, when we would walk back for some rest the packages would be their waiting on our beds.

What was the first thing you did when you got back after your first tour?
When I got back from tour it was about 2200 hours mid week and I was picked up by my family at the airport. The first night I didn’t sleep at all and it was one of the harder nights I have had to go through. Even though I was home with my family, after they went to bed it was almost like a terrifying loneliness. For 7 months you are surrounded by the men you trust your life with, that have become your brothers. Now in a snap you are home sitting on your couch alone watching late night TV.

How does it make you “feel” when people are negative about the mission in Afghanistan?
When people are “negative” about the mission now I find that it really does stem from ignorance most of the time. When 90% of the news just shows the negative side of the war you can’t expect most people to support it, they don’t know any better.
There are also those who say that the Taliban are just regular people defending their country. There was one event that will forever stick in my mind that makes it very hard for me to believe that they are just regular people.
One of our platoons was conducting a regular presence patrol through a nearby village to talk with the locals and provide security. They were confronted by a man and a young child, standing a ways in front of them. The man gave the boy a push towards the patrol as he stepped slightly off the trail maintaining his distance. As per usual the afghan soldiers in the patrol approached the boy to do a simple search for any weapons or explosives. As the soldiers came within feet of the boy, the man stepped behind a tree and detonated the explosives that he had attached to the boy, killing the soldiers and the child.
It is still hard to comprehend how a human being is capable of such things, and that is why I personally believe the Taliban need to be stopped.

When you were overseas and you received packages from home how did that make you feel?
When we got packages from home it was like it was your birthday every time. The food and supplies were nice but for most people I think it was the letters from family and and little inside jokes that were the best. The letters and perfume on an old t-shirt from my wife Tara were what absolutely took me straight home for that moment and got me through some of the rougher days.




To see more videos liks this go to the YouTube link at the top of the article

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for this - and thank YOU for your service, Scott! I WILL be sharing this post, as I believe many Canadians (and internationals..lol) need these insights.

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  2. Thanks for your service Scott and glad you made it home safely!
    Helen in Florida, USA

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  3. Thanks for keeping it real!!
    Gerald Scott Flint, Director
    Volunteer Medics Worldwide Team Afghanistan
    email volmedics@aol.com

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  4. Thank you for your service and providing the much needed footage for the general public! Thank God you made it home safely. Angie in CA, USA

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  5. "Thank you" just doesn't seem like enough to say. Words can't describe my appreciation and admiration for you all. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a true hero.

    ~Anna McCullough
    Chattanooga, TN

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  6. More people need to see what your sharing- thank you so much for posting!

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  7. Thanks for your updates mate i appreciate them and great news you got home safe and we all owe the service personnel of our armed forces so much for the sacrifices they make on a daily basis so we can live the life we lead .............. Many thanks to you all from a proud brit

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  8. Thanks so much for your service and for the insight you shared. I was so intrigued. God Bless You and may your days only get better.

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