Friday, April 10, 2015

Fullbore Friday

Via Gretel C. Kovach, this is how it is done;
The operation began well, but “things don’t always go as planned,” Jacklin recalled. His team of less than 10 Marines supported by Afghan National Army and local police ended up in a hellacious two-day battle.

The two wounded Marines were shot on a rooftop during an initial volley of enemy gunfire from rifles, machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Their team leader, Capt. Derek Herrera, was instantly paralyzed. A sergeant appeared already to have expired.

As bullets shot past them, the Marines pulled the wounded off the building and started first aid.

Jacklin, who was serving his second tour to Afghanistan after three in support of the war in Iraq, took command. Their communications link was down, but he found a way through a supporting unit to summon firepower from artillery and aircraft.

Evacuating the wounded was paramount. “If you get hit, just get to the chopper,” Jacklin told his team as they prepared to run to the landing zone. “We’ll figure it out later.”

They blew a hole in the wall and threw smoke grenades for cover. “The men ... charged out into the heaviest barrage of gunfire I’ve seen in over 10 years of heavy combat, to get the job done. Their resolute determination and violence of action coupled with divine intervention secured the lives of (two Marines) that day,” Jacklin said.

The helicopters waved off because of all the gunfire. Out in the field, the Marines shielded the wounded with their bodies and kept shooting. “Jacklin remained in the open, raining M203 grenades on the enemy and directing the fires of his team, until the aircraft could land,” his citation says.

That night, the Marines were reinforced by a larger team of Navy SEALs, who suffered additional casualties. “Throughout a raging battle all the next day, (Jacklin) provided vital intelligence, tactical assistance, and deadly accurate personal fires. Throughout 48 hours, he inspired all around him as he led a vicious fight to defeat a determined enemy force.”

About 20 enemy fighters were killed, according to another medal citation. Both of the wounded Marines survived.

The team had been outnumbered and outgunned, surrounded by local fighters in a superior geographic position. “Everything was working against that team, and yet through their coordinated efforts, through their expertise, and through their ability to support each other, they generated a force and a lethality that was much greater ...” said Maj. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, who presented the medals.

“That cohesion, that confidence, that bravery and professionalism really epitomized what that team concept is all about and what these Marines were all about.”
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