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Question for Congressman Pompeo: What is your Position?

2011-07-18-082724 HDR1000

I stayed at FOB Pasab for about the next ten weeks and made some good friends.  Emails come in every day from people at Pasab.  Yesterday, a message said that strikes on base have become a more or less daily occurrence.  A message came in today, Tuesday, saying that there were two more strikes on base yesterday.  The direct fire strikes probably came from a 82mm recoilless rifle.  The 82 is a powerful weapon that will easily destroy our MRAPs.  As you can imagine from this image, the “rockets” don’t come from the desert, but from the green zone.  The enemy is audacious and has been known to drive on the highway in front of Pasab and to shoot grenades inside.  That’s audacity.  But to shoot a rocket from the desert at Pasab would not be audacious; it would be ignorant, and Darwin would collect his own.  It’s difficult to hit specific targets on base because Pasab and the firing locations are mostly flat, and there are barriers all over base.  Sometimes the rounds fly straight over and explode in the desert.  If you are asleep, it can be hard to know if the explosions were a dream or real, unless the alarms go off.  There are so many explosions that strikes on base are the least of it.  Airstrikes, IED strikes, controlled detonations, and others.  It’s common to hear or see the Apaches firing, or to watch strafing runs from A-10s and F-18s.  It becomes as normal as crickets.  Though Kandahar is big for car bombs, the area around Pasab is not.

More troops will be hurt and killed in the area you see in this image.  Practically every day, casualty notifications come to my email from ISAF HQ in Kabul.  Two came on Sunday.  This was the first:

ISAF casualty

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 6) – An International Security Assistance Force service member died following an insurgent attack in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

It is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.

There is a fair chance the attack took place in the green zone in this image, or that a casualty had to wait for Dustoff due to poor Army policy.  On the morning that Chazray Clark was hit, a Dustoff helicopter was parked at Pasab.  Chazray lay dying 2 – 3 minutes’ flight away from where the Dustoff was parked.  The Dustoff was not allowed to launch without Apache support, causing a terrible delay described in RED AIR and documented on my video in Fool’s Gold & Troops’ Blood.  The attack took place in the green zone close to Pasab and will be within the field of view of this image.  The attack was so close to where the Dustoff was parked that the pilots may even have heard in the distance the explosion when Chazray was hit.

Congressman Mike Pompeo’s (Kansas) office contacted me yesterday saying that the Army is to report to Congress on the MEDEVAC issue. Yet something rings untrue from Pompeo’s office.  Something is off.  My instinct is that Pompeo has already sided with the Army or may avoid the issue where possible.  There is reason to believe this is true, but this is not established as fact.  Constituents in Kansas who care about this issue might consider asking Congressman Pompeo to state his position.

Congressman Pompeo: Do you believe Army Dustoff helicopters should go into hot landing zones unarmed?

Interested parties can forward their own queries to Congressman Pompeo’s office:

James L. Richardson
Legislative Director
Office of Congressman Mike Pompeo (KS-04)
107 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-6216 (o)
Congressman Mike Pompeo on Facebook.

Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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