"It was a suicide mission. None of them had a doubt about that."

The Untold Story of the Battle of Bastion

#War

Thu, Sep 5th, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

GQ has this fascinating look at the Battle of Bastion, where, "one year ago this month, under cover of night, fifteen Taliban, dressed as American soldiers, snuck onto one of the largest air bases in Afghanistan" thanks in part to the surprisingly lax security. The battle destroyed "millions in matériel" in what has been defined as the "worst day for American airpower since the Tet Offensive."

Around 10 p.m., at the attack-helicopter squadron, Captain John Buss was having a post-flight cigar with a fellow Cobra pilot, savoring mouthfuls of the cool night air and a full-bodied Nicaraguan Man o' War -- it was the closest thing to a nightcap you could get on a dry base -- when they heard gunfire coming from the Harrier compound next door. That's strange, he thought. Gunfire inside the wire? Buss and his friend drew their pistols -- Beretta nine-millimeters -- and hopped the blast barriers at the edge of their compound, then crossed a fifty-yard pool of unlit darkness that separated them from the Harrier squadron. Taking cover behind some construction equipment, Buss squinted at the jets, his eyes adjusting to the dim light, and spotted a strange-looking group of men wearing uniforms. Are they friendlies? he wondered. Then one of the men shouldered a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher and, taking aim, fired an RPG at one of the Harriers, which exploded into a massive ball of flame. Buss couldn't believe his eyes -- it was like watching a movie.

Holy shit, he thought, they're not friendlies.

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