A taste of war on the voice mail

posted at 7:15 am on May 7, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

An accidentally activated cell phone gave a soldier’s family an unexpected — and unwanted — insight into combat. The Petee family found a three-minute voice mail from their son Steven Phillips, a specialist stationed in Afghanistan, but all they heard was gunfire and Phillips’ shouts for more ammo, at least until the hair-raising end:

Phillips had accidentally called home during a firefight in Afghanistan. Having tried to reach his family in Otis, Ore., earlier that day, the phone’s “redial” feature was activated as Phillips pressed against the cell phone mid-battle. Mother Sandie Petee found the three-minute message which ended with the words “incoming R-P-G!”

In addition to the chaos and gunfire, what appears to be the soldiers identifying where enemy fire is coming from is also heard. “Back in the corner,” someone shouts. Moments later, “We need more ammo.”

“The tape cuts off with ‘incoming R-P-G!’ so we started calling him and finally got a hold of him and found out that he was ok and that they survived,” Petee said.

The ABC link has the entire three-minute voice mail, but the video has the most harrowing moments. Fortunately for Phillips, the RPGs didn’t find their targets that day, and he will come home next week at the end of his deployment.

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


Mandatory listening.

jerrytbg on May 7, 2008 at 7:21 AM

Generally soldiers try to shield their mothers from the reality of combat. Moms tend to worry more than anyone else, and this probably isn’t helping, d’oh.

LT Nixon on May 7, 2008 at 7:27 AM

I just hope they didn’t start calling him back immediately. Worst thing he could have had was his phone going off right in the middle of a firefight. God Bless his parents.

bikermailman on May 7, 2008 at 7:29 AM

I’ve been on the phone here in Iraq when the IDF (indirect fire) alarm goes off just prior to a rocket attack. It is tough on the person on the other end of the phone for sure. We don’t tell our families all that goes on over here but when they end up hearing things as they happen, they do get a little scared.

I think it’s almost tougher being back home ‘not’ knowing what’s going on and having no control over what happpens than to be here on the receiving end of incoming and knowing the outcome much sooner.

This is why it’s so important for people back home to show their support to the families that have relatives/friends over here…they go through just as much as we do. More than anything, my mom appreciates the neighbors that drop by with some brownies or cake and have a nice little ‘chat’ with her and talk about all sorts of meaningless stuff…it takes her mind off the news from over here.

JetBlast on May 7, 2008 at 7:38 AM

I can’t listen, it’s affecting me enough already. I’d probably have to be sedated if I ever had a voicemail like that from my husband.

Good to know he’s alive. His mother is probably a bit greyer, though.

the goddess anna on May 7, 2008 at 7:59 AM

Phillip’s only request?

“Don’t let Grandma hear (the recording).”

Nice. So much for that.

Tanya on May 7, 2008 at 8:07 AM

That was a looong night for that family.
I have so much respect for our troops.

Geronimo on May 7, 2008 at 8:22 AM

What the hell was he doing bringing a cell phone on an operation?

JasonG on May 7, 2008 at 8:25 AM

I hate redlasso video.

manfriend on May 7, 2008 at 8:31 AM

Thanks for your service JetBlast!

BTW, cool name, what are you a Zoomie?

Tony737 on May 7, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Liberal sites probably have it up as “American soldier running from firefight with brave resistance fighters”, naturally.

Virus-X on May 7, 2008 at 9:07 AM

I’m wondering if because of this incident the regs on cell phones will change drastically. From the Brits I’ve talked to, they’ve said that they’ve been banned from carrying them because of the propaganda value of recovering the phone and being able to call home.

ViperPilot on May 7, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Glad to hear soldier is safe. Brings back flashbacks for me. But for the rest of the world to hear it unscripted provides a better sense of reality that the left needs to understand and accept as part of being a citizen of the world.

Not everyone likes us just because they do not like anyone they can not control.

MSGTAS on May 7, 2008 at 10:58 AM

I just hope they didn’t start calling him back immediately. Worst thing he could have had was his phone going off right in the middle of a firefight. God Bless his parents.

bikermailman on May 7, 2008 at 7:29 AM

Seen Die Hard 2?

– The Cat

MirCat on May 7, 2008 at 3:18 PM

Tony73…I’d rather not say what I do on here but if you want to drop me an email, I can fill you in.


JetBlast on May 7, 2008 at 3:21 PM

Go ahead and complain when you get home from work and your Wife/Husband asks “how was your day”. Very humbling when you here what they are going through for our freedom. I don’t know about you, but I have nothing to complain about today.

oakpack on May 7, 2008 at 3:56 PM

That soldier probably got a strong lecturing, at the very least, for bringing a cell phone with him into that sort of situation. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t.

Freaking cell phones. Bad enough people bring them to theaters and don’t turn them off. Now they bring them to warzones, too? Sheesh.

R. Waher on May 7, 2008 at 6:24 PM

What those who have forgotten why we got into this battle in the first place need to remember is how many such phone calls came from loved ones on 9/11/2001 – from WTC offices and stairwells, from the back of United Flight 93 – that didn’t end as well.

“Let’s roll…”

Captain Scarlet on May 7, 2008 at 7:20 PM

Mega props for the young man’s service, but why wasnt the cell phone left back at barracks? Not criticising the gallant bro, mind you, just wondering.

Is a personal cell phone part of one’s “on-patrol” kit? prolly not, but maybe.

Any soldiers want to weigh in here?

Mike D. on May 7, 2008 at 8:32 PM

BTW, cool name, what are you a Zoomie?

Tony737 on May 7, 2008 at 9:00 AM

Zoomies are Air Force Academy grads…

Big John on May 7, 2008 at 8:56 PM

Knowing how piss-poorly GI radios work, I wouldn’t mind having a cell phone in combat to call in the cavalry when things get too hot. Just make sure it’s on vibrate…

Big John on May 7, 2008 at 8:58 PM