The Truth Comes Out About the Battle of Patrol Base Wanat

UPDATE:  David Tate scores the 15-6 Report.

Commander: Media reports on Afghanistan outpost battle were exaggerated

The battle occurred just after dawn at a temporary vehicle patrol base called Bella. A platoon-sized element of Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne) soldiers and a smaller Afghan National Army force were occupying a hastily built area as they had done many times over the 15 months they’d been in country, Preysler said. The soldiers were there on a reconnaissance mission to establish a presence and find a good location to connect with the local government, populace and Afghan National Police, he said.

The small outpost had been built just days before the attack and consisted of protective wire and observation posts surrounding strategically placed vehicles. “That’s all it was, a series of vehicles that went out there,” Preysler said, adding that Bella had no road access, was difficult to resupply, difficult to reinforce and difficult to defend.

“People are saying that this was a full-up [forward operating base]/combat outpost, and that is absolutely false and not true. There were no walls,” Preysler said, latter adding, “FOB denotes that there are walls and perimeters and all that. It’s a vehicle patrol base, temporary in nature.”

But that doesn’t mean the soldiers were not prepared to take on the enemy, he said.

“Now, obviously when you halt, you start prepping your defenses, and in this case we had [observation posts] and protective wire, we had the vehicles deployed properly to take advantage of their fields of fire, and we set up like that all over the place, and we do it routinely,” he said.

The Army did not “abandon” the base after the attack, as many media reporters have suggested, Preysler said.

He said the decision to move from the location following the attack was to reposition, which his men have done countless times throughout their tour, and to move closer to the local seat of government.

“If there’s no combat outpost to abandon, there’s no position to abandon,” he said. “It’s a bunch of vehicles like we do on patrol anywhere and we hold up for a night and pick up any tactical positions that we have with vehicle patrol bases.

“We do that routinely…. We’re always doing that when go out and stay in an area for longer then a few hours, and that’s what it is. So there is nothing to abandon. There was no structures, there was no COP or FOB or anything like that to even abandon. So, from the get-go, that is just [expletive], and it’s not right.”

He also didn’t like the media’s characterization that his men were “overrun.”

“As far as I know, and I know a lot, it was not overrun in any shape, manner or form,” an emotional Preysler said. “It was close combat to be sure — hand grenade range. The enemy never got into the main position. As a matter of fact, it was, I think, the bravery of our soldiers reinforcing the hard-pressed observation post, or OP, that turned the tide to defeat the enemy attack.”

So this “military installation” was nothing like a Combat Out Post or Joint Security Station or Foward Operating Base as those term are understood in Iraq.  It sounds more like what an old tanker would call a laager, maybe an assembly area.  And it wasn’t “abandoned” after the battle.  The mobile unit that occupied the position got up and left.  Mobile units do that.

First reports are always wrong.  Remember that.

1LT Jonathan P. Brostrom
SGT Israel Garcia
CPL Jonathan R. Ayers
CPL Jason M. Bogar
CPL Jason D. Hovater
CPL Matthew B. Phillips
CPL Pruitt A. Rainey
CPL Gunnar W. Zwilling
PFC Sergio S. Abad














   ” . . . regardless of what the media makes it look like, we are not getting beaten.”

UPDATE: MaryAnn of Soldier’s Angels Germany comments over at Blackfive

The FOB and the OP were at the same location. Wanat was intended to replace nearby Bella and was still being set up. It wasn’t much more than c-wire around some vehicles and fortified fighting positions. It can be set up again at the time and place of our choosing.

After spending the past few days at the hospital with these guys, I was dismayed to come back to “reality” and discover this fight has been portrayed back home as “the FOB which got overrun/abandoned”.

Instead of “45 badass paratroopers hold off organized attack by hundreds of heavily-armed Taliban/AQ.”


Sky Soldiers! Airborne!

UPDATE: Report Alleges Police Aided Taliban in Attack that Killed Nine

UPDATE 200812191817:  Dire sunrise at Wanat

UPDATE 20110101:  Final Report on Battle of Wanat- A victory with a high cost



Filed under Heroes, Old Media, The Forgotten War

9 responses to “The Truth Comes Out About the Battle of Patrol Base Wanat

  1. Thank you for this post, Cannoneer No. 4.

  2. Thank you for being at Landstuhl to get the real story, MaryAnn.

    That was a helluva fight and a story that deserves to be told.


  3. Grimmy

    This was the kind of fight that legends are made from.

    Another page in the Book of Valor for the Sky Soldiers.

  4. Tony

    This position was obviously a temporary bivouac postion. Vehicles placed in strategic positions with wire strung between them. Not firebase like in ‘Nam. A platoon of Airborne paratroopers and a short platoon of 25 Afghans. Although there were 200 attacking Taliban there were another 400 in fire support from the nearby town. We took 9 KIA and 15 WIA. They suffered 40 KIA and approx. 40 WIA. Outnumbered 3 to 1 by just the attacking force and 9 to 1 overall by the enemy forces in the area we inflicted a 3 to 1 casualty rate on the enemy. And yet, based on media reports we “lost” the battle. That’s the liberally biase media for you. The valiant men of C Company, 2/503rd Inf., 173rd Airborne upheld the highest tradition of the paratroopers. Outnumbered and outgunned the Airborne held their ground and made the enemy pay for every inch. They are a testimony to their legendary fighting ability. Remember your fallen Airborne. Say a prayer. Then send the enemy to hell.

  5. God Bless our Soldiers and the warrior spirit they had that fateful night. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen hero’s that gave everything they had and were betrayed by a liberal media trying to influence public opnion by publishing false staements and outright lies. Our Soldier’s soundly defeated an enemy force, as we have done every time in the CENTCOM AO. May our God judge those who spread lies and misinformation harshly and with justice.

  6. Pingback: AR 15-6 Investigation Findings and Recommendations — Vehicle Patrol Base Wanat Complex Attack and Casualties, 13 July 2008 « Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group

  7. Jeremy Stone

    Seen the Washington Post piece? These guys were screwed by their command who just created the name vehicle patrol base to cover up that they left em out to die!