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Thread: OP Shal

  1. #1
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005

    Default OP Shal

    I had the honor of talking to one of the Soldiers involved in this battle and it will no doubt go down in the history of this conflict as one of the epic platoon size battles. While the battle says a lot about the Taliban and Pakistan that have significant implications, I just want to focus on the heroics of this platoon who fought for 8 days straight to overcome the odds. These articles don't come close to capturing what I heard today, so I hope the Army publishes a historical piece on the battle eventually.

    Throughout the intense fighting, the besieged defending force of 36 U.S. and Afghan army soldiers fought off multiple suicide bombers and at least four overrun attempts by between 400 and 500 heavily armed insurgents, who had been trucked in from Pakistan and who managed to advance to within 5 m of U.S. positions. Afterward, the soldiers confirmed 115 kills and estimated at least 200. "It was the most coordinated thing any of us had ever seen, but just the sheer number of forces they had massing on that position was ridiculous," Staff Sergeant Everett Bracey, of 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 2-27 Infantry Battalion, told TIME. (Watch TIME's video "A New Season of Fighting in Afghanistan.")

    The attackers were reinforced and resupplied throughout the fight from bases and depots in the safe haven provided by Pakistan. "We saw 60 vehicles come out of Pakistan -- just drive in," said Staff Sergeant Anthony Fuentes, looking at a topographical map a few days after the battle. "This whole route, it goes all the way up into Pakistan. It's a two-hour trafficable route from the border." Added company commander Captain Michael Kolton: "It was Pashtuns and Arabs and Chechens and Punjabis -- everyone and their sister joined in on this one."

    The defenders of OP Shal also recognized that their attackers had been well trained. "They used the standard operating procedures that the U.S. Army uses," explained Fuentes. "We expected contact, but we didn't expect that. Their fire was so heavy and precise that to get up and look at their near sector, the joes just had to say, 'O.K., I'm just going to eat one in the face just to get up and see if somebody is moving on me.' And every time they lifted their head up, there was somebody there."

    For three days, the enemy relentlessly attacked Observation Post Shal in Afghanistanís Kunar province.

    And for three days, Cpl. Michael A. Moynihan led his fellow soldiers in a fierce defense of their OP, directing attacks and providing covering fire even though it exposed him to the intense enemy barrage. A mortar hit his position and knocked him unconscious; after he came to, Moynihan continued to lead the fight.

    For his actions Oct. 11-13, Moynihan was awarded the Silver Star, the third-highest award for valor.
    More medals awarded and more pending after an epic battle where 400-500 Taliban repeatedly tried to overrun the Combat Outpost.

  2. #2
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Default Damn right I would fight you


    The last passage in the first linked article struck me, citing a Staff Sgt. Goodell:
    They're motivated. I tell my soldiers this exact same thing: If they were to come into our country, into the United States of America, and they were walking in your front yard, what would you do? Damn right I would fight you, and then I'd find all my friends and we'd fight you, and then I'd find their friends, and then we'd come and fight you. And after I died, my son and their sons and their friends' sons would all come fight you. Of course. We're in their backyard.
    I note no mention of supporting air or artillery.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-23-2012 at 09:25 AM.


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