My Son Went to War


My son went to war… and the weapon he carried was a camera.

My son went to war

Even though he wasn’t armed and fighting while in northeastern Afghanistan, as a journalist embedded with U.S. troops, Carlos witnessed the deadly horrors of battle while under fire in one of the country’s most dangerous and hostile valleys.

My son went to war, but I know I’m lucky. He came home.

The riveting documentary of his experience, The Hornet’s Nest, offers a soldier’s-eye view of what it’s really like to wonder, from second to second, if you’re going to die in a remote part of the world far removed from those you love. This is not a scripted movie… this is the real deal with heart-breaking consequences.My son went to war

When my son announced he was going to Afghanistan with his father (my former husband), I knew I couldn’t stop him. I was his age when I left a comfortable job as a CNN producer in Washington, D.C. to cover the wars in Central America in the 1980s. I guess, in a sense, Carlos joined the family business.

Knowing that Carlos shot the movie’s captivating shaky-cam video while bullets whistled above his head is gut wrenching. I watched the film with him beside me. Some of the families of the soldiers featured in the movie will never be able to do this.

The movie is not all bang-bang. There’s a terrific scene with members of an all-female Medevac team, who risk their lives helping extract wounded soldiers from the battlefield. The story of these women alone is incredibly compelling.

But the movie never lets you forget you are in the middle of hell.

What is it about people who run head-on into dangerous places like war zones? Believers in a cause? Adrenaline junkies? Journalists? Fools? I’m not just talking about people like my son (and me, if I’m playing fair). There are plenty of soldiers you hear from in the movie who go back for a third and fourth deployment… some of whom die doing what they love, leaving sorrow in their wake.

A moving memorial service for six fallen soldiers is, perhaps, the toughest part of the movie. Their surviving colleagues decorate makeshift altars with the only things they can offer… a can of Coca-Cola, a personal name-patch ripped from their uniform, a photograph. A tribute to a friendship forever lost.

The Obama administration announced last week that U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, will be completely ended no later than 2016.

This haunting movie doesn’t offer any judgment about the war or America’s role in it. Only the ugly reality of combat in real time.

Like I said… I was lucky.

My oldest son came home.

This time.

For information about where the movie, The Hornet’s Nest, is showing in your area, click here.

Like it? Share it!

posted under The Kitchen Think

14 thoughts on “My Son Went to War

  1. Angela

    Wow. I can’t even imagine. I recently read The Things they Carried with my students and recently read a second book the Kite Runner’s author released that takes place in Afghanistan during these war years. Bless your son, you, and your family as it is a risk you all take to cover something like this.
    Angela @ Time with A & N (

    1. Mama Post author

      Thanks for your kind words. I read both of those books and they both hit close to home. We are very fortunate to live in such a wonderful country!

  2. Madaline

    I’m sure that was so hard to let him go – but think of the tribute he has made to all the women and men that serve America. I hope I get the chance to see this film.

    1. Mama Post author

      Yes, it is an absolute tribute to the men and women who serve and die trying to protect our country. Whether you agree with our involvement in other countries, we still have to support our troops!

  3. Pure Grace Farms

    I can’t even imagine the hell you went through as well as your son. I am glad you both were able to be re-united and ache for the ones whose sons never came home. Thanks for sharing this deeply personal story. Blessings…Shari

    1. Mama Post author

      Shari, your words are so, so sweet. I keep thinking of the families and friends of those who don’t make it back. It truly breaks my heart… I am so fortunate, I know.

    1. Mama Post author

      Thanks for stopping by! I hope you get to see the movie… it really shows what our men and women in the armed forces are confronted with everyday!

  4. Christy

    You really have an amazing family. Adventure, adrenaline, journalists, and brave – thanks for sharing this. I’m looking forward to seeing your son’s film.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: