Just in case you didn’t know…

…but we still have our son’s and daughters fighting, bleeding and dying in Afghanistan. America is still there taking part in killing bad guys and trying to save the good ones.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

 

           The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, 24, of Staten Island, N.Y., died Aug. 28, in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, small arms and indirect fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, N.Y.

 

For more information the media may contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at 315-772-8286.

 

SSG Ollis is not the only casualty, I just selected his name for this post as it was announced on this R.E.D Friday.

 

Outlaw Platoon, Part II

I have already posted my review of Sean’s book Outlaw Platoon and put up the first special trailer that NRA’s Life of Duty put together. Here is the second part of that series they have produced. If you haven’t read the book yet, I hope this video along with the first and the soon to be posted third will convince you to go out and get a copy right away. Once you start, you probably won’t be able to put it down.

 

 

In 2006 Lt. Sean Parnell and the men at Third Platoon had deployed to one of the most dangerous area of Afghanistan, less than 10 miles from the Pakistani border. Their mission was to seek out enemy positions and thwart the movement of insurgent forces, into and out of the save haven of Pakistan. And was to disrupt and destroy this network at all costs. On June 10, they were under a fierce assault by the Taliban and enemy insurgents. RPGs and Mortars rained down on them, and machine gun fire seemed to come at them from all directions. If they didn’t get help soon, the outcome looked grim for Sean Parnell and the men under his leadership, known as the Outlaw Platoon.

Why a veteran is a great person to hire

I have talked about this many times on this blog, other blogs and my radio shows. In fact I can be a testament myself as to the effects of military service and how the life-skills it builds can benefit a company. Recently one of my sons turned me onto this blog from postgradproblems.com and why companies should be hiring Veterans.

First and foremost, veterans have a great attitude when it comes to work. No matter the task, they’ll get it done, or at least give it their all. They won’t show up late. They’re used to working overtime. They’re disciplined. Discipline, “the mental attitude and state of training that renders willing obedience instinctively under all conditions,” means that a veteran will do what they’re told and do it right—the first time, every time. A veteran isn’t likely to show up to work hungover on Monday, but if he does, he’ll work just as diligently, effectively, and efficiently as he would on any other day.

I love how the author even highlights the fact that even if a veteran shows up hungover they will probably still work as effectively as any other day.

Even with these benefits, and the fact that great organizations like the Chamber of Commerce’s Hire Our Heroes, HireHeroes, and companies like Buffalo Paradigm Company who are teaming up with the Better Business Bureau of Upstate NY to host a Veteran’s Job Fair as part of a Veteran’s Day 5K fund-raising run there is still ignorance on the part of many employers. Then there are groups like Get It Done Consulting who have a specialized training program for disabled veterans that gets them certified in Project Management and other business skills.

With all of those organizations and focus more awareness is needed and it is good to see it originating outside the military circles from places like postgradproblems.com. Be sure to check out and read the entire blog post at http://postgradproblems.com/why-every-business-should-hire-veterans/#DOsGBoYmwAeEoSrb.99

 

Going beyond 2014?

Just a few weeks ago all the news was talking about the Zero Option in Afghanistan, which implies that ZERO troops would be left in Afghanistan after 2014. Now we are hearing that the US and Afghanistan are nearing an agreement to keep some troops there beyond 2014 (http://www.news-leader.com/article/20130731/NEWS07/307310126/us-presence-afghanistan-extension).

That just goes to show you that either the press makes news by just guessing stuff, their inside “sources” are full of crap, or the DoD is good at “leaking” stuff to them to keep them thrown off the trail and they fall for it all the time.

Should we be there beyond 2014? Personally I say no, at least not chasing bad guys and trying to help dig wells and build schools. However we SHOULD try to establish our foothold in the region and keep some type of presence there. We still have troops in Japan, S. Korea, Germany and Italy don’t we? The administration lost its ability to negotiate a foothold in Iraq so I really hope they don’t screw this up and lose a military presence in this critical location in the world.

The Afghan Security Forces are long overdue on stepping up and TRULY taking the reins themselves, this should have happened years ago. So we don’t need to be coddling them, but we need to keep some space there to serve as a jumping-off or staging location just in case we ever need to get back into that part of the globe and straighten things out.

This country is focusing on the wrong Zimmerman

While the whole George Zimmerman trial has been captivating the news over the past 5 weeks, it is over. Trayvon Martin has been buried for a while now, and even though it is sad for anyone to lose their life so young by virtue of a freak turn of events, it is over.

What is really sad is why this has all been going on there are real Heroes this country should be paying attention to. Americans who are laying down their lives for us to enjoy all the freedoms that our founding fathers have ensured for us. People like Sonny Zimmerman.

 

 

07/17/2013 10:55 AM CDT

 


IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 517-13
July 17, 2013

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Sonny C. Zimmerman, 25, of Waynesfield, Ohio, died July 16, in Mushaka, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, Fort Campbell, Ky.

For more information, media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at 931-217-5074 or 931-220-7993.

Book Review: Outlaw Platoon

The book is a must-read if you want a first-hand account of what combat was like in Afghanistan when there was only one Army Combat Brigade in all of the country trying to bring the fight to the enemy. During that time we felt and were correct in our feelings when we called ourselves the new “Forgotten War”. The US media focused on purely Iraq and forgot there was a war going on in Afghanistan. See I was there at the same time, in the same place and doing the same things that Sean and his platoon were doing. That is what made this book so personal to me, to have that extra special insight into the stories in this book. I can tell you there is no embellishment in this book and the stories, actions and experiences are valid and true.

This book will open your eyes to the things America’s sons went through without her ever knowing it. Sean talks about that first day on Bermel, and carrying the little dying girl in his arms and how he had to lock it away as his troops arrived over the following days. He takes you into monotony of every day life in a combat area. You get an idea of what life is like living in the B-huts of a remote FOB, the guys who are “heroes” back home, but are less than stellar soldiers in the field and are truly not contributing to the greater good of the mission.

Sean will also walk you though some of the darkest and horrific events that our young men and women have to experience. It is one thing to see bodies blown apart and have death all around you. As soldiers we tend to build a callous around our heart for such things, however there is pure evil in our enemies and Sean will show you an example of that in a young boy and what the enemy does to him. I consider myself able to handle about anything. I have seen, smelled, and held some of the grossest things on this planet with no problem. However even with all that it was difficult and disturbing to imagine what he and his men went through when they found this young boy stumbling down the road.

I think you will be surprised to learn about the battle after battle they went though in and around that little place called Bermel, Afghanistan. I remember being on operations and hearing Sean’s company and platoon being in contact. I remember thinking “wow those guys are getting shit on today” when I would hear their calls for air support and medevacs. I remember seeing their blown up and shot up Humvees back at the Battalion maintenance area and saying a prayer that hopefully everyone made it out alive.

Sean will also take the reader on a journey into his own tribulations and the miracle of not dying when he easily should have. Many men have quickly died from the proximity of explosives and shrapnel that Sean experienced and to read how he lived through it is truly a miracle. Couple that with how he should have sought and been given aid, but refused and what he went through after that and I am sure you will have a new-found respect for this man.

Lastly you will see not only the exterior battles that our warfighters go through in fighting with the enemy, but also the interior threats they have to deal with when the people they are forced to trust turn on them.

I have tried to wet your appetite as much as I can in order to entice you to read the book, but at the same time not give everything away. If you truly care about what our troops have went through in Afghanistan at the start of the resurgence of a deadly and determined enemy then this is a book for you. Many say they honor and are proud of our fighting men and women, but I don’t think much of America really knows what they should be proud for. This book will help you understand a little more of how awesome they are and the level of fortitude, sacrifice, courage and guts they display every day on the battlefield.

You can find it:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0062066404

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/outlaw-platoon-sean-parnell/1103167950?ean=9780062066404

http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780062066398

 

American Badasses; Outlaw Platoon

When I first heard about the book, Outlaw Platoon, I knew it was one I wanted to read for several reasons. One was because it was about Afghanistan, two was because it was from the time I was there in 2006-2007 and the most important reason was because it was about my area of operation.

The Outlaw Platoon was in 2/87 INF (Catamount) of the 10th MTN Division. The same exact Battalion that the Afghan Army soldiers I was embedded with, were partnered with. I earned my 10th MTN combat patch from these guys. I served shoulder to shoulder with them and fought with them.

The author, Sean Parnell, and I first met when I interviewed him on my old radio show, You Served. Since that time he and I have talked several times and got to hang out together. I consider him a friend and I think he feels the same way. We get it, we get each other and we understand what both went through because we ate the same dirt together. I am sure I have stood in the line at chow with him and his soldiers but never knew it. I have been to FOB Bermel and know that area well.

I will have the book review for Outlaw Platoon out this week, that I promise. In the mean time I encourage you to watch this NRA Life of Duty video of Sean and his platoon. I will post part two when it is released. Spare the 20 or so minutes it takes to watch this to get a glimpse of what this platoon went through.

 

 

Time for the final exam

The announcement was made this morning after a ceremony in Kabul marking the formal handover of combat operations in Afghanistan from NATO forces to the Afghan Government.

The handover of responsibility at a ceremony, attended by NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Mr Karzai, marks a significant milestone in the nearly 12-year war.

It also marks a turning point for US and NATO military forces, which will now move entirely into a supporting role and opens the way for their full withdrawal in 18 months.

So now they have taken over all combat operations in the country. I wonder how that will work out for them and how long it will take until the Taliban really tests them….

The handover came the same day as a large bomb exploded in the Afghan capital, killing at least three people.

The blast was in the Pul-e-Surkh area of the western part of Kabul.

Seeing that both these quotes are from the same article, I guess the answer is “not long”. So this is it, this is the time for the Afghans to truly step up and take it, this is the final exam before this 12 year class is over. I am sure the “leaders” (I use that term very loosely) in the Afghan government are very happy for this, but I am bet the Afghan soldiers aren’t.

I also how “support role” will be defined for the NATO forces. I mean, when I was there in 06-07 we were in a “support role” with every mission requiring an “afghan face” on it. Afghan face meant 15 Afghans in two Ford Ranger pickups at the front of a convoy of 4 heavily armed up-armored HUMVEES with TACSAT radios and bombers or jets just a radio call away.

I am sure the Afghan government and the military will do whatever they can to give themselves an advantage and avoid the true kinetic head to head fight…

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said his government will send representatives to the Gulf state of Qatar as soon as possible to hold formal talks with the Taliban.

Yep, I would say trying to work out a deal with the enemy would qualify as doing whatever they can. An enemy that has no reason to give any consolations or even care to. They just need to hold on long enough for us to get our troops out, then the whole place can destroy itself because in the end the people are accountable to themselves.

The importance of Flag Day

I found this on military.com and knew it was something I wanted to share with my readers.

Each year, Americans can enjoy four special days set aside specifically to honor our veterans and comrades in arms. Sadly, too many of us often overlook these opportunities to pay our respect and recognize the sacrifice and service of these individuals. These four days are intended to, in some small way, express the sentiments of a grateful nation. So what does it say of us when we forget, overlook, or simply brush aside the opportunity to honor the best among us?

I understand that today our lives are more complicated and busier than ever. We have so much going on in our lives these days; school getting out, visiting relatives, graduations, and any number of other competing priorities. I hope each of us were able to honor all our heroes last November on Veteran’s Day. But what about the other days?

It’s perhaps easy to seek and find forgiveness for not making it out to a veteran’s cemetery last Memorial Day Monday. After all, who of us is not grateful for a day off or for a chance to sleep in, fire up the grill, catch a new summer blockbuster, and recharge our batteries?

The American Flag which flies above the Memorial

The American Flag which flies above the USS Arizona Memorial

Go read Retired Chief Master Sgt. Scott Hubbartt’s entire piece at http://www.military.com/flag-day/why-flag-day-is-important.html