|President Barack Obama receiving a Screaming Eagle|
t-shirt from General David Patraeus in
Friday, May 6, 2011
Fort Campbell: General Patraeus' Old Kentucky Home
Honors Fall On Navy Seals At Army's Fort Campbell
by Winsip Custer CPW News Service
If General David Patraeus were headed to Fort Campbell Kentucky for today's Presidential ceremony he would surely feel mixed blessings. It is there that the historic Screaming Eagles which provided the frontal assault on Normandy during World War II and air support for the Navy Seals that killed Osama bin Laden are based, but it was also there that General Patraeus suffered a rare bout of friendly fire that almost took his life.
During a "live round" exercise on September 21, 1991 a soldier dove, fell or tripped with his finger on the trigger of his M-16 rifle. The safety was off. The rifle discharged through Patraeus' lung. He was taken to the medical center at Nashville, Tennessee where Dr. Thomas Frist, owner of HCA and then HCA-Columbia Hospitals, performed surgery to close the wound. It was a traumatic event that the General was lucky to have survived. From there, Dr. Frist went on to join current Governor of Florida, Richard Scott and GWB's partner in the Texas baseball franchise, Fort Worth billionaire, Richard Rainwater, in developing HCA-Columbia Health care before turning his sight on the Tennessee Senate seat. Columbia-HCA received the largest Medicare-Medicaid fraud fine in U.S. history at $1.7 billion while Frist's colleague, Richard Scott, was paid nearly $400 million for his part in leading the discredited healthcare company into bankruptcy before becoming the Florida Governor.
Patraeus did not forget his allegiance to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and the 101 Airborne, the Screaming Eagles. When President Obama visited Afghanistan, Patraeus presented him with a t-shirt of the famed army outfit. Today, President Obama visits their home, Fort Campbell, to present medals to the Navy Seal team that captured and killed Osama bin Laden. It is not known whether or not General Patraeus will be present for the ceremony, but if he is there, he will surely be glad that it's not for a live-ammunition training event.
Meanwhile, the 101 Airborne and the U.S. military is seeing the loss of a tail rotor on it new high-tech stealth helicopter as a political god-send. Those who would have argued that a low-tech army, as in the Seal team that captured Bin Laden, demonstrates the military of the future are held at bay by the place that the stealth technology had in the surprise attack on Bin Laden's Abbottabad hide-away. Military funding is, therefore, secure for the foreseeable future.
Patraeus received close scrutiny following the death of West Point's leading ethicist, Col Theodore Westhusing. Westhusing was assigned the task of training Iraqi security forces, but died four hours after confronting General Patraeus about troubling abuses Westhusing witnessed in Iraq. Ruled a suicide by a military investigation, his family is reported to believe that a suicide note found by his body was actually a page taken from his personal journal chronicling his findings and concerns. Patraeus continues to be challenged by some for his robot-like leadership of American military forces in Iraq and then Afghanistan after the relieving of General Stanley McChrystal, a detour through Iraq which put thousands of soldiers in harm's way when the object of the 911 response should have been, as was proven in Abbottabad, Northern Afghanistan and Pakistan. The full account of Westhusing's tragedy is recorded in Christian T. Miller's book Blood Money.
Testimony of Luis Montalvan on Capital Hill...