Rise: A Soldier, a Dream, and a Promise Kept

By Daniel Rodriguez

The unforgettable tale of a tender soldier who survived one of many bloodiest battles in Afghanistan and lived to pursue his dream of enjoying department I university soccer

At 5-foot-8, one hundred seventy five kilos, Daniel Rodriguez used to be an not going recruit for the gridiron. yet at the battlefield, below the day-by-day rain of sniper fireplace, he made a promise to his ally. “When i am getting out of this shithole, I’m going to play collage football.”

Daniel had joined the military simply weeks after graduating from highschool, having lately suffered a devastating loss. At age nineteen he had no concept what struggle fairly was once; he simply desired to get out of city. presently, he used to be deployed to Iraq (and may later serve in Afghanistan). And he grew up fast — stopped sound asleep, began smoking. Killing grew to become moment nature. He fought within the notorious conflict of Kamdesh and for his bravery he used to be presented a pink center and the Bronze celebrity. yet his ally was once no longer so fortunate.

Against all odds, Daniel again domestic — damaged, yet nonetheless alive. caught within the clutches of PTSD, Daniel remembered that fateful promise to his pal and knew he needed to make strong on it. He launched into a grueling education routine and while he posted a video of his efforts, it went viral overnight. By a few mixture of grit, decision, and the facility of the web, he earned a place at the Clemson collage soccer staff.

A powerfully added narrative of a tender soldier, his not going dream, and the way he discovered his approach out of darkness, Rise is inspiring, quintessentially American, and may resonate with someone who has ever fought for what they what they wanted.

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The assumption used to be to get at the floor as speedy as attainable. I closed my eyes for a second to organize for the worst. I take into accout attempting to keep an eye on my respiring, after which i began working via diversified eventualities in my head. If the airplane used to be happening, I needed to pull up my legs and strap in as tight as attainable, within the wish of surviving the crash. I searched for the go out doorways. i assumed approximately how fast i may retrieve ammo from the lads who died. i used to be in survival mode, able to positioned boots at the floor and do no matter what was once essential to remain alive. while, an odd sensation came around me, a sense . . . just like tranquillity. i'd event this various instances within the subsequent year—having a feeling that i'd do the easiest that i may, yet that issues have been mostly past my regulate. If we pass down, we move down. I opened my eyes a number of seconds earlier than the airplane touched down. I appeared over at Thomson and the remainder of my men. They have been terrified. I gave Thomson a bit wink. And that’s all it took. the phobia nearly immediately tired from his face. He smiled. inside of seconds, the wheels of the C-130 touched the runway. We landed properly, spent the following couple of hours unpacking the aircraft, and ready for the following leg of our journey. a pair days handed prior to I boarded a Chinook for the journey to FOB Bostick. That too was once an event. I suggest, the chopper trip itself was once fine—a Chinook is way smoother than a C-130—but no faster had I stepped off the poultry than we took incoming rockets. This was once simply at dawn, perhaps 5 o’clock within the morning. The insurgents had overshot us and the rockets crashed into the encompassing hillside with out doing any harm, yet nonetheless . . . it used to be one hell of a wakeup name. it will take a number of days to move every body to Bostick, and it might be a number of weeks prior to everybody reached our ultimate vacation spot: wrestle Outpost Keating. Breeding and that i have been at the first chopper out of Bostick; we arrived at Keating in the midst of the evening. COP Keating used to be situated within the Kamdesh District of Nuristan Province, within the Hindu Kush Mountains, now not faraway from the notorious Korangal Valley (dubbed the Valley of Death), a Taliban stronghold the place many American squaddies were killed or wounded. At complete power, Keating was once staffed by way of forty-five to fifty infantrymen; in spite of the fact that, we have been hardly ever, if ever, at complete power. infantrymen went on depart or received harm or transferred. as a rule, I’d say, we had thirty-five to forty-five males at Keating. My fundamental activity situation was once a mortar pit on the northern tip of the bottom. there have been 4 folks in a small compound—a shack, really—some three hundred meters above the most base. We had 4 little bunk beds and a seven-foot ceiling. It was once comfortable, to assert the least. The transition from Bostick to Keating was once a gradual and painstaking strategy. or 3 males would go away Bostick and cross-train at Keating. whilst the recent men have been deemed sufficiently prepped (a laughably brief time), a like variety of squaddies may move to Bostick to start the lengthy journey domestic.

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