August 6, 2016 marks five years since 30 American military servicemen and a U.S. military dog were killed when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter — call sign Extortion 17 — was shot down in Afghanistan.
Extortion 17 remains the greatest single loss of life since the Afghan war started in 2001.
Fifteen Navy SEALs from Naval Special Warfare Development Group’s Gold Squadron and five U.S. Naval Special Warfare support personnel based in Virginia Beach were among the victims.
The following sailors assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) Jonas B. Kelsall, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
Special Warfare Operator Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Louis J. Langlais, 44, of Santa Barbara, California
Special Warfare Operator Senior Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Thomas A. Ratzlaff, 34, of Green Forest, Arkansas
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Senior Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Kraig M. Vickers 36, of Kokomo, Hawaii,
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Brian R. Bill, 31, of Stamford, Connecticut
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) John W. Faas, 31, of Minneapolis, Minnesota
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Kevin A. Houston, 35, of West Hyannisport, Massachusetts
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Matthew D. Mason, 37, of Kansas City, Missouri
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Stephen M. Mills, 35, of Fort Worth, Texas,
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician Chief Petty Officer (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist/Diver) Nicholas H. Null, 30, of Washington, West Virginia
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Robert J. Reeves, 32, of Shreveport, Louisiana
Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer (SEAL) Heath M. Robinson, 34, of Detroit, Michigan
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Darrik C. Benson, 28, of Angwin, California
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Parachutist) Christopher G. Campbell, 36, of Jacksonville, North Carolina
Information Systems Technician Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist/Freefall Parachutist) Jared W. Day, 28, of Taylorsville, Utah,
Master-at-Arms Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) John Douangdara, 26, of South Sioux City, Nebraska
Cryptologist Technician (Collection) Petty Officer 1st Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Michael J. Strange, 25, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL/Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist) Jon T. Tumilson, 35, of Rockford, Iowa,
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Aaron C. Vaughn, 30, of Stuart, Florida, and
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jason R. Workman, 32, of Blanding, Utah.
The following sailors assigned to a West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit were killed:
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 1st Class (SEAL) Jesse D. Pittman, 27, of Ukiah, California, and
Special Warfare Operator Petty Officer 2nd Class (SEAL) Nicholas P. Spehar, 24, of Saint Paul, Minnesota
The following soldiers were killed:
Chief Warrant Officer David R. Carter, 47, of Centennial, Colo. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Aurora, Colorado
Chief Warrant Officer Bryan J. Nichols, 31, of Hays, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), Grand Island, Nebraska
* Sergeant Hamburger was posthumously promoted to Staff Sergeant.
Sgt. Alexander J. Bennett, 24, of Tacoma, Wash. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas; and
Spc. Spencer C. Duncan, 21, of Olathe, Kan. He was assigned to the 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), New Century, Kansas
The following airmen were killed:
Tech. Sgt. John W. Brown, 33, of Tallahassee, Florida
Staff Sgt. Andrew W. Harvell, 26, of Long Beach, California; and
Tech. Sgt. Daniel L. Zerbe, 28, of York, Pennsylvania.
So many names. There isn’t anything more to be said. May they all rest in peace and may the families be comforted by their memory.
Days before an ISIS sympathizer attacked a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, he received a text from an undercover FBI agent.
“Tear up Texas,” the agent messaged Elton Simpson days before he opened fire at the Draw Muhammad event, according to an affidavit (pdf) filed in federal court Thursday.
“U know what happened in Paris,” Simpson responded. “So that goes without saying… No need to be direct.”
That revelation comes amidst a national debate about the use of undercover officers and human sources in terrorism cases. Undercover sources are used in more than half of ISIS-related terror cases, according to statistics kept by the George Washington University Program on Extremism, and civil liberties advocates say some of those charged might not have escalated their behavior without those interventions.
This is a tough one. Let us stipulate that the FBI is being overwhelmed with cases of possible Jihadis right now. We can also realize that even if we stop one hundred of these, it only takes one spectacular mass killing to instill tremendous fear in the public mind. All that said, it’s still a fair question, and one that I’ve asked in the past. We know a lot of these guys are isolated losers, and it’s possible that most of them are content to just stew alone at home in mom’s basement listening to speeches from Anwar al-Awlaki.
But on the other hand, you have Omar Mateen. He was the total loser guy as well. And with zero encouragement, he shot up that nightclub in Orlando and killed a shitload of people. So this is one of those situations that doesn’t have a clear answer. It’s like the dilemma of stopping mass shootings. It’s impossible to know when a guy, with no previous history, is going to lose it and decide he’s going to meet Allah and take as many people as he can with him. Maybe it’s better to just get them to do it and get it over with? I think it beats just waiting around for decades. Tough call. The FBI is screwed, because the amount of time and manpower it takes to monitor these idiots means the Feds can’t be everywhere at once.
Hillary Clinton just told a roomful of "journalists" that she never sent or received classified emails, which is a total lie SMH #NABJNAHJ16
— BK (@BKactual) August 5, 2016
Hillary Clinton was speaking in front of the National Association of Black Journalists and Hispanic Journalists. No word on the Asian journalists, or the Australian journalists, or any other kind of journalist. The way she is able to just lie through her teeth in front of people on TV is extraordinary. It really takes a special kind of sociopath to say she never sent or received classified emails, when the entire nation watched the FBI director say that she, in fact, most certainly DID send and receive classified emails.
This was billed as a “press conference,” even thought she only took a couple of pre-approved questions about how awesome she would be as president. It was also pretty telling watching a roomful of “journalists,” applauding and taking selfies with the candidate. Totally in the tank.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump receiving a Purple Heart medal Tuesday from a wounded veteran is both acceptable and legal, according to military medal experts. But whether he handled it well is another matter.
Trump, speaking Tuesday at Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Va., told a crowd that “something very nice just happened” to him — namely, that retired Army Lt. Col. Louis Dorfman gave him the Purple Heart he earned in combat. Trump drew laughs by saying he asked the veteran whether it was the “real one or a copy,” and added that Dorfman told him it was his actual medal.
“He said that’s my real Purple Heart; I have such confidence in you,” Trump recalled for the crowd. “And I said man, that’s like — that’s like big stuff. I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.”
Trump added that it was “such an honor” and invited Dorfman to join him on the stage. But Trump saying that he “always wanted” to get the Purple Heart has generated a backlash among some veterans, who said that no one seeks a Purple Heart, which is given to those who are wounded or killed in combat.
First off, is anyone else amused by the spectacle of liberal democrats all of a sudden becoming the arbiters of what is and what is not acceptable when it comes to military matters? After decades and decades of not giving a single rat fuck about the military (unless it was to further some wacky social experiment,) we are now being lectured by 26 year old civilian columnists about how it is the height of barbarity to accept a token of a veteran’s appreciation.
And that’s all it was. It was simple banter going back and forth between Trump and Lt. Col Louis Dorfman (ret.) The way people carried on about it was freaking idiotic. And because the media is so completely and obviously in the tank for Hillary Clinton, they were more than happy to give a platform to the outrage parade for the entire week. I watched the exchange between Trump and Dorfman numerous times. It was two people talking normally. Sometimes, when that happens, things are perhaps clumsily stated. That didn’t stop Rep. Tammy Duckworth from trying to get a dig in with this tweet:
— Tammy Duckworth (@TammyforIL) August 2, 2016
Hey Tammy? NO SHIT. Did you not hear what Trump said? That was the whole point of him saying, “This is much easier.” As in, wow, this man giving me this gift is way easier than how one usually earns a purple heart. Because usually, someone is shot or blown up. Hence, having a man give you one as a token is…. MUCH EASIER. How are people not getting that? Oh, I know, Duckworth probably secretly knows that, but, at the end of the day, veteran or not, she’s a Hillary Clinton supporter and this is an easy way to get the trained monkeys in the media to applaud. If Trump had refused, the media would have bashed him for that, too. You know it, and I know it. ALL REPUBLICANS ARE HITLER.
I’m getting just a little tired of the faux outrage. All last week, I watched as reporters chased down every single veteran they could find so that they could bash Donald Trump. Khizr Khan, the gold star father who went after Trump at the Democratic National Convention, is now suddenly granted immunity to attack someone in a very public manner, using the tragedy of his son’s death to lash out at Trump on an issue that had nothing to do with that death. And collectively, the media and veteran community tell me that Trump can’t defend himself because a gold star family has some sort of magical cloak of invincibility that renders them immune from all criticism, even when they start shit that had nothing to do with their son’s death in an incredibly public arena? What is that? Not to mention, Khan fundamentally misstated Trump’s position, waving his Constitution around as if it’s somehow unconstitutional to deny entry to the United States to foreign nationals. (Hint: it isn’t.) Remember… when immigration became a national security issue, Obama halted it, also.
Perhaps unwisely, Trump responds, and all hell breaks loose. Then, the purple heart incident, wherein a clumsy attempt at humor with a wounded warrior turns into Why Donald Trump Is Unfit, Chapter 17,654, by every reporter in the United States. Yet these same reporters have very little interest in the parents of the Benghazi victims, who, (unlike Trump and Captain Khan,) actually have their son’s deaths DIRECTLY linked to the disastrous tenure of Hillary Clinton at the State Department. Oh, the media will mock the hell out of them, but they mysteriously don’t get the glowing treatment that the Khan parents receive, nor are they protected by the Magical Shield of the Grieving Parent.
Captain Khan dying in a VBIED explosion in 2004 was sad, and tragic. That doesn’t mean that 12 years later, the father, the shyster immigration attorney involved in a corrupt visa-selling scheme, gets to go on every TV show on cable, day after day after day, and bash someone because he doesn’t care for that person’s political beliefs, while simultaneously being protected from all scrutiny or pushback. It doesn’t work that way. I kind of understood Cindy Sheehan chasing George W. around in 2004. Her son Casey was killed in Iraq, sent by W., so although I disagreed with her, there was at least a direct connection of sorts. But this? Trump had nothing to do with Khan’s death. I’m grateful for Humayan Khan’s service, and all other Muslim soldiers. That does not mean, as Khizr Khan implies, that the United States is obligated to throw the borders wide open, accepting massive amounts of immigration from Islamic countries without scrutiny or strict control. After all, the jihadists’ whole battle plan is to infiltrate western countries, as the CIA has informed us.
All that is irritating enough. But even more irritating is the parade of veterans I see going on television to bash Trump. They have to know they’re being used, right? Paul Rieckhoff, from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, if you’re listening: you think Rachel Maddow invites you on her show because she’s really interested in the veteran’s issues that you are representing? No, she puts you on there so she can have a veteran bashing the guy non-stop. Paul probably knows this, and he’s content to spend the ten minutes doing that so can get thirty seconds about an ACTUAL important veteran’s issue at the very end. But that is annoying. I’ve talked to probably one hundred combat veterans in the last week about Trump, the purple heart, and the Khan family. Not one guy was outraged. Instead of critically thinking about what people actually SAY, we’ve become sidetracked on HOW they say it. It’s ridiculous.
I don’t have a problem with veterans bashing Trump. What I do have a problem with is the absolute one-sidedness of the bashing. When am I going to see the veteran’s round table on MSNBC about why Hillary Clinton, who almost single-handedly destroyed Libya and Syria, committed numerous fuckups in handling classified material, and has shit all over veteran’s concerns? Oh, not to mention voting for the disaster that was the Iraq war, only to immediately undermine it at every single turn? But no… let’s talk ENDLESSLY about a Purple heart incident and not the candidate who, by her own incompetence, was one of the major players in turning the Middle East into the geographic version of a mosh pit at a Slayer concert. That’s a lot easier, because everyone is too chickenshit to go after the Clintons, for some reason.
This is the good and bad thing about Trump. The good thing, is that he speaks like a normal person. The bad thing is that can backfire. That’s why Hillary Clinton refuses to speak to reporters at all, unless it is a very friendly audience, and all the questions are screened in advance. Obama is the same way. Sure, if he reads off the teleprompter, he can make the sea levels rise and childless liberal women moist, but have you listened to him talk without it? It’s goddamn excruciating. He thinks about every word like ten minutes before it leaves his mouth. That may be good for diplomacy, but it’s brutal to listen to. The bottom line is that all of these fake controversies exist because the media would rather spend time on that than Hillary Clinton’s long trail of slime.
Longtime readers of the roundup will recall that I have said from last year: I will vote for the Republican candidate regardless who it may be. If elected, Donald Trump may well be a bad president. He may be a good president. I really have no idea. But Hillary Clinton is a corrupt, sleazy, incompetent, fake-ass politician with a track record a mile long filled with scandal and disaster. I have held my nose and voted for terrible Republican candidates the last several elections, and they’ve all lost anyway. So fuck it.
An elite new Taliban force is proving its strength in the strategic southern province of Helmand, pointing to the insurgents’ ability to refine their battlefield techniques to match Afghanistan’s increasingly professional national army.
In recent weeks, the Taliban have taken huge swaths of the province and now they appear to be closing in on the capital, Lashkar Gah.
Afghan officials in Helmand say the army is facing an insurgent fighting force that is better-organized and more skilled than ever. They say the Taliban have been sending men into the fight who appear to be members of a commando-like unit, believed to consist of several hundred elite fighters.
In a development of great concern to the Afghans and Americans, Helmand official Akhonzada said the new unit is using night vision technology, which has enhanced its attack capabilities. The equipment was likely seized from police and army units, he said. “That’s why they attack at night, and that’s why they can see our men but our men can’t see them,” he added.
Now that the Taliban have introduced a commando-style unit to the battlefield, the Afghan military may again meet its match during this year’s fierce summer fighting season.
The director of Helmand provincial council, Kareem Atal, said hundreds of Afghan security forces have been killed across the province in recent weeks. He said that since late July at least 586 policemen and soldiers have been killed or wounded, as have at least 250 civilians.
“The Taliban are now controlling 80 percent of Helmand,” Atal said. “Our officials are corrupt and incapable of controlling this province. Our armed forces are not united and they don’t fight in a coordinated and united way.”
Well. Other than that, things seem to be going great in the Helmand province. So… is it time to call it a day yet in Afghanistan? We’re 15 years in, folks.
A Pompton Lakes man crashed into five parked cars at the Willowbrook Mall before police found him sitting in his vehicle – naked and with an open beer, authorities said Wednesday.
Mall security and Wayne police were called about 5:30 p.m. last Thursday to an accident in the mall parking lot.
The officers found Brian O’Malley, 52, sitting inside a 2002 Grand Jeep Cherokee “naked, unharmed with one Coors Light 16-ounce beer can open in the center console,” Wayne police said in a report.
O’Malley “was given field sobriety tests after being clothed,” police said.
Honestly, there wasn’t a lot to talk about this week. @BKactual