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The official website of Paul Franklin: a father, veteran, activist, motivational speaker, and proud Canadian.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

One day one highway 1 Afghanistan

  • Cpl Woodfield died in a LAV rollover in 2005 on the road known as Highway 1 from Kabul to Kandhar.
    Gwagen Gun truck (light armoured)
    After the accident and after the injured and Woodfield were taken away it was left for the PRT to contain the scene as the rapid reaction force.  Each section consisted of three Gwagens (two gun trucks and one SUV) It was expected that his call sign would stay on scene until the LAV was taken away by the NSE heavy lift and recovery team (then located in a FOB if im not mistaken) SOP in an acciendt is to have someone secure the scene and then recover the people and equipment and leave ASAP.

    This did not happen.

    The LAVs of the call sign left(they could have left and got new crews and came back to help us.. they did not despite the number of personnel staying at KAF at the time).

    That left 9 Canadian soldiers and two of Col Turjoons unarmoured militia vehicles and men to secure the busiest highway in Afghanistan.  

    Now if for a short time that makes sense...
    Nope for almost 24 hours
    Each section stayed for some two hours as literally thousands of cars passed mere meters from us as we stood outside protecting the scene.

    Chaos is the best word.
    Gwagen SUV varient (light armoured)

    9er tac then drove up to the scene and did not dismount in fact they did not stopLater the heavy lift team passed the scene (about 18 hours later) and did not help and did not stoprequests for LAV protection was denied.

    Finally the PRT phoned a local afghan heavy lift crane to drive out and lift the LAV.... it proved too weak so another Afghan civilian crane came out they finally turned it on its side....

    A Flat bed trailer (again Afghan civilian) was brought out and the LAV was eventually lifted onto the flat bed..

    The LAV was very heavy and the truck was well past its prime and not meant for the task also driven by a very very young man as most are in Afghan......

    The wheels almost popped and the convoy began the 45 some kilometer trek back to KAF... it took about 3 hours.

    Eventually the vehicle was recovered and everyone had the next day to rest and recruperate.Several days later while in KAF our teams were obviously very pissed of the lack of any response from the RCR.

    I was walking near the green bean and a bearded SF American came up to me and said..."hi bait"

    He knew I would question why and he said that our actions on the road led to more intel and direct responses than they had in the last few months...

    They used us to lure the Taliban and others to try and kill us.

    Finally when I was attacked (on January 15, 2006)n and lost both legs.....Jeff and Will lay in comas the CO of 3rd Special Forces group came in and gave each of us 3rd SF Gp dog tags.... It was their  way to say thanks for all the PRT and group had done...  and I guess what we had done.

     Finally on a personal note we had asked the RCR for coyotes and LAVs to occupy the police station at the enterance to the city where eventually my suicide bombing was to take place.

    A LAV from later in the deployment... the threats are very real

    We were told that it was not in their mandate to support the PRT... typical fubar... I also dont blame the individual soldiers i do blame others for decisions that placed our selves and my comrades at needless risk...

    I believe in fate so I would have lost both legs at a different time and location and just cause we secrue one loaction does not mean the route would have been secure.

    But that day that location could easily have been protected and very easily would have stopped the attack that day.

    I tell  this story because we should not only celebrate our success but learn from our mistakes....

    I wish this never happened but maybe the SF dudes got many bad guys...

    I wish the RCR and the NSE stopped to help.

    I wish alot of things.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CIA superspy in Golden BC?

I had a Fundraiser for the Amputee Coalition of Canada  in Golden BC last week that included two speeches in the local Legion.

Great food and great people make for an enjoyable evening but to my surprise Historian Susan Lucas introduced Captain Leonard A. LeSchack, USNR an Arctic/ Antarctic geologist and notable CIA superspy.

His actions in 1962 would lead to an intelligence haul and a cloudy career...... several trips to the Soviet Union and to the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  

Some have even called him the American James Bond and the end result is a retrieval system like no other and a mission unsurpassed in its daring.

Seven Days in The Arctic' B-17 on Operation Cold Feet. 
(Lt LeSchack being Lifted with the Fulton Skyhook off the Icestation by a CIA B17)
Keith Woodcock
The Fulton Skyhook was an idea dreamt up by an inventor like no other.  With this invention Lt.  LeSchack knew it would be the way to solve a dilemma.... how to steal the Soviet data from under their feet.
For many years the Soviets had ice stations located on the Arctic sheet that would drift for months and then eventually break up and disappear beneath the waves. Talking the remaining science and data to the ocean floor.  IN a time without computers carbon copies, the data in raw form and even the instruments would be invaluable to understand what the Soviets knew of the ice and of acoustics beneath that ice.

He wanted to know what the Soviets knew and in the days before effective long range communication, satellites and even long range helicopters the challenges were great.  He knew that to parachute would be easy the question was always how do you recover the people you dropped on the site and recover the intel found.

The Fulton Skyhook was the answer.  Operation Coldfeet would be underway.

Once the Soviets abandoned an Ice Station the clock would be ticking...........

For more on the operation you can read a quick synopsis here....

Project COLDFEET: Seven Days in the Arctic

During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union battled for every advantage, including studying the Arctic for its strategic value. For seven days in May 1962, under Project COLDFEET, the US intelligence community pursued a rare opportunity to collect intelligence firsthand from an abandoned Soviet research station high in the Arctic.
The Soviet drift station – located on a floating ice island – had been hastily evacuated when shifting ice made the base runway unusable. Since the ice was breaking apart – and normal air transport to the island was now impossible – the Soviets felt the remote base and its equipment and research materials would be crushed and thoroughly destroyed in the Arctic Sea. Unfortunately for the Soviets, they were wrong.
Project COLDFEET was truly a joint venture bringing together the resources and expertise of the Office of Naval Research, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Central Intelligence Agency. On May 28, using pilots and a B-17 from CIA proprietary Intermountain Aviation – accompanied by a polar navigator borrowed from Pan American Airlines – two intelligence collectors were successfully dropped by parachute onto the ice.
The B-17 – now rigged with Robert Fulton’s Skyhook – returned on June 2 to recover the team and their take. The Skyhook was a unique airborne pickup device that included a nose yolk and a special winch system. The key measure of COLDFEET’s success was the unprecedented safe removal of the investigative team and many critical items.  (For a video of the test of the Skyhook please click here:)
The mission yielded valuable information to the US intelligence community on the Soviet Union’s drift station research activities. The team found evidence of advanced acoustical systems research to detect under-ice US submarines and efforts to develop Arctic anti-submarine warfare techniques.

This small team — incredibly courageous and resourceful — planned and executed a remarkable feat, capitalizing on a rare intelligence opportunity.
One of the more amazing things about this story is that it does not end in 1962 in fact the skyhook was used in the James Bond movie Thunderball.  Of note the plane used in this movie is the same one used in Operation Coldfeet.
James Bond with the girl... alas LeSchack would leave the arctic ice flows with no Bond Girl
And even the more recent Batman franchise.
Batman contemplating Lt. LeSchack
The Skyhook has even made it into the Bioshock Video game series.
Bioshock version of the Fulton Skyhook

Project Coldfeet and Captain Leschack (then Lt) has also been featured this month in Eyespy magazine:
 More on Captain Leschack (then Lt):

Episode 6, ‘ Weapons of the Superspies’ will air on Discovery Military channel:
(available in the US only) on the 9/18 @ 10 pm EST which will also talk of Operation Coldfeet


Omar Khadar is back

Much has been said about the Canadian boy and now man that is Omar Khadar.

An al qeada fighter whose dad was one of the key financiers of Bin Laden and crew.   Many claim that at 14 he was a child soldier...  His actions led to the death of an American special forces medic to which he plead guilty and now is serving time in Kingston.

The American actions after his capture include medical aid, rehabilitation and mistreatment, abuse and even torture at Bagram and then at GITMO.

We should begin to ask questions.... can a child be held responsible for their actions?
Omar Khadar (then)

Is 14 a Child?

Omar Khadar assembling an IED
Can you be punished for your acts in war or is this just for the winners to decide?

Omar Khadar gravely wounded in the rubble of a building after the American SF attack  and just before the soldiers started battlefield medicine which would save his life, his limbs and allow him to be placed into custody

 And the last and most important question ..... what will become of Omar Khadar?

Omar Khadar (now)

Do we worry?

Are we in the world concerned that the potential new President of the United States is a duplicate of Guy Smiley from Sesame Street?