War in Afghanistan (2001 – Present)

In 2001, the United States led an invasion of Afghanistan in an attempt to root out Osama bin Laden and eradicate al-Qaeda, who claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks of September 11. When the Taliban refused to hand bin Laden over to the U.S., Operation Enduring Freedom was set into action in conjunction with the United Kingdom. Eventually, the United Nations sanctioned a coalition of more than 40 countries (including all members of NATO) to assist in fighting the war on terror. Afghanistan was occupied and an interim government put in place, but tensions resulting from offshoots of various terrorist groups continue in the region to this day. In 2011, a U.S. Navy SEAL team succeeded in killing bin Laden in Pakistan. In 2014, major combat operations ceased; however, there remains no formal plan to withdraw troops. Over the course of the war, it has been estimated that tens of thousands of people have perished, of those more than 27,000 are recorded as coalition/Northern Alliance/Afghan security forces and military contractors.

Unspoken, Now Told: War in Afghanistan

Hello, I’m Jane Hanson… I’m proud to bring you the stories of military heroes … their words never heard before — in this compelling series … Unspoken, Now Told: Soldier Stories.

In this edition of the film series, you’ll meet three military veterans – one American and two Canadian – each of whom bravely served during the War in Afghanistan … a multi-nation effort that continues to this day.

What you’re about to see are the first-hand accounts of modern military combat – stories that are not commonly told on the nightly news. Lesser known are the tales of how a soldier transitions back into civilian life after facing the ravages of war.

While it may be difficult to watch these personal accounts of the physical and emotional toil that war can inflict, you will come away with a deeper understanding of the sacrifices our veterans are willing to make in order to keep us safe.

Identifying and managing PTSD on the Homefront is a daily struggle. Each of these stories presents three unique narratives, which detail a soldier comes to grips with learning and understanding their diagnosis and how they sought help.

Historically speaking, war veterans have spoken little, if at all, about the mental anguish they endure. Only in recent times has PTSD entered into the vernacular.

Today, many soldiers are willing to talk openly about their personal experiences with this debilitating condition. By doing so, they are helping to bring PTSD out in the open so that their fellow veterans can follow by their example on the path to healing.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering in silence – know that there are resources available to help you manage and cope with PTSD.

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Mike Cotts, Age 49

Michael Cotts | Sergeant Major, 4th Engineer Support Regiment, Canadian Armed Forces | Served in Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia and Afghanistan | Received the following medals for his service: Kuwait Campaign Medal, Bosnia Campaign Medals, Somalia Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Peacekeeping Medal, Canadian Forces Decoration

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Michael Fuentespina, War in Afghanistan, Age 48

Michael Fuentespina | Chief Warrant Officer, Canadian Armed Forces Health Services Group Headquarters, Royal Canadian Air Force | Served in Norway, Germany, United Kingdom, France, United States, Afghanistan and Bosnia | Received the following medals for his service: NATO-FY (Former Yugoslavia); CPSM (Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal); CD (Canadian Decoration); QDJM (Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal); GCS (General Campaign Star – Afghanistan); and MMM (Member of the Order of Military Merit)

Fuentespina shares one of the more jarring and unsettling memories from his 2008 tour of duty, when he served as a member of the Counter-IED’s Advisory Response Team during the War in Afghanistan. Nine years after that tour ended, Fuentespina was officially diagnosed with PTSD.

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Ronan Seltenreich, War in Afghanistan, Age 24

Ronan Seltenreich | Scout Platoon Leader, U.S. First Battalion, 508th Infantry, United States Army | Served in Afghanistan | Received the following medals for his service: Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge

Seltenreich shares two pivotal moments from his deployment in war-torn Afghanistan — one in which he nearly lost his life; the other, in which he learns of his best friend’s death. After serving two tours of duty, Seltenreich returned home and began working through the emotional aftermath of military conflict.

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