i kind of heard from multiple sources now that suggested me to start an own thread about my service in NATO.
i just can not comprise my 10 years of experience in NATO down to one post. or multiple for that matter.
Events in afghanistan happen in moments, but it takes ages to tell the story.
I started out as an airborne recruit, and grown through the ranks up to be part of an Airborne NATO C&C Squad.
its too much to write in one post.
So i feel an Q&A format is propably best.
Alongside me going into details when i feel comfortable with it.
Afghanistan is an closed chapter.
And to be clear, i can not change the past. or the role i played in events.
Russians where vital in our logistics chain in Afghanistan, and i just want to create a bit more understanding and dialogue on what happened out there.
So, here it goes:
Me from the start of my carreer as an lowly soldier, and another one from the top of my carreer in an C&C role:
As a bonus, when i was "borrowed out" to other units that needed someone with C&C experience and maintaining order under fire:
i guess by posting this, i take away any doubts some may have if i am really was an NATO operator.
And perhaps for any eastern european/russian audiences. that NATO troops are not all enemies.
I went from the ground up trough the ranks of NATO. starting as an infantry soldier and working up to Logistic control and C&C.
I wrote a bit of an intro story, i can not press my experiences in a few posts.
but i have written an small intro how i started my service:
I always wanted to be in the millitary, ever since i was a young boy i wore my grandfather's service uniform.
In my teens i went to millitary surplus stores to buy gear, and spend my weekends trekking trough the forests.
I had everything, even an ops-vest at some point.
guns are illegal, but i had an laser sight crossbow tough.
Mind you, i was very pro-United states in this stage in my life.
i grew up without internet, and only exposed to movies, T.V and western media.
in restrospect, an perfect propaganda bubble.
I wanted to join up in the millitary because i wanted to do something that mattered in the world.
During these army demo events, i was always with my nose in front to talk to soldiers and discuss weapons.
After finishing high-school, i signed up.
In Western europe where i live, millitary service is voluntary and based on work-contract for an set ammount of years.
You go to this millitary test centre, where you examined for everything.
How are your joints?, dental work, weight, physical endurance tests, etcetera.
Then come the psychological tests and you get asked all kinds of questions about your pasts and how you view things.
At the end of all this, you are rated into 4 category's. where 1 is the lowest, and 4 is the highest, Airborne being among them.
i was so proud i got trough the tests.
in 2005, i joined airborne bootcamp as a fresh recruit.
We have nothing like the U.S has like in the movies. where you have to get shaved and shit.
Our millitary only demands that tattoo's can be covered up, and that you appear "representable".
First 4 weeks was basic millitary training what every serviceman gets in my country.
Then comes the advanced airborne training.
You get the weapon optics, how they work and how to use them.
Classes about Airborne doctrine, and how to go behave around helicopters.
How to fill in flashcards to give to the loadmaster, etcetera.
Also the training missions change dramatically.
Say goodbye to steady sleep, food and water supply's
You march with heavy gear for 25 kilometers a day, rationing water,food and pushed to exhaustion.
Every recruit experiences what we call "battle fatigue". It is where you are so tired, your brain starts shutting down partially while you are awake.
You are marching on, and suddenly you start hallucinating things your subconsious is thinking about.
For example, i was walking trough an forest. and suddenly i imagined there was this kitchen table with an big salami pizza in the middle of the woods.
To get called out by my buddy that i was falling out of formation. My team members said they suffered trough simmilar things as well.
some training assignments where amazing.
during basic training, more and more recruits are discharged.
Either by own choice as they can no longer bear the physical and mental demand.
Others are turned away by the airborne instructors themselves.
During one, we where marched off to the middle of nowhere in germany.
telling us one by one to head into the fog, telling us to rely on our training.
you encounter an drill sargeant that knows you personally trough your training.
he puts it simple "you are alone, in enemy territory. an firefight took place just up ahead.
Salvage what you can, and kill any practice targets that appear. we will flash an strobe to signal end of scenario".
It was epic, slowly you walk in the dead of night. an dead soldier lies in front of you, carrying night vision.
You take it, mounting it on your helmet and configuring the sharpness. you search his body, you find an magazine with sharp rounds.
And an rifle Night vision scope.
then a bit ahead. you find spend rounds, another dead soldier with an rifle.
You pick it up, its empty.
You go trough your training, checking if the rifle is still functional.
the sound of the firing pin and hammer hitting it was music to the ears.
Then run to the nearest bush, mount the NVG scope. load an fresh Magazine and chamber the round.
every time not moving an mucle for a few seconds to listen what is going on.
going off the road, jump into the stream next to the road.
So dogs can not catch your scent, and no tracks to follow.
as you move on these practice dummy's pop up, and you drop down and shoot them. first engagement was a bit off.
You calibrate your NVG scope to compensate and move on.
It was one of the best nights in airborne boot camp i ever had really.
At the end of the road, 32 percent of my recruitment pool was left as we passed basic training.
Witch ended in an red berret ceremony where you throw your "regular" berret to the floor and put up your red one.
I wanted to become an sniper,...but the army decides ultimatly what you really become.
And for me...it was the role of AT/Heavy weapons guy.
then came 2006....
I was barely out of airborne boot camp, i still had an recruitment rank as my company was assigned to deploy to Afghanistan.
Our intelligence briefings where absolutely awfull.
We got told it never rains in Afghanistan, and all kinds of info we already knew from watching liveleak.
Taliban where not an real threat and we would just go "winning hearts and minds" of the population.
Our training schedule in advance for Afghanistan was not measured for the reality either.
Americans just lied their asses off to our government and us.
Afghanistan was an open-warfare conflict and they needed boots on the ground to fight it...fast.
I deployed in Q3 2006, and learned the hard way like the rest of my fellow airborne and mechaniced infantry what was Reality.
And how absolutely corrupt NATO and our western governments truly are.
We went there with about 6 mags per infantry soldier each.
then came the first firefights, and we ran dry. followed by questions who we should put in front of an firing squad for fucking up the enemy assesment so bad?.
You see, we had an american SF base camped right next to us.
We went over there, seeing they threw their steel magazines away when reloading...
We needed magazines to boost each soldier's capacity to 14. and fast.
Americans first gave them to us for free.
Untill...they figured why give them for free......if they could trade them for those plastic ones we used?. and fit also in their rifles?.
So we ended up trading, one of our plastics for 6 of their steel ones .
They payed us back in triplefold.
We had brand-new 50. calls for example, but they kept jamming up during testfire because the parts expand because of the heat.
Afghanistan is freaking warm, combine that with the dust and a new weapon and you encounter shit.
An american SF explained to me an another gunner we needed to vile down the receiver's guiding rail.
The weapon was good, but it was too new.
its parts had too little room to manouvre.
Explaining it was mechanical in operation, not gas operated.
us viling it down would not affect its operation.
Ever had an talk with your requisition officer?. mentioning you need sand paper to wear down an brand new weapon?.
I was reported to my luitenant, who told my sargeant.
My sargeant tough, came to me and was open to the Idea. telling me to do it, and not mentioning it to the luitenant.
In our time in Afghanistan, there where people that paid an price.
in one example. An mechanised convoy of ours got in an ambush that turned out bad.
During an regular patrol one of the IFV's got entangled with it's tracks in an concertina-wire in the middle of this afghan town.
Taliban en-masse assaulted the platoon, And there was nowhere to manouvre or go. They had an IFV stuck in concertina wiring blocking everyone.
"contact!" on the radio marks the opening of an engagement. And everyone goes into their training experience.
But this time, It just escalated out of control.
First range of hostiles, 400 meters...
"children and women running with munitions, incomming fire becomming more accurate".
"hostiles within 200 meters, Munitions down to 60 percent".
then a few minutes later. "they are comming from the cornfields within 100 meters from us!"
This IFV took an direct RPG hit in its engine compartment, This vehicle has its engine to the right side of the driver.
The RPG penetrated the outside hull, and detonated into the engine compartment.
The engine's walls buckled, fuel and oil lines ruptured.
Crushing the driver's legs, trapping him.
And he was engulfed by searing-hot oil and burning diesel.
The driver screamed on Battalion net over the radio as he was set on fire.
A few seconds the transmission was ceased, as we learned later the infantry sargeant in the rear killed the master power switch in an attempt to kill the fire.
QRF was already on route to assist. they came in guns blazing but it was just not enough to counter the Taliban onslaught.
Frantic radio traffic going back and fourth, platoon leader in an moment of emotion is still stransmitting on battalion net as he sees guys exiting the burning IFV.
Then ...the medics transmitting for an 9 liner request.
Fire extinguished, but driver is in critical condition. They need to amputate the legs.
The order is given to execute as current engagement is untenable.
AH-64's of our nation are called from their original mission. We need firepower and fast.
The order is cancelled, Instead we get two A-10's contacting us on the fire support HF channel.
The QRF and patrol platoon manages to free the driver and withdraw. A-10's destroy the IFV with an bomb. and empty their guns on the swarming taliban. breaking off their assault on our units.
I was at base, listening to radio.
They returned, hauling the moaning driver from the medic APC. As he was prepared for Medevac.
Smelling of oil, fuel, burnt meat. spent ammo casings.
And i, being the newbie was handed and bucket and told to bring the APC back in order.
i opened up the heavy armoured door. bloodied bandages everywhere, spent gun casings everywhere, I.V bags.
meanwhile the sun was falling onto the floor from an semi-open hatch. illuminating the fine afghan dust and casting light shadows.
...Welcome to War...
we of course where there to do "peacekeeping".
Well scrap peacekeeping, because we where busy doing open warfare.
you have to imagine an picture of an army base in Afghanistan, and the ammount of territory we control, is about as large as we agressively can fight for.
At some point, we convinced the local town leaders to pick our side.
Because we distinguised ourselves from the americans, and we kept our words.
Of course, this was not meanth to last.
As we won over the local town, we took every spare gun from our base. went into the local towns police station and turned it into an fortress.
We channeled our german-genes into building it.
Gun nests, entrenced sandbag walls, you name it. we build it in an afternoon.
Even the lokal shura/leaders and police where convinced.
We where going to do Night patrols around the clock.
Carrying heat-sensitive optics and night vision. that was assisted with IR illumination from our main base with an 81MM Mortar unit.
Then, our politicians got wind of what we where doing.
You see, our politicians in power....sold it to our ruling kabinet as we where doing only "peacekeeping duty's".
Airborne troops dying in midnight CQB warfare with Taliban really did not match that narrative.
So...Politicans ordered us to withdraw, immidiatly.
Airborne command at first resisted. argueing of the repercussions when we would indeed fall back.
Our spineless gummy bears in politics did not care, even our own officers tried to manouvre around the command untill Airborne command interrupted and said they did not like it either, but that it was an legitimate order.
we broke our fortifications down, Afghan police and leaders looking at us...betrayed.
We felth so ashamed, it was against everything we stood for. They where lambs to the slaughter.
And indeed, the night came. we returned to base that was just two miles from the town.
Then the screaming started, fire broke out in the school we build. sporadic gunfire..
We went in with an patrol the next day, school teacher executed and hung from an tree.
Kids ears cut off for listening to NATO propaganda. Leaders shot dead for betraying the Taliban.
If anyone wonders how i ended up on his forum, it is shit like this.
you grow disillusioned, for an lack of better word.
your own side only uses these catch-frases for propaganda purposes.
Media that is embedded with you, refuse to interview western soldiers that critisise their own government.
Because they are under contract, to film what the government wants.
The government decides what can be aired or not.
We had this journalist with us in afghanistan.
It was an "rogue" news channel. so they really did not conform to anyone.
Their news crew went trough shit, the journalist had an injured soldier on his lap at a time while he was holding the I.V bag, and kept talking to him.
He send his footage back to my home nation, it was scensored.
the journalist refused to change his story, and he was the next day in an rage, kicking this full trash can near the cafeteria.
Yelling "i tried!, they just rubber stamp me and scencor all of it!"
we told him it was okay, that we knew it was all one big puppet show.
the journalist did not really calm down, he took it pretty hard after having an heavily injured soldier on his lap.
He learned the hard way, about nobody gives a shit what truly happens in Afghhanistan..
And while questioning your own purpose in being in Afghanistan and NATO while your politicians sell you out for their own political games, you get to meet the U.S foreign policy in action.
You want to see complete disregard for human life?. get the U.S millitary involved.
We had this town on the outskirts of our Operational area.
it was an pain in the ass, sure. they really did not like us and Taliban used it often as an staging area.
We where not exaclty the beacon of international dependency either after leaving Dher rawud to be slaughtered.
Our 155MM self propelled howitzer was not yet in the area, so we depended a bit on the U.S for heavy fire support.
We took artillery fire from this town one night to our base, and we really got hammered. We did not have the range to strike back.
We wanted the launcher taken out, we said it like that. surgical strike against the launcher.
The americans tasked an B-1 bomber to the town. It carpet-bombed the entire village.
You see what 2000 pounder JDAM's do?. they create craters in the earth, so deep and wide you can build an house in it. and it still does not reach the surface.
we saw the flashes, looking out we saw these gigantic mushroom clouds of fire rising up.
After that everything was dead silent.
it was becomming daylight, we decided we just had to go to the town.
...if there where still people left.
We rolled in, the dust was still in the air.
Shell-shocked Afghans, caked into the dust making them apppear like white ghosts.
Shuffling trough the rubble looking for their fammily members.
there was just death everywhere you looked.
donkey's dead, sheep dead, afghans dead.
We had up to two days after that afghans showing up to our base with their dead children, asking us if we could do something.
Some father opening up an canvas bag, with his dead infant inside it.
i think this was about as low i could feel in my millitary carreer.
We told the U.S this was unnaceptable, and they better fix it.
You know what they did?. they went into that town. and paid of their guilt in dollars.....
25 dollars for children, 100 dollars for adults.
lives mean nothing to the U.S or western governments.
We tried telling the media about this, they just waved it away.
The U.S SF force?. they where waiting on our base for us to return, they said: "you know now why we do not fly the U.S flag anymore on our base and vehicles".
They where in the same position where we found ourselves in. trying to just get home, alive..
Our airborne reputation died as soon we left the town to face the Taliban repercussions alone after our government ordered us directly to retreat, and the final blow was the americans blowing the town and all its inhabitants into low orbit around the earth.
We still of course executed our missions.
But we did our job towards eachother. to get home back in one piece.
we really looked after eachother, discussing topics, lending out gear or weapons, or even going voluntarily with fellow units to bolster their expertise and firepower.
it created a tight bond of comradery. i have really fond memories of that period.
Modifying weapons, cleaning weapons, going trough tips and lessons learned with fellow heavy weapon operators.
Having banter back and forth over the radio. It really felth as fammily.
And this was carried over to their fellow troops.
They had to match their more "zealous" members to keep up with their own group mentality.
As airborne, you do not have tanks...but when an IFV with an ERA armor package storms in next to your light airborne armed vehicle and refuses to leave your side while it is taking fire itself.
It is magic happening.
Last edited by Airbornewolf on Mon Jan 10, 2022 11:58 pm; edited 2 times in total