Last summer Anna Coren and her CNN team embedded with a US Special Forces unit in a district called Nejrab, which is located about 120 miles or so north of Afghanistan’s capital city Kabul. While this likely wasn’t the first firefight she has experienced in her front line reporting travels, it most likely was one of the most intense with rounds impacting what appeared to be just feet around her. This is yet another awesome combat footage video folks, and this time it comes fully wrapped in beautiful HD – do not miss this one! More after the jump!
Although JDAM officially stands for joint direct attack munition, in the Marine Corps and Army it means something much simple to those of us who are on the ground: a ginormous morale boost. Or as one excellent YouTube user so eloquently put it: “2,000 lbs of DEMOCRACY.” I promised SQ Nation more airstrike videos just a few days ago, and I am a man of my word. Airstrikes don’t get much bigger than this, ladies and gents. More after the jump!
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.
One of the neatest things about joining the military is that you have a tremendous amount of opportunities to work, train and fight alongside dozens of foreign militaries. While I touched on this topic in my recent Black Sea Rotational Force Moto Video post a few days ago, my time spent in Afghanistan working as an embedded infantry advisor in the heart of Helmand Province is something that I will never forget. Sure it was ridiculously frustrating, but it was an incredible experience, and one that has really shaped who I am today. The video above comes from the Royal Tongan Marines, who just wrapped up Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, as they have been providing security in the at Camp Bastion (huge British base) since November 2010 (which just happens to be when I started my deployment there). Pretty cool video – more info on the Tongan Marines below!
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.
“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!)
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.
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.