I'll definitely miss being out with British combat troops. Great soldiers who can always count on the support of at least one writer. The British Ministry of Defense, however, needs a tune up.
Am back with U.S. forces and did three missions on Sunday. More on that as time unfolds. American and British forces are working closely together here. The U.S./U.K. relationship in Helmand is extremely good. (Presumably elsewhere, too, but I do not know.)
My first mission yesterday was with a U.S. Air Force helicopter rescue team to pick up a British casualty. The British people at home should know that our helicopters will get their men and women off the battlefields and back to the hospital in less than an hour, no matter what.
Support Mike's next dispatch.
Mike reports an update:
The British are getting beaten here in Helmand. They also are also flexing their muscle in RC-South (Regional Command South) which is effecting my ability to cover United States Air Force and Marines here. U.S. Marines are ready to take me for embed in mid-September, but Brits want me gone now. The British combat soldiers who know are upset, but the British MoD is staffed by people who might want to apply at the next Rendon or Lincoln Group. MoD still says there are plenty of helicopters, for instance. (Please see this dispatch.) The morale is still good among the soldiers -- they are doing their jobs -- but overall the Brits are losing their battlespace.
And McCrtystal agrees: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-08-31-afghan-review_N.htm?csp=34