Sunday, October 11, 2009

WTF! Didn't They Ever Watch Fort Apache?

Climatic scene, Fort Apache, 1948
Under fire in Afghanistan

Taking fire from above, in the mountains of Afghanistan

120 MM mortar position, somewhere in Afghanistan

The climatic scene in John Ford's Fort Apache, part of his famous cavalry trilogy, shows Lieutenant Colonel Owen Thursday, played by Henry Fonda and his command group about to be overrun after riding into a box canyon, surrounded by high cliffs. Last Saturday Oct 3 2009, a similar battle was fought at COP Keating, in the Nuristan area of Northeast Afghanistan. The news that eight members of Bravo Troop, 3/61st Cavalry, 4th ID, were killed in action during the attack which almost overran their small outpost was noted, and washed over in the wake of news of Obama's failed attempt to influence the Olympic Committee to chose Chicago for the 2016 games.
Tom Ricks Foreign Policy Blog gets a major h/t for posting this account of the battle as told by someone who heard the battle as it unfolded.
Here are the facts, without revealing sensitive information. I feel compelled to write this because I heard some very fine, brave Americans fought for their very lives Saturday, 03 OCT 09. They fought magnificently.

Eight of them made the Ultimate Sacrifice. I don't know their names, only their call signs. Though it may have been smaller in scale, and shorter in duration, their battle was no less heroic than the exploits of their ancestors, in places like LZ Xray or Fire Base Ripcord in Vietnam. I want people to know that there are still some GREAT Americans who serve in the US Army, fighting for Freedom, who will probably never be given the due they deserve. I don't know ALL the facts, only what I overheard on the satellite radio
Read the whole account.
One of the comments on Ricks blog, said that. " A freshly hatched Lieutenant could probably have sited an outpost better than the over promoted incompetent that sited COP Keating." How true, hence my reference to the above noted scene from Fort Apache.
I want to give credit where it is due, to the blogs that were on top of this story. The American Legion's Burnpit gets credit for getting out front with this story and how to help the 56, who survived this battle and lost every personal item. Be sure to check out the two embedded videos and the links to other blogger's accounts, as well as a link to donate to the 56 survivors.
In my own humble way I want to pause and acknowledge those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country.
Members of B troop, 3/61 Cav.
Staff Sgt. Vernon W. Martin, 25, Savannah, Georgia
Spec. Stephan L. Mace, 21, Lovettsville, Virginia
Pfc. Kevin C. Thomson, 21, Reno, Nevada
Sgt. Justin T. Gallegos, 27, Tucson, Arizona
Sgt. Joshua M. Hardt, 24, Applegate, California
Sgt. Joshua J. Kirk, 30, South Portland, Maine
Sgt. Michael P. Scusa, 22, Villas, New Jersey
Spec. Christopher T. Griffin, 24, Kincheloe, Michigan
As I read these names and realize that squandering the lives of our bravest by ill conceived positioning of our bases is beyond comprehension. As one commenter had noted. "In the Navy if a captain even runs his ship aground, he is court martialed and beached." In the Army it seems that as after the Battle of the Wanat last year, and countless other tactical blunders, a blizzard of ass covering is the SOP. The parents of those men above as well as every parent who buries their son or daughter from this war must be asking God the same question, was it worth my child's life?
A day ago I posted a Book Review: Your Hero And Mine, Scott. I reflect that years from now, someone elses's family member will discover a lost cache of letters, describing another life cut short by bad tactics and a the failure to follow a sound strategy.

1 comment:

Vince Wade said...

If people was to actually consider history as a possable lesson to be learned, we wouldn't be in half the mess that we're in. It might be just a "movie", but there is a lot based on fact.