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Afghan report--a Marine perspective

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by luvmyRugers, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. luvmyRugers

    luvmyRugers G&G Evangelist

    I received this in a email from a friend. Not sure of the source but found it interesting. Especially the "facts" about caliber and models of weapons...luvmyRugers

    "Fascinating “nitty gritty” on the weapons, tactics, and results of our guys in Afghanistan as well as those of the enemy. Also, the identity of the enemy is very interesting.

    This email is from a Marine who's in Afghanistan; his buddy Jordan provides many of the details.

    No politics here; just a Marine with a bird's eye view opinion.

    US Weapons :

    1) The M-16 rifle : Thumbs down. Chronic jamming problems with the talcum powder like sand over there. The sand is everywhere. Jordan says you feel filthy 2 minutes after coming out of the shower. The M-4 carbine version is more popular because it's lighter and shorter, but it has jamming problems also. They lack the ability to mount the various optical gun sights and weapons lights on the picatinny rails, but the weapon itself is not great in a desert environment.

    They all hate the 5.56mm (..223) round. Poor penetration on the cinder block structure common over there and even torso hits can't be reliably counted on to put the enemy down.

    Fun fact :

    1) Random autopsies on dead insurgents show a high level of opiate use.

    2) The M243 SAW (squad assault weapon): .223 cal . Drum fed light machine gun. Big thumbs down. Universally considered a piece of sh-t. Chronic jamming problems, most of which require partial dis-assembly (that's fun in the middle of a firefight).

    3) The M9 Beretta9mm : Mixed bag. Good gun performs well in desert environment; but they all hate the 9mm cartridge. The use of handguns for self-defense is actually fairly common. Same old story on the 9mm: Bad guys hit multiple times and still in the fight.

    4) Mossberg12 ga . Military shotgun : Works well, used frequently for clearing houses to good effect. (Great weapon - I used these when transporting prisoners.

    5)The M240 Machine Gun : 7.62 NATO (.308) cal . belt fed machine gun, developed to replace the old M-60 (what a beautiful weapon that was!) Thumbs up. Accurate, reliable, and the 7.62 round puts 'em down. Originally developed as a vehicle mounted weapon, more and more are being dismounted and taken into the field by infantry. The 7.62 round chews up the structure over there.

    6) The M250 calheavy machine gun : Thumbs way, way up. "Ma Deuce" is still worth her considerable weight in gold. The ultimate fight stopper - puts their dicks in the dirt every time. The most coveted weapon in-theater.

    7) The .45 pistol: Thumbs up. Still the best pistol around out there. Everybody authorized to carry a sidearm is trying to get their hands on one. With few exceptions, one can reliably be expected to put 'em down with a torso hit. The special ops guys (who are doing most of the pistol work) use the HK military model and supposedly love it. The old government model ..45's are being re-issued en masse.

    8) The M-14 : Thumbs up. They are being re-issued in bulk, mostly in a modified version to special ops guys. Modifications include lightweight Kevlar stocks and low power red dot or ACOG sights. Very reliable in the sandy environment, and they love the 7.62 round .

    9) The Barrett.50 cal sniper rifle : Thumbs way up. Spectacular range and accuracy and hits like a freight train. Used frequently to take out vehicle suicide bombers (we actually stop a lot of them) and barricaded enemy. It is definitely here to stay.

    10) The M24 sniper rifle : Thumbs up. Mostly in .308 but some in 300 win mag . Heavily modified Remington 700's. Great performance. Snipers have been used heavily to great effect. Rumor has it a marine sniper on his third tour in Anbar province has actually exceeded Carlos Hathcock's record for confirmed kills with OVER 100.

    11) The new body armor : Thumbs up. Relatively light at approx. 6 lbs. and can reliably be expected to soak up small shrapnel and even will stop an AK-47 round.

    The bad news : Hot as sh-t to wear, almost unbearable in the summer heat (which averages over 120 degrees). Also, the enemy now goes for head shots whenever possible. All the bull sh-t about the "old" body armor making our guys vulnerable to the IED's was a non-starter. The IED explosions are enormous and body armor doesn't make any difference at all in most cases.

    12) Night Vision and Infrared Equipment : Thumbs way up. Spectacular performance. Our guys see in the dark and own the night, period. Very little enemy action after evening prayers. More and more enemy being whacked at night during movement by our hunter-killer teams. We've all seen the videos.

    13) Lights : Thumbs up. Most of the weapon mounted and personal lights are Surefire's, and the troops love'em. Invaluable for night urban operations. Jordan carried a $34 Surefire G2 on a neck lanyard and loved it. I can't help but notice that most of the good fighting weapons and ordnance are 50 or more years old! With all our technology, it's the WWII and Vietnam era weapons that everybody wants! The infantry fighting is frequent, up close and brutal. No quarter is given or shown.

    Bad guy weapons :

    1) Mostly AK47's : The entire country is an arsenal. Works better in the desert than the M16 and the .308 Russian round kills reliably. PKM belt fed light machine guns are also common and effective. Luckily, the enemy mostly shoots like sh-t. Undisciplined "spray and pray" type fire. However, they are seeing more and more precision weapons, especially sniper rifles. ( Iran, again)

    2) The RPG : Probably the infantry weapon most feared by our guys. Simple, reliable and as common as dogsh-t. The enemy responded to our up-armored Humvees by aiming at the windshields, often at point blank range. Still killing a lot of our guys..

    3) The IED : The biggest killer of all. Can be anything from old Soviet anti-armor mines to jury rigged artillery shells. A lot found in Jordan 's area were in abandoned cars. The enemy would take 2 or 3 155 mm artillery shells and wire them together. Most were detonated by cell phone and the explosions are enormous. You're not safe in any vehicle, even an M1 tank. Driving is by far the most dangerous thing our guys do over there. Lately, they are much more sophisticated "shape charges" (Iranian) specifically designed to penetrate armor.

    Fact : Most of the readymade IED's are supplied by Iran, who is also providing terrorists (Hezbollah types) to train the insurgents in their use and tactics. That's why the attacks have been so deadly lately. Their concealment methods are ingenious, the latest being shape charges, in Styrofoam containers spray painted to look like the cinderblocks that litter all Iraqi roads. We find about 40% before they detonate, and the bomb disposal guys are unsung heroes of this war.

    4) Mortars and rockets : Very prevalent. The soviet era 122 mm rockets (with an 18 km range) are becoming more prevalent. One of Jordan 's NCO's lost a leg to one. These weapons cause a lot of damage "inside the wire." Jordan 's base was hit almost daily his entire time there by mortar and rocket fire, often at night to disrupt sleep patterns and cause fatigue (It did). More of a psychological weapon than anything else. The enemy mortar teams would jump out of vehicles, fire a few rounds, and then haul *** in a matter of seconds.

    Fun fact : Captured enemy have apparently marveled at the marksmanship of our guys and how hard they fight. They are apparently told in Jihad school that the Americans rely solely on technology, and can be easily beaten in close quarters combat for their lack of toughness. Let's just say they know better now.

    Bad guy technology : Simple yet effective. Most communication is by cell and satellite phones and also by email on laptops. They use handheld GPS units for navigation and "Google Earth" for overhead views of our positions. Their weapons are good, if not fancy, and prevalent. Their explosives and bomb technology is TOP OF THE LINE. Night vision is rare. They are very careless with their equipment and the GPS units and laptops are treasure troves of Intel when captured.

    Who are the bad guys? These are mostly "foreigners," non-Afghan Arab Jihadists from all over the Muslim world (and Europe). Some are virtually untrained young Jihadists that often end up as suicide bombers or in various "sacrifice squads." Most, however, are hard core terrorists from all the usual suspects (Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas etc.). These are the guys running around murdering civilians en masse and cutting heads off.

    The Chechens (many of whom are Caucasian) are supposedly the most ruthless and the best fighters. They have been fighting the Russians for years. The terrorists have been very adept at infiltrating the Afghan local govt.'s, the police forces and the Army. They have had a spy and agitator network there since the Iran-Iraq war in the early 80's.

    Bad Guy Tactics : When they are engaged on an infantry level they get their asses kicked every time! Brave, but stupid. Suicidal Banzai-type charges were very common earlier in the war and still occur. They will literally sacrifice 8-10 man teams in suicide squads by sending them screaming and firing AK's and RPG's directly at our bases just to probe the defenses. They get mowed down like grass every time (see the M2 and M240 above). Jordan’s base was hit like this often. When engaged, they have a tendency to flee to the same building, probably for what they think will be a glorious last stand. Instead, we call in air and that's the end of that more often than not. These hole-ups are referred to as Alpha Whiskey Romeo's (Allah's Waiting Room).

    We have the laser guided ground-air thing down to a science. The fast mover's, mostly Marine F-18's , are taking an ever increasing toll on the enemy. When caught out in the open, the helicopter gunships and AC-130 Spectre Gunships cut them to ribbons with cannon and rocket fire, especially at night. Interestingly, artillery is hardly used at all.

    Fun facts : The enemy death toll is supposedly between 45-50 thousand. That is why we're seeing less and less infantry attacks and more IED , suicide bomber sh-t. The new strategy is just simple attrition.. The insurgent tactic most frustrating is their use of civilian non-combatants as cover. They know we do all we can to avoid civilian casualties and therefore schools, hospitals and especially Mosques are locations where they meet, stage for attacks, cache weapons, and ammo and flee to when engaged. They have absolutely no regard whatsoever for inflicting civilian casualties. They will terrorize locals and murder without hesitation anyone believed to be sympathetic to the Americans. Kidnapping of family members, especially children, is common to influence people they are trying to influence but can't reach, such as local govt. officials, clerics, tribal leaders, etc. The first thing our guys are told is "don't get captured." They know that if captured they will be tortured and beheaded on the internet. They openly offer bounties for anyone who brings in a live American serviceman. This motivates the criminal element who otherwise don't give a sh-t about the war. A lot of the beheading victims were actually kidnapped by common criminals and sold to them. As such, for our guys, every fight is to the death. Surrender is not an option. The Afghani's are a mixed bag. Some fight well; others aren't worth a ****. Most do okay with American support.

    Finding leaders is hard, but they are getting better. Many Afghani's were galvanized and the caliber of recruits in the Army and the police forces went right up, along with their motivation. It also led to an exponential increase in good intel because the Afghani's are sick of the insurgent attacks against civilians.

    Morale : According to Jordan, morale among our guys is very high. They not only believe that they are winning, but that they are winning decisively. They are stunned and dismayed by what they see in the American press, whom they almost universally view as against them. The embedded reporters are despised and distrusted. Our guys are inflicting casualties at a rate of 20-1 and then see lies like "Are we losing in Iraq" on TV and the print media. For the most part, our guys are satisfied with their equipment, food, and leadership. Bottom line though, and they all say this, is that there are not enough guys there to drive the final stake through the heart of the insurgency, primarily because there aren't enough troops in-theater to shut down the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Iranians and the Syrians just can't stand the thought of Afghanistan being an American ally (with, of course, permanent US bases there). "

    Anyway, that's it, hope you found this interesting.
  2. jerry

    jerry G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    I think I seen this quite a few yrs ago, but believe it to be accurate. I don't think the M-16 platform is as bad, in 2003-04 when I was there last, oh my gosh 10 yrs. Anyway, people were figuring out to carry a paint brush, open the weapon up a couple time s a day and brush the dirt out. It worked well for our TACP's

    Speaking of which, God bless you Jacob Frazier, we still miss you bud.

    Jacob Frazier Remembered by the 182nd Airlift Wing
  3. variolamajor

    variolamajor G&G Evangelist

    A few years ago it was from a "soldier in Iraq". Now it's Afghanistan lol. I guess someone "updated it" and recirculated it. As such - I am skeptical of it's authenticity as it's too easy for fake "emails to circulate the web for years and years. :cool:
  4. Tracer

    Tracer G&G Aussie Dad

    my nephew likes his 240

    Attached Files:

  5. SightNSqueeze

    SightNSqueeze G&G Newbie

    This was true in Iraq at the various camps that I flew in and out of. Even Camp Fallujah -- relatively secure in 2006 and 2007 was routinely hit by mortar and rocket fire. Many of the areas were covered with #4 granite stone to cut down on dust and mud, and rows of tall concrete T-walls surrounding our thin skinned structures. I used to listen to the rounds hit the granite with a sickening CRUNCH followed by a BANG, and then wait for the stones to stop bouncing off the concrete T-walls -- and occasionally off the thin sheet metal roof of my quarters. Sometimes, it was only one round. Other times, they would hit us with a rapid succession and then they'd bug out as fast as they came. Most of the camps had 3-dimensional radar that would give a quick 2-3 second automated warning of anything airborne that wasn't supposed to be there. Nobody was killed in my living area when I was there, but I heard that some were in other areas of the camp.

    While I cannot speak for Afghanistan, that was certainly true of Iraq. By 2006, most of the Iraqi Sunni insurgents had refused to work with their foreign al-Qaida handlers and had come over to be a part of U.S. Multi-National Forces in the form of the Enlightenment Militias. Others were incorporated into the Iraqi Army and local police. Without their help, al-Qaida might never have been ejected out of Iraq. My concern now is that these guys risked everything to help us -- and themselves when they took on al-Qaida.

    Now I am concerned that this administration will gladly hang them out to dry since they prematurely took their hand off the switch in Iraq. The thing to watch out for now is a foreign Shia Hezbollah /Iranian presence in Iraq countering a return of al-Qaida. That scenario would unravel everything that was accomplished there.

    The Chechens were especially tough fighters -- far ahead of the other foreign al-Qaida insurgents. I remember a young sentry who was shot through the neck from an incredibly long range outside of Baharia. A helo flew him straight to a Navy medical unit in Camp Fallujah but he didn't make it. Through good intel, a scout sniper team managed to kill the Chechen sniper that earlier killed the Marine. The Chechen was a gray haired older man in good shape. According to his age, he likely learned his skills in the old Soviet Army, probably defected to the side of the Mujahadeen during the Soviet-Afghan War, and ultimately fought on the side of the Chechens against the new post-Soviet Russian Regime. A lot of these guys ended up fighting us and training a new generation of jihadists.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  6. TACAV

    TACAV G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Yes. This

    -And several other things, considering the "Marine author" called the M249 the wrong name.

    -Unless he is an MEUSOC or MARSOC unit and is one of the few elite ones to get issued a one of the MEUSOC 1911s the Marines are still issued the Beretta M9s and the new M45 1911 has only just been adopted and also will not be a mass issued gun either.

    -Using 300 win mag?

    The USMC sniper rifle, the M40 and all of it's variants all use the Rem 700 short action which is not capable of shooting 300 win mag.

    Only the US Army M24s use the long action and only since about 2010-2011 did the US ARMY not the Marines start to convert some of their M24 bolt guns to shoot 300 win mag.... up until a lot of their sniper weapons were replaced with the M110s.

    -The M14 was initially brought back into service as a TEMPORARY stop gap measure to act as a DMR until the military (mostly army) could field more M110s which are 7.62 Stoner/Knight designed SR25s aka the modernized AR10s.

    The M14s could not accept modern optics, had outdated stock designs that could not be used with modern optics, and were nowhere near accurate enough for the DMR role it was temporarily chosen for. The only thing it had going for it was the caliber.

    Lots of them coming out of the crates were only shooting 6 MOA from the factory... which is utter crap for a precision gun.

    They required $2-3,000 each worth of retrofitting and accurizing before they could be fielded with better barrels, stocks, etc. and before being fielded.

    And then no one could carry them because there were no logistics to make them work ie: match ammo, mags cleaning parts etc. They were very heavy with all the retro fits and then they were deployed improperly and in many cases assigned based on fire team role rather than skill. epic fail.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  7. Brandhard

    Brandhard G&G Evangelist

    Just as bunk as the last half dozen of these I've seen. I'm not going to waste my time discussing the inaccuracies in this piece.
  8. SightNSqueeze

    SightNSqueeze G&G Newbie

    There was some jumping back and forth between Iraq and Afghanistan. I had to figure that the guy had been on multiple deployments and probably hit both areas in the last decade or so. He seems to know something more about the dynamics of terrorist organizations than most -- though I would never expect Shia Hezbollah and Sunni al-Qaida to operate in the same area -- unless they were trying to kill each other. He did hit the tenacity and fighting ability of the Chechen fighters head on.

    I can't speak for any ordnance problems since I carried only an M9 and never fired a shot in anger down range. None of the MLG Marines that I was assigned to openly complained and they were still armed with older M16A2s while the Marine shooters and all of the Army troopers were armed with newer M16A4s and M4s. The biggest killer of personnel in those pre-MRAP days was due to IEDs on the open road followed by helicopter mishaps, not small arms. Finally, every Iraqi -- good and bad seemed to be armed. Safe to say that Baghdad -- acts of war aside -- had a lower crime rate than Detroit or Chicago.
  9. Brandhard

    Brandhard G&G Evangelist

    It definitely has some accurate info in it. I've just seen about a half dozen of these by now, and I don't believe that they were written by a Marine "just back from Afghanistan" "just back from Iraq" "just back from Fallujah" or whatever. It's written by some forum junkie for the fun of it. At least edited. Not to say that some of the info may not well be quite accurate.

    I would assume that the "M243 SAW" was a typo, but then it's referred to as a Squad Assault Weapon. The Army and the Marine Corp use the same TM, it's called a Squad Automatic Weapon. At least it was. The latest TM calls it a Light Machine Gun.

    The only place the M16/M4 is regarded as unreliable is on the internet and at gunshops with the "counter leaners."

    I don't believe that the .45 was issued very widely AT ALL.

    I'd kill to get some of this "6 lb" body armor he's talking about.
  10. Seabeescotty

    Seabeescotty G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Well,it was interesting to read the thoughts and opinions of the enemy. The enemy is always our main objective, to kill or harass to the point where he/she is no longer effective in the field. I'm surprised at the comment that arty isn't used much, and apparently isn't considered effective! In Nam we used it to GREAT affect, and killed a LOT of the enemy with it, and WE were using the old 105mm for the most part from air supplied firebases! It looks to me like the 155mm in batteries would be effective in decimating the enemy, if you had good fire direction. Anyway,it was an interesting read for an old warhorse who WISHES he could be more useful to the nation! All you active duty guys, we got your back and wish we could be with you!
  11. TACAV

    TACAV G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    One of my marine buddies was artillery but once he got to Iraq and all of the fighting was done in the cities and urban areas (the Iraqis were not total idiots and they remembered what happened in gulf war one when they tried to fight the US out in the open) but with all the urban fighting the use of heavy artillery went out the window due to the heavy civilian populations. Hence his artillery unit was transformed into a motor T unit.

    The wide openness of Afghanistan is a different story.
  12. Seabeescotty

    Seabeescotty G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Yeah, it seems like arty would be a big plus in the Afghan theater of operations. You get a battery of one five fives pumping out rounds, and it would seem like hell raining down from on High! I am amazed at how ACCURATE those guns are when they have a good spotter in the field!
  13. SightNSqueeze

    SightNSqueeze G&G Newbie

    All the open country fire and maneuver stuff was over when I got into Iraq. By the time I got down range, the war had settled into an insurgency war and al-Qaida was feeling the squeeze, at least in Sunni western Iraq where I was. Artillery was pretty much confined to the big bases and used to respond to attacks. Camp Fallujah had a battery of 155mm towed pieces that responded "within seconds" of an insurgent mortar or rocket attack. I am not an artilleryman, but I was told that there was a lot of radar work involved in detecting incoming and coordinating return fire -- all within a few seconds. Six big guns -- six big reports. They were incredibly accurate, usually with our patrols not far from the target area.
  14. variolamajor

    variolamajor G&G Evangelist

    Modern artillery has achieved significant improvements over the years. With RAP rounds they can increase ranges far beyond older shells ranges. With laser guidance like the copperhead rounds - pin point precision is a reality. Probably the most important improvement is the deployment of system like the Crusader which automatically reloads and fires. With the modern command and control system - they can identify where they want to hit - calculate the trajectories - and then fire multiple rounds in sequence so that they all burst on target at the same time in the same area. One artillery piece can accomplish what used to take a battery faster and with more precision. Even with these improvements artillery remains an "area weapon" and in a world where terrorists now "hug the belt of the locals" rather than the enemy - "minimizing collateral damage" and restrictive ROE's are paramount - thus limiting it's effective usage. :cool:
  15. White Rook

    White Rook G&G Evangelist

    A very simple fix to all the problems we are having in Afghanistan is,to bring all of our Troops home. Afghanistan isn't worth one more drop of American Blood...
  16. TACAV

    TACAV G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    Sadly all those HIGHLY restrictive ROE's are what have led to many a US casualty and a huge amount of bad guys getting away. From Vietnam to Afghanistan.

    Soldier -We just took indirect harassing fire from 3 o clock...I got eyes on 3 foot mobiles running away from our 3 o clock. Request permission to engage!

    Command- Are there friendlies over there?

    Soldier: Negative Sir.

    Command: Are there friendly ANA over there?

    Soldier Negative.

    Command: Are there friendly ANP in the area?

    Soldier: No.

    Command: What about civilians?

    Soldier: No.

    Command: Do you see weapons?

    Soldier: Yes!

    Command: Are they hostile?

    Soldier: (omg) Roger that they are shooting at us!

    Command: Verify they have weapons?


    Command: Are they shooting at you or your general position?

    Soldier: (isnt that the same thing?!?!) YES AFFIRMATIVE?

    Spotter: Hey Sarge those three foot mobiles are now on motorcycles and are leaving the area west.

    Soldier: Command we have three armed hostiles who just engaged us and are now leaving on motorcycles to our west.

    Command: Is there a town over west? In grid 46 Alpha?

    Solder: Roger.... Requesting persmission to engage before we lose visual.

    Command: Stand by we are reconfirming there are no ANA/ANP in the area.

    Soldier: Even if they are, Sir, they just engaged us.

    Command: Roger we are tasking an apache flight inbound to you ETA 15 minutes.

    Soldier: Sir they wont get here in time.

    Command: Roger do not engage. Stand by for air support. How copy?

    Soldier: (&^%&$^*%&#!!!!) Copy. Standing by for air support.

    15 minutes later.

    Apache Pilot: Command, we are on scene and have visual on three men on motorcycles coming from our from friendly ground positions.

    Solder: (No Fing $h^%)

    Command: Do you see weapons?

    Apache Pilot: Roger that I see weapons, AKs and RPGs.

    Command: Are they engaging you?

    Apache Pilot: Negative, they are inbound to a village. Two Clicks out. Request Permission to engage before they get too close to the village.

    Command: Stand by we are making contact with local ANA units to see their positions.

    --- --- ---
    Command: OK we checked with local ANA/ANP they are not in the area what is the location of the hostiles now in reference to the village.

    Apache Pilot: 250 meters out.

    Command: Ok They are too close to the village. Do not engage. Do not engage. We will send in a patrol tomorrow to look for them.

    Solider/Apache Pilot: &^%$^%!!!!!:zx11pissed::cussing::banghead:
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2013
  17. Seabeescotty

    Seabeescotty G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    It's sounding more and more like Nam, with our hands effectively tied behind our backs! If ONLY we could force the idiots in DC into being stuck in the field RIGHT alongside the troops, they would be SCREAMING at the soldiers to ENGAGE! IF it was THEIR butts on the firing line, they wouldn't think twice about pouring the lead to the enemy. But that will never happen.......
  18. PaleHawkDown

    PaleHawkDown G&G Evangelist

    A friend of mine's husband went to Iraq as a civilian truck driver. She worked at the same newspaper as me and regular updates on the war from a civilian perspective were incredible.
    At first he was told not to carry a weapon because he would be considered a combatant and therefore open game. As the war progressed, however he was told that it didn't matter one way or another; if he was caught, he was dead. While he wasn't supposed to be armed, the military turned a blind eye to it under the circumstances.
    For 25 bucks he bought an AK-47 and a pile of ammo from a local, but later traded it for an SKS which he believed was more accurate and controllable. He was also able to get ahold of a .45 pistol for $40, but his wife, not interested in firearms, never asked him what model.
    He made more in his six month deployments over there than he could make in three years as a driver here, so he continued to take jobs for three years.
    IEDs and small arm attacks were common, but our boys gave him excellent support, he said. He only had to use his guns once, and even then he wasn't sure if he did anything more than make the bad guys put their heads down. The army, and occasionally Marines detachments took good care of him, even treating him like a "member of the family."
    I haven't talked to his wife since I left that paper, so I do not know if he made it back OK or what he is doing now. Those regular reports, however, were better than anything in the media and even better than reports I have gotten from regular troops.
    Often the troops get into a "block it out" mindset or an "it's no big deal" mindset and the reports do not translate well to the civilian ear.
    While there he gave us reports on some of the weapons he ran into and their effectiveness, as well as those of our troops. He said it was not uncommon for soldiers to stash an RPK or AK in the vehicles for when their M4 inevitably crapped out.
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