Tag: American military

Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, Life Goes On…

 

Four years ago today, a US Army Special Forces Team was attacked in Niger, West Africa, leaving four Americans dead, two wounded, and a political wake almost as bad as the attack itself. My son was on the team and, by the grace of God, survived. I wrote a lot about it, if you care to know, here, here, here,  here,  and here.

Pictured left from left to right are those we lost. Bryan Black. I have a friendship with his parents and they are truly great people. His Dad single-handedly stays in touch with all the other families which is how I know what is to follow. Bryan’s wife and two boys are doing well and she wrote a book about the experience that I enjoyed and I fully endorse.

Next JW Johnson. His family is fairing OK and I hear little about them. LaDavid Johnson. I keep tabs on LaDavid Johnson’s family (a wife and three kids) and his parents. They are recovering slowly but steadily and opening up to the Black family’s continued attempts at a relationship. Both Johnson’s recently received honorary Green Berets due to this incident. Dustin Wright. Dustin Wright’s family is managing as well, although his father struggles. The Wrights have set up a foundation in his name to assist veterans. Good on em’.

Getting Military Assistance Right

 

Mongolia proves we actually knew what right looks like.

America’s military successes are mostly unremarked. Success depends in part on not highlighting our presence or influence in a foreign land. Also, it often does not suit our domestic politics, left and right, or the national defense establishment, to highlight missions that do not end in a ticker-tape parade, with bushel baskets of medals and fat publishing contracts for generals. Yet, America’s military is quite good at much more than “breaking things and killing people.” As we draw all the right and wrong lessons from the past 20 years in Afghanistan, our mission to Mongolia, starting around the same time, stands in stark contrast.

Robert Kaplan told the tale of “The Man Who Would Be Khan” in the Atlantic in 2004.

Dereliction of Duty: U.S. military leaders refused to plan

 

LogisticsIn a gross dereliction of duty, senior American military officers refused to plan for an orderly, complete exit. There is no other construction that can reasonably be put on what we have watched unfold in Afghanistan. Continuous planning for contingencies is at the heart of U.S. military staff training. Senior staffs have dedicated future operations or planning cells, focused on the future while other staff members help the commander exercise command and control in the present. At latest, planning for an orderly withdrawal should have started the moment President Trump was elected in 2016, having campaigned on ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.

American senior staffs, like their counterparts around the world, have long generated plans for all manner of likely and unlikely eventualities. We even had a “Plan Red” in the early 1900s, when color codes indicated different potential opponents around the world. Joint Basic Plan Red, coordinated between the Army and Navy, was our plan for a war with the British Empire. No, we did not have a faction itching for a war with the leading naval power. Rather, the War Department and Department of the Navy used the Joint Planning Board to generate plans useful for exercises, at least.

President Biden gave a clear directive in March 2021 that U.S. forces would fully withdraw from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021. He then made the deadline slightly earlier for political optics. The generals came in with their objections and warnings about leaving Afghanistan, and were told there would be no more extensions. From that moment, the joint staffs, from Afghanistan to the Pentagon, had a professional obligation to generate at least one viable option to realize the Commander-in-Chief’s intent.

Well, We Got Something Right

 

Every once in a while the Army gets it right. After the media and political debacle of the Niger Ambush in October 2017, the Army made SSG J.W. Johnson and SGT La David Johnson honorary Green Berets. The article description of the battle is slightly off but I will give them some slack. And, coincidentally, I was able to visit and pay respects to La David Johnson returning home from Boss Mongo’s funeral service. I would sure like to talk to him about this.

Member Post

 

My uncle, Arnold “Arnie” Larson, passed away late last month.  His memorial service and funeral are Friday, “today” for most people on here, starting at 11am Pacific time.  With military honors.  I wasn’t planning to mention it here, but he deserves recognition.  I’ll just say that he was a 19-year-old anti-aircraft gunner on an LST […]

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Whattaya’ Wanna’ Be….?!’: Pool week-The Discriminators

 

“You ever do crossovers or bobbing?” One of the men asked the Reserve Marine Recon man sitting across from him.  It was Sunday night in Key West Florida and we were finishing dinner and sipping a cold one.  

“Nope!” He said confidently.  We all just made silent eye contact around the table. He has no idea what is coming. No one says anything but we all know tomorrow is going to be a nightmare for him.   At the time pre-SCUBA was not a prerequisite for the Marines and SCUBA school was grossly underestimated by them.  

What Is Happening with Our Military?

 

I woke up to two headlines that seem very worrisome to me. I love our military. My dad and uncles fought for this country from Germany, Japan and Italy. Our military sacrifice daily for our freedoms and also for the protection of our Allies around the world. Their families sacrifice by holding the family together as their loved ones are deployed. They have one mission – to defend our beloved homeland against all enemies foreign and domestic.

So is it smart in these very unsettled times, as a new administration unfolds, to ask the Branches of our military to “stand down” – announce the time frame, to address supposed racial issues, “white supremacy,” and political beliefs over the mission at hand? I find this shocking. This is the story announcing this “probe”: