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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, dierent sets of children, young people and elders would run up to dierent 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 battleeld 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.


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