Damn the Valley
1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2/508 PIR, 82nd Airborne in the Arghandab River Valley Afghanistan
256 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 30 b/w photographs
- October 2023
“DAMN THE VALLEY” was a phrase regularly uttered by the men that spent any amount of time in the Arghandab River Valley during the deployment of 2 Fury to Afghanistan in 2009–2010. The valley has claimed bodies from the troops of Alexander the Great, the British Empire, and more recently, the Russian Army. Operating in the valley was like nothing the men could have envisaged, they called it the “meat grinder.”
It was a deployment that the media didn’t talk about, and the government doesn’t acknowledge. Three of the company were KIA, more than a dozen suffered life-changing injuries, and half the company had Purple Hearts—not many modern-day deployments have a 52% casualty rate. At one point, the entire prosthetics ward at Walter Reed was full of the men who patrolled that deadly area of the world.
Since their return, many of the survivors have struggled to move on with their lives, and the unit has been declared at "extraordinary risk" by the Department of Veteran Affairs. No one who entered that region was left unscathed. This book shares the perspective of the men that were on the ground for that deployment during the fighting season of 2010.
"A riveting, unsparing, gritty, first-hand account of life in a great airborne unit that engaged in some of the toughest fighting in Afghanistan, in "the Arghandab," a district whose name became a metaphor for brutal close combat against tenacious enemies. Damn the Valley captures vividly the intense dynamics and relationships in the brotherhood of the close fight in the toughest imaginable conditions - and also the extraordinary reliance of paratroopers on their airborne buddies on their left and right and their leaders. A great read!" ~General David Petraeus, former Commander of the Surge in Iraq, US Central Command, and NATO/US Forces in Afghanistan; former Director of the CIA; and co-author of "Conflict: The Evolution of Warfare from 1945 to Ukraine"
“Sobering, powerful, factual; this is a must-read ﬁrst-person story which brilliantly and empathically illuminates the facets of a soldier’s life during combat in one of Afghanistan’s toughest districts. This is a rare glimpse into the realities real American heroes face to pay for our freedom. As the Fury commander there, for 24 months, I understand we asked soldiers to sacriﬁce on our behalf with ill-deﬁned goals. Thus the book quote resonated with me, that the only way to WIN was to, 'continually do [sic] the right thing in the face of everything that screams to you that it wasn’t worth it to stay on the path of the righteous.' They served with honor!" ~Brian Mennes Major General (Ret) former Deputy Commander 18th Airborne Corps, US Army
“Yeske provides a riveting account of the brutality and unforgiving nature of direct combat from the paratroopers who had to deal with it in one of the most dangerous and contentious areas and times of the Afghan War. He also clearly articulates the interpersonal nature of small unit combat, and his writing makes the reader feel as if they are there, on patrol, or under ﬁre with him and his buddies. I recommend this book to any small unit leader to understand what combat is about and to any leader in general to understand what our troops at the tactical level must endure during extended combat.” ~John Wayne Troxell, SEAC (Ret), USA, 3rd Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman, JCS, and author of "Surrender or Die! Reﬂections of a Combat Leader"