We’d planned to start exploring the role of al Sadr and his crew on the near-term future of PSCs, but an article came out this week that was so on target with something that we’ve been promising to do that we’re going to go ahead and post the video that we began promising several posts ago.
What Quote Would You Like?
It’s rather interesting how hard those with various agendas are pushing the idea that there is a bitter feud between uniformed military professionals and private security contractors.
And, with over 2.7 million people in the
For example (one of a myriad) if you want to attack PSCs: “‘They are immature shooters and have very quick trigger fingers. Their tendency is shoot first and ask questions later,’ said an Army lieutenant colonel serving in
But then you can get the same type of comment from one branch about its peers if you want. Despite
If you want to portray everything as rosy, though, you can do that as well. The most recent example: MNFI flag officer Mark Fox heaping praise on private security contractor work during a press conference yesterday.
So Where Is Ground Truth?
Is there a bitter feud between PSCs and military? Well, first we’d submit that the question itself reflects a fundamental failure to appreciate the scope and nature of
But there is also extensive cooperation, strong support and mutual respect. When contractors get in trouble, they have many times received support from their military brethren and—while no media will dare admit the fact—there have been numerous instances of PSCs, including the dastardly Blackwater, coming to the aid of uniformed military.
Which brings us to the “new video” we found some weeks ago, showing PSC (yes, Blackwater—we have a theme to uphold) support for our troops in
The backstory on what they are doing appeared in an article by Kevin Maurer in the Fayetteville Observer:
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SALERNO, Afghanistan — The pilot’s voice crackled over the radio.
As the paratroopers in the back of the twin-engine prop plane got ready, the aircraft popped over the last ridge and dipped in the remote valley in
The plan—along with the identical one tailing it—first raced near ground level to keep from being an easy target for Taliban guerrillas. At the last moment, the two aircraft pulled up to 150 feet.
In the lead plane, Sgt. 1st Class Ed Clouse and two other 82nd Airborne Division soldiers pushed two pallets—one loaded with ammunition and the other with water—out of the plane. Soldiers in the trail plane dropped more supplies.
The loads fell under parachutes to waiting soldiers, but the men in the planes didn’t get to watch the pickup. The pilots reported gunfire and threw the planes into evasive maneuvers, diving toward the valley and forcing the men in the back to hug the floor. Neither plane was hit.
Back at Forward Operating Base Salerno—the 82nd’s main camp—Clouse and others got word that all of the supplies landed safely.
“Today was pretty much a perfect drop,” Clouse said.
The supply drop Wednesday was one of about 900 the soldiers have made since February. The method they used is one they have been developing for most of the year.
A key piece is the use of parachutes made of recycled plastic to deliver supplies.
The plastic parachutes are a low-cost alternative to the expensive silk chutes used by soldiers and can be dropped accurately from low altitude.
“It allows us to take the terrain and the insurgents out of the equation,” said Lt. Col. Michael Peterman, commander of the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion.
The 782nd’s job is to supply thousands of paratroopers in 22 bases scattered over 19,000 square miles of some of the most rugged country in the world.
The plastic parachutes were designed for emergency relief missions, but Peterman, Clouse, and Capt. Tony Newman realized they are perfect for regularly resupplying units in the field.
The chutes resemble huge tarps. Each can handle up to 250 pounds. Sgt. Ben Hatcher, a rigger with the 782nd, said the parachutes, made by a company in
The low-level drops are so accurate that the 782nd has landed supplies in the middle of an infantry company hiking in the mountains. The paratroopers were able to grab the water and food without stopping.
Since the parachutes cost only $49 each, the paratroopers are not required to retrieve them. Many times, soldiers give the chutes and pallets to the locals.
“(The parachute) is a perfect piece of equipment to provide shade for their family,” Newman said.
The lack of available Air Force cargo planes in
And here is the video itself:
For those of you who think flying along at 35 feet, or making these drops on point is a cakewalk, uh, not so much:
Like we said some time ago, and interesting piece of Blackwater-related video which, for whatever reason, has not been viewed much. Probably because it is not easily used for the creation of fear and loathing.
Next time, barring new developments we’ll look at ol’ al-Sadr and the role he’ll play in future PSC ops in
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