Friday, August 06, 2010

Fullbore Friday


In the finest traditions of the United States Marine Corps.
With no air or artillery support, the Marines of Embedded Training Team 2-8 were trapped deep in a kill zone in eastern Afghanistan. Their radios worked only sporadically, and dozens of insurgents fired on them repeatedly from three sides.

“We’re surrounded!” Gunnery Sgt. Edwin Johnson yelled into his radio in the early-morning hours of Sept. 8, 2009. “They’re moving in on us!”

At least twice, a two-man team attempted to rescue their buddies, using an armored vehicle mounted with a .50-caliber machine gun to fight their way toward them. They were forced back each time by a hail of bullets, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars. An enemy bullet hit the vehicle’s gun turret, piercing then-Cpl. Dakota Meyer’s elbow with shrapnel. He shook it off, refusing to tell the staff sergeant with him because he didn’t want to make the situation worse, according to U.S. Army documents outlining a military investigation of the ambush.

What he did next will live on in Marine Corps lore — and, some say, should earn him consideration for the Medal of Honor.

After helicopter pilots called on to respond said fighting was too fierce for them to land, Meyer, then 21, charged into the kill zone on foot to find his friends. Under heavy fire, he reached a trench where the pilots had spotted the Marines, by then considered missing.

He found Johnson, 31; Staff Sgt. Aaron Kenefick, 30; 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, 25; Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James Layton, 22; and an Afghan soldier they were training — all dead and bloody from gunshot wounds. They were spread out in the ditch, their weapons and radios stolen.

“I checked them all for a pulse. There [sic] bodies were already stiff,” Meyer said in a sworn statement he was asked to provide military investigators. “I found SSgt Kenefick facedown in the trench w/ his GPS in his hand. His face appeared as if he was screaming. He had been shot in the head.”

Rather than give up, Meyer, of Greensburg, Ky., fought to bring his buddies back home. Bleeding from his shrapnel wound and still under fire, he carried their bodies back to a Humvee with the help of Afghan troops, and escorted them to nearby Forward Operating Base Joyce, about a mile to the northeast of Ganjgal.
Marines learn their history and live it. Reading this reminded me of Chosin.

This as well is worth a ponder.
Investigating officers said at least two service members in the field that day “stand out as extraordinary examples of heroism worthy of the highest recognition.” The names of the troops cited for bravery were redacted from the report, and it is unclear if Meyer or another service member may be under consideration for the Medal of Honor or another high-level award.
Hat tip NavyTimes.

53 comments:

Byron said...

Uuurrrraaah! Devil Dogs! Full Bore!

LT B said...

All is not lost.  At least part of the USN/USMC team is working hard, with honor, courage and commitment despite the impediments from DC.  Oorah!

Salty Gator said...

This makes up for the protestors I had to wade through this morning who were condemning the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Leave No One Behind.

FULLBORE.

Andy said...

No Marine left behind...RIP LT Johnson, GYSGT Johnson, SSGT Kenefick, HM3 Layton & their Afghan warrior.  It's time more of our Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen be seriously considered for awarding of the CMOH for thier actions in this conflict, as well as a revisiting of other reductions in awards that came out of "Mr. Bush's War" in Iraq.

Thanks for posting this Sal, I will be forwarding it in print form to my son in PLC-Juniors at Quantico.

surfcaster said...

Where was this protest?


Great selfless act of courage and honor for one's buddies.

Warrant Diver said...

Wow Andy, I agreed with you right up until the phrase "Mr Bush's War" oozed out. It was and is an American war. Just like AF. Just like all of them.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

We used to see those idiots at the Griffiss AFB gates every August 6th and 9th.  They knew better than to tangle with the Security Police, for the most part.

Speaking of which, the Obama World Apology Tour, Asian route, continues apace:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/08/04/ap/world/main6742029.shtml

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/08/04/tibbets-son-disapproves-plan-send-delegation-hiroshima-ceremony/

AW1 Tim said...

Nothing I can add except God Bless them all, and to give thanks that we have such men in our ranks.

Salty Gator said...

Pentagon

Salty Gator said...

Non Fullbore Comment:  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BYRON!

Outlaw 13 said...

There are Soldiers, sailors airmen and marines that have been overlooked throughout history, why would this war be any different?  That being said it is a crying shame that more actions during the current conflict haven't been recognized appropriately.

Read about this Soldier that just recieved the Silver Star and tell me that doesn't real like a MOH citation.

http://www.army.mil/-news/2010/07/30/43103-joint-base-lewis-mcchord-nco-receives-silver-star/

MR T's Haircut said...

You know this needs to be the focus for our leaders and AWARD them the damn MEDAL OF HONOR.. you just might lucky Diversity Directorate, one of em may be a two-fer...

GOD BLESS our MARINES and SAILORS.

LT B said...

I thought it was sarcasm in how the lefty loos read the war and thus influence the awarding of commendations.  I could be wrong.  Wouldn't be the first and most certainly not the last.

surfcaster said...

I thought sarcasm as well.

Warrant Diver said...

If it was sarcasm and I missed it, then my apologies to Andy...as I frequently tell my boss, I am a knuckle dragging Warrant from the University of Hard Knocks and frequently overlook the subtleties sprinkled in the speech of the formally educated.
  :-P

virgil xenophon said...

Salty Gator/Grumpy Old Ham/

I always get together with friends (drinking buddies, really) and drink sake all day on the 6th & 9th to do the day up "in-your-face" right. A righteous UN-PC drunk! My father had just left the ETO having survived intact as an Inf. Company CO and was on troop-train headed to China where the Army was going to take on the 50% of the Japanese Army that wasn't in Japan when VJ day was declared and his life probably spared. No qualms or regrets about THAT decision!

DeltaBravo said...

Sniffle.   Sniffle.  Looking out for his buddies even when all hope is past.  What a man.  In the most complete fullest sense of the word.

Byron said...

Guys, the way I read Andy's comment was a jab at the left. Note that he put "Mr. Bush's War" in quotes. That's sarcasm.

ewok40k said...

That would make  fine movie - if the Hollywood would still do things like "Sergeant York"...

Outlaw Mike said...

No apologies from Japanese for Unit 731 and the gas factory on Okunoshima yet?

Kristen said...

The Marines deserve their reputation.  They earn it all over again in every generation.

Salty Gator said...

earlier comment removed.  Agree.  I should have read better.

Sparticus said...

Some acts of courage under fire are so remarkable that no honors, words, or sequence of words do them fair and proper justice. In fact, the words seem hollow and pale when describing genuine bravery.

I hope that the powers that be will come to attention, render arms smartly and bestow proper honor in this situation.

C-dore 14 said...

Salty, You have my sympathies both for the protestors and for duty at the Pentagon.

Salty Gator said...

I feel worse about the latter.  I can deal with the former.

C-dore 14 said...

GOH, Out here near Puget Sound we have the "Plowshares" guys.  Last fall a few of them jumped the fence at Sub Base Bangor and were wandering around looking for nuclear weapons to pour blood on.  Fortunately (for them) the Marines caught them before they got to "Deadly Force Authorized" territory.

Tonight they'll be lighting paper lanterns at Green Lake in Seattle.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

C-dore 14,  that's the same bunch.  They broke into the alert pad on Griffiss in 1983 and banged on an armed B-52 with hammers, then poured fake blood on a couple of the AGM-68s.  Apparently they pulled a similar stunt in 1991 but in the meantime they and others of their ilk would hang out at the gates the first week of every August.

I'll not defile this FbF post with any links to their "writings".

Byron said...

(mumble mumble mumble) Thanks, Salty! I don't feel a day over 60 ;)

Redeye80 said...

As much as I would like to see this act bestowed a high award, the fact the young Marine is still alive is an automatic no go for the MOH.

Remember this is the same SecDef who gathered a special committee to deny a Marine recommendation for the MOH.  This special committee decided in the comfort of thier easy chairs in DC that the act could not have happened despite the eye witness accounts from the field. 

Face it our award system is broken.  Read the Navy Cross citations from OIF/OEF and compare them with past MOH.  I can't see the difference but then again, I am not a political appointee.

家唐銘 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。............................................................

Wharf Rat said...

Fullbore

Curtis said...

I live a mile from MCRD.  I visit once a week or so.  It brings to mind growing up on various Army Posts as Vietnam persisted.  Very young men wearing Silver and Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts striding along smartly.

I flew to San Antonio last weekend with a women who was wearing a "support the troops" band on her wrist.  Her husband was over there somewhere.

God blesss them all.

jct said...

I had the privilege of meeting Dakota Manning Thursday morning, he was out visiting San Diego.  At the time, I didn't know who he was or what he had done, but I identified him as a Marine immediately.  He definitely had a presence about him.  He was very interested & enthusiastic about what he was doing and presented himself well.

Unfortunately, he is out of the Corps now.

Outlaw Mike said...

Byron, August 6 is your birthday? Mine too. I hit 45 yesterday.

Luckily, I look ten years younger.

Or so I kid myself. Mumble mumble mumble.

surfnuccpo said...

HOOYAH Marine!  THAT is exactly why there is still hope for the future of our great country.  Thanks for sharing.

DeltaBravo said...

Happy birthday to you too, Mike.  :-D

DeltaBravo said...

Has anyone succeeded in making the Pentagon levitate yet?  I'm still trying to figure out the protesters with the signs about Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Umm... that was 65 years ago.  How many of those protesters are even breathing because their grandfathers or fathers weren't killed in some bloodbath in Tokyo following a land invasion?  Anyone under the age of 65 has to contemplate what that bomb meant for their own existence on this planet. 

Salty Gator said...

I'm still red in the face over the France thread, but happy birthday, mike

Salty Gator said...

by the way, you guys are totally old

Salty Gator said...

I'm breathing because of the bombing.  My grandfather was in 1st MARDIV. His final combat action was Okinawa.  he would have been in the first wave to hit the beach after the UDT's cleared the mines.

C-dore 14 said...

Salty, During the past year I've read several first person accounts of combat in the Pacific Theater during WW II.  All of the authors, including a couple of liberals, wrote of how happy and/or relieved they were when they heard that the Bomb had been dropped.

Byron said...

Mind that gator hole, youngster, lest you get your butt kicked halfway to San Diego and back... ;)

Outlaw Mike said...

Thx Deltabravo and Salty. Enjoy, Oh Young Man, Thy Youth.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I doubt if the protesters know or care that A) the  Phillipines were part of the US at the time, being our Terriroey, and that the Japanese killed 100,000 Philipino-Americana during the Battle of Manila.  That is 30,000 to 40,000 more people than we killed at Hiroshima.

I know that they don't care about the 300,000 Chinese that the Japanese murdered during the Rape of Nanking.

Grumpy Old Ham said...

<span>I'm pretty sure that I too am around because we used Little Boy and Fat Man.  See, dad survived the Luftwaffe's best attempts to shoot him out of the sky during 50 B-24 missions over Europe.  That should have been enough, but he was one (of many) who returned to the States to start training in the B-32, which would have been used alongside B-29's on bombing missions supporting Operation Downfall.  Given the air situation over Japan at the time it's highly unlikely he would have fallen victim to the IJAAF but there were still many other ways to sustain losses in the bomber force.  
 
No one will ever convince me that the course of action selected didn't ultimately save more lives than the execution of Downfall.</span>

Quartermaster said...

My uncle was killed at Chosin. It took the Marines two years to recover his body and they were deply apologetic that it took so long.

ewok40k said...

Phillipines actually were granted independence by the US in the 30s, and US were training Phillipino army in 1941 (Mc Arthur to be precise). US were merely aiding friends. OTOH many US soldiers managed to escape hell of the Japanese POW camps by embedding into Phillipino resistance after 1942...

ewok40k said...

the most lives saved by the nukes were actually Jpanese... I doubt many of the 20million strong malnourished levy en masse armed with bamboo lances and one grenade in 10 people would survive contact with battle-hardened veterans of the D-Day, Bulge, Okinawa, armed with the best weapons of the time...

DG said...

Good God. That was an almost superhuman feat, between carrying a wounded comrade, humping that MG, and then covering the platoon's retreat. That's Silver Star material.

Then the guy put his wounded comrade behind cover and charged the enemy so that his patrol could escape. In past wars "charging enemy position with machine gun to cover comrades" was MoH fodder. Talk about a guy you don't want to piss off...

How is this not at LEAST a DSC?

Therapist1 said...

No matter who you are, you can not read this and not hink him courageous and worthy of commendation.

USMC Steve said...

Watch,  There will be like maybe two bronze stars awarded.  The Corps seems of late to think that awards higher than that will offend someone or some insane shit like that.  NOw, if it had been officers, the awards would be suitably higher, as has been the trend for the last several years.  Wonder why that might be?  It is like they have to pay for the medals out of the commandant's pocket or something.

If there is suitable publicity, they might upgrade to silver stars for the two Marines, but I tend to doubt it.

USMC Steve said...

One other thought on MOH awards.  I honestly believe the Corps only went after the one it awarded because the Army had already done so, and by God we will not be outdone by those damned doggies.

Anonymous said...

What this story doesn't tell you is how the US Army just about left all these Marines out there to die. Where was their air and arty support? Repeatedly denied. Where was the Quick Reaction Force? In an assembly area refusing to go in and help suppress the enemy maybe a 1000 yards away. I know "the other Marine who showed extraordinary heroism" very well. He told me exactly what happened. Had they not been left without support, perhaps they wouldn't have had to demonstrate such heroism. Trust me when I say they would trade the lives of the 4 Marines and 15 Afghan army soldiers they were with for any piece of hardware. This is just as bad as the Pat Tillman cover-up.