“Never Bring a Box Cutter to a Jihad”


In the Feb 3rd 2002 edition of the Washington Post, Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., Director, Office of Management and Budget was quoted:


“But Washington is a capital over-run by vested interest whose livelihoods depend on extracting ever-increasing quantities of taxpayer dollars for their narrow causes.  It is not clear that they will subordinate their interests even to the needs of wartime.”


Was Mr. Daniels speaking to the airshow industry?  Could be.  In a resent essay (Lets Roll) I chastised some members of our industry for “going Congressional” when Department of Defense (DoD) assets were not allocated to their events.  The point of that article was that the US military is stretched way too thin and our young warriors are deployed to the far flung corners of the earth protecting our national and personal interest.  I further stated that our military is currently locked in a life and death battle with fanatical perverts who would destroy western civilization.  


Outside of the active military and the ever decreasing number of combat veterans, within our population and congress, my opinion was met with skepticism or downright hostility when I said:  Sorry folks, Open Houses and airshows are great, but right now your military has more important work, get over it!  "Let's roll."


For those of you who never had to “be there,” never had to “Roll,” never had the privilege to use those DoD assets for their intended purposes, permit me to give you some insight from “back channel” sources directly quoted in reference to OPERATION ANACONDA:


“As far as the SEAL story goes, the full truth may never actually come out.  MH-47 was hit just before landing a recon team by an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) that failed to detonate, but went through back end.  Roberts was either assisting a USAF spec ops guy who fell on the rear ramp as a result of the hit, or was knocked down as he stood on the ramp.  When 2 more RPG’s hit the helo, a hydraulic line was severed and the helo went critical, jinxed, and tried to bolt out of there, hydraulic spray all over, peppered by bullets as it flew away.  In the confusion in the darkened rear, Roberts (Neil C., 32, of Woodland , CA ) fell out off the ramp.  He was a SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) gunner and his light machinegun fell inside the helo.  He hit the ground with a pistol and 2 hand grenades. 


“The helo, having been shot up badly, was barely able to go a few kilometers before being put down.  They were lucky. 


“Roberts was noted missing enroute, but the helo was in an emergency mode, pilots fighting to keep it from crashing at any moment, and in no condition to try to double back at the moment.  After landing, the recon team immediately boarded a sister helo and went back to get Roberts, inserted nearby and immediately got in a firefight.


“Meanwhile, Roberts crawled from where he fell about 200 feet or yards (not certain which) to hide, activated his emergency beacon.  60 + heavily armed Al Qaeda in the area. 


“When the rescue helo came back, a machinegun opened up on it as it came in.  Realizing the gravity of the situation, Roberts totally disregarded his safety and attacked it with a handgun and his grenades. 


“He was killed in a close quarter firefight, incredibly outnumbered and outgunned.  The commandos on the ground were able to hold against heavy odds.


“Another rescue force was launched and flew max speed to the area, inserting a couple hours later.  Rangers, CCT, PJs poured out and right into an extremely heavy firefight.  That’s where the other 6 got killed, many wounded. 


“This was a brutal slugfest of a firefight.  Close air support called in and the fight was on for about 9-12 hours.  US commandos finally won, and more helos and forces inserted to recover wounded, KIA. 


“Roberts’ body recovered as well. Predator watched after he was shot as 3 Al Qaeda dragged his body from where he was shot - he was already dead.


“For my money, Roberts and the others who came to try to rescue him deserve at least the Silver Star if not more.  These are True American Heroes, taking it to the enemy, so we can all relax at home in the U.S. safer from terrorist attack. 


“Believe it or not, this incident is only one of several unbelievable combat actions yet untold: 


“SAS is pushing for one of their men to get the Victoria Cross as a result of the cave fight last fall. (And he clearly deserves it from all accounts).  UK SBS was in an extremely heavy firefight early in the action last fall. 


“There are other US stories that have not (and may not) be told that are equally incredible, if not more so.


“Whether we need heroes or not, the forces are clearly and eagerly going hand to hand and man on man with the Al Qaeda.  We may underestimate from time to time in small battles, but the Al Qaeda have clearly underestimated what we were going to be like on the battlefield compared to their Soviet experience.


“The other reason we need the appropriate top awards pinned on these heroes is this - Let the message go forth to the Al Qaeda, other terrorists, and those who want to back them anywhere on the globe. Think you’re tough?  You want to kill our families, blow up civilians?  Stand by! 


“We are sending our very best to hunt you down and take you out. These are the guys who are coming to get you.  These are the guys who will climb into the mountains and into the darkened caves halfway around the world and look you in the eye, toe to toe, with any weapon at hand (ours or yours), to take you out. 


“These guys have trained longer, are stronger, harder, faster, tougher, and more relentless and lethal than anything you will ever produce.  And we will arm them with the best money can buy, from Spectre gunships and thermobaric bombs to knives sharper than any box cutter you can sneak on a plane. 


“They are now on your trail.  They’re hunting you down.  How’s it feel to be a terrorist now? 


“Never bring a box cutter to a Jihad.”