"“You've got to be careful where you emotionally release as a leader,
because you don't want your moment of weakness to cost another soldier
a moment of strength." - Sergeant First Class Toby Nunn, during his second Iraq deployment
I'm going to start off this review of Frontline's Bad Voodoo's War the best way possible. SFC Toby Nunn, who I shared the honor of being a panelist at Brown University's Watson Institute last fall, speaks to Deborah Scranton (Director of "The War Tapes") about his experiences and why he is a soldier.
Toby is a Canadian citizen who loves America. He's smart, tough and can turn on the American badassery in heartbeat - and he is also brilliant. Here's a photo of him and Tito Ortiz...notice the RangerUp shirt Toby has on.
The reason I like Scranton's work is that the soldiers tell their own
stories - the good, the bad and the ugly - and you get plenty of that
in the interviews. Yes, some just want to go home, others want to do
the job they've been giving, and others worry about the (lack of)
ability for Iraq to provide it's own security.
Specialist Shaw is also featured. He was awarded the Silver Star for valor during the battle for Bagdhad. This is his third tour that he volunteered for. Shaw, after losing many good friends and seeing a lack of progress, has lost faith in his religion and faith in the possibility of success. It's important to hear what he says.
And then there's an old pal, Sergeant JP Borda, who started blogging when he was in Afghanistan a few years ago (when he was a Specialist). The National Guard Experience was a soldiers blog - lots of humor, comments, etc. Afterwords, JP starting Milblogging.com which was purchased by Military.com. JP then, I believe he volunteered, to go to Iraq with California National Guard.
“The media writes what is going to sell. They're a business, too.
We're not a business. We're just writing what we're doing. We've got
nothing to sell. We've got nothing to lose.” - Sergeant JP Borda, in Iraq (second deployment, first was OEF)
Be sure to watch Frontline, tomorrow night, April 1st, to see Bad Voodoo's War.
In June 2007, as the American military surge reached its peak, a band of National Guard infantrymen who call themselves the "Bad Voodoo Platoon" was deployed to Iraq. To capture a vivid, first-person account of the new realities of war in Iraq for FRONTLINE and ITVS director Deborah Scranton (The War Tapes) created a "virtual embed" with the platoon, supplying cameras to the soldiers so they could record and tell the story of their war. The film intimately tracks the veteran soldiers of "Bad Voodoo" through the daily grind of their perilous mission, dodging deadly IEDs, grappling with the political complexities of dealing with Iraqi security forces, and battling their fatigue and their fears.
Update 04-01-08: Greyhawk is asking where the media was when SFC Nunn's team ruthlessly assists wounded civilians from a bus that hit an IED (the media instead wrote that Americans had destroyed the bus).
And what I saw last week was un-freaking believable. I was out last week on a Boss Lift with ESGR, and they planned out a fantastic trip.
On this trip, we were taken from Denver to San Diego via a COARNG CH-47, and a US Navy C-9. The purpose of the trip was to demonstrate to various employers what it is the Guard and Reserve folks do on typical training events. We got a chance to see how Guard and Reserve units support their active duty brethren, and ready themselves for deployments all over the globe. To say we were impressed is an understatement of galactic proportion.
From the Marine Indoc center in San Diego, to the SEABEES, to the Coast Guard station on North Island, we were briefed on numerous support elements and missions of the Guard and Reserve. Although I've been in the military for 26 years, I'd never, ever seen this side of the DoD and DHS. To be able to see the ''yellow footprints'' of the Marine training center, and understand and witness what EVERY new Marine has to go thru was fantastic. We got to eat lunch with Marines in training from Colorado, and to a person they were excited about their future. Oh, and tired, too. Options? Yeah, they knew what they signed up for. College degrees, technical training and degrees: each had opportunity beyond the Dogs but chose service to their country as well. My hat's off to each and every one. I'm glad I never had to stand on those yellow footprints.
With the CG station, we got to tour and understand the elements that guard our coastline each and every hour of every day. To say these guys enjoy their jobs is ANOTHER understatement- they each wake up every day committed to doing their best, and it certainly shows. What was especially interesting was understanding how the Auxiliary contributes to our efforts, and how the CG Reserve is tasked to back-fill those that are deployed forward. I gotta say, when its time for my son to look at service, I'm going to strongly recommend the CG for the breadth of work available. Plus, it'd be nice to have a Sailor in the family again :)
If any of you are fans of Dirty Jobs, we got a look at that part of SEABEE work- they were pulling mobile dock units out of the water for cleanup. I don't wish that ugly, smelly work on anyone- dirty, smelly, and wet, but necessary! Mike Rowe, where are you when we need you?
Captain Mike Argo, commander of Navy Special Warfare Operational Support Group, Coronado, Calif., gave a rousing talk to the participants and thanked them for their support of the Reserves. Captain Argo oversees all NSW team members. You would NOT want to run into this guy on a dark beach under the 'wrong' circumstances. It would be bad for your health.
Lastly, we had a chance to tour the NSWTC on Coronado to see the new SEALs in training at BUD/s. I've read, heard, talked about this training, but to see it up-close and personal, well, I just cannot do it justice in words here. To walk their beach, see the dedication in their eyes, was un-freaking-believable. Truly, only the most dedicated make it thru. I believe the class that was going thru was 264; gents, good luck to you all. You'll CERTAINLY need it. I hope to have some video over to Jimbo soon of the trip- the SEAL armorer presentation on the 'toys of choice' for the teams was awesome. These guys are really all-business.
This gentleman attended the Heroes Tour event at the LST Ship Museum in Evansville, IN. He asked one question about what constituted victory in Iraq, which Pete answered fairly. Then I caught up with him as he was entertaining the media.
He is returning home. His remains found, let us now hope that those who murdered him are found as well. You can read more about him here and here. May his family know peace from having him home, and may the light shine on them all the days to come. May his enemies never know peace again.
#7 Stop-Loss opened to only $1.6 million Friday from just 1,291 plays and should eke out $4+M.
Predictably, the libtard mental midgets in HollyWeird just don't get it. I am not certain that they will get it for about a generation, if ever.
And if you doubted the level of insanity, check out this quote from article...
"It's not looking good," a studio source told me before the weekend. "No one wants to see Iraq war movies. No matter what we put out there in terms of great cast or trailers, people were completely turned off. It's a function of the marketplace not being ready to address this conflict in a dramatic way because the war itself is something that's unresolved yet.It's a shame because it's a good movie that's just ahead of its time."
HollyWeird had it's chance and they are burned as far as I am concerned. They have all this money and opportunity to tell the real story of what is going on in the war on terror and what do we get? "Bush lied Kids Died!" "Iraq was a peaceful country!" "The war was for oil!" "Stop-Loss is a defacto draft!" Could it be that the reason that no one wants to see Iraq War movies is because there have been 4 or 5 of them made now and none of them are about, for example, Army Sergeant First Class Paul Smith and his heroic actions during the Invasion of Iraq?
I hope the pittance that they make from these movies is enough to keep paying these oxygen thieves. I want them to make animated features, because that is all that little Deebow watches right now.
I fight with the British Pathfinders and the Danes anytime...
Posted By Deebow
We have talked at length about the town of Musa Qala on this blog and how this is a center of gravity for the Taliban in the South of Afghanistan. Musa Qala is of great importance to the Taliban and the story of the battle there is something I wanted to bring to everyone's attention.
Here is just a snippet of the good Colonel's story about what took place there.
Musa Qala, a besieged outpost deep in Taliban territory, holds a special place in the battle records of the Pathfinder platoon of 16 Air Assault Brigade – and of the Irishmen, Danes and other soldiers who braved face-to-face fighting to relieve them.
When a column at last got through to Musa Qala it found a band of dirty, skinny, heavily armed and bearded defenders. Thanks to luck and skill, none had been killed; but several men had died trying to bring help.
Yet the British public have heard almost nothing about what happened there more than a year ago, early on in the campaign in Afghanistan. Now the men are telling the story of the hidden siege.
The Pathfinders are a deep reconnaissance force drawn from the elite of the Parachute Regiment. The 24-man platoon was the first British unit to clash with the Taliban in Helmand province when they went to the aid of the Afghan police in Musa Qala in May last year. Within a month they were back in Musa Qala – and what was supposed to be a two-day mission turned into an ordeal lasting more than seven weeks.
And this should give you a sense of the intensity of the fighting...
In four weeks of fighting, the Royal Irish fired a quarter of all the 7.62mm machine gun rounds used by British troops in Afghanistan in the whole of 2006.
Look, politics aside, I know John McCain is not the best Republican candidate. Hell, I could use some of my funky poli sci mojo to unfunkify and clarify why that is, but we all have our different issues and our different reasons for why we do or do not vote for candidates for public office.
Doctor Phillip Butler is a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack carrier pilot. In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent eight years as a prisoner of war. He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals.
Although, according to his bio, he seems to have made a left turn sometime after that.
After his repatriation in 1973 he earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California at San Diego and became a Navy Organizational Effectiveness consultant. He completed his Navy career in 1981 as a professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is now a peace and justice activist with Veterans for Peace.
and that is right where he loses me.... And gives himself away...
As a heavy barrage erupted outside his parents' house, Abu Mustafa al-Thahabi, a political and military adviser to the Mahdi Army of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, rushed through the purple gate and took shelter behind the thick walls. He had just spoken with a fighter by cellphone. "I told him not to use that weapon. It's not effective," he said, referring to a rocket-propelled grenade. "I told him to use the IED, the Iranian one," he added, using the shorthand for an improvised explosive device. "This is more effective."
Well color me shocked, but the Washington Post has a reporter embedded with the Mahdi Army. They are receiving first hand reports on how the Iranian-backed militias there are trying to kill our troops. I am just curious about how it would have gone over if they had embedded a reporter with the SS in France as we invaded Normandy, or in the caves on Okinawa to report on how well the Japanese were doing slaughtering Marines.
Fortunately for us our media has no qualms about engaging with (not in the proper way), reporting on, and essentially becoming terrorist press agents. AP photog Bilal Hussein is in Iraqi jail for his role spreading the lies and propaganda of the Sunni terrorists and AQI. Let there be no doubt that the press is not on our team and at some point those chickens need to come home to roost.
Since I know I am not a videographer, I have no qualms about posting the work of an actual film-maker. As I mentioned before JD Johannes stopped by in KC. He made an excellent piece about the event and myself and Dave Bellavia talked with him for several hours about Iraq, Afghanistan and the other hot spots around the globe.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.