Small Wars Journal

Men at War: Come Home with Your Shield, or On It

My latest, Men at War: Come Home with Your Shield, or On It.

08 August 2011
Michael Yon

Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan

The men here can be seen saluting senior officers, while saying, “Sir, with your shield or on it.”  This is the mantra of Task Force Spartan.

On the morning of 30 July, members of 4-4Cav boarded CH-47 helicopters and at 0300 landed in the middle of a Taliban stronghold.  Over the next 48 hours, there were at least 27 firefights.  The number taken for confirmed enemy killed was eleven, though likely the actual number was considerably higher.  During the first day, one of our Soldiers was shot in the face and badly wounded.  His buddies say that had he not then played dead, the enemy surely would have killed him.  His buddies, braving close and accurate machinegun fire, managed to rescue the wounded Soldier from a roof.  A Blackhawk MEDEVAC took him away as we watched from a few hundred meters distance...