RANGER AGAINST WAR: SSG Robert Miller's Medal of Honor, Pt. 1 <

Sunday, December 12, 2010

SSG Robert Miller's Medal of Honor, Pt. 1


This is an analysis of Staff Sergeant Robert Miller's Medal of Honor action 1.25.08.
It is difficult to do a tactical analysis without access to After Action Reports and Operation Orders, but since these were not available the online "official narrative" was utilized.


"Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, U.S. Army, heroically distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of the enemy of the U.S. while serving as the Weapons Sergeant, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3312, Special Operations Task Force–33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force–Afghanistan, Forward Operating Base Naray, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"During the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 25, 2008, ODA 3312 conducted a combat reconnaissance patrol to Gowardesh, Afghanistan, to confirm or deny enemy activity and/or insurgents presence in the vicinity of Chen Khar in order to clear the valley of insurgent safe havens. ..."

The stated mission was to confirm or deny enemy activity. The mission would lead to clearing the valley of insurgent (= U.S. enemy) safe havens.

Was there an implied mission to close with the enemy, or was the goal merely to make contact to confirm their presence? Surely a 24-man patrol could not be expected to clear or hold a well-known strong point. Making contact can lead to several results, but meeting engagements such as this are especially sensitive as the enemy situation is unknown.
A prudent Commander would not assault an unknown number of dug-in enemy who hold the high ground without properly defining the situation.

As the combined ODA and ANA convoy neared its objective, ODA 3312 was forced to halt twice to dismount and explode insurgent-emplaced boulders along its route. Staff Sgt. Miller and other members of ODA 3312 recognized this tactict as a potential precursor to an insurgent ambush and immediately heightened security. Recognizing the historical enemy tactic used to canalize and ambush Coalition forces, the detachment dismounted an overwatch element.

This is prudent, especially if the vehicular firepower was utilized as an overwatch feature. This would cover movement by firepower.


"Staff Sgt. Miller led the overwatch elements as the threat of imminent danger increased. The rocky, snow-packed terrain, freezing temperatures and a fierce wind chill further exacerbated the ODA’s movement to the objective. The ODA’s only Pashto speaker, Staff Sgt. Miller took charge of the dismounted element and assembled partnered ANA forces to ensure they could move under cover."

Why was there no interpreter assigned to this mission? In addition, why were the partnered units not familiar with one another? Why was the lone soldier sent with the ANAs? Doesn't modern Special Forces maintain buddy teams? What Commander would send a soldier to an unknown unit without accompaniment by even a single friendly? Why would you send a Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) without a cover?


"Once ODA 3312 arrived at the target compound, Staff Sgt. Miller led the ANA and established security around the ODA’s ground mobility vehicles. After security was established, the team confirmed through the employment of an unmanned aerial vehicle that 15 to 20 insurgents were congregating and occupying prepared fighting positions in the targeted compound.

"Maintaining his situational awareness, Staff Sgt. Miller immediately jumped into his vehicle’s turret and engaged the enemy with its mounted MK19 40mm automatic grenade launcher."


Key point: They had a drone above to provide accurate combat intelligence of enemy disposition, to include locations and strengths.
Since the team was vehicular-mounted it is safe to assume that they had mobility and firepower, to include beaucoup ammunition to fight either attacking or defending. They were probably carrying at least two basic loads as they were expecting contact. This would have been more than sufficient as they had air and artillery support.

"As a result of his superior tactical skills, he positively marked the enemy while simultaneously describing the area to the JTAC. Without his expert marksmanship and accurate description of the area, the JTAC would not have been able to provide accurate grid locations for close air support."

Where were the reports from the drone? Why were the close air support elements not able to spot the enemy locations? This was not a one-man show -- there were JTAC and air assets operating, as they should.


"As noted by the team’s JTAC, Staff Sgt. Miller’s involvement in the employment of CAS was largely responsible for the accuracy of four 30mm strafe runs and the emplacement of three precision-guided GBU38 munitions on the objective. As a result of his efforts, two A-10 Warthogs and two F-15 Strike Eagles dealt lethal effects onto numerous enemy positions and disrupted their ability to maneuver."

Accepting this assertion, why do we even have a team JTAC? These assets are not blind and the target area was clear and visible.

Without even seeing the enemy it would be sufficient and desirable to put suppressive fire on the heights above the engaged team. This is what artillery support does.
This scenario required overwhelming fire support in order to offer a reasonable expectation of mission completion. Why was there no Forward Observer/Artillery Liaison Officer assigned from the supporting artillery units -- policy in most ground combat scenarios. How accurate does a cluster bomb run have to be, anyway? If friendlies are pinned in the valleys, the cluster units go on the hillsides.

"As Staff Sgt. Miller continued to neutralize numerous insurgent positions, his MK19 sustained a catastrophic malfunction, which eliminated it for the duration of the battle. Without hesitation, Staff Sgt. Miller quickly transitioned from the MK19 to an M240B machine gun mounted on the rear of his vehicle and continued to effectively engage the enemy."

Why would the vehicle with the MK 19 be pulled into a defilade defensive position to be serviced, later to be brought back into operation? Any weapon can be cleared, and surely a defective gun was not carried on the mission; if so, this was inattention to detail.
The vehicle and gunner were not pinned down or receiving effective enemy fire at this point, as manning the vehicular-mounted guns would not have been possible. That is the difference between effective and ineffective fire.

"Understanding the peril of the battle and the composition of his force, Staff Sgt. Miller moved from his firing position and began emplacing ANA soldiers in positions to provide overwatch, detect movement from the high ground, observe the rear of the patrol and provide security to the flank of the ground assault. His actions provided security for his team and enabled them to maintain their focus on enemy targets. Once ample security was established, Staff Sgt. Miller re-engaged the enemy."

What was the rest of the team doing during this action?


"Upon completion of the initial contact and CAS, the ODA commander directed a dismounted patrol to conduct battle damage assessment and a post-CAS strike assessment of the destroyed insurgent positions. Sensing the need to provide the ANA additional assistance, the ODA commander charged Staff Sgt. Miller with the responsibility to lead the partnered ANA force in an advisory role.

"With the proficiency of an already-proven combat leader, Staff Sgt. Miller briefed the ANA platoon leadership on the scheme of maneuver onto the objective in their native Pashto language. Staff Sgt. Miller established rapport and instilled confidence in the ANA platoon leadership and its soldiers despite being partnered with the ANA platoon only 30 minutes prior to the mission."


At this point the entire friendly force still has the freedom of maneuver, has not decisively engaged and maintains initiative, but the main enemy fighting positions had not yet been approached or engaged. At this point it is still a fight to establish and maintain contact.



NEXT: Partnering with unknowns

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32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great arm chair quartertrbacking from home, put simply is you where not there and you should never doubt it since you didn't see or live it. SSG Miller gave the ultimate sacrifice! don't forget that, he did it so you can sit here and have the opportunity to scrutinize the brave actions of himself, ODA 3312 and the JTAC. If you're so tactically sound and know everything, why don't you go there yourself and clear the area. God Bless our troops and protect them in battle.

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 12:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anonymous,
And exactly what did America gain by this ultimate sacrifice?
This action should be a classic lesson on what not to do in a small unit action.
What 2LT would send out a unit that does not have mutual , or rapid reinforcements on station/call? Is this the best planning and execution that SOF can field?
This action, and the US troops were defeated BEFORE the first round went downrange.
Heroism can't replace solid planning
Yes, i am arm chairing it-but that's what the Army trained me to do.
May God bless you as well as the troops.
Thanks for your comments.
jim

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 12:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

To all readers,
I just reviewed the FOX NEWS video on this action, and must add a few points, just to reiterate my analysis.
- This team was not decisively engaged , and was free to break contact at any point in the action. They had GMV that were free to retrograde.
_ This team was just plain lucky that the engaged en forces DID NOT utilize explosives, and/or secondary attacks. In many ways the enemy defensive positions were not professionally implaced and deployed, as one would expect.
-This WAS NOT AN AMBUSH.
Initially this was a classic meeting engagement with both sides EXPECTING contact. After the first exchange and subsequent US manuvering the friendlies had established the presence and intent of the enemy, AND THEN PRESSED THE ENGAGEMENT. This was not a surprise , and it's hard to militarily classify this as an ambush.
-There was no military reason to press the attack against dug in forces far outnumbering the attackers. This hasty attack was doomed to fail before it kicked off.
-If this team fell back there were no friendly units that would've suffered from this retro movement.
- What was to be gained by assault? Isn't this why God made helicopters? This is called by-passing and assaulting the enemy in the rear. Isn't this why the SF has organic air assets? Isn't this called airmobility?

None of these points negates SSG Millers bravery.
jim

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 1:14:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

One frustrating thing about this engagement, jim, is that so far as I can tell the actual effects on target were placed by the CAS. I thought that one "benefit" of all these Little Wars was that we were going to move away from the "back off and call for fire" tactics that the U.S. infantry gets beat up for.

Another is that here we go again, making contact, and charging ahead only to find two or three times the number of G's waiting for us? WTF did we spend 12 years in Vietnam for? De we learn nothing from those ambushes along Route 1 between Hue' and Quang Tri?

And the third is that thirty-some years after learning the hard way that the fucking roads, trails and paddy dikes are always mined and are the prime spot for the enemy to whack us here comes the USSF diddy-bopping down the bunny trail. Hell, we learned that damn lesson in Korea, where we were road- and valley-bound while the Chicoms moved through the hills and cut us to pieces. Whatever happened to the idea of the SF as the "ultimate guerilla"? Why the hell weren't they with Afghans who knew these hills and could lead them around and above the muj? Could it be that the SF couldn't recruit a Mike Force from these hills because the locals are all fighting for the muj?

CRS Syndrome. Bites you in the ass every time.

And I know I'm just feeding the goddam troll, but...Anonymous, since jim is too polite to say it, before you run your mouth, please note that the man DID go there and he DID clear that area, against some people who were a damn sight better trained than the muj that shot up the patrol in January 2008. Jim spent his time doing this against the First Team, the fucking VC and NVA who had been fighting since 1944.

And as far as "armchair quarterbacking", analyzing tactical outcomes and AARs is what soldiers do, and its how we learn to fight smarter and better. If you want to criticize his tactical analysis, fine, but unless you have something more intelligent to contribute that "neener neener God Bless Our Troops", how about you have a nice hot cup of shut the fuck up?

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 1:34:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I should also note that another thing we've obviously forgotten from the RVN is that those "BDAs" were always a great help to the bad guys, who would take the time to booby-trap the place or set up ambushes. The team had an RPV - why not send that?

The way I see this, jim, the team does fine (other than the whole goofy "let's drive down the road and find the muj" thing) until the ODA commander divides his unit and sends the most vulnerable part - the ANA and a lone GI - into the kill zone. That's where the tactical decisionmaking and the poor route selection bite them in the ass. Even as a dumb privvit I knew better than to approach a known enemy position from a road going uphill. WTF, over?

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 1:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
I hope you read my addendum before you commented. These comments are salient.
It's always the same old song, but i decided to write these next several essays BECAUSE SOMEBODY must kick this dog.
This entire scenario defies logic and military necessity.
As for anon- i am not polite, and nothing would , or could change his attitude. Facts are not as important as emotions to the new warrior wannabees.
This action illustrates the folly of the concept of warriorhood. A solid 2LT would've known not to press this attack.
Soldiering is like politikking- it's the art of the possible.
I mourn SSG Miller.
jim

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 1:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Not just a green L.T.; in our patrolling classes at SFQC we were taught that when in contact or suspecting contact

1. Never use the obvious avenue of approach, and

2. Never send a maneuver element into terrain where it cannot be overwatched/supported by direct fires.

And a hell of a lot of us were E4s and below (this was back in the late Seventies/early Eighties when the SF was hard up for bodies).

It sucks when a good troop dies. It sucks worse when a good troop dies because one of his highers fucks up

Monday, December 13, 2010 at 11:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief,
Let me add a #3.
The attack is always weighted with the best available, and is always accompanied by the Commander.
This was doctrine for all our wars.
Remember the last thing said by the CDR before kickoff is-I'LL SEE YOU ON THE OBJECTIVE.!
jim

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 11:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous sheerahkahn said...

"-There was no military reason to press the attack against dug in forces far outnumbering the attackers. This hasty attack was doomed to fail before it kicked off."

Could see that right off the bat, Ranger.
A former Force Recon told me about patrols in Vietnam that successful recon mission was where the team id a area of interest, and then bugged out...and the key phrase he used was..."and no one ever knew we were there."

And the funny thing is that I've heard that from SEALS as well.

A recon mission is considered successful if the enemy doesn't know you were ever there.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 3:46:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Sheer,
This is a strange situation , since it's billed as a combat recon, which differs from a recon.
In recon you avoid fights and are armed to reflect this fact. Ie- you travel lite and freeze at nite.The key tactic is snoop and poop and avoid or break contact. In todays Army the photo recon/predators obviously gather most of this info, as they must've in this action.
So what was the patrol expected to accomplish? I can't find anything substantial on this topic. The stuff i read is mumbly type stuff.
Usually combat recon is to make contact and then superior forces are brought to bear to defeat, destroy,or disorganize or even delay an enemy attack.
The situation is always developed after contact, but this group lacked that potential.
My key observation is that this combat element just wasn't able to do anything more than get into more trouble than they could manage or handle.
I cannot find any military logic that can justify this action.
Thanks for commenting.
jim

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 4:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous William Ranger Hazen said...

Thanks for kicking this dog Jim...I sure hope the tactics employed by this ODA are not indicative of how bad it is for Joe Snuffy on the ground. Tactical Arrogance or some butterbar Yahoo who does not know how to write a press release? SSG Miller deserves better either way.

Happy Holidays Ranger Buddies!

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 10:35:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen,
This was all done WAY ABOVE the o1/o2 pay grade.
My main cmt is-why do ODA Leaders/and/or Seal Team leaders agree to such dubious missions?
I actually believe that you are correct that it's caused by arrogance and fueled by over aggressive selection/training and attitude that is detached from realistic cobat movement/principles..
That's my take.
Nice to hear from you.
jim

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 10:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Happy Holidays, Ranger Hazen :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 10:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FDC Chief, unfortunately got one thing to say, GTH! or Go Fuckyourself, either would be blessed. do some research on the area, note that the only avenue of approach is from the direction that they cam in on, unless your brave enough to cross the konar river which is ridiculously deep and with tempatures just above freezing and currents that are undoubtedly too strong to handle. the high ground is owned by a "so called Ally" pakistan, they were not allowed to travel up and around,additionally if you research that area there are no ways to walk around it! the areas are steeper then the statue of liberty!they had to get in to do the BDA it was their job, directed by highers. 2nd of all, the Team Leader was a Captain, not a 2LT and based on the situation he made the best decision possible, " a decision instead of no decision" Third, air mobility isn't always possible, especially in the areas like this, Helo air is limited, additionally the enemy there is accurate at shooting helos down, hell we taught them!, this area wasn't that far from where the ORF to retrieve operation red wing was and they were shot down fast! Driving is the only way in and then on foot!. Fourth these men were doing what was directed and had to do. Unfortunately they lost SSG Miller and were saved by his actions. And for those that question the Close Air Support, trying to conduct Close Air Support Strikes within Danger Close at night is one of the hardest weapons of difficulty to employ, especially while in direct contact with the enemy. So research the info and have your own brew of STFU. Regardless these men still did their jobs and lost one brave man in the process. Rangeragainstwar, my apologizes for the comments against you, unfortunately let my feelings type out . Under other circumstances that you know. "OPSEC" those men did what their country asked them to do. Eliminate the enemy. There are so many other variables out there that were involved but it is what it is. God bless and thank you for the good debate hopefully I was able to contribute a bit to the disscussion. thank you

Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 9:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon 18 dec 0920,
Everyone is welcome to the fray , but your conduct is garbage. Your viewpoint is welcome , but your presentation is much too personal and attacking.
I will not delete this reply since it's a needed counterpoint, and we do try to maintain balance.If you have concrete data , then fire away. NO PERSONAL ATTACKS.
WHEN you atk CHIEF, YOU ARE ATTACKING ME ALSO, Since CHIEF AND MYSELF are in agreement on most topics. I have absolute faith in Chiefs observations and grasp of tactics.
The 2LT cmt was mine, and i know the force structure of SF has no 2LT's. Unfortunately, it seems.
You don't address my point that this team NEVER had the initiative and did not controll the pace of the fight, at any point in the action. The same can be said for an entire phony war that is totally reactive and fails to achieve any progress. Getting good men killed is not progress.
Why was the Wpns Specialist not utilized to get the Mk 19 back into opn rather than thrown out on the point?
Yeah, i know- he spoke WOG dialect.
Why no interpreter?
IMHO that more SF types SHOULD QUESTION stupid nonproductive orders. Being a soldier implies pulling one's head outta ones ass.
This entire operation was a goat fuck, and the US Army supplied the goat.
jim

Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 1:27:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon,
I want to add further.
You and all the new warriors talk about eliminating the enemy.
So how do people walled up in hells corner become our enemy?
Do you think they'll do a company assault on Macy's during Yuletide?
I don't accept them as enemies.
If they were in your country, then would you be hostile?
They have every legal right to fight foreign Armies of occupation, and to resist a corrupt government.
Didn't we call that the American Revolution?
How quickly we forget where we came from.
jim

Sunday, December 19, 2010 at 1:54:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Andrea said...

As the wife of a team member of 3312 I find your inability to articulate your argument in regards to tactics and analysis as proof of your ignorance in these subjects. Not only are you uninformed, you very inaccurately dissected the press release on the mission and events leading up to Robbie's death. You do not know the details and are not qualified to determine that the award was undeserved. Robbie and the entire ODA have proven to be among the best this country has to offer time and again. The loss of Robbie was a terrible tragedy felt by all, the least you could do is show the some family respect and not downplay the death of their loved one.

Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 8:25:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Andrea,
I did not say the award was undeserved, but the narrative is full of holes. I didn't write the official narrative, i only deconstructed it.
I mourn the loss of all soldiers, and that's why i write. I was never disrespectful of SSG Miller, nor did i ever question his bravery, but i do question his judgment in this scenario.. Valor and tactical thinking are 2 different topics.
I will print anything that refutes my analysis, and will gladly admit any errors that i have made- if the facts are discussed rather than emotion. In fact i'd like to see the OPORD and the official AAR.
BTW- does being a SF wife mean that you are a graduate of Command and General Staff College, or even Infantry Officers Advance Course, or are you just 18 qualified as a matter of marriage?
Just wondering how you became a subject matter expert. I usually am not so snarky, but i counter bullshit with bullshit.
jim

Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All,

I will have to do more research about this action. I did read there were numerous members of the detachment injured that day. This SSG Monti that got the MOH was in the same area this action took place.

Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:15:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy is a "has-been." Having a website like this is pitiful and dishonoring to past and current SOF members. It is easy to sit back and criticize from your warm house in the USA. Warfare is different now compared to Vietnam and your knowledge is outdated. Afghanistan is nothing comparable to Vietnam. Your Vietnam experience was 30+ years ago. We consider that “history.” Sleep tight RAW, while our SOF operators provide the freedom for you to keep this site open.

Monday, January 10, 2011 at 10:59:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon,jan10/1159,
The PRINCIPLES OF WAR do not change with time. Clausiwitz and Sun Tsu's writings illustrate this point. Why indeed do we study the Civil War?
The PWOT is indeed different in that we ignore time proven techniques. Using your formula then we must get rid of ROGERS RULES FOR RANGERS because they are no longer relevant
I may be a has been , and my experiences 40 years old , but that's not even the issue here. The issue is that all the bravery, patriotism and flag waving by the peanut gallery will not turn this goat screw into anything of benefit to the US of A.
jim

Monday, January 10, 2011 at 12:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is far more to what happened that what was represented in the battlescape you based this entire farse of an analysis on. Let me just simply say, you have to go deeper into research about your subject matter before stating comments that potentially make you look like a fool. And YES. It IS arm-chair quarterbacking. For instance, SSG Miller spoke 5 languages fluently, including pashtu, dari, and farsi. He didn't need an interpretor. The ANA force were trained by SSG Miller, and the rest of the ODA, and were real Pipehitters. I cannot go any more into detail about this situation, but trust me, there were an enormous amount of factors involved that you cannot, and never will understand or know, especially if you limit your analysis to a battlescape which only talks about the movement of the battle, not the circumstances leading to the battle. I repeat what someone previous said, you weren't there in this battle. Every battle, every operation has different circumstances. NOTHING is cut-and-dry, "perform this action for this effect." Anyone who thinks so clearly has never been in combat, and anyone who has been in combat but still says it, well, simply put, I wouldn't want watching my back when it all kicks off.

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 5:18:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

anon,dec 4.
I accept the arm chair qb analogy gladly.i recently withdrew a cmt that i made on the Wanat fight after i rec'd more info. I do so gladly and write to what i find in open sources.
Why can't you guys attack the writing rather than shooting the messenger.?
i stand behind my analysis with the facts at hand. I will gladly post contrary facts to what i wrote.
jim

Sunday, December 4, 2011 at 2:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea, thank you for speaking about this. I was attached to ODA 3312 when this incident happened. This idiot that did this has no idea how to do research, and I would absolutely love to see him step into the ODA 3312 team room one day. I would pay to see that. And as for other injuries, yes there were. Robbie sacrificed himself to save his team because they were getting hammered by PKM, RPG's and small arms fire. He is one of the most courageous and selfless individuals I have ever had the DISTINCT honor of serving with. Furthermore, the ODA 3312 of that day was one of the most efficient teams I have ever worked with, and always wished to work with them again.
The REAL, COMPLETE story of this particular battle demonstrates, on every level, every one of the Army values that I strive to live by, and this team, and Robbie's actions that night have always been an inspiration to me, and I will never forget them all. The ODA Commander, by the way, after suffering a 7.62 through his lung, was seen a month later on a treadmill. These are true soldiers, and all should hope to live up to their standard.

Monday, December 5, 2011 at 11:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

ANON dec 5,
I must admit that i don't know anything about the new improved SF. I say this b/c those issuing threats in my day, even veiled threats , had the personal dignity to sign their names. Any one can issue anonymous/veiled threats. Really why don't you have the guts to issue a threat if that's what you want to do.?
So whats your point- a bunch of professional soldiers would kick an old man's ass for expressing his views to the best of his ability.?
Why don't you be constructive and provide hard data that proves me wrong. Your attitude is emotional and does not address the issue at hand. Is this approach now taught in Q course?
I WILL GLADLY PRINT ANY OPEN SOURCE INFO THAT REFUTES MY COMMENTS.Gladly.! This is more than fair and equitable.
The purpose of soldiering is to learn from every battle, and this is not accomplished by turning them into myths.

BTW- my Masters Degree in Education is older than you, and research techniques was required for graduation. 1976.
As for your comment that i'm a disgrace to the SF community i must wonder what your yardstick looks like.? I am a 150% disabled vet/service connected and draw CRSC at the max level. I live in daily physical pain. I lost my left nut to a stabo rig injury.
I think that i'm not a disgrace- the SF officers that won't speak up are the disgrace.
It's unfortunate that i won't sign on board for the cheer leading section , and I DO understand your pique.
As for philosophy - i have commanded and served with WW2 and Korean war vets and it never crossed my mind, either back then or now to write off their experience as no longer of any worth as you have done to me.
You may have all the whistles and bows, but the fact remains that the principles of war remain the same. The toys change , but the rules are firm.
Your team violated these.
I also understand that these may have come down from higher.
jim hruska

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 at 10:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never said I was SF, or on the team. I was attached to that team. Nothing I said was a threat. My point is that given who the men of that team are, if you were to step into their team room and present this analysis, I doubt very much that it would end well. The rest is simply, again, arm-chair QB talk. You went off of some sources online. Now you are basically saying that if it's on the net, it must be true.
All I'm saying is that your analysis is inaccurate. Your tone in this analysis is concieted, and down right offensive.
Also, I honestly don't know which facts I would even be allowed to relay on the incident, therefore I choose not to at all. My oint in the initial post on this matter is that you DON'T know all the fatcts, and if you did, you probably would immediately understand what this looks like, and take it down at lightning speed.
I digress.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 7:05:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Anon,dec 7.
I apologize if i seem arrogant but this does not negate my points.
Let's start at square 1- the 1st Silver Star outta soc or sof was Tillman's phony made up award facilitated by the CDR. Mc Crystal. This must be kept in mind.
All TS classifications are garbage when they keep the facts from the voting public.
Alll of my writing is assuredly MM QB and i acknowledge.,BUT why do guys like you not level this criticism to the mindless cheer leaders applauding a senseless war? They're feeding bread to the peasants going to the circus to see T's killed by our lions.
Again here's my main points and they are not idiotic- they are solid soldierly thinking and are appropriately asked without denegrating SSG Miller.TBC.
jim

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 9:08:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

ANON 5&7 dec.
I hope this is not construed as arrogance since i ask my questions in an honest and hgumble manner. We must live or die in the combat arms with lessons learned , which is also the same as mistakes made.Hubris is not a soldierly attribute.
With analysis we start with - what is the mission?Is it direct action or COIN/ hearts and minds.Remember OCOKA.
What was the ipb- intel prep of the battle area -prior to launch.
Was there visual recons/sat imagery? Agent reports? Host nation input/intel?
What intel was at hand?
Were there route recons? Were arty concentrations registered for use by the team at danger choke points.?
It's constructive to note that the Afgh fighters use historic fighting positions in their ops.Have these been id'd in the AO?
Before launch were the organic weapons technical inspected/test fired and fully serviced? I'm thinking of the m240 vehicular mounted.
Once engaged were the team on the offense or defense?
Was it a near or far ambush? Was enemy fire effective?
If so then what is approp action?
Is it prudent or realistic to atk into an effective near or far ambush that is planned and not hasty?
Did the insurgents have prepared positions?
Depending on the answers to these questions that only the AAR and the Team leader can answer do we come up with the correct course of action for the friendlies. Without MMQB what would a prudent soldier do?
Was the team in the kill zone?
Could or did they extricate themselves?
Is it prudent to assault a superior dug in force with interlocking effective fire?
The usual ratio for assault is 3:1 ratio for the attackers to the defenders. History and doctrine confirm this statement even for assault troops which SF isn't supposed to be. SF is a combat multiplier.
For SF to attack as infantry is not utilizing them as force multipliers. They are not super men and we should not expect them to be super human.
It is not incorrect to back out of a lopsided fight.
These are the questions that i started with when i originally wrote this article and i still have the same concerns that go beyond this 1 fight.
I as a former soldier have the right and responsibility to ask these questions.
It's idiotic not to ask these things.
I mourn the loss of every soldier on any battlefield. I also mourn the death of those fighting against us.I mourn for SSG Miller.
If we lack this empathy then we are not soldiers.
Thank you for writing.
jim

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 9:50:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ranger, your questions ARE valid. I get it, and had you all the actual facts, EVERY ONE OF THEM would be answered. You don't have the facts though. Some of the questions could easily be answered with slightly more effort in researching. I'm not going to answer those questions for you. I know the answers, for the most part. I admit, there were a few things I was not privy to, being that I was only in a support role attached to the team.
I also take a bit of offense to your implication that I am part of some cheerleeding squad. I am not. I am a soldier who believes fully in my mission, and in the soldiers of 3/3. I worked with them, fought with them, and lived with them for 3 back-to-back deployments. You were an operator once. Don't you remember what that was like? The politics of this war don't matter anymore. The fact is that we are there, these are my Brothers and Sisters in arms. I am with them, I stand guard with them, and I love them all with every fiber of my being. I am a soldier, a professional. These are my family. ANYONE who stands against them BETTER have all the facts before disrespecting who we are, what we do, and HOW we do it.
If you were so good at what you did in the service, then strap on your boots, step on up to the school house and teach since due to your age at this point, you're not in a practical condition to fight the battles of today.
Bring your knowledge to us in the right way. Soldiers, operators especially, are hungry for knowledge. Blogging online in order to intice fools like me to argue with you and draw attention, while shitting on a Medal of Honor recipient's memory is the wrong way.
I've wasted enough of my time on you and your crap. I'm done now. I don't really care what you have to say anymore on this topic.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 12:45:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Anon 12/8,

We are always glad and eager to get new input. This is a civil forum, not a glad-handing club, not a place to fight. Ranger & I have nothing but the deepest respect for all who take up arms for our great country.

If you have something helpful and elucidating to add, I hope you will do so. As you are under cover as "anon", there is no reason not to add to the dialog.

If you feel Ranger does not have some aspects of the story right, why not help us all by filling in some blanks?

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 7:22:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

p.s., anon,

You suggest Jim gave this a cursory review by suggesting he dig deeper, which you know is not true.

Why don't you provide the open-source materials you suggest are available? There is no need to taunt and say "hunt further" -- just provide it if you think the answers are there.

That's what learning is all about -- generously sharing material so that people may move further down the line.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 11:12:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

anon,8dec.
have you read the news about McClatchy's art. on the inflated Marine MOH. I guess someone other than a old soldier can add up facts to draw obvious conclusions.
We must remember that MOH's have been rescinded in the past. An example is Cpt. Carpenter's from VN.
It's well researched article. Maybe they'll look at this Miller incident next.
i will do 2 more arts on this topic to include further comment on SSG Miller.
My comments are NOT personal atks , but will focus on the tactics and admin functions associated with the fight.
jim

Friday, December 16, 2011 at 9:10:00 AM GMT-5  

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