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.
objects were loaned by Thomas Brewer
Colonel Brewer's Uniform (click
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"
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.
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.
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.
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
Afghanistan military medal awarded to Colonel
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
Kabul Military Training Center letter of