Showing 49 posts tagged Warrior Ethos
The embodiment of warrior ethos.
US Army Captain Jennifer M. Moreno. 6 OCT 2013.
Died in Zhari district, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained during an IED attack. Also killed in the incident were Sergeant Patrick Hawkins, Sergeant Joseph Peters, and Private First Class Cody Patterson.
One was a call to help a wounded soldier struck by a blast in a booby-trapped killing field at an Afghanistan bomb-making compound.
The other was a command to stay put lest she strike another mine in the bomb belt.
The nurse from Madigan Army Medical Center chose to help the wounded soldier, and gave her life trying.
In the words of her commander, Moreno ran “into hell” to rescue a comrade on the night she was killed. Newly released narratives of the Oct. 5 battle reveal the kind of hell Moreno and dozens of Army special operators found while trying to disrupt a plot to kill civilians in the city of Kandahar.
A total of 12 bombs exploded that night — a chain reaction that took the lives of four U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 25.
The fifth bomb killed Moreno, 25, of San Diego who volunteered for a dangerous assignment supporting special operators in combat.
The 11th bomb wounded three soldiers trying to recover her body.
Moreno is Madigan’s only fatal casualty from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the hospital south of Tacoma has continuously deployed soldiers to medical facilities in combat zones.
Moreno “sacrificed her life so others could live,” her Bronze Star commendation reads.
The News Tribune previously reported Moreno’s death and covered her memorial service at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. But her award commendation, which the newspaper obtained recently, sheds more light on that chaotic day, and on the heroic steps that were taken to honor the Soldiers Creed: “I will never leave a fallen comrade.”
BREAKING UP A PLOT
Moreno is one of only 11 women from Lewis-McChord to die in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and one of only two women from the local base who were commissioned officers when they were killed.
Moreno died with Sgt. Patrick Hawkins and Spc. Cody Patterson of the Georgia-based 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and special agent Joseph M. Peters of a military police unit based in Italy.
The Army says their sacrifices stymied an attack “that would have resulted in the deaths of unknown multitudes of innocent civilians.” At least two insurgents died in the compound; two of them were wearing suicide vests.
The narratives were written to support military honors several soldiers received for their actions in the fight. Moreno posthumously received a Bronze Star. So did Hawkins and Patterson.
Spc. Samuel Crockett, who survived that bloody day, received a Silver Star for risking his life over a two-hour rescue. He played a key role in recovering Moreno’s body after the 11th blast, and in providing life-saving medical aid to a wounded soldier.
He also set off the 12th and final bomb, but it had a low detonation that did not injure him.
The battle began as the soldiers approached the compound in Kandahar’s Zhari district and called out for its occupants to surrender.
None of the insurgents inside would be taken alive.
WOMAN IN SUICIDE VEST
The first to die was an Afghan woman walking out of the compound wearing a suicide vest.
She detonated the explosive, killing herself, wounding six troops and setting off a second blast nearby. Two soldiers rushing to help troops wounded in the first blast hit the third bomb. A second enemy fighter died in those early blasts, too.
An Afghan insurgent who ran away from the building detonated the fourth explosive, another suicide vest. The bomb killed him and a military working dog named Jani.
Moreno heard a call from a staff sergeant to help a wounded soldier. At the same time, the battle’s ground commander told all of the soldiers to stay where they were.
Her Bronze Star commendation uses dry, formal military language to describe the decision she faced.
"Disregarding her own well-being," it reads, "Moreno unhesitatingly moved to assist (the soldiers) upon realizing the severity of the wounds sustained by her fellow teammates."
"While in transit, Moreno detonated Device No. 5 and was killed in action."
Few could make the same choice.
"None of us would have done what you did, running into hell to save your wounded brothers, knowing full well you probably wouldn’t make it back," the commander of Moreno’s female Special Operations support team in Afghanistan, Capt. Amanda King, later wrote in a eulogy.
The battle did not end with Moreno’s sacrifice.
"Follow me," Hawkins told Patterson as they made their move to reach the wounded.
Patterson stepped on a mine, the sixth detonation. He stumbled and hit the seventh, delivering fatal wounds to both him and Hawkins.
Peters, the military police officer, set off explosions No. 8 and No. 9 after working to clear a helicopter landing zone for medical evacuations.
Crockett arrived with a 20-soldier force dispatched to clear the area of mines and rescue the wounded. He was trained for the job as a soldier in a North Carolina-based explosives command.
He cleared space for medics to work on casualties and made his way to isolated Rangers, escorting them through the mine belt to safety. He managed to retrieve Hawkins, the fallen military dog and various pieces of sensitive military equipment without detonating more bombs.
"His focus on retrieving teammates from stranded positions ultimately preserved their lives," his Silver Star commendation reads.
Moreno’s body remained on the field.
Three soldiers from Crockett’s unit tried to retrieve her, but struck the 11th explosive.
Crockett ran to them, halting at the edge of his cleared path.
He saw his platoon sergeant injured but standing. Crockett guided him back to safe ground.
With no clear path to his two newly wounded teammates, Crockett got down to the ground and swept the earth for mines with his own hands.
He reached a private first class who lost his right leg to the bomb. Crockett applied a tourniquet and “single-handedly dragged him to an area where medics could safely render treatment.”
There was one more injured teammate left to recover from the 11th explosion. Crockett set off the final blast as he stepped to the wounded sergeant.
It didn’t kill him, so he continued with the rescue. He chose a different path, again swept the ground with his hands, and brought his teammate back to safety.
Still, Moreno’s body remained where she fell.
Crockett got as close as he could to the fallen nurse, attached a drag line to her and pulled her to the safe area.
With Moreno recovered, the operators made the call to leave the compound.
Finally, they got out of hell. They did not leave one of their own behind.
SOLDIER STORIES: A warrior’s ethos, unwavering.
Self portrait of then Pfc. Justin Watt in Iraq in 2005. Watt notified authorities when he believed members of his platoon had participated in the 2006 rape and murder of a teenage Iraqi girl and the killing of her family. Today his story is used as a teaching tool for NCO’s.
(Photo courtesy of Justin Watt. Article by Army Times staff writer Kevin Lilley, 31 JUL 2014. Source.)
WEST POINT, N.Y. — More than eight years ago, then-Pfc. Justin Watt reported members of his platoon who he believed had participated in the 2006 rape and murder of a teenage Iraqi girl in Yusufiyah and the killing of her family.
Four soldiers from the unit were later convicted in relation to the crimes at court-martial, a fifth was convicted in civilian court, and a sixth received an other-than-honorable discharge after testifying against the others.
Watt’s story has become a teaching tool — he and the noncommissioned officer who received Watt’s report, Staff Sgt. John Diem, present their experiences to soldiers under the banner of the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic.
And at every one of the more than a dozen sessions, Watt said, at least one soldier calls him a snitch. Or worse.
“They’d have me wait [backstage] until the end of an event,” Watt, who has since left service, said during a break in the Army Profession Annual Symposium here Wednesday. “And they’d watch the videos of me and they didn’t know I was there. They’d watch the videos, talk about what they’d do in my position, in John’s position, and then at the very end, they’d go ‘Oh, we’ve got a surprise,’ and I’d come out.
“I’d been listening to people talk about me for an hour. In plenty of cases, it’s less than flattering. … I’d get out, and I’d hear that, and I’d lean over the wall and I’d be like, ‘That mother …’ ”
Diem, now a recruiter in Michigan, pretty much summed up what happens next.
“One of the strengths that we bring to the table when we’re talking to midgrade and junior personnel in the Army is that we’ll fight you,” he said. “I’m going to tear down that informal leader in front of his peers. In front of God and everybody.
“The vast majority of the Army will respond to rationality when you present that thought process to them. But most people in the Army haven’t had the occasion to think deeply about these things. When you force the conversation … they’ll respond to that.”
The ability to force that conversation made Diem and Watt ideal contributors on Day 1 of a two-day symposium surrounding the Army ethic, at least from the perspective of Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the top enlisted soldier with U.S. Forces-Korea. Asked to speak at the event, Troxell told organizers that “I can give my perspective, but I need home-run hitters.”
“I had read the ‘Black Hearts’ book [an account of the presenters’ unit, 502nd Infantry Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, and its time in Iraq], and I thought, ‘What power will this bring to the conversation.’ Just the focused look on these strategic and operations leaders that were there. It was powerful.”
Media members were permitted to attend the conference but not allowed to attribute statements made during presentations to any individuals. But afterward, Watt, Diem and Troxell all emphasized some key themes of the talk during an on-the-record interview:
Skewed allegiance. Small-unit leaders and others who allow soldiers to stray from the simplest of Army rules, such as blousing their boots, may do so to inspire personal loyalty from their charges, Watt said.
As soon as soldiers become lax in those areas, “you’re not a part of the Army anymore,” he said. “You’re now in so-and-so [leader]’s Army. You’re no longer chained to that 239-year-old institution.”
This leads to over-reliance on an individual, Watt said — one who could be killed on the next patrol, or, in an even more extreme case, instill a set of beliefs so divergent from the Army’s core values that his soldiers could commit criminal acts.
‘Ninjas’ need not apply. “The cool guy” played a big part in Watt and Diem’s leadership lesson: The leader who may create the aforementioned lax rules to curry favor, or may stress his personal combat record in situations where he should be stressing something else.
“Let’s forget about the cool-guy stuff; let’s focus on what you’re supposed to be doing,” Watt said.
Diem gave more colorful examples: “The Army doesn’t want ninjas. You can be a great soldier, and nobody has to be a dual-battle ax-wielding monster.”
Defining concepts. While Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno established the symposium to define “the Army ethic,” Watt and Diem addressed some soldiers’ confused concept of loyalty as a trouble spot.
Those who disagreed with Watt’s actions (before rationality exposure, as Diem described) often cited “loyalty” as the bond between squadmates, one that would make reporting their criminal acts seem like a breach of trust. The presenters stressed the importance of loyalty to the greater good and the Army’s core values — another commenter at the conference went further, saying the loyalty should be to the Constitution, not to any uniformed agency.
Teaching the force
CAPE’s online educational materials already include videos and testimonials from the presenters. Troxell said that such materials can be the cornerstones of small-group, interactive learning sessions that will impart more to an audience of young soldiers than any amount of check-the-box PowerPoints.
“It’s got to be interactive,” he said. “Videos. Role-play. Get people involved in making decisions, instead of, ‘Slide … slide …’ ”
Watt said such instruction plays a tangible, tactical role in building a successful force.
“This is combat efficiency training,” he said, adding that senior leaders “don’t physically control anybody. … What keeps those [soldiers] from doing the wrong thing?”
Warrior ethos unwavering.
Afghan commandos of 1st SOK and National Army special forces review the mission plan one last time before Special Missions Wing flies in their helicopters, Kabul province, Afghanistan.
(U.S. Army photo by Spc. Connor Mendez, 24 DEC 2013. Article by Staff Sergeant Joseph Moore, 12 MAY 2014.)
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan commandos assigned to the 1st Special Operations Kandak quickly responded to the aide of one of their own in the Terelay Village, Chaparhar district, Nangarhar province, May 11.
The 1st SOK received reports that a 1st SOK commando had been shot by insurgents at his home while on leave. The members of the 1st SOK quickly planned and executed a quick reaction force mission to rescue the wounded commando soon after being notified.
Following the arrival at the village, the commandos located and secured the Soldier’s home and discovered he was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen. The training they received from their partnered forces served them well as they proceeded to provide tactical combat casualty care to the wounded Soldier.
The commandos transported the injured Soldier to a coalition forces hospital, where he underwent surgery for the gunshot wounds he received. The 1st SOK commando is in stable condition and is on the road to recovery.
The 1st SOK commandos exhibited their superior training and demonstrated their capability to quickly plan and conduct independent operations into an uncertain environment. Their training will continue to benefit their countrymen as they protect the people of Afghanistan from insurgents.
Curator’s Choice: OCT 2011.
His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
—from the speech “Citizenship in a Republic” by Theodore Roosevelt, at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on 23 April 1910.
Leave no man be behind
Neither in the heaviest of firefights
Nor the wasteland of their own mind,
Fighting demons that lurk in dark corners
And follow, relentless.
Biting at heels and unguarded flanks,
fraying the edges of sanity to ribbons
With needle sharp teeth
And vicious whispers.
A feast for doubt and despair
That weakens even the strongest.
For one cannot stand vigilant forever
When war is left behind
But the battlefield remains
In the heart and mind,
My head is bloody but unbowed.
If you ever want to know what a real hero looks like, this is it. His name is Ayyub Khalaf.
I’ve always maintained a long criticism of the Iraqi Police for their rampant corruption, unprofessional behavior, and lack of training. But this man is clearly an exception, and he performed with such valor and bravery that any US soldier would have been given a Medal of Honor had they done what he did.
While he was on duty during a religious pilgrimage, he observed a suicide bomber about to act. He threw his arms around the bomber, bear hugging him, just as the explosive device detonated. It killed himself as well as 5 other people. But by his action, sacrificing his life by absorbing the blast with his own body, he saved so any other innocent people.
May he rest in peace.
"If you can’t fly, Run. If you can’t run, Walk. If you can’t walk, Crawl. But, by all means keep moving." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
[And in the immortal words of Captain Malcolm Reynolds, “If you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.”]
OEW’s WARRIOR INDOC REMINDER:
Warrior INDOC™ is a means by which OEW recruits and screens potential team members to don the mask during events and fill required operational positions. We are looking for highly motivated military veterans or current service members that wish to join us in our mission of Empowering Wounded Warriors™. This is not an opportunity for individuals who wish to showcase themselves. This is an opportunity for selfless, silent professionals with a desire to honor, empower, and motivate others.
Phase I deadline is 31 October.
Operation Enduring Warrior™ (OEW) is a veteran-operated non-profit organization with a mission to honor, empower, and motivate our nation’s Wounded Veterans. Our physical, mental, and emotional rehabilitative cycle is modeled to overcome adversity and hardship through innovation, teamwork, and perseverance, ultimately enabling Wounded Veterans’ lives to go in directions they once thought impossible.
We are a 100% volunteer organization composed of current and former members of the military. Athletes don the gas mask in order to demonstrate perseverance in the face of adversity and seemingly insurmountable odds, symbolizing the challenges that our Wounded Veterans face each day.
Operation Enduring Warrior will be holding its inaugural Warrior INDOC™ January 3-5, 2014 in the Ft. Bragg, NC area. Warrior INDOC is a means by which OEW recruits and screens potential team members to don the mask during events and fill required operational positions. We are looking for highly motivated military veterans or current service members that wish to join us in our mission of Empowering Wounded Warriors™. This is not an opportunity for individuals who wish to showcase themselves. This is an opportunity for selfless, silent professionals with a desire to honor, empower, and motivate others. Pure individual athleticism will not carry you through Warrior INDOC successfully. A commitment to the mission and the team must be clearly demonstrated as well.
Warrior INDOC will span a three-phase process outlined below.
It is required that you join the Operation Enduring Warrior Community Athlete (OCA) program prior to submitting a video. You can join the mission by visiting www.enduringwarrior.org.
Phase I: October 1 — October 31, 2013
Candidates must submit a 2-minute video telling us why you want to be a member of OEW. Post the video to YouTube and send the link to your video to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the email include your name, email address, branch of service, and phone number.
Please name your video as follows: OEW Warrior Indoc-Last Name.
Submissions will be screened and assessed by members of OEW. Those who are selected to move forward will be notified via email and announced on Facebook.
Phase II: November 1 — November 30, 2013
Candidates should demonstrate dedication to the mission by utilizing their community athlete Kintera page to raise awareness and funds in support of the OEW mission. As an
all-volunteer organization, we depend as much upon the dedication and time spent by our OCAs and supporters as we do on their monetary generosity. All administrative and leadership positions within the organization are filled by volunteers — running events in the gas mask is only 10% of what we do. Therefore, we are seeking those who wish to help grow the organization and take other responsibilities within the team, not just run events. We will evaluate and select candidates not solely upon how much money they can raise, but upon vision, dedication, and enthusiasm for the mission and the effort it requires to be successful.
Those candidates who are selected to move into the final phase of Warrior INDOC will be notified via email and announced on Facebook.
Phase III: January 3 — January 5, 2014
Candidates must arrive at the designated Ft Bragg rally point on Friday January 3rd, no later than 2100. Phase III of Warrior INDOC will commence at a time to be disclosed on January 4th. Candidates should not plan to leave Ft Bragg prior to 1800 on Sunday January 5th. It is strongly recommended that you stay until Monday if you are driving yourself a significant distance.
Members of OEW will base selection of new Athletes/Team Members based on their performance and attitude at Warrior INDOC. There is no guarantee that any candidates will be selected at the end of this Warrior INDOC.
Further details, including a gear list, will be provided to candidates who successfully move into Phase III.
Safety is paramount. A physical must be provided prior to reporting to INDOC in January and candidates will be required to sign a waiver in order to begin Phase III of INDOC.
Further details will be provided as the events progress.
All questions should be directed to email@example.com.
True soldier’s spirit, a warrior’s ethos unmarred.
[He looked around at every single one that stood in that room at his behest. At his brothers in arms who had fought alongside him, and his expression said, “this is yours as well.” And he looked at every family member of the fallen in turn and it was visible in his gaze; the pain on his face said, “they should be here, it never should have happened the way it did, they failed us all.” He shared his pain and he wasn’t ashamed of it.
He is, every inch of him, what an officer should be. The military, every branch of it, needs more like him.]