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Into the Valley of Death

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  • The only reason I want to keep slogging along in Helmand and Kandahar is that if the Taleban really DO have a centor of gravity that we can mortally wound them by taking out, it's their drug money (Helmand) and their homeplate (Kandyland).

    But as for totally abandoning the Afghans that signed up with us, well, those people hold grudges longer than a Scottish pawnborker's memory. And everybody saw us promise we were never gonna leave 'em...and then watched us go, because it was tough up in them hills.

    That decision may have broken our backs. NObody is going to sign on with us, ever again, not after the Taleban can credibly point to this, only the latest in a long series of American betrayals of indiginous people that 1) signed up with us and 2) don't have oil.

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    • War

      Sebastian Junger writes on war via his experiences over 15 months with the 173rd Airborne in the Korengal.

      Philip Caputo writes on Junger's perspective in this WAPO book review here-

      Sebastian Junger's "War"-Philip Caputo WAPO May 9, 2010
      "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
      "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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      • Nat'l Geographic will be airing a show called RESTREPO the evening of Nov. 29th. RESTREPO was a small out-post inside the Korengal valley and the involvement of Tim Heatherington and Sebastian Junger should make this interesting viewing-

        RESTREPO-Smallwarsjournal

        Here's the website from NatGeo-

        RESTREPO-Natgeo.com
        Last edited by S2; 24 Nov 10,, 17:53.
        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

        Comment


        • Originally posted by S-2 View Post
          Nat'l Geographic will be airing a show called RESTREPO the evening of Nov. 29th. RESTREPO was a small out-post inside the Korengal valley and the involvement of Tim Heatherington and Sebastian Junger should make this interesting viewing-

          RESTREPO-Smallwarsjournal

          Here's the website from NatGeo-

          RESTREPO-Natgeo.com
          I'll look forward to it. I was keeping an eye out for the limited distribution, unfortunately it didn't show up here.
          Reddite igitur quae sunt Caesaris Caesari et quae sunt Dei Deo
          (Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's)

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          • Saw the said documentary RESTREPO on National Geographic just 2 hours ago, then came on WAB to see if anything on Restrepo was posted before...and found this thread. Have to say by just watching the 2 hours of documentary it made reading what was posted on this thread so easy to understand and very clear a definite must watch as it ties everything together. Showed all the struggles, alot of the people mentioned in alot of the posted articles and the hell they fight in every day.

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            • observer7 Reply

              Much of the RESTREPO documentary tracks with the ABC footage on the first page of this thread. Filmed and reported by the same two guys. This story is really, at this point, three years old and there've been other developments since.

              As I understand matters, the Korengal is largely abandoned by U.S. forces at this point. The ANA is ostensibly there. The taliban are definitely there. I don't think we're there though.
              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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              • SSG Salvatore Giunta

                In One Moment In Afghanistan, Heroism And Heartbreak-Elizabeth Rubin NYT Nov. 13, 2010

                Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta was awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor recently. I'll be honest-it hadn't captured my attention as it should. It is a remarkable story, as most of these awards are usually. But what caught me by surprise was how much we'd been already following the story.

                It was from a small portion of Operation Rock Avalanche-an operation undertaken by 2-503 Inf., 173rd Airborne Bde in the Korengal Valley. Specifically B Company commanded by Cpt. Dan Kearney, a unit we've come to know here through the eyes of Elizabeth Rubin of the NYT and Sebastian Junger of Vanity Fair. The contact was an enemy ambush of their element. The battle fought in the dark at 8,000 ft. That's right. 8,000ft. It lasted all of three minutes. Nonetheless, in that short time then Specialist Giunta had his opportunity to put forth an effort on behalf of his brother airborne soldiers that was above and beyond the call of duty.

                The Korengal, like Arghandab and Marjah will pass into the lore and legend of the American soldier and marine.

                I salute SSG Sal Giunta and his brother soldiers and belatedly mourn for their lost comrades. Present Arms!
                "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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                • <salute>

                  My daughter came home from Afghanistan on 2 weeks' leave. We watched Restrepo together. While the valley has apparently been abandoned, and her location was not as hot, there were more than a few similarities. She commented non-stop on what was going on, especially during the Shura scenes and the interactions with the Afghanis. I won't comment on her comments other than to say they were not particularly complimentary.

                  She didn't want to go back, but the day after her return to her unit, she calls me and says "I'm so glad to be back." She can call on a cell phone pretty much any time, unless there is a comm blackout when there are casualties. The connectedness of this conflict is so odd... imagine a trooper in Normandy whipping out a cell phone and calling home.

                  Comment


                  • Chogy Reply

                    "The connectedness of this conflict is so odd... imagine a trooper in Normandy whipping out a cell phone and calling home."

                    Maybe you noticed this in Ms. Rubin's article-

                    "Hunched over, elbow on his knee, head resting on his palm, Captain Kearney began calling the families of the dead."

                    Either they didn't have comms blackouts or Captain Kearney didn't care.

                    I want your daughter home. Minimally, I want her in a field hospital where she can do the best good.

                    You can be assured she and her friends are in my prayers. They deserve better.
                    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                    Comment


                    • Chogy

                      She is in our prayers as well.

                      I forgot..what is her MOS?

                      BTW, cool new avatar!

                      As for RESTREPO...I FINALLY got digital cable with the NAT GEO Network. I'll ge to watch it in January.
                      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                      Mark Twain

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                      • Sal Giunta Interview w/Heatherington-Junger

                        Description of the fight from Cpt. Kearney and SSG Sal Giunta-

                        RESTREPO Website-Nat'l Geographic
                        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                          Chogy

                          She is in our prayers as well.

                          I forgot..what is her MOS?

                          BTW, cool new avatar!

                          As for RESTREPO...I FINALLY got digital cable with the NAT GEO Network. I'll ge to watch it in January.
                          Thank you Sir. As far as MOS, I am a total dumb-ass, and don't know what the actual designation is. She is not a nurse, but was trained in hospital management. She does have her jump wings from Benning. When she arrived in-country, 99% of her unit left without her to a field hospital, and she (along with some other mutts) became part of a "liason" force dealing with locals in a particular area, focusing on economic development. They needed a female, because the Afghan women would not talk to men. She has an interpreter as a side-kick, and during meet & greets, becomes the contact between women and the coalition military. There are both U.S. and British forces in the area.

                          Restrepo is eye-opening, definitely worth watching.

                          S-2: I'm told that if there are casualties, the Army pulls the plug on a COP or COB for ~48 hours until proper notification has been made. Good on Capt. Kearney for being proactive and making what had to be some incredibly painful calls.
                          Last edited by Chogy; 21 Dec 10,, 01:30.

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                          • Waltzing Matilda mentioned on an earlier post this interview on CSPAN with Elizabeth Rubin done March 1, 2008. That would be approximately five months after Rubin's work in the Korengal. I couldn't find it then. Easily enough, though, now. 40 minutes and very interesting-

                            U.S. Military In Afghanistan-Elizabeth Rubin CSPAN March 1, 2010
                            Last edited by S2; 21 Dec 10,, 15:19.
                            "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                            "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                            Comment


                            • If she is not a specific medical professional then she is probably Medical Service Corps...the folks who handle the medical administration and leadership within med units. They often serve as the platoon leaders and company commanders and have the medics and PAs under them.
                              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                              Mark Twain

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                                If she is not a specific medical professional then she is probably Medical Service Corps...the folks who handle the medical administration and leadership within med units. They often serve as the platoon leaders and company commanders and have the medics and PAs under them.
                                That's it exactly. In the Air Force it was always a number-letter combination, and I thought that was what you were after, some code. My brain is still AF and when I hear "Brigade" or "Company" I have to often look it up to remind myself of the command structure.

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