When you read military history, you read all the time about "fighting retreats" and "rear guard actions" and with few exceptions, that is about the only mention they get, maybe a paragraph or two. That rarely does justice to the incredible sacrifice a few knowingly make to help save the many.
Those ordered to be the rear guard, or to execute a holding action, know exactly what they are being asked to do - and yet they do it willingly through good discipline or simply duty. Often they are not even ordered to do it, local commanders see the need, know commander's intent, and do it.
I didn't know until this AM what we needed for today's FbF, and then on my commute in, it came to me clear as day.
Ten Marines and at least one Navy hospital corpsman are among the 13 U.S. troops dead following the two suicide bomb attacks on crowds struggling to get into the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Thursday, USNI News has learned.
Eighteen U.S. service members were wounded and an unknown number of Afghans were killed and wounded in an attack believed to have been perpetrated by ISIS Khorasan. The military believes a suicide bomb was detonated near the Abbey gate at HKIA and another bomb – which it doesn’t have much information about – was detonated near the Baron Hotel by the airport, U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Frank McKenzie told reporters today at a Pentagon briefing.
Abbey Gate. This is where they were. This was their mission. Yes, “we” are doing an evacuation, but they are conducting the holding action to enable it:
This has been a numbing couple of weeks, but anything I or anyone else is feeling is nothing compared to the few thousands who are in AFG right now giving everything they can to salvage as honorable a departure as possible from this national humiliation.
To get a few ideas what they were doing before the attack, here is a series of short videos from the day prior.
We will know their names and see their faces over the next few days, but it could have been anyone on duty. Fate and luck are what they are in this line of work, but every day our nation’s men and women don't ask why, they follow the orders of those appointed over them. They trust that their leaders and the nation they serve will do their best for them, as they do for us. As it was, it is, and will be.
There will more stories to follow from our fellow Americans, friends, and allies as the best of us make efforts to do the right thing. Here's is just one of many examples we will hear of over the coming weeks and months.