Reference back to my economics post. Then consider this headline“Pentagon to Reconsider Landing Chinooks in Battle Zones”.
Two Pentagon officials told McClatchy Newspapers on Monday that an investigation into the helicopter crash that killed 30 American troops would probe whether it’s a mistake to send the large, lumbering Chinook helicopter into a Taliban firefight, where it’s a target for insurgents.
This is an example of the lack of cojones that we face in the Pentagon right now. Look at the history of helicopter use in the 20th and 21rst Century. Then take a look at the evolution of medium and heavy lift helos. They are slow and big, and great for moving troops in an air assault on uncontested positions, or to a nearby staging area. These are not the Huey’s of Vietnam that were relatively small and that you could off load in a low hover in mere seconds. 47’s and 53’s are big birds and it can take a long (in combat terms) amount of time to unass everyone from those birds either at a landing or at a fast rope.
The theater commander should have already dictated that the only time you are going to but big birds into combat is in an uncontested lz. If the need is to put it into a hot zone, that request and approval needs to be at the appropriate leadership level. If I am the commander of the QRF, and I am the one to make that call knowing that the insertion point is hot I damn well better be putting some Apaches, Cobras, or A-10s into that package to provide fire suppression. AND I would rather put the troops into multiple Blackhawks than into a 47.
The Chinook is a big, slow aircraft. It is not an assault ship. Why is it necessary to convene an investigation to dictate common sense? If you are going into harm’s way you are going to lose lives and equipment. It is part of the calculus of hostilities. You can use common sense to adjust your tactical mission approach, and strategic policies to try and minimize the losses.
The point, back to the point…. a combat loss does not, and should not require an investigation. Write the AAR. Let the leadership make any strategic or tactical doctrine change that is dictated at the theater level. There is no reason to spend $500,000 (my number) to investigate this tragic incident. Give the investigators a rifle, and put them to use.