Victory Point: Operations Red Wings and Whalers - the Marine Corps' Battlefor Freedom in Afghanistan
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In late June 2005, media sources recounted the tragic story of nineteen U.S. special operations personnel who died at the hands of insurgent / terrorist leader Ahmad Shah- and the lone survivor of Shah's ambush-deep in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan. The harrowing events of Operation Red Wings marked an important-yet widely misreported-chapter in the Global War on Terror, the full details of which the public burned to learn.
Victory Point reveals the complete, as-yet untold, story of Operation Red Wings (often mis-referenced as "Operation Redwing"), and the follow-on mission, Operation Whalers. Together, these two U.S. Marine Corps operations (that in the case of Red Wings utilized Navy SEALs for its opening phase) unfurl not as a mission gone terribly wrong, but of a complex and difficult campaign that ultimately saw the demise of Ahmad Shan and his small army of barbarous fighters.
Due to the valor, courage, and commitment of the 2nd Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment in the summer of 2005, Afghanistan was able to hold free elections that Fall. Here is the inspiring true account of heroism, duty, and brotherhood between Marines fighting the War on Terror.
drove the Stars concept and defined its specifics fell off the map—just disappeared. “The ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] in the Korangal is just unmatched, just amazing,” Drew Priddy told Tom Wood shortly after Wood’s arrival. “As soon as a single Marine enters the valley—or even passes by its mouth—every bad guy knows what’s going on, all the way up to the highest reaches of the Korangal. And then they just scatter, just vanish, probably back into Pakistan—and the intel
fertile plains of the Amu Darya River (formerly known as the Oxus River), Afghanistan’s lowest point at 846 feet above sea level, mark the country’s northern border with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan political map But who can even mention or just think of Afghanistan without picturing soaring, seemingly unscalable mountains? More pointedly, who can muse about this region without envisioning that fabled arc of hidden peaks that rules the country’s northeast, a place that has piqued
fought in Vietnam as a Marine—and who designated the Marine Corps University as his sole beneficiary should he die in Afghanistan—felt as if he was selling his soul to the “joint devil” just to get something as basic as air support (that he’d have with a snap of a finger and without any compromise in a MAGTF). Wood briefed the mission to higher command, directly to Kamiya himself. The major general asked just a few questions before approving the mission. Now the op just needed the final, decisive
Click. With a boom! hiss! and a puff of white smoke, the rocket sailed toward the Chinook—self arming after eleven meters in flight—then a fraction of a second after that, streaked inside the helicopter and connected with the transmission under the rear rotor assembly of the MH. The explosion sent a stream of molten metal into the gears and shafts of the complex beast, incinerating and shattering the precision hub assembly. The Shock pilots watched in horror as the nose of the craft pitched up,
are the puddles of water? he wondered. Crack! Crack! Crack! Oh . . . yeah, I’m getting shot at, not just shooting. Pretty intense now, too. Lots of rounds impacting all around me . . . “Sir! Sir! SIR!” Vargas screamed at Konnie. “How the fuck you not gettin’ your ass shot off, sir?” “I don’t know.” Konnie paused for a minute. “I have no idea. Thought for a minute it was raining!” He and Vargas started laughing hysterically. “You’re fucking crazy, Lieutenant. I mean, damned motherfucking