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31 August 2009

Photos and dispatch from the war...

Michael Yon is a great writer who continues to deliver the ground eye view
of operations in OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom). With the renewed focus
on Afghanistan, it's critical to understand the political, military and
economic challenges in this important part of the world. Not the least
reason is its proximity to Pakistan (nuclear armed, Islamic, not too stable
Pakistan).

The region has frustrated great powers for some time, Britain in the 19th
century, the Soviet Union in the 20th and now attempts to thwart the efforts
of the United States and the rest of the world from imposing some sort of
rule of law into a perennially lawless region.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Yon [mailto:myonmail=michaelyon-online.com@mcsv63.net] On
Behalf Of Michael Yon
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2009 8:33 AM
Subject: Photos and dispatch from the war

Greetings,

I'll definitely miss being out with British combat troops. Great soldiers
who can always count on the support of at least one writer. The British
Ministry of Defense, however, needs a tune up.

Am back with U.S. forces and did three missions on Sunday. More on that as
time unfolds.

American and British forces are working closely together here. The
U.S./U.K. relationship in Helmand is extremely good. (Presumably elsewhere,
too, but I do not know.) My first mission yesterday was with a U.S. Air
Force helicopter rescue team to pick up a British casualty. The British
people at home should know that our helicopters will get their men and women
off the battlefields and back to the hospital in less than an hour, no
matter what.

Please see today's dispatch, wherein a British soldier who was watching out
for me gets his antenna shot off.
<http://michaelyon-online.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=53a90b7a0a9728c7
9342e9752&id=58affb7de5&e=7f542a2382
>

--
Very Respectfully,

Michael Yon


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19 August 2009

Afghanistan...

Afghanistan remains a quandary.  The nation is bereft of any civil infrastructure, in fact, it never had any to speak of ever.  The countryside is demanding, landlocked and incredibly fracture with tribal rule the norm.  Combine that with a huge illicit drug crop and you have a recipe for chaos, which Western powers realized as they watched the Soviet army become bogged down and then defeated in the 1980s.  How should we approach this breeding ground for extremists?
 
The unseating of the Taliban in 2002 was brilliant.  The US managed a conflict with proxy players and technology to stunning effect.  The problem is that the nation requires billions in building dollars and a complete overhaul of its government if it is to maintain its progress.  Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan has no true national identity and no underlying rule of law upon which to rely.  One of my favorite writers in the field is Michael Yon.  He posts routinely from Iraq and now Afghanistan.  His perspective is often from the ground level - a grunt's eye view of the conflicts.  His latest dispatch identifies the plight of our most stalwart allies, the soldiers of the United Kingdom. 


From: Michael Yon [mailto:myonmail=michaelyon-online.com@mcsv12.net] On Behalf Of Michael Yon
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 12:15 AM
Subject: Do Americans Care About British Soldiers?

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19 August 2009

Greetings from Afghanistan,

There is every indication that this war will become worse than I saw in Iraq.  Very dangerous here.  Too much happening to explain quickly.  Will require ongoing series of dozens of dispatches.  (Am on it.)  Would need 24/7 head-cam to truly capture this. 

Meanwhile, please see this very interesting dispatch: Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?

--
Your Writer,

Michael Yon


PS Please sign up for my Twitter.com updates at "Michael_Yon" (not Michael Yon).





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07 August 2009

Thus ends a hero's quest...

CAPT Scott Speicher was pronounced MIA (Missing in Action) during the Gulf War in 1991.  He was flying combat operations over Iraq.  A key installation in Iraq was named for him after the invasion of 2003.  CAPT Speicher progressed in rank, largely benefitting his surviving family, until such time as his fate could be determined.  CAPT Speicher was one of the critical missions of operations once the invasion began.  There was some belief that he may have been alive and held in an Iraqi prison. 
 
Alas, this fragile hope proved for naught.  His recovered and identified remains will no doubt find a special resting place.  More importantly, just as US forces conducted an exhaustive rescue operation for USAF CAPT Scott Grady, the persistent search for CAPT Speicher (and truly for all MIAs) reminds those serving that we will not leave a comrade behind.


IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 590-09
August 07, 2009

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

On the Web: http://www.defenselink.mil/Releases/

Media Contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public Contact: http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/comment.html or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1

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Speicher Search Details Announced

            The Navy announced today additional details regarding the recent discovery of the remains of Navy Capt. Michael "Scott" Speicher in Iraq.  Speicher was shot down flying a combat mission in an F/A-18 Hornet over west-central Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991, during Operation Desert Storm.
            Acting in part on information provided by an Iraqi citizen in early July, Multi National Force – West's (MNF-W) personnel recovery team went to a location in the desert which was believed to be the crash site of Speicher's jet.  The Iraqi, a Bedouin, was 11 years old at the time of the crash and did not have direct knowledge of where Speicher was buried, but knew of other Bedouins who did. He willingly provided his information during general discussion with MNF-W personnel and stated he was unaware of the U.S. government's interest in this case until queried by U.S. investigators in July 2009. 
            The Iraqi citizens led MNF-W's personnel recovery team to the area they believed Speicher was buried. The area where the remains were recovered was located approximately 100 kilometers west of Ramadi, in Anbar province. There were two sites that teams searched. One site was next to the downed aircraft that was discovered in 1993 and the other site was approximately two kilometers away. The second site was where Speicher's remains were recovered.
            The recovery personnel searched two sites from July 22-29. The personnel recovery team consisted of approximately 150 people, mostly Marines and other forces under MNF-W.
            The recovered remains include bones and multiple skeletal fragments. Based on visual examination of the remains and dental records at the site, a preliminary assessment was reached that the remains were that of Speicher. After searching the site another day, no further remains were recovered.
            On July 30, the remains were turned over from the recovery team to MNF-W mortuary affairs at Al Asad. The remains were then transported to Dover Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, Del. They were examined by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's (AFIP) Armed Forces medical examiner who positively identified them as those of Speicher on Aug. 1.
            Positive identification by AFIP was made by comparing Speicher's dental records with the jawbone recovered at the site. The teeth were a match, both visually and radiographically. AFIP's DNA Lab in Rockville, Md., confirmed the remains to be Speicher on Aug. 2 via DNA comparison tests of the remains by comparing them to DNA reference samples previously provided by family members.
            Photos are available at http://www.navy.mil/view_single.asp?id=2934 .
            For additional information, please contact Navy public affairs at (703) 697-5342.