Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Brian Kitching is a U.S. Army Ranger, who was a prestigious White House fellow and is actively serving as commander of the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment in the famed 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, KY. He came to Home Base after his fifth, and particularly challenging, deployment to Afghanistan.
“Every day we would leave the gate to go on these patrols, I would just take a quick look back because you really never knew if you were going to come back.”LTC Brian Kitching
In October 2012, Brian, then a Captain, was on patrol with his 1st Platoon during the second day of an operation. Suddenly, the platoon began taking fire from approximately 10-12 enemy insurgents. He began directing the platoon to return fire.
As the enemy fire intensified, one of Brian’s Soldiers received a gunshot wound to the arm and an Afghan Soldier received shrapnel wounds from a grenade. He ordered a medical evacuation for the wounded and continued to direct his Soldiers to suppress the enemy. Brain then exposed himself to enemy fire to better assess the location for the medical evacuation.
Brian then used a mine sweeping device to clear an area of safety for his platoon, during which a group of improvised bombs were detonated. After, he sprinted 100 meters through an open field and enemy fire to pull security for his advancing forces. He would earn the Silver Star on this day for his extraordinarily heroism.
Brian and his unit were deployed in Afghanistan for 270 days and engaged in over 200 battles, in which five American soldiers were killed and many more were wounded. Upon returning home, he grappled with the thought that he should have been one of those soldiers who were killed. Brian knew he needed help — he replayed his decisions over and over again, feeling if any life was lost, it should have been his, as he was the senior commander.
A consummate leader, Brian understood the risk for those who do not seek help, to themselves and their team, so he took the brave step to get help and came to Home Base.
“It is okay to get help. I’ll tell you what, this is going to be hard. This is going to be tough to open yourself up to exposing the things that you’ve been hiding. But it’s exactly what’s required to be the best version of yourself.”LTC Brian Kitching
Brian described his time at Home Base as lifechanging, for both him and his family. As a highly decorated Ranger and now ambassador for Home Base, he has not only encouraged his brothers- and sisters-in-arms to seek care, but also convinced his own brother, Sergeant First Class (Retired) Julian Kitching, a decorated U.S. Army Green Beret, to come to Home Base for the care he needed.
“Programs like Home Base — when you get that support, your spouse, your Soldier, your Service Member becomes a better father, a better Soldier, a better spouse. It is better overall.”Shanna Kitching, wife of LTC Brian Kitching
Home Base is a national nonprofit dedicated to healing the invisible wounds of war for Veterans of all eras, Service Members, Military Families and Families of the Fallen through world-class, direct clinical care, wellness, education and research – all at no cost to them – regardless of era of service, discharge status or geographical location. The program was founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston Red Sox. Learn more at www.homebase.org.