It has become something of a mantra. Early each year, senior Navy Department civilian and uniformed officials head up to Capitol Hill to tell Congress and American taxpayers about the value of the Navy/Marine Corps Team-usually an upbeat and positive accounting.
As Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus explained to the House Armed Services Committee on 24 February 2010: "Today the Navy and Marine Corps are conducting operations across the spectrum of military operations, from major combat and ballistic-missile defense to humanitarian and disaster relief." In addition, 15,000-soon to grow to 20,000-Marines are at the "forefront of our nation's defense, serving in and around Helmand Province, Afghanistan."
Secretary Mabus reported that the Navy last year had more than 12,000 Sailors on the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan and another 9,000 at sea supporting Central Command (CENTCOM) roles and missions. This is in addition to everything the Navy and Marine Corps are doing elsewhere. "The Navy and Marine Corps are flexible, responsive, and everywhere that our nation's interests are at stake," he underscored. With more than 40 percent of the Fleet under way each day, and more than 100 ships deployed around the world, "the Navy and Marine Corps' global presence reduces instability, deters aggression, and allows for rapid response to a wide range of contingencies," Mabus averred.
By late 2009, 20 Aegis multi-mission warships-three Ticonderoga-class cruisers and 17 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers-were available for ballistic-missile defense (BMD) watch. Comprising the ship-based leg of the nation's BMD forces, these ships routinely deployed to the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, and the western Pacific, providing an "umbrella of deterrence" that will only grow as a result of President Barack Obama's September 2009 decision to focus European allies' and U.S. security on sea-based BMD. Eventually, the Navy plans to provide BMD capabilities in all 22 Aegis cruisers and 65-plus destroyers, while Navy international programs are generating a global Aegis maritime partnership with key allied navies that can energize maritime BMD partnerships worldwide.
The Pirate Scourge
Global irregular challenges were dramatically underscored by burgeoning acts of piracy, many centered in the broad expanse of the Gulf of Aden and western Indian Ocean, where modern-day buccaneers-in reality, lawless thugs-capture and hold vessels and crews for millions of dollars in ransom. Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 continued to lead an international maritime collaboration-which included warships from traditional partner navies in NATO and the European Union, regional navies' coast guards, as well as ships from Russia and the People's Republic of China-to combat piracy in one of the world's most fragile areas.
Some two dozen CTF-151 ships, since January 2010 under the command of Singapore, underscored what Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead last year called "a powerful confirmation of the effectiveness of maritime partnerships." And while some ship owners quietly pay, the high-stakes drama of the M/V Maersk Alabama, seized some 250 nautical miles off the Somali coast on 8 April 2009?-the first U.S.-flag ship to be captured by pirates since the early 1800s-underscored U.S. resolve against this near-timeless threat. The rescue of the ship's crew by the USS Bainbridge (DDG-96) and Halyburton (FFG-40) and the killing of three pirates by Navy SEALS in a simultaneous volley of three shots was one of the most significant news stories of 2009, according to the Pew Research Center's News Interest Index.
Bi- and multi-lateral exercises and training operations also continued apace, "to solidify our relationships with traditional allies and forge partnerships with new friends," Secretary Mabus noted in his 2010 testimony. Such non-kinetic activities by Global Partnership Stations in Africa, South America, and the Pacific helped train hundreds of regional navy and coast guard personnel and contributed to U.S. regional commanders' theater engagement plans. These were augmented by the more-or-less routine humanitarian-support deployments of the dry-cargo/replenishment ship USNS Richard E. Byrd (T-AKE-4) and the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) during the summer of 2009. In all, the ships treated more than 110,000 patients in the Caribbean, South America, and Oceana, while the Comfort "furthered an existing partnership with numerous civilian aid organizations," according to the Secretary.
The fall 2009 deployment across Southeast Asia of a 7th Fleet four-ship amphibious ready group home ported in Japan provided a telling illustration of the power of the services' general-purpose naval assets for what are increasingly characterized as irregular challenges. The ships were headed to the Philippines for an exercise, when the USS Denver (LPD-9) and USS McCampbell (DDG-85) were dispatched to assist earthquake-relief efforts on Sumatra. The Denver's heavy-lift helicopters were valuable in moving thousands of tons of water, food, and other aid to remote regions cut off from regular supply. Meanwhile, the remaining two ships of the ready group-the USS Harpers Ferry (LSD-49) and Tortuga (LSD-46)-continued to the Philippines, where they were on-scene to provide humanitarian assistance following two super-typhoons.
The value of the Navy's assets and their crews for humanitarian support and disaster relief was underscored by the Navy's response to the 12 January 2010 Haiti earthquake. A week after the magnitude 7.0 temblor destroyed much of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, killing more than 220,000 people, 11 Navy ships, centered on the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70), the large-deck amphibious ship USS Bataan (LHD-5), and the Comfort (rushed out of a reduced operational status after its 2009 Caribbean deployment), comprised a sea-based "force for good," as the Navy slogan has it. As the Comfort's commander, Captain James Ware, said: "I think we're up for the task, and I think with the experiences we've had in the past, we feel we're one of the best-if not the best-teams to go down to help those individuals."
Also close to home last year, Navy ships and maritime patrol aircraft in the Caribbean and off South American worked with the U.S. Coast Guard-led Joint Interagency Task Force-South to stem the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants into the United States. In 2009, the naval forces of 13 Caribbean and Latin American states, in addition to the Coast Guard and Navy, contributed to the seizure or disruption of more than 485,000 pounds of cocaine, with a street value of more than $4 billion.
Add Nine Ships
To support these and future operations and sustain if not grow today's 286-ship fleet to the 313-ship target still in Navy plans, the service accepted nine new ships in 2009. These included the tenth and final Nimitz-class carrier, the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), the Lockheed Martin-built USS Freedom (LCS-1), which deployed to the Southern Command area of responsibility in February 2010-a year quicker than a usual Fleet introduction-and the USS Independence (LCS-2), the second Littoral Combat Ship, built by General Dynamics. "We delivered three DDG-51 destroyers and restarted the DDG-51 line to increase surface combatant capacity for maritime security, deterrence, and anti-submarine warfare," CNO Admiral Roughead noted in his Fiscal Year 2011 posture statement.
We are adapting our force to meet the President's demand for sea-based ballistic-missile defense . . . of Europe while sustaining our current BMD missions in the Arabian Gulf and Western Pacific. Our Virginia-class submarine program continues to excel with the delivery of USS New Mexico (SSN-779) four months ahead of schedule. We rolled out our first carrier variant of Joint Strike Fighter (F-35C) aircraft, the timely delivery of which remains essential to fulfilling our strike fighter requirements.
All good, to be sure. But in addition to the good-news accounts this year, serious concerns were acknowledged, a result of red-lined personnel and operational tempos during 2009.
"I continue to focus on ensuring our Navy is properly balanced to answer the call now and in the decades to come," Admiral Roughead noted in his FY11 testimony. Last year, he reported that the risk to doing so was moderate but trending toward significant because of the challenges associated with Fleet capacity, increasing operational requirements, and growing manpower, maintenance, and infrastructure costs. "This risk has increased over the last year as trends in each of these areas have continued. We are able to meet the most critical combatant commander demands today, but I am increasingly concerned about our ability to meet any additional demands. . . . ," Admiral Roughead said.
Personnel tempos are proving to bump up against guidelines. "Navy commanders lead six of the 12 U.S.-led Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan," Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert stated in March 2010 testimony. He continued:
We have doubled our construction battalions (Seabees) in Afghanistan, increasing our capacity to build forward bases for U.S. forces and improve critical infrastructure in that country. Our Naval Special Warfare Teams continue to be engaged heavily in direct combat operations and our Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams continue to conduct life-saving counter-Improvised Explosive Device operations on a daily basis. As we shift our effort from Iraq to Afghanistan, demand for Navy individual augmentees (IAs) has grown. We are providing IAs to support the increase of U.S. forces in Afghanistan while our IAs in Iraq remain at current levels to support the withdrawal of U.S. force levels, maintain detention facilities and critical infrastructure, and assist coalition efforts until they can be turned over to Iraqi forces.
Juxtaposed with growing operational demands, during the last decade the Fleet has decreased by 30 ships, or about 10 percent, and active-duty end strength dropped 13 percent, while operational demands have grown, Admiral Roughead said. Because of the high operational tempo, he said, "we are consuming the service life our Fleet at a higher-than-expected rate," and longer deployments with shorter dwell times at home stations are stressing Sailors and families, while maintenance requirements and costs for the service's ships and aircraft are increasing, as well.
"These measures cannot be sustained long-term," Admiral Greenert emphasized. In FY09, the service met global force management commitments and operational requirements in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan only by degrading required readiness levels. The Navy prioritized unit and strike-group training to support specific assigned missions. Repair parts purchases for inventory replacement were deferred. Amphibious ready groups deployed "surge capable" but not fully "major combat operation" capable. The FY09 mitigation strategy was intended to be a stopgap measure, as Navy readiness was not sustainable at these levels. But continued budget pressures might continue the trend.
Another measure of the impact of the current situation is suicide rates, some the result of higher personnel tempos. Although the Navy's 2009 suicide rate of 13.8 suicides per 100,000 Sailors was below the national rate of 19 per 100,000 people in the same age and gender demographics, it is an increase from the 2008 rate of 11.6 per 100,000 Sailors. This has redoubled service efforts aimed at suicide prevention and psychological health and resilience.
The Price of Shipbuilding
Things could get worse, as shipbuilding accounts averaging $15 billion per year look to frustrate the Navy's plan for a minimum of 313 ships to meet global operational requirements. As Congressional Research Service naval analyst Ronald O'Rourke noted in a December 2009 report:
[c]oncerns about the Navy's prospective ability to afford its long-range shipbuilding plan, combined with year-to-year changes in Navy shipbuilding plans and significant cost growth and other problems in building certain new Navy ships, have led to strong concerns among some Members [of Congress] about the status of Navy shipbuilding and the potential future size and capabilities of the fleet.
Other observers, including the Congressional Budget Office's Eric Labs, are equally pessimistic. In his January 2010 testimony, for example, Labs concluded:
[t]he ship purchases under those scenarios would not be large enough to replace all of the Navy's current ships as they reach the end of their service lives in coming years. Consequently, with those annual budget levels and average ship costs, the size of the Navy's Fleet would decline over the next three decades from 287 ships to between 170 and 240 ships.
The CNO all but agreed, as he explained in his Guidance for 2010: ". . . we are stretched in our ability to meet additional operational demands. Our budget is pressurized and we are limited to invest everywhere we see a need."
This "new normal" for the Navy was clearly evident by the service's force levels on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan last year.
The Real "Hurt Locker" 2009
On 29 March 2003, a huge blast engulfed a U.S. Army checkpoint just north of Najaf, Iraq. Four Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division had started to search a taxi when about 100 pounds of explosive detonated in the trunk. All died, including the suicide taxi driver and several civilians.
Since that first fatal detonation of an improvised explosive device (IED), more than 250,000 IED attacks have occurred in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of 2009. According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, IEDs have been responsible for the majority of the 4,137 hostile deaths and nearly 36,400 wounded in action-upward of 80 percent of all U.S. combat casualties in Iraq and more than 60 percent and growing in Afghanistan. Indeed, that ratio will probably even out as U.S. forces leave Iraq and a new surge sets sights on Afghanistan. For example, 810 IED incidents occurred in Afghanistan in August 2009, compared with 420 during the same month in 2008. And IEDs have killed or wounded many more thousands of Coalition forces and civilians.
To achieve such grim statistics in Iraq, insurgents and terrorists have had virtually unlimited access to thousands of tons of ordnance with which they can fashion nearly any device imaginable. The first IEDs encountered there were simple rudimentary booby-traps, but still deadly. However, they quickly became much more sophisticated and included cheap but effective triggering devices-from car alarms and garage-door openers, to cell and long-range cordless phones, walkie-talkies, even infrared remote controls. Complicating the problem is that IEDs are disguised as everyday objects-soda cans, concrete bricks, trash, and the like-and have even been hidden in animal carcasses.
In Afghanistan, where there is a relative paucity of traditional ordnance, the IED of choice has been the fertilizer-fuel device. In November 2009, for example, U.S. and Afghan forces uncovered in Kandahar a cache of 500,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and thousands of detonation devices.
Regardless of the threat characteristics, a split-second decision could be the difference between life and death for the nation's joint explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams that are at the real "pointy end of the spear" in dealing with what is becoming a ubiquitous if ambiguous threat.
Little wonder that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in March 2010 awarded The Hurt Locker best picture of 2009, along with five other awards, which also garnered the accolade of the Commanding General, U.S. Forces-Iraq. "I think what I like about it is, it shows, first, the camaraderie that is required here, the tension, the risk that's involved in some of the jobs that we do here," General Ray Odierno said in a PBS NewsHour interview. Admitting to some accuracy issues, he nonetheless said, "it's a good representation of the sacrifice and dedication that it takes here in order to combat such a very difficult mission of terrorism and fighting a war on terrorism."
A Day in the Life
"There was no such thing as a typical day last year," Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposalman First Class William "Chip" Greathouse explained during a February 2010 interview at EOD Group Two, Norfolk, Virginia. "The threat is constantly evolving and challenging us." Assigned to EOD Mobile Unit (MU) Eight, Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy, he deployed to Afghanistan's Zabul Province in 2009, supporting the Romanian 21st Mountain Battalion and the U.S. Army 1/4 Infantry Battalion. "My missions included route clearance, . . . response to specific incident-requests, and EOD support to Army Special Forces to render safe and/or neutralize IED and unexploded ordnance (UXO) hazards."
Since 2003, the two primary EOD focuses in Iraq and Afghanistan have been: Combat Expeditionary Support with EOD platoons embedded with Army or Marine "maneuver elements" or operating out of fixed locations where they respond to specific incidents; and Special Operations Forces (SOF) support, with EOD techs being responsible for carrying out the full range of SOF missions, in addition to EOD missions. "Navy EOD is the force of choice to support Special Operations Forces-Naval Special Warfare/SEALs and Army Special Forces," Commander John S. Coffey, Chief Staff Officer, EOD Group Two, noted. "Currently, about 35 percent of all Navy EOD in theater are embedded with SOF."
Navy EOD also supported "route-clearance packages" for convoys working hand-in-glove with Army engineers to render safe IED and unexploded ordnance threats along roadways and the main supply routes.
"In our EOD support to SOF," Greathouse said, "we were completely embedded with SpecOps troops. We were trained and ready to carry out all SpecOps missions and tasks while also taking care of IEDs-force multipliers for SOF. Our EOD job was to clear any impedance to an assault, often without any intel or alertment that an IED was in place along the proposed route." He added, "We frequently took direct enemy fire during these engagements."
It is a deadly cat-and-mouse game. "There were no patterns to IED attacks in Iraq last year, which were random and indiscriminate, but at a much lower frequency than pre-2009," added Lieutenant (junior grade) Saulomon King, officer-in-charge, Platoon 214 at EOD MU Two, who deployed to Baghdad July 2009-January 2010. Despite a reduction in incidents, particularly in the cities, ". . . the threat changed and evolved on a daily basis," he said.
Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Stebbins, executive officer, EOD MU Six, confirmed the dynamic environment. With two tours in Iraq (May-August 2007 and April-November 2009), Stebbins witnessed a significant decrease in the number of IEDs and other unexploded ordnance incidents, and a significant operational tempo decrease between 2007 and 2009. But personnel tempo remained high. In all, Navy/Marine Corps/Army/Air Force joint EOD averaged about 78 EOD missions per day in 2007, with the most being 114 in one 24-hour period. By the end of 2009, the two- and three-person EOD teams for which his battalion was responsible were receiving about 14 calls daily.
"We've basically seen the number of IEDs double over a one-year period" in Afghanistan Rear Admiral Michael Tillotson, the Deputy J-3 for CENTCOM, noted in a September Army Times interview. "But, we've put a lot more forces out there also." About 50 percent of the IEDs were encountered in Regional Command-South, where the United States has already surged thousands of additional troops, as well as Regional Command-East. Only about 12 percent of the IEDs were encountered in the north and west of the country.
CENTCOM last year added a battalion's worth of EOD forces in the south and increased the number of route-clearance packages, which comprise engineers, EOD technicians, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) experts. More EOD forces were needed to render-safe IEDs, while more ISR people allowed the military ". . . to get a better idea of what the enemy is doing to ensure we're interdicting and make sure we're getting to the 'left of boom,'" Tillotson said.
Staying Ahead of the Threat
CENTCOM is also increasing its exploitation capability in Afghanistan, adding experts in intelligence analysis, forensics, and explosives to study the IEDs. For example, the Navy's EOD Technical Division at Indian Head, Maryland, was critical to reverse-engineering weapons, while the in-country EOD, FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives teams are engaged in Combined Exploitation Cells. "We have one such lab, or cell, in Afghanistan, and we're increasing that," Tillotson said. "We have one in RC-East and we're growing the capability down in RC-South. It's fairly mature there [in the south] but we're still adding more and more capability down there for forensics."
Stebbins explained, "Last year we routinely took forensic evidence from IEDs rendered safe to support exploitation and gain intel on what groups were involved." He added:
Individual IEDs sometimes have 'markers' that indicate what groups are producing them. This process also allows us to reverse-engineer the IED, to develop and then disseminate TTPs [tactics, techniques and procedures] to deal with a constantly evolving and morphing threat. This can contribute to our ability to target the bomber rather than deal with a weapon in place. Linkage to other U.S. national agencies-for example, the FBI-for exploitation capabilities allows us to engage the threat as far 'left of the boom' as we can.
He admitted: "The lack of HUMINT [human intelligence], however, continues to challenge us."
"We need flexibility and adaptability to anticipate what the bomber will do next, Lieutenant (j.g.) King, explained. "And our TTPs reflect this. If we encounter a new threat not seen before, we render safe, exploit and reverse engineer, and very soon had advisories to all services' EOD techs in theater."
"Because of the nature of the threat, our TTPs are constantly under review," EOD Group Two's Chief Petty Officer William Bishop agreed. "But, with IEDs, there's no 'school-house solution,' and a good EOD tech will know how to improvise a render-safe result."
As the military was increasing its direct-support EOD efforts in Afghanistan last year, operations in Iraq increasingly turned to training the trainers. Following the decision to pull the U.S. military off the streets at the end of June 2009, Stebbins offered, "the mission evolved from responding to EOD incidents and escorting special forces to training Iraqi EOD personnel-Iraqi police for bomb disposal in urban areas and Iraqi army for IEDs/UXO throughout the rest of the country."
"The Iraqi police and army are highly motivated to succeed and take over responsibility for EOD, generally, as they see this as the means for security and safety," Stebbins said. "However, their efforts last year were hindered by a lack of adequate equipment and time to devote to training."
In addition to adding more EOD personnel in Afghanistan, the military also is relying on technology and equipment to boost its counter-IED efforts. "One of the primary ways we've done that is we've pushed a lot of MRAPs [mine resistant ambush protected vehicles] into Afghanistan," Tillotson said. There were almost no MRAPs in Afghanistan in February 2009, but as of mid-September the military had delivered 3,735 of the vehicles into theater, he noted. The military also started deploying the lighter and more mobile MRAP all-terrain vehicles to Afghanistan last year, and it has initiated a program to develop a lighter-weight mine roller to accommodate the rugged terrain in Afghanistan. "We're doing a better job of protecting our forces," said Tillotson. "Even though we've seen a doubling in the increase in IEDs in Afghanistan, we have not seen the casualties double."
In that, "the 'truck' is a critical factor in our success," Greathouse added, referring to the Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle (JERRV). The earlier Cougar and JERRV are modified MRAP vehicles that provide protection and room to carry EOD teams and their tool kits tailored for the mission at hand. These vehicles are outfitted with turrets for crew-served weapons, communication systems, and optical systems, and are outfitted for three or four EOD techs, depending on the mission. "We can adjust our standard load out according to the specific tasks and the expected duration of the mission," Greathouse said. "Robots that allow us to check out possible IEDs from a safe distance and bomb suits are examples of the standard EOD load out."
"If there's one drawback of the JERRV, it's mobility," Greathouse admitted. "What worked well in Iraq with a good road system hasn't worked all that well in Afghanistan with few if no roads, compared to our experience in Iraq."
"And, while robotic systems are increasing in capabilities," according to Stebbins, "they are still not yet well suited for use in dismounted operations that require transporting significant amounts of mission-essential gear over substantial distances." He explained, "We're also using a small remote-control helicopter-G-MAV-which is still under development, that may increase our tactical reach."
Danger at Every Turn
Regardless, it remains an exceedingly dangerous job, and the most difficult and risky situation is when dismounted and lacking protection.
"I've been in the Navy for eight years, with five of those in EOD," Greathouse offered. EOD Group Two's Sailor of the Year, he has made a total of four deployments-two on board the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), one to Iraq, and the most recent to Afghanistan. He recalled:
While deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in November 2007, an RPG [rocket-propelled grenade] fired at our JERRV killed one of my teammates, Explosive Ordnance Disposalman First Class Kevin Bewley. Last year, in Afghanistan, our HMMWV struck a 'victim-operated' IED triggered by a pressure plate. Two of the four occupants were killed-one was an EOD tech, Tony Randolph. Explosive Ordnance Disposalman First Class [EOD1] Harry Basnight and I were wounded.
One other Navy EOD was killed last year, EOD2 Tyler J. Trahan of EOD MU 12. Both Trahan and Randolf were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star (V) and Purple Heart. Since 2006, 13 EOD techs have died in Afghanistan and Iraq missions.
"Navy EOD is a brotherhood, a small warfighting community," Greathouse said quietly. "When you lose a teammate, you lose a brother and a friend. " He has the gaze of someone who has seen too much.
"In no other element of the Armed Services does the military push so much responsibility to the petty officer level," Stebbins underscored. He added:
This is an amazing element of our strategic focus. A Navy EOD Platoon provides one of the smallest footprints-one officer and seven enlisted personnel-but is capable of providing battlefield dominance by rendering safe and disposing of explosive hazards in order to enable combat success for our nation's forces.
That said, Navy EOD generally has experienced similar operational and personnel tempo concerns, Lieutenant (j.g.) King acknowledged. With numerous repeat-tours in country, "we're low-density/high-demand resources"-today numbering fewer than 1,500 officers and enlisted personnel.
"The nation's EOD forces have been one of the most-engaged elements of our force structure for the last seven years," Commander Coffey agreed. "PERSTEMPO is high, and an effort continues to be made by higher leadership to address ways in which we can better align deployment-to-dwell ratios, while meeting both Navy and Joint warfighting requirements."
"Our experience last year in Iraq and Afghanistan confirms that Navy EOD is at the forefront on irregular warfare, on the ground, a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) hot and ready, to carry out all missions," Chief Petty Officer Bishop said. "The bomber has to be right only once . . . we have to be right all the time."
An Irregular Year
For the Navy, 2009 showed that a host of irregular challenges continue to fester-piracy; the smuggling of people, drugs and weapons; humanitarian and natural disasters; illegal exploitation of marine resources and environmental degradation in ungoverned spaces; proliferation of dangerous weapons; and regional instability and crisis. "The irony for the Navy is that these irregular challenges are more akin to regular operations than they are to out-of-the-ordinary tasks," Rear Admiral Phillip Greene, director of the Navy's Irregular Warfare Office, noted in a February 2010 Defense News op-ed. "Indeed, what is often described as 'irregular warfare' is actually part of the 'regular' mission-set for the Navy."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, ". . . we end up doing [these types of missions] with some regularity, but we obviously learn each time." And these lessons-learned will have broad implications for 2010 and tomorrow's Navy, as well.
Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2009
Combat Missions Embedded with Conventional Forces: 6,125
Direct-Action Missions Embedded with Special Forces: 916
IEDs Rendered Safe or Neutralized: 1,306
Explosives Disposed/Removed from Battlefield: 336,250 pounds
Purple Hearts: 6
Bronze Stars: 81