Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Military Suicides. This Is A Very Sad/Grim Statistic.

All I can do is shake my head. I’m in a fog friends after reading the numbers in this story. On top of all these brave souls go through, it sounds like it is a living hell to a LOT of them when they return. Please pray for them.

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Healing the ‘Invisible Wound’

Feature: Veterans Honor Military Suicide Victims on National Mall
March 28, 2014 12:00 pm

Lt. Col. (Ret.) Dar Place was two feet away when his friend and fellow soldier took his own life during the Gulf War. Two decades later, like so many other veterans, Place is still haunted by the plague of suicide in the military.

“I personally saw my driver after Desert Storm in his tank put a gun underneath his mouth and pull the trigger, while I was no further away from him than I am from you right now,” Place told the Washington Free Beacon at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. He was one of the dozens of activists with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) who planted thousands of flags to honor veterans who had killed themselves.

By noon, 1,892 American flags graced the Mall, representing the number of veterans who have taken their life this year alone since January 1st—an average of 22 per day.

Former soldiers and survivors gathered to raise awareness about the epidemic, and lobby Capitol Hill to pass a bill addressing gaps in mental health.

The message of the campaign is “We’ve Got Your Back,” and for Place, serving in the Army is a “family business.”

“My son is still in active duty, he’s been an infantryman,” he said. “I was in the 101st Airborne Division, he was in the 82nd Airborne Division, and just like his old man was when I was a young enlisted man, he kind of followed in my footsteps.”

“I served in the 82nd in Desert Storm,” Place said. “So twice, I was on the initial invasion into Iraq, and then later on he came in to Iraq as I was coming out. And then he went on to the 82nd Airborne, and he went into Afghanistan as my unit prepared to relieve his unit in place in Afghanistan.”

Place retired in November. He is working with IAVA to help his fellow veterans get the help they need.

“My son has had three of his close friends who have lost the fight to suicide,” he said. “I have several friends who have either attempted or lost the fight to suicide. As a Battalion Commander, I had—for two years in command—multiple ideations, and a couple of attempts.”

Nearly 50 percent of IAVA members know someone who served in Iraq or Afghanistan who has either committed or attempted suicide.

“I’m in that 50 percent number,” said Derek Bennett, who served two tours in Iraq before leaving the Army in 2007. “This is an aspect of the war we feel has not received the awareness that is due.”

The number of suicides among active-duty military personnel eclipsed the number of casualties in the War on Terror in 2012. The number of young veterans taking their own life has increased dramatically since 2009, and a record 349 active-duty service members committed suicide last year.

IAVA honored veterans from all wars who have died from suicide on Thursday. One of the groups’ allies in Congress is Sen. John Walsh (D., Mont.), the first Iraq war combat veteran to serve in the Senate.

“This is a personal issue to me,” Walsh said after the flags were placed. “I commanded an infantry battalion in Iraq in 2004 and 2005, where I took, what I like to say, over 700 of Montana’s finest young men and women into combat in Iraq for over a year. When we returned home, one of my young Sergeants died by suicide.”

Walsh introduced the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act, which would allow veterans to receive mental health care for up to 15 years following active-duty service. Currently, soldiers can only get care from Veterans Affairs for 5 years.

The legislation would also modernize the way the VA prescribes medication, and attempt to make mental health jobs at the agency more competitive with the private sector.

Paul Rieckhoff, the founder and executive director of IAVA, said his group has held over 100 meetings in Washington this week, including with the Department of Defense, White House, and Capitol Hill, to raise awareness and lobby for Walsh’s bill.

“It’s a personal issue for all of us,” he said. Rieckhoff mentioned Clay Hunt, a former Marine corporal, who received the Purple Heart after being shot by a sniper in Afghanistan.

After leaving the service in 2009, Hunt worked with Rieckhoff and IAVA’s “Storm the Hill” suicide prevention campaign, and helped build bikes for “Ride 2 Recovery,” which holds bike races to help wounded combat heroes.

But in 2011, Hunt took his own life, shooting himself in his apartment.

“The flags we’re planting today are in memory of Clay Hunt and so many others,” Rieckhoff said. “We know that Clay’s with us here, I spoke to his mother last night, and she’s behind us, and so many other families are behind us.”

Another family stricken by military suicide are the Ruocco’s. Major John Ruocco, U.S. Marine Corps, was a decorated Cobra gunship pilot and father of two sons.

“He flew his last 75 missions in Iraq on his last tour, his wife Kim said on Thursday. “Upon his return, he suffered from post-traumatic stress, depression, and was suffering quite a bit.”

“My husband was not afraid of combat zones, or flying into fire, but he was afraid of asking for help,” she said. “He was afraid of letting people down, like most of our marines, soldiers, airmen, sailors.”

“His last words to me on the day that he died was, I’m going to get help, but we are going to lose everything because of it,’”

( He flies 75 missions no sweat, yet he believed by going for help his family would lose all. He chose suicide. :(  )

Ruocco said. “He thought that going for treatment for his injuries would forever change the way people viewed him. He died of stigma, and stigma still continues to be one our biggest battles in our [fight] against suicide.”

Ruocco is now the manager for Suicide Outreach and Education Programs at Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS helps at least three survivors who call the organization every day, seven days a week.

Bennett said the message he wants to send to his fellow veterans is “you’re not alone.”

“You’re not John Rambo, this country shouldn’t think of you as an outlier,” he said. “We all go through this experience together.”

Place wanted to emphasize that “it’s not weakness” for veterans to seek help.

“We think it is,” he said. “That’s the problem, we’re taught in the military to be strong and be tough, and endure, and when we’re in those dark places we don’t want to reach out for help, because we think it shows weakness.”

“I know there’s a lot of folks out there that might think that suicide is a scapegoat, it’s an escape, and you’re quitting, but when you’re a young person, and you’ve seen the things that we’ve seen, you’ve had to do some of the things that we’ve had to do, it can wear on you,” Place said. “It’s really that invisible wound. And the toughest part is admitting it, admitting that you need help.”

~Steve~

http://freebeacon.com/national-security/healing-the-invisible-wound/

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

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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

By WILLS ROBINSON and RICHARD SHEARS and KIERAN CORCORAN

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)

More…

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

~Steve~

Marine Kyle Carpenter will receive MoH for heroism in Afghanistan

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MarineCorpsTimes: William Kyle Carpenter, a Marine Corps veteran who was severely wounded during a November 2010 grenade attack in Afghanistan, will receive the nation’s highest combat valor award later this year, Marine Corps Times has learned.

Carpenter, a 24-year-old medically retired corporal, will become the service’s third Medal of Honor recipient from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, which date back to October 2001. The Marine Corps is finalizing plans with the White House for a ceremony in Washington, officials said.

Marine Corps Times began making inquires about the status of Carpenter’s case because the statute of limitations for Department of Navy Medal of Honor awards requires that a formal recommendation be made within three years of the combat action in question. Carpenter, the subject of two cover stories published by Marine Corps Times in 2012, also recently appeared in the national media. He was the subject of a January feature story in Reader’s Digest and a related appearance Jan. 27 on Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show.

Carpenter declined to comment on reports that he would soon receive the Medal of Honor.

A Marine Corps spokesman referred all comment to the White House. A White House spokesman said he had no scheduling announcements to make regarding the award. However, Medal of Honor presentations are typically announced only a month in advance.

Carpenter’s Medal of Honor nomination stems from reports that, as a 21-year-old lance corporal, he intentionally covered a grenade to save the life of his friend, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Eufrazio on Nov. 21, 2010, as the two Marines were standing guard on a rooftop in the Marjah district of Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Both men survived the blast, but were badly wounded. Carpenter lost his right eye and most of his teeth, his jaw was shattered and his arm was broken in dozens of places.

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Eufrazio sustained damage to the frontal lobe of his brain from shrapnel. Until recently, his wounds rendered him unable to speak.

The Marine Corps’ investigation into events surrounding the grenade blast has been complicated by circumstances. First, no one witnessed what took place after that grenade was thrown. Second, Carpenter said he couldn’t remember what happened due to trauma from the blast. Third, Eufrazio has been on a long and intensive road to recovery from his wounds. He only regained his ability to speak in late 2012, when his family reported that he was greeting hospital visitors by name.

Still, troops who served with Carpenter on the Marjah deployment say there’s no doubt in their minds that he absorbed the grenade blast to save his comrade.

Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Kroll, Carpenter’s platoon segreant, told Marine Corps Times that even though nobody knew for sure what happened, “our feeling has always been that Kyle shielded Nick from that blast.”

Hospitalman 3rd Class Christopher Frend, who triaged the injuries of Carpenter and Eufrazio, said the injuries Carpenter sustained, and the evidence at the scene indicated that he had indeed covered the explosive. The blast seat of the grenade — the point of its detonation — was found under Carpenter’s torso.

“Grenade blasts blow up; they don’t blow down;” Frend told Marine Corps Times in 2012. “If he hadn’t done it, what we found would have looked completely different.”

While the Marine Corps continued its investigation, Carpenter attained a level of celebrity as a Marine hero. More than 13,000 people have followed his recovery and his projects following retirement via the Facebook page Operation Kyle.

In 2011, the state senate in Carpenter’s native South Carolina honored him with a resolution that gave him credit for taking the grenade blast, saying he exemplified a hero. A photograph from the senate ceremony, showing Carpenter proud in his dress blues with shrapnel scars creating veins of silver across his face, went viral online.

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Marine Corps Times has followed his progress, too, including a short feature on the Battle Rattle blog that featured video of Carpenter doing pullups, more than 30 surgeries after the 2010 blast.

Carpenter has maintained close ties with the Marine Corps and has been featured as a guest of honor at several command events. In November, he posted a photo on his Facebook page that shows him alongside Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett and Dakota Meyer, who in 2011 became the first Marine Medal of Honor recipient out of the war in Afghanistan. Meyer and Carpenter paid a joint visit to Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. the same month.

The Corps’ only other post-9/11 Medal of Honor recipient, Cpl. Jason Dunham, was recognized posthumously for smothering a grenade in Iraq in 2004.

Hooah!

DCG

Adopt A Terrorist -This is BRILLIANT !

Hey it's early and it's the best I can do.

Hey it’s early and it’s the best I can do.

I CAN’T IMAGINE ANYONE IN THE CURRENT USA OR UK CHAIN-OF-COMMAND COMPOSING SUCH A BRILLIANT RESPONSE!!

The Canadians know how to handle complaints. Here is an example.
A Canadian female liberal wrote a lot of letters to the Canadian government, complaining about the treatment of captive insurgents (terrorists) being held in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities. She demanded a response to her letter. She received back the following reply:

National Defense Headquarters
M Gen George R. Pearkes Bldg., 15 NT
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa , ON K1A 0K2
Canada

Dear Concerned Citizen,

Thank you for your recent letter expressing your profound concern of treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists captured by Canadian Forces, who were subsequently transferred to the Afghanistan Government and are currently being held by Afghan officials in Afghanistan National Correctional System facilities.

Our administration takes these matters seriously and your opinions were heard loud and clear here in Ottawa. You will be pleased to learn, thanks to the concerns of citizens like yourself, we are creating a new department here at the Department of National Defense, to be called ‘Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers’ program, or L.A.R.K. for short.

In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided, on a trial basis, to divert several terrorists and place them in homes of concerned citizens such as yourself, around the country, under those citizens personal care. Your personal detainee has been selected and is scheduled for transportation under heavily armed guard to your residence in Toronto next Monday.

Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is your detainee, and is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of complaint. You will be pleased to know that we will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with your recommendations.
Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his ‘attitudinal problem’ will help him overcome those character flaws. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences. We understand that you plan to offer counseling and home schooling, however, we strongly recommend that you hire some assistant caretakers.

Please advise any Jewish friends, neighbours or relatives about your house guest, as he might get agitated or even violent, but we are sure you can reason with him. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless in your opinion, this might offend him. Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. We advise that you do not ask him to demonstrate these skills either in your home or wherever you choose to take him while helping him adjust to life in our country.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with you or your daughters except sexually, since he views females as a form of property, thereby having no rights, including refusal of his sexual demands. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him.

You also should know that he has shown violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he will recommend as more appropriate attire. I’m sure you will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the burka over time. Just remember that it is all part of ‘respecting his culture and religious beliefs’ as described in your letter.

You take good care of Ahmed and remember that we will try to have a counselor available to help you over any difficulties you encounter while Ahmed is adjusting to Canadian culture.

Thanks again for your concern. We truly appreciate it when folks like you keep us informed of the proper way to do our job and care for our fellow man. Good luck and God bless you.

Cordially,
Gordon O’Connor
Minister of National Defense

~Steve~                                                H/T Brother hujonwi

A heartbreaking story of a woman and her Marine, as told by Facebook

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Stars and Stripes: You’ve probably seen the videos all over your newsfeed as Facebook celebrates its 10-year anniversary by looking back at users’ posts they’ve shared over the years.

But the social media giant has also released a “Ten Stories” feature that’s meant to celebrate how people have come together through Facebook, and there’s a particularly heart-wrenching one about a woman and her Marine boyfriend who was killed in Afghanistan.

Marine Sgt. William C. Stacey had been on the last of several deployments and was going to be a tactics instructor at Camp Pendleton, writes Kimmy Kirkwood, who was his girlfriend of more than three years. The two had been through the ups and downs of deploying and were looking forward to settling down upon his return.

“We could see the rest of our lives in front of us, we just had to get through the next few months,” Kirkwood wrote. “After four deployments in three and half years, we could finally get engaged and plan a future. Our calendars wouldn’t be paper countdowns ever again.”

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Then Stacey, 23, was killed by an IED while on foot patrol in Now Zad in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2012.

“My world fell apart on Jan. 31, 2012,” Kirkwood recalled. “I was walking Otis (her cavachon) before work, when Will’s dad called. He had been hit by an IED on patrol and was killed. After getting off the phone with him, I blacked out for a few minutes before calling my family. It was the worst phone call any of us had ever received.”

And even more heartbreaking: “It was his mother’s birthday, and just 54 days before he was supposed to return home forever,” Kirkwood wrote.

Stacey was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Although not mentioned in Kirkwood’s story, it turns out that Stacey also wrote a last letter to his family that Kirkwood shared on a website dedicated to the fallen Marine.

Stacey wanted his loved ones to know that he died doing what he loved doing.

“Over the years so many have died, just as I have,” Stacey wrote. “We do this for the ones we care about; we do this because we believe that the good of the masses is worth more than that of ourselves.

“If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change this world, then I know that it was all worth it,” he wrote.

Kirkwood details their relationship, which started with a high school crush in 2007 that didn’t go anywhere at the time, to the messages they exchanged on Facebook, to his much-anticipated homecomings, to the aftermath of Stacey’s death.

And her reason for sharing? To let Americans know how military families have to deal with well, being military families.

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“So many Americans are completely untouched by war these days, it’s strange for them to even imagine what I, the Stacey’s, my family and everyone who knew Will had to go through,” Kirkwood posted on her Facebook later. “Many times they ask me to tell them about us, how we met, how I dealt with so many deployments, how I dealt with losing him.”

Check out their story here.

DCG

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

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!

DCG

Two Marine Corps special operators receive Navy Cross posthumously

Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, left, and Marine Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian.

Staff Sgt. Sky R. Mote, left, and Marine Capt. Matthew P. Manoukian.

Stars and Stripes: Two Marine Corps special operators were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross on Saturday for their actions during an insider attack in Afghanistan.

Capt. Matthew Manoukian and Staff Sgt. Sky Mote were assigned to the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion in support of Operating Enduring Freedom when they came under hostile fire from an Afghan police officer inside their tactical operations center in Helmand province, Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2012, according to a Marine Corps press release.

Manoukian, the team commander, and Mote, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, each received the Silver Star because they intentionally exposed themselves to hails of gunfire to enable their comrades to escape the shooter.

Manoukian, 29, from Los Altos Hills, Calif., was working in the operations center when AK-47 assault rifle bullets ripped through the walls and partitions of the operations room. He immediately ordered his Marines to move out of harm’s way as he engaged the enemy. After another Marine was critically wounded, Manoukian made himself the shooter’s primary target to protect other Marines. He continued engaging the enemy, despite being outgunned, until he was mortally wounded, according to a Marine Corps account of the assault.

“Manoukian courageously drew heavy fire upon himself, disrupting the enemy pursuit of his comrades and providing them the security needed to get to safety, ultimately saving their lives,” the Marine Corps said in the press release.

During the rampage, Mote, 27, from El Dorado, Calif., stepped forward and attracted the shooter’s attention, which halted the enemy’s pursuit of other Marines. He remained exposed and engaged the shooter who was only five yards away. Mote kept up the attack, despite having been shot, until he was killed, according to a Marine Corps description of Mote’s actions.

“Mote’s heroic and selfless actions halted the enemy assault on his teammates enabling their escape, which ultimately forced the enemy to withdraw. Mote’s selfless act safeguarded his comrades from being killed or injured,” the Marine Corps said in the press release.

Marine Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Jeschke, 31, of Herndon, Va., was also killed in the attack, according to the Defense Department.

The Afghan gunman fled the scene and joined the Taliban, according to reports.

The incident in which Manoukian and Mote earned their awards for bravery was just one of many involving Afghan police and army personnel turning their guns on U.S. servicemembers and NATO forces. There were 44 insider attacks in 2012 alone, and they resulted in 61 coalition deaths. Those 61 fatalities constituted 15 percent of total coalition deaths that year, according to the Long War Journal, which compiles statistics related to the war in Afghanistan.

The U.S. military referred to these incidents as “green on blue” attacks. The alarming rate of occurrence eventually compelled commanders to implement a series of new security procedures in the latter part of 2012 to mitigate the risk. The number of insider attacks has declined significantly since the measures were put in place.

The Navy Cross is the second-highest award for valor that a Marine can receive; just below the Medal of Honor. It is rarely given out, and must be approved by the Secretary of the Navy before being awarded. Only 16 Marines, including Mote and Manoukian, have received the Navy Cross for actions undertaken during Operation Enduring Freedom. In the seven-year history of Marine Special Operations Command, only two other Marines attached to MARSOC have received the award, according to the Marine Corps.

Major Gen. Mark Clark, the commander of MARSOC, presented the awards to the families of Manoukian and Mote during a ceremony at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Saturday.

Semper Fi gentlemen and thank you for your ultimate sacrifice.

DCG

Update on Navy Seals Killed in Chinook Crash on May 2, 2011

Families suspect SEAL Team 6 crash was inside job on worst day in Afghanistan

Video at link below.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/20/families-suspect-seal-team-6-crash-was-inside-job-/#ooid=VvOXg2ZzpnA-lnUoFMTLU6WCk97JmXm1

By Rowan Scarborough

The Washington Times

Sunday, October 20, 2013

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Questions haunt the families of Extortion 17, the 2011 helicopter mission in Afghanistan that suffered the most U.S. military deaths in a single day in the war on terrorism.

The investigative file made available to The Washington Times shows that the helicopter’s landing zone was not properly vetted for threats nor protected by gunships, while commanders criticized the mission as too rushed and the conventional Chinook chopper as ill-suited for  a dangerous troop infiltration.

Every day, Charlie Strange, the father of one of the 30 Americans who died Aug. 6, 2011, in the flash of a rocket-propelled grenade, asks himself whether his son, Michael, was set up by someone inside the Afghan government wanting revenge on Osama bin Laden’s killers — SEAL Team 6.

“Somebody was leaking to the Taliban,” said Mr. Strange, whose son intercepted communications as a Navy cryptologist. “They knew. Somebody tipped them off. There were guys in a tower. Guys on the bush line. They were sitting there, waiting. And they sent our guys right into the middle.”

Doug Hamburger’s son, Patrick, an Army staff sergeant, also perished when the CH-47D Chinook descended to a spot less than 150 yards from where armed Taliban fighters watched from a turret.

He asks why the command sent his son into Tangi Valley toward a “hot landing zone” in a cargo airship instead of a special operations helicopter. The souped-up choppers — the MH-47 and the MH-60 Black Hawk, which SEAL Team 6 rode the stealth version of to kill bin Laden — are flown by Night Stalker pilots skilled in fast, ground-hugging maneuvers to avoid detection.

“When you want to fly them into a valley, when you’ve got hillsides on both sides of it with houses built into sides of the valley, that is an extremely dangerous mission,” Mr. Hamburger said. “The MH, the new model, they’ve got radar that will pick up an incoming missile or incoming RPG. They’re faster. They’re quicker on attack. They’re more agile. So there was every reason in the world to use the MH that night.

Sith Douangdara, whose 26-year-old son, John, was a Navy expeditionary specialist who handled warrior dog Bart, said he has lots of unanswered questions.

“I want to know why so many U.S. servicemen, especially SEALs, were assembled on one aircraft,” he said. “I want to know why the black box of the helicopter has not been found. I want to know many things.”

Not all families believe the fact-finding investigation, conducted by Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Colt covered all issues. Gen. Colt, who has since been promoted to major general, told commanders that his job was not to find fault and his report did not criticize any person or decision.

“I want people held accountable,” said Mr. Strange, a former union construction worker who deals blackjack in a Philadelphia casino.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, which overseas the war and conducted the probe, declined to answer the families’ questions and referred a reporter to Gen. Colt’s report.

Congress gets involved

More than two years later, more answers may be forthcoming.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, is making inquiries after meeting with some families.

Rest Of Story HERE!!

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/20/families-suspect-seal-team-6-crash-was-inside-job-/#ixzz2iS1jFZg2

~Steve~

First Army officer from operations in Iraq, Afghanistan to receive Medal of Honor

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US Army: Former Army Capt. William D. Swenson will be presented the Medal of Honor by President Barack Obama in a White House ceremony Oct. 15, making him the sixth living recipient of the nation’s highest military award for valor during combat in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The Washington State native will receive the Medal of Honor for his conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, Sept. 8, 2009, during combat operations against Taliban insurgents in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

“It’s a monumental event for me, for my family and for my teammates,” Swenson said after receiving word directly from Obama. “This day also means a lot to those I served with.”

During his second tour in Afghanistan, Swenson served as an embedded adviser with the Afghan Border Police Mentor Team in support of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. He was tasked with mentoring members of the Afghan National Security Forces.

On the morning of Sept. 8, 2009, Swenson and his team moved on foot into the rural community of Ganjgal for a meeting with village elders. It was then he and his team were ambushed by more than 50 well-armed, well-positioned insurgent fighters.

As the enemy unleashed a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades, mortar and machine gun fire, Swenson returned fire, coordinated and directed the response of his Afghan Border Police soldiers, and simultaneously tried to call in suppressive artillery fire and aviation support.

After the enemy effectively flanked Coalition Forces, Swenson repeatedly called for smoke to cover the withdrawal of the forward elements. Surrounded on three sides by enemy forces inflicting effective and accurate fire, Swenson coordinated air assets, indirect fire support and medical-evacuation helicopter support to allow for the evacuation of the wounded.

Swenson ignored enemy radio transmissions demanding surrender and maneuvered uncovered to render medical aid to a wounded Soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth W. Westbrook. Swenson stopped administering aid long enough to throw a grenade at approaching enemy forces, then assisted with moving Westbrook for air evacuation.

After using aviation support to mark locations of fallen and wounded comrades, it became clear that ground recovery was required due to the proximity of heavily-armed enemy positions to potential helicopter landing zones.

With complete disregard for his own safety, Swenson voluntarily led a team into the kill zone, exposing himself to enemy fire on three occasions to recover the wounded and search for missing team members.

Returning to the kill zone a fourth time in a Humvee, he exited the vehicle, evaded a hail of bullets and shells to recover three fallen Marines and a Navy corpsman, working alongside then-Marine Corps Cpl. Dakota Meyer, who on Sept. 15, 2011, received the Medal of Honor for his own actions in the battle.

After six hours of continuous fighting, Swenson rallied his teammates and effectively disrupted the enemy assault.

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Swenson was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant following graduation from Officer Candidate School on Sept. 6, 2002. His military training and education includes the infantry Maneuver Captains Career Course, Ranger Course, Infantry Officer Basic, Infantry Mountain Leader Advanced Marksmanship Course and Airborne School.

His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; the Purple Heart; the Army Commendation Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one campaign star; the Iraq Campaign Medal with two campaign stars; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Army Service Ribbon; the Overseas Service Ribbon; the Combat Infantryman Badge; the Ranger Tab; and the Parachutist Badge.

Hooah!

DCG

My soldier is coming home early!

smiley

My soldier Matthew deployed to Afghanistan on 02 Nov 12 and was scheduled to redeploy on 05 Nov 13. I Skyped with him Saturday night and learned he’s redeploying on 18 Sep 13 – he’s coming home early!

He’ll be back in the states, first going through a post in Texas, then back in my arms on the 25th. I’m a happy, happy camper!!

It was, at times, difficult, yet it does seem that the time went by fast.

Thanks for all your prayers for his safety!

DCG