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Another Smoking Gun: The Pentagon Caught Again on MEDEVAC

12 June 2012

The Pentagon has repeatedly deceived Senators, Representatives and the Public on the MEDEVAC issue.  This fact pattern has been systematically revealed and irrevocably proven. For instance, top Generals have said that if ground commanders requested changes to MEDEVAC procedures, they would get them.  This smoking gun document proves otherwise:

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Proof That Military Puts Media Message before Troops' Lives

31 May 2012

The following document was provided by a source within the military.  This document proves that a decision was made not to arm vehicles during serious fighting because it would convey the wrong STRATCOM (strategic communications) message.

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To download as a PDF please click here.

CSM (ret.) Jeff Mellinger Emails

407419-1000Image: DVIDS

27 May 2012

Jeff Mellinger emailed about Benjamin Kopp and other heroes.  I asked Jeff for permission to publish.  Jeff’s message:

My wife and I were at Walter Reed with Ranger Ben Kopp and his mother for his last couple of days. [Ben was shot in Afghanistan.]  Jill (Ben's mother) and my wife and I are now the closest of friends.  Starting tomorrow at 1400, my youngest daughter and I will be walking the last 40 miles of the "Carry the Load" 1,700 mile relay walk this weekend.  I will be wearing a CPL Ben Kopp button as I walk.

The Carry the Load website.

The attached photo is from September 7th, 2010.  I took my Army Materiel Command NCOs on a walking tour of Arlington National Cemetery.  We walked about ten miles, stopping to learn, reflect and honor.  Of course, CPL Ben Kopp was on the route.  "Benergy" is the name that Ben's mother, Jill, uses to explain the inexplicable, such as a family friend, Judy Meikle, being a perfect match for Ben's heart, or that breeze that comes as you think of a friend now long gone.

Ben is in Section 60, Grave 9088.

May we all pause and remember our fallen on Monday, Memorial Day.  And perhaps find some "Benergy."

"Red Hat Six, this is Ghost Rider Two-Seven. I’m sorry I won’t be able to help you any more today. I’m gut shot. I’ll have to leave you now. Hang on and good luck."  Radio transmission from a helicopter pilot to an Army captain and his unit fighting the 174th and 66th NVA Regiments, 27 February 1968.

"I’m dying, ain’t I, Sarge? I’m dying, aint I, Sarge?"  Last words of Radio Operator SP/5 Paul Sperry, Spoken to SFC Herbert Lloyd, 17 SEP 1962, Bau Tron, Viet Nam.

"I'm okay. Just get us more ammo." Sergeant Jimmy Mayemura while continuing to man his machine gun even though one of his eyes was torn out and he'd been hit three other times by bullets and grenade fragments.  Korea, 4 November 1951.

"We need a medevac bad.  Three soldiers are hurt bad by a mine. My legs are blown off. Tell them to hurry!" 1LT Charles Hemmingway, 13 June 1967. Vietnam Memorial Wall, Panel 21E, Line 98

"I can see you, you are coming up on our left. Be careful, they have a 57MM recoilless in the brown building." Captain Terence (Terry) Sage, killed by 57MM recoilless fire - 31 January 1968. Vietnam Memorial Wall Panel 36E, Line 34

"I know, I'll be careful, but they need this machine gun up front." 1LT(P) Bob Arvin, 5 September 1967.  His actions this day earned him the 2d of two Silver Stars and a posthumous promotion to Captain. Vietnam Memorial

Heart of a Ranger

DSC01998-1000Jill Stephenson, mother of fallen Ranger, Ben Kopp, is unexpectedly reunited with the casualty assistance officer who was with her when Ben died in Washington D.C. two years earlier. The chance encounter came during the 2011 Wreaths Across America Escort to Arlington, while visiting West Point. WAA photo by Joseph Andrew Lee.

25 May 2012

They say old Soldiers never die.  In the case of Corporal Benjamin Kopp, this is turning out to be true in many ways.

Ben was shot and killed during combat operations in Afghanistan.  He was an organ donor, and his sacrifices continued.  His heart was given to a family friend named Judy Meikle, who was 57 years old.  The transplant was successful.  Ben’s mom is Jill Stephenson.  Jill is a strong woman and herself an inspiration.  Yesterday, Jill Stephenson published:

"I want to wish a special Happy Birthday to Judy Meikle today. In case you don't know, Judy is the recipient of my wonderful son Ben Kopp's big strong Ranger heart. Judy received Ben's heart almost three years ago and today celebrates turning 60!! I am blessed to know her and call her a friend. She is breathing proof of what the gift of life means when we think not just of ourselves when we die. Ben lives on her beating heart. Happy, happy day to you, Ms. Judy. Love you~"

And so Ben’s heart beats on, inspiring more people with every passing day.

And his name lives on in the Kopp-Etchells Effect.

But even more than in his heart and name, Ben’s spirit lives on through a powerful example of courage, sacrifice, and generosity.  There is more to the Kopp-Etchells Effect than just helicopters in the night.  The Effect, the Heart of a Ranger, has become a symbol of courage and spirit to be revered. 

Statement From Taliban

The Taliban sent this statement.  There is a great deal of false information here but good to know what they are saying:

Statement of Islamic Emirate regarding the NATO summit in Chicago

According to news reports, NATO is going to hold a diplomatic summit in the city of Chicago from May 20-21 where Afghanistan will be the most important agenda on the table. Therefore the Islamic Emirate, in order to fulfill its historical obligation, wants to declare the below points to the participants of this conference:

1. The invasion of Afghanistan by America and its allies under the banner of ‘war of terror’ was an unjustified and tyrannical action which was only carried out for political and economical gains. Terrorism and ground realities had nothing in common. No Afghan had a hand in military operations in other countries and neither are there any proofs hence the occupation of Afghanistan by America is neither sound legally or logically.

2. As a result of this occupation, the invasive America imposed upon the Afghan Muslim nation a few war criminals that were cast offs, whose hands were red with the blood of innocent humans and who were involved in transgressing against the life, wealth and honor of the ordinary people. The Afghans have been facing torment from their brutality and crimes for the past decade while the invaders have just turn a blind eye to them.

Read more: Statement From Taliban

Smoking Gun Army Documents

Removing Red Crosses might help troops, but hurt Propaganda Campaign

256376-1000Photo Credit: DVIDS

21 May 2012

We are making tremendous progress on the MEDEVAC issue.  Much of the progress has come from people scattered around America who contacted their Senators and Representatives.  Our “MEDEVAC Militia” was mostly ignored, or they received form letters that regurgitated Army propaganda.  Nonetheless, our persistent efforts are paying off.

At least 17 lawmakers took the issue seriously.  Congressman Todd Akin from Missouri gathered a posse and took it to the House Armed Services Committee.  There the posse confronted Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Serious pressure has begun and we are not going to let up.

We have tremendous support from key military people.  This support is hidden and must remain so.

Read more: Smoking Gun Army Documents

US Congress and MEDEVAC

17 May 2012

The US MEDEVAC issue is picking up speed and mass.  There is so much progress that it is difficult to track.  A separate and excellent website dedicated to the issue has popped up at http://medevacmatters.org/

Also, the highly respected writer and war correspondent Yochi Dreazen picked up the ball.  Yochi has spent years in the wars and so he was able to quickly dial into the importance of the issue and the authorities involved.  On 10 May, Yochi published an article in the National Journal, which was reprinted on the website of Congressman Todd Akin:

Read more: US Congress and MEDEVAC

Helicopter versus RPG

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The enemy weapons causing the most deaths in Afghanistan are simple.  There are the machine guns, and the AK-47s, and many thousands of improvised bombs planted in the earth, and suicide bombs, and the RPG: Rocket Propelled Grenade.

There are a few other kinds of weapons, but in a nutshell, that is about it.   Meanwhile, it is probably not risking much overstatement to say that ISAF employs a thousand sort of weapons.

In the image above, the shooter has already pulled the trigger.  There was a very quick delay, with a quiet pop.  Some smoke puffed out from the front and from the rear of the RPG launcher.

Read more: Helicopter versus RPG

MEDEVAC Madness

10 May 2012

Many people have contacted lawmakers around the country about MEDEVAC failures in Afghanistan.  Most of the lawmakers blew it off, or seemed intimidated by the Pentagon.  But one serious man over in Missouri has not backed down.  Congressman Todd Akin is demanding answers.  This week, Congressman Akin brought it to Congress:

Read more: MEDEVAC Madness

New Helmet System

06 May 2012

This helmet system could have many uses, such as for gunners in the hatch.  But as one of the most experienced and smartest vets I know told me this morning, most troops will not want to wear it until they see a buddy lose part of his face.

(Note: I am not endorsing this system, but acknowledging.  I've not seen it in person.)

Read more: New Helmet System

Today’s Messages from Taliban about Today’s Attack and Obama’s visit

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02 May 2012

A message came to me about nine hours ago from the Taliban that Obama visited and so the Taliban had an attack underway.  They did in fact have an attack underway.  I published the message from Zabihullah Mujahid on Facebook.

First message:

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A few minutes ago (about 0820 EST 02 May 2012), Zabihullah Mujahid sent two more messages.  Both are below.  There is some truth in the accounts, but I read them mostly for entertainment value.  Though they exaggerate wildly, it’s become clear that the Taliban will eventually control large swaths of Afghanistan:

Read more: Today’s Messages from Taliban about Today’s Attack and Obama’s visit

Shot in the Dark: Blackhawk Down

MVI 9873-1000Afghan firing RPG in Urozgan

02 May 2012

On 19 April there was a suicide attack.  Numerous Afghans were killed and others were dying.

The night was especially dark.  The weather was bad, and there were no city lights bouncing off of the clouds.  No stars.  No nothing.  Even if the skies had been clear, the moon phase would have revealed only a thin sliver at its brightest.  The night was as black as the deep sea.

People living in or around a big city in America or Asia or Europe will never see a dark night like this one unless there is a blackout.  In Western Europe, few people ever witness a truly black night unless there is heavy weather.  The cultural lights are too bright.  For darkness in Europe, there are a few special places, such as an edge near the sea in Scotland.

Read more: Shot in the Dark: Blackhawk Down

Little Girl Revisited

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02 May 2012

This image was made seven years ago today.   There had been a great deal of combat.  It’s been said that the “Deuce Four” was the most decorated unit in the Iraq war.  I do not know if this is true, but if not, it is probably close.

There had been a suicide car bomb that attacked in a civilian neighborhood.   The Soldiers did their best to help the people.  Little Farah, seen here, cradled by Major Mark Bieger, would soon die of her wounds.

Read more: Little Girl Revisited

Drunken Monkeys, Milkooks, Military, and the Media

image001US Army Master Sergeant and milblogger, CJ Grisham: known for spamming Wikipedia and other outlets with false information

(This dispatch is intended for investigative journalists who may be interested in military propaganda targeting US citizens.  Much of the account is first person, the way that it unfolded.)

25 April 2012

USA TODAY journalists are experiencing something that I first began describing roughly two years ago.  When a writer pens uncomfortable words about the military, the writer invites systematic defamation.  This dispatch reveals fact-patterns and information that can reveal the tell-tale fingerprints of the propaganda machine.

USA TODAY reported last week:

"Misinformation campaign targets USA TODAY reporter, editor"

WASHINGTON – A USA TODAY reporter and editor investigating Pentagon propaganda contractors have themselves been subjected to a propaganda campaign of sorts, waged on the Internet through a series of bogus websites.

Fake Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names.

The timeline of the activity tracks USA TODAY's reporting on the military's "information operations" program, which spent hundreds of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan — campaigns that have been criticized even within the Pentagon as ineffective and poorly monitored.

This also happened to me.  After I wrote that two Generals should be sacked, certain milblogs began a military-sponsored attack against me. They alleged that I had PTSD and that I had been dis-embedded from US, UK and Canadian forces for security violations.  They also claimed that my own service record was tattered.  None of it was true.  My time in the military was honorable, and in the wars as a writer, I had not embedded with Canadian forces, nor was I ever dis-embedded from other militaries for OPSEC violations.

Read more: Drunken Monkeys, Milkooks, Military, and the Media

Dark Night

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23 April 2012

Last week there was a suicide attack on a police checkpoint in Afghanistan.  There were numerous fatalities and wounded.  All Afghans.

MEDEVAC flights can be extremely dangerous for many reasons.  Firstly, the fact that MEDEVAC is needed is often due to hostile action, and so the helicopters are being sent to contested territory.  Often, they fly from contested territory, completely over enemy territory, to other contested territory, and then back over enemy territory to a hospital.  The entire flight can be over dangerous ground.

Most of the CAT-A (very serious casualty) missions have no warning, and so the MEDEVAC crew has no chance to plan a route.  Routes are difficult to plan in active war zones.  Besides the inertia-laden obstacles such as mountains and antennas, and aerostat balloons tethered to the ground, there is typically a lot going on out there, such as artillery or airstrikes, or sudden missions that occur with little warning, which may involve low-flying aircraft.  It's a mess for the pilots to sort through.

Read more: Dark Night

Did Green Berets and MEDEVAC Violate Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan?

NO.

491490-1000Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk in Afghanistan (photo credit DVIDS)

22 April 2012

A video is circulating of "Green Berets" in combat.  The Soldiers are hammering away with a minigun and other weapons.  An A-10 can be seen rolling in and shooting.  Casualties are taken, and after the seven minute mark in the video, an apparent Special Forces Soldier can be seen directing that ammunition be brought in on a MEDEVAC bird.

Read more: Did Green Berets and MEDEVAC Violate Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan?

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