About This Show
America's Memory is a podcast dedicated to telling the stories of the fallen US Military from the war in Afghanistan. Ron White is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan and memorized the fallen in the order of their death (2,300+). He travels the wall writing this wall out from memory and hearing the moving stories of the fallen. This podcast tells those stories.Read more »
Most Recent Episode
Ep 6: Through a Hail of Enemy Bullets, SrA Mark Forester.
4 days ago
“Because God wants me to kill bad people.” Mark Forester said that as if it were as normal as anything. He said it many times when asked why he chose to join the fight against terrorism. He never meant it as a flippant or cavalier statement, but one of fortitude and calling. Friends and family knew that once he made up his mind, he couldn’t be convinced otherwise. As a United States Air Force Combat Controller (CCT), Forester’s conviction made him a determined warrior. He was the “new guy” during the first mission of his first deployment to Afghanistan in May 2010. Everyone’s typically concerned about that new guy wondering if he’ll perform under pressure or make a mistake. Trust is a valuable commodity during combat and Forester hadn’t yet the opportunity to earn that trust. In Dalton Fury’s book, Kill Bin Laden, he refers to another CCT in this way: “Most important in this business was his willingness to risk everything for his fellow man, an unhealthy but common trait among Air Force combat controllers.”2 His team approached a village when Taliban forces opened fire on them and another team separated from them. Several were pinned down. Mark’s helmet cam captures much of the action. He can be heard coaching the friendly Afghan forces to fire their weapons. Directing them in true, combat control fashion. Seeking a better visual on the situation, Forester exposed himself to enemy fire. He gathered the correct information and called in a perfect fire mission saving those that were pinned down. His first taste of combat gave him experience, a chance to shake off any first-time jitters, and most importantly, he earned the trust of his fellow combatants. He’d come to Afghanistan to serve his country and kill the bad guys. It wasn’t a bad start. The Foresters are patriots. They’re not only passionate about their country, but also faith, family, and Alabama football. No doubt, “Roll Tide” is an oft-heard expression in their house. Mark grew up with three brothers and one sister in Haleyville, Alabama. As the smallest and youngest of his siblings, he had to work hard for equal playing time. He developed a certain tenacity and hard-headedness that gave him a lifelong trait of determination. Anything he set out to learn, he worked his best to master it. The Forester’s worship in the Mormon faith and Mark was no different. The church encourages young men to spend two years in the mission field before college. He volunteered, and the church sent him to Oakland, California. They paired him with other like-minded young men and they spent six days a week sharing their faith. He returned from his mission, tired and worn, but ready for the next stage of his life. He entered the University of Alabama seeking a finance degree and began working out in preparation to join the military—an interest he’d had since high school. He especially wanted to serve in special forces capacity such the Green Berets or Navy SEALS. When terrorists attacked his country on 9/11, his decision was made. His older brother Joseph served in the Air Force and introduced him to some other members of that branch. They told him about the combat controller’s role in combat and Mark was sold. The average Air Force recruit entering basic training is an eighteen to nineteen-year-old high school graduate. They’re seeking to serve their country, learn a valuable skill, and test themselves. Forester was a twenty-six-year-old college graduate who could have chosen officer candidate school. However, he’d set his mind on the toughest training the Air Force offered combat control and the right to wear the scarlet beret. He had grown several inches in height after high school and bulked his body up for the challenge. ---- Finish listening to this powerful story on the podcast...Read more »