While we have posted countless Afghanistan combat videos to date, none have been as jaw dropping as the video you will witness above. Thankfully this soldier wasn’t hurt, but this is one of those rare combat videos which I think will help the civilian side understand that going off to war is not glorious, nor is it anything like Call of Duty. Don’t miss this video folks – full story line behind this video after the jump.
What’s better than a live SMAW rocket exploding on a known Taliban position in Afghanistan? Two SMAW rockets – because in the Marine Corps we don’t like to fight fair. Ever. Maybe that’s why we win all the time? Anywho, above is a stellar moto video out of one of my former vacation spots – Helmand Province – which features a patrol that unleashes not one, but TWO Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon rockets at what started off as a Taliban position, and then likely ended up being more of that lovely Afghan moon dust. More after the video and the link below!
Alright, everyone check your pants. Okay, now check them again. In a combat zone, direct air support – whether it comes from a Huey or an AC-130 Gunship – is almost always a motivational, morale-boosting, and Taliban-smoking experience. I say almost always because sometimes mistakes are made in either the chain of communication when placing the order for a Super Sized, 500 pound bomb, or in the actual delivery by the pilot in the sky. In this instance that was one of those moments in which a mistake was made, but thankfully no friendlies were hurt. Don’t pass on this video – as always more salty commentary after the link!
Wait, what? Jarhead 2? Yeah, that’s the exact same reaction I had when I saw this earlier today. Apparently some movie investor out there believed the “Jarhead” name still had some financial value associated with it, so now Jarhead 2 is coming (thankfully) straight to Blu-Ray & DVD on August 19th. You would think this is Gulf War, or at least Anthony Swofford related, but it’s not; Jarhead 2 actually takes place in Afghanistan, and to be completely honest the movie looks like a train wreck.
Now this Helmand combat video is a must-see! As you likely have already read in my previous Marine Corps-tagged posts and videos here at SQ, I’m a former Marine who deployed to Afghanistan – or more specifically Helmand Province – as an embedded advisor with the Afghan National Army, or “ANA”. These videos really bring me back to 2010/2011 when I was there – not for the combat, as I didn’t see much outside of a few IEDs and small-arms fire, but for the Helmand landscape and watching the ANA operate. You have to understand that they are not Marines, or in all honesty anything remotely close to what most Americans would consider professional soldiers; they are the pride of Afghanistan, and I will tell you that these guys can flat out fight. Sure they have their shortcomings, but fighting – at least the unit that I worked with – is not one of them. That being said, the 1:07 minute mark in this video made me just about choke on my coffee from laughter – more details after the jump!
Did you see the Taliban in this pretty intense helmet cam combat video? No? Yeah, that’s how they prefer to operate – I would wager the Recon Marines that were ambushed as they crossed that danger area didn’t see them either. Whether it’s by firing through murder holes in the iron-strength mud walls, or initiating an ambush just at the right time when the sun is setting behind them (you know, so when you turn towards the ambush it’s nothing but blinding sun and 7.62 coming at you), that’s their gameplan: quick ambush, move and attempt a quick flank/envelop, and then get the hell out of Dodge as soon as American air power gets on station. Don’t miss the video – as always more after the jump!
When I got out of the Marine Corps in early 2012, only to transition from the beaches of Hawaii to the black ice covered roads of Chicago-land, I hopped on the local Metra train to take me downtown. While I have a ton of friends downtown that I wanted to meet up with, it was a Monday morning, and I had to catch another train – this time Amtrak – to make the trek down to St. Louis to pick up my Jeep which had finally arrived from Oahu. Six hours later – and only for a whopping $12 fare – I woke up in St. Louis, and hailed the first cab I could find. The cab driver was a little more talkative than usual, and it didn’t take long for him to figure out I was in the military – while he did guess correctly that I was a Marine, he failed the civilian test when he asked, “we still have troops in Afghanistan?” While I sadly have encountered a few other people that have uttered that same phrase over the last two and a half years, I have been pleasantly surprised as to how many civilians actually are familiar with Sangin. You see, today marked a pretty historic day: earlier this morning the Marine Corps Times reported that the last Marines had finally departed one of the most dangerous places in all of Afghanistan – Sangin District.
“Rip It? What are you talking about – it’s an energy drink?” Yes, it’s an energy drink, and that’s usually the confused response I receive whenever I ask one of my civilian friends if they’ve ever had one. You see, it’s extremely rare to find one of these delicious sugar free energy drinks out in the American wild – and by wild I mean at truck stops, gas stations or convenience marts. On the other hand, where you will find unlimited amounts of Rip Its and all their caffeinated glory is at American combat military outposts throughout Afghanistan. While I had heard about the awesomeness that is the Rip It energy drink (I love the sugar free version) during our battalion’s deployment work-up, I wasn’t able to taste one until I touched down at FOB Geronimo in Central Helmand Province, Afghanistan, sometime in 2010. All I can say is those tiny little cans (they have tall boys as well) made a big impression on my caffeine-seeking soul, and if you can find one here in the States, it will be well worth your journey. (Rip It Treasure Map after the link!)
So as I’m sitting here watching Forrest Gump and the awesome scenes from when Forrest enlisted and went on to Vietnam, it made me think about war soundtracks: Vietnam obviously solidified its soundtrack years ago through the countless movies that have defined it, but what about OEF? What’s our war soundtrack? For those out in SQ Nation that aren’t sure what OEF stands for – Operation Enduring Freedom – it’s the official name to the “War in Afghanistan”. For that matter, OIF could be included as well in this conversation since the two wars completely overlapped. I just posed this very question over in Reddit’s excellent /r/Veterans subreddit, but would love to hear the thoughts of our fellow OEF’ers (and OIF) here at SQ.
If you haven’t seen the excellent Afghanistan war (Operation Enduring Freedom) documentary Restrepo yet, then you absolutely need to as soon as humanly possible. Korengal, which comes straight from Restrepo’s award winning director Sebastian Junger’s camera, basically continues on where Restrepo left off, as he states its “the same men, the same valley, the same commanders, but a very different look at the experience of war.” (http://goo.gl/w4RXtG) With 44 days left until the Kickstarter ends, Mr. Junger still needs about $55,000 to reach his goal of $75,000, which he is utilizing to bring Restrepo – and the intimate war stories of not only this incredible US Army infantry platoon, but of every force that has fought in the Korengal and Afghanistan for that matter – to the big screen around the entire country. I am pumped for this film, as Restrepo ranks as #2 on my favorite OEF documentaries to date; find out what my number one – as well as more slightly qualified thoughts on Korengal, the movie and the valley – after the jump.
You just got home from the Marine Corps recruiting office, and your ship date for boot camp is 100 days out – there’s only one problem. You can only do 3 dead hang pull ups. Or your body fat percentage is borderline unauthorized for your height. Or you are barely clearing 24 minutes on your 3 mile run. Can’t do 100 crunches? You get the point. Marine Corps recruits have a higher standard than the other service branches: they all understand that the title of Marine is earned, and never – and I mean never – given. If you can’t perform the bare minimum physical fitness – or academic, character, etc – standards, then you’ll get rolled into the next class. If you keep the poor performance going, then the Army would love to have you. So what’s the easiest way then to prepare for three months of physical and mental hell? The answer will surprise you.
Raise your hand if you think the United States Air Force has a special forces branch? If your hand is in the air, you are correct: the USAF does man a wing (no pun intended) in Special Operations Command, and their most notable asset is the Parajumpers, or “PJ’s”. As a former Marine and Afghan vet, I will be the first to stand up and vouch for the PJ’s (these guys aren’t your average Airman); they’re absolutely legit. Until now, the Air Force hasn’t allowed a peek into the PJ’s training or life on deployment, which is where National Geographic TV comes into play with their latest smash hit, “Inside Combat Rescue”. So what in the world does Leeroy Jenkins have to do with any of this? If you haven’t seen an episode, then you’ll have no idea; heck, if you’ve only seen one episode you may not have caught it either. Hit the link below for the answer, and also my slightly qualified thoughts on the importance of humor in the (combat) workplace.