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.
Newly commissioned officers in the Marine Corps – and I can only assume this guide will translate to my counterparts in the Army – get absolutely inundated with leadership advice, and for good reason: they are about to take responsibility not just for some company’s new project or marketing plan, but for a platoon of Marines. So why do they fail? Where is the disconnect?
I would argue that the consistent theme of failure is actually more precise than many believe – especially at the entry level leadership position that is Second Lieutenant. In fact, I would argue – and I will below – that there are six primary causes for relief of command at the platoon leader level, some stronger than others, and quite frankly none all that revolutionary.
What this article is not is another guide on leadership advice, as there are plenty of those – in the past two months alone I’ve come across three different platoon oriented leadership guides on Tom Ricks’ Best Defense Blog at ForeignPolicy.com here, here and here. Rather, this is a guide for new lieutenants on what not to do – from a practical, bottom-line-up-front perspective, when they take that first coveted step into platoon command. The goal, or end state if you will (hey, I’m in the IRR), is to provide awareness to those wide-eyed, leadership advice-seeking sponges with gold bars on their collars so that they can focus their time on not only what they’ve been trained to do, but their most important task: leading Marines or Soldiers.
If you thought part one was intense yesterday, wait until you experience the next ten minutes of this Afghanistan firefight through the lens of a US Army SAW gunner’s high definition helmet cam – part two above raises the intensity level even higher. Whereas the first video just showcased the soldiers fighting back from the same location, part two we get to see the platoon commander request air support, and watch as the entire platoon fights its way back to a stronger defensive position. Awesome video – stop reading, and watch above – then hit the link below for more award winning commentary!
There’s nothing quite like 11 minutes of intense firefight video footage from a soldier’s helmet cam in Afghanistan to get you rolling before work on a Wednesday morning – am I right? Watch through this M240 SAW gunner’s helmet cam as his squad or platoon gets caught up in a crazy firefight which has them pinned down in a nearby mud hut compound, and this time the Taliban aren’t leaving anytime soon. More tactical video commentary after the link below!
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!
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!
Memes are one of the biggest reasons I love the Internet; they’re just my type of humor, and the possibilities are endless. Since our Kim Jong Un meme collections have basically gone viral, we figured we’d continue with some other high quality meme collections to keep this party going: today’s batch – the military! While this is coming from a Marine, please note that I’ve got all branches included – I won’t discriminate, so spare me the nice emails and comments. Hit the link below for SQ’s funny military memes part 1 of … well, let’s just say infinity – there are about a million more that I found on the Interweb, so as your favorite platoon sergeant used to say, standby to standby. [Click here to read on!]
Oh boot camp, how I do not miss thee. While technically I went to Marine OCS (Officer Candidate School, or in simple terms: boot camp), it’s not something I would really want to do again. For those guys who tragically got hurt at OCS – fractured bones was the most common from the constant running/hikes – they got the chance to start all over again, which makes them even more impressive. Would you want to do boot camp 1.5 or 2 times? I would – but I would be one grumpy mother trucker in my second go-through. Alright enough with the nostalgia: what I have here for you in preview picture form above, and full picture form below, is arguably – no probably the funniest boot camp letter I have ever read. It is also ironically maybe the most coherent and intelligent, but then again, it’s not really that surprising because it came via the frustrated pen of a paralegal specialist! What’s a paralegal specialist in the Army, you ask? He/she is pretty much the tip of the spear on the front lines. /sarcasm. Full boot camp letter below!
How can you not like a good airstrike video? As a former Marine, I can’t tell you the mental comfort you receive when you’re on a foot patrol in Afghanistan and you’ve got air support in the area. While I have never been up north in the vaunted Korengal Valley (my regiment kicked ass there before the surge brought the Marine Corps to Helmand; I joined the unit just after they got back), I have been to Helmand, which in places is equal parts nasty (just don’t listen to Maxim Magazine on that). The above moto airstrike video comes to you courtesy of the US Army Paratroopers from 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, as well as the A-10 Warthog who just completely levels an enemy stronghold somewhere deep within the Korengal. Awesome video – hit the link below for more!
As a former Marine, yes, I am certainly biased, but I have nothing but pure respect for all of our services – we all play different roles, and we all get our jobs done. That being said, it’s always fun to poke fun – outside of our business and military analysis posts here at SQ, this is pretty much an entertainment/parody site – at the military in general, because competition just makes us all better. The Army has always had a competition with the Marine Corps, with both sides saying their PT is harder, and/or their respective boot camps are harder. I am just going to go out on my biased limb and say it really isn’t a contest – Marines are required to do dead hang pull ups, while soldiers in the Army are just graded on push ups. But still, when it comes to unit PT, the choice of work out is honestly up to the unit commander, and in the video above, I think the answer about which PT session is tougher is pretty clear. More after the video!
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.