weather icon Partly Cloudy

Pahrump airman recalls firefight in Kabul

Carol Munger feared the worst when she watched the news at her Pahrump home July 17 and saw that Taliban militants had attacked a base near Afghanistan’s Kabul International Airport where her son, Airman 1st Class James Munger, is stationed.

“My heart sunk,” she said, recalling how thankful she was that he called not long after to ease her fears. “My first thought was, ‘Thank you, Lord,’ for having my son call me so I didn’t have to worry and so he wasn’t hurt and nobody was hurt on his side.”

In an interview Monday from Kabul, 20-year-old James Munger, a security forces airman, described the attack in which the militants fired rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns from a building that was under construction near the airport.

Noise from gunfire woke him up. “I thought it was somebody slamming the door. Then I heard the loud speaker go, ‘Incoming!’”

He said he “threw on my pants and boots,” grabbed his 9mm pistol and M-4 assault rifle and ran outside to join a sergeant. Bullets whizzed over their heads as they approached a watchtower that was less than 400 yards from the building where the fighters were holed up. The Taliban had claimed responsibility with news reports saying they were trying to disrupt an audit of election results.

Munger said he wondered, “Is this going to be my last day alive?”

Then he thought about his buddies in the observation tower, not far from the Afghan air base that was the target of the attack near the international airport. “You hope they make it out, just like you make it out.”

Munger was directed to another tower that was outside the main line of fire. “I was disappointed at first, because I wanted to be in the fight,” he said. “But I found a way to help. I grabbed a spotting scope and started calling out their positions to our guys closer up.”

Over four hours, the insurgents fired 20 rocket-propelled grenades, detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device and shot automatic weapons from windows and the building’s roof. Munger and his security forces teammates from the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing managed to suppress the attackers with return fire so Afghan national soldiers from a quick-reaction force could enter the building and kill four militants.

“I saw a mortar hit right in front of Tower 2 and explode. I was so scared for the ones in Tower 2. All the security forces here are family, but some of my closest friends were in that tower,” he said.

Carol Munger said she and her husband, Bill, a Navy electrician during the Persian Gulf War, “couldn’t be more proud of him. I didn’t want him to go into the service but it’s been a great life choice for him. He signed up for six years to serve our country.”

James Munger graduated from Pahrump Valley High School in 2011 and joined the Air Force after having first attended Great Basin College in Pahrump.

He deployed to Afghanistan from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. His home station is Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., where he is assigned to 27th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron.

Munger’s forward operating base is one of a number of U.S. military and NATO International Security Assistance Force bases around the airport, about 10 miles from the center of Kabul.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
FEMA vaccination clinic shifts to Beatty

Hundreds of Nye County residents braved warm temperatures in order to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in Pahrump on Thursday.

WGU unveils Essential Workers Scholarship

Western Governors University Nevada announced Wednesday a new scholarship program for essential workers seeking degrees in high-demand career fields including business, teaching, information technology and health professions, such as nursing.

Hospice symposium to focus on equity in end-of-life care

Nathan Adelson Hospice will host its 17th annual Multicultural Symposium virtually beginning at 1 p.m. April 14 with a variety of topics addressing equity in end-of-life care.

State’s tax amnesty period ends May 1 for businesses

There is less than one month left of Nevada’s Tax Amnesty program that began Feb. 1. Business entities that have unpaid tax debt can file/pay their taxes online or download the missing tax returns that are available on the Department of Taxation’s website https://tax.nv.gov/

Fleeing man arrested at gunpoint in Pahrump

One man was arrested and taken into custody following a disturbance at Bank of America just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Nye County votes to fully reopen, sidestep mask mandate

On Tuesday, April 6, the Nye County Commission, after several hours of public comment and debate, voted 5-0 to approve fully reopening Nye County and its businesses, and to essentially do away with the mask mandate.

Letters to the Editor

Good, bad, and ugly are present in today’s society

Overnight oatmeal is power packed for pennies

When it comes to cheap eats it doesn’t get more frugal and fabulous than oatmeal. It’s a whole grain, packed with fiber and nutrients, the taste is compatible with endless variations, and costs mere pennies per serving. Are you sold yet? How about this: you can literally make it while your sleep. Does that appeal to your inner multi-tasker? Yup. Mine, too.

Drive-thru Senior Fair set at Inspirations in Pahrump

Pahrump Valley seniors should mark their calendars for Saturday, April 17 when they will have a chance to head out to the Drive-Thru Senior Fair at Inspirations Senior Living Center, where there will be a plethora of organizations gathered for an event intended to help educate the older population about the area’s many valuable resources.

Pahrump’s Community Easter Curbside hailed as huge hit

At 10 a.m. on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, a line of vehicles started forming at the NyE Communities Coalition and suddenly it was go-time for the dozens of volunteers on hand for this year’s Community Easter Curbside Pick-up Event.