Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Having a bad day at work? Try dealing with incomings…

Originally published on January 29, 2014: My military guy came home from Afghanistan last October, after serving and surviving one year there. He shared with me this video of what it’s like to get rocketed in Bagram.

It’s pretty scary to us civilians yet know that our military are trained and prepared to deal with this. They see it as a “hassle” to deal with and, of course, the Taliban fire rockets on 9/11, Christmas, and other holidays – just to be jerks. The Taliban are usually so stoned they miss targets. Unfortunately, they do hit our guys as during my military guy’s tour, they lost four souls to a rocket attack. :(

So next time you’re having a bad day at work, be thankful your job doesn’t involve this!

Update 12/23/14: Be thankful this Christmas for our soldiers who have made it home safely. We still have many troops abroad in both Iraq and Afghanistan who won’t be home to spend the holidays with their loved ones. They will undoubtedly be rocketed on Christmas. Prayers for their safety!


Military medicine works on better prosthetics for young, active, disabled combat veterans

Gregory Bull/AP Photo

Gregory Bull/AP Photo

NY Daily News: The blood is not the most jarring part of the photograph taken shortly after the bomb blew off Marine Gunnery Sgt. Brian Meyer’s leg and hand. It’s his smile.

The bomb technician had asked a team member to take the picture. He knew his defiance in the face of death would keep his comrades going and ease the torment caused by what they had witnessed.

His attitude set the tone for the long journey the double amputee is taking along with nearly 2,000 troops who lost one or more limbs from combat injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s also pushing military medicine to find better ways to accommodate such a large population of young, severely disabled combat veterans who want to maintain an active lifestyle. Many wear out their prosthetic limbs in a matter of months doing everything from mountain climbing to running marathons.

With survival rates reaching historic highs during the two wars, the Naval Health Research Center is launching a major, six-year study on wounded warriors to track their quality of life and better understand the road to recovery.

So far, 1,500 people have signed up for the Wounded Warrior Recovery Project study. The Navy aims to recruit 10,000.

About 50,000 military personnel have been injured in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, with 16,000 hurt so severely that they likely would not have survived previous conflicts.

Doctors say a positive attitude is key to recovery, so the study will also examine mental resilience and why some troops have it and others don’t. It will rely on Web-based, telephone and mailed surveys conducted every six months about mobility, ability to function and social activity. Researchers will also analyze military databases detailing clinical encounters with each service member injured while deployed.

Eric Lunson/AP Photo

Eric Lunson/AP Photo

The study aims to provide one of the broadest reviews yet of how post 9-11 veterans with a variety of combat injuries are coping and enjoying life, and how much their quality of life impacts their long-term care.

Meyer is not yet part of the study but intends to participate. His case was featured in the New England Journal of Medicine in May to demonstrate the success of battlefield trauma care over the past decade.

The retired Marine has benefited from a host of new medical strategies used by the military, including laser treatments.

Cmdr. Peter Shumaker, chief of dermatology at Naval Medical Center San Diego, helped pioneer the use of an ablative laser — commonly used to smooth wrinkled or acne-scarred skin — to ease Meyer’s scar tissue, dramatically improving the range of motion in his fingers, among other things.

“It’s a privilege to work with soldiers and Marines, like Brian, because they’re young and motivated and healthy and they can go farther than we ever thought,” Shumaker said. “They don’t want to just walk, they want to do things that their colleagues are doing, their friends are doing.”

Meyer was hospitalized for a month after the 2011 bomb blast in Afghanistan. He lost his right leg above the knee, and his right hand above the wrist. Only his pinky and ring finger remained intact on his left hand.

After multiple surgeries, he was outfitted for prosthetics and learned to walk again. But Meyer, 29 at the time, wanted full independence.

He turned down offers to install wheelchair ramps in his home. He debated before accepting a handicap parking permit. He did not want to avoid the struggle to reintegrate. He wanted to go anywhere. “I focus on what I have left, not what I lost,” Meyer said.

His prosthetic arm has a flashlight so at night he can see where he plants his prosthetic foot. His prosthetic arm has the knobs and battery pack positioned to one side so he can shoot a bow and arrow.

Thanks to the laser treatments on his scar tissue, he can now hold a toothbrush, write with a pen, dial his phone, and pull the trigger of a hunting rifle. Laser treatments also removed a sore, allowing him to withstand his prosthetic leg for 18 hours a day.

Shumaker and Dr. Chad Hivnor, who recently retired from Lackland Air Force Base, helped pioneer the method. Hivnor also discovered botulinum toxin A injections decrease perspiration where the prosthetic limb attaches, helping stop it from slipping off while the person is exercising or in hot climates.

The findings were recently presented to the American Academy of Dermatology to promote the treatment for severely scarred people in the general population.

“These are not special, scar lasers or special, wounded warrior lasers,” Shumaker said. “We’ve taken these techniques that are primarily used for cosmetic purposes and altered them a bit to apply to trauma rehabilitation.”

Such unconventional treatments make a big difference in daily life, veterans and their doctors say. One soldier’s scar tissue has softened so he can grasp his daughter’s hand; another can now type.

A week after a recent treatment, Meyers rode on his motorcycle through a shopping district in Murrieta, 60 miles northeast of San Diego. His pinky and ring finger operated the throttle that has been put on the left side because he only has a left wrist. It has a side car that can carry another amputee, wheelchair or his dog.

Meyer and two others have started the nonprofit organization, Warfighter Made, which modified his motorcycle. It also customizes sports cars, off-road vehicles and other transportation for veterans, who can join in the work.

“What we want is for a guy in the coolest car to drive into a handicap spot and have people be like, ‘What’s this guy doing?’ Then they see him get out with his prosthetic legs,” said Meyer, whose prosthetic leg sports a sticker of Bill Murray and the word “Laugh.”

Meyer works for the Injured Marines Semper Fi Fund, counseling fellow combat veterans. He loves the photograph taken after he was injured because “it’s the exact opposite of what somebody expects you to do. So when I show it to people and they are inspired by it, instead of being shocked, I know they get it.”



Ryan Pitts to receive Medal of Honor for combat actions in Afghanistan


US Army: The White House announced today that former Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts will receive the Medal of Honor for his combat actions during an enemy engagement in Wanat in the Waygal Valley of northeastern Afghanistan, July 13, 2008.  President Barack Obama will place the Medal of Honor around Pitts’ neck during a ceremony at the White House, July 21, 2014.

Pitts will be the ninth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. The White House says Pitts and his family will join the president at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.

Pitts served with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade.

The White House notes that Pitts’ personal awards include the Bronze Star Medal w/ “V” Device, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/ three Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Clasp and two Loops, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral “4”, NATO Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Valorous Unit Award, Combat Action Badge, Pathfinder Badge and Parachutist Badge.

In the summer of 2008, Pitts, then a sergeant, and his team were part of Operation “Rock Move,” meant to transfer remaining forces and capability from Combat Outpost Bella to a new location on the outskirts of a village called Wanat. The new position was Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler. COP Bella was to be closed.

The mission was expected to be the last for the Soldiers before returning home — they’d been in Afghanistan for 14 months.

On the morning of July 13, at about 4 a.m., Pitts was manning Observation Post Topside, which was positioned east of the main base, and east of a bazaar and hotel complex in Wanat.

Shortly after, Soldiers conducting surveillance identified potential insurgents. They put together a request for fire. But before that could happen, at about 4:20 a.m, Soldiers heard machine-gun fire from the north. After that, the valley erupted in enemy fire.


Soldiers at OP Topside were hit with small arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and hand grenades. Pitts and six other paratroopers at OP Topside were injured in the initial volley of enemy fire. Two paratroopers were killed. Pitts took grenade shrapnel in both legs and his left arm.

For more than an hour after, Pitts continued to fight and defend his position and his teammates, despite his injuries.

Throughout the battle, despite the loss of blood and severity of his wounds, Pitts’ incredible toughness, determination, and ability to communicate with leadership while under fire allowed U.S. forces to hold the observation post and turn the tide of the battle.

Without his ability to stay alert and fight while critically wounded, the enemy would have gained a foothold on high ground and inflicted significantly greater causalities onto the vehicle patrol base, and the enemy could have been in possession of the fallen Soldiers at the observation post.

Nine Soldiers — Spc. Sergio Abad, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers, Cpl. Jason Bogar, 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom, Sgt. Israel Garcia, Cpl. Jason Hovater, Cpl. Matthew Phillips, Cpl. Pruitt Rainey, and Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling — were killed in the battle.


War vet reunites with K9 partner: ‘He was my best friend’


KOMO: After five tours in Afghanistan, a retired marine flew home Thursday to a rousing reunion with his very first partner. There was tail wagging, ball throwing and big, sloppy, wet kisses.

“I’m really nervous,” former Marine Sgt. Deano Miller said as he waited at Sea-Tac Airport.

He’s been waiting four years. Four years to be re-united with Thor, the friend that kept him and his colleagues safe every day of their 2010 tour in Afghanistan.

“I’m just so excited,” Miller said. “I didn’t think this was ever going to happen.”

Thor is an explosives sniffing expert and Miller was his very first handler. Together they led patrols through Afghanistan, usually on point, searching for improvised explosive devices, IEDs.  The pair ate together, slept together, patrolled together. 


“I love that dog,” Miller said.

After they completed that first tour in Afghanistan, Miller came home, but Thor had to go back. “He was my best friend, he was my everything, I didn’t go anywhere without him, and then when I had to leave him I felt like I abandoned him,” Miller said.

Thor has done five tours and has had four more handlers after Miller.  Now Thor is retired — he left Afghanistan in October, and flew home Thursday from North Carolina to be re-united with his first partner.

Miller was nearly speechless as Thor walked off the escalator with a volunteer from Mission K9 Rescue, Kathileene Anderson, who brought Thor home.  A mass of cameras, people, and the long flight left Thor unable to settle. But after Miller took him for a quick walk outside to a dog-friendly area at the airport he was ready to chase a ball, mouth his favorite stuffed animal and pay attention to his first friend and last home.

Miller and his fiance live in Tacoma with their two other dogs, Tevin, a Siberian Husky and Doug, a yellow lab/golden retriever mix like Thor.  Miller’s fiancee Tomi Gallegos says they’re all ready for him.

“He has his own kennel and food bowl, water bowl, we’re not worried about dog beds because they all sleep in our bed anyway,” she said.

Volunteer Anderson was tearful at having to leave Thor behind, saying it was an honor to help two heroes reunite.  “I feel like it’s a miracle,” Anderson said.

The American Humane Association paid for Thor’s flight home. The organization estimates that each military working dog saves the lives of approximately 150 to 200 service members.



Obama administration refuses to tell Congress with whom U.S. is at war

Dr. Eowyn:

A year ago on May 23, Obama declared in a speech to National Defense University that he intends “to engage Congress” about the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) that resulted from 9-11, “to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing.”

That’s because, the POS said, “The Afghan war is coming to an end. Core al Qaeda is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States.” To avoid being “drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers,” Obama said “I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate.”

A year later, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a hearing to do just that — to review the AUMF and determine whether it should be repealed. The committee’s member senators took seriously their charge, but not the two lawyers sent to represent the White House. To get a simple “yes” or “no” answer from those two was like pulling teeth.

In this post, you’ll read for yourselves just how pointless the hearing was, how empty Obama’s grand words were in that National Defense University speech, and how meaningless are this man’s promises.

Originally posted on Consortium of Defense Analysts:

On May 22, 2014, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing entitled “Authorization For Use of Military Force (AUMF) After Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Washington’s Blogreports that according to Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU and director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, representatives of the Obama administration repeatedly refused to answer the question of which groups the U.S. is at war with. Jeffer tweets:

There were four individuals testifying before the committee, including two lawyers representing the Obama administration:

  • Stephen W. Preston, General Counsel, Dept. of Defense
  • Mary McLeod, Deputy Legal Adviser, Department of State

The other two expert testimonies were from:

  • Harold Hongju Koh, Sterling Professor International Law, Yale Law School
  • Michael B. Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States

The purpose of the hearing, in the…

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Amputee Soldier set to attend Ranger School


US Army: When 1st Lt. David Brunett lost his leg after an improvised explosive device explosion in Afghanistan three years ago it permanently changed his physical appearance, but never changed his mind about going to Ranger School.

As he prepares to begin the intense 61-day course, which begins Sunday, Brunett said his only goal is to give it his very best.

“Rangers are the best Soldiers in the Army, and I think every guy wants to test himself in that way,” he said. “I’m glad to have the opportunity to do this and push myself past the limit.”

In April 2011, Brunett deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, with 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. He was returning from a dismounted patrol when a roadside improvised explosive device exploded, severely injuring his left leg. After doctors told him his injuries would prevent him from living an active lifestyle, Brunett agreed to have his leg amputated, in July 2012. He was reassigned to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and received five months of rehabilitation at the Center for the Intrepid.

I was blessed to survive the injury with none of my Soldiers injured in the blast, and go through my rehab with no complications,” Brunett said. “I was lucky to have those five months to try to save my foot … I had time to think about the fact this is going to significantly change my life.”

Brunett said he was fortunate to have family in his hometown of Troy, Montana, and Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, offering encouragement to continue through his recovery.

“Having a support system was vital in me saying ‘this isn’t done,'” Brunett said. “The injury doesn’t stop you from being the type of Soldier you want to be. It’s dangerous to think of yourself as just an amputee or a wounded warrior instead of saying ‘I am a Soldier.‘”

Brunett worked as an operations officer for U.S. Army South in San Antonio before joining the Maneuver Captains Career Course, in September. Brunett said he was inspired by Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Kapacziewski, who continued to serve and deploy as a Ranger after losing his leg after a grenade explosion, in October 2005, in northern Iraq. After talking to several Ranger mentors, Brunett said he felt he could take on any challenge.

“I can imagine that it is physically demanding, but the biggest challenge would probably be mentally refusing to quit and not letting the Soldiers to my left and right down,” Brunett said. “I’m blessed just to have the opportunity to go through a course. I’ve never wanted special treatment and every school in the Army is all about meeting standards.

Brunett said his doctors in Texas approved of his ambitions and provided him with alternate prosthetic legs in case of malfunctions under stress and continuous weight throughout the course. He will also wear a sweat liner and a hygiene suspension sleeve around his leg to withstand swampy conditions during the Florida phase of Ranger School.

“The doctors and medical professionals in Texas are excited to see someone who uses a prosthesis do this just to see how far it can be pushed,” Brunett said. “It’s a great opportunity to show others, even if I can make it through just one phase.”

Brunett said he hopes to leave Ranger School with a tab, and take a command during his next assignment at Fort Drum, New York.

“If I can make it through Ranger School, I will give all glory to God for how far I made it,” Brunett said. “For those who may have just been injured and going through recovery, I want to be an inspiration and let them know that if I can do it, so can they. There’s never an excuse to quit. If you want something, you have to go get it.”



Where’s Waldo? Umm Malaysia Air MH370?

Folks this get’s stranger by the day. They are now saying it was hijacked, steered off-course and could have reached Pakistan. This has got to be hell for the families.  I ask you keep the families in your prayers . I have a feeling they are not telling all they know. My other question is “cell phones” I mean they had to have rounded them up really quick as there has been not one text, call, nothing.

What do you folks think happened? I’m leaning towards..sfun_abduct2 sfun_abduct3


Satellite data shows hijacked MH370 was last seen flying towards Pakistan OR Indian Ocean as investigators search pilots’ luxury homes and reveal one had home-made flight simulator

  • Officials confirmed missing plane was hijacked by one or several people
  • Could have turned off communication system and steered it off-course
  • Now believed plane could have flown for another seven hours
  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to confirm the reports
  • Investigators working to establish motive and where plane was taken
  • Both captain and co-pilot are now said to be under investigation
  • Police raided the pair’s luxury homes in upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb


PUBLISHED: 23:29 EST, 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:32 EST, 15 March 2014

Investigators say the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was hijacked, steered off-course and could have reached Pakistan.

A Malaysian government official said people with significant flying experience could have turned off the flight’s communication devices.

The representative said that hijacking theory was now ‘conclusive’, and, as a result, police have raided the luxury homes of both the captain and the co-pilot.

The last known position of MH370 was pinpointed as it headed east over Peninsular Malaysia. Radar pings then suggest the plane could have then taken two paths along 'corridors' which are currently being searched, which are a fixed distance from the radar station in the Indian Ocean (left)

The last known position of MH370 was pinpointed as it headed east over Peninsular Malaysia. Radar pings then suggest the plane could have then taken two paths along ‘corridors’ which are currently being searched, which are a fixed distance from the radar station in the Indian Ocean (left)


The search operation has now been focused on two ‘corridors’, one which extends from  north west from Thailand to the Kazakstan-Turkmenistan border and the other which opens out into the southern Indian Ocean.

article-2581488-1C3744D400000578-968_306x423article-2581488-1C25907D00000578-463_306x423Investigators have now raided the homes of both Capt. Zahari Ahmad Shah (left) and Fariq Abdul Hamid in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur

Countries in the plane’s potential flightpath have now joined a huge diplomatic effort to locate the missing passengers, but China described the revelation as ‘painfully belated’.

While Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to confirm that flight MH370 was taken over, he admitted ‘deliberate action’ on board the plane resulted in it changing course and losing connection with ground crews.

The plane’s communication system was switched off as it headed west over the Malaysian seaboard and could have flown for another seven hours on its fuel reserves.

It is not yet clear where the plane could have been  taken, however Mr Razak said the most recent satellite data suggests the plane could have headed to one of two possible flight corridors.

Countries in the plane’s potential flightpath have now joined a huge diplomatic effort to locate the missing passengers, but China described the revelation as ‘painfully belated’.

While Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak refused to confirm that flight MH370 was taken over, he admitted ‘deliberate action’ on board the plane resulted in it changing course and losing connection with ground crews.

The plane’s communication system was switched off as it headed west over the Malaysian seaboard and could have flown for another seven hours on its fuel reserves.

It is not yet clear where the plane was taken, however Mr Razak said the most recent satellite data suggests the plane could have headed to one of two possible flight corridors.

The last radar contact was made at 8.11am on March 8 along one of the corridors, seven hours and 31 minutes after take off, but the plane could have deviated further from these points.

U.S. investigators have not ruled out the possibility that the passengers are being held at an unknown location and suggest that faint ‘pings’ were being transmitted for several hours after the flight lost contact with the ground.

NASA has also joined the international search operation, analysing satellite data and images that have already been gathered.

Malaysian authorities and others are urgently investigating the two pilots and 10 crew members, along with the 227 passengers on board.

Today, a police van with a large contingent of officers inside passed through a security gate at the entrance to the wealthy compound where father-of-three Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah lives with his wife Faisa.

Four plain-clothed police officers were also, reportedly, seen at the home of the other pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27.

Both pilots live in the upmarket Kuala Lumpur district of Laman Seri, about an hour’s drive from the city centre – and each was visited today by a team of detectives who arrived in a white ‘people mover’ vehicle.

The homes are substantial and are, said one resident, typical of high income earners.

It is believed a team of search specialists entered Shah’s house and spent two hours searching for signs of foul play, before moving into search the co-pilot’s home a short distance away.

The New Straits Times reported last night that before police turned up at Hamid’s home, his two brothers arrived there in a Mini Cooper, believed to belong to a friend.

They hurried into the house and remained there for a short time before hurrying away in the same car, taking with them transparent blue plastic bags containing clothes and toiletries.

Hamid’s father, Abdul Hamid left with them. An hour later, the plain clothed officers left the house carrying two brown bags.

The concentration by police on the homes of the Captain and the co-pilot adds to suspicion that one – or both – of them might have had been responsible for the plight of the aircraft.

However, if it was diverted into the Indian Ocean, the task of the search teams becomes more difficult, as there are hundreds of uninhabited islands and the water reaches depths of around 23,000ft.

The maximum range of the Boeing 777-200ER is 7,725 nautical miles or 14,305 km.

It is not clear how much fuel the aircraft was carrying though it would have been enough to reach its scheduled destination, Beijing, a flight of five hours and 50 minutes, plus some reserve.

Experts have previously said that whoever disabled the plane’s communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience.

In Shah’s house a flight simulator has been set up and is understood to have interested police following up one line of investigation – that he had used the equipment to practice making his real-life Boeing 777 ‘invisible’ by turning off all communications.

Rest of story below.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2581488/It-WAS-hijacked-Malaysian-official-says-CONCLUSIVE-jet-carrying-239-hijacked-35-000-ft-individual-group-significant-flying-experience.html#ixzz2w8TIDbU4