The Battle for COP Keating (and how to donate to help the troops of 361 Cav)
October 7th, 2009 by MOTHAX
Battle participant: “most people back home dont even know, no one gives a shit” The American Legion does, and we're going to prove it. NUMEROUS UPDATES AT BOTTOM, PLEASE READ ALL OF THIS POST. And go look at the pictures that some folks from Texas sent in. I like it, you send me your pics and I will put them up, maybe even a new thread on it! [NOTE: In the battle for Combat Outpost Keating, the men of Bravo Troop 361 Cavalry lost every possession they had, save for the clothes on their backs. Following this blog posting is information on how to donate to the Combat Outpost Keating Relief Fund. These men have lost friends, their outpost, and all their belongings. One soldier who made it out wrote that “most people back home dont even know, no one gives a shit”. Well, many of us do. And you can prove it by giving whatever you can.] Last weekend the insurgents attacked two Combat Outposts in the Nuristan region of Afghanistan. Before we delve into the day-long battle and the aftermath, watch these videos from COP Keating that were taken this summer by Britain’s Channel 4 News photographer Stuart Webb. More:
Republic State of Texas! This marks the first time this blogger ever got misty-eyed over a sign with profanity!
It's a great day isn't it?
UPDATE: I am not adding to this, but here is an email and accompanying photo you need to see.
The guys were only getting one meal a day so I sent about $500.00 worth of food so they sent this picture after they recieved it. Two fallen sodiers are in it. My son is the one standing center in the back with a cap and hand in pocket. I am so proud of all these men. Thank you so much for your efforts. They really need to know this battle and loss of life was not in vain. - Mary Henry. ( By the way, my son's name is Sgt Eric Harder)
It began before dawn — a devastating, well-planned attack. About 300 insurgents swarmed out of a village and mosque and attacked a pair of isolated American outposts in a remote mountainous area of eastern Afghanistan with machineguns, rockets and grenades. They first stormed the Afghan police post at the foot of the hill in the province of Nuristan, a Taleban and al-Qaeda stronghold on the lawless Pakistan border. They then swept up to the Nato post. The battle lasted all day. American and Afghan soldiers finally repelled them, with the help of US helicopters and warplanes — but at heavy cost. Eight American soldiers and two Afghan policemen were killed, with many injured. It was the worst attack on Nato forces in 14 months, and one of the deadliest battles of the eight-year war.According to Bill Roggio of Long War Journal:
The US military described the attackers as “Nuristani tribal militia” and said that “the sources of the conflict in the area involve complex tribal, religious and economic dynamics.” Afghan officials described the attackers as Taliban, Uzbek, and Arab fighters who crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan.The story itself absolutely epitomizes the spirit of America's warriors. Karen Russo of ABC news boarded a MEDEVAC bird heading to pick up the wounded:
Flying into the besieged Afghan base during a nighttime firefight this weekend was a harrowing mix of overwhelming noise, stomach dropping maneuvers and shadows hurrying through the gloom. When the chopper lifted off moments later with three wounded soldiers, it left behind others who were wounded but refused to be MEDEVACED out of the combat zone so they could return to fight with their buddies.Even as the battle raged around them...
Soldiers told the MEDEVAC crew that troops were donating blood during the battle, so it could be transfused into wounded comrades.The MEDEVACS took the casualties out and took them to a forward surgical base. Here is an account from a medical professional who worked on the wounded. (WARNING: What follows is incredibly graphic.) From the Military Blog Household 6 in a blog posting entitled "SGT Daddy's Story":
The morning began with the siren signaling incoming. I ignored it. I hate putting on my gear and besides the big boy voice had dutifully reminded me that I should remain in hard shelter. I didn’t argue by deed or word. In the meantime the 155’s began to blaze away in support of some action that did not affect me. Later I was called out of my room to help in the aid station. Two of the COB (combat operations base ) were in the midst of a full on assault by the Taliban... The first litter patient came in and there was no time to affix the wrist band so I followed him back. My heart was racing. I put the bracelet on quickly and got the hell out of the way as the FST began quickly in a measured fashion working on the patient. I think he was American. I hurried back to the door as the next patient was coming in. It was an Afghan Army Soldier. I again followed the casualty to affix his bracelet. I again met the next patient at the door. It was another Afghan soldier. He could walk but he had to be guided in as his was face bandaged up. With shaking hands I put on the bracelet. The medics got him on a stretcher and began assessing his wounds. PFC H would later recount how the soldier had taken shrapnel to the face and lost both eyes, his nose and some of his lip. The next casualties coming in were to be all ambulatory. Some of us had 5 minutes to collect ourselves. For most it meant cleaning up and resetting for the due in casualties. For the FST, it continued to be a fight to save a soldiers life.An ISAF Press Release stated succinctly that:
"My heart goes out to the families of those we have lost and to their fellow Soldiers who remained to finish this fight," said Col. Randy George, commander of Task Force Mountain Warrior. "This was a complex attack in a difficult area. Both the U.S. and Afghan Soldiers fought bravely together; I am extremely proud of their professionalism and bravery." Names will be withheld pending next of kin notification.For even more information on the Battle for COP Keating and the aftermath, go to the Mudville Gazette, where Greyhawk has a complete round-up. ______________________________________________________________ I began getting e-mails almost immediately from those in country, and those stateside who were worried about deployed loved ones. One email in particular from a combatant in the battle hit me particularly hard. It read, in part:
“most people back home dont even know, no one gives a shit”We care. Now prove it. Here is where to donate online using your credit card. Here is where to mail checks: COP Keating Relief Fund PO Box 1954 Indianapolis 46206 Here is an online form that you can send in with your checks. Make sure you have COP Keating Relief Fund on the check so we can allocate it correctly. [Taking down direct mailing address until it is cleared through an actual contact in country.] Since creating the secure online donation form Wednesday afternoon, donations are pouring in. The American Legion could not be happier. At my latest count we are nearing $6,000. All the soldier’s necessities have been taken care of. We are now focusing on buying comfort items. There are a lot of moving parts on this, but I have been working with Veterans of Valor. They distribute top of the line iPods that come with 10 movies and a bunch of songs already on the iPod. There are 56 guys not MEDEVAC'd. At $300 a pop that is $16,800 which is my new goal. I plan to buy them next week and get movies and songs loaded on and shipped immediately. If I don't get that amount, we will dial it back and ship 56 somethings. If they are not as high quality as the topnotch ones, so be it. But no soldier will go unloved as our friends at Soldiers' Angels like to say. What I still need is transport. I have transport provided by Gryphon Airlines from Kuwait to Kandahar. I still need transport from here to Kuwait if someone knows someone who knows someone… this may be rectified shortly, as there is someone also working on the transport side. THIS HAS BEEN PHENOMENAL. Please keep the word out there. A Special Thanks to Tankerbabe from Cow Pastures to Kosovo who was spearheading entire shipments of things. I will have more "Thank You"'s later when I sort through the hundreds of emails. UPDATE: Over $8000 and 87 donors. That is a phenomenal amount of money. I thank each and every one of you personally now, and will be following up with you. UPDATE: Sent from the great
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