Filed under: Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Military, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: Fighting in Afghanistan, Helmand Province, Obama's Foreign Policy
The U.S. Marine Corps has suffered its worst air squadron catastrophe since Vietnam. The VMA-211 squadron has taken its worst hit since the defense of Wake Island in World War II. On Friday, September 14, at around 10:15 p.m. local time, a force of Taliban gunmen attacked Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province — the main strategic base in southwestern Afghanistan.
Fewer than two dozen insurgents wearing U.S. Army uniforms, divided into three teams, breached the perimeter fence and assaulted the airfield. That includes the U.S. Camp Leatherneck and the U.K.’s Camp Bastion where Prince Harry, an AH-64 Apache pilot is stationed. The Taliban reportedly are anxious to get Prince Harry, who would prefer to be treated just like anyone else.
The attack killed VMA-211 squadron commander Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and destroyed or permanently disabled eight of the ten top-of-the-line Harrier AV-8B attack aircraft in his squadron. The Harrier has been out of production for more than a decade, and the aircraft can never be replaced.
The attackers had RPGs, AK47s, perhaps mortars, and used a suicide vest to breach the perimeter fence. Two Marines were killed in the fighting.
This is a serious loss for the Marines. With the loss of the planes, the coalition ground forces cannot count on the close air support provided by the Harrier. The Marines were compelled to buy second-hand RAF Harrier GR9s to keep the AB-8B in service beyond 2030 when it will be replaced by the F-35B.The Marines, I believe, have a long history of ‘making do’ for their equipment usually arrives after everyone else is supplied.
This is all terrible news, and not widely reported. The media arm of the Obama campaign doesn’t want to cast any shadows on his claim of foreign policy expertise, though he’d doing a fair job of that to himself.
4 Comments so far
Leave a comment