2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 2 Oct 2002 16:26:39 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] "Green Troops"
Green Troops 

GovExec.com, from the Magazine
By George Cahlink 
October 1, 2002 

Military leaders say environmental restrictions on training are forcing
them to go into battle with inexperienced forces.

Last November, Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit flew 350
miles into southern Afghanistan from Navy ships to set up the first
permanent U.S. base in the country at an abandoned airstrip. With
Taliban and al Qaeda forces still lurking in the countryside, the
Marines immediately were ordered to start digging defensive foxholes at
the base, known as Camp Rhino. But despite six months of training before
their deployment, most of the Marines had little experience putting
shovels to soil. Some were digging their first foxholes since basic training.

?When we got to Afghanistan, people were surprised just how much work
there was for preparing a defense,? says Lt. Col. Gregg Olson, director
of operations and training for the unit, which is based at the Marine
Corps? Camp Pendleton in southern California.

Eventually, the Marines were called to help pick off Taliban and al
Qaeda forces traveling along one of the region?s main thoroughfares,
known as Highway 1. They traveled about 60 miles from Camp Rhino across
desert terrain in light armored vehicles to the outskirts of Kandahar.
Once there, the Marines conducted raids and called in close air support
to halt the flow of traffic on Highway 1 and kill scores of Taliban and
al Qaeda soldiers. 

Olson is quick to praise the operation, but says the troops involved
needed some on-the-job training when they set out for Kandahar.
Initially, the Marines drove their vehicles north in long convoys as
they had done in training, but commanders quickly realized those long
lines were easy targets, and ordered the vehicles to disperse and take
more rugged off-road routes. ?Our drivers had to learn to be much more
circumspect in their driving. They had not had much exposure to it. We
had not had a good workout on the vehicles [before deploying],? says


for the entire story, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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