A local veteran is portrayed in a miniseries that debuts Tuesday night on National Geographic called ‘The Long Road Home.’ The story chronicles events in Iraq in 2004 on a day which is now known as Black Sunday.
Army combat veteran Matt Fisk and his unit were on a routine mission in Sadr City, Iraq. Fisk said, “It is the size of half of Texarkana but with 2.5 million people crowded in there, and the worst conditions you can imagine.” Their job was to reestablish services to a city with little electricity and plagued by raw sewage. But they were ambushed. “Our unit of eighteen soldiers and one Iraqi translator against ten thousand,” Fisk said.
Sgt. Eddie Chen, the gunner in his vehicle was fatally shot. Fisk was ordered to man the gun. “When you look up through that hole and you see blue sky, and you know the guy that was just there got taken out and you still hear rounds hitting the humvee like gravel, I was only thinking if I stand up I’m gonna die,” Fisk said. But Fisk did stand up. However, he calls the true heroes the soldiers that came to his unit’s rescue. Fisk said, “They rode into the jaws of a preplanned counter-ambush, and they summarily were cut to pieces.”
The events stuck with Fisk for many years. Fisk said, “Most of those targets that I took out were probably in the range of eight to ten years-old. That’s something you won’t see on the ‘Long Road Home’ they couldn’t show that for obvious reasons. It’s horrible, but you know, we did what we had to do to survive.” Fisk goes on to say “I owe the fact that I’m sitting here right now to those six men that died. Because at our darkest moment, when we were afraid of being overrun, those guys came riding out to the rescue.” The fallen include Sergeant Yihjyh Eddie Chen, Specialist Ray Arsiaga, Specialist Israel Garza, Specialist Stephen Hiller, Specialist Ahmed Cason, Specialist Forrest Jostes, Specialist Casey Sheehan and Sergeant Michael Mitchell.
Fisk is hosting a showing of the miniseries Tuesday night at the Wyndham Garden in Texarkana. The meet and greet starts at seven o’clock and show time is at eight.
Fisk resides in Titus County, Texas where he operates the non-profit Lancer Legacy Ranch, which helps veterans cope with PTSD. He’s also written a book about his experience in Iraq. It’s called ‘Black Knights, Dark Days: The True Story of Sadr City’s Black Sunday.’ It can be found online at most major retailers.