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March 29, 2005

Afghan Bulletin

Many electrons have been expended here at Castle Argghhh!!! to excite computer screens carrying our screeds excoriating France and Germany for their views on the GWOT, and sometimes giving Canada a spank, too. It's only fair then, to mention when something good happens, or they exceed our expectations. Let's do Canada and Germany today.

1. As the 4 dead National Guardsmen from Indiana showed this weekend, and now a Canadian, Afghanistan is still a dangerous place to be.

Update: RJewell adds:

The four Soldiers killed, members of Indiana's 76th Inf Bde, are memorialized at the Task Force Phoenix III website.

Individual memorials can be found on a website maintained by Indiana's Director of Veteran's Affairs Tom Applegate showing all of Indiana's fallen.

2. Dangerous enough that two Canadian soldiers recently recieved Canada's Star of Courage medal for heroism. Equivalent to the US Distinguished Service Cross, the Star of Courage is Canada's second highest valor award, after the Victoria Cross.

Their section commander, Sgt. Robert Short, and another colleague, Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger, were killed and their driver injured when their jeep was hit by an anti-tank mine just outside Kabul on Oct. 2, 2003.

Hamilton and Matthews crawled through a minefield to rescue the driver, Corporal Thomas Stirling and returned to rescue the other two men.

I will observe that Canada obviously hasn't slain the bureaucracy in terms of timliness (nor have we, nor have we). Hat tip to reader RJewell for the pointer to the story on the Indiana Guardsmen.

As mentioned in a previous story on the Afghan elections, Germany is providing troops to the NATO efforts in Afghanistan. That, tied with some of the comments in this post Sunday about the MG 42 prompts me to post this from MSg Keith, the Castle's War Correspondent:

Fun and Games at the German Range Firing. I earned the silver German Schutzenschnur [Geman Marksmanship Award -photo is of the bronze version. ed] to wear on my Class A uniform ( dress greens for you civvie types). We had to fire pistol, rifle, machine gun, grenade machine gun, and grenade launcher. We shot all the german stuff and they shot our M-16's and M9 pistols. Then they brought out the big guy. Tank killer round. They only had six and picked one of our younger guys to shoot it. Before we could shoot, we had to send a few vehicles downrange to run off the nomads sleeping in the hills. I got some cool scenery shots but i've sent enough of them for a while. We went out and it was kind of dreary, then the sun came out. Then by the end of the day, there was a cold wind coming over the top of the mountain. Luckily, I had my gloves and jacket with me. All in all, a good day. You can never shoot too much ammo... Oh, and most of the photos are of me this time....

I am soooo jealous! All the Armorer can do is say, "Neener neener neener ! I have the Gold one!" Of course, as an officer, I'm not allowed to wear it... But this was the Armorer's absolute favorite exchange activity with foreign militaries. Shooting their stuff! Of course, shooting their stuff in a different way was the Armorer's favorite activity with *hostile* militaries... well, actively hostile anyway.

Coupla more observations... 1. Geman soldiers are a heck of a lot better looking than I remember them (check out the one supervising Our Hero). 2. Is it just me - or does that place pretty much look like the National Training Center at Fort Irwin - only more green? 3. Last, but not least - doesn't that German soldier examining the M16 have the same look on his face you have when you look at the bottom of your shoe to find that *someone* forgot their pooper-scopper while out on walkies?

Our Man in the 'Stan shooting at cans!