|Special Ops Lessons Learned From Afghanistan Ambush
Aviation Week & Space Technology
12/03/2007, page 22
Marine Corps special operations got off to a rocky start when the first company assigned to Afghanistan was told to leave by the theater commander after running into ambush. The corps’ special operations chief, Maj. Gen. Dennis Hejlik, says he reviewed the fight, and talked to the company as it came out of country, and he now believes its response to the initial ambush was correct and appropriate to the situation. However, the corps learned lessons. “The training was there, but planning and execution weren’t done well enough,” nor did the unit coordinate closely enough with the Army’s special ops teams. The company commander was relieved and will face an inquiry in January. In an unrelated move, Hejlik says the 1,700 Marines in the two special operation battalions, which will grow to 2,600, have been reorganized with heavier emphasis on intelligence, communications and logistics. A continuing weak spot is the availability of helicopters. The Marines have to negotiate their share of aviation with the other special operations forces. “The Marine Corps gets about 70% of the flight hours it needs,” Hejlik says.