Monday, April 18, 2005


It's kind of funny in a way that the right wing have always claimed that to allow women in combat would, like allowing blacks or gays into the military, "destroy unit cohesion" and so on and so forth, blah blah blah. Well, the rules say women aren't supposed to be in combat still, but in Iraq they are, and guess what? They're doing OK. Here's an excerpt from an after-action report published at Soldiers for the Truth:

The gunner on the floor of the second vehicle is revived by his TC, the squad leader, and he climbs back into the .50 cal and opens fire. The squad leader dismounted with his M4 carbine, and two hand grenades, grabbed the section leader out of the first vehicle who had rendered radio reports of their first contact. The two of them, squad leader staff sergeant and team leader sergeant with her M-4 and M-203 grenade launcher, rush the nearest ditch about 20 meters away to start clearing the natural trenchline. The enemy has gone into the ditches and is hiding behind several small trees in the back of the lot. The .50 cal and SAW flanking fire tears apart the ten enemy in the lead trenchline.

Meanwhile, the two treating the three wounded on the ground at the rear vehicle come under sniper fire from the farmer’s house. Each of them, remember one is a medic, pull out AT-4 rocket launchers from the HMMWV and nearly-simultaneously fire the rockets into the house to neutralize the shooter. The two sergeants work their way up the trenchline, throwing grenades, firing grenades from the launcher, and firing their M-4s.

The sergeant runs low on ammo and runs back to a vehicle to reload. She moves to her squad leader’s vehicle, and because this squad is led so well, she knows exactly where to reach her arm blindly into a different vehicle to find ammo-because each vehicle is packed exactly the same, with discipline.

As she turns to move back to the trenchline, Gunner in two sees an [Iraqi fighter] jump from behind one of the cars and start firing on the sergeant. He pulls his 9-mm, because the .50 cal is pointed in the other direction, and shoots five rounds, wounding him. The sergeant moves back to the trenchline under fire from the back of the field, with fresh mags, two more grenades, and three more M-203 rounds. The Mark 19 gunner suppresses the rear of the field.

Now, rejoined with the squad leader, the two sergeants continue clearing the enemy from the trenchline, until they see no more movement. A lone man with an RPG launcher on his shoulder steps from behind a tree and prepares to fire on the three Hummers and is killed with a single aimed SAW shot through the head by the previously knocked-out gunner on platform two, who now has a SAW out to supplement the .50 cal in the mount.

The team leader sergeant – she claims four killed by aimed M-4 shots.

The squad leader – he threw four grenades taking out at least two [Iraqis] and attributes one other to her aimed M-203 fire.
Those seven Americans (with the three wounded) killed in total 24 heavily armed enemy, wounded six (two later died), and captured one unwounded, who feigned injury to escape the fight. They seized 22 AK-47s, six RPG launchers with 16 rockets, 13 RPK machine guns, 3 PKM machine guns, 40 hand grenades, 123 fully loaded 30-round AK magazines, 52 empty mags, and 10 belts of 2500 rounds of PK ammo.

The three wounded MPs have been evacuated to Landstuhl. One lost a kidney and will be paralyzed. The other two will most likely recover, though one will forever have a bullet lodged between second and third ribs below his heart. No word on the three COSCOM soldiers wounded in the initial volleys. Of the seven members of Raven 42 who walked away, two are Caucasian women, the rest men – one is Mexican-American, the medic is African-American, and the other two are Caucasian -the great American melting pot.
Note this is not a “defense against” attack. Nor a true meeting engagement, the [Iraqi] forces were carrying out an ambush from prepared positions. This is an assault on a prepared position carried out by a numerically overwhelmed but superbly trained force. In hard numbers the [Iraqi fighters] even had the advantage in weight of firepower. The casualty ratio and casualty severity ratio are incredibly disproportionate.

Courage has nothing to do with gender, or color, or sexuality. It turns up everywhere. It's time we came to fully understand that.


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