Archivio per ottobre 9, 2008

Freccia & Centauro

click to enlarge – (Aku photos)

[Video] Sono stato ovunque, amico.

“I’ve been everywhere” by Johnny Cash

I was totin’ my pack along the long dusty Winnemucca road,
When along came a semi with a high an’ canvas-covered load.
“If you’re goin’ to Winnemucca, Mack, with me you can ride.”
And so I climbed into the cab and then I settled down inside.
He asked me if I’d seen a road with so much dust and sand.
And I said, “Listen, I’ve traveled every road in this here land!”

I’ve been everywhere, man.
I’ve been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert’s bare, man.
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I’ve had my share, man.
I’ve been everywhere.

I’ve been to:
Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota,
Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota,
Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma,
Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma,
Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo,
Tocapillo, Baranquilla, and Perdilla, I’m a killer.


I’ve been to:
Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana,
Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana,
Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa,
Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa,
Tennessee, Hennessey, Chicopee, Spirit Lake,
Grand Lake, Devils Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete’s sake.


I’ve been to:
Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika,
Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica,
Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport,
Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport,
Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina,
Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean-a.


I’ve been to:
Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado,
Ellisburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, Eldorado,
Larimore, Admore, Haverstraw, Chatanika,
Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika,
Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City,
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity.


[A-Stan] Soldati francesi visti da un GI… e viceversa

Un paio di post interessanti trovati su:

Nel primo, intitolato “Les Français vus par les Américains”, un soldato americano racconta brevemente la sua esperienza con il personale francese dell’OMLT (Operational Mentoring Liaison Team) che opera in Afghanistan. L’OMLT e’ lo strumento dell’ISAF preposto all’addestramento e alla formazione degli uomini dell’Afghan National Army (ANA).

Nel secondo post e’ invece un soldato francese che racconta cosa significa vivere e combattere a fianco degli alleati yankees, chiamati amichevolmente “fratelli d’armi”.

Buona lettura!

> Post #1

Les Français vus par les Américains

“For about two months now I have been working side by side with the French OMLT. I remember when I first showed up to take charge of the combat outpost my unit was located at and I found out it would not just be American forces there but also a small section of French. Being the typical American I was making jokes in my head about the French Army. These last two months have truly been enlightening for me and corrected a grave misconception of the French Army.

Let me say this first I am not envious of their job. Being responsible for training and mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA) is a job that can only be described as herding cats. Having only worked with the ANA on a couple of missions I have come to realize that the OMLT must have the patience of a Saint. I seriously doubt that I would have the patience to do the job they are doing and I don’t think I could do it nearly as well. Their patience was also displayed almost every night while dealing with me and my soldiers. Due to the rough living conditions some of the OMLT were living in a tent that also housed our television. Although we would try and remain quiet and respect the fact they were sleeping it didn’t always work that way. Too many times while watching a close football game we would begin screaming and yelling over the game. Somehow each night they never yelled at us and never complained. Their patience in dealing with us alone can be considered amazing.

The French willingness to help is amazing. No matter where we, as the American Army, would go the French Commander located at my base would always try to arrange support from his OMLTs and the ANA they were training. Their willingness to support our guys made my job a lot easier and gave me a better feeling knowing that the French OMLT and ANA were watching our back. On more then one occasion we would respond to a situation and when we reached the location the French would already be there and would give me the current situation on the ground.

The French always seem to know what was happening. As an American I, like my fellow Americans, take pride in what we do and think that everything we do is the best. I will have to say when it comes to the French Intelligence versus American Intelligence the French have us beat. All too often the French Commander would come to me and ask if I knew about a situation. I would be forced to stand there and give him the confused puppy look. Typically about thirty minutes after the French told me I would finally get the same information from the American Intelligence. This proved to extremely valuable on more then one occasion. American convoys on several occasions were struck by an IED in which we were informed immediately by the French. Thankfully for their quick reporting we were able to come to the aid of those convoys in a timely manner. Luckily in each case there were no severe casualties however if there had been our ability to quickly respond, due to French information and reporting, would have saved lives.

The French have a handicap; they do not have the training, resources, money, and assets in their military the same as Americans. They have been forced to make due with less and they have still managed to out perform us in some ways. The French military is a force that commands the respect of everyone else in the world. I can’t imagine what they would look like, and how truly incredible a force they could be, if they had the same training, resources, and assets. These past few months have truly opened my eyes and corrected a few misconceptions I’ve had about the French as an American. Although they are not as big as us and sound funny when they talk I am truly grateful to have had this opportunity, and I am honored to call these men my comrades and friends.”

> Post 2

Traduzione dal francese a cura di Jean-Marc Liotier del post “A Nos Freres d’Armes Americains” apparso su

A Nos Freres d’Armes Americains

“We have shared our daily life with two US units for quite a while – they are the first and fourth companies of a prestigious infantry battalion whose name I will withhold for the sake of military secrecy. To the common man it is a unit just like any other. But we live with them and got to know them, and we henceforth know that we have the honor to live with one of the most renowned units of the US Army – one that the movies brought to the public as series showing “ordinary soldiers thrust into extraordinary events”. Who are they, those soldiers from abroad, how is their daily life, and what support do they bring to the men of our OMLT every day ? Few of them belong to the Easy Company, the one the TV series focuses on. This one nowadays is named Echo Company, and it has become the support company.

They have a terribly strong American accent – from our point of view the language they speak is not even English. How many times did I have to write down what I wanted to say rather than waste precious minutes trying various pronunciations of a seemingly common word? Whatever state they are from, no two accents are alike and they even admit that in some crisis situations they have difficulties understanding each other.

Heavily built, fed at the earliest age with Gatorade, proteins and creatine – they are all heads and shoulders taller than us and their muscles remind us of Rambo. Our frames are amusingly skinny to them – we are wimps, even the strongest of us – and because of that they often mistake us for Afghans.

Here we discover America as it is often depicted : their values are taken to their paroxysm, often amplified by promiscuity and the loneliness of this outpost in the middle of that Afghan valley. Honor, motherland – everything here reminds of that : the American flag floating in the wind above the outpost, just like the one on the post parcels. Even if recruits often originate from the hearth of American cities and gang territory, no one here has any goal other than to hold high and proud the star spangled banner. Each man knows he can count on the support of a whole people who provides them through the mail all that an American could miss in such a remote front-line location : books, chewing gums, razorblades, Gatorade, toothpaste etc. in such way that every man is aware of how much the American people backs him in his difficult mission. And that is a first shock to our preconceptions : the American soldier is no individualist. The team, the group, the combat team are the focus of all his attention.

And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark – only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered – everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all – always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks : they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the ennemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting : they just charge ! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later – which cuts any pussyfooting short.

We seldom hear any harsh word, and from 5 AM onwards the camp chores are performed in beautiful order and always with excellent spirit. A passing American helicopter stops near a stranded vehicle just to check that everything is alright; an American combat team will rush to support ours before even knowing how dangerous the mission is – from what we have been given to witness, the American soldier is a beautiful and worthy heir to those who liberated France and Europe.

To those who bestow us with the honor of sharing their combat outposts and who everyday give proof of their military excellence, to those who pay the daily tribute of America’s army’s deployment on Afghan soil, to those we owned this article, ourselves hoping that we will always remain worthy of them and to always continue hearing them say that we are all the same band of brothers”.

(French translation by Jean-Marc Liotier –