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
Published: Monday, 15 October 2012 13:29
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
Published: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 13:09
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
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Published: Monday, 08 October 2012 16:55
08 October 2012
Published: Monday, 08 October 2012 14:02
08 October 2012
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)
Published: Thursday, 04 October 2012 13:00
04 October 2012
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
Published: Wednesday, 03 October 2012 15:11
03 October 2012
Face 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