Morgan was sent to Bravo Platoon, under Lieutenant Clint. We were both fired up to have been assigned to an outfit that was stacked from the top down with solid operators. We had a great mix of new blood with fresh perspectives and old hands with valuable experience. As we found our stride during workup, we developed an easy chemistry that made the natural competitiveness among us very productive. Boss was one of the training instructors during workup. In the second phase of workup, we put our individual skills into a team context.
This phase is all about the tactical basics. The leading petty officer works directly under the platoon chief and basically makes sure his will is carried out. I sensed they were sending a message that they wanted me to raise my game as a leader and invest myself in the team. As a petty officer first class, I had served as a leader of a small fire team before. Now that I was an LPO for an entire platoon, things were getting serious. As a leader, you either earn your place and keep your team aware of the connection between your capabilities and your privileges or things slide until you find yourself in a sorry place where you can neither lead nor trust your men.
I wondered sometimes if I was up to it. Friends are friends but business is business. I sensed the change in my status the first time I walked into the platoon hut and noticed how the boys quickly hushed up. Lips tight, eyes on the walls, they no longer allowed me to be privy to what made their world go round. My promotion took me out of their community and turned me into management. The men in Alfa were some of the best I have ever known. I never had to get onto them or tell them what to do. When I got orders of instructions from our chief, I passed them along, and by the end of the day they made me look good.
That in turn made the chief look good, which made the officers look good, too. The synergy of Alfa Platoon was amazing. No matter how bad things got, we all stuck together. Everybody was a packhorse. Even our new guys were squared away, keeping their ears open and their mouths shut.
They kept their problems to themselves and their minds on their jobs. Instructors often drew on past operations during training. If you can learn from past mistakes, your future will be a little less painful. A willingness to learn from the past is part of who we are—and part of the reason we can pull off some of the impossible missions that every now and again make it into the spotlight. I wanted to be sure that if I ever got in that position again, everything would end differently. Their confidence in me was energizing.
As we prepared to begin the final stage of training, I wanted nothing more than to reward them for their faith. When word came down that we were headed for Anbar Province, the boys were fired up. We had been following the work of the teams that had preceded us over there.
Upstairs at the team house, after-action reports had been coming in daily. Ramadi was hot. Team 3 was stacking up the shit bags as though they were cordwood. Since late , Anbar had been the bloodiest part of Iraq. Located about sixty-eight miles west of Baghdad, the city of about five hundred thousand people, almost all of them Sunnis, had been a stronghold of support for Saddam Hussein. He cut deals with the tribal sheikhs to secure his control. After U. In , it was a terrorist pipeline. They came in the name of Arab brotherhood to fight the American infidels.
The fighting in Ramadi was intense as far back as Street by street, block by block, our Army and Marines fought until their trigger fingers bled. After Al Qaeda declared Ramadi the capital of the worldwide Islamist caliphate in , our forces twisted down the vise, relentlessly increasing the pressure on the enemy. But in spite of those heroic efforts, the enemy kept coming. The explosions, heavy gunfire, and terrible human casualties never seemed to let up. The murderers claimed the city as their own, an ongoing insult and a mounting threat to the stability of the region.
Anbar Province was hell on earth. Led by an aggressive, battle-hardened troop commander, Lieutenant Commander Willis, they were doing great work both in and above the streets. Working from rooftop overwatch positions, their snipers were scoring heavily. One of their best, Chris Kyle, was racking up a confirmed-kill record that surpassed that of every sniper the United States had ever sent to war.
By the time he was done, it would reach an official count of , and I know it was far higher.
I know Chris well, because we started our careers in the teams together. He has saved a hell of a lot of American lives in combat, too, hanging himself way out there under fire, taking the fight to a savage enemy.
Chris Kyle is a hell of a warfighter. The last phase of workup brought together all our supporting elements as a fully manned squadron, readying our entire unit to deploy into Iraq. Our medical teams, explosive ordnance disposal EOD technicians, intelligence crews—everyone—learned to function together as we would in Iraq. For months, our officers and senior enlisted had been getting briefed on unconventional modes of warfare such as counterinsurgency COIN and foreign internal defense FID , in which U.
This was the strategy our head shed was driving for our deployment, working to tie in our efforts with all the forces working our area of operations and across the region. This mode of war, dusted off and reengineered after years of disuse since Vietnam, was all about understanding the culture, developing a viable government and security force, taking care of the local people, and giving them the confidence to fight for themselves.
You can kill bad guys all day long, but they will always find someone else to step up, even their kids. When you really break it down, the locals are the key to everything. Troop 1 drew Ramadi.
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Locally, in Ramadi, our operations would be conducted under a U. Overseas, we would fight in the name of God and country. And never far from my mind was something else: I would do it in the names of Mikey, Danny, Axe, and everyone on the rescue op who lost their lives on June 28, Sometimes, as our training wound down, thoughts of that mountain would back up on me. Sometimes the memory of that pain gave way to numbness. I was still learning to keep those memories in a box.
When things slowed down, the rage and feelings of futility would sometimes well up in the face of the reality that there was nothing I could have done. I was proud that in their last minutes they still did all they could to stay in the fight. But what could anyone say about me? I was the doc and it was my job to see to their wounds. I knew there was nothing I could do while bullets were flying, just send bullets back the other way.
But my thoughts would circle this track as I wandered among the big steel MILVAN containers that held our gear ready for quick loading and shipment overseas. And I tried. Morgan was the one person in the world who could always reach me. One day it came to a head. Morgan went to Lieutenant Commander Thomas and told him that he and I had talked and agreed that something needed to be done. We talked about the workup, about Iraq, about what Team 3 was doing, and reviewed our plan for taking their place.
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Soon enough someone broached my own state of readiness. Long story short, it was agreed that I needed a break. Physically and emotionally, I was basically spent. They took me off-line and sent me home for a while. They told me I could reengage when I got back, and the timetable would be up to me. As Team 5 finished running through its paces, I returned to Texas.
I looked to the Lord and my family for strength. As I took sanctuary in the East Texas piney woods, the story of what I went through in Afghanistan was beginning to get out. I never thought that news of such a sensitive and classified operation would leak out. But the families of my lost teammates were understandably pushing for it to be told. The Navy seemed unmoved until the media started doing its thing. When stories, many of them inaccurate, began to surface, my command decided the NSW community needed to get out in front of it. They decided I should write a book about the mission.
Over several weeks during my downtime, I went to Massachusetts and sat down with a writer and pulled together my part of the story. When I was done, I sent the manuscript to the Navy so they could make sure no classified information was published. The process was cathartic—painful, but necessary. But we also knew how to get something done when the chain of command spoke.
So I put my heart into it, mostly because, more than anything else, I wanted to let people know what, and who, America had lost. Back in Coronado, the head shed did a good job of keeping my absence inconspicuous. Workup was often a circus anyway, with everybody moving around all the time, missing various training blocks when opportunities for more important work came along. When my medical appointments had pulled me away from the team, or when I was in Massachusetts, people were too busy to notice.
Back in Texas, I found time to see old friends. I walked in pastures and woodlands, and horsed around with my most loyal friend in the world, a yellow Labrador retriever who had been given to me as a puppy after I came home. She was a service dog, selected for her calmness and gentleness, traits that settled and grounded me. As we sometimes say in the teams, if you have a bad day in the pool, get back in the pool. After calming my nerves, all I wanted was to be around team guys.
I returned to the Silver Strand centered and refreshed. Alfa and Bravo Platoons were in the final stages of workup. The last evolution the higher headquarters had in store for us before we went overseas took place at a base outside San Diego.
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We basically put ourselves into deployment mode, and then jumped into a no-joke combat simulation that lasted for a while. In this dry run for taking on Iraq, we worked through our concept of operations, the whole counterinsurgency scenario. It was two tough weeks, but a great training exercise, with all the bells and whistles. More than anything else, it was good to have everyone together, working on the same objective.
Our new guys showed some initiative right off the bat. They bought one of those plastic backyard kiddie swimming pools, set it up on the training range, and invited some women from a supporting Army unit over for a makeshift pool party right there in the California desert. Thinking outside the box—Bravo Zulu, guys. As the LPO in Alfa Platoon E-6 pay grade , I did more than I ever did as a regular shooter, running and gunning with the rest of the E-5s second-class petty officers in the train.
We were ordered to hit a series of houses, clearing them of bad guys, rounding up detainees, and identifying people to interrogate. One of the buildings we entered was a wooden barn.
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When we stacked up on the door, breached it, and crashed inside, we discovered a scene of carnage, the smell of blood as thick as a mist. As we entered the barn, my brain did a skip-step, then kicked into gear. Elliott Miller, a Bravo Platoon medic, was spot-on as he went around with me, triaging the wounded. What do we have over there? Elliott and I were all over it. I heard our platoon OIC call in the quick reaction force and request an extract.
In consultation with a veterinarian, they had anesthetized the animals, then inflicted wounds for us to treat. It was the most realistic mass-casualty simulation we had ever seen. We practiced a variety of procedures to deal with trauma, arterial bleeding, abdominal wounds, bone fractures, and penetrating or blunt-force internal injuries. And before you judge it, know that exercises like this, though controversial, have saved thousands of American lives by giving our medics realistic live-tissue training. They are an absolute must for any combat unit heading off to war. I had just come out of a surgery myself when we went through this evolution.
My right hand was still in a cast. The plaster was soaked through with blood and mud. Back at the team house, I went to Medical to see about getting some new plaster. The facility was a busy place when a team was doing a workup. Looking around for the officer on watch, I leaned into an exam room and saw some Navy physicians huddled around a guy. He was a blond-haired kid, muscular and stocky. They were tending to one of his knees. Poor dude was really white-knuckling as the docs worked on his left knee, which had been ripped up pretty good.
I considered this as the docs probed his wound. When one of them moved out of the way, I wedged myself farther into the room. He winced as the docs worked on him. The expression on his face was worth a thousand words. According to a military email, the software may have been able to do more than that. Seasoned legal observers say the attempt to detect leaks of nonclassified material — a relatively minor civil offense — may upend the Gallagher court-martial, a major criminal case that has the attention of top officials in Washington. There is an inherent conflict of interest. The defense lawyers said in court filings that the software appeared to have been deployed without the proper search warrant, and may have violated constitutional protections against unwarranted searches and seizures.
Patrick Korody, a former Navy prosecutor who has worked with Commander Czaplak, said he doubted that the commander would have acted without proper clearance, but he still questioned the wisdom of the move to use the tracking software. Korody said that at the very least, questions over the attempted snooping could delay both of the SEAL cases for months. Sending the software to Mr. Prine, the Navy Times reporter, was also a questionable move, according to Susan McGregor, who teaches digital security and ethics at the Columbia University School of Journalism.
The revelations about the tracking software further complicate what was already shaping up as a difficult case for prosecutors. Prosecutors have also accused Chief Gallagher of trying to intimidate witnesses in the case. He denies those accusations as well. Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California, announced at a news conference last week that he had video footage that he said would clear Chief Gallagher, but he did not show the footage to reporters.
Hunter said he planned to ask President Trump to pardon the chief if he is convicted. Complexe Desjardins. Centre Laval. Saint Sauveur. Non disponible. Centre Rockland. Prix :. Auteur :. Titre :. Date de parution :. Collection :. Sujet :. ISBN :. No de produit :. Suivi de commande. Mon compte.