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Thread: Punishment in Syachow

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    DeRidder LA

    Default Punishment in Syachow

    A recent history lesson that should be of interest:

    "On first contact, Wells had reported in to the TF 31 Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and had requested CAS. A few minutes later, when he was able to make a better assessment, he provided a more detailed report to the TOC and the battalion commander. Wells’ first thought was to identify the locations of all of his Soldiers. He could see them, but he needed to con*firm exact locations before the CAS arrived. He knew the enemy pinned down his elements, but his three positions also isolated the enemy force in Syahcow. His first priority was to maintain those positions, then use them to his advantage by eliminating the fire he was receiving from the moun*tains to the west.21

    At the TF 31 TOC, the operations officer, MAJ Richard Reese, and the battle captain, CPT William Hart, began coordinating for the CAS and other needed battalion assets. Bolduc, the battalion commander, dis*cussed the situation with Wells and decided he would ask the commander of Regional Command (RC) South for the QRF. While Toolan coordinated the request, Bolduc spoke with the RC South commander about his assess*ment and request for the QRF. Then Bolduc informed the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) of the situation."

    This history lesson uses a chapter from In Contact! Case Studies from the Long War, Volume I by Dr. William G. Robertson, General Editor. "Punishment in Syahcow, Afghanistan, 25 July 2005" by Pete Boission relates a battle pitting the two ODAs from 1st Battalion 3rd Special Forces Group, a platoon from C Company, 2-503d, 173rd Airborne Brigade, and various Afghan forces against a Taliban force in southern Afghanistan in July 2005.

    The chapter is instructive at many levels. It highlights the role of bottom up intelligence in COIN and the role of planning in conducting combat patrols to both gain and exploit that intelligence. In this fight the ODA commander CPT Christopher Wells mounted a combat patrol to find, fix, and finish a Taliban force that had established itself in a village. Using his own US and Afghan forces, close air support, and a quick reaction force from the 2-503rd, Wells dealt the Taliban a stinging defeat.

    In keeping with the wishes of 1st Battalion 3rd SFG this history lesson is dedicated to the memory of SSG Michael Schafer. 2d Battalion, (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. To quote then Captain Wells from the chapter, "My former teammates and I all met on the 1-year anniversary of the battle of Syahcow in order to remember that without Mike and his fellow infantrymen we might not have survived that day. We will always be in his debt and we will never forget.”
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