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News from a not-so-forgotten war. Heartless Libertarian got his gun.

The Heartless Libertarian has deployed to Afghanistan, and has kindly, with only a little arm-twisting, taken on the role of Castle Argghhh! (FWD).  This is his first publishable report.

The CJTF HQ held it's first monthly JOC (Joint Operations Center) ceremony since I got here. This will be the last one for the 101st, with the 82nd taking over next month. The main event is an awards ceremony, but the first part was a tribute to the Fallen. They're listed by Brigade Task Force, with only the Fallen for the TFs that are on the ground shown, not all of OEF. One of the TF, TF DUKE, is due to be relieved next month, and they also occupy one of the hottest AOs - including the Pech and Korengal valleys of Konar province on the Pak border - in the US sector. By the standards of past wars, especially ones like WWI and II or the Civil War, the casualty numbers, whether for DUKE or the CJTF as a whole, are extremely small. But when they scroll across the screen, one slide per name, complete with pictures, it sure seems like a lot.

On a much lighter note, and speaking of old soldiers, I took a field trip to FOB Shank, and met Sam Carlson, the oldest CPT in the Army. (I've got a picture, but thanks to the DoD ban on USB drives, I can't get it off my camera.) Enlisted in 1967, made 1SG before he took a commission, retired twice, now coming out of retirement for the second time. His previous un-retirement, he worked for CJTF-82 in 2007-08 screening linguists. Counter-intel guy. His one condition for coming out of retirement this time was that he didn't want to be an augmentee, he wanted to be part of a deploying unit. So here he is.

And it gets better. His son is the 1SG of a PRT training to come over here later this year. And his grandson is a Shadow UAV driver stationed in Korea. You sometimes ask the question, "Where do we find men like this?" It seems that quite often they're the sons - and even grandsons - of other men like that.

One of the guys I'm replacing (I'm replacing three guys, at least temporarily, until SAMS spits out its next class) told me, "There are fun experiences, and there are life experiences. This is mostly a life experience. But a year from now, when you look at that map, and remember what it used to look like, you'll say 'Damn, look at what we did.'"

So it continues, so it begins.

Not-so-Disgruntled Major

 Heartless Lib's intro to being a Staff Officer At War started off with an early lesson on the difference between a update brief at a Combat Training Center and an update brief in a theater of operations.

His first email to me from Afstan was short and bittersweet:

Pour two pints. And make way on the Green.

He elaborated in a later email. " Two Fallen Comrades (thus two pints), SSG and a SGT, I'd guess SL and TL, small arms. Ramp ceremony was 0330 this morning."

I waited to post this until the notifications were complete - which is when DoD sends the announcement out.
DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died May 15 at Forward Operating Base Shank, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when their patrol was attacked by enemy forces using small-arms fire in Chak, Afghanistan.

The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.

Killed were:

Staff Sgt. Esau I. De la Pena-Hernandez, 25, of La Puente, Calif.

Sgt. Carlie M. Lee, III, 23, of Birmingham, Ala.

For further information contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at (315) 772-8286.

There will be more, and we can't mark them all.   But we'll mark the ones that touch us at the Castle, in one way or another.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam 


John - Most of my adventures are in front of a red screen in a room with no windows. I'll try to send a picture or 12. And they'll need another pint on the green tonight, sad to say.