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View Full Version : Attack on Camp Bastion: The Destruction of VMA-211



txradioguy
09-23-2012, 09:07 AM
Late on Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, a Taliban insurgent force of sappers attacked the NATO ISAF base, Camp Bastion, in Afghanistan, resulting in the worst loss of U.S. airpower in a single incident since the Vietnam War. Two Marines, including VMA-211’s commanding officer, were killed in the attack, and nine other personnel (eight military and one contractor, reportedly) were wounded. By the time the base was secured roughly five hours later, six U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) AV-8B+ Harrier “jump jets” had been destroyed, and two more “significantly” damaged. In addition, three refueling points were destroyed, and six “soft-skinned” aircraft hangers were damaged to some degree. As a result of this attack, the air strength of Marine Attack Squadron 211 (VMA-211 – “The Avengers”) presumably 10 aircraft, was almost completely destroyed.

Camp Bastion is a British-run ISAF base in Helmand Providence northwest of Lashkar Gah, built adjacent to Camp Leatherneck (the primary USMC base in the area) and Camp Shorabak (run by the Afghan National Army). Equipped with a 3,500-meter (11,482 foot) runway and servicing up to 28,000 personnel, it is the largest British base in Afghanistan. One of them, on Sept. 14, was an AH-64 Apache crewman named Capt.“Wales,” otherwise known as Harry, Prince of Wales. Along with the British Apaches and other U.K. aircraft, Camp Bastion also provides basing for USMC aviation units, including VMA-211, the only Harrier squadron then in Afghanistan.

As they began to attack the flightline areas, however, the RAF security force began to react within just 12 minutes, when they established an MQ-9 Reaper UAV orbit over the camp. This was followed by the launch of a British Apache helicopter that immediately engaged the insurgents, killing several. In addition, the British ground security force began to fight its way toward Camp Barber over the main runway, reportedly expending around 10,000 rounds of ammunition in the process. It took five hours to secure the base and police up the insurgents.

When the sun rose the next day, the deadly cost of the Taliban raid began to be seen. Fourteen of the 15 insurgent sappers were killed, along with two of their support force outside the fence. One insurgent was wounded and captured, and is providing useful information on this latest “Green on Blue” Taliban attack. The Allied casualties, however, are proving heartbreaking. Killed during the attack were Lt. Col. Christopher “Otis” K. Raible, USMC (the commander of VMA-211) and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell (from Marine Air Logistics Squadron 13), both based at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, Ariz.

Maj. Gen. Gregg Sturdevant, USMC, commander of Marine Aircraft Wing Three (Forward), has announced that replacements for the lost aircraft and personnel will be “brought forward,” suggesting VMA-211 will be reconstituted in place. While VMA-211’s executive officer, Maj. John “Strut” Havener, USMC, has been named the interim squadron commander, it is possible another Harrier squadron will be deployed and the Avengers returned to their home base at MCAS Yuma.

http://www.defensemedianetwork.com/stories/attack-on-camp-bastion-the-destruction-of-vma-211/

txradioguy
09-23-2012, 09:08 AM
The largest destruction of U.S. airpower since Vietnam and all we heard on the news over here was that the attack was targeting Prince Harry.

txradioguy
09-23-2012, 09:16 AM
The last time VMA-211 was combat ineffective was in December 1941, when the squadron was wiped out during the 13-day defense of Wake Island against the Japanese. Eight irreplaceable aircraft (the AV-8B has been out of production since 1999) have been destroyed or put out of action – approximately 7 percent of the total flying USMC Harrier fleet. Worse yet, the aircraft involved were the AV-B+ variant equipped with the APG-65 radar and AAQ-28 Litening II targeting pods – the most capable in the force. Given the current funding situation, it’s likely that the two damaged AV-8Bs will become spare parts “hangar queens” and never fly again. A Harrier squadron commander is dead, along with another Marine. Another nine personnel have been wounded, and the nearby Marines at Camp Freedom are now without effective fixed-wing air support.

Odysseus
09-23-2012, 10:48 AM
The largest destruction of U.S. airpower since Vietnam and all we heard on the news over here was that the attack was targeting Prince Harry.

I didn't know that he had anything to do with the Muslim YouTube video. Live and learn.... :rolleyes:

The media's failures to inform the American people of anything that reflects poorly on Obama are going to haunt them. On the plus side, we can expect coverage to resume with a vengeance when Romney is elected.

txradioguy
09-23-2012, 10:59 AM
I didn't know that he had anything to do with the Muslim YouTube video. Live and learn.... :rolleyes:

My friend Michael Yon had a very good piece on the NRO website last week talking about how they pulled off the Bastion attack. Funny...no mention of any YouTube videos there either.


The media's failures to inform the American people of anything that reflects poorly on Obama are going to haunt them. On the plus side, we can expect coverage to resume with a vengeance when Romney is elected.

I can hear it now...

Brian Williams NBC News - "good evening...you're looking live at the Inaugural Ball of President Mitt Romney as he celebrates his first day in office...meanwhile...half a world away from the glitter and lights...two more soldiers died in attacks in Afghanistan in a war that is growing increasingly unwinnable day by day. This brings the death toll in America's longest war to (insert number)"

Gina
09-24-2012, 09:21 PM
Yes! Gone are the daily death reports. Too bad it's not because there's no deaths.

Gina
09-25-2012, 05:52 PM
Video shows Taliban preparations for NATO base attack (1:08)


http://www.reuters.com/video/2012/09/25/video-shows-taliban-preparations-for-nat?videoId=237960460&videoChannel=117760