Mysterious Death Of Decorated Green Beret in Iraq

Richard Anthony Rodriguez (Photo: Facebook)

The American contractor who reportedly died from injuries he suffered in a fight with service members while working in northern Iraq was a decorated combat veteran who served in U.S. Army Special Forces, according to his official military record.

“Richard Anthony Rodriguez served in the U.S. Army from August 1991 to August 2012,” said Army spokesman William Sharp. “He attained the rank of master sergeant and held the military occupational specialties of an infantryman, a weapons sergeant, and senior sergeant. During his service, he deployed to Afghanistan four times between 2006 and 2011.”

During his time in the Army, Rodriguez completed the Special Forces Qualification Course, Ranger School, diver training, Airborne School, and Pathfinder School. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for valor and four other Bronze stars as well as numerous other military decorations.

Rodriguez died at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany, on Jan. 4, after being medically evacuated from Iraq. Two Marines and a Navy corpsman from a Marine special operations unit are reportedly under investigation in connection with his death.

U.S. military officials are not releasing any information about how Rodriguez died or where the investigation stands. At the time of his death, Rodriguez was working for Lockheed Martin. A company spokeswoman declined to discuss his work in Iraq.

“Out of respect for the family’s desire for privacy, we are not disclosing the employee’s name or information about his role or mission,” Cheryl Amerine told Task & Purpose on Thursday. “Additionally, the family is declining requests for interviews.”

Do you know why are snipers treated worse than infantry when captured?

Snipers are probably the deadliest enemy soldier out there. That’s a period to the left. From an intelligence perspective, the snipers are so valuable because they have lots of Intel to include:

  • Enemy tactics, techniques, and procedures.
  • Enemy troop movements.
  • Communication methods.
  • Enemy dispositions (locations).

That means that snipers are in fact, expert map readers, they know the terrain, and even worse, they know you better than most any other enemy combatant. That being said, it’s rare that you ever catch an enemy sniper alive, because like some statistics telling, they would rather die than be captured.

When you are lucky enough to capture a sniper for interrogation, you found a gold mine of Intel.

Not to mention, we don’t eff around with snipers, we generally drop multiple and very expensive bombs with the explicit purpose of blowing the shit out of them on the battlefield.

From a different perspective, the sniper is a guy who brings the fear, and probably the biggest reason snipers are treated differently is fear. I’m not talking about “snipers are the most elite killing machines on the planet” kind of direct fear. I’m talking about a more subconscious fear that many wouldn’t even realize was there. Humans have a tendency to fear what they don’t understand. It’s a survival instinct that has helped keep us alive on our evolutionary journey. We’re also very bad at behaving rationally when influenced by fear.

A sniper is more of the guy who takes shots at you from across the room and yes some of them are cheap and taken while the targets are in compromising positions. Some enemy view hand to hand as the honorable way to fight as snipers couldn’t care less about honorable since the mission is the primary objective and concern. A sniper could not care less if the High-Value Target (HVT) is unarmed and in the middle of eating dinner with his family. If he has the shot and permission to take it then that HVT is surely going to be face down on his plate before the fork reaches his mouth.

This type of mission focus is seen by some enemies as cowardice however, none of that matters to the sniper. The only thing that matters is mission success and getting back to the FOB for more orders.

The reason snipers are treated differently when caught (which shouldn’t happen if they are in their bubble) is because they are the epitome of a warrior and what better way to boost morale than to show your comrades that you have captured one and are going to make him pay.

British SAS operators wounded in Syria, at least one in critical condition

SAS operators (Photo: Pinterest)

The two SAS troopers were CASEVACed by U.S. helicopters to a nearby hospital. According to reports, at least one of them appears to be in critical condition. Although not verified—neither the British government nor the British military comment on issues pertaining to the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF)—the attack appears to have happened sometime on Saturday, January 5.

The two SAS troopers were supporting a Kurdish and SDF attack in the proximity of the towns of Ash Sha’Fah and Hajin. There, ISIS fighters had been entrenched, creating a stronghold with trenches, tunnels, mortar positions, observation posts, and mined paths, awaiting the advancing allied forces. After a fierce fight, the ISIS terrorists were forced to withdraw with heavy casualties. According to the SDF, more than 71 ISIS fighters were killed, and 129 allied airstrikes were called in.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) issued the following statement: “Heavy clashes took place between our forces and [a] terrorist organization’s members, in Hajin city and its surrounding area. This occurred after an attack by terrorists who used all the sorts of heavy and light weapons including Doshka [sic]…our fighters launched an attack on the terrorist organization’s locations, so heavy clashes occurred as a result in this axis, many terrorists were killed and wounded, further, our forces went forward and controlled many new points.”

These aren’t the first casualties the SAS has incurred in Syria. Last April, Sergeant Matt Tonroe, an SAS trooper, and Master Sergeant Jonathan Dunbar, a Delta Force operator, were killed—and five more operators wounded—by an improvised explosive device (IED) while on a kill-or-capture mission in Syria.

The UKSF is comprised of the SAS, the Special Boat Service (SBS), the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), and the Special Forces Support Group (SFSG). The British commandos are part of a U.S-led international coalition supporting SDF and Kurdish forces with airstrikes against ISIS inside Syria. The joint task force is about 2,000 strong and comprised of special operations forces (SOF) from around the world, to include Delta Force, the SAS, the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), and the Canadian Joint Task Force 2 (JTF-2). Its mission, however, is up in the air following the decision of U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw all American troops from Syria.

How much you can earn as Navy SEAL?

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL students participate in a team building exercise in Coronado, California. A female Naval Academy senior is considering entering the pipeline to begin BUD/S training. (MC1 Lawrence Davis/Navy)

All members of the United States Navy are paid a monthly basic pay rate determined by their paygrade/Navy rank.

Navy SEALS are an elite navy division specializing in direct action small-scale warfare, combat reconnaissance, counter-terrorism and foreign internal defense. Like all U.S. military personnel, Navy SEALS receive basic wages that are identical for every service branch. SEALS can, and usually do earn hazardous duty pay, however, and receive two substantial bonuses, the first for successfully passing the tests qualifying the candidate to enter the SEALs training program, the other for successfully completing it.

Extra pay for SEALs

It seems that we are experiencing a shortage of SEALS. Last year, only 86% of the Enlisted SEAL jobs allocated to the force were filled. The Navy is offering all new Enlisted SEALs a generous Enlistment Bonus of $40,000 for completing BUD/S training and obligating for 4-years service. Enlisted personnel also currently receive Selective Reenlistment Bonuses (SRB) of up to $75,000. Not too shabby.

For SEAL Enlisted and Warrant Officers with 19 – 25 years of service, a Critical Skills Retention Bonus (CSRB) of up to $150,000 is available. I’m just dying to write an expletive after finding out that fact. A hundred and fifty f’n grand! That might just bring some old SEALs out of the woodwork.

That’s not even all of the bonuses. Naval Special Warfare Officers can also qualify for a Special Warfare Continuation Bonus (SWCB) of up to $15,000 per year for serving an extra 5 years ($75,000 total).

Regular pay for enlisted SEALs

The following are monthly pay scales for soldiers with less than three years of service at the given rank, beginning with sailors at rank E-2.

  • E-2, Seaman Apprentice, $1,836
  • E-3 Seaman, $1,931
  • E-4 Petty Officer Third Class, $2,139
  • E-5 Petty Officer Second Class, $2,333
  • E-6 Petty Officer First Class, $2,546
  • E-7 Chief Petty Officer, $2.944
  • E-8 Senior Chief Petty Officers, $4,235
  • E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer $5,173
  • W-1 Warrant Officer 1, $3,038
  • W-2 Chief Warrant Officer 2, $3,461
  • W-3 Chief Warrant Officer 3, $3,911
  • W-4 Chief Warrant Officer 4, $4,282
  • W-5 Chief Warrant Officer 5, $7,615
  • 0-1 Ensign, $3,108
  • 0-2 Lieutenant Junior Grade, $3,580
  • 0-3 Lieutenant, $4,144
  • 0-4 Lieutenant Commander, $4,713
  • 0-5 Commander, $5,462
  • 0-6 Captain, $6,552
  • 0-7 Rear Admiral Lower Half $8,641
  • 0-8 Rear Admiral  $10,399
  • 0-9 Vice Admiral $14,696
  • 0-10 Admiral, $15,800

Navy Seals Rank and Pay Increases

In practice, although an enlisted sailor normally begins at the lowest rank, by the time he graduates from the SEAL program, he’ll be at least an E-4, Petty Officer Third Class. SEALs, like all military personnel, receive a limited amount of pay raises at each rank. An E-4, for example, who begins with a salary of $2,139 a month, can receive a total of four raises over a four year period, with the last raise bringing his salary to $2,596. Thereafter, the only way to receive a salary increase is to advance to the next rank.

What are the ranks in the Navy Seals?

Most Navy SEALs (about 2,000) are enlisted men who hold the rank of E-4 to E-9 (Petty Officer 3rd Class to Master Chief Petty Officer). They are led by roughly 500 SEAL Officers who hold the rank of O-1 to O-10 (Ensign to Admiral Chief of Naval Operations). There are also a few SEAL Warrant Officers (perhaps 30 or so) who rank as officers above the senior-most Enlisted but lower than a Commissioned Officer.

Like every military organization, there is a command structure, which requires having different ranks. The same is true of SF, Rangers, Delta, MARSOC, etc. There are no military organizations where everyone is the same rank.

If you instead meant “Do Navy SEALs have unique ranks?” then the answer is no. The SEALs are part of the Navy and use Navy ranks.

U.S. Navy SEALs Ranks – Enlisted, from Lowest to Highest

E-4 petty officer third class - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Petty Officer Third Class PO3 Noncommissioned Officer
E-5 petty officer second class - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Petty Officer Second Class PO2 Noncommissioned Officer
E-6 petty officer first class - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Petty Officer First Class PO1 Noncommissioned Officer
E-7 chief petty officer - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Chief Petty Officer CPO Senior Noncommissioned Officer
E-8 senior chief petty officer - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Senior Chief Petty Officer SCPO Senior Noncommissioned Officer
E-9 master chief petty officer - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Master Chief Petty Officer MCPO Senior Noncommissioned Officer

U.S. Navy SEALs Ranks – Officers, from Lowest to Highest

O-1 ensign - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Ensign ENS Junior Officer
O-2 lieutenant junior grade - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Lieutenant Junior Grade LTJG Junior Officer
O-3 lieutenant - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Lieutenant LT Junior Officer
O-4 lieutenant commander - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Lieutenant Commander LCDR Junior Officer
O-5 commander - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Commander CDR Senior Officer
O-6 captain - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Captain CAPT Senior Officer
O-7 rear admiral lower half - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Rear Admiral Lower Half RDML Flag Officer
O-8 rear admiral - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Rear Admiral RADM Flag Officer
O-9 vice admiral - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Vice Admiral VADM Flag Officer
O-10 admiral - What are the ranks in the Navy Seals? Admiral ADM Flag Officer

China reveals newest footage with its version of the ‘Mother of All Bombs’

Chinese version of bomb similar to the U.S. GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB) (Photo: Facebook)

The Chinese military has released footage showing the successful testing of the country’s version to the U.S. GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB).

According to the state-owned news agency Global Times, earlier this week, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the Chinese defense giant North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) successfully tested a powerful bomb. Chinese officials claim that its destructive capabilities are second only to a nuclear munition.

The footage, which was recorded sometime in late December, shows an H-6K bomber releasing a huge bomb that is about five to six meters long. The promotional video was released by NORINCO. A company spokesperson stated it is not a thermobaric weapon, meaning, it doesn’t use oxygen from the surrounding air to produce a high-temperature blast. Conventional bombs use a mixture of gunpowder and fuel to explode, but thermobaric munitions use only fuel.

“The massive blast can easily and completely wipe out fortified ground targets such as reinforced buildings, bastions and defense shelters,” said Wei Dongxu, a Chinese military analyst, to the Chinese news outlet. He added that it could also clear beaches or other areas of obstacles to enable troops to land or insert quickly.

Comparing it to the American GBU-43/B, Wei said the Chinese version is smaller but equally destructive. He added that its more compact size enables the bomb to be loaded on a bomber instead of a transport aircraft. The U.S. munition is so large that it has to be carried by a C-130-type aircraft, usually an MC-130 Combat Talon. The difference is that a bomber can usually fly faster and is more flexible than a transport aircraft.

The H-6K is the Chinese version of the Soviet Tupolev-16 jet bomber. As a strategic bomber, it’s capable of launching cruise missiles and conventional payloads. The Chinese military has about 120 H-6Ks in its arsenal.

The U.S. military first dropped the GBU-43/B in 2017 against an ISIS underground complex in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. The American bomb is almost 20-feet-long and weighs 21,600 pounds. It is GPS-guided and can penetrate 200 feet of dirt or 60 feet of concrete before exploding. It’s the largest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. military’s arsenal. Following the release of footage showing the destructive capabilities of the U.S. bomb, people were quick to use its initials (MOAB) to dub the aerial ordnance as the “Mother of All Bombs.”