This is a MUST READ.
The following is a case of gross imcompetence and massive egoism. There are some great reporters out there - the NY TImes has them, CNN has them, Fox has them, the Christian Science Monitor has them.
And then there's Nick Meo of the Telegraph UK...this guy is a real piece of work. Two of the soldiers involved in his articles have contacted me as well as officers and sergeants on site. This is the greatest honor I could have, to speak for those soldiers who can't speak out for themselves.
Nick Meo should be shunned. His ass should be un-credentialed and tossed out of theater on the slowest garbage scow.
We begin with a self-agrandizing article written by Nick Meo titled "The night I was 'killed in action' by a Taliban ambush". I encourage you to read the sickening piece of garbage for yourself.
The convoy started with a line from a second-rate war film. "I've got a bad feeling about this mission," said Major James Becker, as his unit of National Guardsmen - the US version of the Territorial Army - and Afghan National Police set off through the chaotic traffic of Kandahar city...
Meo goes on to refer to the soldiers as "part-time soldiers who had been in Afghanistan for six months."
I think Major Baker, and just about every other guardsman there, would disagree that they are the US version of "the Territorial Army" or "part-time" which is something that would be apparent had Meo actually knew what he was writing about.
He goes on to criticize Major Baker's "dreadful Mohican-style army haircut" which brings to mind Bobby De Niro's character in Taxi Driver. Perhaps Nick Meo is clueless to the history of the mohawk. Perhaps this photo, taken in merry old England before our paratroops dropped into France on D-Day, might jar his memory...notice the Pathfinder to the right of Ike. Another "dreadful Mohican-style army haircut":
Meo may be ignorant of history but he knows his movies.
Next, Nick Meo discusses Specialist Mitch Chapman. He says Chapman is from the NY National Guard, but SPC Chapman is from the Illinois Guard. He says that Chapman, his driver of the Cougar leading the convoy, has never driven a Cougar before.
...At the wheel was Mitch Chapman, a young New Yorker who cheerfully told me that he had never driven the 13-ton monster before. He apologised in advance for his driving and told me to strap in tight with the racing driver's harness. His advice was to save my life...
The ARSIC PAO responded with a clarification. Chapman had just spent a week in Cougar driving training on Kandahar airfield. And, getting details wrong about a soldier who's advice saved Meo's life shows a blatant disregard for his memory and the truth.
It gets even worse after the Jump....
Next, Nick Meo writes another blurb that really gives you an insight into what kind of man he is:
...On top, manning the heavy machine-gun, with his head poking out of the vehicle's hatch, was Scott Dimond, a 39-year-old father of four. I didn't talk to him before we set off, which in a way I am now grateful for. Less than an hour later he was dead...
Instead of doing Dimond a service by honoring his memory, Meo thinks he is a total stud for going on this convoy but he's too much of a pussy to get to know Corporal Diamond, who I have found out via soldiers on the ground, was one helluva soldier. One officer referred to Diamond as "stellar."
After the Cougar was hit by an IED, Meo states:
...Crouching between the vehicles, I watched as infantrymen poured fire into the night. They had no night-vision goggles or flares, and some were standing in the beams from their vehicle headlights. Heavy machine-guns and grenade-launchers were hammering furiously in what the Americans call suppressive fire, to keep the enemy's heads down.
The British would have regarded this level of fire as excessive, and perhaps even trigger-happy. Thousands of rounds must have been used...
But previously he had written:
...as the soldiers tried to force a way through the chaotic traffic, firing flares at drivers who wouldn't move and trying to spot which cars might be driven by suicide bombers. One flare bounced off the windscreen of a lorry driver who came too close...
And then later:
...I couldn't understand why there were no helicopters yet. A sergeant switched on a night-vision camera and saw what he decided was a bunker, although God knows what it really was. He directed one of the heavy guns to fire at it. I hoped it wasn't an Afghan family's house....
So, first, did the soldiers have flares and NVGs or not? It seems Nick Meo says they do.
And then let's look at his assumptions. First, that the Brits would have been less aggressive after being hit. Nick Meo is alive today because of the response of the soldiers around. him. "God knows what it really was" is how he portrays the potential for civilian casualties, but then writes:
...I realised that I couldn't hear the snap, whistle or impact of any bullets. The soldiers seemed to think they were being shot at, but I didn't detect any incoming Taliban fire. Easyrider's casualty figures would surely have been higher if trained guerrillas had followed up the bomb with an ambush...
But after the Cougar had been hit (earlier in the article) Meo wrote:
...I could hear a heavy machine-gun thumping. It seemed to be some distance away and I guessed it was a Taliban ambush...
According to ARISC, they were firing at a bunker. Nick even confirms the danger from the bunker by the above.
Nick Meo describes the soldiers as "scared", "panicky", "Fearful", but I want you to go to the Telegraph site and watch the video.
You can read the rest and understand that the one who was panicky was Nick.
...By now a Medivac helicopter was on the way. I wasn't wounded, except for bruises, but I didn't want to take the same road back, so I asked to go aboard the Black Hawk if there was room...
Now, about that video that Nick was filming. He writes that on two separate occasions soldiers asked him to stop filming. This could have been for a few reasons, but mainly for security of the reporter.
Later, I received the real reason the soldiers wanted Nick's video. He was filming the dead and the dying. When being treated for non-existent wounds back at Kandahaar, Nick Meo denied having that footage. When pressed, he recanted.
No wonder the soldiers were angry with him. I can only imagine if a parent or friend of the Fallen soldiers had seen that footage.
I received a note from a soldier who arrived on the scene 20 minutes after the IED hit the cougar. He writes:
I was on scene with another USPMT (Police Mentor Team) within 20min of this strike. We remember seeing this douche on the scene and telling him to turn off his camera.His version of events has a basis of truth but he has added way too much to the story.For starters, they did not put out thousands of rounds and he was not listed as a cat A.Let me know if you would like me to write a point by point rebuttal to this retards story and I will be happy to do so in between our daily patrols of the same road he was too afraid to drive back down.The story could have been about the loss of a truly exceptional soldier who joined the guard after retiring from a decorated career as a police officer or about the undermanned team that went on daily patrols in one of the most contested areas of A-stan. Instead, he made it about himself. He should be exposed for the douche that he is.
After asking about the above soldier's claim that Meo was never listed as KIA (after all, he was there), I received word from the ARSIC PAO that Nick Meo was listed as WIA. Of course, he wasn't wounded, but WIA status allowed him to bug out on the medevac with the wounded and Fallen.
The whole Post-It Note thing was a lie.
AND, when offered to attend the ramp ceremony for Corporal Dimond, Nick Meo refused to attend if he couldn't videotape the event.
Our men and women, citizen soldiers, are fighting for a greater cause than themselves. Nick Meo is all for himself. He can bugger-off.
You can contact the Telegraph's editors at this email address. Or better, email a polite and to the point Letter to the Editor for the Daily Telegraph or the London Sunday Telegraph.
Update: Yes, as noted from a few emails, this might be a first my use of language not family appropriate. It's warranted.
Update 2: Check the comments. A TV Station in New Hampshire is showing the video of CPT Dimond. A Soldier's Wife has left a phone number to call to demand it's removal and an apology to the Dimond family.
You can go here and leave a comment for the Station. leanna left the comment below.
Leanna commented 18 hours 56 minutes ago:
I find this video to be one of the most distasteful things I have ever seen the media do. The fact that our family was completely blind sided with this by WMUR after they were asked not to post it. There is so much pain already this was completely horrifying and hurtful. My brother fought for our freedom, including the right to free speech and to see it abused in such a manner is so disgusting. WMUR should be ashamed.
Leanna Dimond -Thackeray
Update 3: Bouhammer, an OEF vet, is all over this too.
Update 4: A medic on site leaves this comment here:
just to further debunk nick meo, I was one of the medics on scene approx. 20 min after the IED struck, there is no way in hell that we categorized him as a priority A which is actually reserved for the seriously injured that have a chance of survival if he would have been listed as KIA he would have been a priority D. If memory serves me correctly he was made a Priority C to get him on the bird and out of the area, there was no need in having an unarmed civilian around that would have to be babysitted by another soldier. I also had to tell him to stop filming out of respect to one of our fallen brothers. Furthermore if they had not laid down suppresive fire there was probably a good chance that Easyrider would have been overrun, given the circumstances of the situation. So in retrospect he should be thanking them that he is still alive, and not beheaded with his body parts displayed on a bridge somewhere which I'm sure the Taliban would have done, they don't really make distinctions especially when you're traveling in a military convoy. I am glad that we are able to expose Nick Meo for the "wanker" that he his.