CHESTER HAS MOVED!: Chester referenced on Fox News Live?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Chester referenced on Fox News Live?

An Alert Reader has just sent me an email stating that David Asman on Fox News "mentioned a website he had been reading that talked about Mao and resistance fighters." Mr. Asman, feel free to quote my site, but please offer credit where credit is due, and give your viewers the web address. I'll be waiting for today's transcripts to see the reference. Also, if anyone at Fox is reading this, I have a story idea for you. I just had Fox on while I was making my lunch. Whatever program is on has an anchor surrounded by a studio audience. The anchor is interviewing three US troops who were severely wounded in Iraq. One's face is partially disfigured and he had to spend ten months walking again, and his whole platoon died. The other two had equally bad things happen to them. The story is about Veteran's Day, and the pitch is to honor these veterans. What is inspiring about them is their attitudes -- all three are very positive, ready to come out swinging, just trying to raise awareness of wounded vets from Iraq. This is an excellent story. The character trait that these men display is called moral courage, and there is some unselfishness thrown in to boot. But my question to Fox is, why are veterans only honored on TV if they fit into the box of being a victim? Don't get me wrong: certainly you honor all veterans. But the ones you are interviewing ON THE AIR could easily fit into the victim box --if their attitudes were different, this might be the tone they took. What I am asking is: why don't you interview some veterans who have shown physical courage? Get some guys up there who have been decorated for saving lives under fire, or who pressed on in attacking when wounded, or who slew an overwhelming enemy force single-handedly? Provide this as a counterpoint to the guys who were wounded in bomb blasts and let's have a more robust conversation about courage, service, and sacrifice. Let me give you an example: Loyal Readers, raise your hands (unless you are at work) if you have ever heard of Lyndie England, Jeremy Spivits, or any of the other bad apples who were involved in the Abu Ghraib incident? Through the mist of the internet, I see many hands raised. Now readers, raise your hands if you have ever heard of Brian Chontosh. I see few if any hands up. I'm not buddies with Brian Chontosh, but he was in my class at The Basic School in Quantico when I was there. I think he finished 3 or so out of 250. You should ask yourself why you know the names of the Abu Ghraib crowd, but not Brian Chontosh. If our society stops recognizing physical courage, there will no longer be any episodes to recognize. So what do you say, Fox? [In the interest of full disclosure, I never fired a shot in Iraq myself, and was never in any firefights, though within hearing distance of a few. Closest I got was when the Iraqis fired all the French and Chinese missiles at us while we were still in Kuwait. They missed.] UPDATE: An Alert Reader has asked if I am correct about the soldier losing his platoon. I think it was a helicopter crash, not a firefight. Could definitely be a smaller size - like a squad, but I think I heard platoon. Like I said, I was making lunch. Transcript may be out . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I hear these stories about the bravery of men it makes me think that John Kerry has no shame.There isn't a person who cheapens the meaning of these awards more than him.He should be investigated and stripped of his medals if he obtained them fraudulently.

November 11, 2004 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger fmeads said...

Bravo Chester for bringing up Brian Chontosh. I had not heard his story and I'm glad you did. Listen up Fox! We want to hear about these guys too!

November 11, 2004 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger USALoveIt said...

Cool site dude - congrats on the Fox News mention - I can only hope one day my site will be listed.

Thank you for your service to your country.

I am proud of the USA and our troops.


November 11, 2004 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger submandave said...

I've had the exact same though since GW'91. In our national desire to become civilized, we have come to a point where violence itself and not the nature of its employment is demonized. As such, it is safe to speak of the bravery of a POW or the wounded, but to praise the actions of an Audy Murphee type cary the impression that it is the violence and death itself that is being lauded rather than the hero.

I once read an interesting article that noted the only ethnic demographic that statistically fared differently during the Vietnam War were Native Americans. They suffered a much higher casualty rate both due to the "warrior culture" and other's stereotypes ("Put him on point 'cause he's an Indian and must know how to track and look for signs and stuff."). Additionally, though, they also reported lower levels of PTSD and problems returning to society. This, too, was a result of the traditional warrior culture that welcomed the soldiers home and communities that had a cultural history of knowing how to separate the warrior from the war.

If we aren't careful, the men serving in Iraq today will be yet more casualties of the Vietnam era pop-culture that actively works to separate them from the society they protect and deny them the honor they deserve as freedom's champions.

November 11, 2004 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Jakkalsgat said...

Yeah, I've heard of Captain Chontosh.

No more than 60 mins ago he was on UK TV chatting to one of the embedded reporters with 3-5th marines. Guess where? Somewhere in the southern section of Jolan district.

November 11, 2004 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Still Thinking said...

I couldn't get your link to come up, so I did a yahoo search. Intersting commentary on our society is that this came up

Amazing that there would be those who would quickly doubt a story of bravery, while embracing all signs of treachery.

November 11, 2004 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger KeithJamesMc said...

It seems to me that the Marines have been given Carte Blanche…

There are numerous examples of this:

1. Use of White Phosphorous
Some artillery guns fired white phosphorous rounds that create a screen of fire that cannot be extinguished with water. Insurgents reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns.
Kamal Hadeethi, a physician at a regional hospital, said, "The corpses of the mujahedeen which we received were burned, and some corpses were melted."
2. Openly attacking all the mosques

One member of his troop was Sgt Kimberly Snow, a "combat camera" photographer whose job was to record what happened in the battle to prevent the insurgents later boosting their cause with propaganda. "If they're firing out of a mosque or a hospital I don't care where she is, bring Sgt Snow forward. So when we level that thing, we have pictures to show they were using it as a bad place," said Capt Mayfield.

Its looks like Allawi & the marines knew something we didn’t with repeated references to sending the insurgents to hell.

With the discovery of the Slaughterhouses and NPR reporting vials of Sarin gas have been found, it seems to me the tactics are extremely fair…

The question is:
• Will these extreme tactics force a lot of insurgents to rethink and give in?

November 11, 2004 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Lawful Good said...

Just in case any readers are unaware of the site, Blackfive ( regularly posts "People You Should Know," profiles of servicemen and -women (and their families). His site introduced a ot of people to the "Taking Chance Home" story, as well as a number of heroes like Brian Chontosh.

It's worth looking at. I happen to think that Chester shares a large readership with Matt, but just in case someone Fox-ish out there is looking for good military character studies...

November 11, 2004 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger Chuck said...

Brian Chontosh is just one of the people I've featured in my page American Heroes

November 11, 2004 at 1:34 PM  
Blogger USMC_Vet said...


It seems to me that the terrorist insurgents have given themselves Carte Blanche...

1. Use of Hunting Knives

Several civilian victims were not around to describe how their heads were hacked off by an animal with a Gerber hunting knife while blood still pumped through their arteries. Several videos surfaced to speak in their stead, displaying the same animals praising God and thanking Him for the righteousness to do His work.

2. Attacking Openly From All Mosques

Jihadists throughout Iraq (and elsewhere) have decided that doing God's work is best performed from within God's house. Indeed, the Holy Shrines are not wholly shrines but also God's outposts, munitions depots and C4I centers.

Indeed, the Marines' tactics are justified, as outposts, mnitions depots, C4I centers and all active inhabitants are legitimate military targets.

Sgt. Snow fields the most dangerous weapon in the war. While in the immediate it is a battle of bullets and bombs, we cannot forget the larger picture: At the root of it all, we are engaged in a great battle of ideas and information.

Here's hoping Sgt. Snow stays safe yet effective. I hope she wears an Expert Badge with crossed telephoto lenses in the center. She should.

November 11, 2004 at 1:36 PM  
Blogger Pancho said...

Veteran's DayThanks for your service

W. Craig
We Were Soldiers....Once and Young

November 11, 2004 at 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great site Chester. I've been reading since Blackfive mentioned your blog, and appreciate the insight.

There have been two Air Force Crosses, one Distinguished Service Cross and six Nave Crosses awarded during the War on Terror. Additionally, one US Army (SPC Paul Ray Smith) and one USMC (Cpl Jason Dunham) are nominated for posthumous Congressional Medals of Honor.

For the "Cross" Citations look here:

Story on Cpl Dunham:

Story on SPC Smith:

Cranford, NJ

November 11, 2004 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

New set of satellites maps of Fallujia:

November 11, 2004 at 2:50 PM  
Blogger Subsunk said...


Are you sure the young gent from Iraq was quoted saying his entire platoon was killed during the fighting. I don't recall us taking losses that high during this conflict in one day. And I'm pretty sure the press would have gotten a hold of this one and made hay for the propagandists. Maybe he meant much of his squad or Fox just got it wrong????? What do you think?

I got my Brian Chontosh writeup from a friend at US Strategic Command. It made the email rounds throughout the Pentagon and email to vets. Not a dry eye or a close jaw in my office when they saw it. What a man. Chesty would be proud.

Great blog. Keep it up.


November 11, 2004 at 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chester -- great site. I am a former Marine Officer, too; O302. Semper Fi, Happy Birthday.

I fully agree about the need to write up or publicize a guy like Brian Chontash, who won a Navy Cross last year in the March Up while a CAAT Platoon Commander with 3/5. Notably, now, Capt Chontash is apparently a Company Commander, with the exact same unit, in the invasion of Fallujah. After winning a Navy Cross, clearly, he could have called his shots as to where he wanted to go; but, of course, he decided to stay with his Battalion, 3/5, and now they are attacking on the flanks of 3/1 and US Army Battalion 2-7 into the heart of Fallujah. Pretty frigging motivating.

There's a book, Mars Learning, about the development of Small Wars Doctrine in the so called Banana Wars. The Marines and other service members over there are doing the same thing now. One of the main points of that book was that the big benefit to the Corps of that period of Small Wars from 1915 to 1940 was the development of some terrific small unit leaders who became the leaders of the Corps (Chesty Puller; the Raider Battalion Bn COs, etc). The same thing is happening now with the development of leaders like Capt Chontash. It's truly inspiring.

November 11, 2004 at 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems like a major setback in Mosul today. Multiple police stations overrun. Insurgents take weapons and body armor. Half of police force of 8,000 fails to report for duty.

I have no doubt we can successfully kill thousands more insurgents, and I consider this useful, but I am not sure it will result in any kind of stability in Iraq. I am beginning to believe Iraq is ungovernable because there are too many stupid people in Iraq. Democracy and stability requires a certain amount of intelligence. The Iraqis appear to be too stupid for their own good. Kind of like tribal Africa. Too fucking stupid for stability. Natural selection in play.

Or, maybe you have to reduce the entire country to rubble before people get smart. For example, Germany and Japan and Afghannistan were all rubblized.

Do we care that much?

November 11, 2004 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Peyton said...

Yup, I know who Brian Chontosh is, and I passed the story along to Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters, who put it up. Your point is steel-on-target, though. There are numerous stories like Chontosh', but you will never find them unless you dig. That is lame.

Related, and I'm still fuming, ABC News Radio does the feed for the AM station I listen to on the way home from Fort Hood. Today's Fallujah story? 18 American servicement killed so far. Nothing else. Today's Veterans Day story was about how many of the "homeless" are veterans, particularly of VietNam, and have substance abuse problems. Today is a very special Veterans Day, and that's the best that they could do.

We need to push out the stories like Chontosh'. The legacy media never will.

November 11, 2004 at 3:46 PM  
Blogger Anti said...

very good site mate, I certainly did not know this hero.
The Kerry comment was disappointing though.

November 11, 2004 at 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check PBS's NewsHour, your local station, this evening, 11/11/04 for the ITV report from Fallujah. It contains an interview with said Capt. Chontosh.

November 11, 2004 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger cjr said...

This is very interesting:

November 11, 2004 at 4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is pretty frigging motivating!

The Watchdogs of Fallujah

Bing West is a former Marine who is writing a book about Fallujah. This is his fifth trip to Iraq. His writings can be found at

From: Bing West
Subject: How the Pioneer Robot Plane Helped Win an Artillery Duel
Thursday, Nov. 11, 2004, at 11:37 AM PT

The daytime optical camera on the Pioneer Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV, yields rich colors, and so the quick red flashes from the mosque courtyard instantly caught the Marines' attention. The operation to seize back Fallujah was going well on the afternoon of Nov. 8. Seven battalions were advancing from the north, and the Pioneer was circling a four-square kilometer district to the south, called Queens. Long the lair of criminal gangs, terrorists, kidnappers, and jihadists, Queens was a jumble of a few thousand drab cement two-story houses and dirt roads, with scant vegetation.

Spotting insurgents was not a problem for "The Watchdogs"—Marine Air Wing unit VMU-1 that operated the Pioneer. Based in a tent next to a runway a few miles outside Fallujah, the Watchdogs had flown several hundred surveillance missions over the city during the past five months. The insurgents had no place to hide. When they came out of doors, they were seen, tracked, and attacked—day after day. Several times the Watchdogs had seen pickups suddenly swerve into empty lots, the occupants jumping out, setting up long tubes, firing a few rockets and scurrying off before a response attack could be launched.

"We followed one pickup after it fired some rockets," Staff Sgt. Francisco Tataje, the intelligence chief, said. "It swung up onto the main highway and we had it intercepted. The driver had a perfect ID. No incriminating stuff. We gave the interrogation team a copy of our video. They called back to say the guy confessed."

Continue Article



Today's mortar attack from the mosque, though, broke the usual shoot-and-scoot pattern. This time the mortar crew was staying and fighting back. The half-completed mosque looked like a small soccer stadium, with an oval-shaped courtyard wall several stories high and an empty interior court. In the center of the court was a single mortar tube pointed north toward Camp Fallujah, the logistics hub of the coalition operation. Every 10 minutes or so, three insurgents sprinted from a large house a few hundred meters north of the mosque and disappeared under the eaves of the wall. A few minutes later, they dashed out, each dropping one round down the tube and madly sprinting back to the house.

After six mortar rounds randomly exploded around the huge Camp Fallujah, Lt. Col. John Neumann, the Watchdogs' mission commander, took a phone call from the Fusion Center, which integrated all intelligence sources and assigned targets to firing units.

"Air's not available. Arty has the target," Neumann said to his 10-man crew clustered around two video displays and four computer monitors.

Artillery was an area-fire weapon, most useful against troops in the open but not intended for point targets. It was not the first choice for this sort of mission. But artillery was all that was immediately available.

Lance Cpl. Jonathan Salisibrarra, the payload operator, placed the crosshairs of the Pioneer's optical camera on the mortar tube and read off the 10-digit grid that appeared on the screen. The coordinates were typed and sent to the Fusion Center and the firing battery. The crew waited for several minutes, saying little, as the Pioneer circled several thousand feet above, camera locked on the shiny mortar tube. When Neumann said, "Shot out," they craned forward to watch the explosion.

When a large gray puff popped up a football field away from the tube, the crew measured the miss distance and typed in, Add one hundred, right fifty. Several minutes later, a large cloud of dirt erupted inside the courtyard. Among several cries of All right! the next command was Fire for effect. A few minutes later, two bright orange flashes lighted up the courtyard, with a third about 100 meters to the south. When the smoke cleared, the tube was still standing. The crew called for another volley. Same result—close but not effective. No secondary explosions. No visible damage to the tube.

During the ensuing lull, the three insurgents again ran from the safe house to the mosque wall, picked up shells, dropped them down the tube, and ran back to the house.

The Watchdogs exchanged exclamations.

"They're hanging in there."

"You wouldn't catch me playing dodge with 155s."

"Suckers are dead meat if they guess wrong when the next volley is."

"We're getting Predator," Neumann said after calling the Fusion Center.

Launched from a site near Baghdad, the Predator UAV carried a Hellfire missile. Its crew and its video feeds were back in California. A few weeks earlier, the Watchdogs had employed Predator to hit a moving pickup with a mounted machine gun—one robot leading another robot to the target. NFL games on television allow the viewer to see the same play from different angles. But the digital pipes for battlefield imagery weren't large enough to permit the Watchdogs and the Predator crew in California to see each other's video. Instead, the Predator and Pioneer crews used e-mail chat and GPS coordinates to align their platforms.

"Break, break," Neumann said, "Predator's been diverted. Profane is on station and has the mission. Stand by for talk on."

Profane was the call sign for a flight of two Marine AV-8B jets hovering at 19,000 feet above the city. The Watchdogs would use voice and data to talk to the Forward Air Controller Airborne (or FACA) who would line up the jets for the attack.

In the meantime, the insurgents had made another round-trip sprint. Twelve rounds had been launched at Camp Fallujah. The Fusion Center wanted this duel over with.

"What do you think, guys?" asked Neumann, whose leadership style was inclusive. "The tube or the house?"

"House!" came back the chorus.

The two-story cement house where the insurgents were hiding between rounds had a dome roof, a large courtyard with an outside wall, and an overhang at the front door, where a sentry was posted. The Watchdogs had counted five men outside, assuming it was the same sprinters making the round trip to the mortar each time. Once Profane had locked on the mosque, Neumann talked the FACA on.

"The house is the first one north of the vacant lot on the northeast corner. Has a dome roof. Wait—it's where that truck is. Got it?"

A truck had pulled up and five men had walked inside, carrying something in their arms. Three dogs had trotted up.

"Supper time. They're changing shifts," Sgt. Roneil Sampson, an imagery analyst, said. "Domino's delivery."

"Cleared hot," Neumann said. Impact was less than a minute away.

Word had spread to the off-duty crew and over two dozen Marines had squeezed into the small op center, murmuring back and forth.

"I like dogs. Get out of there dogs."

"Stay in there, muj. You're almost in paradise. Don't leave now. Don't leave."

The courtyard door opened, and a man walked to the truck and slowly drove away.

"Boot muj sent out to get the Coke. Luckiest bastard on the planet."

Both video screens suddenly flashed bright white, as if a fuse had blown. There was a collective Damn! from the watching Marines. The center of the roof was now a huge black hole.

"That's a shack," Neumann said. "Now that's what I call a shack!"

"I feel sorry for the dogs," someone shouted.

"Great job, Watchdogs," Neumann said. "Great job."

November 11, 2004 at 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like they are using White Phosphorous, as the "Iraqi Occupation Watch" claims US forces are "gassing Fallujah."


November 11, 2004 at 5:53 PM  
Blogger 86Hawki said...

Actually, I think David Asman's son is a Marine.

November 11, 2004 at 6:55 PM  
Blogger Still Thinking said...

I just watched the segment on Fallujah that featured Captain Chontosh. Impressive guy. He has that quiet determination that the real ones always seem to have.

November 11, 2004 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger Buddha said...

You're right, his son Felipe a Marine Corporal.

November 11, 2004 at 8:08 PM  
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