Skip to comments.Donkeys get Marines around in Afghanistan
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.
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.
Works for me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
well, they learned a thing or two about ass-riding while they were in basic.....
Fuel costs are lower too.
At last! We have found something Democrats can do.
Good reading material never goes out of fashion.
Somehow, First class Hillary, Jamie and Madeline, have never looked better...
I thought the Army should have always retained that knowledge and training..especially given the doctrine of limited warfare in 3rd world countries..
Probably they were wormed for the first time in their lives too.
They would go places a 6X would not (when the obstinate critters cooperated).