I have to say it is very encouraging to see a real leader and warrior to stand up and talk about what is going wrong and how to correct it when it comes to our foreign policy.
Gen. Mattis, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, pulled no punches in criticizing policies and strategies ranging from confronting Chinese bullying in Asia and pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan to sharp defense cuts and putting women into combat roles.
The former four-star general, who held the Centcom post from 2010 until his retirement in 2013, said international order is breaking down and requires sustained American leadership to promote freedom. He called on America “to adapt to changing circumstances, to come out now from our reactive crouch and take a firm, strategic stance in defense of our values.”
Even though The Duffel Blog is a satirist site (yes it really is people), this look back on the war in Afghanistan* is not only funny, but also highly accurate.
November 2009: With Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Activision brings real Afghan action to living rooms everywhere. So grab a remote and hup two, soldier! There’s a war on!
June 2010: US Army golden boy and future City University of New York professor Gen. David Petraeus replaces “Runaway” Gen. Stanley McChrystal amid scandal.
May 1, 2011: Gah!! He was in Pakistan?! All this time?!? Our Garmins were way off …
2012: Attacks on coalition forces by Afghan military counterparts — so-called “green on blue” attacks — emerge as a prominent and alarming Taliban tactic. “Which is weird,” says a Pentagon representative, “because that’s not what we trained them to do.”
February 2012: US troops at Bagram burn some Qurans, but who will notice? Oh, no, wait. A bunch of fucking people die for this one.
March 2012: Preliminary peace talks between United States and Taliban representatives in Qatar are suspended suddenly, when Taliban representatives learn they’re involved in preliminary peace talks with the United States.
2013: We’re new here, but can someone please explain all this construction on base? Are those stairs made of fucking marble?!
Regardless of you taste in music, this is a great video to watch. Personally Bouhammer loves some Five Finger Death Punch (5FDP) as I have several of their CDs downloaded. This music is what gets me motivated and going a lot of the time.
Like I said, it doesn’t matter if you are a fan of theirs or not, this Video has a great message in it both in text and imagery. Please take a moment to watch, listen and read. Then share it with those you know who may or may not be close to a Vet, so they can become educated and not just believe what the evenings news decides to tell them.
I know it has been a while since I have blogged, which is a shame because I have a lot of stuff to talk about but just have not had the time. However I wanted to take a few minutes and put up this video. This one pulled at me pretty hard and really put a lump in the back of my throat and a tear in my eye. I can’t imagine the hell this young man has went through in the days since this horrific attack. I am so glad he is still here and able to share his story as it could very easily help others thinking about taking the “easy way out”.
Published on Nov 11, 2014
In August 2005, Marine Lance Cpl. Travis Williams and his squad were sent on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq. En route, their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Of Travis’ entire 12-person team, he alone survived. Here, Travis reflects on the hours and days after the explosion, as well as his life now, and pays tribute to the men he left behind.
My buddy Nick over at Ranger Up spells it out in clear and concise language. If you want to succeed in this world, you have to work hard and never stop. It sucks, I know but it is what it is. There are millions busting their butt to make ends meet or live a comfortable life. There are are small (less than 1) percentage of that who are born with a silver spoon in their mouth or have had one shoved in there.
His message is geared towards those getting out of the military but it is meant for all. I have seen pure civilians who practically kill themselves working in crappy jobs, but they do that in order to put food on the table and roofs over their kids heads. My close friend LL does that every day, along with many other people I know to include close family.
None of us are entitled to a DAMN thing, especially military (or ex-military). We (they) raised our hand and volunteered to serve in the military and defend this country. Nobody does that for a free entree once a year or empty thanks from strangers, so there is no reason to think anyone owes us a damn thing.
Being appreciated is nice, expecting it is just wrong. With all of that said, take 5 minutes and listen to these great words from Nick.
They are amazing pieces of work capturing some of the glimpses of life in Afghanistan as things draw down and people pull out. Along with his drawings themselves are great little descriptions and observations he made while seeing the thing or event which caused him to sketch it.
I have written about this “Alive Day” several times over the years not this blog. This is a significant day to me and to my buddy Scooter. Scooter and I are bonded by this day and he never forgets me, nor do I him on this day. Today was very special as this morning he emailed me his Sworn Statement from that day. I must say it was pretty cool reading it again as it took me right back to that day. Not that I forgot it, but his sworn statement filled in small details that I had forgotten or didn’t even realize.
So in recognition of this anniversary, eight years later I am providing a copy of this sworn statement from my “Partner in Crime”, Scooter. I have modified the names to protect identities of all those mentioned in this statement, to include trimming mine down to just “1SG S.” for ease of reading.
8 September 2006
On or about 8 September 2006, while assigned as the Field Artillery Advisor in 4-2-203 Corps (ANA), MAJ B. (TC), CPT L. (passenger), 1SG S. (driver), and myself (M240B gunner) were returning from Operation PIR KOWTI in vic Orgun-E, Paktika Province, Afghanistan in a convoy of approximately 16 U.S. and ANA vehicles.
Our vehicle was in the middle of the convoy. After approximately an hour into the drive, in the rocky hills, we were going around a curve. 1SG S. accelerated around the curve as a TTP for deterring IEDs. Once we cleared the curve, there was a very loud explosion about 15-20 meters behind our truck that sent smoke, dust, and shrapnel beyond our truck. I immediately ducked into the gunner’s hatch upon hearing the sound and 1SG S. was yelling to see if I was alright.
I was not injured and told him I was OK. I stood up again and looked back, only to see the continuation of the smoke and dust cloud. There was a sound of automatic gun fire and we thought there might be an ambush, so I went “red” on the M204B and was scanning, looking for the trigger man. After driving for another 50-75 meters and not seeing the vehicle behind us, 1SG S. turned the vehicle around. We drove back to the IED site and stopped short by approximately 25 meters. There was still a slight dust in the air and I saw a body in the road and a destroyed ANA Ford Ranger (LTV) on the side of the road, on the other side of a large rock.
The LTV was upside down, pointing the opposite direction, and the vehicle itself was twisted. The occupants were the ANA Bde CSM, the Operations SGM, and two others. The convoy behind us had stopped and (according to a radio transmission) saw the trigger man, attempted to engage with their M2, and had several US Soldiers and ANA Soldiers attempting to chase down the man. The man had escaped to an awaiting truck on another “road” and departed at a high rate of speed north. Meanwhile, 1SG S. got out of the vehicle to assess the situation and determined that there were additional personnel trapped in the vehicle.
I continued to man the M240B for security and the lead US element had arrived at our location with COL A., MAJ M., CSM S., and the ANA Brigade Commander. MAJ M. and COL A. immediately started to perform Combat Lifesaving skills on the victims. 1SG S. was trying to gain radio contact was having trouble due to the ECM and our location in the rolling hills. 1SG S. managed to gain contact with an MBITR radio with a portable satellite antenna to send a SPOT report to our headquarters in Sharana (ETT) and to the Catamount (10MNT) headquarters in Orgun-E. After MAJ B. and COL A. identified seriousness of the casualties, 1SG S. sent a 9-Line MEDAVAC request. CPT L. was asked by 1SG S. to assist the ANA to provide 360 security.
While 1SG S. was getting ready for the MEDAVAC, I monitored the radios and provided some clarification on the request. COL A. and MAJ M. continued providing medical attention with the ANA medics on the casualties, while MAJ B. and 1SG S. were preparing for the MEDAVAC and attempting to gain control of the overall situation. Within 20 minutes, a Blackhawk MEDAVAC arrived with an Apache escort. I contacted the MEDAVAC and confirmed the smoke color of the HLZ. I also contacted the Apache to describe the getaway vehicle of the trigger man. After the casualties were evacuated (with two Blackhawks), it was determined that there might be a secondary device located in the road and EOD from FOB Sharana was contacted. The ETTs and ANA started to clean up the papers blown by the helicopter and taking pictures of the scene. After some time, the EOD arrived, they conducted their own assessment of the area and they placed multiple charges in the road to detonate any secondary devices. After determining the area was clear, a refuse truck evacuated the destroyed LTV. Once the vehicle was removed and the area was policed, the convoy continued with the mission to return to Sharana.
It was later determined, by the ECM contractor that the trigger man was attempting to make contact with our U.S. vehicle; however, our ECM delayed the explosion and detonated on the LTV (with the Bde CSM) that was tailgating our truck right outside of our “bubble”.
This used to be a 4-door Ford Ranger pickup with 4 occupants. Amazingly two survived with major injuries
Isn’t it funny that if some questionable organization nobody ever heard about makes a video about a warlord in Africa nobody had ever heard about goes viral and then our country all of sudden deploys Special Forces soldiers there to help hunt for him?
Isn’t it funny that when our Secretary of State goes to one of what was our strongest allies to forge a cease-fire he fails miserably?
Isn’t it funny when a liberal Prime Minister from our strongest ally in the world shows more backbone towards a common enemy (then our President) and doesn’t care about mincing words to be P.C.?
Isn’t it funny that our Administration can send three representatives to the funeral of some normal american young man who happened to be killed by a police officer defending himself after committing a crime but not send any to a Two-star General murdered in combat?
Isn’t it funny that we just throw out words when our citizens and innocent journalists are be-headed on video instead of bullets and bombs? Where are the SF teams to hunt these guys down? Where are the strong (and tangible) words from our President?
No, NO, none of that is funny and all of that is very, VERY serious.
Thanks a lot 51% of America for putting impudence, not once, but twice into the leadership of this country. Hope you are proud of yourselves.
That is all they have been, good intentions to get back here and write but boy it has been a busy summer and it has flown by. I can’t believe it is September already as the days fly by. I have just been swamped with multiple jobs, family, and many other happenings. There has been a ton of stuff happening that I have either started writing about or want to write about so I am going to try and at least start getting some short pieces out more often and bigger posts when I can.
The Bouhammer [boo-ham-er] blog is owned by a 22-year Retired Army First Sergeant. It is now one of the leading and award-winning blogs written primarily on operations in Afghanistan and other military related topics. This blog also focuses on foreign policy, national security and politics. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy what you see. Click Here to Contact Bouhammer
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