Did bad decisions in DC kill troops on the ground in Afghanistan?

If we had a commander-in-chief who had served in the military, the following story would mean more than just a headline. According to a report by NBCnews.com, five U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan may have been the victims of a friendly-fire incident.The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said five of its servicemen had died Monday during a security operation in southern Afghanistan when their unit came in contact with enemy forces. “Tragically, there is the possibility that fratricide may have been involved,” ISAF said in a statement. “The incident is under investigation.”

The soldiers were members of U.S. special forces working with the Afghan military and were conducting security sweeps on polling sites in advance of this weekend’s run-off for the Afghan presidential election when they came under ferocious attack from Taliban forces. Yes, the same Taliban forces who just got back their five senior leaders.

When the Special Forces group came under attack, they called in for close air support. The Americans called in an airstrike amid fierce fighting and, according to U.S. officials, the B-1 Stealth Bomber strike somehow went terribly awry.

I know, you’re all saying, so what West?

Here is the so what. I spent my 22-year career in the Army as a Field Artillery Officer assigned to infantry units as a Fire Support Officer, meaning I coordinated mortar, artillery, rocket, attack helicopter, and close air support for ground maneuver operations.

I can testify that a B-1 stealth bomber is not the preferred weapon of choice for close air support basically because of the circular error probable (CEP) considerations for the munitions it drops. Close air support is better done with an aerial weapons platform that can come in low over the shoulder of the friendly forces, and with the assistance of colored smoke, direct its munitions directly on the enemy.

Such is the mission of the A-10 Warthog aircraft, the preeminent weapon of choice for close air support, or an AV-8B Harrier, used by the U.S. Marine Corps.

But if you recall, it was U.S. Secretary of Defense Hagel who announced that not only would he take the Army to pre-World War II levels, he would also retire the A-10 aircraft. (Honestly, I prefer the A-10 rather than waiting for the development of the F-35 system. We could use service life extension programs (SLEP) to maintain this great close air attack platform).

Instead, we have five dead U.S. Special Operators because they did not have the appropriate close air support tool. This is why having more veterans of this current battlefield in office is important. If I were Secretary of Defense, I would transfer all A-10s to the U.S. Army where they can be better utilized and appreciated.

As well, I would develop more AC-130 Specter gunships which would be the Special Operations close air support weapon of choice and immediately available. We witnessed the results of an inappropriate response to a request for AC-130 gunship support during the Battle of Mogadishu during the Clinton administration.

My sincere condolences go out to the families of these fallen warriors. This did not have to happen, and it would not have if we had lions leading lions — not lambs.

159 COMMENTS

    • I love Allen West – but this article is just awful – completely incorrect on so many levels.

      First and most obvious – there hasn’t been a “stealth bomber” over Afghanistan in a decade. That’s the B-2. Semantics of mixing up a -1 and -2 aside, he should know better than to think any stealth bombers are flying from Whiteman AFB in Missouri to bomb Taliban in 2014.

      The
      JDAM dropped by the B-1 has a MUCH smaller(more accurate) CEP than the
      A-10’s cannon. A JDAM dropped by the A-10 would have landed in the same
      place as the JDAM dropped by the B-1.

      There are many good reasons to keep the A-10 in service – this incident has absolutely nothing to do with any of them.

  1. So when will the impeachment hearing be scheduled? Excuse the sarcasm, but I don’t see the Congress all worked up to solve the problems that this administration has created. Like Clint Eastwood stated in one of his movies, “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

  2. Techically the B-1 is not a stealth aircraft, but I agree that this was a job for the A-10. One of the best close air support aicraft ever.

    • Have you ever seen an F4 turned loose on a mountain? Or an AC47 with all 3 miniguns going? How about an A4E from 1945. Talk about down and dirty; we saw A4s flying up our river at 100 feet, in formation, inverted, after a support mission. With Vietnamese pilots yet. This was right around Tet ’68.

      • Nope, wasn’t born yet. The F-4 was always one of My favs as a kid. That must have been a real sight though. I thank you for you service , sir.

  3. A “B-ONE” is not CAS, never was and this incident shows, never can be. We need to keep the “Uglies” and develop the next generation. CAS belongs to the LOW and SLOW with heavy armor, not the supersonic “money pits”

    Really, the USAF higher ups, the fighter mafia and the bomber mafia, have no understanding of CAS missions!

  4. I don’t agree with this Admisnistation Ither Sentor West.. It seems he has done everything earthly possible to put our troops in harms way…Not only that but to fire the top brass as well….So he can weasel out of any responsibility…As General Patton would call this president….He would call hims “A yellow Belly Coward.!” Because he didn’t even bother to help our vets but let them die at a rate of 20 a day…He didn’t even go and check on them…He doesn’t give A flying Rats Ass!!! He is their to reek as much trouble as possible on us…. I think this spells the time of the end and a time of trouble such as their never was since their was a nation…West…. You keep letting our nation slip away and the result will be what happened to Jeruslam….Totally Misery…. This is weighting in the wings…and not far behind!!!! In other words Amageddon is knocking on your door…This man has already torn down the people and the troops and dissassemebled our military…. Are you blind??? Can you not see we are headed for the most awful times ever??? Do you not care…… ?? Its still knocking on your door..!!! Your it get her done…Or you have blood on your hands…That’s simple

    • Seanator West…Everything oboma has done is to tear our military apart…He dose not want it to work…He dose not care if you cannot reassemble it to work properly… He has purposely put us in the hands of the enemy… we are the target… and you will sit back and let him take down what our men an women died for all of their lives??? This doesn’t make séance Seantor West… You know he is purposefully making our military weak or not even exist…

  5. Five dead patriotic American servicemen because our incompetent president and Hagel are both clueless, hate the military and continue to do everything possible to continue the carnage of our military every way possible!

  6. What about Pat Tillman? He died in friendly fire in 4/04. The Bush admin lied and covered his death for the bad PR. It wasn’t until an investigative reporter from WP told Tillman’s family and they came forward. Where was your outrage, West? You were in the military 2004.

      • And?? It’s reveliant to this story. This Isn’t the first time it’s happened . Nobody blames the president. Seems, in West’s world , lwhen things go wrong in the war, it!’s Obama’s fault . When go right, like Obama taking credit for Ben Laden , it’s bad.

  7. Were our Spec Ops being over run and they called in Close Air Support knowing full well they were to close to the target? Were they warned by the aircrew but they insisted the mission proceed? It’s happened before. We won’t know until or unless the air to ground tapes get released. Yes they wrong tool (aircraft) might have been used and the A-10 or AC-130 would have been preferable, but you can’t pick and chose with only minutes to decide. God be with the families of these men and with the aircrew that was involved.

  8. I remember when they announced they were cutting the A-10 and I thought that was incredibly stupid… it was a great tank killer for conventional war and a versatile and fast close air support platform for unconventional and conventional war.
    It was one of the few offensive aircraft in our arsenal that was built to fight on large conventional battlefields that proved itself just as useful on smaller unconventional ones.

    There were many programs and systems that were wasteful or obsolete that were appropriately cut from the budget.
    The A-10 was not one of them.

  9. The B1B Lancer (not to be confused with the B2 Spirit Stealth Bomber) has been used before supporting ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I agree the A-10 would be safer and more effective, but I guess there was a B1B available and speed was important. It’s hard to second guess the situation from reading about it on the web thousands of miles away. Friendly fire incidents are the worst thing that can happen in a battle. My prayers go out to those brave men and their families.

    • In Iraq, altitude isn’t as much of a factor in most locations. Punching in the wrong altitude in Iraq will affect the point of impact by only a few meters in most places….which is forgiving by comparison. In all cases, altitude on GPS bombs in critically important, but things are less forgiving in Afghanistan where there are rapid elevation changes in terrain and many places are thousands of feet above sea level. This could change the impact location by hundreds of meters….sometimes right on the friendlies.

      • again, they elevate and go for 90 degree impact angles to alleviate the terrain elevation error… again passed from the ground party and backed up with DTED. PS, altitude error on any bomb will cause miss distance.

  10. I doubt a B-1 in a CAS role is dropping straight gravity bombs…more likely GPS-guided JDAMS or some sort of laser-guided munitions. They’re generally very accurate using these technologies. So the assertion that the CEP for a B-1 is not suited for CAS isn’t necessarily correct these days–a lot has changed since we were at CGSC Allen! Frat kills from the air are more likely to be caused by bungling coordinates in a CAS request or misidentification of targets on the battlefield than by misses due to drops from a distance. Today I’d take a stick of GBU-54 JDAMs from a B-1 on a *properly-coordinated* danger-close target over Mk-82 gravity bombs from an A-10 operating in the weeds.

    • The difference here is Situational Awareness and ability to apply lethality in a surgical manner. True, GPS levels the field somewhat….but there is no substitute for an asset that is highly trained in the role of CAS and has the ability to scale munitions to the situation.
      A B1 at 60,000ft with an IR sensor, JOG map and GPS bombs is no substitute for a low-flying A-10 that can more easily assess an evolving battlefield cross-check the JTAC on the ground. Besides, not only does the A-10 have the same smart-munition capabilities, but it also has the option of 20mm for ‘danger close.’

      • B1’s can barely get above 24,000 feet… the SA is coming from the ground party passing info! Scaling the munitions??? The A-10 can’t magically change it’s loadout… the B1 does have that capability but is carrying 82’s with a tail kit. The sensors are IR and EO and a JOG or any other chart can only get you in the ball park! Talk-Ons and coordinate passing are the norm. Danger Close is up to the ground party and there ROE varies with the munition, not that it is a 30mm gun! I am not knocking the A10, love it but get your facts straight.

      • Danger close is up to the pilot. The decision to drop is ultimately the pilots, jtacs can clear a drop, but if a pilot doesnt agree he doesnt have to drop,. Pilots call always.

      • true, always up to the aircraft to drop on DC but the ground party approves and passes initials… I’m not trying to be a jerk but the B1 is quite capable, have a nice evening

      • well I see you have elaborated… it’s not magic and what I said was that the B1 is totally capable of carrying mixed loads but was carrying only 500 pounders. Yes a Mk-82 is 500 pounds of luck at times but when that MK82 is a GBU-38 or a lazer JDAM, it becomes quite accurate. I am not disputing the fact that a gun pass is a good thing or that a maverick has an “ok” seeker…

        Got my facts straight, trust me 🙂

  11. It’s unbelievable they are retiring the A-10’s. I suppose by now it should be no surprise what this administration does.

  12. The status of the A-10 is utterly irrelevant to what happened here. You utterly failed to make a nexus between this incident and any DC politics or to the proposed retirement of the A-10.

    Any decisions on the A-10 (or any program) are not made by the Secretary of Defense in isolation: they are discussed at length by Dept. of Defense staff. No doubt there is healthy debate about this program, with the decision not being simple. It is not Hagel issuing an edict that the DoD is totally opposing.

    As for defense reductions, it is funny: conservatives call for deep cuts in government spending but scream if any cuts for defense (one of our largest expenditures) are proposed. Quit your hypocrisy.

    • The enemy is ever evolving. WTF should our military funding decreased?

      To take a phrase from your own idiotic lib playbook- You must WANT our soldiers to die. No?

      • Because the enemy is ever evolving does not justify never reducing military spending. Sorry, you fail to support your position.
        As for your second premise, that I must want our soldiers to die, again, is made with no support. Utterly baseless rhetoric. I want our soldiers to have the tools they need to do the job as safely as they can. I do not, however, want to spend money on paying for soldiers or weapons systems we don’t need. How much do we need? That is a broad question. But, after each war, we reduced defense spending. Why not now?

      • You like to use “utterly” a lot…doesn’t make you sound any smarter, unless you really have something to back it up….like experience anywhere close to Allen West…?

      • I used it ONE time. That is not a lot. You use the fallacy of authority: that merely because someone worked in a field that their claims are above reproach. His claims here are that DC politics caused the deaths, but he did not establish a nexus between his claim and the factors at work here. This is not only my conclusion, but the conclusion of a colonel I discussed this matter with.

      • I counted at least 3 times…
        James • 10 hours ago

        The status of the A-10 is utterly irrelevant to what happened here. You utterly failed to make a nexus between this incident and any DC politics or to the proposed retirement of the A-10.

        James BCRUNK • 9 hours ago

        Because the enemy is ever evolving does not justify never reducing military spending. Sorry, you fail to support your position.
        As for your second premise, that I must want our soldiers to die, again, is made with no support. Utterly baseless rhetoric.

      • If the military is going to discontinue the A-10, IN THE FUTURE, is irrelevant to any discussion of what happened in this event.

      • 1. The war isn’t over
        2. This isn’t the SALVATION Army we’re talking about. As long as we have troops in a hot zone, full funding should never be debatable.
        -That is, unless you don’t care about our troops being killed?

        I’ll leave an out for you- You don’t have to agree with the mission to support the men & women fighting it. But if you wish to direct funding away from them, consider yourself part of the enemy.

      • I agree the war is not over. The issue is not funding for now but for down the road. Inferential leaps on your part. Sorry. Consider me part of the enemy? Boy, you are incredible.

    • Allen West – 1, James – big fat ZERO. You are debating Allen West? PULLLEEEZE. What is your rank in the Army?

      • I don’t need to be in the Army to recognize fallacious rhetoric. You are adding to that fallacious reasoning: that because I was not in the Army, I am ignorant. You completely failed to say how it is I am wrong. And I am always happy to debate West: I will win.

      • James, as we say in the law..”Res Ipsa Loquitur ” the act speaks for itself. Your opinion. . your ignorance.

      • You win the idiot prize of the day congratulations. You like all the liberal idiots before you, have not made any headway in making any relevant points. You as you say are full of fallacious rhetoric.

      • I attack you because you pretend to know what you are talking about, but really have no clue. Unless you are a weapons expert, which you are obviously not, You have the audacity to Tell an expert,(which west is) what’s right and wrong! then on top of that you insult him by saying he is a hypocrite when it is you who are. You take the talking points you heard either on the Main Stream Media or some liberal rag. You run with it and you make yourself look stupid, so again congratulations on making a fool of yourself

      • If you read my comments carefully, you would notice that I do not debate weaponry here. What I challenge is his conclusions that the PROPOSAL to discontinue the A-10, IN THE FUTURE, caused these deaths. Sorry, there is no connection between those two issues. The A-10 was available then. Why it was not used will likely be investigated, but any proposals to discontinue it in the future were not a reason it was not used. (If he had argued that discontinuing the A-10 was wrong, using this as an example of what could happen in the future, that would be a valid argument)

        His argument conflates two issues (the proposal to discontinue the A-10 and the choice of weapons platforms here) in an effort to confuse the reader into thinking this was Obama’s fault. Sorry, an astute reader, a logical thinker, would see that he failed to make his case.

        Why an A-10 was not used awaits a deeper investigation (which is ongoing) by people with current knowledge of military tactics. Such an investigation takes months – not a few hours.

        By your argument, anyone who is not a health insurer or healthcare provider should have no input into discussions about health insurance or those who are not climatologists should have no input into the issue of global warming. While I am not an expert in those matter, I can synthesize opinions of other experts to make informed decisions.

      • If you are confused between the issues that is your personal problem not anyone else’s and to blame, LTC West for your lack of comprehension is unconscionable

      • I am not confused at all: but I can recognize a clear obfuscation here. The issue of what the Obama administration wants to do in the future with the A-10 is irrelevant to the issue of what happened here. He is trying to confuse his followers – and is doing a great job of it. I, however, can recognize a red herring when I see one.

      • Anyone can “debate” anyone who are not responding. Col. West is not on the comments page. If you “tried ” to debate him in person, you would go crying to mommy when he got done with you!

      • I would be happy to debate him in any forum. I have no fear of him. That he is not on this comments page is of his choosing – or, could it be because he fears me? He fears that I make reasoned arguments?

    • This outrageous incident shows the idiocy of the current administration; a B-1 is not a suitable substitute for an A-10 in a CAS mission, but that’s what the NObama bunch are shooting for with their military defense cutbacks. Instead of funding defense as it should be funded, the libtards want to keep the entitlements fully funded and ever expanding purely for political reasons. Get this whole bunch of know-nothings out of power now!

      • The issue here is not whether the B-1B is a suitable replacement for the A-10, but whether the proposal to discontinue the A-10 was a factor in these deaths.
        I think the proposal is wrong – I think the A-10 is a fabulous system. This is, however, not the first time it has been slated for discontinuance. Those proposals did not come from Obama or Hagel, but from the DoD. This is a worthwhile debate. Reasoned minds in the DoD say it is time to shut it down; my current thinking is to keep it. I approach this with an open mind.

    • The dept of defense staff so as they are told. They were told by barry to get rid of the A-10, why because it is the most dangerous weapon against the enemy. It is the most feared weapons platform in the theater. The mere sound of the plane brings fear to the terrorists. B-1’s while they are a formidable weapon cannot do danger close ground support. They have laser guided munitions, but if they are not on the B-1 at the time then the plane is not conducive to close support. Funny you libs are always for cutting defense, but when something goes wrong because you cut the wrong weapon, you are the first to point out it is someone elses’s fault.
      Your hypocrisy is well noted

      • Can you provide any evidence that Obama wanted to get rid of the A-10, particularly “because” it was the most dangerous weapon against the enemy? Or, are you making that up? I find it hard to believe that he had any feelings, one way or another, over what weapons systems the military uses. Absent some proof, I would have to say you are making this up. I am not saying what is at fault here. It is funny that West jumps to conclusions so quickly, long before the DoD completed any investigations.

      • Must you point out your obvious bias for barry? Please, barry has nothing but disdain for our military and veterans. He despises our presence on the world stage. He dismantles our military at every turn and this is no different. If you want to keep the enemy alive you get rid of your most effective weapons first. The Tomahawk Cruise Missiles and the A-10! He can sugar coat it anyway he chooses as he does not want what he is doing as being obvious. Unfortunately for him It is Obvious.
        You do know that he is a supporter of the muslim brotherhood. He gives Al Qaeda anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft weapons and billions of dollars. All the while cutting spending on our own military and building up “HIS OWN DHS ARMY”. Sending Military arms and equipment to police departments all over the country, as well as building up swat teams for The Bureau of land management, the IRS, The forestry police. The parks dept. None of those departments need riot or swat equipment.
        What’s he doing building up his only little army to stay in power after he declares martial law?
        All you have to do is follow his behaviors to know what he is up to.
        Find out how many terrorists have had dinner with him at the White House. Upwards of thirty high level Terrorists have already
        Not to mention, muslim brotherhood men he has appointed to various high positions in the DHS the State Dept. and in the White house. If that doesn’t worry you? it should

      • My bias is not for Obama, but for the truth and reasoned arguments. I oppose the proposal to discontinue the A-10 (though I leave my mind open as to reasons it should be discontinued).

      • The truth is you need to open your eyes and mind. The A-10 is the most deadly air assault platform in the history of avation. That includes the P-47 thunderbolt or the p-51b mustang

      • Maybe you should read a little more carefully before you comment: I SUPPORT the A-10. I do not see why they should discontinue it, but I am open to arguments from the DoD why they want to.

      • Maybe you should stop your blathering. They are no good reasons for killing the A-10’s None.
        If they upgrade a B-52 which is a 60 year old aircraft, they can upgrade the A-10 especially if the F35 costs are through the roof. You also changed the point of your discussion. Just because any discussion of funding takes place in the pentagon does not mean the president didn’t give them a directive to follow. If they are told by barry to ground and retire them, then they just find a reason to aqueous and do what they are told.

      • I have not changed my point of discussion: I was addressing your continuing erroneous belief that I oppose the A-10. I completely support the A-10, always have (since its development). IF the DoD can provide good arguments to discontinue it, then I might be convinced. I have seen no arguments, yet, so cannot say. Continuance of programs is not made by the president, but by Congress, who funds these programs – or not. Discussions of cutting the A-10 started when George H. W. Bush was president.
        There is no evidence that Obama wants to cut the A-10. Programs are started and stopped for many reasons, most for reasons that a president never gets involved in. The A-10 is, essentially, a minor factor: it is not a policy issue that involves the president.

      • See we differ, you can have your mind changed by nefarious reasons. I can’t be. I know solid concrete reasons it should be continued. You subject yourself to the ability to be lied to and hood winked.

        This i just found you will be very happy. the troops won’t be.

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/10/us-usa-defense-warthog-idUSKBN0EL1T920140610

        Seems the house of representatives side with you on cutting the heart out of close air support.
        It’s a shame really they just wrote death sentences for our troops. I hope you’re happy

      • The A10 does what it does superbly. The airframe is supposed to last through 2028 if properly cared for. The B1 was supposed to be a high speed-high altitude strategic bomber, and the B1B is just the opposite; but it is a useful weapon nontheless. This fratracide episode was supposedly due to a map error, not an aircraft problem.

      • B-1 had a low altitude penetration mission from day one. I worked for the company, Texas instruments, that made the terrain following radar system for it. Then when the B-1B came along after Carter canceled the A, the radar was changed to an electronically steerable array, albeit a passive one, by Westinghouse. The terrain following control law is also completely different in the B. IIRC, the radar is being or has been replaced by an active element ESA.

  13. Mr. West is spot on………couldn’t believe what I was seeing when they used a B1 for ground support………..long live the A10…………

  14. Very sad. The A-10 is bought and paid for. I understand that the Air Force is concerned with maintenance costs. Oddly enough, private industry is rebuilding older aircraft at discounted costs. (see the Hawker 400A rebuild by Nextant http://www.nextantaerospace.com/) I imagine the DOD could spend a relatively small investment to keep this reliable bird in operation.

  15. Sir,
    normally I agree with your posts however, I disagree with your conclusion that the B-1 Bomber was not suitable for the mission. I know and you as well that SOF doesnt do anything without some sort of CAS platform. There is alot of information still out there that needs to be compiled in the investigation and saying the B-1 is not the right platform at this time is a hasty statment. I am a 13FL7 which means i’m JFO qualified and I also carry the 5U ASI as well. The 1972 request that goes up the channels and CONOP for the mission specifically requests certain pay loads. With that being said after the Airforce did its weaponeering they decided it was the best platform to deliver said munitions. Also, the Soldiers on the ground have the equipment whether the Bomb needs to be lased or the aircraft has LAT/LONG or MGRS capability. I will not go to any more detail than that. It also does not make any sense that a B-1 would drop any MK- bombs and I’ll leave it at that as well. Basically sounds like to me that the bomb malfunctioned or there was operator error that could have occured on the ground or off of any delivery platform used. Lastly, your use of CEP was correct by definition (delivery platform error) and I do agree that type one control is prefered however the B-1’s CEP is no different than any other AirCraft if not better and is equiped with the latest Pod.

    • Little premature to say the AF did that detailed of a study. Its possible the B1 came as an available and not preplanned support; and thus its ordnance load may not have been best suited for the mission. Depending the the length of the mission its possible their preplanned didnt stay. Given the ROEs an A10 on a run might have been better suited depending on the profile. Not disputing your thoughts, but you did go down the same road he did by presuming the B1 was originally tasked to this mission.

      • Kristopher Wiley is spot on… The B1 took off with the exact load and nothing in the releases over there are pre-planned. The mission is to stand ready to support troops in contact and get to them fast which the B-1 can (even when halfway across the AOR). They can loiter for hours and then some with AR. Heavies have been providing support over there for more than 10 years and do it damn well.

      • What are you even trying to say? Either edit your comment or make a new one. Either it was a preplanned strike with an exact load, or it wasnt preplanned and had a generic load. It cant be both. And obviously you have never heard of a CAS stack or ato lines for gs missions. Your comment makes zero sense.

      • you are correct, it was not pre-planned and the load was that which has the least CDE that the B1 can carry. So, a TIC happens and the support aircraft is sent to make contact, They pass a modified 9 line which has nothing to do with the ATO. My comment makes zero sense to you for good reason “obviously”.

      • Every a/c that lifts off is on the ato, so yes it makes absolute sense to talk ato regarding this mission. The question is whether this B1 was on the ato iso this mission or was a gs ato line with a generic load. It is absolutely possible for a raid like this to have ato missions in support. My whole point was that, ie, essentially saying the same thing you are except you dont realize you disagree with wileuy. His post implies this a/c was on the ato in ds. I doubt it was, it was probably a gs cas stack a/c. Which means it wasnt loaded out specifically with thatmission in mind, ie the ordnance to target study wasnt done to the degree wiley implies.

      • It most certainly not stealth the B1 bomber. You are correct the B2 Spirit is the stealth aircraft this article threw me off I used to maintain structures and coatings on the B2 Spirit.

  16. And how many experienced Army Generals were fired by this crew in the White House???What else are they doing to our Army??…

  17. B1 = Lancer B2 = Stealth. The B1-B was redesigned for nap of the earth penetration instead of higher speeds at higher altitude. It was also given some stealth capabilities head on.

    • Not quite. The B-1A could do terrain following/nap of the earth, as well. It used a different system/radar/algorithm, borrowed from the F/FB-111, but that was never intended as the production system. The B-1B was redesigned to be more stealthy, Modifying the air intlets slowed it down, but made it harder to detect.

  18. You are so right Colonel West ! Why is this a special ops operation ? Where is the 10 th Mountain division? Why do 7 spec ops fight 70 Taliban ? Where are the Apaches and Wart Hogs ? This is insane’

      • I take it he’s just another Liberal and wouldn’t recognize a fact if it bit him on the arse……

      • remember liberals base their policies on what makes them feel good, not on fact or reason, which is why they want to suppress the opinions that disagree with them, like obama-boy wants to shut down Fox News and talk radio, because those opinions make them feel bad

    • Yeah. Bad decisions made all during the Clinton years as we were attacked repeatedly with no response….while Boppin’ Bill was too busy screwing all his floozies. Apologies to all the floozy victims of Clinton’s abuse.

    • Lemme see if I got this right… Bush is in office for 8 months and 9/11 is his fault. Obama is in office for FIVE YEARS and you are still blaming Bush for nearly everything that, in your psychotic haze, Obama has to “clean up”.

      • nothing is the fault of obama-boy. He is stupid arse according to all of his supporters.

    • Earl Lee, you really are a product of the public school system. There have been countles articles like that,

  19. The instant you identified the air support as a B-1 I knew it was going south. In my 11 years as a USAF engineer, and my wife’s 20+ as a F-15 avionics chief, we can never remember having a big bomber used for close are support when it called for an A-10. Not even in mistake-riddled Viet Nam.

  20. I have to say, this is the most poorly written and full-of-holes argument I’ve seen in a long time. First off Allen West, there is no-such-thing as a B-1 Stealth Bomber. How in the hell can you claim to be an expert in military matters when you don’t even know that? The plane in question is the B-1 lancer, a supersonic bomber that is routinely used in Afghanistan as a tactical airstriker. There is nothing at all wrong with using the B-1 in this manner, it is used all the time for reasons such as this, and the decision would have never ever reached Washington D.C. and much less the President’s desk.Smarten up, please.

    • Allen West thinks that if he leaves his headlights on overnight and the car won’t start the next morning, it’s Obama’s fault.

      • Hey Calvin, how long before you progressives finally wake up and admit the fact that President Obama is an incompetent empty suit who has had no business being in the position he’s in. Had he been “vetted” on the same level as the Republicans, his 2008 presidential campaign would be a distant memory today and our nation wouldn’t be an international laughingstock.

      • Wow, there’s still some delusional idiots who think that Obama wasn’t “vetted”. Amazing.

      • Fine. I’ll not call you any names. Now would you care to explain your assertion that Obama wasn’t “vetted”?

      • Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Tony Rezko, ties to Acorn, why won’t he release his college transcripts,…

      • So you were in a coma during the 2008 campaign, then? That’s the only reason I can think of that you’d be unaware that the media extensively covered Obama’s connection to those people.

        And really, his college transcripts? No president in history has released his college transcripts. Why is it that you suddenly care about Obama’s?

      • “Briefly”? I seem to recall a full week during which news coverage was nothing but wall-to-wall Jeremiah Wright. You just can’t get over the fact that the American people did not care about such things.

      • What about them? All of it was covered more than sufficiently for the voters to know about it.

      • Calvinius also hates persons with disabilities as evidenced by his disability hate speech.

    • The B-1 Lancer is NOT as stealthy as the B-2, but it is still very stealthy. Army LTC West’s misidentification of an Air Force aircraft does not make the entire article wrong. While the B-1 has been used for Close Air Support in the past, in this instance (info from other articles) indicated that these ground forces needed VERY Close Air Support. The B-1 dropping a JDAM from 20,000 feet, while moving at 400kts, is not as accurate as an A-10 dropping “dumb” bombs from 500 feet, while doing 200kts!¶

      That is the point that LTC West was trying to make. If we get rid of the aircraft that perform this job so well, we are telling our troops, “Expect this to happen again.”¶

      And do not even try to use the argument that it is an old aircraft, because the current B-52H’s came off the assembly line 10 years before the first A-10. Also, the F-15, F-16, and the A-10 were all designed in the 1970’s. Hagel did not suggest retiring the F-15’s and F-16’s, too.

      • Not to disagree with your premise but F15s,F16s and A10s were all designed in the 60s, they all began maufacture in the 70s. I was F4 maintainer Aug 68-Jul 70 C130 maintainer Feb 72-Sep 82 A10 maintainer Apr 85-May 2001

    • What else do you call a bomber coated in radar absorbing materials with 1/50 of its proper radar cross section with heat-signature reducing design that flies 50 feet above the treeline at night and below radar? Nope, you retards are right – no stealth technology on the B1, no sir.

  21. I concur, Colonel! A B1 Bomber is a STRATEGIC AIRCRAFT, built to penetrate Soviet airspace and drop hydrogen bombs, or fire cruise missiles. The Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt is the premier CLOSE AIR SUPPORT plane in the world! It is made to protect ground forces. Barry’s Marxist minions have been out to degrade or destroy our military from Day One.

  22. Probably was the taliban that killed them and this is the story the bam bam is putting out. After all they have enough mud in their face after releasing the killers. You wait, this will be another Benghazi when and if we get the real facts.

      • No it isn’t the “Stealth bomber is the B2 spirit. The B1B Lancer is a variable geometry fast attack bomber which has little to none stealth characteristics

      • I agree with what you said, however, it seems to me I heard or read, admittedly a long time ago, that the Lancer while not “stealthy” was designed to have a low profile cross section to radar visibility. But in regard to the matter at hand, Col. West is correct, the optimum choices, for that situation would have been an A-10 or the AC-130 or an Apache. Point is, who the hell ordered a bomber for close air support? I’ve never been in the military and don’t claim to be an expert but that doesn’t even make sense to me.

    • I would guess he meant “B2”, which is a legitimate mistake, more than likely a typo, but at any rate, his assessment is still valid. IMHO anyway…

      • No, the bomber was a B1 according to news reports. The word “stealth” does not belong here.

      • Yeah I’ve seen that since my initial response, but as already been pointed out, more than likely it was a slight mistake by Mr West, and in no way justifies anyone dismissing the point he’s making. I know myself personally I was pretty dismayed to see them doing away with A10, that was by far, a very impressive, infantryman’s best friend.

  23. well al qudea captured at least one Apache helicopter today in Iraq , thats just what we need ! time to hang this bastard for treason and be done with it

  24. A-10 or choppers would be my choices…… But having to depend on artillary or who ever, you need good co-ordinces given…… and some times that doesn’t help….. More than once in Viet Nam the walked thru us to get the bad guys even when the location was spot on…. It happens more than it should…… Course my experience is dated, but 3 tours as Ranger working with locals ( Moung and Montanyards) I learned a lot bout that…..

  25. Our so-called Secretary of Defense has only one interest, and that is defending Obama’s agenda.

    That’s why he was chosen.

  26. Boy the trolls are out this morning! The B 1- B was designed to be stealthier than any previous bomber but was not named “Stealth Bomber”. For you morons to pick this as a critique of Col. West’s article is infantile and petty. The reason this happened is because the loon in the WH has removed most of the combat aircraft in Afghanistan and this is the only plane available on short notice. It was never designed for close air support but then no one in the obama administration has any experience with or in the military. To them a plane is a plane and a bomb is a bomb. I was a Marine F-4 fighter pilot in Vietnam and the close air support aircraft of choice was the propeller driven Sky Raider or A-4 Skyhawk. Absolutely NO ONE wanted to look up and see B 52’s overhead! The B-1 uses GPS guided bombs but even with that system the margin for error is huge when your exact GPS coordinates are very hard to define.

    • Thanks for your service Rudy. The Phantom has always been one of my favorite planes. What did you think of the F-4? I’ve heard some guys loved it and others not so much. What variant did you fly?

      • The Marines had the F-4B which was a very early version of the plane. I loved its ability to get me home no matter what but it was not designed to be an air to ground A/C when it first came out. We, the Marine Corps (pronounced core) had to put it through a lot of trial and error to get it to be a bomber. Even then it was not the most accurate in the battle because our bomb sight was just a simple glass and pipper thing that was not much more than a fixed iron sight . We could carry more than a B 17 bomber in WWII could carry but accuracy was not that good. It was a great plane for a 22 year old to be able to fly!

      • Cool. The early versions weren’t even armed with a gun were they? It was a fighter but was relying on missle technology if I remember correctly. I think it wasn’t until about the D or E variants that they put in a gun? And that’s because the pilots were demanding it. Again, if I recall correctly.
        I used to work with a former Marine F-4 mechanic that was in Viet Nam and he told that they were trying to get him to re-up and he said he’d only sign the papers at 50,000 ft in an F-4. They strapped him in the back seat and the rest is history.
        I’m assuming the pronunciation lesson was for the marxist trolls. My father was a Marine and some of my best friends served in the Corps.

      • The core comment was for obama/trolls who pronounced Corp as corpse. We had a 20 mm gatling gun that we carried on a centerline station but no internal gun. The F-4 was the “New” generation think that said that all future air combat would be fought many miles apart and a gun would not be required, Today’s new generation A/C all have guns because that is the last weapon for defense other than running away. No fighter pilot I ever knew thought that was a good defensive policy. As a note to your story about the mechanic, in our Marine squadron we would take those Marines who had performed their jobs well on fam F-4 flights. Many of them loved it but a few were happy to get back on the ground! More than one used their leather gloves required for all flights as barf bags.

      • Yeah, the external gun, I remember now. And you’d take people up and abuse them a little huh? And you’d be laughing all the way right? I would too. Flying never made me sick. I never got a pilots license but I’ve got several hundred hours on maintenance flights. Right side naturally. None of it was logged, just part of my job. Once I flew right seat on a reposition flight from JFK to LaGuardia. No passengers, just me and the crew. That was the craziest flight I ever took. And I’m pretty sure the statute of limitations has run out.

    • Too much misinformation and/or ignorance in these posts.

      “This is the only plane available on short notice.” Wrong. B-1s have been assigned CAS missions 24/7 for the last 10 years. Pick an hour of the day, any hour…and a B-1 is in the air over Afghanistan talking to JTACs.

      “The B-1 uses GPS guided bombs but even with that system the margin for error is huge when your exact GPS coordinates are very hard to define.” Kind of gobbledy gook there…coordinates are coordinates. No such thing as GPS coords. HOW they’re obtained and their accuracy is what matters. B-1 Sniper pod generates CAT II coords…meaning 20-50 feet. Not a huge margin of error. And a B-1, or any platform for that matter isn’t going to drop that close to friendlies unless the boots on the ground call “danger close” and sign off on the bomb. Period.

      Something happened. Obviously. And it’s tragic. But that’s no reason to see internet cowboys out in full for questioning a capability that they have very limited knowledge of.

      • How many GPS units have you had side by side? Ever have two that read the same? Have you ever worked with a FAC? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? When I worked with a FAC we used things like “See that big red barn? We are 50 meters South of it. Bomb anything North of it”. Or “See that small hilltop? We are on top of it. Drop anywhere but on top of the hill”? The FAC was on the ground with the unit being supported and I was looking through my bomb site not at 20,000 feet hoping that our GPS were the same that day. No such thing as GPS coordinates? What do you call Lat and Long?Your smug rigidity is what happens when we are not using the correct equipment for the job. Ask and soldier or Marine if he had rather see a close air support A/C,( A-10, F-16 or Apache gun ship), or a B-1 or B-2 at 20,000 feet and see what they say cowboy!

      • The only thing smug is you…you know not what you speak of. I’ve dropped dozens, say again, dozens of GBU 31’s and 38’s in support of troops from the B-1 while working with JTACs. Do you know what a JTAC is?

        You’re assuming we can’t see anything. We have a Pod with TV and IR capability. Is it color? No. Does it need to be? No.

        Lat and Long is lat and long, dumbo. It’s how they’re derived is what matters.

      • Why do you assume that what you do/did is the only way it can be done? A JTAC and a FAC/FO are the same thing but the difference is the closeness of the engagement. I have no idea what you are trying to say about lat/log but you are smart enough to realize that they are almost never the same from the ground to the air so there is the area of concern to the ground pounder. I had rather use a laser guided weapon than a GPS guided weapon any day. No one is disparaging your service but to come across as the only one who has any knowledge is a little over the top. IMHO.

      • I didn’t take any comments made as disparaging. My point was that people make assumptions about the B-1 operating in a CAS role without knowing all the facts. And to clear up the Lat/long issue…if I have a building that a JTAC derives coordinates using PSSOFF and I lase that same building using a Sniper Pod, his are more accurate (20 ft vice 40 feetish). Still very accurate regardless, and the weapon will hit those coords (CEP not withstanding). And I’m not disparaging the A-10 or Ac-130. They just aren’t the only ones taking care of business. Finally, for what it’s worth, the B-1 is getting Laser JDAM.

  27. The B1 Lancer is coated in randar-absorbing materials and has other heat dissipation technologies that give it 1/50 the radar profile of a B-52. This is information is all available on Wikipedia, and you people questioning the colonel on this are f*cking tards.

    • Go read wikipedia. It says right there it is not techically a stealth aircraft and I question whoever I want, Colonel or no.

      • You’re correct. I was an E&E troop in the Air Force, the B1 is never referred to as a stealth aircraft. I think it was just a typo and he’s confused with the B2. Simple mistake.

  28. It’s unlikely the SF guys didn’t have laser designation capabilities. “Spooky” at a few hundred feet would have dispersed the Taliban,and had it not, the 20 MM cannons wound have neutralized them. The accuracy of our laser guided weapons (like the 20 MM on the AC 130) is impressive, and could knock the ass off the enemy’s cigarette. What a waste of human life and talent.

      • Haha. Often the enemy scatters/retreats at even the sound of an AC 130 approaching. It is loud, lumbering and deadly. Seasoned Taliban know Spooky well and fear her deeply.

  29. B-1 is not the “stealth” bomber. However both B-1 and B-2 are inappropriate for COIN ops. Any multi role fighter (F-16, F-15, F/A-18), an A-10 or even an AC-130 would be more appropriate and probably cheaper

  30. I agree the A-10 is one hell of a CAS platform but the B-1 has an upgraded system as of early 2013 for CAS which has been theater proven throughout 2013, see this Air Force video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo5-_GmLl-Q

    In regards to who closed down the A-10 funding it was the House Appropriations committee comprised of 29 Republicans and 22 Democrats who voted on it along with the rest of the 2015 funding. As the committee stated it was a bipartisan bill and vote that got it through. Right now I think all the politicians are as bad as each other so I’m not taking political sides in this matter. The F-35 project is way over budget ($163 Billion) and the manufacturer Lockheed Martin has been spending lobbying money like it grows on trees to keep this platform alive, especially because it is an international multi-role platform that so many other countries military’s have committed to buy. You ask me our whole system of government is broken, it is no longer for the people its for the corporations!

  31. I have been saying this about obama-boy since the first time her perjured himself. His ROEs murder US military personnel.

  32. Lowly 13F20P here, but it would never, ever occur to me to try to support five guys with a B-1. The A-10 would be a fine choice, second only perhaps to the AC-130.

    I also disagree with the decision to retire the A-10, but for a reason unrelated to this particular case: despite all the squirming arguments and justifications to the contrary, it is mature and robust and there is NOTHING we have that replaces it.

  33. I had the same concern on hearing that the CAS aircraft was a B-1. I suspect the reason the B-1 is being used is something other than just the lack of A-10s or AC-130s, however.

    F-15s and F/A-18s both make better CAS platforms than a B-1, but we’ve drawn down our infrastructure so much, I’m not sure how realistic it is to operate either airframe over Afghanistan now. Without the dedicated gunships, the Eagles and Super Hornets are what we should revert to for CAS — unless the military has agreed to “make do” with the B-1 for logistic and footprint reasons.

    I’d like to think we’re not doing the latter. But we’re doing some pretty damn stupid things in Afghanistan. Have to stop now before I just get too torqued off at the waste of our troops’ 12-plus years of blood, toil, tears, and sweat.

    • Thank you for your service. I am no more qualified tyo run a military then elmer fudd, but I know what the A-10 can do and what it cannot do. The positives for the A-10 out weigh the negatives by a landslide amount. barry has won a victory for the islamists

  34. You commit troops without the proper equipment or support you will have deaths, The A-10 Warthog is the finest air to ground platform in our military. Hagel is a dumbass taking the heat now for the Bergdahl prisoner swap for Oliar in Chief. Time to leave Afghanistan because the leaders we have are totally inept.

  35. Mr. Hagel, please tell Barak to allow you to resign and appoint COLONEL WEST as SECRETARY OF DEFENSE ASAP.. IF YOU ARE A TRUE REPUBLICAN AND NOT A RINO YOU WOULD AGREE THIS WOULD BE A SMART MOVE.

  36. The B-1 or BONE has been flying CAS over Afghanistan since 2005 (non-stop) and this is the first incident…meanwhile F-15s, F-16s and F-18s have had numerous Civilian and Friendly Fire Mishaps. C’mon, really now an Army mortar/arty officer is our expert? The B-1 really makes a superb CAS platform, has SNIPER Targeting POD, 4 highly trained aircrew and can carry more weapons than a 4-ship of A-10s…and she can stay on-station for 16+ hrs. What? I can’t hear bull shit…so keep plugging away on the what an Army Arty officer or some other crazed lunatic thinks…but if you want to know the truth go to an expert…go ask a B-1 Pilot or WSO…go ask the hundreds of JTACS that have been working with these guys…they can fly in all weather, when was the last time an A-10 dropped bombs in the weather, in the mountains? It doesn’t happen…blah, blah, blah.

  37. All due respect Lt. Col West, much has changed since you retired in 2004. The B-1 has become one of the pre-eminent CAS platform in the theater because of our ability for long loiter times, flexibility in attack speeds/altitudes, and a large variety of weapons we carry. We (if you can’t tell, I’m a B-1 guy) can mix and match weapons/fuzes for what the ground commander wants.
    How we’re different from the A-10: The only thing we can’t do is strafe since we don’t have a gun. We can however provide some non-kinetic affects that the A-10 can’t, such as supersonic shows of force at low level – the A-10 doesn’t make a fraction of the noise we can produce, which has proven very effective in dissuading the enemy.
    Additionally, the A-10 is not all-weather capable like we are. What that means is that we will continue to stand overwatch, and provide air support even when the clouds roll in; unfortunately the A-10 can’t do that since they don’t have a radar to look through the weather. I think the ground commander might appreciate the fact that we won’t pick up our weapons and go home when they need us the most.
    I’ve talked to countless Joint Terminal Air Controllers (JTACs) who have conveyed great appreciation for the overhead support we provide……..maybe you should find a few to update your dated 2004 perspective.

    Couple other points….

    1st…(minor point) Although the B-1 was built around some first generation stealth technology, we are not a B-1 ‘stealth’ bomber. Perhaps you are as mis-informed, as much of our congressional leadership is on what exactly the B-1 is, or does. We are not the B-2 Stealth Bomber that many mistake us for.

    2nd…you said “I
    can testify that a B-1 stealth bomber is not the preferred weapon of choice for
    close air support basically because of the circular error probable (CEP)
    considerations for the munitions it drops”.
    Which weapons are you referring to? Perhaps, again, you are misinformed about what employ with our weapons system. Every weapon that we carry in support of OEF, is also carried on the A-10, though we can carry many more. That includes GPS and laser GPS munitions. If you know about CEP, and you really knew about these weapons, then you’d understand they have a very small CEP (i.e. within feet). Perhaps you are thinking that we still carry the vietnam era dumb bombs? If so, then again you are widely misinformed.
    One other thing we employ is a Sniper targeting pod, which, on a clear weather day, allows us to feed the pod picture to the ground party, in order to confirm our targeting is correct. This is actually more precise that using colored smoke.
    Sir, I appreciate your enthusiasm for the A-10. We in the B-1 also have the utmost respect for our A-10 bretheren and their mission. But please don’t use your misinformation about the B-1 to muddy the discussion of this unfortunate incident, or to advance a political cause in saving a platform the DoD is forced to consider cutting due to the ineptitude of this administration, and our congress as a whole.
    Signed…..another pissed off BONE DRIVER

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