October 2009 Archives

Updated 31 October 2009:

Our SPOT and Garmin Tracks:
Hike to 8250.gdb 
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So at 0930, Megan (niece), Skyler (nephew) and I arrived in the approximate area of our hike. I had to park 1.3 miles away because the dense growth of oak trees were really scratching my truck up.

We geared up (Camelbaks, shoes, gloves, etc) and started the ascent. We had spotted a ridge line that we thought we be favorable for reaching the summit. From almost 2 miles away, it looked like a leisurely climb. Boy, were we wrong!

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Even the walk to the first ascent was difficult. We had to literally beat our way through large thickets of oak trees and scrub. The scratches were starting already and we hadn't really even begun to climb yet.

I convinced the kids (ages 15 and 16) to continue forward and that we'd take our first break at the approach to the first ridge line. They looked tired already.

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At this point, it was clear that the climb up was going to be more difficult than it originally appeared (from the Truck's vantage point). Told the kids to suck it up and off we went.

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We came to a large outcropping of rocks. They cleared couldn't be bypassed and could only be passed by walking right over the top. One wrong step and it would have been pain. We made it past and continued to our first ridge line. Quick break for the kids. Tie shoe laces, eat a power bar and press forward.

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By now, its already 2:30pm and we still have one more ridge line to hike up. This one being steeper than the others. Again, I urge the kids forward and we continue to climb up - knowing that the peak was a mere 400' above us.

SUCCESS! We reach the summit around 3:30 and take a well deserved rest. I brought along a favorite cigar and proceeded to chomp..

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At this point, we had to decide where to make our descent. Clearly, going back down would be more difficult than going up. Two hilltops South, we could see what looked like an ATV or horse trail going half-way up the hill. From our vantage, it appeared as though that would be the best location to make the descent.

By now, the sun was starting to set behind the mountains (it was now around 5pm) and we made it to a ravine at the bottom of our first descent. What we couldn't see from the top however, was that this ravine was a 10' drop down and another 50' climb up. The only way to do it safely was by holding onto whatever saplings would hold our weight.

Megan went sliding straight down, filling her backside (and pants) with dirt, tree debris and rocks. Clearly not the best tactic for getting into the ravine. Skylar and I made it down without issue.

By now, everyone was tired and looking forward to finding the ATV trail.

Off to our right and fairly close was the "bleet bleet" of either an Elk or a mountain lion. The kids were getting nervous.

Fortunately, after busting through a huge thicket of oaks, we found the trail and started our hike back to the truck (another 2-3 miles away and down hill).

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DSCF0027.JPGThe drive back down Pole Canyon (in my Dodge Ram 2500) proved to be just as difficult as the hike. In a few locations, the trail was so rutted out and covered with 2-3' boulders that my truck was up on 2 tires, teeter-tottering side to side.

It was a long day of hiking, but everyone was glad our objective was met.

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Since November of 2007, I've been trying to reach the ridge line in this area. Each time we (with and without the wife and/or dog) have tried to get up here, we've either hit the wrong ridge line or encountered trees and growth that were virtually impassable.

Now that fall is coming to an end, I believe there will be less vegetation to impede our ascent. If the weather holds this weekend (no snow or rain), I will make a final attempt for this year.

Total elevation gain is around 4000', virtually straight up and without any trails. This is 100% pure bush-wacking and peak bagging.

A few photos from our last attempt (Wife and dog Gauge):

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Note: Although I appreciate (to a certain extent) our diversity, everyone that enters into military service knows what's expected for grooming and uniform. Why must we always make exceptions?
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Army OKs Sikh Doc to Wear Beard, Turban

NEW YORK -- The U.S. Army will make an exception to a decades-old rule and allow a Sikh doctor to serve without removing his turban and cutting his hair, an advocacy group said Friday.

Capt. Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi is the first Sikh to be allowed to go on active duty with a turban, beard and unshorn hair in more than 20 years, according to the New York-based Sikh Coalition.

The decision does not overturn an Army policy from the 1980s that regulates the wearing of religious items, Acting Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gina Farrisee wrote in a letter to Kalsi dated Thursday and posted online by the Sikh Coalition.

Instead, the Army's decision follows a long-standing practice of deciding such requests on a case-by-case basis, the letter said. Farrisee said the Army had weighed Kalsi's request against factors such as "unit cohesion, morale, discipline, safety and/or health."

There's no indication that the overall policy is being reconsidered, said Army spokeswoman Jill Mueller, adding that she could not confirm that the Army had reached a decision in the case until she received word from her superiors that Kalsi himself had been notified.

But Sikh Coalition director Amardeep Singh said he was hopeful the Army would announce a full policy shift.

"This bodes well for the future," he said. "My guess is the Army's going to be seeing a lot more Sikhs requesting to be a part of the Army. ... This issue is not going away."

The 32-year-old Kalsi, of Riverdale, N.J., is an emergency room doctor. He promised to serve in the Army in exchange for help paying for his medical training. A second, similar case - that of Capt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan - will be decided after he receives the results of his dental board exams, Amardeep Singh said.

A number of members of Congress wrote to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in August asking him to allow the men to serve while wearing the turban, beard and unshorn hair required by their faith.

"We do not believe that any American should have to choose between his religion and service to our country," the letter said.


Lake Mountain (82.5 miles)

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Early last Sunday, Bill and I arrived at our designated staging area near Israel Canyon, on the outskirts of Saratoga Springs. It was 0930 and still quite cold outside. I'm going to guess it was still in the high 30's upon arrival.

We unloaded our trucks and began the journey up the mountain through Israel Canyon. Many hunters were scattered along the trail. Some just starting their day, others gutting a deer.

Neither of us realized just how rocky and rough this trail was going to be. Getting to the top of Lake Mountain proved to be its own painful adventure.

Upon arrival at the top, we were greeted with an outstanding view of all Utah County.

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From the top, we searched a bit for paths down to the valley floor. Our goal was to ride into the Tintics via Little Moab, drop into Eureka and circle back around the East side of the Tintic Mountains.

On the way down the mountain, my front right tire picked up a large rock and threw it against the wheel well, causing it to detonate and break. Bill commented that now I just needed to find another mud-hole to play in.

We finally made it down the mountain along Soldier Pass, followed the power line trail toward the Nutty Putty cave area, caught the back end of Allen Ranch Road, connected to Homansville Pass, turned west onto Chiulus Pass and then south into Eureka.

It was still so cold that I needed to get a hot coffee instead of the usual cold beverage.

All-in-all, sore butts and 82.5 miles later, we made it back to our trucks just before 5pm that afternoon.
Note: Amazing or another hoax?
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When a brother and sister struck a coyote at 75mph they assumed they had killed the animal and drove on.

They didn't realise this was the toughest creature ever to survive a hit-and-run.

Eight hours, two fuel stops, and 600 miles later they found the wild animal embedded in their front fender - and very much alive.

Wily coyote: The creature's head can be seen inside the front of the car as rescuers work desperately to free it

Wily coyote: The animal's head can be seen as rescuers took apart the front fender to save it after it was struck by the car at 75mph

'We knew it was bad': Tevyn East, who was in the car when it hit the coyote, bends down to take a look at the fur poking through the fender

'We knew it was bad': Tevyn East, who was in the car when it hit the coyote, bends down to take a look at the fur poking through the fender

And - as if to prove the point - the wily coyote later escaped from where it was being kept to recover.

Daniel and Tevyn East were driving at night along Interstate 80 near the Nevada-Utah border when they noticed a pack of coyotes near the roadside on October 12.

When one of the animals ran in front of the car, the impact sounded fatal so the siblings thought there no point in stopping.

'Right off the bat, we knew it was bad,' Daniel explained. 'We thought the story was over.'

After the incident around 1am, they continued their 600 mile drive to North San Juan - even stopping for fuel at least twice.

Fur Pete's sake: What Mr East spotted as he bent down to inspect the damage to his car - the body of the coyote poking out through the radiator

Fur Pete's sake: What Mr East spotted as he bent down to inspect the damage to his car - the body of the coyote poking out through the radiator

As the animal struggled, wildlife protection officials put a loop around its neck to prevent it from further injuring itself

Miracle escape: As the animal struggled, wildlife protection officials put a loop around its neck to prevent it from further injuring itself

But it was only when they finally reached their destination at 9am did they take time to examine what damage they may have sustained.

At first it looked as though it was going to be quite gruesome.

'[Daniel] saw fur and the body inside the grill,' Tevyn East said. 'I was trying to keep some distance. Our assumption was it was part of the coyote - it didn't register it was the whole animal.'

Daniel East got a broom to try and pry the remains out of the bumper and got the shock of his life.

'It flinched,' Tevyn East said. 'It was a huge surprise - he got a little freaked out.'

The front of the car is completely taken apart as the coyote begins to wriggle free

The front of the car is completely taken apart as the coyote begins to wriggle free

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And voila! Tricky the toughest coyote ever rests in a cage after its ordeal - which it survived with just some scrapes to its paw

The pair immediately phone Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release.

'We could see a little bit of blood, not a lot, and we couldn't see any wounds,' Tevyn East said. 'We didn't know if it was suffering and we should put it out of its misery, or if we could rescue it. But we realized we were going to have to take the front end of the car off to get to it.'

The coyote had been thoroughly embedded between the front fender and radiator of their Honda Fit car - and had amazingly survived the journey without any broken bones or internal injuries.

'It just had some scrapes on its paw,' Daniel East said.

The coyote - which was nicknamed Tricky - became active while trying to escape the car space so, fearing severe internal injuries, wildlife rescue worker Jan Crowell managed to snare a loop around its neck.

Jan took the coyote to a kennel in her yard while figuring out where to release it.

But three days later the coyote saw its chance - and escaped by wriggling beneath the bottom bar of the cage.

'Now it's a local coyote,' Tevyn East said.

'This coyote is amazing. If you look at the front of our car, the grill broke and acted like a net to soften the impact. It's pretty insane ... somehow the conditions were just right for it to survive the trip. We're trying to tell the story to people, to family and friends back home, but people can't wrap their minds around it.'

'We named it Tricky for a reason,' Daniel East said.


Note: Why would he need to make this stuff up? He was an active duty Marine.
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Associated Press

Phony War Hero Gets 18 Months Jailtime

QUANTICO, Va. -- A Marine Corps sergeant was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months confinement and fined $25,000 for pretending to be an injured war hero to get free seats at rock concerts and professional sporting events.

Sgt. David W. Budwah also will be reduced in rank to private and dishonorably discharged after any appeals. He must forfeit all pay and benefits during his confinement and is subject to up to 3 1/2 years of additional prison time if he re-offends within two years.

Navy Capt. Bruce W. MacKenzie, chief judge for the Navy and Marine Corps, gave the sentence after Budwah pleaded guilty to seven counts in a military courtroom on the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va. The offenses included making false statements, malingering, misconduct and unlawful appropriation, and carried a combined maximum prison term of 8 1/2 years.

Budwah, 34, of Springhill, La., acknowledged during the hearing that he was never deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, as he had claimed. He said he lied about having helped with the 2004 tsunami relief effort and didn't earn eight medals and ribbons he wore on his uniform.

"The truth of it is, I was never deployed and I was never injured," Budwah said. "Everything that I said was false."

He was actually a radio operator in Okinawa, Japan, from early 2000 to early 2006, when he was transferred to Quantico and worked as a retail store stock clerk and warehouse laborer.

He admitted to bluffing his way into 13 events last year including banquets; Counting Crows, Boston and Collective Soul concerts; a Washington Redskins football game; and a Washington Nationals baseball game.

He also lied to obtain a laptop computer and personal digital assistant from Soldiers' Angels, an organization that helps wounded service members.

"It does a lot of damage," Kassie Claughton, a Soldiers' Angels representative, testified. "People who actually have been in combat - it kind of neglects what they're going through."

Budwah acknowledged he lied when he told young boys at an American Legion camp in western Maryland in July 2008 that he was wounded in Afghanistan when he dove on a homemade grenade to shield a buddy from the blast.

He apologized to those he deceived, especially workers and volunteers at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where he was an inpatient during the second half of 2008.

"You were only trying to help me and I betrayed that trust," Budwah said.

He said he initially was sent to the hospital for outpatient treatment for stomach problems and then became depressed and suicidal after a romantic relationship - his first since a divorce - ended in April 2008.

He said he started lying because he liked the treatment at Bethesda and wanted to fit in with the wounded warriors he had befriended.

"It seemed if I had that - something similar to everybody else - that would make me feel more like a crowd or a group of people," Budwah told the judge.

The prosecutor, Marine Capt. Thomas Liu, said Budwah had besmirched the Marine Corps' integrity.

"Let there be no mistake - the services and gifts that the accused obtained, they were not free. But their value is overshadowed by the benevolent intent of the people who gave them. That is the violation here today," Liu said.

© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Nobel Peace Prize is damaged goods

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Note: From Foxnews.com, and I couldn't agree more!
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No doubt about it: The Nobel Prize committee has just done its brand significant long-term damage by awarding Barack Obama the peace prize.

Any prize --big or small-- courts controversy. People will always debate the worthiness of particular recipients and the criteria used to pick them.

But the reason everyone --right and left-- is so shocked about the Obama award is simple.
The Nobel Prize committee basically violated their core brand characteristics and squandered 100 plus years of credibility in one false move.

The Nobel Prize is retrospective --not prospective. It's all about achievement --what you've done. Not what you will do.

Unlike President Obama, the prize is not only about hope.

So let's look at this decision from the perspective of other Nobel prize categories.

Imagine a young scientist. A guy who has plenty of optimism. He's gotten great grades in school; his professors love him. Now he wants to cure cancer. Mind you, he hasn't even started the work he needs to do to cure cancer. In fact, there is no evidence beyond his optimism and energy that he will ever cure cancer. He doesn't even have any clear ideas about how to cure cancer.

Then imagine this guy being awarded the Nobel Prize. Fuggedaboutit. The science prize would lose all credibility. It would become a joke.

Now the peace prize is a little looser than the science prize, but bottom line --it's still about genuine achievement, not hope for future achievement.

So what's to be done? Well, the president's brand emerged as a winner amidst the Nobel Prize committee's fiasco. He handled this uncertain award gracefully, admitting right up front that he didn't deserve it and announcing that he would donate the prize money. Some are saying that he should reject the prize outright, but that would probably be a mistake. Why? Because it would essentially be a negative brand statement, and negative brand statements often have serious unintended consequences.

The road forward for the Nobel Prize itself is less certain. In addition to violating the core brand characteristics, there's what I call the "Wizard of Oz effect." Basically, the less people think about how a decision is made, the better. (It's like that old saying about politics and sausage making: it's best done out of sight.) As far as most people are concerned, the Nobel Prize has always been handed down from on high. But now we all know that it's chosen by five left-leaning Norwegians. We've seen behind the wizard's curtain, and we're not impressed.

The only way to undo the damage will be with time. The prize next year (and the year after that and the year after that) has got to be unassailable and re-assert the Nobel Peace Prize's brand essentials of achievement.

And hey, if they're lucky, Obama will live up to the potential they see in him and they'll all look like geniuses (and we'll forget the wizards pulling the levers behind the curtain).

And remember, the business of entertainment, politics and prize giving is always easier when you keep marketing and branding in mind.

John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert. He is the founder and president of Marketing Department of America.


COP Keating: from the inside

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I feel compelled to write and disseminate this, because when I often read open-source media accounts of battlefield exploits involving US Soldiers, they are often lacking. The attached AP story is such an example.

Here are the facts, without revealing sensitive information. I feel compelled to write this because I heard some very fine, brave Americans fought for their very lives Saturday, 03 OCT 09. They fought magnificently. Eight of them made the Ultimate Sacrifice. I don't know their names, only their call signs. Though it may have been smaller in scale, and shorter in duration, their battle was no less heroic than the exploits of their ancestors, in places like LZ X-Ray or Fire Base Ripcord in Vietnam. I want people to know that there are still some GREAT Americans who serve in the US Army, fighting for Freedom, who will probably never be given the due they deserve. I don't know ALL the facts, only what I overheard on the satellite radio.

COP Keating was (past tense) located on low ground, near a river, surrounded by mountains - a poor place to have to defend to begin with. The village of Kamdesh was nearby, as was a mosque. About two platoons and a cavalry troop headquarters occupied the COP - Combat Outpost. If you Google COP Keating, you will find a Washington Times article describing the austere conditions there, written earlier this year.

I was on duty from 0600-1800 (6 a.m. until 6 p.m.) on Saturday, 03 OCT 09, and heard, first-hand, the events I am about to recount transpire. I took notes as the battle unfolded. Things were relatively quiet when I came on shift at 0600. Not too long afterward, I heard a call sign describing taking small arms fire at his position. (That in itself is not alarming - I hear that frequently because I hear satellite radio transmissions from all sorts of units who operate in Nangahar, Kunar, Laghman (where I am) and in Nuristan Provinces, where this happened.) The situation, then began to deteriorate. The Troop Commander - urgently - requested rotary wing gunships to support him. He was told they were 45 minutes away, and that he should use his 120 mm mortars. He replied that the mortar pit was pinned down, and that the could not employ his 120 mm mortars. I did not know until I saw an aerial photo later that day, after
> I got off shift, that the COP was located in a "bowl," surrounded on nearly all sides by high ground. The insurgents were shooting down into the mortar pit from above. The 120 mm mortars from OP Fritshe, a few kilometers away were able to help a little, but it was not enough. Not too long after the fight started, the Troop Commander said that he had a KIA, and several wounded.

Uh-Oh - now this is getting serious. Not too much longer after that, the Troop Commander, in a voice that was not panicked, but which had a sense of urgency said, "We've got people inside our wire!!!" He said that he had lost communications with some of his elements at different places on the COP. He had had to abandon his Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and all the various means of redundant communications there (MIRC Chat, Blue Force Tracker, tactical FM radios, etc.) His only means of communication was the satellite radio he was using. He said he urgently needed air support. The number of KIA began to climb.

He kept asking about the helicopters - his higher headquarters said they were "30 minutes out..." He said that if he did not get help soon, they were going to be overrun. He had consolidated the soldiers he had, to include dead and wounded, in a tight perimeter on part of his COP. He advised that the Afghan National Army (ANA) side of the COP was completely overrun and was on fire. The insurgents had gotten into his perimeter where the ANA latrine bordered his perimeter, after they had overrun the ANA camp. His Entry Control Point (ECP) where some Afghan Security Guards (ASG) had been had been overrun. The ANP Police Checkpoint had been overrun and he was taking a heavy volume of fire from that. He was taking a lot of RPG fire from the mosque. His Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) was under insurgent control. He kept asking about the helicopters. He was told, "Passing Checkpoint 12..."

He said, "I'm telling you that if they don't get here f***in' soon, we're all going to f***in' die!!!" Shortly after that, his Squadron Commander came up on the radio and told him that he was going to be OK, that help was on the way. The SCO said that he needed to come up on FM and talk to the helicopters, who should be arriving very soon.
> The Troop Commander said that the Harris was all he had at the moment, and asked that the Squadron relay. It was, obviously, a very anxious time. I was afraid that at any moment, the Troop commander would just stop transmitting, and that would mean that they were likely all dead and dying. Someone asked the Troop commander what his target priorities were, and he said that "anything outside the wire" was controlled by bad guys. He mentioned that he needed gun runs at a particular wall, and mentioned certain Target Reference Points (TRP's) such as "the putting green" and "the diving board." Finally, the helicopters arrived and began killing insurgents. It became clear, however, that it was such a target-rich environment that much more air support was needed. The helicopters gave the defenders enough breathing room to better position themselves, reload, etc. Under the umbrella of the gunships, the Troop Commander said that he was going to try to re-take some of his camp. The SCO calmly encouraged him to "fire and maneuver." As they regained some lost ground, the Troop Commander said that he was finding some of his unaccounted for soldiers, and that they were KIA. He gave their battle roster numbers. Things were looking better, but it was still a fierce fight. I could hear a cacophony of machine gun fire when the Troop Commander keyed that microphone to talk. The mortars were still pinned down, with one KIA and wounded in the mortar pit. After only a short time, gunships had to leave to rearm and refuel, heading to FOB Bostic. (FOB Bostic was hit with indirect fire, also, throughout the day.)

The weather in the high passes interfered with the helicopters. Close Air Support in the form of jets were on the way, and the Troop Commander was asked to provide Target Numbers, which he did. He was still being pressed on all sides, still taking a heavy volume of small arms fire and RPG's. He had regained some buildings, but had not been able to re-capture all his perimeter. He found at least one MBITR and was able to communicate with aircraft a little better. Once the jets arrived overhead, they began to drop bombs on the masses, the swarms of insurgents. Usually, the insurgents conduct a raid at dawn, do their damage, and flee. Not this day. I looked at my watch, and it was after 1000 and the insurgents were still attacking, even though it should have become clear to them after the close air arrived that they could no longer hope to completely overrun the camp. The Close Air was on station continuously after that, and as soon as one plane dropped its bombs and strafed, another came down to hit targets - some very close to camp. The mosque was hit by a Hellfire, and open source now reports that a high profile insurgent named Dost Mohammad was killed there. A target described as a "switchback" was bombed repeatedly and the insurgents seemed to simply re-occupy it only to be bombed out of it again. (Several pieces of weapons and equipment has since been found there.) The "North Face" was also repeatedly bombed and strafed.

A plan was developed to get reinforcements to COP Keating. Because it was still "too hot" to land helicopters, they were flown to OP Fritshe and had to walk to COP Keating. Asked about his ammunition (Class 5) at about 1300, the Troop commander said that he was "red" on 7.62 link and MK19 ammunition (40mm grenade machinegun). Not too long after that, he stated that he was "black" (supply exhausted) on 7.62, but still had a lot of .50 caliber. More KIA were found, and the Troop Commander said that they were missing their sensitive items (weapons, night vision, MBITR radios - things like that.) The KIA number rose to 5. There were constant updates on a particular wounded Soldier who had a broken leg and a crushed pelvis. They said that he had lost a lot of blood, but was on an IV, and was "hanging in there." The Troop Commander said that he had two ANA KIA, and several wounded, still with him. He said that a lot of the ANA - about 12 - had broken and run when the COP began to be overrun. (Some of their bodies were found nearby the next day, along with some ASG who were wounded.) The Troop Commander said that the insurgents had made off with the ANA's B-10 Rocket Launcher. Throughout the day, the air support targeted a B-10 launch site, but it was unclear if it was the same system that the ANA had lost of not.

The SCO got on the net and said that there was a plan to bring in a CH-47 Chinook as soon as it got dark, with attack helicopters overhead, and that they would bring in ammo and Soldiers and evacuate the wounded and dead. The SCO said that he would fly in, also. During the battle, the SCO always seemed calm and gave a lot of encouragement to the Troop Commander on the ground. He asked for updates (Situation Reports - "SITREPS") but he did not nag the Troop Commander for it every 5 minutes. He let the Troop Commander fight the fight, frequently asking him what he needed and asking him how he and his Soldiers were doing, offering encouragement, but not micromanaging.

The fighting continued all day, even though it was not as intense as it had been in the early morning. As the relief column approached from OP Fritshe, it got into a brief fight, quickly killing two insurgents and capturing their ICOM radios and RPG's. Then, they continued on toward COP Keating. The fire that had completely leveled the ANA side of the COP was spreading from building to building, and was setting the COP on fire. The Troop Commander and his Soldiers had to evacuate their TOC again, because it caught on fire. Many of the barracks buildings caught on fire and burned, taking the Soldiers' possessions with them. Only one or two buildings were left by the time it was over. As night approached, the Troop Commander told someone (S-3? FSO?) that if the air cover were lost, and if they were attacked again, they were "done." The Troop Commander was assured that he would have adequate air support. The CSM came up on the net and asked the Troop Commander to try to expand his perimeter in order to try to get accountability of everyone. The Troop Commander said that he "just can't do it, I just don't have enough people. I have too many wounded." The CSM said that he understood, but that he was looking at a cold body on the Predator feed near the maintenance building, and thought that that might be the final missing soldier. (It was later determined that that was not him.) The Troop Commander said that there were "a lot" of dead insurgents lying dead inside his perimeter, and he could be seeing one of those.

I went off shift at 1800. At that time, there were 6 US KIA, and one missing, later found and determined to be KIA. I do not know where the 8th KIA came from: either one of the wounded died, or earlier there was a mistake in regard to accountability.

The next day (Sunday, 4 OCT) when I came to work, I learned that they had found the unaccounted-for Soldier(s) and had made it through the night. During the late morning, the SCO came up on the net and briefed someone about the situation. He said that of five (5) HMMWV's, only one was still running. They had counted eight (8) RPG impacts on one HMMWV alone. He said that the HMMWV's were shot all to pieces. The camp Bobcat had a window shot out, but was still running, and they were still using it to move things.

There was a lot of UXO's (unexploded ordnance) that made the area hazardous, such as unexploded US mortar rounds that had been scattered, as well as AT-4's and Javelin's. Most of the Soldiers on the COP had lost all their possessions except for what they were wearing. A plan was already being developed to get them new TA-50, uniforms, boots, toiletries, etc. once they were extracted. There were a lot of sensitive items that needed to be lifted out, because they are serial numbered items that needed to be accounted for, but most everything was ruined. They discussed whether to insert engineers with a lot of explosive to blow everything up, or whether to call in air strikes after everyone was evacuated and try to destroy what was left that way. Even at this point, they were still taking the occasional odd, angry shot or rocket fire.

As I type this, I am still listening to the folks who are left at COP Keating, figuring out what to destroy, how best to destroy it (demo vs. aerial bombs or rockets) what to fly out, and making a plan on how best to get that done so they can abandon and close the COP.


 Where is James King?


 

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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