Dedicated to helping fellow warriors through Veterans Alternative
Although he grew up on military bases, Brian Anderson never imagined joining the military. But after 9/11, he felt called to serve our nation. At the age of 19, he enlisted and served in the United States Army as both a journalist and Green Beret for 10 years. He was awarded a Bronze Star with Valor, as well as two Bronze Star Medals for his courage and bravery defending our country.
Drawn to Special Forces
Deployed to combat three times, Brian spent a total of 33 months overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. On his first tour, Brian was a photo/print journalist with the 82nd Airborne Division. Working closely with the Special Forces unit, he saw professionalism and leadership qualities that resulted in him wanting to become a Green Beret.
The process was rigorous and intense. He went through Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS) and was accepted to attend the Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC) (or “Q Course”) at Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall. For the next 18 months, Brian underwent brutal training that was physically and mentally taxing. He was taught how to focus through fatigue, push through obstacles, survive combat, and understand different languages and cultures. Brian thrived.
In August 2008, Brian became a member of the elite 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) as a senior engineer. The next month he was sent to Afghanistan for his second tour. He killed his first man on December 31, 2008. “I remember the date because it was New Year’s Eve,” Brian shares. “At that time, it was a high-five moment.”
Losing his faith
His second deployment to Afghanistan was much more somber and deadly. Two weeks before he arrived, he learned a roadside bomb had killed his best friend. “I found out James died on my one-year wedding anniversary. That day was never the same.”
His very first firefight lasted eight hours. Thirty-nine Taliban were killed that day, and multiple members of Operational Detachment Alpha Force (ODA) were injured. Within six months, Brian lost five friends. There was James; Calvin and Mark, who were killed by sniper fire; a fellow Green Beret who overdosed on heroin; and a friend who became a victim to suicide.
Brian lost his faith overseas. “Going to war is extreme,” Brian shares.
“THERE IS A VETERAN SUBCULTURE THAT CIVILIANS —THE BULK OF THE U.S. POPULATION— JUST DOESN’T UNDERSTAND. THEY CAN’T RATIONALIZE COMBAT VETERANS.”