Author Topic: Our Troops in Action  (Read 124975 times)

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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G M

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Re: Reasons for poor morale
« Reply #202 on: January 27, 2016, 11:22:31 AM »
http://www.businessinsider.com/carl-forsling-reason-for-the-poor-state-of-military-morale-2014-12?IR=T

I am sure it has nothing to do with a traitorous commander in chief that has pissed away all the gains that our troops bled and died for.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Our Troops in Action
« Reply #203 on: January 27, 2016, 03:26:32 PM »

Crafty_Dog

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POTH: Welcome to the age of the Commando
« Reply #204 on: January 30, 2016, 08:57:14 PM »
Welcome to the Age of the Commando
By MATT GALLAGHERJAN. 30, 2016


A FEW months ago, my wife and I had dinner with a couple we didn’t know very well. It was awkward at first, but there was wine, and conversation soon followed. At one point, the wife asked about my tour in Iraq, where I served four years as a cavalry officer. I began talking about the desert, the tribal politics and the day-to-day travails of counterinsurgency. “That’s all fine,” the husband interrupted. “But tell us about the super-soldiers. The Special-Ops guys. That’s what people care about.”

He had no time for “G.I. Joe.” He wanted “American Sniper.”

He is not alone. The mythos of Special Operations has seized our nation’s popular imagination, and has proved to be the one prism through which the public will engage with America’s wars. From the box office to bookstores, the Special Ops commando — quiet and professional, stoic and square-jawed — thrives. That he works in the shadows, where missions are classified and enemy combatants come in silhouettes of night-vision green, is all for the better — details only complicate. We like our heroes sanitized, perhaps especially in murky times like these.

The age of the commando, though, is more than pop cultural fantasy emanating from Hollywood. It’s now a significant part of our military strategy.

Last month the White House announced the nomination of Gen. Joseph L. Votel to lead United States Central Command, which is responsible for military operations in 20 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Saudi Arabia — in other words, the hotbed of our geopolitical conflicts. General Votel has been the head of the military’s Special Operations Command since 2014. His Central Command nomination represents a break in tradition; it has almost always gone to generals of more conventional backgrounds. Military analysts hailed it as a sign of the Obama administration’s trust in, and reliance on, Special Operations.

Special Operations Command, or Socom, oversees all Special Operations Forces — our Delta Force operators, Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Army Rangers, among others. Special Operations personnel deployed to approximately 139 nations in 2015 — about 70 percent of the countries on the planet. While a vast majority of those missions involve training the defense forces of partner countries, a few involve direct combat.

In December, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter announced at a House hearing that an “expeditionary targeting force” will be sent to Iraq to conduct raids on top Islamic State targets. They’ll be joining the roughly 3,500 troops already there working as advisers and trainers. President Obama seems desperate to strike a balance between doing nothing in the region and not reneging on his “no boots on the ground” promises.

Clearly, commandos have boots, and those boots touch the ground. But White House officials have taken to what a report in this newspaper recently called “linguistic contortions” to obscure the forces’ combat roles.

As the military as a whole downsizes, Special Ops recruitment continues to rise. There are approximately 70,000 Special Ops personnel today, a number that includes soldiers, civilians, National Guard and Reservists, as well. This number is up from 45,600 in 2001 and 61,400 in 2011. Still, Adm. William H. McRaven — then the head of Socom — told Congress in 2014 that “the force has continued to fray” from the endless deployment cycles. In response, the Army alone last year put out a call for 5,000 new Special Ops candidates.

In the political sense, the policy works. The secrecy surrounding Special Ops keeps the heavy human costs of war off the front pages. But in doing so, it also keeps the nonmilitary public wholly disconnected from the armed violence carried out in our name. It enables our state of perpetual warfare, and ensures that as little as we care and understand today, we’ll care and understand even less tomorrow.

Special Operations are not a panacea. Just as SWAT teams can’t fulfill their purpose without everyday beat cops on corners, operators can’t and don’t function in a vacuum. Many a military analyst has compared our current “counterterror” approach to a Band-Aid; while effective, that effectiveness has no clear end state. And recent history suggests an overreliance on our commandos can lead to tragedy. In 1993, in Somalia, Special Operations seemed a cure-all, too. Then came the battle of Mogadishu. Same with 1980 and Operation Eagle Claw, as we desperately tried to end the Iran hostage crisis. The former led to a short-lived retreat from international intervention, the latter to the very creation of Socom.

Further, like a postmodern Praetorian Guard, our operators don’t serve at the will of the American people. Though Congress holds the purse strings for Special Operations, decisions about individual missions are not generally put before them for approval. Individual force commanders overwhelmingly make those calls. While Mr. Obama has proved cautious in authorizing their use, the next commander in chief might not be so prudent.

Clear away the smoke and romance, and Special Ops often function as highly trained kill squads sent out into the beyond in the name of country. They are the best there is at that. But this strategy ensures a recurring cycle of armed conflict, a decision of such significance that all citizens need to be weighing it and considering it, not just a select few.

My own experience with Special Ops is mixed. I didn’t have many positive encounters with them overseas. As part of the fabled surge in Iraq, my scout platoon and I patrolled a rural town north of Baghdad for 15 months on a counterinsurgency mission that often seemed to conflict with that of the operators.

IN early 2008 we were called to a farm to help pick up the pieces after a commando raid. A tribal leader claimed that two of his lieutenants had been taken by mistake by “the other Americans, the ones with helicopters.” Those other Americans, the tribal leader told me, said that the two Iraqis were brothers, and members of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Now we were left to explain to the men’s family why they were gone, why their house had been cycloned, and why a placard of Mecca had been torn from a wall, and receive the hard stares from those men’s children as we stood over a dead pet dog that had been shot during the raid.

I didn’t tell that story to our dinner companions, though. Instead I talked about a visit I made to Tacoma, Wash., in 2011, when I got to know the other side of these other Americans. I’d left the military and was now a writer, or trying to be one. A college friend and his Ranger unit were returning from Afghanistan, and I had visions of writing a tale of young men constantly at war but in between battles.

The Rangers, the Special Ops unit that Pat Tillman left his N.F.L. career in 2002 to join, is a proving ground of sorts, and attracts many younger soldiers. Though designed in part as an elite light infantry for airfield seizures, the Rangers have seen their purpose morph: More than ever, kill-or-capture raids are their raison d’être. They’re the fullbacks of the Special Ops world, all brute force and power, as memorialized in the film “Black Hawk Down”: “We get on the five-yard line,” a Ranger officer tells a dismissive Delta soldier, “you’re going to need my Rangers.”

The days in Tacoma were spent trying (and failing) to get the Rangers’ public affairs office to approve on-post access. The nights in Tacoma were mostly spent in bars with young Rangers looking to unwind from their last tour while also prepping for the next one. They described the routine: three to six months deployed, three to six months stateside, rinse and repeat. Elizabeth Samet, who teaches English at West Point, calls these service members “war commuters.” More than one observer in Tacoma, including some partners and spouses, termed it an addiction.

If that was true — and it didn’t apply to many, in my estimation — they’d have their reasons.

A number of Rangers I met joked that vampires saw more light than they did during their deployments. I came to see these young men in a way I hadn’t when I’d worn the uniform myself, because of the way they embraced the endlessness of it all. They weren’t fighting for resolution, as we’d been in Iraq, or how we thought we’d been. Peace over there wasn’t their goal. Calm back here was.

I didn’t agree with that worldview, not at all. But I still appreciated it.

On Super Bowl Sunday, my friend and I were invited to watch the game with a group of older sergeants. It seemed that most had already settled into their stateside lives, sharing diaper responsibilities with their wives, swapping war stories with one another in between.

While the adults watched the game, kids ran around with Nerf guns as big as they were. This was no Cowboys and Indians. They were playing “Rangers and Rangers.” They all wanted to be like Daddy, and none were willing to play the role of an Al Qaeda jihadist, even in pretend.

The baby-faced Ranger privates I helped sneak into bars in 2011 are hardened sergeants by now. The sergeants I met are either in charge of entire Ranger companies or have moved into the so-called black units of Socom, like Delta Force. They remain anonymous silhouettes to the country they serve, not just because their bosses at the Pentagon want it that way, but because we do, too.

The other Americans, indeed.



Crafty_Dog

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Delta Force Marine awarded Navy Cross
« Reply #207 on: July 15, 2016, 07:54:51 AM »
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/16/delta-force-marine-awarded-navy-cross-fight-cia-an/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork

Edited to add:

From Kris Paronto:

"For doing what? He didn't fire his weapon or come up to assist on the roof tops until ‪#‎Tig‬ started cussing the guys out in building C approximately 3 -4 minutes after the last mortar hit, telling them he needed help while myself, Jack and Boon remained in the fight on our roofs..... Then he proceeded to toss Ty and Glen's bodies off the roof the after the Annex had been secured by the Qaddafi loyalist militia. Maybe he did something in Building C to warrant it that I didn't see, but I don't know what that would've been unless destroying classified information now warrants the Navy Cross.

I have an idea why he received this medal.... And it's a slap in the face to those that did do a lot of heroic things for 13 hours. I don't want to get into it in detail, but I will say that when you're a CIA staffer, you're play ball and sometimes you forget what integrity and friendship are. As long as your still employed ehh TL's.......
‪#‎Truth‬ ‪#‎Tanto‬ Kris Tanto Paronto"
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 08:07:50 AM by Crafty_Dog »




Crafty_Dog

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Concrete
« Reply #211 on: November 20, 2016, 10:12:09 PM »


G M

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SecNav Spencer
« Reply #213 on: December 29, 2017, 05:06:40 PM »
http://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2017/12/teddy-roosevelt-lives.html

Nice to see who we now have as Secretary of the Navy.

ccp

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Re: Our Troops in Action
« Reply #214 on: December 30, 2017, 05:57:34 AM »
"Assholistan"

  :lol:

Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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Crafty_Dog

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Jus post bellum
« Reply #228 on: February 25, 2019, 08:13:05 PM »
No exactly "our troops in action", but relevant to this thread in that our troops along whom these people fought and who believe our honor requires standing by these people now.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/02/bring-measure-justice-end-afghanistan-war/155030/?oref=defenseone_today_nl






Crafty_Dog

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Sgt Major Kasal
« Reply #234 on: April 11, 2019, 10:16:44 AM »
second post

In 2004, U.S. Marine 1st Sgt. Brad Kasal was engaged in a firefight with insurgents during the Second Battle of Fallujah. He was hit by seven 7.62mm rounds and more than 40 pieces of shrapnel from a fragmentation grenade. While fighting, he used his body to shield another Marine and was responsible for saving the lives of several Marines under his command.

After being taken out of the house by fellow Marines while severely wounded, he was still holding his M9 pistol and his Ka-Bar knife. He adamantly refused to lie on a litter to deny the enemy the satisfaction of seeing him in a supine position. After arriving at the field hospital, it was determined that he had lost 60% of his blood and doctors identified that he had over 100 puncture wounds. As a result of his injuries, he lost four inches of bone in his right leg and has undergone 21 surgeries to repair the injuries to his leg.

For his actions, Kasal was awarded several medals including the Navy Cross for valor. He retired in 2018 from the Marine Corps as a Sgt. Major.

Crafty_Dog

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RTLW!
« Reply #235 on: April 16, 2019, 07:42:56 AM »








ccp

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David G. Bellavia Medal of Honor
« Reply #243 on: July 30, 2019, 04:53:45 AM »
David Bellavia recruited by

Army Recruiter Retired Sgt. 1st Class Gustavo Reina:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Bellavia



DougMacG

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Re: Our Troops in Action-- lung study
« Reply #246 on: September 10, 2019, 06:18:02 AM »
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/06/02/lung-study-va/9771237/?fbclid=IwAR23j9bHXKcqdwDuTlDqJEJxRgjah79vDoKwJA6EA0IL2K-4gS8QBJTlHpk

Very sad.  Problem with long term wars is long term exposure.  A P100 mask would effectively filter titanium dust but people don't wear them and if you do you can't talk to each other, crucial in war.

Before we address transgender issues with our troops, how about we protect their breathing whenever possible.


Crafty_Dog

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Sgt Williams and the MOH
« Reply #248 on: October 11, 2019, 11:29:54 AM »

‘Not a Great Way to Start the Day’
The courage and humility of a Medal of Honor recipient.
By James Freeman
Oct. 10, 2019 4:17 pm ET
Photo: Allison Dinner/Zuma Press

On Thursday morning the White House announced that President Donald Trump will award the Medal of Honor to Army Master Sgt. Matthew O. Williams for conspicuous gallantry in Afghanistan in April of 2008. It’s a good thing the President is celebrating the remarkable service of Sgt. Williams because the courageous Green Beret clearly isn’t prone to celebrating himself.

In an Army video posted today, our hero describes the ordeal he faced that day in the Shok Valley in a tone one might use to describe the challenges of installing drywall in an unfinished basement. He describes jumping out of a helicopter on to the treacherous terrain and credibly reports that it was “not a great way to start the day.”

Things went downhill from there. According to the White House:

    In the face of rocket-propelled grenade, sniper, and machine gun fire, Sergeant Williams led an Afghan Commando element across a fast-moving, ice cold, and waist-deep river to fight its way up a terraced mountain to the besieged lead element of the assault force. Sergeant Williams then set up a base of fire that the enemy was not able to overcome. When his Team Sergeant was wounded by sniper fire, Sergeant Williams exposed himself to enemy fire to come to his aid and to move him down the sheer mountainside to the casualty collection point. Sergeant Williams then braved small arms fire and climbed back up the cliff to evacuate other injured soldiers and repair the team’s satellite radio. He again exposed himself to enemy fire as he helped move several casualties down the near vertical mountainside and as he carried and loaded casualties on to evacuation helicopters. Sergeant Williams’s actions helped save the lives of four critically wounded Soldiers and prevented the lead element of the assault force from being overrun by the enemy.

It’s hard to imagine greater heroism in battle. But don’t expect Sgt. Williams to go on and on about it. Instead we must rely on the accounts of others to fully appreciate the lives he saved on that frozen mountain. A Military Times account after he was awarded the Silver Star notes that once he had begun evacuating his bleeding comrades, he also took time out to kill bad guys who were threatening the wounded.

Sgt. Williams recalls the battle as “one of the worst predicaments” of his life, which naturally makes one wonder what else made the top 10. In May, the Journal’s Michael M. Phillips explained why it presented one of the worst predicaments of anyone’s life. A small “Special Forces team was sent on a mission to kill or capture a top leader of the Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin insurgent group,” he reported. Mr. Phillips added:

    The operation felt doomed from the start; Green Berets and green Afghan commandos were supposed to land by helicopter in Shok Valley and climb 1,000 feet to the militant’s village hideout on the ridge above.

    Overhead reconnaissance imagery, however, failed to convey how steep the mountainsides were. The first few troops clawed their way to the village. Others were trapped and without cover when machine-gun bullets and rocket-propelled grenades poured in from hundreds of concealed insurgents.

Last year in North Carolina’s Fayetteville Observer, Drew Brooks made clear that there were precious few ways out of the predicament:

    There were no roads leading to the Shok Valley, where the village that was the target of the operation was literally built like a fortress into a cliffside, with buildings stacked upon each other and no way to approach undetected.

    At the time of the mission, no coalition troops had been to the valley... the only way into the valley was by helicopters. And even then, the aircraft could not land.

Yet amazingly no American lives were lost and two Afghan commandos died in the battle, while more than 150 of the enemy were killed, according to the U.S. Army. The uncommon valor which seems to have been common among the dozen members of Operational Detachment Alpha 3336 and their roughly 100 Afghan comrades resulted in numerous medals, including a separate Medal of Honor for the unit’s medic, Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II, awarded last year.

Today’s honoree lauded Sgt. Shurer’s courage in a September, 2018 interview. The Puyallup Herald’s Allison Needles reported:

    Williams said he remembered Shurer shielding teammates from debris with his body.

    “Ron epitomizes the value of our team, Green Berets everywhere, of the US Army, and of the American population and all of those things came together in that battle,” Williams said. “I’m proud that we’re all here today in part of Ron’s efforts.”

This column fervently hopes that both men epitomize the American population but suspects the two Green Berets are in fact much better than the rest of us.

In today’s video, Sgt. Williams credits the “awesome” U.S. helicopter pilots who he says “saved the day.” Our hero adds that now that he has been awarded the Medal of Honor, he’s hoping to represent his regiment “in a positive manner.” In a world of social-media attention seekers, it’s hard not to appreciate his gift for understatement.

The President’s decision to award the Medal of Honor gives all Americans a chance to express their appreciation to Sgt. Williams for his service and his bravery.

***