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In new podcast 'Third Squad,' marines reckon with their time in Afghanistan a decade ago10:44
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Corporal Manuel Mendoza, who served as a fire team leader in Third Squad, takes a break during a patrol in Sangin. (Elliott Woods)
Corporal Manuel Mendoza, who served as a fire team leader in Third Squad, takes a break during a patrol in Sangin. (Elliott Woods)

America's longest war ended in August when U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan. For the people who fought there, their experiences in that war remain with them.

"Third Squad" is a new podcast that tells the story of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, which deployed to Sangin in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2011. It was the bloodiest stage of the war, the so-called "surge." Twelve men deployed with Third Squad, but only 11 returned home alive.

Journalist and veteran Elliott Woods hosts the podcast. He embedded with the Third Squad in July and August 2011. And a decade later, he tracks them down to talk about what happened there and how it still affects their lives today.

Lance Corporal John Bohlinger, right, lights a cigarette off of Corporal Manuel Mendoza's. (Elliott Woods)
Lance Corporal John Bohlinger, right, lights a cigarette off of Corporal Manuel Mendoza's. (Elliott Woods)
Third Squad Marines take a smoke break at the entrance to Patrol Base Fires, their home in Sangin, Afghanistan. From left to right: Corporal Michael Dutcher, who was killed on September 15, 2011; Lance Corporal John Bohlinger, the squad's radio operator; and Hospitalman Matthew Foreit, the squad's Navy corpsman. (Elliott Woods)
Third Squad Marines take a smoke break at the entrance to Patrol Base Fires, their home in Sangin, Afghanistan. From left to right: Corporal Michael Dutcher, who was killed on September 15, 2011; Lance Corporal John Bohlinger, the squad's radio operator; and Hospitalman Matthew Foreit, the squad's Navy corpsman. (Elliott Woods)

This segment aired on November 26, 2021.

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