Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a link to the Dawn Patrol too and your trackback will be added to the list. Hat Tips to the Dawn Patrol are greatly appreciated.
The planes! The planes! -- [30 Days Through Afghanistan]
Every time I've visited with infantry the subject of close air support comes up, it must be my uniform or something. Since I've always seen the Air Force side, it's always been intriguing for me to hear about how the soldiers see them.
NATO Afghanistan airstrike kills 33 civilians -- [Reuters]
MARJAH, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A NATO airstrike in southern Afghanistan has killed 33 people after an aircraft fired on civilians mistakenly thought to be insurgents, the Afghan government said on Monday...
The incident was not part of Operation Mushtarak, a major NATO-led campaign to clear Taliban militants out of neighboring Helmand province in the south.
Karzai Urges NATO to Avoid Killing Civilians -- [Wall Street Journal]
But unlike his past pronouncements on the issue, President Karzai did credit North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces for "doing their utmost to minimize the civilian casualties."
VMM-261 inserts troops into Marjah -- [Task Force Leatherneck - in Afghanistan]
Three MV-22 "Ospreys" from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261, Marine Aircraft Group 40, Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, transported a raid force into an area of Marjah in support of Operation Moshtarak, Feb. 19.
This was the first time the Osprey was used for an insert since the operation began six days ago.
PICTURES of the day: Operation Moshtarak -- [Helmand Blog - in Afghanistan]
Week 1 - Operation Moshtarak: Two Afghan soldiers replace the white Taliban flag with the national flag of Afghanistan as a symbol that the insurgents no longer have control in this area
First Line of Defense -- [Your experience may vary - in Afghanistan]
There's no doubt: At checkpoints, on patrol, and at duty stations throughout Afghanistan, the Afghan National Police (ANP) are in the fight.
My directorate works with the Afghan Ministry of the Interior to build the communications capability the ANP needs to fight crime, fight terrorism, fight drugs, and fight corruption.
General Sees Positives in Afghan Army Training -- [defense.gov]
Though training an Afghan army essentially from the ground up has been a difficult undertaking, an Army general involved in the effort said yesterday that he's seeing positive results.
Army Maj. Gen. David Hogg, deputy commander of NATO Training Mission Afghanistan, spoke about the status of the Afghan army, as well as challenges and plans for its training, during a "DoDLive" bloggers roundtable.
To listen to audio form this interview, click here.
To Read Transcript , click here.
Marines Do Heavy Lifting as Afghan Army Lags in Battle -- [CJ Chivers/NY Times - in Marjah, Afghanistan]
Scenes from this corner of the battlefield, observed over eight days by two New York Times journalists, suggest that the day when the Afghan Army will be well led and able to perform complex operations independently, rather than merely assist American missions, remains far off.
Taliban reject renewed Karzai call for peace -- [Reuters/Washington Post]
Afghanistan's Taliban on Sunday rejected President Hamid Karzai's latest call for peace, despite pressure from a NATO offensive and the capture of its number 2.
Dutch government collapse: Will other European troops now leave Afghanistan? -- [Christian Science Monitor]
The collapse of the Dutch government this weekend, largely over keeping Dutch troops in Afghanistan, threatens to undermine the NATO mission in the central Asian nation. And, it may signal tougher political climes ahead for other European leaders supporting a troop presence in Afghanistan...
The government - Mr. Balkenende's fourth - broke up after the liberals would not accept Dutch troops in Afghanistan beyond an August deadline.
Petraeus: Marjah first salvo in long campaign -- [AP/Washington Post]
The U.S. general who oversees wars in Afghanistan and Iraq says the current battle around the southern Afghan town of Marjah is the opening battle in a long campaign.
Our Mission is Finally Accomplished... Anyone Care? -- [David Bellavia]
There this giant scrapbook sits, still with the pricetag across the top. My wife had made this book for me that contains just about everything I have ever done in the Army...
Another page in the scrapbook has a clear acetate pouch. Stuffed inside is a thick, folded sheet of blue paper. An Iraqi ballot I stole on January 30th 2005.
The sound of mortar fire fills my ears. The desk dissolves. Suddenly, I'm kneeling on a road, a palm grove to my front. Iraq. Election Day 2005.
Key Iraqi Sunni Political Bloc Pulls Out of March 7 Parliamentary Election -- [Voice of America]
A key Sunni political bloc declared Saturday that it would not take part in Iraq's March 7 parliamentary election. Saleh al-Mutlak, who was banned from running by a parliamentary committee, is pulling his National Dialogue Front out of the election with just over a week to go before voting is set to begin.
See the light? -- [Greyhawk]
That's "the largest airborne exercise conducted by U.S. forces in Iraq since the beginning of the war" because during the war there wasn't time for exercises. Now there is - good. Troops are still operating in Iraq, but there's little doubt now that what's done is done - and that few really care much about what's next.
Zazi Pleads Guilty in Plot to Bomb Subways -- [NY Times]
Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan immigrant who was a key player in what the federal authorities have said was one of the most serious threats to the United States since the 9/11 attacks, pleaded guilty on Monday to terrorism charges after admitting to a plot to blow up the subways.
Dhimmitude -- [Neptunus Lex]
Police say (Faleh Almaleki) used his Jeep Cherokee to run down his daughter and another woman in a Peoria parking lot Oct. 20. Noor Almaleki later died of her injuries.
Almaleki is charged with first-degree murder, aggravated assault and two counts of leaving the scene of a serious accident. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
The decision not to seek the death penalty comes after Almaleki's attorney, Billy Little, a public defender, asked a judge to take special precautions to ensure the County Attorney's Office wouldn't wrongly seek the death penalty because Almaleki is a Muslim.
Little requested that the office make public the process it uses to determine whether to seek capital punishment.
"An open process provides some level of assurance that there is no appearance that a Christian is seeking to execute a Muslim for racial, political, religious or cultural beliefs," Little wrote, referring to County Attorney Andrew Thomas' Christian faith.
Searching for Saddam -- [Chris Wilson/Slate.com]
The war in Iraq will always be remembered for the failures of intelligence that preceded it and the insurgency that bedeviled coalition forces long after President George W. Bush declared an end to major combat operations. Amid all that disaster, the capture of Saddam Hussein has become a forgotten success story. It's an accomplishment that wasn't inevitable. In a five-part series that begins today, I'll explain how a handful of innovative American soldiers used the same theories that underpin Facebook to hunt down Saddam Hussein. I'll also look at how this hunt was a departure in strategy for the military, why its techniques aren't deployed more often, and why social-networking theory hasn't helped us nab Osama Bin Laden.
Help me find the family of one of the famed Band of Brothers -- [Burnpit/The American Legion]
For those who can't see the video, or anything else, this is the story. A Salvation Army Captain in upstate NY the other day was going through a box of donations when he found a purple heart citation and framed picture of Richard E. Owen. (see above) I want to find Mr. Owen's family and get them the citation and plaque. And if they are the ones that threw this stuff away, I am going to find a home for it. Whether it be this guy's home townhall, or a museum or something.
Richard Owen was a SGT who served in Easy company, 2/506th PIR, the famed Band of Brothers. He died in the plane crash at St Mere Eglise on June 6, 1944.
A trip into the past...for a brother who died 25 years before I was born -- [Burnpit/The American Legion].
I am consumed by the story of Richard E. Owens, SGT, Easy Company, 2/506 PIR. Absolutely consumed. I've spent the day calling folks when I am afraid of the phone, reading census reports, and just blindly contacting folks on the off chance that they can help. So, let me tell you what we now know, what we think, and what comes next...
I'm working with another guy on this, from the Pathfinder Historical Consultants. I want to share his nutshelling, since he did it better than I could...
A Quick Bleg for Cooking with the Wounded -- [Laughing Wolf/Blackfive]
Okay, kicking off fundraising for the year one day before the Haiti earthquake was not the best timing in the world...
Military Athletes Strive for Gold in Vancouver -- [DoD Live]
U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program biathlete U.S. Army Sgt. Jeremy Teela shoots to a ninth-place finish in the Olympic men's 10-kilometer sprint at Whistler Olympic Park in British Columbia, Canada, Feb. 14, 2010. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps
For more photos, stories and videos, check out the Military Olympians special on Defense.gov, and read here about the soldiers on the U.S. men's bobsled team.
David Petraeus speaks at Princeton University -- [TigerHawk]
More than four years ago, long before the "surge" and victory in Iraq, (then Lt.) General David Petraeus spoke at Princeton, and your blogger was there to cover it. Both security and attendance were lax, and the general gladly acceded to my request for a photo... Today, General Petraeus is back on campus to receive the University's James Madison Medal...
This time, General Petraeus spoke before a packed audience in Alexander Hall's Richardson Auditorium. Security was tight, and you needed both a reservation and a photo ID to get in.
General Petraeus spoke without slides, but he did put up a couple during the Q&A. The first is a graph of the violence in Iraq, and its precipitous fall after the first few weeks of the "surge." It will be familiar to readers of "milblogs," but probably not to most of his audience in Princeton today.
Shinseki: US will fix broken VA disability system -- [AP/Stars and Stripes]
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said he's making it a top priority this year to tackle the backlog of disability claims that has veterans waiting months - even years - to get financial compensation for their injuries.
Among those waiting for relief are sick Vietnam and Gulf War veterans to whom the former Army commander feels an allegiance and who have long felt ignored.
Beauty and the Blogger -- [TSO/This Ain't Hell]
When Caro and I finally kissed that night, I made that promise. I knew I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. But, at some point it takes more of a promise than a mere kiss, and that time has come. So, this weekend I will be flying down to Dallas to ask her to marry me.
Actually, I already flew down. And as you are reading this, so is she, as she sits in the USO center with her friends and me standing awkwardly behind her. So, Caro, if you think you'd like to take this idiot guy who loves you with all his heart, now would be a good time to turn around and tell me so.
Blogger helps expose alleged military faker -- [Military Times]
Report: Investigators overlooked McChrystal decisions to keep ambushed outposts open -- [Stars and Stripes]
Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, kept a remote U.S. base in the country manned last year at the local governor's request despite warnings from his field commanders that it should be closed because it was vulnerable and had no tactical or strategic value...
"It's lunacy to deploy forces to a location simply because the unseasoned, politically driven host government so requests," said a U.S. diplomat who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. "Bear in mind that this operation in what is undoubtedly one of the most remote and difficult locations in all of Afghanistan occurred at the time of discussion about revising our strategy to concentrate our forces in areas of dense population and strategic importance."
Gay Soldiers Don't Cause Disruption, Study Says -- [NY Times]
The study, "Gays in Foreign Militaries 2010: A Global Primer," is to be released Tuesday by the Palm Center, a research group at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Iwo Jima Vets Observe Battle's 65th Anniversary -- [Defense News]
Dozens of veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima and their families gathered at the National Museum of the Marine Corps here today to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the iconic World War II battle...
About 400 yards up the beach, Alden and his unit came upon a bunker. After taking charge of the action that demolished the bunker, Alden was seriously wounded on his left side by rifle fire. "I laid out in the open until almost dark," he recalled.
Finally, a litter bearer approached the injured Alden. "They said they'd passed me four times thinking I was dead," he said. They could not evacuate him until the next morning, leaving Alden and three of his comrades in a fox hole overnight.
Three days later, on the fifth day of the battle, Alden was aboard a hospital ship when a medic told him to look out the port hole over his bed. "That was when I saw the flag rising up above the smoke and haze," he said, remembering the scene of Rosenthal's famous photo.
Doubts Raised on Book's Tale of Atom Bomb -- [NY Times (HT)]
A new book about the atomic destruction of Hiroshima has won critical acclaim with its heartbreaking portrayals of the bomb's survivors and is set to be made into a movie by James Cameron...
There is just one problem. That section of the book and other technical details of the mission are based on the recollections of Joseph Fuoco, who is described as a last-minute substitute on one of the two observation planes that escorted the Enola Gay.
But Mr. Fuoco, who died in 2008 at age 84 and lived in Westbury, N.Y., never flew on the bombing run...
Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 21 February -- [John Donovan]
There are six Medals awarded for actions on this day in our military history. All are from the modern era, World War II and Vietnam, and three are posthumous awards.
World War II. The shadow of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima lies heavily on this day. All four WWII Medals were earned on Iwo Jima. Sergeant Gray survived his Medal action, but fell to artillery fire a week later, hence he is marked as a posthumous award.
Operation DESERT THUNDER -- [Greyhawk]
"I did not have sex with that woman."
The quote needs no attribution - it defines Bill Clinton's presidency like no other, and will likely serve as his legacy to the world. Less well remembered are the military actions launched against Iraq as the Lewinski scandal grew. Twelve years ago this week thousands of troops deployed to the Persian Gulf, and the United States was on the verge of war...
In response, on February 23, 1998 Osama bin Laden declared war against America:
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle / System Poll -- [Blackfive]
And so it is that I ask you, the infantrymen of Blackfive, which of the new generation of Unmanned Aerial vehicles (or Systems, if you're a nerd) has most captured your imagination, leaving you sweaty and warm during long winter nights: Of all the UAVs in the US inventory, which one would you, as an infantryman, most want to make love to?
(Need more? Dawn Patrols Archives are here.)