Pfc. Channing Moss was impaled by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan on March 16, 2006, while riding in a convoy with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team,10th Mountain Division. Explosive disposal team members and the medical staff at FOB Organ E saved Moss, removing the live explosive from his body despite the Army protocol of sandbagging victims with live explosives embedded and considering them "expectant." Here he was photographed near Walter Reed Medical Center last summer. JAMES J. LEE / STAFF
Matt Farwell, Vanity Fair: A True Story About R.P.G.s and the Reality of the Battlefield
The harrowing tale of a truth stretched to save a fellow solider.
When, recently, I asked a helicopter pilot friend of mine what he thought about Brian Williams, the venerable NBC nightly news anchor, suspended after an apparent lie about his helicopter being forced down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq, he couldn't believe it.
“Why would you freaking lie about something like that?” the pilot asked.
He liked Brian Williams, even nodded off to sleep on his last deployment to Afghanistan while listening to the NBC nightly news podcast. I was more cynical. In 2003, who wasn’t lying about the war, and why wouldn’t you? There were no real consequences for the liars—then or now—and so I kept thinking about it.
There is one R.P.G. story I know that is incredible and all true. I first heard about it as a soldier in Afghanistan in 2006, when this happened to another company in my battalion. There’s some lying in this tale. Not all soldiers are saints. But the lying here is done to save a life, rather than aggrandize or pad a life story. It’s been reported before, but I thought it worth revisiting in the weeks after the Williams scandal.
WNU Editor: I did a post on this story three years ago .... but it is still well worth the read.