‘Taking Fire’ Features Combat Soldiers Sharing Their War Experiences Through Film

Taking Fire invites viewers via their Facebook page to “Experience an extraordinary first-eye view of modern warfare in one of the deadliest places on earth.” Taking Fire is a new Discovery series that provides an intense, intriguing, and unique look at what it’s really like when soldiers put their lives on the line during combat.


According to TV Maze, viewers of Taking Fire will get an up-close glimpse into the hearts and minds of American soldiers. Taking Fire is the story of a band of brothers and their leaders from the 101st Airborne Division as they are deployed in 2010, and their mission is to defend an outpost at the mouth of the beautiful but Taliban-controlled Korengal Valley. Located in northeast Afghanistan, this remote outpost is known as the gateway to one of the deadliest places on earth.

Besides their weapons and standard issue kits, each soldier was able to document their individual stories through the use of helmet cameras and handy cams. Taking Fire reveals what is was like for the untested, excited, and very nervous soldiers as they relive their individual stories, accompanied by actual combat footage of their time on the front lines. The Taking Fire audience will quickly discover that the footage is a raw and harrowing account of what these men went through, as it provides a visceral experience of modern-day warfare that is not witnessed in any report on the news, or seen through traditional, documentary-style portrayals of war.

Their combat footage is compelling and pulls Taking Fire viewers right into the center of the action, but the film also reveals their personal challenges regarding a myriad of issues including the chaos, joys, and sorrows of war. These soldiers leave the U.S. seeking adventure and a chance to serve their country, and Taking Fire reveals that what they experienced during their tour in Afghanistan has changed them forever.

Taking Fire also flashes forward six years after their deployments, as the men reflect on their year in the Korengal Valley. Accompanied by their loved ones, the soldiers reunite on Taking Fire in order to share memories, swap stories, and to perhaps lay old ghosts to rest.

J.J. McCool was one of those soldiers, and his bio on the Taking Fire Discovery page describes him as a fearless, competitive youngster. After completing basic training and Airborne school, he went into Special Forces training, but an injury delayed his desire to become a part of the elite group. McCool joined the Delta Company’s assault element as the Radio Transmissions Officer, where he became the vital link between his platoon and the rest of the company. After serving almost seven years, J.J. is now studying business and lives with his wife, Angela, and their newborn daughter, Harper.

Kyle Petry tells his story on Taking Fire, and he was inspired by the events of 9/11 to join the army. For him, being a part of the army was all about brotherhood and the love for your fellow soldiers. Although known for being tough, he was also a great squad leader who was respected and liked by all his men. He is now medically retired and lives with his wife, Puneet, and their two dogs.

Sergeant First Class Ken Shriver is quite the seasoned veteran, and his story is also featured on Taking Fire. Before serving in Afghanistan, he completed two tours in Iraq, one in Kuwait, and one in Qatar. He was the first of his family to serve in the legendary 101st Airborne, but his father, both of his grandfathers, and his brother all served in the military. Going by the nickname of “Big Bear,” Sergeant Shriver was seen by many of the young soldiers in the platoon as a type of father figure. With his wealth of knowledge and experience, he always tried to lead by example. He currently lives on a military base with his wife and children, and has plans to retire soon.

Taking Fire‘s Kyle “Bobby” Boucher always wanted to be in the army, and as a kid, he would dress in camouflage and have Nerf gun battles with his best friend. Kyle was part of Delta Company’s assault team and served as the truck gunner whenever he was out on patrol. When his father was diagnosed with cancer, Kyle left the Army a year after returning from his tour in Afghanistan. While caring for his dad, he went to school for emergency medical training, and he is now serving his community as a firefighter. Kyle tells Taking Fire that nothing will compare to the rush of being in a firefight, but running into a burning building comes pretty close.

Will you be checking out Taking Fire? Leave your comments, thoughts, and opinions below. Taking Fire premieres on Tuesday, September 13, at 10 p.m. ET on the Discovery Channel.

[Image via Discovery]