Battleground Afghanistan

via press release:







Monday, July 1, starting at 9 PM ET/PT


“Dear God, Bring Us All Home Alive”

— Capt. Ben Middendorf


(WASHINGTON, D.C. — June 11, 2013) This isn’t the news correspondent’s image of war. This is the soldiers’ war — their words, their footage, their horrors. Following the success of National Geographic Channel’s (NGC) series Inside Combat Rescue comes two new boots-on-the-ground war series: Battleground Afghanistan, a one-hour series premiering Monday, July 1, at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and Eyewitness War, a 30-minute series that follows at 10 and 10:30 p.m. For more information, see and @NGC_PR on Twitter.


Only they can really tell the reality of combat.


Battleground Afghanistan looks inside the latest chapter of the Afghan conflict as seen by American Marines on the frontlines of the war. As tens of thousands of troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Capt. Ben Middendorf and his men of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines — based at Camp Pendleton in San Diego — are staying behind to continue the fight. These Marines are taking the fight directly to the Taliban with a mission to locate, disrupt and destroy the enemy.


Sgt. Bryan Barrow says: “If we die it doesn’t matter. … Put it in your head that you’re already dead. That’ll take away the fear of dying; it’ll make it a lot easier on you. And that’s kind of like the mindset that you have to have.” Adds 1st Lt. Neal Jones: “The worst part for me is leading up to the firefight … that’s when the butterflies return. It’s when the shooting actually starts, that’s OK with me. I’m at peace once that starts.”


Then, Eyewitness War follows the men and women of the armed forces through the chaos of battle with real-life, first-person footage. We’ll see them ready to face whatever hell awaits around every corner — from screeching bullets to IEDs to rockets. Unfiltered, raw and intense, you’ll hear their shouts and see their comrades’ every move, in first person.


See the dangerous missions and perils of war through the eyes of our brave American service members — as the fighting is happening. It doesn’t get any more humbling and awe-inspiring than this.




Battleground Afghanistan: First Contact

Monday, July 1, at 9:00 p.m.

“You are just fighting for the guys to your left and your right and you’re not fighting for the commanding officer and you’re not fighting to accomplish the mission, and you’re not fighting for the President of the United States. You’re just fighting for the guys that you’re with at the time.” — Cpl. Brandon Unis


Capt. Ben Middendorf, company commander of Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, must take his men into the most dangerous place in Afghanistan: the village of Keshmesh Khan in the Zamindawar region. Here, they must disrupt and destroy one of the last remaining pockets of resistance. West Point graduate Middendorf has not lost a single man, and he intends to keep it that way. Follow the 15-day operation that includes landing in the dead of night by helicopter with the Taliban waiting, and then patrolling the deadly open ground across the country’s vast poppy fields.


Battleground Afghanistan: Booby Traps & Poppy Fields

Monday, July 8, at 9:00 p.m.

“Whenever I step out of a compound getting ready to move from place to place, you’re always wondering: is there an IED out there? It’s always in the back of your mind.” — Capt. Ben Middendorf


Having landed without casualty, Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, under the command of Capt. Ben Middendorf, have 13 days for their mission of disrupting and destroying the Taliban, including destroying the Taliban’s key funding sources: opium and heroin. Their next objective is Compound 10, a known drug baron’s hideout. Capt. Middendorf splits his company into two squads and, accompanied by tanks, they enter the open fields of Afghanistan, totally exposed to fire and facing the even grimmer threat of IEDs.





Eyewitness War: Trapped by the Enemy

Monday, July 1, at 10:00 p.m.

“I turn around; all of a sudden, rounds start coming from everywhere.” — Lance Cpl. Chris Medina


While on their way to rescue a foot patrol, a convoy of Marines gets stuck in a trench and is ambushed by Taliban forces in Afghanistan. They need to tow their lead vehicle out before the enemy gets the upper hand. And in one of the most dangerous areas of Iraq, a routine Army patrol drives into an improvised bomb with devastating consequences.


Eyewitness War: Ambushed

Monday, July 1, at 10:30 p.m.

“You could hear nothing but popping all around you.” — Army Staff Sgt. Jesse Hattesohl


On patrol in Afghanistan, soldiers find themselves surrounded by the Taliban. Running low on ammo, they must fend off an intense enemy assault and hope reinforcements arrive in time. Then, during a patrol of one of Iraq’s most dangerous roads, a military vehicle drives directly into an ambush.


Battleground Afghanistan is produced by South African producer Markus Vernon Davies for National Geographic Channel.Executive producers are Ned Nalle, Michael Knobloch, and Jeff Ulin. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Michael Welsh; vice president, production and development is Kevin Mohs; and president is Howard T. Owens.


Eyewitness War is produced by Karga Seven Pictures for National Geographic Channel. For Karga Seven Pictures, executive producers are Emre Sahin, Kelly McPherson, Sarah Wetherbee, and Erin Comerford. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Michael Welsh; vice president, production and development is Kevin Mohs; and president is Howard T. Owens.


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National Geographic Channels

Based at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic Channels US are a joint venture between National Geographic and Fox Cable Networks. The Channels contribute to the National Geographic Society’s commitment to exploration, conservation and education with smart, innovative programming and profits that directly support its mission. Launched in January 2001, National Geographic Channel (NGC) celebrated its fifth anniversary with the debut of NGC HD. In 2010, the wildlife and natural history cable channel Nat Geo WILD was launched, and in 2011, the Spanish-language network Nat Geo Mundo was unveiled. The Channels have carriage with all of the nation’s major cable, telco and satellite television providers, with NGC currently available in 84 million U.S. homes. Globally, National Geographic Channel is available in 440 million homes in 171 countries and 38 languages. For more information, visit


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