Skip to comments.A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War (Dakota Meyer, MOH)
Posted on 12/09/2012 1:02:41 PM PST by jazusamo
Two videos at link.
Badass military heroism: Medal of Honor Recipient Dakota Meyer's Into the Fire is this generation's To Hell and Back.
Into the Fire
A Firsthand Account of the Most Extraordinary Battle in the Afghan War
By Dakota Meyer and Bing West
Random House, $27, 239 pp.
Does this sound familiar?
1. A group of Americans on a diplomatic mission to reach out to Muslims are pinned down by al-Qaeda and come under overwhelming fire.
2. They repeatedly call for support fire missions, which are denied because they cannot absolutely guarantee no civilians are in the area.
3. A frustrated American warrior disobeys orders to go on what appears to be a suicide mission to try to save them.
4. The pinned down Americans are wiped out because supporting fire missions are denied them.
No, this is not a rush-to-press account of the recent disgrace in Benghazi, but if you think Libya was a unique screw-up during the Obama administration, Into the Fire the story of the Battle of Ganjigal, by Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer and war correspondent extraordinaire Bing West will change your perception.
As Benghazi and Ganjigal show, its the unwritten policy of the Obama administration that civilian lives come before the lives of American soldiers, even when there is only a slim chance bystanders will be killed.
I first learned of Meyers story while reading Wests masterful The Wrong War, a scathing critique of how the Afghan war has become more of an ill-conceived welfare plan than an anti-terrorism fight.
Among that books most gripping chapters is the story of the ill-conceived and ill-fated Operation Dancing Goat (which Im sure is informally known as goat-something-else among those who participated). Here, the rules of engagement and brass with no respect for the enemys capabilities nearly led to a disaster that would have been much worse but for the unbelievable heroism of one Marine, Dakota Meyer.
But Into the Fire, despite its subtitle, is more than just an account of that fateful day. Meyer sets the stage by telling of his complete tour in Afghanistan, recounting the successes and failures of training Afghan troops to take over their own security, and of the incredible strictures placed on American combat forces by their own command.
Time and again, Meyer was constrained from engaging enemy forces by casualty-shy commanders who forgot the age-old maxim: force projection is force protection.
But even more frustrating were the rules of engagement that all but forbade contact with the enemy if civilians were part of the context, thus giving Taliban and al-Qaeda forces the incentive to surround themselves with innocents.
On the fateful day, the Marines were assigned to attend a shura (think powwow, with tea as the peace pipe) with an imam for whom they recently had built a mosque. Despite objections that the plan opened up their east flank the flank that directly led to Pakistan, where Taliban and al-Qaeda were holed up the Marines were sent anyway, with a full complement of Afghan soldiers and border police.
They were ambushed by a large force, but even while Marines and Afghans were being gunned down, they could not get approval for a fire mission from Army artillery commanders.
Dakota, who had been left behind as a punishment of sorts for actions considered overly aggressive by the brass, sat in frustration back at the base listening to his comrades, both Army and Marine, beg for artillery and air support but denied at every turn.
Finally, Meyer recruited Gunny Juan Rodriguez-Chavez for a rescue mission. With Rodriguez-Chavez driving a HUM-V and Meyer fully exposed while manning the turret, they drove into the gauntlet, not expecting they would survive to return.
It was the first of five forays against overwhelming odds that Meyer would make that day. And if being exposed to enemy fire in the gun turret doesnt impress you enough, Meyer also spent a fair amount of one mission on foot. His weapons included not only the HUM-Vs heavy mounted gun but also a variety of rifles and grenade launchers. In one face-to-face moment while trying to rescue a fallen soldier, he killed a terrorist by bashing his head in with a rock.
Meyer and Rodriguez-Chavez saved dozens of lives that day. Unfortunately, the Marines from their unit, as they discovered on Meyers fifth and last mission of the day, were overrun and killed.
Meyer doesnt brag about his exploits or characterize anything he did as particularly brave; his overriding emotion in the book is frustration, not self-congratulation. In fact, he finds particular irony in the fact that he received his countrys highest honor for what he considers the worst day of his life.
I leave to Bing West, who put it best in his account of the battle in The Wrong War:
For a man to charge into fire once requires grit that is instinctive in few men; to do so a second time, now knowing what awaits you, requires inner resolve beyond instinct; to repeat a third time is courage above and beyond any call of duty; to go in a fourth time is to know you will die; to go in a fifth time is beyond comprehension.
Myers performance was the greatest act of courage in the war, because he repeated it, and repeated it, and repeated it.
After the goat rodeo was over, Meyer, a man any platoon would want to have as part of its fighting force, had to be removed from the battlefield. His rage at what had happened was just too great.
In fact, Meyer left the Marines when his tour was up, and was working construction when he got the call that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor. Dakota politely asked to be called back on his lunch break.
Meyer is very honest about the mental toll the battle took on him, including a suicide attempt that only failed because of a pistol misfire. It was not the killing that bothered him so much, but the loss and the rage at the lack of support.
At Dakotas Medal of Honor ceremony, President Obama said, The story of what Dakota did will be told for generations.
The story of what command is reluctant to do under Barack Obama from Afghanistan to Benghazi should be told for just as long.
The Battle of Ganjigal was not well publicized even though Meyer became the first Marine since Vietnam to be awarded the Medal of Honor non-posthumously and Rodriguez-Chavez received the Navy Cross. For the Army, it was mostly about investigations of why the FOC denied fire support.
The book argues convincingly that Army Captain Will Swenson, who took command under fire of the units on the ground and called for fire support, also should have been awarded the Medal of Honor. The Army supposedly lost the paperwork, but in the publicity surrounding Dakota Meyer and this book, the packet has been found. Perhaps another hero will receive his due.
Into the Fire is the To Hell and Back of the Afghan War. Like Audie Murphy, Dakota Meyer fearlessly took on overwhelming odds by commandeering a mounted gun. But by undertaking not one but five suicide missions in one day, this stubbornly ferocious Marine is in a league of his own. Mark him down as a first-ballot inductee in the Badass Hall of Fame.
We are lost as a country when we SACRIFICE our best not to offend muslims.
The ROE should be:
Close with the enemy by fire and maneuver and destroy them and their will to fight.
Amen to that.
The first was down graded to a DSC and the second to a SS, we figured that only living Officers got the Blue Max. That was 44 years ago.
A misfire from his handgun saved his life. God’s clearly not letting him out of his contract on life yet. How many others are hanging by a thread in these trying times that will get worse before better?
What makes you think they worship him?
What makes you think they worship him?
Hopefully, he will win his battle with his demons.
You really think there are some that don’t? What about the repeal of DADT and the current ROE?
Incredible heroism by Meyers.
Pure treason by oblastard and his admin.
I meant Meyer, of course.
Do you think Dakota Meyer worships obama? Why did Romney win the military vote?
Well now, that wasn’t the question, was it?
I know quite a few military people....sailors soldiers and marines. And they are not obama worshippers and neither are the captains and commanders I have worked for. Now....are you going to answer my question?
Marine Gen. James T. Conway is definitely one commander that doesn't worship Obama, he was the only one to speak out against DADT.
The denial of fire support was -directly- the fault of Petraeus orders. He issued the no support orders after he replaced McChrystol. But i’m sure he ran it by Lt col Paula Broadstone first.
I know very many military personnel, and way too many officers actually are Obama worshipers from my POV.
How many of those in the military are officers and how many are enlisted? How many officers are indoctrinated in our institutions of “higher learning”?
Your original question I will answer now. I know from first hand experience that many officers in our military are brain dead liberal leaning morons who are quite enamored with our current CiC.
The higher level commanders who continue to allow these absurd ROE's to continue to get our soldiers killed are part of the problem and need to be removed once their marxist leader is finally out of office.
Any more questions?
I’m crying; touched by his strong spirit, bravery and love for his fellow soldiers and broken by this round of betrayal of soldiers by the political and military elite.
Precious life and freedom are so cheap to them, it is criminal. I want justice for what they are doing to our soldiers in the name of insane political correctness. They have joined the Islamic enemy, against our soldiers like they joined the communists during the Viet Nam war.
In the meantime, they are using our money to fund Islamic radicals in power everywhere. They are bringing them into our country as legal and illegal immigrants to kill us and our freedom!
Get our troops out of the elite’s lying war on terror! It is all a lie.
And I know....they are not. But believe what you will. My initial question was not directed toward you and for some reason you jumped on it. Where are you getting that 70;percent are obwma voters? They’re just as appalled at poking sequestration as you should be...eventually wanting to retire. Many used to start working lucrative defended contracts....how they would do that by supporting obama in this election....logic does not add up
Reading that made me mist up something fierce. Now I’m angry. Will continue to fart toward Mecca.
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