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-   -   Colonel again criticizes Marines in shooting (http://www.socnet.com/showthread.php?t=75373)

MailBuoy 24 January 2008 16:02

Colonel again criticizes Marines in shooting
 
I loved this part;

"Leaving the scene of a gunfight is "something we never do," Nicholson said archly, stressing that his Army brigade was trained to "remain in possession of the battlefield."

The Marines undermined investigations into the shootings, Nicholson said, by fleeing the scene rather than staying to treat casualties and preserve evidence."


So the next time your convoy gets ambushed don't get off the 'X', stay there, treat the enemy's casualties, and pick up spent shell casings.

Colonel again criticizes Marines in shooting

Army officer John Nicholson, who said last year he was 'deeply ashamed' that U.S. troops had killed Afghan civilians, testifies that the unit involved did not keep him informed of its actions.

By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
January 24, 2008

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- -- In May, Army Col. John Nicholson created an uproar when he said he was "deeply ashamed" that U.S. Marines had killed Afghan civilians during an incident two months earlier. Marine commanders said Nicholson was wrong to denounce the Marines while investigations were still underway.

On Wednesday, Nicholson again criticized the Marines, this time during a Marine Corps court of inquiry investigating the March 4 incident. A Marine special operations unit has been accused of shooting civilians indiscriminately after a car-bomb attack on its convoy.

Speaking by video link from the Pentagon, Nicholson said the Marine unit often strayed outside its assigned area and did not coordinate with him even though he was the area "battle space" commander. He said he was not informed that the unit was on a mission the day of the shootings.

The Marines undermined investigations into the shootings, Nicholson said, by fleeing the scene rather than staying to treat casualties and preserve evidence.

Leaving the scene of a gunfight is "something we never do," Nicholson said archly, stressing that his Army brigade was trained to "remain in possession of the battlefield."

Nicholson's pointed testimony underscored tensions between Army and Marine commanders in eastern Afghanistan even before Marine Special Operations Company F encountered the car bomb. The Marine unit, the first Marine special operations company deployed in combat, was ordered out of Afghanistan shortly after the shootings.

In May, Nicholson told reporters that 19 civilians had been killed and 50 wounded. He said he was "terribly sorry that Americans have killed and wounded innocent Afghan people." In his testimony Wednesday, Nicholson described having to repair carefully nurtured relations with local Pashtun tribes after the shootings. He said the incident compromised his counterinsurgency efforts.

Several Marines have testified at the inquiry, now in its third week, that Humvee gunners adhered to military rules of engagement and shot at gunmen who opened fire on the convoy as part of a "complex ambush." Shortly before the shootings, the American convoy had been struck by a van packed with explosives, slightly wounding one Marine.

Nicholson testified that the commander of the Marine unit, Maj. Fred C. Galvin, kept him in the darkabout his unit's actions. Galvin reported to a special operations command, but Nicholson commanded an Army brigade and was in charge of the battle space. The colonel said he'd told Galvin to coordinate actions with him.

Nicholson said he found out after the incident that Galvin had conducted more than 30 operations in Nicholson's eastern Afghanistan command area but had told him of just five or six.

Nicholson's focus was on "the human terrain," he said, whereas the Marines seemed intent on tracking and killing insurgents. He said he stressed combat coordination because "you can't just roll into the battle space unannounced."

The court is investigating the actions of Galvin and the convoy commander, Capt. Vincent J. Noble. It will report its findings to a Marine general. No one has been charged.

Nicholson said Galvin told him just after the shootings that his men had come under fire at the car-bomb site and fired back, leaving "five or six bodies." Galvin said the 30-man convoy was fired on again farther down the highway and again returned fire.

Pressed by civilian lawyers representing Galvin and Noble, Nicholson acknowledged that the number of dead and wounded has not been established and that U.S. troops who arrived on the scene 30 minutes after the car bombing found no dead or wounded Afghans.

But Nicholson said Afghans collect and bury their dead quickly, in accordance with Muslim traditions. And he said the highway where the shootings took place leads directly to a hospital in nearby Jalalabad.

Asked whether Taliban insurgents often "seed" battlefields with phony civilian casualties or exaggerate civilian deaths, Nicholson replied: "That's why it's so important for us to stay on the scene."

david.zucchino@latimes.com

Massgrunt 24 January 2008 16:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by MailBuoy
I loved this part;

[I]"Leaving the scene of a gunfight is "something we never do," Nicholson said archly, stressing that his Army brigade was trained to "remain in possession of the battlefield."

The Marines undermined investigations into the shootings, Nicholson said, by fleeing the scene rather than staying to treat casualties and preserve evidence.

Easy for him to say from the comfort of his office.

The Corporate Guy 24 January 2008 17:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by MailBuoy

"Colonel again criticizes Marines in shooting

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- --

In May, Nicholson told reporters that 19 civilians had been killed and 50 wounded...

...Pressed by civilian lawyers representing Galvin and Noble, Nicholson acknowledged that the number of dead and wounded has not been established and that U.S. troops who arrived on the scene 30 minutes after the car bombing found no dead or wounded Afghans.

But Nicholson said Afghans collect and bury their dead quickly, in accordance with Muslim traditions.

Seems like a bit of a disconnect there...

Silverbullet 24 January 2008 17:32

What a putz.

CPTAUSRET 24 January 2008 17:57

Quote:

Originally Posted by Silverbullet
What a putz.


Yup!

Really bad form!

iraqgunz 24 January 2008 18:46

Ok, let me get this straight. When ambushed or receiving fire you are supposed to remain on scene so they can continue to shoot at you. That's a new one. If we apply this standard to Iraq is Colonel Fuckstick going to say that every Army unit in Iraq stays on scene and "preserves evidence" and treats the wounded?

It's not a crime scene it a damn war. Maybe he needs to join the highway patrol.

Massgrunt 24 January 2008 19:11

Any contractors remember the push to make teams stay on scene to treat wounded until the military showed up?

Greenhat 24 January 2008 20:06

Anybody know what this guy's background is?

It was an SOF unit. If it'd been an ODA or a SEAL Platoon, would he actually expect them to stay on the site of a firefight in all circumstances?

One solution fits all?

0802 24 January 2008 20:33

He is the CO of TF Spartan.

Most of the Marines in my office equate his statements to why we are going to loose this war. Since when is evidence collected in a war? When you have BCT commanders wanting to fight this war as if they were police than you will never win.

murdog 24 January 2008 22:58

Damn, I went to high school with Fred Galvin.

Remington Raider 24 January 2008 23:35

Damn jarheads!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MailBuoy
Nicholson's focus was on "the human terrain," he said, whereas the Marines seemed intent on tracking and killing insurgents.

First comes president Hilary, then comes this guy's star. All O's are part politician. This guy is 100 percent. Glad he could take the time to appear by videoconference, cause he is probably SO busy coordinating . . . whatever he coordinates.:(

islandrecce12 25 January 2008 02:33

"Galvin reported to a special operations command, but Nicholson commanded an Army brigade and was in charge of the battle space. "

Sounds like a Army officer is a little but hurt that the Marine SOF was operating in his space from the start. Excactly what MARSOC is going to encounter everywhere they operate

Flying Pig 25 January 2008 03:10

So now Marines are carrying yellow crime scene tape in their packs?

SN 25 January 2008 06:53

His testimony will exonerate the Marines, and expose him as a qualified staff guy, vice Combat Leader.

Longrifle 25 January 2008 15:37

Sure simplifies Immediate Action Drills:
Near ambush - remain in KZ, return fire.
Far ambush - remain in KZ, return fire.


Oh, and think up a better name for a kill zone. Like, crime scene? That's it.

Remain at crime scene, return fire.


:rolleyes:

Pickpocket 25 January 2008 17:54

Quote:

Originally Posted by islandrecce12
Sounds like a Army officer is a little but hurt that the Marine SOF was operating in his space from the start.

Got that impression, did you? Was it from the 10 different statements he made stressing that "he was in charge of the battlespace" or was it from his repeated insistence that the big mean Marine wasn't telling him what was going on in his own back yard?

Yeah...this guy's a tool.

HOLLiS 25 January 2008 21:30

His quote, "pick up spent shell casings."

That was out biggest fear in RVN, that the war would end during our tour. They would stand us on line at the D and have us walking south policing the area.

I think my Gunny would say something about the Col having a major malfunction, in a very respectul manner.

MailBuoy 25 January 2008 23:31

If I were the defence attorney (I play one on tv);

'Colonel, earlier you stated that your brigade was trained to remain in possession of the battlefield, correct?'

Nicholson; 'That is correct'

'So Colonel, when ambushed your unit is trained to never break contact?'

N; 'Well, it depends on the element size. I am talking about the whole brigade'

'So you are saying this MARSOC element has the combat power of your entire brigade, right?'

N; 'Of course not, I meant MY brigade would retain possession of the battlefield'

'So this six vehicle convoy has the same capabilities of your brigade, or, you would expect them to attempt to attain an endstate that you would expect from your brigade?'

N; 'Of course not, that small an element does not have that kind of combat power'

'But you stated, and I quote you; "Leaving the scene of a gunfight is something we NEVER do"' Do you mean when your entire brigade is moving in convoy and are attacked they will retain control of the battlefield?'

N; 'Er, yes, I mean no.'

'What about only one of of your battalions? If they are ambushed do they retain control of the battlefield?'

N; 'Of course.'

'When was the last time one of your battalions was ambushed?'

N; 'Well, two weeks previous to this incident a platoon from Gulf Company, with some MPs attached was.....'

'No, when was the last time one of your battalions was ambushed?'

N; 'I was trying to tell you....'

'No, when was one of your ENTIRE battalions moving in a convoy was ambushed?'

N; 'I've never had an entire battalion moving in a convoy'

'I'm confused, you said that your BRIGADE was trained to retain possession of the battlefield, yet none of your battalions has ever moved in mass.'

N; 'No, we move in smaller elements so...'

'What does this have to do with basically a platoon of Marines moving in a six vehicle in a convoy? You said your BRIGADE would retain possession of the battlefield. Can your entire brigade fit into six vehicles?'

N; 'Well, no, that is silly.'

'But if your brigade was ambushed you would retain possession of the battlefield, correct?'

N; 'Most assuradly.'

'So if you had, say, a squad on patrol in two vehicle and they were ambushed by 40 or 50 Taliban your squad should stay and retain possession of the battlefield regardless of casualties, right?'

N; 'I never said that! I never said that!'

'Colonel, earlier you stated that your brigade was trained to remain in possession of the battlefield, correct?'

N; 'That's my brigade, my whole brigade.'

'So when was the last time your entire brigade moved in convoy?'

N; 'Well, never.'

'So a squad is not expected to retain control of the battlefield?'

N; 'Well, yes, I mean if they can, yes, sure they HAVE to (under his breath) goddam Marines.'

'Now that you are at the Pentagon I am sure we can see FM 55-30, Army Motor Transport Units and Operations rewritten, right?'

N; 'What?'

'FM 55-30, Army Motor Transport Units and Operations Section 6.4 titled 'Ambush' states; "That part of the convoy that is in the kill zone and receiving fire must exit the kill zone as quickly as possible if the road to the front is open." So based on your comabt proven experience this is incorrect and will be rectified in the near future, right?'

N; 'No, I don't know what you are talking about.'

'Colonel Nicholson, I have here a copy of the combat SOP for 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, are you familiar with this document?'

N; 'Certainly, I wrote it.'

'Can you show me in this document where the chow hall is?'

N; 'What?'

'Nevermind. Can you show me in this document where it states that all combat elements, regardless of size, will retain control of the battlefield when engaged?'

N; 'No, that is standard stuff in MY brigade. Everyone knows that.'

'Ok, Colonel, now where in this document does it state that an unit that is engaged should treat the enemies casualties and gather evidence? Is that right after where it DOES NOT state that an engaged element should always maintain control of the battlefield?'

N; 'No, it doesn't say that, but, er, everyone knows that, except Marines, they think they are...., well, they didn't tell me what they were..., no, but....'

'Question withdrawn, the witness is excused...., oh, wait, one more question, sorry.'

N; 'Alright'

'Colonel, how many vehicles where in your brigade the day the MARSOC element was engaged?'

N; 'Uh, I have no idea. I can get back to you on that....'

'Colonel, actually I have your unit's SITREP for that day. I count a total of 743 vehicles, is that correct?'

N; 'Ah, it sounds correct but....'

'How many men were present in your brigade that day?'

N; 'Uh, I am a Colonel, I have minions to track that stuff.'

'Again Colonel, here's your unit's SITREP for March 4, 2007. Your brigade had 2,443 personnel present that day to include attachments, does that sound right?'

N; 'Uh, minions I tell you.'

'So you don't even tell your brigade that has almost 750 vehicles and 2,500 personnel to control the battlefield when they are engaged but you expect a 6 vehicle convoy containing 34 Marine personnel to do that????? You really have great respect for the fighting prowess of the United States Marine Corps don't you Colonel?'

N; 'YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT I ORDERED THE CODE RED, AND I'D DO IT AGAIN!!'

iraqgunz 26 January 2008 04:32

Mailbuoy,

Forget Barry Scheck or Allen Dershowitz. If I ever need a lawyer I am calling your ass in a heartbeat.

sawbones 26 January 2008 05:16

If this choad ever left the FOB I would pray he was hit by an AD


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