Sunday, May 08, 2011

Helmand Night Life. Photos by Cpl. M. Mancha

COMBAT OUTPOST OUELLETTE, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – A Marine with 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, sleeps next to his tank after a hard day’s work. The night breeze keeps the Marines cool when they sleep outside under the moonlit sky.
COMBAT OUTPOST OUELLETTE, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – A tank rolls into position at the outpost late at night after a recent overwatch mission. The tanks with 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, weigh about 70 tons and can hold more than 500 gallons of fuel. Their AGT-1500 turbine engines push out up to 1,500 horsepower.
COMBAT OUTPOST OUELLETTE, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – A Marine with 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, takes in the scenery atop a tank. COP Ouellette sits on a hill that allows the Marines on guard duty to have a better view of the area.
COMBAT OUTPOST OUELLETTE, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – A Marine plays a game on his portable media player as the moon rises over the horizon behind the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle. The Marines and sailors say it’s a treat to sleep outside because they get to see a sky that’s untainted by artificial light. They stay pretty busy during the day, so at night, when all becomes calm, the Marines try to unwind by playing video games or cards and sleeping after a hard day’s work.
COMBAT OUTPOST OUELLETTE, Helmand province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – Marines unwind and play a friendly game of cards while listening to music after a hard day’s work. This scene is a common nightly ritual the Marines do to help them escape the stress of a deployed environment.

Was the modified Black Hawk a modern version of the Credible Sport?



Question.  Is the modified Black Hawk that 'controlled crashed' into Bin Laden's compound just a modern day version of the C-130 Credible Sport?  By that I mean are we seeing a one off 'Black Project' that was used to ensure the element of surprise?

Rationale.
1.  The trade offs in performance expressed by various aviation experts would seem to make this a not very worthy (even) limited production airframe.
2.  Failure of JSOC to authorize an airstrike on the remnants of the airframe after it was discovered that a large portion remained.
3.  The presence of other airplanes that did not have the same treatment.

Speculation.
1.  I've heard many "Former" Special Ops people state that the SEALs leaving on one helicopter was part of the plan.
2.  The 160th has the best helicopter pilots in the US, if not the world flying for them.  Surely they would have been aware of the issues surrounding performance with landing within the walls of the compound.
3.  They rehearsed this mission several times before (probably in Colorado to simulate the altitude) and would be well aware of the performance issues.

It is my contention that this is simply a hastily designed, special mission helicopter for this one job.  Aviation experts might be chasing ghosts.



UPDATE:

Commenter "me" reminded me that the purposeful crash landing of a helicopter into a compound of a high value target has been done before...Operation Ivory Coast.  Better known as the Son Tay Raid.