previous post next post  

One summer's morn in the Korengal Valley. Part II: Home on the Range

The live fire range, where the targets shoot back.

Gunfight and Airstrike in Korengal valley

Photos by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller
5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

090813-A-1211M-004: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Tech. Sgt. Joel McPherson, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., scans the Korengal valley’s steep hills for insurgents in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, August 13. Moments later, McPherson and fellow members of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were attacked. The 20 minute gun battle ended with 500 pound bombs, dropped by U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jets, destroying insurgent positions in the surrounding hills, no civilians were injured. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-004: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Tech. Sgt. Joel McPherson, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., scans the Korengal valley’s steep hills for insurgents in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, August 13. Moments later, McPherson and fellow members of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were attacked. The 20 minute gun battle ended with 500 pound bombs, dropped by U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jets, destroying insurgent positions in the surrounding hills, no civilians were injured. . (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-005: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army and Air Force personnel assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, return fire at insurgent positions in the Korengal valley’s steep hillside in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, August 13. The 20 minute gun battle ended with 500 pound bombs, dropped by U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets, destroying insurgent positions in the surrounding hills., no civilians were injured during the battle. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-005: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army and Air Force personnel assigned to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, return fire at insurgent positions in the Korengal valley’s steep hillside in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, August 13. The 20 minute gun battle ended with 500 pound bombs, dropped by U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets, destroying insurgent positions in the surrounding hills., no civilians were injured during the battle. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-006: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Tech. Sgt. Joel McPherson, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., calls in an airstrike on insurgent positions in the steep hills of Kunar province, Afghanistan’s Korengal valley, Aug. 13. McPherson, a joint terminal attack controller, is attached to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-006: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Tech. Sgt. Joel McPherson, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., calls in an airstrike on insurgent positions in the steep hills of Kunar province, Afghanistan’s Korengal valley, Aug. 13. McPherson, a joint terminal attack controller, is attached to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-007: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Tech Sgt. Joel McPherson, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., relays coordinates to U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jets for an air-strike, as Soldiers with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, return fire at insurgent positions in the steep hills of Kunar province, Afghanistan’s Korengal valley, Aug. 13. U.S. Air Force Airmen fight side by side with their U.S. Army counterparts, serving as joint terminal attack controllers, responsible for coordinating air-strikes for ground forces. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-007: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan –Tech Sgt. Joel McPherson, a native of Knoxville, Tenn., relays coordinates to U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jets for an air-strike, as Soldiers with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, return fire at insurgent positions in the steep hills of Kunar province, Afghanistan’s Korengal valley, Aug. 13. U.S. Air Force Airmen fight side by side with their U.S. Army counterparts, serving as joint terminal attack controllers, responsible for coordinating air-strikes for ground forces.(Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-008: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Army Soldier and U.S. Air Force Airman scan the Korengal valley’s rocky hillside as fellow members return fire at insurgents, during an early morning gun battle in the Korengal valley of Kunar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 13. Both service members are attached to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-008: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Army Soldier and U.S. Air Force Airman scan the Korengal valley’s rocky hillside as fellow members return fire at insurgents, during an early morning gun battle in the Korengal valley of Kunar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 13. Both service members are attached to Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo.  (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-009: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Senior Airman Gregory Moulton, a native of Lynchburg, Va., fires at insurgent positions during an early morning gun battle in the Korengal valley of Kunar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 13. Moulton is attached to the U.S. Army’s Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo. Many Airman fight side by side with U.S. Army units, serving as liaisons between ground forces and U.S. Air Force bombers and fighter jets patroling Afghan airspace. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-009: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Senior Airman Gregory Moulton, a native of Lynchburg, Va., fires at insurgent positions during an early morning gun battle in the Korengal valley of Kunar province, Afghanistan, Aug. 13. Moulton is attached to the U.S. Army’s Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo. Many Airman fight side by side with U.S. Army units, serving as liaisons between ground forces and U.S. Air Force bombers and fighter jets patroling Afghan airspace. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-010: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Graham Mullins gives an order to U.S. Army Pfc. Damian Gardner as insurgents fire on their position, during an early morning gun battle in the Korengal Valley, in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, Aug. 13. Mullins, a native of Columbia, Mo., and Gardner, a native of Beecher City, Ill., are infantrymen with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-010: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Graham Mullins gives an order to U.S. Army Pfc. Damian Gardner as insurgents fire on their position, during an early morning gun battle in the Korengal Valley, in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, Aug. 13. Mullins, a native of Columbia, Mo., and Gardner, a native of Beecher City, Ill., are infantrymen with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, based at Fort Carson, Colo.(Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-011: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Army Soldier watches as U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jets destroy insurgent positions with a bomb, after a 20 minute gun battle in Kunar province Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, Aug. 13. U.S. Service Members from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, routinely engage insurgents in the volatile valley. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-011: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Army Soldier watches as U.S. Air Force F-15 Fighter Jets destroy insurgent positions with a bomb, after a 20 minute gun battle in Kunar province Afghanistan’s Korengal Valley, Aug. 13. U.S. Service Members from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, routinely engage insurgents in the volatile valley. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-012: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Army Soldier from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, watches as an artillery barrage destroys insurgent fighting positions, after a 20 minute gun battle in Kunar province Afghanistan’s Korengal valley, Aug. 13.  The U.S. Army’s 9,900 pound M-777 Howitzer Artillery Cannon is capable of firing a 105 pound round up to 18 miles. Soldiers throughout Afghanistan rely heavily on its lethal fire power to eliminate insurgent positions, which are often too heavily fortified to be destroyed by rifle fire. International Security Assistance Forces across Afghanistan have increased operations in recent months, in order to ensure safety and security during Afghanistan’s second national election, scheduled for the end of August. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

090813-A-1211M-012: KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A U.S. Army Soldier from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, watches as an artillery barrage destroys insurgent fighting positions, after a 20 minute gun battle in Kunar province Afghanistan’s Korengal valley, Aug. 13. The U.S. Army’s 9,900 pound M-777 Howitzer Artillery Cannon is capable of firing a 105 pound round up to 18 miles. Soldiers throughout Afghanistan rely heavily on its lethal fire power to eliminate insurgent positions, which are often too heavily fortified to be destroyed by rifle fire. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller, 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)


I got an email last week, wondering if our soldiers and Marines were being shortchanged by a lack of support - specifically that provided by M1s and Bradleys.  My response was that those nations who were in the parts of Afghanistan where tanks were reasonably employable generally had them - the Canadians, the Germans, the Dutch, as examples.  I also pointed out that the ROE that supports the new strategy would severely limit the use of tanks, too.  The rejoinder was that bombs aren't that discriminting, either.  All of which is true, and we are accepting risk, especially in the villages and towns, of increased troop casualties.  Goes with the territory and the nature of this kind of war.

But, that doesn't mean the troops are bereft of support.  Aside from the sensor advantages, better weapons and much better training and force protection kit... as the series above shows, high explosives can still be delivered by multiple means where it can do some good.