Letter Re: U.S. Recon Team Assaults Taliban Position Under Fire

James,

Good afternoon from somewhere near Fortress Bragg. Regarding the video you posted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq1wqs1oY8M of the U.S. recon element combat engagement, I viewed the video and come away a bit disheartened.

I was especially troubled to see the soldiers not responding to the patrol leader, most using very poor fire and maneuver, IMT (individual movement techniques), and generally a mundane approach to combat. While there is some “cool gear”, there is nothing exceptional in the kit that I was able to spot.

What the video tells me, as a regular army officer of 27 years of service (and as a believer in the Redoubt principles), is that our regular military forces (National Guard in the case of the video) has lost a tremendous amount of tactical proficiency and competency. I speak with some experience (171 combat patrols in contact), and this video serves to highlight serious problems that are being candidly discussed by the senior leaders within the Army.

From a force on force perspective, I for one would not be worried about the guys (or the guys represented) in the video. As a leader, I am greatly worried though, as the video clearly shows an unwillingness to achieve local overmatch, local fire superiority, nor tactical dominance.

The comments posted on the youtube page portray this as an awesome react to contact, driving an enemy out of position. In reality, the call for indirect fire early in the video and the resultant fire is most likely why the enemy left the position hastily. Certainly it was not the overwhelming rush into the structures, even with the leader trying to “convince” several soldiers to carry out his orders.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it reflects a growing awareness in the military that what we are doing over there is not worth a bullet. Give a soldier a cause, and he will generally kick some a** every time; but we have lost faith in our elected leaders and are tired of seeing our brothers dies for a lost cause.

There was cool gear, and IDF doesn’t always carry the day, unfortunately.

GJS

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