Eyewitness War: The Battle For Antenna Hill

By Eric Wiener, Segment Producer

Antenna Hill is basically the highest point in the area between the Maidan Wardak Province and the Ghazni Province in Afghanistan. According to Joshua Brewer, the base elevation is over 8,000 feet. Likewise, the peak of the hill offers a vantage point to the entire valley, and because of this elevation, it also has antennas on it to broadcast local radio to the whole region. Thus the nickname.

But while we were interviewing Joshua Brewer, Steven “Doc” Wilburn, and Augustine Cortinas about their fight to take the hill, we found out there’s a lot more to the Antenna Hill story than simply what we see on the footage – and accordingly, in the episode. There’s an entire first half of that day leading up to the beginning of our story. Unfortunately, no one happened to be filming as the events unfolded, but it is a story that also needs to be told.

It turns out, Brewer and his team originally began with a different mission on May 26th, 2012, the day of the fight for Antenna Hill…

Another platoon had been sent out on an indirect fire patrol to stop the enemy from shooting at their base, when the enemy ambushed them. This platoon’s sniper section got pinned down away from their trucks, and quickly, they found themselves in an all out firefight.

Brewer and his team rushed out as part of what they call a QRF, Quick Reaction Force, to help their sister platoon. With the engaged platoon in real danger, getting to them as quickly as possible was imperative. But as they sped to the firefight, Joshua Brewer’s vehicle, the lead truck, drove over a pressure-plated IED. The entire front-left side of the vehicle exploded.

“I only remember certain details,” Brewer told us, “but the, the things I do remember is all of a sudden being weightless and flying through the air. I don’t remember any sound but I remember watching my, my radios and my equipment fly up around me in the truck. And then we crashed down.”

He recalled his driver and interpreter bleeding and screaming out in pain. His gunner was unconscious. They were no longer on the rescue mission. Now, with three guys injured and a broken vehicle, they needed rescuing. So another team and a MedEvac hurried to them, bringing the injured men back to base, as Brewer collected himself and his belongings to continue on! He got into another vehicle and reloaded his team with three new men, including Steven “Doc” Wilburn and Augustine Cortinas.

But meanwhile, the pinned-down platoon originally engaged by the Taliban managed to fight their way out of the ambush by calling in tens of thousands of pounds of bombs onto the enemy positions on Antenna Hill. They no longer needed support.

Instead, someone now needed to take that hill, conduct a battle damage assessment, and most importantly, ensure there were no more enemy survivors. And that’s when Joshua Brewer turned on his helmet cam and began the Battle for Antenna Hill…

Tune in to Eyewitness War: Battle for Antenna Hill tonight at 9P.


  1. 2adirondack4u
    July 15, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Watched Opps branding Iron. First I respect our troops, Converse w/ them, love my country even though I disagree w/ how the ends justify the means for corporate greed.
    More propaganda. The show claims the poppy fields are how Taliban fund war effort.( Why are our troops NOT burning those fields you may ask? It’s Illegal) During Russian occupation there were no poppy. The Taliban being highly religious burned the poppy fields they found/abhor drug use. Heroin buys stingers and tanks not IED’s made of undischarged arsenals.
    It was not until the U.S showed up and appointed(“elected”) Harmid Karzai (His brother is the drug kingpin of Afghanistan & poss on CIA payroll) are there now poppy. U.N forces are even TAXING the production. I recommend everyone research Vietnam’s golden triangle.
    Someone I know, worked for Lockheed Martian in 2001 -. Was in charge of re-writing the logistics program for three surveillance satellites that tracked Binladin for two yrs. ( Claimed these sat’s could track three goats through Afgan Mtns). Now declassified doc’s reveal Binladin had a network of houses / Apts in Pakistan and was not in Afghanistan.
    So when we found out he wasn’t there why did we stay?
    Our troops know why they are there. Just as there were NO WMD’s in Iraq. Reagan covertly sold nerve agents Saddam during Iran war, he used on the CIA backed Kurds attempting to overthrow Saddam. Contra scandal – I could go on all day)
    The trans Balkan pipeline takes a huge shortcut saving $B’s, $T’s in lithium( powers your i Phones ect) and of course the CIA has made $T’s in their drug trade to cover shortfalls in their over ambitious yet tiny budget.
    The battle footage/ danger to our brave troops may be real enough.
    But take what you’re being told w/ a grain of salt/ bump of heroin.

  2. Ray
    July 15, 2013, 4:46 pm

    I think this Capt. Middendorf is an idiot. Every other word out of his mouth is an F this and an F that. As a Nam Vet I would have NO respect for someone like that. Would not want him leading me into battle. How did he become an Officer when he enlisted at 17????

  3. Mary
    July 16, 2013, 3:15 am

    This what our military goes through for us they very bravely would give up thier life to save ours many thanks to all our military and my grand son Sgt Cortinas on the video.

  4. Donna
    July 22, 2013, 1:21 am

    Sadly, this is the language that many of our younger people “routinely” use today without a thought to it being right or wrong. As a teacher, I often had to refer students to admin. for using such language. The response from the students that was frequently given? That’s s curse word? I use that sll the time at home! The parents would also often take up for their child, saying that if it is okay with them, then it should be okay with us! My point being, that it has become ingrained in today’s society. I am not saying that I approve of it at all. I wish that more parents of today would hold the bar higher for their children, so that when they DO move on to their chosen profession, they can truly shine as contributing members and role models in our society.
    My father served on Korea. I never heard him use foul language at any time in my life. He always said that it was taking the easy way out, and that it takes more intelligence to find other words to express your feelings.
    On a positive note, though, I do have great respect and gratitude for the men and women who serve our country in whatever capacity.