Michael Yon - last update

#2
Michael Yon said:
We need more helicopters. Enemy control of the terrain is so complete in the area between Sangin and Kajaki that when my embed was to switch from FOB Jackson to FOB Inkerman—only seven kilometers (about four miles) away—we could not walk or drive from Jackson to Inkerman. Routes are deemed too dangerous. Helicopter lift was required. The helicopter shortage is causing crippling delays in troop movements. It’s common to see a soldier waiting ten days for a simple flight. When my embed was to move the four miles from Jackson to Inkerman, a scheduled helicopter picked me up at Jackson and flew probably eighty miles to places like Lashkar Gah, and finally set down at Camp Bastion. The helicopter journey from Jackson began on 12 August and ended at Inkerman on the 17th. About five days was spent—along with many thousands of dollars in helicopter time—to travel four miles. Even Generals can have difficulty scheduling flights. Interestingly, when I talk with the folks who reserve helicopter space, they say the Generals are generally easy-going about the lack of a seat, but that Colonels often become irate.
 

Flight

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Barring a guarantee from a British General Officer that something like this will never happen again, my days of covering British operations are over.
Amazing article, simply amazing. It would be a sad day if this was his last correspondence whilst embedded with us...
 
#4
hackle said:
Michael Yon said:
We need more helicopters. Enemy control of the terrain is so complete in the area between Sangin and Kajaki that when my embed was to switch from FOB Jackson to FOB Inkerman—only seven kilometers (about four miles) away—we could not walk or drive from Jackson to Inkerman. Routes are deemed too dangerous. Helicopter lift was required. The helicopter shortage is causing crippling delays in troop movements. It’s common to see a soldier waiting ten days for a simple flight. When my embed was to move the four miles from Jackson to Inkerman, a scheduled helicopter picked me up at Jackson and flew probably eighty miles to places like Lashkar Gah, and finally set down at Camp Bastion. The helicopter journey from Jackson began on 12 August and ended at Inkerman on the 17th. About five days was spent—along with many thousands of dollars in helicopter time—to travel four miles. Even Generals can have difficulty scheduling flights. Interestingly, when I talk with the folks who reserve helicopter space, they say the Generals are generally easy-going about the lack of a seat, but that Colonels often become irate.
Bad news. In defense of a lot of colonels I have known, they may well have been impatient due to actually having to get things done rather than going to look as is the case so often with generals.
 
#5
Quite sickening to know that troops are still going around in Pinz vehicles, which, my sausage roll I eat earlier provides more ballistic protection.

Quite glad he reported from Inkerman, a Fob that never gets reported on, but considered to be one of the most dangerous areas in Helmand.

Interesting to know that Kajaki has a FLET, and only conducting op's defensively.

Also, what was so bad about his 'bad medicine' dispatch that made him get booted out? What are the MOD trying to cover up?
 
#7
Good lord. Sending money to the man now.
 
#8
The world kept turning and on the 24th “Bad Medicine” was published just after midnight Eastern Standard Time, and that morning before sunrise the soldiers were going on a dangerous mission and I went along. The result was a firefight and much mortar and cannon fire using prox fuses, delay and airbursts into the enemy position. Though we had information that the enemy was trying to get us with IEDs, we escaped getting blown to pieces. When I got back to base, there was a message from British MoD that my embed had been canceled (about one month before we had agreed it would end) without warning. The message and timing were clear enough. “Bad Medicine” was published, and I was out. The soldiers at 2 Rifles were astonished. The MoD gave the reason that it was unfair to the journalists who were clamoring for spots, but my sense was that MoD had created a convenient excuse that was kept in the chamber, and now they had pulled the trigger.

I responded to the MoD:

Thank you for the message.

The precipitous decision by the MoD to cancel my embed after today's dispatch is unfortunate.

The sudden reversal after today's dispatch -- apparently a publication that did not sit well with the MoD -- will cause me significant headaches. As you know, there are many balls in the air, and the MoD has effectively shoved me out of the way.

Please forward to Ltc Richardson that the message was received.

Michael
----

And so that was it. My last day with the British 2 Rifles had ended the same as it had ended in Iraq. In combat. I’ll miss the British soldiers. They constitute a truly professional force–if dangerously underresourced. It has been my honor to accompany them in combat. In theory I would do so again anytime, but in practice this will be the last time MoD will have a chance to cut me off in mid-flight, wasting much time and resources that should have been devoted to telling the story. Barring a guarantee from a British General Officer that something like this will never happen again, my days of covering British operations are over.
Nice to know RAF aren't the only ones afflicted with spinless middle managment cnuts. :x
 
#9
Glad he's been withdrawn quite frankly. I mean to say, what place has truth in the corridors of power in this day and age?

I never agreed with free speech anyway, vastly over-rated. I'm told.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#10
On the subject of FLETs, a previous NATO General in Southern Afg forbade the use of the term, as it indicated that the enemy were 'strong' in some areas. Also disallowed was any reference to minefield clearance, or anything that implied that the enemy had us pinned into FOBs.

All the while, we all knew that then, as presumably is the case now, ISAF control te areas to the range of their .50", and sometimes not even that. A very, very small %age of Helmand, I'm afraid. Nothing new, it's been that way for some years now, and nothing short of LOTS of troops - ISAF and Afghan - along with a decent Afghan Government, will change the situation.

Fat chance of either of those things happening, so draw your own conclusions.
 
#11
Talk about own goal.

The world kept turning and on the 24th “Bad Medicine” was published just after midnight Eastern Standard Time, and that morning before sunrise the soldiers were going on a dangerous mission and I went along ... When I got back to base, there was a message from British MoD that my embed had been canceled (about one month before we had agreed it would end) without warning. The message and timing were clear enough. “Bad Medicine” was published, and I was out. The soldiers at 2 Rifles were astonished. The MoD gave the reason that it was unfair to the journalists who were clamoring for spots, but my sense was that MoD had created a convenient excuse that was kept in the chamber, and now they had pulled the trigger.

I responded to the MoD:

Thank you for the message.

The precipitous decision by the MoD to cancel my embed after today's dispatch is unfortunate.

The sudden reversal after today's dispatch -- apparently a publication that did not sit well with the MoD -- will cause me significant headaches. As you know, there are many balls in the air, and the MoD has effectively shoved me out of the way.

Please forward to Ltc Richardson that the message was received.

Michael
----

And so that was it. My last day with the British 2 Rifles had ended the same as it had ended in Iraq. In combat. I’ll miss the British soldiers. They constitute a truly professional force–if dangerously underresourced. It has been my honor to accompany them in combat. In theory I would do so again anytime, but in practice this will be the last time MoD will have a chance to cut me off in mid-flight, wasting much time and resources that should have been devoted to telling the story. Barring a guarantee from a British General Officer that something like this will never happen again, my days of covering British operations are over.
 
#12
Huge own goal.

Now the MOD and Broon can pretend that all is rosy in the garden . . . . . 8 years on, with no resolution, lousy election turnouts, requests for more troops and kit, talk of a 20-30 year op ongoing . . . . . No, honestly, Michael Yon hasn't got a clue what he's on about, tsk tsk.

The British public aren't stupid, and dumping Michael Yon is not going to make everything work in Afghan.
 
#13
Unfortunate that the MOD has taken the view that Yon's embedding should end. As to whether Yon gets it in black and white as to why? - doubtful.

Yon's reporting has been superb (IMO) and more power to him.

The MOD appear to be taking the "you're not acting as PR for the MOD, therefore you can pizz off" approach.

OldSnowy's comment above:

All the while, we all knew that then, as presumably is the case now, ISAF control te areas to the range of their .50", and sometimes not even that. A very, very small %age of Helmand, I'm afraid. Nothing new, it's been that way for some years now, and nothing short of LOTS of troops - ISAF and Afghan - along with a decent Afghan Government, will change the situation.

is on the money.

Unfortunately for Yon, he appears to be one for the few who comments from an informed perspective, thus allowing his readers to draw their own conclusions.

NT - Keep the sausage rolls to a minimum!
 
#14
In fairness, I see that UK Forces Media Ops in Helmand deny that Michael's embed was cut short, whereas he clearly thinks it was. They praise his reports, including 'Bad Medicine'.
 
#15
two last twitter posts from Yon:

"British MoD is flexing muscles to kick me out of RC-South. This would scuttle my embed with U.S. Marines."
20 hours ago.

"Starting Thursday, going in Helmand without military. All embeds ending."
18 hours ago.

If what he says is true and those two events are related, why are the MoD pursuing him further?
 
#17
hackle said:
In fairness, I see that UK Forces Media Ops in Helmand deny that Michael's embed was cut short, whereas he clearly thinks it was. They praise his reports, including 'Bad Medicine'.
On the face of it, either Yon or MOD Media Ops is not being entirely honest.

Having seen this one previously played out from the Media Ops desk, I have no problems with accepting that the Media Ops release and the reality may differ quite a lot. Personally, Yon does not "need to make a name for himself" by playing the "I'm so outspoken that they're kicking me out" line.

I know who my money would be on, in the truth stakes.
 
#18
In a nutshell, Labour are worried about the on-going war in Afghanistan playing a large part in the next General Election. There will be a desperate attempt to signal the withdrawal of British troops and some kind of a negotiation with (nice) elements of Taliban and lots of noises about ANA taking over. Yon's realistic reporting does not chime with Mandelson's spin, especially about shortages of equipment. Embeds were only really about getting the journo on side and influencing (in a nice way) reporting in theatre.

Aghanistan is going wrong and 41 british troops have been killed in 2 months. Brown is obviously worried, the politicised arms of the MoD are clearly moving against open reporting. Hardly surprising given the political back drop.
 
#19
PE4rocks said:
Glad he's been withdrawn quite frankly. I mean to say, what place has truth in the corridors of power in this day and age?

I never agreed with free speech anyway, vastly over-rated. I'm told.
Quite so. Before you know it your serfs will be reading books.

There is one paragraph in there that says what politicians dare not and goes a long way towards explaining why attempts to impose our version of "democracy" are almost certainly doomed to failure and always have been.

"The stories of foreign invaders do not explain away the great walls built around nearly every home and every mind. The problem is not the terrain. The problem is not that Americans and others supported the Mujahadin when they fought the Soviets. The problem is not the artificial boundaries penciled in by the British all over Asia and the Middle East. The people are backwards and many want it that way. You can fly over a compound in the desert, miles from the next compound, and still it will have walls. Afghanistan is the land of a million Alamos."
 
#20
The MoD is going to look damn stupid if he turns these reports into a book and wins a Pulitzer.
 

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