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NSFW- Not safe for Work
This video is not meant to be played around children or those that are offended by rough language.
Regardless if you are a Soldier or a Marine, or just a patriotic American, this is a very motivating speech by a Gunny (Marine Gunnery Sergeant) to his Marines the night before they launched a major operation to take back Marjah from insurgents. This is how we talk in the Infantry (Army or Marine), it is not vulger to us and pretty much nobody is offended. They are only words, and don’t hurt near as bad as getting shot or blown up.
He knows how to use humor and realistic situations to motivate his men. Bravo, Gunny…you did good.
The U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan incorrectly reported a decline in Taliban attacks last year, and officials said Tuesday that there was actually no change in the number of attacks on international troops from 2011 to 2012.
The corrected numbers – from the original reports of a 7 percent decline to one of no change – could undercut the narrative promoted by the international coalition and the Obama administration of an insurgency in steep decline.
So it seems that a “clerical error” continues to try and support the notion of faking progress.
In mid-December, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said “violence is down,” in 2012, and that Afghan forces “have gotten much better at providing security” in areas where they have taken the lead role. He said the Taliban can be expected to continue to attack, “but overall they are losing.”
On Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman George Little said Panetta was “concerned to learn of the errors” and was only very recently briefed on the matter.
“This particular set of metrics doesn’t tell the full story of progress against the Taliban, of course, but it’s unhelpful to have inaccurate information in our systems,” Little said.
I chalk it up to Panetta, who in my opinion is probably the worst Secretary of Defense this country has had in 40 years, trying to pad his legacy and resume as he walks out the door as the self-proclaimed champion of military equal opportunity.
It supports why I think he is one of the worst as he tries to spin the numbers and make it look like our warfighters are not fighting the hard fight, like they know they are. This country deserves more than putting lipstick on a pig and calling it pretty. It deserves the damned truth, as ugly as it may be. Our young men and women are not being wounded and dying for politicians to cover it up and create a great sounding soundbite on the 6PM news.
Bouhammer’s Note- I spent a large majority of my Infantry career as a mortar maggot (nickname for mortarman) so these guys are near and dear to my heart. I also not only served in the sister unit of this BN on airborne status but I have also worked with some of these soldiers as a DOD Contractor a couple of years ago on a trip back to Alaska.
Around 3 1/2 years ago I wrote about a brave bunch of Airborne Paratroopers who fought with honor and courage on July 4th, 2009.
Both were about that day in July when two young PFCs who were not even old enough to drink made the ultimate sacrifice on a day when most are popping open beers and throwing ribs on the BBQ.
As I mention in the second post, PFC Casillas’s mom reached out to me and gave me a lot more information about her son. I was then and still am in awe of her bravery in reaching out to me and letting me know so many personal things.
Well now, my good friend Wendy has let me know about the video below that was made about this attack specifically and talks a lot about these two young mortarmen. Please take the time to watch this video and learn more about what all these brave men went through on July 4th, 2009. This isn’t hollywood or some made-for-tv movie, this is the real deal. This is what .45% have been going through.
So now we face the threat of not being able to even training our soldiers and prep them for war?
Gen. Raymond Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said the military will be able to fund training and operations for combat units in Afghanistan now and for those deploying in the summer and fall. But he says there will be delays in training for those deploying in 2014. If those training delays can’t be made up, Odierno said he would have to send forces to war that aren’t ready or extend deployments of units already there. A number of combat brigades will be deploying later this year and next year, even as the U.S. winds down the war.
So what does this mean for one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world? It means that in a time where our soldiers are not stretched too thin we can’t afford to prepare soldiers properly and send them over to combat. Some may say “they all have combat experience, why do they need trained?”. Even though that is true for the most part, it does not mean they all have experience doing the job they would be doing on the next deployment. Guys who may be Company Commanders now, were maybe a platoon leader before or even an enlisted soldiers. NCOs who may be platoon sergeants now may have been a squad leader or team leader on the last deployment.
Not to mention that new equipment has been fielded, fixed, upgraded that soldiers need to train with and train on. Like the title says, this is probably reason 10001 why Sequestration is going to be very bad for our country and our military. Congress has to work together and get past this “my way or the highway” attitude they have had. March 1st is coming and when that date hits, all is going to hell in regards to the defense of our country. What you see in the news is the tip of the iceberg. Ranges on major military bases are being shut down, DA Civilians are being prepped to be furloughed without pay, government contracts are going to be allowed to expire, equipment is not going to be purchased or even reset for it to be continued to be used. That is what I can mention publicly, but just know this…for every “bad” thing you hear in the news about what the sequestration will do to our military, there are 1000 other worse things really happening on the back end.
Maybe this news story about how soldier’s combat tours are going to get extended because the United States of America can’t afford to prepare its son’s and daughters for combat will either motivate our elected officials to work together or at least get Americans to wake up and contact their elected officials and demand action.
Right now the most important thing effecting this country is not 30 round magazines, Obamacare or broken down cruise ships. It is this, the temporary destruction of our military readiness.
The draft handbook offers a list of “taboo conversation topics” that soldiers should avoid, including “making derogatory comments about the Taliban,” “advocating women’s rights,” “any criticism of pedophilia,” “directing any criticism toward Afghans,” “mentioning homosexuality and homosexual conduct” or “anything related to Islam,” according to the Journal.
Yes there is a new handbook being considered for our soldiers in Afghanistan that tells them to ignore some of the most basic human rights and values we as a sane western society adhere to, pedophilia.
I have written about this and many other atrocities conducted by the Afghan security forces that our soldiers have to deal with and struggle with in how to react. Now the Center for Army Lessons Learned has seriously drafted a handbook telling soldiers that speaking up about these and other “taboo” things in the Afghan lifestyle is why the forces we have been embedded with for 10 years are all of a sudden turning on us an trying to kill us.
The draft of the newest Army handbook seems to suggest that ignorance of Afghan culture is to blame for deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers against the coalition forces, according to The Wall Street Journal, which got a peek at the 75-page document. But its message of walking on eggshells around the locals is not going over well with U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, the top military commander in Afghanistan.
Do they think our soldiers just recently started these practices? I was there FIVE years ago and I admonished Afghan soldiers for homosexual acts and drug use on missions, beastiality, and pedophilia among many other acts of indecency and unprofessionalism. There were green on blue acts back then but DOD and ISAF were not tracking them. They didn’t officially start that until 2009. However I never felt threatened by an Afghan for talking to them about these things. They only time I or anyone on my team felt threatened is when we tried to correct an act by an Afghan which put the lives of US soldiers, Afghan soldiers, Afghan civilians at risk or compromised a mission. Not every time these things happened, but some times when they did.
I am encouraged to see that Gen. Allen thinks this handbook is crap too.
“Gen. Allen did not author, nor does he intend to provide, a foreword,” said Col. Tom Collins, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. “He does not approve of its contents.
As long as he holds his ground and is not forced by the administration to allow this handbook then maybe there is a chance this will never see the light of day. Regardless this just shows how disconnected some senior leaders in our military have become, along with other “experts”.
Whoever authored this handbook and approved it, needs to have their teeth kicked in and then sent to Afghanistan to live among the locals for a few months. Then I would like to see how touchy-feely and PC they would like to be.
They next thing they are going to say is that we should not talk bad about, cuss out, or say anything derogatory about the Taliban as it may upset them and encourage them to try and kill us.
I wrote this the the other day for a Veteran’s Day tribute on VeteransUnited.com. I would like to share it here too.
There is a difference between wanting to go to war and willing to go to war. Veterans Day is all about recognizing and thanking those who were “willing” to do the tough job that may be asked of our military. This day is for everyone who has served, from the airman who served three years in the 1980s and never saw combat, to the Soldier who served 20+ years and maybe spent a couple of years in combat. Regardless of branch, time spent serving or where they served, every man and woman who raised their hands and swore the oath to defend our country deserves to be thanked.
So please take a moment and thank anyone and everyone you know who ever raised their hand to “defend this country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
For those veterans who read this blog, be sure and check out the links below in order to find great deals and offerings for you, on your day.
This is a serious problem and the Army is desperate to try and stop it. Don’t believe me, look at the graphic below.
If that graphic doesn’t tell the story then just ask about anyone in the Army or that has been in the Army for the last 10 years and I am sure you will find they know someone who has taken their own life or has tried to. I personally have had fellow soldiers take their own lives and have had several friends who have thought about it seriously or tried to.
There is no silver bullet, magic phrase or flashy PowerPoint that will stop the growing suicide trend. It comes down to two simple things to lower the number of suicides in the Army, if not completely stop it. Yes I am about to tell you the secret to fixing this problem and what is worse the Army has both of these things within their control.
We need real Sergeants and real leaders, not a plastic dog tag with the Army Values written on them.
That is a quote from a great blog post on SofRep.com and the author sees what I do.
The secret to stop suicide is the SOLDIER and the LEADER. Yes the SOLDIER and the LEADER. Not a cool acronym like ACE or a piece of plastic to hang on your dog tags or put in your helmet or a Powerpoint. Those are all tools to educate the SOLDIER and the LEADER, who are truly where the power lies to stop this terrible trend.
Peer to Peer counseling, SOLDIERS looking after each other and are willing to listen, reach out and step up and LEADERS who take this problem seriously and set the example for all of their soldiers to follow. If you haven’t heard of the Spartan Pledge then check out this video by Boone Cutler from the Gallant Few.
The individual SOLDIER is the first line of defense to stop a fellow SOLDIER from committing suicide. That is what the video is trying to accomplish. Put your pride aside, don’t act like you are too tough to sit down with your buddy and talk about this and make a pledge to each other not to take your own life. It is amazing that two army buddies will sit around and talk about their sexual conquests over a weekend, plan out a kegger or bullshit each other about what bad-asses they were back in High School but they can’t look at each other and say;
“I will not take my own life by my own hand until I talk to my battle buddy first.
My mission is to find a mission to help my warfighter family.”
The training, pieces of plastic and Power-points are there to educate SOLDIERS on how to deal with it, help their buddy and get them to seek help and stop any attempt to take their own life. Those things are there to empower the SOLDIER and the LEADER not to relieve them of any responsibility. I think many view this mandatory training as just that. I believe many in the Army feel that “hey we attended the training, so what do I need to do?”. They see the training as a distraction and as a block-checker to say everyone is trained not to kill themselves.
That is where many SOLDIERS and LEADERS miss it. The training doesn’t mean squat without SOLDIERS and LEADERS to execute on it. You can’t train a SOLDIER to not kill themselves, you train others to stop it.
So yes it comes down to the SOLDIER to be the first line of defense and they depend on the LEADER to stress the importance of protecting each other and to take suicide prevention seriously and not as another “mandatory training” event.
I had my first experience with a friend who wanted to commit suicide in elementary school. I may have forgotten a lot in my life but that moment is burned into my memory. I will never forget a classmate who came to me to talk about wanting to kill himself. I didn’t have any training or cool acronyms, I had values and morals that knew he should not do this and that I had to talk him out of it. I have had others in my life kill themselves, try to kill themselves, or seriously contemplate it. Some of those I am reffering to read this blog and will know who they are.
When I have had the chance to intervene, I did and every time I felt over-whelmed and hoped that I said and did the right thing. Personally I pray to God to always put the right words in my mouth and to allow them to penetrate someone’s heart to stop them from doing the ultimate selfish act. Then every time I talk to them or see them after that incident I smile inside to know that they are still here and I thank God for allowing me the chance to intervene.
Stopping someone from suicide should be taken as serious as stopping the bleeding and saving the life of your buddy on the battlefield. The SOLDIER needs to realize that, and the LEADER better realize that. If they don’t then they should take off the uniform and walk away, cause I don’t want an Army of soldiers who wouldn’t care for and save the life of their fellow soldier.
That is the tagline for the Infantry Mortarmen which I spent almost my entire 22 years in the Army doing. So needless to say, this video strikes close to home and I love watching young “mortar maggots” in action.
This is just a sliver of the type of jobs our brave warfighters are doing downrange.
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. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy what you see. If you care about what is happening in the land where the attacks of 9/11 were planned and if you care about our military, this is the blog for you. Click Here to Contact Bouhammer
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