Afghanistan: a medal for a hero

**Posted by Phineas

Captain Barry Crawford today receives the Air Force Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor, for exceptional bravery under fire in the eastern part of that country. Acting as the forward air controller for a Special Forces detachment on patrol with the Afghan Army, Captain Crawford exposed himself to Taliban fire while calling in airstrikes and directing rescue helicopters during an enemy ambush described as “shooting fish in a barrel” — and we were the fish.

He did this not once, but four times:

The 31-year-old native of suburban Philadelphia is a special operations combat controller — a battlefield airman who calls in air strikes and provides communications during covert missions.

“Our primary weapon is not our sidearm or rifle,” Crawford said in an interview Wednesday. “It’s actually our radio.”

That’s part of what makes it all the more noteworthy that Crawford exposed himself to insurgent fire in an open field to guide in a medical evacuation helicopter and twice again exposed himself to launch attacks on militant positions with his assault rifle. This was all the while controlling 33 aircraft and well over 40 strafing and bombing airstrikes during a 14-hour ambush and battle in eastern Afghanistan.

“Capt. Crawford braved effective enemy fire and consciously placed himself at grave risk on four occasions,” the citation from President Barack Obama says. “His selfless actions and expert airpower employment neutralized a numerically superior” insurgent force.

Crawford and Army special forces, who were mentoring Afghan commandos, were on a mission to move through a local village, search houses for weapons and meet local residents, “just trying to talk to them and see what’s going on, gather some intelligence,” he said. They were told the village was sympathetic to the Taliban and to expect 10 to 15 fighters in the region.

But someone had tipped off insurgents and the mission quickly turned into what Crawford called “a battle of survival.”

The U.S. and Afghan troops found the village largely empty but laced with tunnels, and “each house was like a little fortress in itself (fitted with) firing ports,” Crawford said.

Eventually more than 100 insurgents converged on the area.

Final tally: no Americans seriously hurt, three wounded Afghan commandos, and 80 dead Taliban.

Largely thanks to Captain Barry Crawford (USAF).

Yeah, I’d say he earned his medal.

PS: Men and women such as Crawford, who can keep their heads under fire and do what needs to be done, will forever amaze me — and forever leave me grateful they’re on our side. Me, I’d probably have been curled up behind a rock, crying for my mother. There have been so many stories of military heroics from both Iraq and Afghanistan; I wish the press would give them more prominent coverage.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#WarOnWomen rhetoric disintegrates with Dem strategist’s cheap shot at Ann Romney

Hah. I love it:

The Obama campaign was scrambling Thursday to distance itself from comments made by a top Democratic strategist who accused Ann Romney, wife of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, of having “never worked a day in her life.”

“Guess what, (Romney’s) wife has actually never worked a day in her life,” Hilary Rosen said Wednesday evening on CNN.

Romney immediately responded with a debut tweet, sparking a Twitter storm.

“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys,” tweeted Romney, a 64-year-old mother of five and grandmother of 16. “Believe me, it was hard work.”

Top Obama campaign officials then took to Twitter in an attempt to distance themselves and the re-election effort from Rosen’s comments.

“I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a tweet.

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod tweeted: “Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.”

Rosen continued to tweet herself, adding, “I’ve nothing against @AnnRomney. I just don’t want Mitt using her as an expert on women struggling $ to support their family. She isn’t.”

And later: “@AnnDRomney Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn’t say you are his expert on women and the economy,” Rosen tweeted.

Ms. Rosen’s finding out the hard way that it’s a bit crowded underneath Team Obama’s bus these days. ;)

As I wrote last night on Twitter, Rosen’s not upset that she said what she did – and obviously is not apologetic. What she’s upset about is that she got caught verbalizing how the more radical “feminists” in this country feel about women who choose to be stay at home mothers, regardless of their income status.  John Kerry’s wife Teresa made similar comments about Laura Bush during the 2004 presidential campaign:

“Well, you know, I don’t know Laura Bush. But she seems to be calm, and she has a sparkle in her eye, which is good,” Heinz Kerry said. “But I don’t know that she’s ever had a real job — I mean, since she’s been grown up. So her experience and her validation comes from important things, but different things.”

So much for “freedom of choice”, hmm?

BTW, let’s give a round of applause to Ms. Rosen for helping unite conservatives around Mitt Romney, something the man himself has a lot of trouble doing.  Thanks, gal! =d>

UPDATE (Phineas): Can you say “backfire?” According to an informal Washington Post poll, more than 95% side with Ann Romney. The Romney campaign really ought to send Ms. Rosen flowers — and aspirin to Team Obama. (via Bryan Preston)