Spc. Sarah Henderson, a flight engineer with the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, scans the outlying neighborhoods of Jalalabad, Afghanistan while crouched on the rear door of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Spc. Henderson's aircraft, assigned to Task Force Lighthorse, plays an important role in the train, advise and assist strategy for Afghanistan by flying NATO coalition advisors to work with their Afghan counterparts.
Sgt. 1st Class Randall Pike/US Army
They are not meant to be depressing reads, but the latest father and son both served in Afghanistanpublic affairs story is out, and boy is it depressing.
Most of these stories go something like this: The son says how proud he is to be a soldier and to be serving in Afghanistan. He's carrying on the family tradition, he says, since dad served there five or so years ago. Wow! Heartwarming!
The stories have been done in the past: There's the 2011 story of a Pfc. hanging out with dad in Parwan Province, since the son is a petroleum specialist and his father is a civilian helicopter pilot there. Then there was one in 2013 with the first sergeant dad and the sergeant son serving in the same unit in Kandahar.
The satirical angle isn't too far off the mark. The Army's story explains that the son, Trenton, is now deployed with 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment — the same unit his father, Michael, was previously assigned to.
From the Army's story:
During his time with the battalion, Michael served one tour to Iraq in 2005 and one to Afghanistan in 2010 as a sergeant and squad leader.
Both father and son serving in Afghanistan is testament that a generation has passed since the NATO mission started here in 2001. While Michael said he remembers assisting in the development of infrastructure and providing a leadership role during engagements with the Afghanistan National Army, the country has changed significantly in the past generation.
To be clear, I'm not criticizing the soldiers mentioned in these stories. They volunteered to serve in the Army at a time of war when they didn't have to. But the public affairs take on this — to spin service in the same long, miserable, and failing war into a positive — is truly a sight to behold.
The story goes on to mention positive metrics in Afghanistan, like an increase in life expectancy of three years, and a gain in access to drinking water and increased literacy. Predictably, it leaves out the metrics that matter, such as the loss of Afghan government control over 4% of its districts from last year to now, and the upcoming review of "strategy" in a war that never seems to end.
Roughly two months from now, we will mark the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. And in the days and months after, there will be new recruits to the U.S. Army that were not even born when it occurred, perhaps fighting and dying in the Afghan war that came in its aftermath.
I wonder: Will we be reading upbeat stories about them, too?
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.