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Trigger Puller Boots on the ground, steel on target -- the pointy end of the spear.

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Old 05-26-2010   #181
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the 1431 Sappers are the "Copper Country's Own" (that coy based at the Calumet Armory about 10 mi North of me). The heritage goes back to the Houghton County Volunteers who fought in the Civil War. My best friend, when he retired, was acting topkick for the H&HC of the parent Bn (based at Ishpeming about 75 mi South of here).

Regards

Mike
Thanks Mike, would be interested at some point to hear how the guardsmen coped on the job after 2 mths preliminary training before jumping in the deep end.
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Old 05-26-2010   #182
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Default Coped OK,

from all appearances, in a dangerous business: 42 Purple Hearts, 26 Bronze Stars (roughly 115-person unit).

A few Husky Herald newsletters give some idea of the morale (and are safe, haivng all been scanned for OpSec):

January, 2009 (Training)

March/April, 2009 (In Country)

September, 2009 (Tour Ending)

From the first one, CPT Tom LaFave (CO), on training:

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So far the training here has gone well, we are well ahead of what I had expected when we left, and I know that we are getting better training than we had the last time we went to Iraq.
Of course, you have to realize that people from the Copper Country are like the Gurkhas who were overjoyed that parachutes would be issued for their first jump.

And this from one of our 2009 casualities - from Stars & Stripes, Landstuhl sees more casualties from Afghanistan than Iraq:

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Army Staff Sgt. Derek VanBuren is just one of the 100-plus, battle-wounded troops from Afghanistan treated at Landstuhl this month.

The 29-year-old from Negaunee, Mich., suffered shrapnel wounds to his shoulders July 19 when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle during a route-clearance mission in Paktika province. Also wounded in the blast were the truck’s gunner, Spc. John French, and driver Spc. David Smith, who kept pressure on VanBuren’s wound while continuing to drive.

The firefight lasted 60 minutes, VanBuren said.

VanBuren’s unit, the 1431st Engineer Company from the Michigan National Guard, got to Afghanistan in January and action began picking up in the spring, he said.

“When we got into that contact, it was very routine for us to deal with it because it’s been happening,” VanBuren said. “We’re used to it.”
As they say: Good as Done.

Regards

Mike
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Old 06-07-2010   #183
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from all appearances, in a dangerous business: 42 Purple Hearts, 26 Bronze Stars (roughly 115-person unit).
I must admit that was some 'tour'!

40% wounded, 20% bravery medals. How many KIA?

I'll bet those guys have some stories to tell.
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Old 06-07-2010   #184
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Default No KIAs,

for which, everyone was thankful.

Regards

Mike
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Old 06-08-2010   #185
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for which, everyone was thankful.

Regards

Mike
No KIA?
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Old 06-09-2010   #186
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Default Zero KIAs

among our sappers from their tour in Astan - repeat, zero KIAs.

Just over two dozen Michigan residents have been killed in Astan, 2002-2010 Michigan casualties in Afghanistan. However, that list omits at least one KIA with Michigan connections. Here's the rest of that story.

Back to some ancient history. The Sapper Company and its sibling units are "descended" from the 107th Engineers, a WWI combat engineering battalion formed in 1917 on the Michigan Tech campus and officered entirely by Michigan Tech grads. Michigan Tech was then the Michigan College of Mining and Technology (now Michigan Technological University), whose mascot is the silver husky - so, the Sappers' newsletter, the "Husky Herald".

The 107th Engineers continues to the present as our NG Bn. Meanwhile, in the 1920s, a college ROTC program was started at Michigan Tech and linked to the Army Corps of Engineers. In fact, until 1974, Tech ROTC graduates were generally commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. All of this is laid out in the article, History of Military Science at MTU (check out the uniforms in the photo of the 1928 cadets - perhaps, picked up used from the black & tans of Irish Civil War fame ?).

In 1975, John Hall graduated from Tech, became a colonel in the Army and fathered a son Ben. The latter (then 1LT Ben Hall) died in Astan in 2007, from MTU Alumni Relations:

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Benjamin Hall graduated with a bachelor's degree in social sciences. He served as the cadet battalion commander in the Tech Army ROTC program and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Army.

A paratrooper and an army ranger, Hall was deployed to Afghanistan with 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Hall was killed in action on July 31, 2007. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for heroism and the Purple Heart.

Born in Texas, the son of army colonel and Tech alumnus John Hall '75, Hall moved around a lot as a child but throughout his life remained fixed on achievement. At Tech, he majored in social science and earned many awards in the ROTC program. He earned the rating of Distinguished Military Graduate, and ranked among the top cadets across the nation when he graduated.

He continued to excel while on active duty. He earned the Army's Combat Infantry Badge and Expert Infantry Badge; was one of only twenty-two soldiers in the 173rd Airborne Brigade to be awarded the title of True Blue; and was instrumental in creating a new infantry company, called Destined, in his regiment.

His family remembers him as "giving and humble - the type of guy people were drawn to." Hall is survived by his parents, two sisters, and a brother, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

In 2008, Hall's family accepted the Outstanding Young Alumni Award in his honor.

Excerpted from Michigan Tech Magazine, Fall 2008
Rest in Peace.

Mike

Last edited by jmm99; 06-09-2010 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 06-09-2010   #187
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among our sappers from their tour in Astan - repeat, zero KIAs.
Thats fantastic!

It would be interesting to (discretely) follow the progress of the more seriously wounded as they rehab and fit back into society, their jobs and their families.

My experience informs me that these guys need some (physical and emotional) care and constant follow up. Sure you guys are onto that.

Well done Mike.
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Old 02-12-2013   #188
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Default Staff Sgt Clinton Romesha gets Medal of Honor

A short BBC report, which ends with his own comment:
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Last month, after learning he would get the award, he told a news conference: "You're not going to back down in the face of adversity like that. We were just going to win, plain and simple."
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21415533
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Old 06-11-2014   #189
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Prompted by today SWJ book review of 'The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor' by Jake Tapper, Little Brown, 2012, 673 pages, I thought a link should be added, especially as the comment by Move Forward indicates strongly that lessosn were learnt:http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/the-outpost

The book itself is not reviewed in this thread, but on SWJ in February 2013:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...american-valor
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