The Other McCain

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#SouthSudan 3 U.S. Troops Wounded as Rebels Fire on Transport Plane UPDATE: Four U.S. Casualties; Rebels Claim Overthrow of Oil Region Capital

Posted on | December 21, 2013 | 26 Comments

Damn. Just . . . damn.

KAMPALA, Uganda — Rebel fire hit two U.S. military aircraft responding to the outbreak in violence in South Sudan on Saturday, wounding three U.S. service members and heavily damaging at least one of the aircraft, officials said. …
The U.S. military aircraft were heading to Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and scene of some of the nation’s worst violence over the last week. One American service member was reported to be in critical condition. Officials said after the aircraft took incoming fire, they turned around and headed to Kampala, Uganda. From there the service members were flown on to Nairobi, Kenya for medical treatment, the officials said. . . .
It was not immediately known what the U.S. aircraft were doing in Bor. One official said it appeared the aircraft were Ospreys, the type of aircraft that can fly like a helicopter and a plane.
Officials at the U.S. military’s Africa Command did not immediately answer phone calls or emails on Saturday.
South Sudan’s military spokesman, Col. Philip Aguer, said that government troops are not in control of Bor, so the attack on the U.S. aircraft has to be blamed on renegade soldiers, he said.

Some of my Army son’s buddies from Fort Bragg may be in the middle of this nightmare, and it just horrifies me to think of the parents of these wounded soldiers being notified that their sons got shot because some idiot “rebel” in South Sudan decided to shoot at Americans who are only there to try to save lives.

Well, when it was announced Thursday that President Obama was sending 45 troops to South Sudan, my first comment was that I would have been more comfortable if he had sent 450. But maybe even 4,500 wouldn’t be enough, and maybe there’s no hope at all.

UPDATE: Reports from the U.S. Embassy in South Sudan:

Long story short, if there are U.S. personnel in Bor, they’re stuck there until the situation gets under control and, frankly, it looks like the situation is rapidly heading in the other direction.

UPDATE II: Sorting through the online reports:

The Associated Press reports:

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Gunfire hit a U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that on Saturday became a battle ground between the country’s military and renegade troops, officials said. Four U.S. service members were wounded in the attack in the same region that gunfire downed a U.N. helicopter the day before.
The U.S. military aircraft was about to land in Bor, the capital of the state of Jonglei and scene of some of the nation’s worst violence over the last week, when it was hit. One American service member was reported to be in critical condition.
The U.S. military’s Africa Command said the aircraft was “participating in a mission to evacuate American citizens in Bor.” A South Sudan official said violence against civilians there has resulted in bodies “sprinkled all over town.” . . .
Two officials told The Associated Press that after the aircraft took incoming fire, they turned around and flew to Kampala, Uganda. From there the service members were flown to Nairobi, Kenya for medical treatment.

If these were V-22 Osprey, then the wounded troops are most likely Marines. Meanwhile, there is this troubling report:

The commander fourth division of South Sudan’s army in oil-producing Unity state has declared that he has deposed the governor and that his forces are no longer loyal to President Salva Kiir.
Speaking over state and private radio stations on Saturday morning Commander James Koang Chuol said he had overthrown Unity state’s acting governor, Joseph Nguen Monytuel, after he was involved in plot to assassinate him.
Koang said that the fourth division’s tank unit tried to kill him at around 7pm on Friday evening, after they were ordered to do so by governor Monytuel at the behest of senior members of the military in Juba.
Addressing the people of Unity state, Koang orderd, the state’s ministers to remain in their homes but called on civil servants to continue working as normal.
The fourth division commander said South Sudan’s president, vice president and the former caretaker governor of Unity state had fueled the fighting that has spread through the country since it began in the capital, Juba on 15 December.

Because that report comes from a Khartoum-based source, I’m taking it with a grain of salt. In a breaking news situation like this, first reports are always confused, and it’s impossible for me to tell if this is just anti-Kiir propaganda.

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Comments

  • Cmate

    “One official said it appeared the aircraft were Ospreys, the type of aircraft that can fly like a helicopter and a plane.”

    Are they sending unarmed planes over there without escorts????

  • robertstacymccain

    In a situation like this, the initial reports are always a confusing mess, but yes, it appears we sent unarmed transport aircraft into an emerging war zone without any combat air to back them up.

    Heckuva job, SCOAMF.

  • Legion

    Nothing to worry about all. I hear they are sending in PajamaBoy to splash hot cocoa in their faces.

  • DaveO

    Ospreys are used by the Marines, and the Air Force. This is a Non-combatant Evacuation Operation, which our Marines excel at doing.
    South Sudan is important only in that provides a crossroads between Western-friendly east Africa and nobody-friendly central Africa.

  • M. Thompson

    Can’t afford to send a decent escort, because of Pajamaboy.

    (Note: I’m using hyperbole for humorous effect)

  • trangbang68

    I got to go with Krikorian on this. Africa is full of third world open air latrines. I don’t want anybody’s kid dying for that ungovernable chaos.
    Did we learn anything from Mogadishu or Benghazi.

  • Cmate

    Freaking amazing…We are being governed by angry, incompetent, adolescents.

  • http://theothermccain.com smitty

    If there isn’t any credible surface-to-air threat, then blowing in wiith some V-22s all unannounced may not be completely stupid.

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  • OldmanRick

    Blame the inept and corrupt state department for this FUBAR.

  • DaveO

    Obama has not expressed any interest in Africa, and has got to great lengths to roll back Bush’s successes on the continent. Obama doesn’t demonstrate any fondness for folks of color outside of their vote, so Krikorian will likely get his wish and these tribes will eat themselves. Also expect to see the AFRICOM Commander called on the carpet for authorizing the NEO.

  • cmdr358

    At this point, what does it matter? :-

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