Inside Combat Rescue: Visions of War

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.


  1. Steve Wright
    February 18, 2013, 3:34 pm

    2/18/13 So that Others May Live That says it all.
    176th Alaska Air National Guard Combat Rescue
    JBER Anchorage,Alaska
    3 Distingushed Flying Cross to the P J’s
    3 Bronze Stars w/ V for Valor to AirMen in Afghanistan

  2. jo go
    February 18, 2013, 11:00 pm

    thank you guys and girls.

  3. tammy manning
    albany, new york
    February 18, 2013, 11:10 pm

    I just finished watching inside combat rescue: visions of war and I have to say this was excellent show and I can’t wait for the next one. my heart goes out to all American service men and women serving in war zones and I hope they stay safe and god bless them and god bless the USA

  4. Walt
    Independence, VA
    February 19, 2013, 8:23 am

    The wounded medic not only made it, he’s back on active duty. He lost both the right arm and right leg, but he can still outrun this old man and he’s back in the fight. God bless his teammates and the PR guys that saved his life.

  5. Cathy
    Spokane, WA
    February 19, 2013, 11:21 am

    Thank you National Geographic for producing this amazing show. After watching Inside Combat Rescue my admiration for these wonderful men and women has risen to new heights! I hope everyone who watches this show has more respect and compassion for our returning soldiers and their families. Thank you!!!

  6. jose
    February 19, 2013, 11:46 am

    wowo that cool

  7. Ray
    February 19, 2013, 12:48 pm

    It’ about time we show it the way it is. I am so tired of all the young kids thinking war is just like a xbox game.

  8. s
    February 19, 2013, 1:22 pm

    @ Steve Wright. If you’re the same Steve Wright as in the credits, tell us what cameras you guys used in the field?? The helicopter had a gazillion GoPros mounted – that front skid one looking back was amazing. But what did you use for your handheld stuff. Really great depth. C300s? Any info (camera and lensing) would be great. Thanks. Really great work.

  9. rst
    February 19, 2013, 2:02 pm

    Does anyone know if one can stream, purchase or download the first episode yet and where?

    Thanks in advance

    • Meghan Gleason
      February 19, 2013, 4:09 pm

      It is available day-after air on VOD and will be on Hulu 30 days after premiere. The entire season will be available on iTunes at the end of the season.

  10. Sara Zimmerman
    United States
    February 19, 2013, 3:39 pm

    How do we get all of America to watch this show….there really are no words to express the bravery and determination shown by these brave soldiers…if you never watch another Tv show..please, please watch this one….blessings to all

  11. wanda greene
    ottawa wv
    February 19, 2013, 5:52 pm

    i loved this show, with 2 grandsons in army i can understand what they are going throu thank you

  12. First Sgt.
    February 19, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Deployed with the 301st RQS during Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. These guys an gals are the best of the best. I spent 10 years with the 301st RQS. It was the most demanding but rewarding years of my 42 year span with the USAF

  13. JOE A
    February 19, 2013, 8:37 pm


  14. Ken Warren Sr
    February 19, 2013, 10:45 pm

    WOW just finished watching Inside Combat Rescue damn I was really moved. God Bless the men and women serving.

  15. J More
    justin Texas
    February 20, 2013, 2:23 am

    Get it guys! Y’all are freaking awesome but you already know that! I love to see SF get busy. Keep your heads down and finish making this show with no one hurt!

  16. M Martinez
    Santa Fe,NM
    February 20, 2013, 12:45 pm

    Watched it with my son who will be leaving to USAF BMT this summer. A thank you is not near enough to offer these brave Men. I do believe my son saw things in a very different light watching this show.

  17. B Brown
    Memphis, TN
    February 20, 2013, 2:50 pm

    This show was amazing!!! I will be watching next week!! Thaks to the men and women serving our country, they don’t get the credit they deserve!!

  18. JBUG
    dayton ohio
    February 20, 2013, 9:34 pm

    Love this show I laugh and cried . got a nephew over there right know and a son going over next year GOD BLESS THE MEN AND WOMEN IN THE UNITED STATE MILITARY!!!

  19. Sven
    Southern CA
    February 20, 2013, 11:08 pm

    What is bring yelled out on the radio when they get a call? Not “scramble” but something comes over the radio first when they get a call but it’s garbled and I can’t understand it

  20. Bill Glass
    Altoona, Pa.
    February 21, 2013, 2:21 am

    To Nat Geo, awesome job! And to the men & women serving over seas, thank you for your courage and bravery! I am basically speechless after watching this all are amazing!

  21. steve m
    blanchard ok
    February 21, 2013, 2:00 pm

    I watched the first show and it blew me away. Anyone in this country should be extreamly grateful to any and all of our military men and women. This mess we live in is still the greatest country on the planet, thanks to all of the sacrifices of these people. The courage of the recue people is total valor and unconditional commitment for thier fellow soldiers. May god be with all of these great people. THANK ALL OF YOU!

  22. Bryan
    February 21, 2013, 7:05 pm

    If everyone liked this show please support the Arrowhead Film: When I Have Your Wounded. It’s about Army Medevac and they are having trouble getting channels to air it. Great show on the PJs though.

  23. Cheri
    February 21, 2013, 8:36 pm

    Let’s take care of our PJ’s and their families once they’re done serving. This job takes a toll on their mental health. The James Bond-like lifestyle damages marriages and relationships. And despite all their experience, it’s not very marketable on a post-mil resume.

  24. Tim
    February 22, 2013, 7:59 pm

    The part where they pick up the medic, load him into the chopper and then his fellow soldiers all lean in and kiss him and say their goodbyes (because as the narrator says its possible he may not survive) is truly one of the most moving things I have ever seen on television.

    Walt from Independence, VA who posted above, do you have a link where i could read about the medic and his current status, you said he is back on active duty…?

  25. pamela
    February 24, 2013, 3:06 pm

    I pray for the safety of all the service men and women. Thank you for your bravery. Without you the United States would not be!

  26. Katie M
    February 24, 2013, 6:07 pm

    Sven – my husband says their radio alarm is saying “Leeroy Jenkins.” It’s apparently from World of Warcraft: Listen for it at about 1:26. I guess he’s some infamous player on that video game….

    That said, hats off to to the PJs (and to NATGEO for giving us this opportunity for an inside look at what they go through). You guys are simply amazing, as are your families who wait for you back home. I’m thankful my husband never needed your services during his tours (RLTW), but I’m glad you all are there for those that do. Thank you all (and your families) for your service and sacrifice. Truly.

  27. John Morris
    Austin TX
    February 26, 2013, 2:56 pm

    >> Sven
    What is being yelled out is “Leeeerooy Jenkins!” It is a classic piece from World Of Warcraft where one player charges without the help of his team and no warning execpt that battle charge. Look up Leroy Jenkins on google video. If you are a gamer it is classic

  28. Kurt
    February 28, 2013, 3:11 am

    I spent more than 15 years working in CSAR. The experience you receive stays with you for ever. “So others may live” 41/71 RQS

  29. Shawn Qualley
    Tekamah, NE
    February 28, 2013, 9:29 pm

    Although not a PJ I did get to see my son standing on the flight line during episode 2. My family is so prod of him and all the rest of our armed forces. My son is third generation Air Force and someone from our family has been in the military as far back as the Civil War.

    God Bless and God Speed to all of our Armed Forces

  30. ruth
    March 2, 2013, 2:46 pm

    This is a fabulous series and very moving. It makes me proud. I can’t praise it enough.

  31. […] war definitely isn’t over for the Pararescuemen of National Geographic Channel’s “Inside Combat Rescue“. The six-part series features Staff Sgt. Matthew Blankenship, who has deployed twice to […]

  32. Masnanie
    August 13, 2013, 12:59 am

    I’m in awe with these courageous men who risk their lives ‘So Others May Live’. They are true Heroes and deserve for their story to be told to all corners of the globe. I’m from Malaysia and been watching this very inspiring documentary and looking forward to watch next episode. I can’t imagine how much emotional toll the war/casualties of war must have gotten to these courageous PJs & CROs but they sure have done great job. Hats off to all of you! God bless!!

  33. Masnanie
    August 13, 2013, 11:16 pm

    Any idea how do I get hold of Staff Sgt Brett Taylor?

  34. M.F. Brown II
    June 29, 2014, 9:41 pm

    Steve as a home town sheep dog I take honor to see your efforts I’m a Master Firefighter in the City of Fayetteville and I have to say role on brother, role on.