Monday, November 28, 2011

R.I.P. - Cpl. Adam J. Buyes

DOD Identifies Marine Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
            Cpl. Adam J. Buyes, 21, of Salem, Ore., died Nov. 26 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.  He was assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Okinawa, Japan.
            This incident is under investigation.
            For additional background information on this Marine, news media representatives may contact the III Marine Expeditionary Force public affairs office at 011-81-90-6861-4397 or .

List of Pakistani soldiers died in the NATO attack in Mohmand Agency

Twenty-six soldiers, including two officers, were killed and 15 others injured on Saturday when Nato helicopters attacked two security checkposts in a far-flung area near the Pak-Afghan border some 50 kilometres to the west of Mohmand Agency’s headquarters of Ghallanai, official and tribal sources said on Saturday.

Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), however, confirmed the death of 24 soldiers and injuries to another 13.
All of them belonged to the Azad Kashmir Regiment.

Some of the dead included Major Mujahid, Captain Usman, Subedar Mannan, Havaldar Mumtaz, Havaldar Aslam, Havaldar Mushtaq, Lance Naik Raza Mohammad, Lance Naik Tariq Mehmood and Sepoys Imran Yusuf, Rizwan, Ghulam Abbas, Abdul Razzaq, Hafiz Manzoor, Asghar Abbas, Ahmed Khurshid, Ibrahim, Naeem, Tariq Mehmood, Nasir Mehmood, Kiramat Ali, Najibullah and Tahir Mehmood.

Some of the injured soldiers were identified as Afzal Khan, Kamran, Azim, Waseem, Tanvir Khan, Zubair, Yasir, Akhtar Zaman, Asif, Zahid Shah, Irfan Akhtar and Naveed.

Pakistan army officers and civilians offer funeral prayers of Saturday's NATO attack victims, in Peshawar, Pakistan on Sunday, Nov 27, 2011.

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R.I.P. - Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel

Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan SteelIt is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm the death of Rifleman Sheldon Steel, from 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES), who was killed in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, on 27 November 2011.

 Rifleman Steel was taking part in a foot patrol to disrupt insurgent freedom of movement and to reassure the local population in Babaji, in the Lashkar Gah district, which is in the Nahr-e Saraj (South) area of operations, when he was caught in the blast from an improvised explosive device (IED). He was airlifted to the field hospital at Camp Bastion where he was declared killed in action.

Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel
Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel, aged 20, from Leeds, joined the Army in November 2009, and underwent his combat training at the Infantry Training Centre in Catterick, North Yorkshire. Rifleman Steel passed out of basic training in April 2010 and shortly afterwards joined 5th Battalion The Rifles, based in Paderborn, Germany. During his time with the Battalion, Rifleman Steel had achieved a great deal. He arrived at a busy time in the Battalion's calendar and was immediately thrust into further training, learning the intricacies of the Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, while developing the closest of bonds with those whom he would later deploy to Afghanistan with. This training culminated in a six-week, vehicle-mounted exercise in Canada in late 2010. Throughout this testing period, Rifleman Steel demonstrated that he was quickly developing into a skilled, robust and intelligent soldier, in keeping with the Regiment's tradition of the 'thinking, fighting Rifleman'. This early promise was honed through Afghanistan pre-deployment training in the first half of 2011.

Continues at: – Rifleman Sheldon Lee Jordan Steel killed in Afghanistan

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Dane Leopards Give a Little Help to Our Friends

By Ronny Rasmussen, Press Officer, The Danish Battlegroup, ISAF 12: 

In the British Camp Oulette north of the Danish area of ​​responsibility returns leopard tanks back after a three-day operation. Spirits are high, because tomorrow they head to Camp Price, or Camp "Nice" as it is called in patrol bases. So it's the end of sleeping bags, cold showers, and casseroles. But it is with mixed emotions when the tanks roll out of the British camp.
Pictured: Danish Leopard 2 tank in operation north of Camp Oulette in the British area of ​​responsibility.

- "It's been great to working in terrain so ideal for tanks. We had the opportunity to take the high ground. We have been attacked, returned fire and had a large area under our control. So we did what we do best," says Jacob, who is tank commander on one of the three Leopard 2 tanks.
Since 28 September, the Danish tanks had been loaned to the British-controlled area. Now, 300 British Soldiers have taken responsibility from 1100 American Soldiers. For the first two months the Brits were supported by the Danish tanks. Originally, the tanks were to be pulled back after a month or so, but because of the high insurgent activity the "contract" was extended. The Danish engineering group  attached to the tank platoon was also extended.
- "When we arrived, it was a mess. The camp was rebuilt after the American departure and the first three weeks we had no electricity, hot water or shelter. In return we quickly built the best camp conditions in our part of the camp," says Mikael from the engineering group.
- Grateful thoughts!
"Despite the primitive conditions and lack of post facilities the Danish soldiers return with a good feeling. And they have good reason. Several handshakes, a standing ovation and a speech from the company commander, marks the end of the Danish effort."

- "We are very grateful for your support, even though we were poor hosts and let our guests sleep without power or tents the first week. But you should know that we appreciate your efforts and it is sad to see you leave us. Every time I moved out, the results have been measurable."  Gen. Spoor, Commander of the British company. 

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Free pass to IAV 2012

International Armoured VehiclesInternational Armoured Vehicles 2012 - Free Expo Pass 

 20 - 23 February, 2012, FIVE, Farnborough, UK

hurry up, it is still on:

3 militants killed 15 detained in Afghan army operations

Monday, November 28, 2011 –
 Officials in the ministry of defense of Afghanistan following a statement on Monday said, at least three Taliban militants were killed and 15 others were injured in Afghan national army operations across the country during the past 24 hours.
The statement further added, the operations were conducted in northern Kunduz, southern Helmand, Kandahar, Uruzgan and north-eastern Kapisa provinces during the past 24 hours by Afghan national army soldiers.
The statement also said, Afghan security forces seized some weapons and ammunitions including 13 AK-47 assault rifles, 3 rounds of rocket launcher missiles, communication and video recording equipments, 2 hand grenades, 1 round of mortar missile, 8 sets of mobile phones, 84,000 Pakistani rupees and 10 boxes of explosive devices during an operation in Andar district of eastern Ghazni province.
The statement did not provide further information regarding the casualties of Afghan national army service members during the operations.
Taliban militants fighting the Afghan government and coalition forces yet to comment regarding the operations.
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Car bomb explosion kills 11 in Iraq

Monday, November 28, 2011 –
 Iraqi security officials on Monday said, a suicide car bomber detonated his explosives-packed vehicle at a prison north of Baghdad on Monday, killing 11 people and wounding at least 15.
Iraqi interior and defense ministries officials speaking on the basis of anonymity said, the bomber blew up the car at about 8:00 am (0500 GMT) at the main entrance of the Hout prison in Taji, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of Baghdad.
The officials further added, 1 people were killed and 20 wounded, while the defence ministry official put the toll at 11 dead and 15 wounded.
The attack in the town of Taji, about 12 miles north of the capital, is the third major attack in about a week in Iraq, and raises questions about the ability of the nation’s security forces to protect the country after U.S. troops leave in just over a month.
Today’s suicide bomb attack is followed by a series of explosions hit a market in Baghdad and an area on the city’s western outskirts last Saturday, killing at least 15 people.
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Pakistan deny gunfire provoked NATO air raid

Flag of the Pakistan Army                                     Image via Wikipedia
Monday, November 28, 2011 –
Pakistani officials denied reports that the NATO air raid was followed in response to Pakistani troops cross border gun fire on coalition and Afghan forces, heightening tensions between Pakistan, the US and NATO.
This comes as Afghan officials said that NATO forces were retaliating for gunfire from the Pakistani side of the volatile border region on Saturday.
Pakistani officials on Monday also claimed, The NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers went on for almost two hours and continued even after Pakistani commanders had pleaded with coalition forces to stop.
The bodies of at least 24 deceased Pakistani soldiers were buried at military headquarters.
In the meantime, Nato has apologised, calling it a “tragic unintended incident”.
Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the Pakistani troops at two border posts were the victims of an unprovoked aggression.
He also said, he attack lasted almost two hours and that commanders had contacted NATO counterparts while it was going on, asking “they get this fire to cease, but somehow it continued”.
In response to NATO air raid, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called it a “grave infringement of Pakistan’s sovereignty” and officials responded by cutting key supply Pakistani lines to Nato in Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal quoted Afghan officials speaking on the basis of anonymity, Saturday’s attack was called in to shield Nato and Afghan forces who were under fire while targeting Taliban fighters.
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Afghan soldier who shot three Australian troops is suspected murderer on the run for ten years

Two Australian soldiers during the Shah Wali K...Image via Wikipedia
 Jeremy Kelly in Kabul, The Daily Telegraph, November 28, 2011 12:00AM

A FUGITIVE Afghan soldier who shot three Australian troops is a suspected murderer on the run for more than a decade.
The claims raise serious doubts about the lax vetting process for Afghan National Army soldiers, who work side by side with Diggers, as it has emerged Australian forces have no oversight of recruitment.
Scores of Australian special forces are leading a manhunt for Mohammad Rozi, who fled after seriously wounding three Diggers in the most recent case of an Afghan soldier turning on his foreign mentors.
Elders and officials from his home village said the only man unaccounted for with his name fled more than a decade ago after turning on a fellow resistance fighter during the country's chaotic civil war.
Mohammad Rozi opened fire at a small patrol base about 30km northeast of the Australians' main base in the Oruzgan capital of Tarin Kowt on November 9. The three Australians were seriously wounded and two Afghan colleagues suffered minor wounds.
It followed soon after the killing of three other Australians, and wounding of seven more, in a separate incident last month.
Australian military officials are hopeful of catching Rozi alive so they can determine a motive for the apparently unprovoked shooting.
It is understood he packed his getaway vehicle with weapons and supplies before going on his rampage. The Humvee he used to escape was found burnt out soon after he fled.
Locals in the area said he had been whisked away by Pakistanis, to the annoyance of the local Taliban commander who wanted to share some of the stolen loot he had with him.
The Afghan Ministry of Defence has said Rozi came from a remote Uzbek-dominated district of Hazar Samoj in northern Takhar province and had been in the army for six years.
Elders and local officials there said the only missing person named Mohammad Rozi was already a fugitive after he killed a warlord's bodyguard back in the 1990s.
"From what people have told me, he was a bad and grumpy boy," said Ghulam Sakhi, district chief of Hazar Samoj.
"He knew that he was about to be caught so he and his family went to Pakistan."
The account was corroborated by several other locals in the area including the head of the district's criminal investigation department, Shah Wali Khan.
"He killed a bodyguard and then he escaped," Mr Khan said.
Rozi's recruitment papers showed a different father's name than they remember.
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Afghan areas covered under second round of transition

Courtesy, Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 27, 2011) —
50 percent of the Afghan population will be covered under the second phase. 

According to the proposal and the approval by the president, Balkh, Daikundi, Takjar, Samangan, Kabul and Nimruz provinces will be completely included in the second phase of the transition. Moreover, cities of Jalalabad, Cheigh Charan, Shebregan, Faizabad, Ghazni, Maidan Shar and Qalai Naw will also be covered under the second phase of the transition.

Also, districts of the big cities such as, Yaftal Safli, Arghanj, Baharak, Tashkan, Keshem and Argu’ districts of Badakhshan province as well as Abkamari of Badghis province, Nawah, Nad’Ali, Marjah of Helmand province, all districts of Herat province except for Shindand district, Uobi and Chash Sharif, Qarghai district of Laghman province, Behsud, Quskunar, and Sorkhrud districts of Nangarhar province, all districts of Parwan province except for Shiwari and Siahgherd, all districts of Sar-E-Pul province except for Sayyad and districts of first part of Beh Sud, Jelriz and Center of Behsud of Wardak province are included in the second phase of the transition process.

It is worth mentioning that Bamyan, Kabul and Panjshir provinces are completely covered except Surubi district, Herat City, Lashkargah city of Helmand province, city of Mazar-e-Sharif, city of Mehtar Lam were included in the first phase of the transition, and the transition in these place has been completed successfully.
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Nov. 28., 2011. - ISAF Joint Command Morning Operational Update

ISAF Joint Command - Afghanistan
For Immediate Release

KABUL, Afghanistan (Nov. 28, 2011) — A Taliban leader was captured by a combined Afghan and coalition security force during an operation in Marjah district, Helmand province, Sunday.
The leader was involved in narcotics trafficking, financed roadside bombs and coordinated direct fire attacks in Helmand province.
Additional suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:


A combined Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in search of a Taliban facilitator in Kunduz district, Kunduz province, yesterday. The facilitator distributes roadside bombs and directs attacks against Afghan forces. Two suspected insurgents were detained during the operation.


A combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a Taliban leader during an operation in Dand district, Kandahar province, yesterday. The leader distributed roadside bombs for use in attacks throughout the area. The security force detained additional suspected insurgents during the operation.


A combined Afghan and coalition security force discovered a cache and detained multiple suspected insurgents during an operation in Dilah district, Paktika province, yesterday. The cache consisted of 50 blasting caps, a six ounce bottle high explosive material, one RPG container, one video camera, six video tapes, wiring and  a hand-held radio. The combined security force secured all materials on a base to be used as evidence. Neither the security force nor Afghan civilians were injured.

Former Airman Saved the Dog Who Saved Him

Former Senior Airman David Sharpe embraces his dog Cheyenne at their home Sept. 22, 2011, in Arlington, Va. Sharpe is the founder of Pets 2 Vets, a nonprofit organization that pairs shelter animals with veterans who live with post-traumatic stress disorder. Sharpe credits Cheyenne with saving his life. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)
ARLINGTON, Va. – When former Air Force Senior Airman David Sharpe adopted a pit bull puppy from a rescue shelter 10 years ago, he thought he was saving her life. In a dramatic twist of events just a few months later, she ended up saving his.
Sharpe was on the verge of taking his life.
As he sat on the kitchen floor of his apartment with a .45 caliber handgun in his hand — “ready to finish the fight with the demons that followed me back from the war” — that pit bull puppy, named Cheyenne, sat down on the floor next to Sharpe and licked his ear. It made him laugh — something he hadn’t done much. Something clicked for him, he said, and his reason for living became clear at that moment: to care for Cheyenne.
Sharpe had been suffering from an undiagnosed case of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. As a security forces airman stationed at Langley Air Force Base, Va., he went on his first deployment in December 2001 to Saudi Arabia, where he came face to face with a Taliban sympathizer who would change his life.
Sharpe said he had been working with the man for a while, though he was mostly quiet and kept to himself. One day he found the man laughing hysterically in the guard shack and asked what was so funny. The local man pointed to a picture in an Arabic newspaper of the planes crashing into the twin towers and he said he praised Allah the day this happened. Sharpe said he got angry with the man and told him to stop talking like that. Then he turned to walk away.
“I turned around and I heard a couple of ‘clicks’ and ‘clacks’ and this little guy is pointing his [submachine gun] right at me,” Sharpe said. “I froze for a few seconds, but it felt like days. I looked at him and pulled my M-16 up and charged it. We were yelling at each other and then a [British] guard came in and pointed his weapon at the guy, and then a French guard came in the side door and pointed his weapon at the British guard.”
Once the incident de-escalated, Sharpe had to recount it to his unit leaders numerous times. With the official procedures for debriefing such an incident completed, Sharpe was referred to the chaplain.
“I went and saw the chaplain, and that lasted for all of about two minutes,” Sharpe said. “[The chaplain said], ‘Tell me what happened, Airman Sharpe.’ I said, ‘I don’t even want to talk to you right now, sir. No offense — I just want to be left alone.’”
Sharpe said the chaplain told him to come back when he was ready, but Sharpe never went back. He finished the rest of his deployment without incident and returned home to Virginia, but things did not go back to “normal” for Sharpe.
“I started having nightmares about this guy taking his weapon and pointing it in my face,” he said. “I had visions of the bullet going through my head and coming out the other side. I woke and I started crying, and then I started calling myself a bunch of names and saying to myself, ‘Suck it up.’ ‘What’s wrong with you?’”
Sharpe said he began having violent outbursts with his family and friends over the simplest of questions, especially about his deployment. He began starting fights with strangers and even turned on his friends. One friend in particular continued to reach out to Sharpe.
“One of my friends came to check up on me and said, ‘Hey, there’s this pit bull rescue I want to check out. Do you want to come with me?’” Sharpe said. “I said, ‘Absolutely. I want to get a fighting dog — I’m a fighter.’ So I went, and there were about eight puppies running around in a pen, and all of them were all over me. But there was one that was off in the corner, and that was the one I chose.”

Cheyenne belongs to former Senior Airman David Sharpe, the founder of Pets 2 Vets. Sharpe adopted Cheyenne from a pit bull rescue when she was just a few weeks old. She has been with Sharpe for more than 10 years and has helped him cope with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)
Sharpe said when he took Cheyenne home he felt better immediately. Though he was happier since he had gotten his new companion, he said, he continued to have violent outbursts. During one outburst in the kitchen of their apartment, Cheyenne watched and waited for Sharpe to calm down.
“I picked her up and took her back to my bed, and I just lost it — started crying, bawling,” Sharpe said. “She didn’t say anything. She inched her way up [to my face]. She knew something was wrong. She just started licking the tears off my cheek. It makes you laugh, it tickles, and I immediately starting feeling relief, because I didn’t have anyone [saying] to me, ‘How do you feel now? Are you glad you got that off your chest?’ She never asked. I told her on my own terms.”
Sharpe didn’t realize it at the time, but he and Cheyenne were engaging in a form of pet therapy. She would be his confidant on the road from that lonely night on the cold linoleum floor when he considered suicide to being a champion for other veterans with the same struggles.
“Pet therapy helps people who have PTSD to reconnect with the world,” said Megan O’Connell, a clinical nurse specialist at Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center at Fort George G. Meade, Md. “It helps to create a routine, a sense of connection, when you have to feed the dog and make sure the dog is watered, that it has all of its shots. It helps you. It forces you to become part of this world and to start to reintegrate.
“Especially dogs — they react to body language,” O’Connell continued. “If your body language is stressed, they want to come over, because they want you to stop being stressed, so they pay a lot of attention to you. It makes you feel like they care and they’re listening, and that makes you feel comfortable to want to open up more.”
In the meantime, Sharpe separated from the Air Force after six years of service. A few months later, after watching a TV news special about service animals, Sharpe came up with the idea to pair up shelter animals with veterans living with PTSD. He called the program Pets 2 Vets.
Sharpe took $3,500 of his personal savings to get started. Unlike other programs, P2V provided companion animals to veterans versus other programs that provided service animals to perform physical tasks for disabled veterans.
Initially, Sharpe would pick up veterans who were recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and take them to local shelters to interact with the animals. As the program grew, P2V provided an avenue for veterans to adopt their own companion animals as well as give veterans at Walter Reed an opportunity to visit shelter animals during their recovery.
About a year after Sharpe founded P2V, he reached a milestone. He was finally ready to talk to a human about his experiences while deployed. After meeting with doctors from the Veterans Affairs Department, Sharpe was diagnosed with PTSD and depression — five years after he separated from the military, and nine years after the incident in Saudi Arabia.
“One of the problems with PTSD is that it really destroys people’s trust,” O’Connell said. “They feel disconnected. One of the things a dog can do is help to be that bridge to trust. Unless you’ve had a bad experience, most people have very positive feelings toward pets, so people are more willing in a lot of ways to talk to the dog or relate to the dog than they are to another person, especially if they’ve been through a traumatic experience.”
Although the battle with PTSD is never over, P2V has placed more than 50 shelter animals with veterans, and Sharpe is now married to his long-time friend, the former Jenny Fritcher. Later this year, David, Jenny and Cheyenne will welcome a baby boy into their family.
“I always say Cheyenne brought me to Jenny,” Sharpe said. “If it wasn’t for Cheyenne, I wouldn’t have this beautiful wife and beautiful life. She saved me.”

Former Senior Airman David Sharpe and his wife, Jenny, share a family moment with their dog Cheyenne outside their home Sept. 22, 2011, in Arlington, Va. Sharpe is the founder of Pets 2 Vets, a nonprofit organization that pairs shelter animals with veterans. Sharpe came up with the idea for P2V after he realized how Cheyenne’s companionship helped him deal with traumatic events he went through while deployed to Saudia Arabia. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)

By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes, Defense Media Activity

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