‘TF Bronco’ shares personal stories, reflections about 9/11

| September 15, 2011 | 0 Comments
Soldiers with the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., “Wolfhounds,” 3rd BCT, 25th ID, hold a moment of silence during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Soldiers with the 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regt., “Wolfhounds,” 3rd BCT, 25th ID, hold a moment of silence during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Afghanistan. (Photo courtesy 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division)

Staff Sgt. Amber Robinson
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — For the last 10 years, the war in Afghanistan has continued, with new generations of Soldiers coming to the front lines to challenge the insurgency.

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team, “Task Force Bronco,” 25th Infantry Division, discussed how they were affected on that day and how it feels to be a part of the conflict that continues years later.

“When the attacks happened on 9/11, I never thought I’d come to Afghanistan to fight in the war 10 years later,” said 2nd Lt. Whitney Cumber, platoon leader, Company C, 325th Bde. Special Troops Battalion, 3rd BCT.

Cumber was 13 at the time of the attacks, and said her memory of the attacks involves a childhood friend who was one of the youngest lost during the 9/11 attacks when her plane crashed into the Pentagon.

“I thought the war was going to happen on American soil,” Cumber recalled. “I lived in D.C. and remember seeing the smoke rising from the Pentagon. I knew we were under attack … and I thought the war was beginning right then.”

Ten years later, Cumber helps mend Afghans and U.S. Soldiers injured on the battlefield in her job as a medical officer.

Many Soldiers who serve in Afghanistan today also served in some capacity at ground zero directly after the attacks.

Capt. Paul Whelan, 2nd Bn., 27th Inf. Regiment, “Wolfhounds,” 3rd BCT, was in the New York National Guard, and he served as security at ground zero while firefighters and volunteers conducted recovery.

“It was very surreal,” Whelan said. “Every time a victim was recovered, they would ring a bell. I will always remember the sound of that bell echoing in the darkness, as I stood there guarding ground zero into the night.”

Whelan is still answering the call to eliminate terrorism 10 years later.

“I was there then, and now, I’ve come halfway around the world to continue to try and do my part to eliminate insurgency,” he said.

What sticks with Staff Sgt. Matthew Wolf, 3rd BCT, is the way the American people came together during tragedy. He said truck drivers filled the back of his pickup truck with equipment as he made stops on his way to ground zero. Truck drivers donated flashlights, batteries, tools, gloves, gum and other supplies.

When Wolf arrived on-site, he and the other volunteers worked for days.

“I don’t know exactly how long I was there, but it seemed like years,” he said.

After days of serving at ground zero, he went home to see his family.

“As I crossed over the George Washington Bridge, heading home, I started to cry,” Wolf said. “It just rushed over me, and I couldn’t control it. I had to stop several times on the way because I couldn’t see to drive.”

Wolf decided then to join the military and fight against what had caused so much destruction and pain. He is now on his second combat tour.

See additional photos from this event at www.flickr.com/usarpac.

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Category: Community, Deployed Forces, Observances

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