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A Paratrooper in Afghanistan Responds to the New York Times

Received this note from a Paratrooper in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan.  He serves in Battle Company under the command of Captain Kearney and wanted to responed to the New York Times article by Elizabeth Rubin (Deebow's reaction to the article is here).

Captain Kearney's father, the General Officer referred to in the article, was the one who brought charges three times against the SF Snipers (Blackfive links here, here, here, here, here and concluding here).  In looking into those charges, I heard time and again that the son was a good officer.  Some contacts in Afghanistan were confounded by the fact that the son was an outstanding individual while the father seemed to be playing political games with the careers of two good men.  Bottom-line: I have yet to hear anything other than very good things about Captain Kearney - personally or professionally.

So, here is the response to the New York Times article by Elizabeth Rubin from one of his men today (they don't have much access to the internet or phones):

I just read Rubin's article and then I read many of the Blogs and other comments concerning the article. The answer to the speculation is Yes, there is a good deal of embellishment in the article concerning Battle Company and Captain Kearney. I cannot fully and truthfully pick out which details are true and which are fabricated because I was not present during many of the incidents mentioned. However, [s a soldier] at Firebase Vegas, Korengal, I believe I know the company and my Commander fairly well (and he's 28, not "26" years old as Rubin states).

Battle Company is a great group of brothers who have faced a lot and fought a lot, and, yeah, there are meds and personal problems thrown into the mix as well--the guys are still very human. Yes, sometimes brash and angry comments are made out of frustration and disappointment--name a profession where they aren't. My guys in [] Platoon get frustrated every day, but I assure you, they know why we're here and their dedication to the mission and to each other never wavers.

As far as CPT Kearney goes, he is a brilliant tactician who loves his men. He does have a loud sense of humor, but I have never witnessed him (nor heard stories of him) lose control or his professionalism, especially in front of the press. He does believe in honesty and integrity at all times and doesn't withhold "ugly" details when speaking to reporters. Whether or not he said all those things in that article, I cannot say in truthful certainty--I also don't have the luxury of spending "moonlight nights" with him out at the KOP.

You're free to quote me on this e-mail, and I stand by what I've written. It is my greatest honor and privilege to serve among the men of Battle Company, 2-503 IN, and I will not allow their great name to be tarnished or skewed by a reporter who will never spend 15 months in the Korengal nor will endure the trials these men have faced.

Last week, we asked for your help in sending these paratroopers support.  At this time, we only have 800 emails.  Thank you to all who have emailed support.  Since over 10,000 different people visit here everyday, we should have thousands.  So, here is the information so that you can do your part:

A recent article by Elizabeth Rubin in the New York Times painted one Platoon of this Brigade in a less than favorable light. The article sensationalized the facts in a negative way, which served only to cause undue stress on the Soldiers and family members.  The author failed to mention successes within the Brigade such as substantial humanitarian aid (tons of food and clothes) delivered to local villages, medical care for local children and adults, road projects, clean water projects, training of Afghan National Army personnel, distribution of school supplies, etc.

Historically, spring is a time of heavy fighting in this region as the terrorists and insurgents emerge from their caves after the harsh winter temperatures and snows.  Let's show these Soldiers how much support they have from home to help them through the spring and the remainder of this long and dangerous deployment.

Our paratroopers are in the fight of their lives and they need to hear that America loves them.

Please send an email of support to skysoldiers173rd@gmail.com

Or you can mail cards to:

    Leta Carruth
    P O Box 100
    Cordova, TN  38088

Due to security reasons in Afghanistan please do not put addresses or phone numbers on any correspondence.  All emails will be printed out here in the US and mailed to Afghanistan as they do not have the resources to receive a large number of emails.  All letters and emails will be vetted to make sure there are no negative comments.  These are letters of support, so please keep them positive and uplifting.

Update:  It appears that Elizabeth Rubin has embedded with the Taliban.

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