Censorship Threat from US Army Public Affairs

28 September 2011

A US Army Captain named Carbone barged into my tent and physically assaulted me.  The interesting backstory is studded with ill-discipline inside the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion here in Afghanistan.  The 443rd might need some intervention from general officer level.  In any case, that ill-discipline manifested when Captain Chris "AbulMajed" Carbone (his Facebook name) verbally threatened and physically assaulted me.  This happened yesterday. Today the Army threatened to end my embed.  They then ended it.  And now have restarted it again.  (All this in less than 36 hours).

Email from Army:

[To] Michael Yon
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: FOUO

Michael,

I've got to be frank with you, and let you know that your embed is tenuous as of now. This issue with CPT Carbone and SFC Coleman is bringing a lot of negative attention not only to you, but also to RC-South from ISAF Joint Command. LTC Connolly, the new RC-South PAO, has only been in office for ~10 days, and has already gotten two calls from his higher HQs about your postings. While we certainly do not condone any unprofessional conduct by TF Spartan Soldiers, we feel that this whole issue is drawing negative attention to the command.

Therefore, Michael, I'm asking you to please consider removing the FB posts about CPT Carbone, SFC Coleman, and MSG Grisham. These are incidents that should be dealt with among the four of you, and not to a worldwide audience. Your readers do not need to read about personal conflicts. That being said, I am not downplaying the seriousness of any of these allegations against the aforementioned Soldiers, and we will continue putting a "full court press" into investigating these incidents. We take these allegations extremely seriously, as well as the reputations of our Soldiers and task forces.

I will speak with MAJ Casiano about the next course of action here, but want you to understand where this may lead. Please let me know if you have any questions.

v/r,
CPT Sandell

Comments   

 
+4 # Bug 2011-09-28 11:51
Hang in there Mike, but remember to take care of yourself. Now, even more than ever, we need your coverage of our soldiers.
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-1 # Debra McDowell 2011-09-28 12:23
Michael, if need be, we readers can 'assault' the military ourselves on your behalf...to allow you to keep on doing what you want to do...tell us the unvarnished truth from the front lines. We need you to stay safe and be able to continue to do your work without interference from the very people you work/eat/sleep/ go on missions with! Praying for your safety every day!
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+2 # Phyllis 2011-09-28 12:24
Gee Mike, maybe the truth, which you write all the time, is hurting some people. If they minded their manners, you wouldn't have to write about it now would you?

Don't let them end up hurting you Mike. You're the only one who tells us the truth about what's happening over there and we depend on you.

Take care my friend.
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+2 # Pete 2011-09-28 12:28
These a-holes deserve a spotlight on them. If their conduct were not unbecoming, they would not have appeared in these pages.
Go get them.
Oversight is obviously called for.

And this physical stuff is way over the top. This guy must really be full of himself to think he could get away with it.
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0 # nampilot 2011-09-28 12:39
nothing new.
i am a retired army lt col, and its the same old cya.
you want the most effective resolution
as quickly as possible
as these dogs of war
bite themselves in the ass
instead of the enemy.
don't let them bit you.
access your contacts
holding the strings of power.
one call from a friendly general officer
will put the snarling curs
back in their cages.
the cost?
they will find subtle ways to sabotage you.
look over the horizon.
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+1 # Mary 2011-09-28 12:18
More people than you know are reading your posts. They mean alot to us back in the states. We want to know how this ends, and respect the request to handle it personally. You can certainly fill us in later... Gods continued blessings on you all...
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+1 # RE: Censorship Threat from US Army Public AffairsCommenter 2011-09-28 12:19
Mr. Yon, the document is U/FOUO, which means that it should be treated as confidential, and not posted so that it is available to the general public. I think you should respect the designation and not post the contents online.
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+4 # RE: Censorship Threat from US Army Public AffairsTomas 2011-09-28 12:28
For Official Use Only (FOUO) is a document designation, not a classification. This designation is used by Department of Defense and a number of other federal agencies to identify information or material which, although unclassified, may not be appropriate for public release.

I think Mr. Yon knows what can and can not be released to the public.
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0 # Mary 2011-09-28 12:38
Oh please, Are you really serious that he should keep this all to himself. He needs this paper trail for cripes sake. He also knows exactly what he's doing. Be Careful Mr. Yon, I glad you have the nads to speak up.
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+2 # whamprod 2011-09-28 12:42
Quoting Commenter:
Mr. Yon, the document is U/FOUO, which means that it should be treated as confidential, and not posted so that it is available to the general public. I think you should respect the designation and not post the contents online.

On the other hand, by treating it publicly, he is being transparent, and his transparency is forcing those responsible to be transparent as well. If it were classified, I'd feel otherwise about it. But you apparently have a small number (maybe 2 or 3) rogue individuals there who are clearly not in command of their faculties, as demonstrated by their treatment of Michael, and if they are not in command of their faculties, then they ought not to be in command of anything in a war zone.
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+1 # ranger 2011-09-28 12:21
I think you do an amazing job and I appreciate how you support our troops. However, I agree that the personal issues should be resolved in a more confidential manner, especially if doing so allows you to remain and report.
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0 # Judy 2011-09-28 12:28
The question remains: IS there resolution when these issues are taken care of confidentially? Only Michael can answer that.
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0 # Nate 2011-09-28 12:43
Remember, the other parties have been very public with their actions too. If this extremely unprofessional captain goes around assaulting imbedded journalists and it isn't reported, who else is he doing this to? MSG Grisham has made his comments in a blog, if i remember correctly (not going to go searching for his ilk to avoid giving him site hits). While I certainly want Mike to remain imbedded, we get great reports about the way things are, these are definitely problems that need to be addressed, not swept under the rug by bureaucrats circling the wagons. Hang in there and take care Mike.
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+1 # Guest 2011-09-28 12:23
I support you to no end, as bug said let's concentrate on the soldiers. As a writer you do spiffing work Mr Yon.
As for removing said posts, don't buckle. It's there for us to see.
Swift and Bold, keep it up. And a big thank you from the Brits.
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0 # Texas2Step 2011-09-28 12:23
And you thought life in a war zone was going to be dull, Michael.

Seriosuly, I second Bug's comment - hang in there because we, USA and the world, need your honest and insightful coverage, but do watch your back too. God bless!
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+3 # Michael R Perez 2011-09-28 12:24
What? you get assaulted and they want to blame you instead of Cpt Carbone? Not unusual. Please hang in there, Michael. We need your coverage and your frankness/objec tiveness so that all can 'see ' what is really happening out there. We'll keep listening and writing. You keep doing the same. Michael R Perez. San Antonio, TX.
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+4 # Andy 2011-09-28 12:26
Seems I remember you trying to handle this "In house", especially with regards to MSG Grisham? True? You are fortunate Michael, you have a world wide sounding board. This is good because I assume you don't have an effective chain of command. I'm sure there are times when soldiers wish they had a megaphone as loud as yours...
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+2 # mike h. 2011-09-28 12:27
U/FOUO = means.. unclassified/For Official Use Only
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+2 # Commenter 2011-09-28 12:30
And it is treated as confidential, "which means it cannot be discarded in the open trash, made available to the general public, or posted on an uncontrolled website".
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+1 # Commentor 2011-09-28 12:35
If it were to be treated as confidential, it would have be marked "CONFIDENTIAL". ..
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+2 # Commenter 2011-09-28 12:42
For any document/produc t correctly bearing the U//FOUO handling instruction, certain safeguards must be taken. Generally speaking, the material should be treated as if it were classified CONFIDENTIAL. This means it cannot be discarded in the open trash, made available to the general public, or posted on an uncontrolled website. It can, however, be shared with individuals with a need to know the content, while still under the control of the individual possessing the document or product. Wherever possible, U//FOUO information should not be passed over unencrypted communications lines (e.g., open phones, non-secure fax, personal e-mails). If no secure communications are available for transmission, U//FOUO material may be sent via unprotected means, with supervisory approval after risk has been assessed.
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-1 # Chas C-Q 2011-09-29 11:59
I wouldn't call this "an uncontrolled website." (Not controlled by the DOD, maybe; but that cuts no ice with me.) Michael is certainly accountable, and in control.
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0 # Kenney 2011-09-28 12:28
I hope that you assaulted him back. 2112 is my tent and no one is coming into my tent and leaving without a dent in their head.
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+5 # Pete 2011-09-28 12:30
Michael, wisdom and courage, i will pray for you.
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+5 # Papa Ray 2011-09-28 12:33
Hey Mike, don't get led astray and/or knocked off by the outlying minefields and booby traps, stay away from them and press forward. You have a mission and it will take months if not years to complete. Stay focused.

Papa Ray
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+3 # Jack Peek Sr 2011-09-28 12:36
This is why a good Marine...MY SON..quit after 13 yrs...THE POLITICAL BS/RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, the ARMY, and all the rest are so PC THANKS TO THE CIC....good men and women...who serve their country haven't a chance.
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+1 # Bill Coffey 2011-09-28 12:36
Can't recall who said it, but it went something like this, "This war is flooded with human nature". There are many instances in all walks of Army life, especially that life within a combat zone, which are also flooded with "human nature". It is best to handle ALL issues at the lowest possible level and to be quite frank, Facebook is NOT at the lowest level. People make mistakes, leaders have responsibilitie s, all should use the chain of command as a TOOL to resolve conflict and all should keep "dirty laundry" at the lowest levels unless it can't be solved at that level. Mr. Yon, you are doing great work out there and I pray that you can remain in your current capacity as an "embed", but working WITHIN the military chain of command is a prerequisite, no matter how insane it is or seems to be.
Very Respectfully,
MAJ (RET), US Army
Bill Coffey
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0 # PTB 2011-09-28 13:10
Agree. Too much info about personal conflicts. If Michael is worried about his safety, he can send the information to trusted people but not the world.
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+1 # Vernon Clayson 2011-09-28 16:25
You've directed your criticism at the wrong party,the Civil Affairs officer should have handled his beef within his chain of command. Taking matters into his own hands was an ethical lapse both in his military role and as an attorney. There's likely more behind his conduct than dislike for Yon, is it possible he has unrelated personal problems? Whatever his beef, his conduct was not appropriate. The author of the equivocal letter is probably feels shame. How many WWII rear echelon functionaries would have assaulted Ernie Pyle.
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+1 # Michael Yon 2011-09-28 12:37
All military emails (to my knowledge) have headings (FOUO). All communications with Public Affairs is ON THE RECORD. Part of the embed agreement specifically says all communications are on the record.

This was no personal interaction with Captain Chris "AbulMajed" Carbone (his Facebook name). I had never met him and did not know him. He barged into my tent without introduction. He verbally and physically assaulted me. Captain Carbone committed a criminal act while wearing a US Army uniform and captain's bars. A US Army officer committed a crime right here in this tent. The United States Army should prosecute Carbone.
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-1 # Jack Peek Sr. 2011-09-28 12:42
Again Sir...There is law less activity.....an d its wearing a uniform, maybe GATES should know!
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0 # Gregg 2011-09-28 12:58
Physically assaulting the ex-Green Beret... we can add being witless to his offenses
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0 # Brian 2011-09-28 13:05
This Sounds horrible. What exactly happened between the Capt and you?
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+12 # Janice Stroud 2011-09-28 12:41
SO much DRAMA, and not a woman in sight ......
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0 # Kent A. Vining 2011-09-28 12:44
@ Commenter

For Official Use Only (FOUO) is a document designation, not a classification. This designation is used by Department of Defense and a number of other federal agencies to identify information or material which, although unclassified, may not be appropriate for public release.

There is no national policy governing use of the For Official Use Only designation. DoD Directive 5400.7 defines For Official Use Only information as "unclassified information that may be exempt from mandatory release to the public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)." The policy is implemented by DoD Regulation 5400.7-R and 5200.1-R.


http://www.wright.edu/rsp/Security/S2unclas/Fouo.htm

Mr. Yon is well within both his rights and responsibilitie s regarding FOUO. One only needs go down to the corner Army Surplus store to see FOUO Field Manuals available to the general public.
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+4 # Joe Vergo 2011-09-28 12:47
Hang tough Michael! Your efforts are definitely appreciated, as is you commitment to the grunts.
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+3 # Doug Gugino 2011-09-28 12:56
Hello Mr. Yon - during Operation Iraqi Freedom - another fantastic source for information was the Command itself. There was a website that posted all the action(s). I am sorry to say I don't remember the specific. During the last hearings on the Iraq War that General Petraeus was testifying when Hillary Clinton was a senator - I knew of actions, progress, FACTUAL reporting from the Army's site itself. I remember thinking - all Senators - please read these posts!

There is not such a "information deployment" in support of this war.

Thank you for being there. Thanks to all that support you (it is left as a given the gratitude I have for our armed forces).
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0 # Victoria 2011-09-28 12:57
Wow. I hope you stay in there Michael as it appears your safety may be questionable with a couple of rogues. But then you were a Marine so no doubt you can handle it. I think it IS important that a possible dangerous soldier get the attention needed for help, as he would not do that on his own. And these things cannot always be worked out amongst themselves, they sometimes need intervention.

Anyway, good job Michael.
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0 # Andy 2011-09-28 16:48
FYI Victoria, Michael wasn't a Marine. He was U.S. Army Special forces. Also, I agree with you completely! I think Michael had no other choice in this situation....
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-4 # Mary 2011-09-28 13:03
You do not really state why you questioned these guys' fitness in the first place. The stresses over there are extreme and there is little to no real transition afterwards. That should not be "reported" as breaking news. If, however, you have witnesses clear evidence of traitorous, sedition, or immoral behavior then please report it to the proper channels and report on the proceedings. Otherwise, please don't give the liberal elitists any ammunition against our soldiers.
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+1 # Leyla Najma 2011-09-28 13:48
I think you need to look at your comment "again" to see what you are really saying. If this wasn't an issue Michael wouldn't have posted it. He has my upmost support and he is an honorable man.
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+5 # Michael Yon 2011-09-28 13:10
Note: I never questioned the fitness of anyone in the 443rd Civil Affairs Battalion. I did not even know they existed until Captain Chris Carbone committed a criminal act. I then learned that he is in the 443rd. And so I learned both his name and the unit he was in probably in the same hour that he assaulted me. Criminals should not be in uniform, and the Army should not threaten censorship for reporting a criminal act by an officer.
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0 # Brett Stokes 2011-09-28 13:26
Nope, you expose bullshit anyway you can. Capt Carbone is a SERVANT of the American people and for him to attack a American CIVILIAN in ANY WAY is UNACCEPTABLE! Good job Yon, keep it up!
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0 # Bill from Philly 2011-09-28 14:23
Michael-
Why did your man classified the message FOUO? Feels like a trap to me. If you talk about it, "you've released classified information." Remember, Nixon didn't go down for the break-in. He went down for the cover-up.
Bill
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0 # Chas C-Q 2011-09-29 11:50
The email was labeled "UNCLASSIFIED" and "FOUO." Blogging is MY's official business.
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+2 # Mick 2011-09-28 13:15
The email that Mr. Yon posted was for his eyes only not for the public. The email is from a concerned commander who is trying to squash this before it gets really out of hand and the mission is affected and if this shows a pattern of affecting soldiers then he will have to leave. I do believe this that both parties involved created some of the drama and that it wasn't just one-sided. However, a true professional will not post items for the public to read. This was a private matter that should have been handled better and not on a social media posting.
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+2 # Leyla Najma 2011-09-28 13:54
Maybe what you are suggesting was the problem. Some things can't always be handled "privately" because of circumstances surrounding them.
It obviously was already out of hand or he wouldn't have posted this. And I question your comment of what you think a true professional is. Again obviously your idea and mine are different. The fact Michael is out with these men risking his life says it all.
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+1 # Bobh 2011-09-28 14:06
Nobody can doubt Michael's courage in deploying with our Soldiers or his effectiveness in bringing information and understanding about the war to view. Michael seems to generate mutual respect with the fighting soldiers, and is sometimes out of tune with the rear echelon whose assignment is news management. I agree that it would be better to have summarized the email and attributed it to an anonymous person, but this is not normal journalism. The content and tone of the email could be construed as good advice to resolve something quietly, but it equally could be construed as a threat; which of the two could depend on the prior relationship between sender and recipient. And that the army ended the embed and then reinstated it indicates that something is out of shape. I don't think this affects the real mission, though it may affect the mission of Civil Affairs.
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+1 # Bill from Philly 2011-09-28 14:08
Hey Mick-

Think about it for a minute. If it is "for official use only", then why is he sending it the military's most prolific and respected blogger? Michael is embedded. He reports on "official" stuff all the time. THAT'S HIS OFFICIAL JOB! If your man wanted to keep it "on the down-low" then he should have gotten away from his keyboard and did a little face-time with Michael.

Did you ever consider the possibility that he made it FOUO- not to protect our valiant warfighters, but to protect his own/his command's backside? If he is attempting to "classify" his way out of this mess, then he should be brought up on charges. That's how I see it from the sidelines.

Bill
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-1 # A&N 2011-09-28 13:16
You seem to see things are changing-wasn't like this when we first read you from Iraq. Maybe you've been so busy with war that you've missed the political changes. You say.."Censorshi p Threat from US Army Public Affairs". We've got a war right here in the USA.. a thing called "Attack Watch" with goon squads ready to come into our tents (homes) and straighten us out if we say anything criticizing the Administration or their policies. Report you neighbor type thing. What happened to free speech? You're kidding us..an you expect the Military that we've trusted, supported and loved for over 200 years won't change? They propagandize us. Our Military guys are still the greatest but those who are running the show in DC are not. Not going to get better Mike/ The CC doesn't know how to fight a war and win..not sure he wants to. Our men are still the best but are they being made sitting ducks ....Don't be a sitting duck, Mike. If you can't tell the truth.. get out.
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+1 # Tony 2011-09-28 13:17
Mike, could you please clarify when the above email was received? At what stage of the assault/di-semb ed/re-embed did you get it?
As always, stay safe and may your god look over you.
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0 # jon505 2011-09-28 13:28
Mike
Why did he assault you? What did he think had happened that resulted in this altrication. What was said when you reported it to the MP's? You know the score- get it written down and follow the paper trail. Keep safe and a wise man know when to cut a run?
jon
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-1 # Andy 2011-09-28 16:54
I don't know, but I suspect where Michael is at, a Fire Base, or whatever, there are no MPs...
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+2 # Ed 2011-09-28 13:32
Michael, hope you're doing well and thanks for the job you've done (prior service) and the job you're doing now.

I don't know you but I think we all get a feel for your character from your reporting - that you call a spade a spade regardless of the outcome. I admire that but from experience I can say that it's not always the best choice sometimes - that there can be blowback - as I'm sure you're aware. However, if you've tried to bring it to the attention of senior officers regarding the threats from MSG Grisham and they haven't done anything, what other options do you have? Are you supposed to go home? Are you supposed to just be quiet and take it? No, you're not. I think alot of us would have done the same thing if we were in the same position - to not have done anything would have been irresponsible.
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+4 # Leyla Najma 2011-09-28 13:43
Wow!
You mean that they don't want bad press because it makes them look...what "bad?"
This unfortunately means that the people in command don't want to do anything about the situation. Obviously they don't get it or this would have been resolved a long time ago. And if there was a way for you to resolve things I'm sure you would have done so. To say it's between the 4 of you is absurd. It has everything to do with the men higher rank who are looking the other way while this happens not only to you but probably others.

They need to do something about the major "Problems" instead of making you their scapegoat!!
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+4 # Ethan 2011-09-28 14:05
Michael~ Im sitting here shaking my head in total wonder.... "Negative attention to you" haha! I have a feeling somebody new ( only 10 days in) don't like taking heat on a matter this important! hmmm...maybe he needs to do something about a rogue Soldier who takes his gang into a tent of a journalist and assaults him physically!!! We don't need this 2% in the armed forces! I hope this dude gets what he deserves from his higher ups.... I must add.....It strikes me very funny that you are targeted by a idiot like this, your actually one of the few journalist out there who are on THEIR SIDE! ROCK ON MR YON!!!!!!!!!!!
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+7 # Terri Bell 2011-09-28 14:07
The army and CPT Sandell had a golden opportune moment to turn what the negative attention into a positive one by simply addressing the issue and reassuring action/investig ation would be taken immediately and DOING SO! That is all that was needed with maybe a simple apology... however instead Sandell requested the FB posts be removed and stated these were personal conflicts that should be dealt with between the individuals. He blew it! Once Carbone entered Michael Yon's tent and assualted him, it was no longer a personal conflict. It was a criminal assault on a civilian by an army officer on a military installation!

The army is a microcosm of society... good and bad. This should not cast a negative light on the army in general. The longer they delay in doing so, the more negative attention will be generated. They do not have the time nor should they have to deal with something like this.. so take action and nip it n the bud NOW and be done with it!
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+7 # Doc Bob Meaders 2011-09-28 14:09
Cockroaches tend to scuttle for cover when exposed to light.
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+3 # Jerry Ogles 2011-09-28 14:09
Courageous move, Michael. Naturally, the command and staff will always attempt to squash any story that is not complimentary to them. They feel secure in the chain, but once out of the chain and out of their control to manage damage, they will take whatever actions - legal or not - to bring the issue back under their control.

Remember when the Command burned Bibles? They will honor the Quran and burn Bibles with the same General Order.

Hang in there - All the Way!
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+5 # Jon 2011-09-28 14:13
You know the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times", looks like you're getting a full court curse. Thank you very much for your posts, I greatly appreciate them & the fact that you are willing to turn your life upside down to cover our men & women in harms way.
Best Regards,
Jon
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+1 # susan warren 2011-09-28 15:06
Jon, I totally agree with you.....Michael has literally turned his life upside down to get the REAL factual news out that is impossible to get any other way....we are 'there' with him as he covers the troops and their daily lives.....and there are myriads of us at home who crave this coverage and not the pap offered by mainstream media...thanks for putting it out there......
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+1 # PhilM 2011-09-29 10:15
Quoting Jon:
You know the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times", looks like you're getting a full court curse.


I've been told the whole "full court curse" is May you live in interesting times, and come to the attention of important people! :-)

I too have followed Michael's dispatches from around our troubled sphere, and been impressed that he keeps a very even keel in his dealings with all sides. Other times he has noted, after the fact, of other 'problems' created by other overbearing and officious personnel that have been resolved without naming names. Those times he's had to put them out were proven necessary after the dust settled, and I expect this will prove so too.

Thank you for all you do - stay strong, stay safe.
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+7 # Bob Yosco 2011-09-28 14:26
Pardon the interruption,bu t you should have kicked the damned dogie's ass. Man lays hands on you then all bets are off. During joint-service deployments I had more than my share of incompetent game-cocks that needed a lesson.

Semper Fi and don't let the bastards wear you down
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+1 # brenda 2011-09-28 17:32
Yeah, I would have loved to have seen that.
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+7 # gismofly 2011-09-28 14:52
Dear Mike,

I've never read anything disparaging about US Forces in your write ups. You've always made them out to be heroes which indeed they are. Individual bullies, however, are something else and need to be exposed. Most of your readers have served the colours and know exactly what you are talking about.

Your articles inspire confidence and affection for the US Forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere. If the US brass get super sensitive about what you write and try to muzzle you then they'll become the enemy too.

Let your concience be your guide. As far as many of us are concerned you are a US patriot and to be trusted.

Power to your right hand, son.
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+5 # PPR 2011-09-28 14:59
I'd like to know a few more details. Such as:

1. The actual circumstances of the (alleged) assault. (Remember, innocent until proven guilty under UCMJ, not guilty as written about on MY. Fairness works both ways.)

2. More details on being kicked off the embed, then being reinstated. I don't see that in the e-mail. What exactly was your response to the Captain? They DO have a point. The ongoing feud is a distraction from what COULD be fine reporting.

A good reporter will assemble his facts and then lay out his story. Please do.

~ Power Point Ranger
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0 # John - Capt in ANG 2011-09-28 15:21
Michael, I see it both ways, and I think you should as well. There's usually no reason to air dirty laundry in public if it's avoidable. And, reading his email isn't meeting the threshold of "censorship". Censorship is when they take your publication and change it, or prohibit release. He asked you, "to consider removing it," which is just asking from one intelligent human being to another to "reconsider." Normal, rational people do this all the time. I posted comments initially about the whole thing, and then reconsidering I don't know all the facts, I left some and removed others. Think about leaders you've admired, were they the ones who could concede middle ground, or the ones who dug in no matter. You can win the fight and lose the war, or, be right but be wrong in how you handled it. Just things to consider. Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics... I will let you finish the analogy in your own mind.
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+1 # Chieftain 2011-09-28 15:49
"Arguing on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics... I will let you finish the analogy in your own mind."

Hmmmmm... "running in the Special Olympics" is quite an achievement, to my way of thinking. I know a few Special Olympians that you would have great difficulty keeping up with.

That notwithstanding , arguing on the Internet is probably one of the few ways Michael can keep himself safe out there. He is unarmed, with Danger Close -- disturbingly, from "friendly" forces. Naming names is an excellent technique for deterring opportunistic "problem-solvin g" by way of fragmentation grenade or other similar "accident". The potential lines of enquiry would be obvious.
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+1 # Gina 2011-09-28 17:19
I agree. It gives someone a place to start looking IF "something" were to happen.
Stay safe Michael. We all look forward to each of your stories and photos. You're a rare breed and we appreciate all that you do.
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-3 # Ron Kidwell 2011-09-28 15:34
My congressman will hear of this!
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0 # Violette 2011-09-28 16:17
Revolving door...kind of "funny", not for you i see ! Keep in or out ,you are the juge. After a night sleep all is more clear and BTW they are many open freindly doors for you every where...
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+5 # Jason Woodruff 2011-09-28 16:21
It is super wrong to air this out publicly, as well as publishing the names and ranks of those involved. Is this an OPSEC issue? Maybe not, but it is still super wrong. Ultimately, the families of those soldiers deserve their privacy, and the soldiers in harms way deserve their anonymity.
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+5 # Paul Michalak Sr. 2011-09-28 16:27
@ Major Bill Coffey. First, MUCH respect and thanks for your service. However, I disagree with the direction of your post. Mr. Yon has said that he tried the channels first to no avail. Being politically correct in today's world gets people killed. Example: Fort Hood. Move the paper. Move the person. Pass the responsibility on to another desk.
Leadership requires decisive action which was not taken. Furthermore, there are more lives at stake than Mr. Yon's.
These transgressions were taken by motivated individuals with plenty of forethought. Not a spur of the moment emotional reaction. Conversations had to have take place prior to action and the target was sought out to create opportunity. Without immediate remedy and based on threats and actions, Mr. Yon acted in the best interests of himself and the Army.
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+4 # Paul Michalak Sr. 2011-09-28 16:29
@ Major Bill Coffey. Last comment was too long and had to be cut.
Which in your eyes would be the worse scenario? Officer kills unarmed American journalist in Afghanistan or Army takes decisive action to save lives?
If the Army were to dis-embed Mr. Yon, they would lose a major advocate in the public relations war. As yourself, who else is covering the war?... this way?
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+3 # Austen 2011-09-28 16:53
There is a conundrum here.... do you remove the Facebook posts etc and take Cpt Sandell at his word and let this matter be investigated or do you let them remain and get kicked out. Chances are that you will get kicked out no matter what happens but if you get kicked out we lose our pipeline to what is really happening. I, like others, trust your judgement. Do what is right for yourself.
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+3 # John 2011-09-28 17:02
Mr Yon, My two Pennyworth. Cut out the names from the public side of this, those like me won't know them from Adam and those around you know them already.

Throwing the names out here might be putting off some people from coming to your aid.
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-2 # Tom 2011-09-28 17:19
I have to agree - you wield a lot of power with your world-wide audience. I would keep the names out of initial dispatches where you are being critical of the individual and keep your powder dry should working the chain of command prove ineffectual. Praise in public, reprimand in private is a long standing and, I believe, powerful tool of leadership and you are in a position of leadership because of the power of your words and your audience. Keep up the good work!
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+2 # Trevor 2011-09-28 20:48
Nah. Name names. Shame is a powerful tool. If they have nothing to be ashamed of the investigation will show that. Mr. Yon's only weapon is his pen/keyboard.
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+1 # Chas C-Q 2011-09-29 11:34
I'd say that "Captain Chris "AbulMajed" Carbone (his Facebook name)" is not ashamed of his part in this contretemps ... yet.
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+6 # Graeme Thompson 2011-09-28 17:17
Mr Yon, at the end of the day you say that a nasty looney with a gun has threatened your life. If it's as you say, and I've no reason to think you' make this up, then call it as you see it. You hae a lot of expierience both as a soldier and a journalist, whether your judgement proves to be right or wrong, noone can question your good faith in making it.

We have an MSM that basically has been playing the enemy's propaganda game virtually from the start of the War Against Islamic Terrorism. You've been putting your life on the line for years now to let those on the side of freedom know what's happening and the huge sacrifices being made for us. If that doesn't earn you the benefit of the doubt on your judgement, I dont know what will.

Just dont seek asylum with the Taliban!
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+1 # Chris R. 2011-09-28 17:21
Michael: Obviously this is instigated by MSG Grisham. That being said, I hope you have friends in (very) high places.
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+1 # guest 2011-09-28 17:27
Oh for Heaven's sake. This Captain Carbone is not acting like a member of my armed forces. Maybe some other country's army, but not US. Officers do not go about assaulting civilians, embedded or not.

I'm not sure how much of an assault it was. Did he beat you, or what? In any case Captain Carbone may find that he's really not officer material. In the civilian sphere (cops, firemen, airline pilots, FBI etc.), such behavior gets you suspended pending termination. I would expect no less in this case, unless the military standards for such behavior in their officer corp don't cover assault of US civilians.

Is the US Army now so lose on this behavior that they don't come down on it immediately? If so, then we've fallen quite a ways.
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+2 # Dennis 2011-09-28 17:36
Michael, wish I could say I was surprised. I organized a motorcycle ride, last Saturday to Ft. Campbell to benefit SOWF. We had worked out access to post, but someone got their butt on their shoulders and denied access to more than half of us because they were wearing Combat Vet Assoc patches. "no colors allowed"... He turned away a group of guys that have served, in combat, for his own selfish pleasure... it's just wrong. Political correctness will be the death of us yet.
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0 # Alex 2011-09-30 14:34
Could it be that there are reasons other than that they guy had to axe to grind with your group? Aren't "No colors" policies fairly common nowadays? Was there a policy from the post commander than strictly prohibited colors even if they aren't obviously 1%er related? Campbell has had its share of gang issues and may have a blanket (yes, missing common sense) policy.
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+3 # KEHammer 2011-09-28 18:50
Dear Mr. Yon,
While I sympathize with the stress of the tenuous nature of your embed, I'm glad you're back. :-) I nearly despaired when I read that your embed had ended. I understand this situation with CPT Carbone must be very frustrating for you, and I will continue to pray for a just resolution to this conflict.
God Bless you.
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+7 # PNR 2011-09-28 18:58
I've been reading Yon's reports since I was in Iraq in '04. I don't know these other people, but I know Mr. Yon. In 7, almost 8 years of reading his reports, I've never been steered wrong.

The same can't be said for military PAOs from any branch.

Nor have I ever seen Yon name names like this unless he had reason to believe the threat was serious - and to date, every time he's believed the threat was serious it was, in fact, serious.
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+1 # Ned Chipley 2011-09-28 19:28
I'd say things are pretty serious when someone bursts in private quarters and attacks the occupant.
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0 # J C Murray 2011-09-28 20:19
Michael: LIke a lot of folks, I've been reading your reports for a number of years. They are incredbly important since you report with the bark off. in the sixties I served in line outfits and then in a Corps level PIO in Euorpe. Our firat PIO was a Cpt type with combat experience. He was steady, reational and blessed with a love of the Green Machine and a full combat load of common sense. When the Cpt retired he was replaced with a Major; a nice guy but more political internally. WE had a few runins over publishing the ladies bowling league results in a troop newspaper. I won that argument and a couple of others before he was transferred to the states. If the Army cancels your embed they (and we) would lose the only SF-experienced voice of reason we have. Then we'd be left with primarily propaganda and there's enough of that already.
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+1 # Ted Nugent 2011-09-28 21:10
Michael,
Good work son. It is time to come home.
Ted F. Nugent
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+5 # Jackie 2011-09-28 22:00
I shudder to think what may have happened if you had not named names. Sometimes "nothing" is the worst thing that can happen. The pen is your sword, you don't get a gun. Use it. It's about time someone started clearing up some of the mess from the bottom up. If that means publicly, then I suppose it does. Having read your posts for quite some time now, I trust you would not have said anything had it been a small skirmish. This did not seem at all small. Instincts are there for a reason. I am happy you seemed to have heard, trusted, and used yours, and have done so in a polite yet to-the-point manner. Know that you are facing fear in the face in so many ways, physically, mentally, emotionally...H UGE PROPS!
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+2 # JR 2011-09-28 23:20
Yours is one of the few sites I continue to read about he wars. It is accurate, according to those who have been there with you. Those who are conducting themselves with less than the best of standards in this way, do not realize the immense following, and support you have. I have many friends who only occasionally get to read your posts, but all of them respect you highly for what you do. It is just a matter of time before this ongoing dispute becomes national news. When that occurs the senior leadership, will be compelled to do, what they should have already done.

My concern is that this is not only about M Yon's treatment and safety. (Without belittling that - as it is very important). This is about the safety of all the soldiers under these officers.

Best of luck to you, and our prayers are with you for your safety, and wisdom to handle this situation.

God Bless! and Thank you for your service.
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+1 # Jack 2011-09-28 23:44
Mr. Yon. This sucks dragon breath that several high-ranking enlisted and commissioned officers would do what they have done and more importantly what they are collectively capable of doing, when you are sleeping or your back is turned I hope someone with the utmost integrity at home is reviewing what took place, and I'm sure it is more than you have reported. Perhaps it is time to Embed with another unit, but that will be your call as well as the call of the weenies at HQ. Be safe and be well. GodSpeed from the Big Apple.
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+1 # Bruce Templeton 2011-09-29 05:21
Michael,
I read your every report and have read your books, and I send money when I can. We rely on you over here in the states for the G2 on what is going on over there. Without your hard work we would be missing an important and honest source of information regarding our military and our mission in that part of the world. You help me understand what our military needs from us in order to succeed and what we can do to help keep their morale up, and you absolutely insist that we know when they operate without integrity at any level. I cannot tell you how important this work you do is in a free society like ours with a volunteer military. Without the financial and moral support and oversight from and by the citizens of the United States of Aamerica our military would be nowhere. I have searched far and wide on the Internet and I have not found a journalist like you working in that theatre, ever. You're the best, truly. Keep up the excellent work and be safe.


Bruce
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0 # Barry Sheridan 2011-09-29 05:38
Tut tut Michael, are you annoying people again! You should know that telling the truth does not win friends.
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+3 # Chas C-Q 2011-09-29 07:01
Whenever I got into a conflict with one very bureaucratic (and unscrupulous) former boss - rather than close the door and sit in his low guest chair as he commanded - I made a point of taking a step back into the hall and recounting my understanding of "our" problem in parade voice. I seldom lost an argument. Ultimately, he was reassigned.

Keep doing what you're doing. It's your only insurance.
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+2 # Steven Hoober 2011-09-29 08:04
Why do PAO guys always act like they have never even seen the local news (not even the sports report) much less maybe are actual press liasons?

While airing grievances is not appropriate in all types of work, interference with doing your job as a member of the press is itself a story. How many times (lately!) have we heard that the foreign press has been kicked out of some dictatorship suddenly getting a protest movement, and that action alone is worthy of reporting, as it's a bad sign for everyone. How are we not to hold the USG to the same standard?

If the CoC doesn't want their unit to be seen in a bad light, they shouldn't do stupid things, and own up when they do (shit happens). Well-respected, well-read reporters like you are not going to have their career ruined because some PAO guy said you are lying or vindictive or should man up and take the abuse.
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+5 # Bill Boyd 2011-09-29 08:05
Yours is the most trust worthy voice that I know of re. Afg. I send your posts to a number of folk and they love them. Hang tough friend. You are doing the right job or these people wouldn't be harassing you. Bless you for the things you do.

Best, BB
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0 # RJ 2011-09-30 01:02
Michael, With all due respect to CPT Carbone et al, without knowing the details of what precipitated the attack, (though I will certainly read on an find out), and from the limited number of your dispatches which I have read, I know you have nothing but the highest respect and regard for the troops with which you serve as an imbed and the at times exceedingly demanding mission in which they are engaged. You sir, I believe, epitomize "fair and balance" and I greatly appreciate your dispatches from the front. And so I can only second the motion "hang tough"....and soldier on (as no doubt you will). And may God bless our all our men and women in the military, past, present, and future.
All the best to you and yours,
RJ
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+8 # Kevin Hoar 2011-09-29 08:08
Michael, without your reporting from Iraq, I'm not sure we on the home front would have any unvarnished journalism to rely upon. Your good judgment every step of the way has shown us the real "ground truth" of the conflicts you've covered, both the good and the bad, in a fair and constructive way. As recent years have shown, it really does matter what folks on the home front think about our military engagements in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. There are A LOT of us who don't at all trust the current Commander-In-Ch ief to best defend our lives, liberty, and the broader national security interests. YET, we do continue to steadfastly support our American fighting men and women in harm's way. To the ones deciding your embed fate in Afghanistan and the fate of those threatening you, I say there is far more at stake in what they decide next than bad PR for them. We're watching AND we will make our elected officials aware of what happens next. Thank you for what you do.
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0 # carol 2011-09-29 08:20
Tell Sandell that this Carbone character is on the world's radar as a PR disaster waiting to happen.

Have you considered - maybe he WANTS the American military to have a negative reputation?

Or maybe he just wants his nanosecond of fame a la Mark Chapman?

I too think you should leave this Carbone character's vicinity - come to London, the weather is shockingly good at the moment!
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+1 # Dave 2011-09-29 08:46
Michael,

The world is now watching Cpt Sandell to see what he does. Whatever action he chooses to take will follow him for the rest of his days.
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+5 # Tbones 2011-09-29 10:42
This CPT is an idiot. They should have those three soldiers standing tall before the man, meaning immediate investigation and referral of charges under the UCMJ if found to be grounds for doing so.
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+1 # Chris 2011-09-29 11:47
Many moons ago, when I took a public affairs course for police supervisors, the FIRST thing the instructor (another cop) said was, "Don't pick fights with people who order ink by the barrel, newsprint by the boxcar, or videotape by the semi-load."

I took this very seriously and had excellent relations with the media (except for one reporter who nobody liked, not even at his paper).
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+3 # nellie 2011-09-29 14:10
Michael,
It's not your reporting of the incidents that attracts the negative attention - it's the actions of these so called 'Civil Affairs' (the word civil appears totally inappropriate?) personnel. Now we'll see how good the US Army PR machine is......maybe?
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-1 # walter90 2011-09-29 14:21
Interesting that Grisham posted on a Brietbart page in answer to me. He claimed the stories about him were "fabricated". I told him to make his case, I was listening. Nothing but the sound of crickets. He damaged his credibility by not responding and i now lean toward Michael Yon. Way to go troop!
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+4 # Mike S. 2011-09-30 05:21
I have been in Civil Affairs for over 25 years and can sadly say that the quality of units and personnel have collapsed. That is not to say that there are not good soldiers in the units, but continuous deplayments since Desert Storm in 1991 have taken there toll. In 1990 a Civil Affairs unit was difficult to get into, you had to be interviewed by the unit commander. Civli Affairs members use to be higher rank so any National Guard or Reserve soldier who wnated promotion opportunities would need to impress CA unit with civilian skills. Such as a law degreee, doctor, accountant, skilled trade, utility (H2O, Elec, sewer, other)worker. In 1990 a CA Team Officer and NCO generally had close to 20 years service each, by 2003 that was closer to 10yrs.
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0 # John 2011-10-01 19:23
Civil Affairs is still a competitive branch. If you've actually been working in it for 25 years you'd know that for a CPT to receive a branch transfer to Civil Affairs he has to put a competitive packet together for submission to DA in the same way that Special Forces candidates are required to do. Not everyone gets accepted. I know this because I have friends who have not been accepted. Most of the officers you see today in the Guard or Reserves come from active duty service.
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+1 # Mike S. 2011-09-30 05:22
SECOND HALF
Now an officer makes Captain and enlisted makes E-6 on first contract almost all of that time in reserve status. In 2009-10 the teams I saw at Dix were being lead but month old 2nd LTs and E-5s. Few have any significate civilian skills. Worse yet most have little interest in the culture or government structure of the country they are going to. The system puts on a good show, but as long as you do not fail the piss test you will be promoted when you put in your promotion packet.
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+1 # Mark 2011-09-30 22:09
Mr Yon,

You state that you were assaulted by MSgt CJ Grisham but provide no details on this. Now you state you were assauted by this Capt Carbone both verbally (what???) and physically...Ho w? Did he punch, kick, strike,? Were there any witnesses to back up your side of the story? Do you have any marks or wounds? Has the IG or Mil Police began an investigation?....
Sorry to appear so skeptical here, I really do like your work...when your doing your work...ya know? But lately you seem to be doing this Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde thing- doing awesome reporting and great pictures in the field, yet getting into these confrontations back at the FOB. Anway, I am praying for a peaceful resolution for all parties concerned. Good luck!
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+2 # Larry 2011-10-01 08:59
Michael,
Some people are just pricks, no matter how we look at it. I recall reports during Vietnam about people who flaunted their authority. Hang tough, we on the home front don't waver from such insanity and always look forward to your dispatches.
Stay low and safe...
Kindest regards,
Larry
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0 # Sabot 2011-10-01 19:05
Be specific. What exactly was the 'assault?' Don't pitch inferences and accusations without being exact. And if you think you need GO involvement go ask for it directly not via a blog.
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0 # Scott Hamilton 2011-10-02 10:54
Michael, in 2005 I was drafted into Civil Affairs. Soon I will retire after 28 years. My experience with CA is a long story of embezzelment, theft, corruption and etc. CA is little more than a corrupt syndicate from top to bottom. Many unaccounted for funds has disappeared into money-launderin g systems in CA units. To be fair, there are good soldiers in CA who try to do right things, but they are a minority. What you experienced is a norm in CA units. The objective is to discredit people who are a threat to the operation. That guy manufactured a controversy and he will have lied on reports to the command regarding your actions and statements. He will have supporting statements from other people whom he has command authority over, most who will not have been present. He will have presented the arguement to the command that you would have to be removed for lack of trust and animosity. The command would find themselves with a choice they couldn't argue against
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0 # wynnbob 2011-10-02 22:29
Wow. I had no idea the Civil Affairs community was so corrupt... money laundering, embezzlement, "syndicate". Makes me wonder why a "soldier" who was "drafted" into CA, who clearly has such a sterling moral compass doesn’t do his or her patriotic duty and come forward to protect the integrity of our service members. After all, your having knowledge of these acts and not coming forward makes you equally accountable for these actions, does it not?
Or maybe you are just another one of those tools who wants to hear themselves talk and feel the best way to be heard is to use incendiary word and accusations.
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0 # Joe 2012-02-13 10:44
What unit were you with, where, and when? I have two tours under my belt with CA now and have not known this to be the "majority" case as you claim. Have I seen shitty people? Hell yes. But I've seen them in CA, infantry, S1, S2, S4, etc. I know neither of us is fully correct, but just because you saw some assholes doing their thing under the "CA" title does NOT mean that the majority of CA bubbas are like that. It sounds more to me like a command issue within your deployed unit. Get an IG in that business if it's as bad as you're saying.

But if I was 'drafted' into CA like you (IRR, yeah?) I'd probably have a pissy attitude as well. 10% of my company on my first deployment was IRR so I can see where that would be coming from. However the draft is done, dude.
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-1 # Shanman 2011-10-02 16:54
Drafted into Civil Affairs? No one gets drafted. Let's also remember there are two types of Civil Affairs personnel, the Active duty special operations types and the Reserve component that you mention here. Very different levels of training, cultural awareness, and regional expertise.

Order to Chaos!
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0 # Buckaroomedic 2011-10-20 03:52
Gotta call BS on your statement. I got "drafted", if you will, into CA. I was in the IRR attending grad school and got the telegram the day after Christmas. Reported, half-way across the country, for duty and was eventually told that I was being "involuntarily reclassified into CA". I didn't even know what CA was! I didn't want to be CA, I wanted to go as a medic, but what can one do? Typical Army; I was sent to Ft. Dix for the whirlwind reserve component CA training, in the middle of winter, with no cold weather gear what-so-ever.
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0 # Buckaroomedic 2011-10-20 03:53
Oops, my original post was too long:

Yes there are two components to CA, the AD and USAR side, but the mission is the same. Remember that the Reserve side makes-up about 98% of the total CA force. You're right though, the training is different. Mostly due to Reserve component time constraints. The AD guys go in initially to set things up and are "usually" out within a month or so. The USAR guys go in for the standard one-year tour and are the ones who really accomplish the "hearts and minds" stuff . . .
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0 # Mack 2011-11-03 16:24
Wrong on all counts. The reserve CA spends longer in country, and brings the civilian aquired skill that the are required for the stability mission we need to achieve for an orderly departure. Typically they have done multiple tours in the same AO, so unless you are telling me that all of the AC CA speak Dari and Pashtu (which they don't) I'm not buying regional expertise or cultural edge. And yes people have been involuntarly reclassed to CA. I have worked with both AC and RC CA and the best don't claim to be "special", they just do their job. I won't say which I find more capable becuase I take each soldier as I find him, don't need to knock anyone to feel better about myself. Anyhow, they were both under special operations command until fairly recently and that was a funding decison not a capabilities decision, so I guess they were all special until 2009 or so. Regardless the training and doctrine is the same and still under USASOC for both AC and RC.
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+6 # JASON 2011-10-02 17:46
I am a big fan of yours and I show your picture postings to anybody who will look. I have to say though, that when you live in somebody else's house, you live by their rules, and you wait on them to take care of discipline, and protection. Why not take down the posts out of respect for the CPT Sandell. When the Army does not respond and take care of these issues as they have promised, then go public. This is not Facebook material, this is legal material. If these troublemakers aren't made accountable by higher-ups, then legal action and public information makes sense. On a lighter note, my 8 year old daughter is now dreaming of becoming a helicopter pilot after she saw your photos of Lacey, the female pilot whose photos you published recently. Thanks to you and your hours of labor, and faithful, dogged reporting, we here at home are gaining a clearer picture of the fight "over there". Keep up the great work, and know that I pray for you often.
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-1 # Holly 2011-10-02 21:23
Michael, Are you still there? I'm concerned as you are my only connection to my son who is in the 4-4 Cavalary...
Concerned mother!!!!
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+2 # James 2011-10-03 14:28
Ya know, there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss the Army. But it's guys like him that make me glad I'm no longer in. Every post I was ever at there was always at least one guy in the unit who was an a$$hat to everyone he had power over. Since being on the block these last 24 years, I have enjoyed having the ability to walk away from employers like that. Stay strong and stay safe Micheal, those kinds of a$$hats can be dangerous to people they can't control.
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+2 # Francisco 2011-10-03 14:42
Hello.......... ..Praying for your retrun......... .....
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-1 # stallion 2011-10-05 02:36
Mr Yon,
What triggered this highly unprofessional display? Why did this 'civil affairs' officer actually jump you? Back story is vital.
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0 # bb 2011-10-05 03:19
are you OK? What happened? Can you talk?
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+3 # Glen 2011-10-05 21:12
Nothing but silence I hope all is well and at worst case you are on your way home.
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+5 # Randy de Mars 2011-10-06 16:45
Saw this kind of &^%$ all the time while serving over 20 years in the Army. Keep up the great coverage and watch your backside.
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+2 # shane 2011-10-08 12:30
Be careful, its very easy to get fragged in a war zone, watch your back...get a piece from a trusted soldier.Stay safe
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0 # Brad Tibbetts 2011-10-10 13:00
I know several officers who have been "drafted" into civil affairs (circa 2006). They were Officers who had left active duty for the reserves and were at the tail end of their time in the IRR. They were recalled to active duty and sent to civil affairs training.
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+1 # RE: Censorship Threat from US Army Public AffairsJoe 2011-12-31 10:16
"CPT Carbone" rang a bell the instant I saw it in this article, but it took until I read "civil affairs" to piece it together. I do not know this man personally, but the name is familiar and in the small world of CAPOC (our command) I have known his name to be synonymous with "FUCK HEAD". I was in Afghanistan at the same time as him and he seems to be one of many thick skulled, dim-witted officers who is full of himself and will use every breathe to assert his AUTHORITY and GREAT KNOWLEDGE. From what I've seen, every CA unit has one or two of "those officers" that everyone wants to lynch. He is by far no exception, and is one of the assholes that completely fucks up the civil affairs mission as a whole.

Obviously I don't know the facts regarding your situation with him so I can't fairly judge. However, I have seen this man in person and have known him to be a douche, and I like your style of reporting from the battlespace so I will side with you on this.
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