Category Archives: GWOT

Fair and Balanced

By lex, on June 22nd, 2011

Last week we learned that our Pakistani allies were rounding up some of the usual suspects on suspicion of having provided the US with information on Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts.

This week we learn that the army’s internal security division has detained a Pakistani brigadier on suspicion of collaborating with the Hizb-ut-Tahrir militant group:

The detention of the officer, Brig. Ali Khan, raises serious concerns about the infiltration of elements sympathetic to Islamic extremists in the higher ranks of the army. While the lower ranks of the army, air force and navy have long been known to have elements sympathetic to the Taliban and extremist organizations, the arrest of Brigadier Khan is the first known arrest of an army official.

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Navy Cross

By lex, on June 10th, 2011

Two Marines will receive the nation’s second highest award for valor for their conduct during a bloody ambush  * in eastern Afghanistan in 2009:

Fabayo, then a first lieutenant, is credited with pushing into a kill zone on foot and engaging enemy at close range with his M4 carbine. He braved heavy enemy fire to carry wounded Army Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth Westbrook several hundred meters, treated wounded Afghan forces that his unit was training and took the gunner’s position in a gun truck with three other service members as they drove into the kill zone to recover the bodies of three Marines and a corpsman killed in the battle.

Rodriguez-Chavez was assigned to the unit’s security element during the ambush. Under heavy fire, he drove a gun truck into the kill zone three times to cover the withdrawal of the training team and partnered Afghan forces. He then made a fourth trip into the deepest part of the kill zone in another truck to recover the bodies of the fallen Marines and corpsman, positioning his vehicle to shield fellow service members from the intense fire as they left the vehicle to retrieve the bodies.

In October, the Marine Corps recommended that the gunner with Rodriguez-Chavez, former Cpl. Dakota Meyer, receive the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, sources with knowledge of the award process told Marine Corps Times. He is credited with charging into the kill zone repeatedly on foot to find the missing Marines, who had been shot to death and stripped of their weapons. No decision on his award has been announced.

Three Marines and a Navy corpsman were killed during the ambush, and a US Army officer later died of wounds. Eight Afghan soldiers and an interpreter were also killed.

The story is sadly not exclusively one  * of courage and intrepidity under fire:

The training team, out of Okinawa, Japan, was pinned down without artillery and air support for hours by well entrenched insurgents armed with assault rifles, rocket propelled grenades and machine guns, prompting a joint Army-Marine military investigation.

Conducted by Army Col. Richard Hooker and Marine Col. James Werth, it determined that “negligent” leadership by three officers at nearby Forward Operating Base Joyce contributed “directly to the loss of life which ensued.” They refused direct calls for help from U.S. forces on the ground and failed to notify higher commands that they had troops in contact with enemy, the investigation found.

Two of the three negligent officers apparently received “career killing” letters of reprimand.

The Marines and soldiers on the front line in Afghanistan know they face a cruel and implacable foe. They have a right to expect better support from the rear.

** Original links gone; replaced – Ed

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Bonus Aircraft

By lex, on June 6th, 2011

A Pakistani Air Force F-16 pilot on exchange with the Turkish Air Force gives some interesting insights into the PAF’s procurement and tactical strategies: *

Q 16: Any memorable experiences that you would like to share?

A: On one occasion – in one of the international Anatolian Eagles – PAF pilots were pitted against RAF Typhoons, a formidable aircraft. There were three set-ups and in all three, we shot down the Typhoons. The RAF pilots were shocked.

Q 17: Any particular reason for your success?

A: NATO pilots are not that proficient in close-in air-to-air combat. They are trained for BVR engagements and their tactics are based on BVR engagements. These were close-in air combat exercises and we had the upper hand because close-in air combat is drilled into every PAF pilot and this is something we are very good at.

An interesting comment indeed.

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Go Down Hard

By lex, on June 3rd, 2011

Gurkha Cpl. Dipprasad Pun thought his life was ending. He decided to make it count:

Cpl Pun, from the 1st Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles, was presented with the CGC during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, during which a number of other soldiers were recognised for their bravery.

Speaking after receiving the honour from the Queen, the Gurkha said: ‘I’m very excited and happy to here in the Palace to receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross. This will be a great memory for the future…’

The soldier fired more than 400 rounds, launched 17 grenades and detonated a mine to thwart the Taliban assault on his checkpoint near Babaji in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, last September.

At one point, after exhausting all his ammunition, he had to use the tripod of his machine gun to beat away a militant who was climbing the walls of the compound.

Speaking about the actions which earned him the CGC, he said: ‘At that time I wasn’t worried, there wasn’t any choice but to fight. The Taliban were all around the checkpoint, I was alone.’I had so many of them around me that I thought I was definitely going to die so I thought I’d kill as many of them as I could before they killed me.

When the end is in sight, some men curl up, and other men stand up. Tough buggers, the Gurkhas.

Ayo Gurkahli!

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RLTW

By lex, on June 2nd, 2011

Meet Army SFC Leroy Arthur Petry, the second living awardee of the Medal of Honor:

Recognizing the threat that the enemy grenade posed to his fellow Rangers, Petry — despite his own wounds and with complete disregard for his personal safety — consciously and deliberately risked his life to move to and secure the live enemy grenade and consciously throw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers, according to battlefield reports.

As Petry released the grenade in the direction of the enemy, preventing the serious injury or death of Higgins and Robinson, it detonated and catastrophically amputated his right hand.

With a clear mind, Petry assessed his wound and placed a tourniquet on his right arm. Once this was complete, he reported that he was still in contact with the enemy and that he had been wounded again…

Higgins later wrote in a statement, “if not for Staff Sergeant Petry’s actions, we would have been seriously wounded or killed…”

Petry currently serves as a liaison officer for the United States Special Operations Command Care Coalition-Northwest Region, and provides oversight to wounded warriors, ill and injured servicemembers and their families…

He has deployed eight times in support of the War on Terror, with two tours to Iraq and six tours to Afghanistan.

Geez.

That’s all I’ve got: “Geez.”

 

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Roommates

By lex, on May 28th, 2011

Travis Manion and Brendan Looney were roommates at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Rugged athletes who wanted into the fight, shared private jokes, intermingled their families. They were both killed, separately, fighting the nation’s wars  – Travis as an officer of Marines who died exposing himself to sniper fire while coming to the aid of wounded comrades in Iraq, Navy SEAL Brendan in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Separated in life, they now lie united again in death, interred side by side at Arlington National Cemetery:

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Proportional Use of Force

By lex, on May 19th, 2011

A US Navy helicopter crew fired on a Somali skiff engaged in piracy, apparently killing all four pirates:

The interdiction took place at 10:35 a.m. local time. The Norfolk, Va.-based Bulkeley, assigned to Joint Task Force 150, had received a mayday call from the German-owned, Panamanian-flagged crude carrier Artemis Glory, which said it was being chased and attacked by pirates.

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