Michael's Dispatches

Michael Yon Alert


11 December 2011

This weekend I spoke for several hours with a retired Special Forces Soldier.  Much of the numerous conversations revolved around the terrible Army policy of sending unarmed Dustoff helicopters into combat.  These helicopters are emblazoned with Red Crosses.  The Red Crosses are intended to alert the enemy that the helicopters are unarmed.  The Taliban and other enemies in Afghanistan do not abide by the Geneva Conventions and they shoot at the unarmed helicopters.

Some members of the Army, Air Force and Marines are very happy that I have taken on the cause of arming the Dustoff helicopters.  However, some top brass in the Army is extremely angry to be called out for supporting the dangerous policy of sending unarmed Soldiers into combat.

The retired Green Beret friend, whom I sometimes call for advice, has warned me about this one.  He wants the crosses off, and recognizes that this is a fight with people in big places.  My friend warns, “If they can argue with facts, they will fight you with the facts.  The facts are not on their side.  You won that argument.  When the facts are not on their side, they will argue the law.  There is no law to argue here.  The facts are against them and the law won’t help, and so they will shoot the messenger.  Watch your back on this one.”

Advice taken.

The current Army strategy is to paint me as paranoid or mentally unstable.  They did this last year with regard to Brigadier General Daniel Menard and General McChrystal.  Both were then fired and so it turned out that I was not so crazy after all.  But I was months ahead of the curve in saying they should be fired, and I admit it looked crazy at the time to say that two general should be sent home.  And I was saying this during a time when I was being disembedded.  But my disembedding could have also stemmed from the fact that I was publishing, while still embedded, that Menard should be fired.  Bottom line: my efforts created powerful enemies.

That would have been my final Army embed had General Petraeus not invited me back.

McChrystal’s fellas and Menard’s wildcards tried to paint me as mentally unstable, but it backfired when they both were both fired.

Importantly, I had possession of military communications that I never released that would have proven there was a conspiracy between McChrystal’s staff and some milbloggers to defame me.  Some of the milbloggers are little more than mouthpieces for the military.  In fact, one of General McChrystal’s staffers secretly ran a milblog (The Quatto Zone) before I outed him.  It’s back online these days.

Let’s invest a few sentences to review a 2010 history: 

They disembbeded me while I was writing positive things about the troops.  (But was saying Menard needed to be fired.)  And so they disembbedded a writer, me, who consistently praises our combat forces, and they embedded the Rolling Stone guy who got McChrystal fired.  And so who is crazy here?

In addition to kicking me out and welcoming Rolling Stone in, they embedded a 21 year-old guy named Michael Enright.  Mr. Enright did a quick and uneventful embed in Afghanistan.  When Mr. Enright returned to America, he got drunk and slashed a taxi driver’s throat.

The Army kicked me out (not the “military” but the Army), then embedded Rolling Stone, who got their boss fired, and in the same era they embedded Michael Enright.  Yes, I am the writer who has written three books and hundreds of dispatches praising the troops.  Rolling Stone is the one who got their boss fired in 2010, and separately in 2011 tried to make US troops looks like psychopaths, and tried to get another general fired.  I defended the military with inside knowledge.

So, when they say that I am crazy, they are saying that the man who writes good stuff about them has no credibility.  That’s crazy.  (And don’t forget Rolling Stone and Michael Enright.)

The Army knows that I am making moves to return to Afghanistan.  And so messages have gone out over classified channels that I will not be able to embed.  It’s crazy for the Army to think I won’t hear about this.  Huge numbers of troops read my work and you can bet the house that someone in every HQ in Afghanistan knows how to reach me.  This stuff floods back.

Sadly, the IJC (basically the HQ in Afghanistan) has not told me that they will not credential an embed.  It’s clear to insiders that they are trying to bait me over to Afghanistan before turning me down.

When I wrote that the IJC put out a CCIR (Commander's Critical Information Requirements) for me, mouthpieces again kicked in saying I am being paranoid.  But again, I have proof.

The red ink is mine, but the “Michael Yon Alert” is theirs:

Email from MSG Nicholas J Conner, CJTF-1CD PAO NCOIC
Subject: Michael Yon Alert


I have received word from IJC that Michael Yon announced that he is coming back to Afghanistan. I do not know if he intends to travel to RC-East. This is to notify you that he WILL NOT be credentialed by IJC/ISAF. As such, he is to have NO ACCESS to ISAF bases, personnel, transportation or life support.

His presence in any AO is considered CCIR and reported up the chain onf command immediately. Please ensure that this message is disseminated to ALL units; including PRTs and ADTs. Do not be the one that ends up in the fishbowl.

Call me if you have questions or concerns.

MSG Nicholas Conner
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DSN: 318-431-4102

The IJC is under the command of Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti.  I am told that LTG Scaparrotti is a good commander.  Yet battle lines are being drawn, as they were with Menard and McChrystal.  It’s possible that someone has misrepresented the IJC position and thus misrepresented the intent of LTG Scaparrotti.  If LTG Scaparrotti’s staffers are misrepresenting him, they are endangering his reputation.

At present, the benefit of the doubt is going to LTG Scaparrotti.

After this dispatch is published, LTG Scaparrotti is considered to be alerted that IJC, under his command, is banning me without cause and have put out a CCIR.  The CCIR is the police equivalent of an APB.  This is serious business and is the stuff they wake up commanders for.  If LTG Scaparrotti’s people put out a CCIR for a New York Times writer, this would be headline news.

The Army is upset that they are being called out on a faulty MEDEVAC policy, and they are responding in ways that will cause damage to military officers.

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Barnett · 8 years ago
    Mike, I think there is a small contingent who would prefer you show up, but for a very bad reason. If they refuse you access to life support, that gives an out for the small percentage that would like to see you come to harm, or worse. Be careful... it definitely appears that a few in the Army want you fragged. This information will be forwarded to all Florida congressmen and the Governor's office tomorrow morning.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    TJH · 8 years ago
    Wow... and I thought it was too dangerous to go near Mexico.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ryden · 8 years ago
    Do you think it possible to become embedded with Army units ever again considering their strange oppinions of you? Is the Army alone in trying to freeze you out, or have others like the Marine Corps, the British Army, etc. adopted the same policy?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    kat · 8 years ago
    michael i have followed your blog since you first published it. i am one of the ones so greatful that you do what you do. when the comflict with iraq and afghanistan started i wanted to know the truth about what was going on over there. like most ignorant americans i turned to the news and soon found that the information didnt stack up. so i started to ask people i knew that were over there and involved in the conflict first hand. i found that we are only told what the government wants us to hear and most american people are ok with that. i want to thank you for taking a stand and being willing to go against the big wigs to tell us the truth even though it is obvious to me that if there isnt already a price on your head there soon will be. my father loved this country and retired a master sargent in the marines a proud man. he would be so proud to call you his brother and so do i. watch your back michael but keep on fighting the good fight.thank you
  • This commment is unpublished.
    A&E · 8 years ago
    We have more enemies in this country than over seas, Mike. Life means nothing to them...It's politics and power. Do you believe me now that you have seen it with your own eyes? And you thought I was crazy...sort of ironic...Welcome to the half of the country who have caught on. It isn't just with you...it isn't just the war in Afghanistan. Try defending yourself against drug cartels and worse..yes worse..right here in the USA. There are a lot of us with APBs out on us...You are not alone...watch your back.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Barbara · 8 years ago
    Dear Michael,
    Please be very careful.It looks like someone is out to get you.
    What a sad situation when all you're doing is telling the truth.
    My prayers are with you.
    Thank you for all your reports.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    marmot · 8 years ago
    Maybe you should consider embedding with Taliban? At last they seem not to be afraid of you and your pen as much as US Army
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ron · 8 years ago
    thank you
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Tesdal · 8 years ago
    I've contacted my representative again, Denny Rehburg (R, MT), who is running for the Senate next year. I hope and pray that this story gets the attention it deserves. Be safe Michael; they are gunning for you. Watch your six, we will try to cover you so the truth can come out.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alan Johnson · 8 years ago
    Michael, very telling that you have a NSG instead of an officer that puts it on the line, I know you have been talking to lots of folks about it. Keep up the good fight!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sandra · 8 years ago
    I feared this would be the way they handled the criticism. I only repeat what has already been said. Watch your back!!! Power corrupts. Take care, maybe go with the Brits or does the invitation still stand?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Joy Kasper · 8 years ago
    In this country no one should be afraid to speak the truth without fear of retribution. So wrong...and so terribly sad. Take care and continue the good fight. Your efforts are not in vain.
    Just use good judgement and choose your friends wisely. Blessings to you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Martin Dolittle · 8 years ago
    Havving followed your blog for some time, and being a psychologist, I'd recommend you from seeing one of my colleagues.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Matthew · 8 years ago
      There is one "v" in "having" and I think you mean "...I'd recommend you FOR seeing one of my colleagues."
      I hope you didn't pay too much for your education.
      Better luck next time.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    kat · 8 years ago
    sir i am sure that you are the one who needs help if you actually think that our government officials both high and low would not as soon as see you disappear as lose face.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    John Raven Fan · 8 years ago
    Michael, I am not sure going back to A-stan is worth your life! Lots of weapons around and someone could have an AD when you happen to be down range.

    Be safe, going to donate some $$ to you right now JUST BECAUSE these D-bags are trying to stop you. Stay safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    catchesthewind · 8 years ago
    Have you considered embedding with the marines or the brits. You could still have access to what you want and be able to tell the truth. If the army does you dirty retribution can be ordered but that wont do you much good in Arlington.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ed Maynard · 8 years ago
    Michael, what do you say to something like that. I think that some people in OUR Army have forgotten who they work for - the American People. You've exposed and reported on something that needs to be addressed because it's putting lives in danger. The Army doesn't have a friggin leg to stand on this so they are going to handle it the dirty way. I echo the concerns of everyone else - watch your back. I would encourage everyone out there to contact their representatives and anyone that they know in the media - this crap has to stop. It's just another item in the long list of what is going wrong in this country - stupidity abounds.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CantposttoyourFBpage · 8 years ago
    So what the Army isn't allowing you access to their FOBs/COBs in RC-East? The country is HUGE and a lot of other RCs to cover.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      John-Capt in ANG · 8 years ago
      He's saying HQ (or actually, IJC HQ, the Star HQ), which is the tactical HQ for day to day ops, has E-mailed that he's not to be allowed on ISAF bases. This means any ISAF base, if they follow this guidance, any where in the theater. So it's not just US Army, not just the US, and not just RC-E/FOBs/COBs. ISAF is the overarching, NATO Command for all of Afghanistan. ISAF is NATO's missing: International Security Assistance Force. ISAF is supporting security for GIRoA: Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CantposttoyourFBpage · 8 years ago
    Why can't I post comments to your FB page?
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Michael Yon Author · 8 years ago
      No idea. There was a time (recently) when many people also had a hard time posting here. We seem to have repaired that issue, but I have no idea with Facebook.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      TJH · 8 years ago
      If you haven't clicked on "Like" on the facebook page, it's a read-only.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Penny Alesi · 8 years ago
    Good for you to continue to get the truth out. That's what they do, when they get nervous & are guilty. They tell everyone you are the nutcase. I know this first hand. Hang in there, fight the good fight and know that angels persist. Best to you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Penny Alesi · 8 years ago
    I think you should go to Mexico next.
    Believe me when I say you will do alot of good there.........
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Heywood Jablomi · 8 years ago
    I would love to read more specifically about WHO is behind the absurd Army Dust Off policy.

    It is clear that there are bureaucracies and offices and chieftains of minor fiefdoms who can and should be identified by name, Mike. If we know who they are, we can shame them by name in public, and cite them by name in our correspondence with Congress.

    After all, they work for us. Something that many of them tend to forget. Naming and shaming them would enable us to remind them.

    Hang in there, my friend.

    RLTW and DOL,

    Heywood Jablomi
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter Lagos · 8 years ago
    Mr. Yon, thank you for your outstanding support for the troops who are doing "WORK" to the bad guys. Your dispatches are not only true, they are accurate! I post all of them on my FACEBOOK to remind the people I know that there is still a "WAR" going on still to this day. You have my loyalty and support. If you are passing through Manas, Kyrgyzstan in the within the next six months, I would love to have the honor of meeting you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Brian · 8 years ago
    As Elvis Presley once said "Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away."
    Keep up the good work and stay safe.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Peter · 8 years ago
    Michael, is there a subtler approach, back alley as it were? No one likes to be proved wrong. Can your extensive list of connections bend the ways and means?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Sam · 8 years ago
    We need you embedded near the now unmanned border crossing on the Rio Grande.

    God bless
  • This commment is unpublished.
    LanceS · 8 years ago
    Mike, sounds like some Army are hiding behind the lines and their rank while planning to do you wrong. Before you commit, make sure it is worth the ante. This whole Army mess is disgraceful, more money on its way. Thanks for your reporting.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    A. C. · 8 years ago
    I don't suppose General Petraeus would be able to find anything the CIA is doing that you could write about over there? Yes, I know, two chances, slim and none, but he seems to be more of a friend than the rest of the Army brass.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ron · 8 years ago
    I sent him a question. "Why are you so afraid of Michael Yon?" Will let you know if he responds. EVERYONE should email and ask him the same question!!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tom Kratman · 8 years ago

    Law-wise, what you either are running into or will run into is the indefensible notion that the law of war is like any other body of law, something absolute, rather than, essentially a gentleman's agreement of give and take. The notion's been growing ever since Nuremburg and it's been springing from people who not only never fought, but really can't imagine it: Intellectuals, lawyers, international law judges, professors, and the international community of the ever so caring and sensitive. I wish you all the luck in the world with this, but you are shovelling shit against the tide.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    crosspatch · 8 years ago
    Well, part of the problem might be an religious ideology issue. If they painted those helicopters with a red crescent, the Taliban might not shoot at them. They are going to shoot at a cross just because it is a cross.

    You have to ask yourself what is more important, getting the wounded to care or maintaining your own traditions. If we insist on putting a cross on those helicopters, the Taliban will insist on shooting them down. If they put a crescent on them, there is a chance the Taliban might respect it for what it is.

    Have we actually tried that and see if it made any difference? That also points out the need for a culturally neuter symbol for medical help that is not based on a religious symbol and for its ubiquitous adoption globally.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Pete Kosel · 8 years ago
    You probably shouldn't have published that guy's e-mail address.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Michael Yon Author · 8 years ago
      He's public affairs. His job is to deal with the public and media. Their addresses typically are publicly posted. Some people were angry last year when I published a PAO officer's email address, but he was a PAO officer and his email address was readily available.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    davincishadow · 8 years ago
    Hey Michael, for years now I've followed your work and been so grateful for your reporting of the truth. Maybe you could just take a vacation for a while? You've started the ball rolling, you can perhaps sit back and watch it's inertia work. (And then return when conditions are more favorable to NOT getting hurt by the bozos) We need you in good health, there are many truths that will need to be told....your voice must not be silenced. Take care, brother.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    latitas · 8 years ago
    :oops: another blunder for the "enlightened"....!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tchirpbird · 8 years ago
    Put a dark wig on your head,slip in baggy pants with a spy camera in a pocket,you will look like a drug smuggler/dealer,[just kidiiiiiiiding],but don't forget the colt!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    rappini · 8 years ago
    Michael, all I can say is remember Ron Brown keep and eye on you six.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Scott Dudley · 8 years ago
    Michael and Richard. Due to your fix I can now read the comments!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jbad04 · 8 years ago
    Darn well check 6 Mike, you've really struck a nerve. Had family member wounded in combat in A-stan and had over 45 min. evac time. Family member okay but can't say more due to family member being career soldier. Really ticks me off, thanks for fighting this fight.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    whiskey sierra · 8 years ago
    Just a suggestion:
    back channel to Jerry Boykin and Peter Schoomaker to query which power brokers are stonewalling the medevac w/crosses instead of guns issues. Always found that getting into the "star chamber" for the inside story was vital to policy strategy and tactics to win against the bureaucracy and bullshit in high places. All the best, De Oppesso Illegitimus!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marine Jillings · 8 years ago
    I am in the Royal Marines Commandos and i think these blogs a lot of people about the military are doing these days are awesome!! iv got one but i don't do a diary i just put random shit on it!! haha.

  • This commment is unpublished.
    nellie · 8 years ago
    As ever politics ranks higher than troop welfare - no surprise there then?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Duke · 8 years ago
    Our family prays for your safety, Michael.

    Take care, and God speed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    sergeant shintabet · 8 years ago
    Posters, please refrain from the easy indignation. 11 years into a conflict is not the time to notice the lawyers have their fingers on the fingers on the trigger. Replace JAG-offs with shooters, Media-embeds with vet-bloggers, and the tin-eared "yes"-men will retire. Or resign.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Reset-Overcharge Btn · 8 years ago
    I think the problem here is one of spelling. If you consider the helicopters as "Dustovs" rather than "Dustoffs", it becomes clear that this entire controversy stems from a Soviet conspiracy to kill American soldiers.

    That's almost ridiculous and far-fetched enough to be plausible, given the gang of dissembling ass-coverers who've got a hare up their behinds for you, Mike. Stay safe!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    richard40 · 8 years ago
    So they ban Michael Yon, one of the best most honest combat reporters alive, one who consistently wrote favorable stories about the average trooper, and the importance of the mission. But they allowed that leftist clown from Rolling Stone access at the theatre commander level. No wonder we are in danger of losing this war.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cheyenne · 8 years ago
    An email saying that Michal Yon is the enemy...I'm amazed and ticked. Unfotunatley I am only 13 so I can't do anything about it! So I get friends who can. Honestly I usually don't get involved in this type of crap beings nobody is gonna take a 13 year old seriously but I usually can make some sort of difference in things I am involved in. Be Safe Michael and I will try to help in any way I can!
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Mike Barnett · 8 years ago
      It warms my heart to know there is a 13 year old with as much sense as Cheyenne. Write to your Congressmen and your Governor, Cheyenne... the opinion of a 13 year old deserves to be heard just as much as the opinion of anyone else, or at least it should.

      I'm glad you are reading Michael's posts, and even more pleased that you think for yourself. With enough young folk like you, our future seems just a bit brighter to me.
      • This commment is unpublished.
        Cheyenne · 8 years ago
        Ha!!! I tried that several times over several things. But who's really gonna listen to a 13 year old. I learned when you want something done sometimes you have to do something on your own without causing problems. I've learned to think for myself on a lot of matters and I'll do it here too.

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