Rp-logo-flat-shadow
Command Post What is this?
Posted on Jan 29, 2016
MAJ Montgomery Granger
42.6K
558
282
15
-16
31
Avatar_feed
Responses: 53
LTC Psychological Operations Officer
48
48
0
Edited 3 y ago
C7a2529c
As anyone could tell by my first post in response to this article, my initial impression was that this was just another one of a series of posts on RP that blame President Obama for everything they think is wrong in the world, and particularly the military. This article, even by those low standards, stretches the facts and point further than any one I have seen. I think it is a terrible example of a hatchet job and am surprised it was even allowed to be posted in the Command Post section, which the site indicates is for thoughtful opinions by selected members.

But I am writing this lengthy response not because of the blame Obama rhetoric found in this opinion piece. What has moved me to write this response is the infuriation and disgust I feel after reading the way the author attacks and denigrates Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen, one of the six servicemembers killed in this attack. I find it despicable, in fact.

A good portion of this article is dedicated to telling us what a great patriot and family man SSGT Bonacasa, another servicemember killed in this incident, was. The author goes into some depth describing how SSGT Bonacasa had a spouse, and a young daughter, and how difficult it was for lhim to leave his family to do the dangerous work, far away from home, that our country required of him. I salute SSGT Bonacasa and all other servicemembers who have made similar sacrifices. Our country owes them a debt that can never fully be repaid.

Yet when it came time to discuss MAJ Vorderbruggen, here is what MAJ Granger had to say:

"Was this patrol, like the thin defenses for our personnel and ambassador in Benghazi, politically motivated? Was the major being allowed to punch her combat ticket (gender and sexual orientation aside) for promotion? Was she trained and experienced in such patrols or intelligence gathering? Was she a linguistics expert?

In my experience, it is highly unusual for a military major to be leading a foot patrol. Majors are field grade officers, and generally assigned to staff positions in headquarters units, not front line commanders leading troops into battle or on security patrols. Usually, the highest rank for an operational combat unit is captain, one rank below major."

So let's analyze the differences in the treatment of these two great American servicemembers, who both died serving their country far from home and away from family. MAJ Granger did not question whether SSGT Bonacasa or any other member of the team was on patrol to get their combat ticket punched. But for some reason, he feels compelled to suggest that MAJ Vanderbroogen wasn't out there risking and ultimately losing her life in the service of her country, but rather in a vain attempt to further her career by punching a ticket. The thing is though, that MAJ Vanderbroogen had been in the Air Force since she graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2002. That's over 13 years at the time of the attack. She's a major. She has no concerns about her career needing a ticket punched. And besides, the very fact that she was assigned to the Air Base in Afghanistan would show on her record as combat duty. Whether she went outside the base fence or not on patrol would have no consequence to her career.

So why was the Major on that patrol? Here's what her grieving brother had to say about his now dead sister:

"She's a hero and I hope she's a hero to all of us, not just to me," said her older brother, Christopher Vorderbruggen, choking on tears. He said his trailblazing sister was charged with protecting the largest U.S. military base in Afghanistan."She intentionally would go on these patrols with her men because she wanted to show them that she would do what she was asking them to do," he said.

Let me repeat that last line for emphasis:

"SHE INTENTIONALLY WOULD GO ON THESE PATROLS WITH HER MEN BECAUSE SHE WANTED TO SHOW THEM THAT SHE WOULD DO WHAT SHE WAS ASKING THEM TO DO," he said.

So is that the action of a ticket punching, career obessesed Major or the actions of a true and courageous leader who took to heart the mantra we all learned in our officer or NCO leadership training: never ask your soldiers to do something you are not willing to do yourself"? It's pretty clear to me where I would rate her actions, and why I find the accusation/implication of MAJ Granger so disgusting.

Next I want to go back to that particular sentence from MAJ Granger in questioning why MAJ Vorderbruggen was out there risking her life:

"Was the major being allowed to punch her combat ticket (gender and sexual orientation aside) for promotion? "

Again, for emphasis: (GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION ASIDE)

Ah, now we get into another slap to the dead Major's face. Somehow, even though it has nothing to do with her supposed ticket punching (because believe me, male officers have been punching tickets for generations and in vastly greater numbers than female officers) MAJ Granger feels compelled to make sure he mentions that there is something different we should know about MAJ Vorderbruggen, even though it really has nothing to do with her service or death; it's that she's a lesbian. MAJ Granger felt it was necessary to surface that in an opinion piece about her death.

Yes, she was a lesbian. She was married to an Air Force veteran, and has a four year old son. They were the loves of her life, and she experienced the same pain and heartbreak by being deployed away from them as MAJ Granger so aptly described for himself and SSGT Bonacasa. Here's how a friend described MAJ Vorderbruggen's feelings towards her family:

“Her wife and her son were the center of her life — and her service,” Hepner-Smith said. “She sacrificed a great deal; they both did. She gave her life full measure.”

But is there even a hint of an acknowledgement of that devotion or loss in this opinion piece or about MAJ Vorderbruggen's sacrifices and love of family? No. Just implications and accusations that she was there for personal gain only. (and by the way, she's gay!) Fortunately, thanks to the policies of our president that the author denigrates so much, MAJ Vorderbruggen's spouse and child will be able to receive the survivor benefits they so richly deserve; and their relationship won't have to be hidden in the shadows. Their loss can be publicly recognized and appreciated just as much as SSGT Bonacasa's and all the other married servicemembers who pay the ultimate price.

And lastly, notice that MAJ Vorderbruggen is the only member of that patrol that MAJ Granger specifically questions as to her professional competency. She is a 13 year veteran and a field grade OSI agent, and MAJ Granger feels the need to ask if she, and she alone knows anything about intelligence gathering. An OSI Special Agent. He didn't ask those questions about the other OSI agents in the patrol. Just the Major.

I'm not going to go into detail about the absurdities in the post about somehow connecting comments about the threat of lone wolf gunman in the states to the threat in an active war zone; or the fact that not all security patrols go out with snipers, armored vehicles and helicopter support, nor should they. Or that somehow the fact that President Obama calling ISIS thugs and not Islamists caused the Air Base Commander to underestimate the threat surrounding his Air Base in a war zone. Many others have already pointed those out. But as I said, I have taken the unusual action of writing out this very critical response because I believe that this opinion piece does a tremendous disservice to MAJ Vorderbruggen and denigrates the sacrifice she made in the service of her country. A hit piece like this may well be appropriate on FOX News, but in my opinion it has no place on a Professional Military Network Website and especially not in a section that is reserved for special opinions. Frankly, I find it a disgrace.

LTC (Join to see)
(48)
Comment
(0)
MSgt Walter Thomason
MSgt Walter Thomason
3 y
So what you are saying is that when the enemy can hide in mosques and behind civilians the ROE prevents you from striking the area from above but forcing warriors to go into a urban warfare and restricted from firing until fired upon has no effect on the death toll (sorry for the long sentence)? Then I'll agree with you. But I'm not that gullible. Nor will I dishonor those that served in those conditions. The Taliban was never hunted down until they were operationally defeated and that may not have made a difference if they were but to stay on point. There was the political rhetoric that began with, "Bush lied, people died." Then of course Obama telling everyone that his operational plan was to pull out. So you are telling me that the smart move was not to keep their collective heads down and wait out the politicians and strike with terror tactics to increase the body count as much as possible?

The Afghan forces will not fight, at least not with the ferocity it takes to win. That is half the problem. The other half is that they are infiltrated with zealots that further demoralizes them. So I can't argue that the Taliban would not have come back, but that isn't my concern. My concern is the number of Americans killed that shouldn't have been.
(0)
Reply
(0)
Col Dave Mork
Col Dave Mork
3 y
LTC (Join to see) - More troops on the ground and more US casualties is not a causal relationship. It is more likely that US offensive operations during that "surge" resulted in greater casualties.
(0)
Reply
(0)
LTC Psychological Operations Officer
LTC (Join to see)
3 y
Col Dave Mork - sir, I agree. My main point was that the poster I was tesponding to was making the claim that Obama's strategy of reducing troops and using drones was putting our troops at greater risk, and I don't believe that's true. And I certainly don't agree with his premise that Obama's strategy had anything to do with the deaths of the SM discussed in this article. That's just too far a reach.
(0)
Reply
(0)
MSgt Walter Thomason
MSgt Walter Thomason
3 y
Maj Werner Saemmler-Hindrichs - Before I'd write something as asinine as your rant against me, I'd know, not necessarily understand, the history involved in the middle east and the person I'm ranting against. For example, I could believe it is all about oil, money and revenge. I could just as easily believe that it is Saddam Hussein's fault we are there for invading Kuwait and harboring terrorist. Or I can even go back and believe it is Clinton's fault because his bombing that baby formula factory, or whatever it was, was too weak of a response. Or even because the first bombing of the WTC wasn't strongly responded to. But truthfully, I don't waste my time walking in pink colored glasses, pointing fingers on who is to blame, Major, because I realize that what has happened is already done. No childish pointing of the finger is going to change anything that has passed. What is done it the present is what matters. I acknowledge there may be security agreements, protection of national resources and protection, defending of a living head of state (current or former), will result in military action. I'm mature enough not to blame two people that are not the Commander in Chief or Congress that authorizes the use of force. I know that if I'm going to put my people in harm's way, I'm not going to invoke rules of engagement, as the former and current CIC's did (one more restrictive than the other) that will is restrictive to the point it causes casualties. So, Major, I'm not placing blame, I'm stating my belief in the cause. You could have either agreed or disagreed. I would have respected, (possibly) debated and appreciated such a response.
(0)
Reply
(0)
Avatar_small
LTC Psychological Operations Officer
37
36
1
This may be one of the dumbest of the many dumb anti-Obama posts on RP.
(37)
Comment
(1)
Capt Jeff S.
Capt Jeff S.
3 y
Congratulations on being the most unprofessional LTC on RP. Your lack of judgment is duly noted.
(0)
Reply
(0)
LTC Psychological Operations Officer
LTC (Join to see)
3 y
Capt Jeff S. - thank you. Coming from you makes that designation particularly satisfying.
(2)
Reply
(0)
Capt Jeff S.
Capt Jeff S.
3 y
Your lack of judgment is duly noted.
(0)
Reply
(0)
Capt Retired
Capt (Join to see)
3 y
I watched the speech. People all stop at the mission accomplished and then say the mission was the end. There was more that was said. The fact that people do not repeat that part does not mean it was not said.

My point is and will continue to be that those who use the we are 100% right and you are 100% wrong are wrong with both statements.

Sadly though this is what current dialogue is. Politics is no longer anything but a lairs sport.
(2)
Reply
(0)
Avatar_small
SMSgt Ops Superintendant
28
28
0
This post is ignorant and lacks any basic concept of war. Tragic? Yes. Troops die in combat zones and to say such things cheapens their sacrifice that some gave all.
(28)
Comment
(0)
SSG Warren Swan
SSG Warren Swan
3 y
1SG (Join to see) - DAMN 1SG. That was heavy as hell. I wish I could come to the same revelation and finally let go. seven years on and the memories are just as heavy now as they were then. Glad to see someone got freedom.
(0)
Reply
(0)
1SG Claims Assistant
1SG (Join to see)
3 y
SSG Warren Swan - I carry other things in my rucksack. Not all are resolved. I was able to do a lot of great things. Not all of them have a happy ending.
Those of us who get in the dirt... who get our hands bloody trying to save a buddy's life... we know where the accountability lies.
Maybe it was them losing SA for a moment.
Maybe it was me not positioning my people optimally.
Maybe we missed the signs that day.
Maybe the intelligence was incomplete, or we didn't have time to read it.
Maybe the enemy got lucky... or just outsmarted us that day.
Sometimes $#!t just happens, because it can.

Warriors sit down and figure that out immediately after, because it is our lives on the line when things don't go our way. If I am the leader on the ground, the buck stops with me.
(2)
Reply
(0)
MAJ Montgomery Granger
MAJ Montgomery Granger
3 y
Thank you for sharing those details. Thank you for your brave and loyal service.
(1)
Reply
(0)
SMSgt Ops Superintendant
SMSgt (Join to see)
3 y
MAJ Montgomery Granger - They died in service to their country. It's not about if I knew them or not. I didn't vote for POTUS but to politicize this is absurd. I can assure you I have lost plenty of friends and acquaintances and it still hurts today. That doesn't mean I'm gonna question why - my losses began in 2001 till present over two presidents. Now I could begin the chest thumping and become the braggart over what I've done or seen but that won't bring back any of our losses. Your question in this medium does nothing to celebrate the lives of those that have been given in response to their nations call. If you still mourn over folks you knew that is okay. Heck, a lot of us do. But we have to look forward and train our men and women to recognize, defend, defeat and return with honor. It's an unfortunate reality that we just can't always make it home. That is combat. Trust me I know combat VERY well and thankful for my return and I do have my own obstacles to deal with from this. Let us celebrate them as heroes and fellow warriors and not politicize their tragic, tragic loss.
(3)
Reply
(0)
Avatar_small
Cancel
close
Seg?add=7750261&t=2