RANGER AGAINST WAR: Where Are You, Dale Dye? <

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where Are You, Dale Dye?

Damn contractors!

--Col. Trautman

(Rambo: First Blood II)

You tell 'em I'm coming...

and hell's coming with me

--Tombstone (2003)

Murdock... I'm coming to get you!

--Rambo: First Blood Part II

Sometimes real life seems as unreal as the movies, or is it that the spin is as fantastic as a trailer for a Spielberg film?

The regrettable recent deaths of 30 servicemen -- 22 of whom were SEALs -- and the speedy subsequent dispatch of the supposed bomber would make for a delectable silver screen meal. The only problem is, if this were a movie Ranger would say, "NO WAY!"
As with much of the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), the plot line is hackneyed at best, improbable at worst. No basic Infantryman would use a Chinook to assault an unsecured LZ, and surely never without aerial rocket artillery supplying suppressing fire.

However, if the recent shoot down of the Army National Guard Chinook in Afghanistan were to become a film, former Marine Captain and consultant to the stars Dale Dye would probably enter the picture, for it is Dye's job to make movies realistic from a military perspective. As mentioned, this would be a tall order, as the action doesn't exactly ring true to military standard operating procedures.

But if Mr. Dye applied his military eye for the Hollywood guy to this action
, Ranger would predict the following amendments to the script:

  • The fact that the purported RPG shooter who brought down the copter was killed so quickly is a scene out of Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), and should be deleted in the name of redundancy.
  • Ditto the scene in which the SEALs are killed rescuing pinned down Rangers, as that was done in Black Hawk Down (2001).

Using a Chinook for a combat assault needs to be deleted because no basic Infantryman would expose such a bird to fire on an unsecured LZ, and surely never without aerial rocket artillery supplying suppressing fire. This scene needs to go both in the interest of redundancy and military realities.

As the press develops this story, there will be more inconsistencies, but since we so easily suspend our disbelief for films like Saving Private Ryan, Jarhead, Windtalkers, Platoon, Apocalypse Now! and Hurt Locker, it is a small step to believe without question the soundness of the scenarios flowing out of Hollywood East, which is another name for the Department of Defense briefing room.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen this? http://www.rense.com/general94/deadseals.htm Things that make you go hmmm.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 12:29:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger squatlo said...

Anyone who buys what the Pentagon is selling on any subject has too more money than sense. Wonder if Pat Tillman's family buys this story? Like I asked BJ at Dumb Perignon, wonder if the amnesiac in W.Va has remembered her name is Jessica Lynch yet? I stopped buying into Pentagon bullshit when McNamara's daily reports to LBJ were dutifully reported on the evening news as fact. This FUBAR copter tale is completely nonsensical, and I don't need a military background to smell the bullshit.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 9:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Wait, am I missing something? They're saying a Chinook (which is a utility/logistics helicopter) was supposedly involved in combat operations? I thought the 30 servicemen in question were NOT in a combat zone. At most, isn't a Chinook only supposed to be for moving troops to the forward edge of a battle area (like the Humvee was supposed to do)? Or am I still missing something?

Friday, August 12, 2011 at 4:42:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Read the essays that i did on Roberts Ridge.
Think about the deaths related to the rescue /recovery Lt. Murphy.
I would think that a Hook would only be used in a semi or secure lz. Shit happens, but slackness should not, esp when troops are supposed to be elite.
I keep telling myself to do research on rvn losses of Hooks. I will do so when i get home.


Friday, August 12, 2011 at 6:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

stop making sense...

Friday, August 12, 2011 at 3:15:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

American Fascists...

Friday, August 12, 2011 at 5:56:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


LOVE David Byrne :)

Friday, August 12, 2011 at 9:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Gordon said...

Dale Dye has done pretty well for a guy who started his literary/showbiz career as a Private Of Marines in the Public Information Office in Da Nang (I think). He's written some novels that I thought were pretty good.

A good perspective on war movies v military life could be gained, at least back in the '60s, at a (frequent) showing of The Sands Of Iwo Jima at the outdoor theaters on Marine bases. When Sgt. Ryker (John Wayne) finally gets it in the end (if only!), every Marine in attendance (hundreds) CHEERED! We loved our NCOs...

Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 1:28:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


I gagged watching the Green Berets 20 years after the fact.

Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 3:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Brooklyn Red Leg said...

Well, for some (possible) good news for ending our never-ending-wars:

Dr. Ron Paul pulled 2nd at the Ames Straw Poll with only 152 votes less than NeoCon warmonger Bachmann. Even if Dr. Paul DOESN'T get the nomination, he will at least BRING THE DEBATE that we need to stop bombing every country that gets in our path.

Saturday, August 13, 2011 at 7:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there were 17 SEALs on board, not 22. Among the other five non-helo crew, were Naval intel and maybe some other MOS;at least one EOD.

Surprise, surprise, the mission was not as stated in the media - I am told.

I am thinking spec war command got played by the bad guys and now, in turn, we, the people, are being played by DoD and their media lapdogs.


Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 3:38:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW, Jim, I am probably reaching by a long shot, but, seeing as you are "on the road", someone talked to the missus the other day, said he was an old Ranger living in FLA, answering an add for free horses (we are trying to place some retired racers, failed racers and brood mares). Is going to stop by this week. It's not you is it? Hope so. been waiting to share the old good stuff with.


Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 3:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

I'm done with horses b/c my back is so bad that i can't even clean their feet.
Y not est. an Amish connection- they take these horses for buggy pulling.

Monday, August 15, 2011 at 8:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Blackhawk said...

I spent all of 1967 and half of 1968 in escorting Hueys into hot LZ's, providing gunship support. Not all of LZ's were hot, but never once did I see a Chinook or shit-hook's as we 'tongue-in-cheek' called them, drop in to an unsecured LZ. They were used as Ranger said after the LZ was secured. The authorization to use a Chinook instead of few Blackhawk's was a serious tactical error and gave the Taliban aid and encouragement. It will be interesting to hear hollywood the spin on this one.

Monday, August 15, 2011 at 8:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

A nurse in Saigon would not knowingly or willingly put a fully troop laden hook into a beaten zone.
Have we gone nuts, or just forgotten everything us old dogs learned in a distant universe.
As always, thanks for the supporting fire.

Monday, August 15, 2011 at 9:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...


Chinooks drop short platoons off in the ass end of nowhere all the time.

Maybe it's not the smartest thing in the world, but hey, neither is dropping a bunch of guys off in the ass end of nowhere in the first place.

You gonna task out an AC-130 to plow a field every time Chuck co needs to go anywhere?

Monday, August 15, 2011 at 12:36:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

The ass end of nowhere is not the same thing as an unsecured lz.
That's why we have pathfinders,sat imaging etc..,of the 2 i'd prefer the Pathfinders.
That's what they do, or used to do.
How do you say-SPECIAL OPS.?
I have a hard time understanding how the Rangers became pinned down. Are we surging , or are they??If our best troops get pinned down then something is askance.

Monday, August 15, 2011 at 6:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

I think part of the answer here is the altitude. My understanding is that light helos like the UH-60 have serious lift problems in the thin air on top of the central Asian plateau. It takes a heavy-lift A/C like a Hook to get in and out of these places effectively with any sort of load.

Doesn't make this better - worse, if anything, since when the third paragraph of your op order has a section in the middle reading; "And then a miracle happens." your planning is seriously fucked from the get go.

I guess my other question would be - how often do these units work together? My understanding is that ST6 is the Navy equivalent of what at least at one time was referred to as "SFOD-Delta" - the direct-action element of the Navy SOF, the guys who did all the super-sneaky high-speed missions like whacking Osama.

ISTM that sending dropping a unit into a clusterfuck of a firefight, on top of the unit already engaged, that is unfamiliar with the reinforcing unit seems like a ready-mix nuclear clusterfuck, but, then, that's just me.

Monday, August 15, 2011 at 7:31:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

My 1st question is -why is this group of killers being driven to work by non -sof air assets. Is this why we spend billions on socom/jsoc , so that they have to hitch hick to work ?!.
But here's a crux point- we never get the data to make intelligent military cmtary on the ops b/c it's all a big secret. We are only doing opinion pieces unless we can read the OPORD, which we are both expert at doing. This in itself pisses me off- i've never seen an opord , even any book written on these pwot gun fights. I will not call them battles b/c this adds dignity to crude encounters.
I'd actually have a heart atk if i believed that these SEALS were insertedwithin 3-4 clicks of the engaged troops.Remember what happened to the 5th Cav on the day/days after the fight at LZ X ray. It wasn't pretty.Why would it be any different almost 50 yrs later?
Did we retain any institutional GW/UW battle knowledge, or did we forget about it when we ran the post vn war RIF's?
None of this makes any mil. sense, and it wears on me even thinking about it. I'll bet that we'll NEVER see these opords. I'd like to see the ones from Millers and Murphys MOH encounters.Hell i'd love to see the aar's b/c they'd be highly entertaining.
Best to you.
BTW , Lisa and me saw the great CW Memorial in downtown Cleveland yesterday. I took pics , and might write about it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 7:00:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Navy/Marines have been using hooks - aspecially for ship to shore assaults - since your day in the RVN. I think that toward the end of the war there was even a major offensive tactic built around the concept; called 'kingfisher patrols'. Platoons of Marines would be on stand-by, all saddled up on the deck, waiting for the word. When the enemy was spotted, they would board waiting hooks and drop right in on him; sometimes with riflemen firing from the crafts portals as it descended.

So there is some history behind the use of these big birds in the manner you don't like.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 8:21:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Can you remind me-did we win that war??!
I'd bet my ass that these teams you describe were like Cav Blue Flights which would go into a developed fight and were not crazy balls to the walls events.
The hooks would be put in behind , or adjacent to friendlies.
I just can't believe anyone would use a hook for an air assault.
But then again-what do i know?
I know we haven't won one lately, unless you count Panama or Grenada.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 1:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I just saw too many things happen that weren't "by the book" to question when a bunch of people who should know better, well, don't.

Grunts get kicked off into unsecured LZs, booby trapped towns, driven down the same MSR day after day because it's the only one wide enough for humvees, paratroopers get dropped off target, the forecast called for sun but we got rain, and I've been led into all sorts of nonsense and foolishness by PLs who have Ranger tabs and should know better. You end up outnumbered or outgunned or outmaneuvered, or there just aren't all the assets available you need to do something properly, but it still has to get done.

The list of stupid mistakes the military makes is about as long as the list of things the military does.

I guess war just don't make sense.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 1:51:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

The last comment was me! Look at that, I managed to mess up a lot simpler task than engaging in a firefight.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 1:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

What you describe isn't war, it's just a series of fuck ups leading to inconsequential gun fights that take us no where..
On further reflection ISTM that using hooks as you described is a rather ad hoc desperate attempt to do something/anything -even if it's wrong.
I surmise that then as now launching teams in the hope of killing a few ass holes is a admission of defeat.
Killing willy nilly will not lead to squat in AFGH, just as it didn't in the A Shau Valley.
I regret the loss of life on both sides.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 3:02:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim, I'm not saying it was a good idea or even an overall effective one (I have no idea to be honest); only that there is a long history of hooks and air assault among Naval types.

It is a happy thought that these would deliver troops adjacent to or behind friendlies. One problem with insurgents is that the bastards usually won't come out and stand up and fight like men. Always sneaking around. Maybe sneaking around precisely where you and your hook think it's safe to insert - maybe even precisely because they know that's where you think it's safe.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 3:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(I have no idea to be honest)"

Ok. Using my brain a little; I guess I do have an idea. As you astutely point out, we lost and apparently the king fisher patrols obviously did little to nothing to alter that outcome. Unless someone wants to dubiously argue that a few thousand more hooks and king fisher missions would have won the war.

That said, yes, the hooks really were the lead element - usually sole element - of the assault. And yes, the idea was to kill a few ass holes when the opportunity presented itself. My iunderstanding at least. I sure wasn't there.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 3:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

There are some events thatr it's really best to miss.
The Army also called these type of units-ARP's.
Aerial Rifle Platoons.They always made contact.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 4:41:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

I would say that war in general is a series of fuckups that tends to leave a lot of people dead who ought to have been left alone, and this applies to soldiers and civilians on both sides of a conflict.

Everything else involved is a matter of degree.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011 at 3:30:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous William Ranger Hazen said...

A few points...

The Helicopter Drivers and the Chinook was from the 160th SOF Wing.

Afghanistan has relied on Chinooks for the entire war.They have flown THOUSANDS of missions. The number of Chinooks shot down as a result of hostile fire is minuscule. The vast majority (over 95%) are lost to mechanical failures due to the harsh environment and altitude.

Since 1965 Bad Guys have known that the weak link in any Air Assault is the LZ ingress/degress.

One Lucky Shot does not a disaster make. During the Soviet Invasion Commie SOF Troops dominated the MUJ until the introduction of American Stinger Missiles. The resulting slaughter from the huge increase in Helo's getting shot down was a primary factor in the Soviet Withdrawal. With Stingers The Muj gained Battlefield Initiative.

The Taliban do not YET possess Tactical Air to Air Missiles but they are trying to get their hands on them. In the mean time they will continue to figure out ways to exploit the tactical weaknesses in Heliborne Insertions.

One well respected reporter and some officials suggested That a change in NATO Strategy may lead to more shoot downs as American Regular Force withdraw and leave the fight to SOF. Article Here...


William Ranger Hazen

Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 1:48:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Gordon said...

Ranger, I gagged when I saw Green Berets when it was first-run.

Monday, August 22, 2011 at 2:05:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Ranger Hazen,
Per your cmt re; 160th .
The KIA's flying this bird WERE NOT SOF aviation assets.NOT!!!
Reference page 32 Army Times Aug.22/11.
The Avn assets were all NG. 158 and 135 Avn. One was a resaervist from Kan.
xin loi.

To Grant,
Gen.Schloesser said in Army Times pg 18 ref above.
"just because the Chinook is big doesn't mean it isn't fast and easy to maneuver.
This ed of AT has 2 arts on this shoot down. Strangely 30 US were killed but AT only lists 29.??? What gives here?


Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 8:57:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

i'm reading this years after pub.
the usmc troops of which u speak obviously had naval gunfire support which usually suppresses en action.

Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 12:32:00 PM GMT-5  

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