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First hand military report(s) from the front.(27 posts)

First hand military report(s) from the front.sn69
Mar 26, 2003 10:25 AM
OK all,

I've waited until a couple key things happened before I offered my first posting from several friends who are neck deep in things over there right now. A lot of this might seem like a rehashing of media coverage. The difference is that this is confirmed by the military. Here's the basic summation, free from media goofiness (and scrubbed for anything that's classified or potentially sensitive):

1. The younger son is probably dead, killed on the first night. Good riddance, enjoy eternity in hell or wherever.
2. SH is grievously wounded. Dunno if his legs are attached right now. Let's hope his ding-ding got fragged too.
3. Repub. Guard divisions in farther localles appear to be operating independantly without the assistance of centralized command and control.
4. Baghdad RG units are still working with robust C2 and have set-up several centralized rings of defense.
5. There is a HIGH likelihood that bio/chem weaponry (in the form of artillery) will be used. Likewise, there's an intel-founded fear that Fedayeen insurgents might try to poison water supplies in the rear areas, inflicting mass civilian casualties.
6. Speaking of SH's Stazi/SAVAK/Browshirts/Hitler Youth, the Fedayeen numbers were grossly under-estimated. Dunno if that was by CIA or DIA. In any case, rumors of Fedayeen criminals forcibly conscripting men and boys from villages have now been confirmed. Coalition forces are said to have a hard-on to slick any Fedayeen they find. Any who "surrender" will probably be hog-tied until further notice.
7. Umm Qasr is NO KIDDING liberated. Humanitarian supplies are already flowing in.
8. The reports of a Shia uprising in Basrah are true. The reports of RG reprisals are true. There's a concerted feeling of exasperation on the part of coalition forces to get there and schwack the RG fast to save the Shia peasantry.
9. Aussie and Polish special forces have been surprise players and are wreaking havoc among various RG and Fedayeen units.
10. Up 'til yesterday, 3rd Infantry was using a regiment sized element of Apaches to clear a pathway. The Apaches have not only proven their worth, but many of their crews have been cited with "Congressional Medal type bravery."
11. The Lincoln Battle Group is about to start its ninth month of deployment, making them the sixth longest deployment in US Naval history (standard deployment is 6 months). The Connie BG was just told that they too have been extended indefinitely.
12. Ops in Afghanistan have continued unabated and the war is still hot there. Can't tell you too much more.

As I hear more that is suitable for public consumption, I'll pass it along.

thanks--much better than Debka or CNN nmgtx
Mar 26, 2003 10:33 AM
Questions about miliary intelligenceKristin
Mar 26, 2003 10:41 AM
Thanks for posting the info. I appreciate hearing an inside perspective. My father was a USN lifer. He retired an E8 after 22.5 years as a MM on nukes...god, I forget what class now...not trident.

I remember being suspended from the 7th grade after a teacher overheard me tell 2 classmates that my father was coming home that evening. (As you know, this does not necessarily coinside with when his ship ports.) So I learned to pretty much keep my mouth shut about everything. Granted, this was in 1983 during the cold war.

These days, its not uncommon to hear active military personel telling inside information to civillians. I don't mind. I like getting the real scoop. But is it allowed? You can't get arrested for what you posted? I just can't mesh it with my expereinces as a navy brat in the 80's.
The only things I'll share are those thatsn69
Mar 26, 2003 11:00 AM
are clear for public dissemination. IOW, only things that have, through various levels of filtration, also made it to the media. The difference is that I gather my information with a different perspective. Think of it this way, Kristin. An imbedded reporter is traveling with a group of Marines or soldiers. They take some incomming fire, and the next thing you know the reporter is filing a real-time dispatch that his group is locked in a pitched battle. Are they really? ...Or are they in a smaller skirmish?

What I intend to do is take that information and add it to that which I'm getting first hand. I will share NOTHING that is classified, although I don't have access to a lot of the real-time stuff going on there anyhow. What I do have, as I've explained before, is a summation of every story published on the topic on a daily basis. From that, it's easy to extrapolate a concise picture. There's no "inside info" here; rather, it lacks the "ultimate reality tv" quality that you're getting with the media.

Herein lies one of the many dual-edged swords of media integration as it's being done. The reporters, while probably all good people with noble intentions, are nonetheless laymen in a very dangerous environment. Some are experienced combat reporters, others are not. Nonetheless, all lack the insight of one in uniform, from the officers to the NCOs to the buck private. Thus, anything you get from them is filtered through their own paradigms and experience limitations...not to mention the information manipulation from the military.

Here's a compelling scenario. At the onset of ground hostilities, we lacked an open northern front due to the issues with Turkey. Behind the cover of air power, we thrust forth into Central Iraq with the entirety of the imbedded media on board to report on CNN, ITN, BBC, Al Jezeera and everyone else "where the Americans are." The Iraqi High Command watched this and concentrated their forces where the television showed the infidel pig-dogs to be. ...GOTCHA, CHUMP.... With the stern continence borne from superior planning and execution, we executed a flanking manuever, taking the two H-airfields and establishing a secured beachhead/northern front from which we can now execute the pincer movement we need to squeeze SH and his Republican Guard fascists like the zits that they are. Whammo. ...And the media played right into it.
Thanks. I definately appreciate the info.Kristin
Mar 26, 2003 12:17 PM
Especially since I'm not watching this on TV--I don't have a TV. I only check in with CBS news radio in the AM. So the info is great. Thanks for the explaination.
Thanks for the REAL updatePaulCL
Mar 26, 2003 10:41 AM
A few questions:

We hear about a RG unit bypassing our guys near Baghdad and heading south to Basra...1000 vehicles (tanks??) strong. Doesn't that leave these forces out in the open and fodder for our jets and Apache's??

In the case of Bio/Chem weapon usage, "W" has stated that they will be met with extreme measures?? Beyond what we are already doing, and beyond nuclear, what would be an example of an "extreme" response?

In your opinion and your guess, how long until our guys will 'liberat' Iraq?? I know the mop-up will take years, but how long 'till the regime falls??

Thanks again for your insights. paul
Thanks for the REAL updatesn69
Mar 26, 2003 11:07 AM
Dunno about the rumored RG unit. As with any media broadcast, you have to ask a few questions. First, is it something the reporter saw personally? If so, did he/she REALLY understand what was seen, or is there some degree of limited understanding in the context of maneuver warfare? Second, was the reported "fed" a piece of info from the military? If he/she was, you can rest assured that there's a purpose in it. Like it or not, the media is being used in a very savvy way...and I'm not sure they fully realize it.

Re: bio/chem response. I don't think that nukes will be used. I don't think DOD would allow it, and I honestly don't think the Prez would do it either. The world definitely wouldn't allow it...with good reason. So what, then, might define "extreme?" We still haven't seen a wholesale air offensive. Absent have been the A-10s, the Jaguars, the Harriers, the fA-18s and other dedicated fixed-wing strike aircraft. I think extreme in this case means that the RG units get slicked with a concerted air campaign using dumb bombs. Up til now, all we've really used have been smart munitions.

How long until it falls? I have NO IDEA. Honestly, you guess is as good as mine.

Thanks againPaulCL
Mar 26, 2003 11:15 AM
No, I never meant to imply we'd used nukes. I agree, the world wouldn't stand for it. The US population wouldn't stand for it.

As for the rumored RG units heading southward...that news has been on all networks since the early morning. The "shock and awe" just didn't seem that much of a big deal. I guess it's the precision of the strikes versus the shear number. I have been wondering where the massive air power was...of course, I'm limited to what CNN, etc shows me. If the moving RG units are true, maybe, hopefully, we sucking them in to an ambush to wipe them out.

Sitting in my nice, cushy office, sipping a cup of coffee, feeling totally safe and sound insulates me from the chaos and terror of war. We, as a population, just cannot have any idea of the intensity of the fighting. Thank God for our troops and their willingness to fight for us.

Thanks again. Paul
thanks; keep them coming, and be safe. nmDougSloan
Mar 26, 2003 10:42 AM
Thanks very much, Scott nmPdxMark
Mar 26, 2003 10:55 AM
Good stuff. Thanks. nmNo_sprint
Mar 26, 2003 11:07 AM
THanks Scott!!!Alpedhuez55
Mar 26, 2003 12:27 PM
THe information you have provided over the last few months has been great. I think I have learned more from your posts than I have from any TV network. Thanks again!!!

Mike Y.
Good man, thanks. nmSintesi
Mar 26, 2003 4:09 PM
\]Good man, thanks. nmBill B
Mar 26, 2003 4:35 PM
Thanks for your updates, please when you can post more and let them know that we are behind them 110% and look forward to them coming home safely.
Thats enoughlav25
Mar 27, 2003 8:25 AM
As a combat decorated Marine of the Gulf War, 1st LAI, I can tell you this info is already out there, there is no inside scoop to anybody, just concieved data. Trust me, even the smallest amount of "important" info is classified. This was a great compilation of the info already out there, that is unless I have a person wearing stars on thier collar on line here. So please save me the "I'm right in there" jive while you sit mainside slurping coffee at seps, it is insulting to the Rifle Co's and all of the others out there busting their tails putting thier lives on the line. Thank you for your service to our great country, however.
Thats enoughAlpedhuez55
Mar 27, 2003 9:44 AM
Yes, I knew about most of the information on his report. But it is nice to hear some confirmation of it. A lot of what is being reported is very suspect. It is nice to hear some information that is being talked about inside the services as well.

I am sure you know of the old saying "The first Casualty of War is the Truth." Scott just did us a service by confirming some of the stories out there such as the one about Saddam's leg. I had only heard that from a source quoting a reporter quoting an unnamed source. It is nice to hear that that story is at least being talked of in the US Military, even if Tommy Franks is not comming out and saying it.

There are a lot of conflicting stories and things you see once and never hear about again. Scott is confirming some information from inside the military. I think most of us welcome his reports and information. He is a very knowledgeable on world politics and events. I for one will look forward to his posts.

Mike Y.
Relax, Brother.sn69
Mar 27, 2003 2:26 PM
Hey Armor-head (toungue in cheek from a former Hellfire shooter),

Relax. I make no claims whatsoever that I'm there in it, much to my chagrine. I am, however, in real-time contact with numerous people who are, from four different carrier air wings and one TACRON ashore. Those in the CVWs are CSAR/SpecOps guys.

Given you background, you'll understand my methodology. I take the Early Bird synopsis and bounce it off of them. They, in turn, are briefed by the PAO REMFs who tell them what's suitable for publication/dissemination. And, in this case, I offered a couple things that were only alluded to amidst the "I'm taking fire with Marine Rifle Company XXX right now as I courageously bring you this live report...blah, blah, blah."

The thing to keep in mind is that the "imbedded media" is right there, specifically right where the unified commander wants them to be. They are being used for a purpose, but they are too daft and too self-absorbed to see it. As a tactic, I've got NO problem with that. It's working...quite well in fact.

Beyond that--and to state it yet again for all on the board to read--I'm NOT claiming to be there (I'm in New Orleans, which is a war zone of a far different variety). Ask me in two more months when I'm released from the indentured servitude hell of this diassociated staff tour nightmare, and I'll send you live pix from Baghdad. In the meantime, I will NEVER disrespect our people over there. Make no mistake, Mr. Armored Dune Buggy. I too have "been there, done that, got the t-shirt." And, FWIW, I've got plenty of logged combat time myself. If anything, however, I'd rather offer some useful insight amongst the white noise of the media's ultimate reality show ratings frenzy.

Relax, Brother.lav25
Mar 28, 2003 5:31 AM
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt? Logged plenty of combat time? What is your position? The Gulf War was 90-91, you stated you were there in 95, was it Bosnia? I guess you were busy. How about some details? And please save that special ops crap, I am so tired od the "special ops", these units have actual names. Armored dune buggy, I like that one. As far as the "being right in there" I was obviously not connecting you to the actual battle field, as if those Forces are checking e-mail and writing home, but dismissing your connection to intel. Semper Fi (and skeptical) Note: this is not a pi$$ing match, it is a freedom to to question. Remember how great the Patriot missles were in 90-91? Then the real stats came out in 94.
Relax, Brother.sn69
Mar 28, 2003 6:07 AM
OK, you want my stats. No Gulf War one...I've never made that claim. First trip over was for Provide Comfort aboard LKA-117. After flight school, two floats: CV-64,CVW-2,HS-2, OSW, followed by a stint as deputy director JSRC, JTF-SWA. The war you speak of never ended LAV, as I'm sure you know. It's been brewing low grade on a daily basis since 91. The strikes never ended and the bombs/bullets have been very real, the only major difference being that the armor and trees with guns stayed in Camp Doha.

As for the CSAR/SpecOps/SpecWar references, that's what the bulk of my friends do. Sorry if that ruffles feathers, but the HS community doesn't have mission tasking to support regular grunts--thats for the Corp's Frogs and the Army's Hawks. The Nav's HHs are SpecOps birds; specifically tasked per 3-50.2 to fly CSAR, NSWS, and over-land SpecOps missions...and that's what they've been doing, right beside AFSOC and TF160. Pertaining to specific units, that would be teams 1 and 3...I'm not giving specific platoon numbers here.

Specificity on connections to my buds in the field relate directly to their ops. I'm not giving you their squadrons or their locations. If you don't buy it, that's fine, but I've given you more than enough credible info for you to recognize the truth...assuming you can speak beyond light armor. That's not an insult either, simply recognition that you might not know a lot about CVW composition or operations. I don't claim to know a great deal about MEU-SOC crap either (and if you're wondering, Boxer was the lead of the ARG collocated with my CVBG on float).

Question away. That doesn't bother me. I'm no imposter, as you'll most likely realize. And, FWIW, my secretary's son is an AC&R Marine...with a gun, a hummer and a reefer repair kit who's right there in it. I know because she cries most of the day....
Oh, you're in the winglav25
Mar 28, 2003 6:29 AM
Please do not feel I am grilling you, I have have met 1 too many Force Recon / ANGLI co guys, you know what I mean? As far as MEU crap, that was our game. The situation looks, well, not as good as I would like. I count the Marine Bn's and can only feel we are understaffed. To my best guess, about 8500-10000 Marines in Iraq. Not enough. I am a little offensive because I feel for those guys.
Oh, you're in the wingsn69
Mar 28, 2003 6:41 AM
Trust me, man, I feel for them too. If you check some of my older posts, I've said the same words over and over. There's a lot of the strategy that doesn't make sense, at least not from my level. I cannot fathom why 4th Mech Inf left from Ft Hood yesterday and not a month ago. The Air Force and Corps have stop-lossed, but nobody else. Every SOF aviation unit is in use--NOBODY is home, not HS (what I used to be), HCS, AFSOC, RQS, or 160th SOAR. Afghanistan continues to rage at an unabated pace, and 3 & 5 SFGs and 10th Mountain can't do it alone. The PACFLT carriers are cycling between CVOA 4/5 in the Gulf and Karachi Station, but the LANTFLT carriers are busy in the Eastern Med doing other stuff. They can't sustain that forever, yet a great many USAF AEFs have yet to go over. Again, it goes on and on, and I don't pretend to understand a lot of it.

Incidetnally, one building over is 4th MarDiv, 4th MAW and 4th FSSG. They've been coming and going, but no mass mob. there either.

I keep trying to figure out what I'm missing....
While I appreciate your attemptMel Erickson
Mar 27, 2003 10:26 AM
I prefer to know a little bit more about the people informing me and their sources. Your attempt to compile the latest and best information and dissemitnate it to us is well intentioned but fails. Why should I believe you any more than the traditional media? I have no idea what your credentials are nor those of your sources. Maybe everything you tell is is gospel but how do we know? What do we use to judge the veracity of your reports other than your word? Please don't take this as an attack on your credibility or truthfulness or even your honest desire to provide useful information. I just take all these reports, yours, the traditional media, the military, etc., with a great big grain of salt and look for assurances of their truthfulness before making them part of my belief system.
While I appreciate your attemptlav25
Mar 27, 2003 1:00 PM
Perfectly said.
Fair Question, Mel.sn69
Mar 27, 2003 2:33 PM
In fact, if I was you, I'd be asking several questions:
1. Scott has stated his military profession before, but how do we know we're not being "Radically Ron'ed" so to speak?
2. Is he simply blowing smoke out his tush?
3. Is this some form of manipulation--the RBR Non-cycling Discussion Forum being a closely monitored media for publicity/propaganda?...
4. Should I even read his posts?

Again, I've read a great deal of conjecture here from people on both sides of the war issue and the political spectrum. Sometimes people are merely venting opinion/beliefs, and I rarely speak up in those cases. Other times it's entirely inappropriate for me to comment--something Eyebob and I have discussed; it has to do with regulatory limitations. In other cases, however, there are those who make assertations based upon something they read, heard or saw. That's where I add to the discussion. Note, for example, my synopsis on the depleted uranium issue. If you were to believe some of the reports out there, simply looking at this stuff will kill you and curse your children to have three eyes and five arms. Not true, and my knowledge is based on first hand experience.

That said, we come back to the first point, which you justifiably expressed. To believe this goofball or not? That's your choice, Mel. I'm not lying, but I cannot reasonably expect you to believe me based solely on that assertation. We don't know each other in any capacity other than within the ambiguous, anonymous confines of this forum. Take that for what's it is worth and believe what you want. I won't be offended.

My opinion isMel Erickson
Mar 27, 2003 3:24 PM
this is a very poor place to come for news. Not just this discussion board but any discussion board. For discussion about policy and politics this is as good a place as any but for news, well, I'll get mine someplace else. Basically I'm a pretty skeptical person. IMO most people would be better off carrying a heavy load of skeptisism. I mostly read this forum and do very little posting here (unlike the general discussion forum), mainly because I'm afraid I'd end up mired down and get absolutely no work done. I certainly don't begrudge you continuing to post reports. Please, report away. I just wanted to add some food for thought and a cautionary note.
I think that's more than reasonable,sn69
Mar 27, 2003 4:04 PM
but I would add that a great deal of the political discussion here is often motivated by some form of news.

That said, I was thinking last night how/what/when/if I should post. In the past, I've basically stuck to answering unasked questions arising from heated debate about some subject loosely based on "news." In this case, I received all the emails from my friends on the same day, all stating that this info was "fit for public consumption." I bounced it off of some of the PAO-nerds at the office and they agreed.

Nonetheless, I still wonder. Suffice it to say, I'll will try to limit my postings to that which is germane to a particular discussion thread or some gross inaccuracy that I personally saw on "Eye Witness War/Who Wants To Marry Saddam."

Your cautionary note is well-taken. Incidentally, I'm guessing that you enjoy your job since you don't want to be mired down here. ;-)~ This board, the other forums, the photo index and even the classifieds help me achieve inner peace when I'm mired down in a land of blackshoe idiocy (perhaps LAV25 can explain what a blackshoe is).

I'd actually rather be hereMel Erickson
Mar 28, 2003 7:39 AM
than doing my work but I'm being paid, and paid well, to do my job and I'd best do it well. I didn't mean to cause you to rethink posting news reports. Reading different takes is a good thing and can encourage further investigation.