‘I have to constantly wonder why’: Afghanistan War veteran in Story County reacts to recent events abroad


AMES, Iowa — Reagan Metcalf served with the United States Army in Afghanistan directly after 9/11, but the Story County resident is finding it hard to comprehend the swift fall of Kabul and the deadly airfield attack on American troops.

“Why do our differences have to cause killing and destruction and war?” Metcalf pondered. “I just have to constantly wonder why. It just seems pointless to me that this attack had to happen. We’re leaving, for goodness sakes. Just let us leave.”

He said deadly attacks on Afghanistan airfields have happened before, including when his close friend in the military was killed moments before boarding a plane to America.

“The people he had been with the entire year turned on him and shot him,” Metcalf said. “They had been part of the Taliban the whole time.”

Metcalf, who specialized in logistics while serving abroad, said any pullout out of Afghanistan was bound to be dangerous and complicated with the vast amount of troops and resources in the country.

“It’s no fault of any commander, no fault of any President. I don’t think there is a good way to withdraw,” Metcalf said. “I know about what it takes to ship equipment and people. It takes millions of dollars to get that equipment over there and get it back.”

Metcalf now lives in Ames and teaches social studies at Gilbert High School. He said he has used his experience in Afghanistan to teach his students about the world they live in.

“The first step for me is to figure out how to use this to better the lives of my students,” Metcalf said. “I try to use as many real world examples in my world history class as possible so that they can have an understanding of it.”

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