From Afghanistan to the airwaves - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

From Afghanistan to the airwaves

July 11, 2007

Albany--  A Marine's tale of heroism will soon reach millions of people through the television screen. Although combat in Afghanistan is far from being history, The History Channel has picked up on the story of First Sergeant William Bodette and his comrades.

First Sergeant William Bodette has a scar that runs from his lip to the bottom of his chin. "I call it a trophy," said Bodette.

He won't reveal exactly how he got it but he will tell you about his other injuries from war. "By an insurgent. I was shot in the hip and and I took another ricochet in the hand," said Bodette.

So far, a safe record considering nearly 20 years spent in the Marine Corps. He followed in the military footsteps of his grandfather, two uncles and an older brother. "I just knew that it was the best fighting organization that I could possibly join," said Bodette.

Since then he's been in operations all over the world.

"Everywhere from Japan to Norway," said Bodette. In May of 2004, Afghanistan was the destination as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. "I think about it everyday," said Bodette.

Everyday, then ranked Gunnery Sergeant Bodette, and his fellow Marines fought the Taliban and al-Qaida forces. The mission is now explored in a History Channel documentary called "Shootout: Hunt for Bin Laden."

"It shows how I was in the Kunar province of Afghanistan along the Peche River when I was actually attached to a special Forces Green Beret detachment, me and about 48 other Marines," said Bodette.

They were ambushed three times in just one month and forced to fight from one side of a raging river 50 feet wide and 9 feet deep. "So we really couldn't maneuver on them. We had to sit there and we had to fight it out then and there, just man on man going at it," said Bodette.

But Bodette says the best man won. "We just overwhelmed them with awesome firepower and we were obviously more trained than they were. They picked a fight they couldn't win," said Bodette.

For his bravery during the attacks, Bodette received a Bronze Star with a V for Valor, just one of many awards that line his wall. Now safe in an MCLB office, he misses combat.

"I don't miss putting Marines in body bags. I don't miss that. I don't ever want to see that again but there's something about being there in combat. Life is so much simpler," said Bodette.

What he considers simple is accomplishing a mission and taking care of your marines. That simple message can now be seen by the world.

Bodette has also fought in Iraq. Ironically, the first time this documentary aired back on November 5th 2005, Bodette was lying in a Baghdad hospital from the injuries he mentioned in the story. He says he still hasn't seen the entire documentary.  

You can see the documentary on the History Channel Thursday at noon.  

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