BMG (2478)

The powers that be have finally gone full-stupid on this one.

This is a new sexy term you may never have heard before, BOTG-BDA or boots on the ground battle damage assessment. In layman’s terms it means physically sending troops into a post-detonation site to put eyeballs on the damage. When this is done in war zones like Afghanistan, it is understandable why troops cringe at the mentioning of boots on the ground BDA.

True story, winter of 2009 in northwestern Afghanistan, it was a patrol like every other patrol before. CRP, combat reconnaissance patrol or as our team referred to it as trolling for a TIC (troops in contact). Our plan was very simple in its design, pick a route for our patrol into a village or area where we know the Taliban was operating and wait for them to shoot at us. Pretty cut and dry process.

28 DEC BDA (100)If all went well, we would end up in a stalemate exchange of gunfire and pinning the Taliban in a single building or compound. Drop a JDAM on it and call it a day. Not so fast you high-speed door kickers. You are now required to go into the target area immediately after the bomb detonates. You need to physically go to the crater to do a battle damage assessment, take pictures and prove that no civilians have been killed by your bomb.

Keep in mind that just because you dropped a bomb, doesn’t mean the firefight is over. Many times this BOTG-BDA is being conduct under enemy-fire, requiring follow-on drops. So don’t plan on using an airstrike to break contact with the enemy and then simply pulling out of the engagement area. This is Afghanistan, nothing is that easy. As you can imagine, this has a tendency to complicate things on the user end.

Did you hear the one about having to give “hand receipts” during raids on compounds? If you’re a shit-bag-bad-guy and I confiscate your cellphone, hard drive or any other items during a raid on your mud crib, I am required to leave a receipt of item(s) removed with a family member living there. Crazy shit.

Cleared Hot, Ski

Level Zero Heroes | The Story of U.S. Marine SOF in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan


Dedicated to the loving memory and sacrifice of GySgt. Robert L. Gilbert & SSgt. Patrick R. Dolphin