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America at War


Busy Day for ISAF
By Harold Hutchison

ISAF and Afghan forces searching for a Taliban facilitator in Nangarhar province wound up in a firefight with insurgents, killing two and capturing nine.


Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha to Become 4th Living MOH Recipient
By Harold Hutchison

On 3 October, 2009, Soldiers assigned to Company B, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division were attacked at Combat Outpost Keating. Fifty Americans and two Latvians were at COP Keating, and 19 more Americans at Observation Post Fritsch were attacked by over 300 insurgents.


Niger Believed to be Preferred Location
By Harold Hutchison

The Department of Defense is considering whether or not to set up another base for unmanned aerial vehicles in Africa. The first choice for this new base is reportedly in Niger, right next door to Mali, where a civil war has erupted between Islamist rebels and the government.


Actions During an Ambush Recognized
By Harold Hutchison

On 7 August, 2011, a squad of Marines was ambushed and pinned down by insurgents in the Sangin District. Two of the Marines were killed, and facing fire from multiple positions.

First Sergeant Bradley G. Simmons lead a quick reaction force to rescue the pinned down Marines. Simmons lead the force against the insurgents, cutting off their escape route and allowing close air support assets to take down the insurgents. For his actions during the ambush, he received the Bronze Star with Combat Distinguishing Device.


Taliban leaders, Haqqani Facilitator, Captured
By Harold Hutchison

ISAF and Afghan forces captured three Taliban leaders and a Haqqani Network facilitator during operations in Afghanistan. According to an operation update by ISAF Joint Command, at least two of the leaders were improvised explosive device experts.

Soldier posthumously awarded Distinguished Service Cross

Gen. David M. Rodriguez, commander of U.S. Forces Command, awarded the Distinguished Service Cross to the widow of Staff Sgt. Eric B. Shaw, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), during a somber ceremony, Jan. 16, at Liberty Chapel, here.


France Moves Against an Al-Qaeda Haven
By Harold Hutchison

A year ago, most of you reading this issue had never really heard about Mali. About all you’d probably know about that country would be that it is somewhere in Africa. Maybe you’d know that it is where Timbuktu is now located. But beyond that, not too many people know that much about Mali.

Air Medal awarded to VMM-266 Marines for the rescue of downed pilot

Three Marines with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 266, were awarded the Air Medals with combat distinguishing devices, Jan. 7.

The awards were given for actions while serving with 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Expeditionary Strike Group Five in support of joint task force Odyssey Dawn.

Flight Medic receives Distinguished Flying Cross

WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP -- the rotor blades of a UH-60 Blackhawk air ambulance blasts the dirt into dust at the bottom of a valley in Afghanistan.

It's about eight thousand miles from the balmy breezes of the Hawaiian islands to the gut wrenching visions of Watapur Valley in eastern Afghanistan. U.S. Army Sergeant Julia Bringloe, flight paramedic, adapts quickly to maneuvering a helicopter hoist rescue. This takes the ability to make quick decisions.

She adapts quickly to being shot at as well, while hovering ten feet off the rocky, arid ground.


Does an ACLU Suit Mean Major Changes for Military Policy about Women in Combat?
By Harold Hutchison

During the War on Terror, women have stepped up heroically while in harm’s way. Indeed, the heroism of women like Leigh Ann Hester and Monica Lin Brown – both recipients of the Silver Star for heroism in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively – has been highlighted by the media.

M249 Light Machine Gun: Endangered species for Marines in Afghanistan

As full integration of the Infantry Automatic Rifle into the Marine Corps’ arsenal becomes complete, the M249 Light Machine Gun, formerly the Squad Automatic Weapon, slowly fades into the history of the Corps.

The SAW has seen action since 1984 and has protected Marines since. Replaced by an automatic rifle of similar size and weight of the M16A4 service rifle already issued to rank and file Marines, the familiarity with the new weapon is almost instant.

Missing for 46 years, air commando laid to rest

An air commando who died when his C-123 Provider flare ship was shot down over Ahn Khe, Vietnam, was laid to rest Oct. 26 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, Texas.

The 310th Air Commando Squadron loadmaster, Airman 1st Class Jerry Mack Wall, 24, was killed when his plane was hit by enemy fire and crashed into the central highlands, May 18, 1966. Until recently Wall, who was one of five crew members, was listed as Missing in Action.

Soldier, hero carries squad leader to safety

At least once in every man’s life he is faced with a situation that tests and challenges him to his very core. For soldiers serving in the dangerous Panjwa’i district of Afghanistan, those defining moments are frequent and often brutal.

U.S. Army Pfc. Cory Szaro, 19, a mortarman serving with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, Task Force 1-23 Infantry, operating out of Combat Outpost Khenjakak, has spent the past 10 months willingly stepping forward into situations that would challenge other men.


The following is largely based on an interview with Contractor, MSG (Retired) Michael (Train) Beltran

The Best Assignment of a Warrior’s Life
MSG Michael (Train) Beltran enlisted in the Army out of California in 1975 at the age of 19, completed jump school and went straight into the 2nd BN. (Ranger) 75th Inf. Ft. Lewis WA.


Help Me Escape
“Can you help me?” That is the question we hear fairly frequently from our Afghan partners. This question, from a young man we will call Naji, was posed with regard to his desired escape from Afghanistan.