Ross Kemp returns to Helmand

Members of Whiskey Company, 45 Commando Royal Marines, and the Afghan Uniform Police at the handover of Checkpoint Meelet, Nad 'Ali (South)

‘Ross Kemp: Back On The Frontline’ starts on Sky1 at 2100hrs GMT tonight 14th November 2011.

Expressing firm opinions on why the Taliban should be given air time he adds:

“There is no way that the solution to Afghanistan will come at the end of a rifle. It will come through negotiations and undoubtedly the Taliban have to be involved, so the sooner we start listening to what they believe, what they want, the sooner we will hopefully come to a settlement. They weren’t clichés. They have beards and they wear black turbans but they are all individuals.”

Kemp also believes that no-one should be thinking about trying to turn Afghanistan into a completely democracy-embracing country:

“They are Afghans and they live the Afghan way. It will never be the same as ours, and why should it be? But it would be a heck of a waste of time and life if we leave that country and things haven’t improved. But I’m hoping and praying that they will.”

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Military Operations | Ross Kemp returns to Helmand.

Two further deaths in Helmand Province

Always and Forever

Sadly over the weekend there were two further deaths in Afghanistan.

Royal Marine killed in Helmand province

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that a Royal Marine from 42 Commando Royal Marines was killed in Afghanistan today, Sunday 5 June 2011.

The Royal Marine was fatally wounded by small arms fire while on a joint patrol in the Nahr-e Saraj (South) district of Helmand province.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick, said:

“It is with great sadness that I have to announce the death of a Royal Marine from 42 Commando Royal Marines.

“He was on a joint patrol to meet local people and to disrupt insurgent activity in the Adensee area of Nahr-e Saraj district in Helmand province when he was fatally wounded by small arms fire this morning.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Next of kin have been informed and have requested a period of grace before further details are released.

Soldier from 1 RIFLES killed in Helmand

It is with great sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that a soldier from 1st Battalion The Rifles (1 RIFLES) was killed in Afghanistan yesterday, Sunday 5 June 2011.

The soldier was killed by an improvised explosive device while on a patrol in the Haji Kareen area of the Nahr-e Saraj (South) district of Helmand province.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Purbrick, said:

“It is with great sadness that I have to inform you of the death of a soldier from 1st Battalion The Rifles in the Haji Kareen area of the Nahr-e Saraj district in Helmand province.

“The soldier was part of a foot patrol, supporting an Afghan National Security Forces operation to clear one of the last remaining insurgent safe havens in central Helmand, when he was fatally wounded by an improvised explosive device.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Next of kin have been informed and have requested a period of grace before further details are released.

My thoughts are with the families and friends of the two soldiers at this sad time.

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Military Operations | Royal Marine killed in Helmand province.

Another Royal Marine killed in Helmand

Always and Forever

The MOD reports that another Royal Marine from 40 Commando has been killed in Sangin, Afghanistan.

The MOD has this:

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must announce that a Royal Marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines serving as part of Combined Forces Sangin, Helmand was killed in Afghanistan yesterday, Wednesday 26 May 2010.

The Royal Marine was killed in an explosion. He was conducting a ground domination foot patrol through the Southern Green Zone in order to reassure local nationals and understand their concerns about living in the area when the incident took place.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, said:

“It is my sad duty to inform you that a marine from 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed by an explosion in Sangin last night.

“He was conducting a reassurance foot patrol in the Green Zone around Sangin when tragically he was struck by an explosion.

“His boldness and commitment to the mission will not be forgotten. He died a marine; he will be sorely missed and we will remember him.”

Next of kin have been informed and have asked for a period of grace before further details are released.

My thoughts are with his family and friends on this sad day.

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Military Operations | Royal Marine killed in Helmand.

Marine from 40 Commando dies in Afghan explosion

Always and Forever

Sadly another member of our Armed Forces has died in Afghanistan.

The BBC has this.

A Royal Marine has been killed in an explosion in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence says.

The member of 40 Commando Royal Marines was killed while on a foot patrol in Sangin, Helmand Province, this morning.

The death take the total number of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan to 285.

Next of kin have been informed and asked for a period of grace before further details were released, an MoD spokesperson said.

Spokesman for Task Force Helmand, Lieutenant Colonel James Carr-Smith, said:

“He was part of a foot patrol in an operation which was being conducted in support of the Afghan National Army when he was struck by an explosion.

“He died in the course of his duty, seeking to provide reassurance and security to the local nationals in Sangin. He will be sorely missed and his sacrifice will not be forgotten.”

My thoughts at this sad time are with his family and friends.

BBC News – Marine dies in Afghan explosion.

Honours for heroism handed out to Scottish Marines

42 Commando Royal Marines during Operation ARAY, their first of their HERRICK 9 deployment
42 Commando Royal Marines during Operation ARAY, their first of their HERRICK 9 deployment

TWO Royal Marine Commandos from RM Condor in Arbroath have been awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for their heroism during the regiment’s recent tour of Afghanistan in which 12 of their comrades lost their lives.

The medals have been awarded to Acting Corporal Bradley Malone and Marine Steven Nethery.

A total of 15 Royal Marines and one soldier from the unit are recognised in the latest operational honours for bravery, determination and leadership in Afghanistan.

The distinguished service order has been awarded to Lieutenant Colonel James Morris, the commander of 45 Commando during their arduous tour.

According to his citation for gallantry, Corporal Malone showed complete disregard for his own safety by leaving cover and advancing across open ground to rescue his troop sergeant who had become isolated in a dangerous area. His fighting prowess turned the tide of a battle and potentially saved several men from a deadly ambush.

Marine Nethery, a general purpose machine gunner, ran, unarmed, under concentrated fire, to retrieve a wounded colleague, and then braved the open ground a second time to prevent vital equipment falling into enemy hands.

According to his citation Lt Col Morris led, from the front, a Commando group of 1,000 men spread out over 40 kilometres. Frequently out on patrol, he tirelessly championed their welfare and wellbeing, whilst ensuring that they made a significant contribution to the wider campaign.

Lt Col Oliver Lee, the new commanding officer of 45 Commando, said:

“This is a very proud day for 45 Commando. Our marines in Arbroath are amongst the best in the world and these awards are well deserved. “

More Medals for other units and details here.

The MOD has this

Full List is here. A total of 145 honours have been awarded.

Honours for heroism handed out to Scottish Marines – Scotsman.com News.

The terrible price that is paid by the forgotten casualties of war

It appears that very slowly the MSM is cottoning onto the fact that the true cost of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan is that much more than just the deaths of the members of our armed forces.  Jonathan Foreman’s article in the Spectator is a point in case.

I’ll not argue with any of the points he makes in the article as most of them are generally true and his opening gambit is certainly true when he says

… that the focus upon the death toll in the Afghan conflict obscures the high numbers of soldiers who have suffered catastrophic wounds — and the scandalously inadequate compensation they have been offered once home in a land unfit for such heroes

It is not easy to measure success and failure in counter-insurgency warfare. Modern military establishments have all sorts of ‘metrics’, as they call statistics, but the politicians and the general public tend to focus on one measure alone: fatalities, and our fatalities at that. The deaths in Afghanistan of other Allied forces rarely make the headlines (though the loss of ten French troops in a single 2008 ambush did reach the front pages), and numbers of enemy dead are rarely mentioned at all.

Now none of this should be a stranger to you if you read this blog or the many others that have been highlighting this for more than a few years now, but it appears from the comments on the article that many intelligent people are only just finding out about this.

Whose fault is this, well in many cases it is our government and the MOD who have for years been hiding all the bad news of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All the news they release is focused upon giving an impression of how well things are going and how heroic our struggles are even when it comes to the deaths of members of our Armed Forces. It is blatant propaganda and censorship by omission as I pointed out yesterday.

Deaths are focused upon as if they are a matter of pride rather than an admission of our failure to end these wars, but hiding underneath the statistics is the true cost of war and its impact on all the armed forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Let’s look very briefly at a little story hiding away yesterday about a new company being formed by the Royal Marines.

‘H’ Company – named after former marine and Cockleshell Hero, Blondie Hasler – will be based at HMS Drake at Devonport Naval Base from Monday. It will be unique in that it will act as a vehicle to help the marines recover, rehabilitate and reintegrate either back into full military life, or back to civilian life. Major Pete Curtis, Officer Commanding H Company, said it is the first Royal Marine company to be launched in “decades” and described it as an “historic” event. He said the company is being formed as a direct result of an increase in the number of injured military personnel in Afghanistan.

Apparently an MOD spokesman said

“It gives the casualty a new and real sense of belonging – a concept that has been proven to give greater results, mentally and physically.”

So we are describing as “historic” the formation of this company, as if it a truly wonderful event, rather than being a sad result of the extent of injuries happening in Iraq and Afghanistan and hidden away in the text is this message

From Monday the company will begin recruiting injured marines. Maj Curtis expects to have 15 to 20 members of the company by October. He said he expects the company to “grow” as Britain fulfils its commitment to bringing stability to Afghanistan.

The hidden text here is that we are expecting many more wounded in Afghanistan but it is obfusticated  by the subtle use of the word “grow”.

But back to the article and it’s conclusion when Jonathan Foreman says

If you are not serious about war, then you have no business sending troops into battle. Moreover you are likely to lose.

This is a statement that is only just beginning to penetrate the MSM, as they start to understand that we have been sadly playing at war in Afghanistan since 2001 and the repercussions have only just begun to show over the past 2-3 years.

The MSM need to understand that they also have been playing at reporting in Afghanistan, for too long they have been happy to play along with press releases from the MOD and government, rather than looking behind these headlines for the real stories of what is happening. They need to start doing some Journalism rather  than just  scanning their RSS feeds from the MOD.

The terrible price that is paid by the forgotten casualties of war | The Spectator.

http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/news/COMPANY-HEROES/article-1302273-detail/article.html