Michael's Dispatches

The Texan Who Would Be King

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02 August 2011

Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan
With 4-4CAV, Task Force Spartan, Regional Command South

You meet the most interesting people in war.

War draws a “Who’s Who” of national leadership and central figures from the President on down.  “Everyone who is anyone” is somehow involved.  The higher leadership funnels down by gravity to the conflict.  And there another funnel is created, only this one is like a funnel cloud, a tornado, that rips through the young generation serving.  It also lifts many of these younger members into the clouds, to heights they never would have reached without military service, especially in war.  Many young people who are serving now will go on to do big things as they leap over boundaries that no longer exist in their minds or in reality.  They’ve faced death again and again and again.  Day in and day out, their responsibilities are routinely matters of life and death, success and failure.  Their decisions, good or bad, have national implications.  After this kind of responsibility, what else is there?

2011-07-30-001408-full-sizeLT Treadway before sunrise during the mission.

Colonel Patrick Frank, commander of Task Force Spartan, said that Zhari District is the most active district in Afghanistan.  And it was in Zhari that I met the Texan Who Would Be King.  His name is Lieutenant William Treadway and he has a solid reputation here.  A few days ago, 4-4CAV, also known as “The Pale Riders,” conducted an Air Assault attack and over the next 48 hours the squadron’s various elements got into 27 firefights.  We lost one Soldier killed in action.  He was shot.  Two others were shot, one seriously.  Body armor stopped the bullet that hit the third Soldier and so he walked away with very sore ribs.

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Why is this small dispatch about LT Treadway?  It’s simple: in addition to being a combat Soldier, he is a writer.  He has a blog.  And so instead of seeing dispatches filtered by me or anyone else, why not get it straight from the Texan Who Would Be King?

2011-07-30-155652-full-sizeDuring the mission, the Milky Way drifted slowly across the sky.

The Texan Who Would Be King is not a feel good blog.  It’s just war:

“I hear pretty abhorrent tales about how the Pashtun Taliban sympathizers treat their children as well. For instance, a few kilometers north of us sits another COP where an injured child was dropped off at the front gate by his father, who then left. The young man presented with a skull fracture and exposed brain matter. He was still conscious and able to speak to an interpreter, but was fading fast. The terp asked him what happened. The boy said that his father had ordered him to go out to the road, count American convoys and mark the times they came past. The boy refused, and his father took to beating the child in the head with a hammer. After the bludgeoning, the father put the kid on his motorcycle, drove him to the COP that he was gathering intelligence against and left him there. The kid died before the medevac bird touched down.”

Click for more of The Texan Who Would Be King.

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