A Milspouse Review: The Medal of Honor Series (Netflix) Episode 2: SSG Clint Romesha

Former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha (DoD photo by Glenn Fawcett/Released)

A Milspouse Review:

The Medal of Honor Series (Netflix) Episode 2: SSG Clint Romesha

We were ready to go. It wasn’t just any Sunday night. It was a very special one indeed. I had gathered up some of my closest friends. We all had our favorite beverages of choice (coffee anyone?) and plenty of snacks (buttered popcorn and fruit smoothies). We settled down, comfortably seated in Wendy’s living room. We. Were. Ready!

“Ready for what,” you ask?

Pre-screening brief

Well, we had been asked to screen the new Netflix docuseries, “Medal of Honor, Episode 2: SSG Clint Romesha.” I specifically chose Clint Romesha because I’ve read his book, Red Platoonand was privileged to interview him on Army Wife Talk Radio back in 2016, right around the time of his book release. (Want to check it out? You can find the interview here: AWTR Show 567: Red Platoon, A True Story of American Valor.)

My friends—Tracy, Wendy, and Wendy’s husband, Shawn, who is a sergeant in the Army—and I, were not really sure of what to expect. Would this be another boring documentary and what I fondly like to call “napping fuel?” Or would it be an over-dramatized movie depicting perceived ideas of combat?

Because we are part of the big military family, we, of course, had to do a “pre-screening brief,” where we chatted a bit about what it meant to be awarded the Medal of Honor. After we set our own context for the show, it was go time.

 

And ACTION!

From the very beginning, Netflix drew us into the series. They set the scene with SSG Romesha and his platoon as they canvased a small village in rural Afghanistan, scanning the crowded area of busy Afghan villagers for potential threats and Taliban.

Throughout the episode, fellow soldiers who served with SSG Romesha shared personal stories of how their experience played out. They recounted living in tight quarters, in a ramshackle Army camp, which were set up in between the country hills where the Taliban fighters could be hiding anywhere. Under this constant threat of attack, the men made the best of it. (Which comes as no surprise, because that is what our service members do!) These soldiers played video games, swapped stories of loved ones waiting back home, and in the process, developed a close-knit group. Really, they had to because they never knew when their lives would depend on their battle buddies having their backs.

As the soldiers told their stories, General David Petraeus set the military scene for viewers as he described the threat this group of service members was constantly under. The show’s writers were very effective in providing adequate background to really portray the magnitude of the situation. But clearly, the story didn’t stop there.  

One day, the enemy broke through the perimeter of the camp. The call went out: “Enemy inside the wire!” COP Keating was under attack!

Now, because I appreciate a good, real-life, hero story, I will go ahead and stop there. #NoSpoilersHere. I highly encourage you to watch this docuseries for yourself to find out how it ends, because trust me… there is SO MUCH more than this very brief, 30,000-foot fly-over synopsis view I just shared. Get down in the trenches with the real-life service members and experience their story firsthand on Netflix.

Processing our connections

Although I had previously read SSG Romesha’s book and heard the story from his own mouth on the AWTR interview, actually watching it unfold before my eyes was gripping. I couldn’t divert my eyes or my heart! I had this intense desire to honor these heroic soldiers by seeing and hearing their story so that I could truly understand what they so bravely endured.

After the hour-long show was over, we all sat in silence for a few moments, processing what we had just witnessed. Netflix didn’t film horrific shots of blood and guts that left us speechless or uncomfortable. No, Wendy, Tracy, and I were struggling to come to grips with the reality of war, and what our men and women, who are fighting for and defending our freedom, experience in the midst of it.

Wendy’s husband Shawn quietly exited the room. This is a man who has seen his fair share of combat deployments. In that moment, it struck me that his silence spoke louder than a dictionary full of words. I knew not to ask too much, because suddenly, I had an inkling of an understanding of what he may have seen during his time deployed.

Then, just as suddenly as we had fallen silent at the conclusion of the episode, my friends and I all started talking at once. We wondered aloud what our own husbands have experienced.

How do they cope? What was is like? How can we honor them?

We expressed our mixed emotions of grief that this is a reality in our world today, but also everlasting gratitude and pride for those who so bravely serve our country. We then realized that this wasn’t just some friendly watch party that when the screen went dark, we would forget what we had witnessed. Instead, this episode made us think, enlightened our hearts and has since stuck with us as we continue to support our service members with their life calling.

My friends and I cleaned up the popcorn, slurped the last bit of our fruit smoothies, and hugged goodbye. As I drove away, peace flooded over me. It was a peace powered by hope and gratitude.

I was so thankful for living in a country where we are free—a place that men and women volunteer to serve our country, sometimes unto death. I was grateful to Blue Star Families with our Blue Star Neighbors, Netflix and Medal of Honor, for connecting me with this opportunity to screen the new Medal of Honor series from Netflix, “Episode 2: SSG Clint Romesha.” Yes, viewing this episode from a Medal of Honor series was indeed an honor.

And now, if you will excuse me, I need to tell my husband thank you for his service.

*Gift items from Netflix’s Medal of Honor were received in preparation for writing this post.

Tracy Hargis, Crystal Niehoff, & Wendy Packard

 

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About Crystal Niehoff

Owner and Chief Executive Officer- the "Commander" of AWN- Crystal is married to her best friend, Army Chaplain (LTC) Kevin Niehoff; and is the proud work-at-home mom of Aricka and Seth, two fur babies, and three grown children with families of their own. Previously a child welfare worker, Crystal additionally holds certifications as a doula, and birth and bereavement chaplain. In 2014, she founded Heartstrings Ministries, providing grief support for military families enduring pregnancy loss in any trimester. Her e-book, Dads & Bereavement, can be obtained through StillBirthday. Crystal has written extensively for non-profit organizations, including TFI Family Services, Inc., CASA for Children, Bethany Christian Services, and Rainbow Kids Adoption & Welfare Advocacy, through which she shares her expertise on parenting, foster care, and adoption. Crystal is also a contributing author of From Reveille to Retreat, the Journey of a Lifetime: A Handbook for the Army Chaplain’s Spouse, published by the U.S. Army in 2015. In her not-so-spare time, Crystal enjoys volunteering, researching, traveling, and photography. She and her family currently live in Hawaii, where her husband is stationed at Schofield Barracks.

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