6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan - We Are The Mighty
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6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Nestled between high mountains on the Afghan side of the border with Pakistan, the Korengal Valley has been one of the hardest fought over patches of ground in the War on Terror. 54 Americans have been killed and four Medals of Honor were earned in the valley — or it’s immediate vicinity — while the case for a fifth is under review. One was that of the first living recipient of the award since Vietnam: Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta.


Today, the American military rarely moves into the valley, but handpicked Afghan commandos, some trained by the CIA, fight constantly with militants there. The Afghan government maintains offices at the Pech River Valley, the entryway to Korengal. Their police execute raids and patrols in a continuing attempt to shut down or limit the shadow government operating there.

When the American military was there, they faced the same challenges the Afghan forces do today. Some of these dangers are common across Afghanistan, while some only existed in Korengal Valley and the other branches of the Pech River Valley.

The terrain is a nightmare.

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller

Steep mountains, loose shale, thick forests, and open patches of land made the area a nightmare for an occupying force. Combat outposts were built in relatively open areas so that defenders could see approaching militants. However, this meant patrols returning to the base had to cross the open ground, sometimes under heavy small arms fire from nearby wooded areas and houses. The thick trees in the area allowed fighters to attack U.S. forces from cover and concealment.

The attackers would then hide their weapons in the forests and return to the civilian population. The steep hillsides allowed snipers to climb above outposts and fire into the bases as soldiers slept. Loose rock on the steep land led to injuries from trips and falls.

Building new bases — and keeping them resupplied — presented constant challenges.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Spc. Jon H. Arguello

Tied to the problem of the terrain, engineering in the valley has historically been difficult. To build the infamous Restrepo outpost, soldiers slipped up the hilltop in the night and frantically dug ditches in the dark. Working until dawn, they were barely able to create shallow trenches to lay in before sunlight exposed them to enemy fire. They created the outpost over the following weeks and months, chipping away at the rock and throwing the fragments into bags or Hesco barriers to create walls and fighting positions. Everything in the valley had to be made this way as the hills were too steep to move heavy equipment and there was little dirt or sand to put in the bags and barriers.

Supply was similarly constricted as many vehicles couldn’t make it into the hills. Trucks would move through washed out roads to deliver supplies to positions near the bottom of the valley. Getting food, water, and gear to the tops of the hills required either helicopter lifts or infantry carrying it up on their backs.

Its proximity to Pakistan gives the Taliban a cross-border sanctuary.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Sgt. Matthew Moeller

The Korengal Valley is located on the border with Pakistan in steep mountains and thick forests where it has served as a major conduit for smugglers for decades, especially during Soviet occupation. The Pakistan side of the border is in the tribal region which has historically served as a recruiting and training ground for terrorists. The valley itself is so inaccessible that the Afghan government temporarily gave up on trying to control it, even before the people began a strong resistance.

The civilian population is largely confrontational toward outsiders.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army Spc. David Jackson

The Americans in the valley found that the Korengalis were even less hospitable to U.S. and NATO forces than those in most of the war torn country. Most of them follow a sect of Islam known for its particularly conservative and hardline attitudes. They also all speak a dialect that not even their neighbors in the Pech River Valley — which Korengal Valley intersects — can understand. In addition, the Korengalis have a history of lumber smuggling and bad blood with other tribes. Meetings between U.S. and Afghan military leaders and tribal elders were generally tense if not confrontational.

The U.S. faced multiple insurgent groups, along with criminal elements.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Army

Most NATO units faced opposition from multiple factions in their regions, but the Korengal Valley was a high priority for both the Jamaat al Dawa al Quran, or JDQ, and Al Qaeda. JDQ is suspected of having connections to Pakistani intelligence and both groups are certainly well-funded. In addition, local insurgencies cropped up under former timber barons who lost family members and money when the Americans moved in.

The Taliban often used human shields in battle.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Marine Corps Robert M. Storm

Though civilians were used as shields in much of Afghanistan, it was constant in Korengal Valley. Women and children were nearly guaranteed to show up on the roof of any house that came under attack from US forces. Vehicles filled with civilians tested checkpoints, forcing soldiers to choose between firing at potentially unarmed civilians or leaving themselves open to a potential suicide vehicle attack. This drastically limited the ability of U.S. forces to engage the enemy.

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The US military took these incredible photos in just one week-long period

The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:


AIR FORCE:

An F-15C Eagle from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland, Ore., lands at Leeuwarden Air Base, Netherlands.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Ryan Crane/USAF

Members of the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., conduct a multi-ship C-17 Globemaster III formation during Crescent Reach 15.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Corey Hook/USAf

NAVY:

The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG82), front, conducts a trilateral naval exercise with the Turkish frigate FTCD Gediz (F-495) and Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) destroyers Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong (DDG 993) and Gang Gam-chan (DDH 979) in support of theater security operations.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: 2nd Class Evan Kenny/USN

NEW YORK (May 24, 2015) Sailors assigned to USS San Antonio (LPD 17) march in the Greenpoint Veterans Memorial Parade in the borough of Brooklyn as a part of Fleet Week New York (FWNY) event, May 24. FWNY, now in its 27th year, is the city’s time-honored celebration of the sea services.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andre N. McIntyre/USN

ARMY:

Soldiers, assigned to 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, unload their Stryker vehicles during joint readiness exercise, Culebra Koa 15, May 21, 2015, at Bellows Air Force Station in Waimanalo, Hawaii.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Staff Sgt. Carlos Davis/US Army

Paratroopers, assigned 173rd Airborne Brigade, conduct airborne operations off the coast of Athens, Greece, with the 2nd Para Battalion of the Greek Army.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: 1st Lt. Steven R. Siberski/US Army

MARINE CORPS:

Protect the Bird. A Marine with Lima Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, establishes security aboard Bellows Air Force Station, Hawaii.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Cpl. Elize McKelvey/USMC

Night Flight. An F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter taxies to be refueled on the flight deck of USS Wasp during night operations, a part of Operational Testing 1, May, 22, 2015.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Cpl. Anne K. Henry/USMC

COAST GUARD:

Later this week we will take a look at what it’s like on an International Ice Patrol deployment! Here is a small sample of what is to come.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: MST2 Steve Miller/USCG

The United States Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard Silent Drill Team was caught performing at the Statue of Liberty this past Saturday.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: USCG

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5 signs you’ve been in the barracks way too long

Military barracks are just like college dorms, except with more booze and asbestos.


Ok, maybe not the asbestos part (as far as you know). The military has come a long way from Quonset huts and open-space squad-bays that housed an entire unit. Barracks life has improved considerably for troops in recent years, as many troops now enjoy new furniture, keycard entry, and no more than two people to a room.

But regardless of barracks amenities, they can’t really compete with married personnel living in homes on base, or being able to live off-base in an apartment. Still, some troops try to make their rooms way better than everyone else. This is how you know you’re probably one of them.

1. You have a 60″ television set that is four feet away from your face when you watch it.

How can you watch the games on Sunday with anything less? And besides, there is all this money in your bank account from last deployment. What do you think, you’re going to save it!? The key to a great barracks room is having a ridiculously-large TV, lots of DVDs and Blu-Rays, a Playstation 4, and gaming chairs.

2. You have a full kitchen hidden in your desk or wall locker.

No need to get dressed and head to the mess hall for that meatloaf dinner. You have everything you need right here, to include a rice cooker, hot plate, microwave, mini-oven and a skillet*. That drawer over there? That’s where I keep all my spices to go on my Ramen noodles. (*Please don’t burn down the entire barracks. Your first sergeant will be upset).

3. Your fridge is filled with beer. (Extra points if you have a kegerator hidden somewhere.)

Most barracks have rules regarding alcohol. E-3 and below are usually allowed only a six-pack, while E-4 and above can have 12. But rules are meant to be broken, right lance corporal?** No one can have a proper night of fun with just six-pack, and besides, you stocked up on 30-packs because you only wanted to make one trip to the 7-day store. You are actually being responsible by cutting down on your carbon footprint. (**Rules are meant to be followed, according to your squad leader.)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo Credit: Streetwear Deals

4. You own a 1600-watt stereo system that looks like it was stolen from a Rage Against the Machine concert.

You take your music seriously. While a barracks amateur may get something that could play tunes at a reasonable volume and can fill the room quite nicely, you need to invest in a top-of-the-line stereo system. It probably cost at least a grand, pumps out 1600-watts of sound that rattles the entire barracks, and has the “bass boost” function. Does your clock/radio have that? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

5. You have a hot tub.

If you have this, you have completely won the barracks life. We salute you.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Terminal Lance/Facebook

Anything to add? Let us know in the comments.

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The US military took these incredible photos in just one week-long period

The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:


AIR FORCE

Two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, fly over Europe on March 20, 2015. The aircraft participate in a training sortie with the Estonian air force.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Senior Airman Christine Griffiths/US Air Force

Leaving a trail of dust in its wake, an MC-130J Commando II takes off April 2, 2015, at Melrose Air Force Range, N.M. The aircraft’s crew demonstrated its capability to take off, land and perform airdrops in remote areas during a joint exercise.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi/US Air Force

NAVY

More than 630 Sailors, Marines and civilians aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) from a teal ribbon and spell out “ESX ARG” to show support for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Navy

Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Keron King signals the pilots of an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter attached to the Vipers of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 48 during preflight preparations aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68).

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Abe McNatt/US Navy

ARMY

A Trooper assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, fires a mortar from a mortar tube mounted onto a Stryker Combat Vehicle during the unit’s platoon live-fire exercise at Smardan Training Area, Romania, Apr. 8, 2015. The purpose of the exercise is to demonstrate unit capabilities to Romanian military counterparts during live-fire training in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve-South.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Sgt. William A. Tanner/US Army

Infantrymen, assigned to 2nd Cavalry Regiment, provide security during an #OperationAtlanticResolve-South live-fire exercise at Smardan Training Area, Romania, April 6, 2015.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Sgt. William A. Tanner

MARINE CORPS

U.S. Marines attending the infantry officer course prepare to conduct a fast rope exercise during Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) on Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., March 27, 2015. WTI is a seven-week event hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) cadre.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Lance Cpl. Jodson B. Graves/US Marine Corps

A U.S. Marine with Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, completes a pre-inspection before operating the M1A1 Abrams tank during Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) aboard Camp Pendleton, California, March 28, 2015. Marines with BLT 3/1 trained for combined arms operations in restricted terrain in preparation for their deployment this spring.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Sgt. Emmanuel Ramos/US Marine Corps

COAST GUARD

Marine Safety Security Team Honolulu conduct flight ops with crews from Air Station Barber’s Point to ensure U.S. Coast Guard Hawaii Pacific remain Semper Paratus.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Errik Gordon/US Coast Guard

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: US Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City

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These amazing Spanish-American War photos were found during a recent Navy office renovation

In 2014, archivists from the U.S. Navy’s Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) uncovered a rare trove of photos while moving furniture around during an office renovation. The photos were a donation in their backlog, glass prints of 150 images of the Navy during the Spanish-American War and Philippine War that followed.


6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Admiral George Dewey, who led the defeat the Spanish at Manila Bay. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

The photos were taken by Douglas White, a special correspondent of the San Francisco Examiner during the conflict. His photos were uncovered at the beginning of a restoration project of the NHHC facility at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard.

“Once it was realized what they had uncovered, there was tremendous excitement amongst the staff, especially the historians,” Lisa Crunk, the head of the NHHC’s photo archives told Navy.mil. “The images are an amazing find, though they were never really lost – they were simply waiting to be re-discovered.”

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Captain Dennis Geary of the California Heavy Artillery rides his horse through Cavite in the Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
American sailors pictured during the Spanish-American war. They are Dave Ireland, Purdy, Tom Griffin and John King. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Apprentice boys pictured aboard the USS Olympia, the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The Spanish Fleet docked at the Suez Canal. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
David Colamaria, Naval History and Heritage Command’s photographic section archivist, looks at a glass plate photograph of Spanish Adm. Pasqual Cervera taken in 1898 or 1899. The photo archives staff found a wooden box containing approximately 150 glass plate photographs depicting scenes from the Spanish American and Philippine Wars. The glass plate photographs were likely prepared by photographer Douglas White, a war correspondent for the San Francisco Examiner during the Philippine War. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Comerford)

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Spanish sailors aboard the cruiser Reina Cristina in prayer before battle on April 24, 1898. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
An undated photo show American troops disembarking from a ship onto small boats near Cavite, Phillipines in 1898 or 1899. The photo archives staff found a wooden box containing approximately 150 glass plate photographs depicting scenes from the Spanish-American and Philippine Wars. The glass plate photographs were likely prepared by photographer Douglas White, a war correspondent for the San Francisco Examiner during the Philippine War. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command)

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
This photo shoes the Spanish cruiser, the Castilla, that was lost in the Battle of Manila Bay with 25 men killed and 80 wounded.

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The USS Petrel, part of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet during the Spanish-American War.

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The USS Raleigh in action against the Spanish in 1898.

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The USS Boston, ca 1898. The Boston was in the Battle of Manila.

 

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
An undated photo shows soldiers manning a battle signal corps station during the Spanish American War. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Naval History and Heritage Command/ Released)

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Here are the best military photos for the week of July 29th

The military has very talented photographers in the ranks, and they’re always capturing what life as a service member is like during training and at war. Here are the best military photos of the week:


Air Force:

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer assigned to the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, taxis on the flightline July 26, 2017, at Andersen AFB, Guam. The normal/routine employment of continuous bomber presence (CBP) missions in the U.S. Pacific Command’s area of responsibility since March 2004 are in accordance with international law are vital to the principles that are the foundation of the rules-based global operating system.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Smoot

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Josean Arce, 33rd Helicopter Maintenance Unit weapons section weapons expediter, conducts a systems post-load check on a GAU-18 50-caliber machine gun attached to an HH-60 Pave Hawk from the 33rd Rescue Squadron July 26, 2017, at Kadena Air Base, Japan. Airmen in the weapons section maintain, install, remove, and safeguard all armaments and items associated with the HH-60 gun mounting and ammunition handling systems for the 33rd Rescue Squadron.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John Linzmeier

Army:

Paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade conduct Squad Live Fire in Cincu, Romania during Exercise Swift Response 17.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Sgt. David Vermilyea

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to Company A, 307th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, load into the back of a C-130 Globemaster III assigned to the 8th Airlift Squadron during Operation Panther Storm 2017 at Fort Bragg, N.C., July 24, 2017. Panther Storm is a deployment readiness exercise used to test the 82nd Airborne Division’s ability to rapidly deploy its global response force anywhere in the world with only a few hours’ notice.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Keith James

Navy:

Seaman Tanoria Thomas from Shreveport, La., signals an amphibious assault vehicle, attached to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, into the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) after the completion of Talisman Saber 2017. Talisman Saber is a biennial U.S.-Australia bilateral exercise held off the coast of Australia meant to achieve interoperability and strengthen the U.S.-Australia alliance.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Christian Prior prepares to raise the ensign on the fantail aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) during morning colors. Iwo Jima is in port conducting a scheduled continuous maintenance availability in preparation for their upcoming deployment.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin Leitne

Marine Corps:

A Marine documents a call-for-fire during a live-fire range at Camp Lejeune, N.C., July 26, 2017. The purpose of this field operation is to test and improve the unit’s capabilities by putting the Marines into a simulated combat environment. The Marine is with 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Holly Pernell

Marines with “The Commandant’s Own” U.S. Marine Drum Bugle Corps perform “music in motion” during a Tuesday Sunset Parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial, Arlington, Va., July 25, 2017. The guest of honor for the parade was the Honorable Robert J. Wittman, U.S. Representative from the 1st Congressional District of Virginia, and the hosting official was Lt. Gen. Robert S. Walsh, commanding general, Marine Corps Combat and Development Command and deputy commandant for Combat Development and Integration.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Robert Knapp

Coast Guard:

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Armstrong (left), commanding officer of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maple, rides aboard a Canadian Coast Guard small boat near Barrow, Alaska, after meeting with members of the Canadian Coast Guard aboard ice breaker Sir Wilfrid Laurier, July 24, 2017. The crews of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and fishing vessel Frosti, a Canada Department of Fisheries and Oceans-commissioned boat, went on to lead the way through the ice east of Barrow, Alaska, in support of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maple’s transit through the Northwest Passage to the Atlantic Ocean.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Nate Littlejohn

Crew members aboard a Coast Guard 24-foot Special Purpose Craft-Shallow Water boat from Station Chincoteague, Virginia, ignite orange smoke signals to mark slack tide and the beginning of the 92nd Annual Chincoteague Pony Swim in Assateague Channel, July 26, 2017. Thousands gathered to watch Saltwater Cowboys swim a herd of wild ponies from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Corinne Zilnicki

Articles

6 of the wildest top secret spy missions of World War II

Spy novels are filled with over-the-top missions and unlikely operations, but some of the wildest spy stories are the real ones.


1. A Polish spy bluffs her way into a Gestapo prison while surrounded by her own wanted posters.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Wikipedia.com

Christine Granville was known for a bunch of exploits in World War II, but her ballsiest was a rescue mission. She walked into a Gestapo-controlled prison in France and secured the release of three other spies scheduled for execution. At the time, her face was on wanted posters spread across the country.

She convinced the guards that she was a British spy and the niece of a British general and that Allied Forces were bearing down on the city. She suggested that they should release the prisoners in return for future payment and clemency. The Germans bought it and she walked her colleagues out.

2. Operation Mincemeat fooled the Nazis with a corpse.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

When the Allies needed to invade Sicily in 1943, they knew the Germans would be rapidly reinforcing it. So, they procured the body of a dead vagrant, dressed him up in a uniform, chained a briefcase of fake invasion plans for Greece to his wrist, and floated him on ocean currents to “neutral” Spain.

As the British expected, the documents were handed over to the Nazis and assumed to be genuine. The Germans prepared for an invasion in the wrong place, saving thousands of Allied lives during the invasion of Sicily.

READ MORE: This top-secret operation was the World War II version of ‘Weekend at Bernie’s’

3. A famed jazz singer smuggled information through sheet music and her underwear.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Wikipedia

Josephine Baker was a famous singer and dancer born in America. She became a French citizen in 1937 and, when France fell to the Germans, she convinced the Axis she was on their side. Baker spent the next few years spying for the Allies in high-culture parties with senior Axis leaders.

To smuggle intelligence out, she would plan performances in neutral countries and hand over her sheet music, covered in invisible ink, to Allied handlers. When she needed to smuggle out photos, she’d pin them to her underwear.

4. A Navy commando ran weapons, spies, and explosives through Greece and the Balkan Peninsula.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Lt. j.g. Jack Taylor — sometimes called America’s first SEAL because he was the first American commando to infiltrate by sea, air, and land in his career — served in the OSS in the Balkan Peninsula behind enemy lines from Sep. 1943 to March 1944.

During this time, he and his men reconnoitered enemy troop and supply positions, resupplied friendly forces, and conducted night time raids. They were nearly caught in three different incidents but escaped each time. The famed Maj. Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan recommended Taylor for a service cross for the mission.

5. Agent Fifi tested new British agents by being hot and charming.

“Agent Fifi” was Marie Chilver, an English-born woman who was raised throughout Europe. She was jailed in an internment camp in 1940 but escaped to England in 1941.

She tried to get sent back to France as a spy, but wasn’t allowed. Instead, she became the beautiful, seductive final exam for British spy trainees. British agents would be approached by Chilvers during their mission and she tried and get secrets out of them. Any who divulged information were dropped from the program.

6. Virginia Hall led a resistance group despite having only one foot.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Virginia Hall lost her foot prior to World War II, an injury that ended her hopes for a career in the foreign service. So, instead she became a spy.

Her largest contributions to the war probably came when she slipped into France via a British torpedo boat, trained three battalions of French resistance, and led sabotage and intelligence-gathering missions. Her team killed 150 Germans and captured 500 more. They also destroyed four bridges and multiple trains and rail lines.

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6 must-have New Year’s resolutions for the Coast Guard

The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines all have things they’d like to work on in 2018, but what about the often-forgotten Coast Guard? This agency has a wide range of responsibilities and, with so much on their plate, there’s a lot of room for improvement in 2018. Let’s take a look.


6. Acquire more airframes

The Coast Guard has a total of 201 fixed and rotary-wing aircraft across the entire service. Let’s put this into perspective: That’s only one more airframe than the Marine Corps has of F/A-18A/C/D Hornets, according to FlightGlobal.com. Despite these numbers, they have to secure a massive 12,380 miles of coastline. This ought to change as soon as possible.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
This MH-60T Jayhawk is being used to train an Air Force military working dog. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Adam R. Shanks)

5. Add more cutters

The Coast Guard website lists a total of five national security cutters, four high-endurance cutters, and 28 medium-endurance cutters on hand. The Coast Guard plans to replace the remaining four Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters with four Bertholf-class national security cutters, but the Coast Guard once had 12 Hamilton-class cutters. Furthermore, the service plans to replace 28 medium-endurance cutters with 25 Heritage-class vessels. The Coast Guard needs to resolve to replace its old cutters on a one-for-one basis at a minimum.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
A U.S. Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules aircraft prepares to drop supplies aboard the national security cutter USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750) in the Arctic Ocean Sept. 14, 2012, during a patrol in support of Arctic Shield 2012. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Timothy Tamargo)

4. Take some ships off the Navy’s hands

The Coast Guard adopted a number of Navy vessels after World War II. Today, the Navy’s Freedom- and Independence-class littoral combat ships could be huge assets for the Coast Guard. In fact, in 2010, USS Freedom (LCS 1) scored four drug busts in a single, six-and-a-half week deployment.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
USS Coronado (LCS 4) during sea trials. (Photo from U.S. Navy)

3. Bring back some anti-drug capability

Did you know the Coast Guard once had some E-2 Hawkeyes? Yep, those eyes in the sky helped keep drugs out of the United States until the post-Cold War budget cuts ended that program. The Coast Guard also recently gave up the HU-25 Guardian and the MH-68 Stingray.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
A Coast Guard MH-68 Sting Ray helicopter crew prepares to take off for a patrol of the Savannah River to provide security during the G8 Summit while Air Force One sits in the background. (USCG photo by PA3 Ryan Doss)

2. Build a Coast Guard Special Operations Command

Other services have contributed assets to Special Operations Command, but the Coast Guard is conspicuous by its absence. The Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team is an elite unit that could complement Delta Force and SEAL Team Six, while their Maritime Safety and Security Teams handle a lot of counter-terrorism ops.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
A member of the Coast Guard’s Maritime Security Response Team boards a vessel. (Photo from USCG)

1. Get more icebreakers

The Coast Guard is in a world of hurt when it comes to icebreakers. While the Coast Guard website says they have four icebreakers (three polar, one on the Great Lakes), one of the polar icebreakers is out of commission with engine problems. Meanwhile, Russia is pushing hard to control the Arctic. Right now, the Coast Guard needs more icebreakers, even if it means restarting the Polar-class production line.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
The Coast Guard icebreakers USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB 10) and USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 11) during a resupply mission to McMurdo Research Station. (USCG photo)

What do you think the Coast Guard should resolve to do in 2018?

Lists

The most famous battles fought by Gen. George Patton

A list of all important battles fought by George S. Patton. This battles list includes any George S. Patton battles, conflicts, campaigns, wars, skirmishes or military engagements of any kind. This list displays the battles George S. Patton fought in alphabetically, but the battles/military engagements contain information such as where the battle was fought and who else was involved. List items include Battle of the Bulge, Allied invasion of Sicily and many additional items as well.


If you are looking to answer the questions, “Which battles did George S. Patton fight in?” and “Which battles was George S. Patton involved in?” then this list has got you covered.

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Articles

7 hilarious but accurate descriptions of military hardware

When it comes time to write up the technical pamphlets for the next generation of military gear, the manufacturers … probably won’t call us.


Here are seven perfectly accurate descriptions of military hardware that no self-respecting manufacturer would ever publish:

1. The Apache is the world’s most advanced digital camera

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
It’s a lot of money for relatively poor image quality, but the zoom is fantastic.

The AH-64 just has so many features that Canon and Nikon would never dream of putting on a camera: multiple rotor blades, a hydraulics systems, missiles, rockets, and a cannon. It’s almost hard to spot the camera sensors in the ball at the front.

2. The M1A2 Abrams tank provides very effective body armor for troops

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Does your armor deploy its own smoke grenades? And depleted uranium shells?

Because the armor is on motorized tracks, you can barely even feel the 60 tons of protection. It even has seats, a feature most body armor lacks.

3. The A-10 is a great way to get a look at the battlefield

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

It gets you high enough to see over the terrain while keeping you low enough to see all your enemies. If only there was something we could do about them from up here?

4. Navy aircraft carriers are cruise ships with (slightly) less sex and much more (hidden) booze

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

You can move a LOT of people with one of these ships. Over 6,000 with the old Nimitz-class. The newer Ford ships hold less people, normally about 4,000, but have sweet magnets that could hold literally anything to a fridge. In a pinch, there’s even a way to move people from shore directly to the ship without it docking. But be warned that the cruise directors are pretty uptight and the upper decks are noisy.

5. TOW missiles are a much faster delivery method than carrier pigeons

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
But, you know, they’re still faster than pigeons.

While carrier pigeons top out at around 90 mph in a sprint, TOW missiles fly at an astounding 715 mph. There’s almost nothing that can get your message across a battlefield faster, and the control cables let the recipient know just where the message came from.

Just a quick note, when sending messages to friends you should be sure to remove the original payload.

6. Rifles can punch holes through hella paper at once

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
(via Military Memes)

Don’t use boring three-hole punches that can only handle a few sheets when these rifles can create either 5.56mm or 7.62mm openings in dozens of sheets of paper at once.

7. CS gas is a quick and effective decongestant

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Neti pots are weird and pouring liquids through your sinus cavities can lead to brain parasites. 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile has neither drawback and is extremely effective at helping you breathe free clearing your sinuses.

Articles

The 13 funniest military memes of the week

Payday Friday. (Read these memes until your direct deposit goes through.)


1. SGT Snuggles recommends a surprising strategy.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Also, not time for MREs. Time for biscuits.

2. Desert camouflage uniform, woodland camo makeup.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Those are going to clash on the red carpet.

SEE ALSO: 6 reasons why Camp Pendleton is the best base in the Marine Corps

3. Best sleep a vet can get.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Keep lots of copies. You don’t want to be caught without one.

 4. The future is coming … (via Sh-t My LPO Says)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
… but it may be less exciting than you expected.

5. Wait, the Air Force is now getting Lunchables? (via Air Force Memes and Humor)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
What are they complaining about?

6. How toxic could it be? (via Sh-t My LPO Says)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

7. “Your pay inquiry has been added to the queue.” (via Air Force Memes and Humor)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

8. They’re armored, 42 MPH death dealers.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Worst case scenario, you need two tanks.

9. Lucky timing.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Four seconds later and you would’ve had to run back inside.

10. If this were true, Snuggle would win the fabric softener wars.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Rumor says that washing a Marine in this will turn them into a sailor.

11. There is the official way and there’s the expedient way. (via Sh-t My LPO Says)

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Sometimes, the expedient way is better. Sometimes it isn’t.

 12. Military police take their games seriously.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Don’t step into the yard unless you’re really ready to play.

13. You don’t just show up ready.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
You have to build muscle memory.

NOW: The top 10 militaries in the world, ranked

AND: ‘The Marine’ packs a record number of technical errors into the first five minutes

Articles

The US military took these incredible photos this week

The military has very talented photographers in its ranks, and they constantly attempt to capture what life as a service member is like during training and at war. This is the best of what they shot this week:


NAVY:

Never forget

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by USN

The guided-missile destroyer USS Carney departs Mayport for its new homeport of Rota, Spain, Sept. 6.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John S. Smolinski/USN

ARMY:

Soldiers, assigned to 7th Infantry Divisionand 10th Mountain Division, part of Train, Advise and Assist Command – South, test their strength and endurance with an ammo-can carry during the Bayonet Mile II, a series of team-oriented combat skills tests conducted by Soldiers from the U.S. and theAustralian Army on Kandahar, Afghanistan, Sept. 6, 2015.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Lt. Col. Bill Coppernoll/US Army

Soldiers, assigned to United States Army Europe – USAREUR, U.S. Army Africa, KFOR Multinational Battle Group-East, and NATO line up for a 12-mile ruck, their final test prior to earning the U.S. Army Europe Field Medical Badge, Grafenwoehr, Germany.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Capt. Jeku Arce/US Army

AIR FORCE:

An F-22 Raptor pilot from the 95th Fighter Squadron based at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., gets situated in his aircraft prior to taking off from Ämari Air Base, Estonia, Sept. 4, 2015.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Tech. Sgt. Ryan Crane/USAF

Airman 1st Class Stefan Alvarez, a 3rd Combat Camera Squadron photojournalist, loads 5.56 mm ammunition into an M4 magazine in preparation for the next drill during Advanced Weapons and Tactics Training Sept. 4, 2015, in Converse, Texas.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Senior Airman Colville McFee/USAF

MARINE CORPS:

A Critical Skills Operator with U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command uses a torch to cut through a metal door to gain entry on a building during Marine Special Operation School’s Master Breacher’s Course at Stone Bay aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Aug. 5, 2015.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Sgt. Scott A. Achtemeier/USMC

1st Lt. Keith G. Lowell administers OC spray during the OC Spray Performance Evaluation Course on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Aug. 27, 2015. This course is part of the Non-Lethal Weapons Instructor Course, which is only offered once a year to all service members on Okinawa.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by Cpl. Thor Larson/USMC

COAST GUARD:

U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Diego ASTs run pilots and aviation crews through Shallow Water Egress Training at Naval Base Point Loma. The training is conducted in a controlled environment to prepare flight crews on how to safely exit an overturned helicopter in the water.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by USCG

Aircrew members from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak deploy two weather data-collecting probes from an HC-130 Hercules airplane above the Arctic Circle.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan
Photo by PA3 Lauren Steenson/USCG

NOW: More awesome military photos

OR WATCH: Where were the US fighters on 9/11?

Lists

6 fictional armies that would suck to fight against

When a writer needs to think up some great, imposing force to pit against their protagonist, sometimes they go a little overboard. Yeah, it’s great to see some young farmboy find the strength within needed to lead a rebellion against an evil, galactic empire, but most times, the troops fighting alongside the protagonist don’t have magic space powers (we’re looking at you, Luke).


6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

And yet anyone who’s never seen the show will still think they’re just silly little robots…

(BBC)

The Daleks (Doctor Who)

At first glance, the Daleks are kind of silly. A rolling pepper shaker with two sticks for arms might not seem imposing — until you realize they’re almost impossible to kill inside their shells.

Fighting a near-undying force that’s backed by a ridiculous amount of troops hellbent on your extermination isn’t ideal — it doesn’t matter that you could just put a hat over their eyestalk.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Yep. And the other villains in the game try to capture these things — doesn’t work like that.

(Bioware)

The Reapers (Mass Effect)

Normally, giant, spacefaring warships are hard to kill. They’re even harder to kill if they’re sentient and are capable indoctrinating entire galaxies under their control.

Reapers are massive beings often confused with space ships. They dominate entire star systems by slowly brainwashing their inhabitants. Or, if that takes too long and they just need some troops fast, they can shoot out robot appendages to turn anyone fighting them into lifeless, obedient husks. Every conquered world joins their ranks, becoming a new enemy that our heroes must fight physically and psychologically.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

A rocket launcher may be overkill, but you don’t want to take any chances.

(Bungie)

The Flood (Halo)

What’s worse than fighting zombies? Fighting space zombies. One of the most deadly things about the Flood is that they can destroy their enemies with a single touch.

They cover battlefields in disease, meaning any step may lead to infection. The Flood is so terrifying that it takes two great armies, the humans and the Covenant, to band together and defeat them.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Poor bug. No one ever takes them seriously.

(TriStar Pictures)

The Arachnid (Starship Troopers)

No good military satire is complete without an insane enemy that comes in insane numbers and is armed with insane psychic abilities.

One of the most deadly things about the Arachnids was how mindless they seem. Everyone who initially thought, “oh, just a giant bug” was in for a rude awakening when they discovered they can communicate telepathically and shoot down spaceships in orbit.
6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

The Borg even managed to assimilate the great Captain Jean-Luc Picard. And adding Picard to their ranks definitely gives them an edge.

(Paramount Television)

The Borg (Star Trek)

These guys are the culmination of all the terrifying things on this list. Put together highly advanced technology, overwhelming numbers, near invulnerability, and mass assimilation and you end up with the Borg.

With most sci-fi hiveminds, destroying their leader usually means the destruction of their entire force. But with the Borg, it just means another Queen must take their place.

6 Reasons Why The Korengal Valley Was One Of The Most Dangerous Places In Afghanistan

Who would win: 40 millenia of technological advancements or one Orky boy?

(Games Workshop)

The Orks (Warhammer 40k)

To be fair, every army in Warhammer 40k is a force to be reckoned with. But even in a universe filled with futuristic demons, robot zombies, and blood-thirsty elves, the Orks are considered the most successful intergalactic conquerors.

When the space savages aren’t fighting among themselves, they’ll band together to overwhelm their foes — even if those foes are Chaos gods, alien samurai, or whatever the hell Tyranids are.

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