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WHILE THE WORLD MOURNED MICHAEL JACKSON

While the world mourned Michael Jackson, the following servicemen—American, British and Canadian—were killed or died from wounds sustained while defending the civilized world against terrorism. It is unlikely that they will receive a farewell as lavish as was the all-day CNN (and every other channel, news—business and otherwise) media event of 7 July, 2009.

 

So, let us not forget them.

 

Sgt. Timothy A. David

Sgt. 1st Class Edward C. Kramer

Sgt. Roger L. Adams Jr.

Sgt. Juan C. Baldeosingh

Spc. Robert L. Bittiker

Pfc. Justin A. Casillas

Pfc. Aaron E. Fairbairn

Petty Officer Second Class Tony

Michael Randolph

Lance Cpl. Charles S. Sharp

Sgt. Terry J. Lynch

1st Lt. Brian N. Bradshaw

Spc. Joshua L. Hazlewood

Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe of the 1st Bn, Welsh Guards

Trooper Joshua Hammond of the Royal Tank Regiment

Corporal Nick Bulger of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry

Master-Corporal Paul Audet of the Royal Canadian Air Force

Corporal Martin Joanette of the Royal 22ieme Regiment

Master-Corporal Charles-Phillipe Michaud, the Royal 22ieme Regiment

 

Joe Fernandez

 

These fallen heroes truly deserved much more than the media has given them. It is sad that a pop star – even one as successful as Michael Jackson – is mourned more than these heroes. – Ed.

 

OOPS!

The Somali pirates are at it again! As we know, they like to target supertankers and the occasional merchant ship (such as the Maersk Alabama of recent misfortune).And we also know they like to make their moves just before or right after dawn.

 

Recently they were out doing what they do and they were tracking a nice fat merchant ship… easy pickings! Imagine their shock when the “merchant ship” they were slobbering over turned out to be a Federal German Navy frigate and the ship returned their gunfire with a vengeance. The hunter quickly became the hunted as the frigate turned after them (calling in a few friends that happened to be in the area).A couple of USMC Cobras joined in the chase but lost them (in some fog or haze).

 

They did not get away ... they were stopped a couple of hours later by a Greek navy ship… The pirates gotta bone up on that ship recognition…

 

Steve

 

Certainly a lot of civilian mariners are fortunate that these pirates sure picked the wrong ship! However, we have to wonder why they weren’t blown out of  the water by the German ship in the first place, which would have obviated the need for such a chase. – Ed.

 

WE GOOFED

Please be advised that the following corrections need to be made regarding the August 2009 Edition of Soldier

of Fortune magazine. In reference to the article “An Ottoman Castle and a Syrian Sniper“ on page 42 of the August 2009 edition, are several mistakes regarding T.A.G. CEO Chris Osman.

 

Below the byline of the article, within the bolded first sentence, Mr. Osman’s name is misspelled as “Author Chris Osmand...” Additionally, the article describes Mr. Osman as a former Marine and US Navy SEAL with multiple

tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. The correction is, Mr. Osman served several combat tours in Somalia and

Afghanistan. Chris appreciated the article, and is an avid Soldier of Fortune reader and subscriber. Thank you and please feel free to contact T.A.G. for anything in the future.

 

Amanda Lehrer

Personal Assistant to Chris Osman

T.A.G.

 

We goofed on that. Thanks for setting us straight. – Ed.

 

DEAD ON TARGET!

I read your “At the Front: Dangerous Tactics” discussion in the August 2009 issue of SOF, and could not agree more with R.E. Thornton’s letter. I would like to add that a criminal wants to live to enjoy the fruits of his (or her) ill-gotten gains. After all, not all are subject to seizure (a discussion for another time). A shoot-out with the police greatly increases the likelihood of them being killed.

 

For those who disagree, suppose we had used those police SWAT tactics against the Germans and Japanese in World War II? God help us! While a few Germans would have surrendered in that situation (1 or 2 men giving up to clearly superior numbers is not always dishonorable), the vast majority would have fought, and fought as hard as possible. Most were not die-hard National Socialists, but, rather patriotic men defending their country.

 

As for the Japanese—well, we know how they fought; and can guess how they would have reacted to these tactics. This was an excellent forum!

 

Thanks SOF!

Joseph

 

GUN OWNERSHIP TRADITION

This letter was originally sent to the Georgia Sport Shooting Association.

 

I suppose that the general membership is unaware that I have been deployed to Afghanistan with the 48th Brigade of the Georgia Army National Guard. My battalion, 1st of the 121st Infantry, has been tasked to “mentor” the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP) in Ghazni Provence. I have been assigned to work in a joint operations center where ANA, ANP, internal security forces, the Polish Army and U.S. forces work together to defeat the Taliban terrorist network in eastern Afghanistan. (As Operation Enduring Freedom is a NATO endeavor, the Polish Army is in tactical control of the Ghazni sector.)

 

My specific job involves mentoring ANA and ANP staff officers on the mechanics of running a tactical operations center. For example, last Wednesday I trained an Afghan Police lieutenant colonel on how to fill out one of our military “spot report” formats. In the future, I will give a similar class to his radio operators. Now, I do not speak Pashtu. Some would suggest that I’m barely fluent in English! But, I digress…

 

The point is, we couldn’t do our job here without the help of local nationals who want the mission in Afghanistan to be a success. One of my interpreters is fluent in Dari and Pashtu (the two primary languages of Afghanistan), as well as having an excellent command of English. Among his accomplishments, he has a degree in chemistry. His name is Ehsan Ghullam. During some “down time” the other day, Ehsan told me about his family and the tribal region where

his father was born. The Ghullam family inhabits an area that encompasses the Pakistan – Afghan border.

 

He told me that his name, Ehsan, means “son favored by Allah.” As he told me the story of how he was named, I learned of a custom in this region, that I think readers of the SPORT SHOTS will appreciate. When a male child is born in this part of the country, it is an occasion for rejoicing, feasting and a “naming ceremony.” The entire extended family, which may include as many as a hundred people, will come. The family gathers and a feast is prepared. It is the proud father’s duty to bring the child for the family to see. The boy is about to be given his name. But first, the grandfather has a “duty” to perform. On the day that the child was born, the grandfather went out to buy a new rifle. Now, with the family gathered, he formally presents the rifle to his new grandson. Then the child is given his name. So, in the mountainous region of east Afghanistan, even before he has a name, a man owns a rifle. There are many things about Mideast culture that I do not care much for. But this is a custom that I feel right at home with!

 

R. E. Thornton

 

This is a tradition we could get behind as well. – Ed.