One Tribe at a Time
My men developed their own personal and profes- sional relationships with the people. Each one had his own following. When we would drive up to the village, dierent sets of children, young people and elders would run up to dierent members of the team calling them by name.
Here is a brief quote from Captain Dan McKone, my medic and gunner during my time in the Konar. He has won three awards for valor. No warrior under- stands Afghanistan better than he does. (He is there now advising the ANA):
Playing with the kids. A lot of trust was built between my team and the tribe by the way we treated their children.
against the Soviets with the Malik and his men. I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it and learned from it. e tribesmen loved to explain in detail, to us and in front of each other, their great exploits on the battleeld against “the Bear.”
Mangwel was a high point in my time as a soldier, no doubt. Our team’s (ODA 316) ability to con- nect and establish a relationship based on friendship and trust has yet to be replicated . . . and it sounds like the Army is not going to try it again. I remem- ber strongly, that for me, I felt that we wanted to develop cooperation, not dependence. This was very true for me and my relationship with Dr. Akhbar. We, as a team, wanted to support him and, of course, through him add to Sitting Bull’s ability to provide for his people more than just promises, to show con- crete dividends for having a positive friendship with an outside force. As Dr. Akhbar ran a for-profit clinic in the village, and appeared to have credibility as the village doctor, we could not do anything to under- cut his credibility, or his ability to make a living. How things would have panned out over a longer period of time would have been great to see. Alas, it was not to be.
One of Sitting Bull’s mujahadeen commanders describes ambush tactics they used against the Soviets. I loved these sessions and I learned a lot. The tribesmen enjoyed being able to tell us stories of their great battles.
Then SSG McKone’s relationship with Dr. Akhbar was a key to our team’s success in Mangwel. Dan’s now a captain and winner of three awards for valor.