Wednesday, December 06, 2006

6 December 2006, whatta way to run a war

It is interesting that I have heard this is no longer a war, and that we are not in a combat zone, however, I go everywhere with lots of bullets and my bullet launchers, which I don't normally travel with in a peaceful zone, like say Portland, and I am acquainted with people who have either been shot, or shot at, or otherwise have had it demonstrated that they are unpopular.........

Okay, for the last couple of days I have been involved in an operation south of here. The Italians, Spanish and Afghans planned and executed an operation designed to ferret out the guys who keep shooting at our convoys going over a particular stretch of road. It went as well as you can expect, which means in the prose of the information officers, "We established a presence in the area, and demonstrated that we can deal with people in this area. " What it meant to my eyes was that we spent a lot of peoples time, accepting half way terms as whole, and no bad guys were hurt in the filming of the operation. (My Dad might say we half assed it, but I am not.)

I am truly at a loss to say how much of a lost opportunity that that was, I did however see a goat being born on the last day, which is humorous if you believe that the operation was much like what it took to conceive the goat.

Now on Saturday the day prior to leaving we had a guy driven to us after having survived a gunshot wound to the head. I think he might be okay by now, but haven't heard. We had advanced warning, so we called the medevac folks to let them know to be prepared, about an hour and a half prior to his arrival at our location. He arrived, and they decided after a half hour that they would come and get him. (He was an Afghan National, not a coalition soldier, so their was some question if they would come and get him at all.) While we waited our Doc Yeager, evaluated him, cleaned him, and generally kept him from going into shock. The gunshot wound entered the skin at the right temple, and exited behind the right ear, I don't think it penetrated his skull. After American radio men relayed the medevac request, Italian Officers coordinated with Spanish Officers to effect a launch of the medevac. I guess this takes approximately 1/2 hour even with ample warning. Anyway, they launch, and get to our location, and decide for some reason, to land 150 meters south of our landing pad that was marked appropriately. They land in a puddle of mud, and won't get out until I come and demonstrate that they won't sink in it. After we get them to the patient, they do what they do, and he is airborne to Herat by 9 pm. I really believe that he should have been there an hour earlier. Given American standards with American pilots that is how it would have happened. (Maybe)

Anyway, the next thing I know when I return from the mission is that the helicopter pilots are irritated about the landing. They landed the bird in a puddle, when dry concrete was clearly visible adjacent to the puddle, (I can't make this stuff up). I am sure the language barrier contributed, but I don't know what else might have. This all demonstrates why the principles of war exist and why when you violate them the costs may (probably will be) in human lives. Unity of command is a principle of war. It allows rapid execution of ordinary actions. A medevac may not seem ordinary to you, but to the pilots, it ought to be. The language barrier between English speakers and Spanish speakers is enough to cause a pilot to misjudge what is otherwise a clearly marked LZ.

Anyway, that is the update for the last couple of days, I have some pictures, and might manage to get them posted sometime, prior to Christmas.

Also, my niece is on the lookout for the gingerbread man, who apparently has escaped from her school, if anyone sees him, please direct him to Keizer Oregon. Or just let me know and I will tell her.

Additionally I did find out that I will get to enjoy my family for Christmas, and I hope that you do the same

All my best


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