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Fratricide In Afghanistan and Iraq

Discussion in 'Off-topic Zone' started by JohnMarshall12, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. JohnMarshall12

    JohnMarshall12 New Member

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    I recently finished reading Jon Krakaneur's book about Pat Tillman where they discussed several examples of fratricide in Afghanistan and Iraq. I am sure we have a number of military folks on here. i am curious to learn whether they experienced or were aware of examples of this there? Also, I am curious if any of you were given an order that you ethically did not agree with?
  2. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    While that is a complicated question and yes it has happened through out Military History on accident and purpose.

    Hell guys die in friendly fire in training all the time I know of National guard guy that killed 3 of the 4 guys on a night fire range because they got out of their vehicle where jacking around and looked like the target.

    They had another where they got miss oriented turn around and fired a dummy tank round into a buddy tank at close range killing everyone inside.

    We had an Helicopter pilot in our sister troop that blew up a Humvee right next to the control tower on a range no one got hurt so they kind of covered it up and let him off with a BS explanation.

    Higher ups will try and cover crap up to save their careers which is why you get the cover ups.

    I never faced an ethical command I blew of some stupid orders that where an officer over reacting and being a jackwagon
  3. JohnMarshall12

    JohnMarshall12 New Member

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    Thanks for the response. It seems some people are willing to blow off some orders that they think are wrong and some people never question orders. What is even stranger is that a number of the ones who never question orders seem to think there is never a good reason to not follow through on an order. I can't really understand that.
  4. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    The military is a microcosm of society you get real stupid people and smart people and some crazy people. Then you cram them together in a structure that is kind of different from the real world. Then you have people who think outside the box, the ones always in trouble; guys that do well and work hard when they have someone telling them what to do and so on and so on. You realize Aircraft carriers have gangs on them because it is just a miniature city on water it is crazy and everything you see in the civilian world also happens in the military.
  5. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Those gangs do not last long, but it does happen. As has been stated, military forces throughout history have shown the same things. fragging, etc. In combat troops are brutally practical. What happened with Tilman is that he came into the military with rose colored glasses; and found out that often its a mess no matter what. Friendly fire AIN'T.
  6. JohnMarshall12

    JohnMarshall12 New Member

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    I was unaware of the gangs issue. I would have thought the military would rein in that type of stuff. However, I guess you would have a risk of that when many of the people that join the military may come from a gang background. I am assuming you are talking about gangs like in the inner cities.
  7. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    yes it happens I knew several guys that worked in the Navy on carriers; there are other crazy things that happen as well at Fort Eustis we lost a private to a coke machine crushing her and killing her.

    drug bust, soldier stealing a 100 nigh vision goggles to try and sale black market to pay his debt off.

    I have some inside info on the soldier Love that killed the Taxi drivers in Killeen back around 88
  8. SaltwaterServr

    SaltwaterServr Blank Paper Offends Me

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    I would bet that fratricide has gone down with the advent of better communications. That said, the disparity in communications links between hunting aircraft and forward infantry still leads to some incidents. I was shocked to find that west coast Hollywood Marines and east coast Marines didn't use the same encryption in their radio gear as late as 2003.

    There's a great example of potential fratricide outlined in Generation Kill and another in a book on Falllujah that I have loaned out right now. In Gen Kill a Marine Captain is calling in an artillery strike on a position less than 300 meters away. Well, "danger close", the area in which you could expect the rounds to hit based on inaccuracy of a shell flying a few miles through the air without sight adjustment, is 400 meters. He was well within that. The Major on the other end of the radio (it really isn't written in Gen Kill, but another book dealing with OIF1) pretty much cussed him out and refused the fire mission. The Captain attempted to reroute the mission to another battery, the First Lieutenant challenged him on it, and the mission was again countermanded by another officer down the line.

    The Blue Force tracking system is also supposed to help with identification of friendly units in any AO. You can read about it here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Force_Tracking

    There's a great shot of the BluFors being used in Iraq that I can't find. Its a digital camera photo of the screen of the Blufors unit showing six M1A1's rolling through downtown Baghdad during the Thunder Run. You can see the picture was taken in the passenger seat of a HMMMV. The company that makes BluFors also had a similar image on their main page for a pretty long time. It was just a great testament how the technology would allow anyone within the entire AO of Iraq see down to the street level, six main battle tanks engaged and eliminating targets as they were being marked and destroyed.

    The blog I originally found it on is no longer there. Dead link. There was a quote with one shot of the screen showing the Abrams marking six targets to the east of their position on the roadside. Six little red icons were on the screen. Next screen shot showed no more six red icons. His commentary was that there were six groups of two man or three man RPG teams waiting for the tanks to pass so they could get shots off on their exhaust systems, which weren't armored at the time.

    Stupid Iraqis, road side flower pots won't stop a .50 cal round, much less 50 rounds.

    That said, and back on topic, my grandfather had several stories of fratricide from WW2 in the Philippines. One was that they ended up digging in about two hundred meters away from a Japanese position, and didn't know it. That night, someone on one side lit up a cigarette and that started the shooting. He said that an M1 doesn't sound like an M1 when its shooting at you. Next morning they had a few casualties, and the US Army platoon on the other side had a similar number. That close, and their field commanders had no idea where the front lines were.

    Another was an underaged German immigrant that made it into their unit by lying about his age. His parents had escaped Germany during Hitler's rise to power. He had joined when he was 16. Lived in New Braunfels.

    P-47 got him on a strafing run in a banana plantation. My grandfather said that if he had been a half step faster, he would have been just far enough into their ditch and the bullets would have missed him. Instead his parents got a telegram.

    Strafing runs by friendly aircraft were fairly frequent he said since the front lines were so fluid, and aircraft were sent out on hunting patrols.
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    as has been said many times many places Friendly Fire AIN'T.
  10. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    Frankly, most vets won't/don't talk about this. And for obvious reasons.

    But yes, it happens more than you would think in hot zones.
  11. casmith07

    casmith07 I'm the best poster in the game!

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    Very rarely do you receive unlawful orders. If you do, it's generally handled internally with the command.

    Fratricide sucks, and unfortunately it's part of the job. What shouldn't be part of the job, however, is attempting cover-ups. Just because someone was caught by friendly fire doesn't mean that they still weren't performing their duties to the highest standard, or that their actions were less heroic. When the military can get rid of that stigma (among many others that are holding us back) it'll be a MUCH more enjoyable place to work, and it's pretty enjoyable as it is.
  12. casmith07

    casmith07 I'm the best poster in the game!

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    Blue Force Tracker/FBCB2 is all well and good for tracking friendly vehicles on the battlefield, but not all parts of the service use it, and it's definitely not a joint system, i.e. an F/A-18 SuperHornet will not have FBCB2 installed to view friendly M1A2 Abrams on the ground.

    This is when strong leadership and good battlespace awareness comes into play - you can't have a ground unit commander not knowing where his own people are, and just the same you can't have units out freelancing without permission or notification to higher of their intent. Communication would save so many people from it...but unfortunately it doesn't.

    For the record, however, we've lost more Soldiers to suicide than blue-on-blue bullets. Suicide is the worst kind of "friendly fire." At least the military is really trying to address it.
  13. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    I really think that the softer boot camps do not weed out the individuals that tend to in the end committ suicide. But its also clear that the military has never done enough. BUT what really tells the tale is HOW MANY TROOPS ARE DEPLOYED WHILE ON MEDICATION.
  14. casmith07

    casmith07 I'm the best poster in the game!

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    I think softer basic training has other implications, but suicide isn't one of them. Suicide is serious business that can't be "weeded out." Even the best of the best sometimes come under intense mental and emotional anguish and pressure.
  15. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    I agree.
  16. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    Then you also have what I refer to as unintentional suicides.

    By that I mean soldiers that do some things that put their lives in danger but without the intent to kill themselves...yet wind up being killed because of that.

    Now I am not talking about a soldier going into battle. Although in some cases that could be an unintentional suicide.

    A few examples. If anyone has seen the hurt locker and the scenes where the main guy is going in with less than his full gear or doing things without the proper precautions while others are screaming...that kind of scenario where you are dropping your potential success rate to the point of it being kind of suicidal even if suicide is not your intent.

    Another example happened to a soldier in Korea when I was there. Since this is a family friendly site I will try to be a tad vague while still getting the point across. The soldier was found dead, hanging from a rope in his room. He did not intend to commit suicide...it just happens that he was doing something kind of naughty and the chair slipped out from underneath his feet. Needless to say it would be an embarrassing situation. Now... unintentional suicide IMO...it was not his intent but he put himself in that direct situation of setting up everything except jumping to cause it to happen.

    We had a guy at one duty station that thought he was a pro BMX stunt rider. Got himself drunk one day and decided to do some bike stunts...in the middle of traffic. Not his specific intent to kill himself but he pretty much put himself in that situation.

    Couple of other points...I agree a point I think you might be trying to convey. That it does not make the soldier weak to kill himself. We are human and crazy stress can make some men do things. However I also think a point that burm was also making is that we are now having some soldiers going into the military with some problems that require medication ....or developing some conditions while in that cause one to be on medication. Whether that by some form of ADD, OCD, Bi-Polar or other conditions.

    I knew one guy in Basic and one in AIT that flat out had some kind of mental problem. I am not just talking an oddball guy, not talking just a little slow...I am talking some kind of real mental problems.
  17. ArmyCowboy

    ArmyCowboy New Member

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    Fratricide happens, but the vast majority of fratricides are unitentional accidents.

    As for suicide, the suicide rate in the military is vastly underreported.
  18. Zaxor

    Zaxor Virtus Mille Scuta

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    I use to handle "Line of Duties" that is were it is determined if a soldier got killed or injured in the line of duty...man I could tell ya some stories that would just knock your socks off.
  19. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Brotherhood of the Beard Staff Member

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    The story I posted about the boy accidentally hanging himself. His parents were sent a letter saying he died in the line of duty and they gave them some low level medal. I mean I can understand trying to save the memory of their son instead of telling them how it happened. But at the same time I think it is best just to be honest. A lesson they would later learn in the Pat Tillman situation IMO.
  20. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I'd imagine that a lot of that is due to the longevity a lot of soldiers are being forced into. Long Tours and a general lack of relief I'd guess.

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