…and they need to be. 2/7 Marines under the Command of LTC Hall did a great job kicking ass and taking names, along with the 24th MEU. 3/8 Marines need to keep up the fight and never let up. The 2/7 to 3/8 handover happened in November and quite honestly I think that is why November was so quiet in the way of enemy and US deaths. 3/8 was getting settled in and had not had a chance to deal some death out yet. I hope they have their connexes unpacked and weapons loaded, becuase it is time to put some pressure back on Haji to hurry up and go see Allah.
“The Soldier above all others prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest scars of war.” – General Douglas MacArthur
That quote is what I have at the bottom of all of my emails. I have it there for a reason, and unfortunately one of those times is now.
We have suffered a terrible loss in the New York National Guard over the last few days. On Saturday morning, three soldiers from the New York National Guard were killed along with a Lieutenant Colonel from Active Duty when their Humvee was the target of a complex ambush that involved an IED initially and then small arms and RPG fire. I have known of this the last several days, but had to stay silent until the Army has a chance to do the proper notification. This spawned my one question on Monday with COL McGrath in the Blogger’s Roundtable, when I asked how his soldiers were doing despite the significant loss of lives in his area of operation. He actually talked about this attack specifically in the interview. If you did not hear that interview session, you can click HERE and listen to it.
Anyway, one of those soldiers, SGT Rodriguez, was one of mine once. I was his First Sergeant from the time he came into the National Guard until I deployed in 2006. I remember him well, and will now remember him always. He was a hard working soldier, that did what he was told, never complained and never made a fuss. He was very quiet, but at the same time was outgoing when he needed to be. I was fortunate enough to see him while I was down at Ft. Bragg right before the 27th BCT shipped out of the US. I spent time talking to him, his fellow soldiers and some of thier leaders, all of whom used to work for me when I was their First Sergeant.
The Buffalo News has a small article in the paper today that you can read if you would like, right here; http://www.buffalonews.com/180/story/377814.html
This afternoon I participated in another DOD sponsored Bloggers Roundtable sessions with COL McGrath, who is the Commander of ARSIC-South. ARSIC South has lost a lot of coalition (US and non US) soldiers/marines in the last nine days. In addition, they have had the now-famous Kandahar prison break happen and the temporary siege of the Arghandab district by Taliban militants. There were about eight journalists/bloggers on the session with COL McGrath which contributed to a wide variety of questions being asked. I personally asked him three questions, including a personally tough question that I asked at the end, which was even tougher for him to answer I am sure. This is one of the better roundtable sessions I have been on and I encourage all who are interested in Afghanistan or our servicemembers to take 30 minutes out of your day and listen to it.
You should head over to the ARSIC South blog site and check out this entry, http://arsicsouth7.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/afghan-villagers-caught-in-the-middle-of-conflict/ . It looks like this was reprinted from a reporter’s story, but what makes me want to spread the word about this is the fact that he captures exactly what I tell a lot of people about how the Afghan people just want security. Many of them don’t care who is in charge, as long as thier family is safe and they can lead productive lives raising thier families. This is no different than what any of us in America want, except for the fact that they have a much harder time doing it over there.
As highlighted in the story, we cannot be everywhereÂ in the country at one time, so this cuases us to leave areas alone and that is where the enemy moves into. It is not that the Afghan people do not like coaltion forces, it is that the enemy forces bully them to provide assistance and the people just want to be left alone and be safe. This is no different then when a murder happens in the inner-city and regardless of the number of people that see it, nobody helps out the cops becuase they don’t want to be invlolved or get killed themselves.
Wanna see the latest happenings in ARSIC South? ARSIC-South is the 205th Corps Area of Operation in southern Afghanistan. This includes Helmend, Khandahar, Zabul, Uruzgan, Zabul, and Nimroz provinces to name a few. You can download or view the latest newsletter from that area by going to http://www.bouhammer.com/download/arsic_south_may.pdf.
I stumbled across this blog today, http://communities.canada.com/windsorstar/blogs/outsidethewire/default.aspx which is written by an embedded reporter from Canada. He is hanging in the southern sector where all the Canadian forces are and many of my previous soldiers that used to serve under me. His writing is very good and this is one I would highly recommend to anyone that is wanting to follow the happenings, accomplishments and even setbacks we face with trying to stand that country up on its own feet. This should be a favorite of my Canadian blog readers (membrain) as he talks Canadian policy in his blog as well.