Skip to comments.Postings from Afghanistan -- Kandahar Journal -- Everyone on board the RG-31 had been killed
Posted on 07/05/2007 8:23:51 AM PDT by Clive
Everyone on board the RG-31 had been killed
I walked back to the media tent and saw a large convoy staged near the front gate. I learned from talking to one soldier sitting on the down ramp of a LAV that they were going to pick up an RG-31 which had been hit by an IED. I asked if I could tag along but they seemed unusually resistant to the idea and sent me to talk to Major Quick. I hustled the thousand metres and received his verbal OK, then hustled the thousand metres back again. I talked to Captain Wilson in one of the LAVs and he seemed surprised that I had been OK'd to tag along. The mood among the soldiers seemed particularly somber but I took this for tiredness. Wilson checked with the major by radio and suddenly my license had been revoked. I thankfully said nothing and headed back to the tent.
It took me another three hours before I overheard that everyone on board the RG had been killed. Six Canadians and an Afghan Interpreter. No small wonder that the mood was somber on the convoy to retrieve the vehicle, or that I met some resistance to my wanting to tag along.
The RG-31 was originally designed to ferry children in safety back and forward to school in South Africa. It has been considered till now to be the safest vehicle for Canadian infantry to ride in. The passengers inside sit high off the ground in formed seats with four point harnesses belting them in place. The chassis inside the wheels is shaped like a huge V in 3-D. It is designed to take huge amounts of damage while venting the worst of the explosion out and away from the passengers in the hollow of the V.
ILLUSTRATION OF RG-31
It is a large imposing vehicle to look at. It rides high off the ground and it seems to emanate confidence. It has impact resistant glass set up high to allow and all round view and armoured firing ports to allow defenders to return fire. They are a key element in every convoy.
I have ridden in one back-and-forward through Panjwaii a couple of times and it feels good to be able to see out rather than being trapped in darkness. Having been built for schoolchildren however does leave them a little vertically cramped at times. But that has seemed a small price to pay for the security. Until now.
At each stage of the conflict the Canadian military has not hesitated to increase its armour protection for its troops from Iltis to up armoured Gelaedenwagens to Bisons and LAVIIIs. With each increase in protection the strength of the explosives used by the Taliban has also increased.
Whenever Canadians die the media is put on a lock-down until the families of the fallen can be notified. I can't conceive how that news must be to receive or give out. I knew that on the other side of the planet Karen was horribly worried that she had not heard from me tonight. I stuck by the lock-down till it was lifted though. It seems like a small price to pay.
In the waning evening light I spent some time with a group of tankers as they worked to change the track on a Leopard C2. Not a very good drawing because they wouldn't stand still, but they are a great bunch of guys and I hung out till it was close to dark.
TANK AND CREW CHANGING TRACK
I rounded out my day by visiting the guys on guard in the tower at the front gate. As I mentioned earlier, everyone takes a turn at this -- with rank having few privileges -- when the base is low on manpower. There is always a new face here. I hung out through the change in guard duty and then headed for my tent.
As I walked in the almost dark that I realised I had left my tent flaps open and the light on inside. Stupid. I ran the final 200 metres and pulled the flaps shut.
Finbarr came by late on to say he was heading back to Kandahar on the next convoy out, to cover the ramp ceremony. He planned to come back Friday and wanted to know if I needed anything. I thanked him, but there was nothing I required - except maybe the lock-down lifted.
Late last night, as white phosphorous artillery flares floated on parachutes, illuminating the fields outside the base I stood watching and smoking with one of the soldiers. He told me that he no longer felt safe in his Bison, and that he thought that the Taliban desperately want the propaganda victory of killing a tank and it's crew.
The mission to retrieve the vehicles arrived in the early morning hours of today.
Early this morning I received the OK to sketch the remains of the RG under its canvas shroud. It is sitting where the tank crew had been working the evening before. It is a somber and sobering sight.
What a waste of life.
RG-31 UNDER CANVAS SHROUD
Seriously, I sometimes wonder what these guys would have reported from D-Day or Bataan or Iwo Jima. We lose about 800 people a year in Iraq/Afghanistan and it’s all anyone can talk about. But 16,000 people are murdered in America in a year and the media doesn’t talk about it.
It’s easy to wrap your mind around 5 people in a Humvee and 33 people in a classroom but 40,000 people in traffic accidents just can’t register. (I made up the 40k number, I think it is more)
What is these Canadian reporters were at Dieppe?
More women (like Jesse Davis) are killed by boyfriends and spouses each year than are killed in Irag/Afghanistan.
More children are killed by crack addled parents, or caregivers...........
But the media only cares about making the POTUS and America look bad.
Iranian shaped charges?
I liked the article until this part: “What a waste of life.”
I don’t think the families of the fallen would agree with that statement.
A waste of life, true. But caused by the hatred of those wanting to kill us. There is no alternative than for some men to fight and protect the women and children.
True a waste of life and effort just because some men hate and want to harm others requiring the peace-loving to fight back.
"In this type of low-casualty war, those killed tend to be magnified. Casualties hurt more when they are rare, rather than when they are an everyday occurrence."
Peter Worthington is an infantry veteran of the Korea "police action".
Somehow that article never seems to have gotten posted on FR
He has sketched a ramp ceremony, been denied a ride on a mission to recover a vehicle, found out why, and had just seen what an explosive device has been capable of doing to a car full of people. He knows that seven people died in that vehicle. A vehicle conventioally seen as among the best vehicles in the inventory.
He also knows that the battle group with which he is travelling is one month away from rotation.
BTW, it is time that we stop calling Taliban ordnance "IEDs". They are no longer improvised devices. I have no doubt that they are being supplied with ordnance built to spec for the task by Iran. This regardless of the Afghan government's attempts to minimize the fact.
You are absolutely right. IEDs sound warm and fuzzy; suppressed and depressed epople feeling left out and helpless cobbling together a sign of desperation.
These are clearly ISED. ISEDs for me from now on: Iranian Supplied Explosive Devices.
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