Guest Blogger Mike T: Pin it on Any Monkey

It has only been about 8 weeks now that I have been home and it is going well. I have returned back to work and am fully engaged in my duties. I have continued to monitor the war in Afghanistan with a set of fresh eyes, but still certain things set me back. My dear friend Troy sent me a piece about my last operational area in the 207th Corp (Click this link to see the story http://www.defenselink.mil//news/newsarticle.aspx?id=52210). The teddy bears and sunshine piece talked about the US Army and its ETT elements presenting awards to the ANA for the duties during a recent mission that was conducted.

I knew the team members and I knew the mission. I was sidelined for my last 40 days or so due to an injury but helped prep the team for this specific mission. Upon their departure I was their CAS Coordinator as well as their Aerial Re-Supply Specialist Coordinator. Besides these duties I advised the team about operations in the area, updated intelligence, and so on. I did it because even though I was not going to be there I was supporting them and their mission. Ok no big deal it was my job and responsibility.

I hope you pay attention to that last line, as the point to this article is this…what the hell are the ANA/ANP doing that they deserve awards? What chaps my ass is that I listened to the radio transmissions and read the reports of that operation as it went on; the farthest thing from the truth is that they deserved medals. I understand we need to reward the childish like antics of the ANA/ANP because if we don’t then they don’t want to play anymore (i.e defend their own country). I have seen Americans do heroic things or simply go beyond their basic duties and receive nothing (not even a verbal recognition). I have seen interpreters doing amazing things or lay their necks out for the ETT/PMT’s and simply get a kick in the ass while some dumb ass officer tells them that they aren’t getting a visa to the USA.

The people mentioned in the article blasted the very same Kandak on the way they conducted business. Half of the ETT team was disliked by the Kandak soldiers because the team knew they weren’t ready for operations, which was told to me by their S-2/3 on several occasions. What the hell were they doing giving this Kandak and its soldiers awards? Good US soldiers/NCOs’/Officers are being left high and dry when CSTC-A denies awards or even closer to home, our own 207th Corp never turns the paperwork in.

It sounds like business as usual over there, it is a shame that our men and women (unless of significant rank) are awarded AAM’s or ARCOM’s. Hell men were awarded MSM while in a combat zone, someone might want to check on that regulation**! The ANA/ANP have a long way to go before they start earning US-issued awards for heroism or simply doing their job. Speaking from experience, it is better to be passed over for an award then receive one that everyone knows you don’t deserve. I have a good friend in that area of operation who is a Captain, (one of the best I have gotten to work with) like many he will walk out of there with nothing while the ANA/ANP that have left us in the middle of an operation, ran from combat, and even tried to kill us earn awards…amazing.- MT

ANA-Afghan National Army
CAS- Close Air Support
ANP-Afghan National Police
ETT-Embedded Training Team
PMT-Police Mentoring Team
Kandak- Afghan Army Battalion
CSTC-A – Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan
AAM- Army Achievement Medal
ARCOM-Army Commendation Medal
MSM- Meritorious Service Medal

** Page 56 of the US Army Regulation 600-8-22 titled Military Awards (dated December 11th, 2006) states the following in a footnote after the section on Combat awards: Approval of the MSM and AAM in the area of combat operations is rescinded. These are peacetime-only decorations.

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