UK Royal Marine LtGen. Sir Robert Fry Iraq update

just out of interest, why is he wearing US style stars, is that a new thing?
This question was ask the last time I posted a briefing by Sir Robert Fry . If I remember correctly ,it is because the UK and Americans uniforms are different and Americans in the HQ might not realize his rank. Correct me if I am wrong.
londonirish said:
just out of interest, why is he wearing US style stars, is that a new thing?
In a similar vein, I recently received a communication from a Lt Cdr RN at a NATO HQ. I was surprised to see his signature block had "Lt Cdr, UKN" - not RN. Is this new, too?
ffs we will have to salute navy syle soon incase they don't recognise the flat of one's hand as a salute, and where will it end, let's call Rangers Troopers and Privates, "Specialists" instead, give everyone stripes, and say Hooah instead of "yes Sir", the mind boggles.

For those of you in harm's way, my thoughts are with you, you could do without this type of nonsense on top of all the other sh1t you have to cope with.
I find these briefings informative . I like getting it straight from the people in charge rather than a anonymous sourced news report .

A British General is in command of the coalition forces in Afghanistan , Does the MoD conduct similar briefings on video, that are archived, about what is going on in Afghanistan ?
The UKN thing isn't new - in NATO all RN personnel do the same thing - I believe its because there are a couple of "Royal" navies in NATO, and also because each nation signs its block the same way - eg USN / GN / PN / UKN etc
Fry is very upfront. But to be honest, this briefing was probably less interesting than his previous one. There was also an interesing briefing at the MoD today. This PA account is worth reading.

By Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor
Britain's military presence in Iraq could be halved within a year as Iraqi forces assume responsibility for security in the south of the country, senior defence sources said today.
Commanders said it was "feasible" that the handover of Basra province to full Iraqi control could be completed within nine months to a year.
That would enable the British military force to be reduced from just over 7,000 troops at present to between 3,000 and 4,000 by the middle of 2007.
The sources stressed that any draw down of British forces would depend on the security situation at the time and would require the agreement of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
"There are a lot of variables," one senior official said.
Nevertheless, the relatively upbeat assessment is likely to come as welcome relief for ministers at a time when they have had to reinforce the British taskforce in Afghanistan following heavy fighting with the Taliban.
The sources emphasised that even after all four provinces in the British-led sector of operations are handed over to the Iraqis, there will still be a significant UK military presence required.
"We anticipate there is not going to be a political appetite to say 'job done' while there is still unfinished business in the centre of the country," one commander said.
"We started this as a coalition and we need to protect our investment. The wheels could start to come off in places like Basra if people are left prematurely without support and without mentoring."
If all goes to plan, commanders expect the reduced force to be concentrated at one or two bases around Basra.
The British have already handed over one province - al Muthanna - to the Iraqis, with a second - Dih Qar - expected to follow suit soon, with an announcement possibly by the end of the week.
British troops are also pulling out of their main base in Maysan in order to focus patrolling the border with Iran.
Once that province is returned to Iraqi control, it should enable the withdrawal of around 1,000 troops some time over the next four to six months.
Basra province, however, remains the most difficult in security terms.
Of the four provinces, Basra has always been the most difficult, with violence linked to the militias such as the radical cleric Moqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army.
The sources said that while the Iraqi army was continuing to make progress, there were still "problems" with the police which still suffered from infiltration by the militias.
"There are rogue elements linked to people committing illicit killings, some of them alarmingly close to the government structure," one commander said.
Officials said Iran was continuing to stir trouble across the border, although they did not believe the regime in Tehran wanted to see Iraq descend into complete chaos.
"The continuing worry we have is the appearance of technology - improvised explosive devices and others - which appears to be pretty well identical to what we have seen Hezbollah use in the past," one senior official said.
"We all know that Hezbollah has a very close relationship with some parts of the Iranian government.
"The jury is still out on whether this is directed at the highest level by the Iranian government or whether it is elements within it."
I thoroughly appreciate hearing from him again.
That was a typical Rob Fry briefing, straight and no bullshite.

I rate Gen Rob Fry as one of the top UK Generals. He is a highly intelligent and articulate man and an accomplished soldier/marine. I served with him on the staff at 3 Cdo Bde when he was COS. A very practically minded bloke hence he wouldn't be bothered by changing rank stars if it meant having an impact or getting a result. Unfortunately being a Royal means that he is not a contender for either the top Army or Navy job. That is a great shame as I don't believe he would have gone soft with the political masters.
By Major General, USMC (Ret) Richard Cooke

I often mention in my posts a little Mexican restaurant that I frequent here in San Diego that goes by the name of "Las Quatro Milpas" which serves the best authentic Mexican food in San Diego. I mention it today, because of what has changed when I stand in that long line in the heat down on Logan Avenue  waiting for those 5 dear Mexican women to serve the hundreds of us who show up before I melt in the hot sun.

The line outside of "Quatro Milpas" is a place to meet new friends, reunite with people you have not seen in weeks or months, but happen to get that same desire for that Chorizo at the same time you did, so that every time you show up again, you can restart your friendship as if it never stopped. Everyone has a story about how long they have been coming to Quatro Milpas or how they discovered it, or how long was the longest line they have stood in waiting to
get to their food.

What has changed, is that this week, instead of the jovial mood in the line, I was struck with the thought of what would happen to this place if someone were to walk into the line, and get into the restaurant, around say 1300 hours, at the height of the lunch rush and blow about 100 people to hell in the name of Allah.

As I thought about this, I wondered what it must be like for the people if Israel, who no matter where they go, have to consider the possibility of terrorism, and that their next steps out into society might be their last. I thought about what it must be like for a little Israeli schoolchild on a bus heading from school when someone gets on the bus in the middle of summer wearing a large overcoat.

I have an anger that will not go away this morning, as I watch the media try to tell me that Israel is the aggressor, that they are wantonly killing civilians, and that they must agree to a cease-fire with people who have sworn to kill them. I wish I could say I cannot imagine how we got to this point in society, where a portion of our society would side with the very monsters that have killed both Israelis and Americans, because of a fear of violence, but the
reason is all too clear.

The free world has been too tolerant of the non-free wor ld. We have allowed them to be portrayed as victims, and to assume the moral high ground at the same time that they cut the heads off innocent people and film it for worldwide consumption. Okay, that's the nice way to put it. The honest way to put it is that we have lost our nerve. When a society of radicals can drag a dead American through the streets of their towns, and hang their bodies from a bridge as a
collective finger flashed at America, and our response is "patience" we have lost not only our nerves, but our balls as well.

I get a sense from older veteran friends of mine in this city that our problem is that we have it too good, and do not remember what was done on our behalf to make things this good. Have we forgotten that for every time we can leave our homes, go stand in line at our favorite restaurant, and NOT think about the possibility of someone bombing the place, which someone many years ago gave their very life for that freedom we enjoy? I think of the young people in line at Quatro Milpas and wonder how many of them would have volunteered to fly with
along side Doolittle on his way to Tokyo, knowing they had not the gas to get home? Omaha Beach, anyone? I understand that these days, in Marine Corps boot camp, a recruit can call a "time out" if he is feeling too much stress. Is our State Dept. running the Marines now? This, I find disgusting.

But no more disgusting then those who seek a cease-fire in Lebanon this morning after civilians were killed after their building collapsed from the concussion of a bomb dropped near them that was targeting the site of where rockets were launched into Israel resulting in the deaths of 18 Israeli civilians. It is as though these Israeli deaths do not matter at all. Especially when you stop to consider that this conflict began with Hezbollah coming across the Israeli border, ambushing and killing 8 Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two more.


To every person who believes that you can reason with these animals, I must ask you where your mind went. It is the weakness of the free-world's NON-response that has allowed the terrorist threat to grow into a movement that threatens our very existence. When a U.S. soldier can be dragged through the streets of Somalia and our response is to LEAVE, when 280 Marines can be bombed in their
sleep and our response is to LEAVE, when after terrorists kill Spanish civilians on a train, and their nation's response is to elect capitulating socialists who order the immediate retreat of their soldiers from Iraq, and so on, and so on, what are the terrorists to think, but that the free world has become a pussy?

The fact that a majority of Americans think this nation needs AN EXCUSE for going after terrorism after 911 scares the hell out of me. It suggests that we as a nation will eventually fail to produce the men and women who every day, stand between freedom and tyranny.

Yesterday, San Diego had its Gay Pride Parade. Oh, the joy! It was billed as the largest 'celebration' in the city's history. THIS city is the city I grew up in during World War II! The very city where sailors came home to after fighting at Midway! The city that trains half of this nation's Marines, hosts the USS Ronald Reagan, the USS Nimitz, the former Fightertown USA... and our largest celebration is for the GAY...PRIDE..PARADE?!! Ponder that with me, will you?


I want Israel to continue, even to escalate, its attacks on Lebanon. I want them to ignore the media, ignore the pundits, and ignore even the weak among them who want to find a peaceful way out of this current conflict. History teaches us that until a bully is beaten, the bully keeps coming. The free world paid for our freedom in blood, and if blood is what it will take to keep it, then lets just have at it now, shall we?

Let Iran and Syria attempt to aid Hezbollah. Let Israel attack them. Let it escalate until we are forced to fight at Israel's side. Then, can we for the last time, KICK ASS until it is over? Every generation must pay this price, as long as there are those who seek to force us to follow a dictatorial ideology. Radical Islam says, "Agree or die." In response, we should stop asking them if there is a middle ground to be reached. We should be saying, "Fine, but it is YOU who will die."

To the people of Israel: I see you fighting not just for your freedoms, but also for the world's. I trust that if you continue, the free world will be forced to side with you, even if it means that a few of us die in the process. The time is now. It is time for THIS generation to prove itself worthy of those that came before us. It is time for us to say NO MORE to the terrorist threat, to find them and KILL them.

Do not stop fighting, Israel. Make the free world help you put an end to this madness. In doing so, you might help us find the courage and moral convictions that made us free to begin with, so that one day, little Jewish children, and old lovers of Mexican food in America can go about our daily lives with the freedom that others died to give us.
Um, Trip, that has nothing to do with this thread
Chief_Joseph said:
Um, Trip, that has nothing to do with this thread
What are you the 'Hall Monitor' now? It's a US Marine with his update, isn't it? :wink:
Yes, his update from a mexican restaraunt, the thread was about a UK marine's update from Iraq
Your US Marine Generals rage stands in disappointingly stark contrast to Gen Fry's intelligent and informative briefing.
Chief_Joseph said:
Yes, his update from a mexican restaraunt, the thread was about a UK marine's update from Iraq
Typical remark from a non-serving teenager! I guess you didn't get the connection did you! I sure did and others here, will as well!

No this General has a no BS approach to war, like most good USMC and US Army Generals and good soldiers have of the GWOT.

He wasn't giving a brief on the battle in Iraq, he was giving his thoughts on the GWOT and the fact that we need to wake up to what this war really means! I happen to agree with what he says. Perhaps, when you grow up nd become a man, you will appreciate men like this Ceneral!

(Unless you are the victim of a suicide bomber at your next visit to the Mall or Fast food store.) :wink:
Trip_Wire if you want to start a thread on spurious analogies espoused by US Generals various please do so, this thread is about Lt Gen Fry's presentation and BRITFOR's future in the Iraq theatre.

Unfortunately I can't see the video, but Fry is excellent at projecting a military image and balancing the military and poitical viewpoints in his presentations. IMHO a an excellent future CDS. Out of interest would he be CNS or CGS on promotion?

My biggest fear out here is the effect our draw down will have on security in places like Al-Amara and the ISF's ability to cope with insurgencyand inter-tribal fighting.

As an aside all UK officers of 1* and above out here wear the US Stars on their lapels as well as Brit rank. Aside from your average GI not understanding Brit rank it helps the US public appreciate who they are at briefings like this.

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