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2 US Soldiers Injured In Black Hawk Crash In Afghanistan
Two U.S. military personnel suffered minor injuries after their HH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Afghanistan on the morning of August 1, Operation Resolute Support said in a statement.
The helo “suffered a mechanical issue” during operations near Achin in the country’s eastern province of Nangarhar, making what U.S. Central Command officials characterized as a “hard landing.” Rescue personnel managed to safely evacuate the crew, and ORS is in the process of recovering the downed copter.
The Nangarhar province has become a stronghold for Afghan ISIS offshoot ISIS-Khorasan, and a target for increased U.S. special operations forces activity since the Department of Defense dropped a 21,600 pound GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (or “mother of all bombs”) on an ISIS-K position in April.
The Taliban initially attempted to claim responsibility for the crash, asserting in a statement that militants “opened fire on the helicopter during its landing around 2 a.m., killing everyone aboard and foiling an attempted raid,” according to Stars and Stripes. That claim appears to be hot garbage.
The incident, though relatively minor, underscores a growing problem: Poor upkeep and maintenance of the NATO coalition’s fleet of Black Hawk attack helicopters will likely result in more mechanical failures not just in Afghanistan, but on battlefields across the Middle East and North Africa where U.S.-led forces focus on beating back the rising tide of Islamic militants.
A Pentagon inspector general audit of HH-60 airframe and training evaluations found that Army Aviation and Missile Command officials “did not effectively manage airframe condition evaluations” for the Black Hawk fleet, neglecting to require regular evaluations (AMCOM didn’t conduct a single airframe assessment for a whole year between March 2016 and March 2017) or enforce standards for unit commanders responsible for grounding potentially faulty aircraft.
“Evaluators identified safety problems with some H-60 helicopters that required the unit commander to ground (restrict flying) those helicopters,” according to the audit. But “the unit commander did not always allow evaluators to finish the evaluation of additional helicopters because he did not want to ground more helicopters if additional safety problems were identified. As a result, Army pilots and crew could be flying H-60 helicopters with unidentified structural defects.”
Of course, this assessment primarily applies to the Army; the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard all use modified H-60 Black Hawks for various operations. But given the essential nature of the attack copter to counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and beyond — as well as the cultural symbolism of a downed Black Hawk, thanks to the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu and journalist Mark Bowden’s account of the campaign in Black Hawk Down — the Army may want to take a harder look at ensuring that mechanical failures like the one that occurred over Achin don’t happen again.
CENTCOM and ORS did not immediately respond to request for comment from Task & Purpose. We will update this story with more information as it becomes available.
Top Navy official calls out government lawyers for spying on legal team of Navy SEAL accused of war crimes
In a scathing letter, a top Navy legal official on Sunday expressed "grave ethical concerns" over revelations that government prosecutors used tracking software in emails to defense lawyers in ongoing cases involving two Navy SEALs in San Diego.
The letter, written by David G. Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Navy's Defense Service Offices, requested a response by Tuesday from the Chief of the Navy's regional law offices detailing exactly what type of software was used and what it could do, who authorized it, and what controls were put in place to limit its spread on government networks.
"As our clients learn about these extraordinary events in the media, we are left unarmed with any facts to answer their understandable concerns about our ability to secure the information they must trust us to maintain. This situation has become untenable," Wilson wrote in the letter, which was obtained by Task & Purpose on Monday.
Those really sweet, hand-held drones that the Army bought in January were finally put to the test as they were fielded to some lucky soldiers for the first time at the beginning of May.
For many people, millennials are seen as super-entitled, self-involved, over-sensitive snowflakes who don't have the brains or brawn to, among other noble callings, serve as the next great generation of American warfighters.
Retired Navy Adm. William H. McRaven is here to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about.
Supreme Court refuses to hear yet another challenge to the controversial Feres Doctrine on military medical malpractice
The Supreme Court on Monday denied a petition to hear a wrongful death case involving the controversial Feres Doctrine — a major blow to advocates seeking to undo the 69-year-old legal rule that bars U.S. service members and their families from suing the government for injury or death deemed to have been brought on by military service.
FORT IRWIN, California -- Anyone who's been here has seen it: the field of brightly painted boulders surrounding a small mountain of rocks that symbolizes unit pride at the Army's National Training Center.
For nearly four decades, combat units have painted their insignias on boulders near the road into this post. It's known as Painted Rocks.