26 April 2009

A War on Two Fronts

When I was in Joint Task Force-Bravo in Honduras, I got to do a number of interesting missions--airborne operations with nieghboring Latin American militaries, humanitarian relief missions, and security force training.

We also did some interesting training for potential personnel recovery missions in the jungles of Central America. The dense jungle and lack of appropriate landing zones made it necessary to train on the Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction System, or SPIES. Now, I've made one or two not so bright decisions in my life, to be certain. I won't go into details, but I will say that one of those times included a few nurses, a Black Hawk helicopter, and a SPIES harness. Oh, and a bit of a disregard for safety. This, of course, led to a number of important lessons about safety that day. Fortunately, nothing was hurt. Well, save for my pride, but that recovers quickly enough. The Task Force Commander had me at the position of parade rest during that event. Some jackass took the time to snag a picture of it, too, which I wound up hanging in my office. (I even used it as my Facebook profile picture for a little while, too)

The Task Force Commander that gave me quite the thorough lesson was none other than Colonel Christopher Hughes, who just recently published a book entitled "A War on Two Fronts", which received the Army Historical Foundation's Distinguished Writing Award for Excellence last year. Colonel Hughes is an officer cut from the Petraeus mold, advocating higher education, innovation and cultural awareness from officers. I've put the book on order from Amazon (I'll probably get it in two weeks), but the description of the book on Amazon states that Colonel Hughes persuaded some of the Army's professional military courses to adopt counter-insurgency doctrine for their classes. Unfortunately, as I discovered in 2007, not all Army courses had followed suit.

So here's to what looks like an interesting read. Unfortunately, it's not available on the Amazon Kindle, which means that I will have to add it to my ever-growing bookshelf here.

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