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Carlos Garcia, 2/1 Warhammer 4th Platoon

"As we get to the 1 year anniversary of the events that took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, a lot of feelings are brought back to the experience everyone on the ground went through. This is my personal experience regarding the events that took place on the 15-16 of Aug.

I remember when our platoon was told we’d be the first ones from 2/1 to land in Kabul, everyone was pumped to be heading into Afghanistan. As we departed to the flight line, our force was made up of around 90 people, 4th Plt, attachments, and some higher leadership. Before we left we had Chaps bless the group and our SPMAGTF Commander and Sgt Major went to see us off. The Col. Told us that the time for training was over, now it was time to get to work, we were about to be apart of history and we were going into the shit. He made it very clear to get the job done and come home, he said all the other bullshit doesn’t matter to him .

As we got on the C-130s everybody around me was amped to be going to Afghanistan for the first time since this is all we heard on the news, this is what we were constantly being briefed on, and this was what we were training for the past months. In the air we were constantly being updated on news from the ground, As we were arriving we were briefed the airfield was overrun and chaos had ensued. Right away everyone got ready and we were focused, weapons were hot and our Nods ready to go. Since all of our stuff was palletized at the back of the C-130 we had to exit the side hatch to avoid congestion. We hit the ground and went to set up our 360 around the birds, As I ran to my spot something almost tripped me. Confused I glanced over and I noticed it was a small child’s sandal, not only that but the entire area was surrounded with abandoned clothes and baggage. We had seen that the army had pushed everyone back to the terminal, we grabbed all our gear and heading to an outdoor staging area. Afterwards we met up with the Army and went to go clear out the airfield to make sure nobody was hiding in random spots. As we swept the area we were constantly dodging C-130s as they landed and took off nonstop.

After all that was done the sun had began to rise and we were at the terminal setting up security, stretched all along the terminal and the only thing between thousands of people and 80+ marines was the strand of C-Wire.

After a while some of us were called to go back up a machine gun position that had took small arms fire, Will and I ran over, set in our sectors and not to long after that we began to receive small arms fire, it was sporadic, not to mention, we couldn’t pin point the source of where it was coming from, as well as our comms weren’t working either, we were well aware of our ROE’s and since we didn’t have any identified targets/location we knew better than to shoot aimlessly, especially while there were families right below us. After a short while the shots ceased and we noticed hordes of people running towards the direction of where our platoon was. As we looked out to the back side of the tower we noticed a swarm of people(the things you only see in movies) running onto the airfield. Armored Vics reacted fast and began to shoot warning shot, anything they could get to drive these people back but it was ineffective. We realized fast we were in a bad spot and comms were down(no surprise)we knew the rest of the platoon definitely had their hands full as well, at the same time our machine gun section leader came and rallied us up to rejoin the platoon, as we were approaching we saw a huge line of military personnel keeping people back, there were people there of all ranks, to include senior Officers. Other units tried deploying CS gas but threw it to close to us and we kept getting gassed not to mention all the warning shots fired caused everyone to get down rather than walk back. Then as we continued to hold the line I noticed the attention of many on a single C-130 taking off, and you could see these people hanging on, it wasn’t until the C-130 started to ascend that the bodies started to fall. This caused so much aggression from the people as they started to blame us for what had just happen. I kept watching as one by one the bodies dropped realizing shit was out of control. Everyone became more hostile and less cooperative, people did what they could to try to get by us, whether it was trying to force their way through, make deals with us, even some pleaded that they could not turn back and if we weren’t willing to let them through they’d drop to their knees and beg us to kill them. They told us they would rather be killed by Americans than suffer by the Taliban. It was a shitty feeling to know that some of these people had no other alternatives and all we could do was turn them away.

After countless hours we had finally pushed them back to the terminal. Everyone at this point is exhausted, going on two days of no sleep, no time to eat and very little water, we were fucking tired. After finally pushing these people back we earned a couple of minutes of sleep. We held the terminal until a couple hours later the C-wire was cut again and we re-did the whole process over again taking up the rest of the day. On the third morning we were relieved by another platoon from our company who had arrived. We went back to the gym, rested up, got some chow and headed back out to join the boys.

As tough as it is for most, I encourage others to share what they felt throughout the evacuation, it’s brought some sort of ease to be able to share what we all went through. Personally I’m not one to express my feelings to others but sharing my experience this way let’s me imagine all the boys are reunited while we burn one and drinks some brewskies."

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