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Donkeys get Marines around in Afghanistan
AP on Bakersfield Californian ^ | 8/13/05 | Daniel Cooney - AP

Posted on 08/13/2005 10:26:15 AM PDT by NormsRevenge

KANDAGAL, Afghanistan - The U.S. military has gone low-tech. Frustrated with the limitations of using its fleet of modern Humvee four-wheel-drives in rugged mountains with few roads, a battalion of Marines has enlisted the help of transport vehicles that Afghan villagers have been using for centuries — donkeys.

About 30 of the animals have been rented from local farmers to haul food and bottled water to hundreds of Afghan and U.S. troops on a major two-week operation to battle militants deep in remote mountains in eastern Afghanistan's Kunar province.

"With all the smart bombs and the modern stuff in war nowadays, this is the best way for us to resupply our troops there," said Lt. Col. Jim Donnellan, commander of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, which is based in Hawaii. "It's also much cheaper for the U.S. taxpayer for us to rent the donkeys than for everything to be air-dropped."

Using aircraft to resupply the forces is also dangerous.

In late June, militants in the area shot down a special forces Chinook helicopter, killing all 16 troops on board, as it tried to land in one of the many steep-sided, wooded valleys that snake their way through the mountains.

The operation, which began Friday, is aimed at flushing those fighters out of the valley and U.S. commanders are nervous about risking other choppers in the process.

From a temporary resupply base in a corn field near Kandagal, a tiny village, at one end of Korengal Valley, where the militants are suspected of hiding, squads of Marines with heavy packs on their backs led out lines of donkeys, each laden with two boxes of water, a box of food rations and a sack of grain.

While each Marine carried enough food and water for themselves for two days, the donkeys gave each squad supplies for an extra 48 hours. Once finished, the animals would be led back to the resupply base to load up again and then return to the mountains.

Before coming to Afghanistan, some of the troops received training in handling donkeys at the Marines' Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, Nevada, said Capt. John Moshane.

"Marines have used donkeys since the American revolution," he said, as each animal was being spray painted with a number for identification.

Still, the donkeys' stubbornness to cooperate and their determination to try to mate with each other whenever they were untied persistently frustrated their handlers. When one Marine slapped one of the animals on the rump in exasperation, the donkey promptly gave him a sharp kick with one of its hind legs.

Donkeys have long been used by armies in Afghanistan, including by mujahedeen independence fighters against Soviet troops in the 1980s. They have also been popular with smugglers who use them to sneak loads of opium, illegally mined gems and timber across the country's mountainous borders.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; ass; donkey; india; kashmir; oef; workingdogs

U.S. Marines lead the donkeys that they use to transport supplies to drink water from a river in Kandagal village, Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005. Hundreds of American Marines and Afghan special forces Sat. Aug. 13, 2005 trekked from the base in Kandagal far into remote Afghan mountains to retake a valley controlled by militants suspected of ambushing a team of U.S. commandos and shooting down a special forces helicopter. (AP Photo/Tomas Munita)


A Marine watches as jackasses First Class Hillary, Jamie and Madeline have a drink.


1 posted on 08/13/2005 10:26:15 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge
Him the cavalry is resurrected. Hehehehe.
2 posted on 08/13/2005 10:30:53 AM PDT by Parley Baer
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To: NormsRevenge

Works for me.


3 posted on 08/13/2005 10:35:04 AM PDT by Fiddlstix (This Tagline for sale. (Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: NormsRevenge
Merrill's Marauders used donkeys and mules. I have a client that was one of the Marauders and said he left home to get away from mules and ended up in the Army using one for months. Wainwright said 50 years ago the military needed to retain the knowledge of horses, donkeys, and mules that had been learned by the cavalry over the past 150 years. He said one of these days we'll be in a war where mechanization is useless and we'll need the pack animals.
4 posted on 08/13/2005 10:39:38 AM PDT by vetvetdoug (Shiloh, Corinth, Iuka, Brices Crossroads, Harrisburg, Britton Lane, Holly Springs, Hatchie Bridge,)
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To: NormsRevenge
A Marine watches as jackasses First Class Hillary, Jamie and Madeline have a drink.

That was an insult to all donkey's everywhere.

FWIW I like "Donks", they make great pets and are better for young children to ride than most ponys. At our municipal stables we used to have two donks for the kids to ride, a male (a "jack") and a female (a "jenny") named "Don" and "Kay", respectively. These Marines and Special Forces are getting a taste of an America that used to be when it was more rural and more conservative. I hope they bring it home with them, become educated in the ways of politics and run for office. For they will have learned more about being trusted public servants from these reliable donkeys than they ever will from the Democrat Party.

5 posted on 08/13/2005 10:41:33 AM PDT by elbucko
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To: Nightshift

ping


6 posted on 08/13/2005 10:41:36 AM PDT by tutstar (OurFlorida.true.ws)
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To: NormsRevenge

That tan animal needs food and needs it now. Shouldn't be able to count the ribs. This is disturbing to see. If they're using these animals they need to feed them also.


7 posted on 08/13/2005 10:47:33 AM PDT by Shannon
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To: Shannon
"This is disturbing to see. If they're using these animals they need to feed them also."

I would surmise that tan animule came to the Marine Corps in far worse condition. I'd be willing to bet that, not unlike the Gitmo detainees, these equines are getting the best food and medical care they've ever received in their lives.

8 posted on 08/13/2005 10:52:23 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum.)
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To: Shannon
The Indian Army uses animals extensively in Kashmir. They are extremely useful, because quite often, the terrain is too bad for terrestrial vehicles.

High altitudes and deep, rough landscapes in Kashmir allow the use of only high altitude endurance helicopters for the heavy guns and donkey trains for the supplies.

Afghanistan being in the same Himalayan neighbourhood, I suppose they've found them useful there too.


9 posted on 08/13/2005 10:56:11 AM PDT by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: Shannon
They are being fed.

An Afghan villager carries leaves to feed animals in Kandagal village, Kunar province, eastern Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2005. Hundreds of American Marines and Afghan special forces Sat. Aug. 13, 2005 trekked from the base in Kandagal far into remote Afghan mountains to retake a valley controlled by militants suspected of ambushing a team of U.S. commandos and shooting down a special forces helicopter.(AP Photo/Tomas Munita)

10 posted on 08/13/2005 11:04:19 AM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... "To remain silent when they should protest makes cowards of men." -- THOMAS JEFFERSON)
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To: NormsRevenge

well, they learned a thing or two about ass-riding while they were in basic.....


11 posted on 08/13/2005 11:24:51 AM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: NormsRevenge

Fuel costs are lower too.


12 posted on 08/13/2005 11:45:22 AM PDT by mtbopfuyn (Legality does not dictate morality... Lavin)
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To: Parley Baer

At last! We have found something Democrats can do.


13 posted on 08/13/2005 11:50:14 AM PDT by R.W.Ratikal
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To: HairOfTheDog

*ping*


14 posted on 08/13/2005 12:12:09 PM PDT by Beaker
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To: NormsRevenge
Puller et al used pack mules in Nicaragua during the Banana Wars.

Good reading material never goes out of fashion.

Small Wars Manual

15 posted on 08/13/2005 12:27:20 PM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: NormsRevenge

Somehow, First class Hillary, Jamie and Madeline, have never looked better...


16 posted on 08/13/2005 12:54:35 PM PDT by skinkinthegrass (Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you :^)
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To: vetvetdoug
Mules rule...

I thought the Army should have always retained that knowledge and training..especially given the doctrine of limited warfare in 3rd world countries..

17 posted on 08/13/2005 1:07:47 PM PDT by joesnuffy (Save the whales. Redeem them for valuable prizes.)
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To: CarrotAndStick
the terrain is too bad for terrestrial vehicles.

I suppose the terrain is ok for extra-terrestial vehicles ?
18 posted on 08/13/2005 4:08:44 PM PDT by festus (The constitution may be flawed but its a whole lot better than what we have now.)
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To: Joe 6-pack
"This is disturbing to see. If they're using these animals they need to feed them also." I would surmise that tan animule came to the Marine Corps in far worse condition. I'd be willing to bet that, not unlike the Gitmo detainees, these equines are getting the best food and medical care they've ever received in their lives. 8 posted on 08/13/2005 1:52:23 PM EDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum.)

Probably they were wormed for the first time in their lives too.

19 posted on 08/13/2005 5:32:09 PM PDT by millefleur (No KING but Jesus !)
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To: NormsRevenge
heh

Reminds me of that old "Willie and Joe" toon, there the Sargent yells at a wrangler to "get your ass off the ridge'
(Military crest vs natural crest for the folks in Rio Loma)

No love lost even then.....
20 posted on 08/13/2005 6:16:10 PM PDT by ASOC (Insert clever tagline here: _______)
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To: NormsRevenge
We used donkeys and mules in Central America during the 80s. I once knew an old muleskinner who had made a pretty penny instructing the Green Berets on mule packing.

-ccm

21 posted on 08/13/2005 10:49:34 PM PDT by ccmay (Question Diversity)
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To: NormsRevenge
The Army used mules in Korea, and in WWII, according to my father and a blacksmith I knew.

They would go places a 6X would not (when the obstinate critters cooperated).

22 posted on 08/13/2005 10:58:42 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (God save us from the fury of the do-gooders!)
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