Sunday, September 18, 2011

"60 Minutes": We called for help and no one came.

David Martin did the lead "60 Minutes" story on September 18, 2011 on Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer of Greensboro, Kentucky. Although a message of the story was of the heroism of Meyer, another message concerned the ineptitude of officers who did not respond to repeated requests to assist four marines who were pinned down.

The episode was in the Ganjgal Valley in eastern Afghanistan. "60 Minutes" displayed videoclips form the Army Center for Lessons Learned. There were 100-150 hostiles pinned down four Marines in a village. Initial requests for artillery fire were turned down. Two army officers who made the decision NOT to allow artillery fire were found negligent in an atmosphere of complacency. Colonel Richard Hooker conducted an investigation. Two Kiowa helicopters were 5-10 minutes flying time away, but were diverted. At 30 minutes into the firefight, Gunnery Sergeant Kennypick said he could not return fire, and Meyer took charge. Meyer and Juan Rodriguez-Chavez drove a truck to save the four Marines. The two drove wounded Afghan allies out of the valley.
Army Captain Will Swenson made 9-10 calls for supporting fire. He was very, very insistent in his calls for help. The helicopters did not show up until one hour 45 minutes into the fight. The helicopters were a great help to the troops on the ground. Swenson and Meyer drove an unarmored truck into the valley. The helicopters could not land because of the hostile fire. Meyer started to run to the four marines. Meyer found Sergeant Johnson, who was dead. This was six hours into the fight.

The family members of the dead Marines were appalled on reading the Investigation 15-6 forms describing the episode. Sgt Kenefick's tombstone was shown. Cooments that the mission was caused by negligence. We were surrounded; we were ambushed; we called for help and no one came.

Letters of reprimand were sent to the responsible captain and major.

Martin noted it has been two years since the operation and asked what was gained. Meyer answered: nothing.

**The other stories were on pictures of polar bears (a recycled story from March 2011; Spy on the Ice; John Downer) and on Dallas Cowboy owner Jerry Jones (also recycled).

Downer used a spy cam to get up close to the polar bears. In summertime, some polar bears get stuck on dry land. In this area, it's illegal to leave one's boat without an armed escort. Jeff Bell: the only difference between men and boys is the price of the toys.

**The Jones story started last August. Jones is one of only three owners who runs the team. Jones: stats are for losers. Pelley: You were the best general manager in 1992 (...) what happened to that guy? 60 Minutes showed clips from last October, with the Jaguars beating the Cowboys. Pelley: it's got to be somebody's fault. If I were going to be in a foxhole with somebody, I'd be in the foxhole with me. The Cowboys were my devil. High def tv in stadium cost $40 million. The franchise is said to be worth 1.6 billion.

**Of the polar bears, see previous IPBiz post:


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