Monday, May 25, 2009

Michael Yon's News 5/25/09

Tuning In: May 5, 2009.
The helicopter took us deep into the jungle, and from there we picked up the track. Since it was primary jungle, the undergrowth was scant. The enemy could have gone any direction. We moved for 7½ hours, during which time we stayed on the track, but found only one boot print, and finally half of another boot print. At around the eight hour, we had walked some miles, and were starting to find a few obvious boot prints. If this were Afghanistan, we would have caught up to the enemy.

Please see "Tuning In."

Bigfoot: 5/7/09.
The tracking course has ended. It's astounding that every U.S. combat troop has not been through similar training. As it is, only small handful of U.S. troops can track anything less than Bigfoot. Please read "Making Tracks."

Am going straight into other training with British forces who will deploy to Afghanistan.

Gurkha: 5/10/09.
Greetings from Borneo,

Gurkhas in the British Army are preparing to return to Afghanistan. Others are serving there today. Several days ago, a Gurkha was lost to a suicide bomber. His name was Corporal Kumar Pun. This morning, one of Pun's friends told me that his wife had recently delivered a child. Everybody I have spoken with very much liked Pun. They say he was an excellent soldier and a good man. In total, four British soldiers were lost in a period of 24 hours. The soldiers are honoring their comrades and also taking this training very seriously.

Please read.

Gurkha II: 5/11/09.
Please see Gurkha II.

Also, General McKiernan is to be replaced in Afghanistan. Lieutenant General Stanley McChyrstal will take the top spot. McChrystal has a great repuation for the fight, but he comes from a special operations background. Our special operations forces are incredible fighters, but they can be counted on to lose even the easiest of press battles. This war is largely being fought in the press. I would tend to expect the Taliban bodycount to increase, but also that we will not be able to find the light switch to the press. The special operations world basically "owned" the Afghan war for years. Everybody seemed to have gotten what they wanted; a war without media scrutiny. Our special operators won many battles. But look at Afghanistan today.

Gates, Petraeus, McKiernan, McChrystal and Rodrigues: 5/13/09.
The command shakeup in Afghanistan has many people talking. I've been with the British Army. British officers have many questions about the change. I have no special knowledge of the situation other than a couple of hunches based on recent experiences. I can say that of my concerns about AfPak, U.S. military leadership is at the very bottom of the list. Our leadership is strong and experienced. In broad strokes, I'm simply not concerned. I am greatly concerned about AfPak, though. The situation continues to rot. Please see read: Gates, Petraeus, McKiernan, McChrystal and Rodriguez.

Gurkha III: 5/13/09.
Am leaving Borneo today and heading back to the war in the next week or so. Please see the photos on Gurkha III.

Return of General Lee: 5/14/09.
Having left Borneo, am turning myself back to the war. Meanwhile, interesting news about the "General Lee" has come in. Many folks might recall the "General Lee." The General Lee is a Stryker fighting vehicle that was blown up, along with crew, several times in Iraq. The crew survived and kept returning to battle, but finally the General Lee took a very hard shot. Captain Brad Krauss was the Commander of the General Lee when it kept getting blown up. I asked Captain Krauss if he could write a few words about his crew and the General Lee. Please see the good Captain's response.

Strykers will soon be fighting in Afghanistan. The Taliban will not know what hit them.

Base in Afghanistan Increases Internal Security: 5/16/09.
Military at Kandahar Airfield has instructed contractors on base to wear body armor and helmets, and carry ID at all times. Please see.

Tracking Afghanistan: 5/19/09.
U.S. Special Operations Forces are missing a crucial piece of training: They can't track men on foot any better than a weekend hunter could track a buck. Please see "Tracking Afghanistan."

Night Shots from Iraq: 5/20/09.
Was heading to Pakistan next week before diving back into Afghanistan for the long haul, but there has been a slight adjustment over the last few hours; heading to Philippines first. Please stay tuned. Please see these helicopter photos from Iraq.

In Honor of Veterans: 5/25/09.
A short dispatch!

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary's News and Ideas.

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