Michael Yon

Latest News

American Unrest: Officers Shot, Killed in Dallas

Millions of people around America are upset and often for different reasons. In many cases, they share a vision that justice no longer exists in the United States, or has been so undermined that they no longer respect it.

YON: Al Qaeda Taking over in Syria

YON: Al Qaeda Taking over in Syria

The Syrian rebel Kawa Khalil told me the recent story of the Holy Cross church. Before the war, the church doubled as a school, attended by Muslims and Christians. After the destruction of Syria began, classrooms became homes for refugees.

Syria: Outrage Is Not a Strategy

Syria: Outrage Is Not a Strategy

In 2006, the talking points from London and Washington insisted: we had won the war in Afghanistan, and Iraq was not in civil war. To say otherwise was apostasy. In 2006, British Defense Secretary John Reid was famously quoted on

MEDEVAC Scandal: Officer Reports AMEDD Sacrificing Soldier Safety

An Army officer writes: The Army is not resisting Dustoff policy change because our leadership honestly believes the current policy is superior, but rather because of AMEDD’s [Army Medical Department] protectionist attitude toward “their” Dustoff MEDEVAC helicopters. I’m an active

British Officer Slams US Army on Growing MEDEVAC Debacle

While reading traffic in a closed forum between current and former military officers, I stumbled across this message from a British officer. I’ve known him since the Iraq days, and he’s also served in Afghanistan. He’s an honest and very

Discussion of MEDEVAC Regulations Heats Up

Increasing progress is being made on the Army helicopter MEDEVAC problems. Media attention has been building and appears that it will soon break big. Communications are coming in spontaneously from key places. Support for improvement is snowballing. Pilots and crews

The Army's Unarmed MEDEVAC Policy: Not Dumb, Just Crazy

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” From World War II, we’ve heard reports that the enemy shot at Red Crosses emblazoned on medical vehicles, tents, and helmets. The Japanese were said to specifically

Red Air: A Forum to Discuss Arming MEDEVAC Helicopters

Every day in Afghanistan there are casualties requiring helicopter evacuation. There is a high probability that as you read this, someone is bleeding and in the process of extraction from the battlefield. US Army MEDEVAC helicopters fly unarmed into combat

Chowing Down in Southeast Asia

Happy Thanksgiving weekend in America! This is a good time to share something lighter than the constant war. I’ve traveled to more than sixty countries, often spending years on end abroad. Those journeys have revealed many fascinating sides of life.

Pale Riders: A 'No-Name Unit In A No-Name Place'

Pale Riders’ Tents 03 November 2011 Few people realize that Task Force Spartan is in what is probably the toughest fighting in Afghanistan. Many of the Soldiers might not even realize it because they are so busy. Within Task Force

Thin Air

This lucky image was captured two days ago in the Dasht-e-Margo (Desert of Death). The Baloch tribesman is a member of the Afghan National Police and was part of an Afghan security escort to a very remote dam. I was

Red Air: America's Medevac Failure

4-4 Cav waiting to board helicopters for an air assault. 12 October 2011 Afghanistan Most of our troops in Afghanistan never see combat. The closest they get might be the occasional rocket attacks on bases. A relatively small number will

War Boy

26 September 2011 Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Task Force Spartan, 4-4 Cav The boy knew it would be loud. Just a short distance behind us, the patrol had already hit an IED with a minor casualty. We had taken

Threat from American Soldier

25 September 2011 Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Every American service member is a representative of the United States of America. If an American Soldier were to write about President Obama, “I want to rip his head off and piss down his

Grapes

23 September 2011 Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Task Force Spartan, 4-4 Cav Many Americans have died in these vineyards. Canadian blood has fertilized this ground, and we kill Taliban in these fields daily. We watch them through UAVs, such

Every Step Is Your Last

21 September 2011 Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Task Force Spartan, 4-4 Cav The moon in September was special and the war kept going. Bombs are planted everywhere. The dogs catch some, but the dogs will get blown up, too.

Captain Chainsaw

16 September 2011 Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan 4-4 Cav, Task Force Spartan The enemy has figured out the strategy here in Zhari but they have been unable to stop it. Day by day, Task Force Spartan is constricting the

Copters in Afghanistan

14 September 2011 FOB Pasab, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Nobody will have fought a full tour in Southern Afghanistan without bearing witness to a thousand helicopter flights. Before this flight, the pilots and crew check the two Black Hawks from tires

Afghan Faces

13 September 2011 Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Today there were some attacks far away in Kabul. The attacks meant practically nothing from a military perspective but they garnered much press. We’ve seen this unfold many times in many places.

One Night In Zhari

4-4 Cav Soldiers firing a 40mm mortar on the evening of 20 August 2011. 12 September 2011 Note: This rough dispatch was written over many days during slivers of time between prepping gear and going on missions. Different sentences were

New Britches Being Rushed to Afghanistan?

07 September 2011 Kandahar Province, Afghanistan American troops have been losing their britches in combat. Until now, I’ve never seen so many troops exposing their hardware in battle. Many warriors go “commando” into the fighting, meaning that in the name

The Elusive Kandahar Cougar and Murphy's Laws of Combat

Sergeant TJ Vowell insists he’s seen the mysterious big cats of Kandahar many times. Recently, Sergeant Vowell got shot. 06 September 2011 Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Task Force Spartan 4-4 Cav, Bravo Troop, 2nd Platoon 2nd Squad There is much talk

Mosquitoes

Afghan Soldier caught by infrared flash with specially modified camera. 31 August 2011 Afghanistan A Soldier sleeps in a body bag to keep off the bugs. American and Afghan Soldiers share an Afghan family compound overnight in the heart of

We Need Better Pants

30 August 2011 Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Task Force Spartan Rip, rend and slash are all in a day’s work here. Yet I have never seen so many troops with so many pairs of pants that are ready to fall off.

The Art, Science, and Carpentry of Explosives

Blocks of M112 C-4 prepared for mission beside roll of M456 detonation cord and accessories. 29 August 2011 Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Task Force Spartan, 4-4Cav There is much to know about explosives. A wealth of art, science, and

Edvard Munch in the Marijuana Patch

My heavily armed tent mates hours before the mission. 24 August 2011 Zhari District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan Task Force Spartan, 4-4Cav We live in tents. Nice tents with air conditioning. But not now; the electricity and air conditioning are out

Tracer Burnout

A Female Engagement Team (FET) at work in an Afghan compound. The notions that women should not, cannot, or do not go into combat, all are invalid. They should, they can, and they do. And here we need them. 22

Battlefield Forensics

[Content warning: Extremely graphic images below the jump.] The Later meeting 18 August 2011 Task Force Spartan, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan During a planning session at a sand table, numerous firefights broke out. We were at safe distance but close enough

Left of Bang

A few years ago, a British officer said to me they want to get as far left of bang as possible. The farther left of bang, the better. Right of bang is a crater and a memorial service. A main

Death of a Terrorist

Our people have hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden. Thank you to all the military and other good people who tracked him down to his own sanctuary. We can only hope that the materials captured at his hiding place