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COP Keating Report Complete

by christian on February 5, 2010

The ISAF public affairs office said today that the coalition investigation into the Oct. 3 attack on COP Keating has been completed.

We’re pinging them for a complete copy or executive summary, but the release accompanying the announcement says the complex attack by nearly 300 Taliban against the Soldiers of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cav suffered from a lack of intelligence fusion, apathy and poor defenses.

The report determined that commanders must continue to assess the value and vulnerabilities of each COP throughout the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, and made several recommendations to improve coalition tactics. The investigation concluded that critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets which had been supporting COP Keating had been diverted to assist ongoing intense combat operations in other areas, that intelligence assessments had become desensitized to reports of massing enemy formations by previous reports that had proved false, and needed force protection improvements were not made because of the imminent closure of the outpost. These factors resulted in an attractive target for enemy fighters.

This seems to bolster Gates’ argument that we need more drones, but it also speaks to what our friend Andrew Lubin warned about complacency and lack of fighting spirit among some Army units in RC-East. The fact that the report indicates “intelligence assessments had become desensitized to reports of massing enemy formations by previous reports that had proved false” is truly scary. That’s full-on complacency — 100 percent — and reminds me of the makeshift signs I saw all around Camp Hurricane Point in Ramadi that said “Complacency Kills.”

View PART 2 of the interview…

Eight Soldiers were killed in the attack.

We’ll try to dig into what happened to any of the officers and NCOs responsible for the troops during this incident, but the release says:

Based on the recommendations in the investigation, General Stanley A. McChrystal took appropriate action regarding Army personnel involved. General McChrystal also issued guidance to commanders and NCOs at all levels throughout both ISAF and USFOR-A to ensure the lessons learned from the investigation findings and recommendations were incorporated into current practices to prevent or mitigate future incidents.

Anyone have any gouge on this, please zap me a note on the Tip Line…no fingerprints…

UPDATE: Yes, I have been hammering ISAF for a copy of the investigation report into the ambush at Ganjgal. Last week (1/30) I received a note from ISAF PA that indicated a redacted executive summary of the investigation would be forwarded to me by today. So far, nothing. I’m still on it, folks…

– Christian

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

chrisram February 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Well, counter insurgency warfare can breed a sense of complacency when you 're faced with an enemy that may be present in one area but seemingly absent from another. So, troops naturally get relaxed and miss the signals of insurgents infiltrating the area.

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No Name February 14, 2010 at 1:12 am

Christian,
I dont know who you think you are but you are sick. You've been hammering for the full report? Do you have any sympathy? I am the wife of one of the fallen soldiers of October 3rd at COP Keating and I am outraged and disgusted with your comments you have left on this website. This report should not be shared with greedy hands like yours to just spread it around. How dare you. This is for our families only. Keep out and mind your own business. You should be very ashamed of yourself.

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S.R. Batman.USSF (ret) February 14, 2010 at 12:21 am

Complacency? I don’t think that is a fair assessment of the soldiers at this pictured COP. What I see is an outpost that has trees and vegetation growing right up to the perimeter berm providing perfect cover for an attacking force. From I can ascertain about combat operations in Afganistan there is no pre-planned fires, no interdiction fires, it appears to me that this Army relies too much on air assets and super technological gizmoes. What has happened to old fshioned soldiering i.e., clearing fields of fire and emplacing chicken wirfe/chain link fence around bunkers etc., to detonate RPG’? It is apparent there was a ldrshp failure to properly clear away trees and underbrush from the approachs to the camp so it is entirely possible that complaceny has indeed infected the Officers and NCOs of this particular Troop.

Multiple combat tours for the National Guard and Reserves has not served to decrease the onset of complaceny.

BTW, in my opinion, Gen McChrstal is a stone Nut!

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Gary February 22, 2010 at 3:56 am

It is not complacency!!! The particular COP in this picture was a dream compared to Keating(I have been to both places), note this one is on a mountain top, much easier to defend. Keating was in a “bowl” hard to stay sharp when the enemy can stand on mountain tops and look down upon our Soldiers everyday activity without ever being seen. The leadership failure came when they built this COP where they did, and for leaving it there so long.

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Brian April 7, 2010 at 3:42 am

While COP Keating was in a "bowl," what is pictured above is probably the OP that was located 2.2km away from the COP on top of a mountain. The main failure in intelligence is not a fault of the UAVs, but the failure to acquire human intell from the local population. At least one person would have probably mentioned that there were 300 Talliban in their village who were getting ready for an attack.

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jon May 1, 2010 at 5:04 pm

They were told about the attack in advance. If they would have kept up their area patrols and made use of their thermal sights, it isn't too hard to keep the enemy out of weapons range. the big problem was that there is only one usable road, perfect for an ambush. i think the big problem here is that they knew the base was closing so they stopped caring about it. Too bad, this base was a major thorn in the side of the Taliban. they have been trying to destroy it everyday since it was built. i guess they finally got what they wanted. Too bad for all the men who suffered and died fighting in those mountains for three years to keep it there.

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Christopher Skelley November 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I was in Keating in 2007 and yeah fish bowl is exactly what it was. They closed it now. Thank god. One of the worst positions I've ever seen.

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Dan O'Shea February 14, 2010 at 9:47 pm

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

George Santayana
Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense

————————-

Read:

Sappers in the Wire: The Life and Death of Firebase Mary Ann

Keith William Nolan

ISBN-10: 0890966540

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From Publishers Weekly

The battle took place on a remote hilltop in Quang Tin Province during the latter days of "Vietnamization," when open defiance of orders was common among GIs. What happened at Firebase Mary Ann the night of March 27-28, 1971, was, according to the author of this riveting account, the U.S. Army's "most blatant and humiliating defeat in Vietnam." That night, 50 sappers of the 409th Viet Cong Main Force Battalion, wearing nothing but shorts, slipped through the base's barbed wire without alerting a single sentry, killed 30 GIs and wounded 82 others. Relying on interviews with survivors and recently declassified documents, Nolan reconstructs the assault from start to finish, showing how a demoralized American unit (1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, Americal Division) was crushed, despite the heroic actions of a few individuals. He traces the chain-of-command process by which the defeat ruined the careers of the division and battalion commanders. By the author of The Magnificent Bastards, this is a perceptive study of poor leadership and combat demoralization. It is also a terrific battle book.

————————-

PS I was a MACV advisor dealing with another battle in the same province at the same time, dropping illumination cannisters out of the back of a huey.

————————-

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Gary February 22, 2010 at 3:47 am

The picture attached to this article is not even of COP Keating. I was there a day after the attack as the Engineer that led the demolition of the COP.

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jon May 1, 2010 at 1:11 pm

the picture is of the OP above Keating. It was called warheight. I alternated between Keating, Warheight, and another OP in Kamu for over a year. Keating is the main base so it was "home". We would go out to the OP's for weeks and months at a time to make sure nothing like this happened. The OP is considered part of Keating.

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jon May 1, 2010 at 5:11 pm

the picture is of the OP above Keating. It was called warheight. I alternated between Keating, Warheight, and another OP in Kamu for over a year. Keating is the main base so it was "home". We would go out to the OP's for weeks and months at a time to make sure nothing like this happened. The OP is considered part of Keating.

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B6/4Cav Kamdesh Vet July 25, 2010 at 10:01 am

Demolition!? WHY DIDN"T U A HOLES BLOW THE AMMO!?

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a KAMDESH VET June 9, 2010 at 2:57 am

APPARENTLY YOU PEOPLE CONDEMNING THE SOLDIERS AND LEADERSHIP FOR THESE FAILURES HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY BEEN TO THIS VALLEY, SO UNTIL YOU HAVE AND UNTIL HIGH COMMAND GOES DOWN AND FIGHTS A DAY IN A SOLDIERS SHOES IN THIS VALLEY THEN CUT THE ******* POLITICS AND LOOK AT WHATS REAL, ITS A OUT POST, UNDERFUNDED, UNDER SUPPLED AND UNDERMANNED. NOT BECAUSE COMMAND DIDNT WANT THE SUPPLIES BUT BECAUSE ITS IN THE MOUNTAINS OF AFGHANISTAN. WITH TELLING SPECIFICS OF WHEN AND WHAT TIMES SUPPLY ROUTES ARE FLOWN JUST KNOW IT WAS RARE, IT ISNT IRAQ THERE ISNT A PRETTY PAVED ROAD LEADING TO THIS PLACE OR WIDE OPEN DESERT WHERE ENEMY CAN BE SPOTTED FROM THE AIR MILES AWAY. GET WITH THE PICTURE THIS IS A WAR AMERICA HAS NEVER FOUGHT AND YOU CANT BLAME THE CHAIN OF COMMAND ON GROUND AT KEATING WHEN THE ARMY FAILED THEM. OH AND AS FAR AS YOUR REPORT MR WAR JUNKY WHY DONT YOU ENLIST IN ONE OF THE 4 COMBAT BRIGADES THAT GO TO THESE PLACES AND WRITE YOUR OWN REPORT?

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Cahill August 9, 2010 at 1:54 pm

Well said, "a KAMDESH VET"! I recently retired and agree with you 100%. Stay the course and don't forget that the majority of Americans LOVE you and your brothers. Be safe. RAKKASAN!

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dghealy October 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

The Warriors at Keating where under constant fire. I am angered by any description of "apathy" on the part of the Soldiers, who often didn't even have water! If they were apathetic does it then not follow that the people in command were not and there fore not at fault? While not every bad outcome has a culprit, this one does have a few who are not facing any music.

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thatguy October 3, 2010 at 2:36 pm

anger, rage, sadness, frustraion….theres your full report pal. Serioulsy? Yea , gonna give a “full report ” to you to put on the internet so the bad guys can see what they missed , from an already vanaruable target.

Ive heard a couple comments , but i wasznt there. In the miltary, rumors, unfportunatly bad ones run like wild fire.

I will say this, look at that pic, just look at….nuff said. Not just one of some cops in the Stan.

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1SG B September 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Keating is long gone. But after reading the above posts I had to set something straight. The OP in the pic is OP Fritche. Yes it is the op above COP Keating but it is more than 2k away and did us no good. COP keating was in a bowl and yes if anyone should be held accountable it would be the idiots who placed it there in the first place!!!!!

I was the 1SG for B Trp and was there that day. All of BK soldiers fought beyond belief and all deserve nothing but praise. We lost 8 of our friends but many more would have been if our guys were “complacent” NONE were. we did weapons maint every day, did daily patrols as far as we could without the support of larger bases. we were out of artillary range from Bostick, air support was an hour away. Yes this was a horrible area to be in. God bless my guys!!!

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Watch your face 1SG August 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm

1SG, I was part of A Troop 3-71 Cav aka "the idiots who placed Camp Keating in a valley" and I would love to know where you would have put the base? Where is there a better spot in all of Nuristan? Don't go blaming us for your fuck up, we were able to repel every large attack that happened on the camp when we were there, so what is your excuse? We didn't have half the equipment you had when we were there, you had surveillance cameras tons of hard stand buildings and the whole nine yards. We were sleeping under trucks for months with almost no food or water but sure as as shit repelled 100% of the attacks. Maybe your boys should have spent a little less time making music videos and patrol the fucking AO collecting intel. (yes everyone has see the infamous dance video your troop made on OP Fritchie)

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jum1801 June 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm

"Apathy". "Poor defenses." "Lack of vigilance." "Complacency."

This is almost 3 years later but I'm still outraged to read crap like this. Because I didn't read findings like "indefensible site", "many prior warnings of danger and indefensibility ignored by command". Who cares if a bunch of grunts are blamed for getting themselves killed? They're just little people, and they're dead so they'll keep quiet. Yep, the important thing is to cover the asses of the commanders (up to and including McChrystal) who put COP Keating at that site in the first place, and who kept it manned at a skeleton level.

God this is despicable. It's like an FAA airliner crash investigation, where the report twists itself inside out to say "pilot error" because he failed to flap his arms hard enough after the wings fell off the plane. Here the soldiers are blamed for getting themselves killed. And everyone above has an excuse: "we must have a presence"; "we aren't given nearly enough men". But these commanders who secretly say they aren't given the tools for the job would rather blame dead men who can't defend themselves than tell the truth – that the commander-in-chief and Congress failed those men, their families and this country when they took away the resources to defend themselves. .

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Blue4golf July 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

It's a nice pic. I should know. I took it from the top of the ASG building, while scanning the area with my spotting scope and M14 sniper rifle. Everyone liked it, so it was down loaded several times until it ended up on this page. My postition was south east from Fritchy a little less than 100 meters. From this angle COP Keating is down and to the right from Fritchy. As for the comments left earlier…. it is easy to make opinions on what you think you know. But it is hard to find the facts and then speek about them. I am not offended by the ignorace of others. In a funny way it is one of the freedoms I defend. You are free to say anything you want. It only make you look less intelligent. And for my brothers who fought and died less than a few feet from me that day. I will never forget you. And do what ever I can to help others remember. RIP

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