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The Spear

Updated 3 days ago

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Government
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The Spear is a podcast from the Modern War Institute at West Point. It aims to explore the combat experience, with each episode featuring a guest who tells a detailed and personal story, describing the events and exploring topics like decision-making under stress and what it feels like to be in combat.

Read more

The Spear is a podcast from the Modern War Institute at West Point. It aims to explore the combat experience, with each episode featuring a guest who tells a detailed and personal story, describing the events and exploring topics like decision-making under stress and what it feels like to be in combat.

iTunes Ratings

333 Ratings
Average Ratings
309
17
4
3
0

Great!

By Jokkrr1990 - Jan 15 2020
Read more
Crazy stories! And thanks to all the men and women who served!!

The Medic episode

By twolf20c - Nov 02 2019
Read more
Just a very very good episode...Thank you

iTunes Ratings

333 Ratings
Average Ratings
309
17
4
3
0

Great!

By Jokkrr1990 - Jan 15 2020
Read more
Crazy stories! And thanks to all the men and women who served!!

The Medic episode

By twolf20c - Nov 02 2019
Read more
Just a very very good episode...Thank you
Cover image of The Spear

The Spear

Latest release on Jan 15, 2020

Read more

The Spear is a podcast from the Modern War Institute at West Point. It aims to explore the combat experience, with each episode featuring a guest who tells a detailed and personal story, describing the events and exploring topics like decision-making under stress and what it feels like to be in combat.

Rank #1: Combat Stories from the Invasion of Iraq

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In 2003, Maj. John Spencer was a platoon leader in the 173rd Airborne. In this episode, he talks about the very first mission after his unit jumped in northern Iraq. He also described a complex ambush in which enemy forces targeted his platoon. Listen as he reflects on the experiences and what lessons he took from these experiences about combat, training, and fear.

Jul 26 2017

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Rank #2: The Free Burma Rangers in Iraq

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Dave Eubank is a former US Army special forces officer and the founder of the Free Burma Rangers, an aid organization that works extensively in conflict zones. At the height of the fight against ISIS, he and members of his organization were in Iraq. They were there to provide help, but in that environment, they also regularly found themselves as participants in the fighting that raged all around.

May 03 2018

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Rank #3: The Battle of COP Keating

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On October 3, 2009, several hundred Taliban fighters attacked Combat Outpost Keating, an isolated outpost manned by B Troop, 3-61 CAV and a small number of Afghan National Army soldiers. The ensuing battle would become one of the fiercest fought during the war in Afghanistan. Three US Army officers who were involved in the COP's defense and relief discuss the battle and their roles in it.

Nov 28 2017

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Rank #4: Combat Outpost Keating

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On October 3, 2009, several hundred Taliban fighters attacked Combat Outpost Keating, an isolated outpost manned by B Troop, 3-61 CAV and a small number of Afghan National Army soldiers. The ensuing battle would become one of the fiercest fought during the war in Afghanistan. Three US Army officers who were involved in the COP's defense and relief discuss the battle and their roles in it.

Sep 26 2018

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Rank #5: The Fight that Earned a Platoon Leader the Silver Star

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In 2012, Capt. Nick Dockery was a platoon leader in Afghanistan. When his platoon was attacked during a mission, an intense fight ensued. Capt. Dockery was recently recognized as the 2017 recipient of the Alexander Nininger Award for Valor at Arms by the West Point Association of Graduates for his actions during the engagement.

Jan 02 2019

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Rank #6: The Battle of Wanat

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On July 13, 2008, around two hundred Taliban fighters ambushed American and Afghan soldiers in a remote area of eastern Afghanistan. The ensuing fight would become one of the deadliest battles for American soldiers during the United States' long war in the country. In this episode of The Spear, the battalion commander of the forces engaged in that fight reflects on the battle, the challenges that would follow, and the sacrifice of the paratroopers he commanded.

Jul 12 2018

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Rank #7: Special Forces on Patrol

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This episode features the first of a two-part conversation with Ryan Hendrickson. In this part, he shares a story from a 2010 deployment. On a mission in a particularly restive part of Afghanistan, Ryan stepped on an IED. Listen as he described that day and the aftermath of an incident that nearly cost him his leg.

Aug 16 2019

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Rank #8: Return Fire and Assault the Objective

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In 2003, Maj. John Spencer was a platoon leader in Iraq. One night, while waiting in an ambush position, he gave the order for his platoon to move to interdict a group of armed men. When his lead vehicle, his soldiers did what they had been trained to do: they returned fire and assaulted the objective. But there was a surprise in store for them.

Feb 08 2018

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Rank #9: A Marine Platoon in Anbar

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In 2004, Tim Strabbing was a lieutenant and platoon commander in the Marine Corps, deployed to an area just outside Fallujah in Iraq's restive Anbar province. Listen as he tells the story of one particularly eventful 48-hour patrol.

May 23 2018

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Rank #10: First Into Afghanistan

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For seventeen years, the US military has been at war in Afghanistan. The guests on this episode were there at the very beginning. Jason Amerine and Mark Nutsch were both Army captains and in command of the first Special Forces detachments on the ground in Afghanistan in 2001. They share stories from the earliest days and weeks of what would go on to become the longest war in American history.

Jan 16 2019

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Rank #11: An Insider Attack in Afghanistan

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In 2014, Master Sgt. Raymond Collazo was a platoon sergeant deployed to eastern Afghanistan. Just weeks into his unit's deployment, the platoon was on a mission that took them to a police compound. Insider attacks had been on the rise in the country for several years, and that day, the platoon would experience what it's like to have a presumed ally open fire on them.

Jul 12 2017

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Rank #12: In the Pentagon on 9/11

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On September 11, 2001, Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen was a colonel assigned to the Pentagon. Today he's the superintendent of the US Military Academy, and he sat down to share his firsthand experience of the the attacks that day—a day that has influenced the operational trajectory of the US military ever since.

Sep 06 2017

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Rank #13: Remembering the Battle of Mogadishu, Part One

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This episode of The Spear is the first in a two-part series featuring three guests who took part in the Battle of Mogadishu, made famous by the book Black Hawk Down and the movie of the same name. Even if you've read the book or the movie, you're certain to learn much more about that fight from these three practitioners from the Army's most elite combat units. (This episode originally ran in 2018.)

Oct 16 2019

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Rank #14: Operation Blowfish

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In 2010, Col. Jonathan Neumann commanded 1/17 Infantry Battalion, deployed in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. Near the end of the deployment, the battalion received intelligence that Taliban forces were massing nearby, intending to try to overrun an American position. Col. Neumann talks through the four-day battle that followed.

Aug 22 2017

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Rank #15: Face to Face with a Suicide Bomber

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On August 16, 2013, Capt. Brandon Thomas was a troop commander deployed to Kandahar province, Afghanistan. That day, during an unplanned halt on a mission, Capt. Thomas and his soldiers were hit by a suicide bomber. In this powerful episode, he talks about that day, the wounds he suffered, and his recovery.

Aug 09 2017

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Rank #16: The First Firefighters at the World Trade Center on 9/11

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This episode doesn't feature a combat story. But the conversation with FDNY's Chief Joseph Pfeifer is strikingly similar to the story we've heard in past episodes about combat. Like those, it covers crisis decision-making and leadership under stress. On 9/11, Chief Pfeifer and his firefighters were just blocks away from the World Trade Center when the first plane hit. Listen to him talk through the emergency response and how FDNY leaders navigated an incredibly challenging day.

Feb 22 2018

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Rank #17: Kiowas in the Pech River Valley

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In 2010, Maj. Patrick Dubois was a lieutenant deployed as a Kiowa helicopter pilot to Afghanistan. One day, a mission to provide support to a ground force changed quickly when he and his co-pilot were asked to do something Kiowa pilots almost never do: land and evacuate a casualty.

Feb 15 2019

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Rank #18: Remembering the Battle of Mogadishu, Part Two

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This episode of The Spear is the second in a two-part series featuring three guests who took part in the Battle of Mogadishu, made famous by the book Black Hawk Down and the movie of the same name. This episode picks up where the last one left off, with our guests—from the Army's most elite units—describing how they react as the battle quickly intensifies. (This episode originally ran in 2018.)

Oct 16 2019

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Rank #19: By, With, and Through: Inside the Battle for Mosul

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The battle to wrest control of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS involved some of the fiercest urban combat since World War II. Throughout the battle, US forces partnered with Iraqi security forces, advising and assisting them as they fought street by street to retake the city. In this episode of The Spear, we hear from two of the US officers who took part in that mission.

Jun 04 2019

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Rank #20: A Medal of Honor Recipient's Story

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In this episode, MWI's Maj. Jake Miraldi is joined by retired Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta. In 2010, he became the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. Listen as he describes the 2007 mission in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, and the actions for which he received the award.

Mar 27 2019

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Contact, Contact, Contact!

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In 2003, Maj. John Spencer was a platoon leader in Iraq. One night, while waiting in an ambush position, he gave the order for his platoon to move to interdict a group of armed men. When his lead vehicle, his soldiers did what they had been trained to do: they returned fire and assaulted the objective. But there was a surprise in store for them. (Note: This episode was originally released in 2018.)

Jan 15 2020

30mins

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Fighting With a Broken Gun

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As a lieutenant on his first deployment, Capt. Steve Beckman was in charge of a platoon equipped with a unique vehicle—a Stryker variant called a Mobile Gun System. But when the 105mm main weapon stopped functioning during an engagement with Taliban forces, he had to come up with a different way to fight the vehicle to protect US forces under fire.

Jan 03 2020

35mins

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A Kiowa Pilot's IED Story

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As a lieutenant, Maj. Jesse Lansford was deployed to Afghanistan. A Kiowa helicopter pilot assigned as an aviation platoon leader, he rarely found himself on foot outside the wire. But on one day his helicopter had to land. He spent a brief time on the ground, but it was enough for him to encounter an IED. He joins this episode of The Spear to tell the story.

Dec 19 2019

47mins

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Operation Strong Eagle III

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In this episode of The Spear, MWI's Maj. Jake Miraldi speaks to Capt. Jason Pomeroy. In 2011, he was a platoon leader in Kunar province, Afghanistan, and he joins the podcast to tell the story of Operation Strong Eagle III, a mission during to expel enemy fighters from a rugged valley that quickly turned into a grueling fight.

Dec 04 2019

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Hand-to-Hand Combat

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In this episode of The Spear, MWI's John Amble is joined by Maj. Tyson Walsh. In 2013, during a deployment in Afghanistan, he found himself fighting hand to hand against an enemy combatant in an unexpected place: inside the heavily secured Bagram Airfield, the largest US and coalition base in the country. Listen as he tells one of he most intense stories we have featured.

Nov 22 2019

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Protect the Ground Force

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This episode of The Spear features a conversation with Capt. Lindsay Heisler. An aviation officer and Apache pilot, in December 2015 she was part of a mission in Afghanistan supporting a ground force. Just as Chinook helicopters arrived to pick up that force, they came under fire from 360 degrees around them. The two Apaches overhead, including Capt. Heisler's, immediately took action to protect the ground force, and she tells the story in this episode.

Nov 07 2019

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A Medic in Combat

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This episode of The Spear features our first ever conversation with a US Army medic. On Oct. 3, 2009, Combat Outpost Keating was attacked by three hundred enemy fighters. Half of the fifty-seven US soldiers there would be wounded by the time the fighting ended. Master Sgt. Shane Courville was a medic at the COP, and he describes what it's like to be a combat medic in the middle of one of the most intense battles of the war in Afghanistan.

Oct 26 2019

Play

Remembering the Battle of Mogadishu, Part Two

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Read more

This episode of The Spear is the second in a two-part series featuring three guests who took part in the Battle of Mogadishu, made famous by the book Black Hawk Down and the movie of the same name. This episode picks up where the last one left off, with our guests—from the Army's most elite units—describing how they react as the battle quickly intensifies. (This episode originally ran in 2018.)

Oct 16 2019

Play

Remembering the Battle of Mogadishu, Part One

Podcast cover
Read more

This episode of The Spear is the first in a two-part series featuring three guests who took part in the Battle of Mogadishu, made famous by the book Black Hawk Down and the movie of the same name. Even if you've read the book or the movie, you're certain to learn much more about that fight from these three practitioners from the Army's most elite combat units. (This episode originally ran in 2018.)

Oct 16 2019

Play

"All Hell Broke Loose"

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In the second of a two-part conversation with Ryan Hendrickson, our guest shares a story from 2016. Six years and a couple deployments after nearly losing his leg in an IED blast, Ryan was once again in Afghanistan and found himself in an intense fight, part of a grueling 18-hour mission that he recounts in this episode. Note: This episode was originally released in August 2018.

Sep 27 2019

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A Quick Reaction Force in Sangin District

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In this episode of The Spear, we're joined by Gunnery Sgt. Jeff Kurek. One day in 2010, during a deployment in Afghanistan, his squad was designated as the QRF—quick reaction force—ready to respond in case any Marines needed support. When a patrol hit an IED, the call came in and he and a group of Marines responded. He tells the story of the fight that ensued.

Sep 12 2019

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Apaches over Mosul

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In this episode of The Spear, we're joined by Capt. Lucas Gebhart. An aviation officer, he was deployed to Iraq during the Battle of Mosul. That battle involves intense fighting on the ground, but the pace and complexity of the fight was equally intense for the pilots engaged from the air.

Aug 28 2019

Play

Special Forces on Patrol

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This episode features the first of a two-part conversation with Ryan Hendrickson. In this part, he shares a story from a 2010 deployment. On a mission in a particularly restive part of Afghanistan, Ryan stepped on an IED. Listen as he described that day and the aftermath of an incident that nearly cost him his leg.

Aug 16 2019

Play

Reacting to an Ambush in Baghdad

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In 2008, Maj. Emily Spencer was an EOD platoon leader in Iraq. In April, she and one of her teams accompanied a route clearance patrol that was planned to approach Sadr City, a notorious safe haven for militants. As the reached the edge of the dangerous neighborhood, IEDs began detonating and they began taking fire. Listen to Maj. Spencer talk through the fight.

Aug 09 2019

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A Taliban Ambush in Helmand

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In 2008, British Army officer Will Meddings was part of a team deployed in Helmand province, Afghanistan, tasked with partnering with, mentoring, and training Afghan forces. That job brings with it a host of unique challenges, many of which come to the fore when things go badly—like they did for Will and his team on one particular day in July.

Jul 17 2019

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A Marine Platoon's War in Anbar

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In 2004, Tim Strabbing was a lieutenant and platoon commander in the Marine Corps, deployed to an area just outside Fallujah in Iraq's restive Anbar province. Listen as he tells the story of one particularly eventful 48-hour patrol.

Jul 08 2019

Play

Delivering Aid in the Middle of a War

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Dave Eubank is a former US Army special forces officer and the founder of the Free Burma Rangers, an aid organization that works extensively in conflict zones. At the height of the fight against ISIS, he and members of his organization were in Iraq. They were there to provide help, but in that environment, they also regularly found themselves as participants in the fighting that raged all around.

Jun 18 2019

Play

By, With, and Through: Inside the Battle for Mosul

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Read more

The battle to wrest control of the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS involved some of the fiercest urban combat since World War II. Throughout the battle, US forces partnered with Iraqi security forces, advising and assisting them as they fought street by street to retake the city. In this episode of The Spear, we hear from two of the US officers who took part in that mission.

Jun 04 2019

Play

Apaches Overhead in Baghdad

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In this episode, we talk to retired US Army Apache pilot Dan McClinton. He tells two stories from a 2007 deployment to Iraq. Together, the stories demonstrate powerful lessons about how military units learn, how they improve, and how that improvement requires servicemembers and leaders to be honest and, at times, self-critical.

May 22 2019

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The Second Battle of Fallujah

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This episode of The Spear features a conversation with Lt. Col. Coley Tyler. In late 2004, he was a captain serving as a battalion fire support officer in Iraq. That meant that when the Marines asked for his battalion to take part in the Second Battle of Fallujah, he had an important role to play. He coordinated artillery, mortars, and fire from supporting aircraft to do something, in the Army, we call shaping the battlefield. As he describes, in Fallujah, that meant destruction.

May 08 2019

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iTunes Ratings

333 Ratings
Average Ratings
309
17
4
3
0

Great!

By Jokkrr1990 - Jan 15 2020
Read more
Crazy stories! And thanks to all the men and women who served!!

The Medic episode

By twolf20c - Nov 02 2019
Read more
Just a very very good episode...Thank you