Michael's Dispatches

Infiltration: Operation Flintlock Part II

21 Comments

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Inside the compound there were sheep, cows, and chickens.  In these rural places, many Afghan homes are essentially barns where people live alongside their animals. For the families living in these compounds, each becomes it’s own little universe.

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The Air Force JTACs (Joint Terminal Attack Controllers) came along to coordinate air and airstrikes, as needed.  As soon as we arrived at the compound, the JTACS went to overdrive.

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Some of the family members had been sleeping without tents.  Children left their shoes spread across the courtyard which is part living room, part barn, and part toilet.

The full spectrum camera picked up all manner of light.  The sparkles to the right are from a firefly and the ghosts are from the long exposure.  Actually, ghost busters in the United States modify their cameras similarly under the idea they can photograph ghosts.  If you look closely at this image, you might see Ghengis Khan or Alexander the Great, or a Russian soldier who died here.

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The bright spot in front of this image was caused by the specially modified IR flash, which is nearly invisible to the naked eye but is very bright to the camera.  The gold light trace is from a red helmet light.  The flags on the Soldier’s shoulders are designed to light up with IR, helping to distinguish friend from foe.

2011-08-04-092915-Web1000The sun would soon rise.

2011-08-04-094956-Web1000Twilight with normal camera.

And that was it; infiltration was complete.  All was quiet.  The enemy would accept our challenge and fighting would soon begin.

(Part III to follow.)

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Len marcy · 8 years ago
    Michael,I am so pleased to once again tune in to your reports and photos. They really bring the war home as nothing else could do. May my Heavenly Father protect you and all who are in harm's way.
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    Leyla Najma · 8 years ago
    Thank you for sending the photos! As always they are amazing as are your comments. We are with you all in spirit!
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    peter · 8 years ago
    Michael, thank you for putting yourself in harms way to give us this report. And also for all of the other reports.
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    Seth B. · 8 years ago
    Michael, first I would like to thank you for your journalism and excellent photography. I also want to thank you for using your talents to honor our troops and give them respect they deserve for their incredibly hard and dangerous work.

    I often wonder how much respect and compassion our troops and interpreters convey to the afghan civilians they encounter each day as we station ourselves(the troops) inside their compounds, farm lands and country. I understand that the Afghans are proud people, as are Americans, and don't take kindly to troops tromping their lands and stationing themselves inside their homes-also much like Americans.

    Do you feel we properly convey to them with respect our needs to be safe in the process of hunting the Taliban and that we would rather not be in their home but that is where we must be to find the Taliban nearby? And, is it lost in translation or do the Afghan people understand we are doing our best to not intrude as I think we are?
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    usmc · 8 years ago
    Mike, i really don't expect you to publish the whole content, but you have scored direct bulls with this and your last few postings....i was directly involved in the development of the very 1st NVGs...we would call them not very good.. working at *** in ft wayne, late 60's..it is absolutely astounding to see how far they have developed in 40 years...we never knew how far the project would go ..your reporting is so accurate that it is difficult to sleep many nights after..keep it up.i no longer watched MSM after return because of the huge disconnect between what was happening and what was being reported...we discovered many problems like IR lighting up ourselves & now becoming targets ourselves and a feeling we were under water in a surreal green world..also IR spotter scopes on our M-14s....kick ass. crazy as it sounds, i would love to go back for a few weeks and observe the men....a great deal of today's tactics like Heavies teams were in their infancy in the 60's.. GOOD JOB MIKE
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    James L. Owens · 8 years ago
    Great Report. Thanks.
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    Lawrence Barker · 8 years ago
    Mike, WOW! It's great to have your dispatches back up and running. As has been said, nothing else comes close. I am in AWE of our guys out their doing their jobs and have immense respect for them all.

    Please keep safe and pass along our Love to all the troops.
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    Ryan Hene · 8 years ago
    Be safe out there man I lived about a mile south of pasab (wilson) at fitzpatrick last deployment..Give em hell out there boys
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    Daniel Perez · 8 years ago
    Love your reports Mike. No theatrics, no show-and-tell type reporting. And with the photos it makes us feel like we are out there with our brothers. Keep up the good work.
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    Sgt. U · 8 years ago
    I've been reading/watching your blog for just over a year now. Your perspective is not only legit, but refreshing. I appreciate your efforts to "get it right". I lost three of my close friends on Extortion 1-7, our chinook that was taken down by that RPG and killed 2 other crew members, the Navy Seal team and ANA. Your article tells the world how we do business, and it brings a smile to my face to share it with everyone I know. Thanks again, please, keep up the hard work!
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    Rob Wade · 8 years ago
    Outstanding work Mike. Did tours over there (02,03,04). You show the public they types of things we were doing on a daily basis
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    Violette · 8 years ago
    Until the "good" aliens debarque to chase the bad "aliens".
    Must be a scary dream,nightmare,for this people.
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    Wayne Philpot · 8 years ago
    Mr. Yon, your style, content, and obvious respect/loyalty/love for your subjects remind me another great reporter/writer: Joe Galloway. God bless you, sir, and God bless those awesome individuals you're living/working with and writing about. Keep your head down, and thank you for bringing truth home from that place.
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    R Dean · 8 years ago
    CMS Cook is a friend of mine; we went through basic together and good to see him taking care of you as well as you of him. Keep chasing the bad guys; LOVE these articles. No news snippet can catch what the guys really go through.
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    LTC Bill Catttley · 8 years ago
    Michael,

    Awesome right up of the KW. I had a story of 46 Iraqi troops surrendering to a Kiawa in the 1st Gulf. The co-pilot got out with a 9 mil to make them all sit down to wait for a truck. Ballsy move!

    Stay safe and keep the stories coming. Loved the Pictgure book I just received. Great work!
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    LTC Bill Catttley · 8 years ago
    Sorry, late night. I meant write up of the KW.

    Stay safe.
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    MAUREEN STINSON · 8 years ago
    Thank you seems too plain or simple. YOU put your life on the line so that we may understand what is truely going on. It would be rewarding to know others cared enough to report the true as you do. You are sacrificing for our Country, which we are all grateful. God be with you and keep you safe at all times. Prayers are lifted up tonight.
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    Violette · 8 years ago
    is on Mission ! !
    I like your disch-patches,Mike,and "adventures" with your buddy CMS Cook, as well all the Vet's stories,taking down THE THUGS.
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    Rob · 8 years ago
    be safe man - and thanks!
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    SFMed · 8 years ago
    Can anyone tell me what the green looking disk thing is in the main picture inside the transport? It looks like a foot in diameter. What is it?
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    OldCav · 8 years ago
    I noticed the commsat in the background with the picture of the AF JTAC. I used to carry that around on a few missions and wonder if the two black boxes got any smaller/lighter. Just a curiosity thing.

    I also remember working alongside some JTAC in korea which pretty much drove around in a decked out M151 Jeep filled with so much radio equipment they could just barely sit in it.

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