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Old 12-18-2006, 14:26   #1
sg1987
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No man left behind?

I recently read the article on page 16 of this issue (Two SEALS win Navy Cross) and was left with a question that I would like to put before you all. I did some searching first but cant find where or if the topic has been covered before. The question is this: When is it okay to leave a wounded teammate behind?
I firmly believe that all of the men on this team are heroes. The man that E and Ed has accomplished far more than I will ever come close to and I would never denigrate his service. That being said, as a former 11B the thought of leaving a wounded teammate behind is not an option. Having never been SF or even SOF, Is there is doctrine that Im ignorant of that would require such a difficult decision? Any thoughts?
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Old 12-18-2006, 14:35   #2
Jack Moroney (RIP)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sg1987
Is there is doctrine that Im ignorant of that would require such a difficult decision? Any thoughts?
While I am sure that many can come up with all kinds of scenarios I can only answer that in no case would I, nor would any of those for whom I ever was responsible ever think that I would, leave anyone behind. If it is nothing else, it is a matter of honor, trust, and sacred responsibility to those you are charged to lead.
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Old 12-18-2006, 16:37   #3
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Originally Posted by sg1987
That being said, as a former 11B the thought of leaving a wounded teammate behind is not an option.
You think it any different with us? Leaving a wounded soldier behind is not an option with us either.

TS
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Old 12-18-2006, 18:42   #4
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Leave a wounded team mate behind? Never. It has been my experience that other soldiers and airmen have died trying to get wounded soldiers out! Friends and strangers volunteer to make the effort.

And by the same token, I would never think of leaving a wounded cop in harms way!

Jim
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Old 12-19-2006, 17:28   #5
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I am nearly convinced that there is a lot of information not being included about the action of these men. At least, I'd like to think so. On the face of what I have seen - limited to what PAO has cleared regarding the awards to these sailors - it left me scratching my head. I viewed the film of these men being discovered by their foes and their equipment being exploited. At the time, I did not think much of the "why" of the situation. But, with further thought into it, it does not add up: One team mate seems to have been killed either upon the first portion of the engagement, or certainly before the others. That leaves three very lonely warriors trying to push back the proverbial "Mongolian Horde" until the QRF arrives. Originally, I believed that the reason one SEAL lived was that while the last three were fighting for their lives, the other two were killed by enemy fire. This left one man who, I believed, subsequently evaded out of the area successfully. But, reading the PAO release regarding these awards, the survivor left as the other two continued fighting. This does not make sense to me. There is definitely information missing here - or, something went seriously wrong. I can't see myself, or any of my own, leaving the others to fight to the death like that.

Again, I have to default to the faith I have in our fellow SOF warriors and I am compelled to believe that there is information missing here. At least, I sincerely hope so.

Another lesson for that particular event is never, ever, take a hard drive loaded with "classified" information with you unless you definately can't memorize what's on it and what's on it is mission essential. Heck, the school house teaches to memorize everything and burn all the planning "scrap", save for the mission folder which is left back with the AST, or a team mate. But, that's another discussion for those that have seen the footage I'm referring to.
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Old 12-20-2006, 15:06   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basenshukai
But, reading the PAO release regarding these awards, the survivor left as the other two continued fighting.
I was wondering about all that, too. The only thing I could think of is that they realized they were going to get overrun and they decided, "Hey, not all of us need to die. You lost the toss, buddy. Haul ass and E&E out of here. We'll hold them off for you."
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Old 12-20-2006, 17:43   #7
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Originally Posted by Monsoon65
I was wondering about all that, too. The only thing I could think of is that they realized they were going to get overrun and they decided, "Hey, not all of us need to die. You lost the toss, buddy. Haul ass and E&E out of here. We'll hold them off for you."
Certainly a plausible scenario.
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Old 12-20-2006, 22:01   #8
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No one should ever attempt to critique an op beased on an unclassified PAO release.

No one should ever attempt to critique an op without having been there unless there is a compelling reason for doing so and unless you can get as close to the bottom of it as humanly possible.

No one should ever attempt to critique an op on the open internet.

I agree with Base:
Quote:
Again, I have to default to the faith I have in our fellow SOF warriors and I am compelled to believe that there is information missing here.
Well said.
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Old 12-21-2006, 07:34   #9
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I agree with the other gentlemen, wounded or dead you never leave family behind. I know for a fact having a few friends in or out of SF that if there was an SOP on that subject they would never follow it. And GOD bless them for that.
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:07   #10
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Originally Posted by chance
I agree with the other gentlemen, wounded or dead
I do not believe we were discussing the dead. That's a whole nuther can of worms.

While large conventional units usually have the ability to immediately recover the dead after a battle that is not always the situation with Special Forces operations.

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Old 12-21-2006, 09:34   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Team Sergeant
I do not believe we were discussing the dead. That's a whole nuther can of worms.

While large conventional units usually have the ability to immediately recover the dead after a battle that is not always the situation with Special Forces operations.

TS
Agree 100%.

I don't want a brother paying with his life to come get my body after I am done with it.

Leave it, or pick it up next time you are in the neighborhood.

I also do not want to be writing several more letters to families because I sent people out to recover an obviously dead soldier while under fire. We'll pick him up after we win the fight.

TR
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Old 12-22-2006, 03:04   #12
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Perspective

I was apart of the recovery effort, I inserted a team to recover the bodies of the QRF and I also saw to the recovery of Marcus (the sole survivor). Another part of my job besides recovery is the reintegration of isolated personnel so I was also privileged to conduct his debrief and subsequent investigation (not a criminal probe but an initial tactical debrief with a dual role of looking after his medical and mental health). As some of you have correctly guessed there is a whole lot of information not being released.

Here's the picture I want you to understand. You are being engaged by an enemy who has the high ground, he has fire superiority and is maneuvering on you. There is no CAS available. So, imagine breaking contact with four teammates running downhill in terrain so steep that you all essentially have to throw yourselves off small cliffs and outcroppings. As you can see this situation makes it hard to do a lot of things. Can you imagine how hard if not ridiculous it would be for me to attempt to rescale a small cliff I just threw myself off of when I'm already running downhill with a persistent enemy who is engaging me effectively and still outmaneuvering me and now I have less suppressive covering fire because I'm down a teammate or two by now. The one teammate that is close to me I saw get shot and the only thing I could do was throw him off the cliff with me until his body goes into a tumble into ground that I dare not follow him into.

I'm the first to admit that I know I don't know $hit about much but none of us would want to leave a wounded man behind, but could I ever be in a position that will force me too... Yes, maybe... But I sure hope I'll never see that day... We all do.

I hope this helps with perspective,

JLF

Last edited by JLF; 12-22-2006 at 05:43.
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Old 12-22-2006, 08:57   #13
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Thank you JLF, for the perspective.

Quote:
There is no CAS available.
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Somewhere a True Believer is training to kill you. He is training with minimal food or water, in austere conditions, training day and night. The only thing clean on him is his weapon and he made his web gear. He doesn't worry about what workout to do - his ruck weighs what it weighs, his runs end when the enemy stops chasing him. This True Believer is not concerned about 'how hard it is;' he knows either he wins or dies. He doesn't go home at 17:00, he is home.
He knows only The Cause.

Still want to quit?
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:55   #14
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Originally Posted by NousDefionsDoc
Thank you JLF, for the perspective.
And thanks JLF for doing what you do, where you do it, and when you have to do it.
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Old 12-23-2006, 16:18   #15
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I don't do much posting here, I mainly just read. I showed this thread to another vet I know. He's an old crusty Sergeant Major that comes into my place of business alot. He said, and I quote:

"You weren't there son, so don't worry about it. Only one person knows what happened-unless you know something [he] don't fugetaboutit!"

I thank you all for what you do.

Merry Christmas to you all where ever you are.
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