Jun201405

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!

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May201417

Just like that danger close 500 lb bomb video I posted yesterday, this controlled det video from Afghanistan will make you check your pacemaker.  Although some folks over in the magical land of YouTube are calling this footage out as fake, I’ve replayed it a few times over and it looks/sounds real enough to me.  I’ve had Afghan rocks rain down on my kevlar after a 50 lb IED went off in Helmand, so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m talking about (no, I wasn’t EOD either, so I guess that kinda validates the reason why we called this kick ass website “slightly qualified”, eh?).  But enough talk – you need to watch the video and decide for yourself.  More after the jump!

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May201415

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!

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Marines End Combat Operations in Sangin: A Reflection
May201406

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.

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Maxim: “Camp Dwyer One of Five Most Dangerous Places in Afghanistan” /Facepalm
Apr201430

Camp Dwyer?  Camp DWYER?  If you just channeled your inner-Jim Mora (of epic Indianapolis Colts coaching press conference meltdown Hall of Fame – see SQ’s front page content slider for the awesome screenshot) as you read Maxim Magazine’s recent (?, there’s no date) military article “The Five Most Dangerous Places in Afghanistan“, then you’re not alone.  Did author Jaeson Parsons actually do any research for this article – like proper journalism calls for – or did he just assume that no one would care?  It’s readily apparent that he’s never been to the country he wrote about, but good grief, Camp Dwyer?  Hit the link below for even more absurdity.

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OEF Brothers & Sisters: What’s Our War Soundtrack?
Apr201417

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.

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Apr201415

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.

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Inside Combat Rescue with Leeroy Jenkins
Mar201329

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.

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