The battle unfolded on October 3, 2009. It involved a small force of 54 U.S. soldiers (Bravo Troop 3-61), in addition to their Afghan and Latvian allies, at the remote Combat Outpost Keating in northeastern Afghanistan near the town of Kamdesh. The Outpost true story reveals that the soldiers were surrounded by more than 300 Taliban fighters, many of whom were rushing in from Pakistan, which was only 14 miles from COP Keating. The logistical location of the outpost, which was located deep in a valley surrounded by three steep mountains, put the soldiers at an enormous disadvantage. Without adequate support, they were left to fight for their lives against overwhelming odds.
Jake Tapper, author of the book The Outpost, wondered the same thing when he embarked on his research. Why would the U.S. military put an outpost at the base of three Afghan mountains that were teeming with Taliban fighters who were eager to kill U.S. soldiers? Given its proximity to Pakistan, Combat Outpost Keating was part of a counter-insurgency strategy. The idea was to stop the insurgents' supply lines coming in from Pakistan. COP Keating, which was established in the summer of 2006, was put in the valley for the simple reason that it's where the roads are. The outpost itself also needed to be accessible by road since most of the helicopters were being used in Iraq and were unavailable.
Yes. The movie is based on the 2012 nonfiction book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by CNN's Jake Tapper. It was adapted for the screen by Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy (Patriots Day and The Fighter).
For the most part, yes. However, Army 1st Lt. Benjamin Keating's death actually happened three years earlier, in 2006, not 2009. In real life, Keating had served with the 3/71 CAV, not the 3/61 CAV (the unit he's part of in The Outpost movie). Clint Romesha and Ty Carter, portrayed by Scott Eastwood and Caleb Landry Jones, were not present when Benjamin Keating died. Keating's death, while mostly historically accurate, is pushed up in the film as a way to condense the storyline.
Knowing the LMTV armored supply vehicle was too heavy for the road in Kamdesh, Keating volunteered against protocol to drive the truck, choosing to risk his own life instead of the lives of the men serving underneath him. As seen in the movie, the road in Kamdesh collapsed underneath the truck, throwing Keating from the vehicle as it rolled over a cliff, sending both himself and the truck down toward the Landay-Sin River. In the process, the truck rolled over him and ended up almost fully submerged in the river. Keating landed between two rocks nearly 150 feet down the cliffside, next to the river. His wounds were severe and while he was initially in and out of consciousness, he died before they could get him back to the outpost. In the movie, he dies almost immediately after landing at the bottom of the cliff.
Unlike the movie, The Outpost true story reveals that Keating was not alone in the truck. Staff Sergeant Vernon Tiller, the most senior mechanic, was in the passenger's seat when it went over the cliff. Tiller was also thrown from the truck but his injuries weren't nearly as severe.
Keating's November 26, 2006 death deeply affected his platoon, who wanted to honor his sacrifice and his selfless care for them. The outpost was renamed Camp Keating in December 2006 (not in 2009).
"On average, we'd get hit three to four times a week," says Sgt. Clint Romesha, portrayed by Scott Eastwood in the film. While this is indeed alarmingly frequent, the movie makes it seem like the attacks are happening daily. -CBS Sunday Morning
Not exactly, but in researching The Outpost's historical accuracy, we learned that a similar incident happened the year prior, in 2008, involving more than just one dog. In the movie, a dog that some of the soldiers at the outpost are taking care of bites a visiting Kamdesh village elder. The elder considers this to be a bad omen and demands that there be retribution. Captain Sylvanius Broward (Kwame Patterson), whom the men refer to as "Broward the Coward," shoots the dog to appease the elder and calm the situation. Sylvanius Broward in the movie is a fictional name for a real captain, Mel Porter. In real life, there is no record of Porter shooting a dog.
According to Jake Tapper's book, two real-life incidents inspired the scene in the movie. The first didn't take place at the camp. It took place while First Lieutenant Kaine Meshkin (not in the film) was leading a patrol to Observation Post Fritsche. Several of the dogs that hung around the camp were with them, one of which supposedly bit an old woman working in a field. To make amends with the woman and her family, Meshkin agreed to shoot a shaggy brown dog named Franklin.
The second incident happened in 2008 at Observation Post Fritsche. A dog named Cali growled at the eldest son of an Afghan Security Guard, who would often come to the post with his father. The growling soon escalated into outright hostility, which deeply frightened the boy. To avoid damaging the trust they had established with the Afghans, Cali and another semi-hostile dog named Willie Pete were shot by Staff Sergeant Ian Boone and another soldier.
Yes. The Outpost real story confirms that rocket-propelled grenades and mortars caused the camp to catch fire. Like in the movie, the quick reaction force (QRF) coming down the mountain to help were shocked by the firey devastation. The camp burned into the night and some of the building walls fell to the ground.
Yes. While exploring the movie's historical accuracy, we confirmed that during the real-life Battle of Kamdesh, Taliban fighters got inside Outpost Keating. This seems to be displayed rather accurately in the movie, at least with regard to how it's described in Tapper's book. The soldiers heard over the radio, "Enemy in the wire — The enemy is inside the camp." Insurgents had breached the camp in several locations, including at the main entrance, near the latrine area, and on the eastern side. It's true that some of the Taliban fighters casually strolled through the camp, believing they had won. Like in the film, Sgt. Clint Romesha rallied his fellow soldiers by telling them, "We're taking this bitch back."
Yes. The true story confirms that the Afghan National Army soldiers, who were fighting alongside the U.S. troops, either fled the outpost after the attack began or hid in cowardice. U.S. soldiers reported that none of the Afghan defenders held their positions. Some who fled even handed their weapons to Taliban fighters. -The Outpost book
Of the 53 U.S. soldiers who fought in the Battle of Kamdesh at Outpost Keating, 45 survived, 8 lost their lives, and 27 were wounded. An additional 4 Afghan allied fighters also died. For their heroism, 2 Medals of Honor, 9 Silver Stars and 21 Bronze Stars were awarded. The Distinguished Flying Cross was given to 7 aviators who assisted in defending the base.
The movie was filmed in 2018 on a set created at the base of a mountain in Bulgaria, not far from the city of Sofia. The entire Outpost Keating was recreated. The other two mountains that surrounded the actual outpost were inserted with CGI. The veterans who served as technical advisors on the film said that the set was eerily similar to the real outpost, which no longer exists.
Several of the surviving soldiers were technical advisors on the film, including Medal of Honor recipient Ty Carter, who is played by Caleb Landry Jones. Daniel Rodriguez, who took part in the real-life Battle of Kamdesh, portrays himself in the movie. Other veterans also acted in the movie, including Henry Hughes. Some of the soldiers who were at the battle are interviewed by the book's author, Jake Tapper, during the closing credits. Director Rod Lurie is himself a West Point graduate and an Army veteran.