Michael's Dispatches Michael's Dispatches

Carl Prine, Bombs, Brain Damage, and our Responsibility

10 July 2012

These wars have left us with thousands of troops and civilians who may have sustained brain damage from explosions.  Recently, my friend Carl Prine, a military combat veteran of Iraq, terminated his writing on Line of Departure due to apparent brain damage.  Carl believes that an IED blast may have contributed to the problem.  It is terrible to see anyone suffer brain damage.  That it happened to such a gifted military writer is double damage, and saddening for me.  Carl’s writing will be missed.  He was truly gifted.  We communicated today.  His condition is bad.

A cousin who is a Marine officer sent a bomb video today.  This looks like Iraq.  The date stamp shows 2007.  My cousin the Marine asked me to pass this video along so that more people will understand what our young veterans are facing.  My cousin’s note said:

Read more: Carl Prine, Bombs, Brain Damage, and our Responsibility

Army Sham Investigation into Loss of Chazray Clark

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26 June 2012

Yesterday the Army delivered its sham investigation into the loss of Chazray Clark in September 2011.  The attack that took Chazray’s life is described in RED AIR.

Through the months, I and others have been in contact with Chazray’s mother and wife.  They strongly wish that we continue this fight.  They are not satisfied by the investigation.

Read more: Army Sham Investigation into Loss of Chazray Clark

Good Report from Afghanistan

21 June 2012

Reports come in daily from the military in Afghanistan.  Many have good news, but subsequent the MEDEVAC deceptions from the Army, I do not trust the current bunch and so do not bother publishing.  Yesterday, I asked Shem Klimiuk, an old Afghan hand from Australia (now in Kabul), if there is any truth to these reports.  Mr. Klimiuk responds using data from Indicium Consulting:

(Note: Today I asked Marine Lieutenant Colonel in Helmand Province if he believes Indicium to be accurate on this. "Yes.")

Despite signs that the Taliban’s influence is spreading throughout Afghanistan, international military efforts over the last 12 months have not been fruitless, as changes on the battlefield are becoming visible.  This can mainly be attributed to prolonged ISAF/ANSF operations against the Taliban’s (and other anti-government elements) logistic chains and, more importantly, their mid-level commanders.  These commanders, with their years of tactical experience, are crucial to the Taliban’s battlefield strategies, and their loss has significantly affected the Taliban's ability to continue the same level of intensity and effectiveness that characterized their campaigns from 2009-2011.

Read more: Good Report from Afghanistan

Not I

19 June 2012

Through the years there has been a constant barrage of people misquoting me.  They might say, “Last week on CNN you said…”  And I was in some war zone at the time and nowhere near a television interview.  But then it gets picked up, and bloggers do the he-said, she-said, and soon it becomes an erroneous article of faith that I said or wrote something.

Most times, these incidents appear to be honest mistakes.  On other occasions, people have set up fake websites pretending to be me. Just this week, Facebook was alerted to a page using my photo and my name, and the imposter posted as though he were me.  A fake Skype account exists using my name, and it is very similar to my genuine account.  One can only speculate about how much mayhem has been attempted with masquerading email accounts.

Consider this recent message:

Read more: Not I

Angels Over Afghanistan

photo-1000F/A-18C Hornet named after SPC Chazray Clark

Father’s Day
17 June 2012

The US Navy has named an F/A-18C Hornet after Specialist Chazray Clark, who was killed in action last September in Afghanistan.  The jet bearing Chazray’s name is now flying combat operations over Afghanistan and may well be fighting as you read this.

Much of the air support in Afghanistan comes from the Navy.   F/A-18 Hornets launch from aircraft carriers, and they make their way over Pakistan to landlocked Afghanistan where they provide air support for troops below.  The days and flights are long.  After launching from the pitching deck in the Arabian Sea, they fly over to Afghanistan and conduct multiple midair refueling cycles from American and NATO tanker aircraft to provide troops with airborne artillery on call.  When the call does come, they drop their bombs with pinpoint accuracy and shoot their cannons, even during the night with Night Vision Goggles.  Many times, they don’t fire a shot during a mission but provide reassurance to the Soldiers and Marines that if they need to call, the Hornets are only minutes away. After the mission is complete or they are “Winchester” they make the long trip back to the carrier, never having touched down in Afghanistan.

Read more: Angels Over Afghanistan

Zombie Apocalypse Hysteria

13 June 2012

Recent cannibal attacks have pushed the media into a swirl.  Since I have known more real cannibals than any non-cannibal I know, a few words are in order.

Some context:

In 2002, during travels through Asia, I stumbled across some Aghori cannibals in India.  I had never heard of them and they sounded dangerous.  I picked up the trail.  The journey and the pursuit lasted two years, and took me six times around the world.  I have sat by the fire at midnight on the full moon, surrounded by Aghoris, me alone, as they drank whiskey from human skulls.

I have tracked them through India, Nepal, Thailand, Italy, Germany, France, Hawaii and California.  I have read everything on Aghoris that was available in libraries and bookstores in India, The Royal Library, and the Library of Congress.  If you can find it, I have probably read it.  I broadened that study to include cults, black magic, and cannibalism worldwide.

Read more: Zombie Apocalypse Hysteria

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

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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

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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

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