War is full of hard truths, and one, according to veteran Brett, is that it changes you. Now on his sixth deployment, the mental and emotional toll from experiencing the carnage of war first hand is a consequence he reluctantly accepts. But his best friend Eric, a new father, refuses to let that happen, hoping to return to his family the same man they loved before deployment. Steve, a PJ on the first deployment of his career, is confident his training has prepared him for the physical and mental challenges that await him in Afghanistan.
Rounds start flying during a training mission in the desert. The team marks imaginary targets with smoke grenades for the aircrews to unload their Pave Hawk’s rapid-fire miniguns. However, two unknown vehicles quickly approach from the southwest. When they ignore the helicopter’s warning flares to stay away, the unit must make a decision to hold their ground or abandon their training and return to the safe confines of the base.
Not long after, the unit receives grim news: insurgents have launched a major attack in Kandahar City, the former stronghold of the Taliban. Eric, Brett, and Steve, must land in an area they are unsure is clear of enemy mines to rescue two Americans injured by gunshots and shrapnel. Ground forces battle and large bombs continue to detonate as the team flies in and lands. When the helicopter departs and the PJs begin treating the wounded Americans, enemy fire shifts from attacking ground forces to attacking the air.
Back at base, Brett and the p.m. crew shift their attention to making fun of Eric, whose history of receiving an abundance of packages from home continues. Steve receives a package from his wife as well, full of toy soldiers and water balloons. Pranks during down time are quite common with the group, and today is no different.
The laughter breaks when a call for help results from a father rushing his two Afghan children, critically injured by an explosion, to a small, military outpost. While the children are gravely wounded, the new rules of engagement could prevent the team from being able to rescue the kids. Unless U.S. or NATO forces caused the injuries, the father must rely on help from the Afghan hospitals, not the Americans. The team readies the helicopters, but another call comes in- to stand down. Frustrated, Eric relates to the Afghan father and thinks of his own daughter back home. “For my kid, I would do anything.”
But the team must face an important mission: a Special Forces medic is gravely wounded by an IED blast and in need of immediate rescue. It happens right at shift change, and both units, a.m. and p.m. rush to ready the choppers. The medic’s wounds are serious, and Steve inserts a needle into the bone to pump life saving blood into the American’s body. In the aftermath of the mission, all three men are left to deal with the mental and emotional consequences of a rescue that hits very close to home.
Tune in to the series premiere of Inside Combat Rescue: Vision of War tonight at 10P.