May 30 at 5:05pm by David Tate
An MH-53 from the 20th Special Operations Squadron (SOS), also known as, “Green Hornets”, made a landing in Roanoke today. The unit, based in Florida, came to the Roanoke-area for training after a suggestion by a crew member who grew up nearby.
The MH-53 fleet is more than 40 years old and is being phased out over the next year. The unit will use various other aircraft to complete future missions, including the Osprey.
The Green Hornets will be in the Roanoke area for the next week working on insertion and extraction training in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Botetourt County. They’ll again deploy overseas later in the summer.
Tech. Sgt. Linwood Stull and his nephews, Nick and Tristen Miller, are featured in this story that aired on WSLS/NBC on May 30th, 2008.
May 29 at 12:12pm by David Tate
With additional firepower in the field during the U.S. surge strategy, that began in early 2007, artillery units are firing off more rounds than ever during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
May 25 at 9:09pm by David Tate
Since the attacks on America in 2001, I have spent more than 260 days, in either Iraq or Afghanistan, covering US troops and their allies in their counter-insurgency struggles.
As most of those familiar with my work know, I am primarily a videojournalist, but also enjoy taking a couple of still shots every once in a while as well. Recently, I have assembled my favorite pictures from these experiences in the expectation of putting together an exhibit. With that said, I would love to get some public involvement in this project and it doesn’t cost a dime.
Take a few minutes, look at these images and then let me know what your top-five pictures are. All you have to do is leave the list in the feedback for this post. While it seems trivial to you, I need to cut the number of images down and would love your help in doing just that. So on this Memorial Day, take a few minutes and help me out.
If any of these images strike a chord with you, please let me know. I will be offering these images to interested people in VERY limited quantities, in many cases, just one print will be released. You can contact me at my new email address: email@example.com
All funds raised through this effort are going to help me replace gear that has been destroyed over the past few years.
May 15 at 3:03pm by David Tate
Everyday, somewhere in America, families say goodbye to loved ones as they head off to either fight in, or support, a variety of places US forces are currently stationed. No destination brings about anxiety as much as a deployment to Iraq does.
In this story, spend the final few precious moments with one such family as they say goodbye to a husband and father heading off for a yearlong trip into uncertainty.
Originally airing on WSLS/Roanoke on May 14th 2007, “Saying Goodbye” is reported by Scott Leamon with photography and editing by David Tate.
May 10 at 7:07pm by David Tate
More than 200 American paratroopers and their Afghan allies air assaulted into the mountains overlooking Gowardesh Bridge, Nuristan Province, firmly reclaiming full control of the area following nearly a year of fighting.
The offensive to recapture the bridge began on April 22nd when paratroopers from 1/503 (173rd AB) and 1/91 Cavalry Regiment (AB) teamed up with Afghan National Army forces for a nighttime air assault onto three peaks overlooking the bridge. The bridge itself was secured April 26th.
After the initial landings, Afghan Army soldiers and US combat engineers worked to build reinforced bunkers at defending the bridge, as well as three fortified observation points on the mountains overlooking the area.
One outpost, and positions protecting the bridge, will eventually be turned over to reinforced and retrained Afghan Border Police. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will maintain control of two of the observation posts.
In August, 2007, Afghan Border Police abandoned their security posts controlling the bridge after threats from militants in the area. The positions were then destroyed by the insurgents. The area has seen a number of firefights in the area ever since. Four times American troops have come back to Gowardesh Valley in force since August, and all four times the Americans found themselves in pitched battles.
The US military says the bridge is a vital point for the movement of insurgents and weapons coming from Pakistan into the Afghan interior. The bridge crosses the Kunar River and is important to the Afghan government and ISAF in order to continue work on the main road into rural Nuristan Province. The US military believes the economic development that will hopefully follow a new highway into the province is key to their counterinsurgency strategy.
However, there is concern that the Afghan Border Police will again abandoned their positions as soon as the Americans leave, a scenario that has been repeated several times in this region. In an effort to prevent a mass desertion, the Americans spent more than four months retraining, refitting and planning the operation.
Beginning this week, the Americans will start withdrawing in stages, slowly weaning the Afghans off the American presence as confidence among the Afghans builds. The Americans say a majority of local and provincial tribal leaders are supporting the operation, which is raising hope that the desertion problems of the past will not be repeated here.