Marine Portrays Deployment Via Video Blog
(December 11, 2010)
Marine Corps Cpl. Bryan
Lett prepares for a patrol during his deployment
in Afghanistan. Courtesy photo
WASHINGTON, Dec. 7, 2010 – When Marine Corps Cpl. Bryan Lett
deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, he decided to
create a video blog of his life on the ground there so his
family could share in his experiences.
He never imagined he'd gain a worldwide audience in the
Although he's back in the United States now, The Afghan
Blog, located at
http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAfghanBlog, has gained a
loyal following on YouTube, with thousands of hits.
“It came to me as a way to show my family, my mom, I'm OK,
this is what I'm doing,” said Lett, a native of Columbus,
Ohio. “But as I started to get further in my deployment, it
became almost therapeutic to do a sit down ... and kind of get
it out of my head.”
Lett said he also wanted to show other Marines, particularly
those early on in their careers or wanting to join, a
realistic portrayal of deployment.
Lett deployed to Afghanistan in January as a public affairs
specialist assigned to American Forces Network Afghanistan.
His training made him handy with a video camera, but he
wanted to approach the blog from a personal level, so he
kept it unscripted and unedited.
Nearly every entry begins with Lett peering into
the camera, speaking candidly about his life in
Lett tried to get “outside the wire” as often as possible and highlighted events
on his blog such as a veterinarian civil affairs project in which servicemembers
helped vaccinate livestock. He also showed rule-of-law training and medical
training conducted with Afghan security forces.|
In one entry, taken a few months into his deployment, Lett bared his soul about
some of the atrocities he'd seen and the shots he had to fire.
“I was on a combat outpost ... and they tried to overrun it, about 20 to 25
members of the Taliban,” he said. “There was one individual that was obviously
firing at me. I fired off a couple rounds at him, he kept popping up, and I'd
fire again, and he never popped back up.”
He also talked about being a first responder to a mortar attack. The victim had
a missing left arm, and a good portion of his chest missing, Lett said, and
despite his efforts to save him, the man died a short while later.
Lett was hesitant about shooting that blog, he admitted, but felt obligated to
present life during deployment, both good and bad.
“I put that [blog] off for a little while, not wanting to possibly break down on
camera or have overly dramatic explanation,” he said. “I needed to do that blog
... to create an honest view.”
Lett also infuses some humor into his blogs. Upon his return to the States, he
filmed a blog about being “tased” at the Modern Day Marine Expo in Quantico, Va.
He shows a succession of Marines hollering at the shock of it.
Lett recently posted his final wrap-up blog from New Hampshire, where he's now
stationed at Marine Corps Recruiting Station Portsmouth.
He said he's thrilled that he did the video blog, not only for his own memories,
but because of the interest from young people interested in joining the Marine
“It needed to be done,” he said. “Without a doubt, I'm glad I did it.”
His deployment, he describes on his final Afghan blog, “was quite an
“It was just amazing. It makes you grow as a man in light years,” he said. “You
do things, and see things, you never thought possible.”
Lett added that he just reenlisted for four years.
By Elaine Wilson|
American Forces Press Service
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