Inside Combat Rescue: In the Crossfire

Justin and Thomas both know how important it is to keep their emotions in check when someone’s life is in their hands. It is a battle they all fight on every mission. In this episode, three missions will test their mettle like never before.

Taliban attacks against soldiers and civilians rise during the summer, the busiest fighting season of the year. The unit gets a call to rescue two Afghan National Army soldiers injured in a gunfight with the Taliban. En route to the landing zone, the unit learns that some fighting may still be going on and a second attack could be imminent. Knowing they may end up in a fight, the crew tests the helicopters’ heavy machine guns. One of their big, .50 caliber guns breaks, leaving the team without one of the main methods of defense. Further complicating the rescue, the area has not been swept for enemy mines. Justin will have to use a metal detector to create a path from the helicopter to the wounded before the enemy launches a second strike. With the enemy close by, the team must move quickly, and carefully. One step in the wrong direction could detonate a lethal explosion.

Later, a second mission drops to the unit: an Afghan policeman has stepped on an IED planted by the Taliban. But the INTEL is confusing, as the order includes picking up an escort, an uncommon request for anyone but a child or female. In the TOC, or Tactical Operations Center, this is cause for concern; the Taliban often targets U.S. helicopters by planting bombs on or inside the bodies of escorts and the wounded. The PJs could be flying into a trap. Seth puts the order out, “I don’t trust anybody. Search him.”

The team lands and cannot locate the escort. The wounded is in critical condition with one leg amputated from the blast, and the helicopter is most vulnerable on the ground. But, the team cannot leave until they fulfill their orders and find the escort. Justin frantically tries to locate the man and determine if he is a friend or foe. As he and Thomas search, a man breaks out from the crowd and runs directly towards their helicopter. Thomas and Justin sprint to catch him before he reaches the aircraft and the crew inside.

Then, in the final mission, and it’s a nightmare: 40 miles away, a child has suffered a potentially lethal gunshot wound to the head. He is unconscious, a sign of increased brain trauma. To make matters worse, a storm has rolled in and blanketed the area in dust, reducing visibility to less than a mile. With no time to spare, the pilots decide to stay low to keep the mountainous Afghanistan terrain in sight. However, the move makes them more vulnerable to enemy attacks, which increase in bad weather.

They reach the child just as he vomits, another sign of brain trauma. Justin and Thomas have to stay focused and deliver a life-saving solution that will reduce the pressure on the boy’s brain. Unable to hit a vein in the boy’s small arms, Justin has to resort to a painful procedure- an IO line, drilling straight into the child’s leg bone. Pilots and PJs work together to do everything they can to save the young boy’s life, but their best may not be enough.

Tune in to Inside Combat Rescue: In the Crossfire Tonight at 10P


  1. Bill Caracofe
    March 11, 2013, 9:46 pm

    Has anyone figured out what tje recorded “alert / scramble” msg says?

  2. Paul Janelle
    NH USA
    March 11, 2013, 10:50 pm

    Absolutely the best show ever. Real Airman, real PJ’s and real stories. Finally a show about our brave Airman in the USAF.

  3. Copia
    Kansas City, Missouri
    March 11, 2013, 11:37 pm

    I LOVE this television documentary. Finally, an intelligent program which shows the truth of combat and the dedication and sacrifices of our soldiers. These are the TRUE HEROES in our American society. Watching these soldiers makes me so proud to be an American. To the wives of these warriors, how very very lucky you are.


  4. Gail
    March 11, 2013, 11:42 pm

    When will the DVD be out?

    I hope everyone featured has come home safely.

  5. John
    March 12, 2013, 1:18 pm

    I’d also like to know what the computer “alert/alarm” says when it goes off.

  6. Tom
    March 12, 2013, 2:51 pm

    It says “Leeroy Jenkins”. It’s from the following youtube video:

  7. Anthony Saponaro
    Perryville, MD
    March 12, 2013, 3:15 pm

    The last time I saw Justin, he was just a kid getting
    ready to graduate from high school. Last night, I saw a man who even for just an hour is a hero in the eyes of the entire world.

  8. Nate carter
    United States
    March 12, 2013, 4:02 pm

    I have alot of respect for the PJ’s, and all, but they are doing the same type of missions MEDEVAC is doing. What sense does it make to send Pedro too a POI when they are 30 minutes away, and MEDEVAC is 5 minutes away?
    I personally saw lives lost due to the ” politics” involved.
    Another point is the cost involved. How much does it cost too train PJ’s, flight crews, ground crews, as well as equipment vs MEDEVAC? I think it’s safe to say the cost is much greater with the PJ’s. In MEDEVAC, the crewchiefs not only flew the missions, but did all of the maintenance, sometimes working 14-16 hour days.
    Again, I’m proud of these guys and gals, but the politics involved over in Afghanistan, just too justify their existence, is appalling.

  9. TheCaptainrrr
    March 12, 2013, 10:22 pm

    Just watched episode 4….Damn these guys are good! Keep doing what you do PJ’s “so that others may live”……you all are a true blessing to all that you help. It’s hard to keep your chin up in such awful conditions of heat and hardship….know that many are praying for all of you to have safe missions each and every
    time. God bless all of you PJ’s! God bless ALL of our armed forces! Come home safe !

  10. Kevin F
    March 13, 2013, 8:40 am

    The alert message says “Leroy Jenkins” It a quote from a funny video made in the game World of Warcraft back quite some time ago. I only know because I played this game when this video was popular.

    Link below:

  11. John
    March 13, 2013, 8:13 pm

    I just saw an episode by chance. Ive seen these men work in combat and seen the unfortunate things they have to. It brought tears to my eyes being a vet with ptsd. I dont understand why people find entertainment in this? Its not knowledge, why do you people watch this. Is it entertaining to watch a man disinigrate from the inside? He loses more than he saves! Its a horrible job! Fucking nightmare! I know

  12. harold mundstock
    March 13, 2013, 9:43 pm

    As a combat veteran of Vietnam, I was totally in awe of the job our medics did in under extreme conditions. I am no less proud of rescue units now serving in harms way.
    To place yourself in danger to get someone else, often unknown, is heroic in any one’s book . your presentation of this was needed and in my case , well -received. thank you

  13. Eva York
    Vero Beach, Fl
    March 15, 2013, 11:05 am

    The blurred TV screens lead me to believe that in this day and age, command posts actually have televised/ video fed whatever you want to call it/pictures sent to those that need to know. Am I wrong?
    I, too, wish all of our servicemen and women and our allies the best in their choices over there or wherever they are in this God forsaken world!
    Thank you for this series!

  14. Lou Seymour
    March 18, 2013, 10:54 pm

    This show had the potential to be an awesome insight into the horror of war that our brave soldiers and sailors are subjected to. Unfortunately, NatGeo missed the mark. Way too much of the show is pumped up guys talking endlessly about how they are constantly on the edge of death and how brave they are to do a job that will likely kill each and every one of them at any second. Obviously the NG producers bombard these guys with loaded questions and keep cameras pressed close to their faces until they get the sound bites that they want to tell a story that isn’t real. They should give these guys the cameras and let them tell the true story, not the one that NG needs to get good ratings.

  15. Sandy Sonera, Jr.
    Mineola, NY
    March 19, 2013, 7:39 am

    What an amazing show! I love seeing the courage and strength of our soldiers! And this show is about soldiers sacrificing their lives to save the lives of not only other soldiers but innocent civilians. I have a lot of faith in them and I pray for them. I’m also curious as to what that alert is saying. It sounds like some biker dude screaming something lol. I’m sad to hear that next Monday’s episode will be the last. I hope there’ll be more seasons.

  16. Albert Gam
    Bumpass, VA
    March 19, 2013, 9:14 am

    I am so impressed with the fine young men who are saving lives every day while being in constant danger themselves. This is what makes me so proud top be an American. We owe these young men a debt that could never be repaid for saving so many of our children fighting overseas to protect us.

  17. SSGT Muse
    March 19, 2013, 10:49 am

    The alert call is LeRoy Jenkins…..Leeeeerrrooooyyyy Jeennnkkkkinnsss.

  18. Jeremiah
    North Carolina
    March 19, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Best Show ever one the tube. Please keep filming this show. I saw last night that next Mon. March 25, 2013 will be the final show. I hope all these guys are safe and come home to their families.

  19. Michael Hirsh
    March 19, 2013, 9:27 pm

    I was embedded with PJs in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan in 2001 to write the book NONE BRAVER–US AIR FORCE PARARESCUEMEN IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM. i just learned that last week, sales of the book spiked on because it was mentioned on the NatGeo series. But I don’t know what was said about it. Can someone fill me in, please?

  20. Jennifer R
    Valdosta, Ga
    March 19, 2013, 10:36 pm

    We love this show. American needs to see what our brave soldiers do for us. Please keep filming for another season. This is the best show we have ever watched on TV. We live near Moody Air Force base and until watching this show , we did not understand how hard they are fighting to save our soldiers. So grateful to have such brave and dedicated men to represent our country.

  21. debby h
    New Jersey
    March 19, 2013, 11:10 pm

    By FAR the best show on TV, thank you for bringing this to those of us who had no clue as to what goes on and often wonders. So brave! Thank you to all! I can only hope that this show continues so everyone can get to see a glimpse of what our soldiers go through to keep us all safe.. God Bless America and God Bless all of our troops!!

  22. Pete Deinzer
    Orlando Florida
    March 20, 2013, 8:18 pm

    These guys are the reason I display my flag everyday. Tremendous fortitude and maturity beyond their years. Simply put, these guys make me proud to be American. Great camera work as well. I am so hooked watching these young brave men perform their duty. Hope the series continues on. Should be required watching for liberals.

  23. Margo & Gary Campbell
    Sarasota, FL
    March 21, 2013, 1:41 am

    INSIDE COMBAT RESCUE is like none other. What our soldiers fight for, and those who fight to save their lives, makes everything else irrelevant. There is nothing that compares to the bravery of these men. I know some don’t make it in spite of the PJ’s best efforts, and my husband and I were heartbroken when the soldier died in Fog of War this past week. Is there a way to pay tribute to that young soldier on your show? This brings the point home as to what’s really important. Please bring us many more episodes, and thanks so very much for all of you that did.

    Thank you to all who filmed and produced this; please bring us more if you can.

  24. Lisa
    United States
    March 22, 2013, 4:32 pm

    I am so impressed by the courage displayed by the PJ’s and everyone else shown on this series. People need to see this side of war. Makes me proud to be an American!

  25. Matt Petersen
    March 23, 2013, 5:01 pm

    Absolute Heros

  26. Scott Vaughn
    March 25, 2013, 6:32 am

    @ Nate Carter…. Why do they use PJ’s over a Army medevac? Army “medics” are Emt-basics who can do a limited amount of
    extra skills where an Air Force PJ is an actual Paramedic who has a vast amount of lifesaving procedures they can preform. Just as an example, in the civilian world it takes 4 months of training to be and EMT but 2 years to be a Paramedic.

  27. Airborne Ed
    willow grove, pa
    March 26, 2013, 1:12 pm

    The alert sound prior to the scramble is Leroy Jenkins.

  28. Spencer Walker
    Houston, TX
    April 3, 2013, 3:52 am

    The name of the soldier that died on the final episode is SFC Barrett Wambli McNabb.

  29. Spencer Walker
    Houston, TX
    April 3, 2013, 4:06 am

    Nate Carter,

    Are you serious?

    Clearly you have no idea what the difference between a CASEVAC and MEDEVAC is. Patients who need in flight care, need a MEDEVAC. Patients who need transportation, need a CASEVAC. As a former Marine who served in Helmand Province in 2010 (deadliest year for ISAF forces), I can tell you firsthand that EVERYTHING is done to get guys taken care of within the “Golden Hour”. You need to show a lot more respect. Politics have nothing to do with who takes what mission. It is all based on response time.

    The cost… Dude, you have no idea what you are talking about. The Pave Hawks these guys are flying have crew chiefs on board; those dudes on the door guns. They are responsible for the maintenance of the bird. Also, PJ’s fall under USSOCOM, which means they receive a separate budget under USSCOM that is shared by all Special Operation Forces. This includes the helicopters and all other equipment. Furthermore, a PJ’s training enables them to conduct more than just MEDEVAC’s from helicopters. They can insert practically anywhere due to their extensive training. They can also conduct CSAR and various combat operations. You need to do some research pal. Clearly, you have NO “appreciation” for these guys.

  30. Rescue_RN
    Overland Park, KS
    May 5, 2013, 5:30 pm

    I have wanted to do flight nursing since I was in college. Don’t know how to explain it- just a goal I had.
    My Brother Frank, was overseas for two different tours in Iraq and Afgan. Two years ago I lost my brother in a car accident shortly after he returned home.
    I just wanted to say Thank you for the work you do. Medivac is dangerous enough without taking on enemy fire. The costs of this war are tremenous. Just want to say a very humble THANK YOU!!!
    I just saw the episode where the guy got orders for another deployment. I dont think this soldier can say it- So I will. Un****ing believable that the US govt thinks this is ok to constantly be involved in a decade long war. How about really saying thank you and letting these men go home!

  31. Jennifer justice, RN
    Lexington, Ky
    May 7, 2013, 10:29 am

    I am in absolute awe over these young men. My dad was UASF and both my sister and brother-in-law are also. The Air Force is the best and I cannot thank you PJ’s enough for your true sacrifice.

  32. MADMAX75TH
    T.O. Calif
    May 11, 2013, 9:51 am

    to answer the question re the “alarm” 5his is a link:

    Great show..these guys actually deserve our attention and admiration, unlike the many “reality” farce shows about rich kids trying to find jobs etc.. I will watch all episodes and future seasons about these HEROs!

  33. Jesse Little-Ainslie
    May 21, 2013, 11:47 pm

    1 does Canada have guys like this, 2 @Bill Caracofe it says Leeroy Jenkins, if you don’t know what that is you obviously don’t know the internet to well

  34. OTR
    September 1, 2013, 1:46 am

    Glad the child at the end was okay, thanks to the interviewer/crew man who told Justin he was okay. Do all PJ’s get to find out how their patients go?

  35. Lynn Davis
    Perth, Western Australia
    September 7, 2013, 8:13 am

    This show provides insight into the horror of war, and the bravery and dedication of all those involved in trying to save lives. Thank you to all concerned. Be safe …

  36. Jesse
    Richmond, Tx
    June 24, 2014, 2:04 am

    Much respect for these guys, as a Houston firefighter we see the same stuff just not on the constant frequency these guys do, and it’s always hard on the mind, body and soul!! Stay safe brothers and hope you return to your families safely!! Thank you, Nat Geo for airing this instead of another Honey Boo-Boo or another Kardashian show!!!!

  37. AlexUSAF
    United States
    June 26, 2014, 7:12 pm

    Who are the folks that work in the TOC that deliver mission information to the PJs/Pilots/Commander?

  38. stan
    United States
    July 4, 2014, 6:46 pm

    LEEROY JENKINS is call

  39. stan
    July 4, 2014, 6:55 pm

    At least that’s what the subtitles on Netflix says

  40. Christiaan Klotz
    Western Cape, South Africa
    August 7, 2014, 2:42 pm

    I’m from South Africa and the 6 episode mini series just showed here in South Africa with us. Just wanted to say that i absolutely admire these guys from Inside Combat Rescue and have huge respect for ALL Marines serving there country with such passion. Was wondering if anybody can tell me if these guys are still actively serving? I’m talking about Duane, Justin, Thomas, Seth etc?

  41. Todd007
    Coast of MaIne
    February 24, 2015, 1:27 pm

    Proof America is still strong and does the right thing! Their dedication and tenacity is second to none. Thank-you PJ’s and also a thanks to your families!
    USAF MSgt (retired) 17 of those as Special Agent, AFOSI