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Amber status - troops patrolling with cold weapons?

Posted By Crush • [May 19, 2010]

Title should read: Amber status - troops patrolling with cold weapons?

From my post at The US Report:

Commanders have reportedly ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol in a manner that could handicap them.

Some soldiers are being ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, The US Report has learned from an anonymous source at a forward operating base in Afghanistan. Our source was unsure if the order came from his unit or if it affected other units.

On war correspondent Michael Yon's Facebook page, commenters stated that this is a common practice in Iraq, while others said that it is occurring in Afghanistan as well. According to military protocol, “Amber” status requires weapons to have a loaded magazine, but the safety on and no round chambered.

"The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post -- in which direct action may-or-may not take place -- and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion," says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military/national defense issues. "This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement. And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed."

I have heard from veterans from virtually all conflicts going back to Vietnam stating that Amber status is basically normal operating procedure. Not in all cases, but it is not a stretch to say that this isn't occurring in Afghanistan. Forcing our troops to lock and load under fire grants our enemies the advantage in every firefight. And this decision wasn't forced on us by the enemy, but by our own commanders.

In an ambush situation, just how long does it take to engage a target when your weapon isn't already loaded?

“Too long,” states Sandy Daniel, military veteran and Deputy Director of the Victory Institute. “The first couple of seconds in an ambush are critical, and when that block of time is used to load a weapon instead of firing, you are losing the time you need to stay alive. Patrolling without a chambered round is suicide.”

Let's drop the assumptions and "the military would never do that" because they have and apparently they are. This decision will kill men. And who benefits from such a decision? Has our stock with Mullah Omar gone up a notch?

Some may call "BS" on this story (of which more details are forthcoming) but I wonder what evidence the nay-sayers are basing their assumptions on. There is a clear historical trend of our military members patrolling with cold weapons. Numerous sources have said that is occurring in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

At some point, we must think critically when it comes to our military's leadership. Just because a man puts on a camouflage uniform doesn't make them above question. After all, they are appointed by politicians, and the Navy has said that Admiral Nimitz - hero from World War II - wouldn't have made it past ensign in today's navy. What does that tell you?

The men who put forth these ineffective strategies and emasculated ROE may be doing the bidding of the Commander-in-Chief, but any officer who is not willing to remove his brass for his men isn't fit for command in my opinion.


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