Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Report on the American War Dead in Afghanistan and Iraq

For April, as announced by the Department of Defense, 53 service members died--48 from service in Iraq (up about a dozen from last month) and 5 from service in Afghanistan (that's down, slightly).

Here's a further breakdown: In Iraq, 24 were killed by IEDs. That's the principle source of the rise in combat deaths over last month. Six were killed by small arms (mostly RPGs this month); two were killed in accidents; five from non-combat causes; one in a rocket attack; four Marines were killed in combat operations in al Anbar; and, four from indirect fire. One soldier died but there was no further information.

In Afghanistan, one was killed by an IED and two in combat operations without further detail. Two were killed by small arms fire. Because of the paucity of firefight deaths, I'd still say the (slightly) Dreaded Spring Taliban Offensive is yet to arrive.

Only woman woman died; 40 year old Petty Officer 1st Class Cherie L. Morton, was found dead at her home in Bahrain and her death is a mystery. Two Majors , a Captain and two First Lts, including Matthew Vandergrift, 28 of Littleton, CO a few miles from here, died with harness on their backs.

Our hopes and prayers go out for all our brave warriors.


So I'm watching NBC Nightly News on Monday, and here is a story about an Army company building a concrete barier acros Sadr City.

Fair enough, and the piece was rightfully focused on how brave the soldiers were for conducting construction until constant fire.

But then the story gets to the part about how most of the couple of dozen men the company has lost while building the barier have been lost when soldiers had to climb a ladder and manually release crane cables from hooks set in the concrete slabs that make up the barier.


Hasn't it occurred to anyone to use magnetic or blast release clamps on these slabs?

Why do the soldiers have to stick their heads above the wall while building it?

Any readers have any thoughts? Anyone else outraged at this stupidity?
Well Ed, yes.


Would you pleaser explain to the uninitiated, like me, what constutes small arms fire. I am thinking that an RPG would not be smalls arms fire but something else.


I'm not aware of that building option, but you'ld think some Army engineer would be so aware, Ed. What a waste. Tony, small arms are generally the pistols and rifles the individual soldiers carry as opposed to the machine guns and mortars individual soldiers carry (although usually not just one). So the old bazooka, which was two man, was not a small arm, but what about the LLAWS, the Soviet RPG, and our new one, what ever it's called? I include them in small arms. Crew fired are not small arms. Therefore the old M79 grenade launcher, and the M60 machine gun with the belt draped over the gunner would also be small arms. It's not a precise answer but it's all I have.
The first two paragraphs of this wikipedia article provide a definition of "small arms" that seems fair to me. (The remainder of the article rather loses the plot, though.)
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