'Sad and tough to watch': East Grand Forks vet who served in Afghanistan talks about Taliban takeover

Matt Brown spent nearly a decade in the U.S. Army. He was deployed to the war in Afghanistan twice during his career where his missions were in the air flying Black Hawk Helicopters across the country.

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. — For Matt Brown, it's been a busy few days between studying for flight school and watching the events unfold in Afghanistan.

"It's pretty surreal to see that it has gotten that bad, to see the aircraft with people just crammed in, and to see civilians or foreign nationals, or whoever, that they rather hold onto an airplane to get out," said Brown.

Brown said there has always been a fear that when the U.S. pulled out of the war torn country, how long was the Afghan government going to last?

"It's really sad to see it happen, especially this quickly and that things have gotten so dire this fast," said Brown.

The former Black Hawk pilot said the decision to withdraw by any political leader would have been hard to gauge, and how it should have been done or could have been done to prevent the violent takeover.


"I think there was that initial thought, was it all a waste or for nothing, but I still think there was a lot of good done over there, 15-20 years, that's a lot of time, so if there was positive change that effected that generation while we were over there, there were people who could have a safer education, or further their education, I don't think it was all for not," said Brown.

When asked what may happens next, Brown said he will be watching to see what political and military leaders decide.

Matt Henson is an Emmy award-winning reporter/photographer/editor for WDAY. Prior to joining WDAY in 2019, Matt was the main anchor at WDAZ in Grand Forks for four years. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended college at Lyndon State College in northern Vermont, where he was recognized twice nationally, including first place, by the National Academy for Arts and Science for television production. Matt enjoys being a voice for the little guy. He focuses on crimes and courts and investigative stories. Just as often, he shares tear-jerking stories and stories of accomplishment. Matt enjoys traveling to small towns across North Dakota and Minnesota to share their stories. He can be reached at and at 610-639-9215. When he's not at work (rare) Matt resides in Moorhead and enjoys spending time with his daughter, golfing and attending Bison and Sioux games.
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