Two reasons I hate the trite expression “No boots on the ground.”
One – American patriots are filling those boots. They sweat, bleed and die in those boots.
Two – Special Operators’ boots are still at the places the political apparatus says they aren’t.
Those in power draw a distinction by using no boots on the ground to mean multiple battalions, squadrons and units across the battle space.
Well, there are still several thousand Operators in Afghanistan and the mission there is still very dangerous as evidenced by the recent combat death of Army Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock from 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
We should certainly honor him and not his boots.
I think the missions in Iraq and Syria will continue to grow no matter how hard our leaders say it won’t. Deployments will increase, and it’s been reported recently SOCOM has been instructed to update its role in coordinating a global response by Operators against the Islamic State.
Sounds like we are going back to the President George Bush years. Life does work in circles sometimes.
It is doubtful the regional commanders will allow SOCOM to operate independently in their areas of responsibility, but when Gen. Joseph Votel takes command of CENTCOM, the argument may prove to be a moot point.
Perhaps Votel’s appointment is the compromise reached by the combatant commanders.
Regardless, the next time you hear someone use no boots on the ground, politely remind them of Staff Sgt. McClintock. He was a lot more than boots.