On a single lane road in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan in 2010, Chief Warrant Officer Jason Myers’ patrol was ambushed by nearly 100 Taliban fighters.
The attack came during a special forces operation in Khost province, Afghanistan, with Afghan troops. Machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire rained down on the men, trapped on a road no wider than a Humvee.
“It just opened up,” the soft-spoken Myers later said of the attack. “There were at least seven RPGs impacting around us.”
They attempted to move out of the kill zone, but an Afghan vehicle was disabled and blocking the road ahead. Myers departed the safety of his vehicle and ran toward the Afghan truck, and evacuated two wounded Afghan policemen from the vicinity, according to a report from the Army Times.
He then took control of the vehicle’s steering wheel so it could be pushed from the road. But the evacuation was soon halted again when two Afghan troops departed their vehicle to seek cover in a small riverbed. Myers joined them and fired on the enemy position with tracer rounds, exposing his position, but allowing his machine gunners to focus their fire on the enemy.
He rallied the Afghans to get back in their vehicle and proceeded to press ahead — on foot. He treated wounded comrades and dealt with malfunctioning weapons.
Then, with close-air support just three minutes away, he sought cover until help arrived.
The entire fight lasted 19 minutes.
For his actions that day, Myers received the Distinguished Service Cross, an award for valor second only to the Medal of Honor.
"It's really humbling that they're holding me up as an example, but it wasn't my actions," he reportedly said. "I helped, but everybody who was there that day, they all played a critical role."
Islamic state members walk in the last besieged neighborhood in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria February 18, 2019. (Reuters/Rodi Said)
NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) - The Islamic State appeared closer to defeat in its last enclave in eastern Syria on Wednesday, as a civilian convoy left the besieged area where U.S.-backed forces estimate a few hundred jihadists are still holed up.
U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 317th Airlift Wing walk to waiting family members and friends after stepping off of a C-130J Super Hercules at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 17, 2018 (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Mercedes Porter)
The U.S. Air Force has issued new guidelines for active-duty, reserve and National Guard airmen who are considered non-deployable, and officials will immediately begin flagging those who have been unable to deploy for 12 consecutive months for separation consideration.
A small unmanned aerial vehicle built by service academy cadets is shown here flying above ground. This type of small UAV was used by cadets and midshipmen from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-sponsored competition at Camp Roberts, California, April 23-25, 2017. During the competition, cadets and midshipmen controlled small UAVs in "swarm" formations to guard territory on the ground at Camp Roberts. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Drones have been used in conflicts across the globe and will play an even more important role in the future of warfare. But, the future of drones in combat will be different than what we have seen before.
The U.S. military can set itself apart from others by embracing autonomous drone warfare through swarming — attacking an enemy from multiple directions through dispersed and pulsing attacks. There is already work being done in this area: The U.S. military tested its own drone swarm in 2017, and the UK announced this week it would fund research into drone swarms that could potentially overwhelm enemy air defenses.
I propose we look to the amoeba, a single-celled organism, as a model for autonomous drones in swarm warfare. If we were to use the amoeba as this model, then we could mimic how the organism propels itself by changing the structure of its body with the purpose of swarming and destroying an enemy.