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|08-10-2008, 04:09 AM||#1|
*VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a suburb of Phoenix.
9 FUNERALS FOR 9 WARRIORS......
We still make MEN in this country and thank GOD for them.
Message from Lee Stuart Retired LTC in Iraq. True story of what happened
in Afghanistan a few weeks ago. Funny we did not hear about this from
the news media.
This is a classic example of the men who have traditionally served in
the 173rd Airborne Brigade. It was my old unit from Viet Nam that I got
evacuated from on 17 June 1968. I got to serve with me as a civilian
contractor in 2003-2004 and now my son, Major Bo Stuart will be joining
them in March of next year 2009. I could not be prouder of these kids
and I am bound and determined when I get back to take care of them-watch
for what I've got planned to do for them! Some of you will be given a
chance to help as an volunteer if you so choose-more to follow later.
"An Old Sky Soldier"
An Old Warrior Goes Again
"Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life.
It is far better you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR"
9 Funerals for 9 Warriors
This chilling account of this firefight is the stuff of legends and is
another chapter of the proud history of the American fighting soldier.
You won't read about this American heroism in the main stream press.
All you read about was nine killed in Afghanistan; another grim
statistic for the press to help their cause of anti-Americanism and
anti-military liberalism. If this battle was fought in WWI or WWII, the
heroism and sacrifice would be on the front pages on every newspaper and
leads on the newsreels in the theaters across the
country. But times have changed..
Article pulled from: http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=8969
Posted by: McQ (Bruce "McQ" McQuain) on Sunday, July 27, 2008
9 Funerals for 9 Warriors
I'm sure you heard about 9 soldiers being killed in Afghanistan a couple
of weeks ago. As AP reported it, it was a "setback"; the "newly
established base" there was 'abandoned' by the Americans. That, of
course, was the extent of their coverage.
Steve Mraz of Stars and Stripes and Jeff Emanuel tell the rest of the
Emanuel, who went out and dug into the story sets the enemy force at 500
while AP sets it at 200. Frankly I'm much more inclined to believe
Emanuel than AP.
July 13, 2008 was the date, and Jeff Emanuel, an independent combat
reporter sets the scene:
Three days before the attack, 45 U.S. paratroopers from the 173rd
Airborne [Brigade Combat Team], accompanied by 25 Afghan soldiers, made
their way to Kunar province, a remote area in the northeastern
Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, and established the beginnings of a
small Combat Outpost (COP).
Their movement into the area was noticed, and their tiny numbers and
incomplete fortifications were quickly taken advantage of.
A combined force of up to 500 Taliban and al Qaeda fighters quickly
moved into the nearby village of Wanat and prepared for their assault by
Evicting unallied residents and according to an anonymous senior Afghan
ministry official, "us[ing] their houses to attack us."
Tribesmen in the town stayed behind "and helped the insurgents during
the fight," the provincial police chief, told The Associated Press.
Dug-in mortar firing positions were created, and with that indirect
fire, as well as heavy machine gun and RPG fire from fixed positions,
Taliban and al Qaeda fighters rushed the COP from three sides.
As Emanuel notes, the odds were set. 500 vs. 70. Even so, Emanuel
entitled his article, "An Alamo With a Different Ending." The 500
terrorists apparently didn't realize they were attacking US Army
The unit in question was 2nd Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 503rd
Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, led
By 1LT Jonathan Brostrom.
The first RPG and machine gun fire came at dawn, strategically striking
the forward operating base's mortar pit. The insurgents next sighted
their RPGs on the tow truck inside the combat outpost, taking it out.
That was around 4:30 a.m.
This was not a haphazard attack. The insurgents fought from several
positions. They aimed to overrun the new base. The U.S. soldiers knew it
and fought like hell. They knew their lives were on the line.
The next target was the FOB's observation post, where nine soldiers were
positioned on a tiny hill about 50 to 75 meters from the base. Of those
nine, five died, and at least three others -- Spc. Tyler Stafford among
Them -- were wounded.
When the attack began, Stafford grabbed his M-240 machine gun off a
north-facing sandbag wall and moved it to an east-facing sandbag wall.
Moments later, RPGs struck the north-facing wall, knocking Stafford out
of the fighting position and wounding another soldier.
Stafford thought he was on fire so he rolled around, regaining his
Nearby, Cpl. Gunnar Zwilling, who later died in the fight, had a stunned
look on his face.
Immediately, a grenade exploded by Stafford, blowing him down to a lower
terrace at the observation post and knocking his helmet off. Stafford
Put his helmet back on and noticed how badly he was bleeding.
Cpl. Matthew Phillips was close by, so Stafford called to him for help.
Phillips was preparing to throw a grenade and shot a look at Stafford
that said, "Give me a second. I gotta go kill these guys first."
This was only about 30 to 60 seconds into the attack.
Kneeling behind a sandbag wall, Phillips pulled the grenade pin, but
just after he threw it an RPG exploded at his position. The tail of the
RPG smacked Stafford's helmet. The dust cleared. Phillips was slumped
over, his chest on his knees and his hands by his side. Stafford called
out to his buddy three or four times, but Phillips never answered or
"When I saw Phillips die, I looked down and was bleeding pretty good,
that's probably the most scared I was at any point," Stafford said.
"Then I kinda had to calm myself down and be like, 'All right, I gotta
go try to do my job.' "
The soldier from Parker, Colo., loaded his 9 mm handgun, crawled up to
their fighting position, stuck the pistol over the sandbags and fired.
Stafford saw Zwilling's M-4 rifle nearby so he loaded it, put it on top
of the sandbag and fired. Another couple RPGs struck the sandbag wall
Stafford used as cover. Shrapnel pierced his hands.
Stafford low-crawled to another fighting position where Cpl. Jason
Bogar, Sgt. Matthew Gobble and Sgt. Ryan Pitts were located. Stafford
told Pitts that the insurgents were within grenade-tossing range. That
got Pitts' attention.
With blood running down his face, Pitts threw a grenade and then crawled
to the position from where Stafford had just come. Pitts started
chucking more grenades.
The firefight intensified. Bullets cut down tree limbs that fell on the
soldiers. RPGs constantly exploded.
Back at Stafford's position, so many bullets were coming in that the
soldiers could not poke their heads over their sandbag wall. Bogar stuck
An M-249 machine gun above the wall and squeezed off rounds to keep fire
the insurgents. In about five minutes, Bogar fired about 600 rounds,
causing the M-249 to seize up from heat.
At another spot on the observation post, Cpl. Jonathan Ayers laid down
continuous fire from an M-240 machine gun, despite drawing small-arms
and RPG fire from the enemy. Ayers kept firing until he was shot and
Cpl. Pruitt Rainey radioed the FOB with a casualty report, calling for
Of the nine soldiers at the observation post, Ayers and Phillips were
Dead Zwilling was unaccounted for, and three were wounded. Additionally,
Several of the soldiers' machine guns couldn't fire because of damage
needed more ammo.
Rainey, Bogar and another soldier jumped out of their fighting position
with the third soldier of the group launching a shoulder-fired missile.
All this happened within the first 20 minutes of the fight.
Platoon leader 1st Lt. Jonathan Brostrom and Cpl. Jason Hovater arrived
at the observation post to reinforce the soldiers. By that time, the
insurgents had breached the perimeter of the observation post. Gunfire
rang out, and Rainey shouted, "He's right behind the sandbag."
Brostrom could be heard shouting about the insurgent as well.
More gunfire and grenade explosions ensued. Back in the fighting
position, Gobble fired a few quick rounds. Gobble then looked to where
the soldiers, were fighting and told Stafford the soldiers were dead. Of
the nine soldiers who died in the battle, at least seven fell in
fighting at the observation post.
The insurgents then started chucking rocks at Gobble and Stafford's
fighting position, hoping that the soldiers might think the rocks were
grenades, causing them to jump from the safety of their fighting hole.
One rock hit a tree behind Stafford and landed directly between his
legs. He braced himself for an explosion. He then realized it was a
Stafford didn't have a weapon, and Gobble was low on ammo.
Gobble told Stafford they had to get back to the FOB. They didn't
realize that Pitts was still alive in another fighting position at the
observation post. Gobble and Stafford crawled out of their fighting
hole. Gobble looked again to where the soldiers had been fighting and
reconfirmed to Stafford that Brostrom, Rainey, Bogar and others were
Gobble and Stafford low-crawled and ran back to the FOB. Coming into the
FOB, Stafford was asked by a sergeant what was going on at the
observation post. Stafford told him all the soldiers there were dead.
Stafford lay against a wall, and his fellow soldiers put a tourniquet on
From the OP, Pitts got on the radio and told his comrades he was alone.
Volunteers were asked for to go to the OP.
SSG Jesse Queck sums up the reaction to the call: "When you ask for
volunteers to run across an open field to a reinforced OP that almost
everybody is injured at, and everybody volunteers, it feels good. There
were a lot of guys that made me proud, putting themselves and their
lives on the line so their buddies could have a chance."
At least three soldiers went to the OP to rescue Pitts, but they
suffered wounds after encountering RPG and small-arms fire, but Pitts
survived the battle.
At that time, air support arrived in the form of Apache helicopters,
A-10s and F-16s, performing bombing and strafing runs.
The whole FOB was covered in dust and smoke, looking like something out
of an old Western movie.
"I've never seen the enemy do anything like that," said Sgt. Jacob
Walker, who was medically evacuated off the FOB in one of the first
helicopters to arrive. "It's usually three RPGs, some sporadic fire and
then they're gone ... I don't where they got all those RPGs. That was
Two hours after the first shots were fired, Stafford made his way --
with help -- to the medevac helicopter that arrived.
"It was some of the bravest stuff I've ever seen in my life, and I will
never see it again because those guys," Stafford said, then paused.
"Normal humans wouldn't do that. You're not supposed to do that --
getting up and firing back when everything around you is popping and
whizzing and trees, branches coming down and sandbags exploding and RPGs
coming in over your, head ... It was a fistfight then, and those guys
held 'em off."
Stafford offered a guess as to why his fellow soldiers fought so hard.
"Just hardcoreness I guess," he said. "Just guys kicking ass,
basically., Just making sure that we look scary enough that you don't
want to come in and try to get us."
Jeff Emanuel summed the fight up very well:
"Perhaps the most important takeaway from that encounter, though, is the
one that the mainstream media couldn't be bothered to pay attention long
enough to learn: that, not for the first time, a contingent of American
soldiers that was outnumbered by up to a twenty-to-one ratio soundly and
completely repulsed a complex, pre-planned assault by those dedicated
enough to their cause to kill themselves in its pursuit.
That kind of heroism and against-all-odds success is and has been a
hallmark of America's fighting men and women, and it is one that is
worthy of all attention we can possibly give it.",
Of the original 45 paratroopers, 15 were wounded and The Sky Soldiers
Lost 9 killed in action in the attack. They were:
1LT Jonathan Brostrom of Aiea, Hawaii
SGT Israel Garcia of Long Beach, California
SPC Matthew Phillips of Jasper, Georgia
SPC Pruitt Rainey of Haw River, North Carolina
SPC Jonathan Ayers of Snellville, Georgia
SPC Jason Bogar of Seattle, Washington
SPC Sergio Abad of Morganfield, Kentucky
SPC Jason Hovater of Clinton, Tennessee
SPC Gunnar Zwilling of Florissant, Missouri
Of the 9 that were lost, Sgt Walker says:
"I just hope these guys' wives and their children understand how
courageous their husbands and dads were. They fought like warriors."
They fought like warriors.
Last week, there were 9 funerals in the United States. 9 warriors were
laid to rest. 9 warriors who had given their all for their country. All
proud members of a brotherhood that will carry on in their name. They
fought and died in what most would consider impossible circumstances,
and yet they succeeded. A nameless fight in a distant war which, until
you understand the facts, could be spun as a defeat. It wasn't. And it
is because of the pride, courage and fighting spirit of this small unit
that it was, in fact, a victory against overwhelming odds. And there's
little doubt, given that pride and given that fighting spirit, that
they'll be back to reestablish the base, this time with quite a few more
soldiers just like the ones who "kicked ass" the last time there.