In the November 2009 issue of SOF, the last two words of the article “Blood and Guts in Kirkuk, Iraq,” “tough bastard.”, were cut off. We regret the mistake.
In one piece of good news, the feds have dropped the charges against General Vang Pao in relation to the ATF entrapment scheme called “Operation Tarnished Eagle.”
However, the feds have added charges against two other defendants. These additional defendants and charges have resulted in yet another delay in the case. The next court date will be a “status conference” that will be held on 15 March, 2010, allowing the attorneys for the new defendants time to review the documents. By that time, ten other defendants will have been under indictment for nearly three years.
Two developments related to the July, 2008 firefight in Wanat, Afghanistan involving Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade, in which nine Soldiers werekilled, are worth noting.
First, a report issued by a historian with the US Army’s Combat Studies Institute was leaked to the press, outlining how weapons failed during the firefight due to overheating. One soldier was quoted as saying he fired 12 magazines’ worth of ammo in the firefight. As we go to press, a new investigation into the Wanat incident has been ordered by General David Petraeus, Commander of United States Central Command.
Also, on 21 September, Sergeant Israel Garcia, one of the Soldiers killed in action during that firefight, received the Silver Star posthumously. The medal, our nation’s third-highest award for valor, was presented to his widow.
$184 MILLION IN DRUGS STOPPED
Two cutters, USCGC Dolphin and USCGC Venturous, played key parts in a very productive six weeks for the United States Coast Guard in support of the War on Drugs. During a six-week period when the Coast Guard intercepted 13,300 pounds of cocaine worth $180 million and 4600 pounds of marijuana worth about $4 million, these two cutters made busts totaling 3900 pounds of the pot seized. The Dolphin’s bust of 1400 pounds was its second in five months. WELL DONE, COAST GUARD!!
NEW PRO-TROOP NOVEL
While Hollywood generally ignores projects that promote respect for American troops fighting the Global War on Terror, there are projects that provide a positive depiction of American military personnel. SOF Consulting Senior
Editor Harold Hutchison’s first novel, Strike Group Reagan, about a carrier strike group responding to a crisis, was released in December, 2009 by Comfort Publishing, and is available via amazon.com at http://tinyurl.com/strikegroupreagan.
While our troops at war are known to be at risk, the risks do not remain on the battlefield. In fact, the legendary General George S. Patton was killed as the result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident at the end of World
War II. Often, routine training by forces at home can also be very dangerous, and troops killed or injured in those accidents suffer no less than those who are killed or wounded in combat. That was proven recently off Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Two F-16C Fighting Falcons collided during a routine training mission on 15 October, 2009. As we go to press, the pilot of one of the F-16s is missing, although the Air Force has found crash debris. The other F-16 landed safely.
NEW TERROR TACTIC
A recent al-Qaeda attack shows that terrorists may be getting more inventive in trying to carry out their attacks. In a report on an assassination attempt on Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the Assistant Interior Minister for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Europol believes that the attacker inserted the bomb in his rectum – a tactic often used by drug smugglers and prisoners to hide contraband.
The bomb was apparently detonated via a radio signal. While the bomber was literally blown in half, his intended target suffered only minor injuries.
UNPUBLISHED VIETNAM WAR PHOTO
Retired Senior Chief Construction Engineer Jerry Murphy provided a photo from the Vietnam War of a United States Marine Corps chopper spraying the weeds to clear fields of fire forward of the Forward Edge of the Battle Area in April 1966.
His description is as follows: “To our left on the FEBA was L/3/4, and I was in NMCB-7. This chopper cleared the weeds for them and us. Our right flank ended at Highway 1, with an arty outfit across the road from us.”
USS FREEDOM DEPLOYING EARLY
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain cited the littoral combat ship as a program that had not performed well. He may want to eat those words. The first of the littoral combat ships, USS Freedom (LCS 1), is going to be making its first deployment two years ahead of schedule.
The deployment, now scheduled for early 2010, will be in the Pacific and Southern Command areas of responsibility.