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A UT student belongs to an elite group of US Armed Forces troops whose war efforts in Afghanistan were chronicled in a major motion picture.

FitzgeraldBryan Fitzgerald, now a senior forestry major at UT, was a mortar sergeant in the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division featured in the documentary movie The Hornet’s Nest.

Filmed by Peabody and Emmy award-winning war correspondent Mike Boettcher and his son Carlos, the documentary shadowed the soldiers during a dangerous mission in one of Afghanistan’s most unstable valleys. What was intended to be a single-day mission turned into nine days of excruciating combat against the Taliban.

bryanfitzgeraldThe objective of the film was to show US soldiers and Marines working under unimaginable conditions to protect the freedom Americans enjoy.

“I like the documentary because it shows what really happens during a war,” Fitzgerald said. “There are a lot of heroes overseas who do amazing things, but I was just doing my job.”

In the film, the troops are seen taking sniper fire, engaging in combat, and enduring roadside bombings.

Today, Fitzgerald uses his military training—leadership skills, as well as compass and pacing skills—to help him with his forestry coursework.

Reliving his time overseas is a difficult, Fitzgerald said, but he makes a point of looking back on it periodically.

“I watch The Hornet’s Nest once a year—around Memorial Day,” said Fitzgerald.



Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,