When interviewed by National Public Radio, Major General Richard Mills, USMC, Commander, Regional Command-Southwest touted “progress” being made in Marja because you can finally order a chicken dinner in a very nice restaurant.
“But let’s talk a little bit about Marja, because I know that’s one you’ve been following. If you could come over and visit today I would take you down to the district center, where across the street is a very nice restaurant that’s opened up – two dining rooms. You can get a really nice chicken dinner there. There’s three major bazaars in town, all three flourishing. All of the activity now – all the enemy activity in Marja’s been pushed to the perimeter, where a few lone insurgents creep back, usually at night, and try to intimidate some of the locals. And have not done a very good job of it.”
When asked to comment on Sanjin, heartland of the current bloodbath that has claimed the lives of at least 14 Marines assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment since mid-September, General Mills made no mention of this sacrifice but commented that, “It’s been tough fighting. It continues to be tough fighting. I think that Sangin is Marja, perhaps five months ago. And we are going to remain focused on that mission up there, and we will win.”
When they start serving chicken dinners in Sangin, I guess the General can claim victory.
The following two news reports from the New York Times add to SFTT’s recent discussion on combat related and sports related head injuries and trauma and the stark difference between the actions taken by the sports industry and lack of action and non-prioritization of these type injuries taken by the Congress, DoD, and the Services.
If athletes are subject to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CET) as a result of sustained head trauma, then it’s obvious that US troops are prone to CET in the future as well due to combat related head trauma. In fact, Boston-based researchers have developed new imaging techniques that confirmed CET in athletes brains with a history of head trauma. Currently, CET can only be confirmed through a specialized brain tissue examination after death. So imagine if you can monitor CET and its symptoms and treat these injuries effectively. Why wait until you are on the morticians slab to confirm the obvious? While there is more work to be done with the initial positive results of this new type of imagining and study, the question that remains is whether or not this type of sports/medical science will ever transfer over to DoD and its medical services as it identifies, monitors, and treats troops suffering from TBI. Probably not given their track record.
Maybe Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is onto something in his criticism of the National Football League’s recent call and emphasis on safety. Ward’s take is that the league only toughened its stance because of a pending desire to extend the season to 18 games. If DoD, the services, and Congress ever wake up and start addressing combat related head injuries and trauma properly maybe it’s because they want to extend the time spent on the battlefield as well. Nah, just because 2011 turned into 2014 and beyond in Afghanistan doesn’t mean that there is going to be new emphasis placed on improving helmets and reducing head injuries and traumas. In Afghanistan, its all systems forward without these types of safety and quality of life considerations. Why should we kid ourselves and believe there was a purpose for “extending the season”.
Senator James Webb requested a pre-and post-9/11 staff comparison of Department of Defense, Services, and Combat Command Headquarter as he studies the Department’s recent decision to axe Joint Forces Command. After nearly a decade, of the 17 reporting headquarters there has been approximately 11,000 civilian/military staff personnel billets added. If you only take uniform personnel back into the fold you could man at least two Brigade Combat Teams – imagine that! Read more from Tom Ricks.
Just in time for the holidays. Your very own toy-set of body armor, Advanced Combat Helmet, and an M-4 carbine! Enjoy!
- The set is outfitted in the newer ACH, with older style Interceptor body armor in woodland camouflage, and helmet with woodland camouflage cloth cover.
- Weapon: M4 Assault Rifle or M4 Carbine with Infrared Pointer / Illuminator, Aimpoint optic sight, Forward Hand Grip, tactical light attached under the barrel, retractable / extendable butt stock and removable magazine.