Published: Monday, 03 December 2012 13:21
REMEMBER THIS PRINT. The terrain in Afghanistan is great for tracking: prints are often sharp and clear, and quarry is frequently channelized. During a mission with British forces, this print pinged my senses so I made the photograph in the morning light. Soldiers found many bombs nearby, and we were ambushed by machine gun. A smartphone app could compare this image to others in a database. Moments like this offer an opportunity to track down the wearer of this shoe. STUDY THIS PRINT and REMEMBER.
03 December 2012
There are countless types of footwear around the world. If you sit down with a coffee and watch the passersby, it will be difficult to spot two people wearing the same shoes.
If you see many people wearing the same footwear, you are at a military base, a police station, a football game, or a prison. Or kids are wearing a uniform.
When you go to a house party with special operations folks, you will see the same shoes and watches. If you are downtown, their shoes are a giveaway. Noting the watches and the shoes that people wear is one of the oldest discovery methods. This is true of many wars.
Read more: Wolf Pack 103: Sole Mates
Published: Wednesday, 28 November 2012 15:41
This sensor was hidden in the middle of an Afghan village on 31 July 2011. It was positioned to spy over a dirt road intersection about 10-20 meters away. US casualties were occurring in this village. Six hours before this photograph was taken, perhaps a couple of hundred meters away, Brice Scott was shot and killed in a firefight. Weeks after this sensor was emplaced, on 11 September 2011, we were back in the village when an IED strike occurred no more than 20 meters away from the sensor location.
28 November 2012
War revolves around sensing. But despite our technology, nothing replaces human senses, experience, and intuition.
The U.S. military historically fights enemies on their home field. Many of our enemies are subsistence farmers. The greatest optic that they possess will be scratched-up non-prescription eyeglasses that are sold beside shoes in the market. Most will have no windows in their homes. These farmers are rugged and tuned-in to their environments.
Movement that is slow for us is fast to them. Villagers make terrible drivers. They do not have the time-versus-distance thing worked out, making them dangerous in cities.
Read more: WolfPack 102: Sensors
Published: Tuesday, 27 November 2012 14:56
27 November 2012
Helicopters are crucial in modern combat. It is not necessary to be a pilot to assert that helicopters are game changers. Their value is obvious.
NCOs and officers who have developed infantry skills over an apprenticeship of years, particularly in infantry combat, similarly testify to the value of combat tracking: the first time that they see it, they are sold and they want it for their men. When combat veterans see trackers at work, their infantry imaginations spawn ideas that can increase unit lethality.
When commanders fuse old-school tracking with technology, for instance by integrating helicopters that can bound ahead of prey, increased lethality results.
Infantry veterans see helicopters differently than most of us. Their combat imaginations dream up ideas that would not occur to most laymen. Providing infantrymen with helicopters creates a synergy that transcends mere airframes.
Read more: Wolf Pack 101: Introduction to Combat Tracking
Published: Monday, 26 November 2012 14:01
26 November 2012
About a month ago, I came home and found mysterious blood trails around my home. I mapped them out, studied them, and kept trying to recreate the scene. The scene confounded me. I did not assume that it was blood. There was no physical evidence of painting or use of chemicals. After a long look, blood was the only thing that made sense. Whatever it was, a human or humans put it there. A child did not do it. Some finger marks were far too high for my 4-year-old neighbor who runs out to greet me, and she is the only child who is ever here.
Shoe marks were too large for the girl. A palm mark on the ground was man-sized. I checked that she was okay, and her father helped me search. It was clear that someone had sat in the blood to rest, just feet from my door. In context, none of this made a lick of sense.
Read more: Mysterious Blood Trails at my Home
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Published: Monday, 19 November 2012 01:16
18 November 2012
Recently the Taliban accidentally made public its entire (apparently) distro list during an email accident:
In a Dilbert-esque faux pax, a Taliban spokesperson sent out a routine email last week with one notable difference. He publicly CC'd the names of everyone on his mailing list.
The names were disclosed in an email by Qari Yousuf Ahmedi, an official Taliban spokesperson, on Saturday. The email was a press release he received from the account of Zabihullah Mujahid, another Taliban spokesperson. Ahmedi then forwarded Mujahid's email to the full Taliban mailing list, but rather than using the BCC function, or blind carbon copy which keeps email addresses private, Ahmedi made the addresses public.
"Taliban have included all 4 of my email addresses on the leaked distribution list," tweeted journalist Mustafa Kazemi, a prolific Kabul-based tweeter with more than 9,500 followers. "Quite reassuring to my safety."
The list, made up of more than 400 recipients, consists mostly of journalists, but also includes an address appearing to belong to a provincial governor, an Afghan legislator, several academics and activists, an l Afghan consultative committee, and a representative of Gulbuddein Hekmatar, an Afghan warlord whose outlawed group Hezb-i-Islami is believed to be behind several attacks against coalition troops.
I happened to get hold of the list. Please see:
Read more: Taliban Email Distribution List
Published: Sunday, 18 November 2012 23:40
18 November 2012
Petraeus and the Woman Broadwell to be Stoned on the White House Lawn
Uproar over Stone Auction: first Stone bid reaches $1 million
(A Humorless, gonzo parody.)
The Nine Wise Elders convened for tea to discuss the fates of the woman Paula Broadwell and General (ret.) David Petraeus. In accordance with Old Law, both parties to adultery have been sentenced to Death by Stoning.
Mercy was granted to the man, who shall be Stoned first, using the Quick Stoning provision. The evil woman shall be condemned to a Special Stoning, unless she is determined to be a Witch or a Temptress.
The verdict by the Nine Wise Elders (NWE) was unanimous. Since only the NWE are permitted to see the evidence and to read the laws, sentencing guidelines remain mysterious but are trusted by the populace.
Read more: Petraeus Stoning Sentence Handed Down by Elders
Published: Monday, 12 November 2012 13:30
12 November 2012
(Photo courtesy of CIA)
General (ret.) David Petraeus is a peerless asset to the United States. His contributions to the war and to the nation have been incalculable. No one can estimate the number of lives among Americans, the Coalition and Iraqi civilians that his wise leadership saved during that horrible war. His short leadership in Afghanistan rekindled my confidence that that war also might be brought to heel. Unfortunately, he was sent back to lead the CIA, which was a great loss for the military.
Director Petraeus's accomplishments can never be erased. He will undoubtedly be demonized for his affair. It is not easy to ameliorate the stain that it leaves, as the potential final word summing up an impeccable career.
All Alphas have enemies. Petraeus is no exception. The finest leaders usually have more enemies than the company men whose mantra is, "Don't bail the sinking boat. The boss said the boat is not sinking." Unfortunately we have a surfeit of company men and only one Dave Petraeus.
Read more: Petraeus: A Sad Day for the United States
Published: Thursday, 08 November 2012 14:25
08 November 2012
Some parts of this video are inaccurate. For instance, saying that the British MERT system for medical evacuation is widely seen as the best model, is false. Often you see in Afghanistan – and I have seen with myself – that MERT is far slower because they take longer to launch their CH-47 helicopter. They might take 30 minutes to launch, when Dustoff or Pedro can launch in six minutes.
Many of the wounds occur very close to the trauma hospitals. There are times when USAF Pedro, or Army Dustoff, can scoop the casualties and have the patients back to the hospital before MERT even launches. This is a fact.
Read more: MEDEVAC Issues: Video
Published: Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:49
07 November 2012
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately. (You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except North Dakota, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, David Cameron, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
Read more: A MESSAGE FROM THE QUEEN
Published: Wednesday, 07 November 2012 13:26
Dave Dilegge: Photo from TBO article (JAY CONNER/STAFF)
07 November 2012
Back in 2006, I toyed with heresy by asserting that milblogs were not the best sources for war news. To my surprise, the better sources remained professional journalists, and again to my surprise, many were much better than we give them credit for.
While professionals like Kimberly Dozier, Dexter Filkins and Carlotta Gall combed the battlefields, most milbloggers never set foot in either Iraq or Afghanistan, though many claimed expertise based on service in the military.
In reality, veterans can attest, many active service members in the wars had little knowledge about what was happening on a day-to-day basis. If they were in Mosul in 2005, they were in battles every day. It was combat. Car bombs. Firefights. Suicide attacks. The troops in those fights would be the last ones to claim that they understood the big picture.
Read more: Milblogs: A Rise and Fall
Published: Monday, 05 November 2012 13:35
05 November 2012
I have been reading a book about Dust Off MEDEVAC service in Vietnam. The book is called Dead Men Flying. I am only halfway through. Excellent so far.
The book is about Major General (ret.) Patrick Brady, who received the Medal of Honor for actions as a Dust Off pilot. Patrick Brady is legendary in the Dust Off world.
Many people have seen the campaign we have run over the last year to change failed MEDEVAC procedures. Many people, including most milblogs, reflexively said this was wrong. And therefore, as it turns out, those same milblogs are saying that Major General (ret.) Patrick Brady, Medal of Honor recipient, legendary Dust Off pilot, is wrong.
Read it and weep:
U.S. general: Obama paralyzed by fear
Gen. Patrick Brady explains why president abandoned Americans in Benghazi
Written By: Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, U.S. Army (ret.)
Now I understand! For years, many veterans and active military have been alarmed about the idiocy of the changes in battlefield aeromedical evacuation known as Dust Off. For reasons having nothing to do with patient care, Dust Off has been removed from the control of the professionals, the medics, and put under the control of amateurs, aviation staff officers, or ASOs. This is the first such change since the Civil War.
Read more: Revered Pilot Comments on Dust Off Failures
Published: Sunday, 04 November 2012 14:46
04 November 2012
The Associated Press writer in this dispatch, Talal, was later kidnapped. He was reported to have been tortured, and then he completely disappeared.
Published: Friday, 02 November 2012 13:14
IR 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
Published: Wednesday, 31 October 2012 12:52
Southern 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
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Published: Thursday, 25 October 2012 15:06
25 October 2012
Zhari 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.
Published: Wednesday, 24 October 2012 13:20
24 October 2012
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
Published: Tuesday, 23 October 2012 13:08
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
Published: Tuesday, 23 October 2012 00:38
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
Published: Friday, 19 October 2012 13:07
19 October 2012
A veteran friend made these images yesterday with his iPhone4s. They were flying off the coast by San Diego training with the U.S. Navy.
Read more: Pedro and Submarine
Published: Monday, 15 October 2012 14:01
15 October 2012
Read more: SOF: Targeting Prince Harry