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Lt. Colonel Tom Brewer

Colonel Brewer is a warrior. As an army figure he is the epitome of a colonel. He was on the Motorola talking to us and still leading after he was shot six times.
  --Captain Scott Cadieux, Vermont National Guard

Lt. Colonel Tom Brewer leading a kandak (battalion) of the Afghan National Army on a forced march.

Lt. Colonel Tom Brewer of Murdock served in the U.S. Army before joining the Nebraska National Guard. He was deployed to Afghanistan in March 2003 to coordinate training of the Afghan National Army. On October 12, 2003, Brewer and four other U.S. National Guard soldiers were ambushed at a deserted former Russian tank repair facility known as "The Bone Yard." Some 20 to 30 Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents hidden in the rubble of a building attacked the soldiers as they were returning from a training mission near Kabul.

During the resulting 45-minute firefight, Brewer was severely wounded (three bullets hit the chest plate of his body armor and others struck his right calf, left bicep, and left underarm). Twelve of his ribs were broken, along with his sternum and nose, and he received a shrapnel wound to his forehead. Despite his wounds Brewer maintained radio contact with his colleagues and continued the fight until additional Guard trainers and other U.S. soldiers arrived. Brewer was the first field grade American officer to be wounded in action in Afghanistan and received the Purple Heart.

In December 2003 Brewer went to the Bagram Air Base in Kabul and served with the Third Special Forces Group (Green Berets) as a liaison to the Central Intelligence Agency. In May 2004 he returned to Nebraska and became commander of the Counter Drug Task Force of the Nebraska National Guard. In June 2005 the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) tapped him for deployment to Afghanistan again, where he spent three months in counter-narcotics operations. Shortly after his return home, Brewer led a multi-state National Guard amphibious vehicle team in the Hurricane Katrina rescue effort in New Orleans.
       Brewer returned to Afghanistan again in September 2006, where the DEA sent him on another counter-narcotics mission. He remained until July 2007.
Source: All objects were loaned by Thomas Brewer

Colonel Brewer's Uniform
(click to enlarge)

Notice the small patch of shiny fabric on the top of the helmet. These are glint tabs so U.S. air forces could identify U.S. soldiers and avoid "friendly fire" casualties.

Colonel Brewer's load bearing vest is used to hold gear. In the pouch is an "Israeli bandage." It is impregnated with blood clotting compounds and is designed to be applied to a wound and wrapped with one hand.

Special forces jacket with velcro patches so the jacket can be "sanitized" (cleared of identification) if the wearer is threatened with capture.


Body armor vest plate
Brewer was wearing during the October 12, 2003, ambush at the Bone Yard in Afghanistan, where he was shot six times.

 Ghurka knife
During the battle at the Bone Yard Colonel Brewer was helped to safety by a Royal Ghurka Rifles soldier named Kajiman Limbu. Royal Ghurkas are Nepalese soldiers in the British army. Kajiman was assigned to Brewer's team in Afghanistan as part of the coalition forces. Kajiman ran through heavy fire to help the injured Brewer to the relative safety of a rear position. In thanks and recognition for Kajiman's bravery, Brewer successfully nominated him for Britain's Military Cross. Kajiman's father, who makes knives for the Royal Ghurkas, made this one for Brewer.

Kajiman Limbu

M4 rifle, with silencer and day scope, used by U.S. Special Forces and obtained by Colonel Brewer in Afghanistan. He had this rifle during the Bone Yard fight.

M9 Beretta pistol with light and suppressor used by Lt. Colonel Brewer in Afghanistan. The suppressor reduces the "flash" or visible light that escapes from the muzzle when the pistol is fired, and helps protect the shooter's hearing. The pistol is designed for use in confined areas such as buildings and caves.


Army Commendation Medal awarded to soldiers distinguishing themselves by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service.

Bronze Star awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service.

Two Global War on Terrorism medals.

Joint Service Commendation Medal awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by meritorious achievement or service.


Afghanistan military medal awarded to Colonel Brewer.


Combat Infantryman Badge presented to infantry or special forces soldiers personally present and under hostile fire while actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy.

Bone Yard building from which the insurgents ambushed Colonel Brewer and his colleagues.

Colonel Brewer and his protective body armor. The bullet holes are indicated by copper-colored inserts.

Colonel Tom Brewer after the Bone Yard battle.

Kabul Military Training Center letter of appreciation



  Maj. Gen. Roger Lempke

Individuals Stories

  Cpt. Robert Ford

  Maj. Martin Neal

  Cpt. Cindy Mefford

  Lt. Col. Tom Brewer

  Spc. Andrew Rodriguez

  Msgt. Martin Coleman

  Spc. Jenny (Beck) Bos

  Ssgt. John Ayers

  Sgt. Sion Odom

  Col. Thomas Schuurmans

  Chaplain Brian Kane

  Maj. Jim Oliver

  Col. George Skuodas

Homeland Missions




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Last updated 7 November 2008  

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