Jason Amerine

  • Aired:  10/06/11
  •  | Views: 24,705

Lieutenant Colonel Jason Amerine talks about fighting alongside Hamid Karzai in the Afghanistan War and remembers the troops who lost their lives there. (6:13)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY, MY GUEST TONIGHT

IS AMONG THE FIRST AMERICAN

SOLDIERS TO FIGHT IN

AFGHANISTAN.

I WILL ASK HIM WHERE I CAN

GET ONE OF THOSE KARZAI

HATS.

PLEASE WELCOME LIEUTENANT

COLONEL JASON AMERINE.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

LIEUTENANT COLONEL, THANKS

SO MUCH FOR COMING ON.

ALL RIGHT, FIRST OF ALL,

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

>> OF COURSE, THANK YOU FOR

HAVING ME.

>> Stephen: THANK HIM FOR

HIS SERVICE, EVERYBODY.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

IS IT HARD TO KNOW WHAT TO

SAY WHEN SOMEBODY THANKS YOU

FOR YOUR SERVICE.

>> IT ALWAYS IS.

>> Stephen: RIGHT, BECAUSE

YOU DON'T WANT TO SAY YOU'RE

WELCOME.

THAT SEEMS A LITTLE CASUAL.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: PEOPLE MUST SAY

IT A LOT, THOUGH.

>> NOT AS MUCH AS YOU WOULD

THINK.

>> Stephen: REALLY?

>> YEAH, I THINK THAT THAT'S

ONE OF THOSE THINGS WHERE

WHEN WE, WHEN WE'RE

TRAVELING IN UNIFORM, WHEN

WE'RE VISIBLE TRAVELING IN

AIRPORTS THEN YEAH, PEOPLE

ARE RUNNING UP TO US.

WHEN YOU SEE PEOPLE WITH

SHORT HAIR IN CIVILIAN

CLOTHES THAT ARE TRAVELING,

YOU KNOW, AT AIRGAS STATION

GETTING GAS OR WHATEVER,

THEN I THINK WE JUST SEEM A

LITTLE BIT LESS APPROACHABLE

IN A STRANGE WAY, WHEN WE'RE

NOT IN UNIFORM, BUT PEOPLE

KNOW WE'RE IN THE MILITARY.

>> Stephen: SPEAKING OF

UNIFORMS, THANK YOU FOR

COMING IN THE FULL DRESS.

A LOT OF THE SOLDIERS COME

ON IN THIS AWFUL OLIVE DRAB.

(LAUGHTER)

BUT YOU, YOU REALLY PUT ON

THE DUDS.

YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF THINGS

UP HERE.

ARE THESE HARD TO GET?

THE THINGS-- IS IT DIFFICULT

TO GET THE THINGS THAT YOU

HAVE ON YOUR CHEST.

>> YOU KNOW, FOR ME, THE

STUFF ON MY UNIFORM NEVER

MEANT A WHOLE LOT IT WAS

ACTUALLY THE STUFF MY

SOLDIERS EARNED THAT MEANT

EVERYTHING TO ME.

>> Stephen: LET'S TALK ABOUT

WHAT YOU AND YOUR SOLDIERS

EARNED.

YOU WERE ONE OF THE FIRST

GROUPS TO GO IN TO

AFGHANISTAN.

TEN YEARS AGO, TOMORROW?

>> RIGHT, RIGHT.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

WHAT WAS AFGHANISTAN LIKE AT

THE TIME.

>> 2001, I MEAN I THINK

PEOPLE FORGET THE EMOTION.

9/11 HAD JUST HAPPENED.

AND FOR US THERE IS SUCH A

SENSE OF PURPOSE WHEN WE

WENT IN.

WE DIDN'T KNOW THE AFGHANS.

THE AFGHANS DIDN'T KNOW US.

THEY'D SUFFERED THROUGH A

TRAUMATIC CIVIL WAR THAT

THEY WERE TRYING TO MAKE

RIGHT WITH THE TALIBAN

REGIME IN POWER.

FOR US, WE WERE TRYING TO

FIND A RECKONING FOR THE

SEPTEMBER 11th ATTACKS.

I MEAN WE'RE ON THE GROUND.

WE'RE TRYING TO FIGURE

THINGS OUT AS WE WENT ALONG.

>> Stephen: YOU HAD NEVER

TRAINED WITH THESE GUYS

BEFORE, HAVE YOU.

>> NO, WE HAD NEVER BEEN

THERE BEFORE.

>> Stephen: SO YOU ARE

FIGHTING SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH

AFGHANS WHO YOU HAD JUST

MET.

>> YEAH, I MEAN WE HAD TO

TRUST EACH OTHER QUICKLY.

AND THE MOST SUREFIRE WAY TO

GAIN TRUST IS WHEN YOU ARE

GETTING SHOT AT BY THE

ENEMY.

>> Stephen: THAT IS A VERY

KEY TRUST EXERCISE.

OKAY, SO YOU FOUGHT ALONG

HAMID KARZAI.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: DID YOU KNOW

RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING

THAT HE WAS GOING TO BE A

LEADER?

COULD YOU SEE THAT IN HIM?

>> I ACTUALLY, WHEN WE FIRST

MET HIM, HE SEEMED LIKE A

COLLEGE PROFESSOR TO US.

BUT MY FONDEST MEMORY WAS

WE'RE OUT ON THE STREET,

TRYING TO GATHER GUERRILLAS

BECAUSE HUNDREDS OF TALIBAN

ARE COMING TO ATTACK US.

AND KARZAI IS OUT THERE WITH

US BRAVELY GATHERING THE

TROOPS SO WE COULD DO WHAT

WE COULD TO PROTECT

EVERYBODY.

HE WAS BRAVE.

HE WAS FEARLESS.

>> Stephen: WERE YOU LIVING

MONDAY THE AFGHANS, WERE YOU

LIVING WITH THEM.

>> THAT IS WHAT SPECIAL

FORCES DOES.

>> Stephen: OKAY, SORRY, I

FORGOT TO TELL THE PEOPLE

SPECIFICALLY, YOU'RE SPECIAL

FORCES OFFICER.

DID YOU HAVE THE BEARD AND

WERE YOU SORT OF BLENDING IN

THE WHOLE TIME.

>> WE ALL GREW BEARDS, WE

DID.

WE DIDN'T BLEND IN VERY WELL

BECAUSE THE 200 POUND

AMERICANS, WE DIDN'T LOOK

AFGHAN BUT WE AT LEAST

LOOKED LIKE WE WERE TRYING

(LAUGHTER)

>> Stephen: IT'S GOOD, IT'S

GOOD.

NOT PERFECT BUT IT'S GOOD.

HOW LARGE WAS THE GROUP YOU

COMMANDED?

>> I COMMANDED AN 11-MAN

SPECIAL FORCES TEAM.

>> Stephen: AND DID ALL

THOSE MEN MAKE IT BACK.

>> NO.

I LOST TWO OF MY MEN.

THEIR HEART AND SOUL OF THE

TEAM WERE DAN PETITORE AND

JEFFERSON DAVIS.

THEY REASON INCREDIBLE

SOLDIERS.

DAN WAS THE VOICE OF THE

DEEP.

HE WAS ONE THAT KEPT US

SANE.

HE WAS JUST AN AMAZING MAN.

JEFF WAS THE FATHER FIGURE,

MY SECOND IN COMMAND.

AND HE WAS ONE THAT MADE

SURE WE WERE ON THE RIGHT

TRACK.

HE KEPT US BRAVE.

>> Stephen: TEN YEARS ON,

SEEING THE SACRIFICE THOSE

TWO MEN MADE FOR THEIR

COUNTRY AND ALL THE

SACRIFICE THAT THE 1800 MEN

WHO HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES IN

AFGHANISTAN JUST FROM THE

AMERICAN FORCES, NOW WE'VE

GOTTEN BIN LADEN.

THE AL QAEDA HAS BEEN DRIVEN

OUT INTO PAKISTAN, SHOULD WE

STILL BE IN AFGHANISTAN?

ISN'T IT TIME TO SAY WE DID

EVERYTHING THAT WE HAD SET

OUT TO DO.

LET'S COME HOME AND DO SOME

NATION BUILDING HERE?

>> THAT'S CERTAINLY AN

OPTION.

WE DID IT IN THE '80s.

AND I GUESS YOU KNOW, '80s

RETRO CAN APPLY HERE TOO.

IN THE '80s WE FOUGHT WITH

THE AFGHANS, AGAINST THE

SOVIETS.

WHEN THE SOVIETS WERE

DEFEATED AND THEY RETREATED

FROM THE COUNTRY, WE LEFT

AFGHANISTAN RIGHT AWAY AND

THE COUNTRY FELL INTO A

TERRIBLE CIVIL WAR.

THAT'S WHERE THE TALIBAN

CAME FROM.

I MEAN WE HAD THAT OPTION

AGAIN.

IF WE CAN WITHDRAW AND WE

CAN LEAVE IT TO THE AFGHANS.

I MEAN ULTIMATELY THIS IS AN

AFGHAN FIGHT AND IT'S FOR

THE AFGHANS TO FIGURE OUT

THEIR FUTURE.

>> Stephen: AS YOU SAID AT

THE BEGINNING OF THE

INTERVIEW IT IS HARD

SOMETIMES TO HEAR THANK YOU

FOR YOUR SERVICE.

YOU'RE NOT SURE WHAT TO SAY.

IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE YOU

THINK THAT PEOPLE COULD SAY

TO SERVICE MEMBERS TO THANK

THEM?

>> I THINK THANK YOU FOR

YOUR SERVICE IS THE RIGHT

THING TO SAY.

I JUST THINK THAT FOR US

IT'S DIFFICULT BECAUSE WE

THINK OF THOSE WHO DIED.

WE THINK OF THOSE WHO ARE

STILL OVERSEAS.

WE THINK OF THOSE WHO ARE

RECOVERING FROM HORRIBLE

INJURIES IN THE HOSPITALS.

THAT'S WHAT MAKES IT

DIFFICULT TO KNOW WHAT TO

SAY.

>> Stephen: WELL, I WILL

JUST THANK YOU AGAIN, THANK

YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR

SERVICE.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL.

LIEUTENANT COLONEL JASON

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