Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on war and other topics - from the MilBlogs and various sources around the world.
Always updating - refresh for updates.
Born on the Fourth of July -- [MaryAnn Phillips/Big Peace]
...In 2007 Jake deployed to Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. He was there just three weeks when his vehicle drove over two 500-pound bombs buried in the road...
Jake was first medevaced to Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center in Germany for stabilization and then on to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. A dozen operations followed. The bones of his leg were held together by an array of surgically placed rods and pins. He spent countless hours in rehab.
But all Jake could think about was getting back into the fight. He inundated the Corps with letters and phone calls from his hospital bed. After two painful years recovering from his injuries, he was finally healthy enough to serve again. In May of this year he deployed to Afghanistan with the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn, 1st Marine Division.
On Thursday May 27, 2010, while on foot patrol in Helmand province, Cpl. Jacob Leicht stepped on a land mine and became the 1000th U.S. service member to make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty in Afghanistan...
Freedom -- [Rajiv Srinivasan - in Afghanistan]
...I sat with two of my West Point classmates from the incoming Stryker unit. The two Lieutenants stared blankly at their paper plates, trying to make sense of the oddly hostile display that had just occurred. Was he joking? Is he seriously mad?
An anger induced trance blinded the memory of what I had said; the social inhibitions I had let fall in an amicable discussion. My face winced, maliciously staring down my friend across the table. I came to, only to find myself in this stunningly awkward moment where I had clearly verbally aggressed my friend, my brother, a fellow officer...someone's son, someone's husband, and now someone's father.
"Hey," I broke the silence, "listen...sorry about that. I just lost it--"
"Don't worry about it, Raj," interrupted the peer who I assailed. "You guys have had a rough year..."
LT Wompum Returns (to the New York Times) -- [Sosostris/A Handful of Dust]
Former AHOD contributor 1LT Mark Larson (aka. LT Wompum) has a new article up over at the New York Times 'At War' blog, this time writing regrettably about the death of a friend...
Death on Facebook -- [Lt Mark Larson (in Afghanistan)/NY Times At War blog]
For the first time since the war began, I now regrettably count myself amongst those who personally know the terrible cost of war. A friend, First Lt. Joe Theinert of Sag Harbor, N.Y., was killed in an ambush in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, on 4 June.
I found out about this sad loss on Facebook...
The Perils Of Blogging (For Soldiers) -- [Sosostris/A Handful of Dust]
Two comments were posted to AHOD yesterday that illustrate the hazards (namely friendly fire) that unfortunately seem to come with the territory for soldiers blogging, be it from a war zone or otherwise. ...
So apparently this person still has a gripe with LT Wompum (notice 'Joe' the correct spelling of Wompum) despite the fact that he hasn't appeared on this blog for over a month. More irksome is the allegation that Wompum didn't follow proper blogging procedures. I can state categorically that this is false...
Furthermore, why Joe feels Wompum can't 'blog about war' is just as baffling...
Critical Thinking? -- [Old Blue/Afghan Quest - in Afghanistan]
...To be sure, one must be able to measure one's activities, but those activities must be aimed at an effect that is oriented on establishing a relationship between the people and their own government. Granted, COL Gentile's quote was taken somewhat out of context, but it is consistent with lines of information briefed by units here in Afghanistan. One unit, conducting what amounts to a PR campaign to salvage its reputation after having been removed from its original operational area after failing to conduct effective COIN operations, literally produced a slick document in which it provided "proof" of its excellent COIN operations. The preponderance of information, provided in easy-to-read pie chart and bar chart format, was on how much money they spent. To a counterinsurgent, that could just as much be a damage estimate as a measure of effectiveness. We can do a lot of damage with our money...
Jalalabad Rocks -- [Free Range International - in Afghanistan]
Last Wednesday morning the local Taliban sent eight guys to attack the US Army base at Jalalabad Airfield known as FOB Fenty. They initiated the attack with a car bomb in a rarely used entry point on the southeastern side of the airfield which is well away from the Torkham to Jalalabad road. The remaining attackers tried to bum rush the damaged gate and got shot all to hell by the American soldiers who man the guard towers. Adding insult to injury there just happened to be a section of fully armed and fueled Apaches in the air and they were instantly able to pounce on the survivors of the futile charge at the damaged gate as they fled back towards a small village called Moqamkhan. A joint force of ANA and 101st Paratroopers went into the village and finished off the survivors in a short fire fight. FOB Fenty was back to normal by noon but the attack did generate plenty of news which may have been the point.
The attack on FOB Fenty has had zero impact on the local citizens or the troops stationed on the FOB - it was stupid and recognized as such. But...
The Forgotten War -- [Greyhawk/The Mudville Gazette]
Beyond any doubt that term applies to Iraq.
But yesterday I took the opportunity to join in a roundtable with 3ID's Colonel Thomas James...
Colonel James mentioned there are some 50 members of the headquarters staff on their fourth rotation with the division in Iraq. As if they hadn't already accrued enough time in country, this week they got the news their current deployment has been extended by one month...
Fighting, but Not Calling It Combat -- [Tim Arango (in Iraq)/NY Times At War blog]
Nothing, said Maj. Bryan L. Logan, the squadron operations officer for the Third Squadron, Seventh Cavalry Regiment, makes the wives back home (there are only men here) more angry than when an acquaintance makes a remark such as, "You must be happy your husband is in Iraq rather than Afghanistan."
The soldiers understand Iraq is still a dangerous place - more dangerous, in fact, for the local population than in Afghanistan...
Institutionalized Habits -- [Fraser from _____ - in _____]
We fly over the same crappy little cities and crappy deserts, drive through the same guard shacks that are guarding nothing; but the guards are still there. We get mortared from the same ass-clowns at the same time we have been for the last 7 years. Just not mortared as frequently.
We scare ourselves in freaking brownout landings just like we've done for the last 7 years. More helicopters have been lost to brownout conditions in the two theaters than to enemy action. That's why it scares the shit out of us. In the last 10 feet above the ground, when the downwash kicks up that miserable dust and you can't see crap, you need faith that what you saw at 50 feet is the same level field you are about to impact in the next few seconds.
We say the same thing after we've completed a brownout landing. After a gathering of wits and pulling pitch out of the zone, it's; " I NEVER F%$#ING WANT TO DO THAT AGAIN!" But yet we do it again the very next night...
Projects in Iraq -- [Ramblings from a Painter (Home from Iraq)]
I'm normally a fan of the New York Times, particularly when it comes to reporting in Iraq. They are one of only a couple of major international news organizations that maintain a full-time presence in the country. (The only other one I know of is Al Jazeera). Usually, Times reporting is very accurate and insightful.
Not this time...
Paragliding Over Mosul - Because Iraq Just Isn't Dangerous Enough Already -- [Zaid Thaker AND Timothy Williams (in Iraq)/NY Times At War blog]
The risk-averse will tell you that it takes a special sort of foolishness to jump from a mountain with just a paraglider strapped to your back.
So what, then, does that make the members of the Falcon Club, an Iraqi group of daredevils who sail through the air above Mosul, which is perhaps Iraq's most dangerous city?
Commander's wife banned from brigade -- [Military Times]
Lt. Col. Frank Jenio was hit by an ear-splitting hourlong tirade from his commander's wife, Leslie Drinkwine, complaining about the roster of his battalion family readiness group.
"Go ahead, and get me fired," Jenio was heard shouting into his phone. Afterward, he emerged from a conference room, red-faced and furious, a source who was present said...
In January, less than a year later, Jenio and his command sergeant major Herbert Puckett were relieved of command while deployed in Afghanistan by Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, the 82nd Airborne's commander. An investigation found they used "poor judgment which fostered a command climate that was not consistent with our Army values."
Puckett said in a statement to investigators that Leslie Drinkwine later "bragged" to the rear detachment commander, "One team down, five to go."
The confrontation between Leslie Drinkwine and Jenio was emblematic of an environment within the 4th Brigade, particularly its family readiness group, that was so toxic that it triggered an investigation by a three-star general.
..."I literally spent every other night on the Iridium phone with my Rear D or [wife] discussing the latest issue vice focusing on the OEF fight," Jenio said in his statement.
Big Peace: The July 4th Happy Birthday to America Launch! -- [Andrew Breitbart/Big Peace]
...As the site's resident skeptic of main stream media accountability, I have noticed that the amount of reporters and media outlets covering national security and the war has dwindled and skepticism over American military commitment has waned now that there isn't a Bush or a Republican in charge. The war beat is getting short shrift. Big Peace was created to fill this void and to provide biased coverage.
The site is pro-freedom, pro-liberty, and pro-American but will not be an outlet for false information or propaganda. The unique mix of Schweizer, Gaffney, and Blackfive and our collective reputations will provide a check and balance.
Southern Living Mama Blogger of The Week July 4 Edition: Honoring Greta Perry & Military Families -- [Southern Living Magazine]
In honor of July 4 we wanted this week's Southern Living Mama Blogger of The Week to feature a mom who has devoted a good part of her life, and her blogging, to supporting her military family.
Yesterday we called for suggestions via Twitter (we're @Southern_Living) and were overwhelmed by the response. Turns out there is an active military blogging community -- fantastic!
One name came up again and again: Greta Perry, who, by her own admission, is "The Princess of Positive." Greta runs Hooah Wife and Friends which she started when her husband was deployed to Iraq. It is filled with resources for military spouses. She also runs Kiss My Gumbo. We took one look at her blog and it was clear: she had to be this week's Southern Living Mama Blogger of The Week!
The Commander and Zombie Killers II: On Mission -- [J.D. Johannes - in Afghanistan]
...Every military mission, every patrol, should have a defined purpose, a commander's intent with at least a few measurable objectives and milestones.
The way of war for the modern Afghan National Army reared its head at this point and summed up exactly why the war here has been such a struggle. There was no purpose to the patrol--unless the patrol was to determine the presence of enemy improvised explosive devices by driving around until you got blown up. Nbard and his higher headquarters can be forgiven for their error because numerous US units still drive around for no other apparant reason than to get blown up.
Mounted patrols, also known as driving around in Humvees, MRAPs, M-ATVs, are useless wastes of human life, time and diesel fuel. They are often called "presence patrols" and are devised by fools who have no clue how to fight a war. Sometimes these fools have read a little Army doctrine and then call these patrols 'movement to contact' or 'meeting engagement'--fancy terms for driving around until the enemy blows you up.
Mounted patrols, like the one Nbard was to lead us on through Musahe gather no intelligence, they do not protect the population from the Taliban, they do not perform anything close to the essential functions of an infantry unit--namely to seek out, locate, close with and destroy the enemy...
Letter to the Troops -- [Gen. David H. Petraeus]
We must also continue our emphasis on reducing the loss of innocent civilian life to an absolute minimum. We must never forget that the decisive terrain in Afghanistan is the human terrain.
Protecting those we are here to help nonetheless does require killing, capturing, or turning the insurgents. We will not shrink from that; indeed, you have been taking the fight to the enemy and we will continue to do so. Beyond that, as you and our Afghan partners on the ground get into tough situations, we must employ all assets to ensure your safety, keeping in mind, again, the importance of avoiding civilian casualties...
Petraeus advisor predicts changes in Afghan strategy -- [Doyle McManus/LA Times]
"The rules have been interpreted too restrictively," Kilcullen said. "They've been too legalistic -- and also too apologetic." That's a significant statement from a man who has condemned U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan for causing civilian casualties, and whose latest book, "Counterinsurgency," lists "respect for noncombatants" as a fundamental principle of irregular warfare.
One more important change Kilcullen recommends: Both Petraeus and Obama need to make it clearer that there won't be a wholesale U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan beginning in July 2011...
Use of Humvees restricted in Afghanistan -- [Military Times]
The Humvee's fatal flaw, a 2008 Pentagon inspector general's report found, is that its "flat bottom, low weight, low ground clearance and aluminum body" leave it vulnerable to IEDs buried in roads. Military officials had known of that weakness since 1994, according to the report.
At the time of the attack in June, troops needed at least a lieutenant colonel to approve leaving a protected base in a Humvee, according to Maj. Patrick Seiber, an Army spokesman for forces in eastern Afghanistan.
This month, the commander of coalition forces in the region raised the authorization for Humvee use to the level of colonel, Seiber said in an e-mail...
The all-terrain version of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle was designed specifically for Afghanistan's poor roads and rugged terrain...
A Marine battalion commander in restive Helmand province reported that insurgents had destroyed 50 of the all-terrain vehicles with improvised explosive devices, Brogan said. The most serious wound suffered in the attacks was a bad concussion. Nobody died, the commander told Brogan in an e-mail. The trucks have seats for four troops and a turret for a gunner.
"The troops really love these vehicles," Brogan said...
Petraeus Urged to Change Rules of Engagement for U.S. Troops in Afghanistan -- [FoxNews]
Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sunday urged Gen. David Petraeus to change the rules of engagement "as soon as possible" for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying the strict policy has "hurt morale" among American military.
The Connecticut independent senator, speaking from Kabul on "Fox News Sunday," said the incoming commander told him he was "committed" to reviewing the rules...
Lieberman is in Afghanistan with Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
About that Medal of Honor -- [Starbuck/Wings over Iraq]
The dearth of Medal of Honor recipients has stirred quite a bit of controversy in past years. Some attribute the lack of awards to partisan politics during an unpopular war. Others cite the changing nature of modern counterinsurgency warfare; a shift from large, set-piece battles to sporadic engagements and reconstruction efforts.
Yet, the US military has been performing these sorts of missions--peacekeeping, peace enforcement, counterinsurgency, and the like--throughout its entire history. As such, our "small wars" show no lack of Medal of Honor recipients...
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