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America at War


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.


Ross Elder is a soldier recently returned from Afghanistan who has been writing these columns to give a “boots on the ground” perspective of Operation Enduring Freedom.

I have been asked some very specific questions about my experience in Afghanistan, so I will give some very direct opinions in this, and future, articles.


Without question, this is the most difficult article I have ever attempted to author. Although feelings of loss and sadness never fully leave a person, the grieving process has run its course. It isn’t so much the memory as much as it is the struggle to find the appropriate words to describe it that makes it so difficult. Out of respect for the family of the fallen, I will not mention their names or their unit. Suffice to say, they were men I knew.

Green Berets awarded Distinguished Service Cross for Valor

Two Green Berets from 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in a ceremony held at the John F. Kennedy Auditorium, June 14.

Chief Warrant Officer Jason W. Myers and Staff Sgt. Corey M. Calkins received the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor for two separate missions in Afghanistan in 2010. The Distinguished Service Cross is second only to the Medal of Honor.


Rule of law, according to U.S. Army doctrinal definition, is defined as: . . . a principle of governance in which all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the state itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly promulgated, equally enforced, and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights principles.
U.S. Army, 2011 Rule of Law Handbook

Navy Cross awarded for tenacity under enemy fire in Kajaki

Corporal Christopher B. Farias, 1st Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, was awarded the nation’s second highest award for bravery during a ceremony here, May 18.
Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work presented the Navy Cross to Farias for heroic actions while serving as an assistant squad leader in the Kajaki district of Afghanistan on Oct. 5, 2010.

After Farias, a native of La Porte, Texas, arrived in Afghanistan, the commanding officer pulled the Marines together and mentioned they would protect the Kajaki Dam and relieve British forces at the front line.


Video by Larry Johns