Afghan Muzzle Discipline — Or Not

Afghan Policeman Shoots his own foot during recent operation

Partnering with 3rd World security forces that have poor training and undisciplined leadership is hard enough when it’s just a peacetime training stint or dog-and-pony show. But it becomes downright dangerous when its the real thing.

We had the chance to participate in a helicopter air assault May 19 with 2nd Platoon, Angel Co., 3-187 on a small village commanders believed was being used as an insurgent layover during their infil from Pakistan.

The bad guys ditched their clandestine weapons cache and beat feet so not a shot was fired — except one from an Afghan uniformed policeman who was downright nervous as we began our assault into the village.

Muzzle pointed at his foot, one hand on the grip, finger on the trigger and the safety off. Boom, right through his foot.

He was patched up and taken out during our ‘false extraction,’ but suffice it to say, the ND posed a tactical dilemma to a young platoon leader on his first combat air assault…he handled it with poise and a little diplomacy.

  • For a culture that is use to having weapons around, it always amazes me the lack of gun safety. I’m always seeing pictures/videos of people in the Middle East waving their weapons around with fingers on the triggers, even when just celebrating or talking to one another. Most of these folks keep these guns in their homes with their families, which is pretty scary…

    Kudos to the PL! What a tough job in and of itself, but stupidity from allies adds a whole new gambit of problems! He handled himself so well…it had to have been VERY difficult not to start calling the guy a complete idiot LOL

    I have to say, the guy himself took it well, too. That couldn’t have felt too good, but he was just patiently standing there, not crying out in pain or anything hehe

    • Ewan

      Jennifer…having such a concern for safety is a western world view to, one you travel away from europe and america, you will commonly see a disregard for safety in almost every fashion.

  • raf medic

    nice to see the cat tourniquet applied in totally the wrong place, hes gonna now loose his lower leg instead of just requiring surgery on his foot, nice one

  • not a medic

    combat life savers are taught to put the tourniquet above the knee because you can not stop the blood flow by placing it on the lower leg due to the two bones that provide a archway for blood to keep flowing, unless you feel like crushing the guys legs and breaking his bones. Besides its to stop the bleeding, most likely standard SOP anyway, not going to be on there so long he will lose his leg, you see the PL calling in the medevac. vultures that patrol this sight……

  • not a medic either

    lol raf medic dont ‘save’ me please.

  • kevin

    the guy shot himself in the foot on purpose, it was a cover up………he was trying to let the villagers know the troops were on the way………………….but yeah the guy is a morone

  • Gene

    Unfortunately a common problem. We saw it time and again in Iraq sometimes almost daily, and for sure weekly at our FOB. I feel badly for the poor man, but he will have the very best of medical care we have to offer. Our Docs are world class, IMHO.

  • Antonio Andolini

    Let’s face it….that dude was more fpcused on the MRE he was holding than what he was doing with his weapon. Savages!!!!!!

  • navybrat

    Not sure what sort of pistol would require a tourniquet be used. I’m a trauma nurse, and, usually, some direct pressure on the wound would control the blood flow until he could be seen at the hospital. Maybe he hit an artery, but there are so many bones in the foot it would have been difficult.
    Andy should have kept this guy’s bullet in his top pocket until they saw what the real danger was.

    • rock2/503

      thats because it wasn’t a pistol, it was an ak series rifle which fires a 7.62x39mm round

    • Leff

      Standard battlefield SOP for a GSW is a TQ. It won’t hurt him to apply one.

  • torres13fox

    Thats why I didnt join the Navy! It was said earlier and I have to agree. That was clearly a warning shot to signal the approach and location of the patrol. I saw it in 07-08 and again in 08-09 in Iraq. Poorly paid, poorly trained and willing to do just this for a fist full of dollars to feed their family. FISTER for life.

  • REM1875

    The Army teaches medics that a helo will be there in 15 mins . Navy Corpsman may not have that luxury so they are taught long term emergency care and the army is taught short term emergency care.

  • In Afghanistan

    you are not a medic, and if you are, i would not one you on my team. appling the tourniquent will not cause him to lose a limb,(biggest myth out there). He was extracted very quickly. maybe if he had the cat on for a prolonged period of time, say 8 hrs…they always teach you, slap on a cat first….then go from there…control the bleeding, and keep going…

  • Medic

    Things have changed a lot in the field of emergency medicine, they are now realizing that tourniquets aren’t going to cause a person to lose the use of their limb like once thought.

  • starlight_cdn

    Wow, after all these years of life-saving interventions in a tactical environment with TQs, after the countless medical studies (including the US Navy TQ report), after the posting of a myriad of abstracts of successful limb saving surgeries, the fallacies about the efficacy TQ still run rampant.

    Go here:

  • SrA Tom

    Agreed. According to my mother (20+ year veteran of the USAF as a Nurse) in dangerous environments you apply the tourniquet first (life over limb). He could lose the leg, but chances are he won’t. I have to say, I thought the CAT was supposed to go 4 inches above the nearest joint, but maybe the lower leg is not an adequate place for a tourniquet. (I’m not a medic, and I have not done combat lifesaver yet.) It takes time for a lack of blood flow to cause damage to the tissues.