Shifting guidelines prompt calls for ROE reform
Posted : Monday Apr 23, 2012 12:57:34 EDT
The Afghan man captured on a grainy surveillance video was a known insurgent. And there he was — again — digging a hole for a homemade mine beneath a well-traveled dirt road in Helmand province.
Several Marines in a nearby combat outpost watched the video feed closely, but a decision on what to do fell to 1st Lt. Josh Waddell, executive officer of India Company, who was running the command post on the afternoon of Nov. 1 for 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines.
Waddell, 25, sprang into action, calling his battalion headquarters to get authorization — what military lawyers call “positive identification” — to launch a strike. From there, he hurriedly issued orders to ground patrol units, sniper teams and aircraft hovering nearby, coordinating a complex operation to kill or capture the enemy.
The insurgent was surrounded by a village full of women and children, so Waddell’s decisions required the kind of nuanced judgment call that has become a hallmark requirement of today’s often murky counterinsurgency missions.
Waddell opted against calling in the helicopter gunships. Instead, he ordered a sniper team to home in on the insurgent. The first sniper shot was high and off-target, sending the man sprinting across a patch of farmland. But other shots struck his leg and stomach. The man dropped and rolled into a ditch for cover. Continue reading