Under Cover of the Night

with

1-17th Infantry

Night photo looks like broad daylight.

11 April 2010

During a mission there is no “pause” button.  It’s on until it’s over.  Recently, Charlie Company 1-17th Infantry conducted a mission that included visiting villages in the Shah Wali Kot district of northern Kandahar Province.

The main threats in this area are bombs and mines.  Many vehicles have “mine rollers” on the front that are designed to detonate the bomb before it gets under the vehicle.  The bombs often are big enough to completely obliterate any tank or armored vehicle ever built.  During the mission, a mine roller on a Stryker broke, causing Charlie Company to overnight in the desert.

After finding a suitable RON (rest overnight) location, the task was security and making a plan for the night.  With a full moon rising the Taliban could easily slip silently through the folds and creases of the land and strike.  The Taliban likely already knew our strength.  Tracks from the heavy Strykers would show our direction of travel, as would villagers along the way.  Of course, if the enemy followed the tracks they would eventually lead to a hail of devastating fire.  Most of the enemies are too smart for such mistakes.  More likely, the enemy would try to anticipate our next move and get bombs in front of our most probable routes.  They had all night.  Our people up that game by pushing out snipers and observers who might be watching the Taliban—even from miles away—ready to kill them on our routes.  Winning and losing deadly little skirmishes depends heavily on expertise, and luck.  We and the enemy have great advantages and disadvantages.

It was dark when the above photo was taken at 9:19PM local.  The moon was bright but the camera lens seemed to vacuum in the light and brightened to look like nearly daylight.  (Image data: 1649Z/2119Lima 50mm f4.5 30s ISO 800.)

With security out, SFC Olaf Munch made a schedule for the sentries while the soldiers dined on MREs and unpacked sleeping bags.  Lights were hardly needed.  Red filters were used because red lights are more difficult to see from a distance and they preserve night vision.

Actual data for the above image includes: 1650Z/2120L 50mm f4.5 30s ISO 800.  The “Z” or “Zulu” suffix denotes GMT or Greenwich Mean Time.  GMT is the time at the Prime Meridian—which runs through Greenwich —and so the image was made at 4:50PM on the 24-hour clock used by the military and others.  The U.S. military deals with every time zone in the world every minute of the day.  I adopted the military’s good idea by setting my cameras to Zulu.  Leaving the cameras on Zulu, it’s not important to remember to change the camera time or wonder if you did.  The  “L” or “Lima” means local time.  Troops might say that “so and so” will happen at “0200 Zulu,” or maybe “0200 Lima.”  Our military has myriad moving parts in different time zones and cannot have everyone operating on local clocks.  The Navy would show up early, the Air Force would show up late, and the Army and Marines would crash into each other.  Imagine the Air Force flying through multiple time zones to parachute supplies to a remote base.  The aircraft might have come in from a thousand miles away, while Air Force HQ might be in a different time zone, and the Marine HQ in another, and the target drop zone in a different zone.  So our people work off Zulu time, and everyone shows up on time.  Usually.

Photo from back of a Stryker with orienting starts.  (North is off to the right.)

Soldiers who had guard duty crashed quickly.  Some wear boots while sleeping; others dry their feet.  The military sleeping bags have enough footroom to allow for boots.  The sleeping bag zippers are designed to easily rip open.  Soldiers can go from sound asleep to fighting in seconds.
(1657Z/2127L 15mm f6.3 30s ISO 800)

Stryker ramps still open but will soon close.

The soldiers don’t walk much in case of land mines or IEDs.  We stay within a small area, dispersed enough for safety, yet close enough to communicate.

No flash is needed.  Only moonshine.

The mortar crew quietly telling jokes after the long day.

With no clouds, the earth radiates heat to outer space and the desert chills quickly, causing the mortar team to pull into sleeping bags.

The M4 rifles must deal with this dust night and day yet the rifles function well.

Brightness on the upper left is from the moon.  The machine gun on the Stryker is scanning while the orange in the distance is from an artillery illumination mission.   Lower right are my bare feet at 11:15PM.

The Stryker could be heard as the electrically operated .50 caliber scanned for targets.  The only way the enemy could attack us while maintaining a pittance of survivability was with rockets or mortars, but the moment those came in, we’d call aircraft that could arrive in minutes scanning the folds with their thermals.  We also had another Stryker platoon out there in the darkness and they had a 120mm mortar—a devastating weapon with uncanny first-round accuracy.  Whatever the enemy might do, they would need to do without being seen.  We camped in the middle of pure battlefield without the complications of city or village fighting.  If the enemy attacks tonight, their life expectancy plummets to seconds.  Long before we are within range of their weapons, they are within range of sudden precision fire from ours.  The enemy might be able to slip into one of the terrain folds, but there was no easy approach and the thermals on the Strykers and the night vision carried by the men made a successful, direct attack improbable.  And besides, most Taliban are poor shots even in broad daylight.  At nighttime they’d be lucky not to shoot each other.  The enemy is good at some things, but many of us were better shots when we were 14 years old.  If the enemy fired, our men would turn on the invisible lasers on their rifles, peer through night vision that made the lasers appear, and shoot them.  The enemy would need Harry Potter invisibility cloaks to sneak in on us.

11:17 PM

During times when there is a good possibility of being attacked, it’s best to not take off more than one boot at a time to let feet dry.  But with such a low probability of being surprised and being surrounded by combat soldiers, it’s fine to take off both boots and keep them close.

Comments   

 
# SALMA 2010-04-11 08:44
wow!!!!
Michael the pictures are really awesome.....i cant describe how much im enjoying them.
happy to have u there so u can keep sending us ur beautiful dispatches...th is is just so cool.
America is proud of you...
to peace
SALMA
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# S 2010-04-11 08:44
You have done what so many others have been unable to do...tell the truth. Unfortunately, the powers that be do not like your devotion to honesty. I, and so many others, truly appreciate the amazingly honest face of the war, on both fronts. It's the truth behind the network news that we all so desperately crave. I wish you the best in your endeavors "outside the wire."
God bless.
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# Donnette Davis 2010-04-11 08:49
After reading all that has happened... "On Saturday, 10 April, a message came from military that this embed has ended. No reason was offered.." and the subsequent explanations, and reading this dispatch, perhaps more intently than some of the others, you have to know Mike, that wherever you report from, you have the international support of tens of thousands of people. These photographs are magnificent - made me feel really sad - for you, for us, for the troops, their families - all of us who look to you for the hard-hitting, unbiased reporting humour you bring along with every dispatch. It's true when it was said recently that you are "nearing the status of Legend..." To many thousands of people you ARE a legend. Stay safe, Michael. And THANK YOU. Am reblogging this link. Best wishes, aways in all ways x
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# Doug Wright 2010-04-11 08:55
Michael, between your website postings and those on Facebook, you're doing a heck of a good job communicating! Well, since you're going outside the wire, stay alert and report when and what you can. Maybe the military will understand that the truth is important. Yep, so-called OpSec is very important and except for the NYT et al, many understand that need and it's obvious that you do too. So, what's the military's issue now? Who knows and that's probably not going to be resolved soon.

God bless and cheers!
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# Determined 2010-04-11 08:56
Great job as usual Michael GOD BLESS AND THANK YOU AND STAY SAFE.Awesome photos Our Military Men and Women are the best.Hugs and Prayers to ALL.
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# Jonathan Rubinstein 2010-04-11 08:59
While I do not share many of your political views and much of your exceptional reporting has strengthened my very different views, you are a true American patriot, an outstanding reporter and photojournalist doing what you obviously love doing. Better than many of us, you know how untrustworthy is the political leadership of our beleaguered nation and the feckless and corrupt Pentagon bureaucracy that must be taken apart if we are ever to remain a Republic. You are performing a great and patriotic service on behalf of each of us,
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# Peggy Kane 2010-04-11 09:04
Michael... We are losing our eyes to this war per some idiot in the powers that be arena.. THEY are missing the boat or already have sunk it by not allowing you to stay with our troops..
NO ONE else gives the true reports like you do...
However, knowing how you operate we will continue to get all the inside information come hell or high water. Most likely a little of each.
We do know where your heart will be even though your body is elsewhere.Thank you!
God Bless you and our troops.
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# James F. McClellan 2010-04-11 09:07
Fantastic Dispatch Mike. I think you know these rules but, just in case, let me repeat them.
1. Rejoice in that this is the will of God for you.
2. If #1 doesn't seem to be working, remember that all things are subject to change.
And last but not least ...
3. Don't let the idiots get you down.

Let us statesiders know if we can do anything else to support you and our troops.
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# Casca 2010-04-11 09:07
May God continue to bless you, and our young warriors.
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# Mark 2010-04-11 09:08
Michael,

You're the only one I can consistently count on for honest reports from the war--thank you. Be safe, and know you are in our thoughts and prayers each and every day.
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# Barbara Whipple 2010-04-11 09:12
It is sad that they are sending you out of the combat zone, you must me saying things that someone doesn't want to hear. hope you are able to keep o9n top of things from outside the wire
God Bless
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# xoxoxoBruce 2010-04-11 09:32
Do you suppose that "General officer" was concerned for your safety, thinking your success in staying alive was just luck?
Nah, more likely whoever is in charge of keeping track of journalists, gets nervous when they aren't all corralled where he can keep tabs on them.
Although I'll sorely miss your embed reports, I'm sure you've got the experience, and connections, to still give us an honest picture of what's really going on.
For that I thank you... and the check will be in the mail tomorrow.
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# David 2010-04-11 09:55
Michael, you put a face to the men and women at war. You show them as they are and the problems they face in fighting in far away lands. You turn ordinary individuals into extraordinary people and make us proud. Thank You.

Unfortunately, there are those who do not have the same feelings as we Americans do. They don't want hero's, they don't want the information to get out as their agenda does not tolerate such information. It is a shame that these types of individuals are not found within the civilian world. You may have stumbled upon one such individual. You will be back... and am looking forward to see where you go next.
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# Skip Parish 2010-04-11 10:46
You may need the rotation to come home for just a while, and I will ask command in Tampa how they can keep one of the best reporters in the field who has done much to bring these events to our desktop and get you assigned back. Standby one.
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# Dr. Gary 2010-04-11 10:50
Appreciate your work and am saddened you have to "unembed". Hope to hear you on Hugh Hewitt soon.
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# PeterinMN 2010-04-11 10:58
Michael,
easy to understand why the US no longer wants you. You reported on the US soldier being killed on a bridge. The Higher Ups were embarrassed. or did not want the same thing to happen to them. Truth will out you, and last, and make you free. Sorry Michael. Keep up the honest reporting. God bless.
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# Ned Chipley 2010-04-11 11:40
Michael, I've always appreciated your coverage of Iraq & Afghanistan, plus the time you spent with the Tracking School (that was a beautiful education...). I expect you are right-- the "brass" somewhere does not want an objective observer writing about what's happening on the ground. This administration does not want any information going out they have not approved.
Best wishes and many thanks, always,
Ned
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# Quentin 2010-04-11 11:43
Can you please explain your comment about only taking one boot off at a time? Surely if you were bounced by the Taliban, you wouldn't have time to put even one back on and having an uneven footing would put you at a disadvantage?
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# J. Mayfield 2010-04-11 11:48
You were the one source I trusted to report on how things were going with the wars.

Sad to see you go. Bad move by the military. God bless you and the troops.
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# Sandra Baker-Hinton 2010-04-11 12:02
The truth is not respected very much by the powers that be these days. I have a feeling it may even have to do with your "disrespecting" the person who
let that bridge get blown up and your voicing your opinions on that out loud. You may be right on the turn of the war. Seems Karzazi is being very weird as are our leaders so who knows when it will fall apart. No witnesses-no story to get out. This administration likes to do things in the dark.
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# Richard Bradley Bonds 2010-04-11 12:05
Mr. Yon,

You have built an exceptional body of work that I hope is honored one day. You are a national treasure. They have no right to take you away both from the soldiers and from us. They are doing actual harm. I hope you are getting enough financial support. I found $5 and I sent it to you. There is no better place for my contribution.

There is another thing. Your photography and your writing have advanced to the nth degree, from early on. The way this story is pictured and the way it reads is beyond exceptional. It is like a personal conversation with you, in terms that everyone can understand. And while not steeped and stilted in the jargon, your enormous talent and authenticity bring the message home very, very clearly. We, your friends, always know exactly the situation, whether in glory, or shame, joy, or pain. We know the truth. Plus, almost all of the sorry commenting that was going on has been left behind to stew in their own venom.

Best personal regards,

Richard B.
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# rose Burkhart 2010-04-11 12:10
Viewing your April 11, 2010, photos, one's mind, heart, and spirit combine into a cauldron of emotion. A human can, at once, entertain thoughts and feelings of sadness, joy, glory, and heart-pain as the whispers of every soldier's mother (or father, guardian, sibling, et al) contemplates what each of you encounter every minute, every second, and the question arises, "Yesterday, you were a child in awe of the world; today, precious in-country soldier, at the tender age of 18 you've matured into a hero, and by your actions and dedication, you remain so whether you reach the age of 19, 29, 39, or 49."
Where are the General George Pattons to lead you to victory, come hell, high water, or suppressing orders from the top of the death chain? Alas, when such men as Patton arise, they are, just as was the original, 'accidentally' killed, or, maligned by the politically powerful.
If history records with truth and integrity, Michael, you have been part of the 2nd greatest generation in American history. Second, only because of the time frame.
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# Another Dave 2010-04-11 12:35
Your respect and fondness for our men and women in uniform really shows in your writing. This piece is a classic example of that. You do a great job of showing a total civilian like me what they go through. Small statements, such as the one about restricting movement to avoid IEDs, helps me understand the stress our military feels even on a quiet night.
We'll see what happens. But whatever happens, don't stop writing.
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# Richard other B. 2010-04-11 12:54
Damn sorry to hear your pulled,

Never can figure out who's boot your pissing in til it's too late. Especially with so many boots that need a good hosing most days..... the CIC's custom Nikes come to mind....... what da hell, take a break, you probably need one. Then maybe see if you can hook up with a grunt unit or two.

Take care Yon.
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# Jeff Rheaume 2010-04-11 13:00
THANKS FOR ALL THE TRUTH YOU HAVE OFFERED THE GENERAL PUBLIC !!!! it will be missed !!! Jeff
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# F. Morin 2010-04-11 13:00
If you read Mr. Yon's work and you are able, but do not contribute to support him, I encourage you to think it over. You might discover a few extra bucks you can spare. And it's easy to make an automatic deduction from your bank account every month. Imagine at least $10 from every reader. Senior leadership has no problem putting the troops balls on the line and that may be because senior leadership have no balls themselves to experience. Keep your head down, Michael!
Respectfully,
SFA RVN NCO Vet.
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# John K 2010-04-11 13:04
A lot of the Higher-ups, like a lot of politicians, are real pieces of ...

Stay safe, Mike.

Semper Fi, and God bless.
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# Bill Dettmer 2010-04-11 13:05
You know what that means. As usual, a superior look into "life in Hell" for those of us at a far remove. Great pictures! I especially enjoyed the opportunity to "star-gaze," recognizing Orion and Leo in two of the images. Your low-light photography is especially unique. Keep the pressure on. Check's in the mail.
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# Nani Kemp 2010-04-11 13:43
Havent been reading your dispatches cause I had the impression you support this prez. Not sure if you realize that he's systematically destroying this country. American citizens are fighting a domestic war, right here. If you decide to stay, you are making a huge sacrifice. Stay safe & watch your back.
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# Jay Manifold 2010-04-11 13:46
Since I don’t think anyone else has mentioned this … that’s some mighty fine astrophotograph y up there; I was easily able to pick out Auriga, Boötes, Canis Major, Gemini, Leo, Orion, Ursa Major, Mars, and Saturn.

You, sir, are a national treasure; do not grow weary in well-doing.
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# andre 2010-04-11 14:03
Simple IO rule -- if you don't trust that you can/are winning the domestic IO battlespace (I.e., restricting news sources), you damn sure are losing the IO battle everywhere else.

Damn pathetic in light of those KIAd, WIAd and billions of dollars spent.

Go easy troop.
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# Linda Beebe 2010-04-11 14:11
Mike, this makes me madder than hornet. Not only will I be donating again so that you may be as safe as possible outside the wire I'll also be *itching out every Congressman, Senator and high ranking military folks I know to get whoever this "weenie" is who pulled your embed reversed. Meanwhile remember outside the wire they can't control what you say. (Evil Grin). No reviewing of your material or what your"re given. However, it's also dangerous so watch your six.

Give 'em hell & be safe

Linda aka Pocahontas from Bema (remember you gave me that nickname because I collect combat knives LOL during your 2005 embed with Deuce Four Stryker Brigade Unit)

Give 'em hell & be safe

Liinda aka Pocahontas from Bama (remember you gave me that nickname because I collect combat knives LOL duiring your 2005 embed with Deuce Four Stryker Brigade Unit)
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# Joe T 2010-04-11 14:34
Sorry about your situation Mike. I'm increasingly getting disgusted with the blatant politically correct cover your own ass attitude displayed by our so called leaders in politics, corporate governance and the military. Thank you for giving us the real deal all these years. Take care of yourself and God bless. Small donation inbound.
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# Nam vet 2010-04-11 15:26
Michael,

Were you singled out or were you included in a multiple recision of embed priveledges? The consensus opinion seems to be that you were specifically targeted. If that is the case, then it is very likely you managed to step on some general's toes. The alternative scenario is that some non-brilliant reporter pulled a Geraldo Rivera and put out a report that endangered troops and/or a mission. I have seen some reports over the past nine years that made me long for the censorship of WW2. Oh, that our press corps would exhibit the common sense, wisdom, and patriotism that you demonstrate regularly.

Perhaps your readers will feel led to write the Joint Chiefs of Staff and urge your re-instatement or re-embedment. Who knows? It may be effective
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# Boo 2010-04-11 15:38
Donated $50 via paypal...man it disgusts me to know they are ending your embed...you are probably right, the brass don't want any one there to dispute their version of what is going on in a-stan and elsewhere. On a positive note (for me, anyway) my son's tour is over in Iraq and he is coming home soon. His 5 year old daughter sure has been missing him!
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# MLPerry 2010-04-11 15:58
Michael, I regret your getting caught in military politics and the plug being pulled on your embed with 5/2 Stryken Brigade, the troop deserve and need a true voice. I know some of the danger you take on when embeding with the Strykers, my Marine son just got home from a year at FOB Dwyer and then Leatherneck and putting together convoys and routes. The Strykers obivously have a ride which can be IED potential. Stay safe in your further coverage in Afg, I always look forward to your dispatches and pictures for a look at what is trully taking place and an accurate evaluation which can only come from a qualified, neutral journalist. God Bless!
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# Mike Gallagher 2010-04-11 16:14
Is that Orion just above the horizon center in the third photo?? I've always wondered about the night skys in different places, you don't see to much of the night sky from a periscope ot sea but it is nice to wander.
Thanks for your work Mike
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# Dorothy Roush 2010-04-11 16:14
Your a DISCIPLE Michael one whos greatly appreciated.I can understand your minds there but the body just goes along for the ride.I feel that same way.I got nervous not hearing from you, you give me what I need to keep grounded. I as well are there everyday thru you and have been spreading your online site like wild fire in hopes of getting funds to keep you going.AUTO drawl is a great idea even its a small amt. it can keep you there.Your a very important link and I can see why a$$$$ would want you out of there.Look at Joan of Ark she was willing to give, her duty point blank, all even if her life was in danger.Like I previously stated send us disabled over there.Theres many that I know that are chomping at the bit to get over there and were not fools were warriors!Rather than to rot here as no part of being a potential help is disgracing for me even more, even though I support wounded,send supplies,write its not enough! To take you out would kill you a million times but the gov. doesnt want you there in case of ....well enough said, we all know why.We all know that well and were stiff lipped behind you supporting you! We know how important this is to you to set you back is wrong isnt this is America home of the free, freedom of choice? Your no fool... if you need time out, you will time out, but dont let others make your calls! Well fight them with you as one.Funds run out well come up with them and Im sure everyone will stand behind you.Your far from a foolish man, you know what you need to do,your calling dont let anyone stand in your way because theres many theyll have to climb over to remove you unwillingly!
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# Ray Ward 2010-04-11 17:32
Except when there is no one to speak it. Thank you for being there. I had set up a small monthly contrib for a few years, until I got laid off last year. I got another job, and set up another. Just got laid off again. Hopefully, I'll get another job soon. If not, I'll hang in there as long as I can. Maybe someone else reading this will kick in a little each month, too.

I got a sense of foreboding from your change in course, going outside the wire and out of embed. I pray to God to protect you.

Be careful.
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# Debbie 2010-04-11 17:49
Thank you for all the information you have provided. As the mother of a medic with Charlie Company I really appreciate today's story and all the others you have written about the 1-17. I hope you'll be able to keep writing without letting them get to you.

Peace out
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# Skookumchuk 2010-04-11 17:58
Always appreciate what you do. Hopefully you are inspiring a new generation of correspondents that will give us a clear-eyed view of the world's dangerous places.
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# JKL 2010-04-11 17:59
Sir

Sorry to hear about the end of your embed; your dispatches & photos have been excellent.

During my most recent travels through RC-South I was hoping our paths would cross so I could thank you for doing what you do.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
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# Peter Warner 2010-04-11 19:31
Man, that lime-green sleeping bag sure sticks out like a sore thumb in those photos.

Stay safe, keep up with your prayers, keep writing. I'm sorry about the Adam Henrys.

Best regards, Peter Warner.
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# Benson 2010-04-11 21:40
My stomach dropped when I originally learned that you were being disembedded. So many of us count on your dispatches to gain valuable insight into operations on the ground. For you to be suddenly thrown to the curb because some higher-ups got pissy or don't want your dispatches reaching Americans anymore? Despicable. Please keep telling the truth, even if you have to do so from outside the wire. We'll keep reading and donating.
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# Michael Yon in Kandahar 2010-04-11 21:53
Things are wrapping up faster than I thought. Probably finish embed by Friday, maximum. (Depends how fast can extract to KAF.)

Agree that sleeping bag sticks out. My main military bag was stolen. During those photos, I was actually laying on a camoflaged bag that I would have used if enemy threat was high. (The Strykers with motors running stuck out more than the sleeping bag.) Got that lime bag in Nepal for a trip that I wanted to do to Everest this month. Skipped the Everest trip to be with 5/2. Could be trekking in Sagarmatha area now instead of dealing with censorship from McChrystal's people. Everest is more fun but this war is more important.

Clear that this was a General officer level decision to dis-embed me. Why? Because no General officer intervened. The McChrystal era of censorship is on. It will be/is counterproducti ve. And it will not work. Too many holes to slip through. McChrystal is good at killing people, but this war is far more complicated than simply killing people. His folks had more than half a decade to win this war -- with very agreeable ROE -- now look where we are. Clear that he cannot handle even the writers who are natural allies. McChrystal has little chance against hostile press. Bad omens all around.

It starts with censorship and ends with a President under pressure.

Michael Yon
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# Lorenz Gude 2010-04-11 22:18
What is so valuable to me about your reporting is that you bring us an on the ground view and that you are neither inclined nor compelled like MSM journalists to put what you report into a ideological mold that suits one US domestic agenda or another. That is what their employers pay them for, and why you are right to not even accept advertising. As you clearly know so many in the news business and in politics fail to respect that history is in large part made on the battlefield quite independent of what policy makers intend or even less by what media gatekeepers try to convince us has happened. Your instinct to go right to where history is being born and report it as straight as you can is just what is needed in this endlessly spun theater of perception management.
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# Manuela 2010-04-11 22:58
You were and still are the only true source; you were our eyes and ears down there. Stay safe Mike and may the gods bless you
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# Michael Yon in Kandahar 2010-04-12 02:39
Below is a link to the photo "Ghost Sentry" (named by a reader). Please feel free to download and use one copy for personal use. News agencies can use the image once in next 30 days for a link back.

https://www.yousendit.com/download/bFFPak96SEJkMnZ2Wmc9PQ
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# Matt 2010-04-12 02:48
Great story and great pictures.
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# Andrew Blair 2010-04-12 03:12
Michael,

I cannot fault you for being fed up with the powers of bureaucracy that constantly hamper your efforts. I also cannot imagine how refreshing a change in course must feel after your many, many years in the field. More years than probably most active duty personnel can boast. However, I pray that you can still find a way to cover our brothers in arms. No one else covers the truth of these modern conflicts as well as you do, and no one seems willing to step into your shoes. Thank you for all that you do for our servicemen and women.
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# Ken2 2010-04-12 03:33
Michael:
Over the years, you've managed to make the best out of every obstacle put in your way. You have the support of some very high ranking people. I wouldn't be at all surprised should you find yourself in another embed. In any case, you will have an opportunity to share yet another perspective on this conflict with this situation. Please keep up the good work and don't let your detractors get you down.
You may count on my continued support and I urge all reading this to give something, no matter how little.
All: Michael’s expenses are going to go up not being assigned to a unit, so it is up to us to help him stay financially viable. Sometimes it feels as though he is the only source for the truth wherever he is. It is imperative we help him stay close to the action, reasonably equipped and fed.
God speed Michael.
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# Jeff Stanley 2010-04-12 04:50
As an American citizen who tries to stay informed, I'm sad to see TPTB hinder the truth that you report. As a human being however, I am glad to see the odds of your survival into dotage go up by this turn of events.
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# Tommy Barrios 2010-04-12 04:53
As I have said before, we need more Michael Yon's in the field! I don't trust anything coming from the administration of the Obomination! They are fallacious liars of the highest order and cannot be trusted.

Our precious military is currently in the hands of an incompetent moron who is not qualified to be a dog catcher much less Commander-In Chief. We cannot rely on the lamestream media to tell the truth either as they have proven to be obfuscating agenda driven liars also!

I wish I had enough money to fund Michael fully and thereby make him a force to be reckoned with instead of the other way round:-)
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# Sandy 2010-04-12 05:07
Michael....I can't tell you the sadness I feel that you're going to cover from outside now. :sad: We've relied on you for the real scoop for so long...and will miss the first-hand accounts. Thank you for all you've done--and we'll be following whatever reporting you continue with.
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# Jbadgph04 2010-04-12 05:14
Michael: Thanks again for for a great sory and wonderful pictures. Your pictures aiways seem to transport me back to when I was there. Always nice to be able to see a fine craftsman present his product like you do. That's the good news.

Bad news is I'm starting to believe that your thoughts on McCrystal are correct. I had hope in the beginning. That is now starting to slip away.

The uneasy feeling is that my son is due to deploy there any day now. What happened to you doesn't give me the warm fuzzies. He will be in the north, which not as bad as the south or east but Afghanistan is always unpredictable.

Thanks for your efforts and I hope you can keep it up. You always seem to pretty good at doing that. Stay safe and check 6.
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# Peter T. Bepler II 2010-04-12 05:27
Michael: What I have learned about Michael Yon is that he will keep up his work as long as it's funded. So I will be doing my part. I hope Michael will be able to keep doing his. This reminds me of the distinction taught me by a mentor yesars ago betweeen a problem and a situation. If you incautiously pull on your boots at dawn and a scorpion stings you, that's a problem. If you pick up a boot and discover something hostile inside, that's a situation. The essence of situations is that they change. So I view this as a situation, not a problem. Michael, please keep doing what you do, it is of immense value; and we will keep on trying to do what we can to support you. All the best,
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# Paul Drew 2010-04-12 05:43
Thank you Michael, for being more than just our eyes and ears in a war that is often very difficult to understand. I don't know how you do it. Stay safe, and keep on keeping on.
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# Victoria 2010-04-12 06:49
No! There's nothing I enjoyed more than reading your stories & seeing your outstanding photography. You bring the reality and humaneness of our soldiers to everyday citizens and it is so appreciated. To see the people, the land, the conditions and still there are smiles and kindness. Be safe and please let the soldiers know we believe in them. Thanks.
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# Derek 2010-04-12 07:05
I'm sure Gen. Petreus and Sec. Def. Gates read Mike's work when they can. I hope they do something to reverse the decision to yank Mike from our soldiers on the battlefield. They need to know how important it is for the truth to be told (good, bad, ugly).

Thank you so very much for what you do, Michael. You really are a national treasure.

Stay safe.
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# Anita 2010-04-12 07:52
Thank you so much for your coverage of the afg war. I've learned so much from your stories and photos. I'm so sorry to hear that you will not be able to cover the war as an embedded journalist. It's disturbing to me (a mother of a soldier in Afg), however, to hear you speculate that the reason you're being pulled is because the coalition forces are losing the war. It seems to me there could be many other explanations, but I'm certainly naive in these matters...just more hopeful.
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# Maddy 2010-04-12 08:40
How do I love thee, let me count the ways:

Best damned embedded reporter I have ever had the benefit of reading!
Best damned war photographer I ever had the benefit of viewing!
Best damned PATRIOT these middle east wars will ever see!
Best damned ability to recount the human side of these wars!
Best damned connected reporter of these wars, i.e. Gates, Petreaus, et al!
Most honest war reporter we've all had the PRIVELEGE to read!
Come on folks, let's pony up, so Michael can figure out another way to get our news from the front lines! I think he already has it figured out, so let's help him keep on doing what he was destined to do!! This is just a stepping stone to the next chapter in the Michael Yon saga! May the lpord Bless you and Keep you and make his face shine upon you!
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# Michael Duquette 2010-04-12 11:19
Michael! wonderful to hear that the decision to end the embed has been reversed! (could it be that "skip" from the earlier post titled "CIV" actually WAS able to stir things up for you?)

I wish all the Military leaders could understand the effect you have single handedly had on support for the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was one of those Americans who doubted the wisdom of the whole idea of the occupation, until I found your blog early on in the Iraq embed.
You showed me that the U.S. and Coalition were not merely killing bad guys, but also building schools, sanitation, power, bringing good to the people in those places.
In effect, your truthful and candid reporting was the sole reason that I now support, and stand behind our military.
And I tell everyone I come across who DOESN'T support the war to read Michael Yon.
And to all you Government Higher ups who may be reading this: How many more of me might there be out there?

Carry on my friend.
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# Rodney 2010-04-12 11:56
Michael, great job. you have done your part for god, country, and your concious. Maybe its time you stay in the "rear with the gear" and let the younger pups earn their wings. Don't tempt fate. Start enjoying life, drinking a beer in the backyard with friends and family while you burn that steak on the grill. You have earned it.
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# Bent222 2010-04-12 14:07
I have been reading and enjoying your blog for A LONG time now andI will continue to but I'm starting to think that you act like a spoiled brat especially when things don't go your way.
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# Pattie Matheson 2010-04-12 14:54
LOL the poisonous creatures in boots!! Have experienced same in desert treks in AZ. As long as you're blogging we'll be reading - embed or no embed. I trust your perspective above all. As a young military wife I was incensed by the stories I heard from my husband during the Vietnam mess. And learned then that the face the military likes to present isn't necessarily accurate. One wonders why they feel the public can't be trusted with the truth. Even as I wrote the last sentence I could hear the rationale in my head. Never did like it. Never will.
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# verymildbill 2010-04-12 16:19
Michael,
You comment that the M4 does well in sand. In an earlier post with British troops you commented that no matter how much they cleaned them they would malfunction. How would you compare the M4 with and M1A for reliability in dust?
Bill
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# Dan 2010-04-13 03:45
Good job - keep it up. I appreciate your views, both written and photos, of life where you are. Very authentic!
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# John Parry 2010-04-13 05:41
Mike:

This is. as you say, not a good sign to get the boot. How will you continue to cover the war? Can you join Canadain Forces?

best Regards,

J
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# Greg 2010-04-13 13:24
"Michael, great job. you have done your part for god, country, and your concious. Maybe its time you stay in the "rear with the gear" and let the younger pups earn their " - Agreeing with Rodney on this one Mike !

Mike ... come back and run for Congress ! Or President ! Hell I would vote for you in a second ! Patreaus and Yonn ticket ? Bingo

Its a great post Mike ... I can not thank you enough for taking me on trips to the front lines to see the Warrior Class of young Americans . God bless you and please take care sir.
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# Kathy 2010-04-13 17:07
Michael, we so appreciate all you have done for our soldiers,their families, and all of us at home. Your posts and photos have brought a reality that just doesn't happen on MSM. Today, I paused for a long time over the photo with Orion in the distance. It has always been my favorite constellation. From now on, I will see it differently.

We have known you to be a faithful warrior. That won't change. May God protect you and give you wisdom for the days ahead.
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# Tim 2010-04-13 17:40
Michael, sorry to hear you got cut off. I was just out in Afghanistan last month and can echo your comment about not seeing many reporters... I hope this isn't something stupid. I agree that you can report and comment on the war from outside the wire, but you have a gift at communicating what it is like INSIDE the wire. People need that, and don't get the pictures and perspective from much of anywhere else.
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# Eddy 2010-04-14 04:30
Man, so sick of bureaucratic buffoons who keep arbitrarily killing your ability to work. I'm sorry you keep getting put through this, Michael. Your work is so very important.
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# Peter 2010-04-14 10:02
http://www.amazon.com/Up-Front-Bill-Mauldin/dp/0393050319

Mr. Yon, if you are not yet familiar with Bill Mauldin's memorable "Up Front," a volume of WWII cartoons and accompanying essay on life at the front (mostly Italy), I think you would enjoy it. Moreover, I think you would be able to compare notes.
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# Michael Kennedy 2010-04-14 14:59
Great job as usual. The clueless PAO is our second worst enemy. After the NY Times.
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# madtom 2010-04-14 16:28
I'm not sure why, but pictures of boots are a bit off putting, if that's a word. Not sure if I like them or not.
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# SethJ 2010-04-15 03:02
Michael i have been reading your blog now for several weeks now and your work is just amazing the pictures in this entry are awesome especially how it looks like is so bright outside. :-) keep up the good work!! thanks so much!
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# Scott Dudley 2010-04-15 06:21
http://www2.centcom.mil/sites/foia/rr/CENTCOM Regulation CCR 25210/Death of Reuters Journalists/6-- 2nd Brigade Combat Team 15-6 Investigation.p df
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# Scott Dudley 2010-04-15 06:49
copy and paste link. Includes photos, partially redacted.
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# mwilhite 2010-04-16 03:06
Michael,
Just wanted to thank you for the great work and we're shocked to see you go!
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# Mellisa 2010-04-16 15:35
Michael,
My 19 year old son is a Soldier in the 5/2 SBCT. I have depended upon your dispatches in order to get a glimpse into the war that he is fighting. Shame on the people that have made the obtuse decision to end your embedment with these fine American Heroes. Thank you for your contributions, sincerley Mellisa.
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# Sgt. Dave 2010-04-17 11:35
Semper Fi, my friend!
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# Sgt. Dave 2010-04-17 11:39
Semper Fi, my Friend
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# colagirl 2010-04-17 12:42
Michael, I saw your Facebook update, indicating that you no longer trust McChrystal. I've been following your excellent reporting since 2005. I just wanted to ask if you're planning a post to discuss why you no longer trust him at greater length in the future. If, in your opinion, he is dangerous, I would be very interested in hearing what swayed your mind at last--is it just the disembed, or is there something larger? You've earned a great deal of credibility, and when you talk, I think the nation would be well-advised to listen carefully.

I hope you continue your excellent reporting, and please stay safe out there. We need you.
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# Gene 2010-04-17 17:50
Michael,
My old son is in C company and tells me you sleep next to him from time to time. Thats a good place to be. I trust him with my life. you have many fans from here in Texas! Keep up the great reporting from where ever you can.
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# Ken 2010-04-18 14:59
Michael, those photos are some serious works of art...
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# SFC Cheryl McElroy US ARMY RET 2010-04-19 14:05
Michael,
Allowing you to get kicked to the curb is a big mistake on McCrystal's part. The troops need more dedicated, loyal journalists like you to continue reporting the news that the leftwing MSM either slants or refuses to publish. I've read about "Karzai's 12 rules" and quickly came to the conclusion that the ROE situation, since THE ONE took office, has become an absolute Charlie Foxtrot. But Obama insists that "winning isn't necessarily a goal".
His idiotic campaign to fight “negative stereotypes of Islam” totally ignores the realities of the violent, ideological religion. I feel so sorry for the military troops still serving under this assclown. He is so f***ing disconnected from reality.
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# Dona L. Griffin 2010-04-20 05:22
Thanks for your skill, dedication, and courage. You played an integral part in our lives as a family as we dealt with the early days after losing Sgt. Dale R. Griffin 27 Oct 2009 KIA in the Arghandab Valley along with seven of his friends. The pictures you took of the memorial tee pee erected in their honor at the FOB in Afghanistan touched our hearts and gave us tangible evidence of the brotherhood that exists among these soldiers. As I shared with my young friends recently: Earth life leaves us with many unanswered questions and much confusion. That's why our cores need to be grounded in principles of "The 'universal morality'...[of ] honesty,duty, responsibility, unselfishness, loyalty, honor, compassion and courage." (Clare Booth Luce) Stay true to your core so that you can continue to carry the torch where God will grant you the opportunity at the appropriate times to make a difference. Holding you in our hearts.
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# jill 2010-04-20 10:50
As soon as I saw the story regarding our military burning Bibles (I wonder if they had the guts to burn some unsolicited korans):
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/20/us.military.bibles.burned/index.html
and reading McCrystal's Rules of Engagement, I knew this war is lost. McCrystal now spends more time shutting down fast food joints then he does prosecuting the war. Michael, come home and bring our sons and daughters home with you!
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# tjg 2010-04-25 00:19
So, I believe in you Yon, go outside the wire and mix with the natives, write what you feel and open your camara to what you see, the next Avitar....

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/index.php?option=com_jomcomment&task=trackback&id=6128&opt=com_content
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# Tom 2010-05-14 08:45
Michael, has it ever appeared to you that what you are doing is against ever concept of OPSEC? You give full desciptions on how Stryker brigades work and operate. You inform the enemy on how HIS tactics worked on our fellow soldiers, rather or not the taliban succeded on his last mission. And for anyone else who thinks this man is doing a great job, think about how many tricks of the trade he gives away in his reports.
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