by: Matt AmilianTwenty-two years ago I didn’t realize I was teeing it up with a future OSU defensive standout. After reading this entire post, you’ll realize why I’d brag about playing tee ball with former Cowboy defensive end, Nathan Peterson. As a general rule of thumb when catching up with former Cowboy athletes, I have some random, nonsensical questions to get out of the way before getting to the principal material.Let’s get started…Matt: Who was meanest person that you played with on defense during your time at OSU?Nate: I’m not sure who you could call the meanest but I’d be willing to bet everyone would tell you that I was the grumpiest.Matt: What is your favorite non-OSU stadium in which you played?Nate: We played in a lot of great places, but my first game ever we beat UCLA in the Rose Bowl Stadium. I played 7 snaps and was terrified.Matt: I know you didn’t watch OSU this past season, but if you saw the new uniforms, what is your favorite combo?Nate: Never got to see any games. We didn’t have electricity or anything in our little platoon mud compound, but I saw some pictures, I liked the white helmets with black OSU stickers. I would like those with white jerseys and black pants.Matt: Of all your OSU teammates, who was most likely to cheat you in a card game?Nate: I don’t think any of them would really cheat, but I’ll say a toss up between Paul Duren and Jerry Don Bray. They’re sharks.Matt: What is your best memory from your playing days in Stillwater?Nate: So many. I could say something like the Nebraska game but in reality all my best memories come from the weight room. Down there is where we would kill ourselves year round with Coach Glass. There’s nothing like playing a game in Boone Pickens Stadium for the fans, but it’s all those tough days in the weight room and running sprints in the summer where you build a solid bond with your boys.For some reason something about pain and misery brings guys together. I really miss it. I’m looking forward to moving on after my service is up and I’m going to give coaching a shot. Maybe if I’m lucky someday I’ll have more great memories in Stillwater. Where Are They NowJason SkaerA former terror of a defensive end turned Marine coming back to coach our defense? I’m in.You might remember him mostly because of his fumble return TD that sealed the victory against Nebraska when the Huskers visited Stillwater in 2006. Don’t. Nathan Peterson was an amazing talent on the field but talent doesn’t make a Marine. And since I’m not writing this post to pose as a talented writer, I asked Nate to give me an overview of his experiences overseas and I’ll let him tell the story.Nate: I just returned two weeks ago from a region called Kajaki District in the upper Helmand Province of Afghanistan. I deployed with 1st Battalion Sixth Marines and held the billet of infantry platoon commander. The first 5 months of the deployment went pretty smooth and without incident for the most part. Our battalion was operating on the East side of the Helmand River along a vital road known as the 611.With 2 months left in the deployment our battalion deemed that we needed a presence on the west side of the river. So on Dec 1st my platoon alone was tasked with helo inserting in the middle of the night. The last two months of the deployment were very active for us. It was really rough in December and my platoon suffered 3 casualties, one was killed in action and the other two were both double amputees. I don’t mind talking about them because I want people to know about my Marines and what they did. I saw all of them do absolutely incredible things. I returned today from Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland visiting my guys and they are getting better every day.It was an honor to serve with these guys and be their platoon commander. I am so proud of them and just want people to know what these young guys are doing over there.The Marine Corps put together a video that covered moments of his platoon’s time after they crossed the Helmand River. Watch this and try to tell me Desmond, Weeden and Blackmon are your heroes.Nate: This video is from a bad day we had. Cpl Brown, the second Marine who is being interviewed, he was one of my squad leaders. A few days after he was interviewed for this he was wounded by an IED and lost both of his legs. He is getting better every day and staying motivated. Prayers requested. He is a hero.Matt: Wow dude that’s intense. What was your platoon’s objective? Was there a shot of you in that video?Nate: Yea that is the platoon I was in charge of, 34 Marines. I’m not sure I think I might be in the video somewhere. That video is only from a few instances of many we had. Our objective was to insert basically into the backyard of Taliban in the Azan River Crossing area of Kajaki and secure the river crossing from the West side. My platoon was the only one that crossed the river and we could only be resupplied with food and water by helicopter drops.Matt: How would you compare being on the D-line to what you experienced as a Marine? I mean, I know football doesn’t come close but that’s the point I’m trying to make.Nate: My experiences as a Marine in Afghanistan have some similarities to football and many differences as well. Being a platoon commander is much like being a coach. I’m ultimately responsible for everything that happens and fails to happen in my platoon, which could be a little overwhelming at times. At the same time, I do like that pressure in a way. These experiences do relate to football in that sense and have led me to seriously consider getting into coaching at the end of my service obligation.You often hear athletics and team sports being compared to combat in some sense. You do develop a strong bond with teammates, there is no doubt. But bond among Marines is something that cannot be matched by any team sport. It’s only something you can experience in combat. The love I have for my Marines is greater than I ever thought was possible. Again, I just want people to know about all the amazing things I saw my guys do. They were fearless.Matt: Is there anything else you want to add about your Marines experience? What were the names of the guys in your platoon who lost their lives or were injured in action?Nate: As far as the Marines in my platoon, they are as follows:Lance Corporal Christopher Phoenix Jacob Levy – Killed in Action Dec 10, 2011Corporal Christian Brown – Wounded in Action Dec 13, 2011Lance Corporal Cody Evans – Wounded in Action Dec 15, 2011Also we had a Sniper team supporting our platoon:Corporal Josh Sams – Scout Sniper team leader, Wounded in Action Jan 15, 2012All three of the above wounded are still at Walter Reed in Bethesda, Maryland and have a very long road ahead of them. Corporal Brown has a special story I’d like to share.On Dec 7, 2011, Lance Corporal Levy was wounded from a gun shot wound. Corporal Brown was the squad leader on scene and was helping coordinate the medical evacuation. The gunfire from the enemy was so heavy, that when the helicopter tried to land, it took fire and had to pull off and was unable to land. At this time Corporal Brown placed LCpl Levy on his back and carried him over 400 meters under fire to the new landing zone, all while still running his squad. Three days later Lance Corporal Levy died in Germany, but thanks to Corporal Brown’s actions that day, his family was able to be by his side. It is not official yet, but Corporal Brown is being submitted for the Navy Cross, which is one step below the Medal of Honor, the highest award in the military.I’m not trying to tell war stories, I just want people to know how great these guys are and the amazing things they did.What do you think Nate reflects on more often: running from gunfire to take cover or running from the Nebraska O-line for 6 points? They didn’t get a timeout from war in Afghanistan for the medical team to attend to the injured or for trainers to bring them water.Remember that the next time you’re about to throw your 3rd place fifth-grade peewee football league trophy at your 50” LED flatscreen after Chelf throws a pick-six late in a crucial moment. I love Cowboy football as much as anyone that visits this blog, but when you compare collegiate sports to the military, they get exposed for exactly what they are.Games.A huge thanks to Nathan for sharing these stories with us. I’m sure I speak for all PFB followers when I say thank you, your platoon, the Marines, and all other military members for laying your lives on the line for the citizens of our great country.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!