Category Archives: GWOT

Chechen Snipers

By lex, on July 15th, 2010

US forces engage in a sniper duel in Paktika Province, Afghanistan:

Battalion intelligence overheard Afghans talking about foreign fighters in the village. A few days later, the company overheard traffic in a language its interpreters did not recognize. To kill the marksmen and to find out if there was indeed any foreign connection, the company commander, Capt. Joshua Powers, requested snipers.

In the last week of May, a platoon and a sniper team patrolled toward Palau, hoping to pick a fight with the sharpshooters.

From a roof, the sniper team watched as a pair of men with long rifles, clad in hooded desert camouflage jackets, moved toward the platoon’s position.

“We saw them, they saw us, and it was like a mutual ‘Oh crap, snipers,’ kind of thing,” recalled Cpl. Henry Uken, the American sniper team leader.

For the next two-and-a-half hours, the American and insurgent marksmen traded shots. The gunmen’s rate of fire and their arm movements, visible through scopes, suggested to the corporal and his gunner, Specialist Garrett Taylor, that the shooters were using bolt-action rifles like the famous Lee Enfield.

The fighters used their camouflage to move from place to place, firing at the sniper team from two directions.

Eventually, darkness came and the shooting stopped.

The “game” re-commenced the next day, and ended with a helicopter strike.

Whatever happens, we have got Air support, and they do not.

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Shadow Gallery, The Art of Intelligence

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Guns.com has an interesting article on the CIA’s once secret art collection that detailed its Operations in World War 2, the Cold War and the GWOT:

Everything the CIA touches becomes shrouded in mystery, including their “Intelligence Art Collection.” While most people don’t have access to the paintings and sculptures inside the CIA, the Southern Museum of Flight in Alabama is open to the public and displays replicas in their exhibit called “Shadow Gallery, The Art of Intelligence,”

The boing boing article goes on the say that the art collection is also available for viewing online at the CIAs website.

Other than the painting above heres another on of my favorites:

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The painting is called “Seven Days in the Arctic:

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed for every advantage, including study of the Arctic for its strategic value. For seven days in May 1962, under Project COLDFEET, the US Intelligence Community pursued an opportunity to collect intelligence from an abandoned Soviet drift station on a floating ice island deep in the Arctic. The Soviets had hastily evacuated the station when shifting ice made its aircraft runway unusable, abandoning the remote base and its equipment and research materials. Upon discovering that the station had been abandoned, the Intelligence Community formed a team of officers from the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the US Air Force, and the CIA to develop a plan conceived by US Navy Lt.(jg) Leonard LeSchack, to parachute specialists on to the site and retrieve them using a unique airborne pickup device, Robert Fulton’s Skyhook. The Skyhook was an adaptation of devices Great Britain and the United States had used in the 1940s and early 1950s to allow fixed-wing aircraft to pick up people or objects from the ground without landing. Fulton’s device had been tested, but it had never been used operationally.

COLDFEET came to life on 28 May, when LeSchack and Air Force Major James F. Smith were dropped on to the abandoned post from a B-17. The plane belonged to CIA proprietary Intermountain Aviation and was flown by the company’s pilots, Connie Seigrist and Doug Price, accompanied by a polar navigator borrowed from Pan American Airlines and other Intermountain crew members to operate the recovery equipment. On 2 June, under extremely difficult conditions caused by poor visibility and high winds, the B-17 returned to make three successful passes with the Skyhook to collect the men and the Soviet material they had retrieved. The mission yielded information on the Soviet Union’s Arctic research activities, including evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice US submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.

The painting’s unveiling at CIA headquarters on 21 April 2008 and the ceremony honoring COLDFEET participants brought team members together for the first time in 46 years. Many of the family members who joined them had never been to CIA Headquarters, let alone heard of the contributions their relatives had made in an extraordinarily challenging Cold War mission.

I had never heard of Project COLDFEET:

What became known as Operation Coldfeet began in May 1961, when a naval aircraft flying an aeromagnetic survey over the Arctic Ocean reported sighting an abandoned Soviet drift station. A few days later, the Soviets announced that they had been forced to leave Station NP 9 (a different station, NP 8 ended up being the target) when the ice runway used to supply it had been destroyed by a pressure ridge,[1] and it was assumed that it would be crushed in the Arctic Ocean.[2]
The prospect of examining an abandoned Soviet ice station attracted the interest of the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research. The previous year, ONR had set an acoustical surveillance network on a U.S. drift station used to monitor Soviet submarines. ONR assumed that the Soviets would have a similar system to keep track of American submarines as they transited the polar ice pack, but there was no direct evidence to support this. Also, ONR wanted to compare Soviet efforts on drift stations with U.S. operations. The problem was how to get to NP 9. It was far too deep into the ice pack to be reached by an icebreaker, and it was out of helicopter range.
To Captain John Cadwalader, who would command Operation Coldfeet, it looked like “a wonderful opportunity” to make use of the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system. Following a recommendation by Dr. Max Britton, head of the Arctic program in the Geography Branch of ONR, Rear Admiral L. D. Coates, Chief of Naval Research, authorized preliminary planning for the mission while he sought final approval from the Chief of Naval Operations. The mission was scheduled for September 1961, a time of good weather and ample daylight. NP 9 would be within 600 miles (970 km) of the U.S. Air Force base at Thule, Greenland, the planned launching point for the operation.
ONR selected two highly qualified investigators for the ground assignment. Major James Smith, USAF, was an experienced paratrooper and Russian linguist who had served on U.S. Drift Stations Alpha and Charlie. Lieutenant Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR, a former Antarctic geophysicist, had set up the surveillance system on T-3 in 1960. Although not jump qualified, he quickly went through the Navy parachuting course at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey. During the summer, the two men trained on the Fulton retrieval system, working in Maryland with an experienced P2V Neptune crew at the Naval Air Test Center at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
Because formal clearance had arrived too late and NP 9 had drifted too far away, the project was put on hold, but in March 1962 news came forward that another ice station (NP 8) had also been abandoned, which was in reach from Canadian airfields. As NP 8 also was a more up-to-date facility than NP 9, the project’s target was shifted to NP 8.[1]
On 28 May 1962, a converted CIA B-17 Flying Fortress 44-85531, registered as N809Z,[3] piloted by Connie Seigrist and Douglas Price dropped both men by parachute on NP 8. On 1 June, Seigrist and Price returned and a pick-up was made of the Soviet equipment that had been gathered and of both men, using a Fulton Skyhook system installed on the B-17. This mission required the use of three separate extractions—first for the Soviet equipment, then of LeSchack and finally of Smith.[2]
Operation Coldfeet was a success. The mission yielded information on the Soviet Union’s Arctic research activities, including evidence of advanced research on acoustical systems to detect under-ice U.S. submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.[2]

It’s a rather small collection that’s available for online viewing but it gives glimpse into some interesting history.

The painting I’d REALLY love to see is the one about Project AZORIAN.

Looks like there’s going to have to a trip to the Southern Museum of Flight to see other paintings in the collection.

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Filed under Freedom!, Good Stuff, GWOT, Heroes Among Us, History, Patriotism

Hell Hath No Fury…

Or so I’ve heard 🙂

Ok I admit, like most men, I’ve got first hand evidence of that (had to believe that I know). However, if you’re of the younger sort and don’t have a clue you might want to take it from Hizzoner:

A guy gets his feelings hurt and odds are the other guy will say, “Whoops sorry dude, didn’t mean it that way,” and they’ll shake hands and walk away.

With women they smile and shrug, right up until the moment where she’s standing over you with the dripping butcher’s knife as you struggle into consciousness and wonder what that cold feeling is, down there under the sheets.

Yeah.

That.

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In COMPLETELY UNRELATED news:

When John Brennan sits down at his daily 8:30 a.m. senior staff meeting at CIA headquarters, America’s top spy sees something none of his predecessors ever saw.

On Brennan’s left is Avril Haines, deputy director of the CIA — and a woman. On his right, is Meroe Park, executive director of the agency — also a woman. In a third chair at the seventh-floor conference room table sits Director of Intelligence Fran Moore, the CIA’s chief analyst — yes, a woman.

In fact, on most days, says Moore, the majority of the two dozen people in the room are women. Aided by her longtime colleague Sue Gordon, the CIA’s director of support, Moore ticked off the titles of the agency’s new female elite – but not their names, some of which are classified.

and unsurprising to me they aren’t only pretty faces either:

Most importantly, CIA women have taken on critical roles, from leading the “targeting teams” that helped take down al Qaeda’s leader to serving as station chiefs in sensitive locations. Women now make up a third of the agency’s senior staff, triple the level of 20 years ago.

Aside from the managerial roles women have been involved in CIA operations for quite a while. It’s interesting history and I for one am glad they’re on our side 🙂

Oh and just in case you’re offended head on over to Old AF Sarge’s place for the Friday Fly-By. I heard he’s got a way with women 🙂

Maybe he’ll bail me out as he usually does…lol!

But seriously, thank you ladies for your service to the Nation, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

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DoD Drops the Ball, Again

Sgt Peralta

Sgt. Rafael Peralta
United States Marine Corps

Go read this: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/12/panetta-denies-medal-honor-marine-dived-grenade/. It’s a story of incredible bravery and sacrifice by one of our country’s finest. And a story of abject failure in our nation’s capital.

It seems that the a$$hats who run the Department of Defense (DoD) can’t trust eyewitness testimony. Eyewitness testimony from the Marines whose lives were saved by Sgt Peralta. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Sgt Peralta, you earned this by giving your life for your fellow Marines.

Navy MoH

You will not be forgotten.

Semper Fi!

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The Daily Lex – September 23rd

Frontier Arithmetic

Good news:

Insurgents attacked a NATO and Afghan Army outpost in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, and at least 25 of the militants were killed in the resulting skirmish, officials said yesterday.

Troops at the combat outpost in the Spera district of Khost Province returned fire with mortars late Tuesday, killing 25 to […]

Originally published on September 23rd, 2010.

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Two Little, Too Late

Two Navy guided missile destroyers are being deployed off the coast of Libya, after attacks Tuesday on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador, military officials told Fox News.

Seems a Marine FAST team is in the area now, as well. For to do what, one has to wonder. While it seems unlikely anyone would send over a B-2 to leave behind a pair, or two, of special weapons over this, back in a day not so long departed retribution for a bombed night club showed itself in the form of Operation El Dorado Canyon. As far as military operations go, it weren’t that much of a deal, except for that ginormously long ride for the Zoomie Crew in their uber fabulous Aardvarks. Forth and back AROUND France and Spain (the latter as a matter of forced coincidence) with no place to stop and defuel one’s bladder; yer Humble Scribe woulda been grateful for a relief tube or a piddle pack or two. Ah, but I digress.

The forces called into play:

Target Planned Actual
Aircraft Bombing Aircraft Hit Miss
Bab al-Azizia barracks 9× F-111F 36× GBU-10 2,000 lb (910 kg) LGB 3× bombed
1× missed
4× aborts
1× lost
13 3
Murat Sidi Bilal camp 3× F-111F 12× GBU-10 2,000 lb LGB all bombed 12
Tripoli airfield
(fmr. Wheelus Air Base)
6× F-111F 72× Mk 82 500 lb (230 kg) RDB 5× bombed
1× abort
60
Jamahiriyah (Benghazi) barracks 7× A-6E 84× Mk 82 500 lb RDB 6× bombed
1× abort on deck
70 2
Benina airfield 8× A-6E 72× Mk 20 500 lb CBU
24× Mk 82 500 lb RDB
6× bombed
2× aborts
60× Mk 20
12× Mk 82
Air defense
networks
Tripoli 6× A-7E Shrike
16× HARM
all aircraft fired 8× Shrike
16× HARM
Benghazi 6× F/A-18 4× Shrike
20× HARM
all aircraft fired 4× Shrike
20× HARM
Totals 45 aircraft 300 bombs
48 missiles
35 bombed
1 missed
1 lost
8 aborts
227 hits
5 misses
48 homing missiles

All that and more for a night club we didn’t even own, the cause being there were American Service men and women in the night club. America took offense at the attack on our kin, and none more so than our then-President, Ronald Reagan. Three Aircraft Carrier Battle Groups and 18 of the aforementioned uber fabulous Aardvarks later, all was not well in Libya. “Take a poke at us, and we’ll bust yer beak” was the message, and Libya got it. Muammar Gaddafi went dark, and the world was seldom troubled by hearing his voice again for more than two decades.

That was then, in a day of REAL national leadership.

Today, we mourn the loss of an American Ambassador and three of his team. We ponder, querulously, the attack on not just one, but now three Embassies. For those who missed this morning’s America’s Newsroom, sorry to be the bearer of more bad news. We now have a third Embassy under attack in Yemen. Clearly not a coincidence. Clearly not a matter of happenstance. Clearly, a matter of blown intelligence. Or was it? Clearly, coordinated events not being responded to in adequate fashion…as yet. Clearly, Americans have no hope of there being an adequate response.

Frankly, I’m sick and tired of bashing the current National Command Authority. Frankly, it needs to be changed out for leadership focused on protecting American interests. Frankly, that the current National Command Authority has not responded in a more forceful manner is, in the opinion of yer humble scribe, outright treason. Traveling to New York to commiserate with certain of our enemies, as well as some limpity DJ, is not the response we seek. As a nation, we seem to find ourselves in the days of Neville Chamberlain, wherein we hear proclamations of “All is well. Fret not”. As a nation, I pray we respond “Not so!” and give the author of such utterances his comeuppance.

The morning wears on, and I’ve not yet had my cup of tea. With apologies to Hogday, such is a travesty in and of itself. One does not start one’s day without a cup of tea, but these attacks gave me cause for exception.

I’m infuriated by what is transpiring, and feel near helpless to give more response than I have here.

Now on to that cup of tea…

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