Tim Lynch On The Art Of Tactical Listening

BY Herschel Smith
3 years, 5 months ago

Occasionally one makes dear friends for life, even among men whom he has never met.  That’s the case with Mike Vanderboegh, and it’s also the case with a man named Tim Lynch.  I have more respect and fondness for those two men than they can possibly know.  For my readers who were not with me when I covered the debacle that was/is OEF, and conveyed my utter contempt for the likes of Stanley McChrystal and David Rodriguez, my friendship with and support of Michael Yon when jerk-bloggers attacked him, my problems with the rules of engagement, and so on, Tim Lynch was a contractor who was in theater for nearly a decade.  He has spent more time in Afghanistan than any white man alive.  He knows everything – and I mean everything, about Afghanistan.

Tim had a difficult time decompressing stateside, and he paid a huge price financially and personally for being in theater, but I’ll let him tell you his story.  It’s at the same time enlightening, exciting, troublesome, breathtaking, joyful and sad.  He previously blogged, and is blogging again, at Free Range International.  He recently pointed to a post I made on Operation Red Wings concerning tactics, planning, logistics and execution, here and as a guest blogger on another blog.

In my son Daniel’s assessment he takes a classic Marine view of the operation, but if you can wade through the Marine Corps way of doing things versus other branches of the military, his views are still salient and on-point.  Many of the comments are agreeable, many of them violently disagreeable.  The disagreements come mainly from the notion that we (Daniel and I) just don’t understand the nature of recon missions or the kit carried for said insertions, etc., etc., blah blah blah.  And the whole point of the post was that it should never have been a recon mission of that sort or like that to begin with.  Read it if you wish, but you don’t have to to get the point Tim Lynch makes now.  Tim observes the following in his post on this operation.

On June 28, 2005 a Marine battalion working out of Jalalabad launched Operation Red Wing. They lacked their own helicopters so they went to JSOC to ask for helicopter support.  JSOC was game but only if they could play too so they sent a 4 man SEAL detachment to do the recon piece instead of the 6 man STA platoon unit the Marines had planned to use. With that change came a change in the recon insertion plan; instead of sneaking in on foot like the STA platoon had planned the SEALs opted for a helicopter insert using several dummy landings to fool the AOG as to their true location. The SEALs also ignored the Marine snipers warnings that sat phones and light weight PRC148’s would not work and that they needed to lug a PRC 119 in with them.

In one sentence Tim explains what we all needed to know about the attitudes of the SEALs.  This tidbit could have been in a book, or not, or it could have been said before by someone official, or not, or it could have been tribal knowledge, or not.  It doesn’t really matter to me.  The fact that Tim has said it gives it authority.  Tim will know, and that’s the end of it.

This article isn’t really about communications gear.  It’s about who you are and whether you can “sit at the feet” of someone else and learn.  As for my line of work, I was an average engineer until I learned to listen to others, from technicians to PhDs.  Then I became a really great engineer with the help of others.  The SEALS had the attitude that they were SEALS, and so no one could tell them anything.

If you have the attitude that you have nothing to learn from those around you, then regardless of how much money has been spent on you, regardless of how highly regarded you are, regardless of how good you are, regardless of how much you know and what you can do, you have no business leading other men and you will never excel at your station in life.


Comments

  1. On May 9, 2016 at 7:16 am, MattBracken said:

    This discussion is very on point. Another example: the Marine and other SEAL sniper assets were already on scene for the “Captain Phillips” escapade, but they all were put on hold while snipers from ST-6 were flown around the world.

  2. On May 9, 2016 at 1:24 pm, anonymous said:

    “all were put on hold while snipers from ST-6 were flown around the world”

    I believe this is very common.

    1) There was that incident back in 1986 when a fishing boat drifted into [insert name of Communist country here] waters. Instead of using the air assets that were already on the scene, the Navy waited 24 hours for Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer to arrive from their Top Gun graduation ceremony.

    2) Then there was that other incident back in 1990 when a Navy helicopter crew was taken hostage in Lebanon. Instead of using Marines or SEALs already stationed in the Mediterranean, they paged Michael Biehn and Charlee Sheen — who had to make a dramatic exit from Dennis Haysbert’s wedding in Virginia — to go rescue the helo crew.

    Some things never change.

  3. On May 10, 2016 at 10:36 pm, Josh said:

    I don’t disagree with your overall point, but I think there could be other events to better leverage it.

    Those snipers took and made shots that are historic. That scenario I’m sure will be taught for decades to come. Could the snipers already in theater have made those shots? I don’t know, but the ones from ST-6 did, full stop. In my opinion, that justifies the decision.

  4. On May 9, 2016 at 7:31 am, Frank Clarke said:

    The syndrome is epidemic. Examples from military, engineering, and now software:
    http://rexxpertise.blogspot.com/2014/03/proverbs-2717.html

    “There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” –Will Rogers

    Of course, now that my eyes have been opened, I’m able to ask “Why are we risking our kids’ lives in the 3rd-world garbage dump at all?” So far, no one has provided a rational answer.

  5. On May 9, 2016 at 8:39 am, Paul X said:

    It’s the logic of empire. It doesn’t have to make sense to the peons. The real question is why the peons put up with it; why the peons send their sons and daughters to fight in these garbage dumps? Where do these people get the idea, against all evidence to the contrary, that they are fighting for freedom?

  6. On May 9, 2016 at 8:48 am, Fred said:

    Where? you ask. Why, the state run media of course.

  7. On May 9, 2016 at 10:27 pm, Wrench said:

    Smedley Butler nailed it many decades ago…

  8. On May 10, 2016 at 9:02 am, joe said:

    I’m beginning to think we have too many elite units who all need/want a piece of every operation … less is sometimes more … which leads me to suggest that perhaps we could do without SEALs entirely … make them UDT like they started out and leave land operations to Army and Marine units…

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment


You are currently reading "Tim Lynch On The Art Of Tactical Listening", entry #15162 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan and was published May 8th, 2016 by Herschel Smith.

If you're interested in what else the The Captain's Journal has to say, you might try thumbing through the archives and visiting the main index, or; perhaps you would like to learn more about TCJ.

26th MEU (10)
Abu Muqawama (12)
ACOG (2)
ACOGs (1)
Afghan National Army (36)
Afghan National Police (17)
Afghanistan (679)
Afghanistan SOFA (4)
Agriculture in COIN (3)
AGW (1)
Air Force (34)
Air Power (9)
al Qaeda (83)
Ali al-Sistani (1)
America (17)
Ammunition (80)
Animals (42)
Ansar al Sunna (15)
Anthropology (3)
Antonin Scalia (1)
AR-15s (186)
Arghandab River Valley (1)
Arlington Cemetery (2)
Army (74)
Assassinations (2)
Assault Weapon Ban (27)
Australian Army (6)
Azerbaijan (4)
Backpacking (2)
Badr Organization (8)
Baitullah Mehsud (21)
Basra (17)
BATFE (83)
Battle of Bari Alai (2)
Battle of Wanat (18)
Battle Space Weight (3)
Bin Laden (7)
Blogroll (2)
Blogs (16)
Body Armor (18)
Books (3)
Border War (10)
Brady Campaign (1)
Britain (38)
British Army (35)
Camping (4)
Canada (2)
Castle Doctrine (1)
Caucasus (6)
CENTCOM (7)
Center For a New American Security (8)
Charity (3)
China (10)
Christmas (10)
CIA (27)
Civilian National Security Force (3)
Col. Gian Gentile (9)
Combat Outposts (3)
Combat Video (2)
Concerned Citizens (6)
Constabulary Actions (3)
Coolness Factor (2)
COP Keating (4)
Corruption in COIN (4)
Council on Foreign Relations (1)
Counterinsurgency (216)
DADT (2)
David Rohde (1)
Defense Contractors (2)
Department of Defense (145)
Department of Homeland Security (23)
Disaster Preparedness (3)
Distributed Operations (5)
Dogs (12)
Donald Trump (24)
Drone Campaign (3)
EFV (3)
Egypt (12)
El Salvador (1)
Embassy Security (1)
Enemy Spotters (1)
Expeditionary Warfare (17)
F-22 (2)
F-35 (1)
Fallujah (17)
Far East (3)
Fathers and Sons (2)
Favorite (1)
Fazlullah (3)
FBI (29)
Featured (180)
Federal Firearms Laws (18)
Financing the Taliban (2)
Firearms (1,021)
Football (1)
Force Projection (35)
Force Protection (4)
Force Transformation (1)
Foreign Policy (27)
Fukushima Reactor Accident (6)
Ganjgal (1)
Garmsir (1)
general (15)
General Amos (1)
General James Mattis (1)
General McChrystal (43)
General McKiernan (6)
General Rodriguez (3)
General Suleimani (7)
Georgia (19)
GITMO (2)
Google (1)
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (1)
Gun Control (1,069)
Guns (1,522)
Guns In National Parks (3)
Haditha Roundup (10)
Haiti (2)
HAMAS (7)
Haqqani Network (9)
Hate Mail (8)
Hekmatyar (1)
Heroism (4)
Hezbollah (12)
High Capacity Magazines (13)
High Value Targets (9)
Homecoming (1)
Homeland Security (1)
Horses (1)
Humor (21)
ICOS (1)
IEDs (7)
Immigration (83)
India (10)
Infantry (4)
Information Warfare (2)
Infrastructure (2)
Intelligence (23)
Intelligence Bulletin (6)
Iran (169)
Iraq (379)
Iraq SOFA (23)
Islamic Facism (62)
Islamists (92)
Israel (18)
Jaish al Mahdi (21)
Jalalabad (1)
Japan (2)
Jihadists (80)
John Nagl (5)
Joint Intelligence Centers (1)
JRTN (1)
Kabul (1)
Kajaki Dam (1)
Kamdesh (9)
Kandahar (12)
Karachi (7)
Kashmir (2)
Khost Province (1)
Khyber (11)
Knife Blogging (4)
Korea (4)
Korengal Valley (3)
Kunar Province (20)
Kurdistan (3)
Language in COIN (5)
Language in Statecraft (1)
Language Interpreters (2)
Lashkar-e-Taiba (2)
Law Enforcement (3)
Lawfare (7)
Leadership (5)
Lebanon (6)
Leon Panetta (2)
Let Them Fight (2)
Libya (14)
Lines of Effort (3)
Littoral Combat (8)
Logistics (50)
Long Guns (1)
Lt. Col. Allen West (2)
Marine Corps (258)
Marines in Bakwa (1)
Marines in Helmand (67)
Marjah (4)
MEDEVAC (2)
Media (42)
Memorial Day (5)
Mexican Cartels (33)
Mexico (46)
Michael Yon (5)
Micromanaging the Military (7)
Middle East (1)
Military Blogging (26)
Military Contractors (4)
Military Equipment (24)
Militia (5)
Mitt Romney (3)
Monetary Policy (1)
Moqtada al Sadr (2)
Mosul (4)
Mountains (25)
MRAPs (1)
Mullah Baradar (1)
Mullah Fazlullah (1)
Mullah Omar (3)
Musa Qala (4)
Music (18)
Muslim Brotherhood (6)
Nation Building (2)
National Internet IDs (1)
National Rifle Association (63)
NATO (15)
Navy (22)
Navy Corpsman (1)
NCOs (3)
News (1)
NGOs (2)
Nicholas Schmidle (2)
Now Zad (19)
NSA (3)
NSA James L. Jones (6)
Nuclear (57)
Nuristan (8)
Obama Administration (218)
Offshore Balancing (1)
Operation Alljah (7)
Operation Khanjar (14)
Ossetia (7)
Pakistan (165)
Paktya Province (1)
Palestine (5)
Patriotism (6)
Patrolling (1)
Pech River Valley (11)
Personal (58)
Petraeus (14)
Pictures (1)
Piracy (13)
Pistol (2)
Pizzagate (21)
Police (419)
Police in COIN (3)
Policy (15)
Politics (460)
Poppy (2)
PPEs (1)
Prisons in Counterinsurgency (12)
Project Gunrunner (20)
PRTs (1)
Qatar (1)
Quadrennial Defense Review (2)
Quds Force (13)
Quetta Shura (1)
RAND (3)
Recommended Reading (14)
Refueling Tanker (1)
Religion (165)
Religion and Insurgency (19)
Reuters (1)
Rick Perry (4)
Rifles (1)
Roads (4)
Rolling Stone (1)
Ron Paul (1)
ROTC (1)
Rules of Engagement (75)
Rumsfeld (1)
Russia (29)
Sabbatical (1)
Sangin (1)
Saqlawiyah (1)
Satellite Patrols (2)
Saudi Arabia (4)
Scenes from Iraq (1)
Second Amendment (268)
Second Amendment Quick Hits (2)
Secretary Gates (9)
Sharia Law (3)
Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahiden (1)
SIIC (2)
Sirajuddin Haqqani (1)
Small Wars (72)
Snipers (9)
Sniveling Lackeys (2)
Soft Power (4)
Somalia (8)
Sons of Afghanistan (1)
Sons of Iraq (2)
Special Forces (28)
Squad Rushes (1)
State Department (20)
Statistics (1)
Sunni Insurgency (10)
Support to Infantry Ratio (1)
Supreme Court (5)
Survival (27)
SWAT Raids (54)
Syria (38)
Tactical Drills (1)
Tactical Gear (4)
Taliban (167)
Taliban Massing of Forces (4)
Tarmiyah (1)
TBI (1)
Technology (17)
Tehrik-i-Taliban (78)
Terrain in Combat (1)
Terrorism (95)
Thanksgiving (8)
The Anbar Narrative (23)
The Art of War (5)
The Fallen (1)
The Long War (20)
The Surge (3)
The Wounded (13)
Thomas Barnett (1)
Transnational Insurgencies (5)
Tribes (5)
TSA (18)
TSA Ineptitude (11)
TTPs (1)
U.S. Border Patrol (5)
U.S. Border Security (14)
U.S. Sovereignty (17)
UAVs (2)
UBL (4)
Ukraine (3)
Uncategorized (56)
Universal Background Check (3)
Unrestricted Warfare (4)
USS Iwo Jima (2)
USS San Antonio (1)
Uzbekistan (1)
V-22 Osprey (4)
Veterans (2)
Vietnam (1)
War & Warfare (220)
War & Warfare (40)
War Movies (3)
War Reporting (19)
Wardak Province (1)
Warriors (6)
Waziristan (1)
Weapons and Tactics (63)
West Point (1)
Winter Operations (1)
Women in Combat (21)
WTF? (1)
Yemen (1)

October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006

about · archives · contact · register

Copyright © 2006-2019 Captain's Journal. All rights reserved.