American War Generals Premieres Tonight

Vietnam. The Cold War. Desert Storm. The Iraq War. The Afghan War. This weekend, National Geographic Channel gathers 11 active and retired U.S. Army generals for American War Generals, a first-of-its-kind look back at a half century of America’s military battles told by the men that led them.

The film, premiering Sunday, September 14 at 8P, unveils the complex world of conflict strategy and decision making from our most renowned four-star generals. With unique inside access to America’s most elite military leadership, viewers will be given a new, intimate perspective on foreign policy and our modern military.

American War Generals reveals many never-before-heard stories and opinions from the legendary leaders of the modern U.S. Army. Their accounts will take us through the big changes that have transformed the U.S. military from the first troops to enter Vietnam to the last combat troops to exit Afghanistan, explaining the critical personal experiences that shaped their lives and the way they approached modern warfare.

Featured generals are:

General Colin Powell (Ret.)

Gen. Colin Powell

Retired 4-Star General and former Secretary of State

Military Service: 1958-1993



General Stanley McChrystal (Ret.)


Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal

Retired 4-Star General

Military Service: 1976-2010


General David Petraeus (Ret.)


Gen. David Petraeus

Retired 4-Star General and Former Director of the CIA

Military Service: 1974-2011


General Wesley Clark (Ret.)


Gen. Wesley Clark

Retired 4-Star General and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander

Military Service: 1966-2000


General Jack Keane (Ret.)


Gen. Jack Keane

Retired 4-Star General and Former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army

Military Service: 1966-2003


General George Casey Jr. (Ret.)


Gen. George William Casey

Retired 4-Star General and Former Chief of Staff of the US Army

Military Service: 1970-2011


General Barry McCaffrey (Ret.)


Gen. Barry McCaffrey

Retired 4-Star General

Military Service: 1964-1996


General Raymond Odierno


Gen. Raymond Odierno

4-Star General and 38th Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army

Military Service: 1976-present


Lt. General Karl Eikenberry (Ret.)


Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry

Retired 3-Star General and former Ambassador to Afghanistan

Military Service: 1973-2009


Lt. General Michael Flynn (Ret.)


Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

Retired 3-Star General and Former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency

Military Service: 1981-2014


Lt. General H. R. McMaster

Maj. Gen. Herbert R. McMaster

3-Star General / Director, Army Capabilities and Integration Center / Deputy Commanding General, Futures, US Army Training and Doctrine Command

Military Service: 1984-present


And some of what they reveal may be surprising:

In discussing Operation Iraqi Freedom, McChrystal reveals, “It’s funny, the U.S. military and U.S. politicians never talked about losing, but we absolutely knew we could lose. You can lose battles and ultimately you can lose the war. And in the summer of 2005, that was starkly apparent to me and the people that I served with.”

McCaffrey also adds of the conflict, “I think taking down Saddam was actually the right thing to do. Screwing up the military operation was not. So I have a permanent sense of hatred for what Secretary Rumsfeld, in particular, and these people that got in there and convinced themselves that they could do this with a minimalist approach of military power.”

Other revelations divulged in the special: How did the Vietnam War, both at home and on the battlefield, shape Powell’s approach to Operation Desert Storm? Why did Petraeus believe that his controversial counterinsurgency “surge” strategy in Iraq would work? What does McChrystal say about the Rolling Stone interview that led to his resignation from the Army?

Though the politics of war often generate heated debate, the bravery of the men these generals lead on the front lines has never been more apparent.

“Winning starts at the bottom,” says Clark. “A soldier can overcome incredible issues if he’s well-trained and competent and can put steel on target. That’s the difference in the battle.”

Tune in to American War Generals Sunday September 14 at 8P


  1. Liz
    September 14, 2014, 10:56 pm

    This program is excellent. Thank you.

  2. Carol Cobb
    Attleboro, MA
    November 8, 2014, 8:53 pm

    Please tell me when this will air again. I missed it and have been looking for it to air again, but haven’t seen anything. Thank you