Special Report: Fire Fight - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special Report: Fire Fight

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) – It was one of the most intense battles of the war in Afghanistan. On July 29th, insurgents attacked American convoys in Kanawha. The army describes it as one of the largest and most complex attacks troops have seen since 2003. 

Everyday thousands of military men and women risk their lives to protect our freedom. Last December, Private 1st Class Jarmaine Christian, a Cuthbert native, deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan to do just that. "It was something I felt like I had to do," he said.

He left behind his baby boy, Jarmaine, and wife Candi. Like many military families, they keep their relationship alive through the Internet. "We communicate everyday unless he's on a mission. He'll send me emails or IMs or he'll call," said Candi.

But for two whole weeks, they didn't talk. No myspace messages, no late night texts. Silence. "I started panicking. I was scared half to death."

She didn't hear from her soldier because on July 29th, Specialist Christian was attacked. "IEDs started going off, we started taking small arms fire from the left and right of us. They were shooting from mountain tops, trenches, valleys. I mean we were just taking fire from everywhere. It was one of the loudest things you could ever hear"

22-year-old Christian is responsible for keeping convoys safe while they deliver vital supplies through Afghanistan. But on that horrific Wednesday afternoon, Their 20-truck convoy was far from safety.

"There was a mountain to the left, mountain to the right, really nowhere to turn around."

Explosions lit the sky orange as the enemy hit vehicle after vehicle. "The first truck got hit and the squad leader was in that truck, and seeing him getting blown up was a real shock for me."

But under fire Christian's adrenaline kicked in, and his training took over. "It lasted nine hours..."

The young soldier and many others fought back. Six soldiers were severely injured and evacuated. But everyone made it through alive. "I do feel like a hero, we all do. It was a big attack, a big event for us that day. And everybody made it through."

Defending their country, fighting to stay alive for the ones they love. "That was the biggest things going through my mind that day. I have to get back to see my son, I have to get back to see my wife. " 

"He started explaining everything and I'm like hope you don't have to go through that again I was scared to death. Through it all, she kept her faith, everyday believing he was still alive. But she couldn't have done it alone. "I had a lot of family support so it made it better. Now she's counting down the days to her hero's return. In the meantime, she has a message for him.

"I love him, I'm so proud of him, and I can't wait for him to come home.

For now, phone calls will have to suffice until this family is reunited, and forever changed by war.

Private 1st class Jarmaine Christian is also a music artist. While serving in Afghanistan he was inspired to write two new songs about his experience, one about the deployment itself, another specifically about that frightening attack.

His wife says he's supposed to fly home sometime later this week, just in time for Thanksgiving with the family.


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