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calendar   Tuesday - July 14, 2009

JOURNAL OF ONE OF MANY VERY BRAVE BATTLING BRITS IN HARMS WAY. THIS ONE DIDN’T MAKE IT.

Greeting us on the front page of the morning Telegraph was an almost full page photo of Lt. Evison, along with a journal he was keeping.

I feel very bad for the casualties they are taking.  True, Americans may have lost more but then we have a larger population to draw on.  Doesn’t lessen the loss most of us feel for all of them. They are ALL TOO YOUNG.

One of the pressing issues over here and it is approaching a scandalous level, is the charge (supported by the late Lt. Evison here) that Brit troops are NOT being given the proper military support in weapons and armour.  In fact, an article only yesterday suggests that British troops have been given vehicles that have already been REJECTED by the US Military as not up to the task.

The suggestion btw, that Brit troops are given short shrift when it comes to equipment is not a new one.
I have been reading that for at least a year.  Returning veterans have spoken with awe in regard to what Americans have to fight with, and have begged for same.

It is further charged that the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has made cuts in the military budget that have brought this sorry state of affairs about.
I’m not close enough to that to know if it’s true or political rhetoric by his opposition.  But the papers do report a budget cut for the army so I would imagine it is true.  Which I personally think put the blood of fallen Brits all over the hands of those responsible.

Obviously I have not posted the journal here in full.  I have just taken cuts from it.
I urge my fellow Americans to take a minute to read it. In fact I urge everyone to do so. 

Lieutenant Mark Evison, who died in May from wounds received in Afghanistan, kept a remarkable journal - published here for the first time - about the harsh realities of fighting in Helmand.

21 April
I have been trying to work out exactly what is and what is not here. This is harder than it seems. Paperwork trails which tend to disappear are commonplace. As it stands I have a lack of radios, water, food and medical equipment. This with manpower is what these missions lack. It is disgraceful to send a platoon into a very dangerous area with two weeks’ water and food and one team medics pack. Injuries will be sustained which I will not be able to treat and deaths could occur which could have been stopped. We are walking on a tightrope and from what it seems here are likely to fall unless drastic measures are undertaken.

The ANA are an interesting bunch. They earn $200 a month, compared to what they could do if they farmed poppies, $4,000 a month. Many of them fight for blood feuds with the Taliban who have killed family members. All they want to do is kill Taliban and it will be interesting how they deal with being contacted on the ground. Currently they seem rather blasé. They will happily leave the PB [patrol base] without helmet or body armour. They came with various weapon types – Ak 47s [assault rifles], M 16s [rifles], etc as well as what looks like a couple of bagfuls of RPGs [rocket propelled grenades] – could be interesting.

The first casualty. Yesterday morning at 10.48 Sgt Fasfous an MFC [mortar fire controller] was on patrol with an OMLT [operational mentor and liaison team] in a joint patrol with an ANA [Afghanistan National Army] North of Gereskh. The call sign was contacted and unfortunately he was killed instantly as well as one interpreter. A captain in the Light Dragoons was seriously injured and extracted by MIRT [medical instant response team] to Bastion.
Life is fragile and out here it feels like it can be removed in an instant. It almost makes life even more valuable and shows the fragility that many in the West I believe do not understand.

There were now just 7 bods plus myself stuck on the wrong side of the canal. We had to make the decision just to go for it. With a rapid fire from the Platoon we sprinted down the bank, through the canal, back up the friendly bank and then tried to push back into the PB. More luck than anything else saw the platoon safely back behind sturdy walls, laughing at the contact we had just been in. For me it is still the fear of making a wrong decision which sits heavily on my mind. I am responsible for every person within this PB and I fear that we will not always be as lucky as we were today. At least today I proved to myself that I will not freeze the next time I get shot at. I do not expect this to be in the distant future.

The flies are uncontrollable. As I write this there are approximately 10 crawling over my legs and an unknown amount swarming over my head. Amazingly once they have disappeared in the early evening they are replaced by another of life’s annoying creatures, the mosquito. They seem to be able to infiltrate any clothing and get into mosquito nets like effective bank robbers. They then spend the next few hours eating their hearts out much to the annoyance of the body lying below.

(Mark was fatally wounded by a single bullet in his shoulder during an early patrol and ambush on 9 May. He commanded his men back to safety, and lost consciousness from bleeding within an hour. He never regained consciousness).
© Margaret Evison 2009

LT. EVISON’S JOURNAL


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 07/14/2009 at 10:07 AM   
Filed Under: • HeroesUKWar-Stories •  
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