Michael's Dispatches Michael's Dispatches

Painting the Target

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image001-1000IR Laser from aircraft on landing zone in Afghanistan

(This is a quick dispatch on the fly.  No time for editing, so please take it as is.)

02 November 2012

The Benghazi attack leaves many open questions.  It has been established that high-level failures occurred.  The fact that our Ambassador is dead is evidence, and there is much more.

A subject that continues to garner attention is that one of the former SEALs was “painting” or lasing a target.  Some people have opined that he would not have painted the mortar position unless there was an armed aircraft overhead.  As much as I do not want Obama in the White House, we should still stick with facts and not supposition.  The facts are bad enough.

It is untrue that people paint only when there are armed aircraft overhead.  In fact, I have seen soldiers paint from the ground or from the air on many occasions, simply to covertly identify an object using an IR laser pointer. Troops often use lasers on their rifles, or the excellent Air Force JTACs will sparkle something with no intention of putting a bomb on it.

The two green images in this dispatch were taken the same night.  We were waiting on some helicopters to come pick us up, and I was wearing a PVS-14 night vision monocular. I had the same device on my camera. Suddenly, an aircraft that we did not even know was there started painting our LZ (landing zone).  Importantly, using night mode, the camera would have detected the laser even without the PVS-14.

Read more: Painting the Target

President Obama Fumbled Afghanistan

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Dead-ANA-1000Southern Afghanistan, 2011

31 October 2012
By Michael Yon

President Obama ascended to power through audacity, oration, and artful manipulation.  In the United States and numerous Asian countries, I saw people’s eyes glaze with unconditional trust in a man who is unfit for office.

After the last election, I happened to be home from the wars, and in Washington DC for meetings.  President-elect Obama’s inauguration was nearby, and so I attended on that freezing morning.  Some of my detractors said, “Look at that, Yon’s joined forces with Obama.”  In fact, I had campaigned against him after his many clueless statements on Iraq and Afghanistan.  Yet the inauguration was an historical event worth seeing. The new president would, after all, be the decider in the wars to which I would soon return.

Read more: President Obama Fumbled Afghanistan

War Panorama

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25 October 2012

pano-on-mission-3-1000Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, with 4-4Cav and Afghan counterparts, shortly before minor IED strike. (11 September 2011)

Please click on image to view full screen.

or... Click here to view it in panorama mode.

MEDEVAC at FOB Pasab, Afghanistan

16 Comments

24 October 2012

mullah-omar-1000Mullah Omar

Google has a function called “Alerts.” This function allows users to program keywords and receive daily updates from the web.  Using alerts is like having your own investigative wing scouring for information on topics of interest.   Two of the keywords that I use are MEDEVAC and MEDIVAC.

After a group of concerned citizens and I started raising MEDEVAC issues last year, the net alerts suggested that an extraordinary number of MEDEVAC units were sent to Afghanistan.  Later, word came from Afghanistan that our efforts caused a great increase in available MEDEVAC assets.

On a side note, it appears that communities across the United States are buying MEDEVAC helicopters for civilian use.

Army MEDEVAC uses the call sign “Dustoff” (or Dust Off).  The call sign derives from the Vietnam era.  The most renowned Dustoff pilot is probably Major General (ret.) Patrick Brady.  MG Brady received the Medal of Honor for flying Dustoff in Vietnam.  I am currently reading his excellent book called Dead Men Flying.

Read more: MEDEVAC at FOB Pasab, Afghanistan

No Bronze Star

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23 October 2012

Master Sergeant CJ Grisham claims that he received a Bronze Star with V for combat in Iraq.  His valorous conduct allegedly occurred in 2003.  The following official record, which covers a timeframe extending into 2004, depicts no Bronze Star with V.  Grisham refuses to clear up the contradiction by publishing his hypothetical citation.

Grisham recently stated in Glamour Magazine that he completed a combat tour in Afghanistan.  This claim is false.  He saw no combat in Afghanistan, and Grisham was sent home early after publicly claiming to suffer from mental problems.  Grisham did not complete his tour.  He abandoned his troops.

Grisham later deleted his internet writings about mental problems, and changed his story, claiming that he was involuntarily sent home for skin cancer. Cached versions of his original statements tell the true tale.

Read more: No Bronze Star

Mark Safranski Comments Col (ret.) Harry Tunnell

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22 October 2012

The following email came from Mark Safranski subsequent his reading this letter from Colonel (ret.) Harry Tunnell.  The letter.

===Email from Mr. Safranski:===

Interesting, this part in particular:

""A gross lack of concern for subordinates," Tunnell wrote, "manifests itself in guidance that 'zero' civilian casualties are acceptable and coalition soldiers may have to be killed rather than defend themselves against a potential threat and risk being wrong and possibly resulting in injury or death of a civilian."
....Tunnell's memo exhibits particular disdain for British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, commander of NATO forces in Regional Command South, which includes the Arghandab District where Sitton was killed.

It was Carter, Tunnell wrote, whose verbal order led commanders to risk their own troops rather than Afghan civilians – something Sitton complained about two years later in an email to his wife."

Very helpful. I finally get it now.

Read more: Mark Safranski Comments Col (ret.) Harry Tunnell

Rumor in Afghanistan: President Sucking Assets Away

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15 October 2012

Rumor Control is practically an industry within the military.  Some rumors are bad for morale and completely untrue, while others are bad for morale and are completely true.  (Why do most rumors seem to be bad for morale?)

Here is the latest rumor to hit my inbox, from a military email address in Afghanistan.  I have no idea if it is true.

The White House or Pentagon is welcome to confirm or deny:

Read more: Rumor in Afghanistan: President Sucking Assets Away

Stunning Letter: Infantry Colonel Communiqué to Secretary of the Army

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10 October 2012

This is the most stunning and forceful letter I have read from the Afghanistan war.  It was written in 2010 from Afghanistan by Colonel Harry Tunnell, the Brigade Commander of 5/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team.

After this letter, Colonel Tunnell was investigated and the normal smear campaign unfolded.  Having been embedded with his Brigade in 2010, it became obvious that they were put into a no-win situation, with troops spread over several provinces in Afghanistan.

Read more: Stunning Letter: Infantry Colonel Communiqué to Secretary of the Army

All The King’s Horses (Some notes from a weekend of thought)

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08 October 2012

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Terrain is the single most important factor in combat.

During the early days of the wars, back when everyone seemed to know we had won in Afghanistan, testimonials streamed from the battle zones about how badly the deserts treated our super-gear.

Batman could only dream about the techno-wonders we complained about.  But we pleaded that the high temperatures, moon dust, and that terrible Brownian Motion could be the undoing of our high tech.  (Send more money.)

Yet, no Einstein was required to see that the commotion over climate and dust avoided a few important realities; Iraqis and Afghans have lived there beyond the frayed edges of history, and today their televisions, motorbikes, and cars work, despite the sand and heat.  Their helicopters still fly.  Their AK-47s still burp flames and hot metal.  (Yes, the Taliban really did have high-performance aircraft working.)

Eventually we stopped crying about the gear.  Many of our own training centers are in U.S. deserts, and we have many times fought in deserts, yet somehow we still fielded gear that we said has difficulty in deserts.  (Send more money.)

Read more: All The King’s Horses (Some notes from a weekend of thought)

Obama v. Romney: Brutal Combat in Thailand

8 Comments

04 October 2012

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From Chiang Mai

In the Leftwing corner, wearing black, weighing very little, hailing from Africa, or Indonesia, or maybe Hawaii, nobody really knows, the undisputed Champion, Beeeetllle Obammmma!

In the Rightwing corner, wearing reddish-brown, weighing more that Beetle Obama, the challenger, a Mormon and white guy, Buug Romnnneyyy!

Read more: Obama v. Romney: Brutal Combat in Thailand

“Faggots” and Women are Unfit for Combat: The Face of a Broken Army

16 Comments

03 October 2012

Image2Face of our Broken Army, and the Taliban's Best Friend

Grisham contacted a lawyer today, who contacted me.  This must be hitting home.  So let’s keep exposing what has gone wrong with our Army.

General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey warned us many times over the years that we are breaking the Army.  Today, it appears that we have passed that point.  Our signal-to-noise ratio now favors the noise.

The Taliban hardly needs to dress up like American Soldiers to hit our jets when enough real Soldiers do worse, all on official business.  The Army pretends to have the luxury of sending liabilities to Afghanistan who have little better to do than post on Facebook, play at being journalists, and then claim to be under combat stress.  Meanwhile, real combat troops go toe-to-toe with the Taliban 24/7.

Read more: “Faggots” and Women are Unfit for Combat: The Face of a Broken Army

Rotten Rose Petals in War

34 Comments

02 October 2012

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Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair recently was sent home from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.  Sinclair was charged by our own military with forcible sodomy (rape), inappropriate sexual relations with several female subordinates, multiple counts of adultery, stealing government money, and the list goes on.

While it is almost true in America that a man is considered innocent—in the eyes of the law—until proven guilty, the extraordinary charges made by our own military is already a death sentence for Sinclair’s current and future career.

The circumstance is demonstrative of the malignant leadership that is bringing shame to the military, while spilling blood unnecessarily on the battlefields.  Either Sinclair really did these things, or he did not do these things and is wrongly accused.  Either way, the military is covered with slime.

Slime likes to surround itself with slime so that it looks normal.  And slime oozes downhill.

Read more: Rotten Rose Petals in War

F-18 Demise

7 Comments

02 October 2012

[This came to my inbox as is; none of these images or text is mine.]

Incredible photos from last Friday's accident in Canada ( Lethbridge ). Check out the sequence of the canopy leaving the scene, the pilot in his rocket-powered seat coming out, the parachute opening sequence, and the separated seat falling away. Modern technology at its best. All of this happened in about two seconds from canopy off to the fireball.

00395-1000Check out all the smoke from the canopy rocket motors.

Read more: F-18 Demise

‘The Good War’ Has Gone Terribly Wrong

3 Comments

02 October 2012

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TexasSparkle
A blog about politics and issues with Kathleen McKinley.
(Editor's note: The author is responsible for this blog, which is not edited by the Chronicle.)

 


 

‘The Good War’ Has Gone Terribly Wrong
Monday, October 1, 2012
Written by: Kathleen McKinley

Really disturbing news out of Afghanistan that may be being overlooked with all the Presidential election news going on. The New York Times reported in August that the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan has more than doubled since Pres. Obama took office.

From Michael Yon:

“Afghan forces are infested with Taliban suicide killers. Two more “green-on-blue” attacks have occurred in the last few days, killing six more troops.

Days ago, the Taliban executed an audacious attack on Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan where Prince Harry is stationed. Under darkness without moon, at least fifteen attackers breached the wire, killed two U.S. Marines, and wounded numerous other people.

Read more: ‘The Good War’ Has Gone Terribly Wrong

False Sense of Something: Some observations and thoughts on the unfolding wars

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01 October 2012

img001-1000Camp Bastion Sanger circa 2011. Camp Bastion is a major foothold in Afghanistan.

If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected. - Sun Tzu, the Art of War

Despite the past eleven years in Afghanistan, U.S. ground troops are less prepared than ever for “small wars.”  We have become so dependent on gadgets and contractors that we would not know what to do without them.  Contractors provide much of the security at major bases in Afghanistan, and even on many smaller bases.

We like to use contractors because they are cheaper and politically expedient.  When they are killed by car bombs at the gates, they are not added to the only body count that Americans care about.  Leaders do not have to deal with photographs of grieving families.

Read more: False Sense of Something: Some observations and thoughts on the unfolding wars

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