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Entries in US troops (2)


Jacksonville band heads to Gitmo for 4th of July weekend celebration

(Jacksonville, Fla.)—August Drive, a band based in Jacksonville, Fla., will head to US Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (Cuba) to entertain troops for a weekend holiday celebration on July 3 and 4. The group is a hybrid formed by members of two popular bands, Something Distant and Dial-9. Lead vocalist Jeff Congo told The US Report, “We really want to go down there and give these troops a little piece of home, and let them unwind and sing and scream along to songs they know and love.” [Story continues after photo.]

[Left to Right] Jason Ramsey- bass,Jeff Congo- lead vocals and guitar, Evan Cameron- lead guitar,Chris Condon- drums. (Photo courtesy of Chris Condon)

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Some US troops in Afghanistan may patrol with no rounds chambered in weapons

Update, May 21, 2010: Herschel Smith, writing at Captain's Quarters, describes an official communication about this policy. Smith received the communication after writing commentary about the policy described in our article.

Update, May 24, 2010: The US Report stands by this story. Some blogs appear to view the situation regarding patrols as harmless. We do not. Some of those same critical blogs even note decisions about weapons protocol are made at the "lowest tactical level." Apparently that is where the claim in our story began--at the lowest tactical level. When blogs and media cite our work, we would appreciate accuracy on the claims and charges. Furthermore the blog offering a crit of our story cites the wrong source for the official communication we mention above. That official communication went to The Captain's Journal, not to Black Five.

Original story:

Scenic photo of one of Afghanistan's beautiful places, the Bamyan lakes region of Bamyan Province, Afghanistan. [Photo CIA World Fact Book.]By Chris Carter

Commanders have reportedly ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol in a manner that could handicap them.

Some soldiers are being ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, The US Report has learned from an anonymous source at a forward operating base in Afghanistan.  Our source was unsure if the order came from his unit or if it affected other units.

On war correspondent Michael Yon's Facebook page, commenters stated that this is a common practice in Iraq, while others said that it is occurring in Afghanistan as well. According to military protocol, “Amber” status requires weapons to have a loaded magazine, but the safety on and no round chambered.

"The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post -- in which direct action may-or-may not take place -- and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion," says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military/national defense issues. "This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement. And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed."

According to Smith, "American soldiers are highly skilled in the use of 'loaded' weapons, and so should be trusted to operate with 'loaded' weapons. If someone overseeing decisions on ROE thinks not, then ratchet up training. But don't put a man on the street and force him to go through multiple prompts when a gunfight breaks out. Remember, the situation can go from quiet to kinetic in half the time it takes to breathe."

In an ambush situation, just how long does it take to engage a target when your weapon isn't already loaded?

“Too long,” states Sandy Daniel, military veteran and Deputy Director of the Victory Institute. “The first couple of seconds in an ambush are critical, and when that block of time is used to load a weapon instead of firing, you are losing the time you need to stay alive. Patrolling without a chambered round is suicide.”

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