Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Afghan tractor = Marine officer's career?

Only in the Bizarro-land created by the Obama Administration.

Marine's career threatened by controversial rules of engagement.
Joshua Waddell, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marines, appeared on his way to a stellar career as an American military officer. The son of a retired Navy SEAL commander, Waddell had won a Bronze Star during his first tour of duty in Afghanistan and had returned for a second.

Then he made a decision in combat that military experts say has severely jeopardized his future in the corps.

But some military experts say the black mark on Waddell's record was undeserved, that he and other young American officers are being put in a difficult, if not impossible, situation by unreasonable rules of engagement foisted upon the military by politically sensitive commanders in the Pentagon.

The facts in Waddell's case are spelled out in Marine Corps documents. But how those facts should be interpreted is a matter of heated dispute.

On Nov. 1, Waddell, a 25-year-old executive officer with 3rd Battallion, 7th Marine Corps Regiment, was monitoring a surveillance camera in Sangin, Afghanistan, when he spotted a man who had been identified as a bomb maker working with area insurgents. Two days earlier, a sergeant from India Company had lost both legs and a hand when a bomb detonated in their area of operation. The man spotted on the camera was believed to be responsible.

After receiving permission from his battalion commanders, Waddell ordered Marine snipers to open fire on the man, and he was hit. A group of Afghans rushed to the man, put him on a tractor and attempted to flee. Waddell ordered the snipers to hit the engine block of the tractor, disabling it so the man believed to be a bomb maker would not escape. The tractor was hit but no civilians were injured.

Then, about three weeks later, the civilians who helped remove the wounded man from the area were found to be teenagers.

As a result, Waddell was demoted from executive officer, and the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Seth Folsom, determined he had violated rules of engagement that governed when Marines could fire, and at whom. Folsom said Wadell "is not recommended for promotion" and "in violation of [combat rules] during an engagement." The report stated that "noncombatant local nationals" were in the area of direct fire and that "the engagement resulted in a damaged local national vehicle."

A Marine brigadier general who reviewed the case was sympathetic to Waddell, whom he described as a "superb and heroic combat leader. But the general said the decision on whether Waddell should be promoted was "the commander's prerogative," noting that the battalion commander on the scene had lost "confidence in [Waddell's] abilities."

Read the rest at the link above. Long story short, if you get passed over for promotion, you're pretty much on the way to being booted from the service these days. It's virtually a career death sentence to get skipped.

I guess this is how we reward our warfighters who dare go into harm's way now. Guess they should have just stood back and asked for some drone "pilot" to obliterate the entire group. They'd have probably got medals for that.


  1. The PC nonsense has got to stop.

  2. Does not shock me.

    We are in the mist of a 'zero-defect' military that the likes of Admiral Halsey , Gen. Patton, Gen. Macarthur, and just about every SERIOUS office in WW2 would never have passed muster.

    You do know Halsy ran a destroyer aground before WW2, right? You know Jimmy Doolittle crashed planes?

    So this Lt. disabled a tractor so a terrorist bomb maker could not escape, right? So what's the problem?

    Our society is getting to soft. The air-heads run the place, not the doers and leaders.

  3. Pray God he didn't also jaywalk or spit on the sidewalk.

    Has the leadership gone nuts?

    Rhetorical question.

  4. I guess the Marines are just like the Army in this regard; throwing a junior to the wolves in order to protect the seniority at the slightest hint of trouble is not at all surprising. If there is even a possibility of future scandal, the very first thing to be jettisoned is a willingness to stand up for the "perpetrator."

    And it does have consequences. When my battalion was (briefly) subordinated to a 4ID unit, a lot of us quietly decided that we would never pull the trigger except to save our own lives, due to the enthusiastic tendency of that unit to pre-emptively sacrifice us on the altar of zero-defects.

  5. Andy beat me to it... We CANNOT continue this crap, so bring em all home and standby for attacks here, THEN lets see what ROE the administration comes up with...

  6. "You do know Halsy ran a destroyer aground before WW2, right? You know Jimmy Doolittle crashed planes?"

    Lt. Michael Murphy shot a fellow SEAL in a training op. To add to your point.

    It is bad when war has become so overlawyered that the heros are made into villains just to appease someone. This day and age I expect it to only get worse, until our military resembles the blue helmet guys in the UN.