All in a day’s work: US Marines take down AK-wielding gunman in French railroad station. Update: one Marine in critical

August 21, 2015

Marine Corp emblem

I’m sure the unidentified would-be mass murderer (1) had the plan all worked out in his mind: Obtain automatic weapon, sneak it onto the Paris-Amsterdam train, and kill lots of people. Simple, right? But there was one small thing he didn’t account for…

The presence of US Marines on the same train:

 

La Voix du Nord, a newspaper in the Calais region, said a man was arrested on suspicion of firing the [Kalashnikov] on a Thalys train near the northern town of Arras.

Police say that have not ruled out terrorism as a possible motive and Bernard Cazeneuve, the French interior minister, has been summoned to the region.

The gunman, said to be of “North African origin,” is said to have been “taken down” by a group of US marines onboard the train.

(…)

According to Voix du Nord, the marines heard what appeared to be the sound of a gun being loaded coming from the toilets on the train.

They tried to detain him and the man fired, wounding three people, two of whom were struck by bullets, the newspaper reported.

Rather than freeze or run and hide, the Marines’ training kicked in and they “ran to the sound of the guns,” thus probably saving many, many lives. And remember, the three Marines were unarmed, while the jih… er… unidentified gunman had an AK. That was not a fair fight.

For the gunman.

via Mark Krikorian

Footnote:
(1) I have my suspicions as to his identity, as I’m sure you do, but I’ll wait for confirmation.

UPDATE: From the Daily Mail via Rick Moran, the shooter was a Moroccan national known to French authorities and who had attended radical mosques. I think it’s safe to say it, now: This was another attempt at jihad — Islamic terrorism waged fi sabil Allah, for Allah’s sake.

Initial reports indicated three Marines confronted the jihadi; according to the Mail, there were two. Regardless, the sad news is that one is in critical condition.

One of the hero Marines who foiled a planned terror attack on a French train was fighting for his life after being shot in the neck while disarming the crazed gunman on Friday.

The two unarmed servicemen spotted the 26-year-old Moroccan acting suspiciously and heard him trying to arm his weapon in the toilet of the high speed train between Amsterdam and Paris.

The gunman got on the train in Brussels and attempted his attack soon after crossing the French border.

The 26-year-old Moroccan national, who was known to security services, came out of the toilet brandishing the gun and opened fire. Fortunately, two US Marines were nearby and overpowered him before he could massacre passengers.

The suspected terrorist had at least nine full magazines of ammunition holding almost 300 rounds. He was also carrying a knife.

Unfortunately, one of the Marines was shot and is believed to be in a critical condition. It is feared that he was shot in the neck by the gunman.

The French Interior Minister was unstinting in his praise:

Speaking in Arras, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve praised the Marines for their timely intervention.

He said: ‘Thanks to them we have averted a drama.
‘(The Americans were) particularly courageous and showed extreme bravery in extremely difficult circumstances.’

They would probably say they were just doing their jobs.

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Lacking enough ships of our own, US Marines will serve aboard foreign ships

June 23, 2015
"You're not welcome."

“Good thing we could catch a ride here!”

This is embarrassing:

Faced with a shortage of U.S. Navy ships, the Marine Corps is exploring a plan to deploy its forces aboard foreign vessels to ensure they can respond quickly to global crises around Europe and western Africa.

The initiative is a stopgap way to deploy Marines aboard ships overseas until more American vessels are available, said Brig. Gen. Norman Cooling, deputy commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa.

The Marines will be able to respond quickly to evacuate embassies or protect U.S. property and citizens, a need highlighted by the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.

“There’s no substitute for U.S. amphibious” vessels, Cooling said. “We’re looking at other options” in the meantime, he added.

The Marines have been working with Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and other close allies to determine the suitability of the foreign ships for U.S. personnel and aircraft.

Hey, at least these are allies. What’s left of our space program has to hitch a ride with the Russians.

I can just see it now: an emergency somewhere in the Middle East, and US Marines have to run onto some boat in Sicily asking “Hey, buddy! Can you give us a lift?”

This is what happens when you have a Socialist (1) president and his party is dominated by progressives: through budget cuts and initiated by the White House and a budget process in Congress so screwed up by the then-majority Democrats under Harry Reid that the sequestration meat-ax was inevitable, our military has been starved of funds to the point that it’s having an effect on operational capabilities. And that, in turn, will further affect stability around the globe, which has relied since 1945 on US power.

None of this has to be, of course, but it’s the tragic consequence of electing a government more interested in fundamentally transforming America at home than in protecting her interests abroad. A government that, in fact, views American interests and American power as a problem and views our decline as a positive choice for the world.

I hope they’ve at least budgeted for cab fare for our Marines.

via Tammy Bruce

Footnote:
(1) This is beyond doubt. The only question is what kind and to what degree.


Marines: No weapons surrendered to Houthis during #Yemen evacuation UPDATE: Retired Marines angry

February 12, 2015

Marine Corp emblem

“News” was flashing around the Internet yesterday that the Marines had surrendered their weapons to the Iranian-allied Houthis rebels who have seized control of Yemen, some saying it was on the orders of President Obama and Secretary Kerry, which would have been a humiliation for them and the United States.

The Corps is denying that happened:

“The Marine Security Force left the American embassy in Yemen for the movement to the airfield as part of the “ordered departure” with only personal weapons. All crew served weapons were destroyed at the embassy prior to movement. None of them were ‘handed over’ in any way to anyone. The destruction of weapons at the embassy and the airport was carried out in accordance with an approved destruction plan.

“Upon arrival at the airfield, all personal weapons were rendered inoperable in accordance with advance planning. Specifically, each bolt was removed from its weapons body and rendered inoperable by smashing with sledgehammers. The weapons bodies, minus the bolts, were then separately smashed with sledgehammers. All of these destroyed components were left at the airport — and components were scattered; no usable weapon was taken from any Marine at Sana’a airport.”

The weapons were destroyed because the Marines were leaving on a commercial flight.

UPDATE: Similar to what a commenter said below, retired Marines are finding it unbelievable, maddening even, that the Marines in Yemen were forced to destroy their personal weapons:

Some retired Marines took to social media and websites to express frustration with what they described as a “blatant blunder” of evacuation procedures.

“Whether a commercial flight or military flight, either way it does not add up,” said Yinon Weiss, a former U.S. Marine and the CEO of RallyPoint, a military community website. “I cannot think of any other time in recent U.S. history that any service member had to destroy their own personal weapons.”

To Mr. Weiss, the peculiar act indicates that the Marines were unwitting participants in “a hasty evacuation” and “under duress.”

“The fact that this happened indicates to me that something went terribly wrong,” he said.

Other former Marines took to his web site to complain.

“I guarantee every single one of those Marines was pissed off and swearing with every swing of those hammers,” one commenter said. “Chartered civilian airline or not, we traveled with weapons without issue.”


John Brown: freedom fighter or rebel?

October 16, 2014

506px-John_brown_abo

Today is the 155th anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. Brown, a fanatical abolitionist, seized the Federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia, in the hope of fomenting a slave insurrection. The Marines – lead, ironically, by Army Colonel Robert E. Lee – suppressed the rebellion after three days. Brown and several of his surviving comrades were swiftly tried and hanged. Interestingly, the crime for which Brown was executed was not treason against the United States, but treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia. I wonder how many states still have treason statutes?

I’ve always had mixed feelings about John Brown. On the one hand, he was a fanatic, a rebel against the United States, and an insurrectionist who hoped to spark a slave revolt that surely would have cost thousands of innocent lives. On the other hand, the evil that lead him to his rebellion, the abomination against which he held a fanatical hatred, was slavery. While I can’t approve the means, I can surely sympathize with the motives. Those mixed feelings were felt much more intensely in the 1850s, and John Brown’s raid was the first flaring of the fire that would break out in civil war just two years later.

(Note: this is a republication of a post from 2009 that I thought worth sharing again.)


Band of (Illegal) Brothers?

March 23, 2011

Call it a gut feeling, but my hunch is that this odd incident is more a reflection of clever stupidity than anything menacing:

13 Illegal Immigrants Arrested in California Wearing U.S. Marine Uniforms

Border Patrol agents recently arrested 13 illegal immigrants disguised as U.S. Marines and riding in a fake military van, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Tuesday.

The illegal immigrants were clad in Marine uniforms when they were apprehended at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., border officials said. Two U.S. citizens in the van also were arrested.

Pine Valley is just east of San Diego.

Like I said, “clever.” There’s a big military presence around San Diego, and there are a lot of Hispanics in the military, so seeing a bunch of Hispanic US Marines being transported from one place to another wouldn’t be too odd.

But what was the “stupid” part, you ask?

The name labels on their uniforms all read “Perez.”

D’oh! 

via The Jawa Report, which has video.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


When science fiction becomes real: US Space Marines?

April 23, 2010

Okay, so they won’t be as cool (yet) as the armored chap pictured above, but the Marine Corps has begun serious development on an orbital space plane that would be able to deliver combat troops anywhere in the world in under two hours:

After decades of unsuccessful development, military space planes are finally getting some respect. On April 19 the U.S. Air Force plans to launch the X-37B, an unmanned space plane that will circle the planet a classified number of times before making an autonomous landing. (Popular Mechanics profiled the effort as the magazine’s cover story in April.) The idea of a pop-up reconnaissance platform, to be used if a satellite is not available or is disabled, is an importantrationale for the Air Force’s project.

The Marines’ space plane takes the Corps’ slogan of “first to fight” to the extreme: It could transport a squad of Marine riflemen to anyplace on earth within 2 hours, and then extract them after their mission is complete. Though the goal is appealing—imagine delivering well-armed Marines at hypersonic speed to a suspected Osama bin Laden hideout or besieged embassy—the concept seemed outlandish to many when it was first proposed.

Of course, the idea of orbital insertion of combat troops and drop-ships or space planes isn’t a new one, but it always fascinates me how these ideas seem to start bearing fruit much sooner than science fiction usually assumes.

Neat stuff!

(via Confederate Yankee, who has thoughts on other applications)


Afghan offensive begins

February 12, 2010

Following up on the last post, the joint US-UK-Afghan Army offensive to clear the city of Marja and Helmand province of Taliban has begun:

Thousands of U.S., British and Afghan troops moved to seize the Taliban stronghold of Marja early Saturday in what the Marine general leading the assault called a “big, strong and fast” offensive aimed at challenging the insurgency’s grip on a key southern Afghan province.

Rounds of tracer fire lighted up a starry, predawn sky as waves of troops, ferried in by helicopters, descended on the farming districts that surround the town. Transport and Cobra attack helicopters also dropped rounds to illuminate the ground.

Troops initially met only modest return fire from inside of Marja.

Sporadic firefights had broken out throughout the day Friday on the periphery of Marja as Marine units probed Taliban defenses.

The commander, Marine Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, had for weeks telegraphed the military’s plans for the offensive, one of the largest since the war began in 2001.

The United States and its allies hope the assault, the biggest joint operation by Western and Afghan troops to date, will prove a turning point in the conflict with the Taliban and other militants that have carved out swaths of territory in Afghanistan.

Military leaders expected about 7,500 coalition troops to occupy Marja by nightfall, with 7,500 more supporting the mission from elsewhere in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province.

The allied command had been prepping the battlefield for months, clearing the Taliban from villages in Helmand and then staying behind to make sure they don’t come back, thus giving the local residents the security they need to start cooperating with our side. Previously, the brave, brave jihadis of the Taliban would come back after we left, and the punishment meted out to those who collaborated with us would be horrific. In this way, Operation Moshtarek (Operation “Together”) resembles the plan used at the outset of the “surge” offensive in Afghanistan in 2007, when US and Iraqi forces began clear-and-hold operations against al Qaeda. In this case, Marja substitutes for Iraq’s Baquba as a key target: a town that had become a central base and depot for the enemy and, our side hopes, a trap where they can be caught and brought to battle.

The Taliban may not be as stupid as al Qaeda in Iraq, however. The offensive had been announced weeks in advance and publicized widely to give civilians a chance to leave. With them, of course, may have gone the Taliban; it’s unclear how many have stayed behind in Marja. What is clear, however, is that they had plenty of time to prepare traps of their own: extensive IED-laden minefields and booby-trapped buildings. Hence the big debut of the Assault Breacher Vehicles.

But it may not necessary to kill thousands of Taliban, much as they need it. The purpose of this counterinsurgency strategy is to deny the enemy access to the population whom he can then hide among and dominate. It was very effective in Vietnam under General Abrams (History later showed that, when we walked away, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.), it worked better than expected in Iraq under General Petraeus, and now one hopes for similar success under General McChrystal. Less committed elements of the Taliban and their allies may be encouraged to quit, once they realize they’re cut off from the people they preyed on. As the article points out, it’s also a chance for the ill-regarded Afghan Army to show its people that it can protect them, even after we eventually leave.

I’m usually highly critical of President Obama, and I do wish he had made up his mind about an Afghan strategy earlier and sent more troops than he authorized, but I’m grateful he is at least taking the fight to the enemy. It’s been nearly a decade, but let’s not forget that these are the same salafis who abetted and protected al Qaeda before and after 9-11, and still do.

Good hunting, gentlemen.

LINKS: Max Boot. Ed Morrissey with a good observation about the departure of Canadian troops in a year or so and the closing window of opportunity.