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01 December 2010


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patrick lang


It is so easy to be just one of the men with no better standards. You must be more than that. You must be the sacrificial leader who will lead them to right conduct. Our vocation is in violence and destruction in service of the state and for that reason you must be an educated person so that you know where the boundaries lie. pl


Watched Restrepo on TV last night.

I was not impressed by the lack of leadership on too many levels even to mention.

The only way that place was viable would be with OP's on the hills and enough artillery at Restrepo to cover them.


I had 3 commands in my army career. I never criticized my predecessor. Kearney repeatedly makes disparaging comments about Capt. McKnight in front of his men and the Shura. That's an indication that he is thinks about showing how much more effective HE is compared to McKnight. Unethical and makes the troops view him as petty. Who knows what the Shura thinks?

Patrick Lang


Yes. Not my first rodeo either and I was immediately struck by the lack of professionalism in the remarks. My wife, a fine judge of things military, looked ill at the thought. The whole unit reeked of greenness, although they must have had more experience than was showing. The ourpost,the company Hq., all of these installations looked like they had been built by boy scouts on a weekend. Instead of letting these guys sit around tattooing each other and playing grab-ass all day why didn't this CO keep them working improving the position? One more thing - did I understand the cow incident to have involved a couple of these Afghans walking into the position from ABOVE on the hill? pl


I've watched this documentary twice and was disturbed and embarrassed by several things.

1) A Company Commander who makes no attempt to learn about or study his AO/Enemy prior to touchdown in the AO. He just assumes he's going to walk-in "kill the enemy" and suddenly end the fire fights.
2) Awful interactions at the Shura with the local elders. Act like an officer, stop swearing, know the personalities and power brokers in the village, and attack that network.

In general the whole company seems over matched, especially the senior leadership. I'm glad, Col Lang wrote his thoughts and concurs.

And as for the cow incident, pay for it, there are FOO Funds and many other sources of money a the Company level to handle incidents like that.

Speculation: It's unlikely a cow entangles itself in C-Wire and needs to be shot and killed. It's much more likely a group of bored troops wants to eat some fresh cow and are bored out on post.. look at the SFCs eyes, reaction to the incident, and how he handles calling it in, and judge for yourself.

I'm a former Marine Captain, with plenty of fighting in two Helmand, Afghan tours, one which was training Afghans and a lot of my opinion is based upon my own experiences.


In Junger's book about the same subject he details the soldiers shooing the cow into the concertina wire, killing and barbequing it.

War, Junger, pp. 199-202


I'd hesitate to judge these soldiers so quickly based on edited film. I'm not saying that some of these things aren't accurate, nor am I making excuses for the apparent leadership deficit. I just know that sometimes you have to see the whole picture to understand the thought process a Commander goes through. It is not the critic who counts......

//Marine Maj sends



Rubbish I have a lot of combat service and I know trash when I see it. pl


This post is a blast from the past.

After reading COL Hackworth's "Steel My Soldier's Hearts", it sounds like Restrepo was devolving into the situation COL Hackworth wandered into. The Army's policy of taking in anyone who could fog a mirror by breathing it on it is definitely showing its failings by this point.

I'm not officer trained, but it seems like the mission given to B Co. would have been more appropriate for a battalion sized unit. Doing more with less only works up to a point.

As far as on the soldier level, it seemed like the NCOs were too chummy with the enlisted. I don't remember seeing anyone getting dropped in the front leaning rest, on a punishment detail, or anything like that. Instead it seemed like mugging for the camera was the order of the day.

I laid 15KM of triple strand concertina shortly after arriving at FOB Salerno. Why the hell they weren't busy building gun emplacements and bunkers I'll never know.

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