Staying in touch with the Discarded

On long holiday weekends, warriors not deployed check on one another since they normally have a weekend pass or time off – and this past Labor Day was no exception.   The phone will ring, you see the caller ID nickname you assigned to someone you shared a foxhole with not long ago, you always stop what you’re doing and answer it.  “Have you heard …”, “…you doing alright …”, “… remember the time we…”, “…let me know if you need anything…”.  ...

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Savages don’t Surf

My friend is on his fourth and last deployment to Afghanistan assigned to a unit training the Afghan National Army.  He had a WTF moment the other day when he boarded a Huey UH-H1 and flew over the Jalalabad Pass, “Is this Apocalypse Now?”  I guess his disillusionment finally surfaced.  Can you blame him?  Riding in a Huey?  I thought the fleet was officially retired from the Active inventory last October 2009! Appropriately, this seasoned warrior closed with “Savages Don’t ...

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Facebooking from the Pat Tillman USO Center

Today I want to tell you about one change in Afghanistan:  Now the troops have access to social network sites while previously the command restricted access under the guise of operational security.  The donnybrook over this issue raged until the policy changed last year, due largely—or so I hear—to Chairman Mullen using Facebook and Twitter to communicate with the troops.  The thought probably was if the top uniformed officer in ...

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Logistics: The Long Pole in The Tent

“Logistics, logistics, logistics!” That’s what I immediately thought of last December when I heard the President’s decision to double down in Afghanistan and increase the current troop strength by 30,000 over a 5-month period. The most honest answer to the question that immediately comes to mind — How the Hell’s the U.S. Military going to pull this one off? — came from General Webster, the Commander of the Third Army: “Hannibal trying to move over the Alps had a tremendous ...

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“Young Officer”

 A young officer I once served with recently changed command and is now attending the Army’s Intermediate Level Education course for field grade officers; when he graduates he’ll report to a new unit and redeploy. His tedious ride from the east coast to Kansas coincided with the sacking of McChrystal. Remember him? After the storm broke and his pension was paid, follow up analysis of the “crisis” revealed that the majority of attributable quotes and “off-the-record” background was provided by ...

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“‘King for a Day’ Kit-Wise”

As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the Pashtun tribal code in Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan is inhospitable to outsiders to the point of hostility. The history of the valley is marked with violent encounters and campaigns where these isolated tribes defeated their unprepared foes time and time again. In fact, US forces recently ceded ground and treasure by abandoning the valley after five years of futile fighting where they learned the painful lessons of the limits of power and lack ...

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“Close Hold” A new feature on SFTT

I am delighted to introduce SFTT’s new commentary, “CLOSE HOLD” dedicated to the late Colonel David “Hack” Hackworth, our co-founder and my comrade-in-arms.  

Ram-rodded by a master intell-evaluator, “CLOSE HOLD” will feature what’s really going on with America’s frontline troops—from the ground up and from the top down, for better or worse, on the killing fields, in garrison or at home.  Hack taught me the importance of “bitching” and the value of carefully sifting through it. For sure, feedback direct from ...

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