Veteran Perspectives On The GWOT, and What Comes After

BloodStripe

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I hope I’m not out of order asking these questions. My questions are

1.) Was The GWOT worth all the sacrifices you men and women made?

2.) knowing what you know now would you do it again?
Yes and yes. While it sucks that the Iraq and Afghanistan are still a mess, I wouldn't trade my experiences.
 

Devildoc

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Oh, so many conflicting feelings. Definitely don't feel broken, but I often feel alone. Hence, my proclivity to be part of this forum. Like our colleague @Diamondback 2/2 , I came from a long line of service, in wartime and not, and while I m proud of my/our service during the GWOT, what the .gov and .mil has done has absolutely embittered me.

Was it worth the sacrifices? Not sure. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
 

Topkick

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I hope I’m not out of order asking these questions. My questions are

1.) Was The GWOT worth all the sacrifices you men and women made?

2.) knowing what you know now would you do it again?
I can't yet say whether it was worth the sacrifices, but I'd personally suit up right now if the Army needed another old 1SG. Yes, I'd do it again.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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Worth the sacrifice? If you ask my dead SL's wife and kids you wouldn't get a maybe or yes. My gunners face and teeth splattered all over my gun truck, didn't seem to me like a sacrifice that needed to be made. The countless bodies I've policed up off the sides of road and traffic circles, from the several VBIEDs a month, really didn't seem worth it.

Would I do it again? Take the bullshit ROE's and that stupid general order #1 and toss them in the trash, keep all the O6's and above out of the battle space, and run that damn war like an actual war, and hell fucking yeah I'll do it again.
 

lindy

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I was in actual pew pews for just 8 months but have spent years in various war zones and I’m not done yet. I’ve only given my time. Others gave everything.
 

amlove21

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I hope I’m not out of order asking these questions. My questions are

1.) Was The GWOT worth all the sacrifices you men and women made?

2.) knowing what you know now would you do it again?
1- Nope. Nothing we’ve done is worth the human life toll we have paid.

2- Yes. Unfortunately.
 

Teufel

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It’s hard to answer your first question. The GWOT is an umbrella term that encompasses so many things. Was Iraq worth all the sacrifices we made? I really hope so but I’m not confident it was. Was our invasion of Afghanistan worth it? Definitely. Did we need to stay there for another 18 years? I’m not convinced.

Your second question is a lot easier to answer. I put men to the sword for a significant part of my youth and paid a steep physical and mental price for it. My body and mind will never fully recover from what I experienced in combat. That pain will forever live with me, but I still would not hesitate to go back and do it again. In fact I would gladly do it again today, despite knowing that I probably shouldn’t because of my family. I was always drawn to war and couldn’t tolerate stateside assignment while our Marines were dying in combat. I know this may not make sense to someone who hasn’t been to war but I was willing to give up everything, including my life, to fight alongside the brave men and women maneuvering under fire at the forward edge of battle. We fought, bled, and died for terrain that was once key but now is largely lost to the enemy and long forgotten. Strategically those moments are now mostly largely irrelevant but to us who were there they will live on forever in our stories and memories. I would do almost anything to be there again.
 

GOTWA

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As far as I'm concerned, I haven't done enough. I only have 24 months OCONUS with a another 10 month pump just around the corner. I have one senior NCO whom I look up to that's done 60 months overseas. I'm single with no kids. I would gladly fill the shoes of someone with a family back home, just so they don't have to worry about the possibility of growing up without a father or husband. Me, well, I don't have those worries.
 

Topkick

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As far as I'm concerned, I haven't done enough. I only have 24 months OCONUS with a another 10 month pump just around the corner. I have one senior NCO whom I look up to that's done 60 months overseas. I'm single with no kids. I would gladly fill the shoes of someone with a family back home, just so they don't have to worry about the possibility of growing up without a father or husband. Me, well, I don't have those worries.
I understand what you mean, but you are not less important brother!
 

Diamondback 2/2

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As far as I'm concerned, I haven't done enough. I only have 24 months OCONUS with a another 10 month pump just around the corner. I have one senior NCO whom I look up to that's done 60 months overseas. I'm single with no kids. I would gladly fill the shoes of someone with a family back home, just so they don't have to worry about the possibility of growing up without a father or husband. Me, well, I don't have those worries.
Hold the line.
 

AdamZ42

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What I am taking away from the experiences you all have posted is that in the end it is all about camaraderie and serving a country you love, despite hazy politics. That being said I have two questions.

What was your motivation for going to war and when it was challenged how did you stay strong ?

How did the local populations perceive coalition forces in the beginning and how do they perceive us now ?
 

lindy

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What was your motivation for going to war and when it was challenged how did you stay strong ?

How did the local populations perceive coalition forces in the beginning and how do they perceive us now ?
I didn’t want to answer the grandkids “I stayed inside a bulletproof and air conditioned SCIF during the way.” plus the maroon beret made my green eyes “pop” unlike my “Dixie cup” or “dog bowl” did.

They fucking hated us...and still do. No different than Balt’morians viewpoint of police.

Seriously, guys who go and succeed “say”, “The We are more important to me than the I.” I never wanted America to see the picture of me in my dress greens standing in front of the flag but I damn sure would do everything in my power to ensure that America didn’t see my teammates.

Having said that, I was very naive about the enemy’s concern about my wants.
 
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Devildoc

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What I am taking away from the experiences you all have posted is that in the end it is all about camaraderie and serving a country you love, despite hazy politics. That being said I have two questions.

What was your motivation for going to war and when it was challenged how did you stay strong ?

How did the local populations perceive coalition forces in the beginning and how do they perceive us now ?
My motivation? I was in during 9/11, not 'just' after. I went from a peacetime to wartime footing in the span of, what, 17 minutes on 9/11? I don't recall ever being challenged, except one time when a local lefty did the whole "Bush lied, men died" chant in my face. I just shrugged it off. IDGAF.

As for your last, I don't know, and I don't know. I am not/was not SF, so local populace didn't mean much to me unless you gave up intel or were a target.
 

Gunz

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My question is for those of you who were imbedded with, advised, and conducted daily combat operations with host-nation forces. I'm talking ground-level, small-unit operations that dealt with FID, COIN, interaction with civilians at the village/tribal level.

Were you able to establish a good rapport with your Counterparts?

Were you able to maintain rapport?

Were you ever suspect of your Counterparts? Did you sense resentment on their part?

Were they dependable?

Would you serve with them again?

What were some of the most challenging (or frustrating) aspects of working with your host-nation Counterparts?

Were there any challenging (or frustrating) aspects of dealing with your chain-of-command (or theater command) as it related to your mission?

If so, what could Big Army/Big Marine Corps do to improve and better assist teams working with Counterparts in the hinterlands at the village/tribal level?
 
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lindy

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My question is for those of you who were imbedded with, advised, and conducted daily combat operations with host-nation forces. I'm talking ground-level, small-unit operations that dealt with FID, COIN, interaction with civilians at the village/tribal level.

Were you able to establish a good rapport with your Counterparts? Yes. They had obviously worked with SIGINT dudes before cuz they brought us all the captured phones and radios plus we ALWAYS had terps.

Were you able to maintain rapport? Yes. We did everything but sleep with them (the CSTs took care of that).

Were you ever suspect of your Counterparts? Did you sense resentment on their part? Don’t think so.

Were they dependable? 100%.

Would you serve with them again? Without hesitation.

What were some of the most challenging (or frustrating) aspects of working with your host-nation Counterparts? Conveying laws of war.

Were there any challenging (or frustrating) aspects of dealing with your chain-of-command (or theater command) as it related to your mission? Not that I saw.

If so, what could Big Army/Big Marine Corps do to improve and better assist teams working with Counterparts in the hinterlands at the village/tribal level? Get out of the FID game and give it back to white SOF.
 

racing_kitty

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My question is for those of you who were imbedded with, advised, and conducted daily combat operations with host-nation forces. I'm talking ground-level, small-unit operations that dealt with FID, COIN, interaction with civilians at the village/tribal level.

Were you able to establish a good rapport with your Counterparts?

Were you able to maintain rapport?

Were you ever suspect of your Counterparts? Did you sense resentment on their part?

Were they dependable?

Would you serve with them again?

What were some of the most challenging (or frustrating) aspects of working with your host-nation Counterparts?

Were there any challenging (or frustrating) aspects of dealing with your chain-of-command (or theater command) as it related to your mission?

If so, what could Big Army/Big Marine Corps do to improve and better assist teams working with Counterparts in the hinterlands at the village/tribal level?
Tagging your post for a reply later.
 

Kraut783

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Note: luckily, in A-stan in 2002 our counterparts were warlord soldiers and not the ANA.

Were you able to establish a good rapport with your Counterparts? Yes

Were you able to maintain rapport? Yes

Were you ever suspect of your Counterparts? Did you sense resentment on their part? No, they were happy to have us with them.

Were they dependable? Yes

Would you serve with them again? Yes...but I would not serve with the ANA...this is not counting the SOF assest of the ANA that seem to have had success.
 
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