More on the 82nd Airborne’s Taliban war trophy

| October 7, 2021

Taliban Toyota Hilux w/ AAA gun

Jeff LPH 3 forwards to us this Task & Purpose report on MG Donahue’s war trophy we talked about earlier this week. According to the report, the 82nd Airborne’s spokesman says that nobody was ordered off an aircraft to load the truck. From the article;

Col. Brett Lea, a spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division, said that’s not even close to the truth.

“No personnel were removed from any aircraft departing HKIA to make room for the Taliban Hilux,” Lea said in a statement to Task & Purpose. “In fact, aircraft space was not an issue at all in terms of getting American citizens, Afghan SIVs, or at-risk Afghans out of HKIA in the final days of the evacuation mission.”

I’m sure that’s comforting to the hundreds of Americans and allies we left behind. There was plenty of room on all those planes. As for how the 82nd Paratroopers came to acquire the Taliban gun truck, well that’s a story any resourceful frontline soldier will be familiar with. They bartered for it. Got the keys for two cans of chew.

When U.S. forces arrived at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August, they had their work cut out for them: A tidal wave of people, Americans and Afghans alike, were rushing to the airport to flee as the Taliban regained control of the country.

Most of the security posts around the perimeter of the airport had been abandoned, said Lt. Col. Andy Harris, commander of the 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Soldiers with the battalion quickly set about bolstering the airport’s defenses, yet the situation remained volatile — Taliban fighters were just meters away, outside the airport’s gates — and much of the equipment they’d typically use, like heavy vehicles and machine guns, had yet to arrive at the airport.

What they did have, however, was a green pickup truck outfitted with an anti-aircraft gun. The paratroopers had traded two cans of dipping tobacco for it.

Great story. Great trophy actually. That we had enough space in a C-17 to bring it with in the mad scramble to get as many people out of the collapsing Afghanistan is concerning. With the people left behind, there shouldn’t have been any room. Unless it was the last plane and we were sure we had everyone.

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Afghanistan, Army, Taliban

Comments (36)

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  1. REM says:

    4 Points: 1. At this point in time, does any one believe anything a “spokesman” says? 2. If it had been a junior Officer being this stupid, what would the Command do to him? 3. In this day/age the Command Judgement will be, “At this point, What difference does it make.” 4. Does any one think there will be any consequences?

  2. 26Limabeans says:

    I know a guy that can get an inspection sticker for it.
    No questions asked. None answered.

  3. MarineDad61 says:

    So the RedState (and VG) headlines were FALSE?

    Funny, I remember taking a bit of heat a few days ago
    for bringing up this very possibility.
    A small number of insults, too.

    MarineDad61 says:
    October 4, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    Better suggestion…
    Mason can sit on and watch stories like this for 48 hours,
    and see if they hold up, get verified,
    or get debunked and vanish (POOF).
    (end paste)

    [Redstate reports that MG Donahue ordered 50-100 people off last flight out of Kabul to take a war trophy
    Mason | October 4, 2021]

    • MarineDad61 says:

      Link to Task and Purpose article cited above
      (3½ days after RedState).

      [The true story of how Army paratroopers traded dip
      for a Toyota gun truck used to secure the Kabul airport

      Soldiers trading dip for a technical may be the most Army story ever.

      By Haley Britzky | Updated Oct 7, 2021 6:57 AM]

      • rgr769 says:

        That even beats my supply sgt trading three cases of LRRP rations for about $30K plus worth of 60mm mortar ammo (4 pallets of HE, a pallet or two of WP, and 3 pallets of illum) not authorized to my Ranger/LRRP company. We needed for the 60mm mortar we inherited from the 1st Marine Recon Bn.

        • MarineDad61 says:

          1 guy in my Gulf War C/E section
          was also a Vietnam War Veteran.
          Not electronics, but motor pool (Jeep) mechanic.
          His highlight of the Vietnam War,
          building an undocumented Jeep from spare parts,
          using it for a few months,
          and in his last few weeks before coming home,
          trading it for a conex of BEER.

          RIP JR (cancer).

    • MarineDad61 says:

      I do thank Mason for presenting this article,
      the moment he became aware of the truth.

    • Mason says:

      First, truth is often subjective. The T&P article mentions nothing of the accusations that people were displaced for this trophy other than to dismiss it out of hand at the end.

      As we say in law enforcement there are three sides to any story. Side A, Side B, and the truth somewhere in the middle. If that’s the case here (and it likely is), then you need to look at both this article and the Red State one and figure out where you think the truth is.

      Personally, if people weren’t displaced for this thing to get a ride out of the country, then there were more failures on the ground in Kabul than we know about. Planes flying out with enough cargo space for a pickup truck and we’re leaving people behind? Come on, man.

      If we have room to bring equipment out of the country, then why aren’t we bringing out the shit we brought in? I know there’s logistical issues and we only had control of a small part of the Kabul airport. It just again leaves this whole thing stinking. Days after packing 800 people onto a C-17 out of the country we’re all caught up and have a half-empty plane so the general can bring back a pickup?

      As for the general’s spokesman, you don’t actually expect him to throw the division CG under the bus do you? His word is not gospel.

      For his part, Jonn was not a huge fan of T&P. We always give a suspicious Forest Whitaker eye to what they publish.

      • MarineDad61 says:

        Got it.
        Now you can give the stink eye to RedState.

      • steeleyI says:

        Of course, the RedState article is full of conjecture and hearsay and generally reads like it was written by Rumor Control Central, which of course in a Joint operation like this is manned 24/7 by Terminal Lances and Command Specialists who were deployed even though they are awaiting their chapter to be finalized.

        I am quite certain that the last few chalks were earmarked to exfil the force on the ground, not civilians. I am equally certain they had a large margin of error to ensure they had enough room to bring all of their people, equipment, and vehicles.

  4. 2banana says:

    Would not have been an issue if Bagram was not abandoned.

    • SteeleyI says:

      No, maybe not, but to keep Bagram open would’ve required roughly double the force, and the president no doubt capped the BOG numbers.

  5. charles w says:

    Imagine what they could of got with a few bottles of Tabasco.

  6. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    So you’re telling me that we spent 20 years, a trillion or so, lost 2500 guys to replace the Taliban with the Taliban and all we have to show for it is Toyota HiLux with an AA gun in the bed…

    Seems worthwhile.

    • Hate_me says:

      We also have some cool new ribbons on our new dress uniforms, and a patch on our right shoulder.

      TF Dagger was doing the job (short of killing Osama). We didn’t start shitting the bed until the flag officers decided they needed a resume bump.

      I still posit we could have waited for a better deal, had Obama bin Biden not decided it was better to muck the cards and flip the table. A Mississippi flush always wins.

  7. MI Ranger says:

    So putting a few disparate comments together I come up with the following question/comments:
    1. Which aircraft did the HILUX depart on…obviously not the last!?
    2. Did US Soldiers depart on the same planes that Afghan Civilians did? Or were the armed US military on separate planes?
    3. Was the HILUX properly inspected prior to transport and all its oil leeks fixed?!!!!

    Only once have I not had to work extra time to get a vehicle going on a plane approved to fly. That one time, was a similar case of last folks leaving, and the air crew knew that they could not leave us, and were stuck until it passed inspection! We finally agreed to drain it completely, bring replacement fluid (new) with us in sufficient quantities (properly packaged). And it was initially pushed onto the aircraft…something about being quiet or not stinking up the plane! Amazingly that vehicle was my best running vehicle after we got it back!

  8. SteelyI says:

    I like that they call it ‘dipping tobacco’, like it’s some sort of sauce for chicken wings.

  9. Poetrooper says:

    There’s an “All I got was this crummy Hilux” T-Shirt design in there somewhere…😜

    • Poetrooper says:

      This supposed to be a response to VOV…how the hell did it get way down here?

      • MarineDad61 says:

        If you click reply in 1 place,
        and then change your mind and click reply in a 2nd place,
        your new comment often goes in the 1st place.
        It’s a webpage glitch.

        To solve this, RELOAD the page,
        if you change your mind on where you wish to comment or reply.

    • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

      No worries I’m able to scroll and find these things!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey, it beats “We were winning when I left!” Where can we get one?

  10. MarineDad61 says:

    2021 LoLux.
    In final testing now.
    9 passenger.
    Ballpark $175k a pop.

    • Mason says:

      Looks like a fun desert buggy. Useless anywhere else. No doors for wet or cold climates. No armor and no doors to even strap/weld improvised armor to. What in that is worth $175k?

      • MarineDad61 says:

        A windfall for GM,
        who can unload 1000 each from a bunch of their parts bins?

        I am curious if the Duramax I-4 turbo diesel
        will be built in the USA?
        Everything I see is that for 10 years they are built in Thailand.

        Also, I am always amused to see a corporate rep
        push the upsides of the anomalies.
        I couldn’t stop laughing at the explanation
        for the half a windshield.

        No Go under the hood, either.
        That must be 1 super special
        secret squirrel hot Duramax 4 cylinder turbo diesel.

        But hey, it’s built for an 18 year old to handle.
        And do donuts.

  11. James R. N. says:

    That Hilux could be displayed on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia. The locals could spend many hours debating whether it is worse than the recently removed statues.

  12. Sapper3307 says:

    Curious what museum will get the truck?

    • KoB says:

      Gonna end up at the GM plant for a reverse engineering session. May help make GM competitive in the NASCAR Truck Series.