Discussion in 'VMBB General Discussion' started by rooter, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. rooter

    rooter *VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*

    Jan 31, 2001
    Marty Robbins old hometown, Glendale Arizona--a su
    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
    Lee Stuart

    "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"
    -Author Unknown

    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
    and they
    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.

    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
    Caveats: NONE
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