U.S. Army personnel received a message Friday warning them that the Islamic State terrorist organization is using social media to obtain the personal information, including names and addresses, of members of the armed services, and offering them advice for protecting their identities, homes, and persons against possible attack.
There is no journalist covering the military I’d rather be reading right now than Andrew deGrandpre. In a five-part series being published this month at Military Times, deGrandpre is re-reporting the story of the infamous “Task Force Violent.” That was the nickname the members of the Marine Corps’ first special operations company to deploy overseas (to Afghanistan, in 2007) gave themselves. The deployment ended with the unit being accused of war crimes, brought home early from Afghanistan, and subjected to an official Court of Inquiry.
Anyone who was reading the Military Times in 2008 remembers this unit, because story after lurid story (“MELTDOWN AT ‘TASK FORCE VIOLENCE’: Uncovered—the hidden story of the MarSOC Marines who shamed the Corps” was characteristic) painted them as a trigger-happy band of cowboys who overreacted to an ambush and negligently killed Afghan civilian bystanders. The sources for these stories were often members of the unit’s own special operations chain of command in Afghanistan, speaking on background to Military Times reporters. At a time of peak counterinsurgency theory enthusiasm in the military, these disgraced Marines were held up as Exhibit A in a demonstration of How Not to Fight a War.
Separations proceedings were initiated against Army Major Matt Golsteyn on the same day that Congressman Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) published an article in the Daily Beast highlighting Golsteyn’s case, according to a letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The letter, signed by Hunter and addressed to Secretary of the Army John McHugh, states the investigation into allegations of wrongdoing by Golsteyn began on November 29, 2011, and concluded on November 24, 2013, with no charges being pressed.
Hunter’s original article appeared on the the Daily Beast‘s website on Tuesday, February 3, 2015. The Army initiated proceedings to eject Golsteyn from the military the same day, the letter states.
By February 20th, 2010, the Battle of Marjah had been underway for a week. In order to seize the Afghan district—an IED-infested, Taliban-dominated collection of villages and crisscrossing canals and tree lines that were a defending fighter’s dream—the U.S. military had divided its force into thirds. A task force of more than a thousand U.S. Marines, accompanied by Afghan soldiers, assaulted the northern portion of Marjah. Ditto for the central portion of the district.
And the southern third? It had been attacked by a single U.S. Army Special Forces team consisting of nine men, accompanied by a handful of Marine engineers tasked with clearing bombs from the roads and a few hundred Afghan troops that were more of a babysitting case than true partners. Such a light American footprint on at least part of the battlefield would “put an Afghan face” on the operation, as the lingo went at the time.
In April the Army will open its famous Ranger School to women, and some are concerned that the Army is tilting the evaluation to ensure that female students will graduate the course.
Sixty female soldiers will attempt the course as part of the Department of Defense’s effort to open ground combat arms units to members of both sexes. This April’s mixed Ranger School class is a “pilot program,” and the results will be used to determine whether or not the Army will open the school on a regular basis in the future.