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View Full Version : The battle (of) "For" COP(Combat Outpost) Keating: an Earwitness Account



megimoo
10-11-2009, 08:48 PM
The battle of COP(Combat Outpost) Keating: an Earwitness Account -MUST read

Here, passed along by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, is an account of the recent battle in Nuristan in which eight American soldiers were killed.
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Here are the facts, without revealing sensitive information. I feel compelled to write this because I heard some very fine, brave Americans foght for their very lives Saturday, 03 OCT 09. They fought magnificently.

Eight of them made the Ultimate Sacrifice. I don't know their names, only their call signs. Though it may have been smaller in scale, and shorter in duration, their battle was no less heroic than the exploits of their ancestors, in places like LZ Xray or Fire Base Ripcord in Vietnam.

I want people to know that there are still some GREAT Americans who serve in the US Army, fighting for Freedom, who will probably never be given the due they deserve. I don't know ALL the facts, only what I overheard on the satellite radio.

COP Keating was (past tense) located on low ground, near a river, surrounded by mountains - a poor place to have to defend to begin with. The village of Kamdesh was nearby, as was a mosque. About two platoons and a cavalry troop headquarters occupied the COP - Combat Outpost.

If you Google COP Keating, you will find a Washington Times article describing the austere conditions there, written earlier this year. I was on duty from 0600-1800 (6 a.m. until 6 p.m.) on Saturday, 03 OCT 09, and heard, first-hand, the events I am about to recount transpire. I took notes as the battle unfolded.

Things were relatively quiet when I came on shift at 0600. Not too long afterward, I heard a call sign describing taking small arms fire at his position. (That in itself is not alarming - I hear that frequently because I hear satellite radio transmissions from all sorts of units who operate in Nangahar, Kunar, Laghman (where I am) and in Nuristan Provinces, where this happened.)

The situation, then began to deteriorate. The Troop Commander - urgently - requested rotary wing gunships to support him. He was told they were 45 minutes away, and that he should use his 120 mm mortars.

He replied that the mortar pit was pinned down, and that the could not employ his 120 mm mortars. I did not know until I saw an aerial photo later that day, after I got off shift, that the COP was located in a "bowl," surrounded on nearly all sides by high ground.

The insurgents were shooting down into the mortar pit from above. The 120 mm mortars from OP Fritshe, a few kilometers away were able to help a little, but it was not enough. Not too long after the fight started, the Troop Commander said that he had a KIA, and several wounded.

Uh-Oh - now this is getting serious. Not too much longer after that, the Troop Commander, in a voice that was not panic'd, but which had a sense of urgency said, "We've got people inside our wire!!!"

He said that he had lost communications with some of his elements at different places on the COP. He had had to abandon his Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and all the various means of redundant communications there (MIRC Chat, Blue Force Tracker, tactical FM radios, etc.)

His only means of communication was the satellite radio he was using. He said he urgently needed air support. The number of KIA began to climb.

He kept asking about the helicopters - his higher headquarters said they were "30 minutes out..." He said that if he did not get help soon, they were going to be overrun.

He had consolidated the Soldiers he had, to include dead and wounded, in a tight perimeter on part of his COP. He advised that the Afghan National Army (ANA) side of the COP was completely overrun and was on fire.

The insurgents had gotten into his perimeter where the ANA latrine bordered his perimeter, after they had overrun the ANA camp. His Entry Control Point (ECP) where some Afghan Security Guards (ASG) had been had been overrun.
snip
Read the rest .

http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/10/10/the_battle_of_cop_keating_an_earwitness_account

AlmostThere
10-11-2009, 09:09 PM
What was the logic in placing a camp in a location that was so difficult if not impossible to defend? I thought military leaders were at least exposed to The Art of War by SunTzu. It seems to me that someone should be held to account for this. I can't help but think our guys must have felt like fish in a barrel.

megimoo
10-11-2009, 10:53 PM
What was the logic in placing a camp in a location that was so difficult if not impossible to defend? I thought military leaders were at least exposed to The Art of War by SunTzu. It seems to me that someone should be held to account for this. I can't help but think our guys must have felt like fish in a barrel.It was probably originally an Afghan village lookout position and they insisted on maintaining during this war.These people have been fighting each other in tribal warfare for generations .

The original Afghans before the British moved in had long barreled flint lock rifles and moved up to British .303 Lee-Enfield . When the British left and the Russian invaded it was the AK-47, Kalashnikov,now it's the American M4 carbine.

In the picture I couldn't figure out what that building under the chopper that looks like 'Doctor Who's' phone booth was .After re reading the piece it's an outhouse next to the wire coils .

AlmostThere
10-11-2009, 11:06 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/International/exclusive-apache-pilots-shocked-size-attack-camp-keating/story?id=8785878



The camp is located at the base of two steep mountains, allowing the enemy to fire down on the camp with a powerful .50 caliber machine gun and other heavy guns. From the eyewitness account:


The situation, then began to deteriorate. The Troop Commander - urgently - requested rotary wing gunships to support him. He was told they were 45 minutes away, and that he should use his 120 mm mortars.

He replied that the mortar pit was pinned down, and that the could not employ his 120 mm mortars. I did not know until I saw an aerial photo later that day, after I got off shift, that the COP was located in a "bowl," surrounded on nearly all sides by high ground. It sounds like it was an incredibly stupid place to place men and weapons whatever the reason.

megimoo
10-12-2009, 07:41 AM
http://abcnews.go.com/International/exclusive-apache-pilots-shocked-size-attack-camp-keating/story?id=8785878

From the eyewitness account:
It sounds like it was an incredibly stupid place to place men and weapons whatever the reason.I agree but it's very far forward and the terrain all around looks difficult .