Monday, May 01, 2006

In the Sandbox...

What ‘Stand and Fight’ Means

"I believe the Army Training and Doctrine Command’s policy that “soldiers will stand and fight instead of shooting and pressing on when their convoys are attacked” is misunderstood. From the personnel quoted in the article and those who wrote to Stars and Stripes, there appears to be a misrepresentation of how convoys are conducted downrange. Combat patrols always have — and always will — come down to leadership.

As a platoon leader in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom II, my unit’s standard operating procedure for any mission was to aggressively engage the enemy when the situation on the ground made sense to do so. When possible, every effort was made to pursue anti-Iraqi forces to the fullest extent. Doing nothing takes no insurgents off the streets, makes the convoy behind you just as susceptible to attack and through passivity encourages the enemy to try new and bolder techniques. As the article implied, always running sends the wrong message.

It would be equally foolish to “stand and fight” during every enemy engagement. Variables such as soldier experience, convoy composition and familiarity with the area of operations all factor into a leader’s decision to stand and fight or break contact.

No matter what a leader decides, applying a “cookie cutter” policy to a tactical situation is not the right answer. As with all things in combat, commanders, platoon leaders and noncommissioned officers should decide how, when and if soldiers fight. To dedicate less would be irresponsible."

-1st Lt. Tom Lagatol, Bamberg, German (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...girls of the USAF...
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