Archive for February 18th, 2009

Riverines

Riverine Squadron 2 Iraq

Riverine Squadron 2 Iraq

The military won’t discuss specific SWCC missions, but it will say that SOC-R teams have faced heavy, regular action along the river systems of Iraq. “They’re out there, and they’re engaging,” says Rich Evans, Naval Special Warfare Group 4 command master chief. “There’s been a couple of missions that ended up in the largest firefights that guys on the water have been in since Vietnam.”

Many of these Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen, or SWCCs, have survived firefights along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq. Fast, heavily armed SOC-R boats are used mainly to insert or extract Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and other special forces personnel. If the enemy interferes, the SWCC response is, in military speak, “violence of action.” The SOC-R’s five weapon mounts provide a 360-degree field of fire. “Anyone who decides to shoot at us will immediately regret that decision once we start shooting back,” says Mike, my designated SWCC spokesman, his face patterned with green and black grease paint. “We have an overwhelming amount of firepower at our disposal. It’s pretty insane.”

Read the whole article here.

Canadian Infantry at Kandahar, Afghanistan

Canadian Infantry at Kandahar, Afghanistan

Sgt. Russell Storring of the Canadian Army recounts his experiences working and fighting alongside American forces in Afghanistan during three tours in 2003, 2005 and 2008.

Because of their sheer numbers, I have had the opportunity to work closely with U.S. forces on each of my deployments to Afghanistan. I know there are some Canadians who view the U.S. military and foreign policy with suspicion. But from my own experiences, I am wholeheartedly thankful to call them allies and brothers-in-arms.

He contrasts the differences in dedication and professionalism:

On a couple of occasions, for example, soldiers from other nations were caught sleeping in the guard towers overlooking Camp Julian. Doesn’t give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when the people guarding you are sleeping on the job.

And how the Americans were always ready to come to the assistance of our allies when needed:

At one point, after having done over a month of mostly uneventful convoys, we ran into a Taliban ambush a few hours outside of Kabul. It was a November evening with a light rain coming down and the ambush was a quick and dirty attack with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.

As I called in the information on the radio, I was surprised to find out that U.S. planes were already on their way: two Apache attack helicopters and a B-52 bomber on call.

Finally he speculates on possible reasons why the Americans and Canadians work so well together.

By far, the most helpful of all the soldiers I dealt with over these years were the Americans. Maybe it was our common language or similar soldier skills and beliefs, or a whole slew of things that we have in common.

Whatever the reason, I found that being Canadian achieved more of a response or quicker service than what I saw some of our European counterparts were getting from the U.S.

One can only speculate which of our European counterparts he means…

Read the whole thing here.

See Also.

And another story here.

Thank You Canucks!