In Afghanistan, A U.S. Special Forces Major's Meteoric Rise And Humiliating Fall

ScribblerSix

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No. I cannot agree with this - getting past the uncanny Apocalypse Now scenerio you describe as being okay, you cannot go completely native on the bit. I'm more pissed right now because I was not SOF and cannot describe in "I was there" detail as to why your post upsets me so much, (I do not have the correct words and references), so I am hoping one of my big brothers will come by soon and help me articulate what it is I am trying to say...

What's point of comparing Gant to Apocalypse Now? By that logic, he was going to take charge of an Afghan militia and carve out his own fiefdom.

On the contrary, he tried to weave himself into the social fabric of the tribes he helped lead to gain their trust. There's nothing more patriotic than, as Captain Patriquin once said, to learn about another people so you can help them help America. And if you new Pashtun society you'd realize that it is fucked up -- you can only imagine how fucked up you would need to be in order to weave yourself into that mix. It's a society where women have no value, there's no voting, 10% literacy rates, I mean come get out of our warped realities and realize that like Mike Martin (a good friend of mine), and a British officer who also went native, this is what's required. In many ways, Gant is definitely not an exception but the rule to winning wars like this. You can find dozens of this guys in the past few wars breaking rules and doing what they do best.
 

TLDR20

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@ScribblerSix , you are right, but that time isn't now. It isn't that he was doing it, it is that he got caught and then said "so what". Sometimes taking your medicine is more about the person punishing you. You can't tell me he couldn't have gotten his America on without some chick co-habitating with him while he is married and rubbing it in leaderships face. He could still be doing great things if he hadn't gone so cowboy.
 

ScribblerSix

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@ScribblerSix , you are right, but that time isn't now. It isn't that he was doing it, it is that he got caught and then said "so what". Sometimes taking your medicine is more about the person punishing you. You can't tell me he couldn't have gotten his America on without some chick co-habitating with him while he is married and rubbing it in leaderships face. He could still be doing great things if he hadn't gone so cowboy.

If you're saying it isn't a good time now, can I ask when do we know when it is a good time?

And as for the shit he did, the infidelity, the alcohol abuse, the drugs, it often seems that as long as the leadership don't mind it's alright, but we all know the State Department (I know not big army but still) had those lavish parties (http://kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article104809), contractors would be high all the time on K (http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/10/18...ontractors-drunk-and-on-drugs-in-afghanistan/) and the infidelity, my god from Lara Logan to the (from my own personal knowledge) to a female terp who would fuck the brains out of a commander of a 4th ID brigade in Kandahar back in KAF, we all know this stuff is absolutely rampant in-country where people feel there are no rules -- and this kind of stuff often happens in big bases.

Now, all of a sudden, we go to a COP with SF as the battlespace owners where there are literally very few stringent rules, and we throw the book at him for this? Come on. Which, again, we know is going on all the time.

I'm not saying Gant shouldn't have followed the rules, but why can't the army throw the book at him after the war?

It seems the big army just loves throwing the baby out with the bath water sometimes -- and this was the wrong time to do it.
 

TLDR20

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If you're saying it isn't a good time now, can I ask when do we know when it is a good time?

And as for the shit he did, the infidelity, the alcohol abuse, the drugs, it often seems that as long as the leadership don't mind it's alright, but we all know the State Department (I know not big army but still) had those lavish parties (http://kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article104809), contractors would be high all the time on K (http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/10/18...ontractors-drunk-and-on-drugs-in-afghanistan/) and the infidelity, my god from Lara Logan to the (from my own personal knowledge) to a female terp who would fuck the brains out of a commander of a 4th ID brigade in Kandahar back in KAF, we all know this stuff is absolutely rampant in-country where people feel there are no rules -- and this kind of stuff often happens in big bases.

Now, all of a sudden, we go to a COP with SF as the battlespace owners where there are literally very few stringent rules, and we throw the book at him for this? Come on. Which, again, we know is going on all the time.

I'm not saying Gant shouldn't have followed the rules, but why can't the army throw the book at him after the war?

It seems the big army just loves throwing the baby out with the bath water sometimes -- and this was the wrong time to do it.
He was high visibility brother, you don't write a book and stay under the radar.
 

TLDR20

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I'm also not saying this was right, or that I agree with what went down, just that I understand how this happened and it doesn't surprise me.
 

pardus

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This is definitely a case of big boys rules. He knew what he was doing wasn't kosher so regardless of whether everyone else is doing "it" or whether he deserved it or not, he can't really bitch about being caught too much.
 

DA SWO

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@ScribblerSix , you are right, but that time isn't now. It isn't that he was doing it, it is that he got caught and then said "so what". Sometimes taking your medicine is more about the person punishing you. You can't tell me he couldn't have gotten his America on without some chick co-habitating with him while he is married and rubbing it in leaderships face. He could still be doing great things if he hadn't gone so cowboy.
Didn't know he was married, thought he married the reporter.
I think the co-habitation finally did him in.
We just shit-canned a BG for the same offense, no way a mere SF Maj/Capt will be allowed to get away with it.
 

Ranger Psych

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I worked near his AO for a long while, and you know what, I thought the same when I first heard about this guy and then the allegations. A lot of guys did. But then I realized, we all know the army bureaucracy is backward, that there are rebels in the military, but we might even need guys go "native" (with a litany of successful figures far beyond the likes of Lawrence of Arabia) to win wars. A lot of people have argued people like Gant are needed, people who will live in the village, basically become part of it. If he breaks the rules... who cares? If he's successful, that's what matters.

The fact that he was successful in his AO while he was there, that his tribal militia he helped stand up is one of the most feared in the province to this day, that has always hated guys like him army (guys like Travis Patriquin for example) et all cannot be over looked. Shit like this, believe me, it wins wars.

From Malaya where British Special Branch agents went native, to Northern Ireland where Englishmen went totally Irish (one example of someone like Gant is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Nairac), Iraq, the list goes on, people like Gant win wars like the one in Afghanistan.I mean, I don't want to dis rangers but night raids don't win wars that can last 20 or 30 years, they just win battles.

Congratulations, you worked near his AO as a derpterp.

SF. Not regular army, not anyone else, SHITCANNED THE MOTHERFUCKER. That right there says VOLUMES about the situation. Don't try to put this shit on "Big Army" because they didn't have a lick of say in it.

THE
SF
REGIMENT
STRIPPED HIS FUCKING GREEN BERET AND TAB OFF HIS ASS

thats not just some slap on the wrist thing dude, and if you think that's just some backward bureaucracy in action you just proved exactly how uninformed you are.

You also don't understand Ranger anything, obviously. The only motherfuckers that have BEEN IN THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN WAR, Longer than Rangers, is SF. My Regiment was doing night raids every fucking night AND DAY plus engaging the populace prior to the fucking war going Big Army, well before your ass came along and became a self proclaimed expert on COIN/FID/ETC as a fucking useta-could supposed inderpreter that ain't even a soldier.
 
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ScribblerSix

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Congratulations, you worked near his AO as a derpterp.

SF. Not regular army, not anyone else, SHITCANNED THE MOTHERFUCKER. That right there says VOLUMES about the situation. Don't try to put this shit on "Big Army" because they didn't have a lick of say in it.

THE
SF
REGIMENT
STRIPPED HIS FUCKING GREEN BERET AND TAB OFF HIS ASS

thats not just some slap on the wrist thing dude, and if you think that's just some backward bureaucracy in action you just proved exactly how uninformed you are.

You also don't understand Ranger anything, obviously. The only motherfuckers that have BEEN IN THIS ENTIRE GODDAMN WAR, Longer than Rangers, is SF. My Regiment was doing night raids every fucking night AND DAY plus engaging the populace prior to the fucking war going Big Army, well before your ass came along and became a self proclaimed expert on COIN/FID/ETC as a fucking useta-could supposed inderpreter that ain't even a soldier.

Right, I mean USASOC relieved him of command. Ask a friend of mine, terminal and former group guy Col. Jeff Goble (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jeffrey-goble/b/511/4b8) and he'd argue that USASOC is now part of the big army in the way it functions and the people in it. It's no different from the other larger commands now, sad but true. Ask Linda Robinson at Rand and she'd say the same thing.

Why? When Gant talks about "army bureaucracy" he's referring to organizations like USASOC, so there's no point in trying to separate it and say that it was his own brothers and peers who kicked him out. That's simply not true. USASOC is just one big machine too and I'm sure a lot of guys on this forum can point that out too.

As for night raids, we all know that Afghans hate night raids. There's absolutely nothing that Pashtuns, specifically, hate than troops coming in at dusk doing targeted killings, invading their houses, their villages, killing specific people, etc. You know there's an argument there. Also, what happens to the soldiers in the AO who have to pick up after the mess the night raids sometimes create? We all know that some night raids lead to increased rather than decreased activity in specific AOs -- and for all the wrong reasons.

I think Maj Gant was trying to correct that by taking a different, in my opinion and in the opinion of some other guys like Mike Martin or other SF guys still in group, the right approach by disowning the use of large-number of "every night" night-raids. I think there's a valid and fair argument to be had that sometimes they make things worse, a lot worse. Sometimes they're useful, but not in the area that Gant was operating or in Southern command as a whole. As for the whole CT vs COIN thing, that's a different question and I don't think anyone wants to get into it, but I'm just trying to point out that to this day people are questioning whether if Gant's approach versus the use of night raids, in his AO, were strategically superior.
 

DA SWO

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Right, I mean USASOC relieved him of command. Ask a friend of mine, terminal and former group guy Col. Jeff Goble (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jeffrey-goble/b/511/4b8) and he'd argue that USASOC is now part of the big army in the way it functions and the people in it. It's no different from the other larger commands now, sad but true. Ask Linda Robinson at Rand and she'd say the same thing.

Why? When Gant talks about "army bureaucracy" he's referring to organizations like USASOC, so there's no point in trying to separate it and say that it was his own brothers and peers who kicked him out. That's simply not true. USASOC is just one big machine too and I'm sure a lot of guys on this forum can point that out too.

As for night raids, we all know that Afghans hate night raids. There's absolutely nothing that Pashtuns, specifically, hate than troops coming in at dusk doing targeted killings, invading their houses, their villages, killing specific people, etc. You know there's an argument there. Also, what happens to the soldiers in the AO who have to pick up after the mess the night raids sometimes create? We all know that some night raids lead to increased rather than decreased activity in specific AOs -- and for all the wrong reasons.

I think Maj Gant was trying to correct that by taking a different, in my opinion and in the opinion of some other guys like Mike Martin or other SF guys still in group, the right approach by disowning the use of large-number of "every night" night-raids. I think there's a valid and fair argument to be had that sometimes they make things worse, a lot worse. Sometimes they're useful, but not in the area that Gant was operating or in Southern command as a whole. As for the whole CT vs COIN thing, that's a different question and I don't think anyone wants to get into it, but I'm just trying to point out that to this day people are questioning whether if Gant's approach versus the use of night raids, in his AO, were strategically superior.

Your buddy was a JTAC when?

Night raids are effective, and they bitch because they know we will react.

Your telling me the Taliban or A-Q operate at night? BS Flag on that one.

USASOC has always been big-Army. Look at the non-SF Officers walking around that HQ and tell me that SF is the big guy in the room.

Ask your buddy why the outpouring of support from the MOS 18 Community is lacking? That alone says volumes.
 

TLDR20

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Why? When Gant talks about "army bureaucracy" he's referring to organizations like USASOC, so there's no point in trying to separate it and say that it was his own brothers and peers who kicked him out. That's simply not true. USASOC is just one big machine too and I'm sure a lot of guys on this forum can point that out too.

.
Just to be clear, the only person that has the authority to strip a tab is the commander of JFKSWCS. That person is always a fellow SF soldier. So like RP said, to get your tab taken away is most certainly a SF thing. Why don't you slow down telling people how it is, when you really have no fucking clue.
 

ScribblerSix

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Also

Just to be clear, the only person that has the authority to strip a tab is the commander of JFKSWCS. That person is always a fellow SF soldier. So like RP said, to get your tab taken away is most certainly a SF thing. Why don't you slow down telling people how it is, when you really have no fucking clue.

Well, I just want to be clear and I'm not trying to disagree with you guys for the sake of it, but I' not making this up.

I asked a few friends and from reading Tyson's book it does fit Gant's assessment: it was BG Haas was the one who did relieve him of his SF tab (who is presently in charge of USASOC) and was in charge of U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) at the time (pg. 337-338 of the book). And I imagine given how high level it got to, it did require someone from USASOC to help authorize or indeed instigate that he was basically guilty before evidence was flooding in that most of his tactics were effective and his peers seemed to like him.

Additionally, General Mulholland was the main one (commander of USASOC at the time) who met with him, confirmed that he was kicked out and (pg 343 of the book), and explained to Gant that it was political. He could have stopped someone from SF command from taking away his tab but he didn't. I think when Gant refers to the "being treated unfairly" these are the parts of the "bureaucracy" he's referring to.

It's not as simple as someone from JFKSWCs just stripping it away, but when it became a scandal of this proportion (and rightly so) a lot of the hunchos who were butting heads over how to resolve this were from far higher up, detached, in their ivory tower, and this was their unfortunate decision. To say that they weren't in their ivory tower off somewhere in Kabul, D.C., or elsewhere, making uniformed decisions about guys like Gant seems a bit off.

As what SOWT mentioned,

"Night raids are effective, and they bitch because they know we will react."

I'm not saying they aren't, but as someone who I personally know Nate Fick and would use what he said on one talk that's better than the way I can put it (starting at 44:00)
that basically, if you're going to do it, you better get it right. Generally, the bar is so high that it makes night raids almost impossible to conduct, but that bar is there for good reason.

"Your telling me the Taliban or A-Q operate at night? BS Flag on that one."

They operate at night.

"USASOC has always been big-Army. Look at the non-SF Officers walking around that HQ and tell me that SF is the big guy in the room."

Yep, it's not good. Although the recommendation to replace them with regular army guys or SF guys, i.e. to replace the admin DOD civilians with soldiers and soldiers with some SF guys, seems impractical.

"Ask your buddy why the outpouring of support from the MOS 18 Community is lacking? That alone says volumes." Ask Jack Murphy, the founder of SOFREP, what he thinks. The last time I spoke with him, I think he generally agreed with Gant's tactics. He's a former 5th group guy. As for current MOS 18 people... I imagine it's because they're scared of speaking out publicly because they'll be punished.

And was Jeff a JTAC? I'm not sure, I suppose he could have been.
 

policemedic

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@ScribblerSix "My friend said..."

"When I spoke to..."

"I know this guy. But not well enough to know what he specifically did..."

"I imagine that things work this way in an organization I'm not qualified to be a member of..."

And of course, many of these friends are high-ranking folks or are well placed within the SOF community.

Do you have any idea what you sound like?
 

x SF med

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One point that seems to have been missed in the discussion of Gant's pecadilloes... he armed a civilian female journalist with no clearance/ no need to know/no dog in the fight but his feelings toward her, and took her on missions, classified missions, while sleeping with her to spite command... ya think any of those points might have come into play for stripping him of his SF Tab? and who wrote his fucking book? Um, she did... And who cleared the discussions of the missions in that book.... um, nobody....

@ScribblerSix ... you sound like you are defending authors and journalists because you belong to the community - your "I heard from a friend", "I met this guy who said", "I know a guy from when I was embedded" crap is getting old...
 

Viper1

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Right, I mean USASOC relieved him of command. Ask a friend of mine, terminal and former group guy Col. Jeff Goble (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jeffrey-goble/b/511/4b8) and he'd argue that USASOC is now part of the big army in the way it functions and the people in it. It's no different from the other larger commands now, sad but true. Ask Linda Robinson at Rand and she'd say the same thing.

Why? When Gant talks about "army bureaucracy" he's referring to organizations like USASOC, so there's no point in trying to separate it and say that it was his own brothers and peers who kicked him out. That's simply not true. USASOC is just one big machine too and I'm sure a lot of guys on this forum can point that out too.

As for night raids, we all know that Afghans hate night raids. There's absolutely nothing that Pashtuns, specifically, hate than troops coming in at dusk doing targeted killings, invading their houses, their villages, killing specific people, etc. You know there's an argument there. Also, what happens to the soldiers in the AO who have to pick up after the mess the night raids sometimes create? We all know that some night raids lead to increased rather than decreased activity in specific AOs -- and for all the wrong reasons.

I think Maj Gant was trying to correct that by taking a different, in my opinion and in the opinion of some other guys like Mike Martin or other SF guys still in group, the right approach by disowning the use of large-number of "every night" night-raids. I think there's a valid and fair argument to be had that sometimes they make things worse, a lot worse. Sometimes they're useful, but not in the area that Gant was operating or in Southern command as a whole. As for the whole CT vs COIN thing, that's a different question and I don't think anyone wants to get into it, but I'm just trying to point out that to this day people are questioning whether if Gant's approach versus the use of night raids, in his AO, were strategically superior.

Keep in mind, MAJ Gant was relieved and retired in 2012. A year and a half ago...this isn't something new. This is old news.

Ranger Psych is absolutely right. It was the Regiment that made the final call, no one else.

USASOC is absolutely NOT like big Army in the way it functions or the missions that it has. I don't care if one O-6 said it. One person's opinion does not a trend make. Linda Robinson is a journalist and author but she does not work in or for the headquarters on a daily basis. USASOC is very different from the other major commands...not the least of which is due to the nature of missions it performs on a daily basis.

Since I'm ranting about one person opinions, the Afghans I've worked with loved night raids, especially when they killed known bad guys. Notice I didn't say capture...some Afghans did not give two squats about a known target being detained because they knew he might be released within days or weeks. Afghans, from the local policeman to Provincial and District Governors were thrilled when night raids resulted in dead, known enemy leaders. Usually, there was no mess after a night raid, only jubilation and a sudden showing of Afghan Local Police recruits. Picking up any mess after a night raid is part of the job and it is becoming easier to get in front of the IO campaign if you have a plan for those contingencies. Just my experience but as you can see, it runs counter to your generalization. Yes, some night raids DO lead to increased activity but for certain areas that is a measure of success. The more the enemy shows themselves to fight, the easier they are for friendly forces to kill.

MAJ Gant's first book "One Tribe at a Time" is a wealth of information and knowledge. Analyze what can be used for the future. The bottom line is that he, like many others before him, broke the rules, got caught, and took severe consequences. We all know the rules and most of us accomplish the mission by playing within those boundaries.
 

Marauder06

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This book everyone keeps talking about... this is the one written by the woman he was shacked up with in Afghanistan and is now married to? Yep, sounds like a totally objective, totally authoritative source to me! :thumbsup:

Where is the official report on this whole sorry affair? Someone post THAT and then we can have a meaningful discussion about this topic.
 
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