Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016....so sorry

I know this is long, but I need to share to try and heal and little more.

To McCall, Carver and Jenkins, I am eternally sorry......

In 2003/2004, I was deployed to Gardez, Afghanistan where I served as a member of a Tactical Human Intelligence Team (THT), with Joe (Team Leader), Khalid and James. We provided direct support to Special Operation Forces operating in southeast Afghanistan. During this time I earned the trust and respect of the best Special Operations operators in the world.

In 2007, I deployed to Iraq where I ended up serving at a THT team leader, at COP Cahill, Salman Pak, Iraq. Me and my 3 soldiers provided direct HUMINT support to Alpha and Baker Company, 1/15 Infantry Regt, 3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. Supporting leg infantry was the opposite end of the spectrum from my time working with SOF in Afghanistan. But I didn't care, I was excited to be doing my job and what I love most, tracking down and getting rid of bad guys.

CPT Thompson, Commander of Baker Company (B Co), was a former Ranger Battalion NCO who decided to become a commissioned officer and one of the best officers I have had the opportunity to serve under and work for. I sensed some hesitation from CPT Thompson, which may have been due to the fact that I was a female, that I was intel or that I was simply someone he didn't know and hadn't worked with. But CPT Thompson was a true professional and in spite of any doubts he had readily welcomed me to the Baker team and let me get to work proving that me and my team were definitely an asset and not a liability. B Co and my THT kicked ass. In no time we were rolling up bad guys and the situation in B Co's area of responsibility (AOR) improved noticeably.

Things with Alpha Company (A Co) did not go as well. The commander of A Co, whose name I cannot remember but was something like CPT Alexander or Anderson, I personally referred to him as CPT Asshat, and his 1SG both clearly had issue with the fact that I was a female. CPT Asshat refused to utilize my team and A Co's AOR was the complete opposite of B Co's AOR, it was a cluster and mess. Things got so good in B Co's AOR and so bad in A Co's AOR that the BN XO and S3 came over and held a meeting with CPT Asshat and myself and ordered CPT Asshat to begin utilizing me and my team. CPT Asshat was in no way pleased with this, I even offered to provide him with references from the SOF guys I had supported in Afghanistan...that even pissed him off more, too funny. This meeting took place just a few days, maybe a week before 30 October 2007 and this turned out to be too little too late.

On 30 October 2007, an IED went off near the police station in A Co's AOR killing three A Co soldiers, SGT McCall, Carver, SPC Jenkins and PFC Carver. As soon as I received word of the incident I rolled out with the Mobile Training Team (MTT) that periodically stopped in at COP Cahill and worked with the Police station where the IED went off. While still providing B Co with outstanding HUMINT support, I spent every waking hour establishing contacts, collecting intel and tracking down the guys responsible for the IED that killed McCall, Carver and Jenkins.

On 13 November my hunt for the killers came to a screeching halt when my appendix ruptured and I was medically evacuated (MEDEVACd) out of country. Several weeks later, in the hospital at Ft Benning, GA I received an email from CPT Tilley, who had been my Operational Management Team Officer in Charge. CPT Tilley wanted to let me know that because of the work I had done and intel I had collected from 30 Oct to 11 Nov, I had correctly identified the men responsible for setting off the IED that had killed McCall, Carver and Jenkins, where they were located and they had been apprehended. As excited and proud I was to hear this at the time I had bigger issues at hand, as I was battling life threatening infections and fighting to stay alive. So I filed away the situation and went on with my life.

All was well, until I recently found myself at Ft Stewart with my Mom where she was working as a teacher on post. Driving on post one day I passed Warriors Walk, 3rd Infantry Division's memorial to each of its soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. It hit me like a brick wall, I wonder if McCall Carver and Jenkins have trees on the walk. When I first started looking into it I couldn't remember their names, but being the intel geek that I am, I was able to get their names and find their trees. Standing there in front of their trees is when it hit me and it all became real. I was/am a great counterintelligence agent and because of that was able to track down the guys responsible for killing McCall, Carver and Jenkins...now if only CPT Asshat had let me do my job sooner, I could have tracked down the bad guys BEFORE they killed McCall, Carver and Jenkins and there would be three less trees on Warrior Walk. And why wouldn't CPT Asshat let me do my job, simply because I am a female. If CPT Asshat had denied me the chance to do my job because I was too slow, a shitty shot or didn't know how to do my job, I would be ok with that. But having the fact that I am a female held against me, when I had already proven myself to the best operators in the world, hurt like no other hurt I have ever experienced.

The guilt I had and still do carry would probably incapacitate most, but curling up in the corner and crying isn't going to do anyone any good. And so I stood there in front of their trees and apologized and I sit here today and to them, their families and their fellow comrades again apologize and say I am forever and sincerely sorry for not getting the bad guys before they planted that IED. And to CPT Asshat, Karma is a bitch and I am hopeful that your chauvinistic sexist ass finds it hard to go to sleep at night, knowing that because of you and your assbackwards mentality, three of your men are dead. Your men could very well could be alive and well today if you had put your chauvinistic attitudes aside and given me a chance to prove that I was a huge asset and in no way a liability.

To CPT Thompson, Baker Company and the amazing operators I had the honor of supporting in Afghanistan...Thank you for putting your doubts and personal attitudes aside and giving me the opportunity to earn your trust and respect, I am forever indebted.

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