May 30th, 2007

Exponential Chaos: The One Memorial Day Story You’ll Never Hear on Memorial Day

by Philip Baruth

How’s it going in Iraq? Sometimes a single story says it all. A story that’s held for a day, but still.

Yesterday, insurgents brought down an OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopter with small arms fire, killing both pilots. By “small arms,” the Army means heavy machine guns used very precisely to bring down aircraft.


Nothing small about them, really.

And once the Warrior fell to earth, a rapid-reaction force consisting of two Bradley Fighting Vehicles was almost immediately dispatched.

Both Bradleys were then hit individually by separate roadside bombs. Each lost three soldiers at the scene; tallies may rise. Both Bradleys were destroyed.

The hulk of the Kiowa chopper was later blown up to prevent it falling into the wrong hands.

Think about it: the original chopper was outmatched by small arms fire, and required a rapid-reaction force to throw caution to the wind in coming to its aid.

Each Bradley in that rescue force subsequently required its own rapid rescue force, as well as a team to destroy the Kiowa. Ultimately we had something like five separate teams dispatched to aid survivors, cordon off the wrecks, and attempt to pursue suspects at the various scenes.

Exponential chaos.

And of course yesterday was Memorial Day. And these were not even the only US casualties Monday, just one spectacularly revealing incident in one particularly revealing day.