Commander: Media reports on Afghanistan outpost battle were exaggerated
173rd’s fight not symbol of more violent Afghanistan, says Preysler
By Mark St.Clair, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, July 20, 2008
"The sky is not falling," Col. Charles "Chip" Preysler, commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, said Saturday from Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Preysler spoke via telephone less than a week after his paratroops and their Afghan allies were involved in a fierce attack at a small post near the village of Wanat. In the July 13 battle, nine of his men were killed and 15 others wounded.
But the attack is not a sign of conditions worsening in the country, he said.
The battle occurred just after dawn at a temporary vehicle patrol base near Wanat. A platoon-sized element of Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) soldiers and a smaller Afghan National Army force were occupying a hastily built area as they had done many times over the 15 months they’d been in country, Preysler said. The soldiers were there on a reconnaissance mission to establish a presence and find a good location to connect with the local government, populace and Afghan National Police, he said.
The small outpost had been built just days before the attack and consisted of protective wire and observation posts surrounding strategically placed vehicles. "That’s all it was, a series of vehicles that went out there," Preysler said...Preysler ended the interview by lauding his soldiers.
"I get emotional about this, you’ll have to forgive me," he said. "These guys have fought for 15 months, and they have fought harder, and I mean this literally, they have fought harder and (had) more engagements, more direct-fire engagements, than any brigade in the United States Army in probably the toughest terrain. These guys are absolutely veterans and they know what they’re doing and they have that airborne spirit and they fought a very, very tough battle and held the ground and did everything they were supposed to do.
"I would like to also say I wish my guys who were wounded a speedy recovery and obviously condolences to the families, and that’s very close and personal to us. It’s tough to take casualties toward the end of any combat tour for any unit, but it signals that we’re in a fight, and we’re going to continue to fight."
Now I will say you might look upon this knowing that this gentelman is the commander of the unit in question...so read the entire thing in Stars and Stripes and draw your own conclusions.
Why is Stars and Stripes the only one reporting this?