Tag Archives: quiet professionals

Bob McCarty Weekly Recap: Oct. 18-24, 2015

Though I spent much of the week engaged in offline research and writing, I did manage to knock out a few pieces for publication. Those pieces and other details of my week appear below in this weekly recap for the week of Oct. 18-24, 2015.

Butters, my office assistant, on guard.

Sunday, Oct. 18

While I published nothing new on my website Sunday, I did manage to air some opinions on my Facebook page. For instance:

• When I learned Captain America was battling right-wing conservatives in Comicbookland, I called that “INK that st-INK-s”;

• After reading a CNN report about astronaut Scott Kelly breaking the American record for number of days in space, I said “I don’t miss him.” As far as I’m concerned, the husband of former Arizona congresswoman Gabby Giffords can stay in space indefinitely — or until he backs away from his belief that gun laws need to change because of the act of one nutcase;

• I shared a two-year-old photo (above) of Butters, my office assistant, on duty; and

• On the day before the fourth anniversary of the release of the paperback version of my first nonfiction book, Three Days In August, I shared a photo of a war hero, whose life is chronicled in the book, shaking hands with a country music superstar, Toby Keith.

Kelly Stewart & Toby Keith

Click on image above to order a copy of Three Days In August by Bob McCarty.

Monday, Oct. 19

On Monday, I published a piece that might make you sit up and take notice of what could happen, real and imagined, to your retirement plan in the not-too-distant future. At the same time, it qualifies as shameless self-promotion of my crime-fiction novel, The National Bet. Either way, I think it’s worth reading. You’ll find it under the headline, Bob McCarty: ‘I Had No Advance Knowledge of President Obama’s Sinister Plan to Hijack Your Retirement Savings.’

Click on image above to order your copy of The National Bet by Bob McCarty.

Click on image above to order your copy of The National Bet by Bob McCarty.

That same day, I marked the aforementioned publishing milestone by publishing an article under the headline, Pentagon ‘Witch Hunt’ Continues as Book About Wrongful Prosecution of Green Beret Marks Fourth Anniversary. In sharing the article on Facebook, I made a statement and asked a question:

Even after beating this “drum” for more than four years, it seems too few people give a damn unless they see one of their own family members impacted by this witch hunt. Do you give a damn?

Sadly, the answer for most people is “No.”

In addition, I shared more observations and opinions on Facebook. Among them were the following:

• I wrote, “I smell a lawsuit,” after reading about a shootout at the OK Corral that mistakenly involved real bullets;

• I labeled Richard Branson’s opinion piece about drug policy a “headscratcher”;

• I wrote, “Glad to see this. I’ve never paid for a review or for social media “friends” to promote my books — and never will,” after reading a piece about Amazon suing more than 1,000 people over fake reviews; and

• I shared some old memories, including the Facebook cover photo (below) that I had used three years earlier.

My Facebook cover photo Sept. 22, 2012.

I used this graphic as my Facebook cover photo Sept. 22, 2012.

Tuesday, Oct. 20

I published nothing new on my website Tuesday, but I did use Facebook to alert people to several items, including:

• A challenge issued to folks following my coverage of the military justice saga of Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin:

Your mission should you choose to accept it: 1) Watch this interview; 2) Read the letter I sent recently to Army Chief of Staff General Mark A. Milley; and 3) Contact the officials listed at the end of this piece, and let them know you believe Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin deserves better than he’s receiving at the hands of the military justice system.

• A radioactive waste-related story I had published In January 2015; and

• Two great LifeZette articles, Time for Senate Geezers to Go and Paralyzed by Bureaucracy, by my California friend Katy Grimes.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

After coming across reports on the CBS Evening News and in the The Los Angeles Times about the inherent dangers of radioactive waste colliding with an underground fire in St. Louis County, I tried Wednesday to rekindle interest in a story I had published for the first time in January 2012 and, again, nine months ago. Published under the headline, Will Missouri Legislators Finally Decide to Pay Attention to Radioactive Waste Issues Outside of Saint Louis County?, it concerns radioactive waste issues in St. Charles County, Mo., and a state agency report due to be published in January 2016. It’s a must-read if you live anywhere near St. Louis!

Click to read about my "Uphill Battle for Answers."

Click on image above to read the story I published Jan. 23, 2012, and, again, nine months ago, about radioactive waste issues outside of St. Louis County, Mo., and about a state agency report due to be published in January 2016.

I also pointed my Facebook friends to a Washington Post article about the “trap” that is the U.S. military’s whistleblower law and how it allows general officers to “get away with it” while innocent men and women suffer. In turn, I pointed them to my own article about abuse by an Army two-star general that has a career Army officer facing sexual assault allegations made against him by a woman who is a convicted felon.

Thursday, Oct. 22

On Thursday, I covered the first several hours of the congressional “lie-athon” with a piece under the headline, House Benghazi Committee Grills Hillary Clinton. I had to stop when I, along with members of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, took a lunch break. I was afraid I might lose my lunch if I continued to watch the hearing.

Friday, Oct. 23

On Friday, I published nothing new on my website but did express disappointment over the following news items:

• I wrote, “Shaking my head in disbelief even though I’m not surprised. Or something like that,” after reading news about the Department of Justice opting against prosecuting former IRS official Lois Lerner;

• In sharing this sad news, I wrote, “I’m sick of reading reports in which ‘unnamed military officials’ are cited as having confirmed details about the activities of elite warriors. They are known as “quiet professionals” for a reason. Divulging details about their activities, even after their deaths, only serves to put future missions at greater risk. That said, I still offer my SALUTE to Sergeant Wheeler, a fellow Okie!”; and

After reading that drinking beer slows down Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, I shared a far-less-serious note, writing, “It’s true! I can’t remember the last time I shook uncontrollably after enjoying a beer,”

Saturday, Oct. 23

Today, I plan to read through some trial transcripts I received during the week while also watching some college football on television, so don’t expect anything more from me today.

FYI:  Related to one of those trial transcripts, I was able to track down the female accuser of a U.S. Soldier who had reportedly moved from her hometown in Europe to California and married a different U.S. Soldier she had met in her hometown. It turns out she didn’t move to the Golden State at all. Instead, I found proof she is living and working in another state more than a thousand miles away. Stay tuned as I try to help the Soldier she accused of rape — who’s already completed his prison sentence and is living as a convicted sex offender — have his sentence overturned. Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Horrific Tragedy Ensues After AC-130 Gunship Crew Denied Opportunity to Engage Afghan ‘Squirters’ in Tangi Valley

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article below first appeared on this site Sept. 20, 2013. Several months later, it vanished — along with nearly 5,000 others written and published since October 2006 — as detailed in a post eight months ago. Today, I rescued it from where it appears on an alternate site in order to share it in advance of the fourth anniversary of a tragic event that took place Aug. 6, 2011. It appears below with only minor modifications. Please read and share.

The images above are those of the men lost while serving their country in Afghanistan aboard a CH-47 “Chinook” helicopter — call sign “Extortion 17.”

The images above are those of the men lost while serving their country in Afghanistan aboard a CH-47 “Chinook” helicopter — call sign “Extortion 17.”

BACKGROUND

Recently, I asked the question, Did Afghan Officials Play Deadly Role in Navy SEALs Helo Crash? Today, I ask a question about a decision made by U.S. military officials in OPERATION LEFTY GROVE, an effort during which the single-largest loss of life in the history of U.S. Naval Special Warfare took place: Why Was AC-130 Crew Not Allowed to Engage Squirters?

On Aug. 6, 2011, a CH-47 “Chinook” — call sign “Extortion 17” — was shot down during the pre-dawn hours while on a mission to capture a bad guy in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province.  Among the dead, 30 Americans, most of whom were members of the U.S. Navy’s elite SEAL TEAM SIX.

Not coincidentally, many believe, the deaths of these “quiet professionals” came only weeks after Vice President Joe Biden compromised operational security by disclosing details about their unit’s involvement in a raid on Osama bin Laden‘s compound in Pakistan.

After obtaining a redacted copy of the U.S. Central Command crash investigation report — almost 1,300 pages — that had previously been classified “SECRET,” I was able to learn more than most about what reportedly transpired on the mission during which the good guys were hunting for a Taliban leader in the Tangi Valley who had been given the code name, “Lefty Grove.”

THE MISSION

A sensor operator aboard an AC-130U performs preflight system checks before takeoff at Hurlburt Field, Fla. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ali E. Flisek.

A sensor operator aboard an AC-130U performs preflight system checks before takeoff at Hurlburt Field, Fla. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ali E. Flisek.

During the evening of Aug. 5, 2011, the crew of a U.S. Air Force AC-130 aircraft — it’s not clear which version, “H’ or “U” — left Bagram Air Base was involved in what the aircraft commander told investigators was a “direct action mission.”  Shortly after arriving “on station (i.e., in the location of their mission objective),” members on the heavily-armed aircraft’s crew became aware of eight individuals “huddling up along the wall” of a building near their objective and positively identified them as possessing weapons.

“After hearing that [redacted] was going to engage those guys,” the AC-130 navigator explained to crash investigators, “we immediately asked the [redacted] if we could go overhead.  That way we could be watching from a point where we would be ready to shoot if there were any additional squirters that moved off the engagement site from [redacted].”  FYI:  “Squirter” is a term the AC-130 aircraft commander later defined as an individual who has left the target compound but has not been declared hostile or shown hostile intent.

Further into the discussion, the AC-130 navigator explained what happened after the crew of another aircraft engaged the eight individuals on the ground.

“Then, at that point, [redacted] One engaged the eight pax north of the building, 120 meters west of the actual of the Lefty Grove target set, and we picked up two squirters that did not get hit or (were) less injured than the rest of their other folks… and we basically started following those guys off to the northwest.”

Then the AC-130 aircraft commander interjected with an important note.

“Really quick, an important point I think at this juncture is, we had requested to engage those two individuals, and we were denied,” he said.

Another individual, identified only as “IE” in the report, offered more details, explaining that the original engagement planned for those eight individuals on the ground was a “hell fire engagement,” but “they elected to go to the 30-millimeter due to CDE constraints.”  FYI:  CDE is short for “Collateral Damage Estimate.”

What happened when they pushed for 40mm engagement as a weapon that would result in zero CDE?

“We were denied that,” he explained.  “We were just requested to maintain track on those two squirters that were moving west.”

After some discussion of how typical mission communications play out, members of the AC-130 crew were asked by crash investigators to “kind of walk through what happened next.”

“Basically, like we said, we were passing periodic updates to [redacted],” the AC-130 navigator explained.  “The first one we passed was when the squirters were 200 meters away and, really, it was about every 200 to 300 meters we were passing along updates.

“[Redacted] I guess you talk to [redacted],” he continued.  “They said they didn’t want us to engage; what he passed to us was that they wanted to follow those guys and figure out where they stopped.  And then find out exactly where they were and then basically use that as a follow-on after they were done clearing and securing the actual Lefty Grove site.

“So, basically, we kept following them until they were about two clicks away and then they finally stopped under a piece of terrain, a small tree grove,” the AC-130 navigator explained before being asked by the deputy investigating officer to point out the grove on a graphic.

At that point, the AC-130 aircraft commander began describing how and where his crew followed the squirters to a point where they picked up six additional personnel and how his crew passed along their observations.  He also went on to explain that additional squirters had been identified in the objective area.

Eventually, the AC-130 navigator explains how the crew of Extortion — which, crew members noted later, became known to them as “Extortion 17″ only after they started seeing emails days later — enters the scenario.

“So we watched the squirters go into the building,” he explained.  “At this time [redacted] had moved out to escort Extortion into the HLZ [redacted] — after we got all information passed to us about where the HLZ actually was going to be and their route of flight.”  FYI:  “HLZ” is short for “Helicopter Landing Zone” or, depending on the circumstances, “Hot Landing Zone.”

The building inside which the squirters had taken refuge, according to the AC-130 navigator, was about 600 meters southeast of the HLZ where the crew of Extortion 17 planned to drop off members of SEAL TEAM SIX.

After some discussion of the communications that took place between air and ground elements, the AC-130 aircraft commander confirmed for the deputy investigating officer how responsibilities for watching the squirters and visually escorting Extortion 17 into the HLZ had been assigned.

Additional discussion about details of the mission followed, and the AC-130 commander described his final communications with the crew of Extortion 17 while also noting that it was a “zero illum” night.  Total darkness.

“They called three minutes out, so we are trying to figure out, we’ve got the HLZ, we are getting ready to put the burn on and we are just sitting there waiting,” the AC-130 aircraft commander explained.  “A normal one minute, we are waiting two minutes for that one minute out call to put the burn on and just waiting, and we don’t know exactly what is going on.”

He went on to explain that his crew thought about making contact with Extortion 17 but decided against.  Why?  Because, in case they were trying to work something out, he didn’t want to bother them during “this critical phase of flight.”

After noting how the crew of Extortion 17 changed their run-in heading (a.k.a., “direction of approach”), the AC-130 aircraft commander said the one-minute-out call came and his crew began to “put the burn on” — or unleashed fire to protect the helicopter as it was about to land in the HLZ.

“Shortly after the burn came on,” he explained, “I saw three RPG shots, kind of just ripple — one, two, three — coming from the south to the north.  I was in the southern part of the orbit and…what I saw was either the first or second one make an initial hit, and just a massive explosion, and it just seemed to be stationary, and it just dropped.”

MISSED OPPORTUNITY?

After reading the 55-page document containing the transcript of the crash investigation team’s conversation with an AC-130 gunship crew involved in OPERATION LEFTY GROVE, I’m convinced that orders based on Rules of Engagement (i.e., political correctness-based fear that an attack against suspected enemy combatants would result in “collateral damage”) prevented that crew from doing their job and likely resulted in the senseless deaths of 30 American warriors in Afghanistan.  And I’m not alone.

The video below features the audio track of a talk radio appearance during which Charlie Strange shared his feelings — about losing his son, Navy SEAL Michael Strange, in the crash and about the findings of the crash investigation report — with Dr. Michael Savage, host of “The Michael Savage Show.”

To read other articles about Extortion 17, click here.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.